Fightful Boxing Newsletter (3/1/20): Wilder vs. Fury 2 Fallout, Garcia vs. Vargas Review, More

Fightful Boxing Newsletter (3/1/2020) Table Of Contents:

  1. Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 2 Fallout: What Happened? (Page 1)
  2. Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 2: Where Do We Go From Here? (Page 2)
  3. Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 2: Full Card Results, Review (Page 3)
  4. Mikey Garcia vs. Jessie Vargas Full Card Results, Review (Page 4)
  5. Latest On WBO Light Heavyweight Title Tournament (Page 5)
  6. News And Notes From The World Of Boxing (Page 6)
  7. Fightful Boxing Rankings (Pages 7-8)
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Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 2 Fallout: What Happened?

The fallout to Tyson Fury’s stoppage win over Deontay Wilder was always going to be one to watch out for, but very few, if any could have predicted how chaotic it would have been, particularly in regards to Wilder’s entrance gear of all things.

Wilder's ring gear used for his entrance right before his rematch against Tyson Fury was certainly eye-opening, but the now former-WBC Heavyweight champion pinned that as a potential reason for his loss.

Wilder walked into the ring wearing a complex black suit that covered most of his upper body and included eyes that lit up. All that and more was part of the entrance that was used to honor Black History Month. The fight, however, went awry for Wilder. Fury dominated the bout, scoring two knockdowns en route to a seventh-round stoppage to win the WBC title and Wilder said his legs were shot because the suit he wore was too heavy.

“He didn’t hurt me at all, but the simple fact is ... that my uniform was way too heavy for me. I didn’t have no legs from the beginning of the fight. In the third round, my legs were just shot all the way through. But I’m a warrior and people know that I’m a warrior. It could easily be told that I didn’t have legs or anything. A lot of people were telling me, ‘It looked like something was wrong with you.’ Something was, but when you’re in the ring, you have to bluff a lot of things. I tried my best to do so. I knew I didn’t have the legs because of my uniform," Wilder told Yahoo Sports after his February 22 loss to Fury.

When Wilder first wore the suit the day before the fight, he didn't think it would be that big of an issue. The weight of the full ensemble proved to be too much for him, according to Wilder.

“I was only able to put it on [for the first time] the night before but I didn’t think it was going to be that heavy. It weighed 40, 40-some pounds with the helmet and all the batteries. I wanted my tribute to be great for Black History Month. I wanted it to be good and I guess I put that before anything," Wilder said.

This probably will go down as one of the worst excuses for a loss in the ring in modern boxing history just based on the sheer absurdity of it. Even if Wilder truly believes this, there’s no reason to say that because no one will come to his side upon hearing this and it does make him look weak.

If the purpose of saying this is to build some weird narrative for the third fight, then it clearly isn’t working. It’s not like Wilder has to goad Fury into a trilogy fight given that it is Wilder who has the right to exercise a rematch clause.

Maybe it is Wilder’s own way of coping with a loss and a performance as lackluster as he had on February 22. Regardless, the third fight will more than likely happen and Wilder will have to make some serious changes.

The other big story of the aftermath was the decision by Wilder co-trainer Mark Breland to throw in the towel in the seventh round. In that same interview with Yahoo Sports, Wilder said he completely disagrees with Breland’s decision and that he has spoken with his team in the past and that under no circumstances are they ever allowed to throw in the towel.

However, what Wilder fails to realize is that a trainer’s job isn’t to bend to a fighter’s will, especially when it comes to a fighter’s safety inside the ring.

Wilder looked bad in the rematch against Fury and looked like he never recovered after the first knockdown he suffered in the third round. Throughout the last four rounds of the fight, Wilder was arguably performing worse than he did in the first three rounds.

Seeing Wilder bleeding from his left ear and struggling to do anything against the bigger fighter in Fury, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that throwing in the towel to protect Wilder is the right decision to come to.

For as much as Wilder, and other boxers, want to go out on their shields in the ring, we now live in a world where we know enough about CTE and concussions to recognize that there are immediate and long-term problems associated with boxing or any sport that involves hits to the head to allow fighters to dictate when they should go out.

A full calendar year has yet to pass since the tragic passing of Maxim Dadashev, who died due to injuries suffered in the ring when he fought Subriel Matias on a Top Rank card last summer. That wound is still relatively fresh in the eyes of many involved with the sport and it’s easy to be overly cautious nowadays just to make sure that the fighters can come home to their families at the end of the night.

Even if it means losing a world title on a major pay-per-view, Breland valued Wilder’s life and his family more than being proud and borderline reckless in continuing the fight. Even if Wilder’s life was never in danger in the fight against Fury, in boxing, it’s always better to be too early on stopping a fight than too late.

As for the specifics of the fight and the business that it drew, it’s hard to deny that it was a big success by today’s standards.

