Connect with us

Canada & Usa

Sunday Report Card: The Ultimate Weekend Wrap-Up (Nov. 5 edition)

Brooklyn, NY: Deontay Wilder TKO 1 Bermane Stiverne, WBC heavyweight title
It could be hard to write a report on a fight that took

Published

on

TKO

Brooklyn, NY: Deontay Wilder TKO 1 Bermane Stiverne, WBC heavyweight title

It could be hard to write a report on a fight that took less than three minutes and involved less than 50 punches altogether (including Stiverne’s meager four punch output, all misses), but there is a lot to be said about Wilder’s attitude during this fight and the enormous confidence he displayed when dispatching a solid former champion who gave him a decent fight the first time around. The unbeaten bomber from Alabama looked supremely dominant and simply ran over Stiverne (25-3-1, 21 KO), especially in the frightening beatdown he dished out during the last few seconds of the bout, where not even referee Arthur Mercante Jr. could hold off Wilder (39-0, 38 KO) as he unleashed his wrath upon a pretty much defenseless Stiverne on the ropes. It would appear that the mounting frustration on the numerous cancellations and postponements in Wilder’s career, as well as the rise of Anthony Joshua into a bonafide superstar, turned Wilder even wilder, with a layer of crazier and maybe a touch of madder. In any case, it was great to have a big heavyweight fight delivering such a demolishing performance, and Wilder now has every reason to drop the “told-you-so” on all of us.

The winner goes on to: Sure, a dream matchup with the other unbeaten heavyweight champ and KO artist is what everyone expects. But holding on to his grudge and inflatable garden slide turning it into an advantage against Joshua in a potential mega-unification bout will prove to be a tricky proposition. We’re likely still a good year away from that one.

Shawn Porter UD 12 Adrian Granados, welterweights

They both needed a defining victory very badly in order to rearrange their careers, but it all came down to who wanted it more, and evidently former world champion Porter (28-2-1, 17 KO) had more gas in the tank to outlast the always dangerous Granados (18-6-2, 11 KO) to score a victory by tallies of 117-111 on all three cards to become the new mandatory challenger for the WBC 147 lb belt. The third round was clearly the moment in which both fighters could have taken off in a winning direction, but Porter was clearly the one who had it in him to move ahead and finish stronger down the stretch.

The winner goes on to: A rematch with Keith Thurman? Sure, great matchup, but that could take up to a year to work out, if Thurman decides to go for a real challenge in the meantime instead of taking an easy defense before complying with his mandatory defense.

Sergey Lipinets UD 12 Akihiro Kondo, vacant IBF junior welterweight title

Russia’s Lipinets (13-0, 10 KO) was clearly the favorite and he did it with a clear win by unanimous decision over Japan’s Kondo (29-7-1, 16 KO) to claim the vacant IBF world junior welterweight title formerly held by Terence Crawford, who has moved to welterweight. The fight was competitive in the early rounds, and there was a cut on Lipinets due to a head butt that made things harder for him, but the smell of blood made him stronger, and he ended up taking the fights by scorecards of 117-111 (twice) and 118-110.

Dominic Breazeale TKO 8 Eric Molina, heavyweights

Both Breazeale (19-1, 17 KO) and Molina (26-5, 19 KO) have had their shares of missed chances, but this fight gave the winner a fresh start in a suddenly super attractive heavyweight division. They threatened to be their usual over-cautious selves in the first few rounds, but as soon as Breazeale moved in for the kill, Molina had no chance. Molina did score repeatedly with a few occasional bombs that rocked Breazeale, but a single hook in the eighth sent Molina down so badly that his corner had no choice but to step in as the bell sounded to end the round to save their fighter from further punishment.

Amanda Serrano TKO 1 Marilyn Hernandez, female junior lightweights

Is this the end of the line for five-division champ Serrano? Say it ain’t so! Serrano (34-1-1, 26 KO) has been threatening to take her act to the MMA scene. But regardless of her future, she was her usual dominating self, demolishing former fellow world titlist Marilyn Hernandez (26-10, 17 KO) of the Dominican Republic with an overwhelming blitzkrieg attack that sent Hernandez to the floor courtesy of a body blow just seconds into the bout. Two more of those, and it was all over, as the referee stepped in to halt the carnage at the 2:33 mark. Quick work from one of female boxing’s best ever.

