Friday, May 31, 2024

BREAKING: Paul-Tyson Postponed

Press Release: May 31, 2024 By Official Statement on Paul vs. Tyson Event 



The upcoming highly anticipated boxing match between Jake Paul and Mike Tyson will unfortunately be postponed. During a follow up consultation on Thursday with medical professionals on his recent ulcer flare up, the recommendation is for Mike Tyson to do minimal to light training over the next few weeks and then return to full training with no limitations.



Both Mike and Jake are in agreement that it is only fair to ensure that both athletes have equal training time to prepare for this important match and are able to compete at the highest level. The health and well-being of athletes is our top priority, and we fully support Mike in taking the necessary time to allow him to perform at the level he expects of himself.



Mike is expected to return to his full training schedule in the coming weeks and is eager to get back in the ring. MVP anticipates rescheduling the match to later this year at AT&T Stadium, and we look forward to an exciting and well-prepared contest between these two exceptional athletes. The new date of the fight will be announced by next Friday, June 7th. 



“I want to thank my fans around the world for their support and understanding during this time. Unfortunately, due to my ulcer flareup, I have been advised by my doctor to lighten my training for a few weeks to rest and recover,” said Mike Tyson. “My body is in better overall shape than it has been since the 1990s and I will be back to my full training schedule soon. Jake Paul, this may have bought you some time, but in the end you will still be knocked out and out of boxing for good. I appreciate everyone’s patience and can't wait to deliver an unforgettable performance later this year.”



“I fully support postponing the event so Mike Tyson has no excuses come fight night,” said Jake Paul. “My fans know I don’t want to face Iron Mike at anything but his best, but let there be no mistake – when he steps into the ring with me, I will be ready to claim my W with a sensational finish. Paul vs Tyson will be one for the ages, and I promise to bring my best for this once-in-a-lifetime matchup.”



We appreciate your understanding and patience during this time and wish Mike a restful recovery. Previously purchased tickets will be honored for the new date. No action is needed to keep current tickets and current seat locations. Those unable to attend the rescheduled date are eligible for a refund at their original point of purchase. To request a refund, contact SeatGeek at dallascowboys@seatgeek.com with the subject line “Paul vs. Tyson”.



Material Courtesy of:  Most Valuable Promotions  Used with permission.



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












Saturday, May 25, 2024

JAVIER "RAYITO" PEDROZA CLASHES WITH FLOYD DIAZ IN VEGAS JUNE 21ST

 Press Release: May 25, 2024 By Lewis Moss - A modern day Cinderella man story could unfold June 21st when undefeated Top Rank prospect Floyd Diaz takes on Mexico’s 29 year old 12 year fight veteran Javier "Rayito" Pedroza 18-11 at the Fontainebleau Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA June 21st.

 

Credit: Mike O'Hara/Dragon Fire Boxing

Pedroza opened up about his fight preparation, what the fight means to him and a final message.

 

“Preparation has been the best of my life; discipline has always characterized me but this time applying the experience throughout my 12 years as a professional. I was lucky enough to start the year sparring with Jason Moloney for his first title defense against Saul Sanchez, then straight into camp with Jonthan Rodriguez for his WBA Title Eliminator then later with Luis Nery for his Undisputed World title fight in Japan with Inoue.

 

“This fight right now represents a better future for me and my family. I am aware of what Top Rank means in the world of boxing. It is a dream come true that they have given me this opportunity and even more so being in Las Vegas. I want the world to know who I am and I'm ready to show it on June 21”

 

“I would like to thank everyone involved in organizing this fight, my advisor Tony Tolj, Matchmaker Brad Goodman and top rank for the opportunity”.

 

Pedroza delivered a final message ahead of his clash.

 

“Boxing is of times and this is mine, I don't care who you are because I have already faced the best and you are going to know what a true Mexican warrior with hunger is.”

 

Tune in June 21st on ESPN plus for all the action for another night of Top Rank non stop action in the fight capital of the World, Las Vegas.


A modern day Cinderella man story could unfold June 21st when undefeated Top Rank prospect Floyd Diaz takes on Mexico’s 29 year old 12 year fight veteran Javier "Rayito" Pedroza 18-11 at the Fontainebleau Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA June 21st.

 

Pedroza opened up about his fight preparation, what the fight means to him and a final message.

 

“Preparation has been the best of my life; discipline has always characterized me but this time applying the experience throughout my 12 years as a professional. I was lucky enough to start the year sparring with Jason Moloney for his first title defense against Saul Sanchez, then straight into camp with Jonthan Rodriguez for his WBA Title Eliminator then later with Luis Nery for his Undisputed World title fight in Japan with Inoue.

 

“This fight right now represents a better future for me and my family. I am aware of what Top Rank means in the world of boxing. It is a dream come true that they have given me this opportunity and even more so being in Las Vegas. I want the world to know who I am and I'm ready to show it on June 21”

 

“I would like to thank everyone involved in organizing this fight, my advisor Tony Tolj, Matchmaker Brad Goodman and top rank for the opportunity”.

 

Pedroza delivered a final message ahead of his clash.

 

“Boxing is of times and this is mine, I don't care who you are because I have already faced the best and you are going to know what a true Mexican warrior with hunger is.”

 

Tune in June 21st on ESPN plus for all the action for another night of Top Rank non stop action in the fight capital of the World, Las Vegas.



Material Courtesy of: Lewis Moss and Photo Courtesy of: Mike O’Hara/Dragon Fire Boxing  Used with permission.



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












Friday, May 24, 2024

Franklin Stops Vargas In 6 On Big Time Boxing USA



Heavyweight contender Jermaine Franklin continued his winning ways by scoring a sixth round stoppage of veteran Devin Vargas on Thursday night at the Wayne State Fieldhouse in Detroit, MI. A fight where Franklin was able to showcase both his punching power and combination punching, he frequently had Vargas, a former Olympian in the 2004 games in Athans,Greece on the defensive. As has been a trait throughout his career, Vargas was able to withstand much of what Franklin dished out, which more often than not consisted of hard, thudding punches with both hands and did try to make a fight of it in spots throughout. 


The effects of the punishment however, gradually took its toll on Vargas who was knocked down in the fourth round and again in the sixth round. Both knockdowns were from accumulated punishment. Although Vargas was able to get up both times, after the second knockdown in round six where he was able to finish the round, he told his corner that he had, had enough and the bout was stopped at the conclusion of round six. Jermaine Franklin advances to 23-2, with 15 Knockouts. Devin Vargas falls to 22-11, with 9 Knockouts.


 Also on this card:


In a battle of unbeaten Jr. Welterweights Joshua Pagan overcame a bad cut in the opening seconds of the first round over his left eye in the first round as well as consistent pressure from his opponent Roger Hilley to earn a convincing eight round unanimous decision. Official scores were: 78-74 (On all three scorecards) in favor of Pagan. Joshua Pagan advances to 10-0, with 4 Knockouts. Roger Hilley falls to 13-1, with 8 Knockouts.


An encounter between former Middleweight sparring partners saw Josiah Shackleford pound out a four round decision over a very “Game” Ja'shar Banks, who was making his professional debut. Official scores were: 40-36 (On all three scorecards) for Shackleford. Josiah Shackleford advances to 3-1, with 2 Knockouts.  Ja'shar Banks falls to 0-1, with 0 Knockouts. 


In a Super-Middleweigh bout that began the evening, Ali Akhmedov scored the fifth win of his comeback following a loss to Carlos Gongora in December 2020, by scoring a second round knockout of Encarnacion Diaz. Akhmedov spent the first round gradually stalking Diaz and in the second round dropped him with a short left hook to the head. Diaz was able to get up, but moments later was dropped with a barrage of punches highlighted by a right hand to the head. Diaz from his knees nodded his head in resignation and took the full ten count. Official time of the stoppage was 2:14 of round two. Ali Akhmedov advances to 21-1, with 16 Knockouts. Encarnacion Diaz. falls to 18-5, with 11 Knockouts.


