Sunday, January 20, 2019

Update: Pacquiao-Broner

We would like to let our readers know that material discussing the recent Welterweight bout between former world champions Manny Pacquiao and Adrien Broner is in the works and will be released here on the website on Tuesday, January 22nd during the evening hours. Stay tuned. "And That's The Boxing Truth."

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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Andrade Stops Akavov In 12 To Retain Middleweight World Championship

Undefeated two-division world champion Demetrius Andrade scored a twelfth round stoppage of WBO number eight Middleweight contender Artur Akavov to retain his WBO World Middleweight championship on Friday night in the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY. In what was a tactical fight early on, Andrade’s hand speed and combination punching gradually took over the fight. Despite being tactically outgunned, Akavov was quite “Game” and never stopped trying to turn the momentum in his favor. In the twelfth and final round, a body shot followed by a left hand that did not land appeared to briefly stagger Akavov and Referee Arthur Mercante, Jr. stepped in and stopped the fight.  Akavov, who had taken some punishment throughout the fight, protested the stoppage, but it was to no avail as Mercante told the native of Novocherkassk, Russia that he was concerned for his welfare and said there will be another day.

Official time of the stoppage was 2:36 of round twelve. Demetrius Andrade advances to 27-0, with 17 Knockouts. Artur Akavov falls to 19-3, with 8 Knockouts.

In a shocking upset, longtime Jr. Welterweight and Welterweight contender Pablo Cesar Cano scored an impressive first round stoppage of former three-division world champion Jorge Linares.  Cano’s naturally bigger size and punching power were the story of this fight as he scored three knockdowns of the future Hall of Famer Linares before the fight was stopped by Referee Rocky Gonzalez.  Official time of the stoppage was 2:48 of round one. 

Pablo Cesar Cano advances to 32-7-1, with 22 Knockouts. Jorge Linares falls to 45-5, with 28 Knockouts.

In a battle for the vacant WBO Women’s Jr. Bantamweight world championship, multi-division world champion Amanda Serrano became a seven-division world champion as she scored a first round knockout over IBF Jr. Bantamweight world champion Eva Voraberger. A left hook to Voraberger’s liver ended the fight almost as quickly as it began as Voraberger went down and could not beat the count of Referee Sparkle Lee. Official time of the stoppage was :35 of round one.

Amanda Serrano advances to 36-1-1, with 26 Knockouts. Eva Voraberger falls to 24-6, with 11 Knockouts.

In the Jr. Welterweight division, former WBO Jr. Welterweight world champion Chris Algieri scored a lopsided ten round unanimous decision over veteran Danial Gonzalez. Algieri put on an impressive display of Boxing in the first seven rounds of the fight using lateral movement and effective body punching to out box Gonzalez. Algieri suffered a cut in round seven under his left eye as a result of an accidental clash of heads. Gonzalez, who has served as a sparring partner for Algieri in the past came on aggressively late in the fight, but was unable to turn the ebb and flow in his favor, despite the former world champion backing up throughout the latter stages of the fight. The result of a unanimous decision in favor of Algieri after ten rounds was not well received by the crowd in attendance as they booed the decision.  Official scores were 98-92, 97-93, and 96-94 all in favor of Algieri.  Unofficially, I scored this fight 97-93 in Algieri’s favor.

Chris Algieri advances to 23-3, with 8 Knockouts. Daniel Gonzalez falls to 17-2-1, with 7 Knockouts.

In a bout for the IBF Jr. Featherweight world championship, undefeated champion TJ Doheny successfully made the first defense of his world title by scoring an eleventh round stoppage of IBF number ten rated contender Ryohei Takashi. Both fighters suffered cuts in round two as a result of an accidental clash of heads, but despite the cut, Doheny was in control of the fight throughout and scored a knockdown of the challenger in round three.  The end came in the eleventh round when Referee Michael Ortega stopped the fight at a moment that appeared odd in that although Takahashi had sustained punishment throughout much of the fight, he wasn’t in trouble when the fight was stopped.  Official time of the stoppage was 2:18 of round eleven.

TJ Doheny advances to 21-0, with 15 Knockouts. Ryohei Takahashi falls to 16-4-1, with 6 Knockouts.

Undefeated Welterweight Reshat Mati scored the third win of his young career by scoring a first round knockout over Benjamin Borteye. Mati scored a knockdown of Borteye early in the round and was able to get a stoppage of Borteye from Referee Miguel Rosario at 1:06 of round one.

Reshat Mati advances to 3-0, with 2 Knockouts. Benjamin Borteye falls to 4-4, with 4 Knockouts.

The first defense of his WBO Middleweight world championship could likely set up some interesting possibilities for him in 2019 and beyond in the talent deep 160lb. Middleweight division. Among his possible options would obviously be to face the winner of the upcoming Middleweight unification bout between WBC/WBA/IBO world champion Saul Alvarez and recently crowned IBF world champion Daniel Jacobs, which will take place on May 4th. Another possible option would be for Andrade to defend his crown against former longtime Middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin, who as of this writing remains a fighter without a broadcaster to televise his fights, with DAZN, ESPN, and the Premier Boxing Champions brand, which includes both Showtime and Fox as potential future homes for the former world champion. If Golovkin were to sign with DAZN, the possibility of full unification of the Middleweight championship of the world is very real as all the current world champions will be fighting on one platform and a fighter who in the opinion of many is still a world champion in Gennady Golovkin would also be a player in that mix.

In closing one brief observation. A topic of some in the days ahead might concern the stoppages of both the Doheny-Takahashi and Andrade-Akavov fights. Although some might view the stoppages of these two fights as premature and may even call them controversial, it is important to remember that the knockout of Adonis Stevenson in December of last year at the hands of Oleksandr Gvozdyk, a brutal knockout that resulted in Stevenson being hospitalized after suffering traumatic brain injury is still fresh in the minds and hearts of everyone in the sport.  As yours truly has stated since that fight both in my work here at The Boxing Truth® as well as on social media that under circumstances like what happened in the Stevenson-Gvozdyk fight, referees and athletic commissions may be a little extra cautious in trying to determine when a fight should be stopped following a situation like Stevenson’s.

