Wednesday Shobox Preview
By: Sean Crose
Shobox: The New Generation returns to Showtime this Wednesday evening live from Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Casino. “A total of four fighters will put their undefeated records on the line in the mid-week bouts” Showtime states, “including Janelson Bocachica (15-0, 10 KOs) taking on Nicklaus Flaz (9-1, 7 KOs) in an eight-round welterweight clash. In the telecast opener, hard-hitting Brandun Lee (19-0, 17 KOs) returns to ShoBox in the telecast opener against Jimmy Williams (16-3-2, 5 KOs) in another eight-round welterweight matchup of rising 147-pounds contenders.”
Isaiah Stern was also supposed to be on the card facing off against Kalvin Henderson in a scheduled 8 round super middleweight affair. That match won’t be happening, however, “due to a non-COVID related illness suffered by Henderson.”
Showtime’s “Charlo Doubleheader” Pay Per View Preview
By: Sean Crose
Saturday night is a huge night for boxing. For Showtime will be airing a “Charlo Doubleheader,” courtesy of Premiere Boxing Champions, on Pay Per View. The card, which will go down live at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Casino Arena, will feature the most famous twins in boxing, Jermall and Jermell Charlo, as they battle serious competition in title bouts. It’s the first major Pay Per View to land on American soil since Tyson Fury rematched Deontay Wilder last winter. It’s also the first major Pay Per View featuring the Brother’s Charlo – a fact that will generate much interest for those hoping to elevate the twins from popular boxers to true stars.
Older brother (by one minute) Jermall will be putting his undefeated record and WBC middleweight title on the line against the menacing Sergiy Derevyanchenko in a scheduled 12 rounder. This is an extremely interesting matchup and perhaps even a tossup regarding who should be expected to win. Although he has two losses on his resume, Derevyanchenko performed extremely well in those fights, which were against top competition. It’s hard for even the most contemporary of contemporary boxing fans to write off close battles with the likes of Daniel Jacobs and Gennady Golovkin. If Jermall can impress against his highly skilled Ukrainian opponent, his stock may rise exponentially. Should Derevyanchenko pull out the win, he will finally achieve his year’s long goal of becoming a middleweight titlist.
As for the younger Charlo brother, Jermell is facing Jeison Rosario for Rosario’s WBA, WBC, and IBF junior middleweight titles. Few were expecting Rosario to win those belts when he stepped in the ring to face popular champion Julian “J Rock” Williams last year, but win those belts Rosario did, by stopping the defending titlist within the distance, no less. Jermell, however, has an interesting story of his own, for, after losing to Tony Harrison, he came back and stopped his adversary in grand fashion in their rematch. In an era where few fighters hold as many as three major belts, this contest is an important one, no matter how it turns out.
The vacant WBC super bantamweight title will also be at stake on Saturday’s card. The undefeated Luis Nery will be facing Aaron Almeda, who is undefeated, as well. Although clearly talented, Nery’s discipline has been a question for some time now. Missing weight on the scales on more than one occasion has a way of doing that to a fighter’s reputation. As for Almeda, he’ll make the jump from unknown to known commodity should he best Nery in the ring.
Either way, the winner may well end up facing the winner of another of Saturday’s undercard battles. For the popular Daniel Roman will be squaring off against Juan Carlos Payano in a title eliminator for the WBC’s super bantamweight scrap. Roman has fought hard to get where he is – some argue too hard. Payano himself has been bested by Nery, but he’s got a ton of expertise that he’ll bring into the ring with him for this weekend’s fight – something Roman is no doubt keeping in mind.
The WBA super bantamweight champion will likewise be on Saturday’s card. Brandon Figueroa will be defending the belt against Damien Vasquez in a scheduled 12 rounder. Although he ended up getting a draw from the judges when he faced Julio Ceja his last time in the ring, Figueroa has expressed confidence in the leadup to Saturday. Vasquez, however, has expressed confidence of his own. Indeed, a Vasquez win might well be considered something of an upset, as Figueroa, the defending champion, is arguably the more prominent of the two fighters.
Lastly, John Riel Casimero is set to defend his WBO bantamweight scrap in a battle against Duke Micah on Saturday. Although he had been hoping to face Naoya Inoue, Casimero might still have a fight on his hands as Micah, who goes by the moniker of the “The Baby Faced Terminator,” fought on Team Ghana in the 2012 Olympics and is clearly in possession of a solid skill set. Casimero may be well advised to keep his focus on the opponent before him this weekend.
