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HITS and MISSES from Deontay Wilder’s Big Fight PPV Weekend

Kelsey McCarson

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All eyes were on Deontay Wilder this weekend and the undefeated WBC heavyweight titleholder delivered in fine form via a sensational one-punch knockout of veteran contender Luis Ortiz.

Wilder has grown into the preeminent can’t-miss heavyweight star of today, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the 34-year-old who presumably is now heading into an early 2020 superfight rematch against lineal champion Tyson Fury.

But there was plenty of other activity over the weekend. Callum Smith defended his super middleweight title in a domestic dustup against streaking Brit John Ryder in Liverpool, and two secondary titleholders attempted their own important defenses on a Golden Boy Promotions card in Indio, California.

Here are boxing’s biggest hits and misses from another important weekend in boxing.

HIT: Deontay Wilder’s Claim to Being More Than Just a Puncher

While it’s true most people expected Wilder to stop Ortiz on Saturday night, Wilder has a way of creating such dynamic knockouts that it almost immediately causes amnesia when it comes to remembering just how big a favorite he was headed into the fight.

That’s part of what makes Wilder so special, and it’s something no other heavyweight in the world today can match.

But Wilder claims to be more than just a tremendously hard puncher, and that assertion continues to gain merit with every single title defense. While many fans and media continue to disparage the fighter for his supposed lack of boxing skill, the simple truth of the matter is that no fighter could hold a heavyweight title for almost five years and 10 defenses without being something more than just a puncher.

Wilder didn’t just swing at Ortiz like an animal until the Cuban southpaw was felled. He carefully, and arguably craftily, set Ortiz up with smart footwork and timely feints before delivering that outrageously hard punch.

So, while it might not look like anything we’ve seen before, Wilder very obviously knows what he’s doing in there.

MISS: Fox Sports Media Professionals Parroting the PBC’s Propaganda 

When the PBC pretends the WBO isn’t universally accepted as one of the four major sanctioning bodies while simultaneously presenting secondary WBA titleholders as legitimate world champions, it isn’t really doing anything different than basically every other boxing promoter has ever done.

The PBC is promoting its own interests over the truth. That happens all the time.

But not having at least one journalist on the PBC on Fox crew that refuses to comply with the company line is troubling. Moreover, it frustratingly creates more confusion than already exists in the overly complicated world title culture that plagues boxing and can only have a negative effect on efforts to create new fans.

It’s up to the media to refute promotional nonsense because left to their own devices, promoters will always choose the selfish and shortsighted thing. Boxing is confusing enough without journalists turning a blind-eye to promotional propaganda. At least one person on the PBC on Fox crew should be more than just a personality.

HIT: Huge Wins for Rene Alvarado and Xu Can in Secondary Title Bouts

The various secondary world titles in circulation around the world such as the regular WBA titles worn by junior lightweight Andrew Cancio and featherweight Xu Can headed into their bouts on Saturday night cause confusion in the sport, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have any value at all.

It certainly seemed important for Rene Alvarado, who stopped Cancio in the seventh round on the 45th anniversary of fellow Nicaraguan Alexis Arguello’s win over Ruben Olivares in 1974. Alvarado was reduced to tears after the win, and the secondary title he earned will probably help him get bigger fights moving forward

It sure seems to be doing that already for China’s Xu Can who was successful in his second defense of the secondary featherweight belt he lifted off Jesus Rojas back in January. Can was virtually unknown in the boxing world outside of China until he upset Rojas in an early Fight of the Year candidate in Houston, and now he’s moving up in the sport with real momentum.

So, while it’s easy to disparage the WBA and other alphabet organizations for creating these belts, and even probably fair to say that they plague boxing by muddling up the world title picture, it’s also true to accept that they probably wouldn’t exist without at least some amount value.

MISS: Callum Smith’s Inauspicious Audition for Canelo Alvarez Fight

Callum Smith suddenly looks very beatable, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time for the undefeated WBA super middleweight champion who had to be on the short-list of options to be Canelo Alvarez’s next opponent before the weekend passed.

Last year, Smith, 29, from Liverpool, upset the field to win the 168-pound World Boxing Super Series tournament to solidify himself as the consensus No. 1 super middleweight in the world. He followed that up by dismantling former 160-pound title challenger Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam in three rounds on the massive Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz undercard in New York over the summer.

But John Ryder gave Smith all he could handle for 12 rounds, and that doesn’t bode well for Smith’s future. Heck, after seeing the diminutive Ryder (who stands 5 feet 9 inches) so easily work his way inside Smith’s freakishly long reach, I’m not sure Smith would even be all that competitive against Alvarez (also 5 feet 9 inches).

More importantly, many wondered if Smith even deserved the nod over Ryder. Judges at ringside scored the bout 117-111, 116-112 and 116-112 for Smith, but most people who watched the fight on DAZN seemed to believe Ryder was pulling the upset as it was happening.

Regardless, Smith doesn’t look fit for Alvarez right now. If anything, he should probably prove he can consistently beat the John Ryders of the world before moving up in class anytime soon.

HIT: Solid Wilder-Ortiz 2 Undercard Matchups 

The undercard bouts on Wilder-Ortiz 2 turned out to be some solid fights. While it’s easy to take something like that for granted after ponying up $75 to watch a PPV, it’s certainly not common for PPV undercards to turn out so well.

