Fightful Boxing Newsletter (2/8): WBSS, Future Of Boxing In 2020 Olympics, Top Rank, Roy Jones Jr.

Boxing had perhaps one of its busiest weeks in some weeks with an ESPN boxing card and a World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight semifinal matchup that dominated the fight slate of this past weekend.

Over the course of late last week, rumors started to circulate around the possibility of Floyd Mayweather fighting in the UFC or at least in a mixed martial arts fight after Mayweather posted a video of him entering an MMA cage. It’s hard to know whether or not this was a simple video sent in jest to get a reaction from the public (which it has) or another hint that he’s not done fighting.

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But Mayweather is not the only former pound-for-pound king that will engage in what is perceived to be his last boxing fight as of late. Roy Jones Jr., in his prime arguably one of the five or ten greatest boxers of all time, will be fighting for the last time of his long career in Pensacola, Florida on February 8.

All this and more is discussed on this week's Fightful Boxing Newsletter,

Fightful Boxing Newsletter (2/8) Table Of Contents:

  1. IOC Threatens To Take Boxing Out Of 2020 Olympics (Page 2)
  2. Floyd Mayweather To MMA? (Page 3)
  3. Weekend Recap: ESPN (Page 4)
  4. Weekend Recap: WBSS Semifinals (Page 5)
  5. Weekend Recap: Okolie vs. Chamberlain (Page 6)
  6. KSI vs. Joe Weller Fight: Social Media's Impact On Boxing Today (Page 7)
  7. Results From The World Of Boxing (Page 8)
  8. Fightful Boxing Rankings (Pages 9-10)
  9. News And Notes From The World Of Boxing (Page 11)
  10. Roy Jones Jr. Retirement Fight (Page 12)

IOC Threatens To Take Boxing Out Of 2020 Olympics:

Boxing’s top amateur governing body has had a very rough past 18 months and it could potentially result in boxing not even being a part of the 2020 Olympics.

The International Boxing Committee launched an investigation into whether or not match-fixing took place in the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.

Not only has the IOC threatened to cancel the sport in its upcoming Olympics in Tokyo, but it has also cracked down on at the AIBA’s financial issues and current interim president. The IOC has frozen any and all contact with the AIBA and all financial payments to the AIBA have been suspended. Wu Ching-Kuo was the AIBA's president until last year when allegations of financial mismanagement were made against the organization.

Franco Falcinelli was named interim president until late January when Gafur Rakhimov was named the new interim president. According to The Guardian, Rakhimov has been identified by the United States Department of the Treasury as a person having ties to organized crime and involved in the heroin trade.

A statement from the executive board listed several areas of concern when it comes to boxing, “particularly in the areas of governance, financial matters, anti-doping, judging and refereeing.” The statement also said the AIBA needs to meet “specific requirements" regarding the aforementioned areas the AIBA had been supposedly failing at.

IOC President Thomas Bach said there “is still no real clarity of the finances” and the IOC “cannot see a real robust anti-doping program in AIBA.” All contacts between the IOC and the association are frozen, and financial payments to AIBA are suspended. The IOC said it wants a report by April 30 from the AIBA by on what progress is being made.

Boxing has been contested at every Olympic Games since its introduction to the program in 1904, except for the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, because Swedish law banned the sport at the time. The 2008 Olympics were the final games with boxing as a male only event. The 2016 edition of the Olympics saw controversy in the form of questionable refereeing and scoring.

This isn't the first time the international amateur boxing governing body has faced issues with the IOC resulting in funds being blocked. A referee scandal from the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece resulted in the Olympic committee withholding more than $1 million's worth of television rights from those Olympic Games. The most recent Summer Olympics also had its fair share of controversies surrounding judging in key fights including current undefeated pro boxer Michael Conlan.

Azerbaijani company Benkons also sent out a letter demanding AIBA to pay back an £8 million loan from 2011. A source within the organization said AIBA only has £2 million in its account despite receiving about £14 million in investments from the IOC to help the organization through the 2020 Summer Olympics, which will take place in Tokyo. An executive committee member was also removed by the AIBA president after the executive was worried about possible irregularities within the organizations finances. That executive member was reinstated by Swiss courts, where AIBA headquarters are located, in mid-July.

Floyd Mayweather To MMA?

In what seems to be another chapter in the post 49-0 life of the now 50-0 Floyd Mayweather, the former pound-for-pound king has the internet thinking of Mayweather returning to fight, only this time in the UFC octagon.

Mayweather was heading to Minnesota where he's set to meet with Showtime Sports' Stephen Espinoza as well as attend the Super Bowl game between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. According to Espinoza, the two of them will definitely discuss the subject of a potential MMA fight.

"It will be a topic of conversation," Espinoza recently TMZ Sports. "There's a chance ... whatever he puts his mind to, he sort of wills into happening. [Floyd] willed the McGregor fight into happening. So, if he sets his mind to it, it'll happen."

And how much money would it take to lure Floyd back?

"He's not an eight figure guy anymore. He's a nine figure guy," Espinoza said.

As previously reported on BoxingScene.com, in the last few days Mayweather has posted at least two teaser videos - attempting to troll fans into believing that he's going to make his debut in MMA.

In both videos, a barefoot Mayweather is entering an octagon cage, which is widely used by the UFC and other MMA companies, and he shakes out a few moves.

Mayweather snapped a two-year retirement back in August of last year, when he fought UFC superstar Conor McGregor, who was making his boxing debut. Mayweather got the win over McGregor and announced after the fight that he is done fighting although the demand of Mayweather fighting again, whether it be in the boxing ring or in the octagon was still high.

Mayweather, even in retirement, is the master of keeping his name in the press and generating widespread headlines.There is almost no possibility that Mayweather, at 40, would risk his aura of invincibility and damage his reputation by taking part in an MMA contest - where even a low-level UFC rookie would stand a good chance of taking him down early and submitting him.