The winner goes on to: Should she make the full jump to MMA for financial reasons, Serrano will probably become the first athlete to make more money in that arena than what she could make in boxing. It’s too bad that boxing cannot yet create the environment for female athletes to make decent enough money to devote themselves to the sport for life.

November 4, Monte Carlo  

Dmitry Bivol KO 1 Trent Broadhurst, WBA light heavyweight title

Bivol (12-0, 10 KO) is a rising star, and he was clearly too much for Broadhurst (20-2, 12 KO) in this bout that took place in the luxurious Salle Medecin in the lavish principality of Monte Carlo, Monaco. A crushing right hand was all it took to send Broadhurst down and out.

Jamie McDonnell ND 3 Liborio Solis, WBA bantamweight title

A sad ending for a much-anticipated matchup. McDonnell (29-2-1, 13 KO) was looking to make an impression in a suddenly revitalized division when he clashed heads with Venezuela’s Solis (25-5-1, 11 KO), causing the English champ to sustain a terrible cut over his left eye that caused the premature stoppage that allowed him to keep his title belt on a no decision verdict.

Scott Quigg TKO 6 Oleg Yefimovich, featherweights

Quigg (34-1-2, 25 KO), a former world champion trying to find his way back into contention in a WBA title eliminator, was too much for Russia’s Yefimovych (29-3-1, 16 KO) as he piled up enough punishment over six rounds to cause a stoppage that felt a little bit premature, but not completely inappropriate.

Agit Kabayel MD 12 Dereck Chisora, European heavyweight title

Mild upset here, as the unbeaten Germany’s Kabayel (17-0, 12 KO) was able to outwork and outmuscle his way towards a defense of his European heavyweight belt against former world title challenger Chisora (27-8, 19 KO), scoring just enough in the first eight rounds to keep Chisora’s late rally irrelevant in the big picture, and sending the Zimbabwe-born Brit into fringe contender territory.

November 4, Tijuana, Mexico

Luis Nery TKO 6 Artur Villanueva, bantamweights

Nery (25-0, 19 KO), the unbeaten WBC bantamweight champion, scored a pedestrian stoppage over Villanueva (31-3-1, 17 KO) in a non-title bout. Nery was knocked down in the fourth but rallied to overwhelm Villanueva and smother him with a few dozen punches before the bout was finally called off halfway through the sixth.

November 4, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

Jhonny Gonzalez UD 12 Irving Berry, super featherweights.

Gonzalez (65-10, 54 KO) continued his long career with a dominant win against Berry (23-7-2, 10 KO) with a minor belt on the line in front of his countrymen, trying to gather support and enthusiasm to continue fighting after a storied and hard-fought career. Gonzalez sent Berry to the canvas on three separate occasions and won by the prohibitive margin of 120-105 on all three cards.

Also on this card:  

Lourdes Juarez (22-2, 3 KO) UD 10 Diana Fernández (16-2, 3 KOs), female bantamweights

Misael “Chino” Rodríguez (5-0, 3 KO) TKO 2 Isaac Méndez (16-16, 14 KOs), middleweights

November 3, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

Andrey Sirotkin TKO 10 Ricardo Mayorga, super middleweights

It wasn’t supposed to last this long, and if you ask me, it wasn’t even supposed to happen, but it did, and the 44-year old Mayorga (32-10-1, 26 KO) survived to live another day and cash another check. For now. Not much to say about Sirotkin, a very basic fighter with solid ring movement and average punching power who should start thinking about taking on guys his age. In the end, Sirotkin improved to 14-0 (4 KO) after dominating the fight and landing almost at will until Mayorga retired claiming a hand injury. An anti-climatic ending to a fight that no one expected to have any kind of climax to begin with.

The winner goes on to: Is he going somewhere? Hard to tell, based on this performance.

