HBO Boxing Announces Underwhelming Final CardHBO boxing began its run that would lead to it becoming the biggest network in the sport by first airing George Foreman’s two-round destruction of Joe Frazier. Unfortunately, the network’s final boxing event will not have anywhere near that level of star power or prestige.
This week it was announced that HBO’s final card would be headlined by the fight between Cecilia Braekhus and Aleksandra Magdziak-Lopes. While Braekhus will be defending her title for an incredibly impressive 24th time, making this HBO’s final bout is an extremely odd move. HBO didn’t air a women’s boxing match until this May, and just a few months ago hesitated about airing Heather Hardy’s fight on the undercard of their Brooklyn card headlined by Daniel Jacobs and Sergiy Derevyanchenko. With all due respect to the fighters involved, it’s hard not to think that HBO believes nostalgia and a curiosity to see how their production team prepare a sendoff to the sport will drive ratings even if the fight will not.
That card will also see Roman “Chocalatito” Gonzalez fighting Mexico’s Pedro Guevara. While Gonzalez has been campaigning for fights against Sor Rungvisai or Carlos Cuadras, with HBO now leaving the boxing game, it’s unclear if any other network or streaming site will want to invest in the super flyweight class the way HBO has the last few years. It should be noted that there will be more HBO cards between now and December, including the Dmitry Bivol-Jean Pascal fight for which Bivol said this week he took far less money than he could have gotten on another network out of loyalty to HBO. With HBO showing no loyalty to its boxers, he should have kept the money.
Floyd Mayweather Apparently Bails on Fight with Japanese KickboxerAfter announcing he would be fighting Tenshin Nasukawa, this week Floyd apparently decided against fighting the young kickboxing sensation with various excuses ranging from he never signed the contract to he thought it was going to be an exhibition bout, not an official fight. While kickboxing and MMA fans are disappointed they will not see the fight, for boxing fans the kickboxer is so far down on the list of Mayweather fights we never got to see face Floyd: Paul Williams, Sergio Martinez, GGG at 154, Amir Khan, Paul Spadafora, Antonio Margarito, T.I., 50 Cent and about 25 more guys I’m forgetting about.
One guy who Floyd fought and beat, at least in everybody’s mind but his, is Manny Pacquiao who this week said he doesn’t feel that he ever lost to Floyd, arguing it wasn’t clear who won because Floyd didn’t throw a lot of punches and Manny’s shoulder was injured. Take a page from your horrible Disney singalong attempt Manny, Let it go, let it go.
Beterbiev-Smith Fight Scheduled for Canelo-Fielding Undercard is OffSpeaking of bailing on a fight, undefeated Russian Artur Beterbiev was going to fight Joe Smith Jr., the New Yorker who forced Bernard Hopkins into retirement, on the Dec. 15 Canelo-Fielding undercard at Madison Square Garden. However, Beterbiev fought in October, got dropped, and now feels that he cannot be ready for a guy like Smith with such a short turnaround. Although Smith’s team said they wouldn’t mind waiting, there’s no guarantee that would happen as they also suggested Smith could fight one of the other titlists in the division. With the Canelo-Fielding card now lacking a decent undercard matchup, Philly’s 130-pound fighter Tevin Farmer has indicated he would like to be on the card, though it is unclear who his opponent could be.
Kell Brook Gets Hometown Tune-up Fight, Still Hoping for Eventual Khan MatchupKell Brook has been looking to fight Amir Khan for years and has been incredibly vocal about it for the last few months. However, his next fight will not be against Amir Khan, but against Michael Zerafa in Brook’s hometown of Sheffield, England. Australia’s Zerafa has only fought outside of his home nation twice, and lost both of those fights, including being knocked out by Peter ”my nickname is ‘kid chocolate’ but really should be ‘Starlord’” Quillin. This combined with the fact that Brook will be without his trainer Dominic Ingle but doesn’t seem especially concerned about it, point to the fact that this is nothing more than a keep-busy fight while Brook seeks a bout with Khan.
Robert Guerrero Returns to Boxing on Untelevised Portion of Fury-Wilder UndercardRobert “The Ghost” Guerrero has fallen on hard times lately. The onetime opponent of Floyd Mayweather Jr. was knocked out by Omar Figueroa Jr. in July of 2017, which led him to retire after losing five of his last seven fights. Now, Guerrero will be returning to Showtime PPV where he headlined that Mayweather card, only he will be relegated to the untelevised portion of the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder undercard. That’s pretty rough for a man who held titles in two weight classes.
Cuban Olympic Great Felix Savon Accused of Sexually Assaulting a MinorFelix Savon, the three-time Olympic Gold Medalist who most famously knocked out David Tua and Shannon Briggs both in the first round but never turned pro, is apparently in a Cuban jail on charges of raping a twelve year-old male family member. Worse, apparently this isn’t the first time Savon has been accused of this type of crime, but the Cuban government has been covering up the claims because they don’t want to see their national heroes portrayed in a negative light. Felix Savon (as was Teofilo Stevenson before him) is consistently talked about as a fighter who could have dominated the professional boxing scene and beaten Mike Tyson even during Tyson’s prime. To see him accused of committing these heinous crimes is awful. To see Cuba accused of covering them up is worse.
Jermain Taylor Back in Jail after Violating ParoleAnd finally, Jermain Taylor is back in jail after violating his parole. At this point in Taylor’s life, the more notable news is that he was out of jail at some point.
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