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Deontay Wilder vs. Marlon Hayes



Deontay Wilder vs. Marlon Hayes – Nine years ago, I authored an article entitled “Professional Losers” that recounted the travesty of fighters who travel from state to state for the purpose of serving as cannon fodder.

“These fighters are different from perennial losers in other sports,” I wrote. “We’re not talking about a high school basketball team that loses forty games in a row. Athletes ‘play’ sports like baseball, football, tennis, and golf. No one plays boxing. These men are getting punched in the head, hard. They’re prime candidates for brain damage. And when they enter the ring, the spectators aren’t paying to watch a competitive fight. They’re paying to see someone get beaten up. There’s a difference.”

One of the fighters I referenced in that article was Bradley Rone, who had lost twenty-five bouts in a row. On Friday, July 18, 2003, three days after the article appeared online, Rone collapsed in the ring after the first round of a bout against Billy Zumbrun in Cedar City, Utah. Within hours, he was pronounced dead.

That bit of history came to mind this past week when I learned that Deontay Wilder was slated to fight Marlon Hayes on the undercard of Devon Alexander vs. Marcos Maidana in St. Louis on Saturday night.

Wilder (a 6-foot-7-inch heavyweight) was a bronze medalist at the 2008 Olympics). He’s 20-and-0 as a pro with 20 knockouts. That record is deceiving, since most of his bouts have been against soft touches. Still, Hayes was particularly soft.

Hayes is forty years old and hadn’t been in the ring since 2007. He’s 5-feet-9-inches tall and came in against Wilder having lost eight of his last nine fights. Worse, Marlon campaigned for most of his career as a super-middleweight.

Wilder-Hayes was a mismatch from the start. Predictably, the bout ended in a knockout for Wilder; his twenty-first in twenty-one pro fights. But as trainer Don Turner has said, “You build a record that way. You don’t build a fighter.”

One of the people I quoted in “Professional Losers” was Tim Leuckenhoff (president of the Association of Boxing Commissions).

“We wish we had the power to suspend some of these fighters,” Leuckenhoff told me. “But under federal law, we don’t. Unfortunately, a fighter can only be suspended by a state in which he has a license. Sometimes that happens. But a month or two later when the suspension expires, they’re back in the ring again. And most of these guys are smart enough to steer clear of states that would put them on a permanent suspension list.”

That quote is relevant now because Leuckenhoff is also Executive Director of the Missouri Office of Athletics, which regulates boxing in Missouri. In that capacity, Leuckenhoff approved Deontay Wilder vs. Marlon Hayes.

Not good.

*     *     *

On a more positive note, a tip of the hat to Epix is in order.

Epix is a joint venture between Viacom, Paramount, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Lionsgate that offers programming to viewers on television, the Internet, and various consumer electronic devices. It’s available through a limited number of cable systems in 30,000,000 homes. Subscribers who receive Epix through their cable system provider (authenticated users) can also watch Epix on

The heart of Epix’s programming is feature films. More than three thousand titles are available to subscribers. But the network also offers documentaries, concerts, comedy programs, and sports (most notably boxing).

The first fight televised on Epix was Vitali Klitschko vs. Odlanier Solis on March 19, 2011. The network is now nearing the end of a remarkable run highlighting the three major heavyweight beltholders within the course of fifteen days.

First, on February 18th, Vitali Klitschko decisioned Dereck Chisora. One week later, Alexander Povetkin edged Marco Huck in an entertaining bout marked by high drama in the final two rounds. Next Saturday, Wladimir Klitschko will defend his belts against Jean-Marc Mormeck.

Klitschko-Mormeck shapes up as a mismatch. Epix boxing acquisitions consultant Roy Langbord acknowledges as much, but says, “The heavyweight division intrigues people, and fighters like the Klitschkos, Povetkin, and Robert Helenius have been available. We don’t have anywhere near the budget that HBO and Showtime have to spend on fights. But we’ve been opportunistic and have been able to buy compelling fights that were overlooked in the U.S. market.”

Six of Epix’s eight shows to date (including Klitschko-Mormeck) have revolved around heavyweights. The other two featured James DeGale vs. George Groves and Felix Sturm vs Matthew Macklin. The bouts have been entertaining and, in several instances, notable.

All but two of the cards originated in Germany; the others in England and Finland. The fights are called for Epix from a TV studio in New York off a foreign television feed. The commentating team of Bruce Beck, Freddie Roach, and Dan Rafael does a good job. Chris Mannix serves as an on-site reporter.

