Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Lipinets vs. Kondo, Porter vs. Granados, Wilder vs. Stiverne
By: William Holmes
Last Saturday night Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua was able to successfully defend his belt against an overmatched Carlos Takam, but looked less than impressive in doing so.
This Saturday night the WBC Heavyweight Champion, Deontay Wilder, will look to defend his title against Bermane Stiverne in a rematch of a fight that Wilder convincingly won the first time.
Photo Credit: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
Two other bouts will also be televised. Shawn Porter will look to get back into the welterweight title picture when he faces Adrian Granados in a WBC Welterweight Title eliminator. The first bout of the night will be for the vacant IBF Junior Welterweight Title and will be between Sergey Lipinets and Akihiro Kondo.
This card will take place at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York and will be televised live on Showtime.
The following is a preview of the three televised bouts.
Sergey Lipinets (12-0) vs. Akihiro Kondo (29-6-1); IBF Junior Welterweight Title
The opening bout of the night will be between Sergey Lipinets, a highly ranked prospect from Kazakhstan, and Akihiro Kondo, a tough rugged veteran from Japan.
Lipinets, at 28, is four years younger than Kondo but will be giving up about one inch in height. They both have notable power. Lipinets has ten career stoppage victories including four of his past five bouts. Kondo has sixteen stoppage victories including five straight KO/TKO wins.
Lipinets has been fairly active and fought three times in 2016 and once in 2017. Kondo fought twice in 2017 and four times in 2016.
Lipinets is also a former WAKO World Full Contact Kicking Boxing Champion at Light Welterweight.
Lipinets, despite only having twelve professional fights, has only faced on opponent with a losing record since the start of his professional career. He has already defeated the likes of Clarence Booth, Leonardo Zappavigna, Walter Castillo, and Haskell Rhodes.
Kondo has never fought as a professional outside of Japan. More specifically, he never fought outside of Korakuen Hall in Japan as a professional. His list of defeated opponents is less than impressive and includes boxers such as Komsan Polsan, Shogo Yamaguchi, and Ryuji Migaki. His losses were to Nihito Arakawa, Yoshitaka Kato, Tomoya Yamada, and Rick Sismundo.
Kondo will likely be a tough opponent that has the ability to go the distance, but his six losses in Japan are hard to overlook as well as his lack of a notable victory over a well known opponent. Lipinets should win, but he may have to box conservatively to avoid a shocking knockout loss and win a safe decision victory.
Shawn Porter (27-2-1) vs. Adrian Granados (18-5-2); Welterweights
Shawn Porter is another boxer looking to get back into title contention as he faces Adrian Granados in the welterweight division.
Porter is two years older than Granados but still in his athletic prime at the age of thirty. He will be giving up two inches in height and about four and a half inches in reach to the taller Granados.
Both boxers has fairly successful amateur careers. Porter was a US National Golden Gloves Champion while Granados was a Junior Golden Gloves National Champ.
Both boxers have been fairly inactive the past two years. They both only fought once in 2016 and once in 2017.
Porter has higher number of knockouts. He has stopped seventeen of his opponents while Granados has stopped twelve. Porter also has the better resume as a professional. He has defeated the likes of Andre Berto, Adrien Broner, Erick Bone, Paul Malignaggi, Devon Alexander, Julio Diaz, Phil Lo Greco, and Ray Robinson. His losses were to Keith Thurman and Kell Brook.
Granados lost a close fight to Adrien Broner and scored a big upset over Amir Imam. However, he has lost to the likes of Brad Solomon, Felix Diaz, Frankie Gomez, and a Joe Juan Fuentes.
Granados is a viable opponent because of his close fight with Adrien Broner and his upset victor over Amir Imam, but Porter is too experienced to lose a fight over an opponent like Granados at this stage of his career.
Deontay Wilder (38-0) vs. Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1); WBC Heavyweight Title
The man event of the evening is between Deontay Wilder and Bermane Stiverne for the WBC Heavyweight Title. They previously met in January of 2015, a fight which went the full twelve rounds and saw Wilder win a comfortable decision.
Wilder was originally scheduled to face Luis Ortiz, but a positive drug test by Ortiz forced the cancellation of that bout.
Wilder will have a five inch height and a three inch reach advantage over Stiverne. He is also seven years younger than his opponent. Stiverne, at the age of thirty eight, will likely have a very hard time getting another title shot if he’s not successful on Saturday.
Wilder has unbelievable knockout power. He has stopped thirty seven of his opponents and the only man to take him to the distance was Bermane Stiverne. Stiverne has twenty one stoppage victories on his resume but has only won one of his last five fights by stoppage.
