Surprisingly, the biggest news this week was that of an announced HBO pay-per-view event that does not feature Floyd Mayweather, any Mexican fighters, or any Puerto Rican fighters. I never would have expected it. On October 17th, David Lemieux (IBF Champion) and Gennady Golovkin (WBA Champion) will be unifying their slices of the middleweight championship, at Madison Square Garden. As I said, it was surprising, especially to hear that a fighter from Canada and one from Kazakhstan are going to headline a PPV. It might even be the best fight made this year. With 61 knockouts in their combined 69 fights, it seems like one that’s sure to be explosive. I hope it’s going to be set at a price point low enough to ensure a decent amount of buyers. I bet some money will be made off this.
The Week That Was
First up, we have the absolutely horrendous PBC card that was on NBC Sports Network.
Beibut Shumenov won a unanimous decision (116-112 x3) over BJ Flores, in the process capturing the interim WBA Cruiserweight Championship. This was one of the worst fights that I’ve ever seen. Shumenov ran away for much of the fight, and in the last round BJ Flores was finally told to cut off the ring. He didn’t know how. You know, I don’t know what to say about any of these supposedly “free” fights. This was on cable, this wasn’t a fight, what can you even say? I really want to go on a rant about how this needs to stop, but I don’t think it will. It’s kind of a scam when you think about it. The money is going from PBC’s investors hands, into the head of the PBC’s pocket. In return there will never be any return on investment and Al Haymon is giving people the worst fights possible while destroying the boxing ticket market by giving away free tickets.
Also on the show, they had the fight I had talked about between Jordan Shimmell and Isiah Thomas. Thomas won a unanimous decision in another uninteresting fight. In total, a blight on boxing.
On HBO’s card last Saturday, we got to see the best fighter north of welterweight, but we were far more lucky to see the co-feature.
In what was an excellent fight, Jean Pascal scraped a unanimous decision (96-94 x3) over Yunieski Gonzalez. I had it scored 96-94 for Gonzalez and did not agree at all with the official scores. HBO judge Harold Lederman had it 97-93 for Gonzalez. Pascal did not win this fight! Gonzalez landed more punches, threw more punches, and he put the pressure on Pascal. Pascal consistently moved backwards, he got hit harder, I have no idea how the judges could have given him the fight. Honestly, it ruined my night. I think the judges simply defaulted to the name fighter in every close round. A gross and disgusting way of judging fights is what that is. Seeing Gonzalez weeping in the corner is really the last thing I wanted to see. I don’t think Pascal can get that rematch with Sergey Kovalev so easily now. Who wants to see that? He didn’t win this fight, although I guess he did, and he just got knocked out by Kovalev. He’s lost some of what he has to offer in the ring. Pascal has fought hard for years, fought in grueling fights. Maybe it’s just that time.
The main event went as easily as expected, as Sergey Kovalev crushed (I love the pun) Nadjib Mohammedi, finishing him in the third round and retaining his WBA/IBF/WBO Light Heavyweight Championships. After Mohammedi tripped Kovalev in the second round, Kovalev seemed to get a little bit angry. He knocked Mohammedi down with a flurry, and the finishing combination in the third round was a perfect two-piece to the left eye. Not a whole lot to say about this one, honestly. Mohammedi was Kovalev’s mandatory challenger for one of his belts, so he had to fight him. It seems like a waste of time, but that’s boxing sometimes. Mohammedi didn’t even belong in the ring with Kovalev. He looked extremely overmatched, but he earned the #1 ranking by winning 13 straight fights. I strongly believe that Kovalev is the second best fighter in boxing. When is he going to lose? Honestly, I don’t even know. I could see him on top of this weight class for a really long time. The Adonis Stevenson thing, it’s not like Stevenson is fighting anyone. Kovalev fought Bernard Hopkins, wants to fight Andre Ward. I think he’d beat Ward too. There was also talk this week that he could face Artur Beterbiev. That would be nice, wouldn’t it?
The Week Ahead
Sadly, the cards this week are, once again presented by the glorious Premier Boxing Champions. This time it’s on Saturday, at 9 PM Eastern on ESPN.
