Monday Morning Boxing Coach: Josh Taylor Is A Hall-Of-Famer, Devin Haney Returns on DAZN, Showtime Fights
Josh Taylor Nears Hall-of-Fame
Scotland’s super-lightweight Josh Taylor repeats a feat done four years prior by generational talent, Terence Crawford, and outdid Crawford, by facing every formidable champion at the time such as, Ivan Baranchyk, Regis Prograis, and on last Saturday night, Jose Ramirez to win all four belts making him the second undisputed champion from Scotland since Ken Buchanan, and the first in the four-belt era.
What made Taylor so impressive was his hand speed, which Ramirez was never able to adjust for, and/or time. Taylor who after the fifth round was more than likely down by a round scored a devastating knockdown with a pull-counter left-hand that staggered Ramirez, but the telling blow came from an inside left uppercut, that will be debated for years, as the punch was a legal blow, but also one can’t help but realize that referee Kenny Bayless was very involved in the action at this point, and Ramirez misjudged the referees in involvement, leading to the shot that changed the fight.
Ramirez had never recovered from the telling shot, as Taylor with a two-knockdown lead, withstood a late charge by Ramirez to make history.
So what is next for Taylor – well, it is already decided, a hometown world title defense against 27-year-old U.K. fighter Jack Catterall, as Catterall is the #1 contender for the WBO world title.
Taylor is now a certified pound-for-pound fighter, as the obvious lingering fight, and the question will be if Taylor moved up to welterweight how would Taylor fair against the other undisputed 140 lbs champion in the four-belt era, Terence Crawford. The only downside being, Crawford is alleged to be out of his Top Rank contract during the fall of this year, meaning, Crawford may not be around long enough to fight Taylor.
Nonetheless, Taylor ascended to an elite tier of must-see-TV fighters, as Josh Taylor is now not just a star of the sport, Taylor is becoming a polarizing figure, as he came overseas to defeat one of the best fighters in his generation.
What’s Next For Jose Ramirez
For Ramirez, who had gone nearly a decade undefeated, now will be when the man with a dream from a small town, Avenal, Ca, will feel the pain of being from a small town. Having covered most of Jose Ramirez’s pro career, I am aware of the blind-faith Fresno, Ca, has in him, and even worse I know how quickly people are to shun you once you loss.
Though Ramirez gave it his all, and has nothing to be ashamed of, it was disheartening to read things on the internet from personalities, and people from the Central California area, all but writing off the 2012 Olympian, Ramirez, with rude remarks of “I told you so…,” or the dreaded “…he was never that good in the first place.”
They love you when your winning and are quick to forget once adversity hits is a theme in boxing.
The rough part about the Taylor vs Ramirez undisputed unification at 140 lbs is simple, to the victor goes the spoils. For one reason, or another, the fight didn’t get a lot of traction in both the U.S. and U.K., and though Taylor now becomes a star, Ramirez will be remembered mostly for a losing effort, that was cap-stoned by two knockdowns.
The risk-and-the-reward of this match was equaled in terms of the purse for this bout, but in terms of a fighter’s legacy they didn’t match, because now, Taylor has ascended whereas Ramirez has to reinvent himself to the boxing world, nine years into his pro career, with a style that ages fighters quicker than most. Ramirez is not done by any means, and with a great trainer in Robert Garcia, and one of the best managers, Rick Mirigian, a path will be laid out for him, but now it will take planning to find himself back in another big fight.
Jose Zepeda doesn’t impressive
Jose “Chon” Zepeda was in 2020’s fight of the year against Ivan Baranchyk, but Zepeda looked underwhelming against “Hammerin” Hank Lundy, who took the fight on three week’s notice. Zepeda, who missed weight the day prior, and had to get naked to make the weight upon his second effort an hour after the original weigh-in, looked tired and bored in the ring, and despite it not getting called even was floored by Lundy in this fight, which the referee ruled as a slip.
As Zepeda nears the top-5 of the division, and if Taylor chooses to vacant his four world titles, to go up to welterweight, Zepeda would more than likely be in a world title fight, the outing did not exploit his primetime television position. Zepeda won, but that is about all you can say about his performance.
Kenneth Sims Jr defeats hot prospect Elvis Rodriguez
Kenneth Sims Jr was a decorated amateur coming out of the 2012 amateur grouping of fighters, but now nearly a decade later his talent is on full display as with his father, and coach Kay Koroma, Sims Jr defeated hot prospect Elvis Rodriguez out of the Wild Card Boxing Gym, trained by Freddie Roach.
On the media Zoom call earlier this week Sims Jr. saw the future, stating he’d be a big name in the sport after this win, and now he is.
