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48-1? Predicting Who Will Defeat Floyd Mayweather

Kelsey McCarson

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Floyd Mayweather is expected to face either Marcos Maidana or Amir Khan on May 3rd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Of the two proposed options, Maidana makes the most sense to me, something I’ve already opined about enough. In short, I think Maidana earned the bout with his shocking upset of Adrien Broner last December, and I would rather see Mayweather face someone who comes at him and throws punches from all angles.

But truth be told, neither Maidana nor Khan really stand much of a chance against Mayweather. Though brave, Maidanda would be too easy to hit, and for all his speed Khan wouldn’t be able to sustain anything noteworthy over 12 full rounds against Mayweather. Each man would have his moments against the aging great, but only in spurts. Mayweather would likely defeat both by decision rather widely.

But just because the two men Mayweather wants to fight next don’t have much of a chance to beat him, doesn’t mean there aren’t opponents out there who do. After all, Mayweather isn’t exactly known for seeking out his best opposition.

Therein lies the problem for predicting who will defeat him, or at least who would stand the best chance at it.

In reality, Mayweather has many more options than the two proposed for May 3, Maidana and Khan. In fact, I think we should evaluate where those two opponents land in the overall scheme of who Mayweather, the best in the sport, should actually be considering for his next bout. While Top Rank and Golden Boy don’t work together, Mayweather is the one fighter in the sport who could cross that line and work with both if he only wanted to. As he likes to often point out, he calls the shots.

So for me, before I get to either Maidana or Khan on the list of who Mayweather should fight next, I have to first cross off Erislandy Lara, Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley and Danny Garcia, who in my opinion easily outrank Maidana and Khan as potential opponents. Moreover, I believe welterweight Shawn Porter and junior middleweights Alfredo Angulo (who would’ve ditched Canelo in a heartbeat for a fight with Mayweather), James Kirkland and Demetrius Andrade grade out evenly or even slightly above Maidana and Khan as opponents.

There are two groups of candidates. The first are opponents Mayweather would likely never fight for one reason or another. Let’s call these guys Category A. These aren’t “wishful thinking” fights that border on asking him to do too much, so no Gennady Golovkin or Andre Ward on the list. Rather these are legitimate tests one should expect an undefeated fighter in the twilight of his career to undertake, especially someone espousing himself as the best ever.

First and foremost in Category A is Manny Pacquiao (of course). For all the reasons your favorite Money Team friend gives you for why Mayweather has not and/or never will never fight Pacquiao, the truth of the matter is simply that Mayweather sees Pacquiao as too great a risk. Pacquiao has a rare combination of speed and power that can give any fighter fits on any given fight night, even the mighty Mayweather. This one has been beaten to death, though, so let’s move on.

A relatively new entry into Category A is No. 1 ranked junior middleweight Erislandy Lara. Mayweather holds an alphabet title at 154 and is also the lineal TBRB champion. But Lara’s larger natural frame, southpaw stance and Cuban boxing style would be a tough puzzle for Mayweather to solve. There’s little chance he’d be able to outbox the longer Lara from a distance, and walking towards a laser-punching stalwart like Lara down is bad news for anyone (ask granite-chinned Alfredo Angulo). Mayweather will avoid Lara like the plague.

Undefeated welterweight Timothy Bradley is great at nothing but good at everything. It makes him a tough out for anyone at welterweight, and his ability to adapt to different styles has helped vault him up numerous pound-for-pounds lists. But like Pacquiao, Bradley has a double whammy going against him. First and foremost, he’s good enough to beat Floyd. Second, he’s promoted by Bob Arum.

Category B consists of people Mayweather is more likely to face before he retires. That means the risk they pose to him is less than those in Category A and Top Rank does not manage them. Moreover, and despite Mayweather’s titles at both 154 and 147, it means these men campaign at welterweight and below. Also note that any junior welterweight would likely have to come up to 147 to face Mayweather. He takes all the advantages he can get.

