Fight Preview: Greer vs. Nieves, Stevenson vs. Gonzalez
By: William Holmes
On Saturday Night the Reno/Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada will be the host site for a Top Rank Promotions Card that will be televised live on ESPN+.
Former Olympian Shakur Stevenson will be fight for the vacant WBO Featherweight Title as he takes on veteran Joet Gonzalez. The co-main event of the night is a bantamweight fight between Josh Greer and Antonio Nieves.
Other bouts on the card include a female junior lightweight bout between Mikaela Mayer and Alejandra Soledad Zamora.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Promotions Website
Boxers such as Albert Bell, Frank De Alba, Jason Sanchez, Andy Vences, and Mark Bernaldez will be fighting on the undercard.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
Josh Greer Jr. (21-1-1) vs. Antonio Nieves (19-2-2); Bantamweights
Josh Greer is a young prospect that has been extremely active since 2017. He fought twice in 2019, four times in 2018, and four times in 2017. His opponent, Antonio Nieves, is seven years older than him and has not been as active. He fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and twice in 2017…in which he lost both fights in 2017.
They are the same height and Nieves will have about a two and a half inch reach advantage over him. Neither boxer is known for their power, Greer has twelve stoppage wins while Nieves has eleven. However, Greer has won four of his past five fights by stoppage.
Nieves does appear to have an edge in amateur experience, as he was a National Golden Gloves Silver Medalist while Greer does not have any notable amateur titles or medals.
Greer has defeated the likes of Nikolai Potapov, Giovanni Escaner, Daniel Lozano, Glenn Dezurn, and James Smith. His lone loss was to the undefeated Stephen Fulton and he has a draw with Mario Ayala. Both his loss and draw were early on in his career.
Nieves has defeated the likes of Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, Christian Esquivel, and Alejandro Santiago Barrios. His losses were to Naoya Inoue and Nikolai Potapov.
This should be an intriguing and possibly close fight. Nieves has been in the ring with some very tough opponents and Greer is a young up and coming contender. Greer has to be considered a slight favorite in this fight, and it should help determine if he’s a legitimate challenger or not.
Shakur Stevenson (12-0) vs. Joet Gonzalez (23-0); WBO Featherweight Title
On paper, this looks to be the toughest fight of Shakur Stevenson’s career.
Stevenson will have a two inch height advantage over Gonzalez, but that will be negated by the two inch reach advantage that Gonzalez has. Both boxers are young, with Stevenson being twenty two years old and Gonzalez being twenty six years old. Both boxers are undefeated as a professional and have been fairly active.
Stevenson fought three times in 2019 and five times in 2018. Gonzalez fought twice in 2019 and three times in 2018. It appears that Gonzalez might have a slight edge in power as he has stopped fourteen of his opponents while Stevenson has only stopped seven. But three of the past four fights by Stevenson have resulted in a stoppage victory.
Stevenson does have a significant edge in amateur experience and accolades. Stevenson was a former US National Champion as an amateur and a Silver Medalist in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Gonzalez has no notable amateur championships.
Stevenson is a southpaw and Gonzalez fights out of an orthodox stance. This can often be a problem for less experienced fighters, but for a boxer with the amateur pedigree of Stevenson, it shouldn’t be an issue.
Stevenson has defeated the likes of Alberto Guevara, Christopher Diaz, Jessie Cris Rosales, Viorel Simion, and Aelio Mesquita. Every boxer Stevenson has defeated had a winning record at the time.
Gonzalez has defeated the likes of Manuel Avila, Rodrigo Guerrero, Rafael Rivera, and Derrick Murray.
This fight will be a good test for Stevenson as he chases his first legitimate world title. Gonzalez should challenge him, but Stevenson is one of the sport’s brightest prospects and it’s likely he will show the world why on Saturday night.
UFC Fight Night 161: Jedrzejczyk Routes Waterson by Unanimous Decision
By: Jesse Donathan
The main event of UFC 161 between Michelle Waterson and Joanna “Champion” Jedrzejczyk may not have proven to be a fight of the year candidate Saturday night, but it does serve as a great example of how pressure from above can come with little to no consideration or regard for the best interests or wellbeing of the athletes themselves. The combat sports industry only cares about dollars and cents, a fact which underscores the value and necessity for a fighter to have a good team and management in their corner. Jedrzejczyk dominated Waterson Saturday night, taking home a five-round unanimous decision victory, though one unfortunately marred by a weight controversy and the resulting speculative fallout that saw the Waterson camp reportedly pressured into accepting a catchweight bout.
In an October 10, 2019 MMAMania.com article titled, “Joanna Jedrzejczyk has a message for her weight-cutting critics: Stay quiet, you’re not important,” author Jesse Holland touched based on some of the highlights from Jedrzejczyk’s UFC Fight Night 161 open workout scrum with MMAFighting.com prior to her Saturday night showdown against Michelle Waterson (17-7, 3 KOs) in Tampa, Florida.
“There are always some troubles with the weight cut, there’s always some risk, Jedrzejczyk said. I know people are smart and think it’s that easy to, ‘Hey, go run for 10 hours or don’t eat,’ but it’s not like this, you know? So, people who are not important who don’t know a lot about it should just stay quiet and just wait until the end, the results,” writes MMAMania.com.
Photo Credit: UFC Twitter Account
The story of the week leading up to UFC Fight Night 161 was the controversy surrounding reports Jedrzejczyk had informed the UFC brass well ahead of time that she would not be able to make the 115-pound strawweight limit. As BoxingInsider.com previously reported, Waterson’s camp held their ground in insisting Jedrzejczyk make the 115-pound strawweight division limit (116-pounds), reportedly having received ultimatums from the UFC to either accept a catchweight against Jedrzejczyk or face Jessica Andrade at UFC 244. Thankfully, Jedrzejczyk (16-3, 4 KOs) made weight at Friday’s weigh-in, coming in at a reported 115.5-pounds.
“I’m trying to unpack Joanna not champion here,” said ESPN MMA analyst Chael Sonnen in his October 11, 2019 YouTube video titled, “Joanna not champion’s weight cut struggles….” According to Sonnen, “She calls the promotion and she says, ‘I can’t make weight.’ Now don’t forget, this is a feature fight with Michelle Waterson that has implications for top contender status, ultimately implications for title contender status in the division. She calls up three days early and says, ‘Hey, I can’t make weight.’”
“There is a certain amount of honor that comes with calling ahead of time, notifying the promotion, notifying the media and notifying your opponent, regardless of the deal that we had,” said Professor Sonnen in his classic reverse psychology critique of how the story unfolded. “I must tell you that I am going to break that deal,” said Sonnen, stepping into the role of the honorable Jedrzejczyk. Continuing, Sonnen went on to add, “So, instead of surprising you and dropping this in your lap, making you panic, making the commission panic, double-crossing my opponent who is going to go and get her weight off, I’m just going to tell you right up front I need a new deal, we got to make a new deal.”
“And, a couple of things here,” added the Bad Guy Inc. CEO. “First, is she going to get teased? Yeah. Was that unprofessional? Yeah. Does that beg question what the hell have you been doing this entire training camp that you can’t make weight? Yeah, it does,” said Sonnen who was no doubt roasting Jedrzejczyk in the face of a potentially disastrous situation for the UFC and ESPN should a last-second opponent substitution have taken place, or perhaps even worse yet, the main event itself cancelled altogether. Which was no doubt the genesis of reports surfacing from the mixed martial arts media of an ultimatum having been served up to the Waterson camp.
To give you an idea of how the actual fight went, by the 4th round the call must have come from upstairs for fight announcers Michael Bisping and guest coach Trevor Wittman to discuss the tremendous heart Waterson was displaying and to remind the audience both fighters were top level strikers despite the fact Waterson was bloodied and getting pieced up throughout the bout. As far as striking goes, Waterson was never really in the game throughout the duration of the match, her offensive mindset and killer instinct seemingly having taken a back seat to her team’s game planning and the realities of a five-round contest.