While Takahashi and Akavov were not in a situation similar to Stevenson, both did sustain punishment throughout their respective bouts and it is understandable that the referees of those bouts Arthur Mercante, Jr. and Michael Ortega were thinking of the long-term welfare of both fighters. Sometimes it is better for a fighter to come back to fight another day rather than taking one punch too many.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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Friday, January 18, 2019

Pacquiao-Broner Preview

The first major Boxing event of 2019 will take place on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV as future Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao squares off against former four-division world champion Adrien Broner. The twelve round bout in the 147lb. Welterweight division will headline a four fight card being televised by Showtime pay-per-view here in the United States.

This is an interesting match-up both in terms of a clash of styles and from a standpoint of where Pacquiao and Broner are in their respective careers. There is no disputing Manny Pacquiao’s status in the sport of Boxing and his career accomplishments during an illustrious career. In recent times however, a central topic of discussion regarding the former eight-division world champion has been how much longer will Pacquiao continue competing in the sport.

After all, Pacquiao has been actively in competition since 1995 and the years, as well as the wars he has been in over the course of sixty-nine professional fights have had to of taken some toll on him. In his last fight however, in July of last year the forty year old showed glimpses of his prime as he dominated longtime contender Lucas Matthysse and stopped him in seven rounds. The win for Pacquiao, his first since losing the WBO Welterweight world championship to Jeff Horn in July of 2017, appeared to be what some might say is a resurgence for the future Hall of Famer.

The stoppage of Matthysse also put Pacquiao in line for another shot at a world championship having earned interim/regular champion status in the WBA's Welterweight ratings, which in simple terms makes him the mandatory challenger for undefeated current WBA champion Keith Thurman. Nearly twenty-four years to the day of his professional debut, Pacquiao now prepares to step in the ring for the seventieth fight of his illustrious career by facing Adrien Broner.

Broner, a former four-division world champion, who has won world titles from the 130lb. Jr. Lightweight division to the 147lb. Welterweight division is eleven years younger than Pacquiao and stylistically would appear to pose a difficult test for Pacquiao. Despite his success in winning four world championships in four different weight classes, Broner much like Pacquiao has suffered some career setbacks along the way. For the twenty-nine year old Broner, this fight represents an opportunity to not only bounce back, but to do so on a significant stage.

In his last fight in April of last year, Broner fought to a draw with former WBO Welterweight world champion Jessie Vargas. Although Broner has won world championships in four weight classes, some might say that this fight against Pacquiao is significant in terms of Pacquiao being the most high-profile opponent Broner will have faced.

Stylistically, this figures to be an interesting tactical fight between an offensive-minded fighter in Pacquiao, who is known for his ability to use lateral movement to throw punches from every conceivable angle against a defensive-minded fighter in Broner, who does not necessarily look to overwhelm his opposition with offense, but is known for his counter punching ability. While not always aggressive with his offense, Broner tends to make the most of his offense and is usually accurate with the punches he throws over the course of a fight.

A misconception that some might have prior to this fight might be that Broner’s defensive style, which is similar to Floyd Mayweather, who defeated Pacquiao in 2015, is likely to give him an edge. It is true that Mayweather tactically out boxed Pacquiao in a fight that failed to live up to the expectations of many. Pacquiao however, chose to enter that fight with an injured shoulder and while it does not take away from Mayweather’s performance, some have contended that Pacquiao’s performance in that fight may have been different if he were 100%.

Despite having a similar defense to Mayweather, it has not always worked to Broner’s advantage as in his three losses to Marcos Maidana, Shawn Porter, and Mikey Garcia, all three were able to outwork Broner and keep him defensive. Simply put, Broner was not able to be effective with his offense in those bouts.

With this in mind, this fight appears interesting yet simple to describe as to what each fighter will likely need to do in order to win. For Pacquiao, the fight plan is likely to be offensive from the outset and look to make Broner uncomfortable. Pacquiao has the ability to swarm an opponent with offense. It is logical to expect that Pacquiao will attempt to use angles to set up offense in spurts to keep Broner on the defensive. Pacquiao must however, must not be reckless as he has shown a tendency to be overly aggressive at times most notably when he was caught and knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in the fourth of their four fights.

While that knockout in December 2012 was brutal, it did give the appearance that Pacquiao is susceptible to being caught. Although a fighter should not attempt to fight Pacquiao or any fighter with the expectation of landing one punch to win a fight, the old adage is that the one way to negate speed is timing. Style wise Pacquiao would appear to have an advantage in terms of speed both in regard to lateral movement and hand speed over Broner. One of Broner’s strongest assets in addition to being solid defensively is his ability to execute timing to set up his counter punches.

If Pacquiao takes an overly aggressive approach it might fall right into Broner’s hands in wanting to win by making Pacquiao miss and make him pay with counter shots. The key in my eyes for Broner will be for him to find a balance between not negating his defensive counter punching style, but at the same time establishing a consistent offensive rhythm that will not allow himself to be outworked over the course of the fight that has led to some of his losses in his career. Finding that balance however, could be easier said than done.

In addition to the potentially difficult task that will be in front of Pacquiao, the potential of a second encounter with Floyd Mayweather, who is currently retired, might be in Pacquiao’s future if he can defeat Broner. If Pacquiao underestimates Broner with an eye on what might be ahead, it could prove to be costly in this fight.

Taking the potential of a Mayweather-Pacquiao rematch out of the equation, this fight is an example of just how deep the talent pool is currently and historically has been in the 147lb. Welterweight division. No matter who wins this fight, whomever emerges victorious on Saturday night will be in line for even more lucrative opportunities going forward.

"And That's The Boxing Truth."

Pacquiao vs. Broner takes place tomorrow night (Saturday, January 19th) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The fight can be seen on Showtime Pay-Per-View across cable and satellite providers in the United States for $74.95. The pay-per-view broadcast will also be available through the Showtime app on mobile and tablet devices as well as connected devices like Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV as well as being available on Playstation 4 through the Playstation Store.

In the United Kingdom and Ireland the card can be seen on ITV 4 beginning at 2AM (Local UK Time.) For more information about ITV 4 and for time and channel in your area please visit:, Check your local listings Internationally.

