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Just Call New Champ Algieri “Hands of Stony Brook”

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NEW YORK – In those 1960s Sergio Leone spaghetti Westerns, opportunistic gunslinger Clint Eastwood played the role of the Man With No Name. Going into Saturday night’s HBO-televised matchup with WBO junior welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Chris Algieri was the Man With No Nickname.

All that might be about to change after Algieri – who has a bachelor’s degree from Stony Brook University and a master’s degree from the New York Institute of Technology – overcame two first-round knockdowns and a rapidly closing right eye to score a major upset over WBO junior welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov, on a split decision that might be described as beauty in the one eye of the beholder.

“I knew I was winning each round,” said Algieri, 30, who was a world champion kickboxer before trying his hand, and not his feet, as a boxer in 2008, at the relatively advanced age of 24. “At the end, I really wasn’t too nervous about (the decision). I was just waiting to hear `And new …’”

Algieri got a fistful of dollars, a career-high $100,000, for challenging Provodnikov, and he figures to get quite a few dollars more for his next bout, be it a rematch with the dethroned “Siberian Rocky” or an even more lucrative date with Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao, the WBO welterweight champion, who is scheduled to make his next title defense on Nov. 22 in Macau, China. Pacquiao’s promoter, Top Rank founder Bob Arum, has said that if Algieri were to defeat Provodnikov, he would get first dibs on the big-bucks, high-visibility gig with Pac-Man. Of course, words said today do not necessarily translate into signed contracts tomorrow. Still, the idea was intriguing to the well-lumped-up Algieri, who admits he switched from kickboxing to boxing because the paydays for those who succeed at the highest levels are significantly higher.

“It would be a great fight,” Algieri, who has a praying-mantis physique for a junior welter at 5-foot-10 and with a 72-inch reach, said of a possible pairing with Pacquiao. “Manny’s definitely a future Hall of Famer. Stylistically, I think it would be a good matchup. He’s another dangerous guy, but I think my style would match up well with his.”

Someone – a fellow Stony Brook alum, the guy noted — mentioned to Algieri that he probably is the first world boxing champion from Stony Brook (whose proper name is the State University of New York at Stony Brook), an academically prestigious institution on the north shore of Long Island. That distinction alone seemingly lends itself to the conferring of the nickname that Algieri previously has been without.

How does “Hands of Stony Brook” grab you?

Truth be told, Algieri’s hands are that of a relatively soft-punching ring tactician and aren’t nearly as hard as his resolve, which had been called into question by any number of skeptics, including Provodnikov, who wondered if an erudite college graduate and aspiring medical doctor from an affluent outer-ring suburb of New York City (Huntington) could withstand the pressure of a relentless, power-hitting champion who came up the way most elite boxers do, from poor and deprived circumstances. Greatness in the cruelest of sports usually is forged in the crucible of desperation, not in upper-middle-class comfort.

“It’s my competitive nature to want fights like this,” said Algieri, who improved to 20-0, with a modest eight victories inside the distance. “And that’s what kept me in this fight. You know, there were a lot of doubters about how much I really wanted it. Ruslan kept talking about how he would die in the ring, if necessary, and would I be willing to do that? But I think I showed that I belonged in there as well.

“I know I didn’t come from a torn, you know, childhood or upbringing. I came from the suburbs of Long Island. I don’t have to fight. I fight because I want to fight. If you didn’t see passion in those 12 rounds, I don’t know what you were looking at.”

Provodnikov (23-3, 16 KOs), who hails from the decidedly non-affluent town of Berezovo, which is in Siberia, the most frozen part of Russia, figures he didn’t deserve the chilly scorecard tabulations he got from judges Tom Schreck, from New York, and Don Trella, from Connecticut, both of whom saw Algieri as the winner by a 114-112 margin. The dissenting judge, Max DeLuca, who is from California, had Provodnikov running away with it to the tune of 117-109.

What it comes down to, as it always does when a bout ends in a disputed decision, is the perspective of three individuals who can be watching the same thing but seeing something entirely different. Punch statistics furnished by CompuBox are a useful tool, but only to a point; they do not account for how damaging those punches are. Therein lies the difference between amateur boxing, where a jab theoretically counts no more than a knockdown shot, and the pros, where quality often factors more into the equation than quantity.

The raw numbers say that Algieri landed 288 of 993 punches thrown, a 29 percent connect rate, to 205 of 776 (26 percent) for Provodnikov. But the pro-Provodnikov side argued that those two first-round knockdowns by the champion, and visual proof of what had happened, in the form of Algieri’s substantially more-damaged face, should have produced a more favorable outcome.

“Power punches win fights,” said Provodnikov’s chief second, the esteemed Freddie Roach, winner of six Trainer of the Year awards from the Boxing Writers Association of America. “(Algieri) outjabbed us, yes. But power punches? It was a thousand to one. We landed the most (effective) shots and that’s why I thought we deserved (to win) the fight.”