What will make Saturday’s card particularly interesting is that it will be broken up into two separate segments divided by a half hour recess. The first portion of the card will present Charlo-Derevyanchenko, Figueroa-Vasquez, and Casimiro-Micah. The second portion will present Charlo-Rosario, Nery-Almerda, and Roman-Payano. The action will begin at 7 PM eastern time.
Charlo Brothers Eager To Highlight Saturday’s PPV Card: “Now Is Our Time.”
By: Sean Crose
“This is just the beginning for me,” WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo said at Thursday’s press conference for his fight this Saturday night with Sergiy Dreevyanchenko. “There’s been 30 fighters who’ve tried to beat me, and all 30 failed. We’ll get a chance to get in there and do what we do best on Saturday. Talk is cheap. We’ll see where that green belt goes on Saturday.” Jermall’s fight with Derevyanchenko will be part of a Charlo-centric PPV double header that will be aired live from Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Casino on Showtime Pay Per view. Although twin brother Jermell is also highlighting the event, Jermall made it clear he’s zoned in on the dangerous Derevyanchenko.
“I’m focused and locked in,” said Jermall. “I’m ready to fight. Sergiy can say what he wants to say about me, it’s going to be a fight on Saturday.” For his own part, Derevyanchenko exuded confidence of his own. “The green color of the WBC belt suits me,” he said. “I want that green belt. I’ve fought twice for the title, and I’m more ready than ever for the third time.” Although his only losses came at the gloved hands of Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs respectfully, Derevyanchenko – who was extremely competitive in both fights – made it clear Thursday that he was looking ahead. “This is a big fight,” he said. “When I win, even more opportunities will open up. I’ll be able to unify and take my career to the next level.”
While Derevyanchenko was locked in on his fight with Jermall, WBA, WBC, and IBF junior middleweight champion Jeison Rosario kept his focus on younger (by one minute) brother Jermell. “This is going to be a war,” he said of his impending battle with Jermell Saturday evening. “I’m a warrior, and I’m going to find a way to win. That’s the only thing on my mind.” Although he may be an underdog, Rosario expressed his readiness for the ring. “I’m prepared for the fight to go the distance,” he said, “but I also have the stamina to finish it early and take advantage of my opportunity.”
For Jermell, Saturday will be a time to showcase his skills under the biggest spotlight he has yet to fight under. “We’re going to put on a show,” he told the media. “Knowing my brother is also fighting gives me more energy. Fight night is when you see all our excitement and all our hard work pouring out. This is huge for us. We’re both doing our thing and feeding off each other’s energy.”
“Now is our time,” he said. “The big dogs are here to stay.”
Brandon Figueroa Aims To Impress On Saturday’s PPV Card
By: Sean Crose
“It’s great to have my family behind me,” says WBA super bantamweight titlist Brandon Figueroa, “because they understand what I fight for.” At the young age of 23, the 20-0-1 brother of noted past champion Omar Figueroa clearly sees his career as a family affair. “Especially in a career like this,” he says of his family, “it’s not easy, and they help me a lot both mentally and physically. I’m grateful that they support and push me the way that they do.” This Saturday night, however, Figueroa will have to face the 15-1-1 Damien Vasquez at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Arena essentially alone.
“Training camp for this fight has been going really well,” says Figueroa. “I’ve been sparring a lot with Omar Juarez and a number of guys from here in the Rio Grande Valley. We’ve just been helping each other out, keeping busy and keeping the work rate up.” Figueroa has good reason to be well prepared for the skilled Vasquez, for their fight will be on the PPV undercard of the highly anticipated Charlo Brothers’ Double Header (presented by Showtime and PBC). Figueroa’s last fight, against Julio Ceja last November, ended in a draw. The fighter now aims to impress this weekend.
“Heading into my last fight, he says, “I had some injuries that I was dealing with… but with this pandemic and the quarantine, I got a chance to recover and fully heal. I’ve never had this much time between fights, so I feel great now and I’m prepared for this fight. I’m just anxious to fight at this point.” Not that his last fight was against a tomato can. “I don’t take anything away from Ceja though,” says Figueroa. “He came to fight. But we learn from every fight. What I took away from it was that even at the worst moment of my career, I didn’t lose. I’m a different fighter now, though. I’m healthy heading into this upcoming fight and I feel like everyone is going to see a different type of Brandon Figueroa.”