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

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Andrade-Akavov Card Weights From New York City, NY

Credit: Ed Mulholland Matchroom Boxing USA
Press Release: NEW YORK, Jan. 17, 2019: A day ahead of three title fights on the Matchroom USA main card, including WBO World Middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade defending his belt against Artur Akavov, fans gathered at Chase Square at Madison Square Garden for the official weigh-in. All fighters participating in the event on Friday, Jan. 18, were in attendance and tipped the scales at the weights listed below.

Friday’s event will be live on DAZN, with coverage beginning at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. ET and main card starting at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. ET.

12-round WBO World Middleweight Title Bout @ 160 lbs.
Demetrius Andrade (Champion) – 159.8 lbs.
Artur Akavov – 160.0 lbs.

12-round Super Lightweight Title Bout @ 140 lbs.
Jorge Linares – 139.4 lbs.
Pablo Cesar Cano – 139.6 lbs.

12-round IBF World Super Bantamweight Title Bout @ 122 lbs.
TJ Doheny (Champion) – 121.8 lbs.
Ryohei Takahashi – 121.8 lbs.

10-round Welterweight Bout @ 140 lbs.
Chris Algieri – 140.0 lbs.
Daniel Gonzalez – 139.4 lbs.

10-round Vacant WBO Female Super Flyweight Title Bout @ 115 lbs.
Amanda Serrano – 114.2 lbs.
Eva Voraberger – 114.8 lbs.

For more information, fans can follow DAZN’s U.S. social channels: @DAZNUSA on Facebook, @DAZN_USA for Twitter, and DAZN_USA for Instagram.

About DAZN:
Globally, DAZN is a live and on-demand sports streaming service created by fans, for fans, that is leading the charge to provide access to sports anytime, anywhere. DAZN guarantees no long-term contract, no bundles, just one affordable price for access to all the service’s sports on connected devices including smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, games consoles and PCs. DAZN is currently available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan, Canada, Italy and now the U.S. – where it is becoming a must-have service for sports fans, with a daily show featuring live look-ins to Major League Baseball games beginning in 2019 and more than 100 fight nights already lined up from Matchroom Boxing, Bellator MMA, the World Boxing Super Series, Combate Americas and Golden Boy Promotions.

Material Courtesy of: DAZN/ Andrade-Akavov Faceoff Photo Courtesy of: Ed Mulholland/ Matchroom Boxing USA Used with permission.

To subscribe to DAZN, list of connected streaming devices, and  to start your free 30-day trial please visit:

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


Credit: Sanman Promotions
Press Release: January 17, 2019 by Sanman Promotions – Sanman’s first promotion for 2019 will feature its top two prospects fighting against marquee opponents on February 9 at the Midas Hotel and Casino. The event is also presented by ESPN 5. 

In the main event, WBA Interim Bantamweight world champion Reymart “Assassin” Gaballo will face former WBC Asia and Asia Boxing Federation Bantamweight Champion Yuya Nakamura of Japan. In the co-featured bout, lightweight sensation Romero “Ruthless” Duno will fight Indian contender Kuldeep Dhanda for the vacant WBA Asia lightweight title 

“This will be an exciting night of boxing. Filipino boxing fans will be treated to seeing our top boxers fighting at home. We assure of an even more exciting undercard to be announced soon”, Sanman CEO JC Manangquil stated.

The event will be televised live via ESPN5 (Philippines)

Material and Photo Courtesy of: Sanman Promotions Used with permission.

For more information about Sanman Promotions and to watch the Sanman Live Boxing series please visit Sanman Promotions’ official Facebook page:

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

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Haney Defeats Ndongeni

Undefeated Lightweight contender Devin Hamey scored a dominant ten round unanimous decision over previously undefeated prospect Xolisani Ndongeni in the main event of Showtime Sports' first ShoBox card of 2019 on Friday night at Stageworks in Shreveport, LA. Haney scored a knockdown of Ndongeni in the second round with a right hand and appeared to be on the verge of stopping Ndongeni several times throughout the fight, but was unable to get the stoppage.

Despite being hurt throughout the fight and being outgunned, the native of South Africa Ndongeni was quite “Game” and was aggressive throughout. At the conclusion of the bout Haney had earned a convincing unanimous decision. Official scores were 100-88 (On two scorecards) and 99-90 all in favor of Haney.

Devin Haney advances to 21-0, with 13 Knockouts. Xolisani Ndongeni falls to 25-1, with 13 Knockouts.

In the Featherweight division undefeated prospect Ruben Villa scored an eight round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Ruben Cervera. Official scores were 80-72 (On all three official scorecards.) in favor of Villa. Ruben Villa advances to 15-0, with 5 Knockouts. Ruben Cervera falls to 10-1, with 9 Knockouts.

In the Heavyweight division, undefeated prospect Frank Sanchez scored a second round knockout over Willie Jake. After an uneventful first round, the second round was delayed for several minutes due to two of the ring ropes breaking and needing repair. After the long delay, Sanchez was able to floor Jake with a barrage of punches that did not seem to land cleanly, but a left hook might have gotten through which sent Jake down to the canvas. Official time of the stoppage was 2:59 of round two.

Frank Sanchez advances to 11-0, with 9 Knockouts. Willie Jake falls to 8-2-1, with 2 Knockouts.

Showtime’s ShoBox series has a long history of showcasing developing prospects that have often gone on to become world champions in the series eighteen year history. For the twenty year old native of San Francisco, CA Devin Haney, he could well be on the verge of adding his name to the long list of fighters who were showcased on the ShoBox series to go on to become a world champion. 

How soon Haney might challenge for a world championship remains to be seen, but with current rankings in the top ten in the World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) in the 135lb. Lightweight division, an opportunity to fight for a world title might come sooner rather than later. If Haney continues to win and more specifically continues to win in impressive fashion, it would not surprise this observer to see him get that opportunity before the end of 2019.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

A Boxing Wishlist For 2019

The time has come once again for what has evolved over the years to be called “A Boxing Wishlist” where yours truly discusses what he would like to see occur in the sport during the new year. For those who read my column looking back at some of the highlights of what took place in Boxing in 2018, you may have noticed that I focused primarily on events that occurred in “The Business Of Boxing” and did not talk much about the events that took place inside the ring.

