The Ring06:21
The Bible of Boxing

 
 
1. Raymond Serrano on facing Jaron Ennis: I like when people doubt me04:45[−]

PHILADELPHIA Raymond Serrano cant fathom it. That this little kid, this pesky little kid who he used to chase around the gym, is someone hell be fighting in the main event of Showtimes ShoBox: The New Generation on Friday.

Serrano knows 21-year-old Jaron Boots Ennis (21-0, 19 knockouts) rather well.

He should.

Based in Philadelphia, Serrano practically grew up under Derrick Bozy Ennis, Jarons father, trainer and manager. Early in his career, Serrano worked with Jarons older brother, Derek Pooh Ennis. Jaron himself played the role of the pest, a kid no higher than Serranos waist, whirling around the gym causing chaos while the 5-foot-8 welterweight trained.

I know what the deal is; I know Im the guy thats supposed to lose, and its something that Ive gotten used to my whole career, Serrano said. My last fight (in June), I fought Gerome Quigley, who was 18-0 with 16 knockouts (ruled a no-contest when Quigley cut his forehand in the second round). I thought I made him quit. The official said it was an unintentional head-butt. But I knew he quit.

I love it. I love being against everything. I know Boots dad, his brother. Boots was always the baby. I was coming up when Pooh was coming up. Honestly, Boots kind of came out of nowhere to me. I was at the fights in Philly when Bryant Jennings fought Joey (Dawejko) in Philly on ESPN (in April). I was looking over at Boots and theres something funny I thought there was an idea that I would be fighting Boots. A lot of people look at me as that go-to guy to fight.


Serrano (24-5, 10 KOs), had a distinguished amateur career. In 2005, he won the junior Olympics and the nationals, finishing with a bronze in the world championships as a super bantamweight. He dropped to 118 and competed in the open of the Golden Gloves nationals, where he reached the quarterfinals. He turned pro in 2007, winning his first 18 fights before being stopped in five by Karim Mayfield in May 2012. In his next fight, he was stopped by Emmanuel Taylor in six.

He suffered a pair of consecutive losses again when he dropped decisions to Brad Solomon and the talented and still undefeated Alex Saucedo, against whom Serrano lost a close decision after coming back from a second-round knockdown. Serranos fifth loss came earlier this year a unanimous 10-rounder against the undefeated Malik Hawkins.

Serrano, 29, has been working with California-based trainer Shadeed Suluki for this fight.

This is my second camp with Shadeed, and hes bringing out a lot of new things with me, Serrano said. I did all of my training in California. Listen, a lot of people are sleeping on me. Theyll see. Im excited about this opportunity. Ive been fighting a lot of undefeated guys and no one has gotten the chance to see where I am right now.

I know what people think. I like when people doubt me. I love when everyone is against me.

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2. Adam Kownacki looking forward to Gerald Washington clash in January03:43[−]

Three years ago, you looked, maybe, at Adam Kownacki and thought, “OK, I see a club fighter.”

Not body beautiful, skills a bit basic he is what he is.

But maybe you had a lack of imagination at the time.

You didnt give him or the human animal in general credit for being able to plow forward, and improve, and also for the concept of attrition. As a Kownacki keeps on soldiering on and refining his skills, elders in the division lose steam, fall prey to aging, and that leaves them more vulnerable.

We could be seeing THAT in play when Kownacki (18-0; last fought in September at Barclays, beating Charles Martin), age 29, gloves up on January 26 to face Gerald Washington at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, on a card topped by Keith Thurmans comeback against Josesito Lopez.

Washington is 36 years old, a full-on gatekeeper who lost to Deontay Wilder and Jarrell Miller before returning to the victory lane against John Wesley Nofire in his last outing, in June. So, Mr. Kownacki, do you see Washington as a step up?

Definitely, I had him winning versus Wilder until he got caught, Kownacki told me.

And what are the keys to winning versus Washington (19-2-1, 12 KOs)?

Bring that pressure, he said. Which has been working for me. Good head movement, which Im working on to improve. I cant wait to be back at Barclays Center. Im very excited for this new deal with Fox. It will bring great fights to everyone for free!

And what did he learn from that last outing, when he took down ex-IBF titleholder Martin, who came to the table with an extra measure of motivation, because hed been busted on hard after folding up against Anthony Joshua. Dont say a man has no heart before a fight. It will put him on a mission to show you otherwise!


We chatted with Kownacki before that last scrap, and he told us hed tweaked his diet and that it was paying dividends. Where does that element of his training stand?

