December 30th’s Random Boxing Rants

My prospect of the year picks for 2017 were a mixed bag:

Top pick Jarrett Hurd won a vacant title against Tony Harrison, then beat skilled veteran Austin Trout, both in entertaining fights, to set himself up for a unification against the likes of Jermell Charlo.

Unfortunately, #2 pick Jason Quigley suffered a setback with a serious hand injury, suffered in a tougher-than-expected win over Glen Tapia in March, his only bout of the year:

Hughie Fury boxed just once also, a close loss for a world title against Joseph Parker.

He was ultra-defensive and reluctant to engage, frustrating the plodding Parker in possibly the year’s most boring fight, one in which both men looked terrible.

Fury will get other chances in the future, but while he proved he has a skillset to hang with some of the divison’s top ten, he’ll have to be a lot more aggressive to succeed.


Unfortunately, just two of the ten bouts I craved in 2017 (Canelo-GGG & Ward-Kovalev II) actually took place:

This is surprising, perhaps, given that 2017 has to be viewed as a strong one for the sport, probably the best since 2013.

Some of the fights (Gonzalez-Inoue, Joshua-Haye, for example) withered on the vine due to the older boxers suffering losses and appearing to be shot.


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?

Britain’s Bob Williams claims the unenviable #1 position amongst referees & judges with 5 separate citations for poor officiating.

Phil Edwards, Steve Gray, Steve Weisfeld, Ian John-Lewis, Victor Loughlin, Don Trella, Jamie Garayua, Steve Morrow, Tony Weeks, Irakli Malazonia, Richard Ocasio and Valerie Dorsett also picked up multiple mentions each.

Dishonourable mention must also be made of:

  • Adalaide ‘118-110’ Byrd
  • The Arkansas commission for allowing a HIV-positive boxer to fight
  • The New York commission for their sins as outlined by Thomas Hauser
  • WBO supervisor John Handelaar for not knowing the weigh-in rules of his own organization
  • Clark Sammartino for not knowing the identities of the boxers in the fight he was judging
  • And extra special mention to Bob Bennett and the Nevada commission for their sanctioning and subsequent justifications of Mayweather-McGregor, as well as the Rigondeaux-Flores post-fight mess.

November 19th’s Random Boxing Rants

Generally speaking, I have a higher opinion of promoter Eddie Hearn than most boxing observers on this side of the Atlantic do.

However, his decision to refuse refunds to those who wanted them once Pulev got injured and Takam was drafted in as a late notice replacement for Joshua is completely unjustifiable.

Sure, the vast majority don’t know or care about which opponent AJ would presumably be squashing & there were unlikely to be many refund requests, but it’s still unfair, as was Hearn’s specious reasoning that anyone who wanted a refund was probably a tout who only wanted to make a profit on his ticket in the first place.


Someone in power needs to ask the despicable WBC what the point of their VADA drug testing policy is if they’re going to allow Luis Ortiz and Luis Nery to box on with no consequences after their failed tests.


A genuine changing of the guard at the MTK Global (formerly MGM) promotional and management outfit, or simply the Kinahan crime gang putting themselves at a further step away from the public face of what still could be their company?

Am I being too cynical by feeling it could be the latter?

August 26th’s Random Boxing Rants

Articles from Ewan McKenna and Steve Bunce worth reading before tonight’s event:


What else is there to say about the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor freakshow?

I have little sympathy for Paulie Malignaggi, who allowed himself to be used and abused by the McGregor camp.

For a man so seemingly savvy (and certainly smart enough to try to parlay this ‘controversy’ into a fight of his own with McGregor), he got punished for his derision of McGregor: drafted in for one reason only, to snap a viral picture of him on the ground & capture a 30 second clip of McGregor success perfect for the social media age.

Who cares what else happened in their 20 full rounds of sparring? Who cares that Malignaggi was out of shape, jetlagged, shot, retired, knocked out by little known Sam Eggington? Who cares that the ‘knockdown’ was flash at best?

History is these days written by the social media winners and perception is all that matters.

And the widespread perception among casual sport fans going into tonight that will help drive ludicrous PPV numbers is that McGregor can box and he beat up a world champion…so why not do so again?

He’s wearing 8oz gloves, which supposedly gives the guy who’s never worn them an advantage over the guy who’s fought with them almost 50 times.

Thank god for bookmakers and legal gambling in this part of the world. I’ve never seen odds like this.




