The War Report: Center of Attention (Week 5, 2017)
The boxing schedule stateside didn’t dare try and impede on the weekend of the country’s biggest sporting event, but there was an event across the Atlantic that dominated boxing conversations. Much to the dismay of just about everyone that didn’t bare his last name, Chris Eubank Jr. headlined his first pay-per-view event on iTV Box Office Saturday night in the UK. Rarely was there an intriguing discussion of his super middleweight match-up with Australian opponent, Renold Quinlan, rather, the focus was on whether or not the fight was PPV worthy.
The event was billed “Reborn” — an unabashed link to the glory days of Eubank’s father — who put together a Hall of Fame career in the early 90’s. Eubank Sr., who also serves as his son’s trainer, manager, and publicist (basically), relished the opportunity to show off his eloquence leading up to the fight, and when it came to questions of this PPV’s value or any prediction of it’s success, he maintained that the Eubank brand is worth the price, but never would he put a number on what he thought the sales would do.
It was almost as if the discussion of it being a PPV was part of the show, and Team Eubank tore a page out of the optimist’s handbook — where there is no such thing as bad publicity. Fact of the matter is, the event was at least talked about, but was this ever a true PPV?
Eubank (24–1, 19 KOs) is a tremendous looking athlete, and that was on display in the ring Saturday night. Making debut at 168-pounds, Eubank flashed the fast hands he possesses, and an innate responsibility to perform for the crowd. That desire is what makes him a flawed fighter at times as he fights in an unorthodox manner, and often showboats for the crowd. The problem was, there was nothing scintillating about his performance for two reasons: Although tough, Quinlan (11–2, 7 KOs) isn’t a heralded opponent, and Eubank’s power didn’t seem to translate up to 168-pounds all that well. It was a referee’s stoppage in the tenth round, but Eubank never managed to drop Quinlan, or supply a highlight reel knockout that resonates. All in all, it was a showcase of his athleticism, combination punching and hand speed, but that could already be proven in the promo videos leading up to the fight. Those didn’t cost anything to watch.
The beauty of PPV, however, is that it leaves the decision to the consumer, rather than something being forced down their collective throats. There was a slight problem for those that did elect to buy the event though. A blue screen graced their televisions for a portion of the card, and while many had a right to be furious, should anyone feel bad for the person that willingly bought a senseless PPV?
There’s a fine line of what constitutes a PPV event, especially in this day and age of the internet. Sometimes, and this is sort of a new phenomenon, the added price is necessary to conjure up enough money for two top guys to get in the ring, regardless if either had ever been, or will be, a PPV attraction or not. Still, the truest form a PPV involves a bona-fide superstar that has transcended the sport, but typically there is no limited audience witnessing the beginning of his ascension.
Eubank wants to be the Center of Attention, which is actually a good thing for a fighter that shows some promise, but that won’t happen under the current formula he’s in now. Leading up to and just after the win, Eubank put the IBO super middleweight title on a pedestal, and for good measure, released a video of himself working out with the belt around his waist. After his last win eight months ago, Junior seemed to righteously call out Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, but he priced himself out to eventually do the same with consumers. Just to think, Eubank would’ve probably still been on a PPV had he fought Golovkin, and if he performed valiantly — win or lose — he certainly could’ve got a lot more out of a performance of that nature rather than the showcase that happened this past weekend.
Fight of the Week
Eddie Ramirez RTD9 Ryan Karl (147) | Tunica, Mississippi
The co-feature of a Fox Sports 1 broadcast on Thursday night, this match-up between unbeaten welterweight prospects was a perfect fight for television. In fact, the entire Premier Boxing Champions card was on point that night.
Ramirez (16–0, 11 KOs) was the winner of what ended up being a one-sided beating, but the toughness “Cowboy” Karl displayed in the ring brought great exchanges throughout the fight. Karl (13–1, 9 KOs) relentlessly went after Ramirez even though he would constantly fall victim to the power, speed, and all-around boxing awareness Ramirez displayed. The action started right from the jump, and in the first half of the fight, Karl was competitive.
Starting in the seventh, the amount of punishment started to catch up with the 25-year old from Houston, Texas. Karl’s recourse slowly withered away with every clean body and head shot, and the thudding punches began to resonate with his corner. After a ninth round that had a moment where referee Bill Clancy could’ve stopped the fight, Karl’s trainer, Ronnie Shields, put an end to the beating despite only one round left. It was the right decision, and so was matching up these two prospects.
Christian Hammer TKO7 David Price (200+) | London, England
This slobber-knocker was a sloppy mess once the two punched themselves out, but there were plenty of heavyweight bombs being dropped before Price was waved off in the seventh.
On the road, Hammer (21–4, 12 KOs) overcame a knockdown late in the fifth round, but Price didn’t spare himself enough time to follow-up. Price (21–4, 18KOs) had already shown signs of being gassed in the fight, but he finally gassed out completely in the sixth. The constant right hands from the Romanian certainly didn’t help, but in the final minute of the round, Price was inexplicable hunched over by his own volition. So tired, he couldn’t even hold his torso up. Finally, the fight was stopped as Hammer kept the pressure up, and got on the inside. It was a deja vu result for the giant heavyweight from Liverpool.
KO of the Week
Luis Collazo KO6 Sammy Vasquez Jr. (147) | Tunica, Mississippi
In a crossroads bout bout between welterweights, Collazo (37–7, 20 KOs) breathes life late into his career yet again with this brutal knockout. Vasquez (21–2, 15 KOs) was taking some punishment beforehand and was dropped earlier in the third round, but a final right hand knocked him out cold. Vasquez’s senseless body contorted as it crashed to the canvas, and Collazo went to his knees praying for the U.S. Army Veteran while he stayed on the mat for awhile. Vasquez was okay, but this marks the second brutal defeat in a row for the 30-year old from Monessen, Pennsylvania.
Collazo, 35, knocked out Victor Ortiz two years ago and to the delight of everyone on boxing twitter, he called out Floyd Mayweather Jr. right after it. The KO win got him a fight with Amir Khan, but after being blanked by him on the cards, a second round KO of Christopher Delgadillo somehow got Collazo a fight with Keith Thurman. While he hurt Thurman before eventually being stopped, Collazo called out Shawn Porter after the win over Vasquez, but for just a split-second, it seemed like the Brooklynite was going to call out Floyd again. Boxing twitter would’ve broke.
Jamie Mungaia KO2 Juan Macias Montiel (147) | Cuautitlan Izcalli, Mexico
Munguia (20–0, 17 KOs) starts the year right where he left off with a highlight reel knockout late in the second round. Montiel (19–4–1, 19 KOs) a southpaw who had never been stopped before, was in motion of throwing a left hand just as Munguia’s right landed square on his chin. Macias keeled over face first onto the canvas, and stayed sprawled out for awhile as the ringside doctor checked him out. Munguia, Tijuana, Mexico, knocked out all seven of his opponents in 2016, and this one marks his eleventh in a row.
Masaru Sueyoshi TKO3 Allan Vallespin (130) | Tokyo, Japan
Timing a perfect counter right hand, Sueyoshi (14–1, 9 KOs) knocked out his Filipino opponent in the first minute of the third round, handing the 22-year old his first defeat. Vallespin (9–1, 8 KOs) lunged in with his left hook and while fighting backward, the 26-year old from Tokyo sent him crashing to the canvas with that one punch. Flat on his back, Vallespin was waved off immediately by the referee.
Francisco Rojo TKO5 Dante Jardon (135) | Cancun, Mexico
Fighter of the Week
Eddie Ramirez (16–0, 11 KOs)
The second week in a row, a fighter nicknamed “The Scorpion” graces their presence in this section. Ramirez, a 24-year old welterweight prospect from Aurora, Illinois, put on a superb performance against the unbeaten and relentless, Ryan “Cowboy” Karl. It was an outing that clearly showed a separation in front of a fellow prospect, and it happened to be an entertaining scrap. Ramirez, 24, has now stopped two fighters in a row that were undefeated beforehand, and there are plenty of PBC welterweight opportunities out there. Going forward, he’s a worth keeping an eye on.
Hostile Agent of the Week
In this story on boxingscene.com, it was revealed that Caribe Promotions was forced to relinquish the rights to a bout they won in a purse bid last November because they inexplicably didn’t make the fight. Beibut Shumenov vs. Yunier Dorticos was the cruiserweight bout mandated by the WBA, and Caribe bought it for $350,001. They had 90days to promote the fight, and were even given extra time, but it was all one big circle jerk. In the story, Shumenov said he signed a bout agreement to fight on February 11th, but Caribe and Dorticos disappeared according to him. Caribe was forced to forfeit their $35,000 deposit, 10% of it going to the WBA and the remaining split between Shumenov (75%) and Dorticos (25%). Caribe, who has glaringly hindered the career of Guillermo Rigondeaux, just laid out another example of their incompetence. Just look at the media part of their twitter feed. The fight was given to the second highest bidder: TGB Promotions.
In order of weight class — no world title bouts in Week 4
Christian Hammer TKO9 David Price (200+)
Agit Kabayal UD12 Herve Hubeaux (200+) | 117–111, 117–109, 119–109
Kevin Lerena TKO5 Vikapita Morero (200)
Danny Green MD10 Anthony Mundine (175) | 94–94, 98–90, 96–94
Michael Seals TKO3 Dennis Sharpe (175)
Chris Eubank Jr. TKO10 Renold Quinlan (168)
John Ryder UD12 Adam Etches (168) | 117–111, 116–112, 118–109
Tim Tszyu TKO3 Mark Dalby (160)
Luis Collazo KO6 Sammy Vasquez Jr. (147)
Yordenis Ugas SD10 Levan Ghvamichava (147) | 99–90, 97–94, 94–95
Eddie Ramirez RTD9 Ryan Karl (147)
Jaime Munguia KO2 Juan Macias Montiel (147)
David Mijares UD6 Evincii Dixon (140) | 60–54, 60–54, 58–56
Jonathan Navarro UD6 Angel Rodriguez (140) | 60–54, 60–54, 59–55
Felix Verdejo UD10 Oliver Flores (135) | 99–91, 96–94, 98–92
Nihito Arakawa UD12 Anthony Sabalde (135) | 116–112, 115–113, 115–113
Ryan Garcia KO2 Devon Jones (135)
Francisco Rojo TKO5 Dante Jardon (135)
Christopher Diaz TKO7 Efrain Equivias (130)
Masaru Sueyoshi TKO3 Allan Vallespin (130)
Kid Galahad RTD3 Leonel Hernandez (126)
Juan Carlos Rivera TKO4 Roberto Corea (126)
Jason Maloney UD8 Marco Demecillo (126) | 80–71, 80–69, 80–70
Yusaku Kuga TKO2 Yasutaka Ishimoto (122)
Andrew Maloney UD8 Rencel Pael (118) |
Joshua Franco KO3 Victor Pasillas (115)
Daigo Higa TKO4 Diomel Diocos (115)
Francisco Rodriguez Jr, RTD5 Hajime Nagai (115)
Andrew Selby RTD3 Ardin Daile (112)
Hekkie Budler RTD7 Joey Canoy (108)
Declarations of War
Fights made official over the past week (In order of weight class)
Deontay Wilder vs. Gerald Washington (WBC 200+) | February 25 — Birmingham, Alabama | Andrzej Wawrzyk failed a drug test last week, but the show ill go on for Wilder (37–0, 36 KOs) will look to make his fifth defense of the WBC heavyweight title in his hometown. Wilder, 31, is coming off multiple surgeries to his right hand and bicep. Washington (18–0–1, 12 KOs) is comparable to Wilder in height, but is glaringly bigger in mass, however, he had trouble with the much shorter Amir Mansour 18 months ago which resulted in the only blip on his record.
Joseph Parker vs. Hughie Fury (WBO 200+) | April 1 — Auckland, New Zealand | After edging out Andy Ruiz Jr. to win the vacant WBO heavyweight title last December, Parker (22–0, 18 KOs) is now scheduled to make his first mandatory defense in his home country. His promoter won the purse-bid last week, and Fury (20–0, 10 KOs) was next in line after the WBO’s №1 contender, David Haye, elected to fight Tony Bellew on March 4th. Fury, the cousin of former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, will be fighting in his first world title bout after winning his first fight scheduled for 12 rounds last April. It was his last fight, and a cut of his stopped the fight early, but Fury won easily on points.
Tyron Zeuge vs. Isaac Ekpo (WBA 168) | March 25 — Potsdam, Germany | Coming off a 12th round knockout win over Giovanni Di Carolis, Zuege (19–0–1, 11 KOs) won the WBA super middleweight title while also avenging his draw. The German will now face a mandatory opponent in Ekpo (31–2, 24 KOs), a 34-year old power puncher from Nigeria.
Cancellation: Miguel Cotto vs. James Kirkland (153) | After Kirkland (32–2, 28 KOs) broke his nose in sparring this past week, the entire February 25th HBO pay-per-view card has been cancelled. Cotto (40–5, 33 KOs), still plans on fighting twice in 2017, but neither of them will be with “The Mandingo Warrior.” The other notable fight on the card that is now postponed: Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Moises Flores (WBA 122).
Ryan Martin vs. Bryant Cruz (135) | March 18 — New York, New York | The opening bout of an HBO pay-per-view telecast from the Madison Square Garden. Martin (17–0, 10 KOs), has been a mainstay on “GGG” undercards as of late, and will get a chance to make himself known in a solid match-up against Cruz (17–1, 8 KOs), who will have a home canvas advantage.
Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Jason Sosa (WBO 130) | April 8 — Oxon Hill, Maryland | The main event of an HBO broadcast, Lomachenko (7–1, 5 KOs), looks to make the second defense of his WBO junior lightweight title after forcing Nicholas Walters to quit on his stool last November. Sosa (20–1–4, 15 KOs) has had good wins over Javier Fortuna (TKO11) and Stephen Smith (UD12) since drawing with Walters in his HBO debut. The fight takes place at the brand-new MGM National Harbor located near Washington D.C., and the HBO co-feature has yet to be announced.
Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Carlos Narvaez (115) | February 24 — Palm Bay, Florida | This super flyweight contest headlines a card televised on Telemundo. Nicknamed “The Kid,” Narvaez (15–0, 6 KOs), Manati, Puerto Rico, will partake in his first ten round fight against an experienced Mexican in Rodriguez (15–3, 4 KOs).
This week’s boxing schedule
Friday, February 10th
Bounce TV (9:00 PM ET / 6 PT) | Huntington Center — Toledo, Ohio
Robert Easter Jr. vs. Luis Cruz (IBF 135) | Fighting in his hometown, Easter (18–0, 14 KOs), looks to make his first defense of the IBF lightweight title after edging Richard Commey last September to win the vacant belt. Cruz (22–4–1, 16 KOs), who just cracked the top 15 in the IBF rankings, is an experienced Puerto Rican coming off a draw to Ivan Redkach.
Rau’shee Warren vs, Zhanat Zhakiyanov (WBA 118) | Also looking to make his first title defense, Warren (14–1, 4 KOs), is coming off a majority decision win over Juan Carlos Payano, that not only got him the belt, but avenged his only defeat. Fighting out of Kazakhstan, Zhakiyanov (26–1, 18 KOs), the number one bantamweight contender under the eyes of the WBA, is making his U.S. debut, but last fought in November 2015 — a decision win that ended a twelve fight KO streak.
Jamel Herring vs. Art Hovhannisyan (135) | Herring (15–1, 8 KOs), is coming off a tough stoppage loss to Denis Shafikov last July, and so is his opponent, Hovhannisyan (17–3–3, 9 KOs), who lost on points to Diego Magdaleno in October.
Showtime (10:05 PM ET / 7:05 PT) | Buffalo Run Casino — Miami, Oklahoma
Ivan Baranchyk vs. Abel Ramos (140) | The main event of the SHOBOX card was supposed to feature heavyweight prospect Trey Lippe-Morrison, but the son of Tommy suffered a cut this past week in training. Baranchyuk, (13–0, 10 KOs), a 24-year old Russian prospect fighting out of Brooklyn, New York, faces Ramos (17–1–2, 12 KOs), who’s only defeat came from another touted junior welterweight prospect, Regis Prograis.
Lenin Castillo vs. Joe Williams (175) | In a match-up of unbeaten light heavyweights, Castillo (15–0–1, 10 KOs), a former Olympian from the Dominican Republic, takes on Williams (10–0, 7 KOs), who is moving down from cruiserweight for the first time since 2014.
Jon Fernandez vs. Ernesto Garza (130) | Fernandez (10–0, 8 KOs), a junior lightweight Spaniard promoted by Sergio Martinez, fights in the U.S. for the second time against Garza (7–1, 4 KOs), a 28-year old from Saginaw, Michigan.
Notable fights not on TV
Friday, February 10th
Bilal Laggoune vs. Doudou Ngumbu (175) | Pamel-Roosdal, Belgium
Giovanni Santillan vs. Omar Tienda (147) | Ontario, California
Saturday, February 11th
Cedric Agnew vs. TBA (200) | Biloxi, Mississippi
Eric Walker vs. TBA (154) | Biloxi, Mississippi
Juan Jose Velasco vs. Fernando Marin (147) | Guadalajara, Mexico
Regis Prograis vs. Wilfrido Buelvas (140) | Biloxi, Mississippi
Lenny Daws vs. Anthony Yigit (140) | Carsharlton, England
Mykal Fox vs. Tre’Sean Wiggins (140) | Fort Washington, Maryland
Eduardo Hernandez vs. Rodolfo Puente (130) | Mexico City, Mexico
Rafael Rivera vs. Giovanni Caro (130) | Palm Springs, California
Sunday, February 12th
Kenichi Horikawa vs. Koji Itagaki (108) | Hiroshima, Japan
Ryoya Ikema vs. Koki Ono (108) | Hiroshima, Japan