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BORGES: “Doesn't Anybody Ever Just Lose A Fight Anymore?”

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KhanPeterson Hogan56Does anybody ever just lose a fight any more?

Must there always be some nefarious dealings, questionable scoring, incompetent refereeing or unsportsmanlike conduct to explain away defeat? Has anyone in boxing these days ever heard of the simple concept that your man lost?

Not, apparently, in Los Angeles, where Richard Schaefer and Golden Boy Promotions don’t have a gym but they do have a Whine Cellar. That’s where they too often seem to go these days when one of their fighters loses a close match, the latest example being their absurd protest of Lamont Peterson’s close but deserved victory over Amir Khan last month.

Naturally, the World Boxing Association ordered a rematch because of “questionable refereeing.’’ If the NBA ordered a rematch every time there was “questionable refereeing’’ an NBA season would be 656 games long.

Even as they were ordering this rematch within 180 days, the WBA was making sure to leave open the possibility that if someone else tried to seek the same redress from them against a powerfully connected fighter like Khan in the future it could avoid the precedent it just set by saying, “In its resolution mandating the rematch, the WBA went out of its way to note that, under normal circumstances, it would not disturb the discretionary function of a referee.’’

Well, does he have discretion or doesn’t he? If he does, and he rules a slip not a knockdown or deducts points for Khan continually and repeatedly pushing down on Peterson’s neck, why is the WBA now forcing Peterson into a rematch he neither wants nor should have to grant?

If the referee has a “discretionary function’’ then why wasn’t he left to it this time? Three words – Golden Boy Promotions. This is no different than the old days, when it was Don King who got whatever he wanted from the WBA. Now that King is seemingly in semi-retirement, it is GBP that has taken to pressuring this bandit operation into overturning outcomes and referees’ rulings.

The WBA said it was “questionable’’ why referee Joseph Cooper deducted two points for pushing. Questionable? He could have deducted two points per round for Khan constantly grabbing the back of Peterson’s neck and pushing his head down. What’s questionable is why he didn’t.

Khan claimed he was only doing that because Peterson was coming in with his head low. Ever heard of an upper cut, Amir?

Khan’s representatives also claim a shadowy figure named Mustafa Ameen was seen doing…what exactly? He was hovering around the scorer’s table inappropriately, they said. Does that mean he fixed the score, which is what GBP is implying because if he didn’t it makes no difference what else he might have been doing?

The IBF, which also sanctioned the fight and had its belt at risk, has said Ameen is no mystery man but an unpaid volunteer worker with its program for retired fighters. Although the IBF agreed he had no business at ringside or talking to the fight inspector or those who were collecting the scorecards that’s a far cry from what GBP tried to imply.

Khan lost both titles by split decision on Dec. 10 in a fight in which he had two points deducted for pushing. Immediately after the decision was announced, he and his representatives began howling about the referee and possible shenanigans with the scorecards. To the best of my knowledge, they have yet to prove anything untoward went on in the scoring of the fight, which I scored closely for Peterson from ringside myself without, I can assure you, any input from Mr. Ameen. I was also not alone in that opinion.

 GBP probably feels they are simply standing up for their fighter. Maybe they honestly believe that but every time they make these kind of unproven claims they further contribute to the marginalizing of a sport that has allowed itself to be trampled by UFC in large part because it runs its business in this fashion.

Are their bad refereeing jobs in boxing? Obviously. Is there questionable scoring? Indeed so. The same is true in every other sport. The difference is every time an NFL official or a major league umpire blows a call some nitwit in Panama or Mexico doesn’t have the power to give one side a do over.

Schaefer has bent over backwards to continually praise Peterson’s effort, saying he fought his heart out in D.C. that night and he’s right. What he doesn’t say is the counter was also true.

Amir Khan didn’t lose because of some “shadowy figure’’ at ringside, nor from Cooper’s ineptitude. He lost because he didn’t fight his heart out.

As HBO commentator Larry Merchant said, Khan fought that night like his job depended on it. Lamont Peterson fought like his life depended on it.

