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

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The question for our final survey of 2020: What long-range effects, if any, will the Pandemic have on Boxing as a business and/or as a sport? Participation was robust. We received 50 responses. The respondents are listed in alphabetical order.

Jim Amato — author, writer, historian, collector: The fans don’t seem to be as “into it” as they were before the pandemic hit. This can change though in the next six to twelve months. Promoters and matchmakers need to put together some mega battles. There are several waiting to be made. The boxers HAVE to be willing to take on their best opponent. The fans are getting restless with “build-up” contests. It’s time to s–t or get off the pot for everyone involved.

Russ Anber — elite trainer, cornerman, and owner of Rival Boxing Equipment: Boxing, or the business thereof, will ultimately reflect whatever is happening in the world and in other sports and businesses. A new set of rules has been imposed on the world, and as a species and a sport, boxing and its participants will adapt to the new world order.

Matt Andrzejewski –TSS writer: Short term there has been an impact. Boxing gyms closing and the essential elimination of club shows in the US are examples. But long term this sport is resilient and there will be no major impact. Just look at the recent Horn-Tszyu card in Australia. There is still plenty of demand worldwide for the sport and once fans are allowed in, you will see them come rushing back to fill arenas.

David Avila — TSS West Coast Bureau Chief: Those who consider boxing gyms a second home now realize how easy it can be taken away.

Jeff Bumpus writer; former professional boxer: I truly believe the results will be completely negligible. When the pandemic subsides, business will resume as it used to be. There were no real advantages or points of light to be taken from this period. Crowds are missed.

Steve Canton — voice of boxing in Florida: I don’t think the pandemic will have any long-range effect. It definitely has a short-term effect on both the sport and business of boxing. Fighters are not able to train and compete with the gyms being closed or limited and few shows being promoted with no (or few) spectators. There will be a time lapse before things are back to the way it was. We need gyms open, fighters (both amateur and professional) fighting, and shows being promoted in order to develop the “next generation” of stars. Eventually we will get there.

Anthony M. Cardinale, Esq. — fight manager: One good thing about the pandemic’s effect on the sport is to give the fighters, their managers, and hangers-on a better appreciation of the economics of the business of boxing. One critical revenue stream, site fees/ ticket sales, were stricken off the list and allowed the other side of the promotion to appreciate that you can only pay what is reasonable. As for the sport part, it has been interesting to see how little the crowd has to do with performance. Indeed, it let everyone watching know that the fighters are so focused that they do not hear the crowd, period. Finally, the lack of raucous crowd response to fan favorites, even when they miss, was taken out of the judging equation. I have always thought that the judges should have noise cancelling devices in order to better judge the bout; even on an subconscious level, crowd reaction plays too much into the judging.

Guy Casale — former professional boxer:  It’s similar to that of other sports! Until we’re out of the woods and better ways are perfected to treat this virus.

Michael Culbert — retired professional boxer; former Massachusetts state champion: It will have no effect; things will get back to normal.

Jill Diamond WBC International Secretary and “WBC Cares” Chair: Boxing will always exist. And, when the Pandemic hit, boxing was on an upward curve. I believe that unless the promoters and the platforms find a common ground, we may never find that momentum again. Other combat sports don’t suffer from this business model and will eclipse boxing; especially when so many homebound people hunger for sports. They need and deserve the best of the best. Unless we give that to them, we will probably be KO’d. Of course, the ones who are most vulnerable are our athletes. Let’s unite and do better.

Rick Farris — president and founder of the West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame: As far as I am concerned, the boxing I loved died long ago. I only write about the sport I love, and it no longer exists. So, through the WCBHOF, I am able to live in the past. The art of boxing no longer exists

Bernard Fernandez — TSS mainstay, lifetime member of the BWAA, 2020 IBHOF Inductee: They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. The lack of live boxing, or even boxing before small, socially-distanced turnouts, might ignite a firestorm of interest once the sport is fully opened to fans not required to wear masks or to treat the person next to him as if he had a communicable disease, which might well have been the case. But little or no live boxing might have the opposite effect, and remind fans that life did and can go on without unfettered access to the pugilistic arts. Only time will tell which way the pendulum swings.

Sue Fox — legendary female boxer; founder/president of WBAN™ and IWBHF: In the long run boxing will continue to suffer for an unknown time. The smaller promoters do not have the advantage of television networks, etc. to help with their indoor events. I am wondering how boxing events behind closed doors will, in the “big picture,” be able to sustain itself?

