Fightful Boxing Newsletter (7/25/19): Pacquiao Defeats Thurman, Canelo Alvarez Potentially Staying At Middleweight

Fightful Boxing Newsletter (7/25/19) Table Of Contents:

  • Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman Review: What’s Next For Pacquiao? (Page 1)
  • Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman Review: Full Results (Page 2)
  • Canelo Alvarez Potentially Staying At Middleweight Next (Page 3)
  • Dillian Whyte Reportedly Tests Positive For Banned Substance (Page 4)
  • News And Notes From Around The World Of Boxing (Page 5)
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Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman Review: What’s Next For Pacquiao?:

In more ways than one, the welterweight division got more clear on July 20 with one of the most impressive performances by a boxer 40 years and older in history. Manny Pacquiao scored a massive win over Keith Thurman in the main event of a FOX pay-per-view to capture the WBA “Super” welterweight title.

Though the official result, a split decision win for Pacquiao, indicated an extremely close fight, what we saw was a clear victory for the Filipino champion that started off with a first-round knockdown. Afterwards, it was nothing but several rounds of Pacquiao effortlessly landing the left hand before Thurman came back strong in the second round until Pacquiao secured the win in the final round.

All in all, it was an entertaining fight that will undoubtedly be named one of the year’s best fights for delivering a dramatic bout from start to finish on the stage that it was put in. Given how every pay-per-view main event this year has been incredibly one-sided or very disappointing, expectations were sky high for the entire event and for the most part, it delivered.

The pay-per-view card featured several contenders in action and two more welterweights emerged as strong title contenders with dominant wins in their respective bouts: Sergey Lipinets and Yordenis Ugas.

Though the rest of the card was notable for who fought on the undercard, there’s no doubt that it was Pacquiao’s night of brilliance.

At 40 years old, it’s hard to really quantify how great that performance is. It’s rare seeing a boxer at that age compete at a high-enough of a level to be considered a contender but to go out and beat a top five, unbeaten champion is on another level.

The last time we’ve seen any 40+ year old boxer do anything like this was Bernard Hopkins when he won a number of light heavyweight titles throughout his 40s and was a top contender all the way until his retirement fight when he was 50 years old back in 2016. Even before Hopkins, there were only a handful of boxers that fit the bill, mainly George Foreman, Sugar Boy Malinga and Bob Fitzsimmons.

As far as what this win means for Pacquiao’s immediate future and for the rest of PBC’s welterweight roster, the answer is fairly simple. Pacquiao is more than likely out for the remainder of 2019 due to his duties as a senator in the Philippines, but by the time he returns to the ring in winter/spring 2020, the division will be even less murky.

Announced hours before the main card began was an IBF and WBC welterweight title unification between Errol Spence Jr. (IBF champion) and Shawn Porter (WBC) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on September 28. Spence has slowly been built up as PBC’s next mega star and PPV draw after the relative success of his March 2019 fight against Mikey Garcia. If we’re going the direct route, Pacquiao could be facing the Spence-Porter winner sometime in 2020 in a three-belt unification. However, it is almost never that easy to make superfights like those in that time span. More likely than not, PBC might opt in to give the Spence-Porter winner all of 2020 to continue building himself up as a real top star and marinate a fight against Pacquiao.

Now, if Pacquiao were to fight anyone else in 2020 in anything but a unification, there are a few names worth mentioning. Lipinets, who stopped late replacement Jayar Inson in the second round on the main card, could be someone on the outside looking for a potential fight against Pacquiao. Lipinets has really emerged as a dark horse contender starting with a win over Lamont Peterson earlier this year.

There is also Jamal James, who defeated Antonio DeMarco in the main event of a PBC on FS1 card from Minneapolis earlier this month. Both James and Lipinets are highly ranked by the WBA and one could potentially imagine a scenario where the governing body has both men fight for a secondary or interim title while Pacquiao gets ready for a fight in 2020.

Even though Pacquiao came into the fight as the “Regular” champion and Thurman was the “Super,” meaning the right thing would be for their to be one sole WBA champion from this point forward, history has shown that is almost never the case. When “Super” middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin beat “Regular” champion Daniel Jacobs in 2017, the WBA would go on to have Ryota Murata and Hassan N’Dam fight for the “Regular” title despite conventional wisdom saying that Golovkin should be the only WBA champion. In the case of the WBA welterweight division in 2019, the odds of this happening are fairly high.