The loser goes on to: Retirement. Please. And please no MMA fights, ever! Seriously!

November 2, Tucson, Arizona

Juan Carlos Abreu KO 8 Jesus Soto Karass, welterweights

Abreu (20-3-1, 19 KO) destroyed what is left of a great ring warrior in Soto Karass (28-13-4, 18 KO) in eight rounds Thursday night without ever losing a round. Soto Karass was as game as he has always been, but he is in a position in which his mind still knows what to do and his body is unable to comply, and that’s as good a recipe for retirement as any other. A wild volley in the eighth put Soto Karass on the canvas, and after one more knockdown he went down for good, barely a minute into the round, and probably in his last action as a professional fighter.

Also in this card:

Ryan “Kingry” García (12-0, 11 KO) KO 3 César Valenzuela (14-6-1, 5 KO)

November 1, Medellín, Colombia

Fabian Maidana UD 10 Johan Perez, welterweights

An ill-advised major step up by a solid contender who bit off more than he could chew? Maybe. But in the end, Maidana (14-0, 10 KO), younger brother of “Chino” Marcos Maidana, stayed unbeaten in the biggest fight of his career against a true challenge in former world champ Perez (22-5-2, 15 KO), who set the tone of the confrontation by showing up a full four pounds over the limit at the weigh-in. The fight was allowed to happen on the condition of a second weigh-in fight day, and the difference in power, energy and experience did show in favor of Perez. But Maidana was too determined to make a splash in this card as part of the WBA Convention, with legends like Roberto Durán, Evander Holyfield and his own former titlist brother at ringside, and he dug deep to find a way to outbox the boxer and outfox the old fox to win by scores of 97-93 (twice) and 96-94. Nice win, indeed, but it may be time to scale back to a couple of easier fights before moving back into contender territory for Maidana, who has the chops and the power but not quite the experience just yet.

The winner goes on to: Hopefully Maidana will team up once again with The Rodriguez boxing team in Argentina to have a few more fights locally and build up a fan base before making another jump into the deeper end of the pool.

Photo credit: Amanda Westcott / SHOWTIME

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

To comment on this article at The Fight Forum, CLICK HERE.

Argentina

The BWAA Shames Veteran Referee Laurence Cole and Two Nebraska Judges

Published

on

In an unprecedented development, the Boxing Writers Association of America has started a “watch list” to lift the curtain on ring officials who have “screwed up.” Veteran Texas referee Laurence Cole and Nebraska judges Mike Contreras and Jeff Sinnett have the unwelcome distinction of being the first “honorees.”

“Boxing is a sport where judges and referees are rarely held accountable for poor performances that unfairly change the course of a fighter’s career and, in some instances, endanger lives,” says the BWAA in a preamble to the new feature. Hence the watch list, which is designed to “call attention to ‘egregious’ errors in scoring by judges and unacceptable conduct by referees.”

Contreras and Sinnett, residents of Omaha, were singled out for their scorecards in the match between lightweights Thomas Mattice and Zhora Hamazaryan, an eight round contest staged at the WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan, Iowa on July 20. They both scored the fight 76-75 for Mattice, enabling the Ohio fighter to keep his undefeated record intact via a split decision.

Although Mattice vs. Hamazaryan was a supporting bout, it aired live on ShoBox. Analyst Steve Farhood, who was been with ShoBox since the inception of the series in 2001, called it one of the worst decisions he had ever seen. Lead announcer Barry Tompkins went further, calling it the worst decision he has seen in his 40 years of covering the sport.

Laurence Cole (pictured alongside his father) was singled out for his behavior as the third man in the ring for the fight between Regis Prograis and Juan Jose Velasco at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans on July 14. The bout was televised live on ESPN.

In his rationale for calling out Cole, BWAA prexy Joseph Santoliquito leaned heavily on Thomas Hauser’s critique of Cole’s performance in The Sweet Science. “Velasco fought courageously and as well as he could,” noted Hauser. “But at the end of round seven he was a thoroughly beaten fighter.”