Ive been disciplined with the diet. Didnt put on weight since the fight. So once training camp starts, it will start coming off, and Ill be at 245-250 for the fight.” (He was 263 for the Martin fight after being 242 for a fight with Artur Szpilka in July 2017, 260 for a Iago Kiladze in January 2018.)

My three cents: Kownacki has been the tortoise to get here. Steady pace — not fast, but steady. Don’t pre-judge based on body type or whatever. The guy has determination and grit. And sometimes those two traits are as important as anything else being brought to the table.

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3. Manny Pacquiao, Adrien Broner will meet face-to-face during press tour next week01:13[−]

The promotion ahead of the first major fight of 2019 will kick off next week.

Manny Pacquiao and Adrien Broner will square off in a Showtime pay-per-view on January 19 in Las Vegas, The Ring reported last month, but before they fight, they’ll jet out on a two-city press tour next week. First up: Monday in New York, before they meet with the press Tuesday in Los Angeles.

The welterweight bout will be Pacquiao’s first fight since he linked up with Al Haymon. It will also be Pacquiao’s first bout in the U.S. in over two years as he dealt with significant tax issues.

The 39-year-old Filipino senator is the only boxer in history to claim titles in eight weight classes, and he proved in July that he still has something left to give. Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 knockouts) scored his first knockout in almost 10 years with a stoppage over Lucas Matthysse in Malaysia. Now, he’ll fight better competition, and a much bigger name.

Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs) carries solid power at 147 pounds, even if he was a far more devastating puncher in the lower weight divisions. He’s no doubt underachieved to this point; he wasn’t competitive in his defeats to Shawn Porter and Mikey Garcia.

But he’s still one of the most recognizable names in the sport, and in his most high-profile fight yet, Broner, 29, has the opportunity to realize his potential once and for all.

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4. Errol Spence Jr.-Mikey Garcia PPV title tilt headlines PBC on Fox slate unveiling., 14 .[−]

LOS ANGELES — For years, Fox has broadcasted the biggest events in sports. The Super Bowl. The World Series.

Two months after Premier Boxing Champions announced a four-year partnership with Fox that includes significant license fees, the slate was unveiled Tuesday at the 20th Century Fox headquarters in Century City against the backdrop of a video package that highlighted their upcoming schedule with Chris Myers introducing each fighter.

The biggest fight of them all: Fox’s maiden voyage on pay-per-view, a March 16 welterweight title tilt between Errol Spence Jr. and Mikey Garcia at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

“That’s why I’m taking it, because it’s such a big challenge for me and that’s what I’m all about,” said Garcia, who will be chasing a title in a fifth weight class. “There’s no one else out there right now that I can compete with on that level. Spence is that guy.

“It’s going to be a great fight, and this is one of those rare occasions when the little guy beats the bigger man.”

It’s the first true mega fight on the PBC on Fox schedule, but there were another five title fights announced over the first quarter of 2019 (in addition to the previously announced inaugural show featuring the Charlo twins on December 22.)

Jose Uzcategui defends his super middleweight title against Caleb Plant at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on the first show of 2019, one of 12 FS1 telecasts.

Later in the month, on January 26, Keith Thurman makes his long-awaited return after almost two years away from the ring. He defends his welterweight title against Josesito Lopez in Brooklyn, New York. It’s one of 10 telecasts on Fox.

“I’m going to prove that I’m the best, that Keith ‘One-Time’ Thurman, I’ve been the problem, I am the truth, your boy is swift,” said Thurman, who hasn’t competed since March 2017 as he dealt with a litany of elbow and hand injuries. “I plan on keep doing it. … I’m itching. We got the fight date, I’m truly looking forward to it, and I’m going to perform like I always do.”

Heavyweight contender Adam Kownacki fights Gerald Washington in the co-feature that night, and then in February, featherweight titleholder Leo Santa Cruz stays busy with a defense against Miguel Flores on February 16 on Fox.

Anthony Dirrell and Avni Yildirim meet on February 23 in Minneapolis (FS1) for the super middleweight title vacated by David Benavidez. Another 168-pound bout on FS1 pits Caleb Truax against Peter Quillin on April 13, also at The Armory in Minneapolis.

One week before Spence and Mikey square off on pay-per-view, Shawn Porter defends his welterweight title against Yordenis Ugas (Fox) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The other bouts on the schedule also take place in the stacked 147-pound division: Lamont Peterson-Sergey Lipinets on March 24 in Maryland (FS1); Danny Garcia vs. Adrian Granados on April 19.

There’s only one man on top of the welterweight division right now, though, and that’s Spence.

“It’s a dream come true,” Spence said, “it’s going to be a big fight.”

Lennox Lewis, Erik Morales, Ray Mancini, Myers and Kenny Albert are part of the teams that will call those bouts.