But more than anything, there has been a renowned push for a rematch between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., a topic that has been on and off again for more than four years.

What strengthened those calls for a rematch is that Mayweather was in attendance for the July 20 fight and for better or worse, that is the fight PBC and FOX is clearly pushing. Regardless of what anybody thinks about the quality of their first encounter, a rematch would likely be one of the most lucrative fights in boxing history given its mainstream appeal.

Mayweather has remained adamant about staying retired but he has shown hints about coming back. Not only has he gone against his word on staying retired in 2017 to fight Conor McGregor in August of that year, but he even had a three-round exhibition bout against Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa last December, which Mayweather won with a first-round TKO. In a post on his Instagram page, Mayweather addressed his frustrations with his name being accompanied with Pacquiao’s in order to drive up interest in a potential rematch on social media.

"I find it real ironic how every time Pacquiao's name is brought up in the media, my name is always attached to it. This man's entire legacy and career has been built off its association with my name and it's about time you all stop using my brand for clout chasing and clickbait and let that man's name hold weight of its own. For years, all you heard was that "Floyd is afraid of Manny Pacquiao". But what's funny is, when we finally fought, I won so easily that everyone had to eat their words! All of the so called boxing experts, critics and jealous American 'fan base' either went mute and ran for cover or made every excuse in the world as to why I should give Manny Pacquiao a rematch. My take on all this bulls--t is that y’all are just upset that I broke Rocky Marciano's record and hate the fact that a Black, high school dropout outsmarted you all by beating all odds and retiring undefeated while maintaining all my faculties simply by making smart choices and even smarter investments. Ultimately, I will always have the last laugh!"

The idea of a rematch between the two is farfetched, but given the massive potential payout all parties involved would receive, it's an idea that will remain out there for the taking for years to come. Regardless, the rest of 2019 will more than likely shape Pacquiao's future next year in what might be his final year as a boxer.

Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman Review: Full Results:

As for the fights themselves, the six fights that were broadcast on FOX TV or on PPV were mostly intriguing whether it was the matchup on paper or the end result. Even without Manny Pacquiao beating Keith Thurman in a thrilling contest, there was still a lot to take from the July 20 PBC card from the MGM Gran in Las Vegas.

The four-fight main card started with Luis Nery having a solid bout against Juan Carlos Payano, which Nery won in the ninth round after a slow start. In the end, the objective was to have Nery win in the hopes of PBC staging a WBC bantamweight title fight between him and the winner of an eventual fight involving current champion Nordine Oubaali and interim titleholder Takuma Inoue in the future. In other fights on the main card, Sergey Lipinets and Yordenis Ugas picked up wins that puts them in the welterweight title hunt with impressive displays against Jayar Inson and Omar Figueroa Jr., respectively.

There was a prelim card that aired on FOX that not only featured Caleb Plant defending his IBF super middleweight title against Mike Lee but also heavyweight prospects Efe Ajagba and Ali Eren Demirezen facing off in a battle of 2016 Olympians. The TV card averaged 923,000 viewers (269,000 in the 18-49 demo) and drew a 0.62 household rating. The average viewership is the lowest for a PBC on FOX card throughout all of 2019. PBC’s last card prior to July 20 was the June 23 event headlined by Jermell Charlo vs. Jorge Cota and that card, which took place on a Sunday, averaged 1.211 million viewers. The last PBC on FOX card that took place on a Saturday was on May 11 and that show averaged 1.385 million viewers.

Plant's win over Lee certainly puts him in a solid position to think about unifying with the WBC titleholder in 2020 but there's still plenty to do before we get to that point. For starters, Anthony Dirrell and David Benavidez are set to face off for the title on September 28 in Los Angeles, but then afterwards, the winner will face Avni Yildirim next.

