Monday, October 2, 2023

Alvarez Proves Why There Are Weight Classes In Dominant Victory Over Charlo

 

The hype that preceded the encounter between Undisputed Super-Middleweight world champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and former Undisputed Jr. Middleweight world champion Jermell Charlo was largely based on the fact that for the first time in modern Boxing history, two fighters, who were undisputed world champions in their respective weight classes at the same time, would face each other as one would move up significantly in weight to challenge the other for his crown. There was however, the small wrinkle in that once Jermell Charlo entered the ring at the T-Mobile Arena on September 30th to face Alvarez, his status as an undisputed champion would no longer be current as it had been known in the weeks prior to the fight that the World Boxing Organization (WBO) would be stripping Charlo of it’s world championship in the 154lb. Jr. Middleweight division for failing to defend its championship against undefeated number one contender Tim Tszyu. A fight that was supposed to take place, but one that would not be due to Charlo opting to take a high-risk, high-reward gamble by moving up fourteen pounds and two weight divisions to challenge Alvarez.


While it is never good to see an undisputed world championship broken up for any reason, much less the business elements that be in the sport of Boxing, one could make what would be a persuasive argument that economically as things stand in the sport, the fight with Alvarez was the more financially rewarding of the two fights, despite the fact that Tszyu, much like his father, the Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu, is rapidly becoming a star on the rise in the sport in routinely drawing massive crowds in his native Australia. Nevertheless, whenever a fighter makes a leap up the weight scale as Charlo was attempting in this fight with Alvarez, it is intriguing because of the obvious challenge that it presents in facing a fighter who theoretically is naturally bigger, and stronger at a heavier weight.


Although Alvarez has spent the majority of the last several years fighting either in the 168lb. Super-Middleweight division or briefly at the 175lb. Light-Heavyweight division, he was once a Jr. Middleweight much like Charlo, so it was conceivable at least on paper, that Charlo may be able to move up and be competitive with Alvarez if not be as dominant as he had been at 154lbs. Alvarez would show from the opening bell that he is a fighter who is truly in rare company in having the ability to move up in weight and be dominant and in doing so, also show that it is something that is not an easy accomplishment to achieve. The Super-Middleweight champion of the world immediately put Charlo on the defensive in landing short, but thudding punches and in the process applying consistent pressure. 


What impressed me about this fight was Alvarez’ ability to not only apply pressure on Charlo, who tried to use lateral movement to be elusive and offset that pressure, but more specifically, the way he was able to cut off the ring. This limited Charlo’s ability to move and also established a clear pattern for which the fight would be fought. Alvarez, pushing Charlo back, landing hard punches and controlling the tempo of the combat from start to finish. A pattern that also limited Charlo’s offensive output. In some ways, Alvarez’ approach in this fight brought back memories of a legendary world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. in terms of how Alvarez looked to gradually break Charlo down. It seemed as though similar to so many opponents that Chavez fought over his Hall of Fame career, that Alvarez was on the verge of doing that in the seventh round when he connected with a right hand that forced Charlo to take a knee.


To Charlo’s credit, he was able to survive and as the fight progressed did try to land something in an attempt to turn the ebb and flow in his favor. It just was not Charlo’s night as Alvarez would close out the fight to earn a convincing twelve round unanimous decision to retain his Undisputed Super-Middleweight championship of the world. 


Ultimately, this proved to be a fight that can be summed up as a bigger fighter besting a smaller fighter. In terms of his performance, it is arguable that in addition to moving up fourteen pounds for this fight that inactivity in addition to time needed to recover from a broken hand, likely worked against Charlo in this fight. Jermell Charlo can hold his head up high however, for performing well and going the distance under circumstances where some may have been discouraged to the point where they might not have wanted to finish the fight. Charlo is still a unified world champion in the Jr. Middleweight division holding the world championships of the World Boxing Council (WBC), World Boxing Association (WBA), and International Boxing Federation (IBF). Coming out of this fight, Charlo has stated that he intends to move back down to 154lbs. and the obvious fight to make would be with Tim Tszyu, who is now recognized as the WBO’s Jr. Welterweight world champion in what would be an opportunity for Charlo to fully unify the division twice, something that has not been done in the history of the sport. 


