So what did I miss?

 

There was a plethora of prizefighting that took place this past weekend – all of which I had to view on Sunday,after returning home from my trip to Fort Lauderdale/Miami, where the highlight of my extended stay in South Florida was the Miami Hurricanes’ thrilling 25-24 victory over the always-difficult Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Hard Rock Stadium.

 

Yeah, I never thought Darrell Langham would ever make legendary game winning plays for “The U” on consecutive weekends (or, for that matter, ever be mentioned here on this website). I’d nickname him “Lightning” except he’s struck twice.

 

So as I got back, on Sunday morning, I had a DVR full of boxing that I had to catch up on. Here’s some thoughts on what I eventually witnessed…

 

– I’ll say it loud and clear: I dig the new heel turn made by Jermell and Jermall Charlo, in recent fights – In fact, I think a few more characters like them are needed. This time, Jermell put on the black hat after icing the highly-regarded Erickson Lubin with a right cross-turned-uppercut, as Lubin slid inside with his head down. Lubin displayed plenty of hubris, coming into this bout, but the fact is, while he was the mandatory for Charlo’s WBC 154-pound crown, he was nowhere near ready for such a daunting task, at age 22, with less than 20 bouts under his belt. Very few boxers are ready to win titles this early.

 

But back to Charlo, who, like his brother (Jermall) in December, wasn’t trying to win the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, in his post-fight interview with Showtime’s Jim Gray. While some are disgusted or turned off by such brash behavior, last I checked, this is boxing, not Wimbledon. Boxing could use a few angry young men, who are willing to wear the black hat and put it out there.

 

(Hey, as a long-time Hurricanes fan, I appreciate them doing boxing’s version of coming off the plane in army fatigues and storming out of the steak fry. To paraphrase Jerome Brown, did the Charlo Brothers sit down and eat dinner with Pearl Harbor before they bombed ’em?)

 

But can you tell me they aren’t delivering inside that ring?

 

Do they not entertain you?

 

Don’t you care more about their fights (one way or the other) more than you did before?

 

Too many fights nowadays fizzle out, as boxers act more like colleagues and not combatants inside that squared ring. It’s clear, to this volatile duo from Houston, that this is something very personal to them and you’d better be willing to go through hell to take food off their table.

 

And c’mon, for every Hulk Hogan, don’t you need a Roddy Piper? Boxing is the entertainment business and the Charlos are the antagonists every story needs.

 

Speaking of which, there should a segment on upcoming Showtime broadcasts that is akin to “Pipers Pit.” Now, I’m not sure who would be the “Hot Rod” and who would be “Cowboy/Ace” Bob Orton but that’s something they can figure out.

 

As for Lubin, while he has physical tools, I’ve always been a bit wary of him, since I saw him get floored by Norberto Gonzalez, in November of 2014, in Pittsburgh on a card (of which I was part of the broadcast team), when he was with Mike Tyson Promotions. (Remember them?) To me, that was always a tad troubling and, from that point on, his handlers kept him away from any real punchers. At the same time, they severely overestimated the seasoning and readiness for such an assignement like Charlo.

 

Now this isn’t necessarily the end for Lubin. I still recall seeing a young Terry Norris get absolutely demolished by Julian Jackson in his first 154-pound title shot but he ultimately enjoyed a great career.

 

– I’ve been a huge advocate of IBF junior middleweight titlist Jarrett “Swift” Hurd, since I saw him defeat Frank Galarza back in November of 2015, as a late replacement. Hurd isn’t afraid to take one to give one and I never thought I’d see an African-American fighter compared to the “Tijuana Tornado” Antonio Margarito during my lifetime but I saw that more than a few times on Twitter in the aftermath of his 10th round stoppage of Austin Trout.

 

Trout, like Tony Harrison before him, had success early on, leading Hurd around the ring and out-maneuvering him on the perimeter. And this will be pattern, moving forward in his fights, as opponents will attempt to out-box and pot-shot him but, while you might be able to do it for the first half of fights, can that type of movement be sustained and can Hurd’s pressure be dealt with accordingly for 36 minutes? Yes, there are some things he must improve (such as employing a stiffer jab to control distance better and cleaning up his footwork) but he’s a guy with a real fighting spirit.

 

And let’s not change him too much. Hey, the guy isn’t afraid to get into a fight. Boxing needs more of these guys too.

