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MAGNO'S BULGING MAIL SACK: BOOTS, TANK, AND A BRONZE BOMBER

By Paul Magno | June 06, 2024
MAGNO'S BULGING MAIL SACK: BOOTS, TANK, AND A BRONZE BOMBER

Every Thursday here at Fight Hype, we make a space for a good, old-fashioned written word money shot from the depths of my bulbous, bulging sack. So, get ready for some of that infamous Magno-rific gooey, salty, sometimes NSFW truth. This week, we have comments/questions regarding Tank Davis, Boots Ennis, and Deontay Wilder.

The Boots Dilemma

Hi Paul,

With most of the elite welterweights moving to 154, Boots Ennis may have a difficult time finding an opponent to boost his profile at 147. Unless guys like Ryan Garcia or Teofimo move up in weight class, there’s just not much talent and name recognition. Vergil Ortiz would be a good test but I think even he is moving up. I would say Keith Thurman but who knows with this guy. The only other guy that comes to mind is Eimantas Stanionis or Crowley if his eye situation improves.

In your opinion, do you think there’s enough there with the current crop to boost Boots stock, or should he move up to 154?

Regards.

– Reggie Cannon

Hey Reggie.

Welterweight is worn out and it doesn’t help any that the unified champ, Terence Crawford, is utterly disinterested in being a unified champ and in addressing the one fight that makes any sense at 147-- against Jaron Ennis.

So, the options for Ennis are pretty slim right now. He COULD just smash around the remnants of the division while cashing DAZN/Matchroom checks. That’s easy work for low risk. But then there’d be no legacy fights on his resume and, maybe more importantly, no star-building fights.

I wouldn’t count on guys like Garcia and Teofimo moving up to fight him, for the same reason Terence Crawford and Errol Spence aren’t rushing to fight him. He just represents way too much risk for way too little reward.

Unfortunately, a move up to 154 would probably see him in the same situation. Who would fight him unless they absolutely HAD to and/or the money was too big to turn down?

I don’t see Matchroom/Eddie Hearn having much of a long-term plan for Boots. How could they? Risk vs. reward, network/promotional ties-- it’s all working against Boots. The best option for him, IMO, is to fight the best of what he can find and hope to gradually build his star until he CAN bring opponents persuasive pay checks.

Wilder’s Wild Legacy

Hi Paul.

I just read your send-off to Deontay Wilder [in Monday’s Notes from the Boxing Underground] and I have to say that it was the fairest one I’ve seen since Saturday’s fight. His story is a success story by any reasonable standard, but he also didn’t work hard enough at improving himself as a fighter to keep that success going. He was managed well and guided well, but who isn’t these days? When all is said and done, he’ll go down in history as a flawed, but very exciting heavyweight titlist. How do you rate Deontay’s legacy in the big picture of boxing history?

– Dennis C.

Hey Dennis.

You pretty much covered it. If you’re into ATG rankings and similar fluff, Wilder absolutely does not make the cut. But the man made his mark and there’s no denying it. As I wrote on Monday:

“If you didn’t have respect for Deontay Wilder all throughout his boxing career, then you were clearly riding some sort of agenda-- and you missed out on a wildly entertaining chunk of modern boxing history.

In Wilder, we have a man who gambled on a life in the cruelest of all sports in order to better provide for his disabled daughter. And despite a late, late start in the sport (he began training at 20 years of age), he won a National Golden Gloves title in just his 16th amateur fight, he won the U.S. Olympic trials in just his 21st amateur bout, and then earned a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Games. He would go on to win the WBC heavyweight title as a pro and successfully defend that belt ten times.

If that’s not a feel-good success story in your eyes, you need to get some therapy or, better yet, just go and fuck off.”

Wilder, in my eyes, will go down in history as a man who made his mark in his chosen profession and always gave an honest effort. He performed with heart and to the best of his abilities. The sport was better with him in it.

