Fightful Boxing Newsletter (5/1/2020): Boxing Slowly Returning, Results From 4/25 Nicaragua Card

Fightful Boxing Newsletter (5/1/2020) Table Of Contents:

  1. Boxing Slowly Returning/Results From Nicaragua (Pages 1-2)
  2. Fantasy Matchmaking Boxing Cards (Page 3)
  3. News And Notes From Around The World Of Boxing (Page 4)
  4. Fightful Boxing Rankings (Pages 5-6)
Petr Yan vs. Cory Sandhagen Interim Title Fight Scheduled For UFC 267

Boxing Slowly Returning/Results From Nicaragua:

A boxing card in Nicaragua on a random Saturday in April usually doesn’t attract attention only except from the most devout pundits, it might have provided promoters across the world a potential blueprint on how to run boxing shows.

Nicaragua, which at the time of the show on April 25 had less than a dozen confirmed cases of COVID-19, has not put on major restrictions when it comes to large gatherings and sporting events.

However, the interesting part of the show, headlined by a rematch between Robin Zamora and Ramiro Blanco, was how it handled the safety measures. Fans in attendance were seated six feet part from each other, all who enter the building had their temperatures taken (with the fighters undergoing a battery of tests the day of the fight and at the weigh-ins, though it was never specified that those tests included COVID-19 testing), the venue was washed down with power hoses and nearly everyone, including the referee, wore face masks.

The setting, the seating arrangement and the measures taken to make sure people are tested (even if minimally), does provide a potential idea as to what boxing in the United States could look like once fans are allowed to re-enter the building.

It’s now a near guarantee that boxing, in some form, will return in the United States within three months barring any unfortunate and sudden spikes in COVID-19 testing. It’s probable that the first wave of boxing shows will be done without any fans in attendance, how WWE and UFC are running shows for the foreseeable future. Florida has already given WWE and UFC, and by extension any boxing entity with a national audience, the green light to run events closed to the public.

Top Rank is already making plans to hold events this summer. Initially, Florida was the frontrunner to host those events, but Top Rank CEO Bob Arum told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani that the hope is that the Nevada or California commissions allow him to do events there instead.

Nevada makes the most sense because Top Rank is situated there and has a gym for fighters to train with travel being a smaller risk compared to having to go to Florida.

Regardless of where it could be, boxing is likely to be back in a couple of months, which is slightly ahead of initial predictions.

Weeks ago, I had thought that boxing could be coming back to the United States by August at the earliest. Given the recent developments, the state of Florida opening the door to a possible boxing show in the state and with more states slowly re-opening, it’s not impossible to imagine Top Rank making a serious push to get some type of event later this summer.

However, there are a couple of things to take note that will impact when boxing returns: First and foremost is what the numbers of confirmed cases and deaths resulting from COVID-19 look like in the coming weeks. If the numbers start to go down, more and more states will look to slowly re-open.

Secondly is how UFC and ESPN handles its upcoming shows in May. If the fighters on those cards don’t end up falling ill in the weeks following their respective fights, then ESPN will be much more inclined to allow Top Rank to do the same. More importantly, commissions could be talked into allowing boxing to run empty arena shows in the coming weeks.

But all of that goes out the window if something goes awry at the UFC shows or if COVID-19 cases see an increase within the next eight weeks.

However, anybody expecting major names to be fighting in those empty arena events will more than likely be disappointed. Names like Tyson Fury, who was going to fight Deontay Wilder a third time later this year, isn’t going to be fighting given how much money in live gate Top Rank would be missing out by not allowing fans to enter the arena.

As far as the United Kingdom is concerned, the British Boxing Board of Control has gone out and said it hopes to bring back pro boxing starting in July, which already puts several UK shows in doubt. Not to mention, BBBofC added that it is unlikely that the first run of boxing cards in the UK will have any fans in attendance.

Matchroom Boxing has a card on June 27, headlined by Lewis Ritson vs. Miguel Vazequez, on July 4, headlined by Dillian Whyte vs. Alexander Povetkin, and a card on July 11, headlined by Lee Selby vs. George Kambosos Jr. in an IBF lightweight title eliminator. Queensberry Promotions has a card on July 4, which is going to be headlined by Joe Joyce vs. Daniel Dubois.

It’s hard to justify going through any of these cards with no fans, but for the sake of simply bringing back live boxing, Matchroom and Queensberry might be more than willing to take a loss by running these shows without fans.

But there’s also a major question in regards to some of the big fights on these shows, primarily the Matchroom Boxing show on July 4. Presumably, Povetkin lives in Russia while Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano, who are scheduled to fight in the co-main event, are in Ireland and in the United States, respectively, so travel might be very difficult for those fights.

Poland is already making moves to return to the sport with a genuinely bizarre fight being a pay-per-view main event: Mariusz Wach vs. 40-year-old Kevin Johnson on July 12.