When that potential fight could take place will depend on two things. The most obvious among them is Tszyu is scheduled to make his first title defense on October 14th against current WBO number two rated contender Brian Mendoza in Broadbeach, Australia. Charlo will obviously have to wait for the outcome of that fight before any potential plans could be set in motion for a fight between him and Tszyu. The second and perhaps more serious issue depending on one’s perspective might be the current state of the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) group of promoters, whom Charlo currently fights under. It is no secret to those that follow the sport that several fighters who have fought under the PBC banner for several years have begun to seek opportunities fighting under different promoters and different television and streaming networks that currently do not have broadcast deals with the PBC. This in addition to what has been an increasingly sporadic list of dates for the PBC to stage cards through its existing broadcast deal with United States premium cable network Showtime as well as persistent speculation that the network’s parent company Paramount Global is intending to exit the sport of Boxing at the conclusion of 2023, in a similar way as former longtime rival and one of the sport’s prominent players HBO had done at the conclusion of 2018 following a significant merger and restructuring of its then parent company AT&T and WarnerMedia. Paramount has been undergoing a significant restructuring of itself and its properties including Showtime over the course of 2023 and if a decision has indeed been made to back out of Boxing as many have speculated, it will likely put the PBC in a dire situation after previously losing its broadcast deal with Fox Sports here in the United States, who subsequently did not broadcast any Boxing programming either on Fox television stations throughout the country or on Fox Sports branded cable networks throughout 2023.  While if indeed Paramount does pull the plug on Showtime’s thirty-seven year involvement in the sport, and such a decision could likely be tied to an overuse as well as overpricing of the outdated pay-per-view model, in terms of the immediate impact on the fighters such as Charlo, who are affiliated with the PBC, it may lead to even more sporadic in ring activity, which has already proved to have at best mixed results for fighters who have sought opportunities under different promoters and networks.


As for Saul Alvarez, his victory over Jermell Charlo was the first in a three-fight agreement with the PBC and if the PBC group of promoters do indeed lose their broadcast deal with Showtime, it will be interesting to see if Alvarez attempts to return to digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN, who have broadcast many of his bouts since December 2018 either as part of its subscription service or on a pay-per-view basis, and perhaps if that previous working relationship might lead to the PBC seeking a deal with the network or at least as a means of fulfilling the remaining two fights in its deal with Alvarez. While obviously, we do not know currently who those potential fights will be against, Alvarez for his part says he just wants to fight and it is likely given that Alvarez is the undisputed champion of the Super-Middleweight division that he will spend his next few fights fulfilling his mandatory defense obligations of the various titles he holds. After previously scoring a twelve round unanimous decision over previous WBO number one contender John Ryder earlier this year, that would leave Alvarez with three defenses to fulfill obligations to the IBF, WBC, and WBA, before the process refreshes for a new slate of mandatory challengers. Who those fights will be against and on what broadcast/streaming platform is obviously up in the air.


Although as of this writing there is no word as to how successful the Alvarez-Charlo bout did in terms of pay-per-view buys at an $85 price point through Showtime Pay-Per-View here in the United States, with another longtime television network that overall has been good for Boxing appearing to be nearing an exit, Boxing’s Pay-Per-View problem and what appears to be an unwillingness of some promoters and maybe even some fighters, who have been conditioned to the belief that pay-per-view is the only way to earn additional revenue, even as evidence of the need to change continues to become more clear, remains an issue for the sport as 2024 nears. 


“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”


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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Alvarez-Charlo A Landmark Moment In Boxing History?

There are numerous stories throughout Boxing history where world champions in one weight division in seeking a challenge will opt to move up in weight to fight for another world championship. While the fact that there are multiple world sanctioning organizations and thus, multiple world championships per weight division has made the process of a champion moving up to challenge for another world title a bit easier, it is still an accomplishment that can prove difficult to pull off. 


In the case of former Undisputed Jr. Middleweight world champion Jermell Charlo, he is preparing to take what some would call a bigger risk as he will move up in weight by two weight divisions to challenge Undisputed Super-Middleweight world champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez for the Undisputed Super-Middleweight championship of the world on September 30th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.


The fight, which can be seen here in the United States on Showtime Pay-Per-View, has been marketed as the first time in Boxing history that two undisputed champions have faced off against each other. Charlo will technically still be the undisputed champion of the 154lb. Jr. Middleweight division when he enters the ring to face Alvarez, when the bell rings for round one, he will no longer be an undisputed champion of the Jr. Middleweight division as he will be stripped of the World Boxing Organization (WBO) championship for failing to defend his title against undefeated WBO number one contender Tim Tszyu.


The technicalities and elements of the business of Boxing aside, Charlo is nevertheless attempting something that few have attempted by leaping up two divisions to challenge one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world in Alvarez, as well as one of the top drawing cards in the sport. What type of fight we might see from a stylistic standpoint may come down to who is able to dictate the pace early on as both Alvarez and Charlo are boxer/punchers who can do a little of everything, but each also has the ability to adapt during the course of a fight. 