This card, which was promoted by former world title challenger and now promoter Dmitry Salita’s Salita Promotions as part of its recently introduced Big Time Boxing USA series broadcast globally by digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN was in many was reminiscent of the classic Tuesday and Thursday night Boxing series, which ran weekly on the USA Network here in the United States in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The series, which took it's final bow in 1998 at the legendary Blue Horizon in Philadelphia, PA has left a void in the sport in the years since its closure. Though ESPN did fill that void for several years through it's Friday Night Fights series, which eventually became seasonal due to the network’s commitments to College Football in the days that predated digital streaming, which seemed to solve the issue of scheduling conflicts while putting more options and control in the hands of the consumer, the need for series like this new Big Time Boxing USA series is still there.


Not only does a series like this allow fighters in various stages of their careers including contenders like Jermaine Franklin the opportunity to stay active, not only an opportunity for increased exposure, but also an opportunity for promoters like Salita to showcase their stable of fighters all while bringing the sport to cities and states big and small, which should open Boxing to new eyes. Something that both USA Network and ESPN accomplished with their respective series. As cable/satellite appears to be on the way out in the traditional way we know it, it is refreshing to see a series like this trying to fill the void in the era of digital streaming. It is something that should be supported.


“And That's The Boxing Truth." 


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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Fury-Usyk: The Wait Was Worth It, But Will Boxing Politics Ruin History?

As this observer reflects on his almost three decades covering Boxing and other combat sports, there are times where I will ponder if an event I covered over that span of time could have been approached from a different angle. It is after all understandable when one writes columns and other forms of content in various mediums day after day, week after week, and yes, year after year, that while one should always stand behind their works and views, much like a film or television director, when one has the benefit to look back years later there may be a feeling that maybe though the work is still good, little tweaks here and there may have made things even better. 


In previewing the encounter between undefeated Heavyweight champions Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk for the Undisputed Heavyweight championship of the world and one where for the first time in Boxing history, all five major sanctioning organizations would have their respective world championships on the line in a single bout, it was appropriate to go back to the 1990’s for a refresher on what led to the eventual unification of three of five world titles in the division for what was the last time a fighter in the division had the label of undisputed champion in November 1999. What was mentioned by yours truly, who covered the crowning of Lennox Lewis nearly twenty-five years ago, but not really delved into due to the length of that column were the various political aspects in the sport that whether right or wrong in terms of policy, almost immediately devalued what at that point took nearly eight years to accomplish from the last time a fighter had recognition in the division as an undisputed champion in 1992.


While the structure of the sport is something that needs to be respected, which includes world champions fulfilling their mandatory defense obligations on an annual basis, a subject that I became very vocal in criticizing Lewis after his victory over Evander Holyfield in the second of their two fights in 1999, and others throughout the sport for not fulfilling their obligations to defend their world titles against a sanctioning organization’s top contender on the aforementioned annual basis, another question that should be asked is are these organizations, who each have their own policies and procedures, not doing enough to ensure that whatever progress is made, like determining an undisputed champion in a given division by way of unification, is not sabotaged?


Some might recall several years ago in a period that predated the global COVID-19 epidemic, the heads of the World Boxing Council (WBC), World Boxing Association (WBA), International Boxing Federation (IBF), and the World Boxing Organization (WBO) established an ongoing dialogue, dubbed “Sanctioning Body Summits" to discuss ongoing issues in the sport with the stated intention of trying to make improvements for the betterment of the sport of Boxing. A step forward that was applauded by this observer who encouraged such dialogues to continue so long as progress continued to be made.


Obviously and in the interest of disclosure with the reader, I as a member of the media did not have access to those closed door meetings and the only information I received was the same information that was made public by the respective organizations whenever such meetings would occur. One subject that if I were in a position to moderate such a meeting however, would concern what should be done under circumstances where there is a unified or undisputed champion in the sport to try and ensure as best as possible that the championships stay unified and hopefully only change hands when a champion is defeated in the ring and not by a decision made by a committee in a boardroom.


The reason yours truly brings all of this up is the sport once again has an Undisputed Heavyweight champion of the world and unfortunately, it seems as though we as a sport are faced with a similar situation as we did in 1999 after Lewis defeated Holyfield. While it was Lewis, who chose to vacate the WBA championship rather than face it's number one contender John Ruiz, which had been agreed on when the WBC, WBA, and IBF established their respective top contenders, which would have to be fulfilled on a rotating basis by the champion, prior to the first bout between Lewis and Holyfield in March 1999, with Ruiz being first in line, before we go further into the subject of what could be done under those circumstances, we need to discuss what happened when the WBC champion Fury met the WBO/WBA/IBF/IBO champion Usyk on May 18th in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh.


With many Boxing legends and celebrities in attendance including Lewis, the Boxing world was treated to a truly memorable occasion, not only because of what was on the line, but because of what happened in the ring. Despite being at a natural size and reach disadvantage, it was the shorter Usyk who initiated the combat in this fight by coming forward, forcing the bigger Fury on the back foot and seemingly getting the better of him by beating him to the punch.


In many cases when there is a significant size and reach disparity between two fighters, it is not uncommon to see the fighter that is seemingly at the physical disadvantage try gradually work their way inside by using head movement, lateral movement, and counter punching to get under the longer reach of the naturally bigger fighter to get on the inside where the terms of combat, at least in theory, would seem more favorable. This was a case where Usyk was able to narrow the gap simply by coming forward and applying pressure on Fury.


Usyk was able to win the first four rounds in my mind with this approach in addition to landing the quicker and seemingly more effective punches. As has become customary in many of Fury’s fights, he spent a lot of time doing this period of the fight choosing to showboat, frequently dropping his hands and taunting Usyk, most notably when he was in a corner. 


While clearly this was an attempt to bait Usyk into making a mistake and though there are probably some that found Fury's antics entertaining, the reality is the only thing it did for Fury was waste time and seemingly create a deficit on the scorecards for him to overcome. It was also to put it politely, not a smart approach one should take in the biggest fight of their career. Fury is not the first fighter to make such a miscalculation, and despite the evidence of it being the wrong approach more often than not, will likely not be the last. 


It would be between rounds five and eight that Fury became serious and was able to keep Usyk at distance with his longer reach as well as by getting his punches off first. This not only seemed to narrow the gap on the scorecards, but also created a significant hurdle for Usyk to try to overcome. Despite the clear shift in momentum at this stage of the fight, one thing that impressed me about Usyk was even though he took his share of punches from Fury and showed he could take the bigger fighter’s punch, he also deflected a good portion of Fury's offense by keeping his guard high. While this made him more vulnerable to body shots, which some believe to be a potential weakness for Usyk after being hurt to the body in his previous bout against to contender Daniel Dubios in August of last year, it was an effective strategy. To Usyk's credit, though he appeared to be hurt by hooks to the body in this fight as well at points throughout the fight, he was able to withstand it and kept coming forward. 


Despite the success he seemed to have in the middle rounds, it was also during this period of the bout that Fury appeared to suffer a broken nose. Although yours truly cannot say with certainty what punch may have caused the damage, I believe it may have come in an exchange of punches where Usyk was able to get the better of it. What is indisputable is the blood that began to flow from Fury's nose was a clear indication that it may have indeed been broken, not only due to the flow of blood, but also the fact that almost immediately after it happened, Fury began pawing at his nose every couple of seconds, which not only usually indicates a broken nose in some way, but also the possibility that the blood flow might be making it difficult for the fighter on the receiving end to breathe. 


Upon seeing the frequency in which Fury was pawing at his nose as well as the flow of blood, I wondered aloud as I was watching the fight, whether it would be stopped due to my having covered numerous instances over the years where bouts had been stopped due to various types of nose breaks including those that were seemingly not as obvious due to lack of blood flow coming from the nose. Although the fight would not be stopped because of the obvious injury to Fury's nose, it did cause the ebb and flow to shift back in Usyk's favor. 


