What is a triumphant homecoming for Shakur Stevenson on Friday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey versus Robson Conceicao has been marred a bit. Stevenson failed to make the 130 pound limit, meaning that he will not be defending his WBC and WBO titles.
He made it clear shortly after the weigh-in on Thursday that he would be moving up to the lightweight division after this fight, which will proceed. (Only Conceicao can win the titles tonight, should he win.)
This means that the talented Stevenson is now a two division champion, who has had a grand total of one title defense. His bout in April was a title unification bout against Oscar Valdez. This brings new meaning to the term 'pound-for-pound fighter'
While it's disappointing, it's not the end of the world. This event, which will be broadcast on ESPN, has actually sold pretty well at the box-office. Yeah, it turns out it just isn't Vito Mielnicki Jr. who can move tickets in 'Brick City'.
"It's selling better than pretty well -- it's selling extremely strong from day one," said Jim Boone, the head of KO Tickets. "They've done a great job as far as pricing and scaling."
Originally, only a portion of this venue -- which years ago played to large crowds for Tomasz Adamek -- was being utilized, but Boone explains, "Not only did Top Rank open up additional sections in the lower bowl (now completely open minus the production kills), they raised prices from $35 to $55 due to massive demand."
The reality is that those in Newark may not care that Stevenson has lost his belts at the scales. With that said, it's not a good look, regardless.
Stevenson is considered one of the best young boxers in the sport at age 25, and now seemingly on his way to becoming a strong local attraction. Which is certainly important as he now goes into a division that has the likes of Devin Haney, 'Tank' Davis and Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Chances are that one day soon he will win a major belt at 135. Here's hoping he sticks around a bit and begins to carve out a bit of history there.
On Saturday afternoon, ESPN+ has coverage of a card from Manchester, England that features a pair of top 10 heavyweights. Joseph Parker (ranked third by Ring Magazine) faces Joe Joyce (ranked sixth by Ring) in a bout for the WBO interim heavyweight title.
I paid tribute to the fun-but-flawed 'Juggernaut', recently:
And with that, I'm tabbing Joyce to win this clash because quite frankly, he's seems to have a much bigger fighting spirit than Parker at the moment.
As always, there is lot of discussion and debate about pay-per-view numbers. The latest surrounding the recent multi-million dollar sparring session between Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin.
On Wednesday afternoon DAZN released this statement: As Saul “Canelo” Alvarez ultimately outboxed Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin this past weekend to bring one of the most compelling rivalries in sport to an end, DAZN Group has confirmed the Canelo vs. GGG III fight night saw a global audience in the millions, with more than 1.06 million buys generated worldwide including PPV and DAZN subscriptions."
Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland | Matchroom Sports
And with that, there was multiple battles being fought on Twitter between 'fanagers', promotional pom-pom wavers and those in the industry. It's always fascinating to see those who have no vested interest in the financial success of a promotion get so emotional about such issues.
Regardless, when the dust settled, it was Eddie 'the Tweet Man' Hearn (who's company, Matchroom Sports promoted Canelo-GGG III) who landed the hardest jabs on Twitter.
Speaking of DAZN, on Saturday they have a card from Nottingham that has a main event between lightweights, Maxi Hughes and Kid Galahad. Originally, this was supposed to feature a bout between Josh Warrington defending his IBF featherweight title against Mauricio 'Mr Mayhem' Lara....The Top Rank card on Friday night features blue-chip prospects, Keyshawn Davis and Bruce Carrington....Thompson Boxing has their card tonight from the DoubleTree in Ontario, California, which features jr. middleweight, Richard Brewart.... Yeah, I'm actually looking forward to the Kansas- Duke football, yes football, game on Saturday.... I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.....