While some may point to the weight issue in that Charlo is moving up fourteen pounds to face Alvarez, this observer feels the more telling issue might be Charlo's lack of activity going into this encounter. Charlo has only fought twice in the last two years and while that is due to both his suffering a broken hand while in training for a scheduled title defense against Tim Tszyu, as well as the current state of the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) group of promoters that have seen many of those who have fought under the PBC banner seek other opportunities in an attempt to stay active, the biggest enemy of any fighter is inactivity and this in addition to the moving up fourteen pounds might work against Charlo.


In contrast to his challenger, Alvarez has been quite active for a fighter considered to be on the elite level of the sport in fighting six times over the last two years with the only blemish coming against undefeated WBA Light-Heavyweight world champion Dmitry Bivol in May of last year in a failed attempt by Alvarez to become a two-time Light-Heavyweight world champion. Despite that setback and otherwise being dominant in the 168lb. Super-Middleweight division over that stretch, there are some who might wonder if Alvarez is approaching the twilight of his career in that he has only scored one knockout during that stretch, which came against Avni Yildirim in February 2021. Although some might question whether Alvarez might be in decline because of a perception that he might not be able to end a fight inside the distance, he has nevertheless been dominant and in comparison, he would appear to have the advantage going into this fight.


It can be all too tempting at times to fall into the hype they surrounds a fight. In this case, this could be viewed as a landmark moment in the history of the sport because of the fact of at least on the surface of two undisputed champions facing each other, but with Boxing fans once again being asked to shell out funds at an expensive price to see this encounter, one can only hope that it turns out to be a competitive fight if not a great one. With so many events of a similar price falling to live up to such hype, a competitive bout where each fighter brings the best of what they have into the ring would be seen as a success even if it is at the expense of the Boxing fan.


"And That's The Boxing Truth."


Alvarez vs. Charlo takes place on Saturday, September 30th at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The fight can be seen on Showtime Pay-Per-View in the United States for $84.99 at 8PM ET/5PM PT and will be available through traditional cable/satellite providers and the Showtime app on mobile, tablet, and connected streaming devices and Smart TVs. Contact your cable/satellite provider or visit www.SHO.com/PPV for information on how to order and view this event via the Showtime app as well as a list of compatible devices. 


(*Card and Start Time Subject To Change.*)


(*Check your local listings Internationally.*)


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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Zhang Makes A Statement With Brutal KO

When it comes to rematches where there was a conclusive outcome in the previous meeting, more often than not, the subject going into the return encounter will be whether it will be repeat or revenge. Often such a subplot is centered on the fighter who was defeated and whether or not they can change the outcome the next time around. Perhaps those of us in the media should start approaching rematches from a slightly new perspective.


A perspective such as whether the fighter who emerged victorious in the previous encounter can produce the same outcome in a rematch being a victory, and could they do so in an even more convincing fashion. When top Heavyweight contender Zhilei Zhang scored a convincing sixth round stoppage of undefeated top contender and former Olympic Gold medalist Joe Joyce earlier this year, it was a convincing stoppage as the effects of the punishment he was able to dish out was such that it caused significant swelling to Joyce's right eye to the point where he could not see, thus forcing the stoppage. Despite the clear victory, Joyce, a fighter known for both his punching power and his ability to absorb punishment, was never knocked off his feet. This in addition to Zhang being the first fighter to defeat Joyce as a professional, fueled demand for a rematch.


A rematch that would take place on September 23rd at the historic Wembley Arena in London, England. As was the case the first time around and perhaps in spite of his dominant performance in April of this year when these two fighters met, Zhang was viewed as a significant underdog. While no one should ever diminish the enthusiasm and fandom of a Boxing fan, it was hard to gloss over what Zhang was able to do in the first fight even though there were some who were of the opinion that Joyce may have been able to turn things around in that fight as it progressed into the middle and late rounds, had it not been for the condition of his eye. It is certainly possible for a fighter to have what this observer often refers to as "A Bad Night At The Office" because fighters, like the rest of us, are only human. For yours truly however, I could not simply dismiss Zhang as a favorite going into the rematch based simply on a "What Might Have Been" possibility. It is also worth noting in taking nothing away from Joyce's reputation, Zhang had a lot of the same attributes going into the first fight including punching power and Olympic pedigree as a former Silver medalist in the 2008 games as a Super Heavyweight.


Nevertheless, with a lot of the buzz going into the rematch centered on Joyce and some merely dismissing what he had done in the first encounter, I was interested to see what Zhang would try to do to attempt to improve on an impressive performance. From the opening bell, it was clear that there was only one fighter in the ring that was prepared in all aspects for the second meeting and that fighter was Zhilei Zhang. 


