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Even with modern jet travel, it takes nearly a full day to journey the 7,321 miles from Bob Arum’s headquarters in Las Vegas to Macao, China, where the 81-year-old founder of Top Rank is doing his 21st-century replication of the legendary Marco Polo.

Polo was the 13th-century Italian merchant whose adventures in the faraway lands of Central Asia and China, recounted in his book, The Travels of Marco Polo, did much to introduce Europeans of his day to exotic destinations they previously knew little or nothing about. It is said that Marco Polo even served as the inspiration for another Italian with wanderlust, Christopher Columbus , to set sail across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492. Columbus’ intention was to more easily facilitate his nation’s lucrative spice trade with Asia, principally Japan, but he “discovered” the New World instead. Of such mistakes is history sometimes made.

Or maybe Arum’s growing fascination with China, the world’s most populous nation (1.34 billion), and an increasingly important player on the world economic stage, also owes to other, more recent influences. You could say that Saturday’s six-round matchup in Macao of the newest and most intriguing addition to the Top Rank stable, Chinese flyweight Zou Shiming (1-0), and Mexico’s Jesus Ortega (3-1, 2 KOs) is as attributable to Ping-Pong diplomacy, NBA commissioner David Stern and former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming as it is to Marco Polo.

Heck, you might even include the Boxer Rebellion, which took place in China from 1899 to 1901 and pitted the secret society of “Boxers” – a common reference to the martial artists who were members of something known as the Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists – against foreign imperialism and Christianity. The particulars of that scrap were recounted in a 1963 film, 55 Days at Peking, which starred Charlton Heston as a steadfast American Marine officer.

But while the 5-5, 112-pound Zou Shiming, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time world amateur champion, represents the home front in a vast country Arum views as rich and fertile territory from which massive profits can be reaped, the notion of the People’s Republic of China as a preferred boxing destination will really gain traction if the Nov. 23 pairing in Macao of Top Rank’s longtime superstar, Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs), and Brandon Rios (31-1-1, 23 KOs) sets off box-office fireworks.

If Pacquiao’s appearance in China is a resouding bottom-line success, and if Zou Shiming proves to be the pugilistic and financial success envisioned by Arum, don’t be surprised if more and more megafights wind up in China’s opulent gambling palaces (the anti-imperialist Boxers are already spinning in their graves) instead of the MGM Grand, Boardwalk Hall, Staples Center and Madison Square Garden. The money-hemorrhaging United States is on the hook for $1.1 trillion in public debt to China, one of its largest creditors, a fact that Arum and his bookkeepers no doubt are aware of.

“Zou is an incredible talent who is beloved in the People’s Republic of China,” Arum said of Saturday’s second appearance on familiar turf by the Chinese bell cow he expects will do for his company what the 7-6, 311-pound Yao Ming did for the NBA. “We at Top Rank will make every effort to make certain that he has a spectacular career as a professional boxer.”

The idea of some enterprising boxing entrepreneur establishing a foothold on the Chinese mainland has been floated for some time, predating even Arum’s expansionary vision for his Top Rank empire. But someone had to take the bold step of converting theory to reality, which is always the hard part, isn’t it?

On Jan. 25, 2000, when Mike Tyson was in London to hype his bout with England’s Julius Francis four nights later in Manchester, Tyson’s adviser, Shelly Finkel, dreamily spoke of a “world tour” in which the former heavyweight champion would travel the globe, for fun and profit, like a latter-day Marco Polo.

“South Africa and China want Mike, too,” Finkel said of his plans for the fading but still-popular Tyson. “The list is endless.” But Tyson, who had already fought twice in Tokyo and would later ply his trade in Scotland and Denmark, never got around to a business trip to China. Maybe the timing wasn’t quite right then.

Arum’s then-archrival, Don King, also publicly announced his intention to go to China right after Evander Holyfield reclaimed his WBA heavyweight title from John Ruiz in the second of their three bouts, on March 2, 2001, at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay. His Hairness’ plan was for the Holyfield-Ruiz rubber match to be promoted as the “Brawl at the Great Wall.”

“I’m going to do what I did in Zaire, Africa, 26 years ago,” King harrumphed, a reference to the Oct. 30, 1974, “Rumble in the Jungle” in which Muhammad Ali scored a stunning, eighth-round knockout of George Foreman. “We’re going to the great People’s Republic of China, where there hasn’t been a heavyweight bout of this magnitude in 5,000 years!” But while there was a third pairing Holyfield and Ruiz, it instead was staged at the Foxwoods Resort, in Mashantucket, Conn.

