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The Year in Boxing, Part 2

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May belonged to Mayweather, as “Money” earned a b-load of it for his night of “toil” against Robert Guerrero.

The underdog challenger did the best he could to stir up the pot with misdeeds that were TMZ worthy in the run-up to the promotion, and then his pop, Ruben, tried to get under Floyd’s skin by calling him a “woman beater” at the final presser ahead of the first fight of Floyd’s megadeal with Showtime.

Most all like Mayweather to get the better of the Ghost, all but Canelo Alvarez. “Robert Guerrero has a great opportunity to win,” Canelo predicted. “He’s hungry for glory and will try everything to get the victory. I am picking Guerrero.” Yeah, no. Hunger for glory is one thing, but having the skill set to defuse and dissect Mayweather is a different deal. Canelo would learn that for himself a bit down the line….

On fight night, May 4, Mayweather looked utterly superb. He’d been hit a few times in his last outing, against Miguel Cotto, but working with his pop had him back to using his legs as weapons, keeping him out of range when Guerrero came into striking range, and helping him get whatever angle he wanted on the loser, enroute to taking a UD12, 117-111 times three. Floyd landed 60% of his power shots, and all who theorized that a jail stint and a year off would sap him shut their traps.

Two days later, we heard that Manny Pacquiao would seek to curtail a two-fight losing streak, and dodge the taxman, with a gig in Macau, against Brandon Rios. Would Rios, the plucky banger with a yen for rumbles and a distinct lack of aversion to trading, finish what Juan Manuel Marquez started? A hint was provided which many of us keyboard tappers should have paid the most keen of attention to: most fighters liked Pacman to beat Rios, by a wide margin, assessing “Bam Bam” to be more of a club level fighter than a player on the elite fields.

The sport lost a certified character, in matchmaker-gadfly-conspiracy theorist Johnny Bos, on May 11, and we were all a bit poorer for it, as the Sunset Park, Brooklyn native had boxing in his blood, from tip to top, and nobody alive could surpass him in that capacity. Here’s a snippet from an homage I wrote:

“This XL character–he was 6-4, north of 250 pounds, prone to wearing hip hop and pimp-ish gear– was something of a tortured soul. He had a pathological need to diagnose the ills he saw riddling the sport and broadcast his critiques to the world. At the same time, in more recent years, he wanted to be back on the big stage, in NYC, fashioning the paths of prospects to the big time. For a years, I’d try and gently counsel him to adjust his expectations and subvert his iconoclastic tendencies, so he might be accepted back into the club which he bitterly railed had spurned him. “Johnny,” I’d say, “it makes it harder for the big shots to bring you back into the fold when you say controversial things, and are too honest.” But he was pathologically incapable of self-censorship. The truth wasn’t something to be dispensed selectively. He couldn’t pick and choose his spots, modulate his delivery to minimize the damage to the ego of the guilty. He couldn’t, he wouldn’t, and for that he must be praised, and his passing must be lamented with more fanfare than his level of celebrity typically enjoys.” I think about him pretty often, all this time later…

The Lucas Matthysse bandwagon got filled to over-capacity after he beat up Lamont Peterson, so much so that his promoter, Richard Schaefer, requested an extra seat, as he ejaculated heady praise after the third round rubout in AC, “We have a new Manny Pacquiao. He’s from Argentina, and his name is Lucas Matthysse.”

Mayweather ended up the month making more news, telling the world that he’d be taking on a young, strong rumbler, the heart-throb hitter Canelo Alvarez, that September. The word dropped on Twitter, a sure sign of the times: “I chose my opponent for September 14th and it’s Canelo Alvarez. I’m giving the fans what they want. It will be at the MGM Grand.”

June brought the dropping of another shoe, with word that Kery Davis was out at HBO. He’d been the main connection between HBO and uber advisor Al Haymon, so with Haymon persona non grata at HBO, well, the writing was on the wall.

