Friday, February 5, 2016


We would like to let our readers know that we are between rounds and will resume our schedule on Monday, February 8th.  Stay tuned. “And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

The Boxing Truth ® is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.

Follow Beau Denison on Twitter:

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Alvarez Set To Defend Title Against Khan On May 7th

On November 21st of last year Saul “Canelo” Alvarez earned his second world title in as many weight classes when he scored a twelve round unanimous decision over former multi-division world champion Miguel Cotto to win the WBC Middleweight world championship. Alvarez, who had been one of Boxing’s hottest rising stars for several years in many ways reached the pinnacle of star status by defeating Cotto, one of the sport’s biggest stars for most of the last decade.

The win over Cotto also set up an interesting storyline that could possibly culminate in 2016 as Alvarez might be on a collision course with undefeated unified WBA/IBO/IBF Middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin for a bout that would further unify the Middleweight division. Before a fight with Golovkin can be made however, Alvarez will make the first defense of his WBC world championship on May 7th against former unified Jr. Welterweight world champion Amir Khan at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. A bout that will headline a fight card televised in the United States by HBO Pay-Per-View. Although Alvarez’ 160lb. Middleweight world championship will be at stake, the bout will be fought at a catch weight of 155lbs., one pound above the Jr. Middleweight limit of 154lbs.

The selection of Khan as the opponent could be considered an odd choice in the eyes of some. Khan, who will enter the fight with a record of 31-3, with 19 Knockouts has never fought at a weight limit higher than the 147lb. Welterweight division and will be technically challenging for a world championship of a weight class twenty pounds above the 140lb. Jr. Welterweight limit where he last held a world championship.

Khan however, will enter this fight having won his last five bouts including his last fight, a twelve round unanimous decision over former WBO Welterweight world champion Chris Algieri in May of last year. Khan has seen his career hit somewhat of a limbo period after failing to secure a lucrative opportunity against either Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao in the last year. Khan’s desire to face a marquee star of the sport now leads him to a bout against Alvarez.

Although Alvarez, who will enter the fight with a record of 46-1-1, with 32 Knockouts will likely be viewed as the favorite against Khan, the challenger has a style that utilizes a mix of hand speed, punching power, and lateral movement. The question heading into this fight will likely be whether or not Khan’s speed and power will the same at the higher weight limit. It sets up a scenario where one might argue it is high risk/high reward for Khan, a fighter who has been passed over as a potential opponent by marquee stars of the sport, and a high risk/low reward scenario for the champion Alvarez who may very well have a lucrative fight ahead of him in the form of Gennady Golovkin.

Should Khan pull off what most would consider an upset it would finally give him the kind of recognition and boost in terms of his standing in the sport that he has sought for years against a marquee opponent. The danger however, for the champion will be should he lose this fight against a fighter he will likely be favored to defeat, a potential lucrative payday against Gennady Golovkin, one of the hottest rising stars in the sport and one might argue the number one fighter in the Middleweight division could be out the window. A loss for Khan in this fight could possibly put his career at the top level the sport in jeopardy after suffering some setbacks throughout his career.

It is an intriguing match-up between two fighters with much to lose and much to gain. A fight that should generate the interest of Boxing fans.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

The Boxing Truth ® is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.

Follow Beau Denison on Twitter:

Monday, February 1, 2016

Kovalev Dominates Pascal In Rematch, Why Stevenson-Kovalev Needs To Happen

It is rare when a fight that ends by a knockout or a convincing stoppage leads to demand and interest in a rematch. In the case of the battle between undefeated unified WBO/IBF/WBA Light-Heavyweight world champion Sergey Kovalev and former WBC Light-Heavyweight world champion Jean Pascal there was interest and demand for a second encounter between the two.

Despite being stopped in the eighth round in their first fight in March 2015, Pascal gave an excellent account himself by providing the undefeated unified world champion and knockout artist the first significant test of his career. Pascal not only was able to survive being nearly knocked out in the third round of that fight, but was also able to test the champion’s chin before being stopped in the eighth round. Although Kovalev had added Pascal to his list of knockout of victims, Pascal’s impressive showing in defeat was enough to generate interest in a second encounter.

The rematch between the two took place on January 30th at the same venue that hosted the first encounter, the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. It is normal prior to a rematch to hear both Boxing fans and experts alike discussing what each fighter could do or should do to improve on their performance in the first fight. In regard to this rematch however, much of the focus was on whether or not Pascal could not only improve on his performance in his first fight with Kovalev, but also whether the rematch would be even more competitive.

