Monthly Archives: October 2019

WBSS Finals~Regis Prograis vs Josh Taylor @O2 London

This much maligned WBSS on again/off again tourney finally may make it to the finish line when the New Orleans based native, Regis Prograis, travels to London to take on the long and lean Englishman Josh Taylor @O2 in London this Saturday, October 26th.

Few American fighters are willing to travel for big overseas bouts that are almost always bigger than can be had stateside, yet top modern P4P welters Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr and Timothy Bradley Jr have done so in Merry Aulde England with great success, so Prograis, 24-0, 20 KO means to continue their successful mean streak against Taylor, 15-0, 12 KO. Prograis also has a definitive KO win over another long and lean champion in Julius Indongo.

The WBSS problems have been endemic from the start: 1. Overexposure of the format that has long been proven fragile for the way an individual sport of boxing works. 2. A bizarre new financial compensation package contrary to the traditional method boxing uses. 3. Shortage of cash leading to the bad publicity of fighters having to wait long times to get paid. 4. Shortage of ethics with their financier, the regrettable Richard Schaefer who paid an out of court settlement to Goldenboy Promotions for fraudulently running the company into the ground as their CEO that surreptitiously served to jump start the equally regrettable Al Haymon into in the boxing biz.

Don’t know anything about 28 year old Taylor other than he has 80% KO ratio and highly rated by Boxrec and Ring as is the 30 year old Prograis who also possesses all those things.

And both undefeated! And all this for the Ali Trophy!

A decision favors Taylor in his home environs, so I’m pretty sure Prograis will be carefully angling for the definitive KO.

Officiating? We can only avert our eyes and pray for the best fighter to win. We’ve had a number of Fight of the Year fight contenders in 2019, so fingers crossed this fight will prove to worthy of that caliber.

The Other Ukrainian Oleksandr~Oleksandr Gvozdyk vs Artur Beterbiev

The other Ukrainian Oleksandr, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, WBC Lightheavy champ,  defends against highly touted Russian IBF champ, Artur Beterbiev, this Friday, October 18th @Liacouras Center, Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. 

This is a highly desirable unification bout between two Eastern Europeans whose countries are currently engaged in a low simmering war with multiplying long term casualties and displacements. The 32 yr old Gvozdyk, 17-0, 14 KO, and the 34 yr old Beterbiev, 14-0, 14 KO, don’t seem hold such deathly hostilities towards each other, yet nonetheless, these are two no nonsense fighters who will look to discombobulate the other within the legal rules of boxing. World leaders would do well to emulate that honorable part of boxing, but the corrupting spoils of war and glory have regrettably proven endemic throughout history.

You can also see that Beterbiev has a massive skull set that may well prove to be impossible to crack. While he knocked Gvozdyk in the amateurs, he also lost to the other Ukrainian Oleksandr, Oleksandr Usyk having beat him on the way to Gold in the 2012 Olympics in the heavyweight(Pro Cruiserweight) class. So here Beterbiev is now drained down to current pro era Lightheavy limit of 175 lbs that allows maximum rehydration after the weighin, that in his case may be well into the 190s. That advantage may well explain the overall thickness of his physicality, power, and perpetual scowl from having to make an unnatural weight class.

In short, Beterbiev is a Big Load for the division.

I suspect that Gvokdyk is the better boxer but for the handicap of his new trainer, the certified Loonytunes Teddy Atlas who is known to have pulled a gun on young amateur teenage Mike Tyson that got him booted from the Cus D’Amato stable, and years later and none the wiser, he grabbed his gun to go track down Donny Lalonde with bad intentions. Thankfully that search turned out to be fruitless, but nonetheless, Teddy is the wildcard in this fight and typically will viciously bait Beterbiev in the pressers hoping to get him off his team strategy.

Beterbiev is not the kind of guy to be put in a frenzy, so The Nail really does have his work cut out for him similar to the Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier first Fight of the Century. To paraphrase Joe during the post fight after beating up and knocking down Ali, “I knew Clay was gonna have to fight and run whereas all I had to do is fight.” Most assuredly, gonna to be some kind of an epic fight in Philly this Saturday night and near a guarantee Loony Teddy blows his top by the end.

