Pernell Whitaker Dies at 55
As you’ve probably heard, this week Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker died at the age of 55 after being involved in a car accident. There’s not much to say about his career that hasn’t been covered already by our own Tristen Critchfield, so I would simply encourage anyone too young to have seen Whittaker in his prime to check out one of his many highlight videos on YouTube.
Canelo Not Fighting In September Means Kovalev-Yarde Official for Aug. 24
This week, Canelo Alvarez announced that for the first time in three years, he will not hold a fight during Mexican Independence Day Weekend in September. Alvarez was negotiating to fight Sergey Kovalev on Sept. 14 but according to Kovalev’s manager, Kathy Duva, just when Golden Boy was getting close to an offer the Kovalev team would accept, Golden Boy suddenly cut off all communication and announced they were postponing Alvarez’s fight. That action led to rumors Canelo’s knee (which gave him trouble in the Daniel Jacobs fight) was an issue, but Alvarez’s team say his knew didn’t not factor into the decision.
As a result of Canelo’s decision, Kovalev and his team made it official that he will be fighting Anthony Yarde on Aug. 24 in Chelyabinsk, Russia. The British KO artist (who is absolutely yoked) deserves all sorts of credit for his willingness to travel to Kovalev’s hometown (literally) to prove that his 18-0 with 17 knockouts record is no sham, and that he is the real deal.
The other big impact of Canelo’s decision is that there’s now an opening for any fighter that wants to take advantage of the huge fight weekend that historically Canelo has made an untouchable date. While it would make the most sense for a Mexican fighter to take that spot, rumors are that (in what would be a nice bit of trolling) Eddie Hearn is trying to get GGG to fight on the date, alongside Oleksandr Usyk and Devin Haney. If Golovkin takes the Sept. 14 date, his opponent would be an interesting choice.
See, it is believed that rather than face his mandatory opponent, Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Canelo will vacate his IBF middleweight title instead. The IBF would then try and make Derevyancheno-Golovkin for that belt, which would give GGG a belt (remember that Canelo has consistently dodgeda third fight with GGG by saying he only wants to fight guys with belts). The Derevyanchenko fight makes sense, but if GGG is actually taking the Sept. 14 date, it would make more sense for him to fight a Mexican. To that end, GGG could face Jaime Munguia in a fight that was supposed to happen years ago, until the commission ruled Munguia was not as worthy an opponent as Vanes Matirosyan. The storyline would sell, the fight would be an all-action brawl, and if we’re being honest about it, Canelo isn’t going to face GGG just because he has a belt Canelo discarded.
Collazo-Benavidez Likely Off after Collazo Injures Leg, Gassiev-Dawejko Off As Well
Reports are that the Aug. 17 fight between Luis Collazo and Jose Benavidez Jr. is off, because Collazo suffered a leg injury in training for the bout. While having to call the fight off is bad, a much worse issue is that the leg Collazo injured is the same one that he got shot in about three years ago.
Another fight that’s off due to a shoulder injury is Murat Gassiev’s heavyweight debut. Gassiev, who has only lost to Oleksandr Usyk as a professional, was going to fight the man rumored to have knocked out Anthony Joshua in sparring before the Andy Ruiz fight, Joey “Tank” Dawejko. Gassiev will be fine, but this was a great opportunity for Dawejko to capitalize on his sudden fame. It’s a shame he won’t get the chance.
Adrien Broner Will No Longer be Facing Lee Selby, Instead Will Fight Ivan Redkach
When rumors had Lee Selby, a feather fisted British fighter that has spent most of his career at 125 before recently moving to lightweight, moving up in weight to face Adrien Broner, the fight made very little sense. Luckily, somebody else realized how stupid the idea was, and rumors are that Broner will face 23-4 Ukranian Ivan Redkach instead.
Selby, on the other hand will be facing Braintree Massachusetts’ Javier Fortuna at lightweight sometime in September.
Betebriev to Fight Gvozdyk Oct. 18 in IBF-WBC Unification Bout
The light heavyweight division is getting a huge unification bout Oct. 18, likely in Philadelphia, when undefeated Russian IBF champion Artur Beterbiev, who holds a perfect 14-0 with fourteen knockouts record will be facing undefeated Ukranian WBC champion, Oleksand Gvozdyk, who has a record of 17-0 with 14 knockouts. This is a great fight, and one which will leave Sergey Kovalev and Dmitry Bivol as the only other light heavyweight belt holders.
Dmitry Kudryashov Becomes Newest Boxer to Try MMA
When will we see the first boxer in his prime, seriously commit himself to MMA? Not likely anytime soon, but we do have another faded fighter who doesn’t appear to have trained with an elite MMA team willing to give it a shot. Dmitry Kudryashov will be fighting in an MMA bout October 12th in Moscow, as part of a Fight Nights Global Show. Kudryashov is fresh off a loss to Ilunga Makabu and has been stopped in two of his last four fights. However, with 23 knockouts in 23 wins, he does at least have serious power that should translate extremely well to smaller gloves. He is a guy that would have been great for bareknuckle boxing; it’s a shame he didn’t go that route instead.
Amir Khan Says He Has a Deal for a Pacquiao Fight: Manny Says No We Don’t
In an incredibly strange moment, this week Amir Khan declared that he and Manny Pacquiao had signed a deal to fight Nov. 8 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It seemed odd that Pacquiao would sign a deal before he either beat or lost to Keith Thurman this weekend, a bout which would open up all sorts of fights with a win and likely make Pacquiao question if he wants to continue boxing with a bad loss.
It made a lot more sense, then, when Pacquiao’s team came out and denied the fight had even been discussed. It was incredibly strange. In fact, Freddie Roach claims the plan is to knockout Thurman in the later rounds, then immediately call out Floyd Maywether for a rematch.
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