Sims who lost to Rolando Chinea in 2017 and a year later lost to Samuel Teah, along with a draw to Montana Love, saw Sims all, but written off by a rough stint on the ShoBox: The Next Generation circuit which matches young fighters tough. Since 2019, Sims Jr. had only fought once per-year, although he gained valuable experience in training camps of Terence Crawford, and Shakur Stevenson. That experience showed in this fight.
Sims Jr., showed that an active jab, with smart, active feet was a major hurdle for Elvis Rodriguez to overcome, as the Dominican puncher looked frustrated en route to a majority decision loss.
For Rodriguez, who has never looked like the same guy after contracting Covid-19, the fight showed all of his flaws in one assortment, and one could even say was foreshadowed by his previous bout against Luis Alberto Veron, in which Rodriguez looked unhappy to have adjust to a mover. Rodriguez found himself throwing punches all at the same speed, throwing the same or similar combinations over and over, and looked limited on the inside. In short, Rodriguez went from being a future breakout star to a work-in-progress. While Sims Jr., now ascended to heights his career had never seen before.
I would like to see Kenneth Sims Jr. versus Jose Zepeda on a future Top Rank card.
Louie Coria, Javier Martinez, and Robesiy Ramirez
I am dubbing “King” Louie Coria, the king of the undercards, as Coria has been in three barn-burners in his past three fights giving Adam “Blunose” Lopez, Robson Conceição, and now Jose Enrique Durantes Vivas all they could handle. Coria didn’t win any of these fights on the cards, but won in the hearts and minds of many of the fans. Coria has flaws, and that is what makes him lovable. Prone to trading with opponent and getting himself into hard fights, Coria dropped Vivas in the third round, but when distance is created Coria can struggle, that being said the will of Coria, makes him a unique and notable fighter, and with one of the best coaches in his corner Robert Garcia, Coria is a fighter to always take note of, on any undercard he fights on.
Javier Martinez, the 2019 Olympic Trials winner and a man who had a good case to be on the 2021 Olympic Team middleweight , but saw his rival from the Olympic Trials Box-Off, Joseph Hicks, get it, stopped Calvin Metcalf, a tough spoiler, in four-rounds. Up until Martinez’s last bout, the highly decorated amateur, who I had listed in my top-10 in the country of current amateur fighters, was not making the adjustment to the pro game one would’ve hoped starting out his career with two decision wins. Martinez, who now trains with Robert Garcia, has made great strides in the pro game and now is riding back-to-back knockout over game opponents in Billy Wagner and now Metcalf. Martinez in my eyes is back to where I saw him coming out of the amateurs after a slow start and is already in six-round fights with less than five professional bouts.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Robesiy Ramirez’s career is so strange. Ramirez lost his pro debut around a lack of urgency, changed coaches to Ismael Salas, a well-decorated coach, and fought former sparring partner Ryan Allen in a bout that looked not unlike a sparring session. Ramirez, who should be approaching a world title, already has a loss on his ledger, though he avenged, and is not winning over the fans with his intellectual, but not always crowd-pleasing style.
Ramirez is now seven fights into his pro career with two scheduled eight-round bouts on his resume, Ramirez will be looking to have a memorable performance soon, as Ramirez looks to elevate to the world title conversation in the coming year. It would be nice to see a killer instinct or a sense of urgency in one of his upcoming fights as Ramirez’s skills are up to par, we simply question his temperament.
Devin Haney vs Jorge Linares, Saturday on DAZN – 6 PM PST
Devin Haney started a massive trend in boxing, from using social media to show intimate details of training to building his career in Mexico, rather than fighting in America, and flying Mexican opponents here. Haney, who fights under the Matchroom USA banner, is the talk of the boxing world not just for his talent, but his business acumen as well, which is in no small part to his father and trainer, Bill Haney.
Haney, one of two WBC lightweight world champions currently along with Teofimo Lopez, faces 3-division, 4-time world champion Jorge Linares, who has held the WBC featherweight title, WBA super featherweight title, WBC lightweight title, and WBA lightweight world title over the past decade.
Linares’ career has outlasted many, as Linares at one point was a young emerging star of the sport, who saw Juan Carlos Salgado, Antonio DeMarco, and Sergio Thompson derail his hype with brutal knockouts that had many people questioning the durability of Linares, even from an early point in his career.
Linares would reinvent himself by going to the U.K. and defeating Kevin Mitchell, Anthony Crolla, as well as facing Luke Campbell in America getting a narrow split-decision of the gold medalist, Campbell. Linares’ international success saw him land a fight with Vasyl Lomachenko, in which Linares dropped Lomachenko, before getting stopped. That being said, Linares has always had shaky durability as two years ago, tough veteran Pablo Cesar Cano knocked out Jorge Linares in just one round.