This would set the stage for what would be a dramatic ninth round. For it would be late in the round that Usyk would connect with a flush left hook to the head of Fury, which badly staggered him. What would follow would be an assault of unanswered punches that would have Fury badly hurt, almost defenseless, and barely staying on his feet. Finally, Referee Mark Nelson stepped in and ruled a knockdown against Fury as the ropes prevented him from going down under the barrage of punishment. Frankly, under most circumstances like this where a fighter is badly staggered and taking unanswered blows to the degree that Fury was at this stage, the fight is usually stopped.


While Fury benefited from an experienced referee in Nelson making a split second judgment call to step in and rule a knockdown rather than stepping in and stop the fight, a different referee under the same circumstances, who is more cautious of the dangers that come with combat sports in terms of the risk for potential long-term injury or God forbid worse, would have likely stopped the fight. Some may view Nelson's call as controversial, but what a fan should keep in mind is a referee’s primary responsibility is the safety of the fighters, but also the need to make split second decisions under circumstances like this, regardless of what might be on the line in a fight. Mark Nelson is a world-class referee that has officiated many bouts on every level of the sport. Though only he can say what his thought process was, one could assume that he relied on not only his own experience as a referee, but also the knowledge that when put under similar circumstances in his career, Fury has been able to get off the canvas and recover. Thus, and fortunately for Fury, he was given the benefit of the doubt.


The knockdown and judgment call by Nelson however, would nonetheless prove to be the crucial deciding factor in the fight. As he had done several times throughout his career, Fury was able to recover and in the final three rounds of the twelve round world championship bout, was able to make those rounds close and competitive. Unfortunately for Fury, he was unable to score a knockdown of his own, which would have narrowed the impact of the knockdown in the ninth round, resulting in Usyk winning the fight and becoming the Undisputed Heavyweight champion of the world via split decision at the conclusion of the bout, with the deciding scorecard being determined by a single point in Usyk’s favor. If Usyk did not score the knockdown in the ninth round, this fight would have ended the same way the first bout between Holyfield and Lewis did in March 1999, in a draw.


With the win, Olekdsndr Usyk puts his stamp on what will be a Hall of Fame career by not only becoming the first fully undisputed champion in Heavyweight history, but also because he also successfully fully unified the Cruiserweight division prior to moving up to Heavyweight, he is the only fighter in Boxing history to have successfully unified both divisions. Now comes the difficult question of what comes next. 


There was a preordained rematch clause for this fight, which would give Fury now an opportunity to try to become a three-time world champion if he wants to invoke it. The problem in terms of what is for the time being the undisputed championship is the IBF has mandated that its top contender, the undefeated Filip Hrgovic, is due for his shot at the title. Hrgovic is due to face former world title challenger Daniel Dubois on June 1st in Saudi Arabia.


Whether Usyk will ask for an extension, assuming that the rematch in Fury has already been confirmed and scheduled or, will agree to face the winner of the Hrgovic-Dubois bout next, assuming Fury wants more time to both recover and decide what he wants to do, is unknown as of this writing. The possibility of Hrgovic-Dubois being the the vacant IBF world championship is very real now if the IBF decides to strip Usyk of it's world title and thus would write a different type of chapter in Boxing history. 


It would mark the shortest period of time that a world championship in any division in the sport was fully unified before a title was stripped by a sanctioning organization from the champion and thus breaking the undisputed distinction. Two weeks…


While it is and should be viewed as a reflection of a sport that more often than not chooses to get in its own way that a possibility like that would even be on the table, it is also the definition of a conundrum and also a potential legal mess. On one hand, the standards of the sport need to and should be respected. World champions should fulfill their obligations. On the other hand, one might question and probably should, why an organization, in this case the IBF, would agree to sanction a fight for an undisputed championship if they were potentially planning to strip whomever the winner was without fourteen days of another bout where its top contender would be competing. Furthermore, why would they agree to sanction the bout knowing that there is a rematch clause of the bout that determined an undisputed champion, if it is indeed their intent to strip their world title from the champion?


Although I often refer to these types of situations and others involving the business side of the sport as “Just Another Day In Boxing Paradise," it is often situations like this which keeps Boxing as a constant subject of ridicule. At minimum, the parties involved here should have a mediation and if a compromise cannot be reached, which would allow Usyk to keep his undisputed championship and for the winner of Hrgovic-Dubois to get their opportunity, I personally cannot see a scenario that would not end up in litigation, which would be costly for all parties involved. A true mess.


While this may be all speculation and Fury might take more time, which would allow Usyk the time to fulfill his obligation and face the winner of Hrgovic-Dubois before the end of 2024 or perhaps early 2025, what could be done to prevent a situation like this in the future? If the dialogue between the sanctioning organizations is still ongoing, this should be priority number one at the next meeting. Though yours truly is not involved, I did come up with a possible idea that could be polished and refined by those who are involved.


Some may recall that prior to 1995 when the unified rules were adopted by the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC), rules for a given bout were either left to individual state commissions/regulatory boards, and in the case of world title fights, a combination of rules from the various sanctioning organizations involved if it was a bout for a unified or undisputed championship. The adoption of a universal standard of rules, which has in the near three decades since it was introduced, also been implemented by various regulatory boards around the world, cleared up confusion  and has become the standard of how fights are regulated in terms of rules. Perhaps one of these “Summits" of the sanctioning organizations should be used to come up with some sort of consolidation of each respective organization’s procedures/policies as well as potentially a consolidation of rankings structure to be used only in a circumstance where there is an undisputed champion in a given division to try and ensure as best as possible that a championship stays unified as well as ensuring that fighters who earn opportunities to fight for a world title get their opportunity rather than fighting for a vacant title and then having their legitimacy as a world champion questioned and in some cases, not recognized by certain entities involved in the sport including various television networks and some in the media.


For now, this is only an idea from yours truly, but clearly something needs to be done. History should not be temporary and if these sanctioning organizations are truly interested in doing things for the betterment of the sport, it's time to prove it, rather than continuing to put the fighters involved and the sport as a whole in a “No-Win Situation." Boxing deserves better and so do the fighters.


“And That's The Boxing Truth." 


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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

INDIA’S NUMBER ONE BOXER & WBC ASIA TITLE HOLDER NEERAJ GOYAT MAKES MVP DEBUT ON PAUL-TYSON CARD JULY 20 ON NETFLIX

Press Release: May 22, 2024 By Netflix And Most Valuable Promotions -

Goyat vs. Nunes, a professional 6 round super middleweight bout, joins Sylve vs. Schofield and Chavez Jr. vs. Till on the Paul vs. Tyson and Taylor vs. Serrano 2 undercard 


 


Netflix and Most Valuable Promotions (MVP) today announced that India’s number one boxer and MVP’s first international signee, Neeraj Goyat (18-4-2, 8 KOs), will make his MVP debut against Brazil’s multi-talented superstar Whindersson Nunes, who holds a cumulative 2-2-1 record in his boxing career with 1 KO, in a professional 6 round super middleweight bout contested at 165 lbs on Saturday, July 20. Goyat vs. Nunes is the latest must-see global fight on the event’s decorated global card, headlined by The Problem Child, Jake “El Gallo de Dorado” Paul vs. The Baddest Man on the Planet Mike Tyson in the 8 round heavyweight main event, and the most anticipated women’s boxing rematch in history between Katie Taylor and Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano in the co-main event, a 10x2 undisputed super lightweight world title fight. Paul vs. Tyson will stream live globally, exclusively on Netflix from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. Tickets for the event are on sale now at seatgeek.comand have broken records already for the highest gate of any boxing or MMA event in Texas’ history, a testament to just how big this event is.