So confident is Figueroa at the moment that he claims he’s willing to take on pretty much anyone in the super bantamweight realm. “At this point, I feel like any fight with me against a top 122-pounder is a great fight,” says Figueroa. “I’m willing to mix it up with any of them. I honestly don’t care who wants to fight me, I’ll take any of them to put on a great show for the fans. My team knows that as well. So hopefully after September 26 we can make a great fight with any of the other top fighters in my division.”
Is It Now Or Never For Sergiy Derevyanchenko?
By: Sean Crose
Saturday night, at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut, middleweight contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko will be facing WBC middleweight champ Jermall Charlo in a highly anticipated Pay Per View main event. This fight looks to be close enough on paper that few are expressing confidence that one man will dominate over the other. In this strange era, where even a single loss is seen as a sign of limited ability, the undefeated Charlo should be seen as having a distinct edge heading into the weekend. Derevyanchenko’s two losses, however, have come at the gloved fists of highly regarded fighters. For the Ukrainian has only been bested by Daniel Jacobs and Gennady Golovkin respectively.
What’s more, both of those fights were intense affairs. Suffice to say, Derevyanchenko made Jacobs and Golovkin earn their paychecks. The Golovkin fight was particularly close. Charlo will enter the ring on Saturday with little doubt in his mind how dangerous his opponent will be. “He’s going to bring a lot of power and speed with good technical skills,” the defending champion has said of Derevyanchenko in the leadup to this Saturday’s fight.
Then again, Derevyanchenko isn’t exactly writing Charlo off, either. According to the challenger, Charlo represents more of a challenge than Canelo Alvarez would have. That might seem like just talk – until one realizes Derevyanchenko has been in line to face Canelo as recently as a few months ago. In fact, Derevyanchenko has spent the past several years playing the role of dangerous opponent due to the fact that he’s always “in the fight.” Yet keeping up with more popular fighters in the ring can sometimes only take a contender so far. Derevyhanchenko must truly prove his mettle if he’s to beat the highly skilled Charlo.
No matter which way Saturday’s bout turns out, it’s clear the middleweight division is on the verge of entering a new era. Canelo, perhaps wrapped up in legal issues, may be too advanced in his career to continue making weight at 160. Golovkin, on the other hand, is no longer as young as he was. Jacobs has moved up in weight, as has Billy Joe Saunders. With the enigmatic Demetrius Andrade being perhaps the only member of the old guard ready to fight as a natural middleweight in prime form, the stage is being set for a new ruling class within the division. The question for Derevyanchenko is whether or not he can blast his way into its ranks.
Boxing Set For First PPV Card Since Start Of Pandemic
By Sean Crose
On Saturday night, boxing will once more return to the pay per view business after a long break courtesy of the Covid-19 virus. Twin brothers Jermell and Jermall Charlo will ply their trade against high level opposition at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun arena, which will be void of fans, but not Showtime cameras, which will air the festivities to a paying audience for a price of around seventy five dollars a pop. The last major boxing card to air on pay per view was February’s Tyson Fury – Deontay Wilder rematch. Much has changed in the world since that time, but Showtime and Premiere Boxing Champions, which is presenting the card, are betting fans will still be willing to pay for prestige matchups.
Older brother Jermall will be defending his WBC middleweight title against Sergiy Derevyanchenko in a scheduled 12 rounder. This is about as good a middleweight battle one could find that doesn’t have the words Canelo versus Golovkin attached to it. Jermall, who has built up a 30-0 record, looks to be on the cusp of stardom while Derevyanchenko’s two losses were not only competetive fights, but were against no less than Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs.
Younger brother Jermell, on the other hand, will be facing WBA, WBC, and IBF junior middleweight champion Jeison Rosario. Jermell has but a single loss on his 33-1 resume, and that was against Tony Harrison, who Jermell clobbered in their rematch. As for Rosario – the man rattled the boxing world when he dethroned the popular champion Julian Williams by knockout last January. There’s little doubt the 20-1-1 fighter, who hasn’t lost in three years and nine bouts, is looking to shake things up again this Saturday. Like his slightly older brother, Jermell looks to be in a real fight this weekend.
The question leading into Saturday, of course, is whether or not fans are going to line up to purchase the card in adequate numbers. While there’s no doubt Showtime and PBC are presenting a high quality lineup, the Charlos have never been under this kind of spotlight before. What’s more, boxing hasn’t been bringing big numbers to pay per view in a while. Last winter’s Fury-Wilder rematch, for instance, was said to be a financial disappointment. Worth noting, however, is the fact that most true pay per view draws become draws incrementally over time. Whether that will be the path for either Charlo brother remains to be seen.
