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It’s Still Joshua’s World with Wilder and Fury Residing There

Frank Lotierzo

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They’re certainly having fun and doing a good job of trying to kick sand on the champ with the lifeguard build cooling it on the beach ….the one basking in the sun, loving life without a foreseeable problem in the world. And when you’re at the top of the food chain in sports, politics, business, and especially boxing, you’re going to be the one on the dart board with the bullseye on your back. That comes with being the top dog in your field and it’s a lifetime better than being one of those who needs to kick sand to create interest in what you’re doing.

Since it was recently rumored and then confirmed that former heavyweight champ Tyson Fury 27-0 (19) and WBC titlist Deontay Wilder 40-0 (39) will meet later this year, they’ve owned the headlines. The pairing of Wilder and Fury is the fallout of Wilder and WBA/IBF/WBO titlist Anthony Joshua 21-0 (20) not being able to agree on the purse split if they were to meet. So the fight died and Fury, fully aware that, like Wilder, he held no leverage over Joshua, set his sight on Wilder. Now after beating two unranked fighters and because of his undefeated record and bravado, Fury will fight Wilder for the only belt he didn’t hold when he retired as the lineal champ.

The Wilder-Fury antics have been entertaining to watch and whoever wins between them — handing the other their first defeat — will clearly add to their cachet when it comes to vying for a satisfactory purse split with Joshua. However, lost in the shuffle is that, regardless of what Wilder and Fury say or do, Joshua is still the money fight for both and the fighter to beat in the division. It’s easy to see why Deontay and Tyson look to denigrate him at every turn.

When trying to think of the star fighter who Joshua’s persona most resembles, perhaps a less accomplished Sugar Ray Leonard could be the one. Leonard was subjected to the same accusations by Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler that Joshua fends off today, namely that he feared facing them and is hiding behind his advisor. In AJ’s case, it’s Eddie Hearn whereas Leonard had a land shark handling his business affairs named Mike Trainer. As history went on to prove, Leonard didn’t fear either of them, fighting Hearns during the time that Hearns was thought to be unbeatable and tangling with Hagler as a 4-1 underdog when most thought he was risking more than his health.

Joshua has the entire UK in his corner; his fans show up in droves for every fight. And like Leonard and even Muhammad Ali to a point, the opponent doesn’t matter… they just want to be there to emphatically root for him. In Leonard’s case, he was easy to root for because in his demeanor he reminded fans of the guy next door, whereas Joshua has the look of a guy from central casting who would be chosen to play the part of the heavyweight champion in a movie. AJ has the height, smile, broad shoulders, defined arms, and chest held upright by a narrow waist. Joshua goes out of his way to smile and project that he’s approachable, although unless he’s on camera that’s not quite as it seems. The point is he has the “it” factor and that’s benefited him greatly in becoming the money fighter in boxing’s flagship division.

In the ring Joshua does most everything technically correct. He fights from a conventional stance, he has terrific form and gets good leverage on his shots and is clearly the best boxer-puncher in the heavyweight division since the end of the Lewis/Klitschko era. He also looks to win by knockout. The only time he didn’t deliver on that he was given a pass because his opponent, Joseph Parker, decided after sampling AJ’s strength and power that he’d fight to survive more than to win. And Joshua, in somewhat of a surprise to many, was content to win with his powerful jab instead of putting himself at a little risk to keep his consecutive knockout streak intact.

Joshua is an easy target for Wilder and Fury to take shots at. They say he hasn’t fought anybody and is robotic and question his chin and toughness. And some of that has to do with him not carrying himself as if he were the baddest man on the planet the way that Mike Tyson carried himself. Yet Mike Tyson never got off the canvas to come back to win a fight, whereas Joshua got off the deck and rallied to stop the biggest two-handed puncher in the division in the biggest fight of his career. Too often fighters with a soft demeanor like Joshua aren’t taken as seriously as they should be, something both Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler found out when they mixed with Sugar Ray Leonard, and don’t be surprised if the winner of Wilder-Fury finds out the same thing about AJ when they finally face him.