  • Manny Pacquiao defeated (114-113 Thurman, 115-112 Pacquiao, 115-112 Pacquiao) to win the WBA "Super" Welteweight Title: Starting off, Pacquiao delivered a stunning left hand that dropped Thurman late in the first round, sending the crowd at the MGM Grand into a frenzy. Thurman managed to get back up, but failed to answer most of what Pacquiao threw in the next few rounds, mainly Pacquiao’s left hand. As the fight progressed, Thurman started to figure out is opponent’s rhythm and was able to land combinations of his own and occasionally connect with the straight right hand. Thurman outworked Pacquiao in the middle rounds and even in moments where Pacquiao was able to quickly take control of the fight, Thurman would halt the Filipino’s momentum with the right hand. As soon as Pacquiao appeared to start fading late in the fight, he was able to catch his second wind and land several body shots that hurt Thurman in the 10th round. Thurman did manage to hit Pacquiao with a right hook upstairs, it was still an uphill battle for him to win the fight on the scorecards without dropping Pacquiao. Even with one scorecard in favor of Thurman, it was the absolute best he could hope for given Pacquiao’s strong start and eye-catching 10th round.
  • Yordenis Ugas defeated Omar Figueroa by unanimous decision (119-107, 119-107, 119-107) to win a WBC Welterweight Title Eliminator: Ugas started off well by scoring a knockdown in the first round. Although Figueroa never went down to the canvas from a right hand thrown by Ugas, the ropes saved Figueroa from fully going down, prompting the referee to give him a 10-count. From that point onward, Ugas outworked Figueroa, landing numerous big punches and bruising his face throughout the bout. A brief glimmer of hope for Figueroa to get the upper hand on the scorecards came in the fifth round when Ugas was deducted a point for excessive holding. But it ultimately did not matter as Ugas continued dominating for the rest of the fight.
  • Sergey Lipinets defeated Jayar Inson by KO, round 2, 0:57 to win the WBO Intercontinental Welterweight Title: Early in the second round, Lipinets landed a vicious overhand left that sent Inson to the canvas. Although Inson got back up, the referee decided to stop the fight regardless. Inson came into the fight replacing the injured John Molina Jr., who withdrew from the fight against Lipinets the day before due to a back injury.
  • Luis Nery defeated Juan Carlos Payano by KO, round 9, 1:43 to retain the WBC Silver Bantamweight Title: Payano started the fight well outboxing the stronger Nery, who barely got to land much in the first couple of rounds. But as the fight progressed, Nery got more confident throwing punches and in the ninth round, took out Payano with a body shot to improve his record to 30-0 and pick up his 11th straight win inside the distance.
  • Caleb Plant defeated Mike Lee by TKO, round 3, 1:29 to retain the IBF Super Middleweight Title: Plant connected on a big left hand in the first round to drop Lee after taking control of the bout from the opening bell. Lee survived and continued fighting, but never put Plant under any danger as the champion consistently landed big combinations. After a relatively quiet second round, Plant quickly dispatched of Lee in the following round. The first knockdown of the third round came from a big right hand that Plant threw. After Lee got back up, he went back down just seconds later thanks to another right hand from Plant. Once Lee recovered from the second knockdown, he went into a very aggressive fighting style to throw off Plant, but the champion remained unfazed. Plant landed a left hook to Lee that sent him to the canvas for the final time as the referee stopped the fight there.
  • Efe Ajagba defeated Ali Eren Demirezen by unanimous decision (97-93, 99-91, 99-91)
  • John Leo Dato defeated Juan Antonio Lopez by KO, round 5, 2:05
  • Genesis Libranza defeated Carlos Maldonado by TKO, round 4, 2:58
  • Abel Ramos defeated Jimmy Williams by TKO, round 4, 2:43

Canelo Alvarez Potentially Staying At Middleweight Next:

As it seemed like Canelo Alvarez would rather vacate the IBF middleweight title instead of electing to try and negotiate with mandatory challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko next, it seemed like the Alvarez camp had a change of heart.

After months of Derevyanchenko not hearing anything from Alvarez or promoter Golden Boy Promotions regarding a potential fight down the line, the two are now locked in negotiations in the hopes that the two face each other down the line.

Alvarez’s next fight date is still uncertain after the sudden announcement that the planned September 14 bout is postponed due to them not being to secure an opponent.

There was a purse bid scheduled for July 23 in the IBF offices in Springfield, New Jersey, but that has been delayed to July 26. A purse bid being delayed typically means there is progress being from both sides in terms of securing a fight deal, but the sudden development may mean a couple of things from Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions.

For starters, this effectively means that the odds of a third fight between Alvarez, who also holds the WBA title, and former champion Gennadiy Golovkin are almost zero at this point. Rather than continue negotiations in the hopes of securing a fight deal before the end of the year, Alvarez would rather face Derevyanchenko whom a fight against him will likely generate far less revenue than a third fight between the two.

If Alvarez had vacated the IBF title, Golovkin and Derevyanchenko would have likely fought for the vacant and had Golovkin won that bout, it would only strengthen Golovkin’s case for a third bout. A trilogy fight was something DAZN was aiming for when it signed both middleweight stars to multi-year deals to fight exclusively on their platforms. Making that fight possible is a top priority for them and if Golovkin wins that IBF title back, DAZN would almost surely force the Alvarez camp to take a fight against Golovkin without question.

There’s also the idea of Alvarez waiting until December to fight WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev after his title defense against Anthony Yarde. Both sides had been negotiating a lot in recent weeks, but that potential fight fell through after they couldn’t come to terms on the finances, being apart by several million dollars. Even if the issue of having to pay Anthony Yarde and promoter Frank Warren step-aside money so that Kovalev can fight Alvarez would be eliminated if they re-enter negotiations in late August/early September, there’s no guarantee that a fight can be made.

Unless Alvarez decides to go back to super middleweight and face WBA titleholder Callum Smith or face WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade later this year, the only option remaining is Derevyanchenko and making that fight is, in theory, easier to secure.

Derevyanchenko will likely not be as demanding in having the bout take place outside Las Vegas or completely adamant that he must be paid around the ballpark of Daniel Jacobs when he fought Alvarez this past May (around $12 million), which is what dashed the hopes of a fight against Golovkin and Kovalev, respectively.

Dillian Whyte Reportedly Tests Positive For Banned Substance:

According to a report, Dillian Whyte has tested positive for a banned substance prior to his last fight this past weekend.

Thomas Hauser of Boxing Scene said multiple sources confirmed that an “A” sample from Whyte turned out positive for an illegal substance. The report stated that the positive test result was administered by the UK Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD), not from the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).

Whyte managed to overcome a late knockdown scored by Rivas to win the interim WBC heavyweight title by unanimous decision on July 20. The fight, which took place as the main event of a Matchroom Boxing card at The O2 Arena in London, also served as a final eliminator where the winner became the mandatory challenger to Deontay Wilder’s full WBC title.

The report also stated that the test result was sent to both the Whyte camp and the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) before July 20, but the BBBofC allegedly allowed the fight to move forward as scheduled. Despite the positive test result, Whyte is allowed to appeal it and per UKAD rules, the fighter in question is not guilty of breaching protocol and cannot be sanctioned by the BBBofC until an adjudication and due process is complete. Such a process would start with the findings of a “B” sample, though the timing of the result of those findings can vary.

This isn’t the first time that Whyte has served a suspension for a positive test. In 2012, Whyte failed a drug test for Methylhexaneamine and was suspended from October 13, 2012 to October 12, 2014 by the UKAD.

News And Notes From The World Of Boxing:

Golden Boy Promotions has signed WBC minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin to a promotional deal.

The signing gives the company arguably the 105-pound division’s top fighter and gives him a chance to have his first pro bout in the United States. Menayothin, whose real name is Chayaphon Moonsri, not only sports one of the longest active world title reigns, but also the longest active win streak with 53 ever since making his pro debut back in 2017.

In August 2018, Menayothin defeated Pedro Taduran by unanimous decision to win his 51st consecutive fight, breaking a tie with the 50-0 Floyd Mayweather Jr. who retired in 2017. The 33-year-old Menayothin has held the WBC title since 2014 and made 11 successful defenses. His most recent fight took place on May 31 when he defeated Tatsuya Fukuhara by unanimous decision in a title rematch of their November 2017 fight that also saw Menayothin win by unanimous decision.

The company also announced the signing of Romanian heavyweight Mihai Nistor. The 28-year-old Nistor’s amateur career is perhaps best highlighted by a win over former unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua during the 39th European Amateur Boxing Championships in 2011.

Nistor also competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics in the super heavyweight division. During his impressive amateur career, he has faced the likes of Joshua, Filip Hrgovic, Tony Yoka, Guido Vianello, Zhang Zhilei and more. No date was announced for Nistor’s professional debut.

Kubrat Pulev is now eligible to apply for a boxing license in the United States after complying with the California State Athletic Commission in the aftermath of him kissing a reporter on the lips without consent.

Back in May, after a win over Bogdan Dinu in the main event of a Top Rank on ESPN card, Pulev was interviewed by Jennifer Ravala (a.k.a. Jennifer Sushe) and during the interview, Pulev kissed her out of nowhere. After Ravalo hired attorney Gloria Allred, the commission suspended Pulev, fined him and ordered him to complete a course on sexual harassment. The sexual harassment course needed to be completed before Pulev can apply for a license, which he did. On July 22, Pulev went to the commission and is now able to return to the ring.

Ivaylo Gotzev of Epic Sports, the company that co-promotes Pulev alongside Top Rank, told ESPN that Pulev is now focused on his next fight and a potential shot at a world title down the road.

"It was good hearing. Everybody's side was heard again and the bottom line is Kubrat Pulev has complied over and above what was requested of him. The more important part is Kubrat Pulev wants to do more in the future. The whole world has an opinion on this situation and we want to educate and show by example how things should be handled and how athletes should behave. This was a lesson well learned and now we want to help others not make a mistake like this one. Kubrat is a great person and wants to help others. He's going to educate others how they should act in these situations,” Gotzev said.

Pulev is currently the mandatory challenger to the IBF heavyweight title currently being held by Andy Ruiz Jr. Pulev was the mandatory challenger all the way back in 2017, but weeks before he got his title shot against Anthony Joshua, Pulev suffered an injury and withdrew from the bout. Prior to the win over Dinu, Pulev won a title eliminator against Hughie Fury in October 2018.

Jorge Linares is coming back to Japan later this year.

The former lightweight world champion will be returning to the ring on a Korakuen Hall show in Tokyo on September 7, per an announcement made by Teiken Promotions, Linares’ Japanese promoter. No opponent for Linares was mentioned in the announcement.

This will be Linares’ first fight in Japan since December 2014 when he knocked out Javier Prieto in the fourth round to capture the WBC lightweight title. Linares, who was born and raised in Venezuela, traveled to Japan to start out his pro career under the tutelage of the Teiken Boxing Gym and would fight in Japan in 18 of his first 23 pro bouts. Despite the many fights in Japan, Linares has only ever faced two boxers native to the country — Thunder Ito in 2003 and Nihito Arakawa in 2014.

Linares has held multiple world titles throughout his career, winning belts across three different weight classes. After winning the WBC featherweight title in 2007, Linares moved up to super featherweight the following year, winning the WBA title with a fifth-round win over Whyber Garcia. After an unsuccessful attempt at winning a lightweight world title in 2011, Linares got to become a three-division champion in 2014 with the win over Prieto. The 33-year-old then won the WBA title in 2016 and after three successful title defenses, he would lose the title to Vasiliy Lomachenko in May 2018.

Now without a belt, Linares went to campaign at junior welterweight and even won a bounce back fight against Abner Cotto last September. His last fight saw him lose to Pablo Cesar Cano in a shocking first-round stoppage this past January at Madison Square Garden as part of the undercard for a DAZN card headlined by Demetrius Andrade’s WBO middleweight title defense against Artur Akavov.

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is returning to the ring for real this time.

After more than two years of inactivity and multiple failed attempts at returning to the ring, Chavez Jr. will in fact return to action on August 10 in Mexico on a card promoted by Zanfer Promotions. The former middleweight world champion will take on journeyman Evert Bravo although the weight class has yet to be officially announced.

Chavez Jr., the son of legendary Mexican fighter Julio Cesar Chavez, has not fought since losing a lopsided 12-round decision against Canelo Alvarez in May 2017. Since then, Chavez has stayed out of the spotlight except in moments where it was heavily implied that he would return and in one instance where he was set to fight only for his bout to be called off.

That one fight was against Alfredo Angulo in December 2018 and was set to be part of a Showtime-televised card that served to lead in to a pay-per-view card headlined by Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury. The fight was canceled after Chavez reportedly missed a commission-ordered medical appointment and his team stated that he was physically ready to return.

The 33-year-old Mexican once held the WBC middleweight title from 2011 to 2012, defeating the likes of Andy Lee and Marco Antonio Rubio only to lose his belt against Sergio Martinez.

Bravo, a 34-year-old Colombian fighter who has competed at both super middleweight and light heavyweight, has suffered three losses, all by knockout, in his last four fights. Bravo did snap his three-fight skid on June 22 with a win over Luis Gonzalez in Colombia.

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