This was due to the changes that occurred in the business realm that did not overshadow events that took place in the Boxing ring, but certainly changed the landscape of what may occur in both rings across the globe as the year 2019 begins and far beyond. It would frankly be impossible for me not to continue the theme of 2018 being a year of change and transition in the sport in this column as it will play a role in what might take place in the new year. There will however, be topics touched upon in this column that were not discussed previously.

Longtime readers are likely familiar with previous editions of this observer's “Boxing Wishlist' where I typically touch upon a variety of issues. This year however, the theme could very well be thought of as how Boxing as a whole can continue the momentum that was built in 2018. While it is not the intention of yours truly to do a complete rehashing of some of the topics I discussed in last year’s “Boxing Wishlist”, some of what I touched upon at the beginning of 2018 are likely to play a significant role in 2019 and beyond.

It cannot and should not be ignored the significant increase of exposure that Women’s Boxing was given on television and streaming platforms over the previous year. An increase of both exposure and recognition that I have screamed for, for years that was frankly long overdue. World champions such as Claressa Shields, Christina Hammer, Katie Taylor, and Cecilia Braekhus were all showcased throughout the year in marquee spots across various American television networks through both traditional and streaming models. Women's Boxing as a whole is perhaps the strongest it has ever been in terms of both television exposure and the depth of talent across the entire sport as 2019 begins.

A wish of this observer for Women's Boxing is to obviously see the sport continue to grow and continue to be featured prominently across American television throughout the new year and beyond. While it is logical to think that the four world champions Shields, Brawkhus, Hammer, and Taylor might all be pitted against each other at some point, what I would like to see especially given the increased exposure the sport has received on the amateur level as well is an effort made by the various promoters and networks to attempt to develop fighters who are preparing to embark on professional careers.

Boxing as a whole is a sport that is always in need of and openly seeks new stars. As we have seen in Women's Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) the sport is exposed to new fans when an effort is made to develop, promote, and provide fighters the necessary platforms to showcase their skills. Much as has been the case for Women's Boxing, there was also a period of time where the top MMA promotions resisted the concept of showcasing the women combatants in the sport. Over time however, that stance changed and Women's MMA bouts have been featured regularly on MMA events and in the case of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) have headlined several pay-per-view events.

While the subject of "Pay-Per-View" is one that has been discussed frequently in various columns penned by yours truly both here on The Boxing Truth® as well as various online and print outlets through the years and will continue to be so, I see no reason why promoters and networks whether traditional or digital streaming cannot do the same thing for Women's Boxing especially given the ongoing transition of how the sport is broadcast and consumed. This subject of transition and the subject of "Pay-Per-View" will be discussed further later in this year's edition of this observer's "Boxing Wishlist."

Another consistent addition of my "Boxing Wishlist" through the years has been my desire to see one "Undisputed world champion" per weight class. As I have said through the years, the very concept is no pun intended "Wishful Thinking" and given the fact that Boxing has seventeen weight classes as well as the various political elements that exist in the sport, it can be thought of as an impossible task. While it is indeed unrealistic for one to expect something such as this to happen in a relatively short period of time, I believe gradual progress can be made.

The one obvious example that can be used in regard to this subject is in the Heavyweight division. One of if not the biggest fight that can be made in the sport that has not occurred before is a bout between undefeated Heavyweight world champions Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua, the two fighters who currently hold every portion of the World Heavyweight championship between them. Obviously, as each world champion has continued to retain their respective portions of the Heavyweight world championship, anticipation for an encounter to determine an “Undisputed Heavyweight world champion” has only increased.

As obvious as an encounter between Wilder and Joshua being a fight that most if not all Boxing fans want to see, there was a wrinkle in the potential unification bout being made that could well put the idea of Wilder-Joshua on the back burner for most of 2019. The wrinkle being Wilder’s recent close call in his title defense against undefeated former Heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury in December of last year. A fight where Wilder trailing on two scorecards was able to retain his WBC world championship by scoring the second of two knockdowns of Fury in the twelfth and final round to earn a draw on what became a split decision. The decision of a split draw, seen as controversial by some, and Fury being able to provide the champion with a significant test has fueled demand for a rematch.

Despite unified IBF/WBA/IBO/WBO world champion Anthony Joshua currently having an open date for his next title defense for April of this year and no opponent being announced as of this writing, conventional wisdom might suggest that a Wilder-Fury rematch might happen before a fight with Joshua. There are also other elements/aspects beyond one fight being made before the other that could also play a role in whether a fight to fully unify the Heavyweight division takes place as is virtually the case in any potential unification bout that could be made throughout the entire sport.

As some readers might recall, another topic that has been a regular of the yearly “Boxing Wishlist” centers around the respective sanctioning organizations that regulate the sport. The topic of a dialogue that was established by the heads of the WBC, WBA, and IBF to discuss issues surrounding the sport with the hopeful goal of implementing improvements.

When this dialogue was established a few years ago I applauded the initiative that appeared to be taken by the respective organizations. As I often say and will continue to say, if it is good for the sport, I will support it. One thing I said that I felt would be another step in the right direction that I touched upon in last year’s list was the inclusion of representatives of the WBO and IBO feeling that in addition to subjects regarding rules, regulations, and policies among other things that would come from such dialogue might be steps toward unifying each weight division in addition to the wish of this observer to see the designations of “Interim/Regular championship statuses revamped or outright done away with.

Unfortunately, there was not much new that occurred regarding the dialogue in 2018, or at least that was made public. For the good of the sport, it is my hope that if the dialogue was discontinued over the last year that it can be re-established.

Another element that resurfaced during 2018 was the reemergence of Bareknuckle Boxing with the debut of the Bareknuckle Fighting Championship, (BKFC) the World Bareknuckle Fighting Federation, (WBKFF) and Bareknuckle Fight Club (Bareknuckle FC) all emerging as professional associations devoted to Bareknuckle Boxing. As I have said in my coverage of BKFC and previous cards promoted under DirecTV’s BKB: Big-Knockout Boxing banner, these respective associations/leagues aimed at presenting Boxing in a different form than the traditional form of the sport opens opportunity for not just boxers, but also other combat sports athletes to potentially compete in a different fighting form beyond their primary combat discipline, not all that unlike the format of which Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) was initially presented upon it’s inception as an organized sport her in the United States in the early 1990’s. It also presents further opportunity for combat athletes to earn money.