If one were to ask yours truly to describe Zhang's approach to someone who was only a casual observer of the sport, the best words I could use are"Patient" and "Surgical." Perhaps because he came in twenty pounds heavier than he was in the first fight, Joyce hardly threw any punches, was hesitant and did not appear willing to engage. Zhang simply took his time and took advantage of whatever openings Joyce gave him. Rather than being overly aggressive, which might have been a strategy of Joyce's corner, Zhang simply bided his time. He also was able to do something in the first two rounds that had not been done to Joyce before, he staggered him with both his left and right hands. 


After seeing that Joyce did not want to let his hands go and the reaction his body showed to being hit, my immediate thought was the fight would not last long and that clearly Joyce made a bad decision to invoke a rematch so soon after taking a significant beating five months earlier. No sooner did that thought cross my mind, the fight ended in brutal fashion. Late in the third round, Zhang connected with a perfectly timed right hook to the jaw that sent Joyce down hard face first on the canvas. If Zhilei Zhang's victory in the first fight was convincing, his one punch knockout over a previously iron-chinned Joyce should be viewed as an emphatic statement-making performance in proving that the outcome of the first fight was not a fluke.


While Zhilei Zhang is one step from fighting for a world championship as the WBO's number one Heavyweight contender, this second loss for Joe Joyce should probably serve as a cautionary tale for fighters and more specifically those who are tasked with the responsibility of looking out for the long-term well-being for those fighters to not rush into a rematch even if you might be contractually entitled to one as Joyce was here.


Clearly Joyce was not recovered from what he suffered physically from in the first fight and now there may be cause for concern as to whether he should continue on with his career. There have been countless fighters who have lost back to back fights or even more than that and have been able to rebound throughout the history of Boxing, but when a fighter shows obvious signs of not having punch resistance, nor the ability to throw punches consistently, it is time to seriously consider the fighter's health and what the goal might be for life after Boxing.


"And That's The Boxing Truth."


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Friday, September 22, 2023

Can Joyce Even The Score?

An old saying that any Boxing fan is likely to hear at some point is anything can happen in Boxing and that especially holds true for the Heavyweight division. At this time last year, Joe Joyce was an undefeated Heavyweight contender, who was riding high following the biggest win of his career in becoming the first fighter to stop former Heavyweight world champion Joseph Parker inside the distance. Just as it appeared that Joyce was on the verge of fighting for a world championship within a short time, he ran into a wall that brought his road to a world title to a halt.


The wall came in the form of 6'6 Heavyweight contender Zhilei Zhang. When the two Heated giants met in April of this year, it would be Zhang who would emerge victorious stopping the previously unbeaten "Knockout Artist" Joyce in six rounds. In a rare simple instance in the sport, Joyce exercised his rematch clause, which will take place without much delay or bucket between the two fighters or their camps on Saturday, September 23rd at the historic Wembley Arena in London, England. A rematch that can be seen in the United States on digital subscription sports streaming network ESPN+.


There are two questions that surround this rematch. The first question is one that could be asked in two parts. Is Joyce coming back too soon from a loss where frankly he suffered significant punishment before being stopped and whether there is wisdom in seeking an immediate rematch against Zhang. Question two is one that could be both simple or complex to answer. Will the outcome of the rematch be different than the first fight?


Prior to the first encounter, Joyce had firmly established himself as not only one of the Heavyweight division's feared "Knockout Artists," but as someone with a granite chin. One need look no further than his fight with Joseph Parker nearly one year to the day coincidentally of this rematch with Zhang for an illustration of Joyce's ability to take a punch as Parker regularly connected with hard punches, in particular with his right hand that often landed flush on the jaw and chin of Joyce. Punches that would have ended the night for most Heavyweights that Joyce was somehow able to walk through and keep coming forward. 


One could argue however, that it is that very ability, the ability to take a punch that led to his downfall against Zhang in April. Zang was able to frequently land his left hand and right hook from the southpaw stance throughout the first fight. Although Joyce showed an often granite chin as he had done throughout his career, this was the first time in his career where he would be staggered by an opponent and, despite having some moments throughout and seemingly being able to out throw Zhang, he did not have an answer to avoid what Zhang was throwing at him and to be more specific, he had no way to defend and protect himself against what Zhang was able to land. The effects of the punishment dished out by Zhang became apparent as Joyce's right eye became cut and badly swollen resulting in the fight being stopped in round six.


As this rematch approaches Joyce must show some improvement in his ability to evade punches this time around. It is possible that Joyce's right eye may not be fully healed with only five months between the first fight and the second encounter. With this in mind, it may be likely that Zhang will look to target the right eye of Joyce early on, knowing what damage he was able to cause as well as the narrow period of time Joyce has had to heal from the first fight.