But many people are completely missing the point of Mayweather posting the video in the first place.

There is no doubt that Mayweather would entertain an offer to fight in the UFC if enough money was thrown his way. After all, Mayweather knows the value a UFC fight would do to his wallet. People who believe that Mayweather would never risk tarnishing his legacy by going to a combat sport he had never fought before at more than 40 years old aren’t completely wrong, but what those people seem to miss is that to some, Mayweather’s legacy was already tarnished the moment he accepted a boxing match against a UFC champion who had never fought in boxing’s pro ranks. They seem to miss the point that to Mayweather, that legacy is no longer tied to a squared circle with four ropes on each side cornering the combatants inside of it.

Mayweather has never been one to follow conventional boxing wisdom. Mayweather went out of his way to forge his own path as a future promoter even while he is still fighting. He recognized that being given true freedom to enact on whatever he desires.

Although it is impossible to know what Mayweather is truly thinking (only he knows), one can surmise that Mayweather wants to keep himself relevant because in today’s age, it is important for one to remain in the spotlight in order to achieve the type of goals that Mayweather wants to achieve, public perception be damned.

If one were to take a look at Mayweather’s current profession, being a promoter, one can look at Mayweather and think that the attention being given to him will have some sort of trickle down effect and bring more attention to some of his main fighters, especially Gervonta Davis, who seems to be Mayweather’s protege and it’s been no secret that Mayweather wants to turn Davis into boxing’s next superstar. With Davis not possessing the same level of charisma Mayweather possesses (and perhaps never will), Mayweather is gambling on the fact that him being associated with Davis and constantly giving him glowing endorsements as a boxer will eventually get the non-boxing public to pay attention to him.

Of course, this reason is definitely not the main reason Mayweather is flirting with the idea of him going to the octagon, but it would be foolish to think that him being in the media so much doesn’t serve a secondary objective of attracting as many eyeballs to the Mayweather brand, Mayweather Promotions.

It’s why Mayweather did his best to bring fill the entire Mayweather vs. McGregor card with one Mayweather Promotions fighter on every fight. Davis and Badou Jack’s fights were the two-highest profile fights outside of the main event of course and they benefited from the extra attention, especially Jack.

Ultimately, I’d give Mayweather perhaps a five percent chance of ever competing in the UFC. We’ve seen boxers make the transition to UFC (although with mixed results) and Mayweather has shown that he’ll do what many thought would be impossible and fight McGregor. Mayweather has stated that he had no intentions of fighting McGregor when rumors started circulating around social media until he saw how much the demand for the fight was. If the demand is high enough and the money is right, never rule out anything regarding Floyd Mayweather.

Weekend Recap: ESPN:

ESPN’s first Top Rank Boxing card of 2018 saw two world champions, IBF super flyweight titleholder Jerwin Ancajas and WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez, defend their titles with impressive stoppage wins.

Ramirez headlined the first Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card of 2018 with a sixth-round TKO win over Habib Ahmed. Ahmed was the true definition of a wild card, coming into the fight with an undefeated record but having fought mostly in Ghana against low-level competition. Ahmed had not faced an opponent of Ramirez’s caliber and Ahmed was overwhelmed almost from the start of the contest.

The challenger could not get much going and his awkward style led to an accidental headbutt in the third round. The headbutt did not seem to bother Ramirez too much in the long run as he continued to fight undeterred as he looked for a knockout win. Ramirez got that in the sixth round with a stoppage.

According to CompuBox, Ramirez landed more punches in the final round (29) than Habib Ahmed landed in the entire fight (22). It was Ramirez's first stoppage win since a TKO victory in the eighth round over Fulgencio Zuniga in 2014.

With the win, Ramirez sets himself up for a potential unification bout against any of the other world champions at 168 pounds, including the winner of the World Boxing Super Series, who is expected to hold both WBA and IBO titles. WBC champion David Benavidez and IBF champion Caleb Truax are the other two super middleweight world champions.

Ancajas retained the IBF super flyweight title with a 10th round knockout win over Israel Gonzalez, taking place on the co-main event. Ancajas displayed an incredible offensive gameplan that saw the Filipino star knock down Gonzalez three times throughout the fight.

It was Ancajas’ first pro fight in the United States and made the most of it, competing on a national stage for the second straight fight. Ancajas, who was promoted by Pacquiao and recently signed a promotional deal with Top Rank, knocked out Gonzalez with a stiff left hand to his chin, ending the contest.

In a post-fight interview, Ancajas, with the help of a translator, said he is not concerned with the Pacquiao comparisons.

"I'm not too worried about the comparisons to Manny Pacquiao. But if I can achieve a little bit of the success that he has achieved I will be very happy," Ancajas said.

The IBF champion has held the title since beating McJoe Arroyo in 2016 and has made four successful title defenses. Ancajas last defended his title on the undercard of Pacquiao’s last fight against Jeff Horn, beating Teiru Kinoshita by TKO.

Despite gaining some major momentum from a successful television run in the past seven months, Top Rank and ESPN got off to a rough start with their first boxing card of 2018.

According to Showbuzz Daily, the February 3 Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card from Corpus Christi averaged about 741,000 viewers for the main event. The show was headlined by Gilberto Ramirez's WBO super middleweight title defense against Habib Ahmed and Jerwin Ancajas vs. Israel Gonzalez for the IBF super flyweight title served as the co-main event.

The fight was technically a big jump from their last Top Rank Boxing card, Jeff Horn vs. Gary Corcoran, which did about 282,000 viewers on December 13. That fight actually took place in Australia on a weekday morning in the U.S. so the low rating was expected.

