The weekend before…
Yes, there will be plenty of time this week to talk about the rematch between unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez, which takes place this upcoming Saturday night, from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
However there was a busy weekend in boxing that just took place. Some thoughts:
– In Showtime’s main event, from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Shawn Porter captured the vacant WBC welterweight title by out-pointing Danny Garcia via the scores of 116-112 and 115-113 twice. It was an awkward and ugly fight early on that got better in the late rounds.
Porter is the classic “will over skill’ fighter.” There’s nothing particularly stylish about how he goes about things in the ring but he is as dogged and rabid as a hungry pitbull. He is oftentimes a bull in a China shop, whose biggest attribute is making things uncomfortable for his opponents, as he smothers and mauls them consistently. However on this night versus Garcia, he actually began this bout boxing from the outside and Garcia surprisingly was the one coming forward.
But over time, Porter’s stick-to-it-tiveness started to carry the fight in the later rounds. There weren’t that many clean combinations landed by either fighter and, while Garcia landed the cleaner shots, Porter was more persistent. It was a difficult bout to score and it really tested what the definition of “effective aggression” is. It’s clear that the trio of Julie Lederman, Eric Marlinski and Don Ackerman rewarded Porter’s consistent effort.
In the past I’ve described this former running back’s style as being “four yards and a cloud of dust.” It’s not usually entertaining or asthetically pleasing but it is effective nonetheless. He has now won two versions of the welterweight title in his career and it looks like he’s in line to face his Premier Boxing Champions stablemate and IBF beltholder Errol Spence Jr. in the spring of 2019.
– Three-thousand miles west, the third edition of “SuperFly” took place at the Forum, in Inglewood, California. It saw Juan Francisco Estrada defeat Felipe Orucuta via 12-round unanimous decision in a WBC eliminator; Donnie Nietes and Aston Palicte fought to a draw in a rather dreary fight for the vacant WBO belt and Kazuto Ioka returned to defeat McWillams Arroyo over 10 rounds.
“Ioka, I think, really rose to the occasion after being off for more than a year,” said Tom Loeffler, the head of 360 Promotions, which staged this event and signed Ioka to a promotional contract a couple of months ago. “First time being over here in the States and having such a tremendous victory over Arroyo. There’s a great future for him on HBO.”
Ioka, a former three-time world champion, was the most the impressive boxer on this HBO card, as he proved he is still very much a world-class prizefighter.
As for Nietes-Palicte, well, after seeing this all-Pinoy title fight coming off the heels of the Jerwin Ancajas-Jonas Sultan title bout a few months ago (which was the first title bout between two Filipino boxers in 93) years, I’m hoping we don’t see another one of these pairings for another 93 years.
As for having a rematch between Nietes and Palicte, that would be like having boxing fans go through the Bataan Death March twice.
Out of all the SuperFly cards (which have taken place at either the StubHub Center or the Forum), this was the smallest live audience by far. This line-up lacked the star power of the first two chapters and it certainly missed not having the rematch between WBC champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Estrada (who engaged an entertaining battle back on February 24 at the Forum, in “SuperFly 2”). It also didn’t have the presence of Roman Gonzalez, the original centerpiece of this concept.
How long this series can be sustained if Ancajas and Kal Yafai (both of whom are beltholders at 115) are not involved? If you can make the right matches and add guys like Andrew Moloney (who was very impressive in stopping Luis Concepcion in Australia this past weekend), you can have many more editions of SuperFly.
– I described Amir Khan as a roller coaster for UCNLive.com, a few days ago, and, true to form, his bout on Saturday against Samuel Vargas, from the Arena Birmingham, was an up-and-down experience, as he was floored in the second round (while scoring two of his own in the second and third frames) and had some troubling moments late.
What was supposed to be tee’d up for him as another spectacular outing was instead a bit of a struggle down the stretch. Khan looked more vulnerable than rehabilitated in his second outing under the guidance of the respected Joe Goossen. There is a chance that, while he still has some of his physical attributes (speed and quickness), he is forever altered after his brutal KO loss to Saul Alvarez in 2016 and his punch resistance has always been his Achilles heel.
Will his brain trust now try and get him into the biggest and most lucrative bout as soon as possible, understanding that he is a boxer who operates without a safety net and it could all come crashing down at any point versus literally anyone?
Will that come against a Manny Pacquiao or Kell Brook?
Whomever Khan fights next, you know it will be eventful, one way or the other. With Khan, it always is.
WBO welterweight titlist Terence Crawford (who just re-upped a long-term and lucrative deal with Top Rank) was certainly on the mind of IBF champion Errol Spence Jr., this past weekend. Here’s hoping they actually meet in the ring sooner rather than later…In addition to the GGG-Canelo rematch, there is also Jose Ramirez vs. Antonio Orozco on Friday night, on ESPN, from Fresno…Did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers find their QB of the present? (I kid; I kid)…The Georgia Bulldogs look every bit as good as last year; don’t they?….OK, so has the transition to N’kosi Perry begin for Mark Richt and the Miami Hurricanes?…Did Steffi Graf ever lose a match due to “sexism”?…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.