Goyat, one of the most viral boxers in the sport, vs. Brazil’s multi-talented star, Nunes is in addition to the recently announced 10 round lightweight battle between MVP’s undefeated young phenom H2O Sylve (11-0, 9 KOs) vs. fellow undefeated top prospect Floyd “Kid Austin” Schofield (17-0, 12 KOs) in a clash of two of boxing’s best prospects. Also on the undercard will be the 6 round 190 lb. cruiserweight bout between veteran Mexican cruiserweight and former WBC middleweight world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (53-6-1, 34 KOs) and UK UFC star Darren Till in Till’s professional boxing debut following his tremendous UFC career, which garnered the fighter 18 wins inside the cage, including 10 knockouts and 2 wins by submission. 


 


Goyat, born in Begampur, Karnal, Haryana, India, began his amateur boxing career in 2006 while attending the Army Sports Institute and quickly began his rise to the top, winning gold in 2008 in the Youth National Tournament. Goyat is a three-time WBC Asia title holder in 2015, 2016, and 2017, was named “Honorary Boxer of the Year” in 2017 by WBC Asia, and was the first Indian boxer ever to make the WBC World Rankings. Goyat was hurt in a car accident in 2019, which postponed a mega fight in the works against Amir Khan, but has since resumed fighting and continues his hunt for greatness. In spring 2024, he surged to the forefront of fighter attention worldwide via his viral social media campaign to fight MVP co-founder and international superstar Jake Paul, which culminated with Goyat traveling to San Juan, Puerto Rico to face off with Paul in person, ultimately signing to MVP. Goyat’s callout and subsequent faceoff set off a seismic wave of engagement across social media, garnering well over 150M views on his social media alone. Goyat will now make his MVP debut on Saturday, July 20 against Nunes. He trains under Kuldeep Keepa.


 


"I couldn't be more excited to make my MVP debut on what promises to be the biggest boxing event in history,” said Neeraj Goyat. “With millions of fans back home in India watching my every move, I'm not just fighting for myself; I'm fighting to make history and make my country proud. Thank you to Nakisa and the entire MVP team and of course Netflix for this opportunity to shine on the biggest stage imaginable. I hope all Indians around the world tune in for this historic event.“


 


Whindersson Nunes, a Brazilian icon and social media superstar, boasts a cumulative 2-2-1 record in his boxing career, with 1 KO. Known for his charismatic presence both inside and outside the ring, Nunes has faced notable opponents, including his 2022 bout against legendary world champion Acelino “Pop├│” Freitas, which went the distance over 8 rounds and resulted in a draw for the fighters. With a massive following of over 100 million across social platforms, including 59.5 million on Instagram and 44.6 million on YouTube, Nunes is a formidable figure in the digital world. For his upcoming fight, he is sharpening his skills under the guidance of coaches Diego Rodrigues and Caio Franco, and is training alongside Olympic medalist and professional boxing standout Esquiva Falcao, promising his best performance yet. 


 


"I grew up watching big names in boxing, so having the opportunity to be part of this card and challenge myself in this sport is an honor,” said Whindersson Nunes. “As I've said on other occasions, boxing is more than just a fight: it's an art that requires a lot of technique, timing and strategy. I have been preparing myself daily with my coaches to present my best version of a fighter in Texas and, once again, defend and make my country proud."



“By featuring two more international stars in Neeraj Goyat and Whindersson Nunes, alongside the rest of our historic card, we're strategically supplementing Paul vs. Tyson and Taylor vs. Serrano 2 to drive patriotic engagement with the event from two of the biggest countries in the world,” said Nakisa Bidarian and Jake Paul, co-founders of Most Valuable Promotions. “Neeraj Goyat is arguably the greatest Indian boxer of all time and he will now have the opportunity to represent India as a part of one of the biggest boxing events of all time. Whindersson Nunes is returning to the ring against a much more experienced boxer and it shows what a Brazilian badass he is, ready to take on the challenge – you have to respect that. These two fighters are viral content machines and boast incredibly loyal supporters and massive reach across India and Brazil. This isn't just about the thrilling matchups; it's about uniting fans from around the world for an unforgettable experience and to grow the sport of boxing."



Additional information, including further undercard bouts, will be announced at a later date. Tickets are on sale now at seatgeek.com. 


 


About Most Valuable Promotions (MVP)


Most Valuable Promotions was founded by Jake Paul and Nakisa Bidarian in 2021. With the mission to provide more creative control to fighters, MVP works to identify, grow, and maximize return for its own events and talent partners. Since inception MVP has consistently produced the biggest combat sports pay-per-view events. One year into its inception, MVP was nominated as one of the prestigious Sports Breakthroughs of the Year in 2022 by Sports Business Journal. The company signed one of the most decorated Hispanic athletes of all time, Amanda Serrano in its first year. Serrano and MVP made history in April of 2022 when Serrano went head to head with Katie Taylor, marking the first female fight to headline at Madison Square Garden, recently earning a nomination for Event of The Year by Sports Business Journal. Co-founder Nakisa Bidarian was an executive producer of the historic Triller Presents Mike Tyson v. Roy Jones Jr., which is the 8th most bought pay-per-view event in history.


 


About Netflix


Netflix is one of the world's leading entertainment services, with 270 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, films and games across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can play, pause and resume watching as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, and can change their plans at any time.


 


About AT&T Stadium


AT&T Stadium is the largest, most technologically advanced entertainment venue in the world. Designed by HKS and built by Manhattan Construction, the $1.2 billion stadium features two monumental arches, the world's largest HDTV video board cluster, an expansive retractable roof and the largest retractable end zone doors in the world. Features of the stadium include seating for 80,000 and expandability for up to 100,000, over 300 luxury suites, club seating on multiple levels and the Dallas Cowboys Pro Shop, open to the public year-round. Outside the stadium, the Miller Lite® House is a branded destination that boasts a 70-yard Cowboys turf field featuring field games, four video boards and over 60 television screens, two fantasy football screen walls and over 87,000 outdoor square-footage for event day experiences. The space also features two beer gardens and a walk-in beer cooler. The stadium is also home to a world-class collection of contemporary art, made up of over 92 works of art by 62 established and emerging artists displayed on the walls and in the grand public spaces of the venue. In addition to being the home of the Dallas Cowboys since opening in 2009, the stadium has hosted Super Bowl XLV, the 2010 NBA All Star Game, the annual Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, the 2014 NCAA Men's Final Four, the 2015 inaugural College Football Playoff Championship Game, the 2015 50th Anniversary Academy of Country Music Awards show and WrestleMania 32 & 38. The venue has also played host to high school and college football, concerts, championship fights, international soccer matches and other special events. For more information, go to attstadium.com.


Material Courtesy of: Netflix and Most Valuable Promotions Used with permission.



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Friday, May 17, 2024

Fury-Usyk: Will The Wait Be Worth It?

In March 1999, Heavyweight champions Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis met in Madison Square Garden to unify three portions of the World Heavyweight championship. While there was the absence of the World Boxing Organization’s (WBO) championship at the time, the bout was viewed as being for the Undisputed Heavyweight championship of the world as the crowns of the World Boxing Council (WBC), the World Boxing Association (WBA), and the International Boxing Federation (IBF) the three oldest sanctioning organizations in the sport, and who were the only organizations in existence the last time the World Heavyweight championship had been fully unified in 1987, were on the line. The magnitude of the event, which was also heavily promoted, being in Madison Square Garden before a massive crowd was something that also made the occasion seem special.


It did signal, or at least seemed to signal what had been a decade of political mess in the Heavyweight division. A decade, which began with Mike Tyson at the helm as the undisputed champion before losing his crown to James “Buster" Douglas in February 1990, before Douglas himself was dethroned by Evander Holyfield in October of that year, which signaled what seemed to be the beginning of a new era for the division. Two years after winning the undisputed title however, Holyfield was beaten by Riddick Bowe in November of 1992 in the first fight of what became one of the most memorable trilogies in Heavyweight history. 


