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Open Scoring in Boxing: Yes or No? Part Two of a TSS Survey

Ted Sares

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(PART TWO: M-W): We asked 48 noted boxing buffs how they felt about open scoring. Specifically we asked, “Are you in favor of open scoring whereby the scores of the judges would be revealed after each round or at one or more intervals during the fight? If so, why? If not, why not?”

The respondents are listed alphabetically. Part One (A-L) ran yesterday (Tuesday, Oct. 2). Here’s the concluding segment. A hearty thanks to all that took the time to share their thoughts.

ADEYINKA MAKINDEU.K. barrister, writer and contributor to the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Boxing. Open scoring would detract from the drama of what the final decision will be should the fight endure to the allocated distance. So entertainment wise, it is not of particular value. Neither is its value enhanced in so far as the notion that it might improve the quality of judging. After all, the idea surely is not to put pressure on a judge whose scoring appears off base to a section of the crowd, or to substitute judges mid-fight for “getting things wrong.” This is a non-issue. Instead the focus should be on determining the professional competence of judges as well as their integrity.

JOHN McKALE–prominent boxing judge: No, 100% not in favor.  The mind through the eyes of each judge should not be compromised by anything, including what the other judges may be determining.

PAUL MAGNO–author, writer and boxing official in Mexico: I don’t like open scoring. It does absolutely nothing to help the integrity of judging, but it ruins some key elements of intrigue and suspense when it comes to the fight and the announcing of a winner. If boxing is serious about judging reform, then they need to do the only thing that matters– overhaul the entire incestuous system and create more of a separation between the promoters and the selection of officials.

SCOOP MALINOWSKI—boxing writer, author, “Mr. Biofile”: Open scoring is just another system that can be corrupted and surely will be corrupted. I’d rather see former pro boxers and champions in the role as judges, but they can be corrupted too.

LARRY MERCHANT—HBO boxing commentator emeritus; 2009 IBHOF inductee: I’m opposed to open scoring because  I witnessed a couple of such experiments that fell flat. Either the winning fighter, knowing the score, coasted through the late rounds and/or the losing fighter failed to respond, accepting defeat. The drama of uncertainty works best in prize fighting.

ROBERT MLADINICHformer NYPD police detective, author and boxing writer: I am not in favor of open scoring because awaiting a close decision is much of the fun of a good, close fight. Unfortunately the judges often get it wrong, which ruins the entire experience. That does not justify the open scoring. There should just be better judges.

HARRY OTTY—author, historian, part-time boxing coach: Absolutely in favor of ‘open scoring.’ How many close fights may have had a different result if the corner that felt they were ahead knew, without doubt, that they were actually behind with a couple of rounds left in the fight? I have coached amateur boxers for over 30 years and the closed scoring sucks – corruption is also rife. The best period we had was when the computer scoring (a button-push for each punch landed – not an ideal set up) was revealed at the end of each round. If you lost the first of three you at least had the option to alter tactics. Boxers/coaches who can adapt to what is happening as a result of the known score would also be proving their skill/superiority in the ring. TACTICS! From an open and transparent perspective it may have the side effect of making all judges (promoters/governing bodies) more accountable.

MARY ANN LURIE OWEN–boxing photojournalist extraordinaire:  In 12-round title fights, scores should be announced after the 4th and 8th rounds.

JOE PASQUALE – prominent judge and recent NJ Boxing Hall of Fame inductee: As a fan, my thoughts are that this is the one sport that holds the suspense of the outcome until the third judge’s score is read by the ring announcer. Also, I have worked a few of these score progressions announced throughout the fight. The fighter with the big lead going into the later rounds just stopped engaging and coasted the last few rounds, taking the edge off a good fight with the possibility of a stoppage going into that tough 12th round.

DAVID PAYNE—U.K. boxing writer: I’m not in favor. Open scoring impacts intent of fighters and crowd reaction impacts officials.

J. RUSSELL PELTZ—venerable Philadelphia boxing promoter and 2004 IBHOF inductee: Terrible idea. A boxer with a big lead avoids contact down the stretch. Takes away suspense. Better solution is to get better judges.

ADAM POLLACK–author, publisher, and boxing official: There are pros and cons. The pro is it would allow the fighter who was behind to make adjustments and potentially fight harder, because it would make him realize that what he was doing was not as effective in the judges’ minds as he thought it was. On the other hand, it can allow one fighter to coast if he realizes he is well ahead, which can cause fights to become boring, and it eliminates the drama. When neither knows whether or not they are ahead, they fight harder, fearing the unknown. But what boxing really should do is stop using incompetent judges, and bring back the 15-round championship fight. Open scoring simply shows the fighters and the world how terrible the judging is as it is happening. It doesn’t change the fact of bad judging.

