This bout is potentially an excellent match up and definitely must see from at least a technical viewpoint as Jhonny Gonzalez gloves it up against Gary Russell Jr for Jhonny’s WBC feather belt.
Some Jhonny Medicine
Russell as quick as they come in foot/hand/reflexes, but well down on high level experience that Gonzo has been waging almost from his rough inception into Mexican boxing, now bilingual in Vegas as well as many other ports of call over these many years. I cringe over the potential judging and referee outrages since Russell is a long time protected/padded out Al Haymon fighter. The best fighter Russell ever faced he scarcely showed up for, losing comprehensively to basically an amateur with only 2 pro fights, Vasyl Lomachenko. Gonzo’s one of the few still with Golden Boy as far as I know, so it remains to be seen how much influence Golden Boy has on officiating if Russell is able to run his way to a decision. I understand the judges are supposed to be moving to hand held smarty type tablets which make it easier to offer up horrible decisions as they are used to. Whether that is for this fight or later remains to be seen.
One thing is always certain, Jhonny Gonzalez remains one of the most exciting fighters in boxing, so there it is, April 28th at Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas for any interested…
Surging WBO/WBA/IBF unified lightheavy champ Sergey Kovalev defends against fading former WBC titlest Jean Pascal at the Montreal Bell Centre in Montreal, Saturday, March 14. Sadly for boxing this is probably the best financial offer for Kovalev who will be fighting against his second straight stinker-stylist after surgically dismantling the propped up carcass of Bernard Hopkins who failed to land a single signature headbutt much less any punches of authority.
The storied lightheavy division has been the most densely populated division by both historical numbers and great fighters, yet is so weak today that poor representatives such as Hopkins and Pascal have been able to continue on well past their sell date as relevant light heavies. The physically fragile Pascal displayed some talent and natural attributes in his prime, but never put together the heart for fighting more than in spurts or the stamina or to pressure anyone over the distance. Lacking knockout power, his style needed to coast along after quick starts with running finishes to cop his usual hometown decisions.
Kovalev vs Pascal
Pascal needs to make things as ugly defensively as he can to survive, thus it’s difficult to see him pulling off such a blatant hometown robbery, but there have been worse robberies. Kovalev is very hungry and willing to risk his chances away from home because he’s a Russian expatriot always fighting in the other guy’s backyard not to mention very big and strong at the weight. He knows how to meld aggressive, effective boxing technique with spectacular power. The other Canadian, Al Haymon “advised” Adonis Stevenson, doesn’t want to know him, so poor Kovalev will be stuck fighting in the vacuum of club fighters left in the former storied lightheavy division even if he wins.
The subcard looks somewhat dreary with Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov, 19-0-1, 12 KO going against Steve “USS” Cunningham, 28-6-0, 13 KO. Glazkov is a legitimate contender with a non-dramatic plodding, pressuring style that will not be flattered by the fast running, tap, tap American style of the game but past it Cunningham out of his depth at heavyweight. Main Events and InterBox are the co-promoters and more power to them for keeping smaller promoters, contenders and champs busy.
Well, Al Haymon did say he wanted to take over boxing, and he did utterly ravage what is now the wreckage of Golden Boy promotions, and he has set up a boxing network of sorts working with small promoters so he could secure the reported $20 million deal with NBC, and he did sign what is probably the largest population of fighters currently working today, nearing the 200 mark if media talk amounts to anything, so with all that big hoopla going into the March 7th WBA welterweight challenge of Keith Thurman by Robert Guerrero, what are the odds Al Haymon makes a public appearance before Howard Hughes slips in ahead of him?
Slim and none I would suspect, and speaking of suspect, the card was stocked three weeks in advance with referee Kenny Bayless and judges Adalaide Byrd, Dave Moretti and Jerry Roth at the MGM Floyd in Las Vegas if anyone needs directions. That’s an all star Floyd Mayweather line up of home stocked minders that not even he always rates. Such is the canned debut for the new NBC series which is a shame since Thurman and Guerrero have shown themselves to be first rate boxers with fighting hearts willing to leave it all in the ring.
Clearly Thurman is young, undefeated, and telegenic as opposed to Guerrero who has something of a bite the hand that feeds him reputation during his contract disputes with Goldenboy. Guerrero is the highly credentialed veteran here and has that advantage, thus the need for officiating that knows the bottom line in advance. American Boxing desperately needs a new Floyd Mayweather and Thurman is the chosen one. Oscar de la Hoya has been playing that game for ages, trying to replace himself as the golden cash cow, but his handpicked prospects with golden monikers never panned out just as boxing history shows that exceptional talents too often don’t translate into exceptional fighters.
Maybe Al Haymon has a change of heart from his last few years of tepid matchmaking since this bout has some high action and drama potential, but will boxing allow fair officiating? We’ll be watching.