In previewing the second encounter between Kovalev and Pascal, this observer stated that as was the case the first time around Pascal needed to establish himself as an elusive target and look to land counter punches as he was able to do effectively in the first fight. It was crucial in my eyes that whenever Pascal threw his punches that he do so in combination, which was something that he was inconsistent doing against Kovalev the first time around.

Although much of the focus centered on what Pascal would be able to do in this rematch, it also interested me to see whether Kovalev would be able to avoid Pascal’s counter right hand, an offensive weapon that Pascal had significant success in landing on the champion in the first fight. Unlike the first encounter however, where the challenger was able to have periodic success and test the champion, the rematch would not be as competitive and could best be described as a champion systematically breaking down his opponent.

As was the case in the first fight, Kovalev applied consistent pressure and established an offensive rhythm from the outset as he out threw and out landed Pascal. The champion dropped Pascal with a jab in the first round, but did not get credit for the knockdown as it was ruled a slip by Referee Michael Griffin.

Although Pascal threw his jab more frequently than was the case in the first fight, he was inconsistent in being able to land punches on Kovalev beyond an occasional left hook or right hand as he frequently lunged forward when he threw his punches and missed with much of his offense. In contrast to the challenger, Kovalev not only applied pressure, but was able to cut the ring off effectively and thus limit Pascal’s ability to use his lateral movement and avoid the champion’s offense. As was the case in the first encounter, whenever Pascal was able to land a punch, Kovalev was able to respond almost immediately with offense of his own.

Kovalev gradually stepped up his offense as the fight progressed and implemented a tactical and systematic approach in his attack. As Kovalev stepped his offensive output, Pascal would largely be on the defensive and would throw fewer and fewer punches as the fight went on. It was not long before the question surrounding this fight became not whether Pascal could be more competitive than he was in the first fight, not whether there would be a different outcome, but rather how long the fight would last as the bout became increasingly one-sided in Kovalev’s favor.

This fight was the first for Pascal under new trainer Freddie Roach. Roach, a former fighter who has gone on to achieve legendary status as one of the best and most respected trainers in the sport has also shown in the past compassion for his fighters. In this fight, Roach would remind the Boxing world why he is regarded as one of the sport’s best.

After seeing the punishment his fighter was taking, Roach told Pascal after round six that he was stopping the fight saying to the “Game” former world champion that he was taking too many punches. Pascal pleaded with his trainer to give him one more round. Initially, Roach said no, but ultimately agreed to give Pascal one more chance. Roach however, told Referee Michael Griffin to please keep an eye on his fighter and if he took any more punishment to stop the fight.

Although Pascal would not take as much punishment in the sixth round as compared to previous rounds, he was not able to discourage Kovalev from coming forward and throwing punches. Following the completion of the sixth round, Roach clearly looking out for the long-term well-being of his fighter stopped the fight. A show of compassion that should be applauded by all Boxing fans, experts, and others who are involved in the sport.

The victory for Kovalev signaled his seventh successful defense of his world championship. Even though the story of this fight in my eyes was Freddie Roach’s concern and ultimate action to not allow his fighter to get seriously hurt, a scene took place after the fight that warrants attention.

During his post-fight interview, Kovalev stated that he wants to unify the rest of the Light-Heavyweight division and called out WBC world champion Adonis Stevenson saying “I would like to fight Adonis Chickenson.” Stevenson, who was in attendance responded by getting the ring and proclaiming that he was the champion before both fighters were separated by others in the ring.

Readers who have been following the ongoing landscape of the Light-Heavyweight division in recent years have seen this observer state numerous times that it is time to make Stevenson-Kovalev a reality. Although Kovalev clearly provoked Stevenson with his remarks following his second victory over Pascal, there is no excuse for the near scuffle that took place as Stevenson attempted to get at Kovalev. Even though some would say it was simply a hype tactic perhaps on both sides to generate interest in a showdown between the two, it was not necessary and was simply “Classless.”

The fact is Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson are the two best Light-Heavyweights in the world and each has enjoyed success in their respective reigns as Light-Heavyweight world champion. Given the scene that took place following the Kovalev-Pascal rematch, this observer believes it is time for Boxing’s respective sanctioning organizations the World Boxing Council, (WBC) the World Boxing Association, (WBA) the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and the World Boxing Organization (WBO) to take action to make this fight a reality.

