Connect with us

Featured Articles

The Top Ten Featherweights of the Decade 2010-2019

Matt McGrain

Published

on

The-Top-Ten-Featherweights-of-the-Decade-2010-2019

The featherweight division of the last decade lacked focus, personified in its failure to produce a single legitimate champion. There are beltholders aplenty but no lineal kings; there are also numerous number one contenders as the torch passed from beast to beast on what was a dangerous fistic landscape.

So, several of these men crossed paths and it is well that they did. There is so little to separate the top five from one another that those meetings are woven gold in organising a very tight pack.

Rankings, as always, are by Ring Magazine from January 2010 to October 2012 and thereafter by TBRB.

10 – Nonito Donaire

Peak Ranking: 2 Record for the Decade: 18-5 Ranked For: 10% of the decade

Filipino legend Nonito Donaire’s featherweight decade is sheer ranking confusion.

He was chased from the super-bantamweight division by a deadly Guillermo Rigondeaux and rolled straight into a rematch with Vic Darchinyan who was slipping but still ranked. A tense, cagey squabble ensued, shaded by Darchinyan’s two-handed punch-picking pressure, most especially his left hand; Donaire was neatly bailed out by his power, a degree of which he had carried with him to 126lbs. A divisional warning had been sung.

Donaire, never shy of a meaningful challenge, next matched featherweight number one Simpiwe Vetyeka, the conqueror of Chris John who had in turn outpointed Juan Manuel Marquez. This fight was a terrific mess, including low blows, head-clashes, one of which caused a serious cut on Donaire’s left eyelid. Donaire went on to dominate despite this cut, arguably losing the second but clearly winning the third, and dropping Vetyeka in the fourth with a gorgeous counter-left.

But referee Luis Pabon repeatedly visited with the ringside physician and began the fifth round hanging over the top rope deep in conversation with the WBA (just who you want on hand in times of difficulty). The fight was called at two seconds of the fifth and Donaire was awarded a technical decision.

Donaire was then firmly out-monstered by Nicholas Walters after which he dropped back down the divisions, returning in 2017 for a pair of featherweight fights culminating in a spirited loss to Carl Frampton. All this adds up to a very mixed bag and it could be argued that Donaire should be excluded in favour of Abner Mares or Jhonny Gonzalez; but Donaire did defeat a divisional number one in the shape of Vetyeka, and despite the strangeness surrounding that fight, it’s enough to see me favour him here.

09 – Gary Russell

Peak Ranking: 3 Record for the Decade: 24-1 Ranked For: 40% of the decade

Gary Russell remains most famous for his 2014 defeat at the hands of Vasyl Lomachenko but his recovery and fistic retribution has been impressive. When Russell met Jhonny Gonzalez in 2015 it was in pursuit of the strap that Lomachenko had denied him. Gonzalez, as perennial as any featherweight contender has been, was ranked two at the time of their confrontation, but Russell dominated from the first and with ease. It may be that Russell lost in Lomachenko to the only featherweight able to outspeed him in phases. Gonzalez did not have the pressure to keep Russell from stepping into his punches nor the power to dissuade him; Russell found him with his southpaw left in the third and the fight was effectively over from that point, though it was the right hook that did the real damage. Gonzales was cracked in four.

After two softer engagements, both of which he won by knockout, Russell met with the baby-faced Joe Diaz. Diaz brought pitiless pressure in the first half of the fight, carving up rounds with Russell as an equal, neutralising his speed with brave pressure and a vintage southpaw hook to the body. Again and again he forced Russell to give ground but Russell adjusted like a veteran. Rather than boxing an endless retreat he favoured exacting the maximum toll as Diaz bored inside. Diaz rallied beautifully ten through twelve to make this fight a borderline classic, but Russell’s adjustment made him tentative in the middle rounds, and it was by bagging those that Russell made himself a clear winner.  It was the best performance of his career.

There is no shame in his single defeat and his rebuild is one of the best stories of the featherweight decade. I am glad he slips in at nine.

08 – Vasyl Lomachenko

Peak Ranking: 2 Record for the Decade: 14-1 Ranked For: 20% of the decade

Vasyl Lomachenko is 0-1 versus ranked featherweights where he fought the infancy of his professional career. The circumstances of that loss are well known and understood – Orlando Salido came to the ring well overweight and proceeded to foul a green Lomachenko out of his rhythm, all of which was inexplicably ignored by boxing’s worst referee. This loss, then, alights upon rather than crushes Lomachenko’s legacy.

As for wins he has a handful but nothing desperately impressive. His featherweight legacy is essentially comprised of the brilliance with which he conducted himself within the ring during that early part of his career and his victory over Gary Russell.

Gary Russell was at a strange point in his career when he ran into Lomachenko having met fighters with decent paper records but having also expressly avoided sharing the ring with anyone who might conceivably beat him, all, according to the man himself, a part of the plan. But Russell was excellent against Lomachenko, matching his speed to the blinding quick combination punching genius of Lomachenko and emerging with his pride intact. As we have seen, he emerged as a person of interest for the decade.

And Lomachenko bossed him. He boxed with the surety of an eight year veteran not the uncertainty of the two-fight novice, already moving up and down with as much fluidity as any featherweight that decade; anyone doubting the decision of trainer Lomachenko Senior to place the young Vasyl in dance lessons should look no further than his reaction to Russell’s attempt to bring volume in the eighth and ninth.

