Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Road to Undisputed Lightweight King Begins

By Luis A. Cortes III

On Saturday night from Temecula California, Top Rank Promotions and ESPN (10 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT) will broadcast a fight card that’s main event will feature the beginning of the path towards an undisputed king.  The quest for lightweight supremacy begins as IBF lightweight champion Richard Commey (28-2, 22 KO’s) defends his title for the first time against former world champion and grizzled veteran Ray Beltran (36-8-1, 22 KO’s).  When Mikey Garcia decided to vacate the WBC portion of the lightweight crown back in April after his loss to welterweight champion Errol Spence, it meant that the biggest fight in the division between Garcia and the WBA/WBO champion Vasiliy Lomachenko would have to once again be placed on hold.

With Garcia now set to face Danny Garcia at welterweight, it meant that the division could now move on from the unification fight between Garcia and Lomachenko and allow for the rest of the world class talent a chance to stake their claim as the king of the talent rich division.  Lomachenko (a top pound-for-pound fighter) and already a unified champion in the division is clearly the proverbial favorite to be the last man standing when the dust settles.  This brings us back to what will take place this weekend between Commey and Beltran. 

Commey, the hard-punching champion from Ghana, won the IBF portion of the crown in February when he blasted Isa Chaniev with power shots in two rounds to earn the knockout win.  It was supposed to have set up Commey with the chance to unify his titles with Lomachenko in April.  However, due to a hand injury sustained during his title winning victory, it caused a need for surgery and Lomachenko to look elsewhere for his next opponent.

Beltran himself has had to navigate a twisting path towards this opportunity to have his name listed as the divisions king.  It was just last year that Beltran, after a long career that had seen its ups and downs, finally captured a world championship when he defeated Paulus Moses.  In his first defense of the WBO title in August, he dropped a decision to Puerto Rico’s Jose Pedraza.  Going into that fight (like the Commey situation this year), it was believed that with the victory over Pedraza, Beltran would be next in line for Lomachenko and the seven-figure payday that accompanies that type of fight.  Unfortunately for Beltran, Pedraza not only won the WBO title but would get the fight last December with Lomachenko.  With a comeback knockout victory last February, Beltran has now placed himself into a prime position to challenge Commey for another portion of the lightweight crown.   

“Being a world champion is great.  I went back home, and everyone welcomed me at the airport.  It was like a hero’s welcome, it was unbelievable,” stated Commey during the final press conference this week.  “I never try and knock out my opponent.  It comes when it comes.  I believe he’s a strong guy, a tough guy, and so am I.  It’s going to be a good fight, but I’m the champion, and I’m going to keep my belt.”

It’s clear that Commey has taken to the role of favorite for this fight as the champion, but for Beltran being an underdog is par for the course for him at this point in his twenty-year career.  “I feel like I made it the hard way.  Even when the sport or boxing world didn’t believe in me, that’s when I had to believe in myself,” expressed Beltran.  “Nobody gave me an opportunity, I had to go and take it.  I became a world champion and I am fighting for another world title.  It’s not about if people believe in you.  You must believe in yourself.”

Both fighters are clearly focused on the task at hand and through their words one can tell that they are not taking this opportunity to prove that they are elite lightly.  Having both missed out on an opportunity to fight for bigger fight purses, each fighter clearly is aware what victory and defeat can mean to their careers.  What should also be promising for fans is the fact that both men are hard nosed both in their approach to the sport in terms of preparation, but also in how they fight inside of the ring.  They do not shy away from trying to find their opponents and are happy to exchange power shots to inflict punishment.  In other words, get ready for a fight that has the potential to provide fireworks and bombs for as long as the warfare lasts. 

With a fight between the sport’s top young sensation lightweight Teofimo Lopez and veteran Masayoshi Nakatani scheduled for July 19th as an IBF title eliminator, whoever survives the fight on Friday night and steps out of the ring with the IBF title will have his eyes focused on that ring in July.  In fact, Lopez will have his eyes on the ring Friday since he is scheduled to be in California to watch Commey and Beltran do battle from ringside. 