Both fighters have had multiple title defenses in the respective reigns and have defended their titles against mandatory contenders, both fighters have significant followings and interest in a fight between the two has only increased in recent years. Although a clear benefit of the ongoing dialogue between the sport’s respective governing organizations can ultimately prove to be beneficial in regard to not only regulation, but also determining one undisputed world champion per weight class, such dialogue would also be beneficial if the governing organizations worked together to ensure that bouts between the sport’s marquee stars and bouts that would ultimately benefit Boxing overall take place.

Although the politics of the sport involving different television networks and rival promoters will always be a factor in one form or another, it is time that those who regulate the sport step in to ensure that what will ultimately benefit Boxing takes place and in the process put an end to any possible grandstanding that might be taking place that would prevent things and events in the sport from happening that would be considered progress.

Whether or not Boxing’s respective governing bodies can or will intervene in this instance to make a bout between Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev a reality remains to be seen. It would be interesting however, to see one or more of these organizations attempt to mandate a fight between the two with a possible consequence being stripping one or both fighters of their respective world championships if a fight cannot be made. Although it would seem like a drastic measure for the sport’s respective sanctioning organizations to take and perhaps wishful thinking, if nothing else it might apply the kind of pressure needed for the various television networks and rival promoters to make this fight a reality.

Even though anticipation naturally grows when a potential encounter between two stars of the sport takes a significant period of time to come to fruition, if Boxing fans are asked to wait too long before finally getting the chance to see a fight that they have been clamoring for, it may ultimately lead to disappointment and a subject that could be considered a “Black Eye” for the sport. We have seen the sport suffer far too many “Black Eyes” and have seen some of Boxing’s biggest events leave the Boxing fan filled with disappointment and anger.

It is time for one of the biggest fights that could be made to become a reality. To Boxing’s respective sanctioning organizations, the television networks, and the rival promoters that are involved this observer simply has one thing to say “Make It Happen!”

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

The Boxing Truth ® is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.

Follow Beau Denison on Twitter:

Friday, January 29, 2016

Kovalev-Pascal 2 Preview

On March 14th of last year undefeated unified WBO/IBF/WBA Light-Heavyweight world champion Sergey Kovalev entered the ring to defend his title against former WBC Light-Heavyweight world champion Jean Pascal at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. Kovalev, who had established himself as one of the sport’s feared knockout artists had gone through virtually every opponent that had been placed before him without much resistance since emerging on the world-class level in the Light-Heavyweight division. Since winning the WBO world championship with a fourth round stoppage of Nathan Cleverly in August 2013, Kovalev had successfully defended his title four times and scored knockouts in three of those four championship defenses. Only the legendary Bernard Hopkins was able to go a full twelve rounds against Kovalev in their unification bout in November 2014.

Although Hopkins was able to go the distance with Kovalev and put an end to Kovalev’s streak of nine consecutive knockouts, he was not able to provide any significant resistance as Kovalev dominated the fight from start to finish. Despite suffering the loss to Kovalev and losing the WBA and IBF Light-Heavyweight world championships, Hopkins also became the first fighter to take Kovalev a full twelve rounds in Kovalev’s career.

Following what was an impressive performance against Hopkins Kovalev would defend his title for the fifth time when he faced Pascal, a fighter who fought Hopkins twice earning a draw and suffering a loss to Hopkins in those two encounters. The question that was asked of Pascal prior to the fight was the same as virtually every previous Kovalev opponent. Would Jean Pascal be able to provide a significant test for the champion?

In previewing the first fight, this observer stated that I felt Pascal needed to establish himself as an elusive target and look to play the role of counter puncher. Pascal, a fighter who uses an unorthodox style that combines hand speed, power, and the ability to execute his offense in spurts was able to have success against Kovalev particularly when he was able to land counter punches and land offense when Kovalev was not on the offensive.

As has been the case for many Kovalev opponents however, Pascal did have trouble dealing with the champion’s near constant pressure as Kovalev was able to consistently get his offense off first throughout the fight. One aspect that I felt worked against Pascal in the first fight with Kovalev was his inability to land punches in combination. This was attributed to Kovalev’s ability to control the distance of the fight with his jab, make Pascal miss, and return offense whenever Pascal had success landing counter punches.

Of course, many remember how Pascal was able to come back after being sent partially through the ropes in the third round of the first fight. Despite appearing as though he was out on his feet, Pascal was able to survive the round, withstand the barrage of punches Kovalev put forth in the fourth round, and counter effectively.