Arturo Gatti continued to provoke years after his death, but you can count me among those who supported his inclusion into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. The man was in four Fights of the Year, for goodness sake, he gave you more than your money’s worth every time he gloved up, and he exemplified the essence of willpower on display during trying times in the athletic realm. Damn right he deserved a Hall pass…

Light heavy Adonis Stevenson launched a left that stopped Chad Dawson, and himself onto must see lists, and did the sport a kind favor by prolonging the legacy of Manny Steward, his trainer-manager, that much more. Here’s what I wrote after Adonis downed Dawson, from a portion of a conversation I had with Steward not long before he died: “Adonis is dangerous all the way through. We got some kind of weird-ass guy here, one of these stamina freaks…There’s nothing like knocking [emeffers] out. That’s what made Mike Tyson special. I train all my fighters to go for the KO. But they have the stamina in case it doesn’t happen.”

Cracks appeared in the Adrien Broner wing of the Hall of Fame, as the former Mr. HBO had a hard time with Paul Malignaggi in his initial testing of the welterweight waters. The buildup to this bout set a record for crassness, with too much talk of side dishes and such for the liking of many. Postfight, Malignaggi ranted that the most politically connected get always gets the W. So did he simply leave it at that? No; the Brooklyner made the savvy move, and hooked on with the same man who advises Broner, one Al Haymon. Can’t beat ’em…

Mid month, the hardcore push to tell the world that still thinks Mike Tyson is the heavyweight champion about the upcoming Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez scrap unfolded. The 11-city tour to hype the event kicked off in NYC, in Times Square. The effort to nudge, nay yank, boxing out of the niche category for a spell paid dividends, as Mayweather was all over mainstream media, from the Comedy Channel to MSBC to Bloomberg News, before, during and after the Canelo “test.”

A man some think could be a great candidate to be at the top of the talent apex when Mayweather is nearing the finish line, Gennady Golovkin, impressed fans with his intensity in taking out Matthew Macklin in NYC. A left hook hatched in hell drained the energy from the Irishman in round three, and excited Golovkinites demanded he sign to fight Andre Ward, and Floyd Mayweather, on the same night, ASAP.

July brought us a notable occurrence which we hope balloons into a full-fledged trend, so we can look back and say we told ’em so. Golden Boy and Floyd Mayweather broke the news that the Floyd-Canelo card would be bolstered by a showdown between young guns Danny Garcia, a 140 pound champ, and Lucas Matthysse. Jokes about Garcia’s head being destined for row four at the MGM ensued, but a trend towards stacking PPVs, rather than merely letting the feature bout carry all the weight makes nothing but sense to me, if the people who put these things together actually, ya know, care about pleasing the wallet-openers who keep the sport afloat.

An underrated ex champ, known more for his sexual identity and the fact that his punches killed a foe, died the third week of July, and the boxing world mourned Emile Griffith. His legacy will be that of a man who serves as a reminder of the ultimate price any person can pay in that ring, and as a symbol of acceptance, who helped usher the pushback against homophobia another millimeter forward.

This one was a certified under the radar classic, friends. Anyone who figured the Omar Figueroa-Nihito Arakawa bout which unfolded in San Antonio would be on the short list for FOY needs to contact me about a job, and a physician about getting counseling and meds for their addiction to watching too many crappy streams. The wide scores for Figgy didn’t give near enough credit to the scary reservoir of toughness and pride the Japanese boxer showed, scary because you had to hope he’d not absorbed a lethal level of punishment over twelve rounds. This was ostensibly a lightweight tussle, but in terms of heart and will, two heavyweights traded leather that night in Texas.

August 2013, and Mike Tyson still commanded eyes and ears on him whenever he popped up. The fighter turned promoter told us he was planning on killing himself during the dark days of 2008, 2009, and his addiction to drugs had him thinking his time on this earth wouldn’t be for much longer. But he persevered, and with his new promotional work, and a book, and a one-man stage act, the former Brooklyn bad boy continues to mesmerize; it used to be with his prowess with violence, and now it is his rare ability to process his missteps in a humorous, self-effacing and fresh fashion.

