Andrew Tabiti: “I’m Just Ready For Anybody”
By: Sean Crose
Last summer, on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather –Conor McGregor superfight, a cruiserweight battle occurred between longtime respected veteran Steve Cunningham and rising undefeated star Andrew Tabiti. Entering the ring with a record of 13-0, it might have been assumed that Tabiti, who had stopped all but two of his previous opponents within the distance, would be sure to go in for the kill. That wasn’t the case, though. Rather than get wrapped up in the moment, Tabiti outfought and outskilled his older foe. Cunningham was a crafty vet, after all. What’s more, he had the power to knock down the gigantic Tyson Fury just a few years earlier.
“I could tell he had a high guard,” Tabiti says of Cunningham. “He wasn’t really punching.” Tabiti, perhaps more than most young fighters, knows the value of playing it smart in and out of the ring if one wants to get ahead. Not that he isn’t exciting. Those fast hands and that thudding power have made the Las Vegas native a man to watch.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions
Now Tabiti finds himself about to face to another cruiserweight, this time on the eleventh of May, in the guise of 21-2 Lateef Kayode. The bout, which will go down in Vegas, will be aired live on Bounce TV and will mark the first time Tabiti has fought since the victory over Cunningham. “I’m just ready for anybody,” he says. Right now, Tabiti’s goal is to become a champion at cruiserweight and move on to bigger – and more lucrative – adventures. For the man makes it clear he will “eventually go up to heavyweight.”
At the moment, though, the cruiserweight division awaits, a division which is in the midst of a highly regarded tournament to see who the top fighter of the weight class is. It is a tournament which Tabiti didn’t find himself in. Not that the man minds. In fact, Tabiti is up front about where he stood on the ladder while the tournament was being formed. “To be honest,” he says. “I wasn’t a legitimate cruiserweight…at the time I wasn’t top tier.”
The tournament which Tabiti hasn’t been a part of will be over soon enough. At the moment, Tabiti says, he’s “favoring Usyk,” as in Oleksandr Usyk, the 14-0 Ukrainian powerhouse, who will be facing the 26-0 Murat Gassiev in the final battle for division supremacy, which will go down at a yet to be decided upon date. Like many cruiserweights before him, Usyk, should he win, may well make the jump to heavyweight shortly thereafter. So, does Tabiti feel the moment’s top crop of cruisers may elude him? “It’s a chance Gassiev may stay,” he says. “Then again, I see them both moving up.”
Once again, however, Tabiti is unperturbed. As he says: “All blessings come from being patient.”
Some of Tabiti’s confidence may well come the fact that he’s a member of the famed “Mayweather Promotions,” named after the man himself, Floyd Mayweather Jr. “I’ve got a good promoter,” Tabiti says of Floyd. “He puts fighters in a position to win titles…It’s a blessing.” Does the Vegas native ever see Floyd, one of the city’s most famous citizens? “I see him time to time,” Tabiti says. “He’s a man of his word.”
Although there had been word that problems existed between Tabiti and his trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr, before the Cunningham fight, it was the senior Mayweather who was in his fighter’s corner that night, just as he had been before. “I’m still trained by his (Floyd’s) dad,” Tabiti says,” though he adds the elder Mayweather isn’t around at the moment due to a death in the family. The duties of the senior Mayweather, then, are currently being conducted by Otis Pimpleton.
Despite his rising star and power backing, Tabiti is, in essence, a simple man. He doesn’t swear. He’s not flashy and he’s not pushing for shock value. “I live a low key lifestyle,” he says. “I just want to be humble. The universe is watching what you give in and what you give back.” Tabiti’s background was a rough one, though one which he didn’t let swallow him whole. “I had a tough upbringing,” he says. “At one point I was staying with a church family.” A church family that didn’t have much patience for things like swearing. Such are the experiences Tabiti has taken into his adult life. It’s the sense of maturity that sets the man apart from other rising stars.
While other up and coming fighters make it a point to be as brash and outspoken as possible, Tabiti says he doesn’t “really like conflict too much.” Not that he minds getting in the ring to prove who the best competitor is. I ask the six foot one inch fighter about the challenges he might face should he move up to heavyweight. This is a supersized era, after all, with enormous individuals like Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, and the aforementioned Tyson Fury dotting the landscape.
“No, not at all,” he responds after I inquire whether or not he’s concerned of the size of possible future opponents. “I’m very fast,” he adds. “It’s defense. Defense is a major key.” As is confidence, something the twenty eight year old clearly has in abundance. “Boxing’s a technique,” he says. Boxing can also be quite lucrative…if one is able to move onto the upper echelons. That’s something that Tabiti feels can come in time. At the moment, though, the fighter will focus on his May bout with Kayode. Should he prove successful, the spotlight will inevitably, become brighter, something it looks like Tabiti may well be prepared for.