Lomachenko was a special fighter, and although on paper he has no special featherweight win, Russell probably qualifies in this context. That, and his brilliance, is enough to get him in one slot ahead of that fighter.

07 – Mikey Garcia

Peak Ranking: 1 Record for the Decade: 20-1 Ranked For: 17% of the decade

Mikey Garcia had an enormously impressive 2010 to 2019 and nothing illustrates it more than the number of times we have run into him on these lists. From 126lbs through to 140lbs, Garcia has made the cut.

He has never cracked the top of any divisional list though, his fleeting relationship with each a limiting factor. 126lbs is where he made his bones although he departed almost immediately, usually by design but in this case out of necessity – Garcia found making 126lbs a difficult experience as we shall see.

Before he became a victim of one of boxing’s oldest problems though, he turned in what remains my favourite Mikey Garcia performance, his January 2013 domination of Orlando Salido. Salido was then the general of the featherweight division but Garcia laid him bare, moving in and out with varied commitment, compromising Salido’s pressure and balance both while his superior footspeed made him defensively safe if not always sound. Salido, frustrated by his lack of success, repeatedly over-extended himself in search of his tormentor and Garcia repeatedly punished him, flashing him four times and breaking his eye socket. Even dominating Salido has its dangers though, and in the eighth an apparently accidental clash of heads saw Garcia emerge with a broken nose. An eight round technical decision in his favour was the result.

It was a beautiful performance and one that should be argued as the bedrock of a much higher ranking. Unfortunately, the only other relevant fight Garcia made at 126lbs was against Juan Manuel Lopez in a fight for which Garcia missed the weight. It was an impressive victory but over-the-weight matches for me only provide a sliver of the credit with which they would normally be bequeathed. Garcia could not make the 126lb limit (and he tried) so it is difficult to see the fight as a major enhancement of his 126lb standing. Garcia left his strap behind him on the scales and disembarked for super-featherweight.

06 – Carl Frampton

Peak Ranking: 1 Record for the Decade: 24-2 Ranked For: 31% of the decade

There is little to separate the man ranked seven from the man ranked two; small matters become pertinent. Carl Frampton’s number two victory at the poundage was over Nonito Donaire, whose career vagaries we have already explored. When he met with Frampton, Donaire was not ranked at featherweight and had not been ranked at featherweight for several years. Donaire remains a valid opponent, however, and Frampton’s clear victory over him seems even more impressive considering Donaire’s near run at Naoya Inoue last year; but the fact that the Filipino was unranked at the time of his meeting with Frampton probably makes the difference between his ranking fifth and sixth.

For obvious reasons Frampton is neck and neck with the fighter ranked one slot above him.

Frampton traveled from his native Northern Ireland to Brooklyn in July 2016 to meet that man, the Mexican Leo Santa Cruz. This, their first fight, was something rather special as Frampton shuffled into range, looked, threw if he felt it was safe to do so before moving out, sometimes in a straight line. It worked like a charm; Santa Cruz repeatedly over-extended himself allowing Frampton to do his best work – hard, consistent punching often ending in a bodyshot.

Frampton throws a single punch as beautiful as anyone on this list. The gorgeous counter left he sent Santa Cruz crashing back into the ropes with in the early going; the peachy uppercut he used to steal the third.

Frampton did not have a problem placing Santa Cruz where he wanted him for his blows for stretches of the fight and although it was close, the majority decision in Frampton’s favour felt right as a description of what occurred.

The rematch would be different.

05 – Leo Santa Cruz

Peak Ranking: 1 Record for the Decade: 24-1-1 Ranked For: 40% of the decade

The rematch was different in that Leo Santa Cruz absolutely refused to become overextended physically or strategically. He consistently boxed within a more natural scope of influence, forcing Frampton to work harder for the range and when they exchanged he relied upon his quickness to allow him to dominate and to smother Frampton’s work with volume. In this, he was successful often enough that his revenge victory over Frampton felt more complete than Frampton’s victory over him. Reason enough to rank Santa Cruz ahead of Frampton perhaps but Santa Cruz has more, being ranked as a featherweight for a longer stretch of the decade and having twice overcome the ranked Abner Mares.

Mares, himself a contender for the number ten spot, first ran across a fresh-faced Santa Cruz in 2015 and Santa Cruz delivered a fine advertisement for superior footwork as key in placing a swarming opponent under control. Mares had an early plan that looked menacing, placing his head not just on Santa Cruz’s shoulder but behind it while working away to body and head against a smothered opponent. It worked in the first round; Santa Cruz turned him beautifully in the second and outfought him in the pocket, seemingly discouraging Mares. The rest of the fight was a canter home for a fighter clearly in the mood, entering a prime that stretches to this day. In the rematch he was almost as dominant, Mares finding an extra round on my scorecard but at no point threatening a win. Santa Cruz essentially excluded Mares from the divisional decadal top ten that night and did much to propel himself into the top five.