Before moving onto discussing the two men I feel who have the best actual chance of handing Mayweather a loss (meaning they both have the ability and might actually get to fight  him), I first want to propose a dark horse candidate. Shawn Porter is undefeated and holds the IBF welterweight title. These two things would make him an attraction for Mayweather, who likes to hand fighters their first losses and collects alphabet straps to help bolster his claim at greatness. But Porter seems to really have come into his own against Devon Alexander last December. He didn’t just use his natural advantage of physical strength in the bout. Rather he showed real boxing skill and strategy against a solid fighter. His natural ability and improving skill set make him someone to watch going forward, and I could see him posing problems for Mayweather.

That being said, if Mayweather is to lose before retiring, the man to do it will either be junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia or undefeated welterweight Keith Thurman, and here’s why. Garcia would appear at first glance to be out of his league against Mayweather. But Garcia is the unassuming type who almost always appears to be out of his league. He was an underdog against both Amir Khan and Lucas Matthysse, and he dominated both with relative ease. Moreover, Garcia swings for the fences enough to keep Mayweather cautious and careful, and his power has grown enough over his last few fights to make one believe he could hurt Mayweather if he lands clean.  Garcia might be able to get Mayweather to lead with a long right hand that Garcia could counter with one of his hard hooks. A hurt Mayweather would not take risks, and Garcia could eke out a narrow decision.

Thurman, on the other hand, might be Mayweather’s worst nightmare. He’s tall, lanky and powerful and he has shown real skill and strategy as he’s moved up the ranks. Thurman is the type of puncher who can put anyone to sleep with either hand. But he’s smart enough to not rely solely on power. This makes him dangerous the way Thomas Hearns was back in the 1980s. Don’t get me wrong: Thurman still has much to prove. He has some nice wins on his resume, most notably Jesus Soto Karass, but he hasn’t yet faced staunch enough competition to warrant a Mayweather bout. But Thurman’s talent should keep him winning, and his connection to Al Haymon should help him land the megafight when the time is right. And when he does, don’t be surprised if he pulls out the win. In fact, I’m predicting he’s the one that eventually keeps Mayweather from reaching 49-0.

Other News and Notes

-Middleweight Andy Lee is seeking a fight against Gennady Golovkin. That would make Lee one of the few Top 10 middleweights who actually want to fight GGG, something I think should be commended.

-It appears more and more likely junior middleweights Erislandy Lara and Ishe Smith will meet on the undercard of Mayweather’s May 3 card. While it won’t be visually appealing, it should help the winner grab a bout against another top name.

-Super middleweight Bryan Vera will rematch Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on March 1. Many thought Vera deserved the nod in the first fight, but Vera told me he’s going for the knockout this time around. Don’t be surprised to see him sit down on his punches more and make it a slugfest.

-In reality, I believe Mayweather should be pushing the envelope his last few fights and going after guys like Sergio Martinez at middleweight. But I can’t see Mayweather ever moving up to test himself like that. Can you imagine if Mayweather had fought during the time of Hagler, Hearns, Leonard and Duran? Would he have faced any of them?

-I’ve been denied entry into the Boxing Writers Association of America a couple of times, but sentiments like this from Bart Barry make it all worthwhile. I certainly would’ve liked to have been considered a boxing writer by the BWAA membership committee when I applied, but since everyone else seems to consider me one, I suppose that’s good enough.

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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.

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The Return of Wednesday Boxing Evokes Memories of a Golden Era

Arne K. Lang

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There’s a Wednesday card on the boxing docket this week. The card, which features several undefeated up-and-comers of the sort usually found on Showtime’s developmental series, “ShoBox: The New Generation,” will play out at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and air on Fox Sports 1.

Not to be out-done, “ShoBox” is returning. The long-running series, which suspended operations in March in obeisance to COVID-19 restrictions, returns on Oct. 7 with a show emanating from Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Casino. The contestants in the main go of the four-fight card, Charles Conwell and Wendy Toussaint, have identical 12-0 records.

It just so happens that Oct. 7 is also a Wednesday. And these upcoming Wednesday shows transported this reporter back to his boyhood when boxing was a fixture on radio and television on Wednesday nights. The Wednesday series sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon beer ran from 1950 to 1960, airing the first five years on CBS and then on ABC.