As I also said in previous coverage of Bareknuckle Boxing, a hurdle that all will have to deal with will be the issue regarding licensing and regulations in various states here in the United States and internationally. A battle that the sport of MMA fought for several years as the sport evolved from essentially no holds barred combat to its current form including the implementation of gloves, weight classes, rules, round limits, and adopting a ten-point must scoring system similar to Professional Boxing.

All three of the Bareknuckle Boxing associations, the BKFC. Bareknuckle FC, and the WBKFF each established themselves staging cards in the state of Wyoming. The BKFC however, has expanded out staging its third event in 2018 in Mississippi and will expand to holding cards outside of the United States when they stage their fourth event in their history in Mexico in February.

While it might appear that these Bareknuckle Boxing promotions might not face a similar struggle as MMA did regarding licensing and regulation, it is important to remember that unlike DirecTV’s BKB, which initially launched as a modernized form of gloved Bareknuckle Boxing using knuckle-exposed gloves, but quickly evolved to a more adapted format implementing standard Boxing gloves, the three Bareknuckle promotions use no gloves and frankly present Boxing in as close to its original form as possible. As Boxing fans were reminded recently with former Light-Heavyweight world champion Adonis Stevenson suffering a brutal knockout loss in losing his world championship and subsequently being hospitalized after suffering what has been described as traumatic brain injury, Boxing even with all the precautions that are taken both here in the United States and internationally that are intended to ensure the safety of fighters, remains a dangerous sport with no shortage of critics that call for Boxing to be banned.

Although most calls for the banishment of Boxing come from critics who tend to voice their criticism and concerns the loudest whenever an unfortunate situation like the one regarding Adonis Stevenson occurs, circumstances such as this can present a further obstacle for groups such as the BKFC, Bareknuckle FC, and WBKFF as they attempt to gain licensing in more regions and states.  While I won't classify this as a wish necessarily on this year's "Boxing Wishlist", seeing the potential of modernized Bareknuckle Boxing has to grow and provide further opportunity for combat sports athletes in the process, I do hope that the respective promoters do keep in mind the potential of circumstances like the situation regarding Adonis Stevenson's of occurring and take appropriate steps to ensure that fighters safety remains the top priority. While as I said earlier this week in looking back at 2018 that I felt the stoppage of the Stevenson fight was stopped at the appropriate time, accidents in not just combat sports, but all of sports unfortunately do happen. It is crucial that any sport take precautions and reevaluate regularly to ensure that safety remains the top priority. For the reemergence of Bareknuckle Boxing, it is even more important and without it, I frankly cannot see many state athletic commissions and international regulatory boards being willing to license Bareknuckle Boxing.

Finally, we come to the final topic of this year's "Boxing Wishlist." A topic that has been an ongoing discussion of yours truly here at The Boxing Truth®, the ongoing transition in how the sport is televised to Over The Top (OTT) digital distribution/subscription-based streaming and what it means for the traditional Pay-Per-View model. While I discussed this subject earlier in the week in looking back at 2018 and do not intend to totally rehash what was discussed in that column or in previous columns, this subject will remain a central part of discussion not just here, but in the entire sport far beyond 2019.

As most Boxing fans know DAZN and ESPN+ have emerged as major players in not just Boxing, but all of sports. With the recent exit of HBO, who left Boxing at the end of 2018, the landscape of how the sport is televised has changed significantly. On one side you have two digital steaming networks aiming toward the future of television distribution offering economically reasonable prices to consumers and offering considerably more content than what is offered on traditional television distribution. On the traditional television side, two networks have emerged to attempt to fill the void of HBO's absence in Showtime, the longtime rival of HBO, and Fox, who each recently signed multi-year agreements to carry cards promoted under the Premier Boxing Champions banner. The difference is each have their sights on broadcasting major fights on traditional Pay-Per-View.

It is and should be no secret to longtime readers that this observer has strongly voiced his opinion that the traditional Pay-Per-View model has become overpriced and undervalued as years have gone on. While some may expect me as someone who has been equally vocal in expressing support for both DAZN and ESPN+ to be brutal in criticizing Showtime, Fox, and the PBC brand for apparently continuing to rely on an increasingly outdated and declining model of cable/satellite Pay-Per-View, I will not be overly critical. I will however, as always be "Brutally Honest."

In some ways, I would consider the landscape of how the sport will be broadcast in the years to come is similar to the landscape that faced the cable/satellite television industry in its growing years where there was a sizable portion of consumers that preferred the free Over The Air (OTA) television model as opposed to paying a subscription fee to a cable/satellite provider for their television service. The slight difference is now more and more consumers are choosing to either cancel their cable/satellite television service or those who have never subscribed to cable/satellite television show little or no interest in subscribing. This is due to the advent of Over The Top (OTT) digital distribution or to put it more simply a distribution model where both television and radio content is delivered over the internet that does not necessarily require a cable/satellite television provider to act as a middleman to distribute said content to the consumer.

As technology more and more is moving in this direction, there remains a portion of businesses that have thrived in traditional mediums of television distribution (The cable/satellite industry) that are reluctant to adapt to the changing times. For Boxing, there is a reluctance on the part of some promoters and networks to come up with a reasonably priced option for what was once thought as the holy grail, “Pay-Per-View.” While there are still some pay-per-view Boxing cards and even MMA cards that manage to produce solid numbers in terms of buys, there remains an overall decline in pay-per-view numbers over the years with those rare exceptions.

As I have said in numerous columns regarding this subject over the years, I do not feel this is due to a general lack of interest in the respective sports, but rather a case where the pricing structure has turned a lot of consumers who would pay a pay-per-view fee off by most pay-per-view Boxing and MMA events being priced at $70 and above here in the United States. Quite frankly, I have felt and still feel that this has been a detriment to Boxing. While the PBC brand, Showtime, and Fox have produced solid Boxing cards and content over the years, I feel in order for them to be successful in the long term if they are going to insist on saving their major Boxing cards for pay-per-view that the price point will need to be lowered in order to make it more appealing.