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger

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5. Luis Arias calls Gabriel Rosado a human punching bag., 14 .[−]

Its been a year since Luis Arias last gloved up and the fighter reports that the time off has served him well.

Arias defended well but his offense was lacking against Danny Jacobs in November 2017. The middleweight fringe contender impressed mightily with his personality and interactions with press during fight week, but fight night his A game was awry.

On Nov. 17, hes looking to revert to form and get the better of veteran Gabe Rosado in a card to unfold in Kansas, and screen on DAZN platform.

So, 18-1 Arias, what is your take on Rosado, the Philly native who has a less than glittering record but still commands respect for his fighting spirit?

Human punching bag, Arias described the 24-11 rival. If you outta shape he will beat you. Not an issue in our camp.

Whoah, high quality trash talk! We can only hope the bout mirrors the yapping….

So, are we thinking this is gonna be easy work?

Not gonna say easy because he can take a beating. I dont see it as a hard fight though. Very good, winnable fight. Perfect opponent who is gonna stand right in front of you.

And the time off, what were you up to?

Just been getting in tune with myself. Figuring out my best move. Took time to get out of my contract. (He was promoted by Roc Nation.) Let my body heal. Trained and got better. Realized who out there is really there for me. Its been fun.

So, is the 28 year old aligned with a promoter?

They will come right after I smoke Rosado!

This one on paper looks pretty 50-50. Rosado lost to Willie Monroe and then Martin Murray before bouncing back with a victory over Glen Tapia. This will be a battle of who is better able to shed rust, being that Rosado, age 32, last fought in October 2017.

Readers, who wins the Rosado-Arias scrap?

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6. Masataka Taniguchi wins in Thailand, setting up Vic Saludar WBO strawweight challenge., 13 .[−]

Masataka Taniguchi handled his end of the deal Tuesday, defeating unbeaten Filipino Joel Lino by unanimous decision in Bangkok to set up a title shot against WBO strawweight titleholder Vic Saludar on New Year’s Eve.

Taniguchi (11-2, 7 knockouts) earned scores of 119-109 on two cards and 116-112 on the third over Lino (10-1-1, 3 KOs) to pick up the WBO Asia Pacific regional belt, which will get him placed in the sanctioning body’s top 15 ratings and make him eligible to face Saludar.

“I think it will be a good fight for Vic in his first title defense because it is another Japanese and Taniguchi really wants to have his chance for the title,” said Saludar’s promoter Kenneth Rontal, who says all that is left remaining is to sign the contracts.

Saludar (18-3, 10 KOs) will be making the first defense of the title he won in July by outpointing Ryuya Yamanaka. The 28-year-old from Polomolok, Philippines is rated no. 4 by THE RING and is already in General Santos City preparing for the fight.

The optional defense will presage his mandatory defense in 2019 against the winner of the Robert Paradero-Wilfredo Mendez elimination bout, which takes places December 7 in Puerto Rico.

Taniguchi of Kobe, Japan has won three straight, with his lone defeats coming by majority decisions to Reiya Konishi and Tsubasa Koura.

Saludar-Taniguchi will be on the card in Macau headlined by Donnie Nietes vs. Kazuto Ioka for the vacant WBO junior bantamweight title.

“It is a huge honor to be in the same card with great champions like Nietes and Ioka. Because of this we will show everybody that Vic is another world champion to be anticipated coming from Philippines with pride,” said Rontal.

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7. Bryant Jennings, Shakur Stevenson set to share doubleheader on Jan. 18., 13 .[−]

Top Rank is plotting out its 2019 schedule and one priority is to set up a title shot for their heavyweight contender.

Bryant Jennings will headline a card streamed on ESPN+ on January 18 at Turning Stone in Verona, New York, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum told The Ring. Junior lightweight prospect Shakur Stevenson will fight in the other featured bout.

Jennings and Stevenson share the same management group — one led by James Prince and Josh Dubin — so the pairing is a natural one (Stevenson is also managed by Andre Ward.)

The 34-year-old Philadelphian gave a strong effort in a 2015 heavyweight title challenge of Wladimir Klitschko, and then suffered a second consecutive loss with a knockout at the hands of Luis Ortiz later in the year. Jennings (24-2, 14 knockouts) survived a fourth-round knockdown to stop Alexander Dimitrenko in August in one of his best victories.

Stevenson (9-0, 5 KOs) delivered the breakthrough performance of his short career with a first-round stoppage of Viorel Simion last month. The Olympic silver medalist finally showed the power that’s long been a question mark in addition to improved strength.

The 21-year-old native of Newark is one of the sport’s brightest prospects, and Ward is confident he can reach that potential in time, but there’s no rush.