Although Joyce was heavily favored going into fight one, Zhang had only suffered one defeat, a narrow twelve round unanimous decision to Filip Hrgovic in August of last year. A fight that many, including this observer, felt Zhang deserved the decision. Even though it may have been possible that some, including perhaps even Joyce himself, underestimated Zhang back in April, it would be a mistake to write off what occurred the first time these two fighters were in the ring as merely a bad night at the office for Joyce.


Going into fight two, it is Zhang with the theoretical advantages and it is Joyce in the position of trying to avenge the only loss of his professional career. Nevertheless, one of the appeals of the sport of Boxing is indeed anything can happen and with much on the line for both fighters as well as the potential future of the division, this fight is truly must see. Whether Joe Joyce can even the score is a question that will be answered on September 23rd.


"And That's The Boxing Truth." 



Zhang vs. Joyce 2 takes place on Saturday, September 23rd at the Wembley Arena in London, England. The fight can be seen here in the United States on digital subscription sports streaming network ESPN+ beginning at 5PM ET/2PM PT.


ESPN+ is available through the ESPN app on mobile, tablet, and connected streaming devices, and Smart TVs. For more information about ESPN+ including schedules, list of compatible streaming devices, platforms, Smart TVs, and to subscribe please visit: www.ESPNPlus.com


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Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Is Unification Next For Teraji And Gonzalez?

One of the bigger fights that was in the proverbial pipeline for 2023 was to have been a showdown in the 108lb. Light-Flyweight division between unified WBC/WBA world champion Kenshiro Teraji and WBO world champion Jonathan Gonzalez. A unification bout that was set to take place in April of this year. As most Boxing fans however know, Gonzalez was forced to withdraw due to an illness. Rather than waiting on the sidelines for the fight to be put back together, Teraji has shown that the best preparation for a unification bout more often than not, is to remain active.


Despite the cancellation of the fight with Gonzalez, the WBC/WBA champion kept the scheduled date in April and successfully retained his crown with a ninth round stoppage of a very "Game" Anthony Olascuaga. With the showdown with Gonzalez no closer to being made a reality, Teraji returned to the ring on September 18th at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan to defend his unified world championship against former two-division world champion Hekkie Budler, who entered the fight as the WBC's number one contender and the number four contender in the WBA's Light-Flyweight ratings. 


As tends to be the norm in bouts fought in Boxing's lowest weight divisions, the pace of the fight was a fast one fought at a high rate. When this occurs, it usually creates a scenario where both fighters are able to execute their offense well. It also creates a conundrum in terms of scoring as rounds tend to be close. This was a fight that followed that pattern as both fighters had success in landing short, compact combinations on each other. 


As the fight progressed into the middle rounds, Teraji's harder punches and consistent body attack began to become the dominant factor in the contest. Although Budler remained competitive and still attempted to give as much as he took in punishment, the end of the bout culminated with Teraji landing a barrage of unanswered punches that resulted in the fight being stopped late in the ninth round. 


While this accounted to a "Stay Busy" outing for Kenshiro Teraji, he did fulfill his mandatory defense obligations as far as the WBC is concerned and will continue to benefit from being active if a fight against Jonathan Gonzalez does not come to fruition in the near future. Of course, the question coming out of this fight, much as was the case following Teraji's victory over Anthony Olascuaga in April, is will a fight with Gonzalez be next?


Obviously, this observer cannot answer that question, but it should be pointed out that the fight was signed and scheduled to take place before Gonzalez had to withdraw because of an illness. This would seem to suggest that there would not be the usual hurdles that occur in the sport such as promotional issues and the involvement of rival networks to name a few. Whether a unification bout between the two will happen will obviously depend on Gonzalez' health as well as whether or not the three sanctioning organizations involved will have mandated title defenses of their respective world championships due to the time that has passed between when the fight was supposed to take place and where things stand currently as world champions are obligated to fulfill mandatory defenses on an annual basis. 


Whatever the case may be, Boxing's lowest weight divisions will likely continue to benefit from increased exposure thanks to the advent of digital streaming that has allowed weight classes that normally do not get showcased regularly here in the United States to be shown more frequently. With the level of competition consistently high, it should be a benefit to many fighters throughout the lower weight divisions to try and take advantage of the increased exposure. While that is a "Big Picture" perspective, if a fight between Teraji and Gonzalez cannot be made, there should be no shortage of interesting and competitive fights that could be made.


"And That's The Boxing Truth."