Inactivty will hurt Stiverne. This will be his first fight in nearly two years. He last fought on November 14th of 2015. Wilder fought twice in 2016 and once in 2017.
Both boxers have a decent amateur background, but Wilder is the only one of the two to have medaled in the Summer Olympics.
Wilder has defeated the likes of Gerald Washington, Chris Arreola, Artur Szpilka, Eric Molina, Bermane Stiverne, Malik Scott, Siarhei Liakhovich, Audley Harrison, and Kelvin Price. Stiverne has defeated the likes of Derric Rossy, Chris Arreola, Ray Austin, and Kertson Manswell. His losses were to Deontay Wilder and Demetrice King, who has a record of 11-15 at the time.
It’s hard to imagine Stiverne having a better shot now, at the age of thirty eight, than he did two years ago, especially with his inactivity. This wasn’t Wilder’s first choice for an opponent, but it’s an opponent that he should feel fairly confident that he can beat, again.
Povetkin Hits a New Low in Moscow; In L.A., Hopkins Couldn’t Stay Away
Povetkin Hits a New Low in Moscow; In L.A., Hopkins Couldn’t Stay Away
By: Eric Lunger
It was a weekend of regret, as two bouts on different continents made a mockery of professional boxing. Karl Marx once observed that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. In Russia, Alexander Povetkin, by failing PED screening for a second time in less than a year, made a farce of whatever governing body sanctioned his heavyweight bout. And at the Forum in Los Angeles, veteran Bernard Hopkins was literally knocked out of the ring for the second time is his career, in what was supposed to be some sort of triumphant farewell/ retirement fight.
The Povetkin debacle was hard to fathom from the moment stories broke that he had failed another drug test. Seven months ago Povetkin was caught with meldonium in his veins, a now well-known PED employed systematically, it seems, by Russian athletes. There is something particularly vile about drug cheating in boxing: its one thing if the Russian bobsled team gets a faster start, and quite another thing when a heavyweight boxer has an unfair advantage. Boxing is dangerous enough as it is. Bermane Stiverne, Povetkin’s opponent, had worked very hard to position himself back in line for a WBC title shot, having lost a tough twelve rounder to Deontay Wilder in January of 2015. It also takes guts to enter the lion’s den by traveling to Moscow to face Povetkin in front of a home crowd, so imagine Bermane’s frustration and disgust when he awoke, on fight day no less, to the news that the WBC had withdrawn its sanction for the bout, which, by the way, is the only ray of light in this dark hole.
It appears that the WBC did the right thing immediately by withdrawing their sanction for the bout. Povetkin was on a voluntary random testing regime, a result of his previous violation under the WBC, which is trying to implement a rigorous anti-doping regime by partnering with VADA, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association. Bizarrely, Povetkin was immediately provided with a replacement opponent, Johann Duhaupas of France, though no one knows why he was in Russia and available. It takes no giant leap of imagination to suppose that World of Boxing, the Russian promotion company that represents Povetkin, was holding Duhaupas in reserve for just such an eventuality. And to end the whole sordid story, Povetkin knocked out Duhaupas in the sixth round, with a vicious and presumably steroid enhanced left hook. Congratulations to a drug cheat.
The Hopkins vs. Smith fight was farce of a different nature, less malevolent but just sad. Sad to see a legend of the ring end his career on such an unnecessarily low note. After being dismantled and slightly embarrassed by Sergey Kovalev in November of 2014, Hopkins just couldn’t stay away. He had something to prove to himself, I suppose, because I can’t imagine anyone in the entire boxing world would have begrudged him his retirement at that point. So Saturday night, after needlessly disrespecting Joe Smith, Jr. at the prefight press conference, we were treated to the ridiculous executioner show, the silly hoods and fake axes, etc. I guess I’m just not a fan of the elaborate ring walk and masks and costumes. And the fight itself was hardly a fight, rather a boxing exhibition – and a bad one at that. Hopkins’s footwork was slow and ponderous, and the head butt in round two looked to me to be intentional, a dirty and unbecoming foul that was depressing to see from such a great champion. I don’t want to bash Hopkins, and I think I can understand how hard it must be for a proud, professional athlete to finally give up a sport that has defined his identity for so long, but when Smith bludgeoned him through the ropes and out of the ring, it felt as though boxing itself had ejected Hopkins from the sport. Only a man as competitive as Bernard Hopkins would argue that Smith pushed him through the ropes. But then, only a man as competitive as Bernard Hopkins would be prize fighting at age 51.
There were several good fights this weekend, and congratulations to Oleksandr Usyk, Joseph Diaz, Jr., and Sullivan Barrera, all of whom put on excellent shows and won technically fine bouts. But shame on Povetkin, and a sad farewell to Hopkins.