Rolando “Rolly” Romero Downplays The Skills Of Gervonta Davis: “He’s Not That Talented”
By: Hans Themistode
There’s a consensus building around Gervonta Davis, one that Rolando Romero vehemently disagrees with.
By and large, Davis is known for his resounding knockout power. Having stopped all but one of his 25 career opponents, Davis has gained the reputation of being one of the sport’s most feared punchers. While his biggest asset lies within his two fists, Davis has also received praise for his overall boxing ability.
Rolando, on the other hand, finds the skills of Davis rudimentary. While the 26-year-old Las Vegas, native acknowledges that Davis is a hard hitter, when it comes to his all-around features in the ring, Rolando has a difficult time giving Davis any credit.
“That’s the thing I don’t get,” said Rolando during an interview with AB Boxing News. “He’s not that talented. Everybody talks about his boxing skills but he literally gets punched by everybody.”
Unlike most of his opponents, Davis was recently forced to dive deeper into his bag of tricks than usual. On June 26th, earlier this year at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta Georgia, Davis opted to move up two weight classes to take on former WBA “Regular” titlist, Mario Barrios.
A noticeably wary Davis fought cautiously on the outside early on before finding his rhythm in the second half. Ultimately, Davis would continue his knockout winning ways as he floored Barrios in the eighth and 11th rounds before referee Thomas Taylor waved things off in the penultimate round.
Despite scoring the knockout victory over a much larger man, Romero is both unafraid and unimpressed with what Davis brings to the table. Although the Baltimore product’s knockout power is often lauded, Rolando believes he should be viewed as an even bigger puncher.
With 12 stoppage wins in 14 pro fights, including a seventh-round drubbing against Anthony Yigit earlier this year, Rolando is of the belief that once he connects on the chin of Davis, not only will their contest come to an end, but the life of Davis will dramatically change in the process.
“He’s never going to be able to fight after this shit. He won’t be able to process anything. We’re going to need a cart to f*cking push him around.”
Shakur Stevenson: “A Lot Of People Want To See Me Lose But It Ain’t Gonna Happen”
By: Hans Themistode
Shakur Stevenson is walking a mighty lonely road at the moment.
Under normal circumstances, Stevenson is known as a crowd favorite. The former Olympic silver medalist has sublime boxing skills, continues to call out the best fighters in the world and more times than not, gives fans their money’s worth in the ring.
However, with Stevenson taking on a more aggressive persona for his showdown against Jamel Herring this Saturday night at State Farm Arena in Atlanta Georgia, Stevenson believes he’s turned into the villain. Although Stevenson is convinced that the boxing world wants him to fail, he flashes a bright grin before explaining how little he actually cares.
“I just be reading comments and seeing stuff,” said Stevenson during an interview with Seconds Out. “So I just think that a lot of people want to see me lose but they aren’t going to get what they want at the end of the day.”
Stevenson’s overwhelming self-confidence stems from how every single one of his contests has gone so far. Despite facing the likes of Joet Gonzalez and Christopher Diaz, to name a few, Stevenson pitched near shutouts.
No matter who Stevenson has taken on, the 24-year-old has shown respect and refused to engage in trash talk, more or less. In the case of his showdown against Herring, Stevenson has pulled a complete 180. During their recent face-off, Stevenson audaciously grabbed the WBO super featherweight title of Herring while jawing back and forth with the former Marine. That in turn, saw the pair get separated by onlooking security.
While Stevenson fully understands that he isn’t making any new fans with the way he’s conducting himself, in the end, he couldn’t care less.
“I think because Jamel is going to play the super nice guy and the good guy and I talk a little bit more than him. They want him to win because I guess he’s showing that he’s humble and a marine but at the end of the day, that ain’t got nothing to do with the fight.”
Regardless of Stevenson’s new attitude, the betting market is still in love with him. According to oddsmakers, Stevenson has been listed as high as a 10-1 favorite. The underdog status of Herring is something that the 130-pound belt holder has grown accustomed to.
In his most recent trip to the ring, Herring made the betting public appear foolish as he thoroughly dominated former two-division world champion, Carl Frampton. Herring would go on to score multiple knockdowns before stopping his man in the sixth round.
