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With Big Wins, Hurd and Charlo Convey That Blonds Really Do Have More Fun

Bernard Fernandez

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BROOKLYN, N.Y. – It has been a tough season for Odell Beckham Jr., the New York Giants’ superstar wide receiver who has popularized both the seemingly impossible one-handed catch and a hairstyle, bleached-blond on top of the wearer’s naturally dark roots, that more and more African-American athletes have adopted as a mark of distinction and possibly as a tribute to its originator. But while Beckham is now out for the season with a fractured ankle, and his struggling team was 0-5 after a 27-22 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 8 in which a grimacing Beckham had to be carted off the field, two of the victorious boxers in Saturday night’s Showtime-televised tripleheader here at the Barclays Center proved that OBJ’s ‘do’ is not through being a thing worthy of imitation.

While most of the public and media attention had been concentrated on the middle act of the three TV fights, which pitted WBC super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo against the much-hyped Erickson Lubin, and the finale and ostensible main event, in which WBA/IBO super welterweight titlist Erislandy Lara took on 2012 U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha, the opening segment, in which IBF junior middleweight ruler Jarrett Hurd would defend his belt against former WBA 154-pound champ Austin Trout, drew comparatively scant attention.

That proved to be a major error in judgment, as the 7,643 in-house spectators and the Showtime viewing audience would happily discover. Where Beckham, when healthy, is adept at catching bombs, his barbershop lookalike, Hurd (pictured in the blue trunks), is more likely to deliver them. After a slow start in which Trout, the clever, 32-year-old southpaw from Las Cruses, N.M., held the upper hand in the first three rounds despite coming off a 17-month layoff that did not noticeably coat him in a layer of ring rust, one thing was becoming evident: the challenger lacked the firepower to continue to stave off the stalking Hurd’s relentless pursuit and intent to deliver far more damaging punches.

Hurd’s power eventually began to turn the tide, and the big bopper from Accokeek, Md., which is considered to be a part of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, foreshadowed the eventual ending by connecting with jolting right hands in the fifth round, twice causing Trout to take little bunny hops. Another big right in the sixth again almost caused Trout to go down, at which point the outcome became less a matter of “if” but “when.”

A small window opportunity opened for the game but increasingly desperate Trout in the seventh when he opened a cut above Hurd’s left eye, which Hurd claimed was the result of a head butt. But the taste of his own blood might have done more to ramp up Hurd’s pressure than to tamp it down, and he rocked Trout, who was never floored, with more ripping rights in the eighth and ninth rounds, which had the effect of swelling Trout’s right eye nearly shut.

In a possible nod to diversification, Hurd, 27, momentarily went southpaw in Round 10 and landed an overhand left that had once more turned Trout’s legs to jelly, but he managed to make it to the bell. The reprieve was only momentary; referee Eddie Claudio called the ring doctor over to examine Trout’s worsening eye and the determination was that it was best that the challenger, who several rounds earlier had decided that he would be better served by trying to build on his early momentum by knocking Hurd out, thus taking the judges out of the equation, not be allowed to come out for the 11th round.

It’s hard to find fault with Trout’s rationale for throwing caution to the wind. After 10 completed rounds, he trailed on all three scorecards, by 96-94 (twice) and 97-93, and the shift in momentum toward Hurd showed him landing 265 of 753 total punches (35 percent), according to CompuBox, compared to 208 of 673 (31 percent) for Trout. The disparity seems even more telling in light of Hurd’s superior strength.

“I’m always the one that comes on stronger at the end of the fight,” said Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs), who was making the first defense his title. “We knew we were going to wear Austin Trout down in the later rounds and eventually stop him.”

Trout (30-4, 17 KOs), who was taken to a nearby hospital for observation, was not available for comment, but in losing inside the distance for the first time he had enough valorous moments against an equally determined champion to stamp their fight as an instant classic, and Fight of the Year candidate.

“Wow,” said promoter Lou DiBella. “That was sensational.”