Fury likes to say he handled Klitschko easier than Joshua did as a way of tweaking AJ while elevating himself. Well in a sense that’s true, but every heavyweight contender in the world would rather have defeated Klitschko in the manner in which Joshua did as opposed to the manner that Fury did. And if you asked Klitschko which setback bothers him more, it wouldn’t take him long to expound on how the Fury loss is more difficult to accept. And that’s because he sold Fury short before the fight and when it was over he didn’t feel as though he were defeated as in out-manned, but handcuffed by an awkward style.

Not so with Joshua. Wladimir was driven to win going into the Joshua fight and they fought and didn’t play hit, hold and move the way Fury fought him. In addition, he hit AJ with his money punch, his right cross to the chin, and dropped him. Only Joshua got up and eventually overwhelmed Wladimir with his boxing skill and power. Klitschko probably dreams in his sleep about tagging Fury with the same bomb he did AJ. The reality is Fury didn’t beat Klitschko up; he basically prevented Wlad from beating him up. And he also was dropped by the biggest shot he ever took and that was from a cruiserweight, Steve Cunningham, so he can’t boast his durability is stouter than AJ’s.

Wilder also likes to insinuate Joshua is a little chinny, yet he was dropped in his 13th bout against Harold Sconiers who retired 18-27-2 (the video has been conveniently scrubbed from the internet). In Wilder’s last bout against Luis Ortiz, he was out-boxed for six of nine rounds and was much closer to being on his way out at the end of the seventh round than Joshua has ever been during his career. And often after Wilder fights, the next day social media is flooded with videos and memes mocking his style and his poor technique. I’ve yet to see one mocking Anthony Joshua’s boxing ability or technique.

Joshua isn’t the perfect fighter, nor is he a finished product the way Wilder and Fury are. They’ve hit their ceiling but Joshua hasn’t, and even at that he’s made more money than the two of them combined and doesn’t need either to continue raking it in. Also, Joshua hasn’t ducked anybody (nor has Wilder or Fury). AJ has already stopped Dillian Whyte, considered a top five contender at this time and next month is facing Alexander Povetkin, who ranks above every heavyweight in the world excluding Joshua and Wilder, and whose only setback was to Wladimir Klitschko, that coming in the midst of Wlad’s 10-year unbeaten streak. So the thought AJ hasn’t faced stern opposition is a myth.

All due props to Wilder and Fury for agreeing to meet later this year. They’re both taking a huge risk, but that’s because they want Joshua but need an injection of credibility and marketability to aide them at the negotiation table when Team Joshua is sitting across from them…which is somewhat amazing being that both Wilder and Fury turned pro in 2008 and AJ didn’t make his debut until 2013.

Yes, the Wider and Fury theatrics have been a nice diversion from the food fight Canelo and GGG are having via the media what seems like every day. Wilder may lack form and his delivery leaves something to be desired, but he is fearless and always in great condition and maybe the best thing to say for him is he has no trepidation letting his hands go, especially with the fight teetering in the balance. And with Wladimir Klitschko retired, Wilder houses the biggest one punch equalizer in the division.

In regards to Fury, he’s done a great job getting back in shape and shedding 95 percent of the weight he put on during his 31-month exile. Tyson has a good boxing mind and is on the verge of regaining his form and speed of 2014 and he’s also calculating and difficult to contend with strategically.

As to whether or not either or both could beat Joshua, there’s only one way to find out. The only given until Joshua loses or is defeated by either Wilder or Fury is that he’s the star fighter and the one to beat if you’re a heavyweight. And if he beats the Wilder/Fury winner, he’ll clearly represent the future of the division and perhaps all of boxing. Theatrics along with the WBC or lineal title won’t close the gap. And if the winner between Wilder and Fury struggles or isn’t impressive, they’ll have gained virtually nothing by facing each other, especially if Joshua dispenses with Povetkin in an impressive way next month.

Frank Lotierzo can be reached at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 116: Three Days of the Condor

David A. Avila

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Every year it happens.

Some of the best fights are made at the end of the year.

Three consecutive days of high-level prizefighting begin in Los Angeles, move to London and return to Dallas, Texas. I tagged it Three Days of the Condor in honor of the great spy movie of the 70s starring Robert Redford.

Here’s what is coming:

New York welterweight prospect Brian Ceballo (11-0, 6 KOs) meets Utah’s Larry Gomez (10-1, 8 KOs) 10 rounds on Thursday Dec. 3, at the Wild Card Gym parking lot in Hollywood, California. NBC SN will televise the Ring City Fight card beginning at 6 p.m. Pacific Coast Time.