The win for Herring may have represented a career-best performance but Stevenson rolls his eyes at his recent accomplishment. Although he’ll saunter to the ring this Saturday night with the boxing world seemingly against him, Stevenson won’t give his naysayers anything to smile about.
“I worked hard this camp. I’m in great shape, I’m confident, I’m sharp. They can keep on wishing and praying but it ain’t gonna happen.”
Canelo Alvarez On Caleb Plant: “I’ve Never Had As Much Bad Blood With An Opponent Like This One”
By: Hans Themistode
Canelo Alvarez has never been particularly fond of any of his opponents but he’s never been completely angered by them either.
Throughout the course of his career, the Mexican star has traded verbal insults with Gennadiy Golovkin, nearly came to blows with Daniel Jacobs, and appeared visibly annoyed with Billy Joe Saunders. Still, despite Alvarez feeling acrimonious towards his past foes, no one has gotten under his skin the way Caleb Plant has.
“This is new for me,” said Alvarez during an interview with ShowtimeBoxing. “I’ve never had as much bad blood with an opponent like this one.”
The sudden disdain Alvarez harbors for Plant, all came about during what appeared to be your run-of-the-mill introductory press conference.
On September 21st, both Alvarez and Plant met face to face for the first time since signing their bout agreement. Although the two are currently scheduled to face off on November 6th, at MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, Nevada, the pair couldn’t wait until the official night of the fight before letting fists fly.
As the two faced off, both men began jawing back and forth. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Alvarez pushed Plant nearly halfway across the stage. The Mexican native would later reveal that the shove was due to Plant repeatedly saying the words “mother f*cker.”
From there, all hell broke loose. A noticeably irritated Plant shrugged off several media members who attempted to hold him back as he marched right to the face of his upcoming foe. Once Plant got within range, he connected on an open-handed slap on the chin of Alvarez.
The pound-for-pound star would immediately react to the attack of Plant by landing two shots of his own, one of which caused a fairly deep gash under the right eye of Plant.
An enraged Alvarez would later grab the microphone during their presser and would proceed to tell Plant and everyone who was listening, that he would stop the IBF super middleweight titleholder in less than eight rounds.
Even with time to cool off, Alvarez is still none too pleased with the actions of Plant. As the Mexican star recalls past pre-fight encounters with previous rivals, he simply can’t recall a time where he was more irate with an upcoming opponent.
“This is the most animosity that I’ve had heading into a big prizefight.”
Teofimo Lopez Vs. George Kambosos Jr. Officially Set For November 27th, At Hulu Theater In Madison Square Garden
By: Hans Themistode
After several starts and stops, Teofimo Lopez will finally defend his WBO, WBA, and IBF lightweight titles against mandatory challenger George Kambosos Jr. Their contest is now officially set to take place on November 27th, at Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden.
Both Kambosos Jr. and Lopez have gone back and forth for the past several months with seemingly, no true concrete date to work with. After watching Triller win their purse bid earlier this year, Kambosos Jr. and Lopez sat back and patiently waited for their contest to take place. However, the pair was incredulous about the consistent postponements.
With Kambosos Jr. unwilling to placate the wishes of Triller by moving their fight date once again, the streaming company was ultimately found to be in default. Subsequently, long-time promoter Eddie Hearn, was then given the right to promote their showdown since he originally dished out the second-largest bid.
Although Hearn was thrilled with the news, he struggled with finding an immediate date. Nevertheless, with Ryan Garcia forced off his November 27th encounter against Joseph Diaz due to hand surgery, Hearn has now given the vacant slot to Lopez vs. Kambosos Jr.
Since picking the biggest win of his career against Vasyl Lomachenko in October of 2020, Lopez has sat idly by as his career came to a grinding halt. Needless to say, with reassurance that his contest against Kambosos Jr. will take place next, Lopez is now patiently watching the clock.
“The time has finally come!” said López. “It has been a long wait for Team Takeover. We’ve been in the zone for six months and counting but we’re pleased to be able to finally get this fight on DAZN! The Takeover will show the world once again why we are called ‘The People’s Champ’.”