The challenge for them will be to not only produce content that will keep them competitive with both DAZN and ESPN+ by putting on the best fights possible, but also to have a competitive price point for their marquee (Pay-Per-View) attractions. It is important to remember that one end of the spectrum (DAZN/ESPN+) are appealing to consumers by offering considerable amount of content for a low-cost subscription fee where all the content is included with one’s subscription. On the other end of the spectrum however, you have two networks (Showtime/Fox) that while trying to remain competitive with OTT streaming networks are also going to be relying on the once tried and true model of cable/satellite pay-per-view for their marquee events. The question for the consumer will be whether they will be willing to pay an expensive pay-per-view fee on more than an occasional basis for marquee Boxing events promoted by the PBC brand on a per event basis.

In preparation for this column while on this observer’s end of year vacation during the final weeks of 2018, I did some comparisons of pay-per-view prices for marquee Boxing events here in the United States from the 1980’s up to present day and present circumstances factoring in both DAZN’s and ESPN+’s subscription models into the equation. I was able to find prices for two pay-per-view Boxing cards, which took place in November 1988 that were scheduled just days apart. The first of these cards took place on November 4th headlined by a bout for the vacant WBO Super-Middleweight world championship between Thomas Hearns and James Kinchen.

The televised portion of the card, which included three full bouts out of a full card of seven fights at the Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas, NV was offered to consumers at a $19.95 price point. This was followed by a pay-per-view card on November 7th from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas headlined by the historic battle between WBC Light-Heavyweight world champion Donny Lalonde and Sugar Ray Leonard. A bout historic because not only was Lalonde’s Light-Heavyweight world championship on the line, but also the vacant WBC Super-Middleweight world championship making it the first and only bout in Boxing history where world championships in two separate weight classes were at stake in one fight.  Similarly to the Hearns-Kinchen card, the televised portion of the Lalonde-Leonard card featured a total of three bouts out of a card of six fights was offered to consumers at a $29.95 price point.

Keeping in mind that at the time of this column we are discussing pay-per-view cards and prices from nearly thirty-one years ago, if one were able to have access to both events back then, they would have paid a total price of nearly $50. When one factors into the equation that in the 2000’s and 2010’s pay-per-view events for Boxing and MMA have been priced at or around the $70 range as a standard price point, even with greater technology and availability today as compared to the late 1980’s, if one were to purchase two cards scheduled days apart from each other at current prices they would likely pay a total price of $140 for cards offering the same amount of content as those that were offered to the public on both a pay-per-view and closed-circuit television basis decades ago.

While some might argue that this is due to inflation and other factors, it doesn’t take much to figure out why pay-per-view buys have generally declined as prices for these cards have only increased over time, with the rare exception where a marquee event, which can at times be priced between the $80-$100 range still does solid buys. Although the realm of traditional cable/satellite pay-per-view will remain part of the sport for the foreseeable future, as someone who is objective viewing things from the outside as a journalist covering Boxing, I cannot see the traditional pay-per-view model being able to last at the current price points.

This is due largely to both the growth of cord-cutting as well as the overall value and content offered by digital streaming network platforms like DAZN and ESPN+ who each offer a low-monthly subscription price at $9.99 (DAZN) and $4.99 (ESPN+) with ESPN+ also offering a yearly subscription option priced at $49.99. The challenge for all those involved in the sport however, will continue to be offering content that consumers will be willing to buy and for Boxing that means making bouts that consumers want to see on a consistent basis and within a reasonable time frame.

Given the amounts of money that all these networks have invested in the sport with the want of exclusivity for their respective platforms with various promoters that are not always willing to work together, it is also important for all of the above to be willing to negotiate with each other in order for those fights to be made.  What is also important is for the various networks involved to attempt to develop new stars in the sport by offering up and coming fighters a platform to showcase their talents. The latter, especially with regard to Women’s Boxing, had largely been ignored by several networks through the years and one might argue that it led to the changes we are now seeing with networks that were previously in dominant positions within the sport no longer involved.

The final wish of this observer’s “Boxing Wishlist for 2019” is for the networks involved keep the ultimate authority in mind as they look to continue building their respective brands by attempting to offer events that consumers will want to see, the Boxing fan. While there will also continue to be a segment of fans that no matter what a network/platform offers will continue to complain and voice their dissatisfaction with the sport, without the support of the Boxing fan all of the above will not be able to survive. Although yours truly remains firm in his stance in wanting to see the model of pay-per-view either significantly revamped or done away with in the interest of both the consumer and in wanting to see Boxing grow, we will see how things look in 2019.

As the 2019 Boxing schedule is set to begin, we will also see if the sport will continue to be in a position of building momentum by year’s end. This observer certainly hopes Boxing will be.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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

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Monday, January 7, 2019

A Look Back At Some Of The Events In Boxing In 2018

As has become the norm here at The Boxing Truth® a new year begins with two columns that will be released here on the website to officially kick off the 2019 schedule. Before this observer releases his “Boxing Wishlist For 2019”, I feel it is appropriate to look back at some of the notable events that took place in the sport in 2018. Obviously, it would be impossible for one to discuss every single event that takes place in any sport during a calendar year. What the reader will be offered in this column will be in some ways a retrospective on some of the events I felt were noteworthy throughout the year.

If one were to ask me to describe the year 2018 in Boxing in a single sentence, I would say that it was a year of change. Now, I know some readers are probably saying to themselves “Beau, that is an easy and general answer” and/or, would perhaps say that my response would be vague and not specific. What could be interpreted by my referring to 2018 as a year of change?

There are after all several world championships that change hands throughout a year, but what I mean dear reader is change both as far as eras coming to an end as well as a significant change in the landscape of how the sport is offered to and consumed by the public. In terms of fighters who hung up their gloves in 2018, one fighter stands out clearly in my mind. Roy Jones.

