Fightful Boxing Newsletter (1/11): 2018 Preview, Jeff Horn vs. Terence Crawford, Fightful Retrospective Returns

Now that we have finished up with the Fightful Boxing Newsletter awards, 2017 is officially in the rearview mirror and now we have 2018 to look forward to. The first half of 2018 already has a lot of big fights in store for fans as well as plenty of storylines to follow throughout the year and this week's edition looks at some of the key stories and fights to watch out for in the new year.

One big fight that ESPN has been trying to get is a WBO welterweight title fight between champion Jeff Horn and former unified junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford. For months, fans have been waiting for this fight to happen and see Crawford potentially getting another world title and recent developments seem to indicate that the fight is a go and could take place in a few months.

Fury FC 46 Results: 3 Title Fights, Plus UFC Vets Anthony Ivy & Juan Adams Compete!

All this, plus a look at a potential new wrinkle in boxing matchmaking as well as the return of one British boxing star, are inside this week's edition of the Fightful Boxing Newsletter.

  1. Previewing 2018 In Boxing: Top Matches, Storylines, One Bold Prediction For 2018 (Pages 2-3)
  2. Jeff Horn vs. Terence Crawford Latest (Page 4)
  3. Potential Working Relationship Between Top Rank And Showtime (Page 5)
  4. Results From The World Of Boxing (Page 6)
  5. Fightful Boxing Rankings (Pages 7-8)
  6. News And Notes From The World Of Boxing (Page 9)
  7. Fightful Boxing Retrospective: Jose Torres vs. Eddie Cotton (Pages 10)

Previewing 2018 In Boxing: Top Matches, Storylines, One Prediction For 2018

As we’re entering the new year, boxing looks to follow up on what is largely considered a successful year in boxing, but several big stories that started in 2017 will conclude or continue in 2018. Disregarding any potential fights that will happen in 2018, one of the biggest storylines that appear to conclude soon is the status of Tyson Fury’s career.

Fury has not fought since winning the unified heavyweight title in 2015, but a series of failed drug tests has delayed his return and on two occasions, pushed Fury into a brief retirement. Although those retirements were never genuine, there was always a chance that Fury may never get reinstated and be allowed to fight again. So far, Fury’s business with the UKAD has concluded and now it is his job to convince the British Boxing Board of Control to reinstate his boxing license. Fury’s return to the ring could signify a massive shift in a burgeoning heavyweight division in the wake of Fury’s 2015 title win and the emergence of other heavyweight stars such as Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder.

Should Fury get back to the ring, the end game for Fury is to get a fight with Joshua, the current WBA and IBF heavyweight champion. Joshua vs. Fury would not only be a heavyweight superfight if and when it ever happens, but it has the potential to be the biggest boxing match in British history if we’re looking at the potential revenue that would come from such a fight. In the British boxing scene, a Joshua vs. Fury fight could have as much buzz for its intended region as Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao’s buzz in the United States had when the two faced off in 2015.

But such a fight won’t take place until 2019 at the earliest if we are to believe that Joshua fights Wilder in the second half of 2018. The current superfight for 2018 is Joshua vs. Wilder and with Showtime in play to be the American broadcasters for the fight, the network is primed to truly get on rival HBO’s level in terms of viewership when it comes to their live boxing telecasts. Showtime, as well as ESPN, have seen their overall boxing viewership make a drastic increase from 2016 to 2017 while HBO’s numbers have decreased.

The American boxing television landscape also saw networks such as CBS and FOX have some of the biggest boxing fights take place on their networks after years of having relatively mediocre fights on those networks. CBS got its money’s worth with the Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia welterweight world title unification fight, which was a ratings hit with the network. FOX had some ups and downs with their PBC on FOX series, but being heavily involved with the Mayweather vs. McGregor undercard has given the network a greater sense of security when it comes to wanting to dish out more big boxing fights in the future. This alone gives boxing a much needed boost in its quest to return to the mainstream prominence it once enjoyed in the late 20th century, the same kind of attention that other sports and the UFC have garnered in the past several years, but boxing’s problems don’t just end with television exposure.

In the past few years, a common critique on the sport of boxing are the increasingly dwindling value of the world titles. The problem, according to many, is that there are too many world championships to keep track of with four main governing bodies, and those governing bodies may have more than one world champion in just one weight class. The complaints largely go towards the World Boxing Association (WBA) for that very same reason. Back in 2015, the organization announced that it would drastically cut down on the number of championships per weight class. While the organization has been doing that for the most part, it still hasn’t nearly done enough to satisfy many fans’ desire to see a single world champion. The sport has largely corrected itself with major unification fights in 2017 and appear to be headed for more unifications in 2018 and 2019.

One reason we’re seeing several unification matches in 2017 and 2018 is thanks in large part to the success of the World Boxing Super Series. The WBSS’s super middleweight and cruiserweight tournaments has given fans unique matchups in both of those divisions, allowing several world champions to fight other world champions and unify titles. Interest in the tournaments has been both up and down, but there has always been a desire to see this tournament succeed because the WBSS model could eventually be used in other divisions. The two tournaments in the WBSS has been focused in Europe, but it does appear that if the WBSS were to return with other weight classes then the focus could be shifted to the west. This experiment has been successful in the sense that such a concept can work and has been working thus far, barring any freak injuries or any other incidents that could derail this tournament.

But with all the potential storylines from behind the scenes, the focus will always remain on the fights and 2018 has no shortage of massive fights. Below are some of the biggest fights to watch out for in 2018 that could happen.

Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder: Without mentioning a certain rematch at middleweight, Joshua vs. Wilder is the biggest fight the sport can have in 2018, but certain obstacles need to be cleared first. Joshua and Wilder have to beat both Joseph Parker and Luis Ortiz, respectively and those two boxers are not pushovers, meaning the two champions have their work cut out for them before thinking of fighting each other. The sport of boxing is missing a big time fight at heavyweight and it got one in Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko last year. The fight gave the sport some momentum and got its big star in Joshua.

On the flipside, Wilder has had a rough time as champion thanks to his various opponents violating the WBC’s Clean Boxing Program in the past two years. Wilder is only trying to prove that he is the best heavyweight champion in the world and a fight with Joshua is exactly what he’s looking for.

Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin 2: This fight seems to be a done deal. All that’s missing are crossing some t’s and dotting some I’s, but everything seems to be in place for the rematch to take place on May 5. The first fight, as great as it was, had been marred by Adalaide Byrd’s highly controversial 118-110 scorecard in favor of Alvarez. As much as the scorecard highlighted one of boxing’s biggest problems (incompetent judging), the interest of demand for a rematch only grew tremendously among the public.

Before the first fight even happened, there had been discussions of this rivalry ultimately having a trilogy. Regardless of the result of the second fight, chances are a third fight is entirely possible, giving fans the chance to have the decade’s defining rivalry take place.

World Boxing Super Series Finals: Back in 2017, the concept of a global tournament featuring eight of the best boxers at both cruiserweight and super middleweight seemed interesting, but not everyone was sure of it being a homerun. But the World Boxing Super Series has more than delivered on the quality of fights as well as the presentation and list of big names competing. It’s hard in this day and age to organize something this big without behind-the-scenes politics from promoters and boxers ruining it. So far, the WBSS has been a success around most parts of the world.

Even though fans in the United States haven’t had much success in trying to get a television deal for the tournament, and there were only two cards taking place in San Antonio, Texas and Newark, New Jersey. That doesn’t take much away from the insane matchups and fantastic fights that have happened in the first round. With the semifinals for both tournaments starting very soon, I highly recommend readers to watch these fights because tournaments such as these are what boxing needs: a no-nonsense tournament to decide who the best of the best is.

As a reminder, here is the current tournament schedule for the semifinals:

Cruiserweight Tournament:

  • January 27: Oleksandr Usyk vs. Mairis Briedis: WBO/WBC Title Unification
  • February 3: Murat Gassiev vs. Yunier Dorticos: IBF/WBA “Regular” Title Unification

Super Middleweight Tournament:

  • February 17: George Groves vs. Chris Eubank Jr: WBA “Super”/IBO Title Unification
  • Date TBD: Rob Smith vs. Juergen Braehmer

Keith Thurman vs. Errol Spence Jr.: Thurman appeared to have answered the question as to who is the best welterweight boxer in the world when he beat Danny Garcia back in March in front of record-setting television audience in the 21st century. Unfortunately for Thurman, he injured his elbow in that fight, shutting him down for the remainder of the year. Since then, Spence re-introduced that question when thrashed Kell Brook to win the IBF welterweight title just a couple of months later. Fans would then spend the year counting down the days a potential Thurman vs. Spence Jr. unification fight could take place.

Unfortunately for fans, that fight will not happen in the first half of 2018. Thurman had already told me last year that his first fight back won’t be against Spence or against mandatory challenger Shawn Porter. Thurman would have to deal with his return fight and Porter before thinking about a fight with the IBF champion. Given how careful Thurman is being with his injury, he’ll likely wait until the first half of 2019 before making that unification bout possible, but don’t count out 2018 just yet.

Mikey Garcia vs. Vasyl Lomachenko: Lomachenko turned into a major star with a career-defining performance against Guillermo Rigondeaux in one of the most-watched boxing fights on television in 2017. Without a doubt, Lomachenko is the next big thing in boxing, but now lacks an opponent that can provide the same level of intrigue as Rigondeaux. That is, except for one name: Mikey Garcia.

Garcia, the WBC lightweight champion, is about as tough as any other boxer in the world is. Garcia is 37-0, fighting for a world title in a fourth weight class in February and has a summer showdown against Jorge Linares looming over the horizon. If Garcia wins both of those fights, his spot in the International Boxing Hall of Fame is all but guaranteed, but what would elevate Garcia’s legend is a fight against Lomachenko. A battle between those two could be one of the greatest boxing fights of the decade.

This fight happening in 2018 is a toss-up at this point. ESPN, who is the broadcasting home of Top Rank and Lomachenko, have big plans for the two-time Olympic gold medalist, including a potential pay-per-view fight. Garcia has a rough history with Bob Arum and Top Rank, but if ESPN’s executives are able to maneuver around that, the network has itself the most intriguing and exciting boxing match the network has put out since the start of the ESPN-Top Rank deal signed in 2017.

Jarrett Hurd vs. Jermell Charlo: These two boxers, world champions at 154 pounds, proved to be the most exciting fighters in the division when they fought back in October. Hurd beat former world champion Austin Trout in a fight of the year candidate, which contained a round of the year candidate, and Charlo knocked out Erickson Lubin with one of the most spectacular punches of 2017. Both Hurd and Charlo are interested in unifying the division’s world titles and Hurd, who holds the IBF championship, could get that chance with a rumored fight against WBA champion Erislandy Lara. While yes, that fight would be a unification, it would be far from the most exciting fight in the division. Should Hurd beat Lara, it opens up the possibility of him having a three-belt unification bout against Charlo, the WBC champion, in the fall or winter.