Michelle found it hard to navigate the distance with her taller, longer opponent as Waterson either looked to tie Jedrzejczyk up in the clinch along the fence or take her down throughout the five-round affair, which is a commendable strategy, but unfortunately one Waterson failed to capitalize on despite having her moments late in the third when she briefly took a standing Jedrzejczyk’s back, threatening with a rear naked choke before ultimately losing the position and submission not long before the end of the round.
Meeting the bell at the beginning of the fifth and final round, Jedrzejczyk’s right foot was badly swollen, her cornermen treating the injury with ice in between rounds, the result of repeated leg kick attacks from the Muay Thai specialist. Both fighters appeared well conditioned as the beginning of final five minutes began to count down, the two meeting in the center of the Octagon and embracing before Jedrzejczyk went back on the offensive. The two would tie up along the fence in the clinch for a meaningful period of time, with Bisping noting that Joanna had dominated Waterson thus far in the contest as the clock was winding down.
With just over two minutes left in the round, Waterson managed to briefly drag Jedrzejczyk to the mat before again taking a standing Jedrzejczyk’s back along the fence. Joanna eventually managed to peel Waterson off, receiving a thank you from Bisping in the process who had just finished explaining to the audience how to defend Waterson’s submission attempt, which coincidentally enough, Jedrzejczyk had just demonstrated beautifully. The round would come to a close with Jedrzejczyk on a bloodied Waterson’s back, the two warmly embracing each other after a hard fought 25-minute battle after the final bell rung.
With the story of UFC Fight Night 161 being Jedrzejczyk’s reported difficulty in making the 115-pound strawweight limit of 116 pounds, the fact she dominated the fight is unfortunately overshadowed by the controversy surrounding her weight and the reported ultimatums levied to the Waterson camp in accepting a catchweight bout. Jedrzejczyk was the bigger woman in the cage Saturday night, she had a height and reach advantage, her length posed significant problems for Waterson and Jedrzejczyk’s top level Muay Thai kickboxing was on full display for the world to see.
Yet, despite all of those advantages, unfortunately there were those who wanted to see Waterson concede even more ground to Jedrzejczyk in accepting a catchweight bout despite being dominated under the originally agreed upon terms. While this bout may not have been a fight of the year candidate, it does stand as perhaps one of the best examples of how pressure from above can come with absolutely no consideration for the best interests or well-being of the athletes themselves, underscoring the necessity and value of a good team and proper management in a fighters corner in a combat sports industry that only cares about dollars and cents.
Fight Preview: Warrington vs. Takoucht
By: Oliver McManus
IBF world champion Josh Warrington looks to defend his featherweight title for a third time when he faces Sofiane Takoucht this Saturday. Having cast his eyes across the horizon and to unifications Stateside, another fight in Leeds arrives very much as a ‘bonus’ for his home city.
Warrington’s first two world title bouts – against Lee Selby and Carl Frampton – were full-throated, high-tempo encounters with merely the edge of your seat required. His latest, against Kid Galahad, resulted in a more stuttery, cagey affair to test the temperament of Warrington but he scraped past. Takoucht represents a separate kettle of fish and, Warrington will hope, a more routine night of work.
The French fighter, obscurely nicknamed ‘Babyface’ despite looking every bit his 33 years, is an experienced operator having been professional since 2006. In 2010 he won the ‘Golden Gloves’ – awarded to the best French boxer each year – for his win against Oleg Yefimovych to become European champion. Since then his career has stalled substantially as he lost then regained the EBU title whilst perpetually staying busy in six and eight rounders.
Two fights for the IBF International strap, against win-some-lose-some opponents, has seen Takoucht installed at 4th in the IBF rankings. Indeed he’ll represent the first official southpaw challenge for Warrington since Dennis Tubieron in April 2015; though Kid Galahad did dally with the stance in their fight.
His sticky southpaw stance would look to be his greatest hope to upset the applecart with Warrington visibly struggling whenever Galahad operated from southpaw. Warrington was unable to dip the knees and utilise his ferocious work-rate against Galahad and was nullified for much of the fight as a result. If Takoucht can replicate those ‘spoiler’ tactics in order to disrupt the forthright pocket-pressure fighting of Warrington then it could be a very, very long night for the Leeds boxer.
Should all go to plan for the defending champion then he could move to 30-0 in breezy fashion; Warrington has proven himself against elite fighters and Takoucht has yet to step up from borderline continental. His fight against Carl Frampton was a perfect display of self-confidence transferring into the ring with a perfect game plan.
He refused to box recklessly nor get carried away when he dropped Frampton in the first round but remained resolute in boxing in bursts to ensure he was picking up rounds. It really was an impressive performance, dare you say ‘a coming of age’. Takoucht could be a banana skin but it seems more likely he’s a toffee apple ripe for Warrington to get stuck into.
The undercard sees Zelfa Barrett defend his Commonwealth super featherweight belt against Jordan McCorry. Barrett, still just 26, is becoming increasingly joyous to watch with a real respect for the ‘craft’ of boxing. ‘Brown Flash’ has grown rapidly as a fighter to collect 22 wins since turning pro in 2014 but, arguably, his sole loss has been his biggest blessing. That blemish came against Ronnie Clark in February 2018 and it is evident just how much Barrett took from that experience.
There was no licking of wounds after a very close and enthralling contest but an immediate desire to better himself and correct that wrong. A rematch, for various reasons, has yet to materialise but he has already pushed on to a different level. Against Leon Woodstock in June he boxed beautifully from range with a real slick, sleek finish to his work – nothing scrappy, nothing done by half measures. In a way he’s an ‘old school’ fighter prioritising the technique over any showmanship but – in doing so – he’s emerged as a breath of fresh air in a crowded division.
McCorry will be facing his third Frank Warren fighter in the 2019 – having already boxed Sam Bowen and Archie Sharp – but he’ll be hoping to register his first such win. Three of his last four fights have been losses. The Cambuslang man has proven himself to be a gritty operator to test the top domestic fighters but he’s yet to go one further and mount a serious challenge.
Hot prospect Lyndon Arthur is rewarded for his patience with the first title shot of his career; the Moston boxer has been picking up the wins without much fuss since debuting in 2016. Now 15-0 he’ll face Emmanuel Anim for the vacant Commonwealth light heavyweight title. The former WSB boxer has yet to look troubled with Charles Adamu the only opponent not to be stopped or kiss the canvas.
Four knockouts since have seen Arthur hit a nice rhythm and he always looks slightly more menacing than his previous contest. This fight is a real opportunity to loosen up and make a statement to open doors. Anim isn’t expected to be a stiff test, having campaigned at super middle for most of his career, but he can swing speculatively and that’s always a risk.
Fellow Team GB representative Troy Williamson gets his first title crack: against Navid Mansouri for the WBO Intercontinental super welterweight title. The fight represents a significant step up for Williamson as he fights a former English champion but the Darlington man has been relishing such a test for a while. He finds himself on a three fight knockout streak but Mansouri is likely to test his technical ability.
Mansouri has boxed exclusively in Spain since 2018 with four wins and a loss. He is a proven title fighter, mainly at super welter, with a highlight win over Sam Sheedy. The MTK fighter is penciled in to challenge Stephen Danyo at super welter in November so perhaps hedging his bets for this one.
A hatful of six rounders feature with Shabaz Masoud, Mark Heffron, Shakiel Thompson, John Jouce and Reece Mould all in action. Callum Simpson and, debutants, George Davey and Muhammad Ali greeting the early visitors in a trio of four rounders.