Boxing Slowly Returning/Results From Nicaragua:

As far as the actual card in Nicaragua is concerned, the five-fight telecast was a very easy watch. No time was wasted in between fights, meaning the broadcast was able to pull off five fights in less than three hours, something you wouldn’t be able to see on major boxing shows in the United States, or at least in the televised portion.

On paper, some of the fights were presented as mismatches, but for the most part, they were decent and none could be outright called terrible. It won’t win any awards for best fight or best event of the year, but for the first show televised in the United States, this was a solid event.

Most of the televised bouts ended up being about as good as one could expect with a couple of them being slightly above average fights. Granted, this could be grading on a curve given that it is the first televised boxing card in nearly two months, but the in-ring action was solid, even for a club show.

* Bryan Perez defeated Lester Lara by TKO, round 2 2:46: Perez is the taller fighter, but he can barely land anything on Lara, who knows how to move with his head, at least in the first round. After Lara hit a low blow in the second round, Perez was able to pressure Lara mid-way through. Perez then scored a sensational left hook to Lara's chin dropping him to the canvas. Lara got back up, but he was still reeling from that knockdown and got dropped a second time seconds later, prompting the referee to stop the fight.

* Byron Castellon defeated Eliezer Gazo by unanimous decision (No scores were announced): Amazingly, this is the seventh round between both of these guys, who have made it a career facing the same 4 or 5 guys multiple times, which is to be expected given how hard it is to find fights if you’re a 105-pound fighter in Central America. Neither man did a lot in the first round, but Gazo has been getting the better of the exchanges. Gazo lands a big right in round three to stagger Castellon, sending him to the ropes but not much came from it. For the remainder of the fight, both guys have been fighting at close quarters, leading to some great action between the two. Gazo looks to attack the body with the left hand, while Castellon has been moving back and counter-punching with four, five-punch combinations. This was a very good fight and Castellon won the first fight in their now seven-fight series.

* Gabriel Escalante defeated Mario Mairena by TKO, round 5: On paper, this is by far the biggest mismatch on the card. Escalante is 12-0 while Mairena is 2-19-1 with 15 losses by KO and is 38 years old. Gabriel Escalante drops Mario Mairena to the canvas in round 5 and the referee stops the fight as Mairena got back up. This result was to be expected given the tale of the tape.

* Freddy Fonseca defeated Alain Aguilar by TKO, round 5: Even though the last fight was the biggest mismatch on paper, this ended up being the most one-sided fight. Fonseca was probably going at this at half speed while Aguilar was throwing these bizarre wild haymakers that weren't landing at all. Fonseca outclassed Aguilar from the start, but the way the fight finished was the weirdest part. When the fifth round started, Aguilar did not leave his stool and was still sitting down when the round started. The referee began the 10-count with Aguilar still sitting down and gave up about halfway through the count, resulting in Fonseca being deemed the winner.

* Robin Zamora defeated Ramiro Blanco by unanimous decision (77-75, 77-75, 78-74): The buildup to this rematch is interesting to say the least. The two fought back in October with Zamora emerging victorious after the referee stopped the fight the moment he dropped Blanco in the second round. The rematch was actually ordered by the commission. The rematch itself was a solid scrap with both men trading on the inside throughout multiple rounds. Blanco was the aggressor from the start, but Zamora started to turn things around with a left hook that staggered Blanco. Afterwards, the two would exchange left hands for several rounds. Zamora ended up being the smarter fighter towards the end with a hit-and-hold approach that slowed down the pace of the action, but it did prevent Blanco from being able to end the fight on a high note and potentially steal the win from Zamora.


Fantasy Matchmaking Boxing Cards:

In these trying times, sometimes it’s nice to dream about different “What if?” scenarios, especially when boxing won’t be coming back on a consistent basis for another few months at least.

One idea that has always been in this author’s head is the idea of boxing cards consisting of nothing but fights between interpromotional boxing brands. For example, what would the best fight card between PBC fighters and Matchroom fighters look like? How about Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions?

So, this section will be a fun “What If?” scenario where I take different boxing entities and make hypothetical fight cards consisting of fights from those entities.

Here are the rules:

  • Any fights between fighters either promoted or heavily affiliated with that entity are allowed. In the case of someone who is promoted by Miguel Cotto’s Cotto Promotions, they are allowed to fight for Golden Boy Promotions given the partnership between the two entities.
  • Fighters could move up or down a weight class if it’s realistic for that fighter to get to that weight.
  • Any type of matchup (so long as the weight classes line up) can be made, even if the politics and real-life circumstances would prevent the fight from ever being made.

Each hypothetical card must be six to eight fights.