The 154-pound division has been in a bit of a slump in recent years, which is jarring giving that weight had the likes of Miguel Cotto, Floyd Mayweather, Canelo Alvarez and Manny Pacquiao fight there not too long ago. It is a division devoid of stars, but putting on a fight between Hurd and Charlo could provide fans with the best sleeper fight of 2018.

One Bold Prediction For 2018

Canelo vs. GGG 2 will have more than 2.2 million pay-per-view buys: Now to some, this prediction is not all that relevant when it comes to the in-ring action, but many insiders value the potential gains a Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin rematch could bring. Their first encounter, hampered by its proximity to the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor pay-per-view, did a reported 1.3 million buys. Golden Boy Promotions has disputed that number, but let’s stick with that amount since it appears to be the lowest it can get.

So why 2.2 million buys and not have it an even 2 million? The simple reason is that 2.2 million buys was what Mayweather vs. Canelo did back in 2018. Since then, Canelo’s pay-per-view buys have fluctuated depending on the opponent. Canelo appears to have found his audience after doing at least a million buys in 2017. With the way the first fight between the two middleweight champions ended, interest in a rematch skyrocketed and in some rare cases, a sequel can have their pay-per-view buyrate skyrocket.

The same happened in 2011 when Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez’s third fight did a million more buys (1.4 million buys) than their second fight back in 2008 (400,000 buys) so getting from 1.3 million to 2.2 million buys for Canelo vs. GGG 2 would not be an impossible task. With the rematch likely happening on Cinco De Mayo (May 5) and with no other boxing pay-per-views happening around that time, the rematch is primed to do a better buyrate than the first fight.

This type of buyrate is important for the sport of boxing because this would mean that the sport can thrive in the post-Mayweather era and that a new superstar can carry boxing into the next generation. Canelo is already an established name and Golovkin as well to an extent, but without that fight doing a truly amazing buyrate number (such as 2.2 million buys), there will always be that one criticism that the sport doesn’t know how to make stars other Mayweather and Pacquiao and that alone will hurt the status and reputation of the sport.

Jeff Horn vs. Terence Crawford Latest

Terence Crawford’s foray into the welterweight division could get an official announcement very soon with reports coming out of the camp of WBO champion Jeff Horn agreeing in principle to a deal to have Crawford challenge for the WBO belt later this spring.

The deal would have Crawford, the mandatory challenger for the WBO welterweight title, fight Horn the belt on April 21 in Las Vegas, headlining another Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card.

Horn’s trainer Glenn Rushton told AAP he was satisfied with the renegotiated purse and said all there was left to do was sign the contracts.

“As far as we’re concerned, it’s pretty much a deal. But no deal’s done until it’s done, so we just have to cross t’s, dot i’s and actually get this thing locked down. We have certainly agreed on all the key terms and from our side, it’s a go. Now Bob (Arum)’s got to tidy up some loose ends. We have total confidence in Bob and Top Rank that he’ll get this all locked up and we’ll have a contract in our hands by the end of next week,” Rushton said.

One of the questions some people may have when it comes to this fight is whether or not it takes one of the two rumored pay-per-view dates ESPN and Top Rank plan to have in 2018? The short answer is highly unlikely.

The long answer takes into account the circumstances that would make an ESPN pay-per-view date in April not a viable option. Firstly, you’d have to consider the contestants involved in the main event. While Horn certainly got a lot of worldwide attention for beating Manny Pacquiao, but his momentum has certainly died down a bit in the past few months with only a title defense over Gary Corcoran.

Now that is not to say Horn can’t draw in the American television landscape. The fight against Corcoran drew 236,000 viewers when it aired live. Now that number may seem miniscule, but when considering the fact that it was shown on ESPN2 and not on ESPN, the fact that it was aired live in the morning on a weekday and the general lack of any strong marketing in the United States for a fight between Horn and a relatively unknown fighter in Corcoran, then that live viewership becomes a minor win for Top Rank and ESPN. The viewership isn’t great, but it was slightly higher than what some executives inside the network would have predicted.

As for Crawford, it’s not easy to determine whether or not he’s a true main eventer that can draw in a good pay-per-view crowd at this point in his career. HBO tried and failed miserably by putting Crawford in against Viktor Postol in the summer of 2016 on pay-per-view and flopping horrendously. But one can argue that HBO’s somewhat limited subscriber number (at least compared to the amount of people who have ESPN) hampered Crawford and Crawford’s own lack of desire to get involved with the media hasn’t helped things either.

Crawford is capable of drawing a decent crowd although not at the level of a Gennady Golovkin or Terence Crawford. Crawford has been able to sell out, or at least get close, whenever he’s headlining Madison Square Garden, but it was at the 5,500-seat Theater and not the main arena. Crawford’s lone fight on ESPN in 2017 did draw an adequate number of people to watch, but one would think that for a historic fight (the first four-belt unification fight in junior welterweight history), would have drawn a viewership closer to Pacquiao vs. Horn and not his usual fights on HBO, which already did close to a million viewers to begin with.

As for the date of the fight, April is not exactly an optimal time to do a pay-per-view because of its proximity to the planned Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin 2 fight on May 5. We’ve already seen the effects of holding two boxing pay-per-views in such a short period of time with the first Canelo vs. Golovkin match likely losing pay-per-view buys being three weeks after the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor spectacle this past August.

Now the fight won’t be made official until maybe next week at the earliest, but seeing as how this is one of the major Top Rank Boxing events of 2018, it’s fairly easy to guess what the undercard might look like. Bob Arum’s talented prospects Michael Conlan and Shakur Stevenson, who have fought on the undercard of Crawford vs. Julius Indongo and Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux last August and December, respectively. Those two stand to benefit the most from Arum’s plan to make new boxing stars for Top Rank through ESPN.

The actual negotiation period between Crawford and Horn was a somewhat weird one. Crawford was the mandatory challenger, so he would have gotten the title shot one way or another, but there was never a public announcement of the fight being ordered after Horn defeated Corcoran. The biggest obstacle that would have prevented this fight from happening was the purse demands from Horn’s camp. Publicly, Horn had been wanting a $4 million dollar purse against Crawford, which is significantly higher than what Crawford’s last few opponents made even when Crawford was the unified junior welterweight champion.

Horn threatened instead to fight Australian Anthony Mundine, which always seemed like a step backwards and it wasn’t a fight Arum didn’t seem too keen on making. Horn vs. Mundine would have fetched a good payday for Horn by having the fight take place in Australia but it wouldn’t give him the $4 million he wanted from the purse alone. This was nothing more than a bad attempt to leverage negotiations in Horn’s favor because fighting Mundine would almost surely mean Horn would have to move up in weight because there’s no way Mundine would drop to 147 and not suffer serious weight cutting problems. Mundine was also scheduled to fight in a WBO Oriental junior middleweight fight in January which also meant Horn vs. Mundine could have taken place in the early summer at the earliest. By that point, the interest in Horn outside of Australia would have dropped to nearly his pre-Pacquiao days.

We’re probably going to know what Horn will be making from the fight against Crawford around fight week, but it will likely not be $4 million. The $4 million demand was never Horn’s real number to take the fight. That would be unreasonable to ask for. It’s the simple negotiating tactic of asking for much more than what you actually want and then have the other side try to negotiate that original number down to what the intended number is.

Crawford will likely be the odds-on favorite to win the WBO title. Horn didn’t look highly impressive against Corcoran and with Crawford moving up in weight, the former unified champion will have an easier time making weight and has the body to fit in naturally at welterweight. Horn will have to contend with Crawford’s power, but Horn has always been able to fight above his skill level and would come out on top. This will be one of the more intriguing fights at welterweight with the winner setting himself up for a major unification bout in late 2018 or in 2019.

The Potential Working Relationship Between Top Rank And Showtime

When discussing the potential resurgence in boxing, one thing that could be an obstacle is the potential battle between television networks and promoters in trying to provide their own version of the best the sport has to offer instead of having the best fights overall.

Well one method to seemingly create fights and move past the wall that was network exclusivity is fighter trading. To summarize, this would involve a network such as Showtime working out a deal to have one of their fighters, Keith Thurman for example, fight against a fighter from a rival promotional company and network like Top Rank and ESPN. For the Thurman example, let’s say a hypothetical deal in place would have him fight Terence Crawford.

In speaking to BoxingScene.com, Stephen Espinoza, Executive VP of Showtime Sports, talked about the potential of such a practice taking place within the network in the hopes of creating more unique matchups that wouldn’t happen within the roster of fighters PBC and Showtime had. Espinoza even discussed the prospects of Crawford fighting the likes of Thurman and IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr., saying that Crawford would be a fighter Showtime would love to make a fight with although Crawford is aligned with Bob Arum’s Top Rank and ESPN.

"At a certain level, anything’s worth a conversation, particularly if there’s a way to get big fights done or interesting fights done. At a certain point, though, if I look at Keith Thurman or Errol Spence or Shawn Porter or Danny Garcia, for that matter, they’ve got a lot of potential fights lined up. They’ve got a lot of unfinished business without thinking about having to go over to another network to fight. Look, if fights present themselves that make sense, we’ll have the discussion. But not only do we have guys with full dance cards, it’s not always as simple as trading fighters. It’s not like trading baseball cards or Pokemon cards. When you’ve put a lot of time and energy and financial investment into developing a group of fighters, or a particular fighter, only to see that fighter go somewhere else for a potentially career-defining fight, it’s tough to sort of identify something that is similarly valuable in return. It’s not just, ‘Here are two similarly known boxers. Let’s trade them.’ It’s not quite as simple as it may seem. But having said all of that, there are always challenges to making deals. If there’s a fight and there’s a demand for it, then we’ll do everything we can to make it happen, as long as it’s under reasonable business conditions and we’re getting value for what we’ve put into the development of the opportunity. We’ll keep an eye on Terence Crawford. To me, there’s an open question there. He’s a really talented fighter, but he’s in a new weight class. So before anyone’s rushing to ask him to fight Keith Thurman or Errol Spence, I think we’re all curious to see how he does in the new weight class. There are conversations to be had probably over time. There haven’t been conversations in the recent past, but we’re open to them.”

Arum had also spoken to BoxingScene.com in regards to this very subject and also seemed to be open to the idea of working with Showtime on special events.

"Lets not look at promoters particularly, lets look at networks. Over at Showtime, Espinoza is a very smart guy. And his boss is a very big fight fan, a good friend of mine, Les Moonves, and Moonves will make these fights happen. They can't all be on ESPN nor can they all be on Showtime - so there is something called trade. The big boys, whether it's CBS, ABC, FOX, ESPN - they have no problem with college football... arranging who gets which game and so forth. I think it will be the same and it should be the same with Showtime, CBS and Top Rank - that if they need a Top Rank fighter to fight on Showtime, we'll make them available. And if there is a fighter who traditionally fights on Showtime or CBS, they will make him available to ESPN. I think that we'll work very, very well with [Showtime, CBS] - at least that's my hope."

Of course the concept of trading top athletes is not uncommon. It has been a widely accepted and practiced form of conducting business in sports for several decades all over the world. However, that form of trading is usually done between sporting teams, not companies and television executives, but even then, this type of deal has been done to an extent.

Back in 2006, NBC and ABC worked out a deal to send legendary broadcaster Al Michaels from ABC to NBC. In exchange, NBC Universal sold ESPN cable rights to Friday coverage of the next four Ryder Cups, granted ESPN increased usage of Olympic highlights, and sold to parent company Disney the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a cartoon character developed by Walt Disney himself (which he lost in 1928) but previously owned by Universal Pictures (now NBC Universal). The unusual addition of Oswald was actually the central part of NBC's side of the deal as Disney was trying to make a video game around Mickey Mouse and desperately wanted to have Oswald be a central figure in the game.

The deals that could have Top Rank and Showtime fighters trade places for big fights won’t involve any cartoon characters or video games, but the framework for such deals already exist. ESPN is planning to have two boxing pay-per-views in 2018, likely with Top Rank superstars Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko being the key figures for both of those shows. If a trade were to take place, Showtime could theoretically work out a deal that would bring Mikey Garcia to ESPN to fight Vasyl Lomachenko at the end of the year. Terence Crawford will be busy in April, likely fighting Jeff Horn for the WBO welterweight title, but after that fight is done, Crawford’s future is uncertain.

There’s a possibility of having Crawford fight Manny Pacquiao on an ESPN pay-per-view should Crawford win the WBO title and Pacquiao’s schedule allows him to fight, which was the key reason the rematch with Horn never materialized. Given how much of a draw Pacquiao was last year against an unknown in Jeff Horn, Pacquiao vs. Crawford could fetch a solid buyrate around the ballpark of 400,000 buys. Although at this point, that’s more of an educated guess, but we’ll have a clearer picture of where Crawford stands in the public view when viewership for his welterweight debut is released.

But a fight between Crawford and one of the two welterweight champions that primarily fight on Showtime (Thurman and Spence) would bring big money to whoever broadcasts that fight. The same could be said with the case of Lomachenko vs. Garcia and those aforementioned fights seem to be the most likely to happen if fighters being moved around different networks were to happen. Again, such a deal is still unlikely to happen at this point, but it doesn’t mean it can’t happen down the road.

Showtime has been more than open with working with other networks as evidenced by the fact that they worked out a deal with HBO to have dual broadcasting rights for the Anthony Joshua (Showtime) vs. Wladimir Klitschko (signed to HBO) fight from this past April. Showtime handled the live broadcast while HBO got to air the fight, with their own commentary team, later that night. It is to be assumed that if the planned rematch were to have happened, then HBO would have done the live broadcast while Showtime got to air the fight on tape delay. Showtime seems to be the centerpiece for boxing’s future in the United States for matchmaking due to the number of high quality boxers and ability to create important fights on a regular basis, something HBO is starting to walk away from in favor of getting the big pay-per-view fights with fighters such as Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. Whether or not fighter trading actually does occur remains to be seen, but it does paint a nice picture for fight fans to see while they wait for that day.

Results From The World Of Boxing

January 7: Xi An, China

  • Fan Yin defeated Wenju Hr via UD
  • Yuan Nie defeated Lan Xiao via UD
  • Bingcheng Zou defeated Yeerlan Muhetaerbieke via UD
  • Ruidong Zhou defeated Yesihati Yeerken via SD
  • Hongjun Shi defeated Talifeng Haoken via UD
  • ZongLi He defeated Zhengguo Luo via UD
  • Baolin Kang defeated Wulan Amantai
  • Qiancheng Wang and Dacong Wang fight to a split draw
  • Zhaoxin Zhang defeated Jiayidaer Bieerlike: TKO, Round 3

January 6: Club Social y Cultural El Cruce, Malvinas Argentinas Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • Gabriel Angel Ledesma defeated Carlos Daniel Aquino to retain the WBO Latino welterweight title: TKO, Round 5
  • Facundo Nicolas Galovar defeated Juan Rodolfo Juarez: TKO, Round 1
  • Ramon Matias Lovera defeated Matias Alberto Reinoso: TKO, Round 1
  • Pablo Ariel Gomez defeated Alfredo Hugo Petkus via UD

January 6: Gimnasio Eulogia Borquez Perez, Quellon, Chile

  • Jose Velazquez defeated Diego Luis Pichardo Liriano to retain the WBA Fedebol bantamweight title: KO, Round 4

January 6: Futian Sports Park, Shenzhen, China

  • Yongqiang Yang defeated Robert Kopa Palue to win the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental lightweight title: TKO, Round 3
  • Leshan Li defeated Junny Salogaol to win the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Youth super featherweight title via UD
  • Yelieqiati Nihemaituola defeated Ical Tobida: TKO, Round 3
  • Zi Yue Lyu defeated Jaspal Singh: TKO, Round 1
  • Haowen Xue defeated Christian Kuougang Noutsa: TKO, Round 1

January 6: Yinchuan, China

  • Ayati Sailike defeated Changjian Jiang to win the WBA China super bantamweight title: TKO, Round 7
  • Aketelieke Jieensi defeated Zi Liang Zhang via SD
  • De Bin Zhou defeated Wei Hua Li: TKO, Round 6
  • Hou Shun Wang and Xiang Li fight to a majority draw
  • Xiao Tao Su defeated Xing Fang: TKO, Round 2
  • Yougu Yu defeated Hui Liang via UD
  • Ariunbold Ganselem defeated Xing Wen Wang via UD

January 6: Kalev, Tallinn, Estonia

  • Elena Gradinar defeated Karina Kopinska via UD
  • Omurbek Malabekov defeated Giorgi Gotchoshvili via UD
  • Pavel Semjonov defeated Aliaksandr Dzemka via UD
  • Andre Kaljurand and Sergei Bannov fight to a majority draw
  • Denis Kormilin defeated Pjotr Filatov via UD
  • Ainar Karlson defeated Viktor Trush
  • Kaupo Arro defeated Bogdan Protsyshyn: RTD, Round 3

January 6: Gymnase Alsina, Perpignan, Pyrenees-Orientales, France

  • Mohamed Larabi defeated Othman Ghalem: TKO, Round 2

January 6: Bukom Boxing Arena, Accra, Ghana

  • Isaac Dogboe defeated Cesar Juarez to win the interim WBO super bantamweight title: TKO, Round 5
  • Abraham Tabul and Patrick Ferguson fight to a split draw: Vacant WBO Africa cruiserweight title fight
  • Delali Miledzi defeated Eliasu Sulley 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. Keith Thurman
  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. Mairis Briedis
  5. Marco Huck
  6. Yunier Dorticos
  7. Firat Arslan
  8. Denis Lebediev
  9. Andrew Tabiti
  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. Keith Thurman
  2. Errol Spence Jr.
  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. Richard Commey

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 Around The World Of Boxing:

United Kingdom:

1. David Haye is still recovering from his biceps injury and preparing for his upcoming rematch against Tony Bellew on May 5, but in a recent interview, Haye said 2018 could be his last year as a boxer: "I'm happy and I'm working, I'm feeling good. 2018 is going to be an entertaining year, potentially my last year as a competitive athlete so I want to go out with some big fireworks." Haye has been fighting as a professional since 2002 and has had numerous injuries in the last few years, so 2018 is a good year for the 37-year-old to call it quits. If Haye loses the rematch against Bellew, there's not much else out there for Haye in terms of big fights.

2. Amir Khan has signed with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing in a three-fight deal, with his first bout coming on April 21, at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. Khan hs not fought since 2016 when he lost to Canelo Alvarez and was almost going to fight Manny PAcquiao in 2017, but that fight got stopped before it got signed. Khan is still aiming for a world title shot, but in this current welterweight and junior middleweight landscape, it's tough for him to get a title opportunity in 2018, but a strong consolation prize would be the long-awaited grudge match against long-time rival Kell Brook.

3. According to a report in The Mirror, a boxing fan was hit with an £85,000 demand after his IPad was used as a device to stream a Sky Sports pay-per-view from April 2016, featuring Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko, to 4,250 people on Facebook. Craig Foster, 34, paid £19.95 to watch the fight on Sky Sports. Foster claimed that one of his friends got the IPad, brought up Facebook Live, and pointed it at the television to stream the event. The network canceled his subscription and sent him an £85,000 demand for the loss in revenue from pay-per-view sales as well as an apology for the crime.

United States:

1. Junior lightweights Andy Vences and Erick De Leon are slated to meet in a 10-round fight on the March 10 Top Rank ESPN card at the StubHub Center in California. Other fighters scheduled to fight on the undercard include junior welterweight Alex Saucedo, middleweight Esquiva Falcao in what is supposed to be his final tune-up fight before challenging WBA "regular" middleweight champion Ryota Murata this summer on ESPN. Undefeated 2016 U.S. Olympian Mikaela Mayer is also scheduled to fight in a lightweight fight against an opponent to be named later. The main event is scheduled to have Oscar Valdez defending his WBO featherweight title against former junior featherweight world titleholder Scott Quigg.

2. Ray Robinson and Yordenis Ugas will meet in a world title eliminator Feb. 10 after the IBF agreed to approve the bout as an eliminator for the No. 2 position in its rankings. The winner will move a step closer to a mandatory shot at the 147-pound world title held by Errol Spence Jr. The IBF sent Tom Brown of TGB Promotions, which works with Ugas along with Mayweather Promotions, and Lou DiBella, who represents Robinson, a letter Monday saying that it would grant a formal sanction for the fight as an eliminator once it receives signed contracts for the bout. They are due by Jan. 24.

3. Forbes released their bi-monthly list of the "Top 15 Pound-For-Pound Moneymakers" in boxing. These rankings, which are published every other month, are based on past fight purses, potential future bouts and opponents, and where they currently stand in boxing's pecking order. Below are the January 2018 rankings:

  1. Canelo Alvarez
  2. Anthony Joshua
  3. Gennady Golovkin
  4. Vasyl Lomachenko
  5. Terence Crawford
  6. Errol Spence Jr.
  7. Daniel Jacobs
  8. Deontay Wilder
  9. Sergey Kovalev
  10. Keith Thurman
  11. Mikey Garcia
  12. Manny Pacquiao
  13. Jermell Charlo
  14. Jermall Charlo
  15. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai

Japan:

1. Ohashi Gym released several details regarding the undercard for the February 28 card with Danny Roman defending his WBA super bantamweight title against Ryo Matsumoto. One bout will see Quaye Peter take on Yuichi Ideta, another fight will feature Japanese Youth light welterweight champion Andy Hiraoka face Fumisuke Kimura and third bout announced is Kazuaki Miyamoto vs. Seiichi Okada. It's not confirmed but it appears that Fuji TV won't air the main event live and instead air it on a tape delay for the following weekend.

2. Japanese Youth super bantamweight champion Takuya Mizuno, who won the title last year and defended back in December, will return to the ring on March 25 when he defends his title against Daiki Maniwa. The bout will headline Super Fight 55 at the Aioi Hall in Kariya, Aichi.

3. Now that WBO flyweight champion Sho Kimura has defended his title against a mandatory challenger on the New Year's Eve card in Tokyo, Kimura will likely be able to take a voluntary defense. One possible name that has thrown his hat into the ring: Paddy Barnes.

4. Reiya Konishi has vacated the Japanese minimumweight title and stated his intent to campaign at light flyweight, where he will begin his hunt for a world title. At the moment it's unclear on which champion he is aiming for, but he is ranked by all 4 world title bodies. He is ranked No. 8 by the IBF, No. 6 by the WBC and No. 5 by the WBO, all at minimumweight, and No. 2 by the WBA at light flyweight.

Fightful Boxing Retrospective: Jose Torres vs. Eddie Cotton

Author’s Note: Back in 2017 shortly after the newsletter launched, I made the Fightful Boxing Retrospective, a look into some of history’s most famous boxing matches. Well, I decided to relaunch it for 2018 under one condition: Counting down every boxing fight of the year as voted by The Ring magazine every week until we reach the 2006 fight of the year. So this week, we’ll take a look at the 1966 fight of the year between Jose Torres and Eddie Cotton and next week we’ll take a look at the 1967 fight between Emile Griffith and Nino Benvenuti. I will also provide some footnotes at the bottom of the page for some light-hearted personal comments as to not take away from the main article.

The boxing landscape in the 1960s were starting to undergo a bit of a radical change, especially in Puerto Rico. Since the ending of Sixto Escobar’s career, Puerto Rico has not found much success in finding a larger-than-life superstar in the sport of boxing. Two boxers managed to fill that void in Carlos Ortiz and Jose Torres, both born in the town of Ponce, a place located on the southern part of Puerto Rico’s main island.

Ortiz was best known as having one of the best reigns as the undisputed light welterweight champion and is generally regarded as one of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers of his era. Torres was a light heavyweight whose world title win in 1965 truly marked the beginning of a golden era in Puerto Rican boxing. Not long after Torres won the undisputed WBA and WBC light heavyweight titles in 1965 after stopping Willie Pastrano inside nine rounds. After defending his title once (he actually fought twice since winning the belts but his Tom McNeeley was a non-title fight), Torres was set to defend his title against 40-year-old Eddie Cotton.

The championship fight took place at the Las Vegas Convention Center on August 15, 1966. The broadcast team was Tommy Roberts, then-lightweight world champion Carlos Ortiz and former world champion Joe Louis 1. Cotton, a defensive stalwart in his time, was the sentimental favorite, but came in as 7-to-2 underdog and there were 8-to-5 odds that the fight wouldn’t go past round 5. Roberts noted on commentary that Torres wanted to end the fight in one round to get a chance to fight Cassius Clay.

For the bout, Torres chose to wear black trunks instead of the traditional white trunks the champion would wear. No reason was ever explained and broadcasters summed it up to simple personal preference. Cotton weighed in at 173.5 pounds while Torres weighed in at 173 pounds. This actually was a bit of a surprise to some that Cotton was the slightly heavier man at the weigh-ins which took place the morning of the fight. I can’t see why some people would have been surprised at this. After all, Torres never had the body of a natural light heavyweight and looked more like a glorified big middleweight in his time. Attendance for the fight was announced at 4,300 although several news articles at the time said it looked more like there 3,300 people in attendance.

Torres would start the fight fighting in his traditional peek-a-boo style (as the broadcasters called it) that Floyd Patterson was famous for. Torres landed much heavier punches than Cotton and the challenger used the jab to score some points in the judges’ scorecards. Torres’ left body hook was in full swing early in the fight, landing a hard shot to Cotton’s ribs. Torres offensive style reminded me a lot of Miguel Cotto 2. Whether or not this is coincidental due to both men being Puerto Rican world champions remains to be seen, but the similarities between both men’s vicious left body hooks.

Torres would continue to work the body in the third round 3, but we saw several moments where Cotton managed to tag Torres with his jab. Cotton would pressure and push Torres around the ring and went ahead with some uppercuts, but Cotton’s defense looked strong in the early going. You could have given the third round to anybody, but Torres was still in control of the fight. Torres would continue to take the fight up close and work the body more. Cotton would then land an accidental low blow to Torres in the fourth round.

Torres got the crowd in Las Vegas 4 going with more stiff body shots, but Cotton wasn’t giving up. Cotton got Torres to the ropes and the two of them exchanged blows, but Cotton got the better of the exchanges and for a moment, Torres looked like he may have gotten hurt until the bell rang.

The fifth round saw less action, but Cotton kept pushing through with his jabs and landing them on a somewhat lethargic Torres. A cut near Cotton’s left eye is starting to get open, but Cotton still fights back and lands a body shot with his right hand and the two men slug it out at the end of the fight. It’s interesting to note that the broadcast team said that many thought Torres would have won the fight by this point. Cotton would then be the big hitter as he landed a huge right hand that messed up Torres’ nose and the champion started to bleed and he was in trouble 5.