The card, which took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, sold 15,210 tickets with just 84 comps and a live gate of $16,916,440. The live gate did break the record for a heavyweight fight in Nevada of $16,860,300 set by Lennox Lewis vs. Evander Holyfield on November 13, 1999, at the Thomas & Mack Center.

In terms of PPV buyrates, early numbers indicate that it did somewhere between 800,000 and 850,000 buys and at $79.95, the show did at least $80 million between the live gate and pay-per-view buyrates. It should be considered a massive success on all sides considering the first fight didn’t even do half of that buyrate, but the resources used in the buildup to the fight may have still rendered 850,000 buys a minor disappointment.

FOX and ESPN worked together for the promotion of this heavyweight fight, airing a ton of shoulder programming on both networks, putting up ads on a lot of television programs on both networks as well as putting a television ad during the Super Bowl in early February and that alone costs millions of dollars.

The big picture regarding the pay-per-view buyrate is what it means for future collaborations between Top Rank (ESPN) and PBC (FOX). The one fight that many want to see both sides collaborate on making is one between Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr., which would be the biggest welterweight fight in years, (at least since Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia in 2017 which aired on CBS and did monster television numbers). At 800,000 buys, the two networks have to realize that making Crawford vs. Spence might not even come close to that number, so is it worth it from a business sense.

Crawford has definitely proven to be a consistent television draw, but his time as a pay-per-view draw has been less than stellar. Spence, on the other hand, performed adequately in his two pay-per-view main events, but isn’t necessarily a mega star in that regard either.

For that fight to happen, ESPN and FOX have to realize a collaboration between the two for a pay-per-view like that could yield something like 500,000 buys. To some, that might not be worth doing, but as far as making the best fights possible, it is definitely worth exploring.

Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 2: Where Do We Go From Here?

Assuming the rematch moves forward as expected and is taking place in late July, it is a relatively short period of time in between fights.

On paper, it’s hard to envision Wilder completely changing his style in time to be able to counter Fury and find a way to score a decisive victory. It wouldn’t be entirely accurate to compare Wilder’s situation with Anthony Joshua’s situation when Joshua was preparing for the rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr. last year.

Joshua was coming off a TKO loss in a major heavyweight title fight, but the problem with that first fight was that Joshua fell into a trap by deciding to fight on the inside and relying on his physical gifts and jab work to be able to win the fight. It didn’t take changing trainers or philosophy for Joshua to realize that he can easily step back in the ring, hide behind the jab and occasionally press the action forward to cruise to a decision victory. Joshua could have just as easily did that in the first fight and was more than capable of doing so. His natural boxing ability and reach advantage should have made it a relatively easy night for him.

When looking at Wilder and what he needs to do to beat Fury, the same kind of logic can’t be applied. Wilder isn’t a bigger or longer fighter and all that Wilder has that can win him the fight on a moment’s notice is his power.

Even if Wilder’s boxing abilities on a technical level pales in comparison to Joshua and Fury’s, it was Wilder’s power that seemingly gave him a leg up over those two and the rest of the division. When Wilder fights, it isn’t a question of if his right hand can land, but when that right hand lands and ends the fight by knockout. Take away Wilder’s power and you really don’t have someone that is even in the top five in today’s heavyweight division.

That’s not to say Wilder isn’t a good boxer. I’ve always argued that if you win an Olympic medal, then you must be at least halfway decent in terms of fundamentals and technique. But looking at Wilder’s history against his past opponents and you’ll see that he isn’t someone dominating rounds when he’s not knocking out opponents.

In the rematch against Luis Ortiz last November, Wilder was down on all three scorecards before Wilder knocked him out. In the four complete rounds against Gerald Washington back in 2017, two of the three scorecards had the fight tied 38-38. Even in the first fight against Fury in 2018, Wilder was thoroughly outboxed and the only reason a draw was declared was because the judges had two Wilder knockdowns to fall back on when it comes to the scoring.

For years, Wilder has had problems in the ring outboxing opponents, but before fighting Fury, talking about Wilder’s flaws in the ring was a moot point because he always ended fights by knockout. It would have to take a Herculean performance to not only withstand Wilder’s punches and get back up each time, but also show that you’re not afraid to fight Wilder on the inside and press the action towards him and force him to step back. No one had been able to do that until Fury did it to perfection on February 22.

Now that we’ve seen what someone can do when they’re able to stand toe-to-toe with Wilder unafraid of that right hand, discussing Wilder’s abilities as a whole is now a worthwhile conversation now that he can’t hide behind the power anymore.

Someone asked me earlier in the week if a second loss to Fury means the end of Wilder’s career. Honestly, it doesn’t.

The last few years have proven that one or two losses, no matter on how big a stage they were, does not define a boxer’s career or they’re future. Joshua overcame his loss to Ruiz and became heavyweight champion again. Sergey Kovalev bounced back from his 2018 loss to Eleider Alvarez to give a clinic in the rematch in 2019. Gennadiy Golovkin was able to win the IBF middleweight championship after coming up short in two fights against Canelo Alvarez.