Lopez has not been shy about wanting to prove to the world that his days as “top prospect” are behind him.  He has been vocal in calling out the unified champion Lomachenko and with this road to crowning an undisputed lightweight king getting underway.  Lopez will have his chance with just two victories during the remainder of the year to not only fulfill his dream of becoming a world champion, but also, to put himself in the prime position to challenge Lomachenko to become undisputed champion.

A wild card has been thrown into the mix since there still is that issue of the WBC title being vacant.  While it seemed that Luke Campbell, the former 2012 Olympian, would somehow be involved as one of the fighters with top contender status in the WBC rankings, what became interesting was that the WBC named Lomachenko also as a top contender in their rankings despite holding two other portions of the crown.  As a result, there have been plenty of news circulating that a unification fight between Campbell and Lomachenko tentatively scheduled for late August in London is all but set.  Campbell could walk into a London ring with no titles, and if he were to pull off the mega upset, would walk out of that ring with three of the four portions of the undisputed lightweight crown. 

However, if all goes as expected late this summer across the pond, Lomachenko will add that WBC title to the other two portions of the crown he already holds and will await the fighter who survives this small tournament that gets underway Friday night to decide the IBF title.  Whichever way things will pan out in the division, by this time next year, barring any drastic changes or outside of the ring mishaps, fans of the sport should be happy to know that finally a talent rich division will have the elite champions and contenders fight to crown one undisputed king at lightweight. 

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

Sunday, June 23, 2019

WWE Stomping Grounds Recap

By Steve Ward

WWE unveiled a new pay per view this evening entitled Stomping Grounds that was accompanied by the tagline, “It’s time to kick ass and take names.” Perhaps the prolific use of the word ass is WWE’s attempt to become “edgier” for FOX while still painstakingly maintaining a PG rating. To me and many longtime pro wrestling fans, June will always be known as the month that once belonged to the classic King of the Ring show but for now, this is what we get. Despite my seemingly negative perception of WWE and their current product, I continue to remain optimistic that Triple H will have the opportunity to bring his booking prowess to the main roster currently utilized on the real “A show” of WWE, NXT. This evening’s show emanated from Tacoma, WA and featured eight matches with six titles contested - not to mention the ominous overshadowing of Brock Lesnar looming with the Money in the Bank briefcase in tow.

RAW Women’s Chamionship
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lacey Evans
Winner: Becky Lynch via submission

With Lacey Evans continued ascension to main event competitor in full swing, she earned her first pay per view title shot against The Man this evening. Lacey brought the fight to Lynch in a very competitive opening contest that set the tone for the show. In the end, The Man was able to retain her title against the overzealous Evans as she cinched in the Disarmer for the victory.

Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. Xavier Woods & Big E
Winners: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn via pinfall

In an effort to keep these four men from becoming involved in the WWE Championship match (because that always works), they were thrown into tag team competition. KO certainly had the crowd behind him in this tag team encounter which held a frenetic pace throughout. KO was able to solidify the victory for his team after he paid homage to Stone Cold Steve Austin with a stunner that laid out Xavier Woods. A notable mention should be made to Woods, however, as he continues to don his Iron Sheik-esque boots - although nothing compares to his old TNA/Impact persona, Consequences Creed, which to me was reminiscent of Afro Thunder from the classic boxing game Ready 2 Rumble.

United States Championship
Samoa Joe (c) vs. Ricochet
Winner: Ricochet

Ricochet earned this opportunity against the Samoan Submission Machine after he exited a Fatal Five Way match as the victor on RAW last Monday. In a rather shocking turn of events, Joe dominated virtually the entire match until Ricochet hit a Codebreaker (which Michael Cole dubbed a “double knees to the face”) and scaled his way to the top turnbuckle from which he masterfully executed a 630 splash to earn his first United States title.

Smackdown Tag Team Championship
Heavy Machinery vs. Daniel Bryan & Rowan (c)
Winners: Daniel Bryan & Rowan via pinfall

ASU alumni Tucker Knight and his partner Otis Dozovic put forth a spirited effort in their conquest for the Smackdown tag team titles and I dare to say it was better than the three matches that preceded it. The final moments saw Tucker take flight from the top turnbuckle to the outside where he flattened out Rowan with a sickening collision. As Tucker reentered the ring, Daniel Bryan rolled him up quickly for the pinfall victory.

Smackdown Women’s Championship
Alexa Bliss w/ Nikki Cross vs. Bayley (c)
Winner: Bayley

Bliss had Bayley set up for Twisted Bliss when Nikki Cross entered the ring in an attempt to exact revenge on Bayley. This distraction allowed Bayley to intercept Bliss on the turnbuckles but The Goddess was able to knock Bayley back down to the canvas. As Bliss again attempted Twisted Bliss, Bayley got her knees up and subsequently executed the Bayley to Belly suplex for the victory.

Drew McIntyre w/ Shane McMahon vs. Roman Reigns
Winner: Roman Reigns via pinfall

After Reigns was embarrassed by Shane at Super Showdown, his path to redemption continued this evening with McMahon’s “henchman,” The Scottish Psychopath Drew McIntyre. Roman was able to overcome the adversity of Shane’s presence at ringside, including dragging the referee out of the ring at one point to allow him to land a Coast to Coast on Reigns. The conclusion of the match saw Roman land a punishing spear on McIntyre to secure the pinfall.

WWE Championship Steel Cage Match
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Winner: Kofi Kingston via cage escape

After Kofi retained his title over Ziggler at Super Showdown thanks to help from Xavier Woods, Ziggler demanded a rematch within the carnal confines of a steel cage. In a rather uninspired match, where it even seemed as if WWE lowered the crowd volume at one point as they booed, there was a surprising lack of high risk maneuvers attempted considering the combatants. In the end, the cage door was open as Dolph attempted to crawl out only to have Kofi vault himself over the top rope (and Ziggler), through the door, down to the arena floor to retain his title.

Universal Championship Match
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Baron Corbin
w/ special guest referee Lacey Evans
Winner: Seth Rollins

After Rollins had all of his special guest referee selections suffer vicious beatings at the hands of Rollins and a steel chair, Corbin selected one who he knew Rollins wouldn’t attack - Lacey Evans. After Evans persisted with her one-sided shenanigans, such as changing the match to a no DQ contest, Becky Lynch came down to ringside and opened a can of whoop ass on her. This allowed referee John Cone to take over much to the chagrin of Baron Corbin. Corbin attempted another End of Days only to have Rollins escape and execute a super kick followed by the Curb Stomp to retain his title.

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


Friday, June 21, 2019

Golden Boy Promotions Returns to Atlantic City

By Luis A. Cortes III

Ocean Casino Resort played host to Golden Boy Promotions Fight Night Live.  Broadcasted live on Facebook Watch, this fight card was the opening event for the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame (ACBHOF) weekend.  With future International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Bernard Hopkins being honored by the ACBHOF this weekend, it only made sense for Golden Boy Promotions to feature a fight card in the city honoring one of their own. 

Ballard and Espadas have unfortunate No Contest 

With the first round looking like it would just be a feel out round, D'Mitrius Ballard (20-0-1) (13 KO's) and Elias Espadas (18-4-1) (13 KO's) clashed heads when they both lunged in to land a power shot.  It resulted in a cut over the left eye of Espadas and the urgency forced a fire fight.  It carried into the second round and as both men threw with bad intentions, however, it was Ballard who landed the stronger shots that also made blood fly across the ring. 

Doctors looked at the cut to start the third just as they did to finish the first and allowed the action to continue.  Thankfully that was the case since Espadas, who was losing the round, landed a clean hard right hand that buzzed Ballard who was on shaky legs for a bit.  Ballard was able to steady himself and regained control with thudding power hooks to the body and head.  Once the doctors checked on the cut again, the fight was called off in the third round, thus forcing a no contest.  

Eddie Gomez Destroys Corral 

A refocused and rejuvenated Eddie Gomez (23-3) (13 KOs) destroyed Saul Corral (30-14)(20 KO's) in just two rounds.  The fight was stopped after four knockdowns were scored by Gomez.  He landed good left hooks to both the head and body of Corral, who was tough, but couldn't take the pressure.   

Crews wins in her Golden Boy debut 

New to the Golden Boy stable, Franchon Crews (5-1)(2 KOs) blasted the tough Kayla Williams (0-3-1) out after five rounds.  Crews landed right hand power shots at will and worked the body early, until Williams seemed to run out of gas.  The fight was halted at the 1:40 mark of the fifth round.   

Raul "Chino" Rivas continues to have an impressive stable; this time it was local super middleweight Gabriel Pham (11-1)(5 KO's) using his southpaw stance, height, and reach advantage in order to frustrate Jaba Khositashvili (4-1)(2 KO's) over six rounds.  Khositashvili wasn't bothered by the size disadvantage early in the first round until Pham landed a straight left hand that dropped him to his knees.  

For the rest of the fight, it was Pham who controlled the pace and distance of the fight.  After the final bell rang, it was a matter of hearing just how wide the judges would score this fight in favor of Pham. Scores were 59-54 twice and 60-53 for Pham.    

Reed outworks the tough Hernandez over eight 

Mike Reed (25-2)(13 KO's) and Angel Hernandez (15-14)(9 KO's) had a real good eight round battle in the welterweight division.  Reed, the Washington D.C. native, boxed well out of his southpaw stance to easily win the first two rounds.  In the third, Hernandez landed a big right hand that got the attention of Reed, who elected to trade shots on the inside.  

Whenever Reed seemed to take a few too many shots from Hernandez, he was able to get on his toes and box well from the perimeter of the ring.  Reed had plenty of supporters in the crowd and they cheered him on as he battled with Hernandez in the final round.  Both fighters had their moments, but it was Reed who landed more consistently and with the cleaner shots throughout the contest.  Scores were 79-73 twice and 78-74 in favor of Reed.  Afterwards Reed stated the following about the fight, "this was a very tough fight,. It was exactly what I needed right now.  I'm looking for a world title at 135 or 140, I feel really good."

George Rincon (7-0) (4 KOs) of Dallas won in impressive fashion by knocking out the tough Greg Young at the 2:01 mark of round three.  Rincon is a good young prospect to keep an eye out for.  He works well with combination punching, has a strong frame, and has nice head movement which allows him to cut the ring off.  Also, he worked well to the body and then the head, which helped him score a knockdown in round one and eventually score the winning knockdown in the third.       

Dan Murray (5-2) won a unanimous decision over Leonard Kenon (3-6)(1 KO).  Murray was the more active fighter and landed the cleaner shots throughout over the game Kenon.   

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

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Hart & Conto Provide Philly Flavor in Sin City

By Luis A. Cortes III

Saturday night in Las Vegas is no doubt another chance for the glamour division of the sport to bask in the spotlight of the sporting world as Tyson Fury (27-0-1) (19 KO’s) defends his lineal championship against German Tom Schwarz (24-0) (16 KO’s).  After the shocking results at Madison Square Garden that saw Andy Ruiz win portions of the heavyweight crown by knocking out the unbeaten Anthony Joshua, Saturday is a great chance for Fury to solidify his claim as the “baddest” man on the planet (a moniker which comes with being the best heavyweight in the world). 

While Fury fights for the first time since his draw against the other champion thought of as one of the best, Deontay Wilder, and begins his partnership with promotional juggernaut Top Rank, the undercard features a co-main event that easily is worthy of its own main event status when Philadelphia native Jesse Hart (25-2) (21 KO’s) battles Sullivan Barrera (22-2) (14 KO’s) in a ten round light heavyweight contest.  Also, on the undercard is heavyweight and Top Rank prospect South Philadelphia’s future real life “Rocky” Sonny Conto (2-0) (2 KO’s).

Since his last fight, a second go around defeat at the hands of former WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez, Hart has continued to reinforce that it is only a matter of time before he is known as a world champion.  His quest for the super middleweight crown was well documented by this writer prior to his first clash with Ramirez in the fall of 2017.  After the close defeat, Hart regrouped with the knowledge that he was one point away from fulfilling his dream.  Three knockout victories and a year later saw Hart back in the ring with Ramirez.  It seemed entering the final rounds that Hart would clear the Ramirez hurdle, but he was hurt by an injured Ramirez and the result wound up being the same. 

With the two Ramirez fights being the only blemishes on his record, and Ramirez stating his desire to move up and join the talent loaded light heavyweight division, it was thought by many that Hart was poised to stick around the 168-pound super middleweight division and not only finally win the vacated championship by Ramirez, but in doing so would set himself up for big pay dates against some of the other talented champions and challengers in the division.

It was a bit of a shock when he told The Weigh-In directly that he was planning a move up to join the rest of the talent at 175-pounds in the light heavyweight division.  He stated that he was planning on fighting a big name in his debut and had targeted former world champion, Sergey Kovalev conqueror Eleider Alvarez.  “That division is so full of talent and now I’m going to add my name to the mix,” stated Hart.  Kudos to Hart for making the decision to not play it easy and defeat a lesser challenge to earn the championship he craves, and for chasing both greener pastures and tougher terrain at light heavyweight.

Enter Sullivan Barrera (22-2) (14 KO’s), himself a former title challenger, who like Hart only has two losses. These defeats came at the hands of future Hall of Famer Andre Ward and the current WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol.  At 37 years old, Barrera has been less active than the 29-year-old Hart and struggled a bit during his last fight back in November against the durable Sean Monaghan.  Barrera seemed a bit off during the early portions of the fight, maybe it was due to disinterest because just eight months earlier he was stopped in twelve grueling rounds in his championship bid against Bivol.  Whatever it was, Barrera handled himself like the true professional and wound up battering Monaghan in route to the decision victory.

With Alvarez dropping out of the proposed fight with Hart, Barrera was the name that filled in and allowed Hart to remain as the co-feature on this big night in Vegas.  Hart is never shy to speak his mind and has traded barbs with Barrera over social media. Recently, he informed the media on his thoughts regarding this fight in career terms and Barrera.  “The 175-pound division is wide open and I’m finally ready to win that world title.  Sullivan Barrera is in my way, so I am going to smash him,” stated Hart.  Barrera is indeed a seasoned veteran, but at the age of 37, the idea that a fighter can get “old” overnight is always close by.  “After Saturday night we’re going to put him (Barrera) into retirement, you’re not going to hear from him again,” said Hart. 

Barrera puts all of that to the side and thinks its just Hart trying to avoid dealing with nerves he may be facing since he is moving up in weight. “Jesse Hart knows he’s never fought anyone like me, he is scared.  He is coming up from 168, but the punching power at 175 is not the same.  I am a different level than what he’s used to.  It’s going to be a long night for him,” remarked Barrera.

ESPN analysts, former world champions, and future Hall of Famers Timothy Bradley and Andre Ward also had interesting takes on this fight.  “I think it’s a good move for Jesse.  I thought that at 168 pounds he may have been zapping some of his strength to make the weight.  He is a big strong guy, so 175 may just be the better fit for him,” stated Bradley.  “This is going to be a good fight and is a good way to lead into the Fury fight.  Barrera is a seasoned fighter that is technically sound,” replied Ward.  Both agreed that the winner of the fight aligns himself for bigger fights and bigger purses against the rest of the division that is rich with talent.  With the champions (Kovalev, Bivol, Beterbiev, and Gvozdyk), seemingly on a collusion course to unify their titles.  If Hart can get by Barrera (who is ranked #7 in the division) he will stake his claim for a shot at one of those champions in the future.

Also, on this loaded undercard is the aforementioned heavyweight prospect Sonny Conto.  With just two fights as a professional, Conto is indeed at the prospect stage of his career.  He has the amateur pedigree that included being crowned a National Golden Gloves champion.  His stock was high enough that Top Rank signed him right away.  With both of his wins coming at home in Philadelphia in front of an adoring crowd (and Conto already has a nice size fan base at home to build off), it made sense for Top Rank to have him continue his nurturing process by taking part in a big fight week in Sin City featuring a current heavyweight champion. 

Conto was flown out to Vegas where he spent time training and sparring with Fury as well as Joseph Parker, the only man to beat Andy Ruiz.  As Conto progresses inside of the ring, it will be a bit of time before we see the 23-year-old in a meaningful fight.  Especially a fight that begins the test to see just how far he truly can go. 

Full of talent, Conto continues to progress that talent and build the foundation to handle big fight weeks and fight nights when his name will be the one in the lights.  “Sparring with a champion is great work for a young fighter.  You don’t want to be just a sparring partner though,” stated Ward.  Bradley also agreed with Ward, “Terrance Crawford spent time with me in camp before anyone knew his name.  I think for him it was just as good outside of the ring as it was in terms of the work that we gave each other.  He got to see how I handled myself as a champion and the way I dealt with my family.”  So just what does Conto think about his time sparring Fury, “It was awesome, a great experience, and priceless.”

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

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame

By Luis A. Cortes III

For the past two years the early summer months have brought the sport of boxing back to the Atlantic City Boardwalk.  No, not in the traditional way that fans remember how the Casino/Resort city of Atlantis would shake up the boardwalk with one or two, sometimes as many as three different fight cards on the same day.  This will be the third year that the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame (ACBHOF) provides fight fans with the chance to both discover and reconnect with the rich boxing history that has transpired in Atlantic City.  Yes, it is true and has been well documented that Atlantic City has fallen on some tough times in recent memory.  However, starting in 2017 there was a call for a resurgence for the city to try and bring it back to the glory days as a summer destination for all prior to the economic crash. 

Last year, while there was a start to bringing back actual fights of meaning to the city with new casinos like the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and the Ocean Casino Resorts rising from the ashes of the past eight wonders of the world, a new boxing tradition has become the norm for the city.  So much so that for the first time the induction weekend will be kicked off by a special night of fights presented by Golden Boy Promotions on Thursday night June 20th. (More on this fight card along with ticket information coming to TWI next week.) 

Over the course of the past two years, the ACBHOF has been a three-day weekend hosted at the Claridge Hotel complete with an intimate VIP reception on Friday night that greeted all the inductees and honorees.  The second day provided fans the chance to see special exhibits while they met with past world champions and got to buy merchandise and take pictures with their heroes.  “Our mission is to honor, preserve, and celebrate the excellence of Atlantic City’s rich boxing history and there's no better place to highlight this tradition than at the historic Claridge-A Radisson Hotel. My team and I are excited about this collaboration,” stated Ray McCline the President of the ACBHOF. 

Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe, Arturo Gatti, Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks, and Mike Tyson are some of the fighters that have been inducted into the ACBHOF in the past two years.  Of course, the third day was the when the inductees had their ceremony and official induction. 

With the success from the past two years, this third year of events has been updated and includes the special night of fights.  Of course, there will be the return of the VIP reception along with the opening of the Legends Café.  Also, on the night of June 21st, there will be the screening of the 30-minute documentary, Muhammed Ali: Me Whee.  It’s an in depth look at the “Greatest's” time in between fights at his training camp in Deer Lake Pennsylvania.  Directed by Drew Stone, it’s a personal piece of film for Stone, since his father recorded the footage during his time with Ali.  Most of the footage has never been seen by fight fans.    

The Legends Café has been added to the event will feature coffee and conversation with many boxing legends from the New Jersey and Pennsylvania area.  Artwork and exhibits including work by famed boxing artist Patrick Killiam will also be on hand.  A fan experience will continue at the Tennessee Beer Hall, which will be open to the public.  With a comedy show back at the Claridge closing out the third night of festivities, the main event takes place on Sunday in the late afternoon when the 2019 Hall of Fame class receives their induction honors.  

This year’s class features former world champion Iran Barkley, who has been popular with fans the past two years.  Virgil Hill Sr., along with John Brown, and Tim Witherspoon Jr. are also decorated fighters that have had memorable fights in Atlantic City.  Bernard Hopkins, Micky Ward, and Roberto Duran will most likely garner the most fanfare, as each have had made boxing history in Atlantic City.  Hopkins had his first fight, a loss, in A.C. and returned to the city several times before capturing two of his biggest victories over Kelly Pavlik and Antonio Tarver at Boardwalk Hall. 

Micky Ward will forever be linked with Arturo Gatti due to their trilogy that inspired many sports fans in the early 2000’s.  Ward rightly joins Gatti who was inducted in the first class, but had many other memorable nights in A.C. during his career.  Each year, along with the fighters that are inducted, there are always inductees that are contributors to the world of the sport outside of the ring. 

Famed cutman Ace Marotta and trainer English “Bouie” Fisher will also join the class of 2019.  Nigel Collins, who currently writes for ESPN, is a former editor and chief for the “Bible of Boxing,” Ring Magazine will be honored for his tremendous career of not only following and reporting on the sport.  But also, for his unique voice that has helped to define a lot of the history that has taken place in the sport, especially in Atlantic City. 

Tickets for the ACBHOF weekend are still available and can be purchased by visiting or by calling the ACBHOF for more information at: (609) 318-3188.

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

Sunday, June 9, 2019


By Justin Dohnson, The People's Red Head

Finally! The People’s Redhead has Come Back to the Weigh-In!

For those who do not know, I am pretty much Canadian. I love hockey, heavy drinking, and poutine. Our very own Matt Ward asked his father (me) to write about hockey fights. I had two reactions when he asked me to cover such an article. The first, I became instantly hard. The second, as a fan, I owed it to the public to research and truly advocate for this great sport. Plus, with the NHL Stanley Cup possibility being awarded on Sunday, June 9, 2019, what better time than to post this piece now.

Hockey is a wonderful sport that continues to evolve. Hockey players are known for their toughness. I honestly think grit is a better term for the elite players of the NHL. Hockey players often lose teeth and get cuts requiring stitches. This may seem like nothing, but even when they require stitches, or lose chiclets, they return to the game after being patched up.

Hockey’s elite wheel, snipe and celey, doing whatever is necessary for the boys. It is nothing for a pantene pro to put the biscuit top shelf and get some digis from a snipe in the audience. All you fight fans better bone up on your hockey lingo. Hockey, and maybe I am biased, is still one of the true sports. The players are playing for the boys, and salaries are modest for professional athletes. It is still aboot the love of the sport.

The current landscape of the NHL has truly killed the old enforcer and fighting days. There are now rules that the players cannot remove their helmets, which leads to broken hands and a huge refrain from tossing the mitts. That being said, hockey has long celebrated a rich history of men who played to chuck knucks. These warriors even trained in MMA or boxing to further assist them in their nightly matches. Additionally, after a game concluded, many players used to go out drinking. Hockey has everything a fan could ever want.

The little Domi was known for being a ticking time bomb. He never took any shit and fought as if he were eight feet tall. The 5-foot-10 Domi took on the 6-foot-3 Brashear, as each threw bombs during game two of the playoff series.

This fight means a lot to me, growing up in Detroit, I ride or die with my Wings. Also, for those of you who do not know, this is a fight between two goalies. This fight means two men skated out of their nets with so much hatred, they met at center ice and attempted to destroy each other. This fight was due to chaos going on between one of hockey’s most vicious rivalries, the Detroit Red Wings and the Colorado Avalanche. It is a must watch as Ozzie takes Roy down.

Probert was one of the most prolific fighters of all time. Also, he was a Red Wing, so I love him, and I insist you do as well. Probert highlights are a reason for all of the rules surrounding modern day hockey fighting. To witness both men throw caution to the wind and their health, look at this donnybrook.
St. Louis versus Chicago Blackhawks, both teams fighting for the President’s Cup, and tensions boiled over after a hard Jeremy Roenick check.

The 2019 NHL playoffs were underway when Alex Ovechkin was challenged by the Hurricanes' Andrei Svechnikov. It went exactly how you thought it would go when a rookie challenges the great eight.

McSorley is unable to get over being dusted by Brashear. As the game unfolds, they fight and McSorley slashes Brashear in the head with his stick!

Both of these career fighters deserve to make this list over and over again. Somewhere around 70 punches were thrown between these two in this donnybrook.

These two show mutual respect for one another while throwing bombs. There are some well-landed punches and clever tactics to pop a helmet and that’s not a euphemism.

Kocur with a brutal KO of Kyte.

With Chara currently playing for a Stanley Cup, we felt it fitting to add this fight. The big guy bloodies Koci.

These fights were not ranked and are not in any particular order. I merely tried to provide some footage that I felt was worth seeing. Hockey can quite often become a combat sport and the boys are tough.

Special Thanks to

You Tube for housing amazing puck fight footage
Matt Ward for his upcoming union to a woman (surprised us all)
Steve Gruber (introducing me into world of cat yoga)
Pappy van Winkle Bourbon (look that shit up if you don’t know)
Frank Grillo for his fighter workout routines

Bob Probert

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

Friday, June 7, 2019

WWE Super Showdown Aftermath

By Steve Ward

WWE presented it’s latest Saudi Arabian cash-grab today from the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with Super Showdown.  This show aired at 2 PM ET/11 AM PST while most of North America was at work  -including myself. Despite the time difference, it was still about 100 degrees in the stadium at the start of the show which certainly would create an additional dynamic for the Superstars. The ridiculously stacked card was arguably as good as, if not better than, this year’s installment of Wrestlemania as it featured nine matches with three titles contested, including a 50 man over-the-top battle royal thrown in for good measure. As has been the case with all of the previous Saudi Arabian shows, there were no women’s matches featured on the card, however, Renee Young was still featured on the commentary team - my one question here is with her present and her long blonde hair fully exposed, did this earn a TV-MA rating on Saudi television???

WWE Universal Championship
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Baron Corbin
Winner: Seth Rollins via pinfall

Lesnar made his way to the ring after the contest with a referee and The Advocate with the intention of cashing in his Money In The Bank contract, however, Paul Heyman “tripped” over the ropes. This mishap distracted Brock long enough for Rollins to low blow The Beast. With Lesnar subdued, Rollins subsequently laid waste to him with a steel chair before he finally finished him off with a curb stomp that drove Lesnar’s skull into his own briefcase.

WWE Intercontinental Championship
“The Demon” Finn Balor (c) vs. Andrade
Winner: Finn Balor via pinfall

Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon
Winner: Shane McMahon via pinfall

While Shane McMahon continued to impress me with his ability to hang in with some of WWE’s top talent at age 49, he needed the assist in the form of a brutal Claymore Kick from Drew McIntyre to score the pinfall.

3 on 1 Handicap Match
Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik, Lince Dorado, & Kalisto) vs. Lars Sullivan
Winner: Lars Sullivan via DQ

Triple H vs. Randy Orton
Winner: Randy Orton via pinfall (RKO Outta Nowhere)

Bobby Lashley vs. Braun Strowman
Winner: Braun Strowman via pinfall (Running Powerslam)

WWE Championship
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Winner: Kofi Kingston via pinfall (Trouble In Paradise)

50-Man Over-the-Top Battle Royal
Winner: Mansoor

Once the luster of the spectacle that was 50 men in the ring at one time faded, this match turned into kind of an uninspired cluster. Essentially, the WWE threw in all of the Superstars who haven’t been on tv in quite a while with those they didn’t book a match for (except for The Revival and The Usos who squared off on the kick-off show) and allowed the bodies to start flying. Another disappointment was the lack of  any legends in the contest along with the continued burial of EC3 as he was the first participant eliminated. The match concluded as virtual unknown and the first Saudi born WWE Superstar Mansoor (Am I the only one who immediately thinks of Mantaur when I see this name? Look him up if you need to, you won’t regret it.) eliminated Elias to walk out victorious in front of his fellow countrymen.

Goldberg vs. The Undertaker
Winner: The Undertaker

Two legends collided in the main event, unfortunately it was twenty years beyond the time this collision should have occurred. I give the utmost respect to these two 50+ year old men for still stepping into the ring, however, The Undertaker (54) and Goldberg (52) both appeared to be slowed by the intense heat and Goldberg by the blood he lost from a gash to his forehead early in the contest. Late in the match, Goldberg hoisted up the near seven foot Undertaker for the Jackhammer, however, he was unable to land all of it as it essentially turned into a Brainbuster. After The Undertaker kicked out of the subsequent pinfall attempt, Goldberg appeared to attempt a Tombstone but both men fell to the canvas seemingly exhausted. As soon as they returned to their feet, The Undertaker quickly executed a chokeslam (barely lifting Goldberg off the canvas) and covered him for the pinfall. Personally, the ending of this bout left me and seemingly many of the fans in attendance dissatisfied so I would not be opposed to seeing a rematch in an air conditioned venue with about five minutes shaved off of it.

Fun fact: Before Goldberg debuted in WCW way back in 1997, his now famous entrance theme had been used by Pat Tanaka - best known as a member of the Orient Express in his WWF days and Badd Company in the early days of ECW.

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