“I like Showtime,” he says of what is now the premiere cable network to broadcast boxing. Tabiti’s showcased his skills on the channel before. Will he do so again in the near future? “Hopefully, the next fight,” he says.
Mayweather vs. McGregor PPV Undercard Results: Davis and Badou Jack Win by Stoppage, Tabiti Decisions Cunningham
By: William Holmes
The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site for tonight’s Showtime PPV attraction between all-time great Floyd Mayweather Jr. and UFC super star Conor McGregor.
Fight fans were treated to three bouts on the televised portion of the pay per view card, including two world title fights.
Photo Credit: USA Today
The first fight of the night was between Andrew Tabiti (14-0) and Steve Cunningham (29-8-1) in the cruiserweight division.
Cunningham is a former world champion in the cruiserweight division and Tabiti is prized prospect in the Mayweather Promotions stable.
Cunningham had the height advantage and looked to be in great shape. Tabiti was able to stay out of range in the first two rounds, but Cunningham was the more aggressive fighter and forced Tabiti to tie up often. Tabiti’s jab was landing in the second round and he landed a hard right uppercut at the end of a combination.
Cunningham’s punches were missing with increasing regularity from the first round to the fourth round and Tabiti remained an elusive target. Tabiti’s hands were faster and more accurate but Cunningham’s chin was able to take his best punches.
The fifth round featured two blistering combinations by Tabiti in the center of the ring. Tabiti was able to land his jab to the body and head of Cunningham in the sixth round. Cunningham’s frustration with his inability to mount an offensive attack continued into the seventh round.
Cunningham, to his credit, still came forward in the eighth round despite clearly being behind on the cards. He was able to force a few exchanges but Tabiti got the better of them.
Cunningham needed a knockout in the final two rounds to win the fight, but that knockout never came.
Andrew Tabiti remained undefeated with a decision victory with scores of 97-93, 97-93, and 100-90.
Nathan Cleverly (30-3) faced Badou Jack (21-1-2) for the WBA Light Heavyweight Title.
Jack established himself as the more accurate puncher in the first round and was able to do land some good body shots in the opening round. Cleverly looked like the bigger fight and was able to land some hard straight right hands at the end of the round.
Jack continued his body attack in the second round and he was able to land hard right uppercuts in the third round. Jack’s assault was more vicious in the fourth round and he had Cleverly’s nose busted from numerous uppercuts and left hooks.
Jack came out aggressively in the fifth round and obliterated Cleverly from corner to corner. Cleverly was taking several hard combinations without answering back. The referee let Jack batter Cleverly perhaps longer than he should have, but he finally stopped it near the end of the round.
Badou Jack wins the WBA Light Heavyweight by TKO at 2:47 of the fifth round.
Afterwards, Badou Jack called out Adonis Stevenson.
The final undercard bout was between Gervonta Davis (18-0) and Francisco Fonseca (19-0-1). This bout was supposed to be for the IBF Super Featherweight Title but Davis failed to make the contracted weight.
Fonseca looked awkward in the first round and Davis was able to land hooks and uppercuts to the body. Fonseca ate some heavy combinations in the second round but was able to take some of Davis’ best shots and reply with punches of his own.
Fonseca kept a high guard in the second round but had to absorb blows to the body. Davis began to showboat in the fourth round and landed a few left hooks after putting his hands behind his back, but Fonseca connected with enough punches to maybe steal the round.
Fonseca pressed the action in the fifth round and landed some good combinations to the head and body. Davis was telegraphing his punches and may have lost this round solely based on Fonseca’s activity.
Davis stopped showing off in the sixth round and stuck to a traditional boxing stance and was able to land sharp jabs and hard straight left hands. Davis finally stunned Fonseca in the seventh round with hard hooks but Fonseca stayed on his feet.
Davis opened up the eighth round with a stunning straight left hand and had Fonseca stuck in the corner. He connected with a left hook that may have landed on the back of Fonseca’s head, but Fonseca went to the mat holding the back of his head and was unable to get up.
Gervonta Davis wins by knockout at 0:39 of the eighth round.
More Full Coverage: Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor
HBO PPV Undercard Results: De La Hoya and Diaz Win Easily, Monroe Decisions Rosado
HBO PPV Undercard Results: De La Hoya and Diaz Win Easily,
By: William Holmes
Golden Boy Promotions and HBO put on a four fight pay per view card tonight live from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Diego De La Hoya (15-0) , the nephew of Oscar De La Hoya, opened up the card in the division against Luis Orlando Del Valle (22-2) in the super bantamweight division. This bout was for the WBC Youth Super Bantamweight Championship.