His chief second bullied him into coming out for another round. Forty-five seconds into round eight, after being knocked down for a third time, Velasco spit out his mouthpiece and indicated to Cole that he was finished. But Cole insisted that the match continue and then, after another knockdown that he ruled a slip, let it continue for another 35 seconds before Velasco’s corner mercifully threw in the towel.

Controversy has dogged Laurence Cole for well over a decade.

Cole was the third man in the ring for the Nov. 25, 2006 bout in Hildalgo, Texas, between Juan Manuel Marquez and Jimrex Jaca. In the fifth round, Marquez sustained a cut on his forehead from an accidental head butt. In round eight, another accidental head butt widened and deepened the gash. As Marquez was being examined by the ring doctor, Cole informed Marquez that he was ahead on the scorecards, volunteering this information while holding his hand over his HBO wireless mike. The inference was that Marquez was free to quit right then without tarnishing his record. (Marquez elected to continue and stopped Jaca in the next round.)

This was improper. For this indiscretion, Cole was prohibited from working a significant fight in Texas for the next six months.

More recently, Cole worked the 2014 fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Orlando Salido at the San Antonio Alamodome. During the fight, Salido made a mockery of the Queensberry rules for which he received no point deductions and only one warning. Cole’s performance, said Matt McGrain, was “astonishingly bad,” an opinion echoed by many other boxing writers. And one could site numerous other incidents where Cole’s performance came under scrutiny.

Laurence Cole is the son of Richard “Dickie” Cole. The elder Cole, now 87 years old, served 21 years as head of the Texas Department of Combat Sports Regulation before stepping down on April 30, 2014. At various times during his tenure, Dickie Cole held high executive posts with the World Boxing Council and North American Boxing Federation. He was the first and only inductee into the inaugural class of the Texas Boxing Hall of Fame, an organization founded by El Paso promoter Lester Bedford in 2015.

From an administrative standpoint, boxing in Texas during the reign of Dickie Cole was frequently described in terms befitting a banana republic. Whenever there was a big fight in the Lone Star State, his son was the favorite to draw the coveted refereeing assignment.

Boxing is a sideline for Laurence Cole who runs an independent insurance agency in Dallas. By law in Texas (and in most other states), a boxing promoter must purchase insurance to cover medical costs in the event that one or more of the fighters on his show is seriously injured. Cole’s agency is purportedly in the top two nationally in writing these policies. Make of that what you will.

Complaints of ineptitude, says the WBAA, will be evaluated by a “rotating committee of select BWAA members and respected boxing experts.” In subsequent years, says the press release, the watch list will be published quarterly in the months of April, August, and December (must be the new math).

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

 

Continue Reading

Canada & Usa

The Avila Perspective, Chapter 8: Competing Cards in N.Y. and L.A.

Published

on

Rival boxing shows compete this Saturday as light heavyweight world titlists are featured in New Jersey while former world champion welterweights and middleweights tangle in New York.

A mere 150 miles separate the two fight cards staged in Uniondale, N.Y. and Atlantic City.

But there’s no mercy inside the boxing ring and certainly no mercy between boxing promotions. While Main Events stages WBO light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev and WBA light heavyweight titlist Dmitry Bivol in separate bouts, DiBella Entertainment stacks former champs Andre Berto against Devon Alexander in a welterweight clash.

Take your pick.

Russia’s Kovalev (32-2-1, 28 KOs) has lost some luster and hopes to reboot his popularity with a win against Canada’s Eleider Alvarez (23-0, 11 KOs). But he will be directly competing against WBA champ Bivol (13-0, 11 KOs), also of Russia, who defends against Isaac Chilemba (25-5-2) of South Africa.

HBO will televise both light heavyweight title fights.

Bivol, 27, has slowly, almost glacier-like slow, picked up fans along the way by training in Southern California. The quiet unassuming fighter with a conservative style and cobra-like quickness appeals to the fans.

“I do not think that now I am the best light heavyweight, but I am now one of the best. One of four guys,” said Bivol during a press conference call. “But I hope in not the far future, we will know who is the best.”