Hurd-Trout would have been a tough act to follow under most circumstances, but Charlo-Erickson, the presumed “fight fans fight,” was a jolt to most observers’ sensibilities, despite its brevity. Much of the attention beforehand had been focused on Lubin, who had just turned 22 on Oct. 1 and, in Charlo’s estimation, hadn’t established enough bona fides to even be granted a shot at the title, despite being the WBC’s mandatory contender.

“I’m fighting a prospect,” the blond-tressed Charlo had said, almost contemptuously, in the lead-up to the fight. “He’s not even a contender. Like I said, I don’t know how he even got this fight. But I have to (fight him) so I can fight the No. 1 guys. That’s what mandatories are all about.”

Lubin presumably had further irritated Charlo by musing about all the good things that would come his way after he wrested the title from the 27-year-old champion. He spoke about “changing the lives” of his parents, Erick and Marjorie, and especially that of his three-month-old son with the sort of financial benefits attendant to reigning champions with burgeoning fan bases.

As if all that weren’t enough, perhaps the 27-year-old Jermell still harbors a grudge toward all the skeptics who have depicted him a lesser talent than his identical twin, Jermall (26-0, 20 KOs), a former IBF junior middleweight champion who vacated that title to move up to middleweight. Perhaps because Jermall was regularly depicted as the harder puncher and thus more entertaining of the twins, Jermell switched trainers, from Ronnie Shields to Derrick James, who was tasked with the responsibility of converting his new pupil to someone as capable of whacking out opponents as Jermall, who continues to be trained by Shields.

The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and the new-look Jermell has significantly raised his profile as a dangerous dude.  He came into the bout having won his three most recent bouts inside the distance, including an eighth-round knockout of John Jackson for the vacant WBC title and a sixth-round kayo of Charles Hatley in his first defense. But Lubin supposedly posed a much sterner test, even if there were some reservations that he was stepping too far up in class and too soon.

Make it four straight now as he delivered a ripping right hand to Lubin’s jaw in the very first round that sent the Orlando, Fla., southpaw crashing to the canvas, where he rolled over onto his side and flopped around like a caught fish. Referee Harvey Dock did the right thing and waved things off after an elapsed time of just 2 minutes, 41 seconds.

“They were giving (Lubin) a lot of attention,” Charlo said of Lubin’s now-diminished status as one of boxing’s flavors of the month. “I was quiet the whole time. They said he was going to take my title. I had to defend it. They (Lubin and his support crew) didn’t know what I was bringing into this and I think he was worried about the wrong things.”

Just as Hurd-Trout will get consideration for Fight of the Year, Charlo’s quickie demolition of a hot property like Lubin now enters the discussion for Knockout of the Year.

Popularity in boxing being tied as it is to a fighter’s action quotient, it was almost a given that Houston-based Cuban defector Erislandy Lara, who closed the night by making his sixth title defense against unheralded 2012 U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha, would provide the fewest thrills and chills. But then, technical proficiency is and always has been the Lara’s stock in trade. He wins not so much by looking good himself, but by making opponents look bad, and he wasn’t about to deviate from his tried-and-true fight plan against Gausha, even though the 34-year-old southpaw dropped the would-be usurper from Cleveland, Ohio, with a straight left for a flash knockdown in the fourth round. Gausha, 29, survived the mini-scare, but he proceeded to be outboxed the rest of the way in a snoozer that seemed even less appealing in light of the fact the two preceding 154-pound championship fights had produced spectacular moments of high drama.

“He came to fight,” Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs) said of Gausha (20-1, 9 KOs), who never registered double-digit scoring punches in any of the 12 rounds. “I take the rhythm of the boxing match and that’s when I take over. (Gausha was) fighting the best in the division … he knew who he was fighting today.”

All that remains now is how the future plays out for the winners, all of whom professed an interest in unification matchups.

“I’m ready to unify – 2018 is the year for unifications. It don’t matter who it is. I’m ready to take on anyone,” said Hurd. “Team Swift (“Swift” is Hurd’s nickname, although mobility does not appear to be his foremost asset) don’t run from anyone.”