12 Round Welterweight Fight: Paulie Malignaggi (33-6, 7 KO’s) vs. Danny Garcia (30-0, 17 KO’s)
Both men are former champions, so in some ways this is actually a decent fight. Garcia has really stalled since his earlier triumphs at 140 pounds, where he had unified two of those titles. He has attributed his struggles to making weight, but that’s not a problem now seeing as he’s out of the weight class. Malignaggi isn’t the best opponent, but he always has been tough to beat. He has beaten some good opponents, but lost to the best without exception. Garcia’s unblemished record is legitimate despite his weaker recent opposition. His win over Lucas Matthysse was probably the most legitimate, and the knockout of Amir Khan is also nothing to sneeze at. The obvious thing that’s in question is whether or not Garcia’s power and handspeed carries up to 147 pounds. It does look like the handspeed does, but I’m not so sure about his power. I didn’t see his power doing anything to deter Lamont Peterson in his last outing, which was at 143 pounds. I think this fight can be close, seeing as that’s the case. More than anything else, Paulie’s chin has decreased in comparison to his other skills. He is still a good boxer, and he does have the experience in fighting for a decision. I think Paulie is going to try hard here, and as such this isn’t a bad fight. I’ve never known him to be a guy that would just give up or not fight his hardest. He may not deserve an opponent of this caliber, but this isn’t a title fight. We can’t really complain.
Prediction: Garcia by tight decision. Despite what Garcia’s record says, I don’t think he’s that good, nor do I think he should be undefeated. He should have lost that fight against Mauricio Herrera, and has been in too many close fights. At welterweight his record is going to get some blemishes.
Entertainment Grade: C+. In good conscience I can’t give a fight between these two more than that. It could be really good though.
WBA World Middleweight Championship Fight: Sergio Mora (28-3-2, 9 KO’s) vs. Daniel Jacobs (29-1, 26 KO’s)
This on the other hand is a title fight, and it’s terrible. Mora is the absolute worst, and it’s because not only is he not good enough to knock people out, but because he’s not as good a boxer as somebody like Paulie Malignaggi. He’s also never been in a terribly exciting fight. The only reason he’s getting this shot is because he’s managed by Al Haymon. Doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. It’s the same way Jacobs got this belt without beating anyone of value. Caleb Truax and Jarrod Fletcher aren’t exactly the best middleweights, and I think Mora is even worse than them. This title shot is given without merit and Jacobs will knock him out. He hits too hard, and he’s too good a boxer. He’s not the best middleweight in the world, but definitely could compete against them. Mora was also down in his last two fights, one of those being against a guy with a 15-17-3 record. That’s a sign.
Prediction: Jacobs by TKO. Hopefully Jacobs puts on a show in what should be an easy knockout victory.
Entertainment Grade: C. The potential for this fight to be terrible is too great.
Now, on a channel called BounceTV, which I assume nobody has, there’s a PBC card taking place on Sunday at 9 PM Eastern. This is also supposed to be aired on their website.
WBA Bantamweight Super World Championship Fight: Rau’shee Warren (13-0, 4 KO’s) vs. Juan Carlos Payano (16-0, 8 KO’s)
I am slightly confused as to how Warren gets a title shot with that record, but it’s the Al Haymon thing, after all. Payano captured this title with a win over his countryman and bantamweight kingpin, Anselmo Moreno. That is actually a very impressive victory, and a scalp that trumps just about every win for the other top bantamweights. 118 pounds is actually a very interesting weight class, in which most of the best fighters haven’t fought each other yet. Warren is actually a former three time Olympian, and there’s no doubt that helped him get fast tracked into this match. I think this is actually the most competitive fight of the weekend. The absolute stupidity of it, is that the WBA’s title situation really doesn’t make sense. The super title is supposed to be for unified champions and the absolute best fighters, but the “regular” world title is held by a better fighter. I don’t understand. Payano will definitely push the pace and put on an entertaining fight, which is all that should matter.
Prediction: Payano by decision. He’s fought the better fighters as a professional and is probably more prepared as a result.
Entertainment Grade: B. Bantamweight fights are usually fun, especially when you get a pressure fighter in there.