Where’s the WBA rule that says you get a rematch because of that?

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Bazinyan Overcomes Adversity; Skirts by Macias in Montreal

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Camille Estephan, one of two prominent boxing promoters operating in Quebec, was back at his customary playpen tonight, The Montreal Casino, with an 8-bout card that aired in the U.S. on ESPN+. The featured bout pit Erik Bazinyan against Mexican globetrotter Jose de Jesus Macias in a super middleweight bout with two regional titles at stake. Bazinyan entered the contest undefeated (29-0, 21 KOs) and ranked #2 at 168 by the WBC, WBA, and WBO.

A member of the National Team of Armenia before moving with his parents to Quebec at age 16, Bazinyan figured to be too physical for Matias. He had launched his career as a light heavyweight whereas Matias had fought extensively as a welterweight. However, the battle-tested Macias (28-12-4) was no pushover. Indeed, he had the best round of the fight. It came in Round 7 when he hurt Bazinyan with a barrage of punches that left the Armenian on shaky legs. But Bazinyan weathered the storm and fought the spunky Macias on better-than-even terms in the homestretch to win a unanimous decision.

The judges were predisposed toward the “A side” and submitted cards of 98-92, 97-93, 97-93.

In his previous bout, Bazinyan was hard-pressed to turn away Alantez Fox. Tonight’s performance confirmed the suspicion that he isn’t as good as his record or his rating. He would be the underdog if matched against stablemate Christian Mbilli.

Co-Feature

In what stands as arguably the finest performance in his 14-year pro career, Calgary junior welterweight Steve Claggett dismantled Puerto Rico’s Alberto Machado, a former world title-holder at 130 pounds. Claggett had Machado on the canvas twice before the referee waived the fight off at the 2:29 mark of round three, the stoppage coming moments after the white towel of surrender was tossed from Machado’ corner. It was the sixth straight win inside the distance for the resurgent Claggett (35-7-2, 25 KOs) who was favored in the 3/1 range.

Claggett scored his first knockdown late in round two with a chopping left hook. The second knockdown came from a two-punch combo — a short right uppercut to the jaw that followed a hard left hook to the body. Machado, whose promoter of record is Miguel Cotto, falls to 23-4.

Claggett, who won an NABF belt, would welcome a fight with Rolly Romero. A more likely scenario finds him locking horns with undefeated Arnold Barboza, a Top Rank fighter.

Also…

Quebec southpaw Thomas Chabot remained undefeated with a harder-than expected and somewhat controversial 8-round split decision over 20-year-old Mexico City import Luis Bolanos. At the conclusion, Chabot, who improved to 9-0 (7), was more marked-up than his scrappy opponent who declined to 4-3-1. This was an entertaining fight between two high-volume punchers.

In a middleweight affair slated for six, Alexandre Gaumont improved to 8-0 (6 KOs) with a second round TKO over hapless Piotr Bis. The official time was 3:00.

A 37-year-old Pole making his North American debut, Bis (6-3-1) was on the canvas six times in all during the six minutes of action. There were two genuine knockdowns, the result of short uppercuts, two dubious knockdowns, a slip, and a push.

As an amateur, Gaumont reportedly knocked out half of his 24 opponents. This sloppy fight with Bis wasn’t of the sort from which Gaumont can gain anything useful, but he is a bright prospect who bears watching.

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 239: Fernando Vargas Jr. at the Pechanga Casino and More

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Once upon a time the name Ferocious Fernando Vargas stirred up the blood of many a Southern California boxing fan and others.

Based in Oxnard, California, the Ferocious One dared to be great and was fearless in charging forward like an Aztec warrior against all odds and opposition. Those who followed him expected it and though he only had 31 professional fights, each battle was dripping with drama.

Remember his battles with Ike Quartey, Winky Wright or Sugar Shane Mosley?

Even his losses were blazing unforgettable wars with Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya and Ricardo Mayorga.

Vargas no longer fights but he has three sons and they do the fighting for the Las Vegas-based family. It’s Fernando Vargas 2.0.

