Tag Archives: junior

What’s Next For Gary Russell Jr?


By: Hans Themistode

Gary Russell Jr not only made a statement inside of the ring by easily defeating Tugstsogt Nyambayar by unanimous decision at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, but he also did so outside of it. Shortly after his win, Russell announced to everyone that he no longer intends on campaigning at the Featherweight division. 

Now why would a fighter who has held his world title for the past five years be content with dropping his belt? Well, that’s an easy question to answer. Since 2015, Russell has stepped inside of the ring just once. His claims of no other title challengers willing to step up and face him might actually be true. 

In the sport of boxing, when you are bereft of a world title, then you’re essentially the hunter. If you are one of the few that reaches championship status then you become the hunted. That just simply isn’t the case with Russell. 

So now, he’s ready to go back on the hunt for a world title, but this time, in another weight class at 135. 

With the move up in weight, the fans should be excited about the possibilities that could be next for him. Let’s take a look at the next best options for Russell in his next ring outing. 

Devin Haney

This seems like a very cruel way to be introduced to the Lightweight division doesn’t it? 

The star power in Russell’s soon to be new division is ridiculous. But none seem to shine brighter than the young Devin Haney. Technically, Haney doesn’t have a belt anymore since he was stripped of his WBC crown following shoulder surgery, but that shouldn’t stop this contest from happening. Both fighters are strong, fast and have the sort of skills that can rival anyones in the entire sport. Haney is the sort of scalp that Russell would love to have on his resume. Now that they are going to be in the same division, he could make that a reality. 

Gervonta Davis

At this point, Gervonta Davis might need Gary Russell Jr more than he realizes. Davis might be a two division undefeated world champion but his lack of competitive opponents is becoming glaring. Russell has been calling out Davis for quite some time now. With all but one of his contests going the distance, Davis is clearly a big puncher. Yet, Russell seems incredulous to that statement. Well, now that they are in the same division, Russell can find out for himself. 

Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Teofimo Lopez Winner 

It may not have been officially announced, but a contest between unified champion Vasiliy Lomachenko and IBF belt holder Teofimo Lopez is going to happen in the next few months. Usually when a fighter moves up in weight, he or she will seldom if ever go straight for the best fighter in the division. Russell, on the other hand, is the sort of fighter who seems more than willing to take on the top dog of the weight class. The winner between Lomachenko and Lopez would most certainly be identified as the number one fighter in the division. A distinction that Russell wants for himself. 

The previously mentioned contest on this list would be great, but this is the fight that Russell would want the most.

More Columns

Gary Russell Jr. Defends Featherweight Title Against ‘King Tug’ Nyambayar


By Robert Aaron Contreras

Gary Russell Jr. (30-1, 18 KO) does not move at the same speed as everybody else. Quick to strike but slow to sign, he finally has another worthy challenger, facing Tugstsogt Nyambayar (11-0, 9 KO) in defense of his WBC featherweight championship, headlining a PBC on Showtime billing on February 8 from the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

The fight comes a week after a scalp of Russell’s, that being JoJo Diaz, dethroned former titleholder Tevin Farmer by decision. His own points win over Diaz only looks better in hindsight. And without doubt the oft-criticized American could use the goodwill. Totaling four title defenses since lifting the WBC’s green belt, Russell has routinely maneuvered his way into easy touches and sparse ones at that, turning away Diaz two years ago already.

Photo Credit: Amanda Westcott/Showtime Boxing

Fighting on Saturday will be his first since May 2019: par for the course, having fought once a year since 2014. That same year he was wildly outboxed by Vasyl Lomachenko. A year later, in 2015, Russell astonishingly lifted the strap from Jhonny Gonzalez, at the time featherweight’s most lethal hitter.

That was March 2015 when Russell ripped Gonzalez apart, earning a fourth-round TKO. His fists moving in blinding patterns, it was his masterwork. But the frustration surrounding Russell has little to do with him as a fighter instead Russell, the champion, who like his fists, operates at a different frequency, a timetable only he can decipher.

Five years on, Russell, 31, is preparing for just his fifth defense, making an art of inactivity and manipulating time: pushing the sanctioning body’s patience from the sidelines before slipping in a mandatory defense at the eleventh hour. Russell enjoys the throne, transfixed and immovable at the center of a raging continuum. Last May, he even seemed to go backwards in time in order to resurrect Kiko Martinez, presumably from the coffin he had been laying in since his past days as as super bantamweight contender.

Unsurprisingly, Martinez did not last five rounds with Russell. But against every boxer’s will, the clock keeps ticking. Father Time (and gravity, they are related after all) having recently forced out Leo Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton and Oscar Valdez to junior lightweight, Russell is by far the oldest beltholder at 126 pounds. Older than Shakur Stevenson by practically a decade. Of TBRB’s top-8 featherweights in the world, Russell is the only one over the age of 30. Helping round out the Top 10 is Oscar Escandon, 36, who lost three straight before a miraculous upset over Jhack Tepora propelled him into the rankings.

In 2018, Russell pulverized Escandon. It took the champion seven rounds to do it. And that was seven too many for most as the the fight was chided when it was announced. Escandon being only 3-2 in his previous five fights, it was deservedly labeled a squash match.

So what was the difference when a year later Nyambayar, commonly referred to as “King Tug,” did the same thing to Escandon? For starters, Nyambayar did it faster: ending his man’s night in three rounds. Knocking him out in fewer than his previous opponents was just what the former Olympian should aim for. Moreover, the 27-year-old California transplant was just nine bouts into his career, laying the foundation to a healthy career after a notable rise out of Mongolia.

King Tug’s two-handed sequence that left Escandon on his back was a tremendous follow-up to the flash knockdown he suffered just before that against Filipino veteran Harmonito Dela Torre. Nyambayar would otherwise have little trouble, winning a wide decision verdict over eight rounds. But nothing was more impressive than his most recent appearance.

In a WBC eliminator, Nyambayar met Claudio Marrero, who is no slouch of a puncher, and a well scienced southpaw. It was a sink or swim contest for Nyamabar, a hump every blue-chipper has to get over, but not one every blue-chipper welcomes after just 10 fights. He would handle Marrero, stunning him early and eating his opponent’s biggest shots to earn a unanimous decision victory and a date with Russell.

Rigondeaux highlights undercard

In chief support, Guillermo Rigondeaux will be trying his fragile hands at bantamweight. Unlike most aging fighters found ballooning up in age, the 39-year-old Rigo is moving down, from 122 pounds to 118.

Rigondeaux (19-1, 13 KO) will be welcomed to the category with a WBA title fight against Liborio Solis (30-5-1), who years ago briefly held a belt at 115 pounds. The contest will be Rigondeaux’s third performance under the handling of Al Haymon. Opting to sign an exclusive contract with the PBC after calling “no mas” opposite Lomachenko in 2017. The Cuban legend has since won two straight, each by knockout.

Solis 37, is no spring chicken. But his recent run fighting in Latin America, after a failed series of bouts with Jamie McDonnell, has paid off, winning five in a row, including three by KO. Rigondeaoux, despite pushing 40, is still leagues above that competition Solis saw, made up of part-timers and tomato cans.

In other bouts scheduled for the show, Russell’s brothers are also suiting up for action. Sharing the same first name, both Gary Antuanne and Gary Antonio are the undefeated, younger siblings to the featherweight champion. Antuanne, 23, competed in the 2016 Olympics and Antonio, 27, was a runner up in the national amateurs.

More Headlines

Floyd Mayweather Sr. Aims To Stop His Son’s Ring Return


By: Hans Themistode

When Floyd Mayweather Jr decided to flip the boxing world on its head by announcing that he would be returning to the ring in 2020, it was met with a mixed bag of emotions.

On one end, boxing fans were elated with the news. Floyd is one of the greatest boxers of all-time and an even better showman. On the other side of the spectrum, it seemed like a complete contradiction.