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Saturday, September 16, 2023

Lopez-Gonzalez Thoughts

 Mexican Independence Day weekend has traditionally been one of the marquee dates on the Boxing calendar ever year routinely featuring some of the biggest fights in the history of the sport. The 2023 Mexican Independence Day weekend featured a bout for the IBF Featherweight championship of the world between defending champion Luis Lopez and two-time world title challenger Joet Gonzalez, who was getting his third opportunity to win a world championship. A fight that took place at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, TX on September 15th. While many of the previous battles that have taken place during Mexican Independence Day weekend have featured fighters regarded as the marquee attractions in the sport facing off against each other, this fight may not have been regarded as being in that category by some, but it was a solid encounter between two world-class fighters and featured a world champion in Lopez, who’s star has been on the rise.


It was also a fight that featured a sub-plot of whether Joet Gonzalez, a solid top contender could finally get across the finish line to become a world champion after falling short in his previous two attempts. Although some may be critical of the structure in the sport that seemingly makes the path to a world championship easier in the eyes of some, it is still a task that can prove easier said than done, and for some fighters proves to be an ever elusive goal. One thing that Gonzalez did have going for him entering this fight was that he gave a good account of himself in fights against Shakur Stevenson and Emanuel Navvarrete. He had also never been stopped in his career. This would prove to be a test for a world champion in Lopez, who by all accounts seemed to be riding high after scoring a majority decision over Josh Warrington in December of last year to win the IBF world championship and then scoring an impressive knockout win of top contender Michael Conlan earlier this year. Two fights where Lopez fought both men in each’s backyard of the United Kingdom. 


In his second title defense it was interesting to see if Lopez could continue to build on his momentum. What occurred when the two fighters got into the ring could best be described as a tactical Boxing match between two fighters who could do a bit of everything with each fighter having their share of moments in many of the same rounds throughout the twelve round world championship fight. Such a scenario presents a difficult task for those scoring a fight to determine which fighter got the upper hand. 


What stood out to this observer early on was the pressure that Gonzalez put on Lopez in trying to force him back against the ropes. While a consistent pressure attack when executed right can often lead to success for the fighter applying said pressure as a fight progresses, this was a fight where even though Gonzalez was successful in applying the pressure, he had trouble maintaining the champion on the ropes due to Lopez’ ability to move, throw punches at odd angles, and be elusive. Despite having sixteen knockouts in his twenty-eight career wins prior to this fight, Lopez has never struck me as the type of fighter that can end a fight with one punch, but rather one that because of his ability to throw and land punches at varying angles, could stop opponents either by catching them with punches they do not see as they press forward or by gradually administering what would be defined as an accumulation of punishment that eventually breaks his opponents down. In some ways, Lopez’ unorthodox style reminds yours truly of another great Featherweight champion Prince Naseem Hamed, who had one of the most awkward styles I had ever seen, but one that proved to be extremely effective throughout his career. While I would argue that Hamed had more punching power than Lopez, the similarities between the two styles is hard to ignore and much like Hamed, Lopez’ style works well for him. So well that in this fight, there were periods where, despite being pressured constantly by Gonzalez, Lopez would find ways to evade, land combinations, and then try to tie Gonzalez up when he was able to get close.


As the fight progressed into the second half however, it seemed that it was Gonzalez landing the harder punches of the two, despite his face gradually becoming cut and busted up over the course of the bout as a result of punishment dished out by Lopez. Although the fight remained close in my eyes, it was the pressure as well as the hard shots Gonzalez was able to land, particularly with his right hand and also his left hook, that seemed to push him ahead slightly as the fight entered the championship rounds. Entering rounds eleven and twelve, I felt the fight could go either way and I also felt that a decision would be closely scored due again to both fighters having periods of success in the same rounds as well as nether fighter being able to score knockdowns throughout. 


Much as had been the case throughout the entire fight, the last two rounds were closely fought and it become a question of what does one prefer in how they score a fight to determine who would ultimately get the nod. Would it be the consistent pressure and hard punches of Gonzalez over the second half of the fight, or would it be the elusiveness and ability to catch Gonzalez as he came forward, as well as periodically being able to make him miss that Lopez was able to accomplish that would determine who would win the fight?


After a lifetime watching the sport and almost as long covering it, I can say in all truth and honesty that there is not much that surprises me anymore when it comes to scoring of a fight on any level of the sport because, a judge’s criteria in how they score is truly unique based on clean punching, effective aggressiveness, ring generalship, and defense. It is also worth noting that even though a decision may prove to be unanimous in favor of one fighter, each judge has their own viewpoint/criteria based on the aforementioned standard in which Boxing is scored. What I can say is that at the conclusion of twelve rounds, I felt that Joet Gonzalez had done enough to win the fight seven rounds to five or 115-113 in points. While I do stand by my scoring in feeling that Gonzalez’ pressure and harder punches were enough to eek out a decision over the second half of the fight, I also felt that, despite my view, Gonzalez probably would not get the nod from the three official judges, based on how effective Lopez was able to execute his fight plan over the first six rounds. Whether one would call it a “Gut Feeling” or the intuition of a seasoned Boxing scribe, the instinct that even though I felt Gonzalez had done enough to win the fight, but would not get the decision, proved to be accurate as all three judges scored the fight in favor of Lopez giving the champion a successful second defense of his IBF world championship. 