Showtime Recap: Lubin Decisions Gausha In Low Octane Fight
By: Sean Crose
Showtime and Premiere Boxing Champions presented a WBC junior middleweight title eliminator Saturday evening with the 22-1 Erickson Lubin taking on the 21-1-1 Terrell Gausha at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Arena. Both men were looking to move on from their sole losses towards greener pastures. The first round was essentially a feeling out process for the two fighters. Lubin pursued his man in the second, but nothing significant was landed. Things remained slow in round three. Both fighters were too tight to make things interesting, though Lubin seemed to have an edge.
With Gausha not doing much, Lubin continued to look for shots in the fourth. Few clean punches appeared to land in the fifth. By the midway point of the fight, it was clear that it was thus far a battle of hesitation, excessive caution…and virtually no follow through on the part of either fighter. Without a crowd, there were moments of virtual silence. “Don’t get bored in here, bro,” Lubin was told by his corner.
The pace actually began to pick up in the eighth. By the ninth the combatants finally began to engage. There were still long seconds of inaction in the tenth, but Lubin was at least trying to land. Then – out of the blue – Gausha hurt Lubin with a left. Lubin, to his credit, didn’t go down. The eleventh was a close affair that showcased decent action. By the final round, it was clear that Gausha simply didn’t have the consistent sense of urgency required to be truly effective.
Lubin walked away with a UD win by scores of 115-113, 116-112, and 118-110.
Showtime Recap: Rising Welterweight Ennis Tops Abreu
By Sean Crose
Rising welterweight Jaron Ennis, 25-0, took on the 25-3-1 Juan Carlos Abreu in a scheduled 10 rounder at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday. The fight was the opening bout of a three match Premiere Boxing Champions card aired lived by Showtime. Abreu showed up several pounds over the limit at Friday’s weigh in, but Ennis’ team was happy to allow the fight to proceed.
Sure enough, Ennis was cool, hard hitting and in control during the first three rounds. Abreu fought hard in the fourth. Things then became rough, as Ennis dropped his man in the fifth. Abreu got up, but seemed to want to fight after the bell. Ennis knocked down Abreu again early in the sixth. The game Abreu got up once more, but seconds later was sent to the mat a third time. The referee wisely stopped the fight.
Jermell Charlo: “I’m Even More Dangerous Than I Was Before.”
By: Sean Crose
“I’m excited and I’m ready for September 26,” said junior middleweight Jermell Charlo during a virtual workout on Tuesday. “This is the time to prevail and for me and my brother to be the Charlo Twins. It’s time to be the best Jermell Charlo.” The fighter was referring to his Pay Per View bout next Saturday against junior middleweight multi belt holder Jeison Rosario. The fight will be part of a Showtime and PBC doubleheader which will also feature Charlo’s brother, Jermall defending his middleweight title against Sergiy Derevyanchenko. “Fighting on SHOWTIME PPV is amazing,” Charlo stated. “This is the one. We have a hard fight and that’s all we ever wanted. This is a great challenge for us to overcome.”
Of course, Charlo made it clear he realizes these are unusual times. “This is a different kind of media day,” he said, acknowledging the strangeness of the boxing business during the pandemic, “but the real fight will be different also. When you’re a real champion, you make those adjustments. I’m used to fighting in front of a massive crowd, so it’s really important to show that we’re giving our all every day for our fans.” Charlo, who has but a single loss on his record, has avenged that loss by coming back to beat Tony Harrison, the man who originally defeated him. Still, that one loss continues to motivate Charlo.
Photos By Andrew Hemingway
“I bounced back from that loss in 2018 last year,” he claimed, “but there were still things I needed to learn and develop. We’re going to end 2020 with a bang. This is the Charlo show on SHOWTIME.” Like other fighters, Charlo decided to make the most of the pandemic that has plagued the sport, as well as much of the larger world. ““I used the pandemic to invest in myself and created a gym in my home,” said Charlo. “I’ve been getting in shape since it started. For this fight to be here in a week, I’m just more than prepared for it. I’m on weight and I’m hitting hard.”
Although he’s a well established figure in the fight game, Charlo still sees himself as a work in progress. “All I’m doing is continuing to grow as an individual every day,” he said. “We have to set our minds the right way and know how to roll with the punches. I’ve taken it upon myself to be even more dedicated and focused. Every time I feel pain, I think about all the other boxers out there pushing through pain. Now you see where we’re at because of it.”