The last time Top Rank had a live ESPN telecast on primetime was Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux at Madison Square Garden on December 9, which averaged around 1.73 million viewers. That means the February 3 card had a 57.2 percent drop in viewership when comparing to the Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux fight.

HBO and Showtime already have their first big boxing cards of 2018 and their viewership were not far behind ESPN's. The January 20 Showtime Champion Boxing card averaged around 637,000 viewers for the main event and the January 27 HBO Boxing After Dark card averaged 719,000 viewers. ESPN wasn't even the big winner of the night when it came to combat sports. UFC Belem, with Lyoto Machida picking up a win in the main event, averaged 839,000 viewers for the main event.

Weekend Recap: WBSS Semifinals

Arguably the biggest fight in the World Boxing Super Series, Murat Gassiev vs. Yunier Dorticos, delivered in a big way with a big knockout.

Gassiev unified the WBA and IBF cruiserweight titles in Sochi, Russia with a 12th round knockout over Dorticos in a fight that will likely end up being a Fight of the Year candidate. The win also put Gassiev in the finals where in he will face WBC and WBO cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk in what will be a historic four-belt unification bout.

In a bout that had the makings of an instant classic, The fight began with Dorticos putting his best foot forward and pressuring Gassiev from the start, preventing Gassiev from getting into an offensive rhythm early and force him to move backwards throughout the first four rounds. Gassiev may not have been the more active fighter in the early going, but he did tag Dorticos with numerous big left hooks and uppercuts. Despite Gassiev’s impressive power, Dorticos did not seem fazed by anything Gassiev threw at him, that is, until the end of the fight.

As Gassiev kept getting more confident with each punch landed on Dorticos, the Cuban’s defenses and stamina started to dwindle little by little. The 11th round saw Dorticos get visibly shaken for the first time, with his knees buckling down and almost going to the canvas before a last-gasp attempt at holding on to Gassiev’s trunks saved him from going down.

The 12th and final round was a completely different story. Gassiev’s left hooks and uppercuts knocked Dorticos down twice before a third knockdown sent Dorticos tumbling through the bottom and bottom middle rope and almost out of the ring entirely, ending the fight at that power.

With Dorticos out of the picture, Gassiev now advances to the WBSS cruiserweight finals which will take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in May. The winner of the cruiserweight tournament will win the Muhammad Ali trophy as well be the first cruiserweight to win the Ring Magazine, WBA, WBO, WBC and IBF cruiserweight world titles at the same time.

For fans in the west, the fight was shown live on YouTube, but the audience was not exactly high. Below are the viewership numbers on YouTube for the fight.

  • Pre-fight: 5,301
  • Round 1: 5,540
  • Round 2: 6,030
  • Round 3: 6,231
  • Round 4: 6,483
  • Round 5: 6,703
  • Round 6: 6,946
  • Round 7: 7,097
  • Round 8: 7,091
  • Round 9: 7,191
  • Round 10: 7,409
  • Round 11: 7,464
  • Round 12: 7,756

Defenders of the fights being shown on YouTube often say that not having to pay for premium cable to watch the fight usually is the best way to watch and it is a win for boxing fans, but is it really a win given that live viewership. If anything, it highlights the current weakness of the World Boxing Super Series. The lack of any large American television station getting the tournament prevents new fans from getting into the tournament. If Showtime had acquired the rights to air the tournament, then the audience for the tournament would likely be 50 times higher than the live YouTube viewership. Since there is no television deal in the United States, there is no marketing and advertising that would attract people to watch the tournament. The audience that the YouTube stream had was mainly hardcore boxing fans who would have found a way to watch the fight regardless.

Casual fans or non-fans wouldn’t be bothered to look for it.

There are many things that the World Boxing Super Series is doing correctly. The production and fighters competing is far and above the best in the sport. But in order for the tournament to be successful, it needs to further expand its presence in the American boxing market if it hopes to succeed in the future and the general feeling around tournament officials is that the Super Series is going to make a return once the super middleweight and cruiserweight tournaments are over.

Weekend Recap: Okolie vs. Chamberlain

It’s somewhat unusual that you get to see a semi-major boxing show promoted by Eddie Hearn at the O2 Arena in London headlined by two prospects, but Lawrence Okolie and Isaac Chamberlain did just that on February 3.

The fight was billed as a grudge match in what could be the first real big fight and first chapter in what could potentially be one of Britain’s top rivalries in the long run. Okolie and Chamberlain created a buildup that even dwarfed some world championship boxing fights, promising on what many believed could be one a potential classic.

What fans saw in the ring was a colossal disappointment.

In what ended up being some of the slowest and sluggish boxing between two highly touted boxers in recent memory, Okolie dropped Chamberlain twice en route to a wide unanimous decision win (98-89, 96-90, 97-89) to win the vacant WBA Continental cruiserweight title at the O2 Arena. The fight had been built up as one between two rising stars in British boxing and Okolie proved his supporters right by knocking down Chamberlain in the first round.

The rest of the fight was marred by constant holding and general lack of action at various points of the fight. The referee told both fighters to stop holding in the second fight, but Chamberlain did not listen and kept holding to the point he got docked a point for excessive holding. Okolie would then knock down Chamberlain again in the sixth round and that seemed to spell the end of Chamberlain.

Despite having a big points deficit, Chamberlain did try and increase the pace of the fight, but didn't show anything that could have turned the fight around. The fight continued to have excessive holding as Okolie got a point deducted for excessive holding in the ninth round. The bout went the distance as the crowd, and fans watching the fight, came away highly unimpressed with the fight, with promoter Eddie Hearn saying he was disappointed with Okolie's performance.

Not only was the buildup of the fight very solid, but both fighters pretty much got endorsements from world champions. Unified WBA and IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua co-promotes Okolie alongside Eddie Hearn and Chamberlain spent part of his training sparring newly unified WBO and WBC cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.

Two other regional title fights took place on the card. Ted Cheeseman won the vacant WBA International welterweight title with a unanimous decision win over Carson Jones. It was kind of unusual seeing Jones get a regional title shot as a featured bout at the O2 Arena given that he lost his last fight to an old and worn out Antonio Margarito and has now last three of his last six fights. Matchmaking for regional titles aren’t necessarily stable so I suppose it isn’t too big of a crime giving Jones a title opportunity, especially if it is a title that has been contested by the likes of Shane Mosley, Anthony Mundine and Joshua Clottey as recently as 2013. Cheeseman is undefeated and could potentially see himself get ranked in the WBA’s top 15 rankings at welterweight. Now this doesn’t mean we could see Cheeseman challenge for the WBA title held by Keith Thurman anytime soon. Now Cheeseman could catch lighting in a bottle in his next few fights and put himself in a situation where he could be an eventual challenger to the WBA secondary title held by Lucas Matthysse. It’s unlikely that Thurman fights Matthysse in his first fight back from elbow surgery, but it’s possible that fight takes place sometime in 2018. Regardless, Cheeseman likely won’t be sniffing the world title scene for a couple of years at the very least.

In the other title fight on the O2 Arena card, Reece Bellotti stopped Ben Jones in the sixth round to retain the Commonwealth featherweight title. That fight was technically a title fight, but Jones could not win the title because he was overweight and ineligible to win the title. Bellotti has been spending the last few fights fighting at the O2 or at York Hall and showed tremendous power. Eleven of his 12 wins have come by knockout and could see himself break into the top 15 rankings of any of the main four governing bodies when the next rankings come out at the start of March.

The card sold at least 8,000 tickets, which is close to half of the O2 Arena’s maximum capacity of 20,000. With the two headliners’ relatively small following despite the buildup, that’s still a decent crowd. The advanced ticket sales should at the very least make Hearn happy and confident could be a future big show main eventer. Thanks to the World Boxing Super Series, the cruiserweight division’s top stars have gotten more attention in the past six months than they have in their careers so one could imagine Okolie could face those types of boxers and draw more than 10,000 in the main event. Doing 8,000 when both Okolie and Chamberlain are mere prospects at this point is a definite sign Okolie can be a draw, but Okolie will need a couple of brilliant performances in his next couple of fights in order to erase the bad taste of the Chamberlain fight from everyone’s mouths.

Matchroom Boxing returns with a JD NXTGEN show on February 25 at the Victoria Warehouse Hotel in Manchester with a main event of Lewis Ritson vs. Joe Murray for Ritson’s British Boxing Board of Control lightweight title. The next big Matchroom Boxing show is the March 3 show in Sheffield featuring Kell Brook’s return to the ring and debut at 154 pounds. Gamal Yafai vs. Gavin McDonnell for Yafai’s WBC International super bantamweight title will be the event’s co-main event.

KSI vs. Joe Weller Fight: Social Media's Impact On Boxing Today

In what will likely end up being one of the most watched boxing fights of this past weekend, a shocker considering the lineup of boxing matches taking place on February 3, a feud among YouTubers resulted in a boxing fight taking place at the Copper Box Arena. KSI - real name Olajide William Olatunji - fought fellow YouTuber Joe Weller at the London venue with KSI picking up the win by third round knockout.

What's amazing is the amount of mainstream media attention the fight has generated. Both YouTubers were able to translate their popularity and name recognition in the United Kingdom and managed to have an attendance of about 8,000. Given that number and ticket prices, the live gate came out to about £528,000 (about $740,118). Around 1.6 million people reportedly tuned in to watch the fight live on YouTube, boxing's largest live audience in the United Kingdom since Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko last April.

The fight itself has no bearing on the sport of boxing. It was two minor celebrities who struck lighting in a bottle, but the way all of this came together paints to a larger point because of the role social media played in this.

Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube play a large role in today’s world. Sports is no stranger to this and boxing as well. In fact, a couple of months ago we saw one of the biggest fights of 2017 be made thanks to what essentially started as a Twitter war between Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux, by then, two of boxing’s top pound-for-pound boxers.

It’s amazing seeing the interaction between boxers especially on Twitter. Such a concept of boxers and athletes communicating with one another from anywhere in the world seemed like science fiction a couple of decades ago. One has to wonder how boxers in the 1970s would have handled today’s media, especially with boxers such as Muhammad Ali, who is simply one of a few athletes who has completely mastered the art of selling a fight and is arguably the most charismatic athlete in history. He likely would have been among the first athletes to figure out how to perfectly control the masses from just a simple push of a button on a smartphone. He likely would have been able to become an even bigger name with the availability of social media and market his fights to even higher levels of anticipation.

Even in its relative infancy, certain boxers are able to use social media to increase their brand and name recognition, such as a Lomachenko and Tyson Fury who seemingly know how to create headlines without actually holding a press conference of any sort.

In this new age of technology, one has to wonder if this will help or hurt boxing. So far, it hasn’t actually hurt it in a direct way. In fact, I would argue that it can help out boxers who may not have mastery of the English language and market themselves in a way that would make them a more viable as a potential star in the United States.

Results From The World Of Boxing

February 3: Bank of America Center, Corpus Christi, Texas, USA

  • Gilberto Ramirez defeated Habib Ahmed to retain the WBO World Super Middleweight Title via TKO
  • Jerwin Ancajas defeated Israel Gonzalez to retain the IBF World Super Flyweight Title via TKO
  • Jesse Hart defeated Thomas Awimbono via TKO
  • Rohan Murdock defeated Frankie Filippone via RTD
  • Jose Benavidez defeated Matthew Strode via TKO
  • Teofimo Lopez defeated Juan Pablo Sanchez via UD
  • Gabriel Flores Jr. defeated Alex Solorio via TKO
  • David Kaminsky defeated Rafael Munoz via UD

February 3: Bolshoy Ice Dome, Adler, Russia

  • Murat Gassiev defeated Yunier Dorticos to unify the WBA and IBF Cruiserweight Titles via KO
  • Roman Andreev defeated Craig Evans to win the vacant WBO International Lightweight Title via TKO
  • Maksim Vlasov defeated Olanrewaju Durodola to win the vacant WBC Silver Cruiserweight Title via RTD
  • Hurricane Futa defeated Vage Sarukhanya to win the WBC International Lightweight Title via KO
  • Fedor Chudinov defeated Timo Laine to retain the WBA International Super Middleweight Title via KO
  • Mikhail Aloyan defeated Alexander Espinoza to retain ht eWBA International Bantamweight Title via SD

February 3: O2 Arena (Millenium Dome), Greenwich, London, United Kingdom

  • Reece Bellotti defeated Ben Jones to retain the Commonwealth (British Empire) Featherweight Title via TKO
  • Ted Cheeseman defeated Carson Jones to win vacant WBA International Super Welterweight Title
  • Lawrence Okolie defeated Isaac Chamberlain to win the vacant WBA Continental Cruiserweight Title via UD
  • Felix Cash defeated James Hagenimana via TKO
  • Paul Butler defeated Jefferson Vargas via TKO
  • Charlie Edwards defeated Ricky Little via TKO
  • Joshua Buatsi defeated Jordan Joseph via TKO
  • Danny Dignum defeated Darryl Sharp via PTS
  • Sean McGoldrick defeated Michael Barnor via TKO
  • Nick Webb defeated Ante Verunica via KO
  • Gamal Yafai defeated Jose Hernandez via KO

February 3: Gimnasio Luis Beltran Diaz, Maracay, Venezuela

  • Johan Gonzalez defeated Wilman Contreras to win the vacant Venezuelan Welterweight Title via TKO
  • Ivan Matute defeated Esteban Alseco via RTD
  • Jeffrey Quintero defeated Juan Cabrera via TKO
  • Wilner Soto defeated Jose Moreno via TKO
  • Antonio Guzman defeated Jorge Gonzalez via UD
  • Rafael Hernandez defeated Jose Luis Bellorin via RTD
  • Jean Carlos Prada defeated Edwin Mota via UD
  • Eva Guzman defeated Anabel Trejo via TKO
  • Luis Reveron defeated Luis Elier Reveron via TKO
  • Dionis Martinez defeated Franderson Farias via TKO
  • Felipe Lares defeated Edinson Sanchez via TKO

February 2: Club Atlético Alvarado, Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • Lucas Miguel Diaz defeated Cesar Leonel Leiva via KO
  • Facundo Alberto Rojas defeated Brian Maximiliano Rios via MD

February 2: Kunming Haily Binya Resort, Kunming, China

  • Xiaoping Zeng defeated Xihua Hu via UD
  • Chunhua Yang defeated Jinhua Ouyang via TKO
  • Hai Yun Duan defeated Yonghao Peng via SD
  • Bing Bi Zhang defeated Jiansheng Luo via UD
  • Guolin Duan defeated Qingbo Li via TKO
  • Qiyin Gao defeated Yu Pu Sun via SD

February 2: Nelson Mandela Forum, Florence, Toscana, Italy

  • Fabio Turchi defeated Dario German Balmaceda to retain the WBC International Silver Cruiserweight Title via TKO
  • Vigan Mustafa defeated Nicola Pietro Ciriani to win the Italy Light Heavyweight Title via TKO
  • Dragan Lepei defeated Djordje Markovic via PTS
  • Angelo Ardito defeated Milan Savic via PTS
  • Sead Mustafa defeated Srecko Janjic via PTS
  • Mohammed Obbadi defeated Khvicha Gigolashvili via TKO

February 2: Explanada de Expoplaza, Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes, Mexico

  • Isaac Avelar defeated Alejandro Rene Frias via TKO
  • Damien Vazquez defeated Miguel Lizardo via tKO
  • Cristina Mora defeated Gabriela Sanchez Saavedra via SD
  • Edwing Davila defeated Carlos Mauricio Rocha via TKO
  • Donovan Estrella defeated Antonio Camacho via UD
  • Maryan Salazar defeated Naomi Arellano Reyes via UD
  • Kye Brooks defeated Antonio Rocha Reyes via TKO

February 2: Polideportivo Juan Manuel Martínez Muela, La Carolina, Andalucía, Spain

  • Dumitru Nicu Manea defeated Eugenio Ojeda via KO

February 2: Ponds Forge Arena, Sheffield, Yorkshire, United Kingdom

  • Josh Wale defeated Bobby Jenkinson to retain the BBBofC British Bantamweight Title via TKO
  • Brad Watson defeated Loua Nassa to win the vacant BBBofC English Super Flyweight Title via TKO
  • Kyle Yousaf defeated Isaac Quaye via PTS
  • Daniel Kennedy and William Warburton fight to a draw on points
  • Anthony Tomlinson defeated MJ Hall via tKO
  • Adam Jones defeated Danny Tombs via TKO
  • Dan West defeated Paul Lovell via TKO
  • Muma Mweemba defeated Kristian Laight via PTS

February 2: WinnaVegas Casino & Resort, Sloan, Iowa, USA

  • Ronald Ellis and Junior Younan fight to a split draw: Vacant USBA Super Middleweight Title FIght
  • Thomas Mattice defeated Rolando Chinea via TKO
  • Montana Love defeated Samuel Teah via MD
  • DeShon Webster defeated Mengistu Zarzar via SD
  • Joel Flores and Charles Johnson fight to a majority draw
  • Drako Rodriguez defeated Shannen McCray via TKO
  • Jorge Serrano defeated Frank Young via TKO

February 2: Jonathan Club, Los Angeles, California, USA

  • Hector Lopez Jr. and Alejandro Ochoa fight to a technical draw
  • Adam Lopez defeated Ryan Allen via MD
  • Evan Anthony Sanchez defeated Greg Baca via UD
  • Eric Rodriguez defeated Lucnor Diserne via UD
  • Anthony Franco defeated Jerome Buchanan via UD

February 2: Radisson Hotel, Covington, Kentucky, USA

  • Jayvon Garnett defeated Stephon McIntyre via UD
  • Boubacar Sylla defeated Rynell Griffin via UD
  • Desmond Jarmon defeated David Quay via KO
  • Daniel Long defeated Martegus Martin via KO
  • Quashawn Toler defeated Leonel Jimenez via TKO
  • Kyle Taylor defeated Adam Young via RTD
  • Mikail Traymar Jones defeated William Davis via KO

February 2: Parkersburg, West Virginia, USA

  • BJ Robinson defeated Tyler White via UD

Fightful Boxing Rankings

Pound-for-pound

  1. Terence Crawford
  2. Vasyl Lomachenko
  3. Gennady Golovkin
  4. Canelo Alvarez
  5. Mikey Garcia
  6. Naoya Inoue
  7. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
  8. Errol Spence Jr.
  9. Ryoichi Taguchi
  10. Sergey Kovalev

Heavyweight

  1. Anthony Joshua
  2. Deontay Wilder
  3. Joseph Parker
  4. Luis Ortiz
  5. Alexander Povetkin
  6. Kubrat Pulev
  7. Jarrell Miller
  8. Andy Ruiz Jr.
  9. Dillian Whyte
  10. Carlos Takam

Cruiserweight

  1. Oleksandr Usyk
  2. Murat Gassiev
  3. Krzysztof Glowacki
  4. Denis Lebedev
  5. Firat Arslan
  6. Mairis Briedis
  7. Yunier Dorticos
  8. Andrew Tabiti
  9. Marco Huck
  10. Krzysztof Wlodarczyk

Light heavyweight

  1. Sergey Kovalev
  2. Badou Jack
  3. Adonis Stevenson
  4. Oleksandr Gvozdyk
  5. Dmitry Bivol
  6. Sullivan Barrera
  7. Artur Beterbiev
  8. Eleider Alvarez
  9. Marcus Browne
  10. Joe Smith Jr.

Super middleweight

  1. Gilberto Ramirez
  2. George Groves
  3. Anthony Dirrell
  4. Andre Dirrell
  5. Chris Eubank Jr.
  6. David Benavidez
  7. Caleb Truax
  8. James DeGale
  9. Jose Uzcategui
  10. Tyron Zeuge

Middleweight

  1. Gennady Golovkin
  2. Canelo Alvarez
  3. Daniel Jacobs
  4. Billy Joe Saunders
  5. Jermall Charlo
  6. Ryota Murata
  7. Demetrius Andrade
  8. Andy Lee
  9. David Lemieux
  10. Sergiy Derevyanchenko

Light middleweight

  1. Erislandy Lara
  2. Jermell Charlo
  3. Jarrett Hurd
  4. Demetrius Andrade
  5. Julian Williams
  6. Austin Trout
  7. Sadam Ali
  8. Liam Smith
  9. Maciej Sulecky
  10. Kell Brook

Welterweight

  1. Errol Spence Jr.
  2. Keith Thurman
  3. Terence Crawford
  4. Danny Garcia
  5. Shawn Porter
  6. Jeff Horn
  7. Manny Pacquiao
  8. Lamont Peterson
  9. Jessie Vargas
  10. Lucas Matthysse

The rest of the rankings are in the next page.

Light welterweight

  1. Julius Indongo
  2. Viktor Postol
  3. Antonio Orozco
  4. Sergey Lipinets
  5. Terry Flanagan
  6. Eduard Troyanovski
  7. Isaac Dogboe
  8. Regis Prograis
  9. Rances Barthelemy
  10. Kenichi Ogawa

Lightweight

  1. Mikey Garcia
  2. Jorge Linares
  3. Robert Easter Jr.
  4. Anthony Crolla
  5. Luke Campbell
  6. Dejan Zlaticanin
  7. Raymundo Beltran
  8. Denis Shafikov
  9. Ricky Burns
  10. Javier Fortuna

Junior lightweight

  1. Vasyl Lomachenko
  2. Miguel Berchelt
  3. Francisco Vargas
  4. Jezreel Corrales
  5. Alberto Machado
  6. Robinson Castellanos
  7. Miguel Roman
  8. Orlando Salido
  9. Jason Sosa
  10. Jhonny Gonzalez

Featherweight

  1. Leo Santa Cruz
  2. Gary Russell Jr.
  3. Abner Mares
  4. Lee Selby
  5. Oscar Valdez
  6. Carl Frampton
  7. Scott Quigg
  8. Jesus Cuellar
  9. Joseph Diaz
  10. Claudio Marrero

Light featherweight

  1. Guillermo Rigondeaux
  2. Jessie Magdaleno
  3. Nonito Donaire
  4. Moises Flores
  5. Rey Vargas
  6. Danny Roman
  7. Hugo Ruiz
  8. Marlon Tapales
  9. Julio Ceja
  10. Yukinori Oguni

Bantamweight

  1. Jamie McDonnell
  2. Luis Nery
  3. Ryan Burnett
  4. Juan Carlos Payano
  5. Shinsuke Yamanaka
  6. Zolani Tete
  7. Lee Haskins
  8. Zhanat Zhakiyanov
  9. Takoma Inoue
  10. Liborio Solis

Light bantamweight

  1. Naoya Inoue
  2. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
  3. Jerwin Ancajas
  4. Khalid Yafai
  5. Juan Francisco Estrada
  6. Carlos Cuadras
  7. Roman Gonzalez
  8. John Riel Casimero
  9. Rau'shee Warren
  10. Luis Concepcion

Flyweight

  1. Kazuto Ioka
  2. Donnie Nietes
  3. Daigo Higa
  4. Juan Carlos Reveco
  5. Kosei Tanaka
  6. Sho Kimura
  7. Moruti Mthalane
  8. McWilliams Arroyo
  9. Francisco Rodriguez Jr.
  10. Zou Shiming

Light flyweight/Strawweight

  1. Ryoichi Taguchi
  2. Ken Shiro
  3. Wanheng Menayothin
  4. Hiroto Kyoguchi
  5. Knockout CP Freshmart
  6. Milan Melindo
  7. Angel Acosta
  8. Tatsuya Fukuhara
  9. Hekkie Budler
  10. Jose Argumedo

News And Notes From The World Of Boxing

Japan:

1. The March 31 show in Nagoya that will have two-division world champion Kosei Tanaka make his debut at flyweight had several big names scheduled to compete on the undercard and more details have been released. Japanese minimumweight standout Kento Hatanaka will fight Kenta Matsui and Yushi Tanaka will face Jinya Ito. Former Japanese featherweight champion Shota Hayashi is scheduled to appear as well. He won't actually be in action as his appearance on the card will be a retirement ceremony, as he walks away from active fighting following recent losses to to Kosuke Saka and Mark Magsayo.

2. Kaneko Gym announced their next big show will take place at Korakuen Hall on March 13 with a double main event featuring two OPBF champions. The first one is Keisuke Nakayama defending the featherweight title against Jay-R Raquinel. Hidenori Otake will defend the OPBF super bantamweight title taking on Brian Lobetania. The card has no television plans yet, but it's likely that TBS (Japan's TBS not the TBS channel people in the United States know of) will show the card, if not the main event on tape delay as part of their Guts Fighting series.

3. Shun Kubo, who has not fought since losing the WBA super bantamweight title to Daniel Roman last September, will fight Hiroshige Osawa on April 28 at Kobe Central Gymnasium. What's interesting is that Kubo will be fighting at featherweight and look to potentially challenge for a world title at that weight. Given that both Kubo and Osawa are both ranked in the top nine positions of the WBA's official featherweight rankings, the winner joins a short list that could be face the winner of the Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares rematch later this year. Jesus Rojas, Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton are highly likely to be among the names chosen to fight the Santa Cruz-Mares winner.

Europe:

1. In what could be considered an early-season upset, the British Lionhearts lost its first World Series of Boxing (WSB) match, losing 3-2 to the France Fighting Roosters in Paris thanks in large part to shocking upsets for Lionhearts Galal Yafai and Peter McGrail.

2. Italian cruiserweight Fabio Turchi retained the WBC International Silver title in Firenze with a first-round stoppage of Dario German Balmaceda. Turchi knocked Balmaceda down and continued to pummel him afterwards until Balmaceda's corner threw in the towel with one second remaining in the round.

3. The World Boxing Super Series finals will take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, or at least expected to take place. After Murat Gassiev's knockout win over Yunier Dorticos, the Secretary General of the Russian Boxing Federation, Umar Kremlev, announced his intention to make a big financial push to host the finals of the WBSS in Russia on the Day of Russian Boxing on July 22. At this point in the tournament, it's hard for to see the finals, taking place on May 11 in Saudi Arabia, move out of the region.

United Kingdom:

1. Jordan Gill will face Jason Cunningham in an eliminator for the British Featherweight title on the next installment of the JD NXTGEN series at the Victoria Warehouse in Manchester on February 25, which will be televised live on Sky Sports.

2. Ash Lane will defend his Commonwealth Super bantamweight title against mandatory challenger Emmanuel Quartey from Ghana on the 'Class of 2018' professional boxing show at Ashton Gate Stadium.

3. Frank Warren announced that he will hold a show at York Hall on February 24. On that card, top prospect Anthony Yarde defends his WBO Intercontinental and European light heavyweight titles against Tony Averlant, Daniel Dubois defends his Southern Area heavyweight title belt against DL Jones and unbeaten Zelfa Barrett will take on former BBBofC title challenger Ronnie Clark. BT Sport and Box Nation will broadcast the card.

United States:

1. The Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin rematch set to take place on May 5 is not a guarantee to land in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. According to Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler, Madison Square Garden, considered to be the only other venue fight promoters is seriously considering, is making a strong move to host the fight. According to Loeffler, the Garden submitted a proposal that guarantees a higher gate than the $27,059,850 live gate the first fight produced at the T-Mobile Arena. If this is true, that means in order to surpass that number, not only does the Garden have to have a sellout crowd of 20,789, but have each of those in attendance pay an average ticket of $1,301.65. Getting the Garden to sell out won't be a problem given the names involved, but at that ticket price, it wouldn't be as easy as it seems. Both Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center in nearby Brooklyn will have at least seven major boxing cards take place between March 3 and May 9 and that could potentially lead to oversaturation and some fans not willing to pay that kind of ticket price after paying for several other high-profile boxing events. It's entirely possible that the Garden could have a higher gate, but promoters will have to carefully gamble on fans wanting to pay that much even after so many boxing cards take place in New York in the eight weeks leading up to the fight.

Argentina:

1. Omar Narvaez was supposed to fight for the WBO bantamweight title as recently as a few weeks ago, but Zolani Tete suffered a calf injury during training and the fight got postponed. As a result, Narvaez went to Argentina to take a quick fight to stay busy and defeated Jesus Vargas by unanimous decision in a rematch from years ago. Narvaez will now wait until Tete is fully recovered so that the title fight can take place.