BRIAN POWERS–former fighter: Show them so the fighter knows and can turn it up if he’s behind.

JACQUIE RICHARDSON–Executive Director, Retired Boxers Foundation: I fail to see what difference that would make. Good judges will be good judges and bad judges will remain bad judges. The only positive outcome would be if the corners know, and the boxers come out and make adjustments to more convincingly win rounds. Another positive thing would be to see if the judges know what ring generalship is and the real difference between power shots and pity-pats.

CLIFF ROLD—boxing writer; founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board: I’m not in favor of open scoring of any kind/time. I think it changes the approach of fighters and those with leads have an impetus to disengage. That’s bad for the entertainment factor. The second Bell-Mormeck fight at cruiserweight soured me on it. It went from eight rounds of all-out war to a chase scene.

FREDERICK ROMANO–former ESPN researcher and author:  My general feeling is I don’t believe it is necessary. It cuts both ways. Knowing a fight is dead even going into the last round could lead to some supreme efforts. It also might result in over-caution. However, I would like to hear from the fighters themselves as to whether they are in favor of it. Would they find it beneficial from a strategic standpoint? If they do, maybe we need to depart from tradition. I think what might be more important is that we improve the quality of judging. With quality judging the need for open scoring is mitigated. Also, using five judges for championship bouts might be helpful to reduce the potential impact of corruption and would overcome even two poor scorecards, saving some bouts from the wrong result.

DANA ROSENBLATT–former world middleweight champion; inspirational speaker: I am not in favor of open scoring. Although potential corruption is shrouded in part by allowing scoring to be done in a way that no one knows until the fight is over, I am not in favor of it. Instead, how about mandating that judges for all boxing matches are selected exclusively by the state boxing commissions of the states where the matches take place and not the promoters? I think this would make a difference.

LEE SAMUELS–veteran Top Rank publicist: We wouldn’t change it. There is always suspense how a fight is being scored. And in today’s world of Twitter, the top ringside writers tweet how they are scoring – that is good enough for me and for the fans who are watching.

TED SARES–TSS writer: In general, I dislike the concept but I’d be willing to see how allowing the scores to be read at the end of three rounds in ten-round fights and at the end of four in 12-round fights would work out—on a six-month trial basis.

ICEMAN JOHN SCULLY—former boxer, trainer, commentator, he’s done it all: There is no way open scoring should be allowed. It would kill all the potential for great drama in the sport of boxing. If it were implemented, it would backfire catastrophically.

MICHAEL SILVER–author, historian: I think it warrants an experiment for several months and in all fights to see how open scoring affects the fighters, corner men and fans in the arena. Mixed feelings about it but worth a try and then evaluate.

ALLAN SWYER–documentary filmmaker, writer, and producer of the acclaimed El Boxeo:Remember Oscar dancing away rounds because he knew he was far ahead in points? We’ll see far more of that kind of behavior with open scoring. My answer is a resounding NO!

DONALD L. TRELLA–prominent boxing judge: I am not a proponent of open scoring. I think part of the excitement that is generated by boxing is the announcement of the winner at the end of the fight. Everyone is on edge and anxious to hear the scores. There are also many ways a fighter can use open scoring to their advantage and diminish the action. For example, if a fighter is way ahead after seven rounds and has a shutout going, what’s the benefit of mixing it up the rest of the way? The fighter in the lead could just dance and stay out of the fray for the remaining five rounds leading to a very boring bout. Another example might be where a fighter is injured by an accidental foul. After four rounds are completed and he knows he’s ahead, he may say he can’t continue due to the injury and win the fight knowing what the score is after 4 rounds. What if a judge realizes he is wide compared to the other judges, does he start to score rounds differently to bring his or her scoring more in line with the other two judges? Very little upside… lots of down side. I actually could go on and on with a lot of examples.

GARY “DIGITAL” WILLIAMSthe voice of “Boxing on the Beltway”: I am totally against open scoring.  This takes the excitement of wondering what the final judge’s score will be.  Back in April of 1999, there was the Triple Jeopardy card in DC where they tried three types of open scoring — announcing the score after four rounds, after six rounds and after every round.  Mark Johnson’s bout was the one tried after every round.  After the bout, Mark told me that he knew after about eight rounds that he was well ahead on points so he just coasted to the win. Fans did not get a chance to see his true greatness. Open scoring just does not work on any level.