The slight opening of doors from the outside world to China, which had been mostly closed since the eight Western legations withdrew after the Boxer Rebellion, and were further locked down as a result of Mao Zedong’s establishment of Communism as mainland China’s official governmental organ on Oct. 1, 1949, probably can be traced to something which has come to be known as “Ping-Pong diplomacy.” It was major news when the U.S. Table Tennis team, which was on tour in Nagoya, Japan, in April 1971, surprisingly received an invitation to visit China. The trip to the PRC made by American ping-pongers and accompanying journalists helped thaw icy relations between the U.S. and China, and led to that now-famous handshake between American President Richard Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai in 1972, in Beijing.

China is still a communist country, but its leaders of late have discovered there are certain benefits to crass capitalism. David Stern, with his grand plan to widen the NBA’s reach to worldwide proportions, so succeeded that some of the league’s most luminous stars have hailed from such far-flung outposts as Germany, Argentina, Croatia, Spain, Italy and, yes, China. Basketball boomed in popularity behind the erstwhile Bamboo Curtain when Yao Ming was selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft, going on to become an eight-time All-Star Game and five-time All-NBA selection before chronic foot and ankle injuries forced his retirement in July 2011. When he finally bade his farewell , not only were Yao jerseys big sellers in America, but Kobe Bryant jerseys were worn by millions of Chinese kids who had developed a crush on hoops and the NBA’s hip-hop culture.

If Yao proved to be basketball’s strongest link between China and the U.S., why can’t the same hold true for a fighter who is 25 inches shorter and 200 pounds lighter than his gigantic countryman? Isn’t it a maxim that good things often come in small packages?

Zou Shiming is, in his own way, is as much of an ambassador for his sport as Yao was for his. China competed in its first Summer Olympics in 1952, in Helsinki, Finland, but the People’s Republic did not make another such appearance until the 1984 Los Angeles Olympiad. The Chinese, despite being a bit late to the party, have enthusiastically come to view athletics as a means to international prestige and national prosperity; since ’84 they have amassed 201 gold medals, 144 silvers and 128 bronzes, and in 2008 Beijing was the site of the Summer Games.

Among China’s foremost sports figures is Zou, from Zunyi, in southwest China’s Guizhou province, who became his nation’s first Olympic boxing medalist when he took a bronze in the 2004 Athens Games. Since then he has added golds in 2008 and in 2012 in London, each victory expotentially increasing his popularity and prestige in his homeland. Although he is no kid at 32, Zou, who lists his personal heroes as Muhammad Ali and Jackie Chan, presumably has enough tread on his competitive tires to make a run at a professional world championship, which also would be a first for his country.

With Freddie Roach, the Boxing Writers Association of America’s five-time Trainer of the Year, to smooth his transition from the amateurs to the pros, the hope was that Zou could be fast-tracked to a title shot within two years of his signing by Top Rank on Jan. 23, 2013. It still might happen, but his debut in the punch-for-pay ranks met with mixed reviews as he scored a desultory four-round decision over Mexico’s Eleazar Valenzuela on April 6, also in Macao.

“Though I have been in boxing for many years, it was mainly in the Olympics,” Zou said in a story that appeared in the South China Morning Post. “I showed many shortcomings in the first fight, but I think that I will be more mature after more bouts.”

Roach theorized that “the crowd got to him. He didn’t perform as well as I thought he would. He got nervous and a little gun-shy. These things happen, but now we need to see that go away. If he looks sensational in this fight (against Ortega), as he should, then we will talk about moving out (toward a hoped-for title shot before the end of 2014).”

If Zou proves to have the goods, it would mark another breakthrough for Arum regarding the lower weight classes, which typically have had difficulties finding an audience in the U.S. Most fighters from bantamweight on down are almost obliged to seek bouts in Asia or Central America, regardless of their country of origin, because Americans tend to overlook the little guys. But Arum proved it is possible to pound a square peg into a round hole when he promoted the junior flyweight unification showdown between Michael Carbajal and Humberto “Chiquita” Gonzalez on March 13, 1993, at the Las Vegas Hilton. The diminutive dynamos each earned million-dollar purses, become the first fighters in their weight class to do so, and the classic bout – in which Carbajal went on to win on a seventh-round stoppage after twice climbing off the canvas following knockdowns – was named “Fight of the Year” by The Ring. Carbajal also was selected as the magazine’s Fighter of the Year.