2. Argentina will have one its biggest all-Argentina lightweight matches in recent memory (take that as you will) on February 9 with Javier Jose Clavero defending his Argentina lightweight title against Elias Damian Araujo with the interim WBC Latino lightweight title on the line as well. The card will take place in Santa Fe, Argentina and is co-promoted by Sampson Boxing and Maravillabox Promotions, which is owned by former world champion and national icon Sergio Martinez. The winner could potentially break into the WBC's top 15 rankings, especially Araujo, who is unbeaten in his 17 pro fights.

3. New WBA "regular" welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse may be looking at potentially huge fights against either Danny Garcia or Manny Pacquiao, but had he lost to Tewa Kiram late last month, he would have retired. Matthysse admitted as such and it's hard to not see why he would have been thinking retirement if he had lost. Matthysse is 35 years old and has never held a full world title (outside of an eight month-long reign as the interim WBC super lightweight champion). Now as the world champion, Matthysse has at least a couple of very good fights in the horizon, but now one starts to wonder if the next loss will be the end of Matthysse's career.

Roy Jones Jr. Retirement Fight

One of the greatest boxers of all time – Roy Jones Jr. – makes his final walk to the ring February 8 at the Bay Center in Pensacola, Florida, live and exclusively on a UFC Fight Pass, but the fight, nor the card itself, is promoted by UFC. The event, Island Fights 46, is actually an event that will feature both boxing and MMA fights.

The five-fight live stream of Square Rings’ Island Fights 46 event, will also feature European boxing sensation Ikram Kerwat, who has five knockouts in eight professional wins, plus 25-year-old prodigy Mike Davis. A former New York State wrestling champion and BJJ purple belt under Marcelo Garcia, Davis has a combined combat sport record – MMA and boxing – of 22 fights, 22 wins and 22 stoppages. He fights Montrel James in a MMA lightweight fight.

The card also features the return of "Krazy Horse" Charles Bennett, an MMA fighter primarily known for his antics and fights on the Japanese promotion RIZIN FF, King of the Cage and PRIDE FC.

It is generally believed that boxers sometimes overstay their welcome and continue fighting way longer than they should. Jones is another case of a great boxer whose career has been muddied because he continues to fight way past his prime. In fact, many athletes have faced this problem. Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest example of an athlete playing way past their prime and at a point and age where playing as a professional athlete isn't that viable.

With Jones, his time to retire should have come in 2011 when he lost to Denis Lebedev which was his third straight loss and fourth loss in his past six fights at that point. But instead of hanging it up, Jones returned to the ring in December 2011 to fight for the vacant Universal Boxing Organization (UBO) Inter­continental cruiserweight title against a boxer named Max Alexander who at that point was in the middle of a four-year long winless streak in six fights. What followed was 11 unnecessary fights that Jones won 10 of them.

Jones is perhaps regarded as one of, if not the best, pound-for-pound boxers of the past 25 years. Jones' career would have been perfectly intact, maybe enhanced, had he retired perhaps 10 years ago when he defeated Felix Trinidad, in what should have been a perfect sendoff to both boxers' careers. Trinidad retired after that fight and his legacy as a Puerto Rican icon was intact because he did not fight several low-class opponents. Trinidad saw the writing on the wall.

Jones did not and has not.

The issue with this last fight is that Jones seems almost defeated when talking about retirement. If Jones had it his way, he would be fighting a lot longer than 2018, turning himself into the next Bernard Hopkins where he was pushing near 50 years old and winning major titles.

Except Jones got small-time fights that would be suited for a rookie pro instead of a boxing legend.

Potentially tarnished legacy aside, there is no doubt that Jones is an all-time great and a once-in-a-lifetime talent. No boxer to this day has won a middleweight world title and then win a heavyweight world title except for Jones. Jones started his career with a 49-1 record with the one loss coming in by disqualification. Jones' resume for his first 50 fights include wins over Jorge Castro, Bernard Hopkins, James Toney, Vinny Pazienza, Clinton Woods, John Ruiz and Antonio Tarver.

It was after Jones' win over Tarver where Jones suddenly hit a wall and was no longer the same boxer that he was for his first 50 fights. Father Time was ready to beat Jones, but Jones held off Father Time for another 15 years. Two losses to Tarver and a loss to Glen Johnson and suddenly Jones was no longer the unbeatable pound-for-pound king.

As a draw, Jones was always a solid pay-per-view star but not exactly a spectacular one, usually drawing at least 200,000 buys, but never doing more than 602,000 for a pay-per-view bout. Those numbers somewhat pale in comparison to other pay-per-view boxers had in the late 1990s and early 2000s such as Oscar De La Hoya, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and Oscar De La Hoya.

So what is Jones' legacy in boxing? In simple terms, Jones was the perfect boxer who ultimately was lost in his own hubris and is perhaps a decade late in recognizing that he needed to retire.

Had he retired after beating Tarver, ending his career on the highest of notes, perhaps Jones would have been in the conversation of being the greatest pound-for-pound boxer in history and he perhaps had the strongest case in that conversation. Instead, people look at the last 15 years of Jones' career with complete apathy and disdain as it took Jones out of the "Greatest Of All Time" debate. The first half of Jones' career would likely never be replicated ever again, but the second half was riddled with more losses in big fights than wins.

As for the actual retirement fight, Jones will face Scott Sigmon for the vacant World Boxing Union (German Version) cruiserweight title. The title is completely irrelevant and Sigmon has a 30-11-1 record where he's lost pretty much all of his fights against noteworthy boxers such as Caleb Truax, Luis Arias, Ronald Gavril and Kelly Pavlik.

Fightful will have live coverage of the entire card.

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