Fury Survives Vicious Cut to Save Wilder Rematch
In what was supposed to be an easy tune-up fight before his rematch with Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury struggled mightily against little-known Swede Otto Wallin. While he started slow, the main source of his problems was the 47-stitch-requiring cut that Wallin opened over Fury’s right eyebrow at the end of the third round. Credit to Fury for fighting on, pressing the action and hurting Wallin in the ninth, but even after Fury took control in the later rounds, in the final round he was hurt by a Wallin left hook. Wallin couldn’t capitalize and in the end, Fury won a unanimous 116-112, 117-111, 118-110 decision, saving his big-money rematch with Wilder (as long as Wilder doesn’t drop the ball against Luis Ortiz).
Credit to Wallin for his performance, but his raking of Fury’s cut with his glove as the referee broke the fighters up, and his holding the back of the head and landing uppercuts while Fury was cornered, were really poor form. He’s likely going to get a big matchup after this performance, and whoever his opponent is should make sure to have a long talk with the referee about his tactics.
On the other hand, there were some sketchy things about the fight that went Fury’s way. The most obvious is that had that same cut been on anyone but Tyson Fury, the fight would have been stopped. That’s probably true, but Wallin’s team had to know Fury was going to get all the breaks with the money a Wilder rematch would provide going into the fight, so they couldn’t have been surprised.
But, one of Fury’s other breaks brought up some issues of journalistic ethics. See, when ESPN did their in-corner interviews, Fury’s trainer believed the cut was caused by a headbutt. ESPN informed him it was a punch. Telling Davison that fact drastically altered the fight, and people on social media went nuts about ESPN butting in to help Fury. While I doubt it was intentional and the commission should look into what Davison was told that caused the confusion, ESPN should be far more careful with what they tell participants while events are taking place.
After this performance, should Fury leave Davison? His dad wants him to, but everybody needs to keep in mind that Fury was trained by his father’s brother until 2017, so it’s not surprising any small issue would cause Fury’s father to blame the trainer, not the son. Still, needing ESPN to give you such pivotal information is not a good look and Fury definitely didn’t look to be the best version of himself in the ring, so maybe it’s not a bad idea.
What else isn’t a good look? Vicious cultural appreciation. Yes, Tyson Fury ignored Andy Ruiz’s advice and entered the ring in a Mexican flag poncho, a sombrero, trunks with the Mexican flag on them and with a singer performing to a Mexican song. I really can’t emphasize enough how much boxing needs to stop doing this. Between steroids, sexual and domestic violence, homophobia, criminal histories and racism, almost every big fight has something the mainstream media could easily bring up to sink it. We don’t need to give them more ammunition. And before you say he was honoring the culture, realize that every person who has been “cancelled” for cultural appropriation has made the same argument to no avail.
But the big question Walllin’s performance brings up, is this one. Is the heavyweight division actually bad? After it was clear Wladimir Klitschko was far past his prime, we decided this was a new, golden age of heavyweights where there were so many talented fighters in the division fighting for the top spot. Most people thought Joshua was the best. He got knocked out by Andy Ruiz. Most people thought Fury beat Wilder. Fury struggled with Wallin. Maybe these were fluke performances caused by great fighters looking past their opponents, or maybe when Klitschko got old and couldn’t swat away his new generation of challengers, a crop of mediocre fighters sprung up and convinced the world they were something special. We’ll have to see.
Sparrow’s Arrest Leads to Cancelled Fight and More Garcia-Golden Boy Tension
In a story that truly can only happen in boxing, Ryan Garcia had to cancel his fight with Avery Sparrow this weekend, when Sparrow was arrested on Friday for an April gun charge. It is alleged that he brandished a gun during a domestic dispute. Why didn’t he get arrested sooner? Apparently, Sparrow doesn’t have a permanent address; he lives a bit of a gypsy lifestyle staying with friends and family, so the police have been searching L.A. gyms all week until they finally found him. The arrest was so shocking, Garcia was at the weigh in, weighed in, flexed and looked like a fool asking where Sparrow is when he was already in police custody.
With Sparrow arrested, Garcia’s people tried to salvage the training camp by having him fight Romero Duno (who was fighting Ivan Delgado, and stopped him at the end of the seventh round). From here, details get hazy with exactly what happened to that idea unclear. Ryan Songalia of “Ring” magazine says Golden Boy wanted to pay Duno to step aside, so Garcia could fight his opponent, Ivan Delgado. But, The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger says Garcia wanted “a fraction more money” to face a tougher opponent on insanely short notice, but Golden Boy wouldn’t budge on the number. This seems to be the most plausible theory, as Oscar De La Hoya seemingly trashed Garcia for the decision, telling Chris Mannix “I made a lot of money, but the fight was first for me. I didn’t care but I guess these fighters they’re not like that anymore, something’s changing and it’s sad.”
Because of this fiasco, Golden Boy is likely going to lose Garcia. Regarding the incident, he tweeted “I will continue to get peanuts, even tho i move cards i put people in seats, crazy how i get treated.” Remember that Garcia was already unhappy with Golden Boy before the incident, and that Golden Boy was trying to use the courts to get Floyd Mayweather and his team away from Garcia after Floyd started talking about him fighting Gervonta Davis. The consensus seems to be Garcia will fight Duno next -- Duno wore a shirt that read Ryan Garcia next, stop running in his fight with Delgado. But with Garcia likely at least looking at other promoters, who knows? If Garcia does leave Golden Boy, De La Hoya and his crew should throw everything they have behind Vergil Ortiz Jr. He’s a future star himself and so far, he’s drama-free.
Haney Breaks Zaur Abdullaev’s Orbital Bone, Calls out Lomachenko
Devin Haney is too good for anyone but the most elite fighters at lightweight, and it’s a waste of time to put him in the ring with anyone outside of the top five. This weekend, against Zaur Abdullaev, who was a legitimate unbeaten opponent, though he was inexperienced, Haney dominated a fight he would ultimately stop in the fourth round when he broke Abdullaev’s left orbital bone with an overhand right, and Abdullaev’s corner didn’t let their fighter come out for the fifth.
After the fight, Haney called out Vasiliy Lomachenko, calling him “No-machenko” and saying it was time to make the fight happen. It’s a bit of a hollow statement, since it’s pretty well established Lomachenko is fighting the Teofimo Lopez-Richard Commey winner for the IBF belt, but it might establish a narrative. See, with the win Haney now owns the “interim” WBC belt, which means he’ll be a mandatory for Lomachenko’s real WBC belt. If Lomachenko beats Commey or Lopez, there will be a very small list of fighters he will be allowed to face that the hardcore boxing fan would accept without yelling about ducking Haney (whoever George Kambosos is, would most definitely not be on that list). It’s pretty crazy that we are talking about a twenty-year-old being good enough that Lomachenko might duck him, but that should tell you how highly people think of Devin Haney.
Jose Pedraza Loses Decision to Jose Zepeda
Speaking of Lomachenko, former lightweight titlist and Lomachenko opponent Jose “The Sniper” Pedraza lost a wide, unanimous 99-93, 99-93, 99-93 decision to Jose Zepeda on Saturday night. Interestingly, this marks the third defeat for Pedraza, with all three losses coming to Southpaws. This was also Pedraza’s 140-pound, debut, and he didn’t look great at the weight class. For Zepeda, he is convinced the win is going to get him a title shot rematch against Jose Ramirez, to whom he lost a close decision in February.
Emanuel Navarrete Too Strong for Juan Miguel Elorde
Despite fighting for the second time in around a month, Emanuel Navarrete proved too big and too strong for Juan Miguel Elorde, who was boxing well but didn’t have the impact on his punches to slow down Navarrete. Navarrete has a unique style, he is so long and uses that length so well not to land jabs and keep fighters away while setting up right hands, but to throw long uppercuts and hooks to hurt his opponents as he stalks them around the ring. This was best exemplified by his third round knockdown of Elorde, who is the grandson of legendary Filipino fighter Gabriel “Flash” Elorde. In the fourth, Elorde was wobbled by a Navarrete right hand and the referee jumped in (a bit early) to stop the fight.
Supposedly, WBC 122 pound champion Ray Vargas wants to unify his belt by facing WBO champion Navarrete in an all-Mexico matchup. That would be a great fight. Give Navarrete some time off and make it happen on Cinco de Mayo.
Munguia Scores a TKO Win in Debut under Erik Morales
Another fighter known for being too big and too strong for his opponents, at least until his recent struggles, is WBO 154 pound champion Jaime Munguia. In this, his first fight with Erik Morales as trainer and supposedly his last before a move up to 160, Munguia knocked down Patrick Alottey three times before Alottey’s corner stopped the fight in the fourth round.
Allotey was boxing well for the first couple of rounds, but Munguia walked him down and almost every time he was able to trap Allotey in the corner and tee off, Alottey went down. In the fourth, Alottey was trapped and Munguia flurried, then Alottey escaped and took a knee despite being seemingly unharmed. This was when the fight was stopped, with there being no shot that seemed to hurt him despite what the Dazn announcers wanted you to believe. See, Brian Kenny and Dazn wanted you to think he was hurt, and that the taking a knee was a delayed reaction, not quitting. That would be a better argument, if the referee didn’t look confused and ask Alottey “why did you take a knee?” (about 12:10 of the video) as soon as he got up.
Munguia is a destroyer again thanks to the genius of Erik Morales, and he’s coming for the best of the best at 160, right? Ehh, Allotey was a Ghanaian who had been knocked out twice already when he left his home nation and had a record padded with subpar Ghanaian opponents. We need to see him against somebody a lot better before we can make that call.
Amanda Serrano Dominates Heather Hardy en Route to Unanimous Decision
Heather Hardy, the WBO featherweight champion and former MMA fighter lost her title and her first ever fight (in boxing) this weekend, when she was dominated by fellow Brooklynite Amanda Serrano. Serrano had Hardy hurt in the first round but couldn’t finish her and went on to win a unanimous 98-91, 98-91, 98-92 decision victory. After the fight, she called out Ireland’s Katie Taylor.
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