“Everybody wants the meal to be cooked like yesterday. It doesn’t work like that,” Ward told The Ring on Friday. “The kid is maturing little by little. He’s not even as strong as he’s going to be. He’s 21, so once he reaches 23, 24, he’ll reach another level of strength; 26, 27, hit another level of strength. It just keeps building.

“If he’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing, he’ll keep getting stronger and stronger. People just need to be patient. I think he has the potential to be an all-time great. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t say it. But there’s contingencies with a young fighter. Potential is not actually realizing what you could be. You gotta stay focused.”

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger

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8. Tomoki Kameda poised for world title shot after outpointing Abigail Medina in Tokyo., 12 .[−]

Former bantamweight titleholder Tomoki Kameda won the vacant WBC interim junior featherweight belt with a hard-fought but unanimous decision over European champion Abigail Medina at the famous Korakuen Hall in Tokyo on Monday.

Kameda (36-2, 20 knockouts) utilized his jab to build an early lead and withstood the Spain-based Dominican’s late rally to win by scores of 117-111 twice and 116-112.

Medina (19-4-2, 10 KOs) left it too late but, with more experience under his belt, could become a relevant player at 122 pounds. For now, he will return to European level and seek to rebuild.

Kameda, 27, extends his win-streak to five since returning from a 13-month hiatus. This victory puts him in line to face champion Rey Vargas who had complications during surgery and contracted pneumonia, leaving him sidelined for an undetermined amount of time. It was therefore decided that the two top-rated fighters would battle it out with a view to facing Vargas upon his return.

We should see Vargas-Kameda during the first half of 2019.

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at elraincoat@live.co.uk and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright

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9. Dougies Monday mailbag (Usyk-Bellew, Usyk and Holyfield, Usyk vs. the heavyweights)., 12 .[−]

USYK IS VERY FEEL

Hey Doug,

Hope everything’s well, I’m currently on vacation on the other side of the world and thanks to the new streaming services I managed to watch the Usyk-Bellew on my phone while drinking a Bloody Mary with a wonderful view. That has to be the most convenient way to watch a fight. Love it! Welcome to the future!

The fight itself won’t be on my everyday morning schedule like say a Hagler-Hearns, but it certainly was intriguing from beginning to the spectacular end. Tony Bellew proved to be a puzzle and showed how much he has improved over the years, he definitely is a threat to anybody with a lower boxing IQ at the cruiser or heavy weight division. Against Usyk though, he was facing a master in his prime and after 7 closely contested rounds he got caught with a combination that was a little adjustment Olexander had figured out earlier in the previous round.

I found both fighters to be at the top of their game for this fight and they needed to be as neither of them was giving up an inch. As it turns out in these kind of fights, which by the way reminded me of Marquez-Casamayor, is the better technician and fresher fighter usually ends up with his hand raised in victory.

I’m really impressed by what Usyk has been able to accomplish in such short time. I remember the first time I saw him I was not impressed at all. Now he looks like the real deal (yes, I did that) in the cruiserweight division and might one day pose a serious threat to whoever ends up winning the Fury-Joshua-Wilder fights. I would make him a serious contender vs Joshua and Wilder, not Fury, as he is as good and awkward as any 6’9″ heavyweight ever.

As of now Usyk will remain feel, very feel, and without a doubt a top 3 p4p contender. Cheers from Bora Bora. Juan Valverde

Hes currently No. 5 in The Rings pound-for-pound rankings. I wont argue with anyone who thinks he should be higher, but I will point out that the boxers rated above him (his countryman and managerial stablemate Lomachenko, Crawford, Canelo and GGG) have been operating on the elite level for years, whereas Usyk basically emerged this year. And what an emergence it has been. Never mind his pound-for-pound status, Usyk is hands down the 2018 Fighter of the Year.

Unifying all four major 200-pound titles by outpointing Mairis Briedis and Murat Gassiev (winning the World Boxing Super Series tournament and earning The Ring cruiserweight championship in process) made Usyk the clear FOTY front-runner knocking out Bellew was the clincher. (Come to think of it, that brutal eighth-round stoppage is probably in the running for KO of the Year.)

The fight itself won’t be on my everyday morning schedule like say a Hagler-Hearns, but it certainly was intriguing from beginning to the spectacular end. It was an intense chess match for six rounds and I had it even to that point, scoring Rounds 2, 3 and 6 for Bellew but Usyk was playing speed chess, and by Round 7 it was evident that the pace the Ukrainian southpaw set had worn down the bold British challenger.