That, of course, would mean a date with Kovalev should both fighters win on Saturday. Nothing is certain.

Kovalev, now 35, has lost some of that fear factor aura since losing back-to-back fights to now retired Andre Ward. Though he’s cracked two opponents in succession by knockout, many are pointing to the potential showdown with Bivol as the moment of truth.

“Most likely this fight is gonna happen since both Sergey and I are HBO boxers and as long as that’s what the people want, most likely the fight will happen,” said Bivol. “Me and Sergey will make sure to give this fight to the people.”

It’s time for the build-up and it starts on Saturday Aug. 4, on HBO.

“That’s certainly a goal of Sergey’s and he’s made it very clear to me that that’s what he wants to do,” said promoter Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events. “He wants to do unification fights if he is successful with Eleider Alvarez. That’s what he wants to do next; he’s been very clear about that.”

DiBella

Five former world champions stack the fight card at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.

Former welterweight world champs Andre Berto (31-5, 24 KOs) and Devon Alexander (27-4-1, 14 KOs) lead the charge in a 12-round clash. FOX will televise the main event and others at 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET.

Berto, 34, has been fighting once a year so it’s difficult to determine if age has crept into his reflexes. When he knocked out Victor Ortiz in a rematch two years ago Berto looked sharp and dangerous. But against Shawn Porter a year ago, the crispness seemed gone and he quickly lost by knockout.

Alexander, 31, has the advantage of being a southpaw. But he always seems to do the minimum when he fights. Last February he slowed down and allowed Victor Ortiz to steal the fight. All the commotion by the announcers was for naught. Defense does not win fights, it allows you to win fights. The lack of offense in the latter rounds cost Alexander a win in a match that entered the books as a majority draw.

It’s a curious matchup of former world champions.

Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (33-1-1, 23 KOs) the former WBO middleweight titlist meets J’Leon Love (24-1-1, 13 KOs) in a super middleweight bout set for 10 rounds. It’s another intriguing fight especially between two fighters with great personalities.

Quillin, 35, was ambushed by Daniel Jacobs in the first round a year ago in losing the title. Was it bad luck, age or both? As a fighter the Brooklyn-based prizefighter has a ton of followers who like him as a person. Few are as classy as Quillin.

Love, 30, has long been a mainstay in Las Vegas and since his amateur days his abilities have been touted. Throughout the years Love has shown that charm and friendliness can go a long ways, even in the bitter wars of prizefighting. But the time has come to see if he belongs in the prizefighting world. Quillin will present an immense challenge for Love.

A number of other interesting fights are slated to take place among former world champions including Sergey Lipinets who lost the super lightweight title to Mikey Garcia this past winter. There’s also Luis Collazo in a welterweight match.

One world title fight does take place on the card.

Female WBA super middleweight titlist Alicia Napoleon (9-1) makes the first defense of her title against Scotland’s Hannah Rankin (5-1). It’s a 10 round bout and the first time Napoleon defends the title since winning it last March against Germany’s Femke Hermans. Ironically, Hermans now has the WBO super middleweight title after defeating former champ Nikki Adler by decision this past May.

L.A. Congestion

Next week the city of Angels will be packed with three fight cards in four days.

First, on Wednesday Aug. 8, 360 Promotions stages Abraham Lopez (9-1-1, 3 KOs) versus Gloferson Ortizo (12-0-1, 6 KOs) in the main event at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood, Calif. This is Filipino fighter Ortizo’s ninth fight this year. You read that correctly.

All of Ortizo’s fights have taken place across the border in Tijuana. The 32-year-old now returns to California against another Californian in Lopez. He’ll be looking for his fourth consecutive knockout, but Lopez, 22, has not lost a fight since his pro debut. Inactivity might come into play for Lopez who hasn’t stepped in the boxing ring in over a year.

New York’s Brian Ceballo (3-0) returns in a six round welterweight bout against local fighter Tavorus Teague (5-20-4). Ceballo, who is promoted by 360 Promotions, looked good in his last appearance. The amateurish punches seen in his first two bouts were gone by his third pro fight. His opponent Teague has ability and can give problems if Ceballo takes his foot off the pedal.