BEAU WILLIFORD–former trainer and the glue of boxing in Cajun Country:  I favor open scoring either way. I think open scoring would provide better boxing matches!

PETER WOOD–former fighter, writer,author: I’m all for the transparency of open scoring, but it wouldn’t work the way we would like. A boxing match’s emotionally-charged environment can be dangerous—and VERY dangerous to a judge who doesn’t score a round like the crowd wants it to be scored. The masses are asses and judges would be too easily influenced and swayed for their own safety

OBSERVATIONS:

Those opposed to Open Scoring overwhelmed those for it by a margin of 40-9. Jim Lampley said he was against it because it kills suspense for fans, places fighters at risk if they fall behind and then take risks not warranted by their abilities, while conversely encouraging a leading fighter to take fewer risks — and risk is at the heart of the sport. Larry Merchant added that he had witnessed a couple of such experiments that fell flat. Either the winning fighter, knowing the score, coasted through the late rounds and/or the losing fighter failed to respond, accepting defeat. The drama of uncertainty works best in prize fighting. J. Russell Peltz, in common with several other respondents, said a better solution is to get better judges. Another frequently-heard comment was pinpointed colorfully by Peter Wood: “A boxing match’s emotionally-charged environment can be dangerous—and VERY dangerous to a judge who doesn’t score a round like the crowd wants it to be scored.” And Steve Farhood summed things up nicely by stating, “..it places undue pressure on the judges and eliminates one of the most dramatic moments in boxing–when the ring announcer reads the final scores in a close fight.”

Some of those in favor, such as Bill Caplan and Mary Ann Owen, favored the WBC plan of open scoring during intervals, rather than after every round. And others thought there would be value in trying it for a trial period.

Ted Sares is one of the oldest active power lifters and is the oldest Strongman competitor in the United States. He recently won the Maine State Championship in his class. He is a member of Ring 4 and its Boxing Hall of Fame.

 Photo: Julio Cesar Chavez and Pernell Whitaker battle to a controversial draw in San Antonio.

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HITS and MISSES: Javier Fortuna Shines and More

Kelsey McCarson

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The boxing schedule continued during the penultimate week of November though there seemed a little less action over the weekend than prior weeks. Still, important contests took place featuring some of the top fighters in the sport.

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

HIT: Future Fortunes of Javier Fortuna 

Perhaps it’s just my affinity for southpaws, but Javier Fortuna looked sensational on Saturday night in the main event of an FS1 PBC Fight Night card.

Fortuna, 31, from the Dominican Republic, is a legit threat in the 135-pound division. His sole loss since moving up to lightweight was a split-decision to former titleholder Robert Easter in a fight that could have been scored either way, and his athletic and unorthodox style will just about always make him a problem for anyone.

alongside being tied to Al Haymon’s PBC group, Fortuna is promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz, whose most famous recent client is probably former middleweight champion Sergio Martinez. Like Martinez, Fortuna is the type of talent who could unexpectedly make some legitimate noise in his division during the latter part of his career.

MISS: Austin Delay’s Emotional Reactions to Accidental Headbutts

Despite the two losses on his record, there’s a lot to like about lightweight prospect Austin Dulay. The 25-year-old from Nashville defeated Jose Luis Gallegos in a 10-round decision in the co-feature of the PBC card on Saturday night in Los Angeles.

Dulay’s a sharp-fisted, crafty southpaw with fast hands and good feet. While his win over Gallegos absolutely proved he possesses some upside as a rising talent in the sport, his emotional responses to the three accidental headbutts in the fight gives his team plenty to work on with the fighter as he progresses.

Referee Thomas Taylor did a great job explaining the key concept to him. “It happens,” Taylor reminded Dulay at least twice in the fight after the clashes of heads. Indeed, it does happen, and that’s especially true in southpaw vs. orthodox matchups.

After the second headbutt in the fight, which happened in the sixth round, Dulay angrily gunned for the knockout. Everyone loves action like that, but reactive responses to innocuous events aren’t on the path to the highest levels in the sport. Dulay needs to reel his emotions back in during those types of moments if he hopes to become a world champion.

HIT: The Savagery of Alen Babic vs. Tom Little

Hopefully, you’ve witnessed the majesty of Alen Babic by now. The 30-year-old from Croatia is the type of heavyweight you’d better enjoy now on the way up the ranks because, let’s face it, Babic’s style and skill set make him likely to be exposed as he climbs higher up the ladder.