Dillian Whyte Suffers Shoulder Injury, Fight Vs. Otto Wallin Off
By: Hans Themistode
Dillian Whyte’s highly anticipated heavyweight showdown against Otto Wallin has officially been pushed to the wayside.
With only a few short days left until the pair faced off on Halloween eve at the O2 Arena in Greenwich London, Whyte has reportedly suffered a shoulder injury as training camp winded down. While it’s unclear the severity of Whyte’s injury, it was enough discomfort to force the British contender to remove himself from the event altogether.
News of Whyte’s forced withdrawal is particularly disheartening for Wallin, as he’s endured several postponements throughout the course of his brief career.
In the eyes of oddsmakers, Wallin vs. Whyte was essentially considered a coin flip. However, both WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and promoter Bob Arum were steadfast in their belief that Wallin would walk into the hometown of Whyte and strip him of his WBC interim title. That in turn, would give Wallin exactly what he was looking for as he’s longed for a sequel against Fury.
The two originally squared off on September 14th, 2019, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Fury, of course, was viewed as a gargantuan favorite. Still, Wallin never appeared unnerved about facing whom many consider to be the best heavyweight in the world.
After opening up an enormous gash over the right eye of Fury, one that required 47 stitches, Wallin fought Fury on mostly even terms until fading down the stretch. Fury’s incredibly close battle with Wallin may have resulted in a victory, but Wallin’s skills were accentuated nonetheless.
Since then, Wallin has gone on to pick up two impressive victories. Most recently, the Swedish born contender easily dismantled former heavyweight title challenger, Dominic Breazeale. As for Whyte, after scoring a number of victories in a row, his road to a heavyweight title hit a significant speed bump as he was brutally stopped in the fifth round in August of 2020 against Alexander Povetkin. Whyte would eventually reel Povetkin back into the ring seven months later, registering the fourth knockout win and reclaiming his lofty status in the WBC rankings.
At the moment, it’s unclear if Whyte vs. Wallin will be rescheduled, or if Whyte will opt to pursue a showdown against Fury instead.
David Benavidez Wants Canelo Alvarez Vs. Caleb Plant Winner: “They Can’t Just Skip Me”
By: Hans Themistode
A win over Jose Uzcategui is one that David Benavidez desperately wants. Not only because defeating a former world champion would bolster his resume but more than anything, a victory against Uzcategui would become a gateway to the one fight he craves the most.
“I definitely feel like whoever wins out of this fight, me and Uzcategui, deserves to fight the winner of Caleb Plant and Canelo,” said Benavidez during a recent interview with Brian Custer.
One week prior to his showdown against Uzcategui taking place at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona on November 13th, Canelo Alvarez and Caleb Plant will lock horns. The two will square off on November 6th, at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, Nevada with all of the super-middleweight titles on the line.
While Benavidez would love nothing more than to face the winner of their contest, he refuses to get too enthralled in the particulars of their showdown. Before Benavidez can demand his own shot at the undisputed crown, the 24-year-old is placing all of his attention on the hard-hitting former champion, Uzcategui.
Up until recently, Uzcategui enjoyed being considered the boogeyman of the super middleweight division. His championship reign, however, proved to be transient as he was thoroughly outclassed by Plant during their January 2019 showdown. Since then, Uzcategui would surprisingly lose again, this time, to fringe contender Lionell Thompson.
Despite a few bumps in the road, Uzcategui has gotten back to his destructive ways, picking up back-to-back stoppage wins.
As for Benavidez, he’s continued to make short work of the competition. On March 13th, earlier this year, Benavidez picked up his fourth stoppage win in a row, dispatching Ronald Ellis in the 11th round.
If the Arizona product takes care of business against Uzcategui, especially in explosive fashion, it’ll be ostensible to Benavidez that the winner of Plant vs. Canelo will have no choice but to face him.
“I don’t see why he would go in another direction,” said Benavidez when asked if Canelo will face him if he’s victorious against Uzcategui. “This fight is for the WBC and IBF title eliminator. The winner of this fight has to fight Canelo. It’s not because people want to see it but because I earned the right. When I win this fight, they can’t just skip me.”