Jones, a future Hall of Famer, who dominated the sport for much of his career in winning world championships from the 160lb. Middleweight division all the way to the Heavyweight division entered the ring for what he said was the final time early in 2018 in his hometown of Pensacola, FL. Before a hometown crowd of supporters Jones, competing as a Cruiserweight scored a lopsided ten round unanimous decision over Scott Sigmon. The victory over Sigmon on February 8th of 2018 was Jones’ sixty-sixth victory in a seventy-five fight career that began twenty-nine years earlier in 1989. Jones’ exit from competition at forty-nine years of age signaled the end of an era in the history of Boxing.

For the majority of the 1990’s and early 2000’s there was no doubt that Jones was the best pound for pound fighter in the world. Using an athletic and unorthodox style that bedeviled many of his opponents, Jones dominated his competition and continued to do so with relative ease as he moved up in weight as his career progressed. While the prime of Jones’ career was highlighted in my mind by his time as one of two Light-Heavyweight world champions along with Dariusz Michalczewski throughout the second half of the 1990’s on through the early 2000’s.

Although Michalczewski held the WBO Light-Heavyweight world championship for several years and went undefeated until suffering his first loss in October 2003 to the late Julio Gonzalez, it was Jones who was regarded as the top Light-Heavyweight of his era with most regarding him as the Undisputed Light-Heavyweight world champion. An encounter yours truly wished had taken place, particularly when I began my career covering Boxing and other combat sports in the mid-1990’s would have been a fight between Jones and Michalczewski.

Perhaps because a bout between the two never took place, Jones had to deal with criticism from some throughout his prime for the opinions that he lacked a career-defining fight. While clearly the only fighter at least in terms of the Light-Heavyweight division that could have compared to Jones in his prime in terms of dominance would be Michalczewski, Jones career-defining moment came in March 2003 when he became the first former Middleweight world champion since Bob Fitzsimmons in 1897 to win a World Heavyweight championship by defeating WBA Heavyweight world champion John Ruiz with a twelve round unanimous decision.

The opinion of this observer with regard to Roy Jones’ decision to move back down in weight after beating Ruiz rather than retiring at his peak is one that is well known to those who have read my work both in print as well as online. It can be said however, that Jones’ gradual decline after the Ruiz fight as well as his decision to continue to compete well beyond his prime puts him in a category with many legendary fighters throughout Boxing history, which Jones certainly belongs in the category of legends. Although I openly expressed my concern in several columns for several outlets including my own here at The Boxing Truth® for Jones’ long-term well-being particularly after he suffered knockout losses, which were severe through the years, I was pleased to see Jones conclude his illustrious career without sustaining a major injury. Some fighters both those who have had success comparable to Jones and those who never get the opportunity to compete for a world championship are not as fortunate.

As some Boxing fans are likely aware, we were reminded in the latter stages of 2018 of just how dangerous combat sports can be. After suffering a brutal knockout loss and the loss of his WBC Light-Heavyweight world championship, longtime champion Adonis Stevenson was hospitalized and remains hospitalized as of this writing after suffering what has been described by several media outlets as traumatic brain injury. The situation surrounding the injury Stevenson suffered has also reignited debate among many in the sport and within the medical community with regard to reforms within Boxing with the aim of preventing circumstances like what happened to Stevenson and what has happened to other fighters over the years from happening again in the future.

Speaking only for myself, I have been hesitant to comment much on the circumstances regarding Stevenson’s injury, condition, and outlook because I am not a medical doctor and as such have no expertise to comment on the circumstances. I will state as I have done on several social media platforms since the fight took place that I felt and still do that the fight was stopped properly with no count being administered by Referee Michael Griffin. Taking the question of medical concerns out of the equation, in my experience as someone who has spent most of his life covering the sport as well as other combat sports, it seems as someone viewing things from the outside that the most potential for long-term damage occurs when fights are allowed to go on longer than they should. Having said this, just as is the case in any sport that involves physical contact, accidents unfortunately do still happen from time to time even with extensive precautions being taken.

While for the reason yours truly has mentioned I choose to stay out of the debate regarding the medical aspects that are involved in regard to Stevenson’s case, I will again say after viewing the knockout and stoppage both as it happened and in the weeks since the fight took place, the stoppage was the appropriate call by the referee and it was not a case where I felt the fight was allowed to go on longer than it should have. The fight was stopped immediately once it became apparent Stevenson was compromised and as things stand currently with regard to safety protocols, I do not believe the fight could have been stopped at a more appropriate time than it was. The debate regarding the safety standards of the sport are likely to continue in the future and if there is a way to improve the current protocols and other measures, everyone involved in the sport from fans, to those of us who cover the sport, to the fighters themselves, and to those who are involved in other capacities should support it.

Getting back to the subject of 2018 being a year of change, there was also another notable exit from the sport of Boxing as longtime powerhouse in the sport in terms of television networks HBO opted to discontinue broadcasting Boxing at the conclusion of it’s 2018 schedule after a forty-five year run that began in 1973. This is also a subject that I have hesitated in discussing much, but for different reasons.

It is and should be no secret to longtime readers that there have been times over the years where I have for lack of a better term agreed to disagree with HBO on a variety of issues related to the sport of Boxing. Despite those disagreements, the network’s decision to back away from the sport after such a rich history that in essence could also serve as a catalog of some of the most memorable moments in Boxing history marks a sad moment for the sport.

Shortly after the network announced its intention to step away from Boxing in September of 2018, I commented on social media that I hoped their decision would be one that would be temporary. While it is true that the sport as a whole as well as all of television on a global scale is undergoing a period of transition as more and more consumers choose to “Cut The Cord” and not subscribe to traditional pay-TV providers in favor of low-cost subscription streaming options, which has become a solid competitor to premium cable networks like HBO, it is sad to see any network/platform choose to step away from a sport or genre that was a consistent ratings winner and revenue generator for many years.