Oscie isn’t happy that McGregor didn’t choose to fight his man:



August 24th’s Random Boxing Rants

Is anybody surprised that Anthony Yarde pulled out from the Hosea Burton purse bids to instead fight a rubbish ex-MMA fighter?

Burton would be a “step backwards” according to Frank Warren.

Currently, Yarde has to be viewed as all hype until proven otherwise.


Shannon Briggs tells the truth but not the whole truth:–119146


Just when you thought the public bust up between Amir Khan and his wife (feat. Anthony Joshua) would be the most embarrassing boxing break-up of the year, enter Chris Eubank Sr. to throw his jodhpurs into the ring:


Fairly shocked by the Frampton/McGuigan split, although rumours had been going around for a while.

This was a link-up that was widely expected to be career-long. It’ll now be interesting to see which TV station, trainer and promotional entity Frampton aligns himself with.

Cyclone promotions will rely almost solely on Josh Taylor going forward.

July 25th’s Random Boxing Rants

Whatever happened to Anthony Peterson & Romeo Romaeo?

Bradley Saunders came out of hiding a few weeks back though.


175lb. prospect Anthony Yarde is getting the big push from BT and Frank Warren lately, with many UK journalists already opining that he’s on the verge of world level.

I’m not sold on him.

He hasn’t taken a punch, had just a dozen amateur fights and I could see from a mile off that his last padded record opponent (in Yarde’s first main event slot) would fall over in a round.

Also, I wonder, given his comic book physique & background as a sprinter, if he’s being properly drug tested. That said, he does excite and can certainly punch.

Anyway, a BBBofC-ordered bout with Hosea Burton would tell us a lot if it happens.


I still doubt Joseph Parker-Hughie Fury will take place.


Very interested to see how Cork Cuban Mike Perez will fare at cruiserweight against Mairis Breidis.


Terence Crawford-Julius Indongo was recently confirmed to be for all the belts at 140, making it a rarity in the post-WBO era of four widely-recognized titles.

Following on from the two Bernard Hopkins-Jermain Taylor bouts in 2005, this will be just the third undisputed championship fight in this era of titles more fractured than ever before.

May 11th’s Random Boxing Rants

Cliff Rold’s post-fight analysis of the Joshua-Klitschko instant classic is well worth reading:–116158


Some reflections on other recent fights:

Tyrone Nurse disappointed against Joe Hughes in their British title fight. Perhaps he wouldn’t outbox Jack Catterall if they ever meet, as I once forecasted.

Luke Campbell eventually figured out an unambitious Darleys Perez, but does anyone really pick him to beat Jorge Linares? That said, I commend him for pulling the trigger and taking on the challenge.

Porter-Berto was less fun than expected: Berto a shell of a fighter (his last significant payday?) & Porter the prototypical bruising mauler. Thurman-Porter II, now a mandatory with one of the sanctioning bodies, would be welcome.

John Ryder very unlucky to not win the British title against Rocky Fielding. He looks destined to be a perennial bridesmaid.

I’m in the minority in finding Murray-Rosado quite enjoyable, although far from the war that the Eddie Hearn & Sky had optimistically forecasted. I thought Rosado edged it and Murray doesn’t look to have much left. Another bridesmaid…how different his life & career would be had he gotten the decisions against Sturm and Sergio Martinez.

Gilberto Ramirez is an awkward stylist who might end up #1 at 168lbs., but he’s pretty boring.

Shakur Stevenson failed to shine in his pro debut, but he’s one of boxing’s star prospects so we’ll all watch with interest.

Oscar Valdez continues to look like an exciting fighter, but he’s unlikely to trouble the real elite boxers at feathweight…whom he probably won’t face because of the promotional divide.

April 29th’s Random Boxing Rants

Cork-based heavyweight Mike Perez says he was entering the ring drunk in each bout since the Abdusalamov tragedy:


The Fury family continue to cement their reputation as a joke, firstly by Hughie predictably withdrawing from the Joseph Parker fight, as well as this truly offal excuse for their failed drug tests for nandralone in 2015:


Some reflections on recent fights:

Tete-Villanueva a boring contest, but superb boxing display from one of my hardcore favourites, the rangy Tete.

Who else would be interested in seeing him eventually move up to 122 & play boxing chess with Rigondeaux?

Smyle-Williams a true war for the English title. British fight of the year contender that I’d recommend anybody to check out.

Another hardcore favourite, the eccentric Avtandil Khurtsidze blasted past Tommy Langford to set up a Billy Joe Saunders shot.

Either he gets outboxed by a form Saunders or he exposes Saunders lack of fitness and overwhelms him.


AJ-Klitschko thoughts:

We’re just hours away now from the biggest heavyweight fight since Lewis-Tyson.

I’m tempted to side with Joshua by decision as he’ll likely find Wlad hard to tag clean and I don’t see Klitschko throwing very much in return.

Training videos seem to suggest Klitschko is going to try to box from the outside and be elusively awkward in a similar way to Fury’s display in defeating him. Certainly, while Fury made Wlad look old with his movement, AJ’s far more straightforward style won’t present the same puzzle.

The result largely depends which Klitschko shows up but I find it hard to bet on a 41yo coming off an 18 month layoff and poor performance, against a form guy, with home advantage, four ko wins in the interim and bags of talent in his own right.

March 8th’s Random Boxing Rants

Still no UKAD ruling on the Furys’ nandralone failures from February 2015, and all this with Hughie lined up to challenge Joseph Parker in May and Tyson supposedly returning the following week.

For the record, I’m doubtful that either of these fights take place as scheduled.

The latest ballpark date for a hearing is alleged to be mid-April, but this has turned into one of boxing’s longest running farces.


Part of me feels sorry for David Haye, whose ignominious defeat to Tony Bellew last weekend was ironically also the scene of his greatest display of bravery and heart, qualities it was doubted by many that he possessed.

It was a case of past sins coming back to haunt Haye, whose achilles vulnerability was leaked on fight week, and Haye, who might otherwise have pulled out of the fight, soldiering on because doing so would have irrevocably destroyed an already-frayed reputation with the British boxing public.

As has consistently been his gameplan at heavyweight, Haye sought the path of least resistance to the biggest payday, but, this time, his body gave out.

Despite a comfortable points lead going into the 6th round against a reticent Bellew, Haye looked horrible and a shadow of his past self. Wild swings and misses reminded me of the Ricky Hatton that showed up against Senchenko. People in the back row were ducking for cover.

Then the sudden injury, and, while Bellew must get credit for the big upset (a hope that Haye’s body would let him down would surely have been part of a gameplan to extend the fight to the second half), he beat a shot fighter, and did so in laboured fashion, gassing himself before summoning enough energy to eventually get the stoppage in the 11th.

Can we really imagine the silly spectacle of Bellew challenging Wilder or Parker for a portion of the heavyweight title? It might happen…as could a Haye rematch at some stage.

What about Bellew vs. Tyson Fury?

The Liverpudlian has cracked it, transcending a lack of natural gifts to carve a quality career that’s surpassed the likes of his more talented former foe Nathan Cleverly.

As for Haye, he has had surgery and says he will return, but we’ve seen enough from Hayemaker 2.0 to know that any third iteration will be a sad shell of past glories trotted out with the aim of cashing in on his remaining name value.


Let’s end on a lighter note:

January 5th’s Random Boxing Rants

A year of judging the judges on this site has come to an end, so on to the question of who were some of the worst repeat offenders of the year?

Marcus McDonnell claims the unenviable #1 position amongst referees & judges with 4 separate citations for poor officiating.

Waleska Roldan, Terry O’Connor, Steve Gray and Alexander Kalinkin also picked up multiple mentions each.

The Professional Boxing Federation of Russia (for allowing Povetkin to fight days after a failed test), the New York State Athletic commission (for the exposure of their widespread corruption and incompetence; special mention to then-chairman Tom Hoover), the California commission (for allowing Salido-Vargas to go ahead after Vargas’ positive test; yes, it resulted in the fight of the year, but I don’t want dirty boxing, no matter how entertaining), and, AIBA (for the rampant levels of fixed draws, bribery, lack of drug testing and seeming mission to annihilate amateur boxing from the inside) deserve particular shaming.

Little tops Germany’s BDB commission, who, led by equivocating president Thomas Putz, were involved in a myriad of scandals this year, involving the failed drug tests of Erkan Teper, Felix Sturm & Sam Soliman, sanctioning a gross Odlanier Solis mismatch versus a novice, and being stripped of their status as a “full member” by the EBU.

For the sake of relative brevity, here are selected details of the most serious BDB oversights relating to the Erkan Teper situation:

Disgraced Erkan Teper returned to fight Derric Rossy on July 3rd.

But how was this allowed to happen after his 2 year ban for PED use going back to his knockout of David Price last July (as well as the police raid on his home that uncovered vast amounts of PEDs, something that has seemingly gone unpunished)?

More details of his ban can be found here:

The answer once again lies in the eternally fractured state of boxing’s regulatory structure, as Germany’s boxing commission (BDB) are under no obligation to honour the EBU’s ban.

Check out the asinine reasoning offered by BDB president Thomas Puetz for their decision:–106373

Does anyone think a fine, random testing & a last-chance probationary stance is enough of a punishment, or enough of a justification to not honour the EBU’s ban?


The Erkan Teper-David Price situation is everything that’s wrong with boxing’s fractured governance and poorly managed PED testing.

Jake Donovan’s report for outlines the lurid chain of events in detail:–99702?

The German Boxing Federation (BDB) are most at fault: taking five months to disclose the failed test for the Price fight; it only coming to light now that Teper had previously failed a test & was given a short ban in mid-2014; and for failing to inform the European Boxing Union about any of this until December 2015, when Teper had shortly beforehand been scheduled to fight once again for their title.

It was also somehow not revealed publicly that a police raid on Teper’s residence in April of last year uncovered vast amounts of PEDs (for example, clenbuterol, testosterone, growth hormone and Methandrostenolone).



How did my prospect of the year picks for 2016 pan out?


Pretty well, actually.

Anthony Joshua is, very rapidly, positioning himself as perhaps boxing’s single biggest draw. Sorry, Canelo…

A banner year saw a world title won earlier than expected & two routine defences. AJ is still learning on the job but packing arenas and riding the hype train to eye-popping PPV numbers for Sky.

This is only the beginning.

A hoped-for crowd of 90k will witness his headline debut at Wembley, and first foray into the top tier of the division, against ‘old’ Wlad Klitschko.

Takuma Inoue was all set for a year-end title challenge in just his 9th bout, but injury prevented this. His time will come.

Callum Smith became mandatory challenger for Badou Jack in April, but has had to wait for this title shot to be ordered by the sanctioning body. In the meantime, he racked up three easy stay-busy wins.


What about the fights I hoped would happen in 2016?


Unfortunately, only 3 of the 13 hoped-for contests happened, although DeGale-Jack is set for later this month.

Not a good haul and reflective of a poor year for the sport.


Less than a month to go before the astonishingly bad Chris Eubank Jr.-Renold Quinlan fight on ITV PPV.

As it stands, there’s more than a few reasons to believe this farce won’t actually end up happening:


December 15th’s Random Boxing Rants

On Saturday, just weeks away from his 52nd birthday, Bernard Hopkins returns to the ring for what he says is a final fight.

He takes on consensus top ten contender Joe Smith Jr. and, as tolerant as I am of the great man having one last showcase (one he will probably be able to win on points), in light of the frightful Kovalev beatdown two years ago, let’s hope it really is his last go-around.

B-Hop, you officially have the boxing world’s permission to retire and return to your home planet. (Credit to @bostello for that one)


David Haye has to be one of boxing’s greatest conmen. 

Two comedy fights on Dave and here he is with a foul-mouth fuelled PPV headliner against cruiserweight beltholder Tony Bellew, the ideal money-spinning route to what he really wants: Anthony Joshua in a stadium fight.

After a failed acting career, perhaps he’s turned screenwriter. Certainly, he couldn’t have scripted it any better: bags of cash for a return to PPV in a bout he is almost certain to win.


It takes two to tango, and for AJ-Haye to eventually materialize, Joshua will have to negotiate a far more serious obstacle, that of former perennial champion, old Wlad Klitschko.

Even though he’ll be coming off a 17 month layoff and a terrible showing against Tyson Fury, there still exists the real chance that he’ll know too much for a conventional, if bull-strong & hammer-fisted Joshua.

That said, I favour AJ’s youth and momentum (4 fights since Wlad last laced them up) over Klitschko’s inactivity and reluctance to throw. Even though Joshua will be the opposite of the unorthodox, moving target of Fury, I still find it hard to see Klitschko really letting his hands go with enough confidence to get the win.


Ok, so Shannon Briggs has missed out on the promised David Haye fight and probably has nothing left to offer in the ring.

But doesn’t that make it all the more astonishing that, after several years of catchphrase invention and social media mastery, he has yet to land a significant fight, especially in a heavyweight division that has never shied away from a good freakshow?

Maybe his mandatory position for the WBA’s ‘regular’ trinket can be the opening he needs.