Just one day prior to making his announcement, Floyd went on record stating that he was officially done with the sport of boxing. At least, from a participant standpoint.

Floyd cited his health as the main reason why he was hanging up the gloves for good. The five division world champion has always kept himself in great shape, and has done an excellent job in avoiding taking heavy punishment in a career that has spanned more than two decades. But with so many ring tragedies as of late, Floyd decided that at the age of 42, it was just too much of a risk at this point in his life.

“Boxing is a very, very brutal sport. In the last few years a lot of fighters have died inside that squared circle,” Said Mayweather. “My health is my wealth”

Floyd has retired from the ring on numerous occasions, but has always given the impression that he would be back at some point. This time however, things seemed more real.

With that being said, within just a few short hours later, Floyd would go on to announce that he would be ending his retirement in 2
Talk about a quick change of heart.

The focus has now quickly shifted to who exactly does Floyd have in mind for his ring return. The excitement surrounding the greatest boxer of his generation making his return in palpable.

One person however, who isn’t amongst those who are happy with the decision is his father, Floyd Mayweather Sr.

“There ain’t nothing to prove,” said Mayweather Sr. “He done proved everything.”

With 50 wins to his name with no defeats to go along with countless titles across five weight divisions, Mayweather Sr is right. Floyd doesn’t have anything to prove to anyone.

Many are expecting Floyd’s return to be a one off. A huge fight against quite possibly another UFC opponent where he could bank at minimum 100 million dollars for his services. But Mayweather Sr doesn’t quite view it that way. Instead, he believes this could become a pattern.

“If he fights this time then I figure then he’s going to fight again, and if you fight then, you’ll fight again and again and again. It’s like as long as I keep winning I’ll keep fighting and that ain’t no good.”

The concerns that Mayweather Sr has for his son has nothing to do with fighting ability. He believes that Floyd is still highly skilled but at this point why take the risk? Who knows if anyone around Floyd has advised him to stay away from a return, but Mayweather Sr has made it clear that if he can stop him, he will.

“He can do it, trust me but hopefully I can stop him from fighting. I don’t know if I can or not but if I can, I will be glad. I just don’t want him to get hurt in any kind of way.”

With Mayweather Sr expressing genuine concern for his son, maybe he can put an end to his 2020 ring return. Yet, with Floyd’s obsession with money, it is hard to see anyone changing his mind.

More Headlines

Who Is Next for Errol Spence Jr?


By: Waqas Ali

Errol Spence Jr is on the receiving end of deciding who his next opponent in the ring should be as he claimed the WBC welterweight title to his IBF crown on Sunday night. He defeated ‘Showtime’ Shawn Porter in a split decision win.

The bout became a slugfest as the pair traded shots for twelve rounds at the Staples Centre with over 16,000 fans in attendance.

Spence Jr (26-0) started the round much like in most fights by being cautious with his punches and stalking his prey as he approached.

But Porter was no animal to be hunted.

He found ways to make things uncomfortable for Spence Jr by pounding him to the ropes and landing some hooks to the body. Though Spence responded well with clean shots of his own.

In the second round, he landed a good counter left hand on Porter around the 2:24 mark which rose the crowd to their feet.

Porter (30-3-1) came back in the third round with power punches and at the 2:06 mark landed two consecutive right hands that pushed Spence Jr on the edge.

The middle and later rounds were more competitive by flurries of exchanges and power shots from both fighters.
In the eleventh round, just as the two fighters are launching devastating blows to each other, Spence lands a left hook on Porter which forces him to a knee.

A brave Porter did not give up as he stood and traded with the Texas-based fighter.

At the end of the bout, the scores were 116-111 for Spence, 115-112 for Porter, and 116-111 for Spence.

Compubox statics revealed that Spence landed 221 of 745 punches (30%), and Porter landed 172 of 744 (23%). An astonishing 44% of power punches were landed Spence Jr, including 113 body punches.

With regards to the 172 punches, it was the most blows ever landed on the unified champion.

Boxing sources have stated that the fight is tracking at 300,000 buys which in modern-day technology of DAZN and ESPN+ streaming age is excellent numbers.

After the victory, the No.5 P4P fighter by Ring Magazine, had his eyes on all the welterweights in his division, especially veteran legend and current WBA champion Manny Pacquiao.

“I think so,” Spence Jr told FOX Sports when asked if he thought his win over Porter has made him best welterweight on the planet.

“I’m the only unified champion and the next fight I do want is Manny Pacquiao.”

“But if not, we got my man Danny Garcia right here.”

“I told Al [Haymon],’ Line them up. I’mma [sic] knock ‘em down. I’ve been calling Danny out for a long time too. I’ll fight Danny Garcia or anybody else that’s in the top of the welterweight division.”

But who is the next opponent ready to take on Spence Jr?

Former WBA welterweight champion Danny Garcia has been pushed as the forefront candidate, according to boxing sources and the bout is expected to take place on January 25th 2020 on FOX pay-per-view event. No venue has been confirmed as of yet.

He has beaten the likes of Erik Morales (twice), Amir Khan, Zab Judah, Lucas Martin Matthysse, Lamont Peterson, Paul Malignaggi, Robert Guerrero and Brandon Rios.

His best style of weaponry is his left hook and is certainly one of those fighters you would not want to exchange shots with.

His weaknesses are that his jab is not utilized effectively to set him up with a flurry and his footwork is not highly compatible with a long-range fighter.

The candidate that most boxing fans have been dreading is Terence Crawford. He is currently ranked at the number two spot on the Ring Magazine P4P list.

His resume of opponents consists of Ricky Burns, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Raymundo Beltran, Viktor Postol, Julius Indongo, Jeff Horn, and Amir Khan.

According to Compubox review, Crawford throws around 48 punches per round and connects with a rate of 35%. That’s five percent higher than the average welterweight.

In the power-punching department, Crawford throws around 22 with a connect rate of 48%. That is 11% higher than the average welterweight.

Crawford opponents landed just 7 punches per round- 10 fewer than the welterweight and just 5 power shots per round.
Manny Pacquiao has also been named as a possibility for Spence.

Despite his age, The Filipino Slugger still that exceptional speed that he possessed in his younger days.

In his recent wins over Adrien Broner and Keith Thurman, Pacquiao at age 40 still that a lot in the tank to bear threat and fear. His footwork compares to Spence’s will be well well-matched.

Pacquiao has been fighting since 1995 and boasts a record of 60 victories, seven losses and two draws.

By level of competition, he’s faced 19 former, current or future world champions. Four of them he’s fought more than once.

Just to name a few: Marco Antonio Barrera (twice), Erik Morales (twice), Juan Manuel Marquez (four times), Oscar De La Hoya, and Antonio Margarito.

Before the Broner bout, Compubox released a ‘Last Six Bout Stat Overview’ of Pacquiao and showed that the activity level was lacking the superstitious work of the average welterweight.

He threw around 41 and landed about 13. His power accuracy was 39% with nine connecting per round.

One must keep in mind that since the two bouts with Broner & Thurman, Pacquiao’s numbers may have marginally increased following his activity level with the jab and power.

As an overall view, boxing fans would more likely prefer Crawford or Pacquiao to take on Spence Jr. They generate more money and their styles are far more challenging than of Garcia. Crawford has that range and height along with the reach that could seize a deal of opportunity to make this fight a mega bout. Both the casual and hardcore boxing fans would be cheering for one of these men.

Pacquiao would certainly bring styles and stage to the bout, considering the fact that he has generated over 20 million pay-per-view buys and over 1.2 billion dollars in revenue from his 25 PPV bouts. A legend who still has the skill set of a 20-year-old and many boxing fans can vouch that he is no walk in the park for Spence.

More Columns

Has Chris Eubank Junior Graduated to the Seniors?