One of Gennady “GGG” Golovkin’s training partners Ali Akhmedov (11-0, 8 KOs) makes his California debut when he meets Jorge Escalante (9-1-1, 6 KOs) in a light heavyweight match.

Female super lightweight Elvina White (2-0) is also slated to compete. The entire fight card will be streamed at www.360promotions.us and on the 360 Promotions page on Facebook. First bell rings at 6:15 p.m.

Belasco Theater in downtown L.A. is the site of Golden Boy Promotions fight card on Friday Aug. 10. A pair of young prospects will be severely tested.

San Diego’s Genaro Gamez (8-0, 5 KOs) meets Filipino fighter Recky Dulay (10-3, 7 KOs) for the vacant NABF super featherweight title. For Dulay it’s always kill or be killed. Five of his last fights have ended in knockout wins or losses.

Gamez, 23, seems to thrive under pressure and broke down two veterans in back-to-back fights at Fantasy Springs Casino. Now he returns to the Belasco, a venue where he has struggled in the past. But this time he’s the main event.

Another being severely tested will be Emilio Sanchez (15-1, 10 KOs) facing veteran Christopher Martin (30-10-3, 10 KOs) who is capable of beating anyone.

Sanchez, 24, lost by knockout in his last fight this past March. He’s talented and fearless and one mistake cost him his first loss as a pro. He’s not getting a break against Martin, a cagey fighter who has upset many young rising prospects in the past. Martin also has experience against world champions. It’s an extremely tough matchup for Sanchez.

The fight card will be televised by Estrella TV beginning at 6 p.m.

World Title Fight

On Saturday, boxing returns to the Avalon Theater in Hollywood.

The main event is a good one as Puerto Rico’s Jesus Rojas (26-1-2, 19 KOs) defends the WBA featherweight world title against Southern California’s Jojo Diaz (26-1) in a 12 round clash. It’s power versus speed.

Rojas, 31, is one tough customer. When he took the interim title against Claudia Marrero last year he chased down the speedy southpaw Dominican and blasted him out in the seventh round. Several months earlier he obliterated another Golden Boy prospect, Abraham Lopez (not the same Abraham Lopez that is fighting on the 360 Promotions card), in eight rounds. Now he has the title and defends against the speedy southpaw Diaz.

Diaz, 25, just recently lost a bid for the WBC featherweight title against Gary Russell Jr. Though he lost by decision three months ago, that fight might be easy in comparison to this challenge against Rojas.

The former Olympian won’t be able to take a breath against the Puerto Rican slugger who is about as rough as they come.

Two more undefeated Golden Boy prospects get a chance to eliminate each other when Philadelphia’s Damon Allen (15-0-1) meets East L.A.’s Jonathan Navarro (14-0, 7 KOs) in a super lightweight fight set for 10 rounds.

Phillie versus East LA is like fire versus fire in the boxing ring. Boxers originating from those two hard-bitten areas usually have go-for-broke styles that result in pure action. Allen versus Navarro should not disappoint.

Allen, 25, is not a hard puncher but he’s aggressive and like most Philadelphia fighters, he’s not afraid to mix it up.

Navarro, 21, lives in East L.A. but trains in Riverside under Robert Garcia. He’s slowly finding his timing and will be facing the fastest fighter since his pro debut in 2015.

Others featured on the card will be Hector Tanajara, Aaron McKenna and Ferdinand Kerobyan.

The card will be streamed on the Golden Boy Fight Night page on Facebook beginning at 6 p.m.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

To comment on this article at The Fight Forum, CLICK HERE.

Continue Reading

Canada & Usa

What’s Next for Manny Pacquiao?

Published

on

retire

Manny Pacquiao isn’t quite ready to retire, and more big-money fights against high-level competition seem to be on the 39-year-old’s way.

“I feel like I’m a 27-year-old,” Pacquiao told GMAnetwork.com’s Jamil Santos last week. “Expect more fights to come.”

Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) looked exceptionally sharp in his seventh-round knockout win over former junior welterweight titleholder Lucas Matthysse on July 15 at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was Pacquiao’s best performance in at least four years, netting Pacquiao a secondary world title at welterweight along with a slew of renewed public interest in the boxing superstar’s career.

But what comes next for the only fighter in the history of boxing to capture world titles in eight different weight classes? TSS takes a detailed look at the potential opponents for one of the sport’s most celebrated stars.

Cream of the Crop

Pacquiao looked good enough against Matthysse to suggest he’d make a viable candidate to face either Terence Crawford or Vasyl Lomachenko next. Crawford is ranked No. 2 on the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board’s pound-for-pound list while Lomachenko slots at No. 1.

While Pacquiao is no longer under contract with longtime promoter Bob Arum at Top Rank, most industry insiders expect he will continue working with Arum’s team in some capacity so long as his career keeps moving forward. Pacquiao started his own promotional venture, MP Promotions, to co-promote the Matthysse bout with Oscar De La Hoya, but Top Rank was still involved in the fight which is why the bout ended up streaming on ESPN+.

Top Rank’s two hottest commodities at the present are Ring Magazine and WBA lightweight champ Lomachenko and welterweight titlist Crawford. Both are highly-regarded, multi-division world titleholders in the primes of their careers who are universally considered the top fighters in boxing.

Lomachenko and Crawford would each present a unique set of problems for Pacquiao stylistically. Of the two, Pacquiao probably matches up best with Lomachenko at this point in his career. Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) is much larger and heavier than both Pacquiao and Lomachenko, and unless Pacquiao just really wants to test himself against someone incredibly dangerous, it’d probably be best for Team Pacquiao to avoid fighting Crawford at all costs. Crawford would be a heavy favorite against Pacquiao and most boxing insiders don’t believe this version of Pacquiao could compete with Crawford.

Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) is naturally smaller than Pacquiao and has never fought above 135 pounds. If Pacquiao could lure Lomachenko to 140 pounds or above, he’d find himself in a winnable fight against a top-notch opponent. Lomachenko would probably be the slight favorite based on age alone but Pacquiao’s power and athleticism would give him a realistic chance to pull the upset.

Other Notable Possibilities

Former junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan has long been angling for a bout against Pacquiao. Khan faces Samuel Vargas on Sept. 8 in another comeback bout against lower level competition. Khan (32-4, 20 KOs) bravely moved up to middleweight to fight Canelo Alvarez in 2016 but was knocked out in the sixth round. He left the sport for a spell but returned to boxing in February as a welterweight with a sensational first round knockout win over Phil Lo Greco. A win over Vargas puts Khan in good position to secure a bout with Pacquiao, and the fight is a reasonable move by both camps. Pacquiao would probably be the heavy favorite, but Khan’s speed and long reach give him a decent chance to pull the upset.

Former welterweight titleholder Jeff Horn won a controversial decision over Pacquiao last year in Australia. The bout grabbed huge ratings for ESPN and there have been many debates since it happened as to which fighter truly deserved the nod from the judges. Horn (18-1-1, 12 KOs) doesn’t possess elite level talent, but he’s huge compared to Pacquiao and fights with such ferocity that the two can’t help but make an aesthetically pleasing fight together. Pacquiao would be the heavy favorite to defeat Horn if the two fight again.

Pacquiao vs. PBC fighters?

Boxing’s current political climate and the ongoing battle of promoters and television networks for the hearts and minds of boxing fans usually leaves many compelling fights between top level stars off the table. Fighters promoted by Top Rank and Golden Boy are almost never able to secure bouts with fighters signed to Al Haymon to appear under the Premier Boxing Champions banner and vice versa. But Pacquiao’s free agent status opens up new and interesting possibilities for the fighter to pursue noteworthy PBC fighters.