Given boxing’s multiple belts per weight class and how there seems to be a fairly big shift every few months, it’s not out of the realm of possibility seeing a scenario where Wilder fights Charles Martin in an IBF title eliminator, emerges victorious and sneaks his way into an IBF title match against the beltholder or even fight for the vacant title.

Even if Wilder loses the third fight, he’s now a big enough star where he will likely get paid seven figures in his next few fights. Money-wise, Wilder is set perhaps for life. He’s already proven to be one of the most devastating knockout artists in the heavyweight division’s long history and held a world title for years. If this is it for Wilder, he had a hell of a career, but I suspect that this is in fact, not the end.

Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 2: Full Card Results, Review

If you had asked any boxing fan with cursory knowledge of the fighters competing on the PPV undercard, I suspect many would say that it is not a show worth $79.95. A co-main event pitting Charles Martin and Gerald Washington (in a world title eliminator of all things) could have ended in one of two different ways: it was either going to be a decent fight between two B to B- heavyweights or it was going to be an absolute stinker. It quickly turned into the latter.

The only saving grace in the fight was Martin’s KO which was a very good one, but after that, the fight was terrible. Regardless, Martin moved into a solid No. 4 spot on PBC’s heavyweight list behind Deontay Wilder, Andy Ruiz Jr. and Adam Kownacki and it’s not a bad spot for him to be him.

Theoretically, Martin could be placed in a television main event fight moving forward with that win and the fact that he’s going to end up being highly ranked by the IBF. Otherwise, Martin remains a solid, if not unspectacular heavyweight that is easily a step or two below the division’s top fighters.

As for the lone world title fight on the PPV undercard, Emanuel Navarrete may have wrapped up his time as a super bantamweight with another win inside the distance against an overmatched opponent.

Navarrete, as the WBO champion at 122 pounds, has long been considered as perhaps the best in the entire division. But when you look at Navarrete at the weigh-ins the day before, you can tell that he didn’t look right. He looked drained and a bit lethargic, though not to the point where it was a major concern.

Talks of him moving up in weight was brought up multiple times in the buildup to the fight, so that’s a solid indication that’s where he’s headed. Navarrete was never going to get big fights at super bantamweight as the rest of the division’s stars compete on other platforms. At featherweight, Navarrete will have a lot of big fights with other Top Rank stars such as Shakur Stevenson, Jessie Magdaleno, Michael Conlan (though I wouldn’t be surprised if Top Rank is trying to keep Conlan from that fight) among others.

The opening bout of the PPV was the most interesting fight outside of the main event, but it didn’t exactly deliver on the fireworks some believed was going to happen. On paper, Sebastian Fundora and Daniel Lewis had the makings of a solid fight between unbeaten prospects and in terms of punches thrown, it may have over delivered. But for some reason, the crowd was not feeling this fight.

Fundora came out on top with the unanimous decision victory, but the fight opened up more questions than answers regarding his immediate future. The biggest question that was raised after the fight was Fundora’s ability to become a top 154-pound fighter with his 6’5” frame. Even if he is able to make weight without much issue, Fundora doesn’t possess a ton of power going up against tougher competition.

There’s also the issue of Fundora still needing to learn how to utilize his height and reach advantage to its fullest extent 15 fights into his pro career is not a good sign. Fundora is young and has that going for him, but he will have to avoid fighting on the inside if he hopes to be successful at 154 pounds. Another thing going for him is that he has tremendous stamina, a decent chin and solid boxing ability for a prospect and his incredible height at that weight class will make him someone attractive for television fights. There’s a lot to work with Fundora, but he is still far from a polished fighter.

Below are the full results of the entire February 22 PBC/Top Rank card from Las Vegas:

* WBC Heavyweight Championship: Tyson Fury defeated Deontay Wilder by TKO, round 7, 1:39 to win the WBC Heavyweight Championship: Fury, the more technically gifted boxer, was the aggressor from the very beginning, landing left jabs and punishing Wilder while avoiding most of Wilder’s biggest punches. Wilder was able to land a couple of solid right hands, but Fury was by far the better puncher. In the third round, Fury scored a knockdown on Wilder and Wilder never recovered. Wilder struggled to recover and didn’t do anything to threaten Fury for the remainder of the fight. Blood was pouring out of Wilder’s left ear and mouth and looked worse for wear. Wilder couldn’t get anything going in the next few rounds. Fury landed various body punches and scored a second knockdown in the fifth round, hurting the WBC champion. A bizarre sequence occurred in the sixth round where Fury licked Wilder and tasted blood during clinch. Like a shark in the open sea, Fury tasted blood and went to finish the job. Fury pressured Wilder into the corner in the seventh round and landed a flurry of punches, forcing Wilder’s referee to throw in the towel and end the fight.

