The Week in Boxing, Aug 6 | Bernie's RantWritten by Bernard Campbell
Alvarez upsets Kovalev
In front of a capacity crowd at The Hard Rock Hotel in Atlantic City, Eleider Alvarez from Columbia faced IBF Champion Sergey Kovalev. And in a gutty performance, the Colombian TKO’d the Russian in the 7th round of their contested affair.
Kovalev, who was ahead on the cards, showed marked signs of wear and tear; something we weren't accustomed to seeing. He also appeared tentative and less powerful versus years past. Even in his previous fight against perennial Super Middleweight, Igor Mikhalkn, The Krusher showed signs of weak legs and subsequent diminished power.
Alvarez was a hungrier fighter and showed a lot more effective aggression. Moreover, he was in good condition and was able to handle Sergey’s heavy punches. Alvarez effectively utilized an arsenal of jabs, right leads and combinations to answer his adversary. This was his first significant test and he passed it with flying colors.
In the co-feature, WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Dimitry Bivol, originally out of Kyrgyzstan, scored a one-sided UD over perennial contender Isaac Chilemba, 25-6-2 out of Malawi, Africa. Bivol set the pace from the opening round but hit a plateau after Chilemba settled into the fight. Chilemba possesses the best chin in the game and hasn't been knocked out in 33 contests.
Berto clinches, Lipton ignores
At the Nassau Coliseum, veterans Andre Berto and Devon Alexander met in a battle of former world champions. It was a spirited fusion and one in which referee Ron Lipton appeared to be on "sedatives" when officiating the contest. Lipton hardly gave a warning and refused to take any points away for Berto's continued clinching. Berto, the stronger of the two, was allowed to clinch too much on numerous times.
Alexander lost via a Split Decision score and the verdict will have repercussions on his significance in the division going forward. But Devon was not without fault as he showed very little head movement and was not able to get his unorthodox rhythm going nor maintain a safe, workable distance with his longer reach. Berto was knocked down in the 3rd round but was assisted by two (illegal) blows to the back of the head after a straight right by Devon connected.
Former Middleweight Champion Peter Quillin, 34-1-1 (23) stepped up to 168lbs to fight J'Leon Love 24-1-1 who was riding a 7 fight unbeaten streak. Quillin would dominate - and win - the fight with a superior activity rate. The winner, whose had only 2 fights in the last 2 and a half years and is 35 years old, must take the fast route to the title shot as he has little time to play with. He should next set his sights on one of the Dirrell brothers or Juergen Braehmer.
Boycott ruins show?
Marcus Browne 22-0 (17) also fought and was knocked down by Lenin Castillo 18-2-1 (13). But Browne rallied back to win a lopsided UD. There was apparently a boycott called on the fight card that night at the Nassau Veteran’s Coliseum by an activist group called "Salmon Swim" in protest of the female combatant on the fight card lineup. And the boycott may have had a small impact on the attendance figures because there wasn't a large crowd present.
I spoke to founder and President of the organization, Lewis Bonamo, who is also an attorney. "We as fight fans will continue to boycott in the New York area fight cards to protest major boxing events with female fighters," Bonamo said. "The fights are an imposition … they lack semblance of competition. It has become a political agenda more than anything". Bonamo also added, "There seems to be a trend of mismatches presented by the promoters that we haven’t been happy about and we will hit them in the pocket as a result."
Dan Rafael lacks charisma
Dan Rafael of ESPN is one of the top boxing writers today, but the dude shows absolutely no emotion when he is front of a camera. He has, in psychological terms, the "flat affect." ESPN should keep him in the back-room desk and bring Teddy Atlas out of mothballs.
Remembering Bill Gallo
I have memories of Bill Gallo of The New York Daily News, a staple of professional boxing at its pinnacle with his satirical cartoons and boxing commentary. He passed away a few years back but was always accessible to the casual fan by telephone if you wanted to call the newspaper and discuss pugilism with him. He passed away in his 80s and worked to the very end.
Conversely, Bernard Fernandez, a columnist from Philadelphia, has to be the biggest "homer" in the industry. His scope is very limited, and he has no knowledge of international boxing. And, apparently from his articles, has no clue on upcoming fighters out of his sphere of "The City of Brotherly Love." The Guy who is an esteemed member of the Boxing Writers of America is an absolute bore and extremely one dimensional.
Top Rank has reached a deal with ESPN to broadcast 375 fights in the next 7 years, guaranteed. To me, such a deal is very dangerous to the wellbeing of boxing with Top Rank's track record. Look for them to hold back some fighters while promoting others, all for the sake of revenue. It's a philosophy that has been regressive to the overall international landscape of the game. For example, Asian, African and Australian fighters have received little attention thanks to promoters' political agenda.
Hangin 'em up
Lucas Matthysse has announced his retirement. The 140 pound monster has called it quits after being KO'd by Manny Pacquiao in Kuala Lumpur a few weeks ago.Matthysse was a most feared fighter in the Jr welterweight division about 8 years ago with a devastating right hand that often put quality opponents to sleep. John Molina, Lamont Peterson, Humberto Soto and Vivian Harris to name a few.
Wilder vs Fury - balderdash and poppycock
Deontay Wilder has announced intentions to fight lineal champion Tyson Fury in a title defense sometime in November or December of this year. In my opinion this fight is full of balderdash and poppycock. It is a ridiculous matchup because Fury is damaged goods due to psychiatric problems and the associated medical and pharmaceutical problems that have done irreparable damage to his body. Wilder always wants to take the easy way out.
Lemieux vs O'Sullivan on tap?
An intriguing matchup in the making for middleweight relevance is David Lemieux 39-4 (33) vs Spike O'Sullivan.
Usyk movin' on up... Too fast?
Oleksandr Usyk has officially announced he will be moving up to the Heavyweight division. The 6'3 Cruiserweight, who has unified all four belts, will be slated as the WBO's mandatory for champion Anthony Joshua.
Why should he step up to that position right away? And why doesn’t he get the opportunity to prove himself first and see if he can handle a heavyweight punch before he fights Joshua? How about a matchup with Jarrell Miller or Joe Joyce before we start talking about a title fight?
Son of a legend
Tim Tszyu 10-0 (8), son of former standout champion Kostya Tszyu 31-2 (25) of Australia, won the WBC 140 pound title Friday night after a brief stint as a pro. If he can fight anywhere near as well as his father, then boxing fans are in for a real treat.
Middleweight fight for GGG's stripped IBF strap
Danny Jacobs will meet Sergey Dereyvanchenko for the vacant IBF Middleweight title in November. They previously worked together for a number of years with the same trainer, Andre Rozier. How does this work out? Is this a conflict that must be addressed by the IBF?
Chayaphon Moonsri, the WBC Strawweight titlist, will be going for his 51st win without a loss on the 28th of this month against Pedro Taduran 12-1 of the Philippines in his homeland of Thailand.