04 – Josh Warrington

Peak Ranking: 1 Record for the Decade: 28-0 Ranked For: 20% of the decade

Josh Warrington, it is said, gets by on workrate and fitness; he would have to overpower the “slick” Lee Selby to beat him for his big 2018 step up. That was not what happened. Rather, Warrington overcame the beltholder and favourite as much by giving ground and bringing Selby onto his counter-rushes and by out-jabbing “The White Mayweather” for key spells of the fight. Selby, who finished the fight dripping in blood and gore, was soundly thrashed down the straight by the much vaunted Warrington workrate but it was the intelligence with which he boxed early that kept the fight close and made that rush decisive.

Still, against the more storied Carl Frampton a similar story was told. Warrington’s best chance was to weather the storm early because Frampton was sure to place him under control with his superior jab and then use his superior boxing to make use of his superior power. Instead, Warrington rocketed out of the blocks, hurt Frampton repeatedly during the early rounds, before romping home to a clear unanimous decision.

These were Warrington’s marquee wins and they lock him into the top five, but he fell short with his last significant performance of the decade, his June 2019 split decision victory over Kid Galahad. In a close fight that I scored a draw, Warrington was seen by many as lucky to get the nod as Galahad pivoted, held and potshotted his way to a near shock. Ranked number nine in the world it was he rather than the more accomplished Selby or Frampton who made him look like the limited fighter some still name him.

Either way, Warrington got the nod and it was no robbery. These wins combined with his unbeaten status puts him on the shortlist for the number one spot; that his half of the decade was less dramatic and danger-filled explains his ranking behind the standouts from the first.

03 – Juan Manuel Lopez

Peak Ranking: 1 Record for the Decade: 10-6-1 Ranked For: 27% of the decade

Seen retrospectively, the destruction of wrecking machine Juan Manuel Lopez by Orlando Salido makes sense, but in real time it was almost impossible to understand. All but brand new to featherweight at the dawn of the decade, Lopez spent 2010 ravaging the 126lb ranks before running into his nemesis and certainly did enough in that time to be included in the top five.

First up was the capable number two contender Steve Luevano. Luevana was stopped just once and it was on the night of January twenty-third, 2010 when he took on Lopez. Limber on his feet, Lopez boxed with a low chin and an exploratory southpaw jab that was deceptively heavy. His other punches booked no deceit and were clearly killing blows. Long on the outside, compact on the inside, Lopez was technically sure at all ranges; swift; powerful and as he proved in a minor disaster at 122lbs against Rogers Mtagwa, tough, Lopez was grinding down Luevana in big chunks from at least the third and probably before. Unearthed by hooks in the seventh, Luevana was stopped on his feet.

Next up was the number six contender Bernabe Concepcion. Concepcion was basically finished as an elite fighter against Lopez, but their first round was perhaps the best featherweight round of the decade, both men hitting the deck during a three minute war Lopez dominated but seemed never fully in control of; Lopez emerged in the second the cooler man and stopped Concepcion, the first man to do so, the only man to do so this quickly.

That fight was a graduation night for Lopez’s straight right having previously relied primarily upon the hook. He was absolutely primed then for Rafael Marquez, emerging from his epic four-fight series with Israel Vazquez and vulnerable to a fighter of Lopez’s machinations. Marquez fought bravely, and had his moments, but was broken in eight rounds.

Enter Orlando Salido, stage left.

02 – Orlando Salido

Peak Ranking: 1 Record for the Decade: 10-4-2 Ranked For: 44% of the decade

A mugger, a bandit, Orlando Salido waited in the wings throughout the decade ready to spoil in a manner utterly unlike a spoiler, the rise of the Next Big Thing. Twice between 2010 and the end of 2019 he brutally sabotaged what seemed an inevitable crowning. His first victim was Juan Manuel Lopez and it is his two-time destruction of Lopez that locks him into the top five.

Lopez, 30-0 and a marked favourite as well as a crowd favourite in their first contest fought in early in 2011 in Lopez’s Puerto Rico stronghold, started well, boxing within himself, seemingly aware of Salido’s danger punch, the overhand right. But Salido is Salido. He deploys himself and turns the screw; he waits, he takes his lumps and patiently sets out to see if he can find his man along whatever strategic line has been identified. A lost first round matters no more to him than a mine to a mountain. As early as the second he was closer; Lopez reigned down punishment, worked to maintain the distance. The gift of the pressure fighter is his momentum and his control of the real estate. He can, at the very least, choose when and where he will be hit. Even if he is losing badly, if he can persist, the fight, suddenly, can be changed; this was the case in the fourth, which was the first round Salido won and the first in which the controlled retreat of Lopez began to look disorganised.

Drawn into a firefight he was dropped and hurt in the fifth, dominated by a merciless Salido in the sixth, rallied in the seventh and was changed forever as a fighter by Salido’s ceaseless attack in the eighth.

Lopez was subject to divorce proceedings at the time and stopped prematurely while standing, so received a rematch. Salido, who knew and understood how Lopez moved now, dominated him even more completely though Lopez managed to last until the tenth.

In 2014 Salido performed a similar mugging against Vasyl Lomachenko although it was comprised of a cooperative referee and numerous low blows; more than that, a weight advantage in that he did not appear to try that hard to make the 126lb limit and missed it by distance; the credit bequeathed here for such a victory is very limited – but those two glorious nights on which he mastered Lopez and longevity at the weight qualify him for the spot.