By G.E. Simons

At the end of February, Chris Eubank Jnr. beat gold medal Olympian and former two-time IBF super-middleweight champion of the world, James DeGale, into retirement and earned a signature win in a curious career so far, which has generated column inches, the airbrushing of defeats and a rain of dollars earned.

Junior, like his decorated father, just has that thing – it is undefinable, a lightning rod from Queensbury, infuriating, probably possibly impossible to deal with but vital and engaging at the same time.


Photo Credit: Ian Walton/SHOWTIME

Very few wish to sit down at the negotiating table with the Eubanks but their enigma is such that the same very few are not prepared to nip them out of the conversation all together. And fewer still embargo the opportunity to share a ring with the descendant of British boxing royalty.

But how good is Chris Eubank Jnr., how far can he go in the glittering duo of the middle and super-middleweight divisions which he is currently straddling, and is it possible for him to step out of the haute couture shadow of his truly, eccentrically iconic bloodline.

On one hand, what is there not to like?

Junior speaks with eloquence, eschews profanity, fully understands the mechanics of the black mirror generation and fights like a savage.

On the other, critics speak of nepotistic privilege, a lack of schooling and the most basic of foundation skills, narcissistic arrogance and even a dangerous ambivalence towards the dangers of the fistic art and its ramifications.

Chris Eubank Jnr. began his boxing apprenticeship in the US through an unusual familial arrangement which saw him move stateside and reside with a legal guardian in Irene Hutton, which also delivered a dual citizenship.

The young Eubank’s pugilistic genesis however, couldn’t have begun under much better tutelage, in working out of the Las Vegas gymnasium of Hall of Fame middleweight Mike McCullum, wo said of his charge, “Everything has worked out perfectly. In a few years, England is going to have another world champ named Eubank. I go in the ring with him and he’s skillful, but he can also bang.”

An amateur career began in 2007 and a mere seven fights later he claimed the Golden Gloves title for the state of Nevada and compiled a 24-2 record in the unpaid ranks before turning professional in 2011.

Back in the UK as a fledgling pro, the services of Brighton fight game don, Ronnie Davies were retained along with a presence, mentorship and guidance from Eubank Snr. of course. But who did what, who listened to who and what plans were planned is very much up for conjecture and whatever the what, why or where, was Junior really listening anyway?

His first 18 fights were the usual trade-learning, opposition-vetting, road-bleeding, hand-raising tour of scattered British leisure centres and arenas with a detour to Denmark for a victory along the way.

So far, was so good for an aspiring pro with burgeoning buzz, name value and an increasing presence in the one-to-watch and man most likely column.

But then came Billy Joe Saunders on a cold November night and a London acid test at the docklands ExCel Arena to contest the British, European and Commonwealth middleweight titles.

This was the first real test of the junior Eubank’s abilities as a professional and to be fair, Billy Joe’s as well, although he had operated in better company with wins over Gary ‘Spike” O’ Sullivan and Nick Blackwell on his record heading into this one.

A real fight of two halves saw Saunders befuddle, shut out and shutdown Eubank over 6 opening rounds and then defend that with some scares and enhanced aggression from his opponent through the closing 6, before inflicting a split decision loss on him.

Scores of 115-114 and 115-113 for Saunders and 116-113 for Eubank Jnr. were difficult to argue with and agreement with the outcome is probably dependent on whether you prefer your boxing served cultured or aggressively.

Speaking with SKY Sports in 2016, Eubank said of the fight, “I wasn’t battered or shown up. I made the mistake of not pressing him early, pacing myself too much because it was my first 12-round fight.”

A good assessment and a fair one against a skilled operator in Billy Joe Saunders who went on to claim the WBO world middleweight title from Andy Lee and defended it with a signature victory in a hometown humbling of David Lemieux in Quebec.

For his part, Eubank went on to win eight straight in increasingly impressive style against solid opposition including the then unbeaten Dmitrii Chudinov, Gary ‘Spike’ O’ Sullivan, Arthur Abraham and Avni Yildrim, the latter as part of the lucrative World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) super middleweight tournament.

A run which also included his capture of the British middleweight title in a savagely and tragically one-sided encounter with Nick Blackwell.

His show reel third round knockout of Turkey’s come-forward Yildrim set up a WBSS semi-final against the venerable WBA world champion at the weight in George Groves and represented a second step up to challenge at elite level.

Groves produced a mercurial performance in a unanimous points victory which made a mockery of his underdog status going into the fight and showed perhaps even more than the Saunders defeat, the inability of Eubank to deal with a moving, technically correct and knowing elite-level opponent.

However, the defeat did reiterate Eubank’s own attributes of iron will, proper toughness, punch volume and unerring willingness. And the changes that he seems to have now made in the aftermath of that second defeat will perhaps now combine as the cornerstones to build a final sparkling act to his career.

A rust shaking blow-out victory over the tough but outgunned JJ McDonagh on the undercard of the WBSS final in Jeddah at the end of 2018 returned Eubank to winning ways which takes us right back to the DeGale victory.

In the build-up, James DeGale described their ITV pay-per-viewer as the ‘retirement fight’ and whilst Eubank refused to even say the R word, he knew it was so.

And so it proved to be with DeGale indeed retiring in the days after 12 torrid rounds where he saw the last echoes of his skills shredded, tasted the canvas twice and looked pretty unsteady from the second round onwards.

Though he refused to admit it, Eubank knew that a defeat to a third opponent from the elites in DeGale, albeit a corroded one, would surely confine him to that frustrating tier of ability sandwiched between too good for European but not good enough for World level.

Such did he know this, that he looked for the first time to galvanise and build on those cornerstone attributes that he had shown in defeat to Saunders and Groves by appointing a new trainer, his first officially, in Nate Vasquez.

Vasquez, a Mayweather Boxing Club coach with form, seemed to have the ear of Eubank and his respect too. Whether Junior’s claims of self-tutoring up to appointing him are entirely true or not is a slippery one but he certainly listened to his new trainer’s instructions between rounds and looked to implement them.

So, the question now is, with victory over James DeGale and a public ability to take instructions and schooling from a new voice in the team, has Chris Eubank Junior finally graduated to the seniors?

He probably has.

However, that new voice in the team will no longer be that of Nate Vasquez, who speaking with SKY Sports in April confirmed that he had heard through word-of-mouth that Eubank Jnr. is now training with Virgil Hill in California.

“I don’t know if jumping trainers will help him. You can’t learn if you’re jumping trainers from time to time. If you go from trainer to trainer to trainer, it’s not good.”

Vasquez has not heard directly from Eubank following their work together for the DeGale fight, but is pragmatic, “I got the best win of his career with him. I’m not mad at him if he goes to another trainer.”

And with that the spread of possible next opponents is as broad as it is appetising, where win lose or draw he will make turnstiles spin and PPV tills ring for two or three more legacy fights at least.

A rematch with Billy Joe Saunders does great numbers and would be an intriguing match-up with both having improved since first they met. Whilst the unbeaten WBA champion Callum Smith would offer another intriguing civil war in the UK.

At 34, WBC champion Andre Dirrell offers an interesting option too in what is a really winnable one, as does the largely untested Caleb Plant, Tennessee’s unbeaten IBF belt holder.

Let’s also not forget the shadows cast and opportunities posed by Golovkin and Canelo whose radar Eubank has bleeped several times in the past

Speaking with talkSPORT Radio following the DeGale victory, Chris told the station, “For me, I’m 29 years old, I’m in the prime of my career and there’s just so much more that I wanna achieve. So many more belts that I want to collect, so I’m definitely looking now for the big names in the middleweight and the super-middleweight division.”

And that’s about the size of it.

Chris Eubank Junior always possessed every ingredient to make a massive impact except perhaps the technical seniority to worry the elite and cause trouble in the world title mix. Victory over James DeGale has given him that, his team is bolstered, his attitude has matured and his commercial alliance with ITV Boxing and PBC combine to make him a real player.