Jeffrey Freeman — (aka KO Digest), TSS writer: With this week’s surprise announcement that President Trump and his wife now have the China Virus, I don’t know what to think about the future of anything anymore. What I do know is that the free world (and America in particular) is under communist attack and that professional sports are being weaponized against us in the name of social justice. It’s not as bad in boxing as in some other sports (not yet anyway) but it’s only a matter of time until the forces of destruction turn their attention to boxing as “the most racist” of all sports, pitting poor black fighters against other poor black fighters for the entertainment of white spectators.

Clarence George -writer and historian: The effects will be inevitable, but insignificant. After all, how much more marginalized can boxing get?

Randy Gordon-former head of the New York State Athletic Commission; former editor of The Ring magazine; host of SiriusXM Radio’s “At the Fights, Inc”: The Pandemic which has decimated many businesses throughout the world, is sure to leave a long, ugly scar for many years. Boxing, along with MMA, led the sports world back into competition, albeit on a smaller scale and behind closed doors. No fans in attendance obviously affects the paychecks of all involved. Throughout history. the world has recovered from all types of disasters. It will recover from this one. Only time will tell how long it takes.  However, the way boxing has come roaring back in the second half of 2020, my guess is that COVID-19 will not leave any long-term effects on the “Sweet Science.”

Lee Groves author, writer and the wizard of CompuBox: I believe that boxing has dealt with this virus better than most sports, and thus I believe that it will once again prove its resilience. That said, the environment has changed; more champions are engaging in non-title fights and some fighters are adopting an accelerated schedule, perhaps because they are generating smaller purses for fighting less risky opponents. The recent Charlo PPV, priced at $74.95 and going up against the NBA conference final and UFC 253, generated better than expected numbers, so that’s a good sign.

Henry Hascup — boxing historian and President of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame: The big-time fighters and promoters will come back. But I believe the small-time promoters and gyms will get hurt so bad that they may never recover. Some of these gym owners don’t have the means to stay open without some support. This will not only hurt the club fighters and the amateur program, but it will also hurt the people that work in the corners and at the gyms as well. The Veteran Boxing Organizations have also been hurt.

Chuck Hasson — historian, author: Without fan attendance, the whole atmosphere becomes dull (even to televiewers) and gradually without the excitement and noise from the attendees, interest might dwindle. Hope not.

Kevin Iole — award-winning journalist; covers MMA and boxing for Yahoo Sports: The scary thing that promoters are going to face is that fans have discovered that they can live without the fights. They’ve found other things to do during the crisis. So, I think the long-term result is that promoters will be more fan-centric, pricing tickets better and making fights the fans want to see far more quickly than in the past.

Mark Kram Jr. — noted author and writer: What should happen? All boxing events should be suspended pending the arrival of a reliable vaccine. What will happen? Business as usual

Arne Lang TSS editor-in-chief, author, historian: As soon as the fans are allowed back in the arenas with no social distancing, there will be a flood of important fights like we haven’t seen before. Will the fans return in the same numbers? I don’t know. But I know that other sports have alienated many of their patrons during these troubling months (which isn’t a value judgment; merely a fact) and boxing — by comparison — has not. So, if there is a drop-off in attendance, I would not expect it to be as severe as with the NBA and NFL.

Jimmy Lange — former fighter and promoter: I don’t believe the Pandemic, once it’s over, will affect the sport itself. The business will be affected as the rest of the country is. Clearly, the bottom line in boxing is ”asses in seats”…until we can open up as a country, across the board, life will not be the same for ANY business.

Ron Lipton — member of NJ and NY Boxing Halls of Fame, former fighter, retired police officer, writer, pro referee: The Pandemic has already had the most destructive long range effect on boxing as a sport and business. I refereed at the last professional boxing show in New York doing the Co-Main event at the Barclays Center on March 7, 2020 with heavyweight Efe Ajagba. Since that date there has been no professional boxing event in New York State.  Everyone that loves Boxing wants to see it come back to the loyal boxing fans of New York with a venue adhering to all the protocol that the “Bubble” does in Las Vegas, Connecticut and elsewhere.