 

– Erislandy Lara-Terrell Gausha was the main event-turned-walk-out-bout (literally) and it was such a desultory 12-rounder that the ever-dwindling audience at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center could be heard chanting, “This is boring!” Later on, they were counting down the seconds of the rounds, as they ended. Our very own Sean Nam was there at ringside and the following were some of his tweets during this snoozer:

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can understand why Lara was put on this telecast. After all, he is a junior middleweight titlist and he’s had an accomplished career – but why was he the headliner? It turns out the ratings on Showtime actually declined during this broadcast.

 

Yeah, as the old-timers would say, this is a fight that you let ’em in for free and you charge ’em to leave.

 

– The “PBC on FOX” show was a prelude to a 2018 rematch between Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares and, to describe it, the word “perfunctory” comes to mind as Santa Cruz halted a faded Chris Avalos in eight rounds and Mares stopped Andres Gutierrez in ten.

 

Back in the summer of 2015, Santa Cruz defeated Mares at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in a pretty good scrap, albeit not Marco Antonio Barrera-Erik Morales-level. Quite frankly, while the rematch could be another solid battle, there really isn’t all that much public clamoring for it. And with the featherweight division having as many solid beltholders and legitimate contenders, why do this one again? Beyond that, why give them a tune-up for it?

 

There was a rather sparse crowd that showed up to the StubHub Center in Carson, California, this past weekend. There’s no doubt that the USC-Utah game at the Coliseum and the Dodgers-Cubs NLCS Game One at Chavez Ravine certainly hurt this gate. The relatively early local start time probably didn’t help either but perhaps it’s an indication that boxing fans are lukewarm on Santa Cruz-Mares II.

 

– Last Friday night, another edition of “Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN (Deportes)” took place from the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, and it featured a pair of stoppages. First Marcelino Lopez scored one the most striking KOs of 2017 by blasting out the usually sturdy Pablo Cesar Cano with an overhand right in the second round, that “Terrible” Tim Witherspoon would be proud of. Lopez is another rugged, strong Argentine boxer who looks like he’ll be in good fights on a consistent basis. His trainer Joel Diaz (I love this guy!) believes he can be a real player at 140.

 

The main event paired Fidel Maldonado Jr. with Ismael Barroso. Now, coming into this match-up, you figure Maldonado had the advantage, given he was the natural junior welterweight but Barroso, who flashed legitimate power – if not stamina – during his days as a 135-pounder, was able to dent Maldonado early on by flooring him in the third, with a left hand, and then out for the count with a body shot in the sixth. Barroso looks to be another fun guy in the 140-pound class.

 

Unfortunately for Maldonado – who was cursed with low punch resistance – this might be the end of the road, in terms of having any real relevance in the sport.

 

 

DECEMBER 16

 

Guess what? Billy Joe Saunders will defend his WBO middleweight belt against his mandatory challenger David Lemieux. No, seriously…He is.

 

“Done deal,” Eric Gomez, the president of Golden Boy Promotions, confirmed on Tuesday afternoon to UCNLive.com, “Montreal, December 16th, ‘HBO World Championship Boxing.'”

 

According to Gomez, this was a relatively easy deal to consummate.

 

“There was the usual negotiations going back and forth on a couple of items but ultimately both guys are willing to face each other and that’s why it got done,” Gomez explained.

 

The winner of this bout could be in line to eventually face the winner of the Gennady Golovkin-Saul Alvarez rematch and become the undisputed middleweight champion.

 

“They’re going to be in a great position,” said Gomez.

 

 

TNR

 

Here’s this week’s edition of “The Next Round” with Gabriel Montoya and Yours Truly (a full two-hour show).

 

 

HARD ROCK FLURRIES

 

With Kubrat Pulev pulling out, Carlos Takam will now face IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, on October 28, from Cardiff, Wales, with Showtime televising…According to Gomez, the HBO co-feature, on December 2, at the Madison Square Garden, will be a title defense by WBC 122-pound beltholder Rey Vargas…”Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN” returns this Thursday night from Las Vegas, with a main event featuring Gabe Rosado vs. Glen Tapia (Welp…)…It was my first trip to the new-and-improved Hard Rock Stadium and, I have to say, it’s great. But word to the wise: Try to not be on the visiting side during afternoon games. That hot sun is right on you for at least the first half…Had a great time during my trip, hanging around with the CanesInsight.com staff (Peter Ariz and Danny Money) and former Canes Quadtrine Hill and Kenny Calhoun. (He cooks the best Angus burgers at his tailgate.)…It’s amazing how quickly it can suddenly rain in Miami and then shut off, just as fast. Hill told me, ”If you hate the weather in Miami…just wait five minutes.”…I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.

 

 

 

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