There had been lots of chatter about Pacquiao facing Mikey Garcia next. Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) has been decimating competition at both lightweight and junior welterweight. Garcia is considered by most experts to be one of the top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. He’s the TBRB junior welterweight champion and a unified lightweight titleholder (WBC, IBF). While Garcia is hoping to land a big money bout against IBF welterweight titleholder Errol Spence, most boxing experts believe the jump up to 147 pounds would be too much for the diminutive Garcia who began his career at featherweight. A better welterweight target for Garcia would be Pacquiao who also began his career in a much lower weight class.

Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) is probably the best of the PBC welterweights. He’s considered by many to be on par with Crawford at 147 so it would be an incredibly dangerous bout for Pacquiao to go after at this point in his career. But Spence is aggressive and fights in a style that Pacquiao traditionally matches up very well against. Spence would be the favorite based on size, age and skill.

Slightly less dangerous to Pacquiao would be facing the winner of the Sept. 8 battle between Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter. Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) and Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) are fighting for the vacant WBC welterweight title and the possibility of capturing another world title in his career could sway Pacquiao to seek out the winner. Pacquiao could find himself a slight favorite or underdog depending on which of the two fighters he would face, but both would be winnable fights.

The WBA welterweight champion is Keith Thurman. Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) is a good boxer with tremendous power but Pacquiao’s speed and athleticism would probably give him the leg up in that potential matchup. Thurman hasn’t fought in over 16 months though and recent pictures suggest he’s not in fighting shape at the moment, so the likelihood of a Pacquiao vs. Thurman fight is pretty much nil.

Some fans want Pacquiao to face Adrien Broner. Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs) is a solid contender at 147 but probably doesn’t have the skill to seriously compete with Pacquiao. Pacquiao would be a significant favorite and would likely stop Broner if the two were able to meet in a boxing ring.

Mayweather-Pacquiao 2?

Pacquiao lost a unanimous decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015, but the circumstances surrounding the fight, and the fact it was the biggest box office bash in the history of the sport, have led many to suspect the two fighters would meet again in a rematch.

Yes, Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) is retired, but he’s unretired several times in his career for big money fights including last year’s crossover megafight with UFC star Conor McGregor. While it seems unlikely to happen, Mayweather-Pacquiao 2 would still be a huge worldwide event worth millions of dollars to both fighters so those following the sport can never say never to the idea of it happening again.

While Mayweather is 41, he’d still get the nod as the betting favorite should he fight Pacquiao again based on what happened in the first fight as well as his stylistic advantage over Pacquiao.

Pacquiao vs. McGregor?

McGregor’s bout against Mayweather last year was such a financial success and the MMA star made so much more money in the boxing ring than he did as a UFC fighter that the idea of him returning to the sport to face Pacquiao isn’t as far-fetched as one might think.

Pacquiao vs. McGregor would be an easy sell to the general public. According to CompuBox, McGregor landed more punches against Mayweather than did Pacquiao, and the general consensus is that Mayweather-McGregor was more fun to watch than Mayweather-Pacquiao.

The size difference between the two would lead to an easy promotion. McGregor is a junior middleweight and Pacquiao has only competed at the weight once back in 2010. Despite all that, Pacquiao would be a significant favorite to defeat McGregor and rightly so. He’s too fast and too good a boxer, and his aggressive style would likely lead to a stoppage win.

Pacquiao’s Top Targets

Pacquiao’s top targets should be Mayweather, McGregor and Lomachenko. Pacquiao would stand to make the most money facing either Mayweather or McGregor. Pacquiao’s reportedly injured shoulder heading into 2015 bout left many wondering how the fight might be different had the Filipino gone into things at his best, and Mayweather’s age might play more of a factor in the second fight than it did in the first. A Pacquiao-McGregor fight would be a worldwide spectacle, one Pacquiao would be heavily favored to win. Besides, it’d be interesting to see if Pacquiao could stop McGregor sooner than historical rival Mayweather. Finally, Lomachenko might be trying to climb up weight classes too fast, and Pacquiao would certainly be fit to test the validity of that theory. It’d be one of the biggest fights in boxing and a win for Pacquiao would be another huge feather in the cap of one of boxing’s true historically great champions.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

To comment on this article at The Fight Forum, CLICK HERE.

Continue Reading

Trending