Thursday, January 31, 2019

2019 Philadelphia Boxing Schedule Starts with a “Philly Special”

By Luis A. Cortes III

Already a month into the New Year, most likely by now, most fans of the sweet science in the Philadelphia area would have had at least one local show they could have attended. Despite the slow start to the local pugilistic schedule, starting on February 8th fight fans will have seven shows to get excited about. The shows that will take place in the months of February and March have just about everything a fight fan could ask for.  

Local promoters, who are always active in the area, will be joined by two of the major promotional outfits. This means that before the summer months hit, sports fans just getting over the disappointing end to the Eagles Super Bowl defense that await the start of the Sixers play-off run, will have something to be excited about. Along with the hopeful addition of a mega star to the Phillies starting lineup this summer, there will be plenty of fist fights to enjoy before heading “down the shore” starting Memorial Day.

Below is a look at all seven shows. (NOTE: As each show gets closer be sure to stay tuned for continued coverage of each event.  Coverage will include fighter interviews, featured articles, and more.) 

February 8: 2300 Arena, Philadelphia, PA (Raging Babe)

Christian Carto (17-0)(11) vs. Victor Ruiz (22-10)(15)

Marcel Rivers (6-0)(4) vs. Derrick Whitley Jr. (4-0-1)

Heavyweight prospects: Darmani Rock (13-0)(8) & Sonny Conto (DEBUT)

The show that kicks-off the year is being dubbed the “Philly Special” by its promoter Michelle Rosado, the head of Raging Babe. Rosado has been a main stay on the local boxing scene for years now as the understudy of Hall-of-Fame promoter Russell Peltz. This time, it is Rosado that is the promoter in charge of the event. While this is her first show in Philadelphia, she is no stranger to putting on successful shows in North Carolina and Arizona.  From the looks of the lineup of fights scheduled, “Philly Special” looks to be no different from her other successes of providing fans with entertainment.

Bantamweight prospect and South Philadelphia native Christian Carto begins to make the transition from highly touted prospect into serious contender. This fight against the veteran and always game Victor Ruiz is the perfect match up to begin that transition. Carto continues to forge a bond with his new trainer the respected Billy Briscoe, whom Carto has been with already for a couple fights. It tends to take a few training camps and in fight situations for a fighter and trainer to click, so against Ruiz we will look to see if this relationship is indeed on course to make the bright future for Carto a reality. Ruiz can fight and always likes to be in a fight, don’t let his ten-loss record fool you. He is no easy fight for any prospect or contender and has been in with some of the best in the world, even if that was three pounds south of bantamweight at super flyweight.

Also, on the card will be the heavyweight prospects both fighting out of Philadelphia, Darmani Rock and Sonny Conto.  While they will both be fighting in separate bouts, Rock, like Carto, is looking to turn the corner from prospect to contender, while Conto will be taking part in his first professional fight.  Conto, like the headliner Carto, hails from south Philly and when you couple his amateur success along with his optional draw power at the box office, it’s clear why Top Rank signed him to their stable.

February 23: The Met, Philadelphia, PA (Hard Hitting Promotions)

Jeremy Cuevas (11-0)(8) vs. Steve Ortiz (9-0)(3)

Samuel Teah (15-2-1)(7) vs. Tre’Sean Wiggins (10-4-1)(6)

Featuring: Brenden Pizzaro (13-1)(6) & Malik Hawkins (13-0)(9)

In the tradition of Philadelphia vs. Philadelphia fights, The Met Opera House will host its first boxing event for the first time since 1954. Of course, the Met recently reopened after $56 million was spent on restoring the venue which opened over a hundred years ago. This card, presented by local powerhouse Hard Hitting Promotions, looks to be the first in a series of cards to be held at this historic venue.  Along with help from Live Nation, Hard Hitting may have found the right partner to help take their young stable into new markets.