Tim Bradley Believes He Knows What’s Wrong With Anthony Joshua: “I Think The Ruiz Fight Ruined Him”
By: Hans Themistode
Nothing appears to be off with Anthony Joshua. The former unified heavyweight titlist still possesses hulking muscles, still flashes a bright smile, and appears to be just as menacing as he always was. Yet, after watching Joshua over the past few fights, Tim Bradley believes something is off.
Recently, both Joshua and WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury took center just a few weeks apart from one another. Although both men were expected to leave the ring victorious, it was Joshua who was unable to hold up his end of the bargain, losing to former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.
As Usyk’s hand was raised in triumph, Joshua congratulated his adversary and continued to do so in the back room, away from most of the cameras and press. While Bradley isn’t opposed to Joshua’s sportsmanship, he was taken aback by how the former titlist conducted himself following his most recent defeat.
“It’s a different mentality,” said Bradley during an interview with FightHype.com. “Joshua, his mentality is way different than Tyson Fury. Joshua’s okay, it just seems like he’s comfortable with losing a fight. He’s gracious and whatever you want to call it, but it’s too easy for me.”
Both Fury and Joshua, considered bitter rivals, were hoping that after their respective matches, an all British undisputed showdown could take place. Fury would go on to pick himself up off the deck twice on October 9th, to go on to stop former heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder.
Although many have pointed to tactical errors in Joshua’s game plan against Usyk, such as attempting to box a boxer as opposed to bullying him and using his size, Bradley isn’t necessarily placing his focus on the X’s and O’s. Instead, Bradley points to a long list of luxurious available to Joshua. And, more importantly, the first night Joshua tasted defeat at the hands of Andy Ruiz Jr.
“Boss, it’s hard to train when you’ve got the whole world at your feet,” claimed Bradley. “It’s hard to train and stay focused and stay dedicated and having that hunger and desire. Because success, that weakens [the mind], and I think in the Ruiz fight – I think that ruined him.”
On June 1st, 2019, Ruiz Jr. stepped in on late notice to face Joshua for his U.S. debut. Despite being considered a huge underdog on the night, Ruiz Jr. would go on to drop Joshua four times before ultimately stopping him in the seventh. The British native, however, immediately invoked his rematch clause and would go on to win a wide unanimous decision six months later.
Regardless of Joshua avenging the first loss of his career, Bradley isn’t convinced that he’s the same ferocious fighter that he once was.
“I think that ruined his confidence, I think he’s also scared to get hit. He’s gun shy, don’t wanna throw because he’s afraid of getting hit, so that’s why you didn’t see him throw.”
Joseph Diaz: “I’m A Fight Devin Haney In December”
By: Hans Themistode
Joseph Diaz was over the moon when it was announced that he would be taking on Ryan Garcia. With the two originally slated to square off on November 27th, Diaz was fully convinced that after just a few rounds, he would leave the undefeated, flamboyant star flat on his back.
Regardless of Diaz’s excitement for their showdown, he was ultimately despondent when news broke of Garcia suffering a serious injury to his right wrist that will require surgery to repair. Initially, Garcia was hopeful that their contest could take place in the first quarter of 2022. However, with the opportunity to pocket the exact same amount of money and not only step through the ropes sooner, but for a world title, Diaz has opted to change course.
“I’m a fight Devin Haney in December y’all I promise,” stated Diaz on his social media account.
At first, Diaz mulled long and hard over the idea of facing Haney. With the former 130-pound champion set to make $1.5 million dollars against Garcia, as opposed to $1 million against Haney, the financial rewards didn’t quite add up. Since then, however, promoter Eddie Hearn, who works alongside Haney, recently revealed that he upped the ante, offering Diaz the same money to face Haney. That in turn, has left Diaz smiling from ear to ear and anxious to face the undefeated titlist.
While negotiations are still ongoing, Diaz is already exuding an extreme amount of confidence. During his near decade-long career, the 28-year-old Diaz has faced some of the most well known fighters in three separate weight classes, including against the likes of Gary Russell Jr., Tevin Farmer, and most recently, Javier Fortuna.
Diaz though, has taken a quick snapshot of the names plastered to the resume of Haney and can’t help but notice two things. For starters, Diaz finds it arduous in recognizing most of the fighters Haney has faced. Second, and most importantly, Diaz realizes that while Haney and Garcia have two completely different styles, they have one thing in common.