Heavyweight Tyrone Spong Test Positive for Clomiphene, Usyk Fight Cancelled
By: Jesse Donathan
It’s time to re-evaluate the conventional paradigm of what constitutes cheating and a level field of play in combat sports. According to an October 7, 2019 ESPN.com article titled, “Tyrone Spong fails drug test, fight vs. Oleksandr Usyk called off,” you can count the undefeated professional boxer and kickboxing legend Tyrone Spong among the long list of performance enhancing drug (PED) users in combat sports. It’s a list that includes Jon Jones, Brock Lesnar and more recently heavyweight Dillian Whyte. With so many high-profile athletes testing positive for prohibited substances, its increasingly clear their use is more common than one might initially think.
According to ESPN.com Senior Writer Dan Rafael, “Heavyweight Tyrone Spong tested positive for a banned substance, leaving 2018 fighter of the year and former undisputed cruiserweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk in search of a new opponent.” The report goes on to state, “Now Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn is on the hunt for a new opponent after Spong tested positive for the banned substance clomiphene.”
Clomiphene is an anti-estrogen drug commonly used by athletes as an accompanying medication to anabolic steroid use, in this context its general purpose is to combat the metabolization of exogenous testosterone into estrogen. Anabolic steroids are synthetic derivatives of testosterone, which is a naturally occurring hormone produced in the human body that is responsible for any number of physiological traits most often associated with men.
As reported in an August 2, 2019 payitforwardfertility.org article titled, “How Does Clomid Help Bodybuilders,” Dr. Mirta Marsh weighed in on the use of clomid, also known as clomiphene, recommending that, “You should ideally not use clomid when you are also taking steroids. Complete your steroid therapy first, and then begin using clomiphene.” Also known as post cycle therapy (PCT), this methodology of training is common throughout the bodybuilding and combat sports communities.
According to the report, “When steroid substances are used by men, their natural production of male hormones is reduced. The longer they depend on steroids and heavier the dose the more it affects their hormonal balance. The level of testosterone keeps getting lower and the level of female hormones (estradiol, progesterone, and prolactin) keeps increasing. This results in the growth of female breasts in men, also known as gynecomastia, and it even causes fluid retention in their bodies.”
The addition of clomiphene to one’s performance enhancing drug use regimen is used to combat these negative side effects associated with PED use; it is also the mechanism anabolic steroid users look too as a means of jump starting their bodies own natural testosterone production after it has shut down from exogenous synthetic testosterone use. While clomiphene is used legitimately as fertility treatment in men, it is this same medical necessity and value that is most often cited as an excuse by athletes who return adverse findings for its use.
Though according to a May 11, 2010 New York Times article titled, “Common Thread in Failed Drug Tests Raises New Questions,” author Michael Schmidt writes, “Because these drugs are used to restart the bodies’ production of testosterone after the use of steroids, the sports might be catching the players only at the tail end of their steroid use, when they have already benefited.” Which could mean athletes testing positive for clomiphene who are not using it for legitimate medical necessity may be successfully evading detection for anabolic steroid use while only flagging for their post cycle therapies.
While it may be easy, even convenient, to call fighters like Jon Jones, Brock Lesnar, Tyrone Spong and others cheaters, according to MMA pioneer Renzo Gracie, “Everybody is taking (steroids). The difference is that Anderson (Silva) probably lost control of when the substance would be out of his body,” writes BJJEE.com in their March 12, 2015 article titled, “Renzo Gracie: ‘Everybody is Taking Steroids. Fighters Who Don’t Use, Can’t Compete in this Sport.” Thoughts which were echoed by UFC superstar Nick Diaz in MMAWeekly.com’s September 14, 2015 YouTube video interview titled, “Nick Diaz Declares All Fighters Are on Steroids.”
“That’s another thing I’ll tell you right now,” Diaz told MMAWeekly.com. “I know all the fighters and they are all on steroids. All you mother****er’s are on steroids.”
With recent high-profile positive tests from professional boxers Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, Dillian Whyte and now Tyrone Spong, perhaps Gracie and Diaz are correct in their estimations of exactly how prevalent performance enhancing drug use is in combat sports? If these two highly respected athletes are to be believed, that would mean the conventional cheating paradigm espoused by the vast majority of pundits and fans alike is based off little more than a naïve perception of how combat sports actually work.
And that perception only justifies the continued existence of the commissions, organizations and associations alike who have managed to turn the issue of performance enhancing drug use in combat sports into a for profit enterprise operated under the guise of fighter safety. If nearly every top level, high profile combat sports athlete is using performance enhancing drugs, perhaps its time to re-evaluate what constitutes cheating and competing on a level playing field in combat sports?
Shields vs. Habazin Fight Preview
By: Oliver McManus
The self-styled ‘greatest woman of all time’, Claressa Shields (9-0) returns to her home city of Flint this Saturday for a long awaited homecoming bout. Waiting for her in the ring will be Ivana Habazin (23-3) of Zagreb, Croatia, with the WBO and WBC ‘Diamond’ super welterweight titles on the line.
Shields has been a dominant force in women’s boxing since making the decision to turn professional in 2016: she’s been a world champion since her third fight and became ‘undisputed’ in her most recent. Habazin is somewhat of a stalwart in the European scene, a bit like Shields’ last opponent Christina Hammer, having boxed professionally since 2010. The 29 year old has had limited success at world level with one win (three if you count the IBO) to counter her three losses – against Mikaela Lauren, Eva Bajic and Cecilia Braekhus.
Her confidence is high going into this postponed contest having recently avenged the loss to Bajic and comfortably won the IBO middleweight title. Dropping down to super welterweight suits Habazin well – it is her more natural weight class – but it’s likely she’ll be the smaller fighter on the night with Shields likely to gain more in the rehydration process.
The lure of any potential knockout finish to proceedings should be minimal. Couple that with more methodical approaches from the protagonists and you could be forgiven for labelling this fight an ‘intriguing chess match’, ‘a battle of wills’ or any other such well-worn cliché. It is an approach that has served Shields well, however, with a brash confidence to expose her opponents through sheer technical superiority.
Against Hammer we saw Shields respond to Hammer’s more upright, rangy style by cutting the ring off effectively. The movement of Shields loosened as the fight progressed and that’s when the ‘showman’ or ‘show-woman’ aspect of her boxing came to the fore Hammer began the fight as the instigator looking to disrupt a rhythm but it was Shields who was dominant and that’s the sort of game-plan you’d expect her to take against Habazin.
Not really a ground-shaking opponent to return her home city with but few are really on a palpable level when it comes to Shields. Should be routine but at least is has sentimental value.
The undercard will see Jaron Ennis taking on Demian Daniel Fernandez over the course of a ten round welterweight contest. The unbeaten (23-0) Philadelphian has impressed here at Boxing Insider since making his debut at the age of 18. Now 22 it’s safe to say he’s served his apprenticeship and is looking to creep closer to a world ranking; he’s already got a foot in the WBC’s door via their USNBC Silver title.
No such additional trinket will be on offer for his but on Saturday but Fernandez (12-1) is the ‘interim’ WBO Latino champion so is likely to be a fair gauge of his current ability. Indeed the 30 year old Argentine was particularly impressive against, fellow Argentine, Diego Ramirez last October when he refused to buckle under the planted feet of his compatriot. He ultimately won the contest 96-94 (x2), 97-93 against the man who would go on to defeat, former British champion, Bradley Skeete.
Ennis will look to replicate that aggression of Ramirez, with better results albeit, as he looks to continue his run of 13 early finishes.
