It was a full day of boxing from throughout the world on Saturday. There was a little bit of everything. We had a pair of high profile female fights in England, a lightweight championship rematch 'Down Under' and last but not least, the return of 'the Bronze Bomber' in Brooklyn.
Some thoughts on what took place...
- At the O2 Arena in London the ladies took center stage. In the co-feature, Alycia Baumgardner edged out Mikaela Mayer for the WBC, WBO and IBF junior lightweight titles. This fight never really matched the heat and intensity of the pre-fight banter. This was much more of a strategic match, than a pure slugfest.
After 10 rounds, one judge had Mayer up 97-93, but the other two had Baumgarnder up by the score of 96-95.
There is great debate over who really won this bout. Obviously both boxers believe that they did enough to get their hands raised in victory. Honestly, this contest was a tad disappointing as neither ever truly took any big risks to separate themselves from one another. You wonder if Mayer will live with regret with not letting her hands go more in the final round with the fight hanging in the balance.
A rematch is warranted, but for the time being Baumgardner has her sights set on Hyun Mi Choi, who has the WBA title.
Regardless, Mayer leaves with a bitter taste in her mouth, while Baumgardner leaves with the belts.
The battle for the undisputed middleweight crown was much more heated between Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall. Unlike the co-feature, these two weren't afraid to let their hands go, and there were more than a few heated exchanges.
But overall, it was Shields who was a bit quicker off the trigger and more tenacious. As she laid on the ropes, Shields proved to be very elusive. While Marshall had some moments in the second half of this bout, she could never truly stun Shields. When it was all over, it was a unanimous decision for the native of Flint, Michigan(97-93, 97-93 and 96-94).
Marshall gave it a solid effort, but overall, Shields was the superior fighter.
TWICE IS NICE
While on the surface the rematch between lightweight champion, Devin Haney, and George Kambosos was the same if you compare scorecards, this particular fight was much more pleasing on the eyes than their first encounter back in June.
Yes, Haney once again was convincing but this time around to the credit of Kambosos he pressed the issue and attempted to make this into a fight, and force exchanges. But even more credit has to be given to Haney for more than holding his own, and using his sharper punches to hold off Kambosos. Haney retained his belts by the scores of 118-110(twice) and 119-109 at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
“He’s a warrior. I take my hat off to George Kambosos and all the Australian fans that came out. Thank you guys for giving me so much hospitality here," said Haney.
The question is what is up next for him? There has been a lot of talk in regards to a high-profile showdown with former unified lightweight champion, Vasily Lomachenko in 2023. But it was noticed by many observers just how drained Haney was on Friday as he weighed in for this latest bout.
Just 23 years old, his body is still growing, and he has spent his entire seven year career as a lightweight. But he made it clear,“We take on all comers. No matter who it is, we want to fight the best fighters in the world. I believe I’m the best fighter in the world. Whoever is next, bring him on.”
Former WBC heavyweight titlist, Deontay Wilder, made an explosive return to the ring by blasting out Robert Helenius with a right hand off the ropes that had Helenius looking up at the roof of the Barclay Center, and seeing his Nordic ancestors.
Wilder will always have his monstrous power. It is the great eraser. In 46 professional bouts (43-2-1, 42 KOs), anyone who has ever shared the ring with him has either been knocked out, or at least touched the canvas. Talk about a hit streak. Joe DiMaggio has nothing on this guy.
Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions
"I set him up,” said Wilder. “I allowed him to reach and when he reached I attacked. It was a great fight. It's been a good camp for me. We worked to make this fun for me. We work at this so much that it can just become a job. We made it fun again. We put in over 700 rounds and it paid off tonight big time.”
Despite his two losses to Tyson Fury, he is still very much a player in the games glamour division.
"I've been hearing rumors about (unified heavyweight champion) Oleksandr Usyk but he's not here is he?” said Wilder. “When guys see these knockouts they turn the corner away from me. I'm ready for whatever. Whether it's Andy Ruiz Jr. or Usyk, I'm ready. Deontay is back and the excitement in the heavyweight division is back."
Also on this card was a super middleweight battle between Caleb Plant and Anthony Dirrell, which ended in a flourish as Plant landed a low-high double left hook that froze Dirrell as he collapsed to the canvas. There really was no need to count at that point.
Plant, who had to endure some pre-fight taunts from Dirrell, then proceeded to hover around a prone Dirrell and did a digging motion as if to say, 'Yeah, I just buried you.' Both the KO and his celebration went viral. Hey, what comes around, goes around.
Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions
Earlier on this PBC pay-per-view card, Emanuel Rodriguez won a 10th round technical decision over the previously undefeated Gary Antonio Russell, after a clash of heads left Rodriguez unable to continue in a fight that he controlled from the very first bell.
Near the end of the round eight, Rodriguez sent Russell sprawling to the canvas. As he wobbled up, the bell sounded. It was at this point that the ringside physician took a look at him, then he got the minute rest in-between the rounds, and then the doctor examined him again.
Uh, when did the mandatory 8-count, become a 500-second examination?
Knockdowns in New York, are becoming the roughing-the-passer penalty of boxing.