“Like Ryan Garcia hasn’t been tested, I’ll give Devin his first L.”
Derrick James: “I Think Terence Crawford Is Fighting A Guy That Errol Spence Took A Lot Out Of”
By: Hans Themistode
There’s little to no denying that Terence Crawford will face a significant step up in competition come November 20th. On the night in question, Crawford will place both his WBO welterweight title and undefeated record on the line against former two-time champion Shawn Porter, at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Despite being a constant staple on every credible pound-for-pound list, Crawford has heard his fair share of criticism for the opposition he’s faced during his 147-pound tenure. In the case of Porter, the Akron Ohio native has swapped fists with just about everyone in the welterweight division, including unified titlist Errol Spence Jr.
But while most are intrigued with how a Porter vs. Crawford showdown plays out, Derrick James, head trainer of Spence Jr., believes the WBO belt holder will be facing a diminished version of the two-time champion.
“I think Terence Crawford is fighting a guy that Errol Spence took a lot out of,” said James on the PBC Podcast. “So we’ll see how that goes.”
On November 28th, 2019, both Spence Jr. and Porter squared off in a fight of the year candidate. From the moment the opening bell rang, there were no feel-out rounds as it bombs away. While Porter had loads of success, he also absorbed plenty of punishment. Of the 745 punches Spence Jr. hurled in his direction, 221 of them found their mark. In the 11th round, in particular, it was Spence Jr.’s most successful and brutal period, as he floored the former titlist.
Although Porter has shown no ill effects of the damage that was inflicted, pitching a shutout in his most recent contest against Sebastian Formella, James simply isn’t convinced that he’s the same ferocious fighter he once was.
Regardless of what could be a diminished version of Porter, James isn’t expecting him to be a pushover or walk in the park. Since suffering defeat at the hands of Spence Jr. and forfeiting his WBC title in the process, Porter has urged the unified champion to face him in the ring once more. While Spence Jr. has elected to move in another direction, James is receptive to the idea of having his fighter take on Porter for the second time in his career.
With that said, James has all but guaranteed Porter that his wish will be granted. If, of course, he can take care of business come November 20th.
“I think Shawn Porter really wants to fight Errol Spence again. In order to face Errol Spence again, he has to beat Terence Crawford.”
Mikey Garcia In Disbelief Over Sandor Martin Defeat: “He Was Running And Surviving”
By: Hans Themistode
On paper, it appeared to be a massive mismatch.
As Sandor Martin sauntered his way to the ring at Chukchansi Park in Fresno, California, late last night, he was viewed as a sacrificial lamb. Although the Spanish native had amassed an incredible record of 38-2, Mikey Garcia, his opponent in the main event, was considered a cut above.
Martin, on the other hand, ignored the noise and went on to have a career-best performance. A lethargic Garcia struggled with the boxing ability and movement of Sandor. As a result, Garcia found himself on the wrong end of a majority decision defeat. While judges Carla Caiz, Fernando Villarreal, and Zachary Young applauded Sandor for his box-first approach, Garcia is under the belief that the three scoring from ringside got it completely wrong.
“He was running and surviving,” said Garcia during an interview with ESNEWS. “I don’t even think he was being very effective but the three judges thought that he was in control. I thought I was in control for most of the fight but whatever.”
Although Garcia has made routine appearances on several credible pound-for-pound lists, he’s struggled with activity as of late. In each of the past three years, Garcia has stepped inside the ring just once.
After picking up the first defeat of his career against Errol Spence Jr. in 2019, Garcia pulled himself up by his bootstraps. He would immediately follow his wide decision defeat with a fairly one-sided victory against former multiple division titlist Jessie Vargas in February of 2020.
Garcia may have been hoping to piggyback off his victory to land bigger fights and pocket larger wins, he sat on the sidelines. His inactivity was a combination of a worldwide pandemic and his pursuit of a showdown against Manny Pacquiao.
Originally, Garcia was hoping that a victory over Candor could serve as a springboard to matchups against former 140-pound titlist Regis Prograis and undisputed champion, Josh Taylor. However, with his unexpected defeat, Garcia’s path to massive fights will now take an unforeseen detour.
Still, while Garcia was incredulous with the end result, he doesn’t want to take anything away from the performance of Sandor.
“Congratulations to him,” continued Garcia. “He took advantage of his opportunity and he won.”
Cletus Seldin Puts It On William Silva, Stops Him In The 7th On Triller Card
By: Hans Themistode
Like many boxers before him, Cletus Seldin saw his boxing career come to a grinding halt thanks to the unwanted presence of a worldwide pandemic. With some of the biggest wins of his career occurring just before the shutdown, including against the likes of Zab Judah and Adam Mate, Seldin waited patiently for his chance to return. Now, after more than a year and a half on the sidelines, Seldin stepped through the ropes once again.
In the main event slot at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Seldin squared off against fringe contender William Silva.
At the age of 35, and desperate to recapture the momentum he once had, Seldin wasted no time in imposing his will. From the moment the opening bell rang, Seldin brought the action right to his opponent. He stood his ground in the middle of the ring and swung away with hard shots. Unafraid to get his hands dirty, Silva met fire with fire and slugged away.
In the second, realizing that Seldin wanted to continue his dogfighting ways, Silva opted to switch tactics and fought more on the outside. Despite the 34-year-old Brazilian boxing on his toes and moving, Seldin found a home for an overhand right and used a consistent body attack to slow his man down.
Silva though, showed no quit, regardless of the punishment he was enduring. While Seldin appeared to be sharp in the first few rounds, his endurance failed him during the middle rounds. As Seldin began breathing heavily, Silva pushed the pace. He backed his man into the corner in round five and had his way.
Although Seldin appeared to be laboring, he found his second wind in round seven. In front of a mostly pro Seldin crowd, the New Yorker didn’t disappoint. He pounded away at the midsection of Silva. Once enough damage was inflicted, Silva attempted to pin his hands down to ease the blows. That, however, worked in the favor of Seldin as he came right over the top and landed the fight-ending shot. While referee Benjy Esteves began his standing eight count, he quickly waved off their contest as Silva wailed in agony.
Considering not only the fashion in which Seldin closed the show but all of the trials and tribulations which occurred behind the scenes, the 140-pound contender is proud of what he was ultimately able to accomplish.
“This was the hardest training in my life,” said Seldin post-fight. “Just a year ago I was sleeping on the floor…after three cancellations of a fight, I am 100 percent giving myself an A+ on this. For all the hard work and determination I had to get here.”
Emanuel Navarrete Wins All Out War Against Joet Gonzalez
By: Hans Themistode
For most of Emanuel Navarrete’s three-year featherweight title reign, he made quick work of his opposition. With seven stoppage wins in his past eight fights, and two knockdowns against Ruben Villa, the lone fighter who went the full 12 round distance with Navarrete, the Mexican star was forced to bite down on his mouthpiece for the first time in several years.
At the Pechanga Arena in San Diego, this past Friday night, Navarrete took on former title challenger Joet Gonzalez.
Things didn’t start the way Gonzalez had been hoping for. A cut under his right eye which was ruled to have been caused by a legal punch in the second round left him bloodied. Despite the unfortunate start, Gonzalez pushed ahead and landed several hard shots on his man.
The two continued the back and forth action throughout much of the first half of their contest but it was Navarrete who appeared to have a bit more in the gas tank. In the 12th and final round, determined to retain his world title, Navarrete attempted to close the show by throwing a fight-high 104 punches. Gonzalez, on the other hand, didn’t back down from the high volume of Navarrete. The two-time title challenger threw 79 punches of his own.
In the end, the high work rate of Navarrete allowed him to prolong his title reign. But, seeing how close their showdown ultimately was, Navarrete is more than willing to give Gonzalez another chance.
“It was a very close fight but I think the difference between us was conditioning,” Navarrete said in his post-fight interview. “I hurt him, but every single time he came back. He also hurt me with a couple of shots that he landed during the fight. Without a doubt, I would give Gonzalez a rematch.”
Emanuel Navarrete Vs. Joet Gonzalez Undercard Results: Lindolfo Delgado Makes It Look Easy Against Tloxing Garcia Mendez
At the age of 26, Lindolfo Delgado (14-0, 12 KOs) has continued to show new wrinkles to his game.