It was yada, yada, yada with both Charlo and Lara, the former an emerging quick-strike artist and the latter and unhurried tactician.

“We’re going to unify,” Charlo said. “The other champions want to fight me and I’ll take any of them. Give me another title. I want Hurd. Hurd just won. Give me Hurd.”

Lara, on the other hand, has visions of mixing it up with former stablemate Charlo, saying, “I don’t shy away from anyone that wants to fight me. I’ll box whoever. Just line them up. I’m not afraid. I have proven that I’m a true champion. I’ll fight Charlo if I have to. We are friends, but business is business.”

Based on Saturday night’s (and into early Sunday morning in the Eastern Time Zone) results, perhaps the most appealing of the possible pairings would be Hurd vs. Charlo. For one thing, they have the more fan-friendly styles. For another, somebody needs to claim the mythical but seemingly coveted crown as king of the OBJ hairstyles. Even in boxing, it matters to care about the hair.

Photo credit: Ed Diller / DiBella Entertainment

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Tyson and Jones Box to an Unofficial Draw in a Predictable Stinker

Arne K. Lang

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The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, an American institution, went belly-up in 2017, but a different kind of circus played to an empty house at the Staples Center in Los Angeles tonight. The main attraction wasn’t Jumbo the elephant but Iron Mike Tyson in his first ring appearance in 15 years. In the opposite corner was Roy Jones Jr, who at age 51 was the younger man by three years.

Tyson vs. Jones was the main piece of a 4-hour boxing and music festival live-streamed in the U.S. on the TysononTriller.com app at a list price of $49.95. This was the first live event on “Triller” which allows people to create their own music videos and was designed as a rival to China-owned TikTok, one of the biggest recent success stories in the internet world.

The California State Athletic Commission, which sanctioned the match, insisted that Tyson vs. Jones would be an exhibition. They would fight 8 two-minute rounds with 12-ounce gloves and if there were a knockdown, the referee would not give a count and the bout would or would not continue at his discretion. The rounds would not be scored and no winner would be named.

Of course, the promoter chafed at these restraints and did his best to create the impression that this was a legitimate prizefight. Retired boxers Vinny Pazienza, Chad Dawson, and Christy Martin were lassoed to serve as judges, scoring the fight from a remote location, and the WBC commissioned an honorary belt to present to the winner.

The advance hype was enormous. A clickbait-obsessed media lapped it up including photoshop-enhanced images of Mike Tyson’s physique.

In the second round, Tyson landed a double left hook and that was the only indelible moment in the match. By the third round, both looked and sounded tired and by the sixth round Jones was thoroughly gassed out and took to clinching to make it to the final bell.

For the record, the scores were 79-73 for Tyson (Martin), 80-76 for Jones (Pazienza), and 76-76 (Dawson). On the internet, the clear consensus was that Tyson had the best of it.

Mike Tyson, 50-6, 2 NC (44 KOs) last fought in June of 2005 when he was stopped by third-rater Kevin McBride. Roy Jones (66-9, 47 KOs) was active as recently as 2018 and won his last four, but against hand-picked opponents including a boxer making his pro debut. His last fight of significance came in 2011 when he was brutally KOed by Dennis Lebedev in Moscow.

Jones, who weighed 210 ½ tonight, weighed 157 when he made his pro debut in 1989. In his prime, he was pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world, but that was back in the previous century.

Both fighters were reportedly guaranteed $1 million with Tyson’s take potentially reaching $10 million if certain financial targets were met.

Other Bouts

YouTube sensation Jake Paul, who we reluctantly concede has more than a modicum of talent in the fisticuffing department, knocked out Nate Robinson in the second round and it was a clean knockout with Robinson knocked out cold. The 36-year-old Robinson, the former NBA point guard who was a three-time slam dunk champion during his 11-year NBA career, is a well-rounded athlete, good enough to start as a cornerback in football during his freshman year at the University of Washington, but his athleticism didn’t translate to the squared circle as he looked like a common bar brawler.