Cuevas taking on Ortiz tops the bill in a battle between two lightweight prospects that regardless of the outcome of this fight are poised to eventually become contenders. Kudos to each fighter for not waiting to fight each other and deciding to take on the challenge the other presents at this point in their young careers. These are the types of fights that once made Philadelphia a great fight town and helped to propel each fighter’s career. From a stylistic standpoint, Cuevas and Ortiz should not disappoint. Both fighters have boxing skills but have the internal makeup of a warrior and don’t shy away from a firefight.  With the PA state lightweight title on the line and bragging rights in the city at stake, this should be a fun one, while it lasts. 

Hard Hitting’s stable will also be featured on this card. Super lightweights Teah and Wiggins will battle for the PA Super Lightweight Title, and lightweight prospect Brenden Pizzaro continues to try and improve his winning streak since his lone defeat. This time, Pizzaro will be in a better match-up as the fights begin to increase in difficulty. Baltimore native Malik Hawkins returns for the first time in close to a year. Since his victory over former prospect and fringe contender Ray Serrano, Hawkins has been on the shelf, but he looks to return with a statement victory. 

March 1: 2300 Arena, Philadelphia, PA (Kings Promotions)

Tyrone Brunson (27-7-2)(24) vs. Jamaal Davis (18-13-1)(7)

Tyrone Crawley (7-1-1)(1) vs. Victor Vazquez (10-5)(4) 

Do not, I repeat, do not let the records of the fighters mentioned above on this card give you pause. If there is one thing that the always enjoyable Kings Promotions knows how to do, it’s match up their fighters in exciting fights regardless of records. These two fights that headline this show are no different.  Brunson is coming off his appearance on the Contender and is looking to make one last push towards title contention. With the type of power he packs in his punches he will always have a chance to win fights, and against Davis he looks to start his path towards bigger fights at 154, which he hopes lands him in championship opportunities. Vazquez was last seen in a brawl with Anthony Mercado late last year. He has a fun style to watch and always presses the action, which should blend well with Crawley, the constant moving boxer.       

March 1: Parx Casino, Bensalem, PA (Joe Hand Promotions)

Garrett Wilson (18-15-1)(9) vs. Brian Howard (13-2)(10)

Isiah Wise (7-2-1)(4) vs. Monreco Goldston (5-1-1)(3)

Return of Jerome Conquest (9-3)(1)

Two fights in the Philadelphia area on the same night can be a tough thing, especially when fight fans must be split on which show to purchase tickets for. This night will be no different, but at times that is one of the setbacks when booking dates in advance. Promoters are forced to take dates from certain venues they have relationships with, regardless of what other promoters may be planning. With that said, Joe Hand Promotions will return to the Xcite Center at Parx Casino on Street Road in Bensalem.  Parx is located right outside of the Northeast city limits and is a great venue to watch fights. 

As for the fights, Wilson and Howard should produce excitement while the fight lasts. Both fighters enjoy a good fight and taking a backward step is not something they either plan on doing. If you’re looking for fighters that like to exchange punches (sometimes to their detriment), this fight is one you shouldn’t miss.

Isiah Wise is always looking for a good scrap in his own right. He has improved on utilizing his jab to setup power punches more and has improved on moving his head. This is of course until he gets hit and decides to return power shots, which is always fun for the fans watching. Add the fact that he always brings a good crowd out and its always a fun night out to watch one of his fights. For the fan that enjoys a slick boxer that likes making his opponents miss and counter, Jerome Conquest makes his long-awaited return to the ring after suffering some foot and leg injuries that kept him on the shelf for a large part of last year. Conquest looks to be more active this year as he defends his WBF lightweight strap.   

March 15: Liacouras Center, Philadelphia, PA (Matchroom USA, DAZN)

Tevin Farmer (28-4-1)(6) vs. Jono Carroll (16-0)(3) (IBF Jr. Lightweight Championship)

Katie Taylor (12-0)(5) vs. Rose Volante (14-0)(8) (WBA/IBF/WBO Female Lightweight Championship)

Gabriel Rosado (24-11-1)(14) vs. Maciej Sulecki (27-1)(11)

Hank Lundy (29-7-1)(14) vs. Avery Sparrow (9-1)(3)

This is a huge fight card that will be coming to Philadelphia’s Temple campus. Since Matchroom Boxing USA has burst onto the scene last year with their streaming partners DAZN, they have provided consistent content, while continuing to bolster their stable of world class fighters. This St. Patrick’s Day weekend show just from the look of it, along with the kick-off press conference this week, proved that this should be nothing but a successful night of entertainment for fight fans. 