01 – Yuriorkis Gamboa

Peak Ranking: 1 Record for the Decade: 14-3 Ranked For: 18% of the decade

It is possible that the memory is fading now, but there was a short spell in the early part of the decade where Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa was rated the next big thing. Watching him now, it isn’t hard to see why. His offence was gorgeous. A stocky, muscular fighter, he nevertheless moved beautifully; capable of brutal yet compact hooks from a deep stance he was also delightfully mobile; a gunslinger, hands low, often eschewing the jab for leading power punches which sometimes qualified as monstrous.

But he was flawed. Questionable temperament and a propensity for being hit even while winning were always going to prevent him reaching the Pacquiao-like heights some predicted for him. Little of this manifested itself at featherweight, however, and it is featherweight that interests us here.  Between 2008 and his leaving the division in 2012, Gamboa was at his glittering best.

This included his very best years, 2010 and 2011, during which he began to meet ranked men. In his first and in what remains for me his most sparkling performance, he clearly out-pointed the world’s number one featherweight Orlando Salido. Gamboa was never more explosive in punching, favouring a lead left-hook/short-right combination and for a while, Salido seemed outclassed and in imminent danger of being stopped, but being Salido he refused to go away and even flashed an overeager Gamboa with a right in the eighth; but that and the ninth were the only rounds I could find for Siri. Gamboa dominated Salido and dropped him in the twelfth, not once but twice, was docked two points for hitting his man when he was down, flashing that temper even as he seemed imperious. A typical Gamboa Saturday night.

He was nearly as good months later against the number five contender, the puncher Daniel Ponce de Leon. Again, Gamboa hardly dropped a round against highly ranked opposition.

Supplementary wins over a slipping Jorge Solis and Jonathan Victor Barros bolster his standing but I am not overjoyed with Gamboa as a number one. He barely passes in terms of the time he spent in the rankings, and although his resume is good it is not special. He is the least qualified decadal divisional number one we have seen, I think, but Gamboa was unbeaten and really the only other contender for the #1 spot is Warrington. His domination over Salido and Salido’s domination of Juan Manuel Lopez all but ties these three in this order, and Warrington, for all his excellence, hasn’t met with the same level of fighter and nor was he ranked in the featherweight division much longer (just 2% more).

So, it’s Gamboa – a thrilling but flawed king for a thrilling but flawed featherweight decade.

The other lists:

Heavyweight

Cruiserweight

Light-Heavyweight

Super-Middleweight

Middleweight

Light-Middleweight

Welterweight

Light-Welterweight

Lightweight

Super-Featherweight

Photo credit: Ed Mulholland

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum: CLICK HERE

Featured Articles

Usyk vs. Chisora Sets the Table for a Strong Night of Boxing

Arne K. Lang

Published

on

Usyk-vs-Chisora-Sets-the-Table-for-a-Strong-Night-of-Boxing

It’s been largely lost in the ragout, at least on this side of the pond, but Saturday’s busy fight docket includes the return of Oleksandr Usyk, the former Olympic gold medalist who left the cruiserweight ranks as a legitimate four-belt champion. The 33-year-old Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs), opposes tough but erratic Dereck Chisora, a 36-year old Londoner by way of Zimbabwe. Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs), has won five of his last six, the setback occurring in his second encounter with arch-rival Dillian Whyte.

Usyk vs. Chisora, a Matchroom promotion, will play out at Wembley Arena with no fans in attendance. The Ukrainian southpaw is ranked among the top three heavyweight contenders by all four major sanctioning bodies although he has fought only once as a heavyweight, turning away under-trained late sub Chazz Witherspoon who was all in after seven frames. Usyk weighed 215 for that contest and is expected to come in about 230 for Chisora.

Usyk, who has anglicized his first name to Alexander on his English-language twitter feed, is a big favorite, but this is a tricky fight for him. The consensus 2018 Fighter of the Year, Usyk has fought only twice since unifying the cruiserweight title with a lopsided decision over Murat Gassiev in July of that year and 55 weeks have elapsed since his last start. If he needs the early rounds to shake off ring rust, he could find himself clawing out of a hole, and sometimes the hole is too deep as Usyk’s stablemate Vasiliy Lomachenko can attest. Moreover, Usyk has yet to face a naturally bigger man who can bang as hard as “Del Boy.”

The Usyk-Chisora card will air in North America on DAZN with the main event ring walks anticipated about 6 pm ET.

The tiff is hitched to an interesting undercard. Once-beaten Welshman Lee Selby, briefly the IBF featherweight champion, tangles with Australia’s undefeated (18-0) George Kambosos Jr. Savannah Marshall, who saddled Claressa Shields with her only amateur loss, meets former Shields opponent Hannah Rankin with a vacant world middleweight title at stake, Belfast’s Tommy McCarthy opposes Belgium’s Bilal Laggoune for a domestic cruiserweight title, and then there’s the heavyweight fight attracting buzz between popular Yorkshireman David Allen and Christopher Lovejoy.

The buzz surrounds the mysterious 36-year-old Lovejoy who is 19-0 as a pro with all but two of those KOs coming in the opening round.

All of Lovejoy’s fights were staged in Tijuana. Only one of his opponents brought a winning record. For a certain stripe of fighter, Tijuana is the equivalent of a feed lot, a place where livestock go to get fattened up before they are sent off to the slaughterhouse. David Allen is limited, but the most likely scenario in this fight is that it ends with Lovejoy sitting on his stool.