Robert Mladinich –– former fighter, author, writer, actor: Boxing was struggling in the U.S. even before the pandemic. Charging $75 for the PPV fight with the Charlo brothers during an economic downturn was idiotic. The nation is gripped by cynicism, pessimism, and world weariness. Boxing needs someone to make them feel positive and inspired. If ever there was a time to broadcast fights on free TV, it is now. I hope there is someone who can bring boxing back in the U.S. but I don’t see it happening any time soon.

Don Majewski — matchmaker, historian; affiliated with RING 8 and the NYSBHOF:  If you are not one of the big four — Top Rank, PBC, Matchroom or Golden Boy — you will not able to subsidize cards as you will not be able to sell tickets to full capacity–nor make deals with casinos as they will not get the TV exposure. Neither will they be able to have enough live gate attendance to justify paying a site fee. The prohibitive costs of the additional Covid tests and insurance will cripple smaller promoters. It will have a profound effect on younger boxers starting out who are not established amateur stars or Olympians subsidized by huge bonuses. And we have to induce fans to throw caution to the wind and return to arenas to attend bouts. The best solution is for promoters to be more proactive with streaming options and for major, privately owned arenas – ala Barclays Center and MSG and Resorts or Turning Star — to open their own boxing promotional entities and subsidize cards until we return to a semblance of normalcy.

Adeyinka Makinde U.K. barrister, author and contributor to the Cambridge Companion to Boxing: There will be a short to medium term effect that will be hurtful. The economic downturn of national economies will hit the pockets of fans who will not have their previous level of disposable income. And, of course, the limitations on public gatherings may endure even after the worst of the pandemic if the present modifications become ‘the new normal’. Boxing will have to adapt to survive long-term, and promoters need to think of ways to surmount this. They may want to tap into the strategies utilized by the UFC which has continued to stage events throughout the present crisis.

Scoop Malinowski — boxing writer, author, Mr. “Biofile”: I’m very concerned for boxing’s future. Boxing in America has been struggling and the virus factor will do further damage. There are no American stars who generate big box office and there are few super fights to spark a new golden era. Spence vs. Crawford, Fury vs. AJ must be made and they must deliver. Loma vs. Lopez can be the spark boxing so desperately needs.

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…Where does an aspiring pro fighter get their experience and, just as importantly, a pay-day? Is it possible that in the short-to-medium run, streaming of events will be the new model?… Harry Otty

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Paul Magno– writer, author, official: I’m going to be realistic–boxing will probably not learn a damn thing from this. I mean, that’s just what history tells us. The hope, however, is that the fans’ sluggish return and general post-layoff ambivalence will finally open eyes as to how much they’ve done to turn off a very loyal base. Maybe it’ll sound off an alarm about the current rotten, growth-poisoning business model. Maybe it’ll spark an effort towards exposing more people to the sport and cooperating more, knocking down some of the business obstacles to give fans the fights they want to see. I’m hoping against hope that the fans not rushing back to the sport after the COVID layoff will encourage change.

David Martinez — historian, writer: It is possible with no live fan base in attendance that the average fans will vanish as quickly as a Houdini act, with only the true loyalist to remain. Until we are “completely” free of this virus will boxing or any other sport be the way it was? My involvement in the sport of boxing goes back to 1961, so I have no intention of abandoning what has been embedded in my veins for almost 60 years. May God grant us wisdom and good health for all the human race.

Ernest Morales (aka Geno Febus) — former fighter, writer: The sport will continue to suffer economically having no live gate. The lack/shortage of quality fights has caused fans to lose interest. Promoters are desperately trying to squeeze the fans to pay MORE for LESS. Fighters will be forced to take fights they have been avoiding and accepting less money. Time for less posturing.

Diego Morilla – Argentine boxing correspondent; editor with the “The Ring en Español”: The effects will be felt for many years to come. During what we assume will be an 18-month situation in which travel restrictions, lockdowns and other limitations have seriously affected the economy in general, boxing felt the effect like no other sport. True, the individual nature of the sport made it easier for combatants to return to action, since you need to test a lower number of people for boxing than for any team sport. But the international character of the competition was almost completely lost since entire countries have endured a complete shutdown that will keep many fighters away from the ring and/or a significant level of competition for more than a year.