Some may recall shortly after Bowe beat Holyfield in 1992, the politics of the sport reared its head when the champion, who was contractually obligated to defend his title against Lennox Lewis, who at the time was an unbeaten number one contender recognized by the WBC, refused to honor his commitment and disgracefully threw the WBC championship in a trash can in public. There may be no one in Boxing who has more frequently and objectively pointed out the flaws of the various sanctioning organizations and the politics that be in the sport more than this observer over the many years I have covered the sport. Nevertheless, Bowe’s actions, disgraceful as it was in disrespecting both the label of “Heavyweight Champion Of The World," as well as the sport by doing that set in motion several years of several fighters holding claim to world titles, partial unification bouts, and yes more fighters being stripped of their titles for among other things refusing to honor their obligations in defending their titles against mandatory challengers.


In that sense, I really wanted to believe that Holyfield-Lewis would signal a return to normalcy in the division that hopefully would follow in the sport’s other divisions as well. Unfortunately, that night, March 13, 1999 will forever be remembered for a controversial decision in a fight that most, including this observer, felt that Lewis dominated, was shockingly declared a draw at the conclusion of the twelve round bout. As most know, there would be a rematch in November of that year, and despite the second encounter between the two being more competitive, Lewis would emerge victorious in successfully unifying three of four world titles in the division and gaining with it, undisputed status. 


Though it would have appeared that there was conclusion to the mess, almost immediately after defeating Holyfield in the second fight, Lewis was stripped of the WBA version of the World Heavyweight championship for refusing to fulfill his mandatory defense obligation in fighting then WBA number one contender John Ruiz, and though there have been several unification bouts in the years since where several fighters have been able to hold unified portions of the championship amongst Boxing's five world sanctioning organizations, there has not been a recognized undisputed world champion in the division in nearly twenty-five years. 


On May 18th, the Boxing world will focus on Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where undefeated Heavyweight champions Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk will finally meet for the Undisputed Heavyweight championship of the world. A bout that will truly be “Undisputed” as it will be the first time in history that all five world organizations’ respective world championships will be on the line and can be seen on DAZN Pay-Per-View.  As there always seems to be in Boxing, the road to this encounter has not been straightforward. For there was what turned out to be an ill-advised non-title bout between the WBC champion Fury and former UFC Heavyweight world champion Francis Ngannou. A fight where despite the significant experience advantage of the boxer Fury over the MMA fighter Ngannou, Fury showed up to that fight, in the same location as this fight will take place, out of shape and treating the bout very lightly. The mentality nearly cost Fury his unbeaten record in a fight that proved to be more competitive where he was knocked down by Ngannou, Fury emerged with a ten round split decision victory in a fight that many observers, including this one, felt he lost. 


While it was tempting to say the decision in that fight may had been influenced by the fact that this fight had been signed for February of this year prior to Fury's bout with Ngannou, the two-time world champion Fury did a disservice both to himself and arguably the sport in the way he approached that fight. As for the scheduled February date for Fury-Usyk, obviously by virtue of the title of this column, it was postponed due to Fury suffering a deep gash over the right eye, which was a result of an accidental elbow during a sparring session in preparation for the bout. 


Although accidents like a fighter suffering a cut in sparring are not new in combat sports, one might question Fury's condition going into this fight now three months later from the original date. Furthermore, despite the significance of the bout and everything in the Heavyweight division being on the line, Fury did not leave the best impression coming out of a fight against a Boxing novice in Ngannou, which because of both his overall experience level and standing in the sport, he was expected to outclass Ngannou.


Fury will have a height advantage of nearly seven inches over the 6’3 Oleksandr Usyk and is the natural Heavyweight in facing the former Undisputed Cruiserweight world champion. It is logical to think that Fury, who tends to have weight fluctuations between fights and weighed-in at nearly 278lbs. for his fight with Ngannou, will try to come in with a significant weight advantage over the unified WBO/IBF/IBO/WBA world champion Usyk and look to put that weight on the shorter fighter as the fight progresses. 


The interesting aspect about this fight that I personally cannot distinguish an edge between the two having covered both throughout their careers, beyond the natural height and size advantage Fury has is who will have the edge at least on paper in terms of the approach. Both fighters are known for their ability to be elusive, both are highly skilled boxers, can at times be awkward, and both can get an opponent out of there if given the opportunity. 


If Usyk, who has not had the easiest time dealing with some opponents since he became a Heavyweight in October 2019, can deal with the size disadvantages that he will have in front of him, he might have a slight edge when it comes to hand speed. Though it is logical to think he will try to target the right eye of Fury to in theory gain a further advantage, the answer as to who might win this fight might be determined by whether Usyk will be able to avoid Fury's weight being put on him and whether he will be able to take Fury's punching power. Despite the fact that Tyson Fury has been knocked down several times throughout his career, conventional wisdom suggests that Usyk's best chance to win this fight will be to try and out box Fury to win a decision. Of course, this is under the assumption that the right eye of Fury will not become a factor over the course of the fight. 


As historic as this fight is, the various political elements that be in the sport may also play a role in determining just how long there is one fully undisputed world champion in the Heavyweight division, assuming a winner is determined between Fury and Usyk and the fight is not declared a draw. This is due to there being an immediate rematch clause for this fight being in place and the International Boxing Federation already announcing that the winner of this fight must face it's number one contender in the unbeaten Filip Hrgovic following this fight or they will be stripped of the IBF crown, which would obviously break up the Undisputed Heavyweight championship of the world if that were to happen. 


While there is also the possibility that a rematch clause will not be exercised by the losing party in this fight, there will likely be much more to say and follow coming out of this regardless of the outcome. As this observer prepares to cover his third fight that will hopefully unify the Heavyweight division and the fourth time an Undisputed Heavyweight champion of the world has been determined by way of unification in my lifetime, I sincerely hope it will not take another twenty-five years before there is one full undisputed champion in the division and the holder of that crown will be determined in the ring and not by contracts and/or failing to meet one's obligations to defend against mandatory challengers. At some point progress is only as good as long as it lasts long-term and Boxing is no exception to that principle. 


“And That's The Boxing Truth.”


Fury vs. Usyk for the Undisputed Heavyweight championship of the world takes place on Saturday, May 18th at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The fight as well as its full undercard can be seen on a pay-per-view basis globally on DAZN Pay-Per-View beginning at 10AM ET/ 7AM PT for $69.99. For more information on this pay-per-view event, including pricing in your country, local start times in your area, and to subscribe to DAZN please visit: www.DAZN.com


(*Price listed above United States and Canada Only.* *Card and Start Times Subject To Change.*)


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Monday, May 13, 2024

Lomachenko Is Back

Three-division world champion Vasyl Lomachenko has had a career most fighters can only dream of. A two-time Olympic Gold medalist representing Ukraine, who had nearly four hundred wins as an amateur with only one defeat, Lomachenko arguably achieved Hall of Famer status long before he turned professional. Since turning pro in October 2013, Lomachenko quickly ascended to become a world champion taking only three professional fights to accomplish a goal that for some fighters, takes an entire career, if at all.


Despite three setbacks as a pro, two of which are the subject of much debate, Lomachenko has remained one of the best fighters in the entire sport. It was the most recent setback, a controversial twelve round unanimous decision to then undefeated Undisputed Lightweight world champion Devin Haney in May of last year, a fight that many, including this observer felt he won, put his career in doubt.


In doubt not because of eroding skills and/or the impacts/effects of injuries, which accumulate and come with the territory of a long career in the sport, but because of the effect the loss to Haney had on him emotionally. While it goes without saying any setback does have an effect on one, not only in regard to athletic competition, but in life, Lomachenko took the loss hard and let his emotions out after the fight in the dressing room. If nothing else, it should serve as a reminder to any would be critics, both of the armchair and of the online variety, fighters like the rest of us are human and everyone should be able to comprehend one taking a loss hadd, especially in regard to a bout where the consensus view tended to differ with the official judges.


Although no one disputes that it was a close, and competitive fight between Haney and Lomachenko though the outcome will likely remain a subject of debate for years to come, it would be understandable to wonder both if Lomachenko could rebound from such a disappointment as well as if he even wanted to after feeling like the victim of injustice in a decision that he felt should have gone his way. The one thing that Lomachenko could take solace in is the fact that he was by far not the first fighter to suffer a loss as a result of a disputed decision on the scorecards and he certainly will not be the last.