This represented the first time an opponent of Sergey Kovalev had taken his power punches, got up from a knockdown, and kept fighting. Pascal not only kept fighting, but would have continued success landing counter right hands and success landing punches to the body of the champion. Pascal also became the first fighter to test Kovalev’s chin by landing flush counter right hands throughout the fight. What had become a spirited battle between the two ended in the eighth round when after accidentally tripping following stunning Pascal with a left hook followed by a barrage that sent the challenger into Kovalev’s corner, the champion was able to land two flush right hands on the challenger who was suffering the effects of the previous barrage to force a stoppage of the fight.

As this observer stated following the first encounter between Kovalev and Pascal, both fighters turned in impressive performances in the fight. Kovalev was able to show not only the ability to take a punch, but was also able to respond well to a fighter who showed significant resistance after nearly being knocked out. Pascal meanwhile was not only “Game”, not only showed resistance, but was able to hold his own and have his moments against a knockout artist.

Both fighters returned to the ring in July of last year on the same card as Pascal scored a ten round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Yunieski Gonzalez and Kovalev successfully defended his title for the sixth time with a third round knockout over Nadjib Mohammedi. Following those victories, Kovalev and Pascal now turn their attention once again to each other as they will meet once more at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Saturday night for Kovalev’s unified world championship in what will be the champion’s seventh title defense.

Much as was the case the first time around the focus will largely be on Pascal and in order for the challenger to be successful in this fight in my eyes he needs to establish himself as an elusive target and play the role of counter puncher. One thing that was largely absent from Pascal’s offense in the first fight was his jab. Although he was able to have significant success in landing his right hand and body punches throughout the fight, he did not throw his jab consistently and was inconsistent in throwing combinations.

Pascal needs to find a way to control the tempo of the fight and not allow the champion to fight at a distance where he is comfortable and able to control how the fight is fought. Although Pascal will need to be effective in landing counter punches as he was able to do in the first fight, he needs to throw more than one punch at a time and find a way to nullify Kovalev’s offensive output.

Even though Pascal is known as a fighter who does not execute his offense in volume I feel he needs to throw more and not allow himself to be put into a position where Kovalev can immediately return offense in order to be successful. One of the ways Pascal may be able to have success could be to use more lateral movement, angles, and work the clock during a round.

If Pascal can find a way to make Kovalev work in order to put himself in a position to land his offense by moving laterally and thus nullify Kovalev’s offensive output for the majority of a round he may be able to win rounds by landing punches in spurts. It is crucial however, that whenever Pascal throws his punches in this fight he needs to throw them in combination. As much success as he had against Kovalev in the first fight landing counter right hands, he needs to give Kovalev something else to think about besides being on the lookout for the right hand. Whether or not the jab will be a consistent part of Pascal’s offensive arsenal remains to be seen.

Kovalev meanwhile will likely look to apply consistent pressure much as he did in the first fight and cut the ring off from Pascal. It will be interesting to see however, if the champion will be able to avoid Pascal’s right hand. Although Kovalev was the more active of the two fighters in the first fight and was ultimately able to stop Pascal, he must not be complacent and rely on his power alone to lead him to victory.

Kovalev is known as a seek and destroy fighter, but what often gets overlooked is the tactical way in which he sets up his offense. He must be tactical in his approach in this rematch against Pascal and must find a way to nullify Pascal’s movement and his ability to land counter punches. If Kovalev can apply pressure, control distance, and avoid Pascal’s counter punches the advantage will likely be in his favor.

As was the case prior to the first fight, the Boxing world continues to anticipate a battle between Sergey Kovalev and WBC world champion Adonis Stevenson in a unification bout. Jean Pascal is once again cast in the role of spoiler to any potential plans there might be for an eventual Kovalev-Stevenson showdown.

The first encounter between the two produced a spirited battle that also provided some answers to questions that have been asked about Sergey Kovalev. Whether or not Jean Pascal can produce an equally spirited effort in the rematch remains to be seen. We will see what happens when Kovalev and Pascal square off again in Montreal on Saturday night.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

Kovaelv vs. Pascal 2 takes place Saturday, January 30th at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. In Canada, the fight will be televised on Pay-Per-View for $59.99 SD/$64.99 HD. Contact your pay-per-view provider for ordering information. In the United States, the fight will be televised by HBO Sports. The HBO Sports telecast will begin at 9:45PM EST/PST. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the fight can be seen on BoxNation at 2AM (Sunday, January 31st) Local UK Time. Check your local listings internationally.

The Boxing Truth ® is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.