A heavyweight co-feature has Jermaine Franklin (19-0) battling Pavel Sour (11-1) in a fight which has potential to throw up ANYTHING. It could be a re-run of Dubois vs Tetteh from the weekend – a clear gulf in levels – or it could result in a thrilling slug fest a la Ibeabuchi-Tua (admittedly hyperbolic but you get the point). Franklin has underwhelmed for a long time now and his progression has significantly stagnated; a split decision against Jerry Forrest in July was particularly painful to watch.
Nonetheless Dmitry Salita perseveres with the 25 year old who continues to promise he’s ‘the next big thing’ whilst offering up little supporting evidence. Sour doesn’t make such bold claims and, by all accounts, the 36 year old is happy with his lot but clearly sees this as an avenue to more testing contest and, importantly, more lucrative purses. The sole blemish on his record was a 1st round knockout loss to the ever-ferocious Filip Hrgovic. Since then he has claimed, and defended, the Czech national title against Vaclav Pejsar and a subsequent defence against Tomas Salek. A puncher, but against untested opposition, his best hope is that Jermaine Franklin well, does yet another ‘Jermaine Franklin’.
The main event looks to provide the main talking point from the show and, certainly, if Claressa Shields has her way it’ll be her cries of “I AM the Greatest Woman of All Time” that ring in our ears as we try to sleep. The party in Flint, Michigan, if she wins will run for some time longer.
Fox Sports PPV Preview: Spence vs. Porter, Dirrell vs. Benavidez
By: William Holmes
On Saturday Night the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California will be the host site for a pay per view offering by Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
The main event of the evening will be a highly anticipated welterweight title fight between Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter. The co-main event of the evening will be between Anthony Dirrell and David Bennavidez for Dirrell’s WBC Super Middleweight Title.
The undercard is also stocked, and it is headlined by a WBA Junior Welterweight Title Fight between Mario Barrios and Bartyr Akhmedov. Other fighters on the undercard include Josesito Lopez, John Molina Jr., Robert Guerrero, and Joey Spencer.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Anthony Dirrell (33-1) vs. David Benavidez (21-0); WBC Super Middleweight Title
The co-main event is a title fight between a thirty four year old Anthony Dirrell and a twenty two year old David Benavidez. It’s an intriguing fight in that one fighter appears to be on an upward trajectory in his career while the other fighter may be near his downslide.
Dirrell will have a slight ½ inch height advantage on Benavidez but will be giving up two and a half inches in reach. Dirrell has twenty four stoppages on his resume while Benavidez has eighteen stoppage wins, but Benavidez has less fights than Dirrell.
Both boxers haven’t been very active. Dirrell fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and twice in 2017. Benavidez fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and three times in 2017.
Dirrell does have an edge in amateur experience. He was a PAL champ as an amateur and came in third place in the US Olympic trials. Benavidez only had fifteen fights as an amateur.
Benavidez has beaten the likes of J’Leon Love, Ronald Gavril, Rogelio Medina, Denis Douglin, and Francy Ntet. Dirrell has to be given the edge in defeated opponents as a professional. He has defeated the likes of Avni Yildirim, Abraham Han, Denis Douglin, Caleb Truax, Marco Antonio Rubio, and Sakio Bika. His lone loss was to Badou Jack.
This is an intriguing fight, but Benavidez looked spectacular in his win against J’Leon Love and he has a significant reach and age advantage. Dirrell’s experience may carry him through the day, but Benavidez has to be considered a slight favorite.
Errol Spence Jr. (25-0) vs. Shawn Porter (30-2-1); IBF/WBC Welterweight Titles
Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. is considered by many to be the best welterweight fighter in the world.
But he will be facing the toughest test of his career on Saturday; a hard charging, relentless, in his prime champion by the name of Shawn Porter.
Both Spence and Porter are still in the middle of their athletic prime, with Spence being twenty nine years old and Porter being thirty one years old. Spence will have about a two and a half inch height advantage and a two and a half inch reach advantage.
Spence also appears to have an edge in power. He has stopped twenty one of his opponents while Porter has only stopped seventeen. Spence fought once in 2019, twice in 2018, and once in 2017. Porter has fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and twice in 2017.
Spence has never tasted defeat as a professional. He thoroughly outclassed Mikey Garcia in his pay per view headlining debut. He has also defeated the likes of Carlos Ocampo, Lamont Peterson, Kell Brook, Leonard Bundu, Chris Algieri, Chris Van Heerden, Phil Lo Greco, Samuel Vargas, and Ronald Cruz.
Porter has two losses on his record, but they were close losses to Keith Thurman and Kell Brook. He has defeated the likes of Yordenis Ugas, Danny Garcia, Andre Berto, Adrien Broner, Paul Malignaggi, Devon Alexander, Phil Lo Greco, and Alfonso Gomez.
Spence had a decorated amateur career. He was a former US National Champ and a National Golden Gloves Champion as an amateur. He also competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Porter also had a decorated amateur career, but not on the level of Spence. He was a US National Silver Medalist in the amateurs and a Golden Gloves Gold Medalist.
If Porter can keep the fight tight he can rough Spence up on the inside. However, Spence’s reach, height, and speed advantage will come into play and Spence will likely be able to keep Porter at bay.
Porter will have his moments, but this writer expects Spence to win rather convincingly on Saturday.
Fight Preview: Colbert vs. Beltran Jr., Angulo vs. Quillin
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Rabobank Arena in Bakersfile California will be the host site for Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions Card. This event will be shown live on Fox Sports 1.
The main event will be a Super Middleweight bout between former world titlist Peter Quillin and Alfredo Angulo. The co-main event of the evening will be between Miguel Beltran Jr. and Chris Colbert in the lightweight division.
The undercard is stacked with fights and well known contenders and prospects. Fighters on the undercard include Thomas Dulorme, Jesus Ramos, Gary Antonio Russell, Francisco Ochoa, and Gary Antuanne Russell.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Chris Colbert (12-0) vs. Miguel Beltran Jr. (33-7); Lightweights
The co-main event of the night will be between Chris Colbert and Miguel Beltran Jr. in the lightweight division.
Colbert is a high ceiling prospects that actually qualified for the 2016 Olympics but decided to not participate and turned pro instead. Colbert is a former Golden Gloves Champion. Beltran has faced some significant opposition as a professional, but has no notable amateur experience.
Colbert is only twenty two years old and is eight years younger than Beltran. Colbert has also been significantly more active ein the past two years. He fought three times in 2019 and twice in 2018. Beltran has yet to fight in 2019 and fought twice in 2018.
Beltran does appear to have an edge in power. Beltran has twenty two stoppage victories while Colbert only has four stoppage wins. However, Beltran has been stopped twice in his career while Colbert is undefeated.
It should also be noted that Beltran is 2-2 in his last four fights.
Beltran doesn’t have many notable wins. His biggest wins were against Fernando Garcia, Miguel Roman, and Eduardo Lazcano. He has losses to Yuriorkis Gamboa, Casey Ramos, Francisco Gabiel Pina, Luis Sanchez, Carlos Diaz Ramirez, Roman Martinez, and Joksan Hernandez.
Colbert has never been defeated as a pro. He has defeated the likes of Alberto Mercado, Mario Briones, Josh Hernandez, Fatiou Fassinou, Austin Dulay, and Titus Williams.
This should be an easier win for an uprising Colbert against a downward trending Beltran.
Peter Quillin (34-1-1) vs. Alfredo Angulo (25-7); Super Middleweights
Peter Quillin is a former belt holder in the middleweight division, until he lost it by TKO to Daniel Jacobs. Since then he hasn’t been very active and only fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and once in 2017.
Luckily he is facing someone who has fought only once in 2019, once in 2018 and zero times in 2017. Both Angulo and Quillin are past their primes, but Quillin is one year younger at thirty six years old. They are about equal in power, with Angulo having twenty one stoppage victories and Quillin having twenty three stoppage victories.