As was the case with Yao Ming, Zou’s hope is to make his mark not only in China, but in America. He said it is his dream to fight in places like Vegas, New York or Los Angeles, where the fighters he worshiped as a youth – not to mention the legacy of Marco Polo — taught him that the world is indeed a very large and interesting place.

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George Groves and Callum Smith Finally Meet in the WBSS Capstone




The 168-pound tournament of the inaugural World Boxing Super Series, an 8-man invitational, kicked off on Sept. 16 of last year with a match between Callum Smith and Erik Skoglund at Liverpool, England. Tournaments of this nature in boxing almost never play out as planned and this tourney was no exception. But on Friday we will finally crown a winner when Smith meets George Groves at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, of all places. At stake will be the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy and the bundle of cash that comes with it and Groves’ WBA “super” world super middleweight title.

Despite the odd location, this is a domestic affair. Groves, the top seed, and Smith, the #2 seed, are both Englishmen. And if the fight were on British soil, it would have certainly drawn well. In the UK, Groves is enormously popular. His second fight with Carl Froch attracted a crowd of 80,000 at Wembley Stadium, a British post-war record eventually broken by Joshua-Klitschko.

Groves (28-3, 20 KOs) suffered his lone defeats at the hands of Froch, who defeated him twice, and Badou Jack, and there’s no shame there. Carl Froch, in the minds of many, has a plaque waiting for him at the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Jack, a title-holder in two weight classes, is currently ranked #1 as a light heavyweight by the WBA and WBC.

Although both fights with Froch ended inside the distance, both were nip-and-tuck until Froch closed the curtain. Badou Jack defeated Groves by split decision in Las Vegas.

Groves has a high boxing IQ as he demonstrated on Feb 17 in Manchester where he scored a 12-round unanimous decision over Chris Eubank Jr. Groves, observed ringside reporter Gareth Davies, “was just a step too far, too strong and ultimately too technical and experienced in the championship rounds.” Eubank’s father and trainer Chris Eubank Sr. saluted Groves for fighting the perfect fight.

The victory was bittersweet as Groves dislocated his left shoulder in the final round. It required surgery, pushing back the finale until this Friday, a full two months after the conclusion of the other WBSS tourney, for cruiserweights, the finale of which was also pushed back from the originally scheduled date. For a time the promoters seriously considered bumping Eubank into the finals in place of the incapacitated Groves but eventually thought better of it. (Eubank will appear on the undercard in a stay-busy fight against Ireland’s J.J. McDonagh.)

Callum Smith (24-0, 18 KOs) is the youngest of four fighting brothers, each of whom captured one or more regional titles. In the family, the relationship between talent and birth order is inverse, which is to say that Paul Smith, the oldest of the foursome, wasn’t as good as his younger brother Stephen and Stephen wasn’t as good as younger brother Liam.

Liam “Beefy” Smith accomplished what his two older brothers could not, winning a world title. He won the WBO 154-pound diadem in his twenty-second fight and successfully defended the belt twice before it was sheared from him by Canelo Alvarez who knocked him out in the ninth round.

If Callum Smith wins on Friday, he will be recognized by hardcore fans as a more legitimate champion than was the case with his brother Liam. That’s because Callum, who stands six-foot-three (none of his brothers is taller than 5’11”), was touted from the very onset of his career as the most gifted of the fighting Smith brothers. He solidified that opinion in November of 2015 when he knocked out Liverpool rival Rocky Fielding in the opening round. Fielding went on to win the “regular” version of the WBA 168-pound title and that remains the only blemish on his record.

In recent bouts, however, Smith hasn’t looked that sharp. His last two opponents, the aforementioned Skoglund and Neiky Holzken, lasted the full 12 rounds. The obscure Holzken, a converted kickboxer from the Netherlands, was a late sub for Juergen Braehmer who was forced to bow out of the tournament with an illness.

George Groves was a slight underdog to Eubank. On Friday, the odds favor him, but only slightly. At last look it was 13/10 which portends a very close fight. Groves has the edge in experience and in ring savvy and has fought tougher opposition, but Smith will have a three-and-a-half inch height advantage and is judged to be the harder puncher.