“I’m even more dangerous than I was before,” he claimed. “I’m an old school fighter right here. I’ve been dedicated to this game and I’m not going anywhere. Stay out of my way, because I’m the man trucking things.”
Jermall Charlo: “I Know That It’s My Time To Shine”
By Sean Crose
“I know that it’s my time to shine,” WBC middleweight champ Jermall Charlo said at a public virtual workout on Monday, “and my time to give everyone the best that I can give. I’m striving to be one of the best to ever lace up a pair of gloves.” Charlo is preparing to face off against Sergiy Derevyanchenko at the Mohegan Sun arena on Saturday, September 26th. The Pay Per View event will be aired live beginning at 7 PM Eastern Time courtesy of Showtime and Premiere Boxing Champions.
Along with Gennady Golovkin, Canelo Alvarez, and Demetrius Andrade, Charlo is considered to be at or near the top of the highly competitive middleweight division. “The fans that love me can expect me to do what I do,” he said. “The fans who don’t know about me, they’re going to see a smart, strong and athletic fighter. You’re going to see all of it in the ring on September 26.” Although lauded and talented, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Charlo will be facing serious competition in Derevyanchenko. This is by no means a tuneup match, something Charlo is keenly aware of.
“Derevyanchenko is a come forward fighter,” said Charlo. “He’s going to bring a lot of power and speed with good technical skills.” Yet the defending champion is confident he will step out of the ring after the Derevyanchenko fight still undefeated. “He calls himself ‘The Technician’,” Charlo said of his opponent, “but we’ll see how technical he is once I start putting my jab in his face. I’m going to use all my natural skills in this fight.”
Along with his twin brother, Jermell, who will be engaged in a title fight on the same card next week, Charlo has been steadily climbing the ranks of boxing’s top fighters. It’s a journey both brothers aim to continue. “A lot of people don’t really know where the Charlos came from,” said the WBC champion “and they’re getting the chance to learn it throughout this time. It’s taken to this point for everyone to see that we belong on this big stage. I’m grateful for everyone around me who’s embraced me with love.”
Although the future looks bright – at least until he’s in the ring with Derevyanchenko, Charlo looks at things with a degree of realism. “We don’t have too much longer to be doing this,” he said on Monday. “Where are the rest of the belts at? I’m ready. Watch next Saturday night, because I’m making this statement loud for everyone who doubted me.”
“Charlo Doubleheader” To Run $74.95 On PPV
By: Sean Crose
Those fight fans hoping for a drastic cut in Pay Per View prices are going to have to wait. Although next week’s Showtime PPV card featuring the Charlo brothers isn’t on the scale of Mayweather-Pacquiao, or even Canelo-Golovkin, the “suggested” price of the event is between fifty and one hundred dollars. Showtime announced today that: “The SHOWTIME PPV event, CHARLO DOUBLEHEADER, is available for purchase at a suggested retain price (SRP) of $74.95 and includes six compelling fights, five of which are championship bouts.” Needless to say, the announced cost of viewing the event was immediately met with groans on social media.
Not that the CHARLO DOUBLEHEADER is a bad card. Not by a longshot. In fact, it’s quite strong. However, many – if not most – fans want big names to appear if they’re to be happy spending upwards of fifty dollars for a PPV event. Both Charlos, Jermell and Jermall, are must see TV for boxing lovers. Yet must see TV and must see PPV are two entirely different things. As things stand in the late-to-post Mayweather era, fans haven’t proven eager to cough up money to watch anyone not named Canelo, Joshua, Fury or Wilder.
Plus, there’s other PPV cards this year that will be attracting attention. Gervonta Davis will headline a card this autumn when he goes up against popular Leo Santa Cruz. Then, closer to the holidays, Erroll Spence Jr will return to the ring for the first time since his accident to face Danny Garcia. A few years back, Premiere Boxing Champions – which, along with Showtime, is the force behind these cards – would have headlined all these main events on basic cable. Those days, however, are not these days. Thus, the price tag. All things considered, next week’s CHARLO DOUBLEHEADER may prove to be a tough sell.
Again, though, the card is strong. Very strong. Unlike many PPV events, this one promises a good night of boxing. This isn’t a top heavy presentation, where the main event is essentially the only draw. This is a full night of serious fights. Not only will the 30-0 Jermall be defending his WBC middleweight title against the extremely dangerous 13-2 Sergiy Derevyanchenko, younger brother Jermell, at 33-1, will face off against the 20-1-1 WBA, WBC, and IBF super welterweight champ Jeison Rosario. The undercard is just as promising.