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

To comment on this post in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Diego Magdaleno is Locked and Loaded for Saturday’s Fray in San Antonio

Arne K. Lang

Published

on

Diego-Magdaleno-is-Locked-and-Loaded-for-Saturday's-fray-in-San-Antonio

Diego Armando Magdaleno, the son of a former semi-pro soccer player, was named for Argentine soccer star Diego Armando Maradona. But Diego’s father Jesus is hardly disappointed that his son devoted his energies to a different sport than soccer as Diego, the oldest of Jesus’s three boys, has carved out a nice career as a boxer. On Saturday, he faces Isaac Cruz at the San Antonio Alamodome and a win could thrust him into a third crack at a world lightweight title. Magdaleno vs. Cruz will be televised as part of a SHOWTIME PPV event anchored by a battle between title-holders Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Leo Santa Cruz.

The bookies don’t know what to do with the Magdaleno-Cruz matchup. One can find odds on fights of lesser importance, but with the fight only four days away the pricemakers were in quandary. Team Magdaleno, however, is approaching the fight as if they are the “B” side. Mexico City’s Isaac Cruz, who boasts a 19-1-1 record and is undefeated in his last 15 starts, has a fan-friendly style and is only 22 years old. In theory, he has more value to the promoter going forward than Magdaleno (32-3, 13 KOs) who turns 34 this week.

Magdaleno relishes the underdog role. He was the “B” side in his most recent fight when he opposed Austin Dulay in Dulay’s hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, and he carved out a clear-cut 10-round decision. Dulay, the younger man by nine years and less experienced at the pro level, was in over his head. Their fight was nationally televised on FOX.

Diego Magdaleno was born in Beverly Hills, California, but unlike many folks born there wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. “We were more like the Beverly Hillbillies,” says Diego, a reference to the popular sitcom that ran on CBS from 1962 to 1971.

For many years, Diego’s father, an immigrant from Sahuayo in the Mexican state of Michoacan, worked at the flagship West LA branch of an iconic Greater Los Angeles hamburger chain. Diego’s parents now manage a 7-11 in Las Vegas.

When Magdaleno first laced on the gloves it was at the Brooklyn Avenue boxing gym in the gritty Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles, the same gym where Oscar De La Hoya trained for the Olympic Trials. He continued with the sport after his family – he has three older sisters – moved to Las Vegas.

Diego influenced both of his younger brothers to become boxers. Jessie Magdaleno surpassed him in name recognition when he upset Nonito Nonaire in November of 2016, earning him the WBO world super bantamweight title. Jessie lost the belt in his second defense, succumbing to Isaac Dogboe, but has won three straight since that mishap, advancing his record to 28-1. The youngest Magdaleno brother, Marco, was 4-0 as a pro when he abandoned the sport, having secured a job with good pay and benefits in the construction field.

Diego has applied some of his ring earnings toward a real estate investment in Scipio, Utah, where he owns a parcel of land adjacent to a pioneer home. Scipio is a four-hour drive from Las Vegas and figuratively a million miles away. What does one do for fun in Scipio, pop. 288? The first thing that popped up in our internet search was to go grab a sandwich at the Burger Barn.

There’s a back story there. The pioneer home, built in 1886, was recently purchased by Diego’s fiancée Shannon Torres, a descendent of one of Scipio’s founding families. She and Diego are restoring it. Diego professes to be amazed at the craftsmanship. “When we pulled up the carpets,” he said, “the original hardwood floors were still in great condition.”

Shannon Torres has a boxing background, having fought as an amateur and having sparred with the likes of Mia St. John. She is also a nutritionist. Diego confesses to having a sweet tooth, being fond of cheesecake and anything with peanut butter. “She knows how to make those things for me so they are not as unhealthy,” he says.

Magdaleno’s first loss came in April of 2013 when he lost a split decision to Ramon Martinez in Macao. Diego thought he won the fight, but only one of the judges concurred. At stake was Martinez’s WBO 130-pound world title. His second world title opportunity came against WBO lightweight champ Terry Flanagan on Flanagan’s turf in Manchester, England. That didn’t go well.

“When I got in the ring, it felt like there was sand under my shoes,” said Diego. “My right foot was sliding underneath me. I overcompensated and that caused me trouble.” Magdaleno loaded up on his punches, a fatal mistake, and was knocked out in the second round.

Top Rank dropped Magdaleno after that fight but would eventually bring him back to fight their rising star Teofimo Lopez. His fight with Austin Dulay was his first fight back after his loss to Lopez (TKO by 7) and his first with new trainer Bones Adams (pictured on the left) in his corner.

Mag

Isaac Cruz poses a different threat than Dulay partly because Cruz, who stands only 5’4 ½”, is a lot shorter. But Magdaleno is confident the result will be the same.

“His style is attack, attack, attack; it’s one-dimensional,” says Diego. “I have been in there and done things that this kid has never seen. I am a big step up for him.”

Unlike many prizefighters, Diego Magdaleno knows where he is heading after his career is finished; he is already a licensed real estate salesman with one listing to his credit. He’s bi-lingual despite having spent only three months living in Mexico, that as a first-grader, and his linguistic versatility will come in handy in his second career. “I know just enough Spanish to get by,” he says, but having heard him speak in his parents’ native tongue we can attest that he’s being much too modest.