The oldest son Fernando Vargas Jr. (8-0, 8 KOs) competes in a six-round super welterweight contest against Venezuela’s Heber Rondon (20-4, 13 KOs) on Friday June 2, at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Calif. The Marvnation Promotions card will also be shown on its YouTube.com site.

In the co-main event number one super flyweight contender Adelaida Ruiz fights Mexico’s Maria Cecilia Roman in a 10-round affair. Ruiz is considered by many to be a guaranteed world champion by this year. Don’t miss her.

A special presentation includes the appearance of two boxing greats Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy “Hit Man” Hearns. During the 70s and 80s they both made history with incredible performances that made them both boxing immortals.

If you ever saw them during the 80s they were two of the primary fighters who raised the level of the sport with their willingness to fight each other. Leonard and Hearns fought each other twice. Leonard beat Roberto Duran two of three times. Marvin Hagler beat Hearns in what many consider one of the greatest three rounds of all time. Ironically, it was the first title fight I ever wrote about.

Doors open at 6 p.m. for tickets go to  www.pechenga.com or www.marvnation.com

Boxing Saturday in Detroit

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Female boxing’s top pound-for-pound queen Claressa Shields (13-0, 2 KOs) faces Maricela Cornejo (16-5, 6 KOs) in defense of the middleweight world championship on Saturday, June 3, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. DAZN will stream the Salita Promotions fight card beginning at 6 p.m. PST.

Until last week, Costa Rica’s Hanna Gabriels was the scheduled foe, but VADA testing revealed illegal substances in her blood stream and she was forced out. After two days Cornejo was mutually agreed by both parties to be the replacement.

“I was getting ready for another fight on June 6. This wasn’t a last-minute fight. I eat, drink, and love boxing. It’s not a part-time job,” said Cornejo about eagerly accepting the fight as a replacement for Gabriels.

The last time we saw Shields in the prize ring she was firing on all gears as she unleashed blazing-fast combinations on England’s Savannah Marshall. Many had predicted Shields would be vanquished.

Many were wrong.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist and champion of three weight divisions has shown that size, power and will are not enough to dethrone her. Only a few made Shields blink and that came early on.

During the press conference, Mark Taffet, co-manager of Shields, hinted that she may be pursuing undisputed status in the super middleweight divisions and above. But first, her defense against Cornejo who did not hesitate in consenting to the challenge.

Only in the past four years has female boxing become a lucrative pro sport. Before fighters like Shields, Katie Taylor, and others, women were seldom paid more than $3,000 dollars for a world championship fight.

Shields helped spark the change and Cornejo will now finally meet her in the prize ring.

“Claressa has done so much for the sport of boxing. We’re trying to do our part. She can’t do it alone. We’re all trying to make a difference,” said Cornejo about accepting the fight on short notice. “She needs a dance partner and I’m ready to dance June 3.”

Shields smiled, content that Cornejo helped salvage the fight card in Detroit, Michigan near her hometown of Flint. Shields personally bought 1,000 tickets for youngsters to attend the fight card on Saturday. Now it will be a true contender facing her.

“I want to say thank you for fighting me,” said Shields to Cornejo. “I know you want to dance, but I came to fight.”

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The Sweet Science Rankings: Week of May 29th, 2023

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The Sweet Science Rankings: Week of May 29th, 2023

In this week’s TSS Rankings, it’s all change at the top of the 126lbs division with Luis Alberto Lopez rocketing to the #1 spot after a brutal dispatch of Michael Conlan; Leigh Wood is right behind him after making it 1-1 with a miserable Mauricio Lara (Mexico) who is likely about to depart for 130lbs after failing to make weight by 4lbs.  For the moment he languishes at #5.  Chris Billam-Smith makes #3 at 200lbs after ripping victory from fellow Englishman Lawrence Okolie.  The hapless Okolie drops to #8.  The best performance this weekend though was turned in by New Yorker Oscar Collazo who brutalised the favoured Melvin Jerusalem (Philippines).  Collazo rises to three, Jerusalem drops to #8.