Quillin will have a four inch height advantage and about a two inch reach advantage. Quillin also has a clear edge in speed over the at times plodding Angulo.
Quillin had a rather short amateur career and turned pro at a young age. Angulo competed for Mexico in the 2004 Olympics.
Quillin has defeated the likes of J’Leon Love, Michael Zerafa, Lukas Konecny, Gabriel Rosado, Fernando Guerrero, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Ronald Wright, and Craig McEwan. His lone loss was to Daniel Jacobs.
Angulo does not have the professional resume of Quillin. He has defeated the likes of Evert Bravo, Jorge Silva, Raul Casarez, Joachim Alcine, Joel Julio, Harry Joe Yorgey, and Gabriel Rosado. His losses were to Kermit Cintron, James Kirkland, Sergio Mora, Freddy Hernandez, James De La Rosa, Canelo Alvarez, and Erislandy Lara.
Angulo has struggled as of late and has gone 3-5 in his last eight fights. Even though Quillin is getting older, he still has the goods to dispatch of Angulo.
Sunny Edwards Set to Headline First Event
By: Shane Willoughby
The UK has many top prospects touted for big things in the sport but one fighter who is destined for a world title is Sunny Edwards. After only 12 professional fights he is already being seen as one of the most talented fighters in the country pound for pound.
This weekend he will get a perfect opportunity to showcase his tremendous skillset when he takes on Rosendo Guarneros for the IBF international title, live on ESPN+ and BT sport.
Edwards has fought the majority of his career at 115lbs and is ranked 4th with the WBO at that weight class but is dropping down to Flyweight for this bout, where his brother Charlie Edward’s is the WBC champion.
His fight on Saturday is more an exhibition and an opportunity to display the high level of skills that he is known for. It will be hard to see how Guarneros puts up much of a contest, because once Sunny Edward’s steps on the gas, he will prove that there are levels and levels between them.
If you haven’t seen the kid fight you are definitely missing out, he is arguably the most rounded prospects England have right now and not to mention the fact that he is a fantastic entertainer.
When the little guys get in the ring, sometimes it gets quite boring for fans. We expect to see speed and skills but what tends to be the problem is we don’t get the highlight-reel knockout.
Although Edwards only has 4 KO’s on his record he is definitely a showman, and whilst he might not have the power to stop his opponents he definitely knows how to keep the fans interested.
Despite that, it will be good to see if he can apply some pressure and get the stoppage. However, Guarneros is a tough fighter who has only been stopped once in his 20 fights as a professional.
David Haye once labelled Sunny Edwards a mini Lomachenko and after watching him fight a few times there are many similarities. Hopefully this Saturday he can showcase the skill that has got him this far and prove why he belongs at the highest level.
Erislandy Lara vs. Ramon Alvarez Fight Preview
By: Robert Aaron Contreras
The Minneapolis Armory in Minnesota was ready to welcome back its pride and joy Caleb Truax on Saturday, August 31, until the hometown champion was scrapped from his rematch with Peter Quillin, leaving Erislandy Lara to carry the bill.
Lara, a former unified beltholder, meets Ramon Alvarez, of Mexico, elder brother to one Canelo Alvarez. In chief support, Sebastian Fundora puts his giant blue-chip reputation on the line against a standout southpaw in Jamontay Clark.
The broadcast begins on FOX at 8pm ET.
Erislandy Lara (25-3-3. 14 KO) vs. Ramon Alvarez (28-7-3, 16 KO), WBA super welterweight title
In more ways than one has Lara broken the mold of the boring, avoided Cuban stylist. First, he traded fire with Jarret Hurd over 12 rounds in one of the most exciting fights of 2018. Now, after losing his two world titles, he is this weekend being pushed back into the title picture.
Not only is the WBA allowing Lara to skip the line back to the top—note, without winning a fight in almost two years±he is clearly the A-side, the betting favorite to lift the strap against what could be described as a prizefighter’s dream come true: an opponent with a big name but subpar game. His opponent is Alvarez, that being “Inocente” Ramon, the more crude, the inferior sibling of the fighting family.
In 2014, Lara engaged in a stylistic clash with Canelo Alvarez. This after crashing the Mexican superstar’s post-fight presser, where Alvarez publicly accepted Lara’s challenge against behest of his promoter. The two fought the complete 12 rounds. Lara plied his trade, accurately tagging his front-foot opponent. The Cuban technically landed more punches than his counterpart (107 total punches to Canelo’s 97). But the ringside panel were not a fan of fighting in reverse, turning in a split-decision nod for Canelo.
The loss was just the second of Lara’s career. In fact every blemish of his career has come with some sort of asterisk.
Earlier this year, Lara fought Brian Fastano to a split-draw. Castano’s efforts were valiant, though Lara clearly controlled the mid-range fighting. In his fight before that, Lara against connected at a higher rate than his man. This time against Hurd, remaining neck and neck with the sizable champion until sugaring a score-swinging knockdown in the final round.
Alas, Lara settled for a split-decision loss—again. The same way he did against Canelo. And unsurprisingly it was a disputed decision that really introduced his immense skill to the boxing world back in 2011.
In New Jersey, Lara met the nightmarish fighter that was Paul Williams, a freakishly long southpaw. Williams was another underrated fighter, who had arguably at the time got the better of every man he fought: avenging himself against former contender Carlos Quintana and pushing middleweight luminary Sergio Martinez to the limit.
Williams employed his usual strategy against Lara, as he would anybody else. But Lara wasn’t anybody else. The Cuban matched Williams’ high output with supremely accurate counterpunching and Lara wasn’t shy about matching the bigger man’s holding and ruffian tactics.
Still a majority-decision loss was all that Lara was left with—HBO’s Harold Lederman memorably scored the widely in Lara’s favor. The state commission found the cards so poor that all there judges were barred from working in Jersey ever again.
Alvarez heads into the weekend with a much lighter reputation, banking on his familial name. He has never before fought for a world title, and will be making just his second stateside appearance. He somehow appeared on the WBA rankings in April after edging out Jose Carlos Paz, an unheralded veteran who had just been flattened by Anthony Fowler inside a round.
In his first fight in the U.S., Alvarez battled the ever-brawling Brandon Rios, who was interchanging wins and losses since 2015. Fighting far above the lightweight limit where Rios found short stardom for his brawling ways, the former champion eventually pounded out Alvarez in nine rounds.
The rest of Alvarez’s ledger includes a split-decision loss to Antonio Margarito—that being a washed, 2016, squinty-eyed version of Antonio Margarito. Alvarez also split a pair of fights with Omar Chavez, a ferocious puncher and another fighter unable to shake the shadow of their younger, more talented brother.
Given their contrasting career arcs and pedigree, the 36-year-old Lara is far and away the favorite to win—opening as high as -5000. Alvarez, 33, is sitting at 25-to-1 dog odds.
Sebastian Fundora (13-0, 9 KO) vs. Jamontay Clark (14-1, 7 KO)
Making his third appearance of the year, and for the second time in his career over the 10-round distance, Fundora continues to turn heads. The great Tommy Hearns was once marbled at for fighting around 154 pounds at a towering 6’3”. Fundora actually has nearly three inches on Hearns, and drastically more height than any of his current day competition.
Clark, for one, is no chump at the junior middleweight limit. He is 6’2” and is equal measure with Fundora’s staggering reach at 80 inches long.
There still isn’t a super welterweight—or middleweight or super middleweight—alive who can match Fundora’s massive frame. He is a spindly puncher, aged just 21, and will likely pack on much more weight over the years. But at the moment he is jarringly thin.
More shocking is his preference for fighting inside of his shorter opponents. To his credit, he doesn’t cower away from scraps, nearly having his head spun around in multiple fights, eating giant right hands from Ve Shawn Owens for example.
