Connect with us

Featured Articles

COVID-19 Has Combat Sports on the Ropes

Avatar

Published

on

COVID-19-Has-Combat-Sports-on-the-Ropes

By Special Correspondent Ryan Sakacs — After months of sparring between players unions and league executives, the major American sports have finally overcome the legal and logistical hurdles delaying the restart of stalled seasons. While empty stadiums and shortened schedules will be this year’s hallmark, the financial burden associated with COVID-19 protocols will present a lasting challenge for many combat sports promoters.

State athletic commissions – charged with protecting the health and safety of fighters and promoting the integrity of competition – will play a critical role in shaping the post-pandemic future of boxing and mixed martial arts. Without a unified governing body, rules and regulations can vary significantly from state-to-state – from trivial topics, such as ring attire and facial hair, to more meaningful matters, including the selection of officials, the use of instant replay, and medical standards for licensing (i.e., neurological and PED testing). Coronavirus testing and distancing policies will also differ considerably.

Some athletic commissions and promotional companies have taken the lead in developing effective, albeit costly, measures. The UFC was the first major American sport to return to live competition in early May when it held three full fight cards in eight days – an ambitious feat even in a pre-pandemic world. According to UFC President Dana White, the company coordinated with the Florida State Boxing Commission to administer over 1,100 tests to every fighter, second, and staff member at a cost of $150,000 per event.

Despite the fiscal challenges, the UFC hosted four events at its Las Vegas headquarters in June.  Under the supervision of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the UFC reportedly conducted more than 2,500 tests and implemented strict rules requiring fighters and seconds to self-isolate upon arriving at the facility until Friday’s official weigh-in. The UFC continued to bolster its regulations during its four-event campaign on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, which featured extensive testing, a “safe zone” off limits to the general public, nightly temperature screenings, and ample on-site medical personnel.

Top Rank led boxing’s return in June with twice-weekly cards in Las Vegas. According to CEO Bob Arum, the undertaking has been an expensive one – increased testing will cost the company at least $25,000 per event, in addition to the price of extra security, hotel rooms, and specialized dining arrangements.

While heavyweights like the UFC and Top Rank (with substantial financial resources and lucrative broadcasting deals) can overcome higher overhead costs and reduced revenues, live events may be cost prohibitive for the foreseeable future for local promoters operating on more modest budgets.

Joe DeGuardia, President and CEO of Star Boxing, expects exponential harm for the sport and beyond. “Even before COVID, club shows in New York were hanging on by a thread.  The cost was already increasing. Under these circumstances, with the added expense of testing and no fans, it’s impossible.  Losing club shows for a significant period will kill boxing. They’re the lifeblood of the sport. People don’t realize that the local shows fuel the major events.  Many of those fighters end up on major cards at Madison Square Garden and Barclays.”

It’s a story DeGuardia has seen play out with his own stable of fighters. Chris Algieri and Joe Smith Jr. both rose to regional renown in the Paramount Theatre in Huntington, Long Island before achieving major success on the international level. Algieri went on to face some of the sport’s biggest stars in Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan, and Errol Spence after winning the WBO International junior welterweight title in 2014. Smith, Jr., of course, retained the WBC International light heavyweight title in 2016 with a devastating knockout of all-time-great Bernard Hopkins.

DeGuardia also laments broader economic effects due to COVID-19 restrictions. “We would pack New York Avenue in Huntington for our shows at the Paramount. Those local restaurants, bars, and hotels will also lose out on money. Before COVID, we had events planned for months in advance.  Now there’s nothing.”

The downturn has already hit the industry hard. For instance, referees, judges, and athletic commission staff in every state have and will continue to lose out on income because of the lack of events – In 2019, California regulated more than 120 boxing and MMA cards, compared to 18 so far in 2020.

Furthermore, some states also stand to lose considerable revenue.” Last year, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced, “Combat sports industry has produced unprecedented revenue and economic activity for New York since the introduction of Mixed Martial Arts two years ago.” This year, however, the state has only held three events to date.