Provodnikov, who also earned a career-high purse ($750,000), had hoped that an impressive victory, which he had guaranteed, would vault him into boxing’s exclusive seven-figure club and further cement his burgeoning reputation as an action hero in the mold of a late, great pair of Hall of Famers, Arturo Gatti and Matthew Saad Muhammad. He said he hadn’t come to Brooklyn to enter a track meet or participate in a dance-hall recital.

“I haven’t seen the (replay) to make a judgment on the way it went, but to me it felt like he was running all night and just jabbing,” said Provodnikov. “You can see the way I look and the way he looks. To me, I don’t see how you can win a fight just running all night.

“I start falling asleep when the guy is just running all night. I’m catching him and he’s just running and running. If I started boxing him, you guys (the media) would be falling asleep. I took the fight to him and I made it exciting. I was the only one who made this fight exciting. HBO (commentators) gave, like, nine more rounds to me. One of the judges gave six or seven more rounds to me. The local judges gave it the other way. On top of that, (Algieri’s) eye was closed. It’s dangerous to fight like that. He could have gotten killed. If my eye was like that, they would have stopped the fight in the round that my eye started closing. I think it’s not fair.”

Whether the grumpy Provodnikov truly believes he was the victim of a stickup by pencil, or just perturbed not to have engaged in the sort of toe-to-toe slugfest that more suits his Gattiesque proclivities, only he can say for sure. But there isn’t much doubt he is disdainful of stick-and-move types who won’t engage him in the center of the ring, strength on strength, will against will.

“I said before (Algieri’s) style was not the best style for me,” he complained. “Runners are not my style. He just ran and touched me, just jabbed and touched me. This is the worst style for me. I like guys who are in front of me and fighting me.”

Fortunately for Provodnikov, HBO subscribers and ticket-purchasers like fighters who, as his promoter, Art Pelullo, noted, are “TV-friendly and fan-friendly. Ruslan fights like that all the time. He gets good ratings. I’m sure he’ll get good ratings for this fight. Right now (the HBO suits) are already talking about November or December, so he’ll be back on the network at the end of the year.”

Provodnikov is unquestionably fan-friendly, increasingly so in the United States, but, somewhat interestingly, he was not the rooting choice of the 6,218 spectators who were in the house and much more vocally supportive of Algieri, despite the fact that the Barclays Center is close to Brighton Beach, which is located in the southern portion of Brooklyn and is known for its high population of Russian-speaking immigrants. Every time Provodnikov backers started to chant “Ruslan! Ruslan! Ruslan!,” they were drowned out by louder chants of “Algieri! Algieri! Algieri!” or “USA! USA! USA!” Maybe that old Cold-War thing hasn’t thawed as much as had been supposed.

“I really heard it when I came out,” Algieri said of the support he received. “I heard it when they actually booed Ruslan a little bit, which I’m not happy about. But it did show my numbers were here. Then again, I had said that prior to the fight. People were asking me what the crowd was going to be like. I said it was going to be a pro-Algieri crowd.

“This is how I pictured me winning a world title – having it in New York and fighting like this. But I didn’t picture my face like this.”

No matter what side of the scoring fence anyone falls onto, Algieri deserves credit for displaying a brand of courage real fighters are sometimes asked to reveal. His right eye began to swell in the first round, after he was dropped by that Provodnikov left hook that clearly hurt him, and by fight’s end the hematoma was so massive that the eye was completely closed. It called to mind similar damage done to Carmen Basilio in his 1958 rematch with Sugar Ray Robinson and to Bobby Czyz in his 1987 bout with “Prince” Charles Williams. He did not deserve the shouted declarations of cowardice in Russian that some of Providnokov’s backers directed at him as he scratched back from the deep hole of that 10-7 first round.

In the other HBO-televised bout, which also served as something of a coming-out party, WBO junior middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade (21-0, 14 KOs) completely dominated British challenger Brian Rose (25-2-1, 7 KOs) en route to defending his title on a seventh-round stoppage.

“I’m the best in the world,” Andrade, a southpaw from Providence, R.I., who represented the U.S. at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said after he did as he pleased against the willing but out-of-his-league Rose. “I was just taking my time. I knew my power was affecting him. I took Round 5 off to see openings. Round 6 I picked it up and in Round 7 he had to go.”

Not unexpectedly, Andrade spent his time at the microphone at the postfight press conference to call out Floyd Mayweather Jr., Canelo Alvarez and Miguel Cotto.

“I couldn’t keep him off me,” said Rose. “He’s better than I thought he would be. He may be one of the best out there in the game today.”

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George Groves and Callum Smith Finally Meet in the WBSS Capstone

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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

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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

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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 GlovedFist@gmail.com

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