Follow Beau Denison on Twitter:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Thoughts On Garcia-Guerrero And Boxing’s Return To Fox Primetime

Over the course of last year, the Premier Boxing Champions series has done several things that should be viewed as extremely beneficial not only for the sport of Boxing, but more importantly its fans. Of course, there have been several entertaining cards put on by the series featuring a healthy mix of world championship fights, former world champions looking to get back into title contention, and prospects on the rise. One of the most important things the series has accomplished however, has been bringing the sport back to networks that have largely been absent from carrying Boxing programming for several years along with bringing new networks that have not previously televised the sport into the fold.

Along with networks such as NBC, CBS, Spike TV, ESPN, and Bounce TV, the series has also established a home on Fox Sports 1 as part of the network’s “Toe To Toe Tuesdays.” The success of the series across the board along with its increasing popularity among Boxing fans has seen Fox increase its involvement in the series by bringing the sport back to the national Fox network for the first time in over twenty years.

Some may remember back on December 16, 1995 former Heavyweight world champion Mike Tyson squared off against Heavyweight contender Buster Mathis Jr. at the Philadelphia Spectrum in Philadelphia, PA. Tyson, who had recently returned to the ring following his release from prison, had resumed his position as one of the sport’s top pay-per-view draws.

After stopping Peter McNeely in August 1995, Tyson was scheduled to face Mathis in November of that year. What made the time interesting however, was that it was scheduled to go head-to-head against the third encounter between Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield, which was scheduled to be televised via pay-per-view. A concept of two Boxing events going head to head at the same time on television was something that was new at the time. Tyson-Mathis was scheduled to be televised from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas by Fox against the Holyfield-Bowe III, pay-per-view telecast, which took place at nearby Caesar’s Palace on November 4, 1995.

What would have been a unique and historic evening for Boxing was changed when Tyson was forced to postpone his bout with Mathis three days before it was scheduled to take place due to suffering an injured thumb in training. Some speculated that the postponement was done to ensure that Tyson-Mathis would be televised at a later date unopposed on pay-per-view. The bout however, would take place over a month later at the Philadelphia Spectrum with Fox televising the bout in primetime.

Tyson would knock out Mathis in the third round and would go on to regain a portion of the World Heavyweight championship in March 1996 by stopping WBC world champion Frank Bruno in their second encounter. Although Tyson-Mathis was not a historical encounter in terms of what took place in the ring, it did produce massive ratings as over forty-three million people tuned in to see the fight.

Even though Fox’s Boxing coverage would continue under the banner of Fox Saturday Night Fights in February 1996, it was not in a primetime timeslot and Fox’s coverage of the sport on the national Fox network would not last. The sport however, would continue to be a mainstay on Fox’s various sports networks over the years. The absence of Boxing on the national Fox network however, would come to an end on January 23rd as the Premier Boxing Champions Series would make its debut with a card at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA headlined by a battle for the vacant WBC Welterweight world championship between former world champions Danny Garcia and Robert Guerrero.

This was a fight that had action written all over and was an ideal choice for the main event of a card that would return Boxing back to the national Fox network. Garcia and Guerrero would not disappoint. The early rounds in this fight were dictated in my eyes by Guerrero’s ability to apply consistent pressure on Garcia who was forced to use more lateral movement than he had in most of his fights. Guerrero was very effective in his aggression and being able to land to the body and head of Garcia in the early rounds. Garcia however, would play the role of counter puncher as he looked to catch Guerrero with offense as he pressed forward.

As the fight progressed into the middle and late rounds Garcia was able to use his lateral movement and hand speed to gradually take control of the fight by getting his punches off first and offsetting the aggressive Guerrero as he came forward. Although Guerrero remained aggressive throughout the entire fight, as the fight went on he became less effective in being able to back Garcia up and land consistently with his offense. Garcia meanwhile was increasingly able to not only land counter punches, but generally get the better of the action and make Guerrero miss with his offense. This allowed the unbeaten Garcia to box his way to a twelve round unanimous decision to win his second world title in as many weight classes.

Even though the fight ended up being a clear unanimous decision by a margin of 116-112 or eight rounds to four in favor of Garcia, it was an entertaining fight from start to finish that lived up to what was expected by Boxing fans and experts alike. A fight that capped off an overall solid evening of Boxing, which included a Heavyweight bout as undefeated contender Dominic Breazeale stopped Amir Mansour in five rounds and a Welterweight bout where undefeated contender Sammy Vasquez stopped Aron Martinez in six rounds.