With Haney having moved out of the 135lb. Lightweight division and successfully winning a world championship in the Jr. Welterweight division in December of last year, the Undisputed Lightweight championship of the world is no longer undisputed and the four world championships that Haney held became vacant. This opened up an opportunity for Lomachenko to return to the ring on May 11th as he faced two-time Lightweight world champion and fellow former Haney opponent George Kambosos at the RAC Arena in Perth, Australia.


Along with Kambosos’ International Boxing Organization (IBO) Lightweight world championship being on the line in his first defense of that title, which was not involved in the consolidation of world championships that made up the last Undisputed Lightweight crown, the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) world championship was also on the line. Kambosos as some might recall briefly held the Undisputed Lightweight crown after defeating Teofimo Lopez in 2021 before losing the title to Devin Haney and failing to regain the title in an immediate rematch.


In his last fight, Kambosos scored a controversial twelve round majority decision over IBO world champion Maxi Hughes in July of last year. Kambosos, somewhat unfairly, has been labeled as a fighter who won a big fight, but has failed in subsequent opportunities at the elite level of the sport. What one cannot take away from him however, is his status as a two-time world champion and in some ways, his career is similar to several other fighters who had become world champion, but who’s reigns were short. Nevertheless, Kambosos is a world-class boxer and the question was whether or not he was either catching Lomachenko on the decline, if nothing else, emotionally, and if he could match up with Lomachenko’s skillset, which is regarded as among the best in the entire sport. 


In many ways this fight was a demonstration of one fighter’s skills and another's bravery. It could also be summed up as “Classic Lomachenko." 


From the opening bell, Lomachenko used his trademark lateral movement and ability to attack at varying angles to get the upper hand. While George Kambosos was able to have moments periodically throughout the fight, particularly when he was able to land punches to Lomachenko's body, he was simply a step slower than the challenger, who frequently beat him to the punch with three and four punch combinations.


It did not take long for the story of the fight to emerge. One fighter teaching what amounted to a masterclass in terms of technique and overall Boxing skill, the other gradually suffering the effects of a beating, but never stopping to try and find one punch that would turn the ebb and flow in his favor. Unfortunately for the champion, he did not have one punch with the kind of power behind it that could cause a sudden shift in momentum, nor was he able to mount a sustained attack on Lomachenko, which may have helped in slowing the flow of the fight down, if not also make a difference on the scorecards in terms of winning rounds.


Further troubling for Kambosos beyond facing a fighter with seemingly limitless energy, as well as having no way to slow the pace, by the middle rounds, the champion was also badly cut on his right eyelid, but it would be unclear as to whether the cut came from a punch or from an accidental clash of heads. At this point in the fight as I continued to watch Lomachenko put round after round in the bank, the only question in my mind was whether or not Kambosos would be able to go the distance.


Although no one can take anything away from what was a gutsy and very “Game" performance by Kambosos, there is no dispute that over the course of the fight, Lomachenko was administering a beating, and I have seen countless fights on every level of Boxing imaginable, stopped under circumstances less than what Kambosos was suffering in this fight. What was developing into gradual concern of yours truly in wondering if the fight would be stopped,would turn out to be academic.


It would be late in the eleventh round when Lomachenko would connect with what appeared to be a right hook to the body from the southpaw stance, which caused a momentary delayed reaction, and caused Kambosos to take a knee. Looking beaten, Kambosos showed his mettle by getting up from the knockdown only to be met with a follow up assault by Lomachenko sending him down for a second time as a towel thrown by Kambosos’ father George Kambosos Sr. was thrown in simultaneously to stop the fight.


The win for Lomachenko not only signifies his fourth world championship in three weight divisions as a professional, but also gives him status as a unified world champion in the Lightweight division and no doubt will offer a significant incentive to other world champions in the division to sign to fight him. One thing is clear, Vasyl Lomachenko has for the moment silenced doubters as to how much he has left in him at this stage of his career. He’s back and after this performance, may be viewed as even more dangerous than he was before as the road to Undisputed begins again in the Lightweight division.


“And That's The Boxing Truth." 


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Wednesday, May 8, 2024

BREAKING: BYB Extreme Bare Knuckle Fighting Series Acquires UK-Based BKBTM

Press Release: May 8, 2024 By BYB Extreme Bareknuckle Fighting Series - -

The groundbreaking US bare knuckle organization based out of Miami, Florida has acquired the 

oldest, active bare knuckle company in the world, making BYB the largest company in terms of 

roster, library and global reach in the bare knuckle space. 



Miami, Florida – BYB Extreme Bare Knuckle Fighting Series Owner and President Mike Vazquez

announced today that the company has acquired London-based BKB, the world’s first professional bare 

knuckle boxing promotion, who has successfully promoted forty bare knuckle events which are broadcast 

in over thirty-five different countries with millions of fans and viewers worldwide.


As bare knuckle continues to grow in popularity, and sponsorship of live programming in sports remain at 

a premium, John Bryan, a pioneering leader with expertise in media distribution and with more than 20 

years working at MGM, Disney and Warner Brothers and who is leading BYB’s broadcast and streaming 

partnership efforts, notes: 

“The future is now. Major consumer brands and mainstream broadcasters and streaming 

services are quickly recognizing the untapped value of bare knuckle fighting and its 

inevitable impact on the market. BYB pioneered the sport and, having put together a 

sustainable roadmap for both the organization and the sport’s international growth, BYB 

has just accelerated this entire process by instantly increasing not only its live show output, 

but also its sponsored content library.” 



Formed in 2015 by Jim Freeman and Joe Smith-Brown, BKB regularly sells out the Liverpool Echo Arena 

and London’s Indigo at the O2, has hosted international fights in Phuket, Thailand, boasts a roster of over 

175 international fighters - including some of the best bare knuckle fighters in the world including Ireland’s 

Jimmy Sweeney, Croatia’s Marko Martinjak and Wales’ Barrie Jones and Dan Chapman, and was the 

first bare knuckle company in the world to professionalize the sport in the modern era.



Both Freeman and Smith-Brown will stay with BYB in an executive capacity, as Freeman will continue to 

handle day-to-day operations for BYB in Europe, and Smith-Brown will also stay on with BYB to oversee 

continued European expansion.



Material Courtesy of BYB Extreme Bareknuckle Fighting Series Used with permission.


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












Sunday, May 5, 2024

Alvarez-Munguia Thoughts

Recent times in the sport of Boxing have been to some it up in a word, “Strange.” Strange in the sense that what has gone on prior to a scheduled bout outside the ring, has turned out to mean as much or more than the fights themselves when they finally take place inside the ring. By now, we are all familiar with the erratic behavior of one Ryan Garcia that occurred before and after his victory over Devin Haney on April 20th, which has taken yet another turn when it was revealed that the fighter, who had scored an impressive twelve round majority decision over Haney in Brooklyn, NY at the Barclays Center, tested positive for banned substances before and after the fight in tests conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Dopping Agency (VADA), which regularly oversees such procedures in combat sports. While the circumstances of Garcia will continue to play out for better or worse, which this observer stands by his previous comments before and after his bout with Haney, the Boxing world focused on what I personally believe to be one of the better fights that had been made thus far on the 2024 schedule when Undisputed Super-Middleweight world champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez made his sixth title defense against the dangerous undefeated top contender and former WBO Jr. Middleweight world champion Jaime Munguia on May 4th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.


As much as I would like to tell the reader, both those who are knowledgable of the sport and follow both the fights themselves as well as the coverage yours truly has provided for nearly three decades, that the story of this encounter was simply one between two of the top stars in the sport meeting for the Undisputed Super-Middleweight championship of the world as the latest attraction for the sport during Cinco de Mayo weekend, unfortunately there is more to the story, that took place in the days prior to the fight. In the interest of honesty with the reader, in light of recent events in the sport like the one mentioned above that had taken place previously, I would prefer to discuss what happened in the ring on May 4th before discussing what happened beforehand, which cast a shadow over what at least on paper had the makings of a Fight of the Year candidate.


