So, did you see the Fight of the Year last weekend between Leigh Wood and Michael Conlan on DAZN?
Yes, I know it’s the second week of March, and yes, there is still plenty of time for men and women to get hit and hit back. That time will have to exceed what went down in Liverpool as these two put on a fight that I didn’t see happen before the bell.
Full disclosure on what makes this the front runner for Fight of The Year is that the biggest fight in the ring up to his point involved a Terence Crawford lawsuit earlier this year. After that, Jerwin Ancajas and Fernando Martinez threw many punches a few weeks ago. The end.
Leigh Wood and Michael Conlan with each other the day after their fight which Wood won by a 12th rd stoppage. Picture By Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing
Seriously, that’s the shortlist until Wood-Conlan popped off this past weekend. In that contest, WBA titleholder Leigh Wood had to overcome getting knocked down in the first round and was on the wrong end in the first half of this fight. Then, Wood came roaring back, and the 11th round became the 11th hour for Wood as he scored a knockdown to close out the round. Payback to Conlan from earlier in the fight, and then the twelfth round happened.
The ringside angle catches it incredibly, but you see the fatigue that Conlan was sporting as he was backing up against the ropes. Wood threw a right, and that was all she wrote: it sent Conlan through the ropes, and this bout over.
The ringside angle of yesterday’s unforgettable KO 🎥
Time has passed, and Conlan last reported as okay but on the mend from the punishment from this contest. The stoppage was a quiet and scary scene as Conlan attended outside the ring. The crowd looking to celebrate Wood’s win in the ring was told to pipe down while they checked on Conlan by the victor himself. Just one of the more impressive rallies I’ve seen and an excellent win for Wood, who showed that the Xu Can victory wasn’t a fluke.
Showtime went ahead and booked boxing for the summer.
On Tuesday, Showtime planted their flag with the rollout of their Premier Boxing Champions schedule. The schedule kicks off March 26 at The Armory in Minneapolis with the U.S. debut of junior middleweight standout Tim Tszyu (20-0, 15 KOs). He looks to go global in his quest for a world title at 154 pounds taking on Terrell Gausha (22-2-1, 11 KOs). Tszyu begins a five-month string that stops on the rollout on July 9, with new WBC featherweight champion Mark Magsayo (24-0, 16 KOs) taking on Rey Vargas (35-0,22 KOs). You can peep the whole Showtime schedule here. What needs to be remembered when they rolled this schedule out is that Showtime put out the best lineup of fights, and it’s not even close. How many of you knew Sandor Martin was in action on April 1? You’re welcome.
Does this roll out move the needle for Showtime?
My initial observations from it:
The schedule will keep you moaning for all of those complaining about too many belts in boxing. Those bouts with straps include two world title unifications, seven World title belts, and three world title eliminators featuring twenty-one undefeated fighters on the line during this period. Get your unsatisfied Yelp review ready if you thought this would silence that.
As a whole, I think the lineup is solid. Showtime Sports President Stephen Espinoza emphasized that other fight cards will still come. So if a household PBC name wasn’t announced at first, expect them to reappear during this time. For instance, Bryant Perrella will be back against Kevin Salgado on April 9. The bout that is the crown jewel of this schedule is the Super Bantamweight unified contest between Stephen Fulton (20-0,8 KOs) and Danny Roman (29-3-1, 10 KOs) on June 4.
I’m glad they kept the rematch of Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano off of pay-per-view. They’re running it back on May 14 in Los Angeles after an injury delay from Castano. As expected, the bouts involving Errol Spence Jr. and Gervonta “Tank” Davis did not.
That said, June 18 on paper stinks as it’s a stay busy fight for Jermall Charlo (32-0,22 KOs) as the WBC Middleweight champion takes on former title challenger Maciej Sulecki. Jaime Munguia (39-0,30 KOs) was the initially slated opponent. That was until talks fell through over demands made by Munguia’s promoters. Espinoza referred to it as concessions on the Zoom call Tuesday. One of those concessions was that it would be a joint venture pay-per-view between DAZN and Showtime.
Can you imagine a boxing world where networks and promotions all work together in a joint effort to still put on fight cards that shouldn’t be on pay-per-view? A cruel world that would be and lucky for us, this ain’t it.
It’s disappointing because that is the fight we all want to see and in boxing fashion, we can’t have nice things.
Also missing from that lineup is boxing fireball Jake Paul. “He’s looking for a noisemaking fight sometime this summer,” Espinoza said. Hopefully, it’s better than his current matchmaking. That’s just lousy booking, no matter how you shake it.
It’s Michael McKinson fight week, and that is because Vergil Ortiz was hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis. Not only is it hard to pronounce, but it’s also severe and fatal, so speedy recovery to Ortiz. But what’s next for “The Problem” here as he is left without an opponent this weekend?
One replacement being floated around is Juan Carlos Salgado. Remember him? My old Myspace page did when he knocked out Jorge Linares back in 2009. That’s who they found off the couch here to replace Ortiz, possibly for this fight. Likely that the California State Athletic Commission shoots this down, and Salgado can join me back on the couch. Plenty of room here in that instance. Hopefully, they just move up the supporting bout involving Blair Cobbs and Alexis Rocha to the main and keep this card moving.
This release was sent out by GBP last night.
Between this apparent lack of Plan B here and the handling of the possible bout with Jamie Munguia falling by the westside, you have to wonder what they are doing here. Hopefully, we’ll get an actual answer on that as Munguia is now without a fight at 160 pounds. The same names he withdrew from earlier in Charlo, Demetrius Andrade, and Janibek Alimkhanuly, are waiting for him in the weight pool, barring he moves up in weight. Either way, this has been, at best, a shit show from Golden Boy. Here’s to the card this weekend not being flushed with it.
Loose Couch Cushion Notes
I wrote about it. So how did Giovanni Marquez look? Not one to give you all scout tape on pro debut fights, but he won easily in a contest where he outworked and boxed 3 out of 4 rounds. Ask me later in about nine more pro fights for an assessment, as we’ll have a gage from there.
Amir Khan stated he is going to keep fighting? I’m sure we all said that the Amir Khan-Kell Brook fight, win or lose, should retire in boxing. Khan lost, so I don’t think the retire theme will change here. May explain why gambling empire William Hill last week sent out a mailing stating that Kell Brook was the odds on favorite for these two to run it back. I’m all set on seeing that again.
Amir Khan shouldn’t stay far away from a ring. Photo by Boxxer.
The last time we saw Steve Rolls in action, he became a part of the Kenny Bayless face meme on his way out against Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. He has to overcome that as he walks back into Madison Square Garden again to face Edgar Berlanga this weekend. At last glance at the sportsbooks, Rolls will qualify as the biggest upset this year if that happens at 18-1. Tune into ESPN Saturday night to see if that is the case or if history will repeat and Rolls here.