It was supposed to be Brandon Adams versus Serhii Bohachuk in a super welterweight clash that had fans salivating who are familiar with the two. But the Ukrainian fighter who trains in Southern California fell ill with the coronavirus. Now Adams fights late replacement Sanny Duversonne in an eight-round bout. Poor Bohachuk.

“It is with regret that I have to announce that I’ve contracted the COVID virus and have to withdraw from the fight on Dec. 3,” Bohachuck said. “I want to thank Ring City and NBC Sports for the opportunity, and I look forward to fighting Adams in the future. I’m feeling fine and look forward to resuming my training as soon as I’m cleared.”

Ceballo (pictured) and Gomez are now the true main event and both have not fought in over a year. That should make it even. This also makes the second boxing card for the Ring City fight group. Two weeks ago, Ring City opened with a doozy of a boxing card. This should equal their opener in terms of even matchups.

British Action

Early Friday morning a boxing card features WBO super middleweight titlist Billy Joe Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) defending against veteran contender Martin Murray (39-5-1, 17 KOs) at London, England. DAZN will stream the Matchroom fight card beginning at 11 a.m. PT.

Saunders is a chatty sort who loves to discombobulate opponents in a variety of ways. Whether attacking their physical appearance or lack of skills, he is not shy about voicing his opinion.

But he does have respect for Murray.

“He’s challenged for the world title four times. He should have been world champion in two of those fights. I’ve promised him a chance,” said Saunders who is making his second defense of the WBO title and is a former middleweight world titlist.

The left-handed Saunders has long sought a match with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez who has held super welterweight, middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight world titles.

“The Canelo fight fell through in May,” said Saunders. “On Friday we’ll rock and roll.”

Murray is anxious for what could be his final world title shot.

“He’s not fought the opposition I’ve had,” said Murray who lost to Gennady Golovkin, Sergio Martinez and Felix Sturm. “If I’d had fought the people he’s fought, I’d have a world title. I’ve done it the hard way.”

PPV Welterweight Showdown

Errol Spence Jr. returns and the world will see if the championship caliber fighter still carries all of his weaponry.

He will be tested.

Spence (26-0, 21 K0s) returns to the prize ring after one year following a horrific automobile crash. He meets former two-division world champ Danny “Swift” Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) on Saturday Dec. 5, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The PBC card will be televised on FOX pay-per-view.

Back in September 2019, the speedy Spence lit up the boxing ring at Los Angeles in an electrifying battle with Shawn Porter. He barely emerged victorious and then allegedly celebrated in Texas by going more than 100 mph in a Ferrari 488 Spyder and flipping the expensive car end over end. The horrific crash was captured on video and despite the ugliness of the accident, Spence did not suffer any broken bones. But there was internal damage.

Just how severe were his injuries?

This marks the first time back in the prize ring and Garcia is a very rugged test. All Philadelphia fighters are tough, and he just might be the toughest of them all.

Garcia has only two losses in his career and both were very close decision defeats: First, against Shawn Porter and second against Keith Thurman. The counter-puncher has never been stopped or dropped and packs a wallop.

“He’s not much of a volume puncher so it will be more tactical. It probably won’t be like the Shawn Porter fight, an all-out brawl/fight. I think this will be more tactical, and pinpoint type of fight between me and him,” Spence told Brian Custer on The Last Stand Podcast.

This will be a true test for Spence who has mentioned many times desiring a match with Manny Pacquiao and WBO titlist Terence Crawford.

One interesting bout on the same pay-per-view card pits Josesito Lopez (37-8) versus Francisco Santana (25-8-1) in a 10-round welterweight mash-up. This fight is not for the squeamish. Both these guys are bruisers and have fought the best. It’s amazing that the two California fighters have not faced each other before. They have fought everyone else. Now its Lopez against Santana.

It will be brutal while it lasts.

Macho film

Showtime debuts its sports documentary on “Macho: The Hector Camacho Story” on Friday night December 4, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

If you love boxing don’t miss this important film on Camacho, one of the most scintillating boxers of the 1980s and 1990s. His presence in the boxing scene now seems to be overlooked by the great welterweights and Mike Tyson who dominated the boxing landscape.