Former two-division belt-holder Badou Jack (22-3-4), who said he appeared on the card as a favor to his friend Mike Tyson, was a clear-cut winner over hard-trying but out-classed Blake McKernan in an 8-round cruiserweight match.

At age 37, Jack’s career is winding down. He tipped the scales at 188 ¾, 14 pounds more than in his previous engagement vs. Jean Pascal. McKernan, a natural cruiserweight from Sacramento, was undefeated coming in (13-0), but was over his in over his head against Jack, a former Olympian and veteran of seven world title fights.

In a good action fight, Worcester, Massachusetts lightweight Jamaine Ortiz, a carpenter by trade, improved to 14-0 (8) with a seventh-round stoppage of Sulaiman Segawa (13-3-1), a Maryland-based Ugandan.

In the first bout on the program, Fort Worth featherweight Edward Vazquez improved to 9-0 (1) with an 8-round split decision over Jamaine Ortiz stablemate Irvin Gonzalez (14-3).

Heavyweight Juiseppe “Joe” Cusumano improved to 19-3 (17) with a sixth-round stoppage of late sub Gregory Corbin (15-4). It was the fourth straight loss for the 40-year-old Corbin who came in at a beefy 291 ¾ pounds.

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Fast Results from London: Joe Joyce Stops Daniel Dubois in the 10th

Arne K. Lang

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The historic Church House which sits in the shadow of Westminster Abbey was the site of tonight’s clash in London between unbeaten heavyweights Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce. The bout lacked the gloss of a world title fight, but didn’t need it. The oft-postponed match, originally slated for the 02 Arena in London on April 11 with promoter Frank Warren anticipating a sellout, was fairly hyped as the most anticipated fight since Fury-Wilder II which was the last big fight before the coronavirus clampdown.

Dubois, 15-0 with 14 KOs heading in, was a consensus 7/2 favorite in man-to-man betting, He was younger, faster and punched harder, but ultimately it would be his “O” that had to go. Joe Joyce, an inch taller at six-foot-six and 15 pounds heavier at 259, emerged victorious with a 10th-round stoppage in what was a good back-and-forth fight with a divided opinion as to who had the edge through the completed rounds.

Joyce really didn’t do much but throw a jab, but he landed that jab consistently and it was a hard, thudding jab that caused Dubois’s left eye to start swelling during the mid-rounds of the fight. The damaged eye eventually shut and when Joyce reached it with another hard jab in the 10th, Dubois surrendered by taking a knee. The presumption was that he had suffered a broken orbital bone.

The 35-year-old Joyce, nicknamed Juggernaut, is of Scotch-Irish and Nigerian descent. He lost by split decision to Tony Yoka in the semifinals of the 2016 Olympics and had to settle for a silver medal. Prior to turning pro, he was 12-1 in the semi-pro World Series of Boxing with his lone defeat coming at the hands of Oleksandr Usyk. With today’s career-defining win, he upped his pro ledger to 12-0 (11).

Other Bouts

Top-rated WBC super lightweight contender Jack Catterall (26-0) won a predictably one-sided 10-round triumph over 33-year-old Tunisian Abderrazak Houya (14-3). Catterall scored two knockdowns en route to winning by a 99-90 score. This was a stay-busy fight for the Lancashire man who was the mandatory challenger for title-holder Jose Carlos Ramirez and accepted step-aside money with the promise that he would meet the winner of the unification fight between Ramirez and Josh Taylor which is expected to come off in February.

The lead-in fight was a 10-round contest in the super welterweight division between 21-year-old Hamzah Sheeraz and 33-year-old Guido Nicolas Pitto. The fight was monotonous until Sheeraz (12-0, 8 KOs) kicked it into a higher career in the final stanza and brought about the stoppage. Pitto, from Spain by way of Argentina, declined to 26-8-2. The official time was 1:11 of round 10.