Of course, it is not often that the sport is treated to an encounter between two of the top stars of the sport. One, who has been arguably the sport’s top economic draw for several years, the other arguably a rising star that may ultimately occupy that position one day. Two fighters with significant fan followings and both who more often than not, give a Boxing fan their money’s worth whenever they compete.  


What stood out to this observer, though at the same time was not surprising was Munguia started this fight aggressively and appeared to try to execute a fight plan with an emphasis of working of his jab and trying to attack Alvarez with volume punching, throwing combinations and keeping Alvarez on the defensive. For a time, the challenger’s tactics appeared to be working, there was even one exchange during the early rounds where Munguia appeared to pop the head of the champion back with a crisp, but fast triple jab. 


After three rounds, I felt that Munguia’s approach was enough to win two of those rounds. I did question however,  whether the high pace in which Munguia was fighting would ultimately turn against him as the fight progressed. One of the trademarks of Saul Alvarez as his career has gone on is his ability to adjust his fight plan as a fight goes on. While Munguia established himself early, Alvarez, a precision counter puncher among the best in the sport, bided his time and waited for his opportunity to strike. 


Such an opportunity would emerge in round four when in the midst of an exchange, the champion would connect with a perfectly timed right uppercut to the head that dropped Munguia. Despite being knocked down for the first time in his career by a shot he did not see, Munguia showed his mettle by getting up, showing an ability to recover, and doing so while under heavy offensive fire from Alvarez.


It was the moment in the fight however, which signaled a turning point in the bout. For it was from that knockdown in the fourth round onward that Alvarez seized control of the fight.  He did this by established, despite Munguia's attempts to maintain a high pace and keep punches coming at Alvarez to the body and head, when Alvarez threw his punches whether it was a short combination where he took the lead, single punches, or counter punches, his punches were harder, did more damage, and dictated the end and flow of the fight. 


Round after round the pattern remained the same. Munguia often trying to bring the fight to Alvarez, the champion doing his best to deflect the challenger's punches either with his gloves, or head movement, and making the most out of the openings Munguia left him to throw and land crisp combinations, power punches, and counter punches. Although Munguia have it everything he had and never stopped trying to land the proverbial “Fight Turning" blow till the final bell, the outcome was academic as Alvarez would retain his undisputed championship via a convincing twelve round unanimous decision.


The sixth successful title defense for Alvarez was simply as dominant as he has been in his entire career, short of him getting a knockout victory. Although he was indeed forced to go the distance for the fifth consecutive time and this forced to box sixty rounds in the process over that stretch, the Undisputed Super-Middleweight champion of the world showed in this fight against a truly dangerous opponent that came to fight that he is far from done, despite some recent criticism that perhaps after sixty-four professional fights prior to this bout, that perhaps his inability to score knockouts in recent times may be a sign that there may be signs of decline in the thirty-three year old four-division world champion. For now, Alvarez has put a stop to those whispers. It would be nice if that were all that needed to be said. 


Unfortunately, the shadow that loomed over what should have been voted simply as two stars of the sport, both in their prime facing each other, must now be discussed. A sub-plot that emerged in the days before the fight centered around Oscar De La Hoya, the former world champion, Hall of Famer, who promotes Munguia and was the a longtime promoter of Alvarez, took his opportunity to fire back in response to Alvarez who had a highly publicized and ugly split with him in 2020. While Alvarez has made accusations in the years since his split from De La Hoya and his company Golden Boy Promotions, at a press conference days before the fight De La Hoya finally responded to his former client saying in essence that he feels Alvarez has forgotten who helped him reach the level he currently is at in the sport and saying his name should be spoken with respect. De La Hoya also addressed his struggles with alcoholism, something that Alvarez has to put it kindly, criticized him for publicly since their split . Alvarez in response got up from his position at a table on stage and proceeded to attempt to get to De La Hoya before being stopped by security that were in attendance.


While some will dismiss this as simply “Prefight Hype" and utter nonsense, much like the recent conduct of Ryan Garcia, also promoted by De La Hoya, and a former stablemate of Alvarez under trainer Eddy Reynoso, I have a simple question for the reader. Where is the responsibility and accountability to the sport.


The responsibility of those in the sport like Alvarez, Garcia, and De La Hoya to represent Boxing with conduct becoming of professionals, responsibility to not only represent the sport well and hopefully help in assisting to grow Boxing for future generations, and the accountability from those who oversee, sanction, and regulate the sport to ensure that not only Boxing as a sport is respected, but to hopefully ensure that failures to adhere to professional standards/conduct are met with disciplinary action.


In short, all three have failed to uphold such a standard recently. Although some may find humor in such conduct, it ultimately hurts a sport that already has too many flaws and things that can and should be criticized including, but not limited to an over use, abuse, and reliance on a dying model of pay-per-view. While the latter has been something yours truly has criticized frequently and will continue to do so as long as it continues to not benefit the sport or the fans who support it, if those who regulate, sanction, and oversee the seemingly have little interest in actually regulating and ensuring the sport is held in high regard, an approach that one often would not see in other organized sports, why bother regulating at all? Perhaps Boxing should now be viewed in the same vein as Professional Wrestling.


Although I as one who also spent several years covering that industry as well as Boxing and other combat sports am being sarcastic with the aforementioned statement, the bottom line is without adequate oversight to not only ensure rules and regulations are followed before, during, and after fights, and those in the sport conduct themselves as professionals as they are supposed to be, it mind as well be held in the same regard as an entertainment realm, which sadly, despite it's status as a form of live-action performance art and the physical risks performers take being well known, is still viewed by some as a joke.


Boxing deserves better. 



“And That's The Boxing Truth." 


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Thursday, May 2, 2024

Alvarez-Munguia: A Fight Of The Year Candidate?

Despite suffering a setback in May 2022 in losing a twelve round unanimous decision to Dmitry Bivol in a failed bid to become a two-time Light-Heavyweight world champion, the career of Undisputed Super-Middleweight world champion Saul “Canelo" Alvarez has continued to go strong as he has remained a fully undisputed champion in the 168lb. Super-Middleweight division since he completed the unification process in stopping Caleb Plant in November 2021. The fact that Alvarez has remained undisputed champion for nearly three years is an accomplishment few can lay a claim to. Not only because of the obvious hurdles that a champion encounters every time they enter the ring to defend their championship, but also and perhaps more specifically, the red tape that occurs with regard to the respective sanctioning organizations, all of whom have obligations that their portion of a world championship that is part of a unified or undisputed crown, must be defended against a mandatory challenger of their designation on an annual basis, which if a champion fails to do so or is not granted an extension, often results in the title being stripped from the champion.


The political elements of the sport aside, Alvarez as a Super-Middleweight has been nothing short of dominant in continuing to defend his crown against the best the division has to offer. In his last outing,  Alvarez dominated former Undisputed Jr. Middleweight world champion Jermell Charlo in September of last year. Frankly, it was a case of Alvarez’ natural strength and skill being too much for Charlo, who moved up two weight divisions to try and defeat Alvarez. A one-sided victory for Alvarez, a twelve round unanimous decision, marked his sixth successful title defense since first becoming a Super-Middleweight world champion in December 2020 with a unanimous decision over then WBO world champion Callum Smith and the third since he fully unified the division. 


While there remains no shortage of potential challengers in and around the Super-Middleweight division, most notably undefeated former WBC Super-Middleweight world champion David Benavidez, who is the current top contender for Alvarez in the World Boxing Council (WBC) Super-Middleweight ratings and is reportedly moving up to the 175lb. Light-Heavyweight division after not being able to secure an opportunity against Alvarez, the champion has opted to move forward.  Although if one were to make a list of current Super-Middleweight contenders, there would be many who would point to Benavidez as possibly the most dangerous among them, Alvarez has chosen what could very well be an opponent that is just as dangerous for what will be his seventh title defense. The undefeated top contender and former WBO Jr. Middleweight world champion Jaime Munguia in a fight that will take place on May 4th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV and will be available on a pay-per-view basis through both Prime Video and DAZN.