Fights were all over the TV dial during the 1950s, not that there was much competition. The Big Three — NBC, CBS, and ABC — ruled the airwaves with DuMont a very distant fourth and cable television well off into the future. (For a time, the short-lived DuMont network aired boxing shows on Mondays.)

When televisions first came out, they were a big-ticket item. In 1948, RCA’s cheapest model sold for $395. That’s the equivalent of $10,400 today. By 1954, the cost of the least expensive model had declined to $189 and it came in a bigger box, with a 17-inch screen compared with the 13-inch screen that was standard six years earlier.

With the cost of the coveted contraption beyond the means of many wage earners, saloonkeepers cashed in. Boxing fans flocked to the neighborhood tavern to get their boxing fix. The saloonkeeper could write off his television sets on his taxes as a business expense.

Those were the days, and I date myself, when every town had a TV repair shop and the repairman, like the family doctor, made house calls.

The Wednesday Night Fights were a spin-off of the Friday Night Fights on NBC. The matchmaker for both series (through 1958) was the International Boxing Club which was headquartered at Madison Square Garden. The president of the IBC was James D. Norris (who would come to be seen as a puppet for mobster Frankie Carbo, but that’s a story for another day).

James D. Norris inherited a vast fortune from his father, Canadian businessman James E. Norris. The elder Norris was a big wheel in the sport of hockey and had a financial interest in the arenas that housed NHL teams in Chicago, Detroit, and St. Louis. He made these arenas available to his son and the Wednesday fight cards moved around, unlike the Friday fights which were pinned to Madison Square Garden.

Both series would eventually venture out at times into virgin territory, but the Wednesday series was the trailblazer. The first nationally televised boxing show from the West Coast was a Wednesday affair. Jimmy Carter defended his world lightweight title against LA fan favorite Art Aragon, the original Golden Boy, at the Olympic Auditorium on Nov. 14, 1951. Aragon had upset Carter in a non-title fight 11 weeks earlier, but Carter took him to school in the rematch, winning a lopsided decision.

The Friday boxing series, which took the name “Gillette Cavalcade of Sports,” would come to be more fondly remembered, but once the TV became a living room staple, which happened fast, the Wednesday series drew higher ratings. This was predictable as more folks stayed home on Wednesday nights than on Friday nights. And although the Friday series had a larger budget, some of the most important fights of the era were staged on Wednesdays.

One of the highlights of the 1951 season was Ezzard Charles’ world heavyweight title defense against Jersey Joe Walcott at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field. It was Walcott’s fifth crack at the title and he was considered ancient at age 37, but he avenged his two previous losses to Charles with a thunderous one-punch knockout.

Carmen Basilio appeared in The Ring magazine Fight of the Year in five consecutive years (1955-1959). The first two — his second meeting with Tony DeMarco and his second meeting with Johnny Saxton – were televised on a Wednesday.

Although he would be quickly forgotten, the Wednesday series brought Bob Satterfield a cult following because of his unpredictability. He certainly left an impression on octogenarian boxing writer Ted Sares who recently named Satterfield his all-time favorite fighter.

To conjure up a portrait of Satterfield, think Deontay Wilder and then fix Wilder with a glass jaw. Satterfield, whose best weight was about 182 pounds, was a murderous puncher, but during his career he was stopped 13 times.

LA’s Clarence Henry and Pittsburgh’s Bob Baker were ranked #3 in the heavyweight division when they ventured to Chicago to tangle with Satterfield, Henry in 1952 and Baker the following year. Henry knocked out Satterfield in the opening round. Satterfield hit the canvas so hard, said a ringside reporter, the resin dust flew up.

The Satterfield-Baker fight would also end in the opening round. Baker out-weighed Satterfield by 34 pounds, but Satterfield flattened him. Later on, in a non-Wednesday fight, Satterfield knocked out Cleveland “Big Cat” Williams in the third round. Williams, 33-1 heading in, was the larger man by 25 pounds.

