Last weekend boxing found itself three feet and then took pot shots at all of them. There were massive bills on offer for fight fans and having scoffed at the circus of Mayweather/McGregor it was suggested that boxing was going to get back on track and in the groove of proper fighting.
So, what the hell went wrong?
Firstly, the best fight of the year and one that promised much and delivered everything was in Los Angeles. Are we talking about how Canelo was lucky to draw against GGG? No. we are talking about someone scoring a fight so widely and in the wrong direction that calls of fix, disgrace and an appalling pall was thrown across the sport. Let’s be clear this is a judge who has previous for this type of thing. This has never been picked up before?
When you combine that with the fact that Nicola Adams found out she would not be boxing because of a problem with her opponent’s medical condition AS SHE WAS IN THE DRESSING ROOM… farce and Nevada… hand in hand guys, hand in hand…
Secondly, thanks to some kind of daft inability to schedule things properly, the World Boxing Super Series managed to give us a gap of 40 minutes in proceedings before we got the main event of Callum Smith winning on points against Erik Skoglund. It meant we had to listen to people in a studio rather than watch any action though I pity the poor guys at the Liverpool Echo Arena who had nothing boxing related, to see nor listen to.
Finally, the challenge, and I am struggling to call it that, posed by Willie Monroe Jr against Billy Joe Saunders. Saunders could only take on what was in front of him but the most memorable punch of the entire contest happened at the weigh in and was thrown by Saunders’ son!
So, what went right? Well the fighting in most of the contests did.
But before we got to the headline act, from Saturday night at the Copper Box, Queensberry Promotions did provide some decent entertainment on the undercard.
It began when heavyweight Daniel DuBois, the WBC Youth Champion, blew AJ Carter away within a minute of the first round. They say that DuBois hits harder than anyone in the division and I have to be honest, if that punch is anything to by… they are not far wrong. The question is who next as there are few people who will volunteer to take that kind of punishment so we may be talking about titles – is DuBois ready? With that kind of firepower, how can he not be?
Now there is no point in me picking apart other people for getting it wrong and not holding my own hands up… I did not do enough research last week to see that the super welterweight clash between Joe Pickford and Kieran Smith for the WBO European title had been pulled – Kieran did that for me! Kieran got a nasty cut in sparring and the fight was off.
One fight that did happen as light heavyweight Anthony Yarde winning his curious fight against Norbert Nemesapati with Nemesapati being pulled out the contest as he was clearly not at Yarde’s level. Onward and upward for Yarde? Let’s hope so.
Finally, the WBO middleweight showdown between Billy Joe Saunders and Willie Monroe Jr.
This was a massive disappointment and the Monroe Jr camp should try and work out what went wrong here. Their man did not come to fight and it was a really difficult contest to watch. Now, if the scorecard in Las Vegas that gave the fight to Canelo was hard to take so was the card that gave a narrow victory to Saunders. When scoring happens that is so far out of kilter with what you see in the ring, it is hard not to carp and moan about it. The big moan is from Las Vegas but equally ridiculous was the scorecard that gave it to Saunders by only 1 round, 115-114; it could be argued that Billy Joe did not lose a single round. Before we get all superior like about foreign fields, let us also investigate our own and make sure we are spotless when it comes to controversy…
Over in Liverpool Sauerland got the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight contest off on the right footing as the clash between Callum Smith and Erik Skoglund was proof, if proof was needed, that there are no easy fights in this competition. Skoglund was very good and far better than we thought he would be. This was a guy who was coming down in weight – which usually signals weakness in his ability to carry power in the lesser weight division. Smith won comfortably and even put Skoglund on the canvass in the 11th but he was durable, handy and should be fighting at this level in the future. A fight with James DeGale in early 2018? Having come through the toughest fight of his career to date, the question for me is, can Smith recover in time for a harder fight in the semi final?
The rest of the undercard gave us super middleweight Zach Parker stopping Luke Blackledge as did Martin Murray stop Arman Torosyan. Just a pity there were not more contests upon which to report.
Over in Belfast, light heavyweight Steve Collins Jr got a points win against Edgars Sniedze. Having lost an Irish title fight the last time out, there may well be thoughts of this being the start of a recovery towards new heights?
The massive fight of the night/ early morning, of course, was in Las Vegas with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin for the WBA, WBC and IBF super middleweight belts.
The fight ended in a draw but let us start with the fight. It delivered the action we had been craving. There is an argument that Canelo won the first three and the last three, giving him six rounds whilst GGG won the middle six comfortably. There are few people who feel that a draw was the wrong result though GGG did gripe. I am quite sure he would not have griped had the judge who gave it to Canelo not done so by giving little credit for anything in the fight to GGG. When the announcement came, people booed and people are still reeling. It makes a rematch likely, Billy Joe Saunders will be out the picture and we can, as boxing fans, look forward to a potentially cracking trilogy. As British boxing fans we may rue the fact that Saunders, and others, will be left picking up the scraps.
In Scotland we had an evening, on Thursday the 21st of September of action in Glasgow when the St Andrews Club gave us lightweight Andrew MacKay losing to Marek Lakowski for the Scottish title. This was clearly a shock though Lakowski deserved, by all accounts, the win.
The rest of the bill saw super welterweight Martin Harkin stop the reliable warrior that is Craig Kelly whilst bantamweight Ukashir Farooq got his 7th professional win against Georgi Andonov.
Last night, in Middleton, super middleweight Jake Haigh managed a points win over 6 rounds against the Central Area champion Darryl Sharp.