For the time being, however, Diego isn’t looking past Saturday night. Magdaleno vs. Cruz is expected to go first on the four-fight PPV portion of the card which kicks off at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.

Magdaleno/Dulay photo credit: Stephanie Trapp

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Will Leo Santa Cruz’s High Volume Punching Stymie Big Hitter ‘Tank’ Davis?

Bernard Fernandez

Published

on

Will-Leo-Santa-Cruz's-High-Volume-Punching-Stymie-Big-Hitter-Tank-Davis?

WBA “super” 130-pound champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis, short (5’5½”), short-armed (a 67½-inch reach) and powerful, has been described by some as a miniature Mike Tyson, which seems reasonable for an undefeated fighter who has won all but one of his 23 professional bouts inside the distance, more than a few of those knockouts of the spectacular variety. And if Davis’ comparisons to “Iron Mike” weren’t enough to stamp him as an emerging superstar, there is also the fact that he is a protégé of Floyd Mayweather Jr., the vainglorious owner of a 50-0 record and distinction as the richest prizefighter ever to lace up a pair of padded gloves. “Money” bills himself as TBE, “The Best Ever,” and he goes so far as to suggest that the big-hitting southpaw from Baltimore for whom he has such high hopes might someday approach his status as a cash-cow and true icon of the ring.

“The ultimate goal is to get him to surpass me,” the 43-year-old and ostensibly retired Mayweather said of the financial and fistic potential of Davis, who turns 26 on Nov. 7 and arguably is in the early stages of his prime. “I’ve been his age. Where he’s trying to go to, and what he’s trying to accomplish, I’ve already accomplished.”

Although Davis has appeared on the undercard of two Pay-Per-View shows headlined by his famous and fabulously wealthy mentor, both he and Mayweather consider his watershed Halloween night confrontation with WBA “super” featherweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs), in San Antonio’s Alamodome, as Tank’s real coming-out party. It is, after all, Davis’ first time atop his own Showtime PPV event, perhaps the first of several such marquee appearances if the level of public interest in him continues to spike. Ascending to PPV status is a rite of passage both men consider to be a significant key to all the boxing kingdom has to offer, an exclusive club to which many aspire but only a chosen few are allowed to join. The tariff to boxing fans is a $74.95 subscription fee.

“I said, `Tank, you under Mayweather Promotions. So, it’s May-Per-View,” Mayweather told the kid who would be he during the first episode of Showtime’s “All-Access,” the infomercial whose purpose is to help convince pandemic-strapped fight fans to open their wallets.

“I’m grateful for what Floyd did for me, as far as opening doors,” said Davis, who signed with Mayweather Promotions in 2015. “If it wasn’t for Floyd, I wouldn’t have been a champion at 22. He gave me a chance to fight on his Pay-Per-View card. Now I’m here, on my own Pay-Per-View.”

To hear Mayweather and Davis tell it, it is Tank’s singular, reputation-boosting turn in the spotlight, with Santa Cruz more or less along for the ride. The Vegas sports books seemingly are complicit in that perception, with Tank anywhere from a -$350 to a whopping -$710 favorite, odds which could fluctuate throughout the rest of the week as more and larger wagers are placed. Despite his being a four-division world champion, Santa Cruz, the 32-year-old, Mexican-born resident of Rosemead, Calif., whose current title is that of WBA “super” super feather ruler, also considers this particular bout to be historic as it is also his first PPV appearance. And, no, he isn’t bothered by the long odds against him (which range from +260 to +475) or Davis’ reputation as a compact instrument of pugilistic destruction.

“Nobody believes in me,” he said, almost reveling in his rare role as an underdog. “They think I’m this other guy. But I asked for this fight for a reason ’cause I want to prove myself. I’m going to compete and give my all. I’m not scared.

“Gervonta Davis is a great fighter with great skills, great power. I think he’s the most dangerous fighter in the division. Why not go after him? To prove to the people that I’m not scared of nobody.”

Santa Cruz might not pack as much power as Davis, but his forte is high-volume punching. When he defeated Vusi Malinga via 12-round unanimous decision for the vacant IBF bantamweight strap on June 2, 2012, in Carson, Calif., CompuBox statistics revealed he had unfurled a remarkable 1,350 punches, an average of just under 113 per round. Nor were those numbers an aberration for the human perpetual motion machine; in his two confrontations with Abner Mares, both of which were won on points by Santa Cruz, the read-out showed Leo connecting on a combined 730 of 2,115. Many opponents scarcely have time to think, much less react, when Santa Cruz is firing shots with machine-gun rapidity. No wonder he dares to believe Davis will be similarly flustered.

“I think so,” Santa Cruz said when asked if the quantity of his fusillade will more than offset Davis’ superior quality in terms of power. “When you have a fighter on top of you, throwing punches, he’s not letting you think; he’s frustrating you. He’s not letting you do nothing.

“If I do that, it could be dangerous ’cause he’ll be waiting to counterpunch me, to land those big shots, the uppercuts and hooks. So, I got to do a very smart fight, a perfect fight, to beat him.”