Camacho was the lone prizefighter in the lower weight classes who could match their allure. The Puerto Rican fighter from Spanish Harlem fought and beat Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard. How many fighters can claim that?

It’s a very well-made documentary that delves into the flamboyant fighter’s life.

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

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Boxing Promoter Michelle “Raging Babe” Rosado Pulls No Punches

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Michelle Rosado, the founder and CEO of Raging Babe Promotions, made her promotional debut on Feb. 8, 2019 with a show at South Philly’s intimate 2300 Arena. The show drew an SRO crowd, a testament to Rosado’s tireless work ethic, but ended on a sour note when local fan favorite Christian Carto – potentially the next big thing on the Philadelphia boxing scene – stepped up in class and was brutally knocked out by Mexican veteran Victor Ruiz. A protégé of Hall of Fame boxing promoter J Russell Peltz (pictured on the left), Rosado recently appeared on the “Last Stand Podcast with Brian Custer” to share her thoughts on some of the major issues in boxing. Here are excerpts from that interview compliments of publicist Keisha Williams.

ROSADO ON WHY CLUB SHOWS ARE IMPORTANT TO THE SPORT

“Club shows are where you are building those prospects, that’s where you’re developing those fighters you see the top promoters are pulling these opponents from. We’re developing these guys from the ground up, we’re almost like a farm system. Most of these guys you see on TV fighting for millions of dollars, and becoming world champions, a lot of them started at the club level.”

ROSADO ON STATE OF WOMEN’S BOXING

“Women’s boxing needs a platform, there’s nowhere for these girls to fight, they deserve some fairness in our sport. I’m not trying to say they deserve to be paid the same as Canelo, but they shouldn’t be paid 5 thousand dollars to defend their titles either, so in 2021

I’m going to get more involved in women’s boxing and try and be a voice for them because they deserve better and a platform.”

ROSADO ON HOW DIFFICULT IT IS BEING IT IS BEING A FEMALE PROMOTER IN BOXING

“I’ve been called every racial slur you can think of, I’ve had tickets thrown in my face, I’ve had my house vandalized, I’ve had a brick thrown threw my back window of my car. I’ve been called every kind of groupie you can imagine. She’s slept with everybody in the business and every fighter. I’ve earned my stripes, I’ve worked hard, no handouts, it’s just been all hard work and I’ve had to learn to turn the cheek. Most people know nine years in that I’m a hustler. You’ll never find a fighter that says she stole from me, she didn’t pay me, she lied to me, you’ll never find a fighter that says that!”

RAGING BABE ON FEMALE BOXING PROMOTERS

“Yes we have a lot more women in boxing, yes it still a little more difficult for us, but we’re there you hear us roaring. Behind every big promoter, he’s got a woman either as his right hand man or running the operation. And I mean all of them!”

ROSADO ON HER ULTIMATE GOAL

“I want to continue to promote good fights, I want to make Philadelphia the legendary fight town that it once was, I want to develop those guys from the ground up, I want old school and new school boxing fans to come to my shows and fall in love with boxing again, and them become interested in the bigger boxing world again because we’re losing that old school boxing fan. I want to uphold the reputation of real fights, real fighters, real fans that’s my passion.”

ROSADO’S TOP 5 POUND FOR POUND LIST

  1. Terence Crawford
  2. Canelo Alvarez
  3. Errol Spence Jr.
  4. Naoya Inoue
  5. Teofimo Lopez

Rosado on who’s boxing next big star and the best fighter out of Philly right now

“Boxing’s next big star is Tank….We got a lot of really good fighters in Philly, but Jaron “Boots” Ennis is that dude!”

The full in-depth interview is now available on YouTube (Last Stand Podcast with Brian Custer) and all major podcast platforms (Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, etc.)

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

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HITS and MISSES: Post-Thanksgiving Weekend Edition

Kelsey McCarson

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It was another massive weekend in boxing. There were big fights on pay-per-view that maybe shouldn’t have been so big, and fights surrounded by lesser fanfare that will probably be looked back at as the more meaningful action by future historians.

Here are the biggest HITS and MISSES from another week on the boxing beat.

HIT: Mike Tyson, Roy Jones and the Unifying Power of Boxing

Whatever you think about the boxing exhibition bout between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones, Jr. on Saturday night, the most important aspect of the whole night (to this writer at least) was seeing how easily a big fight in boxing could still unify our culture.