Still undefeated, Fundora has recently proven more adept at leveraging his giant arms. In February, the California native tore up the previously unbeaten Donnie Marshall, with a keen focus on his left uppercut, overwhelming Marshall along the ropes until the referee jumped between the two in the third round.
Previously, in June, Fundora added to his repertoire, pelting away at Mexican prospect Hector Manuel Zepeda: extending a long jab, and ripping left hands up and down. Zepeda’s corner couldn’t bring themselves to send him back out for the fifth period, resulting in the first loss of his career.
Clark, 24, has the athleticism to make him competitive. He will look to extend his record on the year, where he is already 1-0 after decisioning the previously undefeated southpaw Vernon Brown as a part of the PBC on FS1 undercard in March. The Ohio native does have a notable name on his ledger in the form of the standout sharpshooter Ivan Golub. But Clark’s decision over the touted Ukrainian has been widely disputed, aided by an incompetent judging panel.
UFC Fight Night 156: Shevchenko Decisions Carmouche in Stinker
By: Jesse Donathan
The UFC Fight Night 156 main event between flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko and challenger Liz Carmouche was simply put, terrible. If Liz Carmouche’s game plan was to force the disciplined, ever patient counter striker in Shevchenko to come to her than perhaps she can claim some kind of marginal success. Because all Carmouche did throughout round one was run a glorified sparring session at best against Shevchenko, putting on a demonstration for fans on how to move in the cage without actually fighting. It was a terribly boring performance, not the kind of fight that had you looking forward to round two.
Unfortunately, the second round was marked with more of the same from round one. Carmouche at one point went for a takedown, shooting from a mile away, which Shevchenko easily defended. Baring this break in the action, the remainder of the round was little more than a mirror image of the first. The exact kind of fight you know for a fact you do not want to watch for another three full rounds.
The problem with attempting to out counterstrike the counter striker, forcing them out of their element and into your own counterstriking glory is once the terribly boring game plan begins to work, you have to actually do something once your opponent begins engaging you. Otherwise, it’s a game of pity-patter; less than a glorified sparring session bordering on a direct insult to our intelligence. The third round was little more than a continuation of the previous two rounds, a glorified sparring session marked with a lot of movement from Carmouche but not much in the way of offense or even a pulse in the fight.
Quite honestly, it appeared as if Carmouche was shadow boxing in an actual championship bout, literally punching at and catching air. The only ray of light in an otherwise dismal fight throughout three rounds was Shevchenko finally catching up with Carmouche with a straight left hand, planting the veteran firmly on the canvas with just under two minutes left to go in the third.
With Carmouche grounded on her back, Shevchenko would begin to work leg kicks before the referee Keith Peterson made the decision to stand the combatants back up. From there the fighters would find their way into the clinch, with Shevchenko impressively throwing her Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt foe to the mat with a variation of an upper body takedown, ultimately trapping Carmouche against the fence. Carmouche would begin to work heel kicks to Shevchenko’s thighs from her back, the effectiveness of which being open for debate. This was perhaps exactly where you would expect Carmouche to shine in the fight, the exact place Liz needed this contest to go and unfortunately, she failed to capitalize on her good fortune.
The fourth round was more of the same from Carmouche, going through the motions on her feet before Shevchenko strung a combination together off of a superman punch that drew applause from the otherwise tame crowd. Carmouche would again shoot for a takedown from a mile away, which not surprisingly was defended by the well-rounded champion who moments later actually chose to chase Carmouche down to the ground where she immediately pulled rubber guard. Again, Carmouche would start heel kicking Shevchenko from her back instead of looking to improve her position or fish for a submission.
Shevchenko literally followed Carmouche down to her own world and yet Liz failed to capitalize. The fighters would jockey for position on the mat for sometime before the referee decided he had seen enough and once again stood the fighters back up. The fight would continue briefly on the feet, before Carmouche rushed in for a takedown, eating a spinning back fist for her efforts before once again ending up on her back with Shevchenko in dominant top position. The fourth would end with Carmouche down four rounds to zero and getting thoroughly outworked by the champion Shevchenko.
The fifth and final round began much the same as the second, with Carmouche going through the motions on her feet before shooting in for a takedown and ending up on her back once again. Shevchenko would slowly push Carmouche across the cage and into the fence, where Liz still could not manage to threaten any kind of legitimate submission attempt despite having a perceived advantage in the grappling department on paper. The fight would come to an end with Shevchenko standing up and frustratingly biding Carmouche to follow her to the center of the Octagon before the final bell sounded drawing an end to one of the most uneventful championship fights in UFC history.
Valentina Shevchenko may have defended her title Saturday night, but the real loser of the fight wasn’t the heartless Liz Carmouche but the fans themselves. An insult to our intelligence, UFC light heavyweight contender Thiago Santos was prepared to die in the cage to defeat Jon Jones and claim the UFC light heavyweight title. Santos will be recovering from the injuries he sustained in that fight for months to come. In contrast, Liz Carmouche put on the exact opposite performance of Santos leading one to question to whether she came to win or collect a pay check and go home at UFC Fight Night 156 on ESPN.
Where is Terence Crawford’s Big Fight?
By: Hans Themistode
The Welterweight division is currently in a golden era. This current group of fighters, aren’t just great in this era, but they would be in any era. An argument can be made for anyone ranked within the top five in the division to be considered number one.
The best way to end any debate is by taking a look at not just a fighters skillset but also by taking a look at their resume. Danny Garcia, Manny Pacquiao, Terence Crawford, Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter are widely regarded as the best that the weight class has to offer. Ranking them however, can get a bit tricky.
It seems as though this calendar year, they are all determined to stand alone. There is one problem with that notion. With the exception of Terence Crawford, they are all signed to Premier Boxing Champions. This is where the problem begins and ends for Crawford.
As mentioned earlier, these fighters represents the best in the Welterweight division. Danny Garcia is two weight world champion and has defeated many hall of fame level fighters including Zab Judah, Erik Morales and Amir Khan to name a few. Shawn porter has managed to win the Welterweight world title on two occasions and is undoubtedly one of the most physical Welterweights the division has ever seen.
Former unified Welterweight champion and current WBA belt holder Keith Thurman arguably has the best resume of anyone in the entire division outside, of Pacquiao. IBF champ Errol Spence Jr is a monster inside of the ring. Simply put, he has everything needed to rule the division for quite some time. Manny Pacquiao is an all-time great fighter.
As boxing’s only eight division world champion, the accolades of Pacquiao stands alone. Even at the age of 40, he has shown no signs of slowing down. Last but certainly not least is Terence Crawford. To describe Crawford with one word would be virtually impossible. Too sum up the Omaha native is simple. He is the closet we have ever seen to Sugar Ray Leonard. Yes he’s that good.
These Welterweight stars have a loaded boxing calendar in front of them. Well, most of them do.
Both Spence and Porter are headed towards a unification contest that is set to take place sometime in the fall. Pacquiao and Thurman have their own battle that will be taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 20th. Danny Garcia, has been rumored to have his own monumental showdown with four division world champion Mikey Garcia in the second half of the year as well. What does these bouts say about this current group of fighters? They want to be the best.
With that being said, where does that leave Terence Crawford? The undefeated WBO titlist isn’t just viewed as the best Welterweight in the division, but many believe he is the best fighter in the world.
After successfully unifying the Jr Welterweight division, Crawford has picked up a few noticeable wins in his new weight class. His size, power and skill has translated seamlessly in his new found division. For as good as Crawford is however, he hasn’t truly, been given the opportunity to show it. With all of the top names facing one another for supremacy, it has effectively left Crawford out of the mix.
There seems to be no end in sight as Crawford is being positioned for a November showdown against WBO number one contender, Egidijus Kavaliauskas. The hard hitting Lithuanian has shown promise in his young career, but lacks not just the skill, but the name value to provide Crawford with the type of bout he deserves.