Since joining Matchroom USA, Farmer has become the most active fighter in recent memory. This will be his third title defense since winning the championship back in August. Most current champions wouldn’t have had their first defense at this point. To Farmers credit, he is not waiting around to fight the bigger names in his division; instead he is properly focused on his own career and is fighting top level contenders to stay sharp as he awaits the bigger names. Carroll, as he showed at the presser, is game for this challenge and since he hails from Ireland, looks to fulfill his dream. 

Katie Taylor looks to unify the lightweight division in her fight with Brazil native Rose Volante. Taylor like Farmer continues to be an active champion and a victory to unify the division gets her one step closer to undisputed status at lightweight. Also, with bigger names out there like Amanda Serrano (Taylor beat Amanda Serrano’s sister Cindy) and Heather Hardy, a victory for Taylor will continue her march towards the top of the pound-for-pound list.     

Philadelphia fighters will be the theme for the rest of this card. Lundy vs. Sparrow is a classic fight between the seasoned veteran, Lundy, and the upstart looking to make a name for himself, Sparrow.  Both fighters love to talk and believe that their opponent is a step towards bigger and better things in the future. Gabriel Rosado, Philly’s real life Rocky, as always, is fighting a tough fighter in Sulecki.  Sulecki’s only loss came against current IBF Middleweight Champion Daniel Jacobs. This will be a great fight full of action. A victory for either man puts them a stone’s throw away from the champions in the middleweight division, which are for the most part fighters in the DAZN atmosphere and shouldn’t be hard fights to make.  

March 29: Sugar House Casino, Philadelphia, PA (Kings Promotions)

Anvar Yunusov (6-0)(3) vs. TBA

Anthony Mercado (12-4)(10) vs. Andres Navarro (11-7-1)(7)

Featuring Brendan Robinson (11-2)(8) & Erik Spring (11-2-2)(1) in separate fights

Okay so like it was mentioned earlier, Kings Promotions will deliver yet another solid local show in Philadelphia, this time it will take place from the ballroom at Sugar House Casino. Yunusov is a former three-time Olympian from Tajikistan that has proved so far that making the transition into the paid ranks has not been an issue for him. He is a southpaw that has a powerful straight left and fights in a similar style to another former decorated Olympian also in the lightweight divisions. At the age of 31, Yunusov will need to make a quick move from prospect to contender.     
Mercado, Robinson, and Spring are all fighters that bring out good fan support for their fights. Mercado holds a recent victory over Victor Vazquez in a fight that was a pure war, while Robinson is coming back from a war himself, in the fight of the year for Philadelphia, although he was on the losing end of things. Spring is a solid boxer that likes to frustrate his opponents with his jab and movement.  

March 30: TBD, Philadelphia, PA (Top Rank, ESPN)

Oleksandr Gvozdyk (16-0)(13) vs. TBA (WBC and Lineal Light Heavyweight Championship)

While the site has yet to be officially determined or announced by Top Rank, sources have told TWI that this card will land at the 2300 Arena. “The Nail” Gvozdyk will be the headliner of this card in his first defense of the WBC and Lineal Light Heavyweight Championship that he won by knocking out Adonis Stevenson last December. This will most likely be a mandatory defense with the rest of the card featuring most of the local Top Rank talent signed to their stable. Allentown natives the Adorno brothers, super middleweight contender Jesse Hart could return, along with the Sonny Conto.      

 For questions or comments feel free to contact me on Twitter @LC3Boxing or on my E-mail:

*Tickets are available for all these shows (except the Top Rank 3/30 Show).  They can be purchased on the website of all the venues that will be hosting the shows.   