I found both fighters to be at the top of their game for this fight and they needed to be as neither of them was giving up an inch. Bellew doesnt come close to matching Usyks elite amateur background, athleticism and boxing acumen, but he had a level of world-class experience and ring smarts that was head and shoulders above the champs previous 15 pro opponents. That was enough to give Usyk problems during the first half of the fight (which didnt come as a surprise to me).

As it turns out in these kind of fights, which by the way reminded me of Marquez-Casamayor, is the better technician and fresher fighter usually ends up with his hand raised in victory. Thats high praise for both Usyk and Bellew.

I’m really impressed by what Usyk has been able to accomplish in such short time. I remember the first time I saw him I was not impressed at all. I thought fans judged him too harshly after his first two U.S./HBO appearances (vs. Thabiso Mchunu and Michael Hunter). Mchunu was a former top-10 contender with a very difficult style, and Hunter was an unbeaten U.S. Olympian (who can flat-out fight). Both opponents were teak-tough (especially for ones 11th and 12th pro bouts).

Now he looks like the real deal (yes, I did that) in the cruiserweight division and might one day pose a serious threat to whoever ends up winning the Fury-Joshua-Wilder fights. Hey, The Feel has paid the cost to be the boss. I think the same fans that wondered if he was overrated two years now welcome his foray into the heavyweight division.

I would make him a serious contender vs Joshua and Wilder, not Fury, as he is as good and awkward as any 6’9″ heavyweight ever. I agree that Fury is all wrong for Usyk, stylistically speaking, and all wrong for fans. Nothing would happen in that matchup. Usyk vs. AJ and Wilder, on the other hand, would be very interesting. (If a deal cant be struck between Team AJ and the winner of Wilder-Fury next year, dont be surprised if Joshua-Usyk is made; thats primary reason Eddie Hearn singed the Ukrainian star to a co-promotional contract.)

I’m currently on vacation on the other side of the world and thanks to the new streaming services I managed to watch the Usyk-Bellew on my phone while drinking a Bloody Mary with a wonderful view. See, you know how to vacation. (I wish you could explain this concept to my wife.)

That has to be the most convenient way to watch a fight. Love it! Welcome to the future! Nope, welcome to right now.

MYTHICAL MATCHUP

Hi Dougie,

Usyk v Holyfield at cruiserweight.

Thanks. Matt, Vancouver, Canada

The Real Deal by close but unanimous decision in a very busy boxing match that becomes very physical down the stretch.

CAN USYK = COMMANDER VANDER?

Hey Doug, hope all is well.

Usyk (to me) is clearly in the same conversation as Evander Holyfield at Cruiserweight. His accomplishments this year in my mind makes him numero uno for fighter of the year.

Do you think he can achieve what Evander did at heavyweight?

Who would he need to beat and how decisively for you to think Usyk has the goods at that weight class? D.W. from Boston, Ma

If Usyk defeats a top-10 contender a former beltholder like Alexander Povetkin or Joseph Parker, certainly a threat like Luis Ortiz he will have proven to be the goods at heavyweight in my view. I dont know how feasible those matchups are. Were more likely to see Usyk take on Dillian Whyte (who, to be fair, is currently The Rings No. 4-rated heavyweight), if The Body Snatcher gets by Derek Chisora again on Dec. 22, or maybe Big Baby Miller.

Usyk (to me) is clearly in the same conversation as Evander Holyfield at Cruiserweight. Sure, Ill buy that. He achieved undisputed champion status in 15 bouts, something Holyfield did in 17 bouts. (I think Holyfields level of opposition, which included fellow hall of famer Dwight Muhammad Qawi and Carlos De Leon, was a little bit better than Usyks.)

His accomplishments this year in my mind makes him numero uno for fighter of the year. No doubt about it.

Do you think he can achieve what Evander did at heavyweight? I wont count Usyk out at heavyweight, but I doubt it. To even come close to equaling what Holyfield did in the sports glamor division he will have to become the

Holyfield cracks Bowe with a right hand in their rematch. Photo: THE RING Archive

undisputed heavyweight champ. And keep in mind that Holyfield won all the major belts by beating Buster Douglas in 1990, but he also engaged in an all-time great trilogy with Riddick Bowe, and faced several other world titleholders and legit contenders during the 90s (which was a deep decade for the heavyweight division), including Lennox Lewis (twice), Mike Tyson (twice), Michael Moorer (twice), George Foreman, Larry Holmes and Ray Mercer. He didnt win all of those fights, but he certainly didnt avoid any challenges.

A LAST SHOUT FOR THE BOMBER

Hi Doug, hope you, the team and family are well.

Tony Bellew can hold his head up high. He did really well. He frustrated the master at times, countered him well, got him to miss and got Usyk to respect his power.