Harry Otty — (aka “Boxscribe”); historian: It seems like the gradual decline of boxing is following a long-established path. First, the arrival of TV negatively impacts small hall shows – the very places an apprentice would learn their trade – then the TV companies are looking for big-selling events for advertising etc, then for PPV with a decent headliner. From lots of small events, to fewer small events, then to smaller crowds, and now – thanks to social distancing – no crowds. Where does an aspiring pro fighter get their experience and, just as importantly, a payday? Training and sparring under these circumstances is also an issue. Just as with every professional sport, boxing without a crowd sucks; even if you get to ‘virtually ‘ attend. It is difficult to get excited by these events. On the horizon (Dec. 11) we have Joseph Parker vs Junior Fa – it will be good to see a big, well-attended boxing event again – hopefully the rest of the world will not be too far behind.

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 …That huge gap in level of activity and competition, combined with the psychological damage brought on by uncertainty and the overall feeling of “unfairness” of how things have played out, will prove to be a terrible combination in the near future, and in the long range it may reshape the entire boxing industry, with fighters resettling to boxing hotspots around the world just to avoid being left out in case of another event of this nature (a trend that has already started)…. -Diego Morilla

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Luis Pabon — elite referee: Covid has affected small promoters because without an audience it is not cost-effective to promote boxing. All of the boxers on the rise are affected accordingly. Others who are greatly impacted are the foreign officials like referees and judges…nobody talks about us…How long can the big promotors endure without a public? Will we get PPV to recover profits?

Russell Peltz — semi-retired promoter, manager; 2004 IBHOF Inductee: It is hurting the small promoters the most, the ones who fill the cupboards for the bigger promoters. They struggled without television and now they cannot operate without ticket sales. I see how the bigger promoters are using fighters they never would have used under normal circumstances because the talent pool has shrunk. Fighters have taken jobs and are not in the gym. I had one foot out the door before it started. It must be karma because 2020 was the first year since I began in 1969 that I did not take out a promoter’s license, only a manager’s license. I feel terrible for promoters who rely on ticket sales, especially Michelle Rosado (Raging Babe), one of the hardest-working promoters around today. She had to close down her sold out (SRO) March 27 card in Philly. Who knows when she will be able to resume? I feel terrible for the four- and six-round kids who lack financial backing. The only fights they can get now are against amateur monsters turning pro or undefeated blue-chip prospects.

Ross Puritty — former boxer (conqueror of Wladimir Klitschko): Short term it has been great for boxing because people don’t have much else to do but watch sports. It has reignited interest.

Dennis Rappaport-former promotor and manager: Short term the pandemic is extremely difficult and challenging for boxing. However, long term I don’t see any adverse effect as long as they ultimately eliminate it.

John Raspanti lead writer/editor for MaxBoxing; author: I don’t believe Covid-19 will have any long-term effects on boxing. For reference I look to is baseball, basketball and football. All have rebounded reasonably well. Football’s ratings are solid. As terrible as this crisis is, sports are very important and a necessary escape for our nation. Boxing will be fine.

Fred Romano – boxing historian, author, and former HBO Boxing consultant: As with other sports the pandemic is allowing people ample time to realize that they can survive without their regular dose. This is particularly troubling for boxing which was already struggling with creating interest in second-tier bouts. I believe the flagship bouts will bounce back in 2021 with respectable interest. As always, the sport will wade its way through the troubled waters with the a crop of stars ultimately emerging.

Dana Rosenblatt — former world middleweight title-holder: The “Vid” will not have any affect on the sport of boxing whether it be in the US or anywhere else in the world. The last time I checked, the oldest professions known to mankind are prostitution and fighting for money.

“Iceman” John Scully — manager, trainer, commentator, writer, historian: I think of all the kids who may have started boxing somewhere at a gym in this world over the last several months who now may never enter a gym after all. Kind of crazy but the next Sugar Ray Leonard or Roy Jones could have walked into a gym and in 10 years from now could have been a great fighter and a major star. The Butterfly Effect.

Mike Silver — author of The Night the Referee Hit Back: Since a live audience was no longer a priority before the virus, it will not be a priority when it finally goes away. Studio boxing was predicted a long time ago, but who knew it would take a pandemic to make it the rule rather than the exception? But unless the sport can develop new stars, promote attractive matches (don’t hold your breath waiting for Crawford vs. Spence) and have one champion per weight class it will never expand its fan base

Alan Swyer — filmmaker, writer, and producer of the acclaimed “El Boxeo”: I’d like to think that boxing will come back stronger than ever, but I doubt it. While boxers, trainers, and cutmen go without paychecks, the public’s interest wanes.  Meanwhile, Canelo fights legal battles, the excitement brewing in the heavyweight division fades, and what do we get in the meantime? Rumors of Tyson and Oscar returning, plus Manny facing McGregor. Those are the contemporary equivalents of Jesse Owens running against a race horse. We need better!

