Boxing

LukieBoxing Column: Canelo, Devin Haney’s Win, Crawford Fight Week

Canelo’s Free-Agency 

On a seemingly bland Thursday, Eddy Reynoso, Canelo’s manager, and trainer stated on his Instagram, Golden Boy Promotions, had let the biggest name, and best fighter in the sport of boxing, out of his contract, as well as he is no longer tied to DAZN.

The news almost surely means Canelo will now promote himself, but in what universe and what network we will soon find out, but seemingly all signs point to an affiliation at the very least with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, as Caleb Plant, a surging super middleweight world champion is his rumored first opponent. 

The good thing about this news, the biggest star, and the best fighter in the sport will be back in the ring soon. The bad news, Golden Boy and DAZN just lost their most valuable asset, and now have to either rebuild or rethink financial plans moving forward. If not both.

World champion and 2012 U.S. Olympian, Joseph Diaz Jr., seems peeved at his promoter Golden Boy Promotions, as he took to social media to notice he wasn’t even mentioned in the press release. Seems trouble is afoot at Golden Boy Promotions.

The Ryan Garcia versus Luke Campbell bout on December 5th, marking the global launch of the DAZN app, will be telling of the future of Golden Boy Promotions.

Haney, neither good nor bad

Devin Haney fought a former Olympic gold medalist, and perennial contender, Yurikoris Gamboa, and Gamboa did what I thought he’d do – enough to keep getting fights to test young fighters. Haney won the bout, one could even say Haney dominated, but Gamboa was able to close distance, and provide a lot of trouble based on movement, rabbit punches, and unwillingness to go away. 

Gamboa seemingly entered the bout knowing if he overachieved this would allow him to continue earning big checks as a pro boxer, and fought in a manner that his lively hood depended upon it.

The downside was Haney was hoping to stop Gamboa, and though he hurt him at times, especially with a left hook, Gamboa made a pact with himself he wasn’t going down on this night. 

This was a developmental, and growing performance from Haney, one the fans and media might not appreciate, but the type that will help Haney down the road as he picked up a lot of experience in this fight as well as left the fight with a clean face, something that isn’t common for Gamboa opponents. 

Keep in mind, Haney is 21-years-old.

The criticism of Haney comes from two points of emphasis, Gervonta “Tank” Davis had just stopped Gamboa last year, and people are looking at the end result, and not the fight, and Haney has been very vocal, and people are expecting with a strong social media presence a performance comparable to Teofimo Lopez’s win over top-3 pound-for-pound Vasyl Lomachenko or the dramatic knockout ‘Tank’ Davis had over Leo Santa Cruz. 

In short, if you asked me to define, Haney’s fight against Gamboa – it can be summed up in a few words – humbling, yet dominant.

Overmatched undercard 

The undercard for DAZN’s fight card was uneventful. The best bout wasn’t shown on TV as Darren Cunningham III, picked up a wide win, but despite that, you could wait for the knockouts to appear on social media, as the bouts looked to be more of the stay busy nature. 

“The Big Bang” Zhilei Zhang stopped former 2004 heavyweight USA Olympian and team captain Devin Vargas in four rounds. 

Filip Hrgovic beat former contender Rydell Booker in five. Hrgovic telling Booker he was “…too old,” after the bout summed up the bout. 

Both wins were stoppages.

Neither bout were must-see affairs, and the highlights will be enough when watching them.

In a perfect world, Zhang and Hrgovic would face each other next as they occupy a similar space in the division. Promoter, Eddie Hearn, is targeting Michael Hunter for Hrgovic next.

Reshat Mati stopped Marcos Monica in two rounds, Raymond Ford stopped Rafael Reyes in three rounds. 

Ford is someone to take heed of as he is talented, but we will see how the developmental system will work with Matchroom USA as like most promoters currently, they’re looking for the next star of the sport, as only a few have emerged so far. 

Knockouts tend to bring the fans to the table, but none of these bouts felt remotely interesting to start, so the KO’s felt like the expectation instead of a shocking development or something to gravitate towards.

Luis Ortiz stops Opponent with First Punch Seemingly

Give Ortiz credit, if you shouldn’t be in there with him, you will be out of there shortly thereafter, that being said, Saturday night’s main event was anti-climatic. Ortiz landed two punches prior to a body shot that stopped Alexander Flores, who was down for the count, seconds into the fight.

The knockout looked weird, so much so CSAC is reviewing the case and has withheld Flores’ purse.

Luis Ortiz, a fighter with all the skills, and hallmark trademarks of a world champion has yet to win a world title and might go on one of the most unwanted lists to be on in boxing. ‘One of the greatest fighters to never win a world title, as his path to the world title looks cloudly, and two knockout losses to Deontay Wilder, further the dismay. 

We will await what is next for Ortiz.

A bout between Frank Sanchez, the co-main event heavyweight fighter now training with Canelo’s trainer/manager, Eddy Reynoso, and a fellow Cuban, could be an interesting fight, but who knows if they’d fight each other, as they’re both Cuban, and Cuban heavyweights are not very common. 

Sanchez, Coffie

Frank Sanchez as stated above is training with Eddy Reynoso, as “The Cuban Flash” Sanchez, made short work of Brian Howard to claim the WBO NABO heavyweight world title. Anthony Joshua currently holds the WBO and Sanchez is currently ranked the #10 fighter in the division. 