What went wrong? Tony started really well, and you could see the concentration on his face. Its a strange one. It looked like he was as mentally fatigued as physically when the knockout came. Also, you could hear Dave Coldwell screaming at him to stay focused in the corner.

I think Paulie Malignaggi called it well. Usyk made an adjustment which he started to have success with, but Tony couldnt respond and the end came soon after.

The knockout was a bad one. You could tell straight away he wasnt gonna be allowed to fight after that. Glad to see Tony was ok after the fight.

Usyk, although taking time to figure out Bellew, did figure him out while taking shots to body and head along the way. Usyk was able to make the necessary adjustments to finish the job. He may have been behind on two of the score cards, however it always felt like he had a few more gears and never really looked hurt. Hell take a lot away from this fight, and the experience will hold him in good stead for future fights.

Where does Usyk go from here?

Would love to hear your thoughts on the following matchups, all at heavyweight:

Carlos Takam

Parker

Hughie Fury

Winner of Dillian Whyte Vs Derek Chisora

Winner of Tyson Fury Vs Deontay Wilder

Andre Ward (one can dream…)

Too early to talk about AJ. And Im glad the post-fight focus from Usyk was on the nights fight and Bellew and not his move to Heavyweight. It earned him a lot of respect and although he was booed on the way in he was cheered on the way out for his sportsmanship.

After all the Mayweather and McGregor BS this is what our sport needs more of. Usyk is a class act and he earned many fans last night.

Tony Bellew can retire a happy man knowing he has chased the best and dared to be great. No shame it that. Keep up the good work! All the best. Tabraze, London

Bellews had an exemplary pro career. Hes Liverpool legend, a UK star, and hes even respected in the States even though he never fought in America. Oh, and he made a lot of money, too.

Tony Bellew can hold his head up high. He did really well. He frustrated the master at times, countered him well, got him to miss and got Usyk to respect his power. I dont know how frustrated Usyk was, but Bellew exhibited good footwork/movement and head/upper-body movement that made the champ miss more than he usually does, and his counter right hand kept the big southpaw honest at least for five or six rounds.

What went wrong? He couldnt keep up Usyks pace, punch variety and cumulative punishment.

Tony started really well, and you could see the concentration on his face. Its a strange one. It looked like he was as mentally fatigued as physically when the knockout came. I think it was more physical. Usyk was getting to his body and timing his lefts to the head with sickening accuracy by Round 7 (Bellew was already dazed by a couple shots before the two-piece that flattened him); my guess is that the Liverpudlian had also begun to run out of gas as he hadnt made the cruiserweight limit in two years. Its easy (or natural) for a veteran boxer to drop down in weight in his mid-30s (although Nonito Donaire pulled it off last week).

Also, you could hear Dave Coldwell screaming at him to stay focused in the corner. Easier screamed than done.

Usyk, although taking time to figure out Bellew, did figure him out while taking shots to body and head along the way. Bellew is a pretty good puncher but Usyk appeared to take a few flush rights to the jaw without much problem. That bodes well for his heavyweight plans.

Where does Usyk go from here? Heavyweight, of course. Whos there for him to fight at cruiserweight?

Would love to hear your thoughts on the following matchups, all at heavyweight:

Carlos Takam Usyk by comfortable UD

Parker Usyk by competitive UD

Hughie Fury Usyk by boring UD

Winner of Dillian Whyte Vs Derek Chisora Usyk by entertaining UD

Winner of Tyson Fury Vs Deontay Wilder Fury by monotonous MD, Wilder by come-from-behind TKO

Andre Ward Usyk by close UD

LIGHTWEIGHT IN THE UK

i only caught 2 of the fights this weekend.

usyk was something else. he just switched on in the 8th. yeah, he got hit, and bellew looked damn good for 6 rounds, but usyk wasnt bothered at all. i swear man, i think he was just takin it easy and hangin out.

ricky burns looked freakin great. helps he aint fighting crawford! WOW. lightweight in the UK is off the chain, man. wow.

and i still have a hard time believing hooker beat flanagan. im bummed out linares and garcia left 135. i think even at 140 garcia wont fight linares. solinares-ramirez would totally kick ass anyway. ceylon

Sign me up for Ramirez-Linares or the winner of Hooker-Saucedo (which should be a good scrap) vs. Linares.

usyk was something else. he just switched on in the 8th. I think he was switched on from the beginning of the fight, it just took him six rounds to break Bellew down.

yeah, he got hit, and bellew looked damn good for 6 rounds, but usyk wasnt bothered at all. i swear man, i think he was just takin it easy and hangin out. Nah, Usyk was dialed in. He had to be. However, I think Usyk felt that he was in command.

ricky burns looked freakin great. helps he aint fighting crawford! Duh. Theres a couple levels between Bud and Scottie Cardle. Still, it was nice to see that at age 35, and 50 bouts into his pro career, Burns still has something left. I always liked the Rickster. Hes been in tough over the past eight years. Dude has faced seven titleholders over three weight classes, including victories over then-unbeaten Rocky Martinez in 2010 and Kiryl Relikh in 2016. Hes also notched wins over then-contenders Michael Katsidis, Paulus Moses and Kevin Mitchell.