Fight fans in the U.S. can access the fight on the new DAZN app. Keep in mind that Saudi Arabia is seven hours ahead of New York and other precincts in the Eastern Time Zone and adjust accordingly.

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Three Punch Combo: A Bouquet for “ShoBox” and More



new television

THREE PUNCH COMBO — We are embarking into a new age in boxing. There are new television contracts and digital platforms available that are making the sport more visible than ever before to the masses. But with all these new deals and platforms, it is important not to forget some of the consistent programming that has been around for some time. There is no better example of this than the ShoBox series on Showtime.

ShoBox, more formally ShoBox: The New Generation, began with a simple premise of matching young prospects in with tough opposition. To get their fighters on this series, promoters would have to find credible opponents who could potentially test and maybe even upset their prized prospect. This premise has led to consistently competitive and entertaining fights in the more than 200 broadcasts since the inception of the series in 2001.

This past Friday, we saw just how this premise works once again. There was a four fight card that featured competitive fights on paper in all the matches. However, in two of those matches there did seem to be clear favorites though each of the respective fighters was being matched with their toughest foe to date.

James Wilkins and Misael Lopez opened the telecast in a 130-pound contest. Wilkins was featured in a documentary that aired on Showtime just prior to the card and was expected to make a smashing television debut. He was a knockout artist and the thought was that he would put on a show to open the telecast. But instead, Wilkins got a boxing lesson from Lopez who was busier from the outside and managed to mostly avoid the power of Wilkins throughout the contest in winning an eight round unanimous decision.

The main event featured Jon Fernandez facing O’Shaquie Foster in another 130-pound contest. Fernandez had been getting a lot of buzz and many in the sport considered the Spaniard a future star. This was supposed to be a test for Fernandez as Foster (pictured on the right) represented a step up in class, but nonetheless many expected Fernandez to pass the test with flying colors. Instead, the power punching Fernandez was clearly out-boxed by Foster for ten rounds in an entertaining fight.

These two fights showed once again that when young fighters are matched tough we often get better than expected fights that can sometimes deliver surprises. This coming Friday, the series returns with highly touted lightweight prospect Devin Haney (19-0, 13 KO’s) in the main event taking on former world title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos (33-2-2, 21 KO’s). This is a fight in which Haney is favored but one in which he is facing the toughest challenge of his young career. At the very least, this should be a test for the highly touted 19-year-old Haney and I am certain we get a compelling fight.

ShoBox is boxing’s most consistent series and one that just continues to provide fight fans with high caliber, competitive fights.

10 Percent or 10 Pounds – How To Combat Fighters Who Blow Up In Weight

It is time to address the issue of fighters gaining an absurd amount of weight following the weigh-in. There is a reason why we have weight classes in boxing. If one fighter enters the ring weighing significantly more than his opponent, it gives the bigger fighter a big advantage. This can make for not only non-competitive fights but potentially dangerous situations. I have a simple solution that I think can combat this problem.

In past articles, I have touched on the issue of fighters who miss the contracted weight. My argument has always been to implement a system with stiff financial penalties. So in a similar aspect, I think stiff financial penalties can combat the continued problem of fighters blowing up in weight after the official weigh-in.

What I propose is second day weigh-ins where fighters would not be permitted to put on more than ten pounds or 10 percent (whichever is more) of the contracted weight limit. If they are over, the fight still goes on but the fighter who misses the second day weight limit pays a substantial fine. This simple adjunct can be easily administered by the various state commissions in the United States (or any other commissions worldwide).

Here is an example:  Let’s say we have a fight contracted at 130 pounds and each fighter weighs in at 129 pounds. The second day limit would be 10 percent of 130 pounds which was the contracted weight. So each fighter could come in at a maximum of 143 pounds. Now let’s say one fighter comes in at 146 pounds. The penalty I propose would be 20 percent of that fighter’s purse per pound over the weight. And this money goes directly to their opponent. Under this example, the fighter over weight would lose 60 percent of his purse.

Zero Shouldn’t Mean That Much

We are in an era, largely due to The Floyd Mayweather Jr. Factor, where fighters are often overly protected to keep that precious zero in the loss column. But to do so, they are frequently matched with soft opposition and learn little from dismantling their overmatched foes. There is little to no growth in their career during this period and though the record may get glossy, the development of the fighter may be stunted.