This is not the first time that Alvarez and Munguia have been potential opponents. Some may recall in 2018 when Alvarez was between the first two fights of his trilogy with Gennady Golovkin, Munguia, who was then a world champion in the Jr. Middleweight division, was slated to move up to the 160lb. Middleweight division to face Alvarez. While there have been no shortage of similar scenarios throughout Boxing history where a world champion in a lower weight division has moved up in weight to seek among other things, more lucrative paydays, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) declined to sanction what was at that point a potential bout between the two due to what they deemed to be an experience disadvantage between the two. 


Since then, the two fighters have gone in different directions, with Munguia seemingly chasing Alvarez from a distance.  It is indeed true that, despite following Alvarez up in weight through the Middleweight and Super-Middleweight divisions as well as remaining unbeaten in the years since he was denied an opportunity to fight Alvarez, Jaime Munguia has not fought for a world championship in the years since he relinquished his Jr. Middleweight crown. 


In some ways, one might view that as both an injustice as well as somewhat refreshing in the sense that because there are seventeen full weight divisions in the sport, with only one sanctioning organization recognizing a would-be eighteenth division, the Bridgerweight class, it is common to see world champions move up and down the weight scale depending on what opportunities might be available and get into position to fight for more world titles in very little time, even at times getting that opportunity as soon as they move up in weight.  While no circumstance is exactly the same, the fact that Munguia has had to fight his way through, including being tested along the way as any would-be contender even though his status as an unbeaten former world champion remains in tact, has allowed him to make a strong case for himself for the opportunity that is now here against Alvarez.


The question is, what are his chances? One must keep in mind that Munguia has thirty-four knockouts in his forty-three career wins and his punching power has remained as he has moved up in weight. After spending some time under the guidance of the former world champion and Hall of Famer Erik Morales, Munguia will now be led into the biggest fight of his career by another former fighter in the form of Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach. There is one similarity between Roach and Morales. As fighters, both were offensive-minded, and that mentality remains for both as trainers, with Roach a disciple of his former trainer the late great Eddie Futch, being regarded as one of the top trainers in the sport.


Munguia’s first outing with Roach in his corner was successful in January of this year when he scored a ninth round stoppage of former world title challenger John Ryder, sending the always “Game" fighter into retirement. Many will recall Ryder’s valiant effort when he challenged Alvarez for the Undisputed Super-Middleweight crown almost exactly one year ago. In a fight where Alvarez dished out a brutal beating and broke Ryder's nose, Ryder still fought on and made it to the final bell of that encounter.


While some might use the comparison of how Alvarez and Munguia each went on to victory over Ryder as a way to compare who might have an edge between the two as this fight approaches, there will likely also be some who will point out that by the time Munguia fought Ryder, Ryder was on the downside of a fine career and had been in several grueling battles before his twelve rounds with Alvarez. So, the fact that Munguia was able to stop Ryder, whereas Alvarez went on to  a decision victory to retain his championship, may not in any way serve as a reflection of what might happen in this fight. 



What will this fight look like once the champion and challenger are in the ring? The main objective for the challenger as has been the case for most of Alvarez’ previous opposition, will be to apply consistent pressure. The pressure applied however, must be done tactically and not recklessly. Alvarez’ two official losses came against fighters who were master boxers in Floyd Mayweather and Dmitry Bivol. While neither implemented a pressure approach against Alvarez and implemented a more tactical strategy where they did not allow Alvarez to get into a rhythm and dictated the fight from start to finish, the champion is not someone who fights well under pressure and there are many throughout the sport, this observer included who felt his first two fights against Gennady Golovkin, a fighter who similar to Munguia likes to come forward, apply pressure, and break his opponents down, could have gone in favor of Golovkin rather than a draw being rendered in the first fight followed by Alvarez winning the second fight, and ultimately winning the trilogy and seemingly sending Golovkin into retirement. 


Although I felt Golovkin won the first two fights, and simply started too late in the third bout, which allowed Alvarez to win the third bout more convincingly, the common element in the first two fights that could be viewed as a mistake Golovkin made, which Munguia must try to avoid here as he now faces Alvarez is in the middle and late rounds, Golovkin backed off from applying pressure just enough where it allowed Alvarez time to adapt. While I felt and still feel that Golovkin did enough to win both of those fights when the final bell rang, if Munguia has success early on in this fight, he must not get complacent and allow Alvarez any wiggle room to get back into the fight on the scorecards if this goes the distance. Simply put, he must leave no doubt as to who is the better fighter.


Of course, there is the possibility that this fight wil not go the distance. For his part, Alvarez has scored knockouts in thirty-nine of his sixty-four professional fights, so he also has the punching power to get an opponent out of there if the opportunity arises. The one thing we have never seen to this point in Alvarez’ career is what would hapen if he is hurt, knocked down, and legitimately in trouble in a fight. Even Gennady Golovkin, a fighter who was one of the most feared knockout artists in the sport with a career knockout percentage of nearly 89%, who had a percentage over 90% prior to his first encounter with Alvarez in September 2017 could not knock Alvarez off his feet, but was able to land several hard shots throughout his three bouts with him and Alvarez was able to stand up to what Golovkin had. If one is to go on evidence up to this point in Alvarez’ career, where he has shared the ring with several Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers, they would conclude that he has a granite chin. What will be interesting to see is not only if Munguia is able to test Alvarez’ chin as others have, but potentially focus a significant portion of his offensive approach to the body. An element Golovkin seemed to implement in parts of the first two fights against Alvarez, but did not sustain it. 


One tactical element that Munguia could use in this fight that Dmitry Bivol was able to do in his victory over Alvarez was he did not allow himself to be baited into traps. There were several instances throughout the fight where Bivol refused to press the action when Alvarez was on the ropes and inviting him to come forward and engage him on the inside. The styles of Bivol, a master boxer and Munguia, a power punching pressure fighter, are different, but what the challenger needs to try and avoid is being baited into traps, especially if it is evident that he is having success and the bait tactics attempted by the champion are an attempt to turn the ebb and flow in his favor, as was the case against Bivol, which did not succeed.


Although this fight might not amount to much more than simply the latest chapter in what will be a Hall of Fame career for the current Undisputed Super-Middleweight champion of the world, the fact that Alvarez not only fully unified the Super-Middleweight division, but has kept it that way in the years since is deserving of praise. Alvarez must keep in mind however, despite his status as now a long-reigning undisputed champion and as one of the biggest stars in the sport of Boxing, every challenger sees him as an opportunity not only for a big payday, not only as a chance to become an undisputed champion, but if they do indeed beat him, an opportunity to hit the proverbial jackpot. While some may feel other contenders might deserve the opportunity to fight Alvarez, Jaime Munguia is the fighter who has the opportunity now and he should be viewed with the respect normally given to a top contender and based on his resume, should be regarded as a dangerous opponent. 


Cinco de Mayo weekend in the sport of Boxing traditionally has been filled with historic battles in the past. Whether Alvarez-Munguia will be the latest to join that long list remains to be seen. 


“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”


Alvarez vs. Munguia takes place on Saturday, May 4th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The fight as well as its full undercard can be seen on both Prime Video and DAZN on a pay-per-view basis for $89.99 and will also be available through traditional cable/satellite providers. The card will begin at 6PM ET/3PM PT with preliminary bouts followed by the pay-per-view portion of the card beginning at 8PM ET/5PM PT.


To order this pay-per-view event on Prime Video, download the Prime Video app on mobile, tablet, or connected streaming devices/Smart TVs or Click here. To order on DAZN, download the DAZN app on your device of choice or Click here.


(*Card and Start time Subject to Change.*)


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