Epix televises its fights live on Saturday afternoons (usually around 4:00 or 5:00 PM east coast time). That’s a throwback to the era when boxing was an anchor for Saturday afternoon sports programming, most notably on ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

As a practical matter, Epix gets the fights that HBO and Showtime don’t want. It typically pays a license fee in the neighborhood of $100,000 per show. That means Epix has paid less for all eight of its fight cards combined over the past year than HBO and Showtime often pay for a single telecast. But with judicious buying and wise production decisions, it has put together good shows.

On a shoestring budget, Epix is giving boxing fans a good pair of shoes.

Thomas Hauser can be reached by email at His most recent book (Winks and Daggers: An Inside Look at Another Year in Boxing) was published by the University of Arkansas Press.

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Tanaka vs. Kimora: A Monday Morning Treat For Serious Fight Fans



Kosei Tanaka was just 4-0 the first time he was appraised on The Sweet Science back in 2015; the question then was, is Tanaka the world’s brightest boxing prospect? The question now is whether or not Tanaka is about to add a strap at a third weight to an already glittering career that has seen him annex belts at 105 and 108lbs in just his first eight fights.

Now 11-0 with seven knockouts he prepares, this coming Monday, to duel Sho Kimura in Nagoya, Japan and with a lot more than just the WBO trinket on the line.

Hearts and minds, as always, translate into dollars and yen. The winner of this all-Japanese contest will find himself buoyed in fame, glory and gold in his home country, which also happens to be one of the few places on the planet where a boxer can collect a small fortune without ever leaving his native shores. Should the winner dare to dream a wider dream, then that too can be facilitated by the win.  Even fistic denizens of boxing strongholds in Japan and Britain feel a shiver run down their spines when the words “Las Vegas headliner” are whispered into their ear.

The favored man among the hardcore in the west is Tanaka. He is still very young at just twenty-three years old and is slick and quick, what the west expects of a Japanese force. Interestingly enough, however, the Japanese seem to be leaning towards Kimura: older, at twenty-nine, armed with a superb work-rate, good power, limited technique but the conqueror of Chinese superstar Shiming Zou who he stopped in the summer of 2017. Zou may have had his bubble burst by the Thai brawler Amnat Ruenroeng in 2015, but it was Kimura who sent him stumbling into retirement and at a time when the talk was of China stealing Japan’s thunder as boxing’s home in the east.

Kimura was indeed impressive that night in Shanghai. He maintained pressure with wonderful variety, eschewing the jab, perhaps, for spells, but filling those gaps with an assortment of wonderful punches, most of all his body attack, which was persistent, withering, and apparently went unscored by two of the three judges who somehow had the Chinese ahead at the time of the eleventh round stoppage. Zou had shown a skill for flurrying while fleeing and Kimura had shown him how to fight.

Now a strapholder at 112lbs, Kimura staged two defenses in the following twelve months. The first was against Toshiyuki Igarashi, the man who beat Sonny Boy Jaro, the man who had beaten the superb champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam before a softer fight against Froilan Saludar. He won both by stoppage.

Kimura, then, rather came from nowhere but made the most of his arrival. What he displayed in all three of these fights was a determination to offer pressure and footwork educated enough to do it while taking many fewer steps than his harried opponent. A tad overrated as a puncher, I suspect, he places himself in hitting position often enough that his default fight plan – chase, harass, throw – makes him capable of hurting his opponents by way of persistence and pressure.

He left Zou, Igarashi and Saludar, broken in his wake.

In short, he is the type of opponent Kosei Tanaka has been waiting for.

There have been calls for Tanaka to be considered a pound-for-pound talent should he overcome Kimura this Monday. I understand the impulse. Tanaka, were he to triumph, would become a three-weight world champion and he hails from a boxing territory which has little direct control over the meaningful pound-for-pound lists, if such a statement is not a contradiction in terms.

In short, it is felt he would be undervalued.

Tempering these calls is the fact that he has never beaten a divisional number one and that Kimura would be, by far, the best opponent he would have bested, and the most proven. Some Tanaka opponents have come good after he defeated them, some were ranked in the lower reaches of their respective divisional top tens when he matched them, but none are scalps as impressive as those dangled by the likes of Errol Spence or Anthony Joshua, who populate the nine, ten and eleven spots in reputable lists.

But this is neither here nor there; the key is not what Kimura does not represent, it is what he does represent. He is the best that Tanaka has met and, I would argue, the first truly elite fighter that Tanaka has met. He is the litmus test and he is one with a stylistic advantage.

Tanaka can punch. Here we will find out whether or not he punches hard enough to keep Kimura off him. Personally, I doubt it and that means that Kimura is going to hand him a serious gut check.