WOW. lightweight in the UK is off the chain, man. wow. Yeah, I agree. They gotta pretty vibrant domestic scene at 135 pounds.

TIMBER!

Dam Dougie,
What about those KOs, I dont know which one was better: Usyk icing Bellew or Burns cutting Cardell to size like a tree.

Bellew by using his experience to expose some of Usyks weaknesses also proved how good Usyk is. I was surprised at how easily Bellew was able to land those heavy counters on Usyk but also surprised at easily Usyk rode them and continued to apply constant pressure to break his opponent. Usyks proved hes a lethal finisher and got the engine of a combine harvester, but he can be hit and I do question if he moves up if he could take the power of the bigger guys.

That one-two was beautiful and one hell of a way to cement being the first guy to defend 4 belts in the cruiserweight division.

So, this weekend has left me asking:

Can you think of a fighter that has not only beaten 4 top 10 guys in their back yards, but also unified a division in doing so? Usyk is hands down fighter of the year and now has to be considered P4P number one.

Whats left for the The Feel at crusierweight?

And if he does move up could he handle the power of a Whyte let alone a juggernaut in AJ?

How would Bellew have fared against Usyks opponents over the last year if he had stayed at cruiser?

P.S. Shout out to Burns and Allen for showing the bravery to constantly come back and put everything on the line. Its guys like that who constantly put everything on the line that give us something to watch. Who knows with his self belief and continuous improvements how far Project Rhino will go. – Undisputed heavyweight champ by 2022? Who cant root for the guy.

Thanks for listening to a drunks thoughts. Geo

Drunk thoughts are still thoughts. Thanks for sharing them.

I cant argue with your analysis, wont bother with your opinion on Project Rhino, so Ill skip to your questions:

Can you think of a fighter that has not only beaten 4 top 10 guys in their back yards, but also unified a division in doing so? Not off the top of my head, no.

Usyk is hands down fighter of the year and now has to be considered P4P number one. I agree with him being FOTY, hes had an awesome year, but its one year. Most fighters that make it to that lofty top spot in the mythical rankings do so after several excellent years.

Whats left for the The Feel at crusierweight? Theres the winner of the current WBSS tournament, and I guess theres Denis Lebedev, but other than those two, or the very unlikely scenario of Andre Ward un-retiring to face him for the undisputed 200-pound crown, theres nothing left for Usyk at cruiserweight.

And if he does move up could he handle the power of a Whyte let alone a juggernaut in AJ? Thats a good question. My hunch is that he wont be able to take a direct hit from a modern-sized heavyweight with good power, but I cant envision any of the top big dogs nailing him as accurately or often as Bellew did.

How would Bellew have fared against Usyks opponents over the last year if he had stayed at cruiser? Interesting question. I think Bellew wouldve narrowly outpointed Marco Huck and Briedis in barnburners, but I believe Gassiev would have clipped him in the late rounds.

Email Fischer at dougie@boxingmailbag.com. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer and on Persicope.

The post Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Usyk-Bellew, Usyk and Holyfield, Usyk vs. the heavyweights) appeared first on The Ring.

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10. Fights of Fantasy: Aleksandr Usyk vs. Evander Holyfield., 12 .[−]

Editor’s Note: This feature appeared in the November 2018 issue of Ring Magazine

THREE EXPERTS A FIGHTER, A TRAINER AND A MEDIA MEMBER TELL YOU HOW A MYTHICAL MATCHUP WOULD PLAY OUT

A clash between undisputed champions in the same division is obviously impossible unless of course its a fantasy fight.

Between July 1986 and December 1987, Evander Holyfield won every available title belt at the cruiserweight limit of 190 pounds. His victims were Dwight Muhammad Qawi (WBA), Ricky Parkey (IBF) and Carlos DeLeon (WBC). Shortly thereafter, Holyfield moved north to heavyweight, where he enjoyed even more success.

Three decades later, Ukrainian star Aleksandr Usyk followed Holyfields lead, claiming all cruiserweight belts at the new division limit of 200 pounds. Between September 2016 and July 2018, the former amateur standout defeated Krzysztof Glowacki (WBO), Mairis Briedis (WBC) and Murat Gassiev (IBF, WBA and Ring).