 

Pound-for-Pound

01 – Naoya Inoue

02 – Oleksandr Usyk

03 – Juan Francisco Estrada

04 – Dmitry Bivol

05 – Terence Crawford

06 – Errol Spence Jnr.

07 – Tyson Fury

08 – Saul Alvarez

09 – Artur Beterbiev

10 – Shakur Stevenson

 

105lbs

1            Knockout CP Freshmart (Thailand)

2            Petchmanee CP Freshmart (Thailand)

3            Oscar Collazo (USA)*

4            Ginjiro Shigeoka (Japan)

5            Wanheng Menayothin (Thailand)

6            Daniel Valladares (Mexico)

7            Yudai Shigeoka (Japan)

8            Melvin Jerusalem (Philippines)

9            Masataka Taniguchi (Japan)

10          Rene Mark Cuarto (Philippines)

 

108lbs

1            Kenshiro Teraji (Japan)

2            Jonathan Gonzalez (Puerto Rico)

3            Masamichi Yabuki (Japan)

4            Hekkie Budler (South Africa)

5            Sivenathi Nontshinga (South Africa)

6            Elwin Soto (Mexico)

7            Daniel Matellon (Cuba)

8            Reggie Suganob (Philippines)

9            Shokichi Iwata (Japan)

10          Esteban Bermudez (Mexico)

 

112lbs

1            Sunny Edwards (England)

2            Artem Dalakian (Ukraine)

3            Julio Cesar Martinez (Mexico)

4            Angel Ayala Lardizabal (Mexico)

5            David Jimenez (Costa Rica)

6            Jesse Rodriguez (USA)

7            Ricardo Sandoval (USA)

8            Felix Alvarado (Nicaragua)

9            Seigo Yuri Akui (Japan)

10          Cristofer Rosales (Nicaragua)

 

115lbs

1            Juan Francisco Estrada (Mexico)

2            Roman Gonzalez (Nicaragua)

3            Jesse Rodriguez (USA)

4            Kazuto Ioka (Japan)

5            Joshua Franco (USA)

6            Junto Nakatani (Japan)

7            Fernando Martinez (Argentina)

8            Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (Thailand)

9            Kosei Tanaka (Japan)

10          Andrew Moloney (Australia)

 

118lbs

1            Emmanuel Rodriguez (Puerto Rico)

2            Jason Moloney (Australia)

3            Nonito Donaire (Philippines)

4            Vincent Astrolabio (Philippines)

5            Gary Antonio Russell (USA)

6            Takuma Inoue (Japan)

7            Alexandro Santiago (Mexico)

8           Ryosuke Nishida (Japan)

9            Keita Kurihara (Japan)

10          Paul Butler (England)

 

122lbs

1            Stephen Fulton (USA)

2            Marlo Tapales (Philippines)

3            Luis Nery (Mexico)

4            Murodjon Akhmadaliev (Uzbekistan)

5            Ra’eese Aleem (USA)

6            Azat Hovhannisyan (Armenia)

7            Kevin Gonzalez (Mexico)

8            Takuma Inoue (Japan)

9            John Riel Casimero (Philippines)

10          Fillipus Nghitumbwa (Namibia)

 

126lbs

1            Luis Alberto Lopez (Mexico)*

2           Leigh Wood (England)*

3            Brandon Figueroa (USA)

4            Rey Vargas (Mexico)

5            Mauricio Lara (Mexico)

6            Mark Magsayo (Philippines)

7            Josh Warrington (England)

8            Robeisy Ramirez (Cuba)

9            Reiya Abe (Japan)

10          Otabek Kholmatov (Uzbekistan)

 

130lbs

1            Joe Cordina (Wales)

2            Oscar Valdez (Mexico)

3            Hector Garcia (Dominican Republic)

4            O’Shaquie Foster (USA)

5            Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (Tajikistan)