The hottest month didn’t overwhelm with live action, but the month’s marquee tussle had to be be Jhonny Gonzalez’ derailment of Abner Mares’ momentum train. Left hooks in round one spelled doom for Mares, a feather champ up against a former bantam and feather titlist. The two had sparred five years before, and Mares’ star had drifted upward while the older man’s had dimmed.

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Tony Yoka Makes Quick Work of Duhaupas; Yoka’s Wife Wins Too

Arne K. Lang

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An indoor rugby stadium in Nanterre, a township in an inner suburb of Paris, was the site today of a five-fight boxing show featuring Tony Yoka and his wife Estelle Mossely in separate bouts (when they fight each other, they do it in the privacy of their home). Attendance was limited to 5,000 with social distancing protocols in place.

Yoka and Mossely, the parents of two young children, the youngest a boy born in May, were each gold medal winners in boxing at the 2016 Rio games. The six-foot-seven Yoka defeated Filip Hrgovic in the semis and Joe Joyce in the gold medal round.

Today Yoka, in his first scheduled 12-rounder, was matched against 39-year-old French warhorse Johan Duhaupas who was 38-5 (25) heading in. Duhaupas went 12 rounds with Jarrell Miller, extended Deontay Wilder into the 11th frame, and knocked out Robert Helenius, the conqueror of Adam Kownacki. Despite his advanced age, he represented a step up in class for Yoka, 28, whose pro career was disrupted by a one-year suspension from the French Boxing Federation for being a no-show at three PED tests. At the very least, Duhaupas was expected to give Yoka some rounds.

But Yoka had other ideas. He needed only 121 seconds to dismantle his countryman and show that he belongs in the conversation with Daniel Dubois, Jared Anderson, the aforementioned Hrgovic and others when talking about the next generation of heavyweight stars.

Yoka (8-0, 7 KOs) dropped Duhaupas midway through the opening round with an overhand right. Duhaupas didn’t appear to be badly hurt, but he had no antidote for the barrage that followed. The coup-de-gras was a big right uppercut that sent him flying backward against the ropes. The referee stepped in immediately.

Yoka’s U.S. promoter is Top Rank which is seeminly out to corner the market on bright young heavyweight prospects. When Yoka turned pro it was under the tutelage of Virgil Hunter, the trainer of Andre Ward. Yoka has spent considerable time in Las Vegas while serving as the chief sparring partner for Joseph Parker.

estelle

Estelle Mossely kept pace with her hubby. Mossely, 28, advanced her record to 7-0 (1) with an 8-round unanimous decision over countrywoman Aurelie Froment. The scores were 80-72 across the board.

This was an assignment designed to shed the rust. Froment, 33, entered the fight with a 3-0-1 record, but hadn’t previously met an opponent with a winning record. In fact, none of Froment’s previous opponents had ever won a fight. In the aggregate, the foursome was 0-32-5 at the time that she fought them. Even the world sanctioning bodies steered clear of this affair, refusing to cloak the fight in some sort of title.

That observation aside, it was a nice win for Mossely coming so soon after giving birth. Born in France of Congolese and Ukrainian descent, she is rated the world’s best active female lightweight by BoxRec.

Hot prospect Souleymane Cissikho was originally scheduled to be on the card, but pulled out for an undisclosed reason. An Olympic teammate of Tony Yoka, Cissikho is a  special talent.

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

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Season 2 of the World Boxing Super Series Concludes on Saturday in Munich

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PRESS RELEASE: The hotly-anticipated World Boxing Super Series Season II Cruiserweight Final between Mairis Briedis and Yuniel Dorticos takes place behind-closed-doors in a film studio at Plazamedia Broadcasting Center in Munich, Germany on Saturday, 26 September. On the line: The Muhammad Ali Trophy, IBF World Title, and vacant Ring Magazine 200 lbs belt.