A point of contention that some will perhaps point to however, is that the three judges scored the fight by wide margins in favor of Lopez. 118-110, (Ten rounds to two) 117-111, (Nine rounds to three) and 116-112. (Eight rounds to four) While these scores do not reflect the close action that occurred in the ring between Lopez and Gonzalez, it does boil down to what a judge prefers in their own criteria as well as where they are positioned at ringside that can play a role in how a fight is scored. A;though I felt Gonzalez won this fight by a close margin, I do not feel that the outcome of this bout was controverisal because Lopez did have moments throughout the fight and a fighter’s ability to defend and evade punches is something that also should be taken into consideration in how a fight is ultimately scored. What I will say however, is the stock of Joet Gonzalez in the 126lb. Featherweight division has risen and even though Luis Lopez successfully retained his world championship, there will be some who might feel that it is Gonzaelz who comes out of this fight looking better than the champion. What the outcome of this fight and perhaps the perception of some fans leads to going forward for both fighters remains to be seen. 


“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”



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Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Jukembayev collides with Roldan, Martinez faces Thompson & Waterman battles Hackett for WBA regional title

Press Release September 9, 2023 By ProBox TV - ProBox TV’s popular Wednesday Night Fights series returns next week on September 20. An international four fight card hits the free-to-air platform from Plant City, Florida. 

Credit: ProBox TV 



The evening’s main event will see Kazakhstan’s Batyrzhan Jukembayev (20-1, 16 KOs) collide with Argentina’s Hugo Alberto Roldan (22-1-1, 7 KOs) in the super lightweight division over 10 rounds. Canadian based southpaw, Jukembayev comes off two consecutive knockout victories following a lone career defeat to Subriel Matias. Roldan was last in action against Jose Hugo Acevedo in February winning a WBA regional title by unanimous-decision. 




The chief support sees the return of Guatemalan superstar Lester Martinez (16-0, 14 KOs) in a 10 round duel at super middleweight with the Las Vegas based Lionell Thompson (22-5, 12 KOs). Martinez dispatched of Lucas de Abreu on ProBox TV just two months ago. Thompson’s last fight saw him pick up a points victory over former world title challenger Jose Uzcategui, but has seen a large part of inactivity in his career since. 




The WBA Inter-Continental light heavyweight title will be on the line when Australia’s Clay Waterman (11-0, 8 KOs) clashes with Canada’s Kareem Hackett (11-0, 6 KOs). Someone’s 0 will have to go in the 10 round title fight. Queensland’s Waterman comes off a victorious American debut against the undefeated Kenmon Evans three months ago in Verona. Toronto’s Hackett knocked out Christian Thomas in Los Angeles this past May. 




Ismael Villarreal (12-1, 8 KOs) locks horns with John David Martinez (19-2, 16 KOs) at super welterweight, the bout scheduled for 8 rounds. Villarreal suffered a career lone defeat in his last outing against Ardreal Holmes Jr in Topeka this past February. Martinez is undefeated in eight fights and four years. He comes off a points victory over Francisco Fuentes two months ago. 




The event will be available FREE-TO-AIR worldwide on ProBoxTV.com and on ProBox TV's YouTube.


Material and Photo Courtesy of: ProBox TV Used with permission.


For more information about ProBox TV including schedules, list of compatible streaming devices, platforms, Smart TVs, full event archive and additional programming, and to subscribe please visit: www.ProBoxTV.com



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


Saturday, September 9, 2023

Bellew Says Danis ‘Wouldn’t Make It To The Ring’ If He Insulted His Wife In The Same Way He Is Attacking Agdal

Press Release September 9, 2023 By Liam Solomon/ Bettingsites.co.uk - Logan Paul’s fiancé Nina Agdal is suing Dillon Danis and filing for a restraining order over the abusive trolling Danis is subjecting the Danish model to over social media. Bellew, who is no stranger to trash talk in the build up to a big fight, has condemned Danis for the below-the-belt content the MMA fighter is publishing on social media;


Tony Bellew: “He’s taken it way too far. I’m not going to lie, if someone insults my wife it’s not going to make it to the boxing ring. It would get dealt with literally immediately. It doesn’t matter how many security guards he has with him either, you can’t have someone insulting your wife or fiance. It’s a step too far. I don’t know what prompted him to do that, I have no idea.”