6            Roger Gutierrez (Venezuela)

7            Lamont Roach (USA)

8            Eduardo Ramirez (Mexico)

9            Kenichi Ogawa (Japan)

10          Robson Conceicao (Brazil)

 

135lbs

1            Devin Haney (USA)

2            Gervonta Davis (USA)

3            Vasily Lomachenko (Ukraine)

4            Isaac Cruz (Mexico)

5            William Zepeda Segura (Mexico)

6            Frank Martin (USA)

7            George Kambosos Jnr (Australia)

8            Shakur Stevenson (USA)

9            Raymond Muratalla (USA)

10          Keyshawn Davis (USA)

 

140lbs

1            Josh Taylor (Scotland)

2            Regis Prograis (USA)

3            Jose Ramirez (USA)

4            Jose Zepeda (USA)

5            Jack Catterall (England)

6            Subriel Matias (Puerto Rico)

7            Arnold Barboza Jr. (USA)

8            Gary Antuanne Russell (USA)

9            Zhankosh Turarov (Kazakhstan)

10          Shohjahon Ergashev (Uzbekistan)

 

147lbs

1            Errol Spence (USA)

2            Terence Crawford (USA)

3            Yordenis Ugas (Cuba)

4            Vergil Ortiz Jr. (USA)

5            Jaron Ennis (USA)

6            Eimantas Stanionis (Lithuania)

7            David Avanesyan (Russia)

8            Cody Crowley (Canada)

9            Roiman Villa (Columbia)

10          Alexis Rocha (USA)

 

154lbs

1            Jermell Charlo (USA)

2           Tim Tszyu (Australia)

3            Brian Castano (Argentina)

4            Brian Mendoza (USA)

5            Liam Smith (England)

6            Jesus Alejandro Ramos (USA)

7            Sebastian Fundora (USA)

8            Michel Soro (Ivory Coast)

9            Erickson Lubin (USA)

10          Magomed Kurbanov (Russia)

 

160lbs

1            Gennady Golovkin (Kazakhstan)

2            Jaime Munguia (Mexico)

3            Carlos Adames (Dominican Republic)

4            Janibek Alimkhanuly (Kazakhstan)

5            Liam Smith (England)

6            Erislandy Lara (USA)

7            Sergiy Derevyanchenko (Ukraine)

8            Felix Cash (England)

9            Esquiva Falcao (Brazil)

10          Chris Eubank Jnr. (Poland)

 

168lbs

1            Canelo Alvarez (Mexico)

2            David Benavidez (USA)

3            Caleb Plant (USA)

4            Christian Mbilli (France)

5            David Morrell (Cuba)

6            John Ryder (England)

7            Pavel Silyagin (Russia)

8            Vladimir Shishkin (Russia)

9            Carlos Gongora (Ecuador)

10          Demetrius Andrade (USA)

 

175lbs

1            Dmitry Bivol (Russia)

2            Artur Beterbiev (Canada)

3            Joshua Buatsi (England)

4            Callum Smith (England)

5            Joe Smith Jr. (USA)

6            Gilberto Ramirez (Mexico)

7            Anthony Yarde (England)

8           Dan Azeez (England)

9            Craig Richards (England)

10          Michael Eifert (Germany)

 

200lbs

1            Jai Opetaia (Australia)

2            Mairis Breidis (Latvia)

3            Chris Billam-Smith (England)*

4            Richard Riakporhe (England)

5            Aleksei Papin (Russia)

6            Badou Jack (Sweden)

7            Arsen Goulamirian (France)

8            Lawrence Okolie (England)

9            Yuniel Dorticos (Cuba)

10          Mateusz Masternak (Poland)

 

Unlimited

1            Tyson Fury (England)

2            Oleksandr Usyk (Ukraine)

3            Zhilei Zhang (China)

4            Deontay Wilder (USA)

5            Anthony Joshua (England)

6            Andy Ruiz (USA)

7            Filip Hrgovic (Croatia)

8            Joe Joyce (England)

9            Dillian Whyte (England)

10          Frank Sanchez (Cuba)

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