The War Report: The Loser (Week 34, 2017)

Photo credit: Esther Lin / Showtime

Well I guess I’ve had my day, you let me go my way. It’s me who has to pay, “the loser” the call me — Derrick Harriott

There has to be one after every fight, and in a packed weekend where boxing was at the forefront of the sporting and pop culture stages, the losers made out just fine.

After getting stopped in his professional boxing debut, Conor McGregor sipped a cocktail at the podium during the post-fight press conference, not as a relief from the stoppage that was forced on him once gassed out and breathless in the tenth round against Floyd Mayweather Jr., but in celebration of his new brand of Irish whiskey that he says will “take over the Irish whiskey market.”

When it came to boxing, McGregor, 29, had proclaimed the same kind of overthrow of the sport in the promotion of this mega event. An absurd statement to some, but not to those who have really followed the career of a confident superstar that had seemingly predicted everything right about his UFC career. A two weight UFC champion in his physical prime, McGregor’s accolades in the octagon were good enough to convince some that he would win, intriguing enough to convince millions to buy the Showtime pay-per-view and, more importantly, just enough for an athletic commission to approve the contest against an all-time great. There was really no stopping it from happening, and if the expectations were low, the fight surpassed them thanks to a typical slow start by Mayweather that seemingly got McGregor rounds, and a late body shot that hunched Floyd over in the eighth. Once Mayweather figured him out, he was patient enough to let McGregor punch himself out going into the late rounds, and in the tenth, peppered McGregor with shots that had his head snapping and body backpedaling. Referee Robert Byrd abruptly stopped the fight with McGregor standing against the ropes, barely throwing back, and obviously dead tired.

Photo credit: Idris Erba / Mayweather Promotions

“It’s just a lot more… I don’t know what the fuck the difference is, but it’s different. It’s very different. It’s just a little bit more cleaner or something,” said McGregor about boxing when compared to MMA. He didn’t agree with the stoppage but said Byrd did a good job for the rest of the fight. With Mayweather seated to his right, Conor complimented him nicely, and for the first time in the event, they both acted like adults. Even though he was the loser officially, McGregor took it in stride and by by the end of the presser, his cup was empty. Maybe it was a final advertisement in this commercial event, but perhaps it was a toast to him making an absurd amount of money in one night. An amount unheard of in the UFC, and only few in boxing can reach over the course of a career — going to show that exploitation and good advertising go hand in hand.

On the same night in Carson, California and on HBO, Yoshihiro Kamegai was out-classed by Miguel Cotto over the course of twelve rounds, but garnered a big hug from the Puerto Rican star for his spirited effort.

Photo credit: Tom Hogan / Golden Boy Promotions

Kamegai, Tokyo, Japan, managed to clip Cotto in the opening round and sparked a fire fight through the first nine minutes until the level of class began to show. He got hit often throughout the fight, but Kamegai showed the will to constantly come forward and provide a watchable one-sided fight. Kamegai’s body language was entertaining in itself. As he waited for the fighter introductions from Michael Buffer, he used the turnbuckle as a punching bag to get a sweat, and after the successful first round, strutted back to his corner after eating a punch when the bell hadn’t even sounded yet. Kamegai would stretch his arms in an unconventional fashion before sitting on the stool, and once getting of it, trotted forward in a way you’d imagine a mobile Rock’em Sock’em robot looking for action. You could even hear laughing in the crowd at the Stub Hub Center every time Kamegai didi this distinct scamper, and the same went for instances where he’d turn his head slowly back into position after being knocked out of place. Although limited in his terms of boxing skill, Kamegai’s effort saved the fight from being just an out-classing, and provided enough action to make it fun for those taking a stand by being there, staying away from the other out-classing in Las Vegas.

“If I went backward, it would’ve been worse for me,” said Kamegai to ucnlive.com on the Monday after his defeat (via translation of Yuriko Miyata). While in town, Kamegai attended the Canelo-GGG media workout in downtown Los Angeles, and was greeted by many fans throughout the day. Kamegai admitted he did not expect this kind of recognition, especially after a defeat on the least watched televised boxing card of the night. The 34-year old was genuinely happy about it, and took every photo op with a thumbs up and a smile.

Some fight for money, some for the recognition of their effort, and if a fighter ultimately gets what they want, that’s all that matters in the fight game, even to the loser.

Fights of the Week

Yordenis Ugas UD10 Thomas Dulorme (147) | August 26 — Las Vegas, Nevada

Sergiy Derevyanchenko TKO12 Tureano Johnson (IBF 160 eliminator) | August 25 — Miami, Oklahoma

Ladarius Miller UD10 Jamel Herring (135) | August 22 — Las Vegas, Nevada

KO of the Week

Hugo Centeno Jr. KO3 Immanuwel Aleem (160) | August 25 — Miami, Oklahoma

Fighter of the Week

Floyd Mayweather Jr. (50–0, 33 KOs)

Photo credit: Esther Lin / Showtime

Earning upwards of 125 million dollars, he did it again.

Results

From this past week

World title bouts

WBO 154 | Miguel Cotto UD12 Yoshihiro Kamegai (120–108, 119–109, 118–110) | Cotto wins the vacant WBO junior middleweight title

Photo credit: Tom Hogan / Golden Boy Promotions

WBC 122 | Rey Vargas UD12 Ronny Rios (118–110 x2, 115–113) | Vargas defends the WBC junior featherweight title for the first time

Photo credit: Tom Hogan / Golden Boy Promotions

WBO 105 | Ryuya Yamanaka UD12 Tatsuya Fukuhara (115–113 x2, 116–112) | Yamanaka becomes the new WBO mini flyweight title holder

Notables

200 — Andrew Tabiti UD10 Steve Cunningham (97–93 x2, 100–90) —

175 — Badou Jack TKO5 Nathan Cleverly

168 — Caleb Truax TKO10 KeAndre Leatherwood

160 — Sergiy Derevyanchenko TKO12 Tureano Johnson — Hugo Centeno Jr. KO3 Immanuwel Aleem

154 — Floyd Mayweather Jr. TKO10 Conor McGregor — Mark Hernandez UD6 Kevin Newman II (59–54 x2, 56–55) — Alexis Rocha KO1 Esau Herrera — Domonique Dolton TKO2 Sergio Gomez

147 — Yordenis Ugas UD10 Thomas Dulorme (94–91, 93–92 x2) — Juan Heraldez UD10 Jose Borrego (97–92 x2, 96–93) — Sanjarbek Rahmanov KO2 Noe Lopez — Shoki Sakai UD8 Ashley Theophane (80–72, 79–73, 78–74)

135 —Ladarius Miller UD10 Jamel Herring (97–93 x2, 98–92) — Austin Dulay RTD3 Ricardo Padilla

130 — Gervonta Davis TKO5 Francisco Fonseca

126 — Kiko Martinez KO3 Lorenzo Parra — Joet Gonzalez KO5 Deivi Julio — Erick Ituarte SD8 Alberto Torres (78–74 x2, 74–75)

122 — Juan Carlos Payano UD10 Alexis Santiago (99–91 x2, 100–90) — Amnat Ruenroeng TKO3 Thongchai Kunram

105 — Janiel Rivera KO1 Marco Antonio Sanchez