De La Hoya was seven years younger than Del Valle and was taking a big step up in competition. De La Hoya was looking for his straight right counter early in the first round but was able to find range with his jab. Del Valle was knocked stumbling backwards into the corner in the middle of the round from a three punch combination, and the few punches he landed didn’t phase De La Hoya.
The second and third rounds were similar in that Del Valle would start off strong and De La Hoya would finish the roung strong. Del Valle showed he was willing to exchange with De La Hoya and held his own during their exchanges, but by the end of the third round it was De La Hoya who was winning the exchanges more frequently.
De La Hoya was tagged early in the fourth round with a sharp right cross, but he fired back with digging body shots. De La Hoya remained the aggressor for the remainder of the fourth and looked like he hurt Del Valle several times. De La Hoya also had control during the fifth round and was able to pop shot Del Valle at a safe range.
Del Valle was hit hard with a straight right counter in the first minute of the sixth round, and he remained tentative for the remainder. By the seventh round Del Valle’s right eye was showing signs of swelling. De La Hoya punished Del Valle to the body and to the head and was physically imposing his will.
Neither boxer stepped on the gas pedal in the eighth and ninth rounds, but De La Hoya was in clear control and landed the higher number of punches.
Del Valle needed a knockout in the final round to win the bout, but that knockout never came.
Diego De La Hoya remained undefeated with decision victory with scores of 100-90, 99-91, and 99-91.
Joseph Diaz Jr. (21-0) and Andrew Cancio (17-3-2) was the next bout of the night in the featherweight division.
Joseph Diaz was a member of the 2012 United States Olympic team and was four years younger than Cancio.
Diaz, a southpaw, stuck to the body in the opening two rounds and was looked very comfortable in the ring. He was able to avoid the punches of Cancio with solid upper body movement and kept his head an elusive target.
Cancio was able to get within striking range in the third round, but took a pounding from Diaz when he got in tight and got his nose busted in the process. Cancio was unable to handle the hand speed of Diaz.
Cancio was able to briefly trap Diaz in the corner in the opening minute of the fourth round and landed some solid body shots, but Diaz took control in the final two minutes and had the head of Cancio snapping backwards from several crisp punches.
Diaz really turned up the pressure in the fifth round and pounded Cancio throughout with combinations at will. Cancio looked outclassed and bewildered, and was simply out of his league.
Diaz’s dominance inside the ring wasn’t impressing the crowd as a wave broke out at the stadium in the sixth round, but at this point it was even clear to the regular fans in attendance that Cancio stood no shot.
Cancio corner was thinking about stopping the fight before the start of the seventh round but they sent him back into the ring. But this round was no different from the previous rounds and he was a punching bag for the talented Diaz.
Diaz’s offensive output dipped in the eighth round, but he still landed at a higher clip and the harder punches. Cancio’s corner repeatedly asked him if he wanted them to stop the fight, but Cancio refused and went back out for the ninth round. Hwoever, in the middle of the round Cancio’s corner wisely decided to stop the fight.
Joseph Diaz impressed with a TKO victory at 2:27 of the ninth round.
Gabriel Rosado (23-9) and Willie Monroe Jr. (20-2) met in the final bout of the televised undercard in the middleweight division.
Rosado looked like the taller fighter, but he was standing straight up while Monroe was boxing with his knees slightly bent. Monroe was able to stay out of Rosado’s range for most of the first round and boxed Rosado effectively by landing the higher number of punches, but none of them could be considered power shots.
Neither Monroe nor Rosado took many risks in the second or third round, but Monroe was landing more punches than Rosado and fought very defensively. The fans started to boo and whistle the lack of action in the third round.
The wave started again in the fourth round, and Monroe continued to safely outbox Rosado. Rosado complained to the referee in the fifth round from an apparent backhand landed by Monroe, but offered little offense after the complaint.
Monroe was sharp in the sixth round and landed several straight left crosses and quick counter jabs. Monroe was able to continue to stay out of the range of Rosado in the seventh round as Rosado was mainly landing at air when he threw punches, but he was pressing the pace and that could have factored in his favor in the eyes of the judges.
Rosado was able to land a few flurries at the end of the eighth round and may have stolen it. It was his most effective offensive output at this stage of the bout.
A cut opened up near the back of the head of Rosado in the ninth round and the referee briefly stopped it to get it attended to, but afterwards both boxers finally threw power shots and both landed heavy shots. Rosado may have scored a knockdown at the end of the round, but the referee ruled it a slip.
Rosado was pressing forward more in the tenth round, but he was not able to land any punches of note while Monroe side stepped him and pop shotted him from the outside.
Rosado needed at least a knockdown in the final two rounds in order to win the bout,but a headbutt in the eleventh round badly swelled and cut the left eye of Rosado and made it much more difficult. Rosado ended the fight better than he started, but it was too little too late.
The judges scored the bout 116-112, 118-110, 117-111 for Willie Monroe Jr.