The opening bell: Speedy rematch or nah?
Gentle heavyweight world champion Adonis Stevenson retained his title for the ninth time when he and former two-division titlist Badou Jack fought to an intense draw Saturday in Toronto in an excellent struggle.
So the query is, ought to there be an fast rematch? Stevenson (29-1-1, 24 KOs), 40, of Montreal, stated he’s prepared to do it once more, and Jack (21-1-Four, 13 KOs), 34, stated he needs the rematch, however with the caveat that it happen in his adopted hometown of Las Vegas. If that is a deal-breaker, there seemingly will not be a sequel as a result of Stevenson’s previous legal conviction doesn’t enable him to acquire a piece visa to struggle in the United States.
The struggle definitely was fan-friendly, and a rematch would in all probability be one other good one. Stevenson was in management for many of the first half, with Jack coming on very robust in the second half to supply a majority draw — 114-114 on two playing cards and 115-113 for Jack. Few may quarrel with that scoring, although the rounds Jack received appeared to be by far greater margins than these received by Stevenson, a southpaw.
There have been a number of momentum shifts in the struggle, together with in the 10th spherical when Stevenson landed a brutal proper hand to the physique that badly harm Jack and practically dropped him. However Jack got here again and pushed an exhausted Stevenson arduous, hurting him in the remaining spherical.
I am torn about an fast rematch. It was a superb struggle that does deserve one other chapter. However I do not essentially assume it must be the subsequent struggle.
There may be the situation of Stevenson’s incapability to struggle in the U.S. There may be additionally the reality that he’s obligated to make a compulsory protection in opposition to interim titlist Oleksandr Gvozdyk, and it has been (for a wide range of causes) nearly 5 years since he has made a compulsory. Gvozdyk (15-Zero, 12 KOs) has been dominated subsequent by the WBC, though facet offers are at all times attainable.
I additionally take a look at the division and see many high quality fighters who may make good fights with both Stevenson or Jack, be it the winner of the struggle between WBO titleholder Sergey Kovalev and Eleider Alvarez or titleholders Dmitry Bivol (WBA) or Artur Beterbiev ()IBF). I am normally down for a brand new struggle earlier than a rematch except the struggle was actually particular. Stevenson-Jack was glorious, so if there is a rematch, cool. But when not, that is additionally OK by me.
Welcome again: Gary Russell Jr.
Featherweight world titlist Gary Russell Jr. is as gifted as any fighter in boxing, in all probability has the quickest palms in the enterprise and is enjoyable to observe. The one criticism is that we do not get to see him struggle sufficient, as he has fought solely 4 instances since 2015, when he received his belt.
However Russell (29-1, 17 KOs), 29, of Capitol Heights, Maryland, ended one other one-year layoff on Saturday for his third protection, which came about in Oxon Hill, Maryland, simply 15 minutes from his residence. He made a compulsory protection in opposition to fellow southpaw Joseph Diaz Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs), 25, of South El Monte, California, and reminded us all that he’s a particular expertise.
Russell lit up Diaz with wildly fast mixtures and a relentless physique assault even after hurting his proper hand early in the struggle. Diaz was sport, tried arduous and additionally pounded the physique, however in the finish the extra gifted fighter bought the job performed as Russell received 117-111, 117-111 and a manner too shut 115-113. The query now could be, will we see Russell struggle once more earlier than the finish of the 12 months? Hopefully.
The subsequent step: If Russell’s hand is OK and he does lace ’em up as soon as extra this 12 months, the supreme struggle — and the one Russell says he needs — might be a unification struggle with the winner of the June 9 rematch between titlist Leo Santa Cruz (whom Russell beat in the amateurs) and secondary titlist Abner Mares. Theoretically, it ought to be an simple struggle to make, given that every one three fighters are with adviser Al Haymon and struggle on Showtime.
Breakout efficiency: Josh Warrington
Although Josh Warrington (27-Zero, 6 KOs), 27, was combating at Elland Street Soccer Floor, the out of doors soccer stadium in his hometown of Leeds, England, he was the underdog in opposition to featherweight world titlist Lee Selby (26-2, 9 KOs), 31, of Wales, on Saturday.
However although Warrington does not have a lot pop, he is a superb boxer with countless dedication, which he put to good use as he ended Selby’s reign in his fifth title protection. The struggle was made obtainable in the United States at no cost on Showtime’s numerous social media platforms.
Formally, the verdict was a cut up choice, 116-112 and 115-113 for Warrington and 115-113 for Selby, nevertheless it ought to have been a transparent win for Warrington, who took management from the outset and maintained it all through the bout. Warrington was additionally aided by an unintended head butt in the second spherical that opened a foul minimize over Selby’s left eye. It bled for the remainder of the struggle, as did a minimize over his proper eye from one other unintended butt a number of rounds later. Selby confirmed coronary heart to hold in the struggle regardless of the bloodshed, however this was Warrington’s evening in the struggle of his life.
“I can not put into phrases how I really feel. I bought into the ring tonight with the expectation of the metropolis on my shoulders,” Warrington stated. “I outboxed the boxer tonight. I am overcome with emotion. We labored on sport plans, however that every one went out of the window and it was sheer grit and dedication and this crowd bought me via tonight.”
The subsequent step: Effectively, it is in all probability not the subsequent struggle however maybe after one protection there is a good likelihood we’ll see a significant showdown between Warrington and Northern Eire star and former titlist Carl Frampton. As for Selby, he plans to maneuver as much as junior light-weight.
Fights you’ll have missed
Saturday at Mulvane, Kansas
Flyweight Nico Hernandez (5-Zero, Four KOs) KO1 Szilveszter Kanalas (14-Eight, 9 KOs).
Hernandez, 22, a 2016 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist, was in his first scheduled 12-round bout and did not want a lot of it. He thrilled his hometown followers from close by Wichita, Kansas, with a fast destruction of Kanalas, 19, of Hungary, who was knocked out for the seventh time in eight defeats. Hernandez harm Kanalas with a proper hand adopted by a left to the physique that dropped him. He barely beat the rely and went down once more moments later after consuming a pair of jabs. Referee Steve Smoger counted him out at 2 minutes, 52 seconds.
Saturday at Durango, Mexico
Middleweight Jose Carlos Paz (22-7-1, 12 KOs) W10 Omar Chavez (36-5-1, 24 KOs), scores: 98-93, 97-94 (twice).
Paz, 27, of Argentina, got here to Chavez’s residence nation and scored a light upset in a transparent choice win over certainly one of the combating sons of the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. Returning to the ring off a nine-month layoff, Omar Chavez, 28, barely threw any punches and held quite a bit as he misplaced his second 10-round choice in a row. The extra aggressive Paz rebounded properly from his final struggle, a third-round knockout loss in February to Jaime Mungia, who went on to win a junior middleweight world title on March 12.