Manny Pacquiao is an absolute lock for the hall of fame. Garcia, Porter, Thurman, Spence and Crawford are all building their own case.
When this era of boxing is done and over with, how will it be remembered? One of the best eras for the Welterweight division, that’s for sure. It’s great that all of these top notch fighters are getting the chance to prove their worth. It’s just a shame that Terence Crawford might possibly be the best of them all, but he isn’t being given those same opportunities that his peers are currently enjoying.
Terence Crawford needs a big fight now, more than ever.
Charlo vs. Adams and Lubin vs. Attou Fight Preview
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the NRG Arena in Houston, Texas will be the host site for Jermall Charlo’s WBC Interim Middleweight Title Defense against Brandon Adams.
The fight card will be presented by Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions and will be televised live on Showtime.
The co-main event of the evening will be between Erickson Lubin and Zakaria Attou in a WBC Junior Middleweight Title eliminator.
The undercard will feature fighters such as Eduardo Ramirez, Claudio Marrero, Miguel Flores, Cesar Cantu, and Omar Juarez.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Erickson Lubin (20-1) vs. Zakaria Attou (29-6-2); WBC Junior Middleweight Eliminator
Erickson Lubin is a young professional with a decorated amateur background from the United States. Lubin is a former US PAL Champion and a US National Golden Gloves Champion. Zakaria Attou is fourteen years his elder and has no notable amateur background.
That alone tells you this fight is likely a big mismatch.
Attou will have a slight one and a half inch height advantage over Lubin and has been a more active fighter. The one knock against Lubin is that for a twenty three year old boxer he hasn’t been very active. He only fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and twice in 2017. Attou fought once in 2019, twice in 2018, and three times in 2017.
Lubin also has a clear edge in power. Attou only has seven stoppage victories while Lubin has stopped fifteen of his opponents.
Attou is riding a seven fight win streak, but he has beaten no notable opponents. His most impressive victories have come against Stefano Castellucci, Orlando Fiordigiglio, and Emanuele Della Rosa. His losses were to the unheralded Roberto Santos, Frank Haroche, Ludovic Duval, Jonathan Bertonnier, Faycal Karkour, and Francois Riopedre.
Lubin has defeated the likes of Ishe Smith, Jorge Cota, Juan Cabrera, and Alexis Camacho. His lone loss was a KO loss to Jermell Charlo.
This is a fight that Lubin should win easily.
Jermall Charlo (28-0) vs. Brandon Adams (21-2); WBC Interim Middleweight Title
The main event will be a title fight between the undefeated Jermall Charlo and the winner of Season Five of the Contender, Brandon Adams.
Both boxers are still in their athletic prime at the age of twenty nine years old. Charlo will have a three inch height advantage and about a three and a half inch reach advantage over Adams.
Charlo does appear to have an edge in power as he has stopped twenty one of his opponents while Adams has only stopped thierteen of his opponents.
Charlo fought twice in 2018 and once in 2017. Adams fought four times in 2018, due to his participation in the Contender, but did not fight at all in 2017 or in 2016.
Charlo also has an edge in amateur experience. He had a record of 65-6 as an amateur while Adams only fought as an amateur for two years.
Charlo’s list of defeated opponents includes Matvey Korobov, Huge Centeno Jr., Jorge Sebastian Heiland, Julian Williams, Austin Trout, Wilky Campfort, and Cornelius Bundrage.
Adams has defeated the likes of Shane Mosley Jr., Eric Walker, Ievgen Khytrov, and Tyrone Brunson. His losses were to John Thompson and Willie Monroe Jr.
Adams is a live dog and his win on the Contender included several good prospects, but Charlo is a much more experienced fighter with a significant height and reach advantage over Adams.
Charlo might not stop Adams, but he should win the decision.
Charlo vs. Cota and Rigondeaux vs. Ceja Fight Preview
By: William Holmes
On Sunday night the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada will be the host site for Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions Fight card to be televised live on Fox.
The main event of the evening will between Jermell Charlo and Jorge Cota in the junior middleweight division. The co-main event of the evening will be between former world champion Guillermo Rigondeaux and Julio Ceja in a WBC Junior Featherweight Eliminator.
The undercard features fighters such as Joey Spencer, Alberto Mercado, Jesus Ramos, Leduan Barthelemy, and Ryan Karl.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Guillermo Rigondeaux (18-1) vs. Julio Ceja (32-3); Junior Featherweight Division
Guillermo Rigondeaux was once considered a pound for pound great, but a loss to Vasily Lomachenko in 2017 affected his status on the pound for pound list.
At thirty eight years old he’s clearly past his prime, and is twelve years older than his opponent. However, Rigondeaux will have about a four and a half inch reach advantage but will be giving up an inch in height.
Rigondeaux has twelve stoppage wins on his resume while Ceja has twenty eight stoppage victories. Rigondeaux only loss was by stoppage to Vasily Lomachenko, Ceja has been stopped twice in his career.
Ceja is the younger brother of Luis Ceja but has no notable amateur experience. Rigondeaux is a two time Olympic Gold Medalist and is considered by many to be an all time amateur great.
Rigondeaux bounced back from his defeat to Lomachenko by defeating Giovanni Delgado quite easily. Other notable opponents include James Dickens, Drian Francisco, Joseph Agbeko, Nonito Doniare, Roberto Marroquin, and Teon Kennedy.
Ceja notable wins include Anselmo Moreno and Hugo Ruiz. His losses were to Jamie McDonnell, Hugo Ruiz, and a loss in his last fight to a 17-4 Franklin Manzanilla.
Even though Rigondeaux is getting older, he’s still a technical wizard, and should have no problems getting past Ceja.
Jermell Charlo (31-1) vs. Jorge Cota (28-3); Junior Middleweight Division
Jermell Charlo’s career hit an unexpected speed bump when he lost his last bout to Tony Harrison in a close upset.
However, many felt he did enough to win that fight and he’s still a top rated contender.
On Sunday he’ll be facing Jorge Cota, a contender that also lost his last bout, but it was against a relative unknown in Jeison Rosario.
Charlo is two years younger than his opponent, but both will be about the same height with about the same reach. Cota actually appears to have an edge in power as he has stopped twenty five of his opponents while Charlo has only stopped fiftee, but Cota’s resume is littered with low level opposition.
Charlo has beaten the likes of Austin Trout, Erickson Lubin, Charles Hatley, John Jackson, Vanes Martirosyan, Gabriel Rosado, and Harry Joe Yorgey. He has been fairy active and fought twice in 2018 and twice in 2017.
Cota’s notable wins include Yudel Jhonson and Euri Gonzalez. His other two losses were to Erickson Lubin and Marco Antonio Rubio. Cota fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and three times in 2017.
Charlo also has a clear edge in amateur experience as he was a bronze medalist in the Junior Olympics.
Cota has an impressive knockout ratio, but he has to defeat any top rated contenders and lost to fighters that many would expect Charlo to beat easily.
Charlo is expected to breeze through this fight.
Could ‘Lost’ Video Game Sell Boxing to a New Generation
By: Kevin Dyson
Right, first thing is first. This is about a video game and, as such, will probably get dismissed.
But humour me, as I want to explain how something that may be seen as niche can impact the way our sport is seen and supported by the general public.
With that out of the way, let us talk about the saga of Fight Night Champion 2.
Between 1999 and 2011, gamers enjoyed a series of 10 boxing games, five under the Knockout Kings moniker and a further five in the Fight Night series.
For a great part of this run, the fighters that historically attracts the most casual fans, the heavyweight division, was at its lowest ebb, thanks to a dearth of talent and the dominant but dull Klitschkos facing very little challenge. I was a fan of both, but sometimes it seemed the only way we would get any excitement was through the brothers facing off against each other.