Although ratings for this card were not comparable to the massive numbers of Tyson-Mathis over twenty years ago, ratings for the debut of the Premier Boxing Champions series on the national Fox network were solid as over 2.2 million viewers tuned in to see the card. As for what is next for Danny Garcia and Robert Guerrero, all eyes will be focused on the upcoming bout between undefeated Keith Thurman and former Welterweight world champion Shawn Porter on March 12th in a bout that will be televised as part of the Premier Boxing Champions series by CBS.

In terms of what this means for the Welterweight division, both the World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Association (WBA) world championships were vacated by the recent retirement of Floyd Mayweather, who was the unified WBC/WBA world champion in both the Welterweight and Jr. Middleweight divisions. Thurman, who held interim/regular champion status in the WBA’s ratings prior to Mayweather’s retirement is now WBA world champion.

It is logical to assume no matter who emerges victorious in the fight between Thurman and Porter that the winner could face Danny Garcia to determine a unified Welterweight world champion. An interesting option that might be available to Robert Guerrero coming off of a hard-fought decision loss to Garcia just might be an encounter with the unbeaten Sammy Vasquez.

If those fights were to take place on the same card as part of the Premier Boxing Champions series, this observer believes it would be a good attraction for Fox to showcase in primetime on the national Fox network. Whether or not that is indeed in the works remains to be seen, but there is definitely momentum to build off of what was a successful debut for the Premier Boxing Champions series on Fox and the long overdue return of the sport to the national Fox network.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

The Boxing Truth ® is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.

Follow Beau Denison on Twitter:  

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Heavyweight Landscape In 2016

The biggest story as the year 2015 came to a close in Boxing’s Heavyweight division was Tyson Fury’s twelve round unanimous decision victory in November over long-reigning unified IBF/WBO/WBA/IBO Heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko. Klitschko, who had reigned over the division since regaining a portion of the World Heavyweight championship in 2006 had not only successfully unified four of five world championships in the division, but also compiled eighteen successful title defenses in his second reign as a Heavyweight world champion.

Fury had not only defeated the most dominant Heavyweight of the last decade, but he also put an end to what seemed to potentially be a historic reign as Klitschko was nearing challenging the feats of former Heavyweight world champions Joe Louis and Larry Holmes. Louis holds the all-time record for successful world championship title defenses for any weight division in the history of Boxing of twenty-five. Holmes meanwhile, had successfully defended his Heavyweight world championship twenty times during his reign atop the division. There is no doubt as one of three of the most dominant champions in Heavyweight history that Wladimir Klitschko had put himself in elite company.

Although Fury and Klitschko will meet in a rematch at some point in 2016, Fury’s victory also created an interesting scenario for the division. Although the International Boxing Federation’s (IBF) Heavyweight world championship was at stake when Fury defeated Klitschko, it will not be at stake in the rematch, despite Klitschko invoking his right for an immediate rematch. This was due to IBF number one contender Vyacheslav Glazkov having previously stepped aside to allow Klitschko and Fury to face each other. This created a scenario where the winner was obligated within ten days following the fight to agree to face Glazkov in their next fight.

Of course, with Klitschko invoking his rematch clause that meant Glazkov would either have to step aside again or the IBF could strip Fury of its world championship and allow Glazkov to fight for the vacant championship against the next available highest rated contender. This is essentially what happened and the IBF world championship was decided on January 16th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY as Glazkov met IBF number three rated contender Charles Martin.

The bout between Glazkov and Martin can be described by one word “Inconclusive.” After two rounds where both fighters engaged in a feeling out process, Glazkov would slip and go down to the canvas in the third round suffering what was later revealed to be a torn ACL during the slip and could not continue giving Martin the victory and becoming the second American to hold a Heavyweight world championship in the division currently.

What makes that noteworthy is the other American, WBC world champion Deontay Wilder also fought on this card in defense of his championship against WBC number six rated contender Artur Szpilka. Wilder, who won the WBC world championship with a twelve round unanimous decision over Bermane Stiverne in January of last year went on to have a successful 2015 by successfully defending the championship twice against contenders Eric Molina and Johann Duhaupas.

Wilder looked to continue that success when he took on Szpilka. What interested me about this fight was to see whether or not Szpilka, a fighter who entered his first world championship fight having won twenty of twenty-one professional fights and scoring fifteen knockouts in those twenty wins could find a way to get to Wilder, who with the exception of his fight against Bermane Stiverne had knocked out every other opponent he had faced as a professional.