In an 8-round cruiserweight bout, Jack Massey improved to 17-1 (8) with a 79-74 referee’s decision over Mohammad Ali Farid (16-2-1). Massey was making his first start since losing a close 12-round decision to Richard Raikporhe in December of 2019 for the vacant BBBofC title. The well-traveled, one-dimensional Farid had scored 16 knockouts in his previous 18 fights while answering the bell for only 33 rounds.

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Daniel Jacobs Edges Past Gabe Rosado on a Matchroom card in Florida

David A. Avila

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Former world champion Daniel Jacobs needed the last round to win by split decision against upset-minded Gabe Rosado and keep his place in line on Friday for lucrative super middleweight matchups.

But when the ring announcer erroneously announced the winner was from Philadelphia, confusion reigned for a moment until Jacobs was correctly called the winner.

Brooklyn’s Jacobs (37-3, 30 KOs) jumped out ahead against Philly fighter Rosado (25-13-1, 14 KOs) and held on for the win in front of no fans at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. For a second, many thought Rosado had won.

Both were careful during the first three rounds measuring each other’s distance and looking for openings to counter. There were very few.

It was the kind of fight expected by those who know boxing: two veterans with immense experience against top-flight world champions. Mistakes were few.

Jacobs, a former middleweight world champion, had fought Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in close but losing efforts.

Rosado had battled Golovkin too, six years ago in a bloody affair that ended in a loss. He had also lost to other champions like Peter Quillin and Jermell Charlo. But none were able to knock him out.

Both were aware of each other’s reputation. Bitter words had been exchanged for years and now they finally got their chance to prove their mettle and they did.

Though Jacobs was recognized as a knockout puncher, Rosado’s resilience was just as well known. Both neutralized each other for most of the fight with their feints and jabs to the body. Neither was willing to leave openings for each other.

Jacobs scored big with a left uppercut at the end of the seventh round. While Rosado wowed viewers with a sizzling right cross in the 11th round.

It was 1950s style, boxing with intelligence. Each found it difficult to land combinations, let alone find openings to score knockout blows. Instead, they had to be satisfied with scoring enough to convince three judges the actual winner.

Neither was able to pull out ahead with any conviction.

After 12 rounds one judge saw Rosado the winner 115-113 while two others saw Jacobs the winner 115-113 to give him the win by split decision.

“It felt just a little weird. It felt like a sparring match,” said Jacobs about fighting without fans in the audience. “This wasn’t a valiant effort.”

Rosado was certain he was the true winner.

“I thought I won the fight. I surprised him,” said Rosado who trained with Freddie Roach for this fight. “I’m a veteran, I know how to fight.”

Indeed, he does.

Jacobs now stands poised to fight one of many super middleweight champions in need of a marquee name.

“I live to see another day,” he said honestly.

Other Bouts

Kazakhstan’s Daniyar Yeleussinov (10-0, 6 KOs) proved he was not an easy touch and knocked out former world champion Julius Indongo (23-3, 12 KOs) to march forward in the welterweight division while grabbing the vacant IBF Inter-Continental title.

In a fight featuring southpaw versus southpaw Yeleussinov caught Indongo with a roundhouse left the first time they exchanged and down went the former super lightweight world champion. Indongo beat the count and survived the round.

Indongo wasn’t as lucky in the second round as Yeleussinov again connected with a left and down went the fighter from Namibia again. He would not get up at 1:24 of round two giving the knockout win for Yeleussinov.

A battle between undefeated heavyweights saw Azerbaijan’s Mahammadrasul Majidov (3-0, 3 KOs) use roundhouse rights to stagger the heavier Sahret Delgado (8-1) to win by knockout in the third round. Majidov actually helped Delgado get to his stool after knocking him out on his feet at 47 seconds of the third round.

Emmanuel Tagoe (32-1) defeated Mason Menard (36-5) by majority decision after a 10- round lightweight fight that saw a lot of clinching and leaning.

Nikita “White Chocolate” Ababiy (10-0) out-fought Detroit’s Brandon Maddox (7-4-1) to win by unanimous decision after six rounds in a middleweight clash. Ababiy hurt Maddox with body shots but found Maddox more resilient than expected.

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