Interestingly, it will not be Tanaka’s first. The first time I wrote about him I stressed that his chin was essentially untested. That is no longer true. Tanaka, who is reasonably sound defensively, can be lazy in minding himself and foolish in pursuing the attack.

Thai puncher Rangsan Chayanram checked him in 2017, delivering a serious eye injury among other ignominies before succumbing in nine; puncher Angel Acosta, a ranked fighter if not a great one, hit and hurt Tanaka repeatedly late in their 2017 contest. If Tanaka has been learning these lessons, expectations concerning his potential may be realized. If he is not, he will fall short. Kimura is the man to test him.

Kimura’s experience and seemingly limitless twelve-round stamina are to be pitted against Tanaka’s skill, proven heart and taut footwork. It sees a superior technician – Tanaka – who has shown a propensity for being drawn into a cruder fighter’s wheelhouse matching an aggressive stalker – Kimura – who specializes in drawing technically superior foes into knockdown-drag-out scraps.

It is framed both as a fight that is likely to finish a future pound-for-pounder’s education and a fight where a young pretender is found out by a grizzled veteran.

Best of all, it is a fight that fight fans can watch for free, simply by clicking here.  The Asian Boxing website has secured exclusive international rights to the fight and will broadcasting it, free of charge, to anyone with an internet connection. As can be seen here, the fight is due to start at 4pm Japanese time.

All the reader has to do is find out what that means for timing in their own corner of the globe and a potential fight of the year will unfold before his or her eyes free of charge.

World class boxing being broadcast for free and including two of the best below 115lbs; a stylistic crossroads contest that opens up the on-ramp to pound-for-pound recognition for at least one of the combatants – on a Monday.  All facts worth keeping in mind the next time that someone tells you boxing’s prime was any number of decades ago.

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Fast Results From London: Joshua Takes Out Povetkin in the 7th



UK sporting

It was a very wet night at Wembley Stadium, but the dampness didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the crowd which welcomed UK sporting hero Anthony Joshua into the ring with a thunderous ovation. And Joshua didn’t disappoint. After six relatively even rounds, he found his range in the seventh and became the first man to stop Alexander Povetkin. A three punch combo that began with an overhand right sent Povetkin sprawling into the ropes. The Russian beat the count, but Joshua smelled blood and as soon as the ref allowed the proceedings to continue he moved in for the kill. The official time was 1:59.

Povetkin started fast and in the eyes of many observers won the first three rounds. A sharp right hand in the waning seconds of round one reddened Joshua’s nose which leaked blood in the next round. The tide began to turn in round four when Povetkin suffered a cut above his left eye.

Povetkin (now 34-2), was the lighter man by 23 pounds. Joshua had a four inch height advantage and a seven inch reach advantage. And it mattered greatly that AJ was the younger man by 10-plus years. Povetkin wasn’t intimidated by Joshua and had several good moments but, at age 39, his reflexes betrayed him once the fight had crossed the midpoint.

Joshua, who owns three of the four meaningful heavyweight title belts, improved to 22-0 with his 21st stoppage. His next fight is penciled in for April 13 of next year against an opponent to be determined. His promoter Eddie Hearn has reserved that date at Wembley Stadium.

Other Bouts

In a 12-round lightweight bout, Joshua’s Olympic Games teammate and fellow gold medalist Luke Campbell (19-2) avenged the first loss of his career with a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-111,116-112) over France’s Yvan Mendy (40-5-1). This was Campbell’s second start since coming up short in a bid for Jorge Linares’s lightweight title and his first fight under his new trainer Shane McGuigan.

In their first meeting in December of 2015 at London’s O2 Arena, Mendy won a split decision that should have been unanimous. Campbell insisted that he had improved greatly in the interim and tonight’s fight bore witness. However, he needs to develop a harder punch to rank among the top lightweights in the world, a list headed by Mikey Garcia. As this fight was framed as a WBC title eliminator, Campbell is next in line to meet Garcia, but Mikey has indicated that he will pursue bigger game.

Lawrence Okolie, a 2016 Olympian who trains with Anthony Joshua, won a Lonsdale belt in only his 10th pro start with a 12-round decision over defending BBBofC cruiserweight champion Matty Askin in a messy fight. The undefeated Okolie had a point deducted in round five for leading with his head and had two more points deducted for holding, but banked enough rounds to get the nod on all three cards: 116-110, 114-112, and 114-113. Askin, who declined to 23-4-1, had won five straight heading in.

A 10-round heavyweight match between Sergey Kuzmin (13-0, 1 NC) and David Price (22-6) ended suddenly when Price retired on his stool after four relatively even rounds. The six-foot-eight, china-chinned Price claimed to have aggravated a biceps tear.

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.



Michael Dutchover

ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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