- PBC vs. Matchroom Boxing

  • Deontay Wilder (PBC) vs. Anthony Joshua (Matchroom)
  • Andy Ruiz Jr. (PBC) vs. Dillian Whyte (Matchroom)
  • Adam Kownacki (PBC) vs. Oleksandr Usyk (Matchroom)
  • David Benavidez (PBC) vs. Callum Smith (Matchroom)
  • Rey Vargas (PBC) vs. Murodjon Akhmadaliev (Matchroom)
  • Jermall Charlo (PBC) vs. Demetrius Andrade (Matchroom)
  • Jarrett Hurd (PBC) vs. Israil Madrimov (Matchroom)

- Top Rank vs. PBC

  • Vasiliy Lomachenko (Top Rank) vs. Gervonta Davis (PBC)
  • Terence Crawford (Top Rank) vs. Errol Spence Jr. (PBC)
  • Tyson Fury (Top Rank) vs. Deontay Wilder (PBC)
  • Jamel Herring (Top Rank) vs. Leo Santa Cruz (PBC)
  • Shakur Stevenson (Top Rank) vs. Luis Nery (PBC)
  • Emanuel Navarrete (Top Rank) vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux (PBC)

- Matchroom Boxing vs. Queensberry Promotions

  • Anthony Joshua (Matchroom) vs. Tyson Fury (Queensberry)
  • Filip Hrgovic (Matchroom) vs. Daniel Dubois (Queensberry)
  • David Allen (Matchroom) vs. Joe Joyce (Queensberry)
  • Josh Warrington (Matchroom) vs. Carl Frampton (Queensberry)
  • Juan Francisco Estrada (Matchroom) vs. Zolani Tete (Queensberry)
  • Maurice Hooker (Matchroom) vs. Jack Catterall (Queensberry)
  • Joshua Buatsi (Matchroom) vs. Anthony Yarde (Queensberry)

- Golden Boy Promotions vs. Matchroom Boxing

  • Canelo Alvarez (Golden Boy) vs. Demetrius Andrade (Matchroom)
  • Ryan Garcia (Golden Boy) vs. Devin Haney (Matchroom)
  • Joseph Diaz Jr. (Golden Boy) vs. Jono Carroll (Matchroom)
  • Xu Can (Golden Boy) vs. Josh Warrington (Matchroom)
  • Vergil Ortiz Jr. (Golden Boy) vs. Mikey Garcia (Matchroom)
  • Jaime Munguia (Golden Boy) vs. Billy Joe Saunders (Matchroom)
  • David Lemieux (Golden Boy) vs. Daniel Jacobs (Matchroom)

- Top Rank vs. Golden Boy Promotions

  • Ryota Murata (Top Rank) vs. Canelo Alvarez (Golden Boy)
  • Vasiliy Lomachenko (Top Rank) vs. Ryan Garcia (Golden Boy)
  • Terence Crawford (Top Rank) vs. Vergil Ortiz Jr. (Golden Boy)
  • Jamel Herring (Top Rank) vs. Rene Alvarado (Golden Boy)
  • Shakur Stevenson (Top Rank) vs. Xu Can (Golden Boy)
  • Edgar Berlanga (Top Rank) vs. Gary O'Sullivan (Golden Boy)
  • Michael Conlan (Top Rank) vs. Joet Gonzalez (Golden Boy)
  • Jose Pedraza (Top Rank) vs. Alberto Machado (Golden Boy)

- Golden Boy Promotions vs. PBC

  • Canelo Alvarez (Golden Boy) vs. Jermall Charlo (PBC)
  • Patrick Teixeira (Golden Boy) vs. Jarrett Hurd (PBC)
  • Jaime Munguia (Golden Boy) vs. Jermell Charlo (PBC)
  • Vergil Ortiz Jr. (Golden Boy) vs. Sergey Lipinets (PBC)
  • Xu Can (Golden Boy) vs. Leo Santa Cruz (PBC)
  • Rene Alvarado (Golden Boy) vs. Chris Colbert (PBC)

- One entity vs. Wild card (Any other promotion that you want or any combination of fighters regardless of promotion):

  • Anthony Joshua (Matchroom) vs. Tyson Fury (Top Rank)
  • Oleksandr Usyk (Matchroom) vs. Deontay Wilder (PBC)
  • Callum Smith (Matchroom) vs. David Benavidez (PBC)
  • Demetrius Andrade (Matchroom) vs. Gennadiy Golovkin
  • Devin Haney (Matchroom) vs. Vasiliy Lomachenko (Top Rank)
  • Amanda Serrano (Matchroom) vs. Mikaela Mayer (Top Rank)
  • Cecilia Braekhus (Matchroom) vs. Claressa Shields (Banner)
  • Juan Francisco Estrada (Matchroom) vs. Roman Gonzalez (Teiken)

News And Notes From Around The World Of Boxing:

- Unbeaten Chilean prospect Andres Campos spoke with Fightful with that interview airing on the May 1 edition of the Fightful Boxing Podcast.

- On April 25, Top Rank and ESPN aired a quarter of past fights involving Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, including their superfight from years ago. The marathon of fights ended up being a ratings success for ESPN:

  • Floyd Mayweather vs. Zab Judah: 678,000 viewers, 0.27 rating in 18-49 demo/6th best on cable
  • Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez 2: 577,000 viewers, 0.17 rating/27th best on cable
  • Manny Pacquiao vs. Miguel Cotto: 576,000 viewers, 0.15 rating/43rd best on cable
  • Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao: 563,000 viewers, 0.14 rating/47th best on cable

- Middleweight prospect Nathan Heaney signed a promotional agreement with Queensberry Promotions.

- Eddy Reynoso said current WBC flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez will aim to unify the division before moving to super flyweight for blockbuster bouts against the likes of Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez. Reynoso tells Jessie We’re going to keep him at Flyweight and try to defend and unify with Tanaka or Mthalane. And we’re getting harder fights little by little. We’ll move up to 115lbs to fight Estrada, Cuadras, Chocolatito, there’s so many good fighters and I believe it’s step by step. We’ll keep him at Featherweight then move up to Super Featherweight.”

- WBO super bantamweight champion Emanuel Navarrete recently spoke with Lupe Contreras and said a fight against unified bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue is possible if the coronavirus pandemic is over and done with fairly quickly. Naverrete also spoke on moving up in weight in the future, saying “If we get through this [pandemic] quickly, and there is interest from the Japanese fighter (Naoya Inoue), I believe it will be easier to make a fight with him than with any other fighter at 122. But it’s like I just mentioned. There is no interest from their part. He really did what he wanted at 118 and then he sent out a release saying that he was going to move up to 122, my division. When he did it, I saw the possibility of fighting him because he signed with Top Rank, but after that, he said he was going to face John Riel Casimero. They were supposed to face each other in April. I don’t know if it will happen, but if it happens, it will have to be right after we get through the pandemic. It would have to happen right away because the truth is that I’m seriously thinking of moving up to 126, and the only thing that could keep me at 122 would be a big fight against Inoue or a possible unification against one of the champions. That is the reality of why I would stay around at 122. If it’s not that way, I will move up to 126.”

- Golden Boy Promotions recently announced the launch of a digital content initiative to provide boxing fans with some much-needed diversion during this difficult time. This initiative will consist of videos from past fights on the company's library as well as original programming. The content will be distributed on Golden Boy’s owned-and-operated platforms such as RingTV.com, its official Facebook page at Golden Boy Fight Night and its official YouTube channel, as well as on DAZN. The first aspect of this initiative will consist of branded features under various themes and perspectives. Below is a list of the branded videos that will be showcased:

  • Mexico vs. Puerto Rico: A highlight series showcasing the rivalry between the two countries.
  • The Breakdown: A highlight series in which a fighter watches and breaks down three of his or her best performances.
  • Untouchable: A highlight series featuring some of the greatest defensive fighters.
  • Pound 4 Pound Presented by Ring Magazine: A collection of the best fights picked by the staff at Ring Magazine.
  • Before They Were Stars: A compilation series featuring professional debuts and early star-making performances.
  • Best Knockouts Powered by DAZN: A compilation series of great knockouts from stars and prospects.

The second aspect of this initiative features condensed versions of past fights from the Golden Boy Promotions library. The third and final aspect will feature content that includes live Instagram takeovers live “Ask Me A Question” discussions and training tips. A brief list of some of social media features is below:

  • Ask Me Anything: Weekly Q&A’s featuring Golden Boy fighters.
  • Catching Up in Quarantine: Zoom interviews featuring fighters in their homes, hosted by Jessica Rosales on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • IG Live: Weekly live broadcasts on the Golden Boy Instagram Story, featuring fighters showcasing their cooking skills, workouts and training tips.
  • Exclusive Footage: Never been seen behind-the-scenes footage, including interactions between Canelo and legendary rapper Nas.
  • Welcome to My Quarantine: A feature in which boxers present their quarantine space to Golden Boy's social media followers.

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. Tyson Fury

Heavyweight

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

Cruiserweight

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

Light heavyweight

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

Super middleweight

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

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. Yordenis Ugas
  8. Sergey Lipinets
  9. Mikey Garcia
  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. Jose Zepeda
  10. Viktor Postol

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. Andrew Moloney
  7. Kal Yafai
  8. Aston Palicte
  9. Carlos Cuadras
  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. Junto Nakatani
  8. Cristofer Rosales
  9. Wulan Tuolehazi
  10. Giemel Magramo

Light flyweight/Minimumweight

  1. Wanheng Menayothin
  2. Hiroto Kyoguchi
  3. Kenshiro Teraji
  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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