It is notable that Linares has been stopped three times in his career inside of two rounds, and all five of Linares professional losses have come by way of stoppage.
Haney is a 22-year-old, seemingly star-in-the-making, who everyone in the gym raves about his work ethic and ability, and when world-renown experts like Victor Conte of SNAC System are singing your praises, you know you must be special.
Yet, for Haney, my perception is at times he is too talented and is learning which tool in his boxing toolbox to use at which particular time. Examples of this to me are learning experiences in the Yuriorkis Gamboa, Xolisani Ndongeni, and Juan Carlos Burgos, in which Haney had multiple iterations of styles in each fight, gaining valuable ring time and awareness for later fights. For Linares, the most high-profile fight of Haney’s career, with some unhappy with his performance with Gamboa, this is Haney’s chance to make a statement – as many are looking to see a stoppage victory.
So far I have been impressed with Haney’s career and development, and found the Gamboa fight to be more so, Gamboa making a decision not unlike the Gervonta “Tank” Davis fight, to survive, rather than win, and that makes it hard for any young fighter to look good.
Haney is entertainer, in-and-out of the ring, and I look forward to everything about his fight weeks.
Chantelle Cameron faces Tough Test In Melissa Hernandez
Women’s boxing is now on the map, thanks to pioneers of previous generations, and then the inclusion of women in the Olympics. Chantelle Cameron is a two-weight world champion having held a lightweight world title, and now holding the WBC super lightweight world title looking to defend it against one of the toughest tests in women’s boxing Melissa Hernandez, a tough veteran who looks to overwhelm.
For Camreon, this is a big win that could put her in the hunt for massive fights against the likes of Katie Taylor, Tasha Jonas or Jessica McCaskill, but Hernandez’s last fight saw her beat a hot prospect, Selina Barrios, who is the sister of current world champion, Mario Barrios, in 2019.
Cameron will prove to the world if she is ready for the next level with her performance on Saturday night.
Bay Area’s Amari Jones Returns On Card
One of the best amateur boxers out of the Bay Area in the past decade, Amari Jones, will return on the undercard of Devin Haney, as Jones is signed to Devin Haney Promotions, and has spent the past year, training alongside Haney in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jones is a fighter with a great in-ring IQ, ability, and experience both in terms of sparring and amateur experience.
Jones should have a sensational performance in only his second professional fight, and should be on all hardcore fans radar, as Jones could be something special.
Nordine Oubaali vs Nonito Donaire, Saturday on Showtime – 6 PM PST
This bout snuck up on me, and even though on paper the fight should favor Nordine Oubaali, for me, and I feel many others, it is more about your emotional attachment to Nonito Donaire, and how long he has been in our lives as fans. Donaire, one of the last true stars of the HBO Boxing era. Donaire’s emotional win over Vic Darchinyan, after Darchinyan had broken his brother, Glenn Donaire’s jaw, was one of the true feel-good moments the sport has seen and seeing Donaire climb the ranks felt like a new Manny Pacquiao all over again. Sadly, Donaire would lose to Guillermo Rigondeaux, and things never quite were the same after that fight.
Oubaali, a French fighter, who currently holds the WBC bantamweight world title, has seen a large portion of his career go unnoticed as Oubaali was with Ringstar Promotions when Ringstar was influx as a company. The most notable win on Oubaali’s record is against Rau’shee Warren in a bout that happened over two years ago, on the Manny Pacquiao vs. Adrien Broner PPV undercard.
While it feels like Donaire has grown up in front of our eyes, Oubaali is a world champion, who has snuck up on many and is looking to create a connection with any type of American fanbase out there.
The bout is the boxing version of a “coming of age” movie, with Donaire looking to rewrite the script and make it a redemption story.
The U.S. Debut of Batyrzhan Jukembayev
I was texted last week that the Kazakhstan national boxing coach who had worked with Gennady Golovkin was more impressed with Batyrzhan Jukembayev, than Golovkin, as Jukembayev nears his American television debut with manager Rick Mirigian advising him, and 70% KO ratio in his 18 professional fights.
Jukembayev, who is in the IBF super lightweight eliminator for Josh Taylor’s IBF super lightweight world title, will face Subriel Matias, the man who had defeated Maxim Dadashev, as well as Malik Hawkins, and is known for reckless pressure, an iron-chin and incredible cardio.
Jukembayev, who has spent his whole career in Canada, is someone that amongst insider’s is being highly touted, and we will see this Saturday, if he will emerge as a new Capital G “Guy” in the 140 lbs division as Subriel Matias has made a career out of winning fights he should lose.