Whether this has been partly built with a victory over the carrion remains of what James DeGale had left rather than what Eubank has recently acquired remains to be seen but it will certainly be exciting and entertaining to find out.

Follow G.E. Simons on Twitter @GESimonsBoxing

More Columns

What is Next for Errol Spence?


By: Waqas Ali

IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr produced a masterful performance following his 12-round decision win against former world champion Mikey Garcia (39-1).

The bout took place at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas in front of over 47,000 fans in attendance.

Spence (25-0) executed his craft, cynical and crisp jab right from the start of the first round and kept using that for the entire round.

Garcia, a former four-division titlist did very little in terms of the activity level. The 31-year-old did step up his tactical style in the second round. Arguably that was his best round and close round to give him.

Spence, who was in the third defence of the title, stepped up his pace and landed devastating hooks in the third round that shook Garcia in his position.

The 29-year-old mixed up his punches in the middle and later stages of the fight with sharp left hooks to the head and body.

Garcia doing very little to fight back.

In round nine, Spence aka ‘The Truth’ cornered Garcia to the ropes and landed blistering body shots.

Much of the later rounds were repetition to the previous one and despite Garcia not landing any more than 10 punches per round, he showed great heart and devotion to the ring.

According to Compubox, Spence landed 345 of 1082 punches (32%). This was the most ever punches he had thrown as a professional.

This was also the most punches ever landed on Garcia.

Garcia landed only 75 of 406 punches (20%). His previous five bouts, his power punching accuracy was at above 40%. However, against Spence, he landed at a low 28%.

Spence won every single on all three judges scorecard. Reading at: 120-107 and 120-108 (twice).

The question remains: who is next for Spence and can he conquer the welterweight division?

According to a poll conducted by well-known boxing page on Twitter called Editinking, out of over 5,000 voters, 47% of them chose Terence Crawford for Spence to fight next, 28% chose Pacquiao and 15% picked Keith Thurman.

In a post-fight interview of the bout, Spence instantly called out Pacquiao, who could be in the works of fighting him in July.

“Manny Pacquiao would definitely be a good fight,” Spence said.

“I’ll definitely give him that retirement check that he needs. I’m ready in July,”

Pacquiao in response stated: “Yeah, why not? We’ll give the fans a good fight. I’m so happy to be here in Dallas and I’m hoping I will be back here soon.”

For Pacquiao, this is a unique fight for him – considering the fact that he would a huge amount of money from this and to end his career on a high note would be big for him and a learning curve for Spence.

A much bigger financial award for the Filipino could be fighting the bigger fighters in the middleweight division such as Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin or the Charlo brothers.

But that is highly unlikely considering the huge weight advantage they would have over the 40-year-old veteran.

Terence Crawford, as boxing fans in the poll above, voted the most to fight Spence, is the main fight that has been going on for over two years.

He’s got great styles and variations in his arsenal of weaponry. His style of artilleries consists of footwork, speed, restricted and defensive guard, height and accuracy.

According to Compubox review, Crawford throws around 48 punches per round and connects with a rate of 35%. That’s five percent higher than the average welterweight.

In the power punching department, Crawford throws around 22 with a connect rate of 48%. That is 11% higher than the average welterweight.

Crawford opponents landed just 7 punches per round- 10 fewer than the welterweight and just 5 power shots per round.

Another fighter that could be a challenge for Spence is former two-weight world champion, Amir Khan.

Khan is always up for a challenge and has never been backed down from any competitor. He’s fought the likes of Marcos Maidana, Marco Antonio Barrera, Zab Judah, Paul McCloskey, Paulie Malignaggi, Luiz Collazo, Lamont Peterson, Danny Garcia and Canelo Alvarez.

Khan is known for his immense speed with blistering combinations which has always been his strongest asset throughout his amateur and professional career.

He would certainly be a great matchup for Spence in late 2019.

Whatever the case may be for Spence, the names listed above and in the poll are no easy target to take on. He possesses great talent and has proved it in the Kell Brook fight and even against Garcia. He is a fighter to watch out for and definitely a star of the future. Spence deserves to fight the big names in his division and boxing fans both casual and hardcore will no doubt be supporting him.

More Columns

Boxing Insider Interview with Junior Younan: The Young God Adding to Brooklyn’s Long List of Prominence


By: Kirk Jackson

Undefeated super middleweight Junior ‘The Young God’ Younan 14-0-1 (10 KO’s) is one of the bright stars ushering in this new era of boxing. Overcoming obstacles and battling recent injuries, the Brooklyn-bred boxer aims to set plans in motion for the takeover in 2019.

Prior to fighting Derrick Findley 30-24-1 (20 KO’s) this weekend in Verona, New York on the undercard of a DAZN boxing event, Younan spoke with Boxing Insider and discussed plans for this year, expanded on his New York roots and living up to expectations.

“Well I’m in great shape right now so the plan is use my jab. He’s short he’s like 5’6” so use my jab, keep him outside, keep him honest, tag him up a little bit, keep him at range and box him but if that doesn’t work we’re ready to fight on the inside. We definitely want to expose that height and outbox him.”

This is a dangerous fight for Younan considering the variables not easily noticed at first glance. Yes Younan is the undefeated fighter, fighting in front of his hometown crowd, he’s young and has the upside and high trajectory. Younan has great boxing pedigree, good hand speed, coordination, size and is a good puncher.

One trait in Findley’s favor is his level of experience against great opposition. Finley definitely possesses is grit and that is something Younan is aware of.

“He’s been in the ring with a bunch of world champions. I’m not going in there looking for the knockout; personally I’m ready for a rough fight. He’s only been stopped by top dudes. Andre Ward went the distance with him, he went seven rounds with Andre Dirrell, he fought Edwin Rodriguez, [Jose] Uzcategui, [Vyacheslav] Shabranskyy and the list goes on.”

While knockouts aren’t guaranteed, a knockout is the special finish Younan will be searching for this weekend.

“I’m not going in there to look for it, but I think it will come personally. I’m more than ready, I been in camp for three months. Going into this fight I just think I’ve grown in the last year, year and a half I feel like I can think better under pressure and my ability to adjust has grown so I just want to show that.”

“Ya know it’s just a constant grind, the outsider looking in, I don’t think they understand how much goes into getting ready for a fight. It’s just an everyday grind, it’s rough. I’ve been in camp since December 5th, I was in camp with Marcus Browne – getting ready for Badou (Jack), it was just continuation when I got back home getting ready for the fight. “

View this post on Instagram

And the new @mbrowne718

A post shared by Junior TYG Younan (@tygofficial) on

View this post on Instagram

The Young Gød X Iron Mike Tyson

A post shared by Junior TYG Younan (@tygofficial) on

“After the Ronald Ellis fight, they gave me a draw – I personally thought I won that fight, but battling yourself mentally after that. Just getting motivated after something like that happened, it’s a little bit of a battle but I feel like it made me better, work harder and it showed in my last performance and I’m pretty sure it’ll show in this next one.”

After overcoming a minor setback, Younan is focused on maintaining the proper course this year and winning every time he steps in the ring. Fighting on the DAZN card in front of his hometown fans is the first step for this year. In regards to representing New York the Brooklyn way, ‘The Young God’ relishes the opportunity to do so.

“It’s a good feeling, it’s a good feeling. My last fight was in Brooklyn, my first time fighting in Brooklyn in three years. It meant a lot to me so it brought out the best. There’s no added pressure, I like it. The list of champions (from Brooklyn) is crazy. I grew up around a lot top dudes including Danny Jacobs, Sadam Ali, Paulie Malignaggi, Curtis Stevens. I do feel like I gotta a reputation to uphold being from Brooklyn and I’m proud of it.”

“I grew up in the gym with all those guys, usually before every fight I get a call or two. Paulie trained with my dad for the Juan Diaz fight, we’re still very close. Me and him talk a lot, he definitely contributed to my growth, he had a lot of experiences and just little things he’s been through in the sport, not even all the time in the ring, just period. I definitely get a lot of insight from the older dudes and it’s great.”

In spite of his success as an amateur, Younan expressed professional boxing is much different but better suited for his style of fighting.

“I feel like amateur boxing doesn’t matter, professional fighting is a whole different world… you can’t throw million punches, you gotta be more careful. One punch can end ya night, people get knock-outs in the amateurs but those 10 oz. gloves are a little different. A lot of times I wouldn’t be able to fight how I wanna fight in the amateurs because you gotta worry about scoring a bunch of points. Now I can take my time, pick my shots and I think it comes out better.”

As Younan picks his punches and picks up additional experience climbing through the ranks, he has that great reputation of Brooklyn in the back of his mind.

Brooklyn is a borough represented by many champions; Mike Tyson, Shannon Briggs, Zab Judah, Daniel Jacobs, Paulie Malignaggi, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Junior Jones, Riddick Bowe, Sadam Ali and many more.

Maintaining relationships with some of these aforementioned fighters and sharing experiences has an obvious impact and viewers see it watching Younan in the ring. Over the past few years or so, the sport of boxing welcomed an influx of young talent into the professional ranks, some of which also gifted with transcendent ability to carry boxing from a commercial standpoint progressing forward.

“I just think I have a unique style, I feel like I bring a lot to the table, showmanship, personality and I hit hard. I have some pop, I’m flashy, I feel like I have the complete package to become something special in the sport. It’s all about goals at this point.”

“After this maybe three more fights, I want to stay busy, keep in the eye of the public at this point, three more fights this year after this one, I’ll be 18-0 and I’ll be knocking on some doors.”

His peers from the new generation are guys like Shakur Stevenson, Money Powell IV, Devin Haney, Gervonta Davis, fellow Brooklynite Teofimo Lopez, Karlos Balderas, Ryan Garcia, Ruben Villa – the list goes on. Some of these guys already captured world title – Davis. Some may be in position to fight for a world title this year – Stevenson, Haney and Lopez.

Perhaps they all aim to replicate similar success like retired Olympic Gold Medalist and former five-time, two-division, world champion Andre Ward 32-0 (16 KO’s).

“I got to spend a little time with him (Andre Ward),” Younan said when discussing his experiences with Ward.

“Maybe not pick his brain, but I got to see how he moves during the week of the fight. He was the ultimate professional; I get to steal little things. Before the Ward-Kovalev II fight he told us and said this is a big moment for us and he looked straight at me and we was like you guys gotta shine just as well I do and on this big stage you gotta step ya game up.”

With nuggets of knowledge embedded in his mind, Younan has his sights on a world title soon and his journey towards that goal and much more continues this weekend. Catch ‘The Young God’ at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York this weekend or across the DAZN app.

https://www.instagram.com/tygofficial/?hl=en
You can also follow Junior Younan @tygofficial on Instagram.

More Headlines

What’s Next For Chris Eubank Junior?


By: Hans Themistode

Chris Eubank Jr. (28-2, 21 KOs) got the biggest win of his career this past weekend when he knocked down former champion James DeGale (25-3-1, 15 KOs) twice and thoroughly dominated the contest. For Eubank Jr it was a win that he desperately needed. The story around him was that he looks like a world beater when he faces lesser opponents but when he steps up his level of competition he has failed.

It’s hard to argue against it as Eubank Jr had lost his two biggest fights of his career in George Groves and Billy Joe Saunders. Many had already written off his chances at winning. DeGale after all had the experience and pedigree advantages. Eubank Jr made a huge statement by putting on a dominant performance. Sure he picked up the IBO Super Middleweight title in the process but most importantly he proved that he can indeed raise his game when need be.

So where exactly does he go from here? Is he one of the best in the division? It’s hard to say. Was DeGale a shot fighter? It sure seemed like it. Regardless if he was or wasn’t Eubank Jr now has a signature win under his belt and a long list of fighters that he can take on next. Let’s take a look at who exactly that should be.

Anthony Dirrell

Over on the other side of the world Anthony Dirrell captured the WBC Super Middleweight title for the second time in his career with a win over Avni Yildirim this past weekend. It was a contest that was very close and had to be stopped in the tenth round due to a massive cut over the left eye of Dirrell due to a headbutt. That cut lead to the premature stoppage of the fight with Dirrell taking home the close victory. While Dirrell fought a back and forth affair with Yildirim, Eubank Jr dominated him when they matched up in 2017 to the tune of a third round knockout. The IBO title that Eubank Jr now possesses is not viewed as a major title. The WBC belt however is one of if not the most prestigious in all of boxing. If Eubank Jr can win against someone the caliber of Dirrell and snag the WBC title in the process then that would be a major statement.

Billy Joe Saunders

The former Middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (27-0, 13 KOs) has decided to move up to the Super Middleweight division for his next contest to take on Shefat Isufi for the vacant WBO title. If Saunders comes out on top in that matchup as many expect than a rematch with his domestic rival Eubank Jr who he out pointed in 2014 would be must see television.

Since their first matchup Saunders has gone on to become one of the best boxers in the entire sport. His attitude might rub the boxing community the wrong way but his skill is undeniable. In a rematch Saunders would be the odds on favorite. With that being said however, Eubank Jr has proved that he has matured and can cause anyone issues in the ring. These two don’t like each other which only adds fuel to their rivalry. Let’s hope we get this rematch sooner rather than later.

Callum Smith

Callum Smith (25-0, 18 KOs) cemented himself as arguably the best in the Super Middleweight when he lifted the Muhammad Ali trophy by defeating George Groves in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series.

Smith has the boxing ability and power that can see him rule over the division for quite some time. Eubank Jr however would beg to differ as he feels as though he is the best that the division has to offer. Did I mention that both Smith and Eubank Jr are both from the United Kingdom which makes this matchup even more intriguing. Eubank Jr wants to be known as the best Super Middleweight in the world but in order to prove that he will need to defeat Callum Smith.

More Columns

Boxing Insider Interview with Roy Jones Jr. at the Creed II Premier


By: Henry Deleon

At the NYC premiere for Creed 2, Boxing Insider got the chance to catch up with the legendary Roy Jones Jr.

Boxing Insider: Tell me Roy, what are your expectations for this movie, Creed 2?

Roy Jones Jr.: I expect it to be another great movie. They usually do a good job with these. It’s like they’re bringing “Rocky” onto the next generation, so for me it’s a beautiful thing. I love the concept, and you know the “Rocky” movies have actually brought a lot of fans to the sport of Boxing. It’s almost like the movie version of Boxing make some people pay more attention to real Boxing. When people see fights like the Gatti/Ward fights, it’s almost like they’re watching a real life “Rocky” movie.

Boxing Insider: How much impact did a movie like “Rocky” have on your career?

Roy Jones Jr.: Not really much on my career because I wasn’t much of a movie guy. But just the fact that I knew what it stood for, I knew what the concept was because I was a real boxer made me still respect it. It gave people a clear perspective of what some fighters feel. Everybody is not going to be the Sugar Ray Leonard, the Roy Jones, or the Muhammed Ali’s of their era. But there are guys who can be just as good to watch and who can provide great action-packed fights as the Arturo Gatti’s, the real life “Rocky’s”. It’s not always about the skill of Boxing, sometimes it’s about the heart and soul of Boxing and for that very reason the Rocky movies, the Creed movies do a great job in portraying that.

Boxing Insider: Being a pro fighter, do you feel that the way Hollywood portrays Boxing does the sport justice?

Roy Jones Jr.: It all depends on what movies you’re watching. Does it do some aspects of the sport justice? Yeah, but it doesn’t do the whole Boxing game justice because Hollywood would have to get deeper into the sport to do that. But it does do Boxing good because it shows people that every fighter has a story. So, what they’re doing I’d say is helping the sport of Boxing.

Roy Jones Jr. won several world titles in four different divisions. In 1988, he represented the United States in the summer Olympics where he went on to won a silver medal in the light middleweight division. He is considered by many to be one of Boxing’s all-time best.

“One thing you gotta know about Roy. The way I always saw myself is, I’m just like you. In the ring, I have a gift, that gift ain’t on the basketball court, that gift ain’t at home, you understand me? That gift is in the ring.” – Roy Jones Jr.

On November 21st, 2018 Catch Roy Jones Jr. and many more in the upcoming film “Creed 2”. This is going to be a fight you won’t want to miss!

More Headlines

Spence-Crawford And The Long Road To Nowhere


By Jake Donovan

The last time the top two welterweights in boxing happened to meet up in the same basketball arena and talk shop, it eventually resulted in the most lucrative event in the sport’s history.

Then again, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao weren’t just the best two welterweights in the world but also the best pound-for-pound and were circling each other for more than five years by the time they happened to run into each other at a Jan. ’15 Miami Heat game.

A budding rivalry has only just begun between Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford, both of whom are current unbeaten welterweight titlists. They’ve exchanged pleasantries (read: insults) through social media, and for real this past Friday at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, home to the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.

It made for fun immediate reaction and a slew of clickbait headlines. Just don’t expect to lead to a head-on collision anytime soon—if ever at all.

The pair of elite boxers were on hand to take in Top Rank’s ESPN-televised show. Crawford is a regular ringside observer for his promoter’s events while not headlining his own shows.

Spence—who is advised by Al Haymon and fights under the Premier Boxing Champions banner on Showtime and now Fox prime—was in the house in support of fellow Dallas boxer Maurice Hooker, who defended his 140-pound title with a spectacular 7th round stoppage of Oklahoma City’s own Alex Saucedo.

While the aforementioned title fight was the main reason for the boxing world tuning in on Friday, it gave way to a much bigger sidebar, not unlike how Mayweather and Pacquiao meeting during halftime in South Beach is far more fondly recalled than the Heat eventually losing that night to the Milwaukee Bucks.

A major development worth noting from that Jan. ’15 entry was the fact that Mayweather and Pacquiao huddled up behind closed doors after the game, talking for more than an hour about the need for their long-awaited clash to finally become reality. In stark contrast, Friday’s run-in between Spence and Crawford ended with more of the same between the two— a lot of talk, but the realization that their careers will run in separate directions.

Spence practically admitted as such, not even bothering to bite his tongue in rattling off a potential 2019 campaign that won’t—or, frankly, doesn’t need to—include Crawford. The 2012 U.S. Olympian and reigning top welterweight is currently on course to face unbeaten four-division titlist Mikey Garcia next March at AT&T Stadium, home to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.

With a win, the rest of Spence’s 2019 campaign—as he suggested—would put him in the ring with two more of the top welterweights on the PBC side of the street.

PBC and Fox recently rolled out their 1st quarter schedule on the free-to-air network and its regional cable affiliate FS1. Just about every welterweight of note under Haymon’s advisory banner is scheduled to appear in the first four months of 2019. Aside from Spence—who along with Garcia will headline a Pay-Per-View event for the first time in their respective careers—comes four more welterweight bouts of significance.

Keith Thurman will fight for the first time since March ’17, as he faces Josesito Lopez in late January live on Fox in primetime. A similar setting will be provided for recently crowned two-time welterweight titlist Shawn Porter, who defends versus mandatory challenger Yordenis Ugas on March 9, as does an April meet between Danny Garcia—whose lone two career losses have come versus Thurman and Porter—and Adrian Granados, while Lamont Peterson and Sergey Lipinets collide in late February on FS1 with an interim title at stake.

Outside of that deal will come a January 19 superfight between Pacquiao—who earlier this fall joined the PBC family after more than a decade with Top Rank—and Adrien Broner live on Showtime PPV from Las Vegas.

The bouts being presented in such a cluster are undoubtedly designed to mix and match the winners—and possibly even several of the losing fighters—later in the year, perhaps as early as the beginning of the summer season. Spence suggested that should he and Porter win their next fights, a unification clash would immediately follow.

From there would come a pairing that would help advance Spence from rising superstar to industry leader, as he is already being groomed for a late 2019 run-in with Pacquiao, assuming the two can win out.

While the sport is available more than ever in U,S. markets thanks to lucrative deals with Showtime, Fox, ESPN and sports streaming service DAZN, the downside is that we’re getting a lot of fights but not necessarily THE biggest fights we’d like to see. The lone exception in the past couple of years came in the form of two sensational middleweight championship fights between Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, yet even that pairing coming after nearly two years of talk.

Given that take, boxing fans are already clamoring for Spence and Crawford to meet sooner rather than later in lieu of history repeating itself. The sport doesn’t need another long-term Mayweather-Pacquiao soap opera, yet already has one at the heavyweight level with unbeaten titlists Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder continuing to come up with endless ways to say “No” rather than just one way to say “Yes.”

The ugly truth, however, is that Spence can afford to disappoint boxing fans by not fighting Crawford as long as Haymon can keep his word of matching his stud welterweight against the rest of PBC’s top players in the division, particularly a Pacquiao superfight.

Top Rank can’t make the same promises to its superstar. It could produce a negative public perception of Crawford despite his clearly wanting the fight far more than his counterpart.

Another reason for Crawford sitting ringside on Friday was to scout his next likely opponent. On the undercard, fellow unbeaten Top Rank-promoted welterweight Egidijus Kavaliauskas stopped Roberto Arriaza in three rounds to solidify his place as Crawford’s opponent. It’s a solid matchup on paper, but not one that even remotely moves the needle.

The same sad state applies for any other in-house welterweight Top Rank can summon for its top client, who just re-inked with the Las Vegas based promotional outfit earlier this fall. Crawford and his team agreeing to stick with Top Rank while fully aware that all of his top completion fights under the PBC banner is a fact that boxing fans won’t forget as long as he’s stuck settling for the Jeff Horns and Jose Benavidez’s of the world.

No matter how often he calls out Spence or any other top PBC welterweight, no matter how many in-person or social media run-ins take place, anything short of such a fight materializing will ultimately hurt the fighter who clearly wants it more.

This much wasn’t at all lost on Spence when he and Crawford decided to engage in banter that immediately made the rounds. He doesn’t care if he’s portrayed as the bad guy in any of this, when the truth is that a year from how he’ll boast the far healthier welterweight résumé no matter how he’s mixed and matched in house—and even without facing his biggest threat.

Mayweather made a very similar blueprint work in his favor, while Pacquiao would suffer two losses and eventually run out of available challenges worth arousing public interest. It’s possible that Crawford can run the tables for years, but testing the public’s—and his own—patience is not a long-term plan anyone is willing to once again embrace.

More Columns

Joe Smith Jr. Ponders Next Move After Beterbiev Fallout


By Jake Donovan

Less than a month ago, Joe Smith Jr. was in the favorable position of being able to choose between two offered title shots.

Today, he’s left to await his next move—but remaining ready for the first chance to return to the ring.


Photo Credit: Joe Smith Junior Twitter Account

The Long Island-based light heavyweight contender is left without a major fight for the moment, after watching a planned December showdown with unbeaten titlist Artur Beterbiev put on the back burner. A penciled-in December 15 clash at Madison Square Garden in support to reigning World middleweight king Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s challenge of secondary super middleweight titlist Rocky Fielding was scrapped when Beterbiev decided upon returning to training camp that he was best served to sit out the rest of 2018.

Beterbiev (13-0, 13KOs) would’ve been making his second title defense in the span of just over two months, having recently turned away previously unbeaten Callum Johnson in four rounds this past October in Chicago. However, the Canada-based Russian traded knockdowns with his challenger, still feeling lingering effects in early stages of training after having previously agreed to terms for a title defense versus Smith Jr.