Until that time comes, though, Babic is must-see TV. The savagery of seeing a volume punching heavyweight who throws just about every single punch with serious emotional intent is a wonder to behold.

For his part, Tom Little did his best to turn the Babic tide back. In fact, the 33-year-old was the first fighter to weather Babic’s early storm and offer a return, but Babic ultimately dumped him down for the third-round knockout.

By the way, that’s faster than Daniel Dubois and Filip Hrgovic did it.

MISS: Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Not Making Superfight Priority

What shouldn’t be lost in the Terence Crawford vs. Errol Spence debate is how both fighters would rather fight Manny Pacquiao instead of each other.

I had the chance to speak with both elite welterweight champions within the past week, and both men told me the same thing in regards to their focus on making one fight happen. Crawford wants Pacquiao next. Spence does, too.

While it’s completely understandable why these guys would seek the bigger payday against the legendary future Hall of Famer, something would seem to be broken in boxing overall when arguably the best and most important fight in the sport doesn’t even seem to have a tiny chance of happening anytime soon.

HIT: The Professional Amateur Conor Benn

Imagine having just around 20 amateur bouts and trying to put together a world-level professional boxing career. Now, imagine also trying to follow in the footsteps of your father, himself a former world champion.

But rising welterweight contender Conor Benn seems to be on his way to giving that run a serious go. Benn, 24, from England, defeated Germany’s Sebastian Formella in the main event of a Matchroom Boxing card on DAZN on Saturday.

While Benn doesn’t exactly have the look of a can’t-miss prospect destined for greatness, he does at least possess some of the qualities that could lead him to the top of the sport. Certainly, Benn believes it.

After beating Formella, Benn argued he’d done it just as good as two-time welterweight titleholder Shawn Porter had done.

“I beat him just as good,” Benn said during his post-fight interview.

He wasn’t wrong about that, and neither was his father, Nigel Benn, for lavishing praise on his son after his big win.

“Well done, son. I’m proud of you,” Nigel Benn said.

Benn has a tough road ahead of him. He’s basically been a professional amateur up to this point, a fighter getting paid professional money to employ an amateur skill set on fight night.

But he’s improving at a rate that suggests that might not be the case soon.

Photo credit: Sean Michael Ham / TGB Promotions

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Boxing Odds and Ends: Filip Hrgovic vs. Efe Ajagba, Dame Helen Mirren and More

Arne K. Lang

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There’s a battalion of young heavyweights ready to make their mark when Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua and their cohorts leave the scene. There’s Daniel Dubois and Tony Yoka and Filip Hrgovic and Efe Ajagba to name just four.

When one thinks of a fantasy fight, one usually thinks of a “what if?” match between two all-time greats. But one can also contrive a fantasy fight out of two young guns who have a high probability of meeting down the road.

Filip Hrgovic (12-0, 10 KOs) and Efe Ajagba (14-0, 11 KOs) are at a similar stage of development. Both fought in the 2016 Olympics – Hrgovic for Croatia and Ajagba for Nigeria – and both have been touted as future champions. Ajagba’s former trainer Ronnie Shields, not a man given to hyperbole, compared him to a young George Foreman.

Who would win if Filip Hrgovic were to meet up with Efe Ejagba?

We posed this question to Jonnie Rice who is quite familiar with both fighters. Rice sparred with Ajagba and then went 10 rounds with him at the MGM Bubble on Sept. 19. Shortly thereafter, he was off to Florida to help Hrgovic prepare for his bout earlier this month with Rydell Booker. Rice sparred frequently with Hrgovic during the three weeks he spent in the Croatian’s training camp.

“You have to respect Efe’s power,” Rice told us, “but I would have to go with Filip because he throws more punches and has better footwork.”

Jonnie Rice, by the way, is improving at age 33 although one wouldn’t assume that from his 13-6-1 record. He was outpointed by Ajagba but had several good moments late in the fight.

Helen Mirren

Andrew Moloney failed to recapture his WBA world super flyweight title in his rematch with Joshua Franco on Nov. 14, but won legions of new fans. In case you missed it, the fight was stopped after only two rounds because Franco’s right eye was swollen shut. Referee Russell Mora ruled that the damage was caused by an accidental head butt which meant that the fight would go into the books as a “no-decision” and Franco would keep the title.