The coronavirus presents another existential crisis for combat sports. The demise of boxing has been touted for years, and its battle for relevance is ongoing. Just a generation ago, boxing was one of the world’s most popular sports, and its stars were some of the most recognizable athletes. Sadly, it now resembles a niche sport, like thoroughbred racing, with casual viewers only tuning in for mega-fights. Meanwhile, MMA withstood intense political pressure and public outcry for two decades before establishing itself as a legitimate international attraction. However, if club shows fall victim to the “new normal,” professional fighting could permanently lose its standing as a main event.

Ryan Sakacs is the former chief of the Prescription Drug Investigation Unit with the New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor. During his 12-year career as an assistant district attorney, he founded the country’s most prolific prosecutorial unit dedicated to combating the surge in prescription drug diversion, addiction, and fatal overdoses. Sakacs has also served as counsel to the New York State Athletic Commission.

Pictured: Bernardo Osuna at the MGM/Top Rank “Bubble”— Photo credit: Mikey Williams

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

 

 

Featured Articles

Daniel Jacobs Edges Past Gabe Rosado on a Matchroom card in Florida

David A. Avila

Published

on

Daniel-Jacobs-Edges-Past-Gabe-Rosado-on-a-Matchroom-card-in-Florida

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.

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

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

Arne K. Lang

Published

on

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

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.

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

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

Avatar

Published

on

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

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.

insert

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 

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
The-Top-Ten-Light-Flyweights-of-the-Decade-2010-2019
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

The Top Ten Light Flyweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

Boxing-Exhibitions-Side-Show-New-Angle-or-Something-Else
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Boxing Exhibitions: Side Show, New Angle, or Something Else?

Canelo-Alvarez-Splits-With-Golden-Boy-and-DAZN-and-Moves-On-to-Caleb-Plant
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Canelo Alvarez Splits With Golden Boy and DAZN and Moves On to Caleb Plant

Ready-Or-Not-Here-It-Comes-Boxing's-New-Bridgergate-Division
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Ready Or Not, Here It Comes, Boxing’s New Bridgerweight Division

Deontay-Wilder's-Lame-Excuse-Gets-No-Brownie-Points-for-Originality
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Deontay Wilder’s Lame Excuse Gets No Brownie Points for Originality

Literary-Notes-Becoming-Muhammad-Ali
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Literary Notes: “Becoming Muhammad Ali”

Juan-Domingo-Roldan-Succumbs-to-Covid-19-at-age-63-fought-Hagler-snd-Hearns
Featured Articles1 week ago

Juan Domingo Roldan Succumbs to Covid-19 at age 63; fought Hagler and Hearns

Gervonta-Davis-Disposes-of-Leo-Santa-Cruz-With-a-Brutal-One-Punch-Knockout
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Gervonta Davis Disposes of Leo Santa Cruz With a Brutal One-Punch Knockout

Boxing's-Chaotic-Weight-Divisions-A-Short-History-of-How-We-Got-to-Where-We-Are
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Boxing’s Chaotic Weight Divisions: A Short History of How We Got to Where We Are

Naoya-Inoue-and-Mikaela-Mayer-Win-in-Las-Vegas
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Naoya Inoue and Mikaela Mayer Win in Las Vegas

Avila-Perspective-Chap-112-Devin-Haney-and-More
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap 112: Devin Haney and More

The-Top-Ten-Strawweights-of-the-Decade-2010-2019
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The Top Ten Strawweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

HITS-and-MISSES-Celebrating-Terence-Crawford-and-More
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

HITS and MISSES: Celebrating Terence Crawford and More

No-Knockout-for-Devin-Haney-But-He-Outclasses-Gamboa-to-Retain-His-Title
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

No Knockout for Devin Haney, But He Outclasses Gamboa to Retain His Title

HITS-and-MISSES-Halloween-Weekend-Edition
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

HITS and MISSES: Halloween Weekend Edition

Avila-Perspective-Chap-113-Terence-Crawford-and-the-British-Jinx
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap 113: Terence Crawford and the British Jinx

Cassius-X-The-Transformation-of-Muhammad-Ali
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

“Cassius X: The Transformation of Muhammad Ali”

Avila-Perspective-Chap-111-Munguia-Tank-and-The-Monster
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap 111: Munguia, Tank and The Monster

Terence-Crawford-TKOs-Kell-Brook-Franco-Moloney-II-Ends-in-Controversy
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Terence Crawford TKOs Kell Brook; Franco-Moloney II Ends in Controversy

Stanionis-Kent-Cruz-and-Booker-Stay-Undefeated-on-a-Midweek-Show-in-LA
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Stanionis, Kent Cruz, and Booker Stay Undefeated on a Midweek Show in L.A.