The final will be shown live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports in the UK.

“A final for the Muhammad Ali Trophy has proved to be something extraordinary. We have seen that it brings out the best in boxers which reflects the DNA of our tournament as to deliver and continue to deliver boxing at its very best to fans of the sport,” said Andreas Benz, CEO of Comosa, the event organizer.

“Plazamedia is a phenomenal solution, the studios are providing a controlled environment which is of huge benefit to us and the production team to keep everyone safe while also putting on a great show.

“At the same time, we have done everything to secure fair conditions for both teams, and to ensure they remain healthy and isolated until the action starts.”

Mairis Briedis, tournament No. 1 seed, qualified for the final through wins over Noel Mikaelian (UD) and Krzysztof Glowacki (TKO3), while Dorticos, No. 2 seed conquered Mateusz Masternak (UD) and Andrew Tabiti (KO10) to enter the 200 lbs decider.

“We are very happy about the announcement of the final,” said Latvia’s Mairis Briedis. “I love the fact that it will be in Munich as it reminds me of every time I went to train with the Klitschko brothers in Germany and the flights were always via Munich. Those are some great memories of the time spent with them there.”

Said Miami-based Cuban, Yuniel ‘The KO Doctor’ Dorticos, IBF World Cruiserweight Champion: “To all my fans worldwide, In Europe and especially in Munich, Germany: I am super happy the World Boxing Super Series final will take place in Munich, Germany, and I will see you all on Saturday, September 26th. The KO Doctor is back and ready to prescribe another dose of pain and take the Muhammad Ali Trophy back to Miami.”

Kalle Sauerland, Chief Boxing Officer of the WBSS, said: “On 26 September we will not only crown the best cruiserweight on the planet but also send a sign to the world that boxing is back with the first major transatlantic championship bout between the undisputed number one and two in their division.

The final is not only about honour and glory, but cementing a legacy. The winner will become a member of an exclusive ‘Ali Trophy Winner Club’ that includes Oleksandr Usyk, Callum Smith, Naoya Inoue and Josh Taylor. It doesn’t get much bigger in boxing, and we expect Briedis and Dorticos to have an absolute barnstormer!”

The Muhammad Ali Trophy was created by the late world-renowned artist Silvio Gazzaniga who also designed the iconic FIFA World Cup Trophy.

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 106: Return of LA Boxing, Josh Taylor, Charlos and More

David A. Avila

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 106: Return of LA Boxing, Josh Taylor, Charlos and More

Let’s call this week the Big Build Up.

Back in the 1920s to the 1950s the City of Angels was known as the place where Humphrey Bogart lived and played characters out of Raymond Chandler’s novels. Books like the “Big Sleep” and “Lady in a Lake” were made into movies based in Los Angeles.

Well, here we are back where boxing thrives, people or not.

Los Angeles kicks off the big boxing week starting with a televised fight card that features home grown featherweight Vic Pasillas at the Microsoft Theater in the downtown area. Fox Sports 1 will televise the Premier Boxing Championship card on Wednesday, Sept. 23.

Pasillas (15-0,8 KOs) faces Dominican fighter Ranfis Encarnacion (17-0, 13 KOs) in the co-main event at a fan-less event that begins a crowded week of boxing as we near the end of 2020.

“Coming out on top against Encarnación is going to catapult me into some big fights at featherweight. The division is wide open and I know with hard work I can take it over,” said Pasillas who is originally from Los Angeles. “This is by far the most important fight of my career. I’m coming with everything I got, because I know this is the turning point that will lead to bigger and better fights. I am ready to bring an exciting fight to the fans and get my hand raised in victory.”