* IBF Heavyweight Title Eliminator: Charles Martin defeated Gerald Washington by TKO, round 6, 1:57: Prior to the sixth round, this fight was borderline unwatchable. Both fighters barely did anything exciting and it was what many expected to happen. Martin landed a beautiful left hook to Washington's chin in the sixth round to send him to the canvas. Washington got back up, but he did not look like he recovered at all and the referee stops the fight, which is the right call. Martin will wait a very long time before he even sniffs at the IBF heavyweight title, currently being held by Anthony Joshua. Kubrat Pulev is the current mandatory challenger for the IBF title and so, the IBF won't force Joshua to fight Martin until 2021 at the earliest.

* WBO Super Bantamweight Championship: Emanuel Navarrete defeated Jeo Santisima by TKO, round 11, 2:20 to retain the WBO Super Bantamweight title: Navarrete seemed sluggish against an overmatched opponent in Santisima. Navarrete dominated nearly the entirety of this fight, save for Santisima landing a solid left hook that pushed Navarrete back towards the end of the fifth round. From that point forward, it was stop-and-go for Navarrete in terms of pressuring his opponent. Navarrete then turned up the pressure in the 10th round and stopped his opponent in the 11th round. Before the fight, there was some talk about this fight being Navarrete's last at this weight class. If this is it for Navarrete as a super bantamweight, it's been a weird title run for Navarrete. He had two great wins over Isaac Dogboe in 2018 and 2019 and was very active, but his fights post-Dogboe were complete mismatches. Navarrete has a lot of upside and a move up in weight could be very beneficial for his career.

* Junior Middleweight Bout: Sebastian Fundora defeated Daniel Lewis by unanimous decision (97-93, 98-92, 99-91): After a decent first round for Fundora, he struggled at times to utilize his massive height and reach advantage to the best of his abilities. Fundora's left hand landed a lot on the right side of Lewis' face, causing the underside of his eye to swell. Lewis managed to bring the fight to the inside and bust up Fundora's nose, causing it to bleed. There were a lot of punches thrown in the bout, but the crowd didn't seem interested in the action. The scorecards were perhaps a little misleading because the fight was closer than what the scores seemed to indicate but the right man (Fundora) won. Fundora will have to stop fighting on the inside and use his length to his advantage. Regardless, he will also have to work on building up his lower body to better prepare himself for big punchers down the road.

Rest of the card’s results:

* Junior Welterweight Bout: Javier Molina defeated Amir Imam by unanimous decision (79-73, 78-74, 78-74)

* Junior Welterweight Bout: Petros Ananyan defeated Subriel Matias by unanimous decision (96-93, 95-94, 95-94)

* Lightweight Bout: Gabriel Flores Jr. defeated Matt Conway by unanimous decision (80-71, 80-71, 79-72)

* Welterweight Bout: Vito Mielnicki Jr. defeated Corey Champion by unanimous decision (40-34, 40-34, 40-35)

* WBC International Featherweight Championship: Isaac Lowe defeated Alberto Guevara by unanimous decision (96-87, 96-87, 95-88) to retain the WBC International Featherweight title

* Lightweight Bout: Rolando Romero defeated Artur Ahmetovs by TKO, round 2, 1:22

Mikey Garcia vs. Jessie Vargas Full Card Results, Review:

Heading into his first fight since being outclassed by Errol Spence Jr. in March 2019, Mikey Garcia was the one boxer in the welterweight division that had the most questions regarding his chances at winning a world title at that weight class.

After a close fight against Jessie Vargas where Garcia emerged victorious, some of those questions were answered.

Key word: some.

Vargas definitely dominated the first third of the bout, which headlined a Matchroom Boxing on DAZN card from Frisco, Texas, but Garcia’s pure boxing abilities eventually overcame the big size disadvantage. Garcia managed to drop Vargas midway through the fight and was definitely the better boxer in the second half of the bout, winning a close, but decisive unanimous decision.

Garcia got the win, his first as a true welterweight, and beating someone like Jessie Vargas, a former world champion, is a very good first step back on his quest to fight for another world title. It’s no surprise that Garcia, who has won titles at featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight and junior welterweight, is staying at welterweight to become only a handful of boxers to win belts in at least five different weight classes, but even heading into the fight against Spence last year, there were glaring problems when assessing Garcia as a welterweight.

The biggest problem was Garcia’s size going up against the likes of Spence, who is a physical marvel at 147. That size difference proved to be the biggest factor in Garcia losing. Going up against a much taller opponent in Vargas was another tough physical test to overcome, but Garcia managed to pull out of it with a win.

So where does this leave Garcia? Obviously, Garcia’s only focus is winning a welterweight title and he won’t stop until doing so. There’s no way Garcia faces Spence once again. The first fight was too much of a blowout for a rematch to makes sense.