Support The Weigh-In: Your Home for Combat Sports by Shopping World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Products!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Sonny Conto Interview

I recently sat down with Philadelphia heavyweight Sonny Conto for an interview. Sonny, who had a highly successful amateur career, will make his professional debut on the Raging Babe "Philly Special Show" on February 8th at the 2300 Arena. The 22-year-old, who signed with Top Rank in January, is scheduled to square off against Jimmie Levins (0-4) in a four round contest.

Sonny Conto
You can listen to our interview on both SoundCloud and iTunes

Top Rank Signed Heavyweight Boxer Sonny Conto Interview with Luis Cortes on SoundCloud 

Top Rank Signed Heavyweight Boxer Sonny Conto Interview with Luis Cortes on iTunes

Support The Weigh-In: Your Home for Combat Sports by Shopping World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Products!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Gerardo Martinez Returns to the Ring on "Philly Special" Show

By Matt Ward

The fighting pride of Coatesville, Pennsylvania Gerardo Martinez (3-1, 1 KO) returns to the ring next Friday night on Raging Babe's "Philly Special" show at the 2300 Arena. He is scheduled to square off with Atlantic City veteran pugilist Osnel Charles (12-18-1, 2 KOs) in a four round, super lightweight bout.

Martinez's sole career blemish in his young career was a close split decision loss to Vinnie Denierio  last March, a loss that in this writer's opinion, should have ended in favor of Martinez. Charles, on the other hand, has fought professionally since 2009, and has been in the ring with many promising prospects from the greater Philadelphia area. This fact has not been overlooked by Martinez, who is confident that his solid training will pay off against the 34-year-old who will fight for the 32nd time as a professional.

Gerardo Martinez

Leading up to the training camp for this bout, Martinez was out of the gym for eight weeks due to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. The 23-year-old lightweight bounced back from this setback and trained even harder to ensure that he was "110%" ready for his first career showdown with a veteran opponent. Trainer Jim Deoria, a former Pennsylvania Lightweight Champion, told TWI that Gerardo sparred 12 to 20 rounds a week during training camp, with several sparring partners in his Phoenixville Area PAL gym, Bethlehem, and Philadelphia. 

When asked about Charles, Deoria said, "I am very familiar with Osnel Charles. I fought him with Ryan Carson in Atlantic City back in 2009! Osnel is a very solid boxer and he has the experience factor, but we feel that Gerardo is ready to step up for the challenge."

Deoria will be joined in Gerardo's corner by Joe Rowan, a long-time boxing trainer at the Phoenixville Area PAL. 

Gerardo Martinez and Osnel Charles are just two of the many fighters who will appear on the February 8th Raging Babe "Philly Special" show. Michelle Rosado, CEO of Raging Babe, has put together a card full of popular local and undefeated pro fighters including, Christian Carto (17-0, 11 KOs), Marcel Rivers (6-0, 4 KOs), Darmani Rock (13-0, 8 KOs), and Alejandro Jimenez (4-0, 1 KO). Sonny Conto, a highly successful amateur fighter who recently signed with Top Rank, will also make his professional debut on the card.

When asked about fighting on Raging Babe's "Philly Special" show, Martinez said, "I’m excited to fight on this card. I have had all my fights in Philadelphia. The communication she (Michelle Rosado) has with fighters is great, and in any business that's important. Her (Rosado) promotional skills are great and I’m excited for Feb 8th."

Tickets for Raging Babe's "Philly Special" show can be purchased on the 2300 Arena website, and start at just $50. 

Support The Weigh-In: Your Home for Combat Sports by Shopping World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Products!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Hall of Fame Referee Steve Smoger Interview

By Matt Ward

I recently interviewed long-time boxing referee, Steve "Double S" Smoger. Steve and I discussed his career both in and out of the boxing ring. Smoger has served as a referee for over 200 world title bouts, and holds the distinction of traveling to more states and countries than any other boxing referee over the course of the sport's long history. He also served as an attorney, judge, and reserve components Air Force officer during his career. 

Although he is still active, Smoger has been inducted into five different boxing halls of fame including the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame (1997), the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame (2013), the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame (2014), the International Boxing Hall of Fame (2015), and the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame (2017). 

You can listen to our interview on both SoundCloud and iTunes

Hall of Fame Referee Steve Smoger Interview with Matt Ward on SoundCloud 

Hall of Fame Referee Steve Smoger Interview with Matt Ward on iTunes

Support The Weigh-In: Your Home for Combat Sports by Shopping World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Products!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

WWE Royal Rumble 2019 Recap

By Steve Ward

The 32nd installment of the beginning of the Road to Wrestlemania, the Royal Rumble, emanated this evening from Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The crowd in attendance, that exceeded 48,000, was more than I’ve ever seen for a D-Backs game and something I took great pleasure in hearing Corey Graves point out during the broadcast. It was an intriguing set-up for the event as the ring was positioned in the vicinity of where second base would be during a baseball game and the Superstars made their entrances through the visitor’s dugout. The main card featured five title bouts and two Royal Rumble matches as it clocked in at just under five hours long!


Bobby Roode & Chad Gable vs. Rezar & Scott Dawson
Winners: Roode & Gable via pinfall

United States Championship
Rusev (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura via pinfall

Fatal 4-Way Cruiserweight Championship
Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Kalisto vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Hideo Itami
Winner: Buddy Murphy via pinfall

Main Card:

Smackdown Women’s Championship
Asuka (c) vs. “The Man” Becky Lynch
Winner: Asuka via submission

The ladies of Smackdown kicked off the main card as Becky Lynch sought to regain her title after losing it at December’s Tables, Ladders, and Chairs pay-per-view. Asuka retained her title as she first applied the Asuka Lock and rolled it into a bridge for a sensational submission victory.

Smackdown Tag Team Championship
The Bar-Sheamus & Cesaro vs. The Miz & Shane McMahon
Winners: The Miz & Shane McMahon

After The Miz was unable to compete in the finals of the “Best in the World” tournament at the Crown Jewel pay-per-view due to an injury, Shane McMahon stepped in and defeated Dolph Ziggler to earn the trophy. The Miz then encountered Shane-o-mac last month on Smackdown Live with a “heartfelt” plea for Shane to join him in a run for the tag team titles. Shane accepted the invitation and the two came prepared to bring the fight to the defending champs. Midway through the match, Shane McMahon appeared to have his prime opportunity for an Oh Sh*t moment as he attempted the Coast to Coast on both Cesaro and Sheamus only to have it thwarted as he landed himself in the Cesaro Swing. Shane McMahon soon redeemed himself after he was rescued from suffering a Brogue Kick and subsequently landed a perfectly executed Shooting Star Press on Cesaro to score the pinfall victory and crown new tag team champions!

RAW Women’s Championship
Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Sasha Banks
Winner: Ronda Rousey via pinfall

This contest ended in a vicious fury. Ronda appeared to be in dire straits as she was trapped in an armbar submission attempt by Banks. Ronda was able to roll out and execute a gutwrench powerbomb which she immediately followed up with the Piper’s Pit for the pinfall victory.

Women’s Royal Rumble Match
Winner: Becky Lynch

Entering this match, we only knew that number 30 would be filled by Carmella as a result of her Mixed Match Challenge victory with R-Truth. The first two entrants in the contest were NXT alumni Lacey Evans and Natalya. Natalya set a Women’s Royal Rumble match record as she lasted an amazing 55:58. A couple of other notable entries in the match were Nikki Cross who made her debut from NXT at number eight and Alexa Bliss who made her return to in-ring competition for the first time since September at number 26. The dubious distinction of the first woman to be eliminated belonged to entrant number four, Liv Morgan, as she was the recipient of a back body drop over the top rope by Natalya.

Lana entered the match at number 28 but unfortunately was unable to walk to the ring due to an injury she sustained after she was knocked off the ring apron during Rusev’s title loss earlier in the evening. After Carmella entered at number 30, Becky Lynch made her way out and pleaded with backstage official Fit Finlay to let her take Lana’s place which he obliged.

The final four in the match were Bailey, Flair, Nia Jax, and Becky Lynch. Bailey was quickly eliminated by Jax. Shortly thereafter, Jax found herself on the apron after she squashed Flair and Becky in the corner, Lynch rolled out of the ring to the floor. Moments later Jax found herself attempting to reenter the ring from the apron after an exchange with Flair as Becky emerged to pull Nia off the apron and eliminate her. Before Becky could get into the ring, Nia would not go quietly and attacked her at ringside leaving her with a knee injury. Becky was still able to overcome the odds and eliminated Charlotte to earn herself a title shot at WrestleMania.

WWE Championship
Daniel Bryan (c) vs. A.J. Styles
Winner: Daniel Bryan via pinfall

The long standing feud between these two combatants, that commenced just before Survivor Series when Bryan shocked the WWE Universe and took the WWE Championship from The Phenomenal One on an episode of Smackdown Live, began another chapter this evening. Late in the contest, Eric Rowan made his shocking return and headed to ringside and just stood and watched. Moments later, the referee was knocked out by a missed enziguri attempt by Daniel Bryan. Styles proceeded to hit the Styles Clash but Rowan quickly made his presence felt as he entered the ring and unceremoniously picked up Styles by his face and slammed him to the mat. This newly formed alliance allowed Bryan to score the pinfall and retain his title.

Universal Heavyweight Championship
Brock Lesnar (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. Finn Balor
Winner: Brock Lesnar via submission

Mr. McMahon removed Braun Strowman from this match as punishment for destroying his limo. Mr. McMahon then held a Fatal 4-way match to determine Lesnar’s opponent with the combatants being Balor, John Cena, Drew McIntyre, and Baron Corbin. Balor landed the Coup de Grace on John Cena to earn his position in the match.

Balor certainly held his own against Lesnar throughout the match. It appeared as though Balor was going to win the title after he landed the Coup de Grace but as he went for the pin, Brock locked in a Kimura out of nowhere to earn the submission victory. Seemingly embarrassed by how susceptible he appeared at the hands of the much smaller Balor, Lesnar proceeded to lay waste to him as he delivered several suplexes that were capped off by an F5.

Men’s Royal Rumble Match
Winner: Seth Rollins

Like the Women’s Royal Rumble, the only slot designated beforehand was number 30. R-Truth earned this spot as a result of his Mixed Match Challenge victory with Carmella. It was also reported prior to the show that John Cena would not compete as a result of an injury sustained on RAW and would be replaced by “The Monster Among Men” Braun Strowman.

The first two participants in the match were Elias and an absolute shocker in “Double J” Jeff Jarrett! Just as the WWE Universe thought they were going to be treated to a rendition of Jarrett’s “With My Baby Tonight” recorded way back in 1995, Elias lived up to his reputation. Jarrett was the first elimination of the match after Elias smashed his guitar over his back and tossed him out of the ring. Some other notable entries in the contest included WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle at number four, the new NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano at number six, and former NXT Champion Aleister Black. Just as we thought all of the surprises of the evening were exhausted, enter R-Truth at number 30.

Truth was just a few words into his trademark entrance song as Nia Jax emerged from the dugout and ambushed him. Leaving R-Truth in a heaping pile of carnage, Nia Jax took his spot in the match! Jax eliminated Mustafa Ali and then was eliminated by Rey Mysterio after being victimized by an RKO outta nowhere.

The final four participants in the match were Andrade, Dolph Ziggler, Braun Strowman, and Seth Rollins. Braun made quick work of Andrade and Ziggler leaving himself in a showdown with Rollins. Braun and Rollins brought us an exciting conclusion to the match as they delivered some anxiety inducing moments fighting on the ring apron. Rollins finally dropped Braun to his knees and delivered a curb stomp that sent Braun to the floor and punched his ticket to WrestleMania!

Support The Weigh-In: Your Home for Combat Sports by Shopping World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Products! 

Friday, January 25, 2019

Snips and Snipes with Eric Armit

By Eric Armit

Manny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao once again illustrated his drawing power with his fight against Adrien Broner reportedly drawing 400,000 + PPV hits. Not the sort of figures he was drawing at his peak but still a very high return. He was guaranteed $10 million for this fight but will obviously earn a great deal more when the final figures for the gate etc. are taken into account. It is incredible to think that the wonder fighter from the Philippines won his first world title more than 20 years ago. He is 18-4-2 in world title fights and at 40 is still performing at the highest level. Surely one of the most remarkable fighters in the history of boxing. It’s a pity that this was for the secondary WBA title not the real title. The real champion Keith Thurman returns with a title defense this weekend. As for Broner he showed just how delusional he is as he was convinced he had won a fight where he threw less punches, landed less punches and rarely took a step forward. He has entertained in the past but it may be that his days as deserving of PPV status are over.

Of course the talk immediately turned to another fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr but it was stated that Mayweather was retired and was not interested in another fight with Pacquiao-but don’t rule it out.

Why should Mayweather take on Pacquiao when he can earn $10 million for blowing away a 20-year-old Japanese kick boxer/MMA fighter Tenshin Nasukawa in less than three minutes. The most amazing thing is that people actually paid to see this farce. It brought to mind something that happened a good few years ago. I went with my wife to see the irreverent and slightly mad comic genius Spike Milligan in a play. It was still the tradition then that the national anthem was played after every cinema and stage performance and you stood throughout the anthem. As the play finished there seemed to be no sign of the national anthem being played so we hesitantly got to our feet ready to leave. At that point Milligan emerged from behind the curtain in a scruffy overcoat and flat cap carrying a tin whistle. He proceeded to give a reedy wavering version of the anthem on the tin whistle. We were undecided. Ok it was the national anthem but being played on a tin whistle. However tradition ruled and we stood until Milligan finished. He looked at us, shook his head and said “If you’ll stand for that you’ll stand for anything!" That’s how I feel about those who paid for Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor and Tenshin Nasukawa.

Oleg Usyk 

Whilst the heavyweight division is currently focused on who Anthony Joshua will fight in April and the return match between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury the shadow of Oleg Usyk hangs over the division. The unbeaten Ukrainian will have his next outing in the USA on either the 18th or 25th of May but no opponent nominated yet. Surely Usyk will fight for the heavyweight title later this year.

From the sublime to the ridiculous

The WBA has ordered Manuel Charr to defend their secondary heavyweight title against Fres Oquendo. They were to have fought in September last year but Charr tested positive for a banned substance and the fright was cancelled. Initially Charr was suspended but not stripped off his title. There was no indication Charr intended to have a representative present for the testing of his B sample but he challenged that fact that he did not have someone there for the B test. The WBA backed off and as Charr was clean in subsequent tests-and he would have to have been stupid not to be-the WBA decided that his suspension had expired and he could return provided he defended against Oquendo within 60 days and the winner of that fight must fight the winner of a fight between their interim champion Trevor Bryan and Jarrell Miller even though there is no indication that a fight between Bryan and Miller will take place. Oquendo of course has not fought since July 2014. The Charr vs. Oquendo fight  is now set for March 23rd in Cologne. Thought I would give you date and place so that you could ensure you were somewhere else doing something else that night.

Michael Wallisch 

German heavyweight Michael Wallisch also gave a positive test after his losing effort against Christian Hammer in December and no news yet over his B sample. That fight was a farce. In the fourth round their heads collided and Wallisch went down and the referee  counted him out. A 30 or 45 days suspension from fighting for the knockout? No instead they decided Wallisch should not have been counted out so they pretended the original fourth round never happened and restarted the fight with another fourth round and Wallisch was counted out again in the fifth! Hammer’s reward is a date with Luis Ortiz in New York on March 2nd.

Canelo vs. Jacobs

The Saul Alvarez vs. Daniel Jacobs fights looks a really attractive one. Jacobs is a totally different fighter style-wise to Gennady Golovkin and it is a fight Jacobs could win. It looks as though David Lemieux may also appear on the 4 May show. The Canadian will be fighting for the first time since he fainted from dehydration which led to his fight with Tureano Johnson being cancelled

Jose Ramirez vs. Jose Zepeda

Jose Ramirez’s defense of his WBC super lightweight title against Jose Zepeda also looks a good one. Ramirez is 23-0 and making the second defense of his title. Zepeda is 30-1 with the loss coming when he dislocated his shoulder in a fight against Terry Flanagan for the vacant WBO lightweight title in 2015. On the same show Ray Beltran will be having his first fight since losing his WBO lightweight title to Jose Pedraza in August. He meets the 19-0 Hiroki Okada and in a featherweight ten rounder. Genisis Servania 32-1 faces 21-0 Carlos Castro. Ramirez will be auctioning some items of his boxing equipment  to raise funds for a Community Cancer Institute which is a great gesture.

Don King 

I said that Broner was delusional but Don King seems to be going the same way. He is warning what Bermane Stiverne will do to English heavyweight hope Joe Joyce when they meet in London on the undercard to the exciting James DeGale vs. Chris Eubank Jr fight on February 23rd. Let’s be clear this is a 40-year-old vastly overweight fighter who is having his first fight since being floored three times and stopped inside a round by Deontay Wilder in November 2017. King can talk a fight up but can Stiverne still walk the talk? 

Interested in money?

Of course. Lou DiBella won the bidding for the Jack Culcay vs. Sergiy Derevyanchenko final eliminator for the IBF title. DiBella ‘s bid was $425,515 and as Culcay is the higher of the two in the IBF ratings he gets 65%  $276,000 and Derevyanchenko 35%  $148,930. I can’t see Culcay winning this one.

Pacquiao vs. Broner Undercard

Two fights had to be scrubbed from the undercard of the Pacquiao vs. Broner show when Filipino Jhack Tepora and Nicaraguan Carlos Buitrago came in ridiculously over the contract weights. Tepora was 5.5lbs over and Buitrago 6lbs over. It must have been obvious well in advance of the day of the weigh in that they would never make the weight but somehow no one spotted this so one fight was cancelled and the other saw a last minute substitute step in. Surely some check weights would have revealed this earlier. The WBC recently announced a number of initiatives to combat this very thing by laying out a complete weight check schedule to be followed. As it stated that for this to work they needed the collaboration of the promoters, manager, trainers etc. and without that it is just a very good idea with little hope of it being taken on board which is a great pity but at least the WBC are trying to tackle the problem which no one else appears to be doing.

Marcus Browne and the 2012 US Olympic Boxing Team

With his victory over Badou Jack, Marcus Browne became the fourth member of the US Team at the 2012 Olympics to win a version of a world title alongside Errol Spence, Jose Ramirez and Rau’shee Warren. Not bad for a team that failed to win a single medal and with Spence being the only one to get as far as the quarter-finals. In addition from the team Dominic Breazeale, Mike Hunter, Terrell Gausha, and Joseph Diaz have challenged for world titles leaving Jamal Herring as the sole member not to win or challenge for a title and he is 19-2 with three good wins in 2018 so it is still possible that he will join the others in fight for or winning a title. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Class of 2016 where Shakur Stevenson’s silver was the only medal in male boxing the USA won in Rio. From the above it appears that the USA does not know how to produce medal winners in Olympic boxing but can turn under-achieving amateurs into professional champions.

Somehow it just doesn’t seem fair 

A few years back in the AIBA World Series of Boxing the British Lionhearts found themselves facing the Ukrainian Otamans. The Ukrainian team won 4-1 but then it was fairly strong it contained Vasyl Lomachenko, Oleg Usyk, and Olek Gvozdyk!

Support The Weigh-In: Your Home for Combat Sports by Shopping World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Product!