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NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: RANDOM THOUGHTS, WILD SWINGS

By Paul Magno | July 25, 2022
NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: RANDOM THOUGHTS, WILD SWINGS

I gotta start this week’s mish-mosh column with Errol Spence vs. Terence Crawford. This is the best fight in boxing, although-- and I hate to break this to hardcore boxing fans who tend to live in a fantasy world bubble-- it’s not the “biggest” fight out there. But throw some love to us true blue boxing fans. Spence-Crawford, a real battle of best vs. best in one of boxing’s glamour divisions, is for the sport’s loyal base. Lord knows boxing’s loyal base is long overdue for a little sunshine in their dreary, unappreciated lives. 

Ryan Garcia-Gervonta Davis could be every bit as big, financially, as Spence-Crawford and it would also make boxing’s loyal base very, very happy. But it ain’t happening. Not anytime soon, anyway. Despite the “yap, yap, yap” ADD chatter from Garcia, I don’t think he really wants this fight. I think he just wants us to think he wants this fight. And, by the way, I don’t think Davis wants this fight either. I think “Tank” is going to continue letting himself be led by the Floyd Mayweather philosophy of promotion, which appears to be based around intentionally antagonizing the fans. Floyd still seems to attribute the heat he generated as a fighter with the way he chronically didn’t take the fights fans clamored for, not with the particular path he took as a fighter vilified by media. Mayweather, the promoter, is like a guy who found a dollar bill underneath a coconut tree after getting bonked on the head by a falling coconut who now walks around cracking himself over the head with coconuts, hoping to find more money. 

Is there a real and true super-fight to be made at heavyweight anymore? Tyson Fury-Anthony Joshua will be a huge financial score in the UK, but, competitively, is it what it would’ve been a couple years ago? Even the public relations crew behind Joshua has to be questioning whether AJ is THE man anymore. Overlooking Andy Ruiz in 2019, in what was pushed as Joshua’s invasion of America, was bad. Getting outboxed and out-hustled by Oleksandr Usyk in 2021 was bad. Worse than both losses, though, was the way this man-- once billed as the next king of boxing-- cheerfully seemed to accept being bested. There’s almost a cuckold vibe to Joshua now and there’s no amount of after-the-fact public relations damage control that can wipe clean the way he so easily and readily accepts being conquered. If there’s anyone still buying the hype that Joshua can be this generation’s dominant heavyweight, put that person into the sucker and mark hall of fame. If Joshua can’t find a way to beat Usyk in their upcoming rematch, the whole AJ show is done. At least, it SHOULD be. 

As for Tyson Fury? Who knows anymore? Will his ties to alleged Irish cartel boss Daniel Kinahan keep him out of America permanently? Does he even want to fight anymore? Is he nearing one of his patented implosions? These are all questions keeping the best heavyweight out of the ring and his career in limbo. 

And getting back to Andy Ruiz…Why are people shitting on his September 4 bout with Luis Ortiz? PPV-worthiness aside, this is a pretty good fight and it’s good to see Ruiz back in the ring and at least partially away from the many, many outside-the-ring distractions pulling a train on his main stage viability as a fighter. The man is only going to go so far peddling “Ya no quiero estar gordo” (I don’t want to be fat anymore) t-shirts from his official AR clothing line (true story). He’s a fighter and needs to fight. Ruiz is a good test for him at this time.

Will Canelo Alvarez beat Gennadiy Golovkin on September 17? Yes. He beat him the last time they met in 2018 (yeah, get over it) and I think he’s a better fighter now than he was then while Golovkin has grown complacent as fuck since signing up with DAZN. I’ll be pulling for a violently decisive end to this rivalry, but I’m pulling back from the idea that we’ll get one. Following the Bivol loss, this fight takes on a bit of a “must win” vibe for the Mexican. Will Canelo take that risk of going “all in” against someone who will very much have a puncher’s chance of producing an embarrassing high-profile loss? That kind of risk is not smart business at all for a man who’s all about smart business. 

By the way, I’ll say it again-- I don’t think Canelo really wants the rematch with Bivol. I think all of this talk about thirsting to avenge the loss is pure face-saving. When push comes to shove, we’ll see something “get in the way” of a Bivol fight and Alvarez stick around at 168. That was a comprehensive beating Canelo took from a guy who was technically perfect and absolutely unflappable and, while Alvarez may gain some ground with a few tweaks and twists, I don’t see him being able to do enough to beat Bivol. He has to know this as well. 

The rumored Shakur Stevenson-Vasily Lomachenko fight would be awesome...and it would be an eye-opener of a live action exposé on what happens when an elite-level, classically trained boxer meets the boxing equivalent of a junk ball pitcher in baseball (a pitcher known more for sleight of hand and deception than actual speed/skill). This isn’t a slam on Lomachenko, but, against Stevenson, the man would absolutely not be able to get away with the stuff that made him “special” against more basic opposition. Think Marco Antonio Barrera vs. Prince Naseem Hamed, just more stylized. 

That’s all I got. Leave your nasty comments below.

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

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