Torres got some good jabs in the seventh round and this was the first truly even round of the affair. Louis and Ortiz thought Cotton was ahead by maybe a couple of rounds and I can’t really disagree with him at this point. Both men throw a couple of body shots in the eighth round and Cotton almost hits Torres with another low blow. Torres lands a good left hand to Cotton’s jaw, but Cotton was still able to keep the pressure going and land the jab. The eighth round was probably Torres’ best round since the third round as Torres kept landing the left hand to Cotton, but this fight is still pretty even.

The ninth round saw Torres stagger Cotton with a flurry of offense and landing a number of strong punches. The tenth round was the other way around, but Cotton landed another low blow and Torres scored a big left hand to Cotton. Cotton’s counter-punching carries him in the 11th round, landing an extremely strong right hand to Torres’ nose, further hurting the champion. Cotton keeps the action up for the rest of the round, further targeting Torres’ busted nose by throwing a lot of jabs.

The 12th round continues to bring the excitement with Torres landing three straight right hands followed by Cotton landing a counterpunch to stun Torres for a quick second. Cotton goes for another flurry of offense in the 13th round and the crowd once again goes wild in favor of Cotton. Cotton continues to attack the champion and the crowd is now fully in favor of the 40-year-old champion.

The last two rounds were pretty hard to see. Both men endured a lot of punishment and even though they both threw a lot of hard punches, they were both shot and could barely stand up straight. The two boxers exchange a high number of hard punches and when the bell to indicate the end of the 14th round sounded, the crowd was on their feet. Torres went on a punching spree, attacking Cotton’s body and landing as much as he can. Torres landed another right hand and is in full control of the fight. Torres lands another left body hook and Torres did his best to get the knockout, but it wasn’t enough as the fight went to the scorecards 6. Torres retained the title although the crowd was not happy and said in the post-fight interview that he wasn’t hurt, but he looked really tired and out of breath when talking about his condition after the fight 7.

Here’s a breakdown of how I scored the fight:

  • Round 1: Torres 5-4
  • Round 2: Torres 5-4
  • Round 3: Torres 5-4
  • Round 4: Cotton 5-4
  • Round 5: Cotton 5-4
  • Round 6: Cotton 5-4
  • Round 7: Cotton 5-4
  • Round 8: Torres 5-4
  • Round 9: Torres 5-4
  • Round 10: Torres 5-4
  • Round 11: Cotton 5-4
  • Round 12: Cotton 5-4
  • Round 13: Cotton 5-4
  • Round 14: Cotton 5-4
  • Round 15: Torres 5-4
  • Total: Eddie Cotton beating Jose Torres 68-67

The fight ended with referee Nat Morgan 8 scoring the fight in favor of Torres 70-67 and judges Ron Amos and Mike Petrovich had it 69-67 and 68-67, respectively. Alternatively, the Associated Press actually had it a 69-69 draw. For some that are curious as to why the scores are low, this fight was scored using the 5-point must system instead of the 10-point must system fans are accustomed to seeing in today’s boxing scene.

The fight has been critically acclaimed for its quality but it wasn’t without its fair share of controversy. Perhaps the biggest sticking point from the decision is the fact that the 14th round had actually ended 20 seconds earlier. As a result, Cotton filed a protest after the bout. He asked that the fight be declared a no contest, but his request was denied by both the Nevada State Athletic Commission and the World Boxing Association. Petitions bearing the names of 3,972 people were sent to Senator Warren W. Magnuson, Cotton's home-state senator, asking him to use his influence as the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee to change the verdict. However, that too was unsuccessful. Cotton would finish his career 12 months later, fighting six times since the lost to Torres, going 4-2 in that final career stretch.

In his fourth title defense, Torres lost the championship to former world middleweight champion Dick Tiger by a 15-round unanimous decision at Madison Square Garden on December 16, 1966. They had a rematch at the Garden on May 16, 1968, and Tiger retained the title with a 15-round split decision victory. After the decision was announced, angry fans who disagreed with the verdict started throwing bottles and debris into the ring. City police and fireman were summoned to help the special police in the Garden. Eleven people suffered injuries and were treated at nearby hospitals.

Torres' next bout was a sixth-round TKO of Australian Bob Dunlop on April 1, 1968, in Sydney, Australia. Torres didn't fight again until July 14, 1969, when he faced last-minute substitute Charley Green at Madison Square Garden. Torres, who was floored and almost knocked out at the end of the first round, put Green down for the count at 1:31 of the second. It was Torres' last fight, ending Torres' Hall of Fame career.


1 For better or worse, Louis sounded almost exactly like that one boxer from Family Guy.

2 If I had to decide on which left body hook will immediately break my ribs and send straight to the hospital, I would go with Torres’, but let’s be honest, my odds aren’t great regardless of the fighter.

3 Here’s a fun drinking game (don’t really do this): Take a sip of your drink whenever Roberts says “another right hand by Torres.”

4 The list of celebrities that were present at the fight were Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gorme, Mel Torme and Andy Williams. Can you tell how old I am by not recognizing these celebrities?

5 The fact that Roberts had to point out that good physical condition came from not having to drink or smoke is pretty indicative that boxers from that era were not in the absolute best shape they could have been.

6 Louis had Torres winning by one round.

7 To paraphrase Torres’s post-fight interview: “I could have knocked him out, but I didn’t. Why? Because shut up.”

8 Nate Morgan was a former Golden Gloves champion in Chicago although his pro record was a pathetic 0-4 and then became a referee, whom Ortiz said did “a hell of a job” officiating this fight.

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