After putting on a boxing clinic against Tloxing Garcia Mendez (21-5-2, 13 KOs) early on in their showdown at the Pechanga Arena, in San Diego, the undefeated super lightweight prospect scored a knockdown in the eighth and final round before picking up a wide unanimous decision win.
Mikey Garcia and The Loss of Momentum
By: Hector Franco
Four-division world champion Mikey Garcia (40-1, 30 KOs) will make his return to the ring this weekend at Chukchansi Park baseball stadium in downtown Fresno, CA, live on streaming app DAZN.
He will be taking on the relatively unknown Spanish southpaw Sandor Martin (38-2, 13 KOs) in a ten-round welterweight contest.
Garcia was last seen in the squared circle in February 2020, when he took on former junior welterweight titleholder and WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas. The fight with Vargas took place right before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and is arguably one of Garcia’s most notable victories.
Less than a year earlier, in March 2019, Garcia was in the most important fight of his career from a financial and competitive standpoint when he took on unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.
The fight with Spence was his first at welterweight, and Spence would prove to be not only too big for Garcia, but also too skilled. Spence won all 12 rounds on the three judge’s scorecards.
Since then, Garcia’s career has been at somewhat of a standstill.
After numerous attempts to make a colossal box-office fight with eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao, the fight never came to fruition. A match with former junior welterweight champion Regis Prograis was talked about taking place as well, but went by the wayside.
Before the fight with Spence, Garcia was seen as one of the best fighters in the world, pound-for-pound. He, along with Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, is the only fighter to become a four-division champion to hold titles at featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight, and super lightweight.
The lack of activity and time out of the ring has caused Garcia to lose momentum as one of the premier fighters in the sport. He fought once in 2019, 2020 and will fight just once in 2021. He is not the only fighter to suffer from inactivity and loss of momentum. Well-known fighters like Keith Thurman and Gennadiy Golovkin have also fallen victim to their careers plateauing.
However, for the 33-year old Garcia, this isn’t the first time his boxing career has come to a halt.
From January 2014 to July 2016, Garcia was kept on the boxing sidelines due to a contract dispute with then promoter Top Rank. In April 2014, Garcia sued the promoter in an attempt to get out of his contract. The dispute wasn’t settled until two years later, in April 2016, allowing Garcia to pursue alternative promotional avenues.
This was one of the most challenging portions of Garcia’s boxing career in and out of the ring.
“There were times where it was very tough,” Garcia said to Mark Kriegel in an interview with Showtime Sports in 2016. “Moments where I was pretty stressed out. I didn’t know what was going to happen. You didn’t have a sight of when this was going to be over.
“A lot of money. It cost me a lot of money.”
In 2014, Garcia was seen as one of the next potential upcoming stars in the sport, having won titles at featherweight and super featherweight. A fight with then-undefeated Yuriorkis Gamboa was set to take place, and talks of a potential match with Manny Pacquiao were even discussed.
Fortunately, Garcia’s firm stance on not folding to Top Rank worked out for him when he returned under the Premier Boxing Champions platform as a free agent.
While Garcia made his return in the summer of 2016, scoring a fifth-round stoppage against Elio Rojas, it wasn’t until 2017 where he began to get his career back on track.
Garcia started the year by scoring a brutal third-round knockout over Dejan Zlaticanin to win the WBC lightweight championship. He then headed into a junior welterweight fight with the loquacious and controversial Adrien Broner in July 2017, headlining a card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The California fighter scored a dominant unanimous decision over Broner. After Broner, Garcia continued to fight in the junior welterweight division, winning the IBF title in the weight class, scoring a unanimous decision over Sergey Lipinets in March 2018.
Following his foray at 140-pounds, there was a call from fans and media for Garcia to return to the lightweight division. Many fans were looking forward to a fight with Jorge Linares or a summit meeting between two pound-for-pound fighters against Vasiliy Lomachenko.
The fight with Lomachenko was always a long shot as the Ukrainian was and still is promoted by Top Rank. Recognizing the history between Garcia and Top Rank, it’s clear that unless one of the two parties were willing to compromise, a fight with Lomachenko would never take place.