“Luis Nery will battle Aaron Alameda for the vacant WBC Super Bantamweight World Championship in the co-feature,” Showtime states in its press release, “while former unified champion Danny Roman faces former champion Juan Carlos Payano in a WBC Super Bantamweight title eliminator.” While the CHARLO DOUBLEHEADER isn’t featuring household names, it is featuring major contests between top level fighters…who may well be household names in a matter of time.
The CHARLO DOUBLEHEADER will air live from the Mohegan Sun Arena September 26th starting 7 PM Eastern Time.
Jermell Charlo: “I’m Dangerous.”
By: Sean Crose
“We have absolutely nothing to lose,” Jeison Rosaio’s trainer, Luis Perez said in the leadup to Rosario’s fight last January with Julian “J Rock” Williams. That was probably true. Now, however, by virtue of a stunning win over Williams last winter, Rosario will be walking into the ring in a few weeks with the WBA, IBF, and WBO junior middleweight title belts around his waist. And his opponent will be none other than former titlist Jermell Charlo, who in his last fight knocked out Tony Harrison, the only man to ever beat him in the ring. In short, team Rosario has everything to lose this time around. Not that they’re worried.
“It’s going to be a great war,” the 20-1-1 fighter claimed during a virtual press conference earlier this week. “I’m dedicated, decided, motivated for this fight.” Pleased with his preparation, Rosario noted that his ambition didn’t die when he became a holder of three belts. “The training has also been going great,” he said. “I’m more hungry than when I acquired the title.” Still, the twenty-five year old is obviously pleased with where he is in his career. “I thank God,” he said, “for the opportunity to fight all these great fighters that I’m fighting now.”
Having previously bounced back from his only ring loss, Charlo made it clear during the conference he was ready to keep moving forward by taking Rosario’s belts. “I’m stronger, I’m faster than I’ve ever been,” said the 33-1 Houston based fighter. “I never really got out of shape.” Although he credited Rosario with an impressive title win, the thirty year old Charlo also exuded a large degree of confidence during ht proceedings. “Congratulations to Rosario for fighting J Rock and getting the chance,” he said, before adding: “I’m more ready for this fight than I’ve ever been.”
Although neither man has fought in quite some time due to Covid-19, Charlo claimed he made the most of his down time. “I got a chance to dig down inside,” he said. “I’m dangerous.” Having made the most of his time out of the ring, Charlo exuded an eagerness to once again prove himself. “I’m a smart guy. I do my homework,” he claimed. “I’m excited to go twelve rounds.” As for the publicity he receives as one half of boxing’s Charlo twins, the fighter claimed concerns over such matters were now behind him. “As I mature as a man,” he said, “I don’t care what the media people think.”
Charlo will face off against Rosario as part of a pay per view card on September 26th, which will also feature Jermall Charlo battling Sergiy Derevyenchenko. The bouts will be presented by PBC and Showtime, and will be aired live from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.
David Benavidez Has Big Plans
By: Sean Crose
Twenty two wins. No losses. All but two fights concluding by knockout. WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez has much to be pleased with. Yet, being a young man, the twenty-three year old has plans for the future. One of those plans is to best the 26-1-0 Alexis Angulo this Saturday at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville Connecticut. The bout, which is to be aired live on Showtime courtesy of PBC, is one where the Phoenix native is expected win. Still, Benavidez wants to make it clear that he’s ready for anything. “I’m not underestimating him at all,” Benavidez told FightHype.com of his opponent.
Like many belt holders, however, Benavidez hopes to move on to face fighters who are seen as more on his level. “I feel like my next step is fighting other champions,” he told FightHype, “and fighting the best of the best.” IBF super middleweight champ Caleb Plant is certainly one of those “other champions,” on Benavidez’ radar. “I definitely don’t like him,” Benavidez told FightHype when the issue of the 20-0 Plant came up. Personal dislike has always led to drama in the sport of boxing. Should Benavidez win as expected against Angulo this weekend, a unification battle with fellow PBC fighter Plant might well be in order.
Tall and lean, Benavidez exudes lanky power. Yet he also exudes the kind of confidence that can intimidate another fighter. Watch the man’s eyes when the referee give instructions before a bout and you will see a ferocity behind them. Not a showy kind of ferocity, but a natural fierceness that probably comes rather easily. Standing tall and upright during combat, Benavidez is patient and cool under fire. Once he starts punching, however, it can be a sight to behold. The sudden ferocity with which he took out J’Leon love in 2019, for instance, was as abrupt as it was devastating.
Not that Angulo plans to be a walk in the figurative park. Angulo is a fighter, after all, whose sole loss came at the gloved hands of the highly regarded Gilberto Ramirez. What’s more, Angulo can be a brawler and a tough guy. That kind of aggressiveness can throw anyone off their game on a given night. Furthermore, like Benavidez, Angulo stands over six feet tall, so Benavidez won’t be walking in with a significant advantage in height. Still, this is the kind of “stay busy” fight – at least on paper – that will keep fans interested until the bigger fights come along for the defending champion. Many a “stay busy” fight, has come to a surprising end, though. That’s something the confident Benavidez is determined to avoid.
Leo Grinds Out WBO Title Win Over Williams On Showtime’s Boxing Return
By: Sean Crose
Boxing returned to Showtime on Saturday night after a long, Covid-19 induced hibernation. The card, which aired live from Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Casino, featured Angelo Leo and Tramaine Williams battling for the WBO’s vacant Junior Featherweight title. The night started, however, with 10-1 light heavyweight Marcos Escudero facing Joseph George, 10-0, for the second time. The first fight between the two ended in a decision in favor of George that raised some eyebrows. Both men entered the ring in the eerily empty, Covid-19 era arena aiming to achieve a degree of clarity.
The fight ended up being a mostly close affair. Escudero was the aggressor, as he was in the first bout, and George employed a jab and cover up defense. It became clear rather quickly, however, that Escudero wasn’t only pushing the action, but dominating it. The pattern of the match was simply being controlled by the Argentine fighter. George appeared to have scored a flash knockdown in the eighth, but the referee ruled it a slip. A left uppercut, seemingly from out of nowhere, however, suddenly put Escudero down and out in the ninth. It was an incredible shot, one that made it clear that in boxing, the tide can change in less than a second.
Next up was another rematch. Marcus Bates was bested by Raeese Aleem via unanimous decision back in 2018. Looking to avenge his only loss, the 11-1-1 Bates slipped between the ropes to face the now 16-0 Aleem for the second time. The scheduled 12 rounder was a WBA title eliminator. Aleem was aggressive early, firing missiles at his old foe. As the rounds progressed it was obvious that Aleem was comfortable firing with accuracy. By the scheduled halfway point of the bout, the match had established itself as a one sided affair, with Aleem basically employing target practice. With a hurt hand, which had caused him to perform less than optimally, Bates turned his back during the tenth round, and was nailed in the face by Aleeem. The referee did the only thing he could, which was stop the bout.
It was time for the scheduled 12 round main event. Both fighters entered the ring with identical 19-0 records. Leo’s previous fight was in December. Williams hadn’t fought in over a year. The first saw good counter punching from the southpaw Williams. By the end of the second it was clear that Williams was dominating the early portion of the fight. The New Haven native may not have had a live hometown Connecticut crowd cheering him on at the Mohegan Sun, but he had still firmly established control early on. Leo wasn’t to be denied, however. The Vegas based fighter began to land – especially to the body – so that by fifth round, the match was a close affair. A low blow from Leo caused the fight to temporarily be halted in the sixth.
By the eighth, Leo’s body work over the previous few rounds appeared to be paying off. The bout was again briefly stopped in the ninth, this time due to a William’s low blow. As the fight entered the championship rounds, Leo appeared to be on the verge of a title win by virtue of a prolonged aggressive attack. Needless to say, Leo spent the remainder of the fight swinging away, earning himself the WBO Junior Featherweight title via unanimous decision as a result.
Brandun Lee Easily Scores A Third Round TKO Over Camilo Prieto
By: Rich Lopez
It was indeed a Friday the 13th for Shobox which took place at the Grand Casino in Hinckley, Minnesota. That’s only because there were no spectators in attendance due to the Coronavirus disease. Still, the show moved forward for the viewing TV audience only. Four fights were televised and overall it was a good night of boxing.
In the main event, Brandun Lee (19-0, 17 KO’s) scored a third round TKO over Camilo Prieto (15-3, 9 KO’s) in a super lightweight bout. In round one, both fighters were feeling each other out. Towards the end of the round, Lee took charge and landed two straight right hands on the head of Prieto that were the most significant punches in the round. In round two, Lee continued to stay busy and come forward. He landed right hands and left hooks on the head of Prieto that was causing damage. Prieto was not doing anything or firing back any punches in return. In round three, Lee came out firing power right hands that landed on the head of Prieto. Prieto just tried to survive with his guard up. Lee threw combinations to the head and body that stunned Prieto. Lee then threw a barrage power shots at Prieto which prompted the referee to stop the fight. Lee scored a TKO in round three with a time of 2:34. As the other fights on the telecast went to distance, Lee turned up the notch and got the stoppage in the fight. Lee looked good once again and hopefully next time we will see him against a higher caliber fighter. Either way Lee was the big winner of the night. He got more exposure to TV audiences as all other US boxing cards were cancelled this weekend and many more will going forward.
