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Three Punch Combo: Beating the Drum for Vinny Paz and More

Matt Andrzejewski

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THREE PUNCH COMBO — It is officially election season and candidates for the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, NY are making their final cases for induction with ballots being due at the end of October. By far the most debated name amongst voters and fans for induction in the 2019 Hall of Fame class is Vinny Paz. I, for one, strongly support his candidacy.

By now, we all know his inspirational story. He came back from injuries sustained in a horrific car crash in 1991 after winning his second world title to not only beat the odds to fight again but have tremendous success inside the ring. But it is not that incredibly courageous story that gets him in the Hall of Fame. It is in fact his resume.

Paz — who legally changed his name in 2001 from Vinny Pazienza — finished with a career record of 50-10 with 30 knockouts. He was a multi-division world champion and defeated some of the best fighters of his era. Paz owns wins against former world champions Harry Arroyo, Greg Haugen (twice), Gilbert Dele, Lloyd Honeyghan, and Hall of Famer Roberto Duran (twice).

Paz’s Hall of Fame credentials are similar those of Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini who was inducted into the Hall in 2015. As a matter of fact, Paz’s resume is actually stronger. Paz fought and defeated more former world champions than Mancini and faced much better competition throughout the course of his career.

But what makes the comparison to Mancini even more appropriate is the fact that both he and Paz were must-watch television during their era. Paz was one of the most entertaining fighters in boxing. And when he fought, people watched — and not just those hooked on boxing; Paz had crossover appeal. Boxing is a unique sport in that it is about skill and entertainment value. Paz brought both which certainly counts for something when considering his Hall of Fame credentials.

There is a sense of urgency to get Paz into the Hall of Fame in the 2019 class. It may be his last realistic opportunity. Only three fighters in the modern category are elected each year. Usually, the newly eligible fighters get precedence and eat up the majority of these slots. This makes it tougher for holdovers such as Paz to get elected.

However this year, the new fighters eligible are fairly weak when compared to many previous years. So there is an opportunity for a couple of holdovers to get elected. Looking ahead to future years, there are some big names that will be on the ballot for the first time. Unless the voting process is changed, future classes in the modern category will mostly be dominated by those first timers. This is why it is imperative that voters do the right thing this year and elect Paz in the International Boxing Hall of Fame class of 2019.

Don’t Count On Canelo-Jacobs Happening Anytime Soon

This past Saturday, Daniel Jacobs (35-2, 19 KO’s) won a hard-fought split decision against Sergiy Derevyanchenko (12-1, 10 KO’s) to win the vacant IBF middleweight title. After the win, talk immediately turned to a big fight with middleweight kingpin Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. And though such a fight would seem easy to make due to the promoters with whom they are aligned, don’t expect it to happen anytime in the near future.

Canelo just inked a 5-year, 11-fight deal reportedly worth $365 million with streaming service DAZN. It makes sense with such a large guarantee that DAZN takes things a little slow with Canelo. Why risk him losing right off the bat with so much invested in him?

The first fight for Canelo under this new deal with DAZN is against Rocky Fielding in the 168-pound division. Fielding was knocked out in the first round in his only loss. The term “safe” opponent seems very appropriate.

While the competition will certainly step up for Canelo in 2019 under the DAZN banner, he will still likely face opponents against whom he would be substantially favored. One likely name sometime in 2019 for Canelo is David Lemieux and given Golden Boy’s pact with DAZN this fight should be easy to put together. I would expect this fight in May of 2019. Given the history of when he fights, a return in September would then seem likely but I don’t think the opponent will be one that presents a ton of risk. Assuming all goes according to plan, the earliest I would expect Canelo-Jacobs to happen would be in May of 2020.

Under The Radar Fight

Next Saturday, most of the boxing world will be fixated on ESPN+ for the 130-pound title fight between Miguel Berchelt (34-1, 30 KO’s) and Miguel Roman (60-12, 47 KO’s), a potential Fight of the Year candidate. But this is not the only intriguing fight that is being streamed that night, so fire up those devices as there is a light heavyweight bout that should also provide some fireworks.

Facebook Watch will present the fight between Sullivan Barrera (21-2, 14 KO’s) and Sean Monaghan (29-1, 17 KO’s). With light heavyweight being so deep at the moment, this is a must-win bout for both as a win puts either right back in line for a significant fight.

Barrera is a former Cuban amateur standout and a boxer-puncher by nature. He is much more agile inside the ring than Monaghan and will look to use movement to keep Monaghan off-balance and to set up angles to unload combinations. Barrera has the quicker hands and is the much sharper puncher. However, one of Barrera’s weaknesses is that he tends to pose too much after unloading punches which may give Monaghan some opportunities.

Monaghan knows only one way to fight and that is by coming forward being the aggressor. He is going to look to apply constant pressure and look for opportunities to counter. Defense has never been a strong suit for him, but he is heavy handed and is the bigger puncher of the two. Monaghan’s chances boil down to either landing a big counter shot or hoping his heavy handed pressure wears down Barrera.