Material Courtesy of; Liam Solomon/ Bettingsites.co.uk Used with permission.



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


Wednesday, September 6, 2023

RADIVOJE KALAJDZIC: REGRETS ‘SLOPPY’ PERFORMANCES AGAINST BETERBIEV AND BROWNE AHEAD OF TRIP TO PLANT CITY

Press Release September 6, 2023 By ProBox TV - 


‘Hot Rod’ Radivoje Kalajdzic (27-2 19 KOs) makes his debut on this week’s edition of Wednesday Night Fights in Plant City, his first appearance of the year as he faces Englishman Mickey Ellison (14-4 5 KOs) over 10 rounds. The two will meet at Light heavyweight as the headline of the evening.


Born in old Yugoslavia, Kalajdzic came to the U.S. when he was 7 years old due to the Bosnian War, settling in St. Petersburg, Florida where he found his love for the sport. “I went to the gym and I fell in love with it” ‘Hot Rod’ declared in an exclusive interview with Probox TV when asked about the influence of boxing in his youth. “My Dad loved watching Mike Tyson, he’s one of my favourite fighters. I grew up watching him.”


Now with over 12 years experience as a professional and high knockout ratio, ‘Hot Rod’ is acquainted with being in the spotlight, fighting on big events over the course of his career. From receiving a controversial split decision against Marcus Browne, to challenging Artur Beterbiev for the IBF World Title, Kalajdzic has earned his stripes and respect as a serious contender through his ascendance in the division.


Despite reaching world level competition, Kalajdzic critiqued himself on his past performances ahead of his showdown this week. “I’m not the same fighter that fought Marcus Browne and [Artur] Beterbiev” affirmed ‘Hot Rod’ “Those fights were sloppy, I was just swinging, you’ll see a whole new ‘Rod', picking my shots, staying calm, and not being wild”


Giving his prediction ahead of time, Kalajdzic concisely confirmed for his Florida fans “Knockout. He comes forward. I come forward. It’s a 10 round fight, a long fight. Someone’s getting knocked out”.


His opponent responded in a similar manner when asked what we should expect ahead of his bout with ‘Hot Rod’; “Blistering” Ellison added “Coming away from home, it gives you that bit of extra spite. I’m not coming to play around, I’m coming here to win”


As the date approaches for the midweek action, one can only expect fireworks as two hungry fighters clash for recognition and ascendancy.



Material Courtesy of: ProBox TV  Used with permission.


For more information about ProBox TV including schedules, list of compatible streaming devices, platforms, Smart TVs, full event archive and additional programming, and to subscribe please visit: www.ProBoxTV.com



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


Tuesday, September 5, 2023

AUSSIE PROSPECT JORDAN LARUCCIA CAPTURES GOLD AT THUNDERDOME 43

Press Release September 5, 2023 By Dragon Fire Boxing - This past Friday as part of the Main Event of Thunderdome 43 at Metro Ciyt in Perth, Western Australia Jordan Larrucia defeated Fano Kori by unanimous decision for the ANBF (Australian Boxing Federation) Australasian Super Welterweight Championship. 

Credit: Mike O'Hara 


The fight was a back-and-forth war with Larrucia cementing himself as one of the rising prospects of the Australian boxing scene.


Jordan Laruccia opened up about the fight;


“I would like to thank so many people, my coach Big Rig (Dayle Phillips), Tony (Tolj), Greeny (Danny Green) in my corner. I really have the best team in the world and I’m always striving to be better.


I had a great camp with Pops (Dayle Phillips) and want to thank all my team mates Jude Grant who won the W.A State Super Welterweight Title, Ryan Daye who had a 28 second KO, Wes Capper and Millad Farzad.


I learnt a lot in there, It was an honour to share the ring with Fano who has so much experience and I will keep training hard and keep improving and be the best I can be.


Promoter Tony Tolj gave his take on the fight;


“The fight was an absolute war of attrition at times, both Jordan and Fano left everything they physically had in that ring. Fano has plenty to give and Jordan has proven he belongs in the elite of the Super Welterweight division in Australia. What’s more remarkable is the fact Jordan hadn’t had 1 amateur boxing fight. He began as a gym cleaner and was asked one day to be a sparring partner because of the guys didn’t show up. Australia is in a boom period now and looking forward to seeing Jordan Laruccia right there in the mix at 24 years old.”


Replays can be seen on Fite.TV (Thunderdome 43)


Material Courtesy of Dragon Fire Boxing/ Photo Courtesy of Mike O'Hara Used with permission.



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