It took the Nevada Athletic Commission 26 minutes to confirm Mora’s ruling. During the lacuna, the abbreviated fight was replayed over and over again for folks tuning in on ESPN. There was no visible head butt, at least not one that could have produced this result, and the TV talking heads, lead announcer Joe Tessitore the most vocal among them, were adamant that Moloney, who clearly won the first two rounds, was the victim of a grave injustice.

Many well-known people took to social media to weigh in on the “villainy,” none more famous than Helen Mirren, Dame Helen Mirren, if you please, having been invested with that title during a 2003 ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The multi-decorated British-American actress (she holds dual citizenship), who won both a Tony and a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II, wrote “Moloney was clearly robbed in Vegas tonight. Shame on the Nevada boxing organisation” on her Instagram platform which reportedly has 903,000 followers.

Many people were surprised to learn that a classy Dame like Mirren, now 75 years old, had any interest in pugilistic affairs, but maybe that shouldn’t have been so surprising considering that Mirren once had an affair with the ill-fated Argentine boxer Oscar Bonavena.

I had best re-phrase that. Her screen character had the affair.

The movie was called “Love Shack.” In the 2010 film, directed by Mirren’s husband Taylor Hackford — who shared a producing credit with Lou DiBella — Mirren played Sally Conforte, the wife of Joe Conforte, the keeper of Nevada’s most infamous brothel, the Mustang Ranch on the outskirts of Reno. In 1976, the rugged Bonavena, who twice went the distance with Joe Frazier and took Muhammad Ali into the 15th round, was working there as a bouncer when he was fatally shot by one of Joe’s henchmen, a killing supposedly sparked by Joe’s jealousy over Sally’s affair with the 33-year-old bruiser whose 38-vehicle funeral procession through the streets of Buenos Aires would reportedly attract more than 150,000 onlookers.

The movie seemingly couldn’t miss. It had a compelling storyline based on real-life events and two stars in the leading roles, with Joe Pesci smartly cast as Joe Conforte. However, the movie got lukewarm reviews and died a quick death.

Mirren’s hubby, by the way, is helming the big screen biopic of Mike Tyson with Jamie Foxx portraying Iron Mike. The movie, as they say, is in pre-production.

Literally Matched Soft

In case you missed it, former IBF light-heavyweight title-holder Tavoris Cloud returned to the ring this past Friday after a six-year absence. Cloud was matched Soft, and yes, that’s Soft with a capital “S.”

Cloud’s opponent, a Sioux Indian from Rapid City, South Dakota, fights under the name Ryan Soft. He brought a 4-11-1 record and had been stopped eight times. Cloud made it “9”, stopping the softie in the third round on a show in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Cloud, who was managed by Don King for much of his career, opened his career with 25 straight wins that included four successful defenses of his IBF belt. He lost his title to 48-year-old Bernard Hopkins, was stopped by Adonis Stevenson and Artur Beterbiev in his next two fights, and then disappeared. At age 38 and without a lot of mileage on his odometer, he may be young enough to snag a few decent paydays before he calls it quits for good.

The Upside of Covid-19

Five games in college football’s top division were postponed this past Saturday, including two games vs. Top 5 teams. Also, there was a hastily arranged boxing card this past Saturday on the Fox Sports 1 network.

These developments were interrelated and they point out that this terrible scourge called Covid-19 hasn’t been all bad for boxing. As other kinds of sporting events are postponed or cancelled with little advance warning, boxing stands poised to fill the void. The mushrooming sports channels need content.

The ever-expanding number of weight divisions in pro boxing pales alongside the glut of bowl games in college football. Counting the national title game and the semifinals bleeding into it, there will be 37 bowl games this year. The games are splayed across a 22-day window straddling New Year’s Day and it all starts with the ludicrous Tropical Smoothie Café Bowl on Dec. 19 in Frisco, Texas.

Correction: There would be 37 bowl games if they all get played. But many will be cancelled. That opens the door to enterprising boxing promoters.

On balance, of course, the pandemic has been terrible for all sports that depend in whole or in part on gate receipts, without which they are not sustainable. By and large, the boxers that have appeared in “bubble fights” have been working on the cheap. But for some, the pandemic has provided an opportunity for exposure they would not have otherwise received, and that will pay dividends down the road when the world returns to normal.

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 114: Electrifying Ryan Garcia Opens Up 2021

David A. Avila

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Southern California’s Ryan “Kingry” Garcia will face England’s Luke Campbell on Saturday January 2, 2021. DAZN will stream the battle for the interim WBC lightweight title at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif.

Another one of those useless titles but it’s really all about the fight.

Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) was supposed to meet Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs) in early December, but the British fighter contracted the coronavirus and was forced to quarantine. This new date allows enough time for the fight to be re-scheduled.

“My mindset going into this fight hasn’t changed, and my training hasn’t stopped,” said Ryan Garcia. “I’m excited we have a new date and can finally bring this to the fans. I’m here, and I’m ready to ring in the new year with a victory…let’s go.”

Campbell expects to be ready.

“New date, new year, same result,” said Luke Campbell. “I’m fully back in training and have never felt better. What a way to start 2021 this is going to be with a clinical Luke Campbell win.”

It’s rare for a non-world title fight to grab main event status on a major boxing card, but Garcia (pictured on the right with his famous stablemate) is not the usual contender. Though undefeated, it’s really the manner of his victories that have electrified fans. In his last three fights, none of his opponents survived longer than six minutes. Francisco Fonseca was electrocuted with a left hook at 1:20 of the first round the last time Garcia walked into a prize ring.

British fans expect Campbell to prove Garcia is pure hype and a product of social media mania and a large female fan base. They cite Campbell’s experience against world champions like Vasyl Lomachenko and Jorge Linares that ended in decision losses. Also, that Campbell has never been stopped.

So far, Garcia has never been floored as a professional and shown extraordinary speed. It’s not a push-over fight but a strategically important step for the Southern Californian’s future as a major force in boxing and a crossover star who can attract non-boxing fans.

We have seen this before several decades ago.

“What better way to start this new chapter than with boxing’s newest crossover star? Despite being just 22 years old, Ryan Garcia has already built a huge fan base, and once he gets past Luke Campbell, the sky is the limit,” said Oscar De La Hoya who knows a thing or two about crossover appeal.

De La Hoya also happens to be Garcia’s promoter.

Now if Oscar can hang onto Garcia’s contract, we might see a revisit to a golden era like we saw when De La Hoya sold out boxing cards from Los Angeles to New York. And of course, Las Vegas.

One day after the new year begins, Garcia could be the vanguard of a new boxing era.

We shall see.

New Boxing Networks

No matter how many times prizefighting gets kicked and stomped on from detractors and haters, the sport always seems to rise up again.

Two boxing cards competed on a Thursday night with NBC Sports Network showcasing Ring City USA at the Wild Card Gym parking lot in Hollywood, and another show in Mexico City streamed on UFC Fight Pass.

Boxing continues to attract media outlets.

American fighters were sent to Sonora, Mexico on Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions to battle Mexican fighters. On the same night, Mexican fighters were sent to Hollywood, California USA to battle American fighters.

Both competed against each other.

Ring City USA has no particular promoter tie and already has dates set up for December and beyond.

“We’re willing to work with all promoters and we are not promoters,” said Evan Rutkowski on a DAZN boxing talk show. “We’re not taking options on any of these fighters.”

UFC Fight Pass has a deal with Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions, but rumors are spreading that the streaming network plans to expand its boxing platform on a large scale.

One of its promoters is said to be Salita Promotions and if that is true, then it could be a major coup led by top female fighter Claressa Shields.

At the moment, it is merely a rumor.

Spence and Garcia

All systems are go for the welterweight showdown between IBF and WBC welterweight titlist Errol Spence Jr. and former champion Danny “Swift” Garcia on December 5 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It will be shown on FOX pay-per-view.

Questions remain about the health of Spence after a horrific car crash that saw his car topple end over end a year ago. Does the Texas southpaw still possess the reflexes and grit that propelled him to victory over Shawn Porter, Mikey Garcia and Kell Brook?

Garcia has only two losses and both were firefights with no clear winner.

This is an important measuring stick for both Spence and Garcia.

Canelo

With the departure of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez from Golden Boy Promotions it does not seem to constitute a complete amputation. DAZN will continue to stream the redheaded Mexican’s fights.

Alvarez will be fighting Callum Smith on Saturday Dec. 19, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. A limited number of fans will be allowed to witness the fight that will be co-promoted by Matchroom Boxing and Canelo Promotions. DAZN will stream.

“I am thrilled to be back at the Alamodome and very thankful to be fighting in front of my fans on December 19,” said Canelo. “I have great memories of my previous bouts in Texas, and I expect this to be a special fight to close out the year.”

Callum Smith is a younger brother of Liam Smith one of Canelo’s earlier knockout victims. He also has a seven-inch height advantage and equal reach advantage. Canelo, tiny by comparison, has a towering assignment to complete.

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