While the decision is understandable from a safety aspect, it still leaves a hole in the schedule of Smith Jr. (24-2, 20KOs) who remains in training but not entirely sure of when he will return to the ring.

“It’s disappointing, but Joe always remains positive and hard at work in the gym, ready for anything,” Phil Capobianco, Smith Jr.’s manager told BoxingInsider.com. “We’re exploring several opportunities to figure out what’s the best fit for Joe.”

One such possibility was remaining on the Alvarez-Fielding undercard, taking a stay-busy fight against a yet-to-be-determined opponent while surveying the entire light heavyweight landscape. Aside from Beterbiev, all of the division’s major titlists have bouts scheduled between now and early February.

Among the lot is Dmitry Bivol, who will put his title and unbeaten record on the line versus former lineal champion Jean Pascal. The same opportunity was once available for Smith Jr., who was in advanced talks for the HBO-televised title fight in Atlantic City, some three hours from his hometown in Eastern Long Island.

Instead, Smith Jr. and his team agreed to terms for a shot at Beterbiev. The move was coupled with promoter Joe DeGuardia entering a three-fight co-promotional pact with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA, who also co-promotes Beterbiev along with Yvon Michel and is the primary content provider for boxing on sports streaming platform DAZN USA.

Early whispers now have such a title fight taking place sometime in the 1st quarter of 2019, but doesn’t at all impact Smith Jr and DeGuardia’s aforementioned arrangement with Hearn. In fact, it leaves the door open to still fight in December, a desired route given he’s fought just once since a 10-round loss to Sullivan Barrera last July, scoring a 1st round knockout over Melvin Russell this past June in Uncasville, Connecticut.

The quick hit was just enough to shake off some rust, but nowhere the level of competition he’s enjoyed in recent years. Smith Jr. enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in 2016, scoring a massive upset in a 1st round knockout of Andrzej Fonfara live in primetime on NBC, then going on to send future Hall of Fame legend Bernard Hopkins into retirement with a 9th round knockout in their Dec. ’16 HBO headliner.

The hot streak opened up the possibility of challenging for a world title but settled on a crossroads bout with Barrera last July. Smith Jr. scored an early knockdown but suffered a broken jaw shortly thereafter, fighting through excruciating pain in dropping a decision.

Following his quick hit of Russell earlier this year, Smith Jr. and his team immediately began exploring title opportunities before landing on Beterbiev. The matchup still remains very much in play for the near future, but also leaves wiggle room for the 29-year old to consider a tune-up and then instead challenging the likes of Bivol, or the winners of the December 1 clash between lineal champ Adonis Stevenson and Oleksandr Gvozdyk or the title fight rematch between unbeaten titlist Eleider Alvarez and former champ Sergey Kovalev.

“We just want to make sure we’re not waiting around for Beterbiev and then he decides he doesn’t want the fight (at all),” suggest Capobianco. “If that’s the next big fight for Joe, we’ll be ready and willing. If not, there are a lot of big fights out there and we consider all of the (titleholders) in play.”

More Headlines

Crawford Won’t Get Spence Until……


By Rich Mancuso

The boxing fan deserve this fight as do Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr.. This is asking the improbable with these obstacles of duel promotions and televised streaming rights. However a fight of this magnitude to unify portions of the welterweight titles and determine the pound-for-pound best is bound to happen.

Because it’s boxing, and the promotional fight has picked up a bit, they have to come to an agreement. Or do they?

But for this to happen there also needs to be unity with the respective promoters and of course the personnel who would be involved with networks and rights to televise this potential mega fight.


Photo Credit: Terence Crawford Twitter Account

And with boxing, a fight like this can be done. Then again it becomes a waiting game of back-and-forth and someone giving in with a late punch in the final round. With Top Rank and the PBC, obviously the main principals to deliver this also falls into the lines of boxing politics.

Boxing politics has never stopped Bob Arum and Top Rank from delivering. When the back-and-forth of politics concludes the fight is delivered. It has to be done and will be because Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. is as huge as Mayweather and Pacquiao was.

Perhaps this is bigger in magnitude because they are two champions, one with Top Rank and the other with the PBC, champions in the welterweight division. This elite division of welterweights that also generates the revenue and interest for boxing is shown in the ratings.

An this past Saturday, Terence Crawford, who could be the top pound-for-pound fighter in the business and Jose Benavidez Jr. established the highest rating boxing telecast on Broadcast and Cable television this year.

So now, it is time to deliver a fight that boxing needs. A fight that the boxing fan will demand. Delivering this fight, according to sources, and that back-and forth talk has commenced.

Moments after Crawford disposed Jose Benavidez Jr. in the final round Saturday night, his first defense of the WBO Welterweight title, Bob Arum was asked the questions. The fight boxing needs will have to wait but how long will it be?

Arum does have the leverage here because Crawford delivers the numbers for ESPN and the Hall of Fame promoter has the platform. Spence Jr. also has the numbers with Showtime and the PBC has that history of also delivering the numbers for the network seen in previous fights Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter opposing Danny Garcia for the Welterweight title.

In line with all of this, Tuesday Bob Arum made his pitch. Showtime, he said will soon be out of boxing just like HBO.

“So I’m predicting also that within the next year Showtime will be exiting from boxing because as great as they’ve been for boxing, they don’t belong,” he said. This was possibly the beginning of a bargaining point of view because Showtime is committed to continue their involvement with boxing, and the PBC continues to thrive with all the rumors to the contrary.

Arum is known to make some outrageous statements. This one, and only because he said Showtime is throwing more money into programming, does offer a line of truth. For the past few years it was HBO that lost the roster of fighters that put the network on top. But putting more of their budget into popular programs did boxing in for the network.

This is the Haves and Have Not of boxing. However, with Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. in the picture, it is about having the best fight for the boxing fan. Showtime and the PBC are moving along and so is Bob Arum and his deal with ESPN.

Just a matter of time and the fight will happen. Arum, in the meantime will go back-and-forth but is looking at other opponents for his champion. Similar to Mayweather and Pacquiao and how long it took, at some point next year this fight will be a reality.

And because this is boxing, it only works this way.

Comment: [email protected] [email protected] Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

More Columns

Errol Spence Shadowing the Path of Marvin Hagler


By: Kirk Jackson

As Errol Spence 24-0 (21 KO’s) progresses further into his career, the more it resembles a similar path once traveled by the legendary middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler 62-3-2 (52 KO’s).

Are far as listing similarities and drawing comparisons, there are plenty.

Comparatively from a fight stylistic standpoint, both are southpaws (albeit Hagler converted and was known as a switch hitter; a fighter skilled to switch interchangeably between southpaw to orthodox stance).

Hagler and Spence operate offensively off their stiff right jab; Hagler displayed the ability to effortlessly switch stances as mentioned earlier, but like Hagler, Spence prefers to mount his attack utilizing highly lethal, effective jabs.

Both possess impressive, Adonis-like physiques and oddly enough, both traveled to The United Kingdom to capture their first championship title.

Hagler made minced-meat out of Alan Minter over the course of four vicious rounds, while Spence comprehensibly violated Kell Brook into submission over the course of eleven rounds. Spence was 27-years-old at the time while Hagler was a year younger aged 26 years-old.

Like Hagler, Spence aims to transcend into boxing super stardom by facing another highly coveted, pound-for-pound fighter moving up in weight.

For Hagler, his dancing partner thrusting him into the realm of super-stardom was Roberto Duran.

Duran, initially dominating the lightweight division with hands of stone, climbed through the welterweight division, eventually reaching the mantle at middleweight to battle Hagler for middleweight supremacy.

Hagler soundly defeated Duran in an entertaining, competitive affair, securing his spot as one of boxing best fighters and biggest attractions.

Hagler’s victory over Duran led to greener pastures, as his star shined brighter and he capitalized eventually securing fights against Tommy Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard.

Mikey Garcia 39-0 (30 KO’s) is to Errol Spence as Duran was to Hagler.