The card opened with Mexico’s Eduardo Ramirez scoring a fourth-round stoppage of Cuban stylist Leduan Barthelemy in a featherweight rematch. Barthelemy looked like the craftier technician early, but Ramirez overwhelmed him with sharp volume. The two had previously fought to a draw in 2017, but Ramirez settled that matter for good now.

Texan Brandon Figueroa and Mexico’s Julio Ceja battled to a 12-round draw for Figueroa’s secondary 126-pound title. Figueroa is a volume puncher who fights in the same manner as older brother Omar, and the 22-year-old was taking a big step up in class against Ceja. The two combined to throw 2,811 punches according to CompuBox’s unofficial statistics, and the action was top-notch for all 12 rounds.

Finally, Leo Santa Cruz defeated Houston’s Miguel Flores in Santa Cruz’s 130-pound debut for the vacant WBA title. Flores surprisingly threw more punches than the hyper-aggressive Santa Cruz, but couldn’t really overcome the wide talent gap. Still, it was another solid scrap, albeit the least entertaining of the three.

Still, it’s not often one can stay reasonably entertained through all three undercard fights of a big PPV. That would seem especially hard to pull off when one of the fights had to be scrapped during fight week thanks to the continued unprofessionalism of Luis Nery that led to the cancellation of the unbeaten Mexican’s contest against former titleholder Emmanuel Rodriguez after Nery missed weight on Friday.

So, kudos to the PBC matchmakers for making good fights.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel  

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Dickens and Bolotniks Victorious in Golden Contract Finales

Arne K. Lang

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The finals of two Golden Contract tournaments played out tonight at a TV studio in an industrial park in West Yorkshire, England. The 8-man tournaments, organized by the controversial boxing management company MTK Global, were similar in structure to the World Boxing Super Series. The winner of each tournament was promised a two-year five-fight deal with a guaranteed six-figure purse in each of the five fights going forward. The fights were televised in the UK on Sky Sports and in the US on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank.

Both finales were 50/50 fights as measured by the betting odds, a rarity in this sport.

James “Jazza” Dickens, a 29-year-old Liverpudlian, won the 126-pound tournament with a 10-round unanimous decision over former British featherweight champion Ryan Walsh. It was the eighth straight win for Dickens, now 30-3 (11), who was stopped in the second round by Guillermo Rigondeaux during his days as a super bantamweight.

This was a tactical fight, heavy on head feints. It was fairly even through the first four rounds, but Dickens pulled away to win by scores of 98-93, 97-94, and 96-94. One of three fighting brothers, Walsh, 34, falls to 26-3-2. He has never been stopped.

Dickens vs. Walsh was originally scheduled for Sept. 30, but pushed back when Dickens and his trainer tested positive for COVID-19. The Golden Contract 140-pound tournament concluded on that date with Ohara Davies winning a controversial decision over Tyrone McKenna.

Light Heavyweight

The light heavyweight finale, as expected, was an entertaining scrap. Ricards Bolotniks, a late bloomer from Latvia, wore down and ultimately stopped Serge Michel whose corner tossed in the towel with seconds remaining in the 10th and final round.

Bolotniks, 30, has a pedestrian record, now 18-5-1 (8), and is rough around the edges, but he has a winning down-to-earth personality and a lot of grit. He got here with a pair of upsets, most recently over Tyson Fury’s cousin Hosea Burton who was 25-1 going in.

Bolotniks knocked Michel into the ropes in round five – it was scored a knockdown — and knocked him down in the 10th with a barrage of punches. He was too strong for Michel (11-2) who represented Germany in the 2016 Olympics.

After the fight, Bolotniks called out Anthony Yarde. A fight between he and Yarde – whose lone defeat came at the hands of Sergey Kovalev in Russia – would almost certainly provide great entertainment.

More

In another fight of note, junior welterweight Harlem Eubank outpointed Daniel “Danny Darko” Egbunike to advance his record to 11-0 (6). The referee scored it 97-94 which was giving Egbunike (6-1) a shade the best of it. Eubank’s previous opponents had 212 losses between them, so this was a step-up fight for him despite Egbunike’s inexperience.

The 26-year-old Eubank is the nephew of former two-division title-holder Chris Eubank Sr. He is trained by Adam Booth who currently trains Michael Conlan, among others, and formerly trained David Haye, Andy Lee, and George Groves, among others. Egbunike, a 31-year-old Londoner who spent nearly three years in prison on drug charges, was making his first start in 13 months.

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

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

David A. Avila

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Every year it happens.

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

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

Here’s what is coming:

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

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

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

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

British Action

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

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

But he does have respect for Murray.

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

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

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

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

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

PPV Welterweight Showdown

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

He will be tested.

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

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

Just how severe were his injuries?

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

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

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

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

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

It will be brutal while it lasts.

Macho film

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

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

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

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

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

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Boxing Promoter Michelle “Raging Babe” Rosado Pulls No Punches

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

ROSADO ON WHY CLUB SHOWS ARE IMPORTANT TO THE SPORT

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

ROSADO ON STATE OF WOMEN’S BOXING

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

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

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

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

RAGING BABE ON FEMALE BOXING PROMOTERS

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

ROSADO ON HER ULTIMATE GOAL

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

ROSADO’S TOP 5 POUND FOR POUND LIST

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

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

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

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

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

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