American & Heavyweight Debut of Oleksandr Usyk vs Chazz Witherspoon

Ukranian all everthing, Oleksandr Usyk, 16-0, 12 KO, makes both his American and heavyweight debut against long suffering American fringe contender, Chazz Witherspoon, 38-3, 29 KO, this Saturday, October 12 @Wintrust Arena, Chicago, Illinois.

Witherspoon is the nephew of former heavyweight champ Tim Witherspoon and winner of the 2004 National Golden Gloves Heavyweight Tourney, so wondrous things were expected as he’s a big heavyweight and obviously a good boxer, but 3 losses to top fighters have prevented him from gaining traction. Yet he soldiered on to stay busy enough such that at age 38, the gift of a lifetime fell into his lap after the previous Usyk opponent got popped for drug violation by VADA.

Usyk was last seen defending every Cruiserweight World Title known to man in England against a surprisingly game Tony Bellew last year who retired after his beatdown. So after a torn biceps training injury canceled Usyk’s previous debut, here we are with Chazz salivating over the opportunity to test out that dinged up arm of his.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plus a couple of lively undercard fights with the lovely Jessica McCaskill vs  Erica Anabella Farias as well as Lightheavy champ Dmitry Bivol going against Lenin Castillo.

I suspect Usyk who is a cautious slow starter preferring to rack up early boxing points as he works out his opponents will eventually want to make a KO statement. Of Chazz’s 3 losses, the last two were by KO, and in the first loss he was on the verge of being knocked out at the bell when his team got on the ring apron as the ref administered a count that triggered a DQ ruling by the ref, so make of Chazz’s chances what you may.

Gennady Golovkin vs Sergiy Derevvanchnko

Gennady Golovkin, 39-1-1, 35 KO, dresses back down to the middleweight limit after a brief flirtation with Supermiddle, but this time for vacant IBF/IBO middleweight titles vs Ukrainian Sergiy Derevyanchenko, 13-1, 10 KO @Madison Square Garden, New York, New York this Saturday, October 5th.

Sergiy, aka The Technician, hasn’t much pro experience, but what he has is solid including a disputed split decision loss to the highly regarded Daniel Jacobs, so this is no walk over for Golovkin. At soon to be age 35 this month, his Olympic credentials may not make a perfect match for Golovkin’s silver medal, but according to ESPN, he compiled a amateur mark of 390-20, which included him representing his country in the 2008 Olympic Games in China. He was “beat” in the semis by the eventual Cuban Silver medalist Emilio Correa Jr whose father won Gold in 1972 Olympics. Every one knows the host, China in this case, always gets favorable sway in the judging, and Cuba one of the few pure Communist countries left, so a lot of favoritism me thinks. Sergiy’s Ukrainian years included the company of current highly rated champs in Vasiliy Lomachenko, Oleksandr Usyk and Oleksandr Gvozdyk with whom he sparred with, actually holding a record of 1-1 against Usyk. In the “semipro” WSB” league, he was 23-1, 7 KO, so both his amateur and pro record is very deceptive indeed although I am still somewhat suspicious about that amateur mark ESPN reported.

Though Golovkin has not looked the sharpest ever since Saul Alvarez destroyed his mythical mystique in boxing while thus far snubbing their trilogy, instead preferring a bigger fight for a Light Heavy challenge against the harder hitting Sergey Kovalev. The 37 year old Golovkin came under fire for fighting the lightly regarded Steve Rolls, and though looking tubby and rusty and perhaps jaded in that fight, it’s hard not to see him as winning this fight, but then again Sergiy looks supremely confident unlike other Golovkin foes who looked dead on arrival as soon as he was able to crack them.

As to any knockout, Sergiy seems to be very durable, but Golovkin would be the biggest puncher he ever faced, so it could be a very good technical fight for both with perhaps some fireworks by the end. Props to both and perhaps best not bet the farm on the favorite for this one…just sayin!