When Garcia first signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing, the end goal is to fight Manny Pacquiao, the WBA champion at 147 pounds who, much like Garcia, is undersized, but worked his way up from the lower weight classes to eventually fight at welterweight. A fight between Pacquiao and Garcia is a very interesting one for a variety of reasons.

Of course, the obvious parallels in the careers of both men, becoming a pound-for-pound star before entering the welterweight division, is a near subplot. There’s also Pacquiao’s age to look at. Even though Pacquiao looked sensational against a much younger Keith Thurman last July when the two fought in one of the best fights of 2019, Pacquiao turned 41 last December. At some point, time will catch up with him. Whether it is in his next fight or three fights down the road remains to be seen, but the way Pacquiao has performed at this stage of his career is nothing short of incredible.

But even if the matchup is interesting, that doesn’t mean that it will happen anytime soon, if ever. Pacquiao fights under the PBC banner and despite Eddie Hearn’s assertion that his deal with PBC is done, there’s no concrete proof that Pacquiao is willing to move on from pay-per-view paydays just like that.

In addition, Pacquiao could potentially be matched up with Spence if FOX and PBC have their way and that could be a very solid payday for the 41-year-old. But if Pacquiao’s goal is to have the biggest fights possible or fight the absolute best, why would you opt in to fight Garcia when there’s the possibility of fighting the likes of Spence, Danny Garcia and Terence Crawford.

Hearn may have sold Garcia on a potential welterweight title opportunity when the two were working on a deal, but with none of the champions on Matchroom’s roster, all Hearn and Garcia could do is hope something can be worked out. PBC has Spence and Pacquiao (that we know of) and Top Rank has Crawford, the WBO champion.

The next few months should be interesting in seeing where the dominoes fall in regards to Pacquiao and Garcia.

But for now, it’s hard to deny that Garcia has improved in the fight against Vargas compared to when he first fought Spence. Although he didn’t come close to reaching the welterweight limit of 147 pounds, Garcia did look more comfortable fighting in this weight class in his second fight. More than anything, he’s much better equipped to fight for a title this time around and given his incredible boxing abilities, it’s worth at least exploring the possibility of him fighting Pacquiao, who doesn’t possess a big size difference like Spence, and believing that he could emerge victorious.

Still, there is no denying that Garcia is better suited for 140 pounds where there are a number of high-caliber fighters such as Josh Taylor, Regis Prograis, Maurice Hooker, Jose Ramirez and countless others that would make for excellent fights. But for Garcia, it’s not about what the best fights are regardless of weight class. It’s about doing something very few throughout history has done and Garcia believes he can overcome his small size and win a world title as a welterweight.

Below are the full results of the February 29 Matchroom Boxing on DAZN card from Frisco, Texas:

* Welterweight Bout: Mikey Garcia defeated Jessie Vargas by unanimous decision (116-111, 116-111, 114-113): Vargas was the quicker and sharper puncher in the first four rounds, but Garcia was able to keep up with him in that time. Already we saw a more effective version of Garcia as a welterweight now as he was able to handle some of Vargas’ best punches early one, especially a big left hook to the side of his head in the fourth round. Garcia’s pure boxing ability and punching accuracy took over in the fifth round, scoring a knockdown on Vargas to turn the tides, finding a home for the right hand. The two fighters then traded punches at times throughout the fight, but it was Garcia who was the more effective fighter in the last eight rounds of the fight. Credit to Vargas for being able to hang in there, but lost out to a better boxer. Garcia said after the fight he wants Pacquiao or a rematch with Spence next, the former being a far more realistic fight to make a reality.

* WBA Super Flyweight Championship: Roman Gonzalez defeated Kal Yafai by TKO, round 9, 0:29 to win the WBA Super Flyweight Championship: Instead of electing to outbox Gonzalez and using his size advantage, Yafai decided to trade with the future Hall of Famer in the center of the ring throughout most of the fight. It made for tremendous television, but it could not have been a worse gameplan for Yafai. It was strange seeing Yafai fight like this as his corner was yelling at him from the very beginning to avoid trading on the inside with Gonzalez. Gonzalez was landing tremendous hooks to the body in the second round and looking more like the multi-time world champion that many pegged as a pound-for-pound star for years before losing two fights to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai back in 2017. Yafai was able to find some success in the early rounds by walking down the smaller Gonzalez, but eventually started to tire out. Gonzalez dropped Yafai in the eighth round and again early in the ninth round with a devastating right hand, stopping him to become a world champion once again. The sport is definitely better off with Gonzalez on top or near the top of whatever division he fights in and there are a lot of great fights that can be made, such as a third fight against Sor Rungvisai or a rematch against Juan Francisco Estrada. The super flyweight division has been one of the best in boxing and there will be plenty of solid fights to be made down the road.