And again, this is not a direct comparison of styles for each fighter, although we can draw similar comparisons for each fighter listed in this formula.

Whether it’s the traits of timing, mastery of range and distance, overall toughness and business-like demeanor, this is more of a comparison of situations and possible trajectory.

If not no. 1 on any given pound-for-pound list, Garcia is certainly in the discussion – just as Duran in his heyday.

Garcia has five world titles across four weight classes in seven championship fights. Like Duran, Garcia aims to move up in weight for greater challenges.

“There’s no one else that excites me enough, that motivates me and that can challenge me other than Errol Spence, and I’m willing to take that challenge, all the way up, because that’s the fight that will motivate me the most,” said Garcia at the post-fight press conference in his win over Robert Easter.

“I’m here to challenge myself. He is the best. He might feel that it’s an easy fight for him, that I’m too small, and that’s fine. Let’s get in the ring and let’s go to work.”

The emerging Spence recognizes too, facing Garcia could help build his brand among Hispanic boxing fans who strongly support Garcia.

“This definitely would help my fan base,” Spence said, “and help me grow as a superstar in the sport.”

It’s certainly a page borrowed from another boxing great and mentor figure to Spence, Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather offered his perspective regarding the potential match-up between Garcia and Spence to Fight Hype.

“You have to respect Mikey Garcia for wanting to test his skills against the best guys out there,” stated Mayweather.

“You can’t fault him [Garcia] for doing it, you can’t overlook Mikey Garcia in a fight with Errol Spence. Errol Spence can fight his ass off, it’s a good match-up. Spence he’s tough, he’s strong, he can bang.”

Aside from Garcia, Spence has other lucrative options on the horizon – his potential Tommy Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard.

Spence can potentially face the winner of Danny Garcia 34-1 (20 KO’s) and Shawn Porter 28-2-1 (17 KO’s) as they finally meet in September. Amir Khan 32-4 (20 KO’s) is still a name in the welterweight division and of course there is the ever-elusive Keith Thurman 28-0 (22 KO’s).

The former unified WBC and WBA welterweight champion is still recovering from injury and aims to return at some point in 2018.

A meeting between Spence and Thurman may not take place until 2019 if at all, while another emerging combatant apparently usurped Thurman as far as desired match-ups amongst boxing fans.

The fighter Spence appears fated to face, also drawing comparisons to the legendary Marvelous Marvin Hagler for his switch hitter abilities, overall grit and menacing demeanor, is none other than Terence Crawford 33-0 (24 KO’s).

Crawford is a six-time world champion across three weight classes and like Spence, aims to unify the welterweight division as he did at junior welterweight last year.

Anticipation amongst fans, media and other fighter’s alike continues to build in hopes of witnessing these two prized pugilists meet up in what envisions to be a showdown of epic proportions.
Will Crawford rival Spence as Leonard rivaled Hagler back in the 1970’s and 1980’s?

While that particular plot is yet to be determined, it’ll be interesting watching how the path of Errol Spence continues to unfold.

“I wanna be considered as an all-time great,” says Spence, in reference to his goals as a professional fighter.

“I wanna be mentioned with the likes of ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard, Ali and Ray Robinson, Floyd Mayweather. I wanna be mentioned along with those greats. And I know in order to do that, I have to fight the best fighters out there and keep getting titles. Hopefully, I can be undisputed welterweight champion.”

Like Hagler and other phenomenal fighters of yesteryear, Spence is treading along the same path previously molded before him.

More Columns

Lamont Roach, Jr. Looks to Extend Unbeaten Streak Friday on ESPN


By: Ken Hissner

Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions is featuring Lamont Roach who not only intends on extending his unbeaten streak to eighteen but to pick up the vacant WBO International Super Featherweight title Friday on ESPN.

Roach, 16-0-1 (6), of Upper Marlboro, MD, is coming off a draw with Orlando Cruz, 25-6-1, in April in Puerto Rico. He will be taking on southpaw Deivi Julio “El Cabo” Bassa, 20-4 (12), of Monteira, Colombia, for the title in a 10 rounder.


Photo Credit: Lamont Roach Jr. Twitter Account

The event will be held at the Grand Oasis Arena, Quintana Roo, Cancun, Mexico. Roach had quite an amateur career with over 100 fights. In 2013 he was the National Golden Gloves and the U.S. National champion. He was a 5-time Ringside World Champion. He is trained by his father, Lamont, Sr. and is attending the University of Maryland, pursing a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Bassa won his first seventeen fights with ten by knockout all in Colombia. Then a losing trip to Japan to Kenji Ogawa, 15-1, who in December fought for the IBF world title. In Bassa’s last fight he scored a knockout win in February in his country of Colombia.

Bassa’s biggest wins were over Franklin Varela, 21-9, in 2013 and Edison Valencia Diaz, 21-12, in 2015, both in Colombia. In 2017 against Neslan Machado, 11-0, it ended in a NC, in making his US debut in Miami, FL.

In the co-feature Junior Featherweight southpaw Alexis Bastar, 10-1-1 (8), of Qunitana Roo, Cancun, MEX, is coming off a win in April. He takes on Rigoberto Nava, 3-2-4 (0), of Mexico City, MEX, who has four draws in his last five fights. This is including a majority decision draw with Bastar in November of 2017.

2012 London Olympics Bronze Medalist and 2014 World Amateur Gold Medalist Flyweight Marlen Esparza, 5-0 (1), of Houston, TX, takes on Debora “La Pantera” Rengifo, 10-5-1 (5), of Caracas, VZ, a two-time world title challenger, over 8×2 rounds.

Middleweight Manuel “El Meno” Gallegos, 11-0 (10), of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, MEX, meets tba over 6 rounds. He is on a three fight knockout streak having last fought in March with all eleven of his fights being in Mexico.

More Headlines

Time for Chris Eubank Jr. to Face Reality


by B.A. Cass

There is a disparity in how Chris Eubank Jr. comports himself outside the ring and how he fights once he is in the ring. In a prefight interview, a cool and collected Eubank Jr. told one interviewer that Groves was “ready to be taken out, man. He doesn’t want to be here. I just sense weakness in him. . . . I was telling him you’re not ready. You’re in serious danger here.” However, on Saturday night at the Manchester Arena, Eubank Jr. proved that he was the one who is not ready. Swinging wildly and often missing, he looked worse than amateur. At least a good amateur has his fundamentals intact.

After listening to Eubank Jr.’s trash talking, it was embarrassing to watch him try to box. There were times when he wound up so hard with his left hook that when he missed Groves, his momentum spun him nearly 180 degrees. He left himself open and vulnerable on many occasions, and he seemed to have absolutely no strategy.

What is truly sad, though, is that Eubank Jr. refuses to see reality. Apparently, he trained himself for the Groves fight, which was the biggest fight of his career. The fact that he does not believe he needs to have a trainer should tell us all we need to know about Eubank Jr. He may have determination and guts, but he doesn’t take boxing seriously. He takes himself seriously—that much is clear—which is exactly why he’s such a joke. Aside from Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Eubank Jr. is boxing’s best-known daddy’s boy. As the son of the great former boxer, Eubank Jr. thinks that just being who he is enough to make him great. It doesn’t.

In his post-fight analysis, Prince Naseem Hamed said, “[Eubank Jr.] is not at this level and he is not such a good fighter that he is making himself out to be. He ain’t going to win unbelievable things. Let’s just talk reality, let’s bring it down to where it really is. Let’s talk the truth right now. Is this guy a world beater? No, he’s not. In three years or four years, he still won’t be.”

Achieving excellence in any sport requires not only discipline and skill but the ability to assess and compensate for deficiencies. Eubank Jr. has potential. Presently, however, he is unwilling to look at his flaws or to surround himself with people who will challenge him to improve. Unless Junior makes some drastic changes, Hamed’s assessment will certainly prove prophetic.

Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch

More Columns