The reality is that HBO, much like its cable competitors are facing competition from digital streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video to name a few. With more and more Over The Top (OTT) digital streaming networks/services being developed and some live TV services like Sling TV and YouTube TV serving as alternatives to traditional cable/satellite pay-TV providers, the challenge for virtually every cable/satellite television network is to attempt to transition into what this observer believes will be the eventual post-cable era where television will almost exclusively be delivered via OTT digital distribution. What this means for Boxing as far as HBO is concerned is at least for the foreseeable future the sport does not figure into the network's plans as it looks to both transition into the future of television as well as remain competitive in both the traditional television and digital streaming mediums.

For the longtime "Network of Champions" its history and legacy in the sport of Boxing is more than secure and anyone who has ever taken part in Boxing on HBO, from the fans, to the people involved in any capacity with the network and in the sport should be proud to have taken part in an important era in Boxing history. For yours truly, I spent many nights in my younger days watching some of the sport's biggest and most historic battles take place on HBO. As someone who is proud to have grown up being a life-long fan and Boxing historian, I can not dispute the influence HBO played not only in my love for the sport, but also my eventual decision to embark on a career covering combat sports with Boxing as my primary focus. Although I have agreed to disagree with the network on several occasions, the landscape of the Boxing world will not be the same without HBO's platform.While some might expect me to air my criticisms of the network as I have done over the year when it was appropriate and as some others in the industry have done sine HBO’s announcement and exit from the sport, I will not do that.  Whether or not the network's decision to step away from the sport is temporary however, or indeed permanent remains to be seen. HBO’s contributions to Boxing will not be forgotten and for those contributions, as I said following HBO's last scheduled Boxing broadcast on December 8th, the sport should join me in saying Thank you HBO.

By now, the reader may have noticed that I have not spent too much time discussing some of the events that took place inside the Boxing ring in 2018. While it is true that the sport is largely driven by what goes on in the ring, there are times where what goes on outside of the ring on the business end of the sport can at times be as significant or even more so than what goes on in the ring. For this observer, the year 2018 in Boxing will be more known for the change and period of transition that began in terms of how Boxing is broadcast and offered to the consumer.

2018 saw the inception of two OTT digital streaming network platforms that have  invested significantly in Boxing and has featured the sport prominently on their respective platforms. I speak of course of ESPN+ and DAZN. For those who have followed this observer’s “Boxing Wishlist” columns that are usually published shortly before  the calendar year for the sport begins (And this year will be no exception) you know that a consistent theme over the years as well in other columns has been a wish to see something introduced here in the United States that would be similar to the United Kingdom’s cable/satellite network BoxNation citing the benefits it could offer the Boxing fan while also possibly serving as an alternative to pay-per-view.

As OTT digital distribution has grown, I felt that a streaming network/service devoted to Boxing could have been introduced that would fulfill that wish for yours truly as well as others who wanted a low-cost option as compared to what this observer has often called an overpriced and undervalued model of pay-per-view. What we now have instead, which will likely be more beneficial than a digital streaming network devoted solely to Boxing is the inception of competing low-cost multi-sport digital streaming networks. The first of these networks to launch was ESPN+ in April of the year.

ESPN+ does not require a cable or satellite subscription to access, but the service is offered along with ESPN's traditional programming through the ESPN app, which is available on mobile, tablet, and connected streaming devices like Roku and Apple TV to name a few. Consumers can choose between a $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year plan to subscribe to ESPN+. With a subscription, ESPN offers access to a wide variety of sporting events that are not otherwise televised on ESPN's traditional linear networks. What this has meant for Boxing has been far greater access to cards from around the world that would not otherwise be televised here in the United States as well as serving as a pay-per-view alternative in showcasing some of the sport's biggest stars including Terence Crawford, Vasyl Lomachenko, and Manny Pacquiao in the first months of its existence.

Not to be outdone, DAZN announced its intention to expand it’s existing international digital streaming network into the United States after successful launches in Japan, Germany, and Canada among other countries. Similarly to ESPN+, DAZN, which is also available on mobile, tablet, and connected streaming devices like Roku and Apple TV, is available for $9.99 per month and almost immediately upon it’s U.S. launch set out to disrupt the existing model of both how the sport is offered on cable networks as well as directly placing itself as a competitor to the pay-per-view model.

The key to both networks is the word value. Value both in terms of price as well as in the content being offered. For Boxing fans, DAZN has marketed itself as showing every bout on a card, which is a step above what is normally offered on a pay-per-view card or on a cable network. With rare exceptions, ESPN+ offers most if not all bouts of a card broadcast on its platform. ESPN+ also airs exclusive undercard portions of cards that has main events that are broadcast on ESPN’s traditional linear networks.

In terms of overall costs, if one were to subscribe to both digital streaming networks, they will pay a total of around $170 per year. While that might give an appearance of appearing steep for some, when one factors in that most Boxing pay-per-view events have an average price of $70 or greater per card, you can see the value especially when one considers that both DAZN and ESPN+ are multi-sports networks/streaming services.

With Showtime and Fox Sports also recently extending their existing agreements with the Premier Boxing Champions banner, which involves several promoters, as 2019 now begins the landscape of the sport is one that looks slightly different, but one that is also quite intriguing. How this landscape will affect what goes on inside the ring will be discussed in this observer's "A Boxing Wishlist For 2019", which will be published here on The Boxing Truth® on Wednesday, January 9th. Stay tuned.

"And That's The Boxing Truth."

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

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Friday, January 4, 2019

Schedule Update To Begin 2019

We would like to let our readers know that we will begin our 2019 schedule on Monday, January 7th. As has been the norm in years past, the intention will be to release material regularly between Mondays and Wednesdays, which will resume on the first Monday of 2019. We here at The Boxing Truth® look forward to continuing to provide readers with features, weigh-in results, special previews, fight card recaps, and other content also being released as events approach throughout the sport of Boxing.  The Boxing Truth® welcomes the opportunity to continue to provide our readers with accurate information, in-depth analysis, and objective opinions regarding the sport of Boxing as well as the participants and issues that surround it.  We thank all our readers for your continued support and we look forward to hearing from you throughout 2019 and beyond. We look forward to an active year. Stay tuned. “And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy 2019

We here at The Boxing Truth® would like to wish our readers a very Happy and safe 2019. We would also like to remind readers that an announcement regarding when we will begin our 2019 schedule will be released here on the website on Friday, January 4th. Stay tuned. “And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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

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