Also on the show, there’s a mini junior middleweight tournament, with one of the fights featuring John Jackson, son of former knockout artist Julian Jackson.
This Week’s News
- A deal for Miguel Cotto’s clash with Saul Alvarez is coming closer to completion, with the two sides agreeing on a date of November 21st. That fight will also be a pay-per-view.
- Amir Khan is trying to talk himself into a fight with Manny Pacquiao. Good luck with that.
- WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Adonis Stevenson will be defending his title on September 11th in Toronto, against Tommy Karpency. Karpency carries a record of 25-4 and one loss in his only world title fight, against Nathan Cleverly. This fight is such a joke that I can only go through the basics without getting highly agitated.
- Don King is putting together a card for Showtime, on August 28th. HE AIN’T DONE YET!
- Anthony Crolla is going to be granted a rematch against Darleys Perez, and it’s a well deserved one given the ridiculous scoring in their first fight.
This Day in Boxing History
Juan Manuel Marquez UD 12 Juan Diaz
On July 31st, 2010, it was time for a rematch of 2009’s Fight of the Year, between Juan Manuel Marquez and Juan Diaz. Marquez was still considered the best lightweight in the world, despite his loss in a welterweight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September of 2009. Diaz on the other hand was coming off two controversial fights with Paulie Malignaggi that were fought at junior welterweight. In the first of those, in Diaz’s hometown, Diaz won a controversial decision that only the ringside judges could have come up with. In the second, a rematch demanded by HBO and the fans, Malignaggi took a decision on neutral ground in Chicago.
Despite Diaz arguably losing both of those fights, and despite Diaz being definitively knocked out by Marquez in their first fight, there was fan demand to see Diaz and Marquez fight each other again. After all, it was one of the best title fights in the last six years. In order to pay the fighters what they both wanted, this had to be a pay-per-view fight. The problem with that was, as I said, that the result was very definitive. What Golden Boy Promotions decided to do to get people to buy the show was to “stack the card.” Granted, this was nothing compared to Don King’s PPV cards in the early 90’s. I bought the show anyway, finding that Dimitry Pirog vs. Daniel Jacobs, Robert Guerrero vs. Joel Casamayor, and Jorge Linares vs. Rocky Juarez were good appetizers. They also did turn out to be good fights. Once they were over, it was time for Juan Manuel Marquez to defend his WBA and WBO Lightweight Championships for the first time.
Diaz started this fight trying to box more from the outside, and it didn’t go all that well as Marquez was able to strafe him with punches. Toward the end of the first round, Diaz started to get into it, but he lost those gains in the next round. Marquez was quicker and beating Diaz to the punch with regularity. Fighting a good fight means nothing if you don’t win the rounds. Diaz then did fight a close third round, one that I gave him. The fourth took a familiar pattern of the rounds in the first, with Marquez rocking Diaz and punishing him. In the fifth round, Diaz tried to box, which was completely going against his instincts. Of course, Marquez would find a way to win that round. Marquez’s right eye was a concern for his camp, and he was complaining about being thumbed in it, but he was still winning the rounds. This was now the pattern for the rest of the fight, with Diaz being reduced to a jabbing fighter. The ninth round featured Marquez’s best outburst, driving Diaz backwards to the point where he had to start holding. Marquez also split Diaz’s lip. Marquez pretty much gave away the eleventh and twelfth rounds, but he was winning the fight by such a margin that it didn’t matter. The scorecards came in and all the scorecards were reasonable. 116-112, 117-111, and 118-108 were the scores in favor of Juan Manuel Marquez, who retained his two lightweight championships in excellent fashion.
Immmediately after the fight, Juan Diaz said that he was done boxing. Given that and the way he approached the bout, one has to wonder if he felt that way heading in. Diaz is now trying to come back to the sport, and has taken five very easy fights at his favored weight class of 135 pounds. Marquez on the other hand is still going, and still at the top of the sport. It has been said that he aims to make a return later this year against a big opponent at welterweight. Maybe Kell Brook? Either way, Marquez is a legend, and this fight was a perfect exhibition of the skillset he brought to the table.
Next week, I’ll mostly be talking about the fights from this week. See you guys then!