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NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: WAR, MORE (AND LESS) ON A GREAT FIGHT DAY

By Paul Magno | April 11, 2022
NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: WAR, MORE (AND LESS) ON A GREAT FIGHT DAY

Last week, I wrote about the awesome fight day April 9 was shaping up to be. This week, I recap the fights that caught my eye—in my own snippy, mega-cynical, slightly blasphemous way…

-- Erickson Lubin vs. Sebastian Fundora was every bit as good as I thought it would be. Lubin’s corner would end up stopping the fight prior to the tenth round on behalf of their guy, whose face was brutally busted up and swollen and whose eyes had that characteristic blank stare of a fighter ready to suffer next-level injury. Kudos to trainer Kevin Cunningham for valuing his fighter’s life and well-being over an interim WBC title. 

Sebastian Fundora is an amazing guy in the sense that everything seems wrong about him and he appears to be vulnerable as fuck, fighting in the absolute wrong style for his long, lanky 6-foot-6, 80-inch reach physical form. He just keeps winning, though, beating down opposition and looking better in each subsequent fight. The cynical realist in me still sees problems for him when he starts competing at the next highest level, but how can I argue that he needs to change anything when he just keeps chugging along, winning? On Saturday, he showed another facet to his fighter profile by getting off the canvas against a very adept offensive fighter in Lubin to force the stoppage win. So, gut check passed. I’m looking forward to seeing more from The Towering Inferno. 

As for Lubin? Man, I feel for the guy. He IS a very talented and very skilled fighter with world class chops. He had just built himself back up after running into that big right hand in the first round against Jermell Charlo in 2017—something which seemed more of a fluke than anything else—and then he steps in against a guy like Fundora, who is so awkward and physically vexing to handle. He’s 26 and, after some time to heal up, he should be okay, physically, to make a third run at a world title. But I wouldn’t be too surprised if the psychological toll of two extremely rough career setbacks takes his mind out of the game. 

-- Gennadiy Golovkin-Ryota Murata turned out pretty much as I imagined it would. Murata had some early moments against a Golovkin who presented some ring rust/competitive atrophy/general disregard for him, but, predictably, he lacked the skill and durability to stay competitive for long against a Triple G with absolutely anything left in the tank. Yeah, yeah Golovkin just turned 40 and he didn’t like the shots to the body—surprise, surprise, he NEVER liked shots to the body, ever—but the only thing we learned Saturday from the Saitama Super Arena in Japan was that an inactive, semi-disinterested Gennadiy Golovkin was too much for Ryota Murata. And we knew that coming into this fight. 

A lot had been made in the media about Golovkin’s age, but the real performance-related issue is Golovkin entitlement, enabled by media and fans, intersecting with soft-touch matchmaking and a big, fat hunger-satiating $100 million-dollar DAZN deal, that blossomed into competitive atrophy and general disinterest. 

Nobody tamed the Golovkin beast. Father time did not tame the Golovkin beast. Rather, the Golovkin beast was allowed to feed at will, whenever it wanted, however it wanted, whatever it wanted and the beast ceased being a beast in its complacency. Triple G is now very much human, a very good offensive fighter with heavy hands and a good chin. Nothing more. And he’s going to get scrambled by Canelo Alvarez when they fight in September.

-- Man, did Ryan Garcia look bad Saturday night against Emmanuel Tagoe! I know he’s only been working with trainer Joe Goossen for about two months, but that should’ve been enough time to at least tighten some things up in his game. He showed no jab, no plan, no ability to cut off the ring or force anything on a guy who, clearly, had nothing going for him and no path to victory. Garcia’s fumbling, bumbling, wild offense made Tagoe look like “Sweet Pea” Whitaker. This should’ve been a fourth or fifth round TKO, not a laboriously dull twelve-round decision. If this had been Garcia’s third fight, I still would’ve said that it was a hot mess of nothingness, but as a guy supposedly ready for the elite? Nope. You put this “King Ry” against Tank Davis and it would be sanctioned homicide. This kid looked like he was trained by his Instagram account’s comment section. Goossen is a smart boxing guy and an outstanding trainer, so the only thing I can gather from Saturday’s showing is that Garcia ain’t opening up to being trained. Maybe he’s only about believing his own press clippings these days and only wanted that highlight reel KO with his fast hands because that’s his “thing,” having fast hands. We’ll see what he looks like in his next fight after he has more time with Goossen. But, right now? Garcia looks more like an influencer who boxes than a boxer who influences. 

-- Tony Harrison looked really good against Sergio Garcia on the Fundora-Lubin undercard. Or maybe Garcia just wasn’t as good as I thought he was based on the few fights of his I saw. Whatever the case, Harrison’s jab looked sharp, his movement looked on point, and he generally looked like the fighter he should be on a consistent basis. He’s maybe a win or two away from being a serious title contender again.

-- Although he’s an honest, earnest, usually entertaining fighter, I wince every time I see Gabriel Rosado scheduled to fight. On the Ryan Garcia-Emmanuel Tagoe undercard, he dropped a majority decision that should’ve been a unanimous decision to Shane Mosley Jr. And while it’s no shame to lose, even to a very modest talent such as Mosley, it’s painful to watch well past-prime Rosado eat some of those flush shots because you know that he’s precisely the type of fighter who’s going to have serious and debilitating neurological issues throughout the next half of his life. Rosado is 5-10-1 in his last 16 fights, but the problem is that he’s tough enough and still good enough to weed out a pretender or two, like he did against Bektemir Melikuziev last year, and those spoiler wins keep getting him more high profile fights. I like the guy and I know he needs to make a living, but I don’t see a very happy ending for Rosado once fighting is no longer an option.

Got something for Magno? Send it here: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com

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