* WBC Flyweight Championship: Julio Cesar Martinez defeated Jay Harris by unanimous decision (116-111, 115-112, 118-109) to retain the WBC Flyweight Championship: This ended up being a far better fight than some may have anticipated. There was no denying Martinez’s power and relentlessness when he had an opponent on the ropes. The real question mark was whether or not Harris can handle Martinez’s power. Harris answered that question and more by being to handle everything Martinez threw at him. Aside from a body shot in the 10th round that forced him to take a knee, Harris was able to take everything Martinez threw at him and even dished out several combinations of note that pushed Martinez back. By the end of the fight, many knew Martinez was going to get the nod by the judges, but the real story was Harris emerging as a top caliber flyweight with his performance. This was one of those fights where Harris’ stock rose with many now respecting Harris’ toughness, but also Harris got some valuable experience fighting against a world champion and will only come out a better fighter as a result. Martinez is arguably the best flyweight in the world with Kosei Tanaka’s departure and it would be great to see him mix it up with some of the titleholders such as Moruti Mthalane and Artem Dalakian, the IBF and WBA champions, respectively.

* Heavyweight bout: Joseph Parker defeated Shawndell Terell Winters by TKO, round 5, 2:40: Parker and Winters certainly had their brief moments of action where both men threw heavy hands, but make no mistake, Parker was the stronger puncher. Parker’s right hand found a home on Winters’ head. Parker was the aggressor throughout the fight, but against an overmatched opponent like Winters, it was to be expected. Late in the third round, Parker connected on a big right hand, sending Winters down to the canvas. In the fifth round, Parker landed a massive four-punch combo that sent Winters to the mat and the bout was stopped. This fight didn’t tell us anything about Parker that we didn’t already know and it served as nothing more than to keep Parker busy until the WBO can make sense of its heavyweight title situation regarding champion Joshua and its top two contenders, Parker and Oleksandr Usyk.

Rest of the card’s results:

* WBA Junior Middleweight Title Eliminator: Israil Madrimov defeated Charlie Navarro by TKO, round 6, 2:24

* Flyweight Bout: Jesse Rodriguez defeated Marco Sustaita by TKO, round 8, 1:10

* Super Middleweight Bout: Diego Pacheco defeated Oscar Riojas by unanimous decision (60-54, 60-54, 60-54)

* Middleweight Bout: Alexis Espino defeated Delvecchio Savage by unanimous decision (59-55, 60-54, 59-55)

* Junior Middleweight bout: Leo Ruiz Acevedo defeated Dennis Knifechief by TKO, round 3, 1:44

Latest On WBO Light Heavyweight Title Tournament:

Plans for a four-man tournament to crown a new WBO light heavyweight champion are already going south with one man seemingly balking at the opportunity to fight for the belt.

Originally, the WBO had ordered two title eliminators (Gilberto Ramirez vs. Eleider Alvarez and Umar Salamov vs. Maxim Vlasov) where the two winners face each other for the vacant title previously held by Canelo Alvarez.

A purse bid for the Ramirez vs. Alvarez fight took place not too long ago with Top Rank winning the bid at $350,000 and a 50-50 split for both fighters. A 48-hour window for both fighters and their camps to accept the terms of the bid was given. Ramirez has yet to respond to the WBO regarding his participation in the tournament and is now being replaced with the next highest-ranked available contender Joe Smith Jr.

“Having the Committee set forth a 48-hour confirmation period triggering upon the adjudication of the Purse Bid and given due notice to Mr. Ramirez and/or his representative Mr. Suh, through email and posting said communications in the WBO official website, as of today Wednesday, February 26th 2020, this Committee has not received any communication thereto. Furthermore, Team Ramirez was advised that failure to comply with the Committee’s order would constitute a waiver of any rights thereto, and cause to resolve the matter without further notice and/or hearing,” Luis Batista-Salas, chairman of the WBO Championship Committee stated in a letter addressed to all involved participants.

The issues with Ramirez stems from a now-strained relationship with Top Rank that has quickly turned sour behind-the-scenes. Ramirez and Top Rank have been at odds for months and even if Ramirez is still considered by many as part of Top Rank’s roster, the purse bid showed that no progress has been made in reaching an amicable resolution.

Regardless, Smith coming in to replace Ramirez still puts Top Rank in a great position to secure the title because everyone involved is either signed with the promotional company, or is heavily integrated into the company by fighting on recent Top Rank shows.

By the end of the year, we’ll more than likely see a new WBO light heavyweight champion or at least have an idea as to who will fight for the belt. Top Rank comes out on top, not just because it will have the WBO title, but also has a very big fight at 175 pounds virtually set for 2021 as it also has unified IBF and WBC champion Artur Beterbiev on its roster. As far as planning out top fights at light heavyweight for the next 12-16 months, Top Rank will be fine.

The bigger story is where Ramirez goes if he does become a free agent. Ramirez is a former super middleweight champion who has fought on national television multiple times. PBC sports some noteworthy light heavyweights such as Badou Jack, Marcus Browne and Jean Pascal, who has fought his last two fights on PBC shows.

Smith has quickly re--emerged as a viable contender after beating former super middleweight title challenger Jesse Hart in January and his inclusion in the tournament could give Smith the opportunity to finally capitalize on the potential many saw in him after he retired Bernard Hopkins in 2016.

News And Notes From The World Of Boxing

- The "blockbuster match" that was teased recently by Matchroom Boxing is announced: Regis Prograis vs. Maurice Hooker in the main event of a DAZN card from the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland on April 17. The fight will be contested at a 143-pound catchweight, which gives Hooker some extra weight to work with, nearly eliminating the possibility of him missing weight and gives the winner options to go out and challenge for a title at either 140 or 147 pounds down the road. The other fight that was announced for the show was undisputed welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus defending her belts against unified junior welterweight champion Jessica McCaskill.

- Unified WBA/IBF junior welterweight champion Josh Taylor will face mandatory challenger Apinun Khongsong on May 2 in the main event of an ESPN+ card from The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. In addition, Taylor has announced that Ben Davison is his new trainer following his split from Shane McGuigan.

- Amateur standout Marc Castro (177-7 record in the unpaid ranks) has signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing USA. Castro will be managed by Keith Connolly (who manages the likes of Daniel Jacobs and Sergiy Derevyanchenko). No official word on when his pro debut will be.

- Apti Davtaev will replace Otto Wallin as Lucas Browne's opponent for the co-main event of the March 28 Showtime Boxing: Special Edition as Wallin suffered a foot injury and was forced to suspend training and withdraw from the bout.

- As a result of the coronavirus outbreak and growing health concerns, the February 28 Matchroom Boxing Italy card was postponed for a later date. Daniele Scardina vs. Andrew Francillette for the IBF International Super Middleweight title was going to be the main event. The coronavirus has greatly affected the sport of boxing as it already postponed a junior welterweight world title fight between Jose Ramirez and Viktor Postol, set for February 1 in China and forced the Japanese Boxing Commission to cancel all boxing shows in the country for the month of March.

- Top Rank has signed light heavyweight contender Umar Salamov to a multi-fight promotional deal and is set to fight on an ESPN platform this summer. Salamov (25-1, 19 KO) has won six straight fights and is ranked No. 9 by the WBA, No. 4 by the IBF and No. 2 by the WBO.

- Former super bantamweight title challenger Azat Hovhannisyan has re-signed with Golden Boy Promotions. Hovhannisyan is scheduled to fight Jose Sanmartin for the WBA Interim super bantamweight title on the March 28 Golden Boy on DAZN card from The Forum in Inglewood, California.

- Split-T Management has signed former world title challenger Willie Monroe Jr. Monroe, who sports a 24-3 record, has won three straight fights after losing to Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO middleweight title back in 2017.

- Unbeaten prospect Brandun Lee will face Camilo Prieto in the main event of the March 13 ShoBox: The New Generation card from Hinckley, Minnesota. Also on the card is Brian Norman Jr. vs. Flavio Rodriguez, Alejandro Guerrero vs. Jose Angulo and Aram Avagyan vs. Dagoberto Aguero.

- A reminder of the mess that is the WBA, there is an Interim WBA light heavyweight title bout between Dominic Boesel and Zac Dunn taking place in Germany on March 28. There is already a “Super” champion (Dmitry Bivol) and a “Regular” champion (Jean Pascal) at light heavyweight and yes, I am aware that Boesel has held the interim WBA belt since last November, but my point is why is there a need for an interim belt in the first place when you have two titleholders who are healthy and active?

- In other WBA news, the sanctioning body announced a purse bid between secondary heavyweight titlist Mahmoud Charr and interim titleholder Trevor Bryan is set for March 2 with a minimum bid of $1 million. Both beltholders have not fought for a combined 45 months and their last fights were against Alexander Ustinov and BJ Flores, respectively.

Fightful Boxing Rankings:

The Fightful Boxing Rankings are compiled by lead boxing writer Carlos Toro.

Pound-for-pound

  1. Naoya Inoue
  2. Canelo Alvarez
  3. Vasiliy Lomachenko
  4. Terence Crawford
  5. Oleksandr Usyk
  6. Juan Francisco Estrada
  7. Artur Beterbiev
  8. Gennadiy Golovkin
  9. Errol Spence Jr.
  10. Kosei Tanaka

Heavyweight

  1. Tyson Fury
  2. Anthony Joshua
  3. Deontay Wilder
  4. Oleksandr Usyk
  5. Dillian Whyte
  6. Joseph Parker
  7. Luis Ortiz
  8. Andy Ruiz Jr.
  9. Kubrat Pulev
  10. Michael Hunter

