Sherdog Boxing: The Weekly Wrap

By James Kinneen Aug 23, 2019
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It was all about money. Despite a litany of reasons why he did not want to fight in Saudi Arabia, Andy Ruiz’s team reportedly agreed to terms to rematch Anthony Joshua on Dec. 7 in Diriyah. Apparently, Ruiz was unhappy with only making $8 million and negotiated a bigger payday by threatening to not take the fight.

With the rematch being given the green light, it is time for Ruiz to get serious. Reports have surfaced that he is terribly out of shape and did not show up for the start of his training camp on Aug. 19. Perhaps this risks making a mountain out of a molehill, but holding out for more money by threatening to ignore the contract’s rematch clause, getting out of shape while celebrating the win and failing to report to training camp on time for the rematch screams “Guy who thinks he got lucky the first time does not expect to win the rematch.” Let us hope that is not the case.

On a semi-related note, UFC President Dana White outlined some of his plans for Zuffa Boxing. He was asked about the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s pay in comparison to that of boxing. “The fighters get paid,” White said. “Everybody gets paid. Everybody is being paid, and it’s not just the top two or three. Everybody on the roster … I got over 600 guys that are getting paid and making a living and feeding their families and buying houses and cars and all these other things. Now when you look at boxing, a handful of guys make crazy money, and that’s the way it’s always been built; and then you have thousands of people that don’t, so I think that we can create a pay system [in boxing] that benefits everybody.”

While Ruiz was reportedly unhappy with an $8 million offer for the Joshua rematch, Daniel Cormier on Aug. 17 made $500,000 to defend his heavyweight championship against Stipe Miocic at UFC 241; and when it comes to boxing’s heavyweight champions, Ruiz remains far less known than Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury.

Selling boxers on the unfairness of the sport’s income inequality seems like an interesting way to try and take over a piece of the pie. While its merits are questionable, by attempting to be more like Bernie Sanders and less like Don King, White deserves credit for thinking outside the box.

‘Mantequilla’ Napoles Dies at 79

No one can identify the greatest Cuban boxer of all-time with any genuine certainty because so many of its stars -- Felix Savon and Teofimo Lopez, for example -- competed outside the amateur ranks. Still, many people believe two-time welterweight champion Jose Napoles deserves the title. Unlike amateur fighters who defect the Cuban system, Napoles had 21 professional fights inside of Cuba before Fidel Castro seized power and banned professional boxing. As a result, Napoles defected to Mexico, where he would remain until his death on Aug. 16.

Trained by Angelo Dundee, Napoles’ career record stands at 81-7. He won his first world title over Curtis Cokes in 1969, lost it to Billy Backus in Syracuse -- Napoles thought he was robbed -- and then regained it one fight later. He held that title until 1975 but was gutsy enough to move change divisions in 1974 to challenge Carlos Monzon for the middleweight championship. Also viewed as one of the all-time greats, Monzon was too big for Napoles and stopped him in the sixth round. Nevertheless, it Napoles showed tremendous courage by taking the fight and only added to his legacy.

Angulo Replaces Truax, Faces Quillin

Caleb Truax pulled out of his Aug. 31 rematch with Peter Quillin after he tore his Achilles tendon. The first fight between the two ended in a no-contest, as Truax was cut by an accidental headbutt in the second round. Both fighters may want to accept the idea that a fight between them might be cursed and shift their attention to other opponents.

Quillin has decided to move on, at least for the time being. He will face Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo in Truax’s absence. A longtime HBO journeyman best known for being stopped by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in 2014, Angulo is now 37 years old and owns 3-5 record across his last eight fights going back to 2013. It is a disappointing development, but no one can fault Quillin’s handlers. Considering Angulo’s decent reputation and the short-notice nature of the bout, they had to take what they could get. The winner will become the mandatory challenger for Caleb Plant’s IBF championship.

Horn to Battle Murata, Winner Gets Brant

After former Olympic gold medalist Ryota Murata bounced back from his loss to Rob Brant with a huge knockout in the rematch, he gets a big-name opponent and a fight on home soil. Jeff Horn, best known for his decision win over Manny Pacquiao in 2017, has since moved to middleweight and beaten a couple of lesser-known Australian opponents. While it was expected that he would return to either 147 or 154 pounds, Horn instead plans to stay at 160 to face Murata in Japan. Those plans are contingent upon his defeating Michael Zerafa on Aug. 31. The Murata-Horn winner would move on to meet Brant.

Golovkin-Derevyanchenko, Gvozdyk-Betrbiev Official for October

Two long-discussed fights have been made official: Gennady Golovkin will meet Sergiy Derevyanchenko on Oct. 5 (Dazn) at Madison Square Garden in New York, while Oleksandr Gvozdyk will square off with Artur Beterbiev in a unification bout on Oct. 18 (ESPN) in Philadelphia. Gvozdyk-Beterbiev has the potential to be great, while GGG-Derevyanchenko figures to be fun and informative, especially as it relates to Golovkin’s second fight under a new trainer and in regards to how much he has left in the tank. It will also be interesting to see where GGG goes if he wins, as he and Eddie Hearn linked arms and plan to have GGG Promotions and Matchroom co-promote some cards. That move set off rumors that we may finally see GGG-Billy Joe Saunders, assuming Saul “Canelo” Alvarez fights Sergey Kovalev in November.

These fights mean there will not be a huge drop in the quality of boxing for the month of October, even after the bevy of good fights in September. Speaking of good fights in September, it was learned recently that Emanuel Navarrete would be competing on the Tyson Fury-Otto Wallin undercard on Sept. 14. Juan Miguel Elorde, the grandson of Filipino legend Gabriel Elorde, has since been announced as his opponent. Elorde is 28-1 overall and undefeated since 2011.

Mayweather, Pacquiao Top ‘Best Boxers’ List

BoxRec put out its list of the top boxers of all-time, and it may be the worst such list ever compiled. Formulated using an incredibly confusing math-based algorithm that awards points for beating certain opponents, a fighter’s annual pound-for-pound performance and various other factors, the list reads like it was spit out by someone who just started boxing and knows little about the sport’s history.

It ranks Floyd Mayweather at No. 1, Manny Pacquiao at No. 2 and Carlos Monzon at No. 3. Muhammad Ali was placed fourth, while Sugar Ray Robinson -- a man many boxing historians view as the greatest of all-time -- fell to fifth. Meanwhile, Bernard Hopkins was ranked sixth, one spot ahead of Joe Louis, and James Toney was positioned at No. 25. Roberto Duran was stuck at No. 12, Floyd Patterson at No. 14 and Jack Johnson at No. 23. Worst of all, Henry Armstrong ranked 96th. Yes, the same Armstrong who was once a champion in three weight classes when only eight existed. In a word, atrocious.

Rumor: Is Showtime Considering Bailing on Boxing?

After the shocking decision by HBO to eliminate its boxing programming entirely in 2018, rumors have swirled that Showtime was considering following the same course. These are completely unsubstantiated rumors, and Stephen Espinoza, head of Showtime Sports, vehemently denied them on Twitter: “Don't worry...Showtime is not cutting boxing in any way, shape or form. Anyone who tells you different doesn’t know what they’re talking about. We are as committed & enthusiastic as ever. Upcoming announcements will make that abundantly clear.”

Keep in mind, Peter Nelson, the head of HBO Sports, told anyone who would listen that HBO was still committed to boxing just before its withdrawal, so take Espinoza’s words with a grain of salt. With that said, it is difficult not to think Showtime is coming to the same conclusions HBO did about battling Dazn and ESPN.


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