The belt helps increase his chances for a big fight, as well as increases his pay for his fights.

The big thing for Sanchez is to stand out as his career so far has been rather anonymous, hopefully, a new team can help with some of that. 

Michael Coffie, a Marshall Kaufman promoted fighter, made short work of Joey Abell, a tough journeyman guy, who can give non-elite talents fits. Coffie dropped Abell in round one and stopped him in round two. 

Coffie is setting himself up for a big opportunity with a win on Fox, as in only eleven fights Coffie is an eight-round fighter, something that is not all that common. It’ll be interesting what is in store for him next. 

Kali Reis Wins Belt

Kali Reis won the WBA super lightweight world title, and now is looking for a formidable foe. 

Reis, who dropped and to some (not the judges) beat Cecilia Braekhus on HBO prior to Gennady Golovkin’s knockout of Vanes Martirosyan is poised for a big fight. Though at 140 lbs currently, you don’t have the sexy names, it opens up leverage for negations as well, as provides an incentive to get fights. 

One division higher than her is Cecilia Braekhus and Jessica McCaskill, one lower is Katie Taylor.

Good fights can be made.

Z-Wop KO

Charles Conwell’s brother, Isaiah Steen is more commonly known as ‘Z-Wop’ stopped Juan De Angel in a dominant performance. Steen is getting close to a career-defining fight and displayed a great lead 45, uppercut-hook hybrid punch in this fight. 

Coming Week

Crawford fights Brook

Terence Crawford is one of the best fighters of this generation, and yet, he is missing his transcendent fight. The three-division world champion, who unified the 140 lbs division, now at age 33, is easily one of the five best fighters in the world is struggling to get an opportunity against the elite of the division, as the welterweight division exists away from his promoter, Top Rank Inc, and more in the Premier Boxing Champions, universe. 

Crawford’s bout this weekend against Kell Brook, on Saturday, November 14th, outlines the problem, as despite an ESPN fight date in prime-time the opponent is not that sexy. Brook is a very good former champion and a respectable opponent, but fans are hoping to see Crawford tested against the best, Brook feels like a lower top-10 welterweight, being put against a generation great. It is a hard paradox, as it has no easy answers, but Crawford regardless of who he fights has talent is worth watching, each time he performs. Also, can we punish Crawford for doing nothing wrong, as Brook is seemingly the only person willing to fight Crawford at the given time, with the given budget?

Anyone objective will tell you Crawford is great, but the issue now can be, will he get a couple of those great match-ups in 2021, so his legacy can be truly defined? At this rate, his legacy is looking to be more Aaron Pryor than “Sugar” Ray Leonard.

That being said, it is hard to simply dismiss Crawford’s career as he beat Yuriorkis Gamboa and Viktor Postol when both were surging contenders and beat them so badly, they were remembered for getting beat by Crawford, hence diminishing their value rather than elevating Crawford’s status, which isn’t fair.

Tuning into Crawford’s bout, Saturday, in primetime is worthwhile viewing since he is one of the best to do it.

Franco v. Moloney 

The 25-year-old fighter Joshua Franco, who won his first world title against Andrew Moloney, will have to do it again to keep the WBA super flyweight world title in his grips. 

Moloney, a 29-year-old fighter, is an active back foot fighter, but had trouble with the relentless pressure of Franco, which saw Moloney dropped and rocked in the bout. 

Franco, who works with veteran manager, Rick Mirigian, and trains with Robert Garcia, will be looking to be even more dominant, and with Moloney’s brother, Jason, getting knocked out by Naoya Inoue on Halloween, one might say all the momentum leading into this bout is firmly in Franco’s corner. 

Sneaky good under-the-radar bouts

The hard-punching Wild Card Boxing Club protege, Elvis Rodriguez, will be in action again as he has thrown together a slew of KO wins, along with a competitive bout between Joshua Greer Jr., coming off a loss to Mike Plania, as Greer’s opponent Edwin Rodriguez is coming off the best win of his career, an upset of Thompson Boxing prospect, Saul Sanchez. Greer vs Rodriguez has all the makings of a great bout, that is super under-the-radar.

Notable amateurs, lightweight Raymond Muratalla as well as featherweight Duke Ragan will be on the undercard in separate bouts, and are worth paying notice to. 

Matchroom focuses on Women’s Boxing

The top-three bouts on this week’s Matchroom card from the U.K., will be women’s boxing bouts as Katie Taylor a generational talent at the lightweight division, who has unified the four major belts in the division (WBO/WBC/IBF/WBO) will be in action. 

The card will be supported by Terri Harper’s title defense of her WBC junior lightweight world title. New champ, Mikaela Mayer has been calling out Harper, so it’ll be interesting to compare Harper’s performance to Mayer’s dominant performance. 

The third bout rounding out the top of the card, the compelling and likable story of Rachael Ball, who is a full-time social worker, as well as a professional boxer, vying for a world title.  

Matchroom is making an effort to support women’s boxing, and it is now up to the fans to tune in and support to show this is viable, and worthy of such investment, which I thin it is.

FS1 PBC fights Saturday

Undefeated middleweight Amilicar Vidal, who is promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz, will fight for the second time in the U.S. against undefeated Texan Edward Ortiz. 

The undercard features a compelling undercard bout between, Henry Arredondo taking Eros Correa, both of whom are undefeated with deep amateur careers. This on paper is the best fight of the weekend. 

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle