Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (January 2019)

January 18th – It was a night of strange stoppages on the latest Matchroom DAZN card.

Artur Akavov had shown little in the way of competing with Demetrius Andrade but it made no sense for Arthur Mercante Jr. to stop it in the 12th round with Akavov in little visible trouble.

The same can be said of Mike Ortega’s decision to call a halt to Ryohei Takahashi’s night in the 11th round against TJ Doheny.

 

January 19th –  On the other extreme in Vegas, it was scarcely believable that Badou Jack was allowed to fight on for more than five full rounds with one of the worst cuts I’ve ever seen in a boxing ring.

sport-preview-badou-jack1

Added to that is the fact that Jack was never competitive with Marcus Browne.

It was dangerous stuff from Tony Weeks.

 

January 26th – In Brooklyn, Gerald Washington was out on his feet after a heavy(weight) knockdown against Adam Kownacki in the second round, but Harvey Dock allowed it to continue.

Washington took a few more unnecessary heavy blows before he finally stepped in.

 

In the main event, Keith Thurman laboured to victory in his comeback fight with Josesito Lopez.

Lopez was given no credit by the rubbish 117-109 card of Tom Shreck.

 

In Texas, there were some other curiously wide cards.

Takeshi Inoue gave Jaime Munguia a hard battle, not that you’d have known it by the verdicts of Levi Martinez (119-109), Javier Martinez (120-108) and Cesar Ramos (120-108).

The same was true in the co-feature, where Xu Can overcame Jesus Rojas in a close battle.

Ignacio Robles (118-110) and Gloria Martinez (117-110) saw it too wide.

January 16th’s Random Boxing Rants

It’s a pity that Dmitry Bivol is on the other side of the street (DAZN), but the ESPN 175lb. mix of Eleider Alvarez (or Kovalev if he wins their rematch, which I view as pretty unlikely), Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Artur Beterbiev is a very exciting one.

 

Why is Leo Santa Cruz fighting someone I’ve never heard of instead of Gary Russell Jr.?

 

It would be sad to see Josh Warrington vacate his belt rather than fight his tricky mandatory Kid Galahad.

I’ll forgive him if he takes on Oscar Valdez next.

January 4th’s Random Boxing Rants

This is worth watching one more time to begin the new year:

 

I’m beginning to accept that Amir Khan vs. Kell Brook will probably never become a reality. 

I blame Khan, who has always seemed shy of taking up the interminable, and frankly desperate, overtures of Brook.

Terence Crawford beating up on a faded Khan holds little interest for me, though I accept that he’s one of the few credible welterweights currently available for Crawford to fight.

Will this be a PPV in the States? It has no right to be.

 

Speaking of PPVs featuring faded British names, Chris Eubank Jr. vs. James DeGale is a fun fight, but not worth paying extra for.

ITV are taking the piss.

Are offerings like this what the ITV/PBC link-up is essentially going to amount to?

Pound4poundireland’s 2018 Fight, Knockout, Round, Prospect, Upset and Trainer of the Year

Fight of the Year

1. Alex Saucedo-Lenny Zappavigna

2. Dereck Chisora-Carlos Takam

3. Vasyl Lomachenko-Jorge Linares

Knockout of the Year

1. Alvin Lagumbay ko2 Keita Obara

2.  Teofimo Lopez ko1 Mason Menard

3. Harlem Eubank ko2 Petar Alexandrov

Round of the Year

1. Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury Round 12

2. Dillian Whyte-Joseph Parker Round 12

3. Alex Saucedo-Lenny Zappavigna Round 4

Prospect of the Year

1. Teofimo Lopez

2. Joshua Buatsi

3. Devin Haney

Upset of the Year

1. Roberto Ramirez ko2 Dejan Zlaticanin

2. Rob Brant UD12 Ryota Murata

3. Tony Harrison UD12 Jermell Charlo

Trainer of the Year

Anatoly Lomachenko – for his work with Oleksandr Usyk and Vasyl Lomachenko

January 2nd’s Random Boxing Rants

Josh Warrington has been boxing’s biggest revelation in 2018.

 

Carl Frampton does not look like the same fighter that went to war twice with Leo Santa Cruz and excelled as the fighter of the year in 2016. 

Sometimes it is better to step away when you have something left to give, but before you become fodder for the elite of your division.

His financial future and in-ring legacy are surely already secured.

 

While a Joshua-Whyte rematch would be unpopular with most hardcore fans, Whyte has earned a title shot like few boxers have in recent memory.

 

Dereck Chisora is a unique case.

He’s just lost by KO, gone 1-8 in significant fights (as Frank Warren has delighted in reminding people recently) over the course of his rollercoaster career, but has just headlined his first PPV & is more respected, well known and marketable going forward than ever.

Perhaps only in boxing.

 

My prospect of the year picks for 2018 performed well: 

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/pound4poundirelands-2017-fight-knockout-round-prospect-upset-and-trainer-of-the-year/

Josh Kelly moved slowly but steadily this year, winning 3 times (most notably over Carlos Molina) but saw his December fight with David Avanesyan fall through after the weigh in due to illness.

Vergil Ortiz Jr. continues to look like a beast of a prospect at 140 lbs., winning three times by knockout, two of those over veterans Juan Carlos Salgado and Roberto Ortiz.

Jaime Munguia made the biggest impact, winning 5 times, including claiming a 154lb. belt as a late notice replacement and defending it twice.

He is well established now as one of Golden Boy’s featured stars.

 

Unfortunately, just three of the ten bouts I craved in 2018 (Canelo-GGG II, Usyk-Gassiev & Groves-Smith) actually took place:

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/fights-to-look-forward-to-in-2018/

Here’s hoping for better in the new year.

 

Looking back at my monthly Judging the Judges pieces from the past year, the question emerges of who were some of the worst repeat offenders of the year?

Michael Alexander claims the unenviable #1 position amongst referees & judges with 5 separate citations for poor officiating.

Marcus McDonnell, Max DeLuca, Don Trella, John McKaie, Steve Gray, Victor Loughlin, Predrag Aleksic, Leo Gerstel, Terry O’Connor, Gustavo Padilla, Edward Hernandez Sr., Francisco Alloza Rosa, Patricia Morse Jarman, Giuseppe Quartarone, Jan Christensen, Zoltan Enyedi, Phil Edwards, Steve Weisfeld, Alejandro Rochin and the infamous Adalaide Byrd also picked up multiple mentions each.

Dishonourable mention must also be made of:

  • Whatever Thai commission licensed 49yo Christian Daghio.
  • The Maryland commission (boss Pat Pannela) for lifting their suspension of Leon Lawson, the trainer who punched Jose Uzcategui square on the jaw with bare knuckles after Uzcategui’s controversial first fight with Andre Dirrell in May 2017.
  • The Texas Combative Sports Program who licensed Jack Lucious, a 62 or 64 year old (depending on where you look), to take part in his first fight in almost 32 years, becoming the oldest professional boxer in history. He fought a 38 year old. Of course, he was knocked out in one round.

     

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (December 2018)

December 1st – Sad to begin December on such a down note.

Tyson Fury suffered the most high profile robbery of the year, held to a draw in a fight he clearly won by the even card of Phil Edwards and the absurd 111-115 of Alejandro Rochin.

The grace note of the fight, however, was the excellent decision by ref Jack Reiss to continue his ten count rather than waving it off when Fury looked out cold on the canvas in the final round.

 

In a tragic fight in Quebec, Adonis Stevenson suffered a traumatic brain injury during his loss to Oleksandr Gvozdyk.

It’s hardly relevant in the circumstances, but I will point out that Michael Griffin missed two knockdowns in the bout, one for each boxer, and Jack Woodburn’s 98-92 card for Stevenson at the time of the KO was terrible judging.

 

December 7th – David Irving was responsible for a very premature stoppage of Marian Cazacu against prospect Roy Sheahan at the very end of round 3.

The main event of this rare televised Republic of Ireland boxing show from Mayo was a mess of officiating errors.

Christian Uruzquieta soundly beat Ray Moylette, only to almost be robbed by the 94-95 card of one judge.

Also, though I wasn’t keeping count in every round, the timekeeper allowed almost 30 seconds extra in the corner after round 5, when Moylette had been close to being stopped, and the bell rang 15 seconds early in round 8.

 

In Belfast, Zoltan Enyedi’s 95-94 was way too close a verdict for Conrad Cummings’ win over Ferenc Berki.

 

December 8th – Jan Christensen (119-109) gave no credit to plucky underdog Michael Zerafa’s effort against Kell Brook.

 

Same goes for Tom Schreck’s 119-107 card for Vasyl Lomachenko-Jose Pedraza.

On the undercard, Isaac Dogboe scored a knockdown of Emanuel Navarrete in round 9 that was not called by Benjy Esteves Jr.

 

December 15th – Bernard Bruni’s 100-90 didn’t reflect Mauricio Herrera’s decent first half challenge of Sadam Ali.

 

December 22nd – Our old friend Ian John Lewis (116-113) made a fool of himself yet again by scoring for Reece Bellotti in a fight he lost widely against Ryan Walsh.

Tom Little was prematurely stopped in the 4th round of his fight with David Price by ref Kieran McCann.

Terry O’Connor, thankfully, had his final fight as ref in a British ring, overseeing Joshua Buatsi vs. Renold Quinlan.

Appropriately, it was a complete mess.

Buatsi rendered Quinlan spaghetti legged with a punch on the break, which was for all intents and purposes ignored and moved on from, as a concussed Quinlan (given virtually no recovery time) was finished off by Buatsi moments later.

Good riddance to the frankly dangerous O’Connor.

 

In Brooklyn, late replacement Matt Korobov appeared to these eyes to have done enough to upset Jermall Charlo, only to be denied by the cards of Max DeLuca (116-112), Steve Weisfeld (the same) & Larry Hazzard Jr. (119-108).

The Hazzard Jr. card, which included a silly 10-8 12th round, is criminal and one of the worst you will ever see. Truly putrid.

 

December 31st – Most observers felt Kazuto Ioka did enough to beat Donnie Nietes, who prevailed by split decision to win a belt at a 4th weight.

Levi Martinez’s 118-110 for Nietes raised eyebrows for being so far off.

Fights to look forward to in 2019?

  1. Anthony Joshua-Deontay Wilder/Tyson Fury

Joshua-Wilder, the most tiresome ‘will they/won’t they’ saga since Mayweather-Pacquiao, had better come to an end this year.

Will it, though? I’m not terribly optimistic, partially because Tyson Fury may well complete the job he was robbed of if that rematch does indeed happen next.

I think Joshua-Fury would be even more compelling as far as an evenly matched contest goes, so either one will do.

2. Anthony Joshua-Oleksandr Usyk

The likes of Joshua-Miller or Joshua-Whyte II, while not bad fights in a vacuum, hold little interest for me.

The only truly acceptable substitute on Joshua’s side for the unifications we all want would be a clash with cruiser king and fighter of the year for 2018, Oleksandr Usyk. I’d be fascinated to see if Usyk could negate Joshua’s massive size advantage with his fluid, fleet-footed skills.

3. Oleksandr Gvozdyk-Eleider Alvarez

If Alvarez repeats his win over Kovalev, this is the fight that makes sense for the second half of 2019, especially given that they are now both under the Top Rank banner.

4. Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin III

After two memorable, controversy-laden fights, a third bout is still needed in my eyes to settle this rivalry. If network free agent Golovkin doesn’t sign with DAZN, however, that could mean it never materializes.

5. Errol Spence-Keith Thurman

Thurman has drawn near-universal ire for declaring he’s still the best welterweight in the world in 2019 but that this year will be a “get back” exercise, and he has no intention of fighting Spence anytime soon.

We will see. In a common sense world, it would be the logical next step after Thurman’s tune-up and Spence thrashing an undersized Mikey Garcia.

6. Amir Khan-Kell Brook

Does anyone really prefer to see the mooted Terence Crawford vs. Khan fight over this one?

This fight is worth twice the money of a sure fire beating at the hands of Crawford and Brook has agreed to welterweight and a rehydration clause.

Please let cooler heads prevail and end the decade long foreplay for this domestic grudge match. Who cares if both guys are now faded, it might actually make for a better fight.

7. Regis Prograis-Josh Taylor

The most likely final of the 140lb. WBSS (rumoured money problems in the tournament aside), this would be a mouthwatering clash between two young, world class talents in their primes.

8. Tevin Farmer-Gervonta Davis

Too much social media bullshit, too little action.

Farmer has impressed lately, albeit against limited opposition. Davis has been inactive, gotten fat and will next be stepping on a faded Abner Mares.

Promotional differences may prevent this matchup, given that Leonard Ellerbe says he will never allow Davis to fight on “Dead Zone”.

9. Oscar Valdez-Josh Warrington

Warrington opened a lot of eyes in 2018 with a breakout year. Valdez returns from a broken jaw with an easy comeback fight early in 2019, but a unification between these two would be a can’t miss action fight.

10. Naoya Inoue-Zolani Tete

The most likely final of the 118lb. WBSS would be a purists dream.

Inoue continues to excel in his third weight class, but Tete would be seeking to prove that his slick skills, long consigned to the ‘who needs him’ fringes of the big stage, can hang with one of the pound for pound best.

 

Pound4poundireland’s 2018 Fighter of the Year

Usyk1211abc

Fighter of the Year

1. Oleksandr Usyk

2. Josh Warrington

3. Vasyl Lomachenko

It was a slam dunk choice this year.

Oleksandr Usyk fulfilled every ounce of his vast potential in 2018: unifying belts by beating Mairis Breidis in his back yard in a thriller, becoming undisputed champion by dominating Murat Gassiev in Russia in the World Boxing Super Series final, and, finally, knocking out Tony Bellew away from home in a final title defence.

He is the modern day road warrior, a worthy heir to Evander Holyfield at cruiserweight, and the boxing world waits to see if he can replicate the Real Deal’s heavyweight exploits, starting next year.

Warrington claims second place on the strength of two upset wins against longtime rival Lee Selby, and then Carl Frampton, to improbably establish himself among the featherweight elite.

Usyk’s friend and stablemate Lomachenko continues his ascent in weight to have another impressive year, knocking out Jorge Linares in a back and forth technical masterclass to win a belt at 135, then unifying post surgery by defeating Jose Pedraza.

Pound4poundireland Scorecards from December 2018

Tyson Fury 115-111 Deontay Wilder, officially a DRAW

Christian Uruzquieta 97-91 Ray Moylette, officially SD

Guillaume Frenois 115-113 Jono Carroll, officially a DRAW

Kell Brook 116-112 Michael Zerafa, officially UD

Emanuel Navarrete 116-112 Isaac Dogboe, officially UD

Vasyl Lomachenko 116-110 Jose Pedraza, officially UD

Claressa Shields 100-90 Femke Hermans, officially UD

Cecilia Braekhus 99-91 Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes, officially UD

Arnold Barboza Jr. 100-90 Manuel Damairias Lopez, officially UD

Gilberto Ramirez 116-112 Jesse Hart (rematch), officially MD

Katie Taylor 100-90 Eva Wahlstrom, officially UD

Sadam Ali 97-93 Mauricio Herrera, officially UD

Tevin Farmer 118-110 Francisco Fonseca, officially UD

Ryan Walsh 117-111 Reece Bellotti, officially SD

Charlie Edwards 116-112 Cristofer Rosales, officially UD

Josh Warrington 118-110 Carl Frampton, officially UD

Jermell Charlo 114-114 Tony Harrison, officially Harrison by UD

Matt Korobov 116-112 Jermall Charlo, officially Charlo by UD

 

From September:

Kosei Tanaka 115-113 Sho Kimura, officially MD