More and More Wilder

Paul,

We all know Wilder was a below average technician in the ring and he made up for that with raw power and just being ferocious. Having watched Wilder for years now, it appears Mark Breland sharpened Wilder to what he needed to be and added a decent jab that actually connected at a very high percentage. Since he fired Breland, Wilder has gone 1-3 with Malik Scott and taken 3 beatings. I see Wilder moving around on the back foot and trying to box and set up traps. I also see a fighter who receives no tactical adjustments from his trainer. This is not Wilder. I can't stand what Malik Scott has manifested in Wilder and it’s tragic.

How much of this lies completely on how Wilder was managed post-beatdown from Tyson 2? Picture a world where Wilder comes off a loss in Tyson Fury 2 and does remain active; fighting guys that get his confidence back and he does not punt on Mark Breland. What if he took the Joshua route post loss and fought guys like Franklin, Helenius, Wallin and Ngannou? Would Mark Breland have allowed the Fury Rematch right after?

Ultimately, I feel that Wilder’s career post-Fury was all wrong. We got Fury 3 which was great for the fans, but it was a fight that wasn’t right for his career at the time. I can’t really get my questions out because I am so bummed out about Wilder likely being finished. I was not ready to say goodbye as a fan. So here I go.

If you could have redone Deontay Wilder’s career after Fury 2, what would you have done differently (besides losing)? If you could have redone Deontay Wilder’s career after Fury 3, what would you have done differently? Should he have been matched differently/would it have made a difference? Does Deontay Wilder have anything left if he takes a George Foreman approach and fights very below average fighters, stays busy and waits for the right opponent to recapture a title? Part of me feels that Wilder is no different than Joshua right now besides momentum.

Thanks man. I know we're just fans and Wilder made more money in 1 round than I will in a lifetime, its just sad to see him go.

-Greg

Hey Greg.

You touched on a very valid point when you mentioned Mark Breland. Wilder DID show technical progress under Breland, but then regressed under Scott. One has to assume that if he had not gone wacko on Breland-- and I failed to mention how sad and disgraceful that chapter in his career was-- that he would’ve been a notably better fighter. I don’t think Breland had any say-so when it came to Wilder’s opponent selection, but I do think Breland’s subtle influence as co-trainer was helpful. A better, more technically fine-tuned Deontay Wilder (even if it was to a small degree) may have had enough to do significantly better against Fury. At the very least, he may have avoided the brutal punishment he took and that may have allowed him a longer career.

It’s possible that Wilder could continue with his career by smashing soft touches, but I don’t see him beating anyone near the top anymore. The will’s not there, the fire’s not there, and his punch resistance is gone. Time and the physical toll of two (and now three) ugly beatings have taken this fighting life from him. It’s time to move on.  

Tank’s March to Greatness

Hey Magno.

I know you already talked about the Tank Davis-Frank Martin fight, but I want to go deeper. In my opinion, Tank needs to step up his game after this fight and start taking on more of the elite. He needs the fights that will carry him from being a great fighter to one of the greats. He’s has the skill and ability to do that, but he just doesn’t have that body of work yet. What do you see in the future of Tank Davis and do you see him stepping things up after he beats Martin?

– Clyde

Hey Clyde.

Boxing fans and media are always crying about the lack of star power among current American fighters. Well, Davis has built himself into a star attraction and he did it the old school, grassroots way. Tank is the guy they all say they want to come along. For a number of reasons, though, respect and recognition have been slow in coming. Some of those reasons are complete partisan bullshit. Some are valid, though. The truth is, he HASN’T taken the fights fans/media perceive as risky. You could probably point to other promoters/networks as being just as risk-averse as Tank-- and maybe more so-- but Tank is the “name” and, whether it’s fair or not, the pressure seems to fall on his shoulders when it comes to fights that can be made. That changes by him taking a more active role in his opponent selection and going after guys with greater name value. Frank Martin is a good fighter and worthy of a main stage shot, but beating him does nothing for Tank’s continued ascension. It’s just a time-filler in the big picture of his career. Unfortunately, I don’t really see Team Davis changing their approach. They can point to packed houses and increasing PPV success as reasons for not having to change a thing-- and maybe they have a point. But that mindset does nothing for those of us who want to see Davis tested and truly ascend to greatness as a fighter.

Got a question (or hate mail) for Magno’s Bulging Mail Sack? The best of the best gets included in the weekly mailbag segment right here at FightHype. Send your stuff here: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com.

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