Setbacks can humble fighters and make them see what needs to be done so as not to experience that feeling again. They become better overall fighters and put themselves in a better long term position in their career.

This past weekend, we saw two once promising prospects bounce back with career defining wins after suffering an early unexpected defeat. They are both now in prime position to have their respective careers blossom which may not have otherwise been the case.

Earlier I mentioned O’Shaquie Foster’s upset win against Jon Fernandez. Three years ago, Foster was a highly touted prospect. He had a good amateur background and was blessed athletically with dynamic speed. After building up an 8-0 record against less than formidable opposition, he lost in a dreadful performance to Samuel Teah. Another loss would follow several months later to Rolando Chinea. But Foster clearly learned from his mistakes in these fights and bounced back, layering his natural athletic ability with much improved skills in frankly outclassing Fernandez. Foster’s losses made him take a step back and re-evaluate what needed to be done inside the ring. He is now in prime position to become a contender in the 130-pound weight division.

Luke Campbell was a 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist and considered a can’t-miss future star in boxing. But in his 13th pro fight, in a rather shocking development, he was put on the canvas and lost a split decision to veteran Yvan Mendy. Another loss followed two years later against Jorge Linares but Campbell performed well while losing a split decision and flashed signs of improvement from the Mendy setback.

The rematch with Mendy for Campbell took place this past weekend and Campbell did what many expected him to do in their first encounter. He boxed effectively from the outside and mixed in precision combination punching to easily avenge the defeat. It was a dynamic performance by Campbell and put him in line for a big fight at lightweight.

Luke Campbell is a vastly different fighter from the one who lost to Mendy three years earlier and appears primed to potentially live up to the once high expectations. He is in a better spot today in his career due to what he learned from that first loss to Mendy.

Photo credit: Dave Mandel / SHOWTIME

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In Dismantling Povetkin, Joshua Recaptured His Swag among the Heavyweights



experienced opponent

He was in against a very crafty and experienced opponent in former WBA titlist Alexander Povetkin 34-2 (24). And although he was troubled by the dangerous Russian fighting small as he tried to inch his way in and time him, AJ adjusted well and started to take the initiative and dropped and stopped Povetkin in the seventh round, retaining his WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight titles and thus becoming the first fighter to ever stop Povetkin, something Wladimir Klitschko failed to do.

During the fight AJ was forced back. He had to adapt to Povetkin making him punch down and that caused him to be a little tentative, especially after being bloodied from a broken nose in the first round. And early on, AJ was a little confused and busy trying to keep Povetkin occupied from outside so he couldn’t get in on him. His most effective weapon in doing such was his left jab, delivered to the head or body, although the fight really turned when he began putting his one-two together. Then after a fairly evenly-paced bout, AJ slowed some with the hope it would lure Povetkin to close in a little harder, and he did.

As Povetkin, who came to fight, became more assertive, he became more vulnerable. AJ found the openings for his big right hand and left hook. With the first really solid right hand that bounced off his chin, Povetkin buckled and instinctively went back. Joshua pursued him and then, with near Joe Louis-like accuracy, put his right hands and hooks together, along with a beautiful right to the body in the middle of the assault and finished his game opponent.

Once again it was shown that trading with AJ is almost certain suicide. Povetkin was in great shape and would’ve been a handful for any other heavyweight in the world because he no doubt brought his A-game. Sometimes it takes AJ a little while to get going, and if you don’t do anything to bother him or wake him up, he doesn’t fight with the urgency of a “Smokin” Joe Frazier. However, when you wake him up and force him to cut loose, he’s so dangerous that he doesn’t need too many clean shots to end it. And making Joshua more lethal is that he has both short and inside power in both hands.

After months of hearing how Povetkin was the most serious threat to Joshua, that’s now finished business. Prior to the bout The Ring magazine rated the top six heavyweights in the world as follows…..Joshua, Wilder, Povetkin, Ortiz, Whyte and Parker, in that order. Now Joshua is 3-0 (2) versus Povetkin, Whyte and Parker which squashes the narrative that he has fought weaker opposition than WBC title holder Deontay Wilder 40-0 (39) who has only faced Ortiz among the top six.

