It was a busy weekend of boxing with shows all across the globe from Uzbekistan and Montreal on Friday, to cards emanating from San Antonio, Minneapolis and Tampa on Saturday. Here are some thoughts on what took place on Bash Blvd....
- Israil Madrimov scored a ninth round TKO of veteran Michel Soro in what was billed as a WBA 154 pound eliminator. But this result was shrouded in controversy as Madrimov clearly struck Soro several times after the bell had sounded to end that round. While Soro was hurt, he had clearly survived the late onslaught. There should've been a round 10.
Madrimov, for now, is in line to face Jermell Charlo based on the result. The question will be if the WBA will call for an immediate rematch given the circumstances of the conclusion. In this particular outing, Madrimov hit some turbulence from the tough Soro, and eventually he made the decision to plant his feet and work inside the pocket. He seemed to figure some things out in this fight, that sometimes, simpler is better.
But you wonder, for all his talent if that he's truly ready for the upper echelon at junior middleweight after just eight fights. Is he truly prepared to face a Charlo or Brian Castano?
- Later that night on ESPN+ in Montreal, Artur Beterbiev successfully defended his WBC and IBF light heavyweight belts by breaking down his mandatory challenger, Marcus Browne. Browne, an athletic southpaw, with live legs and long limbs, was able to box effectively in the early rounds. But over time Beterbiev just started to chip away with a two-fisted body attack. In the past, Browne has been chinny, but on this night his punch resistance upstairs was solid. It was actually the body attack of Beterbiev that wore him down, as he hit the canvas in the seventh and ninth frames, before the fight was waved off.
Beterbiev, who suffered a nasty gash on his forehead from a clash of heads, is a human wrecking ball. He just simply pounds away methodically till he caves in a fighters foundation. There are boxers who will win some early rounds against him, maybe even build a lead in the first half of the fight, but how many can withstand his attack for 36 minutes.
With that said, he is 36, and he's had just 17 bouts since turning pro in June of 2013. You wonder if starting his physical descent, or if he'd be better off with more consistent activity. Did he show enough vulnerability for a guy like Saul Alvarez to roll the dice?
- In what was a memorable heavyweight battle, Joseph Parker scored three knockdowns of Dereck Chisora to win a hard-fought 12 round decision. The scores (115-110, 115-111 and 114-112) in reality were much too close. Parker was the clear winner, here. But Chisora's game effort shouldn't be forgotten about. There were several times where he was weeblin-and-wobblin, but he never stayed down and actually had some moments where he brought the crowd a the Manchester Arena to it's feet.
For Chisora, this is his 12th professional defeat, but he will not be a boxer that will be remembered for his record, but really his willingness to fight anybody, and give the fans a memorable night. Which was certainly the case this weekend.
Yet, you wonder at age 37 just how much more he has to give, but it looks like he has no plans on walking away, just yet.
- If there is a female fighter who is consistently entertaining, it's Seniesa 'Super Bad' Estrada, who knocked out Mario Santizo in four rounds. Estrada is a sharp boxer, who does a better job than most of her female colleagues in turning over her punches. She scored an explosive knockdown in the third with a left hook, and then finished the job with a left hand out of the southpaw stance in the fourth.
Kevin Estrada - Golden Boy Promotions
The last year or so, she has been given prime slots on Golden Boy cards on DAZN, and has delivered with one engaging effort after another.
- The main event at the AT@T Center in San Antonio was Gilberto 'Zurdo' Ramirez, who was matched with Yunieski Gonzalez. Not much was expected from this bout but it exceeded expectations with Gonzalez giving 'Zurdo' all he could handle with a spirited effort. He came out of the gate quickly with aggression, landing right hands that put Ramirez on his heels.
There was some extended exchanges in the early stages that were frenzied, but over time, Ramirez took over the fight, and the game Gonzalez began to wane in his attack. In round 10, Rafael Ramos waved off the proceedings as Gonzalez was facing another barrage of leather.
Now, you could argue that Ramirez is facing faded fighters recently, no argument. But I'd counter by saying that in the past, he'd be satisfied with just putting things in cruise control and winning desultory decisions. Under trainer, Julian Chua, he is showing more of a sense of urgency, and putting on fights that the fans enjoy.
Kevin Estrada - Golden Boy Promotions
Boxing is the entertainment business. and how you win and perform is just as important, as the result.
With this win, he is in line to face WBA light heavyweight titlist, Dmitry Bivol (who's recent fights can be charitably described as non-entertaining). This is a fight that both sides need if they want to put themselves in the mix for Canelo in the near future.
- Jake Paul's one punch KO of Tyrone Woodley went viral. Not much I can add in regards to that. For Paul, this is his fourth outing since last November, and while he has faced a litany of non-boxers, he has certainly made his impact on the industry. In short, he has become his own franchise.
You can certainly debate the merits of his boxing career, but he has now become an important facet of this industry. Which is why Showtime Sports made the decision to link up with him.
Amanda Westcott - Showtime Sports
I was told by several people that not only was there a sizable crowd (of nearly 19,000) at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, but that is skewed very young and it showed up early, well before the main event.
Like it or not, the Jake Paul Express will roll on in 2022.
Lamont Roach grinded out a tough 10 round verdict over Rene Alvarado in San Antonio.... Also on Saturday night, David Morrell stopped Alantez Fox in four. He doesn't have many fights under his belt, but he's going to be a tough out at 168....The WBA announced over the weekend that Errol Spence will face Yordenis Ugas in the spring, in a welterweight unification bout. This was green lighted after Eimantas Stanionis signed off on a step-aside deal to allow Ugas to face Spence....Johnathan Taylor of the Colts should be in the NFL MVP discussion....What do I watch now that this last season of 'Succession' on HBO is over?....Really looking forward to seeing ''All Madden'' on FOX....I can be reached at email@example.com....