For TV purposes, the storyline outside the ropes sometimes is nearly as important in selling the product as what takes place inside them. In that regard Davis and Santa Cruz, so seemingly different in some regards, are strikingly similar in that they were children of poverty, hardly unusual for a sport where years of deprivation can stoke a burning desire to succeed. Santa Cruz’s motivation might even be hiked a bit higher because of the ongoing medical circumstances of his trainer-father, Jose Santa Cruz Sr.

Jose Sr. could be the star of his own medical reality series, the most recent episode being his near-death brush with COVID-19. But the patriarch of a boxing family (brothers Jose Jr., Antonio and Roberto are also involved in Leo’s career) had previously survived a bout with sepsis, a potentially life-threatening infection, and, in 2016, the diagnosis of Stage 3 myeloma, a blood cancer, that invaded his bones. The father had to undergo weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, and although he pulled through Leo cited concerns for his dad’s health as a contributing factor in his sole pro defeat, in which he relinquished his WBA super featherweight title, by 12-round majority decision, to England’s Carl Frampton on July 30, 2016. Santa Cruz avenged that setback, also by majority decision, six months later.

Jose Sr. continues to serve as Leo’s trainer, but so many medical crises have been met and overcome by the father that the son has learned, as best he can, to cope.

And the COVID-19 which again could have brought Jose Sr. the eternal 10-count?

“When he went (into the hospital), they gave us little hope,” Leo said of his dad’s most recent downward plunge on an emotional roller-coaster on which the entire family has been obliged to have seats. “They said he was going to pass away, that he wasn’t going to last the night. We were all depressed and crying. His lungs were failing, his heart was failing. He coded two times; he died and they brought him back to life.

“I had memories of when he used to go on the bus with me, pushing me in the gym, telling me what to do. All those memories were playing in my mind. I really didn’t think he was going to make it. I thought they were going to call us and say, `Hey, your dad passed away.’ But we prayed, we had hope. Thank God, the next day we were told our dad was still in critical condition, but he was doing a little bit better. Day by day he improved. God listened. He made a miracle. My dad survived. Even the doctors were saying that they didn’t know how that happened.”

As was the case with Santa Cruz, who recalls the occasions when the family’s electricity was shut off because of unpaid bills, Davis’ childhood also was hardly a real-life version of Leave It To Beaver. In 1999, while his father was in prison and his mom was battling drug addition, he was placed into child protective services at the age of five. For the next several years he shuttled between foster homes and shelters. But then, at seven, he found his way into the boxing gym run by Calvin Grove, who knew the pitfalls of life on the streets (he had served 10 years behind bars on drug offenses) as well as the need throw-away children such as Gervonta Davis had to finding someone and something to believe in. Ford, now 56, is so much more than Tank’s trainer now; he also is his father-figure and inspiration not to become another faceless, nameless crime statistic.

“Boxing, I would say, saved my life,” Davis said. “All the guys I came up with that were older than me, they got killed. If you got one foot in the street and one foot in the gym, it’s not going to work. You got to be all the way committed with something.

“When I came to the gym, I felt the love that I needed as a child. Calvin basically raised me. What I been through and what I seen coming up, I knew I don’t want to go backwards in life. I know what that brings.”

In addition to Davis-Santa Cruz, the PPV portion of the undercard features the return, after a layoff of 13 months, of former WBA and WBC Diamond super lightweight champion Regis “Rougaroo” Prograis (24-1, 20 KOs), in a 10-rounder against Juan Heraldez (16-0-1, 10 KOs); the WBA junior welterweight title matchup of San Antonio’s Mario Barrios (25-0, 16 KOs) vs. Ryan Karl (18-2, 12 KOs), and a lightweight scrap pitting Diego Magdaleno (32-3, 13 KOs) against Isaac Cruz Gonzalez (19-1-1, 14 KOs).

Photo credit: Esther Lin / Mayweather Promotions

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading
Advertisement
In-Defense-of-Julie-Lederman
Featured Articles1 week ago

In Defense of Julie Lederman

-C'mon
Featured Articles1 week ago

“—C’mon!” (from the pen of Springs Toledo)

RIP-Ricardo-Jimenez-One-of-Boxing's-Most-Beloved
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

RIP Ricardo Jimenez: One of Boxing’s Most Beloved

loma
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The Official TSS Lomachenko-Lopez Prediction Page

Will-The_Pandemic-Hurt-Boxing-in-the-Long-Term-A-Blockbuster-TSS-Survey
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Will The Pandemic Hurt Boxing in the Long Term?: A Blockbuster TSS Survey

Jose-Zepeda-Wins-Knockdown-Battle-with-Ivan-Baranchyk-at-the-MGM-Bubble
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Jose Zepeda Wins Knockdown Battle with Ivan Baranchyk at the MGM Bubble

Avila-Perspective-Chap-107-El-Flaco-the-Charlo-Twins-and-More
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Avila Perspective. Chap. 107: El Flaco, the Charlo twins and More

Johnny-Bos-Large-in-Life-A-Cult-Figure-in-Death-A-TSS-Classic-by-Randy-Gordon
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Johnny Bos: Large in Life, A Cult Figure in Death (A TSS Classic by Randy Gordon)

Teofimo-Takes-Over-Upsets-Lomachenko
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

 Teofimo Takes Over: Upsets Lomachenko

Conor-McGregor-vs-Pac-Man-The-Circus-is-Back-in-Town
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Conor McGregor vs. Pac-Man: The Circus is Back in Town

Does-Lomachenko-Still-Have-Enough-Blue-Book-Value-to-Motor-Past-Lopez?
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Does Lomachenko Still Have Enough Blue-Book Value to Motor Past Lopez?