Both Pasillas and Encarnacion are undefeated and unknown to most of the boxing world. A win changes everything especially when it’s difficult to even stage a boxing card.

Promoters are anxious to get their fighters in the ring by any means necessary.

On Thursday in Biloxi, Mississippi, super lightweight Michael Williams Jr. meets Thomas Miller in the headline attraction of a boxing card that will be streamed by UFC Fight Pass.

On Friday in southern Mexico, Serhii Bohachuk (17-0, 17 KOs) meets Alejandro Davila (21-1-2, 8 KOs) in Merida, Yucatan. No word if it will be streamed. The super welterweight from Ukraine has a 17-fight knockout streak and has become a main attraction in Hollywood, California for 360 Promotions.

“Serhii has become one of the most talked about rising stars in boxing,” said Tom Loeffler, promoter of 360 Promotions. “Boxing fans are excited to see if he can continue his knockout streak against Alejandro Davila, the toughest opponent he’s faced. He’s been training very hard with Manny Robles for this fight and if victorious, we’re certain there will be bigger opportunities for him in the near future.”

These are all tasty appetizers for the big buffet coming on Saturday.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Saturday morning, especially if you live in the California area, ESPN+ will showcase the IBF, WBA super lightweight world title fight between champion Josh Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) and Apinun Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs) in London. It will be streamed live on Sept. 26, Saturday morning, starting at 11 a.m PST.

This is an important match for Taylor (pictured on the left) who needs a win to nail down a unification clash with Jose Carlos Ramirez the WBC and WBO titlist. If Scotland’s Taylor emerges victorious the super lightweight clash will be one of the top fights of the year.

And if that fight happens to take place, then that winner more than likely meets WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford.

But first things first. Taylor needs to defeat Thailand’s Khongsong on Saturday.

“I didn’t want a warm-up fight, so getting straight back in there against my mandatory challenger is great, as it’s kept me fully focused. I want big fights in my career, so this is an important fight with my belts on the line,” said Taylor.

Charlos Pay-per-view

The Charlos brothers asked for it and they got it.

Long have the brothers from Houston, Texas asked for a pay-per-view fight card and it never seemed possible until now. The Charlos will headline a pay-per-view double-header on Saturday via Showtime.

Beginning at 4 p.m PT/ 7 p.m. ET the Showtime pay-per-view card begins with three top notch bouts:

WBO bantamweight titlist John Riel Casimero (29-4) vs Ghana’s Duke Micah (24-0, 19 KOs).

WBA super bantamweight titlist Brandon Figueroa (20-0-1, 15 KOs) vs Damien Vazquez (15-1-1, 8 KOs).

WBC middleweight titlist Jermall Charlo (30-0, 22 KOs) v Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KOs).

Charlo was not impressed with Derevyanchenko’s performances against Daniel Jacobs and Gennady Golovkin because both were losses. He expects to dominate.

Derevyanchenko says he’s ready for Charlo.

“Golovkin is a very different fighter than Charlo, but Jacobs is similar stylistically, so that’s something I’ll be used to,” said Derevyanchenko. “This training camp has been very similar to camps for my previous fights though. We just brought in different sparring partners for this one. We’re using fighters who can show us what Charlo will bring to the ring.”

After a 30-minute intermission the second half of the boxing card begins.

Former bantamweight world champion Luis Nery (30-0, 24 KOs) moves up in weight to face Aaron Alameda (25-0, 13 KOs) for the vacant WBC super bantamweight world title. Both fighters are from Mexico.

Former super bantamweight titlists Danny Roman (27-3-1) and Juan Carlos Payano (21-3) meet in a 12-round bout.

In the grand finale WBC super welterweight titlist Jermell Charlo (33-1, 17 KOs) challenges IBF and WBA super welterweight titlist Jeison Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KOs) in a fight for all three belts.

“We lions,” said Charlo.

It’s a very big week for boxing that begins on Wednesday and ends Saturday.

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

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