Ted Sares — TSS boxing writer: The pandemic is forcing Boxing to engage in too many sideshows and that can only hurt. The key is whether bubbles—the Eddie Hearn type– will be enough to hold the interest until a vaccine is discovered. If the pandemic lasts more than 9 months, the prognosis for boxing will be less than positive.

Rich Torsney — former fighter, boxing official:  I think it’s huge. Small time and mid-level promoters can’t finance shows without a live gate. Without feeder shows I don’t see how a boxer can be built to learn the craft. Even once the pandemic subsides, I believe there will be a shift in the public’s attitude in attending large gatherings of all types, not only boxing. And even a subtle shift will register big with promoters of club shows who are always on the edge regarding covering costs. Also, I’ve watched a few pretty good shows promoted by the big players in places like the MGM Bubble. My take on them is that the matchmaking aspects become even more critical. Without a live audience to add emotion, the participants must really come to fight or the channel will be turned. Action fighters may get the nod over stylists. I’m worried for the sport. Without a feeder program; amateur shows, club shows and mid-level shows, how does a boxer grow?

Bruce Trampler-Top Rank matchmaker; 2010 IBHOF inductee: Because promoters can’t sell tickets and most promoters don’t have TV backing, there is a huge drop-off in number of fight cards around the country and the world. Because there are hardly any shows, most fighters aren’t even in the gym. Why train when there is nothing to get ready for?  Best comparison is to Hollywood. Because film production is shut down, actors aren’t acting and directors aren’t directing. Theater owners have no films to show so nobody’s going to the movies.  At Top Rank, we’re fortunate that ESPN has given us X number of telecasts a year, but what about the dozens of other promoters who can’t afford to run shows without ticket sales?

Bob Triegerboxing and MMA writer; sports public relations consultant: Boxing will lose fans who either have found other ways to spend their time or have gotten into other sports. And I think we will lose some promoters who aren’t backed by TV or streaming deals, and club shows will be more rare, which will harm fighters’ development in the long run.

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…in the long run, boxing suffers greatly.  Fans find other areas of interest.  Fighters get a year or two older, amateurs can’t develop on USA Boxing cards, trainers and boxers stop going to the gym, and the sport gets set back several years which it can’t afford.  I don’t know if 2021 Olympics happen in Tokyo yet, but wait till you see how weak our 2024 team will be. — Bruce Trampler

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Peter Woodauthor, writer and former fighter: Just like Broadway theater, boxing will make it’s comeback—boxing is all about comebacks. Besides, boxing is theater—theater with blood. People can’t stay away

Gary “Digital” Williams — the voice of “Boxing on the Beltway”: I think there will be a lengthy transition while the sport tries to figure out where it’s going. My concern is how do they bring back the fans to the arenas? That will be the longest transition. That will definitely take some time.

Observations: 

There appears to be a split between those who believe boxing will survive despite the pandemic and those who believe it will suffer a serious setback.

Some think a live audience is necessary; others don’t.

Many acknowledged that small gyms are definitely in danger; in fact, the entire underbelly of boxing has been severely impacted. In this connection, Harry Otty asks a key question: “Where does an aspiring pro fighter get their experience and, just as importantly, a pay-day?”

Where do you stand? How do you think the pandemic will impact boxing going forward?

Ted Sares can be reached at tedsares@roadrunner.com or on Facebook

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In a Shocker, Ryan Garcia Confounds the Experts and Upsets Devin Haney

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Its good to be crazy. Like a fox.

Ryan “KingRy” Garcia knocked down WBC super lightweight titlist Devin Haney three times to remind everyone of his fighting abilities in winning by majority decision on Saturday.

“I just knew what I could do,” Garcia said.

Fans will not forget the lanky kid from Victorville, California now.

Garcia (25-1, 20 KOs) fooled everyone in playing crazy weeks before the fight, then showed shocking power to hand Haney (30-1, 15 KOs) his first loss as a professional at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Haney’s WBC super lightweight title was not at stake for Garcia because he weighed three pounds over the limit.