One bet on or against Bob Satterfield at one’s own peril.

The Wednesday Night Fights had a nice run before the series was cancelled and supplanted in its time slot by “The Naked City,” a critically acclaimed police drama series. Perhaps the return of boxing on Wednesdays augurs well for another mid-week boxing series, but we won’t hold our breath.

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Erickson Lubin Wins, But Misplaced His Hammer

David A. Avila

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Erickson Lubin misplaced the hammer but found a way to victory over Terrell Gausha by unanimous decision in a slow-developing WBC super welterweight eliminator on Saturday.

Lubin (23-1, 16 KOs), a southpaw slugger, was unable to lower the boom on Gausha (21-2-1, 10 KOs) at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn. But he did enough in a tactical battle that only activated into a real fight in the later rounds.

Back and forth the two super welterweights mostly feinted and fired blows at each other’s guard. Few managed to pierce for scoring blows and those that landed were mostly to the body.

“It was a chess match. I respected what he had, he was trying to counter what I had. My trainer was telling me to be cautious and not get hit with anything stupid,” said Lubin, whose trainer is the respected Kevin Cunningham.

Gausha, 33, was the more accurate puncher but fired less than Lubin. Though he seemingly scored more often with counter rights, the scarcity of his blows allowed Lubin to control the pace of the fight.

It wasn’t until the mid-rounds that Gausha stepped into a slightly quicker pace. In the 10th, a short right connected and wobbled Lubin who covered up.

“I knew I had hurt him, but he was able to recover,” said Gausha, 24, who tried to finish off the hurt fighter but was unable to land another scoring blow.

“I’m in shape and I was able to recuperate,” Lubin revealed.

It was still unclear who was winning the fight. In the 12th and final round Lubin stepped up the pace and connected with a crisp right hook that clearly snapped the head of Gausha. But he fought his way out of the dangerous corner.

After 12 rounds all three judges scored it for Lubin 115-113, 116-112, 118-110.

“Gausha is a tough competitor, he’s at the top for a reason,” said Lubin. “I feel I beat one of the top 154s and I’m going to keep doing that.”

Gausha was classy in defeat.

“I take my hat off to Erickson Lubin. He was the better man tonight,” said Gausha.

Lubin now awaits the winner between Jermell Charlo and Jeison Rosario who fight each other next week for the WBC, WBA and IBF super welterweight titles. Showtime will provide the title match on pay-per-view.

Featherweights

Former IBO featherweight titlist Tug Nyambayar (12-1, 9 KOs) floored Cobia Breedy (15-1) twice in the first two rounds but struggled the rest of the way to win by split decision. One judge scored it 115-113 for Breedy and two others for Mongolia’s Nyambayar 114-112 and 114-113.

Nyambayar knocked down Breedy with a counter right cross in the first round and then floored him with four rights and a left hook in the second. After that, Breedy was the busier fighter and no one was able to take control.

“Boxing is boxing. It was a tough fight,” said Nyambayar.

Welterweights

In a solid match Philadelphia’s Jaron Ennis (26-0, 24 KOs) was able to find out exactly where he stands against real competition and stopped the unstoppable Juan Carlos Abreu (23-6-1, 21 KOs) in the sixth round by technical knockout in their welterweight showdown.

More than just a knockout win, Ennis discovered that he can indeed take a punch from an elite level puncher.

Nobody questioned whether Ennis had boxing skills or athleticism and power, but nobody knew if he could take a punch. They discovered it as Abreu was able to connect in the fourth and fifth rounds. The Dominican fighter pulled out his tricks and connected several times with sneaky rights and lefts. Ennis remained standing.

Abreu was looking to trade bombs with Ennis in the fifth and sixth round and paid the price in getting delivered to the canvas with a pretty right counter uppercut. He survived. But in the sixth a slew of punches along the ropes sent him down again. He beat the count again but during a fierce exchange he was floored a final time at 1:06 of the sixth round. It was the first time Abreu had ever been stopped.

“I feel I put on a wonderful show and got the knockout,” said Ennis. “I feel I showed the division I am here.”

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