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Who Would Make For a More Alluring Opponent For Joshua, Wilder or Fury?

Frank Lotierzo

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Well it’s official. On December 1st WBC heavyweight title holder Deontay Wilder 40-0 (39) will face former lineal champ Tyson Fury 27-0 (19) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. And then hopefully the winner will face WBA/IBF/WBO title holder Anthony Joshua 22-0 (21) in Joshua’s next fight, booked for April 13th of next year at Wembley Stadium. And as Muhammad Ali often said prior to facing Joe Frazier back in 1971 “we’re gonna clear up all the confusion as to who the real heavyweight champ of the world is.”

The winner of Wilder-Fury vs. Joshua will be the most anticipated heavyweight showdown in at least 20 years and the only question is who would make for a bigger and better fight for Joshua, Wilder or Fury? However, before getting to that, there must be some correlations highlighted that substantiate why if Fury won and faced Joshua, it would parallel in many respects the first fight between Ali and Frazier.

Tyson Fury’s journey resembles Muhammad Ali’s. After winning the title from Wladimir Klitschko, Fury backslid into alcohol and drug abuse and never defended it. He retired and remained inactive for 31 months before returning to the ring. Fury has fought two non-entities in Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta since returning.

After nine title defenses, Ali was exiled from the ring for 43 months for refusing military induction. Like Fury, Ali fought twice before earning a title shot against champ Joe Frazier. The difference is Ali fought and beat two of the top five contenders in the division at the time in Jerry Quarry and Oscar Bonavena.

In the ring, Fury, like Ali in his era, is an unconventional boxer who uses the ring and applies an unorthodox offense and defense. But this characteristic they have in common pales in comparison to the one thing where Fury most closely resembles Ali, and that’s the ability to stir things up with words, actions and pointed threats and promises as to what he’s going to do to his next opponent. Fury is clearly the best trash talker since Ali and his ability to draw crowds and gain attention is unrivaled by any fighter in boxing today. If Fury beats Wilder he’ll have a picnic going after the perceived good guy Joshua just as Ali did going after Frazier with the verbal assaults he lobbed his way.

Speaking of Joshua, in this equation he’s Joe Frazier. AJ holds a majority of the available hardware as Joe did, he’s a big puncher who wins exclusively by knockout and pretty much doesn’t say or do anything that crosses the line or is seen as being controversial. And perhaps the thing that joins Joshua and Frazier the most is that they both emerged just when the high profile charismatic champ was exiting. In Ali’s absence, Frazier looked every bit as impressive as Ali did on the way up, whereas Joshua has looked even more formidable than did Fury on Fury’s way up to the title. Moreover, both Frazier and Joshua, as terrific as they looked in the ring, both needed to beat the other fighter to be considered the true champion. In Joe Frazier’s case that meant Ali and in Joshua’s case it’s the Wilder-Fury survivor.

Who makes for a better event and fight against Joshua; Wilder or Fury?

The answer to that isn’t just a matter of who you like better between Deontay and Tyson. One makes for a more compelling fight in the ring, strategically, and the other makes for a bigger event, overflowing with boldness and insulting statements directed at Joshua on a daily basis.

From an in-the-ring perspective, a fight between Wilder and Joshua would no doubt be a better fight and more explosive. They are the two biggest punchers in the heavyweight division who for all intents and purposes seek to win their bouts by knockout. Both have an extremely long reach and use it to set up their bread and butter punch which in this case is their right hand. It can be argued as to who is the bigger puncher, and it’s plausible Wilder’s best right hand is a bigger single shot than anything in Joshua’s arsenal. Conversely, Joshua is the better two handed puncher with a left hand that no doubt carries more finishing power. Joshua is the more polished technician with better form and technique, is more capable of accurately delivering his power consistently, and he has short power and doesn’t need as much room to do damage.

Something else Joshua and Wilder share is that neither is great defensively and each is vulnerable to what the other does well. Joshua is most vulnerable to cuffing/overhand rights and Wilder has been out-jabbed by many of his opponents. To date, neither has shown that they have a chin remotely close to the ones exhibited by George Foreman and Ron Lyle during their slug-fest for the ages. Joshua was dropped in his fight against Wladimir Klitschko and Wilder was dropped by Harold Sconiers, a journeyman with a losing record. Joshua was shook for a few seconds against Dillian Whyte before winning by stoppage and was jarred by Alexander Povetkin at the end of the first round in his last fight. As for Wilder, he was buzzed good by Artur Szpilka and, despite not going down, was close to being stopped by Luis Ortiz.

The point is both AJ and Deontay have more than enough power to get rid of the other inside the distance. Couple that with the fact that neither will have much trouble catching the other and there’s no way the fight can’t be action-packed. And it may be the millennial version of Foreman-Lyle, without them having to hit each other with as many clean bombs as George and Ron dropped on each other, simply because it’s doubtful Joshua or Wilder are as rugged or durable as they were. Obviously Wilder beating Fury affords fans an opportunity to see a more exciting fight pitting the top Brit and American heavyweights in the world against each other.

What if Fury beats Wilder?

If Fury wins and goes on to fight Joshua, the similarities to Frazier-Ali I are there as mentioned above. Fans would see theatrics and bombast that might even rival Ali’s behavior prior to taking on Frazier in the “Fight of The Century” back in 1971. And as we saw before he fought Wladimir Klitschko, Tyson Fury, like Ali, is quite good at getting under his opponent’s skin. Fury will say things about Joshua that will make Ali calling Frazier an “Uncle Tom” seem like a pleasantry.

The other thing Fury shares with Ali is that he enters the ring more with a mindset to embarrass and humiliate his opponents than to hurt or knock them out. Fury, if he were to fight Joshua, wouldn’t even entertain beating him by stoppage. He’d be focused on out- maneuvering and out-boxing him, mixed in with some facial taunts and body gyrations during the action, again emulating Ali.

Being the lineal champ who never lost the title in the ring, Fury actually makes for the more credible fight if he were to beat Wilder. That’s because a Wilder win could be seen as being a matter of Fury having not gained his championship form after having fought only twice after a long layoff. And the likelihood is if Fury can beat Wilder, it would be by decision in a fight that went the full 12 rounds. And if that’s the case, Fury, having shaken off even more rust, could be better going in against Joshua than he was going into the Wilder bout.

Fury vs. Joshua is clearly a bigger fight from a monetary and promotional vantage point than Wilder vs. Joshua could ever hope to be. Wilder isn’t as well-known worldwide as Fury and isn’t nearly the promoter or entertainer Tyson is. And in the UK, the place they’d more than likely fight, it would be accompanied by a holiday and festive atmosphere like no other fight in British history. That said, the actual bout wouldn’t be exciting at all. And just as when he fought Klitschko, Fury would enter the ring against Joshua with the intent to make him look bad and turn the bout into a wrestling match instead of beating Joshua up or knocking him out.

So there you have it. If you want to be entertained, root for Wilder to beat Fury. On the other hand if you want to experience some funny antics and be amused up until the first bell, than you want Fury to beat Wilder.

Lastly, if the Wilder-Fury fight does come off as scheduled and the winner really fights Joshua in April, it’ll be the quickest turnaround between two major heavyweight title fights in years, and whoever fights Joshua should get a lot of credit for taking the fight so soon.

Between 1977 and 1982, Frank Lotierzo had over 50 fights in the middleweight division. He trained at Joe Frazier’s gym in Philadelphia under the tutelage of the legendary George Benton. Before joining The Sweet Science his work appeared in several prominent newsstand and digital boxing magazines and he hosted “Toe-to-Toe” on ESPN Radio. Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@gmail.com

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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.

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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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