I like this fight a lot and will find a way to watch even if it is running simultaneous on another device of mine to Berchelt-Roman. The contrast of styles and defensive flaws of both Barrera and Monaghan should make for an entertaining fight. There has also been some serious bad blood between the two over the years on social media. Let’s add in the fact too that this is an absolute must-win for both and this has the makings of a potential war. As a matter of fact, it would not shock me one bit if Barrera-Monaghan brings more action than Berchelt-Roman.

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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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Pradabsri Upsets Menayothin, Ends the Longest Unbeaten Streak of Modern Times

Arne K. Lang

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During the wee hours in the Americas, a big upset was brewing in Thailand. In Nakhon Sawan, a city roughly 150 miles north of Bangkok, Panya Pradabsri (aka Petchmanee CP Freshmart) out-pointed Wanheng Menayothin (aka Chayaphon Moonsri) in a domestic clash with international significance. Manayothin entered the bout with a 54-0 (18) record and was making the 13th defense of his WBC world minimumweight title.

Pradabsri had been defeated only once in 35 previous starts, but only 11 of his 34 victories had come against fighters with winning records. According to ringside reports, he kept Menayothin at bay with good fundamentals, a stiff jab, and good lateral movement. All three judges had it 115-113. The fight wasn’t without controversy as Menayothin finished stronger and many folks scoring off the live video thought that he had done just enough to retain his title.

How good was/is Menayothin? That’s a question that serious boxing fans will likely debate for decades.

In the summer of 2019, Menayothin signed a co-promotional deal with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. At time, GBP president Eric Gomez described him as one of the best fighters in the world. “We really want to bring him to the U.S. so people can see how talented he really is,” Gomez told England’s Sky Sports.

Menayothin was expected to make his U.S. debut in April of this year, but the pandemic ruined that plan. Earlier this year, he announced his retirement, but rescinded it after only two days.

Scottish boxing historian Matt McGrain, who has an exclusive arrangement with this web site, had lukewarm opinion of the Thai mighty-mite although he rated him the second-best 105-pound boxer of the decade, trailing only his countryman Thammanoon Niyomtrong (aka Knockout CP Freshmart).

“He is disciplined, strong, brings good pressure and is armed with a very decent range of punches,” said McGrain, “(but his record) is comprised mostly of men any competent fighter would be expected to beat.”

Although only one boxer from Thailand has been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame (Khaosai Galaxy, class of 1999), the Southeast Asia nation has produced some outstanding boxers over the years – Chartchoi Chionoi, Sot Chitalada, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai to name just a few. The difference between these fighters and Wanheng Menayothin is that they all left the comfort zone of their homeland to score one or more important wins on foreign soil.

Menayothin may yet display his wares in a U.S. ring. But at age 35, an advanced age for small fighters in particular, we won’t get to see him at his best and now that his bubble has been burst, disinviting further comparisons to Mayweather and Marciano, the curiosity factor has been tempered.

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Yoka vs. Hammer Kicks Off the Thanksgiving Weekend Slate on ESPN+

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PRESS RELEASE— Tony Yoka, the dynamic heavyweight punching Parisian, aims to impress in his ESPN platform debut. Yoka, who won a super heavyweight gold medal for France at the 2016 Rio Olympics, will fight veteran Christian Hammer in a 10-rounder Friday at H Arena in Nantes, France.

Yoka-Hammer will stream live and exclusively this Friday, Nov. 27 in the United States on ESPN+ beginning at 2:55 p.m. ET/11:55 a.m. PT.

The ESPN+ stream will also include the return of unbeaten 2016 French Olympic gold medalist Estelle Yoka-Mossely against Pasa Malagic in an eight-round lightweight bout. Yoka and Yoka-Mossely, who have been married since 2018, welcomed their second child in May.

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Earlier this year, Yoka inked a promotional agreement with Top Rank, which will co-promote him with Ringstar France.

“Tony Yoka’s potential is limitless, and he is a grounded young man who is motivated to be a great professional fighter,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “France has never had a world heavyweight champion, and I believe Tony is the one to bring the sport’s biggest honor home.”

The 28-year-old Yoka’s stellar amateur run included a berth at the 2012 London Olympics and gold medals at the 2015 World Championships and 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Before his triumph in Rio, he’d already defeated the likes of former heavyweight world champion Joseph Parker and current undefeated prospects Joe Joyce and Ivan Dychko. At the Rio Olympics, he defeated Croatian standout Filip Hrgović in the semifinals and edged Joyce in the gold medal match.

As a professional, Yoka (8-0, 7 KOs) made his debut in June 2017 with a second-round stoppage over the previously undefeated Travis Clark. Apart from a decision win over Jonathan Rice in his second outing, Yoka has stopped every foe, including durable Englishman David “White Rhino” Allen and former European champion Alexander Dimitrenko. He made his 2020 debut Sept. 25 and stopped former world title challenger Johann Duhaupas in one round.

Hammer (25-6, 15 KOs) has fought many of the leading heavyweight names during his 12-year career, falling short against Tyson Fury, Luis Ortiz and Alexander Povetkin. He’s notched myriad upset victories, including a highlight-reel knockout over David Price and a 2016 split decision over Erkan Teper for the WBO European belt. In March 2019, he went the 10-round distance against Ortiz and has not been stopped since Fury forced him to retire on his stool after eight rounds in their February 2015 clash.

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

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