No, it wasn’t a legitimate prizefight, but people still wanted to see the 54-year-old Tyson go a few rounds with the 51-year-old Jones, and that’s exactly what they got. It was a ride built mostly around the power of nostalgia, and it featured all sorts of present-day celebrities, too.

By the end of things, it seemed the general reaction to the event on social media was positive.

Tyson vs. Jones showed how big a reach boxing still has. Tyson retired over 15 years ago, but people from all over the planet were still willing to pay $50 to watch him climb inside the ropes for a sparring session.

Seeing that left me with two exciting questions.

What awesome power will boxing’s next superstar have?

More importantly, where is he (or she) anyway?

MISS: Ring Announcer’s Steve Harvey Moment 

In 2015, comedian Steve Harvey accidentally announced the wrong winner of the Miss Universe pageant. As humiliating as that event was for Harvey, just imagine how the two women felt after having their hearts filled and slashed by his error.

That same thing sort of happened on Friday night when Danny Jacobs beat Gabriel Rosado via split decision in a 168-pound stay-busy fight streamed by DAZN.

Ring announcer Jeremiah Gallegos accidentally said the winner hailed from Philadelphia (where Rosado is from) before quickly changing it back to Brooklyn (where Jacobs is from).

So momentarily, the hard-luck Rosado, who never has been the beneficiary of a close decision in any important fight, thought he had just pulled off the upset of the year.

Instead, Jacobs was corrected as the winner and that had to be an awful experience for both fighters, one that was completely avoidable.

HIT: Joe Joyce: An Actual Juggernaut?

Heavyweight prospect Joe Joyce is a popular fighter on the other side of the ocean because of his long and successful campaign as an amateur boxing star which culminated with Joyce winning the silver medal for Great Britain in the super heavyweight division at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Still, as a professional prospect, there are lots of things not to like about Joyce. First, Joyce didn’t start boxing until he was 22. Late bloomers come around now and then, but they’re still a rarity in the sport. Second, Joyce is already 35, which means he’s already just outside the confines of his theoretical physical prime, something that ends around 33 years old and only gets worse. Finally, Joyce is just plain slow as molasses.

Regardless, Joyce stopped fellow Brit Daniel Dubois on Saturday in London.

Unlike Joyce, Dubois, 23, possesses plenty of attributes one looks for in a future world champion. But none of those things helped Dubois win the fight.

All this to say Joyce just keeps winning fights. Sure, he might appear to be a boulder tumbling slowly down a hill when he fights, but that rock is starting to gain some real momentum.

HIT: 54-1

Thailand’s Wanheng Menayothin finally lost a fight over the weekend, but it should be noted that at least the fighter finally knows his limits.

Menayothin (aka Chayaphon Moonsri) entered his fight against Petchmanee CP Freshmart (aka Panya Pradabsri) with a sterling record of 54-0. He left the contest 54-1 after judges rendered their verdict for the challenger.

Much was made of Menayothin’s glossy win streak last year when he surpassed retired boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather’s 50-0 mark. But a combat sports culture obsessed with suffering no blemishes on a record is only a relatively new phenomenon. Moreover, the very nature of that path through the sport never reveals the true limits of a fighter.

All this to say that Menayothin now gets a better sense of his limits, and the boxing world as a whole gets to know that same thing about him, too. That’s wildly better than the alternative.

MISS: Nate Robinson Challenge

If you missed the Tyson vs. Jones pay-per-view event on Triller over the weekend, you didn’t see social media star Jake Paul’s viral knockout of ex-NBA star Nate Robinson.

It was clear from the start of the fight that Paul and Robinson weren’t evenly matched. That kind of thing happens all the time in boxing, of course, but here was a case of a person (Robinson) who maybe had been so mismatched against Paul that it was too dangerous to have happened at all.

Regardless, Robinson did have the courage to train for the fight and step inside the ropes on fight night.

After he was knocked out, something called the “Nate Robinson Challenge” started trending on Twitter, and it was basically people from all over the world trolling the 3-time NBA dunking champ for getting knocked out in the fight.

Look, Robinson made his own bed by calling for the fight in the first place. But the Internet trolls that rag people for stepping outside their comfort zones probably would never dare to attempt that accomplishment themselves.

Robinson tried and failed. That’s the real challenge.

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

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