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Three Punch Combo: Cruiserweights Take Center Stage, A PPV show in Miami and More

Matt Andrzejewski

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THREE PUNCH COMBO — The eyes of the boxing world will be on the big cruiserweight title fight on Saturday between unified champion Oleksandr Usyk (15-0, 11 KO’s) and Tony Bellew (30-2-1, 20 KO’s) in Manchester, England. But there’s another cruiserweight fight taking place later in the day that I think steals the spotlight from an entertainment standpoint.

First off, I completely understand why the Usyk-Bellew fight has come to fruition. Usyk has already defeated most of the viable contenders at cruiserweight. Bellew is a big name in the UK. He is coming off two big wins against heavyweight David Haye. Usyk needs some new competition and Bellew has momentum going in his career. Plus, he can sell tickets in the UK. So the fight makes total sense.

However, in my eyes Bellew is a step down for Usyk from most of the recent competition he has faced. And in most of those fights, Usyk proved levels above his opposition. Simply put, it is difficult to envision Bellew being competitive. As such, it is difficult for me to get excited about this fight.

Also this weekend, the second season of the cruiserweight tournament in the World Boxing Super Series continues from the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. Mairis Briedis (24-1, 18 KO’s) takes on Noel Mikaelian (23-1, 10 KO’s) in one quarterfinal with Krzysztof Glowacki (30-1, 19 KO’s) taking on Maksim Vlasov (42-2, 25 KO’s) in the other quarterfinal. While I think Briedis easily takes care of business against Mikaelian, formerly known as Noel Gevor, the Glowacki-Vlasov contest should prove to be an entertaining competitive scrap.

Glowacki (pictured) burst on the scene in 2015 with a knockout of then cruiserweight kingpin Marco Huck in a fight that many considered the fight of the year. A year later, Glowacki would lose for the only time in his career by decision to the above mentioned Usyk. Since that loss, he’s rattled off four straight wins. He is an aggressive skilled southpaw who is not afraid to mix it up and exchange with his opposition.

Vlasov seems like he has been around forever. The veteran pro has only lost twice by decision in 44 career fights and is riding a 12 fight winning streak since losing in January of 2015 to now super middleweight title holder Gilberto Ramirez. Vlasov likes to throw power punches in combination behind the left jab from his orthodox stance. He is more than willing to lead and get off first with his punches, but in doing so he is vulnerable to getting countered and often stands straight up in front of his opponent, making him an easy target.

Glowacki-Vlasov should be a very competitive fight and given the styles I think we see plenty of good exchanges. While Usyk-Bellew will command the most attention, the Glowacki-Vlasov contest should not be overlooked.

Better Late Than Never: Gamboa vs. Lopez in 2019

This Saturday night, Yuriorkis Gamboa (28-2, 17 KO’s) and Juan Manuel Lopez (35-6, 32 KO’s) fight in separate contests on a PPV card (suggested retail: $24.95) in Miami, FL. If each is victorious, then the plan is for the two to finally meet in the ring in 2019. It is a fight that has always seemed inevitable and one that I admit still draws my interest.

It is hard to think back but many years ago both Gamboa and Lopez were considered to be future stars in the sport. And I just don’t mean being world champions. They were each thought to be destined for greatness. The talent that each displayed on the way up was simply eye popping.

Gamboa just had this special set of athletic qualities rarely seen in prizefighters. His hand speed was dazzling. With his quick hands, he started to become a masterful counterpuncher. And then there was the power. Gamboa scored some highlight reel knockouts on his rise.

Lopez was an aggressive southpaw with thunderous power in both hands. He was drawing comparisons very early in his career to the great Felix Trinidad and it was easy to see why. The knockout ability along with his natural athleticism made Lopez quite a force.

With both Lopez and Gamboa competing around the featherweight division, a matchup between the two was a fight fans dream. We all know the story from here. Top Rank wanted to build the bout into a mega-fight. They thought the bout needed to be “marinated.” In their eyes, it needed to be built into something like De La Hoya-Trinidad.

But as history would show, Gamboa and Lopez had their weaknesses. They were so naturally gifted that those weaknesses at first were not apparent as they could get away with a lot inside the ring. First, it was Lopez whose defensive issues got exposed. Later, Gamboa’s own defensive shortcomings, along with management missteps derailed his once promising career. The fight never happened.

Here we are now eight or nine years after the bout should have happened. By now, people have lost interest and many in boxing want to see both retire. And though I too was a skeptic at first, as I think about it more, I do want to see how this contest will play out.

Who was the better fighter? One last hurdle to cross for both on Saturday and then we may finally get the answer.

Thomas Hearns vs. Jay Snyder – You Never Know What Can Happen In Boxing

November 6th will mark the 20th anniversary of the Thomas Hearns-Jay Snyder bout that took place at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, MI. The contest, which marked a return to the ring for the legendary Hearns after nearly a two year layoff, has long been forgotten, but something very rarely seen in boxing occurred that night in Detroit.

The plan for Hearns at this point in his career was to have a final farewell tour. He was, of course, beloved by his hometown fans in Detroit and could sell tickets there regardless of the opponent. So for the first fight of what was supposed to be the last leg of his career, a very safe opponent was selected named Jay Snyder.

Snyder, 37, entered the fight with a record of 19-5 but had never defeated anyone who had a winning record. Moreover, all five of Snyder’s losses were by knockout and all those knockout losses occurred within four rounds. He was known as a crude brawler who lacked speed and defense who’d bring the fight to Hearns but in doing so expose his weak chin. On paper he was the perfect opponent for Hearns at this stage of Hearns’ career.

Hearns entered the ring weighing a career high 190 pounds but still appeared in much better shape than Snyder who tipped the scales at 185. Hearns, who also had somewhere around an 11-inch reach advantage, looked to work behind the jab when the opening bell rang as Snyder pressed forward.

About a minute into the round, Snyder threw a well-timed left jab that caught Hearns coming in just as Hearns was unloading a right hand of his own. Snyder’s jab landed first but Hearns right hand also found a home and both men fell to the canvas. It was a double knockdown!

Hearns popped up quickly and appeared more embarrassed than anything about having fallen to the canvas. Snyder, on the other hand, was not getting up anytime soon and was counted out.

The double knockdown is a rarely seen occurrence, but every now and then it happens. And when it does, it always seem to happen in the most unlikely of scenarios like on November 6th, 1998, in the long forgotten bout between Thomas Hearns and Jay Snyder.

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

Arne K. Lang

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Bouts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

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