Instead of facing Linares or Lomachenko, Garcia took on Robert Easter Jr. in July 2018 in a WBC and IBF lightweight unification match. Garcia scored a knocked down in the third round and outclassed the Ohio native to win a wide unanimous decision.
Following the fight with Easter, Garcia was at the pinnacle of his career thus far. He was recognized as one of the best in the world with multiple options and fights that fans were clamoring for and a legitimate draw in the sport.
However, with the move up to welterweight, the loss to Spence, and his overall inactivity, Garcia finds himself starting back over.
“It’s been a year and a half since my last fight, so I am excited to get back in there,” Garcia stated. “ I am looking forward to giving my fans a chance to see me again, especially here in Cali, it’s my home state, but I haven’t fought much here.
“I want to pursue big fights, title fights, and be recognized as one of the best fighters in the world once again. This is another step in that direction.”
As a four-division champion, Garcia may have already stamped himself as a potential Hall-of-Famer. Still, examining his career, he lacks the credentials and intangibles of being considered great. As of now, he has been good, but not remarkable.
At featherweight in his first title defense, he lost the title on the scales in a defense against Puerto Rico’s Juan Manuel Lopez. He then moved up to junior lightweight and won the WBO title against Puerto Rico’s Roman Martinez by eighth-round stoppage.
After one title defense against Juan Carlos Burgos in January 2014, he went on his two-year plus hiatus. At lightweight, Garcia did become the unified champion; however, at junior welterweight, he never made any defense of his IBF title.
Between four weight classes, Garcia has made two title defenses if you include the unification bout at lightweight against Robert Easter. Garcia’s skill level with the proverbial eye test trumps his resume.
This upcoming portion is the most crucial of Garcia’s career. Going over his relatively less than stellar resume, he now has the chance in what may be the final part of his career to truly establish himself as a great fighter.
There are opportunities presently for Garcia that will give him the chance to be seen as more than just someone who was really good to great. On Saturday night against Sandor Martin, he will take the first step in gaining back his momentum.
“I don’t see myself at Lightweight ever again, but I can see 140,” said Garcia. “There are some very good names at the weight, Josh Taylor is a great champion, and if some of the guys at 135 look to move up, so there are big fights at 140.
“I just have to keep winning. Victory on Saturday and then getting another win against someone like Regis, I think that should create enough attention to land a fight with Taylor. He’s the undisputed champion, and that’s the biggest fight that I could engage in at the weight, of course.”
Ryan Garcia Injures Right Wrist, Postpones Showdown Against Joseph Diaz
By: Hans Themistode
Ryan Garcia had effectively taken a six-month boxing sabbatical to address his mental health. But while Garcia was confident that he got his mind right, it was his body that has recently failed him.
In Garcia’s return to the ring, the lightweight contender was set to take on WBC interim lightweight titlist, Joseph Diaz. The two were penciled in for a November 27th, showdown in Los Angeles, California.
Now, however, as Garcia began ramping up activity during training camp, he’s sustained a serious injury to his right hand. News of Garcia’s injury was first reported by Mike Coppinger of ESPN. Coppinger later revealed that Garcia will now have subsequent wrist surgery and is hoping to face off against Diaz in February.
After picking up the most significant win of his career against Luke Campbell on January 2nd, earlier this year, Garcia’s momentum has come to a grinding halt. Since securing the win against Campbell, Garcia was set to take on multiple division titlist Javier Fortuna. Those plans though, never came to past as Garcia, as previously mentioned, prioritized his mental health.
Stepping in on short notice to replace Garcia was Joseph Diaz. Although Diaz moved up in weight to land the showdown against Fortuna, he showed little to no trouble in navigating the 135-pound waters. Diaz would both outbox and outmuscle his man to record the unanimous decision win.
At the moment, it’s unclear if Diaz would be willing to sit out the rest of the calendar year to face Garcia in the first quarter of 2022. If Diaz opts to go in another direction, he could bypass Garcia altogether and square off against WBC full titleholder, Devin Haney.
The 22-year-old Haney has often criticized both Diaz and Garcia for their refusal to face him. Presently, Diaz is the number one mandatory challenger to Haney and his lightweight world title.