This week Kathy Duva stated that boxing manager Al Haymon’s plan is to phase out pay per views (PPV) and have his fighters perform on the national stage of NBC and NBC Sports. One has to wonder if this is good for boxing or bad. The proposal may knock HBO and Showtime out of the smaller programs like ShoBox/Sho Extreme and HBO Boxing After Dark if the premium providers had to compete with NBC but it also may turn boxing into a mega PPV platform. We could get more bang for our buck on PPV like we did on the Mayweather–Canelo card or we could get cheaper prices with lesser match ups. On the flipside this may not be as good as it looks on the surface. If Haymon’s intent is to put Garcia – Salka type of fights on free TV it could frustrate the hard-core fans while hyping up the A-side and pulling in more casual fans. Does anybody really want another round of Andre Berto type shows against over matched fighters (no thank you to that one)? I chose to reserve judgment until I see how this all plays out but nonetheless if it gets us more boxing it can’t be too bad. Can it?
This past Wednesday ESPN2 gave us a very good match up on paper in Hassan N’Dam versus Curtis Stevens. Too bad it didn’t play out that way in real life. Stevens performance was a bit of a disappointment. He continually followed N’Dam around the ring looking for a 1 punch KO, not using his jab and not being able to adjust to the movement of his opponent. He looked helpless at times and unsure of himself. This is the second fight in a row that he has had a lackluster performance only this time his power (with help from an early stoppage) couldn’t save him. Styles make fights and this style was all wrong for Stevens versus N’Dam. It may be time for a new trainer to help motivate him and give him a new direction. If he can’t adapt he will be just another fringe contender who could have been so much more.
Rances Barthelemy + Fernando Saucedo = Boring Fight!
In a fight that literally made me fall asleep multiple times, Rances Barthelemy got a boding unanimous decision over Fernando Saucedo. This bout was the main event of the Saturday ShoBox card but it was by far the worst fight on the card. Saucedo looked like a guy who knew he was out of his league but Barthelemy looked like a guy who couldn’t adjust to a fighter who wasn’t coming forward to attack him. I’m sorry but if you are supposed to be a world class fighter you should be able to adapt somewhat and at least attempt to get your guy out of there. It seems like Barthelemy is destined to be another Cuban fighter that lacks the killer instinct like Lara and Rigondeaux. This safety first approach is good for winning on points but it turns off fans and it makes the big name fighters stay away. If that’s how he wants to be that is on him but unless he is fighting a good opponent I don’t really want to see him main eventing a tough man championship, let alone a ShoBox event.
Vanes Martirosyan + Willie Nelson = Good fight!
In what should have been the main event on Saturdays ShoBox telecast Vanes Martirosyan earned a well-deserved victory over Willie Nelson on Saturday night. I must admit that I did not have high expectations for this fight but it ended up being pretty good. Nelson came out strong in the first and landed some very good shots but he started to fade as the fight went on and his punches lost a lot of steam. Martirosyan looked solid all the way through and landed some very good punches that had Nelson on rubbery legs on multiple occasions. Vanes definitely improved his stock to the point that he should be in line for a title shot in the near future. Nelson did nothing to hurt his stock and should rebound well. Either way I look forward to seeing both of these fighters in the future.
Is Chad Dawson Done?
In what was a lackluster fight Chad Dawson lost to the 76th ranked light heavyweight in the world in Tommy Karpency. I personally had the fight a draw but nonetheless Dawson did not look very good for a former champion against a C level fighter. It seems that Dawson is not moving into that journeyman/gate keeper status that so many fighters go to once they are no longer in their prime. The way he just keeps popping up and taking fights on short notice screams of him having financial issues and if that is the case he may have a long and sad road to the end of his career. Hopefully this loss can be a wakeup call for him and he can start to train more seriously to put on a better showing in the future.
Jorge Arce is Done!
In what was hopefully the final fight in the career of Mexican Warrior Jorge Arce was on the receiving end of a one-sided beat down from Jhonny Gonzalez. Arce was knocked down 3 times and truly looked like a shell of his former self. The fight was mercifully stopped in the 11th round and shortly after the fight Arce announced his retirement for the second time. Let’s hope he sticks to it this time before he ends up getting hurt.
Amir Khan is Still Talking.
It seems every other day we get fed some story from Amir Khan about him fighting Mayweather or Pacquiao but what we don’t get from Amir Khan is an actual fight. He claims to be a lot of things and to be able to do a lot of things but in actuality he is just all talk right now. I am a firm believer in walk the walk if you talk the talk but I guess he never learned that lesson. Instead of getting in the ring with a true top 10 contender like Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter or even Tim Bradley, he is content to try and talk his way into a fight with the 2 best fighters in the division. I seriously doubt he gets a Mayweather fight by fighting Lopez or any other subpar welterweight so I got a good idea. How about you go avenge that TKO loss to Danny Garcia? He has no opponent right now and neither do you. If you can avenge that defeat I am sure it would help with your Mayweather stalking a lot more than beating Devon Alexander whom you already turned down a fight with last year. In other words how about less talk and more action Amir? It’s just a thought.
Kovalev vs. Hopkins is Getting Closer
One of the most interesting fights of the year is getting closer. I say interesting and not “the best” because I am skeptical about how it is going to play out. I see Hopkins using his hit, run and hold tactic to frustrate Kovalev in route to a split decision but on the other hand I can see Kovalev putting the hurtin on Hopkins if he has gotten old finally. As it gets closer I find it a little odd that we haven’t heard much from Hopkins in the media lately and I am not sure if that is a good or bad thing. All I know is that this is a very intriguing matchup that could go either way and I will definitely be watching and hoping for a good fight.
Don’t Forget the Wednesday Night Fight on ESPN2
For the second consecutive Wednesday night we will be getting an interesting fight on ESPN 2. Jermain Taylor is set to face off with Sam Soliman in a middleweight title fight. Will Taylor look decent and respectable against the champ Soliman or will he look like a fighter whose time is up? I am betting towards the later but at the same time I am hoping he does not get seriously hurt in the ring. He has been on the receiving end of some vicious KO’s in his career and he should be thinking about his life after boxing versus a last shot at a title.
That’s all we got for this week but that is by far not all there was to talk about. Make sure that you catch the Boxing Voice weekly radio show live every Thursday and Sunday starting at 7pm (EST) or catch the podcast to get more insight and opinions on the world of boxing.