Today, the most widely levied criticism of any elite fighter is that he didn’t fight the best man or men in his division. Fighters can’t control who their contemporaries are but they can control fighting the best of their era. Rocky Marciano’s era wasn’t stellar, but he fought every top fighter who was in line to challenge him. Floyd Mayweather fought in a stout era – the difference is an overwhelming majority of his bouts with big name opponents were strategically manipulated so that he faced them on the downside of their career – and that’s a fact, not a theory.

Forty years after his last victory in a title fight, Muhammad Ali is respected and revered as a fighter even by those who don’t claim to be a fan of his. Why? He wasn’t the most fundamental boxer in heavyweight history nor was he the biggest puncher, and not all of his fights were edge of your seat exciting. The thing that’s often cited as to why he was a marvel is that he fought the best of the best during one of the deepest eras in heavyweight history. There were a few times between 1975-77 that he held a win over every fighter ranked among The Ring magazine’s top-10. Sure he fought a few Brian London’s and Jean Pierre Coopman’s, but London was encompassed by Sonny Liston and Ernie Terrell during the 1960s and Coopman by Joe Frazier and Ken Norton during the 1970s.

Anthony Joshua hasn’t yet sniffed the greatness of Ali on many levels, but he is on the same trajectory in regards to meeting and defeating the best of his generation. By the end of this month, the WBC heavyweight title fight between Deontay Wilder and former champ Tyson Fury will likely become official with them meeting in early December. And regardless of who wins, Joshua, if he really wants to etch a great legacy, must pressure the winner to meet him in their next bout. In addition to that, he must tell his brain, aka Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, to forget about winning the purse war if it is the only stumbling block. If the winner of Wilder-Fury is impressive, he will have earned a 50-50 split.

During the faux negotiations between the Joshua and Wilder camps this past summer the purse split was the focal point. And prior to the prospect of Wilder and Fury meeting, Joshua clearly held the better hand based on his resume and owning three titles to Wilder’s single title.  But the Wilder-Fury winner will have closed the gap and Joshua needs to be next while the fighters are at or near their prime. The fact is Joshua versus the Wilder/Fury winner will be the most widely anticipated fight in the heavyweight division since Lewis-Tyson and maybe even since Tyson-Holyfield I. The onus is on the fighters to make it happen and they both have the clout to make sure it does, especially Joshua.

Interviewed in the ring after dispatching Povetkin, AJ said it didn’t matter to him who he fought next as long as it’s Wilder or Fury, but it was obvious that he preferred Wilder. A lot depends on how Wilder fares with Fury, but until then, here’s what we know…..Alexander Povetkin and Luis Ortiz are about on the same level; having never faced each other, it’s a tossup as to who’d win. Both Joshua and Wilder scored impressive stoppages over Povetkin and Ortiz respectively…AJ needed seven rounds and Deontay needed ten rounds. During his bout with Ortiz, Wilder was knocked around the ring and had to endure a few big exchanges, some of which he came out second-best. Wilder was also nearly stopped in the seventh round but battled back, summoning great courage and reserve to win a fight he was losing. Against Povetkin, Joshua was more troubled than he was beaten up. And once he found his range and pace and began putting his punches together, the fight ultimately ended when AJ got off with his best stuff. In essence, Joshua was more impressive against Povetkin and had fewer close calls than did Wilder against Ortiz.

Between now and the time Wilder fights Tyson Fury, it’ll be debated as to who was more impressive – Joshua against Povetkin or Wilder against Ortiz; the answer is clearly Joshua for the reasons stated. Moreover, when analyzing a fight, A + B doesn’t equal C. Joshua will be favored over either Wilder or Fury, but probably along the line of 7-5 and nothing will change that.

The thing that emerged from Joshua dismantling Povetkin is that AJ recaptured some of the limelight and swag he ceded to Wilder this past March. AJ is again the fighter to beat in the heavyweight division and will probably get the bigger purse split regardless of whether he faces Wilder and Fury.

That said, he better not let the fight fall through over it!

Between 1977 and 1982, Frank Lotierzo had over 50 fights in the middleweight division. He trained at Joe Frazier’s gym in Philadelphia under the tutelage of the legendary George Benton. Before joining The Sweet Science his work appeared in several prominent newsstand and digital boxing magazines and he hosted “Toe-to-Toe” on ESPN Radio. Lotierzo can be contacted at

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