After Garcia seemingly acting out of control on social media, Haney’s guard must have slipped in the first round during the first few seconds as Garcia connected with that hellish left hook and Haney, with a look of shock in his eyes, almost went down. He barely survived the first round.

“He caught me with it,” said Haney.

During the next few rounds, Haney proceeded to advance toward Garcia seemingly fully aware of the lethal left hook. He used feints and rights to score with a busier approach as Garcia seemed cocked and ready to counter with a left hook.

In the fourth round it seemed Haney was confident he had regained control of the fight, but every time he opened up with more than a two-punch combination Garcia reminded him whose hands were faster and more dangerous.

Though Garcia seldom jabbed he seemed bent on looking for the right moment to unleash his deadly left hook. And every time the Southern California fighter opened up with a combination he scored and Haney dare not exchange.

A few times Haney smiled as if signifying he escaped.

In the seventh round Haney looked to punish Garcia’s body and instead was met with a three-punch combination included a left hook to the chin and down went Haney slumped on the ground. He managed to beat the count and as soon as Garcia came within reach Haney wrapped his arms around him with a python grip. Despite the warnings by referee Harvey Dock, the fallen fighter would not release and Garcia impatiently fired a weak punch during the break. The referee deducted a point from Garcia though he could have deducted a point from Haney for not obeying his instructions to release his hold. Haney actually went down three times in the round but only one was counted by the referee.

From that point on Haney was very cautious but still looking to win by decision.

Though Garcia kept using a shoulder-roll defense that left his body exposed, he would retaliate with three and four punch combinations that usually Haney could defend against other fighters.. But Garcia’s blazing combinations were too fast to defend.

In the 10th round Haney looked to attack and was countered by Garcia’s right and a blinding left hook to the chin and another two blows that sent the former undisputed lightweight champion to the floor again.

It didn’t look good for Haney to survive.

Garcia walked into the 11th round still composed and never out-of-control He dared Haney to exchange and when within striking distance Garcia unleashed another lightning combination and down went Haney again with a defeated look.

Both fighters had fought each other as amateurs six times so there were no surprises between them. But Garcia’s power and speed were superior and that was the difference in a professional fight.

In the final round both were cautious with Garcia’s combination punching proving too dangerous for Haney to open up. Garcia celebrated early as the round ended confident of victory.

After 12 rounds Garcia was seen the victor by majority decision 112-112, 114-110, 115-109.

“You really thought I was crazy,” Garcia told the interviewer and the crowd. “You guys hated on me.”

Other Bouts

Arnold Barboza (30-0) won a curious split decision victory over United Kingdom’s Sean McComb (18-2) in a 10-round super lightweight fight. McComb’s long reach and busy southpaw style gave Barboza trouble. But he managed to win the fight though the crowd was not pleased.

Bektemir Melikuziev (14-1, 10 KOs) defeated France’s Pierre Dibombe (22-1-1) by technical decision after eight rounds due to a cut on his eye from an accidental head butt. It was a very competitive super middleweight fight.

Costa Rica’s David Jimenez (16-1, 11 KOs) outworked John “Scrappy Ramirez (13-1, 9 KOs) in a 12-round scrap to upset the Los Angeles based fighter. After a few close rounds Jimenez simply bullied his way inside and forced Ramirez against the ropes and unloaded his guns.

After 12 rounds two judges saw it 117-111 and 116-114 all for Jimenez.

“I’m a hard-working man from Cartago I come from nothing,” said Jimenez. “My corner told me I had to work inside.”

Charles Conwell (19-0, 14 KOs) stepped on the gas early with vicious body shots and uppercuts and blasted through the resilient Nathaniel Gallimore (22-8-1, 17 KOs) for several rounds. After a brutal fifth and sixth round the referee halted the one-side beating in favor of Conwell who was fighting for the first time under the Golden Boy banner.

Another winner was Sergiy Derevyanchenko (15-5) by decision over Vaughn Alexander (18-11-1) in a super middleweight match.

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Haney and Garcia: Bipolar Opposites

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Haney and Garcia: Bipolar Opposites

One young man flew halfway around the world to take on a world champion in his own living room; not once, but twice. The other young man quit prior to one fight, and then again during another one.

The first guy mentioned is an obedient son of an ultra-streetwise father.  The type of parent where, if he doesn’t know the answer (and more times than not he most likely does), he will know where to find it. The second guy doesn’t appear to have that quality guidance scenario going on for him, which is probably for the best, because he believes he has all the answers.