The cruiserweight version of Holyfield and Usyk share other similarities. Both are almost identical in terms of height and reach. Both were Olympic medalists. Both men achieved cruiserweight dominance with unbeaten records. However, the fighting styles are vastly different. Holyfield was a cerebral boxer-puncher who relished a tear-up, whereas Usyk is a mobile southpaw who exemplifies the hit and dont be hit philosophy.

The consensus among fans and experts is that Holyfield is the greatest cruiserweight of all time. Does Usyk challenge that supremacy, or would The Real Deal have had too much for todays undisputed king?

(Tale of the tape for Holyfield is up to April 1988.)

FIGHTER

JOHNNY NELSON

Former WBO cruiserweight titleholder

Usyks confidence is not 100 percent at this point, but even at the 80 percent hes at, hes good enough to beat everybody around. Hes tall, hes southpaw, hes rangy, hes mobile. I once saw him spar with Wladimir Klitschko and they kicked him out of the gym after one round because he was making Wladimir look bad. I remember saying to myself, Shit! Who the hell is that? I knew then that he was going to be world champion. I also picked him to win the World Boxing Super Series when it was announced, because nobody in the division has that talent. It was the same with Holyfield; he obliterated the entire cruiserweight division and had to move up to heavyweight. His style was totally different to Usyks; it was offense and defense, but he had it down to a T. His basics were exceptional and he put everything together at cruiserweight. From what weve seen of Usyk and what we know of Holyfield at cruiserweight, I would have to pick Holyfield to win that fight. Its not just about ability, its about character. Holyfield is one of these fighters who could be getting beat for 11-and-a-half rounds and he still thinks hes gonna beat you. When you hit him, hed come right back at you with everything he had. He was the whole package: dangerous, compact and just an all-around fighter.

Prediction: HOLYFIELD

TRAINER

DAVE COLDWELL

Trainer of Tony Bellew, Jamie McDonnell and Gavin McDonnell

Just before Usyk turned pro, Tony (Bellew) told me it was nailed-on for this guy to become a fantastic fighter. Now, he looked unbelievable against Gassiev, but that style was made to order. Usyk was getting hit in previous fights, but Gassiev, as good a puncher as he is, was too slow, too predictable and too limited in terms of punch selection. One of Usyks best assets is his lead hand he uses it in defense, he uses it in offense, he uses it set up attacks, he uses it to measure. He also has an incredible engine for a man of his size. His speed and punch output is incredible. Holyfield had great shot selection, his combination punching was fantastic and his intelligence was underrated. He had the same kind of heart which he showed at heavyweight in later years, but Holyfield also had quickness, athleticism and good feet as a cruiserweight. He could definitely match Usyk in terms of his engine, because its one thing to have that engine when everything is going your way, but Holyfield proved that he had the engine in a competitive 15-round fight (against Qawi). That is remarkable. Its a very hard fight to pick, because Holyfield struggled against southpaws. In the first (Michael) Moorer fight, he encountered a lot of problems. At cruiserweight, I just think he would find a way to win.

Prediction: HOLYFIELD

MEDIA

CLIFF ROLD

Columnist for BoxingScene

Usyk-Holyfield would match two complete talents with deep amateur experience and a similar early depth of professional experience. Usyk impressed in the WBSS, displaying poise in three straight road wins. Along with that poise, the southpaw exhibited intelligent volume, an expert jab, agility, and physical strength. The last of those would be important against Holyfield, who was naturally a hair smaller than Usyk. Holyfield at cruiserweight remains the gold standard the first man to make the class relevant. Holyfield was also a volume puncher but with advantages in finishing ability, speed and fluidity. Only Qawi lasted the distance with Holyfield in a cruiserweight title fight. When he finished his unification of the division with a knockout of DeLeon, it was the sixth of 13 straight stoppages that ultimately carried Holyfield to the heavyweight title. This version of Holyfield was a dangerous man. A fight with Usyk would likely play out with Usyk boxing more at range and Holyfield pressing smartly, on his toes and behind the jab. Holyfield would have issues early with the southpaw length of Usyk and could always be troubled by a good jab. Usyks uppercut would also be a problem. They just wouldnt be as big a problem as Holyfields inside game, left hook, counter right and harder combinations. Holyfield might not stop Usyk, but hed outwork him and with meaner effect on his shots. The pick is Holyfield by decision.

Prediction: HOLYFIELD

Tom Gray is Associate Editor for Ring Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing

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The post Fights of Fantasy: Aleksandr Usyk vs. Evander Holyfield appeared first on The Ring.

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