Even though there is no doubt that Deontay Wilder has established himself as one of the feared “Knockout Artists” in the sport, this was a fight where an argument should be made that Artur Szpilka was able to provide the champion with a significant test. What impressed me about Szpilka’s performance as I watched this fight was how effective he was in using lateral movement, which not only made Wilder miss frequently with his offense, but also made it difficult for the champion to fight at a distance where he could dictate how the bout was fought. It was clearly one of the most competitive fights of Wilder’s career in the eyes of this observer.

A fight that was fought at a sporadic pace where both fighters looked for opportunities to counter the other. Although many of the rounds in this fight were close, the difference in my eyes centered on how well Szpilka was able to move laterally and establish himself as an elusive target. It should also not be overlooked that despite his consistent lateral movement throughout the bout, Szpilka also succeeded in periodically backing the champion up and landing short spurts of offense without taking much punishment in return.

Deontay Wilder was also able to have his share of moments throughout particularly when he connected with flush right hands on the challenger. For a fighter who has had to deal with his share of criticism regarding the level of opposition he has faced throughout his career, Deontay Wilder showed in this fight, despite the difficulty Szpilka had given him that he is a fighter that can deal with different styles and one who can adjust as a fight progresses. Wilder was also able to catch up with the elusive Szpilka to end the fight in dramatic fashion in the ninth round.

Wilder connected with a sudden, but devastating counter right hand that sent Szpilka down and out cold on the canvas in what should be considered an early knockout of the year candidate. What the card in Brooklyn on January 16th also accomplished was for the first time in over a decade two fights for versions of the World Heavyweight championship took place on the same card.

What should also not be overlooked coming out of that card is the Heavyweight division now has something that has been missing from the division for over a decade. Two Americans Deontay Wilder and Charles Martin officially have a claim as Heavyweight champion of the world.

How this will affect the landscape of the division in the long-term remains to be seen. The landscape for the year ahead however, appears to be quite interesting. In regard to Deontay Wilder, he should have a mandatory title defense against current WBC number one contender Alexander Povetkin at some point in the near future. If Wilder can successfully defend his title for what would be the fourth time when he meets Povetkin, it is not out of the realm of possibility that he could face the winner of the Tyson Fury-Wladimir Klitschko rematch.

In regard to where Charles Martin goes from here, it is difficult to say. One potential option could be a rematch with Vyacheslav Glazkov once Glazkov has recovered from his injury. After all, the fight between the two ended in “Inconclusive” fashion and there might be interest among Boxing fans in seeing a second encounter between two in the hope that a more conclusive outcome is rendered.

Another possibility that may be available for Martin could be making the first defense of his world title against another top contender and perhaps a former world champion such as Bermane Stiverne. Whomever Martin faces next it will be interesting to see whether or not he can emerge as a potential opponent for either the Wilder-Povetkin winner or whomever emerges victorious in the Fury-Klitschko rematch.

One recent development that was announced earlier this week that could have an impact on the landscape of the division in 2016 was the announcement by the World Boxing Association (WBA) that it will hold what it calls a tournament involving unified WBO/WBA/IBO champion Tyson Fury, former champion Wladimir Klitschko, Luis Ortiz, Ruslan Chagaev, Lucas Browne, and Fres Oquendo in what will determine one WBA champion and eliminate the designation of interim/regular champion status in the WBA’s Heavyweight ratings.

It is no secret to those who have regularly read my work over the years that I have been calling for a revamp or an elimination of the concept of “Interim” championships in the sport. As I have said several times over the years although the structure of the WBA ratings not just in the Heavyweight division, but in all of the sport’s seventeen weight classes might be well-intentioned it has created more confusion than it has created solutions. Although it is unclear as of this writing as to whether or not this might be the beginning of the WBA revamping the concept of “Interim” designations in its organization’s ratings in every weight class, this observer hopes that further progress will be made.

As for the would be tournament concept that has been laid out by the WBA, the winner of the Fury-Klitschko rematch will be the unified world champion in the division, which includes the WBA world championship. Whether or not the winner that fight will emerge as the last man standing over the other top WBA contenders who are involved in this concept remains to be seen. If a clear number one contender emerges to take on whomever the unified Heavyweight world champion might be, it should be considered progress.

Regardless of how the WBA’s tournament concept will impact the rest of the division it is clear that the Heavyweights have reemerged as one of the sport’s more interesting weight classes not just among Boxing experts, but more importantly Boxing fans. It is something that I believe has been long overdue.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

The Boxing Truth ® is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.