In the co-feature, Brian Norman, Jr (17-0, 14 KO’s) won a seventh round technical decision over Flavio Rodriguez (9-2-1, 7 KO’s) in a welterweight bout. In round one, both fighters started out fast with Norman getting the better of the exchanges. He landed quick punches to the head and body of Rodriguez. In round two, both fighters traded shots in the middle of the ring. It was a very close round with Norman getting a slight edge. In round three, both fighters were fighting in close quarters once again with Norman seemingly getting the edge. In round four, both fighters were competitive in another close round. In round five, Rodriguez landed the better punches with effective shots to the head and body of Norman. In round six, Norman put the pressure and pushed Rodriguez to the ropes. Both men traded punches on the inside with Norman outworking Rodriguez. In round seven, both fighters collided heads which caused a cut on the forehead of Rodriguez. The fight was called off at 57 seconds of the seventh round and went to the scorecards. The scores were 69-64, 68-65 (twice) for Brian Norman, Jr. Norman looked good and was forced to go more rounds this time against a tougher opponent.
In an action packed lightweight bout, Alejandro Guerrero (12-0, 9 KO’s) won a hard fought eight round majority decision over Jose Angulo (12-2, 5 KO’s). In the opening round, Angulo showed quick hands and landed body shots on Guerrero. Round two was a better round for Guerrero. He applied pressure and landed right hands to the head of Angulo. However, Angulo came back and exchanged punches with Guerrero. In round three, Angulo kept the fight in the middle of the ring and outworked Guerrero. He landed straight punches to the head and body of Guerrero. In round four, Guerrero spent most of the round moving around and backing up. Angulo had an effective round moving forward and staying busy. In round five, Angulo had another good round. He boxed well and used his left jab effectively. Angulo also displayed good side to side movement. In round six, Guerrero landed a right hand that stunned Angulo. Both fighters traded shots on the inside and it was a very close round. In round seven, Angulo boxed well as he continued to work the body of Guerrero. Towards the end of the round, Guerrero landed straight right hands to the head of Angulo that hurt him. Guerrero finished out the round strong. In the final round, both fighters exchanged punches in the middle of the ring. Angulo was more tired and Guerrero landed hook shots to the head of Angulo that stunned him. Guerrero went for the knockout but Angulo hung in there and made it to the final bell. The final scores were 76-76, 79-73, 78-74 for Guerrero by majority decision. Guerrero won but it was a tougher fight than he expected.
The opening bout of the card was also entertaining and a battle of unbeaten featherweights. Aram Avagyan (10-0-1, 4 KO’s) won a tough eight round majority decision over Dagoberto Aguero (15-1, 10 KO’s). In the first round, Avagyan started the round strong by establishing a quick jab. In an exchange between the two fighters, Aguero landed a right hand on the chin of Avagyan that dropped him. Avagyan managed to get up and Aguero finished the round strong landing hooks to the body of Avagyan. In round two, Avagyan came out strong again and both fighters exchanged blows. Aguero landed a straight right hand to the chin of Avagyan that floored him once again. Avagyan got up and was able to recover. The fight then turned around. In round three, Avagyan made a comeback. He finished the round strong with landing body punches on Aguero. In round four, Avagyan kept a busy work rate and outworked Aguero. Avagyan did a good job landing body shots on Aguero throughout the round. In round five, Avagyan continued to outwork Aguero. In round six, Aguero came back and landed some good right hands on Avagyan but Avagyan still outworked him. In round seven, Aguero was noticeably tired and kept holding. Avagyan poured on the pressure on Aguero. Avagyan landed a right hand to the chin that hurt Aguero. Aguero stumbled and dropped down on his knee but the referee didn’t call it a knockdown. In the final round, Avagyan continued the pressure. Aguero landed a flurry of punches that landed on Avagyan but that was his only moment. Avagyan still out landed Aguero. The final scores were 75-75, 76-74, 77-74 for Avagyan by majority decision. A good comeback for Avagyan who tasted the canvas twice in the fight but managed to fight his way back to earn a decision.