The first guy is on record as saying he wants to go down in boxing history as an all-time great.  The other guy?  He decided not to continue in a fight while he was still sporting an undefeated record.  You may think to yourself if there was ever a time to soldier through, right?

Then yesterday, that same guy missed making weight by 3.2 pounds, and seemed to be more than fine with it, to the point where he actually appeared to be quite pleased with himself.

If you haven’t heard, Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia are going to share a boxing ring in a twelve round go for God knows what will be at stake by the time they actually punch off.  The fact that no one from Garcia’s team has stepped in and rescued him from these unfolding events, his own personal well-being, and/or not to mention Devin Haney is, well, troubling in and of itself.

Back in the amateur days, the record shows they split six fights.  They were boys back then, so it means zero.  If anything, you’d want to be the older of the two, and Ryan had over a three-month age advantage.  If you’ve only been on the planet for a total of 120 months or so, every extra month could be a big enough difference in strength and development. Now as world class professionals in their prime?  That’s different.  Younger is always better.  Devin is that guy.

Haney and Garcia fought six times for free but will fight only once as professionals.  Then one of them will continue with their march for historic greatness, while the other will head back to Kamp Krazy, where he’s the current Mayor.

It’s never smart to lay 8-1, 9-1 in boxing.  And if you see taking Garcia as a value bet with +500 to +600 and beyond, you don’t understand value and you evidently don’t like money.

There is, however, a wagering opportunity here.

Total Rounds:  Fight doesn’t go 10.5 rounds.

Take anything over +125.  It’s worth a unit on a scale of 5.  Logically, there are a lot of ways to cash this ticket: legitimate victory, meltdown, catching lightning in a bottle, etc.  Or simply the exiting stage left of a guy who may be already plotting his next career move.

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In a Massive Upset, Dakota Linger TKOs Kurt Scoby on a Friday Night in Atlanta

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Although it was an 8-rounder on a show with two “tens,” Kurt Scoby’s match with Dakota Linger was accorded main event status on tonight’s card at the Overtime Elite Arena in Atlanta. This had everything to do with Scoby (pronounced Scooby), a former record-setting college running back who was considered one of the brightest prospects in the 140-pound weight class. “[Scoby] works harder than almost anyone I’ve ever seen,” said veteran New York promoter Lou DIBella in a conversation with Keith Idec. “But he’s literally getting better after every fight and he’s got the hammer of Thor, man. He can punch through walls.”

The Duarte, California product who has relocated to Brooklyn and trains at Gleason’s Gym, was undefeated (13-0) heading in and was expected to make Linger his ninth straight knockout victim. But Linger, a 29-year-old Buckhannon, West Virginia policemen whose first ring engagements were in Toughman competitions, wasn’t intimidated by Scoby’s press clippings or by Scoby’s bodybuilder physique.

Linger, who improved to 14-6-3 with his tenth win inside the distance, took the fight right to Scoby and repeatedly found a home for his overhand right. In the sixth round, after Linger strafed the ever-retreating Scoby with a barrage of punches, referee Malik Walid determined that he had seen enough and waived it off. The decision seemed a tad premature, but neither Scoby nor his cornermen offered anything in the way of a protest.

Tournament results

In the first installment of an 8-man super welterweight tournament, Brandon Adams returned to boxing after his second three-year layoff and showed no ring rust whatsoever. Adams, a 34-year-old family-man who grew up in the Watts district of LA, dismissed Ismael Villareal with a wicked punch to the liver in the waning seconds of round three. The official time was 2:59.

A former wold title challenger, Adams who improved to 23-3 (16 KOs), has become the king of boxing tournaments. He first attracted notice in 2018 when he won the fifth edition of “The Contender” series, scoring a wide 10-round decision over Shane Mosley Jr in the championship round.

Villareal, a second-generation prizefighter from the Bronx whose dad fought the likes of Hector Camacho, declined to 13-3.

Adams next opponent will be Francisco Veron who will bring a record of 14-0-1 (10).

In an energetic 10-rounder, Veron, a Florida-based Argentine with a strong amateur pedigree, scored a unanimous decision over Mexico-born, LA southpaw Angel Ruiz (18-3-1). The judges had it 100-90, 99-91, and 96-94.

Ruiz certainly had his moments, but Veron launched and landed many more punches despite fighting the last six rounds with a damaged eye.

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