Matchroom-Fight-Results-Buatsi-TKOs-Calic-Chantelle-Cameron-Wins-a-World-Title
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Matchroom Fight Results: Buatsi TKOs Calic; Chantelle Cameron Wins a World Title

A-Fistful-of-Murder-The-Fights0and-Crimes-of-Carlos-Monzon
Featured Articles3 days ago

A Fistful of Murder: The Fights and Crimes of Carlos Monzon

The-Top-Ten-Super-Flyweights-of-the-Decade-2010-2019
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

The Top Ten Superflyweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

The-Top-Ten-Flyweights-of-the-Decade-2010-2019
Featured Articles1 week ago

The Top Ten Flyweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

Las-Vegas-Trainer-Bones-Adams-Talks-About-Life-on-the-Bubble-Circuit
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Las Vegas Trainer Bones Adams Talks About Life on the Bubble Circuit

Navarette-Powers-Way-to-WBO-Featherweight-Title
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Navarrete Powers Way to WBO Featherweight Title

Kelsey-McCarson's-Hits-and-Misses-Takeover-Edition
Featured Articles1 week ago

Kelsey McCarson’s HITS and MISSES: Takeover Edition

Avila-Perspective,-Chap.-109:-Teofimo-vs.-Loma-and-More.jpg
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 109: Lopez vs. Loma and More

The-WBCs-Franchise-Sticker-and-More-Judges-Add-to-Boxing's-Numbers-Glut
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The WBC’s ‘Franchise’ Sticker and More Judges Add to Boxing’s Numbers Glut

Usyk-vs-Chisora-Sets-the-Table-for-a-Strong-Night-of-Boxing
Featured Articles5 hours ago

Usyk vs. Chisora Sets the Table for a Strong Night of Boxing

Diego-Magdaleno-is-Locked-and-Loaded-for-Saturday's-fray-in-San-Antonio
Featured Articles1 day ago

Diego Magdaleno is Locked and Loaded for Saturday’s Fray in San Antonio

Will-Leo-Santa-Cruz's-High-Volume-Punching-Stymie-Big-Hitter-Tank-Davis?
Featured Articles2 days ago

Will Leo Santa Cruz’s High Volume Punching Stymie Big Hitter ‘Tank’ Davis?

HITS-and-MISSES-from-Another-Weekend-on-the-Boxing-Beat
Featured Articles2 days ago

HITS and MISSES from Another Weekend on the Boxing Beat

A-Fistful-of-Murder-The-Fights0and-Crimes-of-Carlos-Monzon
Featured Articles3 days ago

A Fistful of Murder: The Fights and Crimes of Carlos Monzon

Lipinets-and-Clayton-Battle-to-a0Draw-at-the-Mohegan-Sun
Featured Articles4 days ago

Lipinets and Clayton Battle to a Draw at the Mohegan Sun

Juan-Francisco-Estrada-KOs-Carlos-Cuadras-Chocolatito-Wins-Too
Featured Articles5 days ago

Juan Francisco Estrada KOs Carlos Cuadras; Chocolatito Wins Too

Boxing-Odds-and-Ends-Fury's-Next-Opponent-Lomachencko-Redux-and-More
Featured Articles5 days ago

Boxing Odds and Ends: Fury’s Next Opponent, Lomachenko Redux and More

Avila-Perspective-Chap-110-Chocolatito,Lipinets and More
Featured Articles6 days ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 110: Chocolatito, Lipinets and More

The-Top-Ten-Flyweights-of-the-Decade-2010-2019
Featured Articles1 week ago

The Top Ten Flyweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

In-Defense-of-Julie-Lederman
Featured Articles1 week ago

In Defense of Julie Lederman

-C'mon
Featured Articles1 week ago

“—C’mon!” (from the pen of Springs Toledo)

Kelsey-McCarson's-Hits-and-Misses-Takeover-Edition
Featured Articles1 week ago

Kelsey McCarson’s HITS and MISSES: Takeover Edition

Teofimo-Takes-Over-Upsets-Lomachenko
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

 Teofimo Takes Over: Upsets Lomachenko

Lewis-Ritson-Nips-Hard-Luck-Miguel-Vazquez-Plus-Undercard-Results
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Lewis Ritson Nips Hard-Luck Miguel Vazquez Plus Undercard Results

Avila-Perspective,-Chap.-109:-Teofimo-vs.-Loma-and-More.jpg
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 109: Lopez vs. Loma and More

loma
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The Official TSS Lomachenko-Lopez Prediction Page

Does-Lomachenko-Still-Have-Enough-Blue-Book-Value-to-Motor-Past-Lopez?
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Does Lomachenko Still Have Enough Blue-Book Value to Motor Past Lopez?

RIP-Ricardo-Jimenez-One-of-Boxing's-Most-Beloved
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

RIP Ricardo Jimenez: One of Boxing’s Most Beloved

The-WBCs-Franchise-Sticker-and-More-Judges-Add-to-Boxing's-Numbers-Glut
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The WBC’s ‘Franchise’ Sticker and More Judges Add to Boxing’s Numbers Glut

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Advertisement