Thankfully we had the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather and a plethora of talent in the lower weight classes. But there is no doubt that having stars among the big men is the easiest way to attract the public.
With 2011’s Fight Night Champion we had a great sports game that managed to satisfy true boxing fans, featuring legends and current fighters and rewarding players who understand the ebb and flow of the sweet science, It was also ground-breaking, featuring a dramatic storyline that would go on to inspire a number of other sports titles.
So we played the game, loved it.
Ever since then publisher EA has opted to take advantage of the burgeoning UFC, releasing three editions of mixed martial art action since 2014.
On the face of it, it was entirely sensible given the fortunes of the sports at that time.
However, with sales in the UFC series falling and the resurgence of boxing’s glamour division, you could reasonably expect the sort of thinking that drove them into the arms of UFC in the first place directing them back to boxing.
Just compare the potential rosters for a start. While Fight Night Champion featured all the legends of the sport, the modern talent was underwhelming. As well as the Klitschkos, we had Butterbean, Eddie Chambers and Chris Arreola.
bviously, we did have the likes of Pacman, Mosely, De La Hoya, Cotto and Bradley to make up for that, but broadly speaking it was less than stellar.
Compare that to the potential line up in a sequel.
Lomachenko, Fury, Wilder, Joshua, Ruiz, Inoue, Garcia, GGG, Canelo, Ward, Kovalev and so on. Not only are these exciting fighters, they are all personalities.
Unfortunately, this short list highlights the one potential roadblock. With the UFC the game developers deal with a single entity, as they do with their NFL, NBA and NHL games. Clearly this makes a deal a lot more straightforward.
The boxing industry certainly can’t be accused of being straightforward. After all most fighters are more like freelancers or agency workers and the each sanctioning body works independently of one another. Trying to secure individual fighters for a game is a laborious, not to mention expensive, endeavour.
Still, if not now, then when? If they don’t get their finger out during this boom period for the sport I wouldn’t put money on them bothering in the future.
There has been no lack of pressure from fans, that is certain. One fan decided to be proactive, setting up a petition, www.change.org/p/ea-games-new-boxing-game-fight-night-champion-2, which has attracted more than 10,000 signatures.
The petition states: “There is no doubt about it. Boxing IS on the rise again. The excitement and entertainment the sport brings to the masses is unquestionably breath-taking
“It (Fight Night Champion 2) would mean a great deal to the boxing community as well as many casual fans to be given an opportunity to relive the great moments from fighters, old and new, all over again.”
While many (possibly most) of you may have absolutely no interest in pixelated pugilism, I hope that you would agree that, for boxing to grow, it is precisely this type of crossover that has a role to play – drawing people, especially younger ones, into the boxing family.
UFC Fight Night 149: Oleynik vs Overeem in St. Petersburg, Russia
By: Jesse Donathan
“If he dies, he dies.” These are the haunting words of Ivan Drago from Rocky IV and the classic image of how Russian fighters are still portrayed in the United States today. Ruthless, formidable opponents who represent a direct threat to the western way of life. And just like on the big screen, Russian fighters are on the cusp of making big waves in the arena of combat sports in real life. Enter UFC Fight Night 149 which goes down Saturday night, April 20, 2019 at the Yubileyny Sports Complex in St. Petersburg, Russia on ESPN +. The headlining event will feature two longtime mixed martial arts veterans pitted against one another in 41-year old Moscow native Alexey Oleynik (57-11-1) versus the 38-year old Dutchmen Alistair Overeem (44-17).
Alexey “The Boa Constrictor” Oleynik is a very dangerous man. A heavyweight with an impressive arsenal of submission hold victories, Oleynik has the skillset to submit opponents from a variety of different positions including his back where fighters are often considered to be at their most vulnerable. Oleynik is a seasoned, crafty veteran who has been in the cage with some of the worlds best stand up fighters, feared strikers who are respected the world over for their particular brand of violence and Oleynik has come out on top against virtually all of them including former K-1 kickboxing and mixed martial arts legends Mark Hunt and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic.
And with a submission victory over the likes of the great Jeff Monson, a two-time ADCC Submission Wrestling World Champion, Alexey Oleynik is a fighter who has been there and done that. Having defeated some of the worlds best grappling and striking experts in the field of mixed martial arts sporting competition. Oleynik is a true mixed martial artist with a wealth of experience against the very best the sport has to offer across a variety of disciplines.
Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem is a fighter who possesses the ability to defeat virtually anyone on the planet on any given night. Not someone you want to tangle with, Overeem is a dynamic striker who at various points in his career has looked virtually unstoppable against a deaths row of striking experts. A popular and controversial fighter, Overeem once failed a performance enhancing drug test with an eye popping 14:1 testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio.
To put that into perspective, in an April 5, 2012 mmafighting.com article titled “Alistair Overeem’s T/E Ratio was 14:1 in Failed PED Test” author Mike Chiapetta writes, “The average male produces a T/E ratio around 1:1. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) uses a 4:1 standard for positive tests, and the NSAC uses a 6:1 as its cutoff.”
Overeem is a former K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, an elite mixed martial artist who is also the former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion and interim DREAM Heavyweight Champion who has went on to smash some of the biggest names in the sport today including Mark Hunt, Junior Dos Santos and even WWE superstar Brock Lesnar. If you’re a fan of strikers who look for the finish, Alistair Overeem is a fighter whose record is littered with a trail of unconscious bodies in its wake. On any given night, against any fighter on the planet Alistair Overeem possesses the ability to defeat him in convincing, devastating fashion.
While enjoying a reputation as a feared striker, Overeem is also a crafty submission artist in his own right with a legendary guillotine choke that can easily introduce his opponents to the sandman if they are not prepared to deal with the tricks the seasoned veteran has up his sleeve. Unfortunately for Overeem, in what comes with the territory when you live and die by the sword, “The Demolition Man” is susceptible to being stopped by strikes to those crafty enough to exploit the holes in the veteran mixed martial artists game.
On paper, this is a classic striker versus grappler matchup. Though this is mixed martial arts and anything can happen, the keys to victory for each fighter are relatively clear cut and dry. By looking at their respective records alone it is clear that Oleynik is going to want to take this fight to the mat where he can utilize his submission grappling ability to put Overeem in a compromising position. Unfortunately for Oleynik, he is going to have to close the distance with Overeem in order to drag the Dutchmen to the canvas. Which is going to put “The Boa Constrictor” in striking range with the former K-1 champion though it isn’t like Oleynik hasn’t been here before.
It will be essential for the Russian to keep his hands up, conscious of his own head position as he looks to bring Alistair to the mat for fear of being caught in the Dutchmen’s own web of sticky submission techniques. The good news is that it won’t be hard to find Overeem in the cage, but the bad news is Oleynik is going to have to weather the storm from a straight up killer in order to make it a grappling contest.
Conversely, “The Demolition Man” should avoid going to the ground with Oleynik at all costs, keeping the Russian at the end of his punches, kicks and knee’s. Overeem is going to need to conduct a symphony of destruction while conscious of closing the distance with the Russian submission ace. Overeem needs to be an athletic, dynamic and mobile striker who makes his opponent pay for coming into striking range while maintaining sufficient enough range to minimize Oleynik’s grappling based offensive attack.
There are no mysteries in this fight, the only unknowns are which fighter is going to be able to impose his will over the other first. This is a fight where fighter IQ and the better game plan will mean the difference between victory and defeat. “The Boa Constrictor” will either catch Overeem in an ambush like assault or “The Demolition Man” is going to blow Oleynik right out of the water in a classic grappler versus striker matchup that will only continue to fuel the debate on which style of fighting is best.