Cruiserweight

  1. Beibut Shumenov
  2. Mairis Briedis
  3. Yuniel Dorticos
  4. Krzysztof Glowacki
  5. Kevin Lerena
  6. Ilunga Makabu
  7. Lawrence Okolie
  8. Noel Gevor
  9. Arsen Goulamirian
  10. Michael Cieslak

Light heavyweight

  1. Artur Beterbiev
  2. Canelo Alvarez
  3. Dmitry Bivol
  4. Gilberto Ramirez
  5. Oleksandr Gvozdyk
  6. Sergey Kovalev
  7. Jean Pascal
  8. Eleider Alvarez
  9. Marcus Browne
  10. Badou Jack

Super middleweight

  1. Callum Smith
  2. Caleb Plant
  3. David Benavidez
  4. Billy Joe Saunders
  5. John Ryder
  6. Anthony Dirrell
  7. Chris Eubank Jr.
  8. Lionell Thompson
  9. Avni Yildirim
  10. Caleb Truax

Middleweight

  1. Canelo Alvarez
  2. Gennadiy Golovkin
  3. Demetrius Andrade
  4. Daniel Jacobs
  5. Sergiy Derevyanchenko
  6. Jermall Charlo
  7. Jaime Munguia
  8. Ryota Murata
  9. Matt Korobov
  10. Jeff Horn

Junior middleweight

  1. Jermell Charlo
  2. Jarrett Hurd
  3. Tony Harrison
  4. Erislandy Lara
  5. Jeison Rosario
  6. Julian Williams
  7. Brian Castano
  8. Patrick Teixeira
  9. Liam Smith
  10. Sergio Garcia

Welterweight

  1. Terrence Crawford
  2. Errol Spence Jr.
  3. Manny Pacquiao
  4. Keith Thurman
  5. Shawn Porter
  6. Danny Garcia
  7. Mikey Garcia
  8. Yordenis Ugas
  9. Sergey Lipinets
  10. David Avanesyan

The rest of the rankings are in the next page.

Junior welterweight

  1. Regis Prograis
  2. Jose Ramirez
  3. Josh Taylor
  4. Ivan Baranchyk
  5. Maurice Hooker
  6. Kiryl Relikh
  7. Jack Catterall
  8. Jono Carroll
  9. Viktor Postol
  10. Jose Zepeda

Lightweight

  1. Vasiliy Lomachenko
  2. Gervonta Davis
  3. Teofimo Lopez
  4. Richard Commey
  5. Robert Easter Jr.
  6. Devin Haney
  7. Luke Campbell
  8. Anthony Crolla
  9. Rances Barthelemy
  10. Zaur Abdullaev

Super featherweight

  1. Miguel Berchelt
  2. Leo Santa Cruz
  3. Joseph Diaz Jr.
  4. Jamel Herring
  5. Oscar Valdez
  6. Carl Frampton
  7. Tevin Farmer
  8. Rene Alvarado
  9. Andrew Cancio
  10. Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov

Featherweight

  1. Josh Warrington
  2. Gary Russell Jr.
  3. Shakur Stevenson
  4. Xu Can
  5. TJ Doheny
  6. Tugstsogt Nyambayar
  7. Kid Galahad
  8. Joet Gonzalez
  9. Jessie Magdaleno
  10. Jhack Tepora

Super bantamweight

  1. Daniel Roman
  2. Emanuel Navarrete
  3. Rey Vargas
  4. Guillermo Rigondeaux
  5. Brandon Figueroa
  6. Isaac Dogboe
  7. TJ Doheny​​​​​​
  8. Ryosuke Iwasa
  9. Stephen Fulton
  10. Tomoki Kameda

Bantamweight

  1. Naoya Inoue
  2. John Riel Casimero
  3. Nonito Donaire
  4. Nordine Oubaali
  5. Guillermo Rigondeaux
  6. Zolani Tete
  7. Emmanuel Rodriguez
  8. Juan Carlos Payano
  9. Jason Moloney
  10. Richard Espinoza

Super Flyweight

  1. Juan Francisco Estrada
  2. Roman Gonzalez
  3. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
  4. Jerwin Ancajas
  5. Kazuto Ioka
  6. Kal Yafai
  7. Aston Palicte
  8. Carlos Cuadras
  9. Andrew Moloney
  10. Francisco Rodriguez Jr.

Flyweight

  1. Artem Dalakian
  2. Moruti Mthalane
  3. Julio Cesar Martinez
  4. Charlie Edwards
  5. Ryoichi Taguchi
  6. Daigo Higa
  7. Cristofer Rosales
  8. Junto Nakatani
  9. Wulan Tuolehazi
  10. Giemel Magramo

Light flyweight/Minimumweight

  1. Wanheng Menayothin
  2. Hiroto Kyoguchi
  3. Ken Shiro
  4. Elwin Soto
  5. Carlos Canizales
  6. Pedro Taduran
  7. Hekkie Budler
  8. Wilfredo Mendez
  9. Felix Alvarado
  10. Knockout CP Freshmart
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