Daniel-Jacobs-Edges-Past-Gabe-Rosado-on-a-Matchroom-card-in-Florida
Featured Articles15 hours ago

Daniel Jacobs Edges Past Gabe Rosado on a Matchroom card in Florida

Pradabsri-Upsets-Menayothin-Ends-the-Longest-Unbeaten-Streak-of-Modern-Times
Featured Articles20 hours ago

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

Yoka-vs-Hammer-Kicks-Off-the-Thanksgiving-Weekend-Slate-on-ESPN+
Featured Articles2 days ago

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

Camacho me and Mia
Featured Articles3 days ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 115: Macho, Freddie and More

Muhammad-Ali-Biographer-Jonathan-Eig-Talks-About-His-Book-and-the-Icon-Who-Inspired-It
Featured Articles4 days ago

Muhammad Ali Biographer Jonathan Eig Talks About His Book and the Icon Who Inspired It

The-Peculiar-Career-of-Marcos-Geraldo
Featured Articles4 days ago

The Peculiar Career of Marcos Geraldo

HITS-and-MISSES-Javier-Fortuna-Shines-and-More
Featured Articles5 days ago

HITS and MISSES: Javier Fortuna Shines and More

Boxing-Odds-and-Ends-Filip-Hrgovic-vs-Efe-Ajagba-Dame-Helen-Mirren-and-More
Featured Articles5 days ago

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

Avila-Perspective-Chap-114-Electrifying-Ryan-Garcia-Opens-Up-2021
Featured Articles6 days ago

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

Fast-Results-from-LA-Javier-Fortuna-Brings-His-A-Game-Halts-Lozada
Featured Articles7 days ago

Fast Results from LA: Javier Fortuna Brings his “A” Game; Halts Lozada

Conor-Benn-Improves-to-17-0-at-the-Expense-of-Sebastian-Formella
Featured Articles7 days ago

Conor Benn Improves to 17-0 at the Expense of Sebastian Formella

Boxing's-Chaotic-Weight-Divisions-Part-Two-of-a-Two-Part-Story
Featured Articles1 week ago

Boxing’s Chaotic Weight Divisions: Part Two of a Two-Part Story

Ring-City-Hollywood-Debut-Sees-Foster-KO-Roman
Featured Articles1 week ago

Ring City Hollywood Debut Sees Foster KO Roman

Juan-Domingo-Roldan-Succumbs-to-Covid-19-at-age-63-fought-Hagler-snd-Hearns
Featured Articles1 week ago

Juan Domingo Roldan Succumbs to Covid-19 at age 63; fought Hagler and Hearns

Santa-Claus-Arrives-Early-with-Canelo-vs-Callum-on-Dec-19
Featured Articles1 week ago

Santa Claus Arrives Early with Canelo vs. Callum on Dec. 19

HITS-and-MISSES-Celebrating-Terence-Crawford-and-More
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

HITS and MISSES: Celebrating Terence Crawford and More

Boxing's-Chaotic-Weight-Divisions-A-Short-History-of-How-We-Got-to-Where-We-Are
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Boxing’s Chaotic Weight Divisions: A Short History of How We Got to Where We Are

Terence-Crawford-TKOs-Kell-Brook-Franco-Moloney-II-Ends-in-Controversy
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Terence Crawford TKOs Kell Brook; Franco-Moloney II Ends in Controversy

Katie-Taylor-Dominates-on-a-Female-Heavy-Fight-Card-in-London
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Katie Taylor Dominates on a Female-Heavy Fight Card in London

The-Top-Ten-Strawweights-of-the-Decade-2010-2019
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The Top Ten Strawweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Advertisement