Follow Beau Denison on Twitter:

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Premier Boxing Champions 1/19/2016 Recap

Undefeated Welterweight prospect Jamal James scored the nineteenth victory of his career by winning a ten round unanimous decision over Javier Molina on Tuesday night at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, CA. In what was a competitive bout, James used an effective jab to establish distance and was able to use a mix of combination punching off of the jab along with lateral movement to dictate how the fight was fought. Molina was able to have periodic success landing short combinations to the body and head of James throughout.

As the fight progressed however, James’ ability to control distance and generally get his punches off first became the difference in the fight. Although Molina was able to have his moments throughout the fight including snapping James’ head back with a flush right hand in the sixth round, he was ineffective in being able to land combinations consistently on James. This can be attributed to not only James’ ability to control distance, but also his ability to slip and evade much of Molina’s offense when Molina was able to get close.

Even though there were rounds in this fight that were close due to the combat being fought at a measured pace, James was simply able to outwork Molina and his ability to be the busier and more effective of the two fighters allowed him to win rounds and earn a convincing unanimous decision. Official scores were 99-91, 98-92, and 97-93 all in favor of Jamal James.

Unofficially, I scored this fight 98-92 in favor of James. Molina had periods during this fight where he was the more aggressive of the two fighters, but was simply not effective in his aggression. Despite having sporadic success throughout this fight in being able to land offense on James, Molina was unable to change the tempo of the fight and could not discourage James from doing what he wanted to do and that along with James’ effective fight plan is what won the fight for James in this observer’s eyes.

Jamal James advances to 19-0, with 9 Knockouts. Javier Molina falls to 17-2, with 8 Knockouts.

Also on this card, undefeated Super-Middleweight prospect and knockout artist David Benavidez scored a second round stoppage over Kevin Cobbs. Benavidez was in command from the opening bell as he used a well-balanced attack to the body and head of Cobbs in the first round. In round two Benavidez landed a double left hook that staggered Cobbs along the ropes. Cobbs briefly held on, but did not have an answer for Benavidez’ follow-up barrage, which caused Referee Raul Caiz Jr. to step in and stop the fight. Official time of the stoppage was 1:08 of round two.

David Benavidez advances to 12-0, with 11 Knockouts. Kevin Cobbs falls to 10-2, with 4 Knockouts.

In the Middleweight division rising prospect Malcolm McCallister scored a third round stoppage of Tyrone Selders. McCallister scored a knockdown of Selders in the first round when a right/left combination stunned Selders causing one of his gloves to touch the canvas giving McCallister credit for a knockdown. Despite suffering a cut over right eye later in the round as a result of an accidental clash of heads, McCallister systematically broke Selders down and the one-sided bout was stopped in round three. Official time of the stoppage was 2:39 of round three.

Malcolm McCallister advances to 7-0, with 6 Knockouts. Tyrone Selders falls to 9-7-1, with 6 Knockouts.

In other bouts:

Middleweight Caleb Plant (12-0, 9 Knockouts) TKO6 over Adatar Rodriguez (11-5-2, with 7 Knockouts). Official time: 2:37 of round six.

Featherweight Thomas Velasquez (4-0, 3 with 3 Knockouts) TKO over James De Herrera (3-3, with 2 Knockouts). Official time: 2:08 of round four.

Featherweight Aaron Alameda (12-0, with 8 Knockouts) KO6 over Andre Wilson (14-11-1, with 12 Knockouts). Official time: 1:38 of round six.

Welterweight Sanjarbek Rankmanov (4-0 with 3 Knockouts) TKO4 over Jose Castro (5-7, with 3 Knockouts). Official time: 1:27 of round four.

Light-Heavyweight Ronald Mixon (6-0, with 5 Knockouts) TKO2 over Christian Solorzano (3-7, with 2 Knockouts). Official time: 1:49 of round two.

Heavyweight Con Sheehan (Pro Debut/1-0, with 0 Knockouts) UD4 over Jonathan Rice (2-1-1, with 2 Knockouts). Official scores: 40-36 (on two scorecards), and 39-37 in favor of Sheehan.

On a card that featured a good mix of rising prospects to fighters who are approaching contender status fighters such as Jamal James, David Benavidez, and Malcolm McCallister should all be regarded as fighters to watch in 2016. How quickly these fighters move up the ladder of contention in their respective weight classes remains to be seen, but all three succeeded in producing impressive victories on this card. Whomever either of them face in their next bouts, if they continue to progress it may not be hard to envision either of the three facing a fighter who is considered a contender before the end of the year.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

The Boxing Truth ® is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.

Follow Beau Denison on Twitter: