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NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: ODDS AND ENDS

By Paul Magno | January 29, 2024
NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: ODDS AND ENDS

Here’s a little bit from here and there in our delightfully despicable world of boxing:

– So, last week, Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) revealed their March 30 debut PPV show on Amazon Prime. Predictably, a segment of boxing fandom tinkled their panties with sanctimonious rage-- as they would’ve done no matter what fights were announced-- and another segment of fandom let loose with a “this is awesome”-- as they would’ve done no matter what fights were announced.

Really, people, this us vs. them shit is getting so old. Enjoy the fights-- or don’t enjoy the fights-- but keep your hurt feelings and weirdo prejudices out of the public discourse. 

For the record, I’m mostly pointing the finger at the right wing culture warrior element in the media. Those who started having tantrums when concert promoter Al Haymon had the nerve to come into “their” business, tweaking the business model in a way that was not-so-beneficial to their beloved (and not-so-secret benefactor) promoters. I’ll point another finger at the fans who swallowed what those media pantsloads were selling. And, then, I’ll point a third finger at the blind PBC followers who came into existence as the equal and opposite reaction to the anti-PBC lynch mob. Honestly, though, I’d like to give a MIDDLE finger to all of them.

I’ve gone into the “why they hate PBC” analysis several times before and I don’t care to revisit all that here, but suffice it to say that there’s a bizarre mix of protecting business interests and race/class/culture bias behind the angst. 

Whatever the case, move on people. 

I’m not going to lie, I’ll probably still be poking fun at the partisan silliness and having more fun doing so at the expense of the angry white guys. But I do wish boxing was still about boxing. 

– As for the March 30 PBC PPV card? Here it is: Tim Tszyu vs. Keith Thurman, Rolly Romero vs. Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz, Erislandy Lara vs. Michael Zerafa, and Sebastian Fundora vs. Serhii Bohachuk.

It’s a solid card, although the Tszyu-Thurman main event struck people as somewhat random (until you realize that Tszyu is aiming for a long, successful stab at stardom in the US and Thurman represents the biggest available name to help jump start that push).

As I’ve said many, many times before, I’m not a fan of paywalls and I think passing the hat for everything “good” is trading long-term health for marginal short-term gain. But the “This show is not PPV-worthy” laments before each pay-per-view these days probably top my short list of things I totally don’t care to fucking hear, ever. 

If you don’t like the pay-per-view, don’t buy it. Problem solved. When McDonald’s raises the price of the Big Mac, I don’t feel the need to jump on social media and bitch about whether the 50 cents extra now makes me want more special sauce and an extra pickle slice. I just either buy the burger or not.

Honestly, probably three-quarters of these chronic complainers were going to steal the fight via illegal stream anyway. 

– The biggest in-ring story this weekend was Jaime Munguia vs. John Ryder at Footprint Arena in Phoenix. Given each fighters’ strengths and weaknesses, this was bound to be an entertaining scrap and it didn’t disappoint. Munguia would drop the UK native four times and force a corner stoppage in the ninth round of an engaging fight that delivered on the predictable outcome. Without Ryder having the kind of pop needed to keep the Mexican respectful and a half-step gun shy, it was going to be tough for him to have any sort of sustained success. So, from the moment the bout was signed, the story was always going to be how Munguia would beat Ryder and, well, he got that victory in the best possible way.

Working under Freddie Roach, Munguia did show improvements in technique, especially in utilizing his jab to greater benefit. But his sharpness in this bout is a testament to the importance of top-notch sparring in a world class atmosphere (at Roach’s Wild Card gym), something that matters a lot more than many acknowledge. It also helps when your opponent is tailor-made to be beaten to a pulp. 

By the way, Munguia still has hiccups in his game and, defensively, is very vulnerable. Ryder tagged him with some big, flush shots on Saturday and if he had any real power, there might’ve been a different story told that night. 

– Naoya Inoue vs. Luis Nery, May 6? Mexico’s Nery got a lifetime ban from the Japanese Boxing Commission back in 2018 for missing the bantamweight limit by three pounds in a 118 lb. world title rematch with Shinsuke Yamanaka and “severely impairing social credibility” of the sport for his actions. Nery also had a doping violation that didn’t help his case with the Japanese. But none of that will matter. There’ll be big money in watching Inoue turn Nery into a human plate of huevos rancheros and more than a tinge of vengeance in the arrangement. And, yeah, Inoue will brutalize Nery.

– Speaking of sanctioned murder, William Zepeda will be facing Maxi Hughes on March 16 in a WBA and IBF lightweight title eliminator. This is going to be ugly. Seriously. I mean, “thug beats up old lady on security cam” ugly. It’s going to make people wonder how some fighters get into spots to qualify for world title eliminators. Just kidding. Boxing people generally don’t wonder too much. 

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

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