Ruiz Upsets Joshua to Win IBF/WBA/WBO Heavyweight Championship By Tom Donelson

By Tom Donelson / Author, Member Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA)

Anthony Joshua left the British Isles and made his first visit to Madison Square, once the mecca of boxing but still a venerable boxing location.  His opponent Anthony Ruiz was four inches shorter and Joshua had an eight-inch reach advantage. Ruiz previous loss was a majority decision loss to Joseph Parker in Parker’s native New Zealand.  Ruiz is hardly looking the part of the fit heavyweight with a flabby middle, but he had won 32 heavyweight fights and going into the fight, had 21 knockouts.  Four weeks ago, Ruiz was told that he would be Joshua’s opponent as Jarrell Miller flunked drug tests.  Joshua was the heavy favorite, and this was to be a tune up for a future Wilder fight, and coming to the Garden was his introduction to American fight fans.

Joshua’s job was simple, win big and start the countdown to a big fight with either Tyson Fury or Wilder. The first round was a feeling out round, as Joshua threw jabs; and the height and reach looked obvious.  The sculptured, well-built Joshua looked the part of the Champion, but in the third round, the fight changed.

Joshua knocked Ruiz down early in the third round and all looked right with the world except Ruiz got back up. Joshua smacked a right hand to Ruiz’s jaw, but Ruiz moved forward and landed a right on Joshua, sending Joshua down.  Ruiz turned into a battering ram as he kept nailing Joshua and one more big right sent Joshua down a second time. Joshua looked in serious trouble.

Ruiz kept the pressure up in the fourth round, but Joshua survived. In the fifth round, Joshua appeared to have weathered the storm and won the round with his jab and landed the best punch of the round with a left hook. In the second half of the sixth round, Ruiz let his hand loose and started to hurt Joshua.

The beginning of the seventh round saw Ruiz go after Joshua with a series of punches and he sent Joshua down.  Joshua got up and Ruiz kept up the pressure, sending Joshua down a second time in the round.  Joshua managed to get up at the count of seven minus his mouthpiece.  Joshua drifted back to the rope before the judge said “no mas”.  Joshua looked surprise but this was his fourth knock down in the fight and he was being dominated.

This fight turned the heavy weight division upside down as Ruiz put himself in the heavyweight division sweepstakes as he now owns three of the heavyweight belts.  Wilder holds the other plus you have the undefeated Tyson Fury who fought Wilder to a draw.  At the top of the heavyweight elites sits Fury and Wilder with Joshua taking a step back.  Ruiz now is in the Wilder’s sweepstakes since he has three belts and a fight with Wilder could set up a big fight with Fury.  Nor can we dismiss a Ruiz-Joshua rematch and team Joshua wants that chance to get his titles back. Wilder would be the favorite against Ruiz, but Ruiz has shown he can fight with the best of the division.  Below them is Dillon Whyte and Joseph Parker.

The heavyweight division has many attractive match ups and now American fighters have four of the belts. It has been nearly two decades before an American fighter was recognized as the best heavyweight and that fighter was Evander Holyfield. Now Americans have two heavyweights on top of the heavyweight mountain.

Wilder wins big

Wilder by 1st Round Knockout over Breazeale
May 26, 2019Heavyweights, Recent Fights, Tom Donelsonadmin

By Tom Donelson / Author, Member Boxing Writers Association of America

On Saturday, May 18, 2019 at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York, Deontay Wilder faced Dominic Breazeale for Wilder WBC heavyweight championship. It lasted all but 2 minutes and 10 seconds with Wilder starting fast and ending the fighting almost as quickly. Within the first minute, a Wilder right sent Breazeale reeling into the corner. Wilder effectively jabbed even landed a hook, and Breazeale did land one right hand but that did little to turn the tide.

Wilder shot out a left jab that Breazeale took a step back to avoid before Wilder throw a perfect right hand nailed Breazeale, sending Breazeale tumbling down. The referee stopped the fight as Breazeale wobbled back to the ropes.

This was one of the most brutal right hand one has witnessed in the heavyweight division in a long time. These two minutes showed Wilder strength, improvement and weakness. The weakness is stepping straight back to avoid punches and the tendency to throw wild haymakers. The strength is his piston like jab and right hand. The improvement was his use of two left hooks.

The right hand is Wilder’s signature punch and it exploded on Breazeale as he did what he was supposed to do, win a big fight against a good heavyweight whose only previous loss was to Anthony Joshua by a 7th round TKO. Now it is time for Wilder to go on to fight either Joshua or a rematch with Fury.

Fury is an intriguing fight since it would be interesting to see how Wilder can adjust to the awkward Fury. Fury frustrated Wilder most of the fight with his boxing style and proved a hard man to hit consistently but when Wilder connected, he sent Fury down twice. In the twelfth round, it was a miracle that Fury actually got up, but he did and that preserve a draw. Wilder knows he can knock Fury down with his power and Fury could not match the fire power of Wilder, but Wilder could not maintain a consistent offense and the question remains, can Wilder adopt a better fight plan?

As for Joshua, this is a more problematic fight since Joshua is a technically sound fighter with power. He has the ability to stop Wilder and Wilder has the power to stop Joshua. The question is whether Wilder can hurt Joshua early and avoid major mistakes, like leaving himself open after a wild haymaker that he often throws. The two fight fans want to see is Fury-Wilder or Joshua-Wilder. (Maybe I should a add a third fight, Joshua-Fury and they don’t have to leave the country to have this fight.)

World of Boxing

Williams Wins WBA/IBF Junior Middleweight Belt over Hurd … Korobov vs. Aleem a DRAW … Berchelt Stops Vargas to Retain WBC Super Featherweight Title

May 15, 2019Recent FightsTom Donelson

By Tom Donelson  / Author, Member Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA)

On Saturday night (May 11, 2019) Julian Williams, fighting in his opponent’s backyard and a big underdog to Jarrett Hurd, carried out the perfect game plan to produce the big upset.  Williams put the pressure on Hurd throughout the bout and took advantage of Hurd’s habit of starting slowly to build up a big lead.  After three rounds, I had Williams up by four points, including a second round knock down.

The Compubox numbers told the story. While Hurd threw more punches, Williams was the more effective fighter as he handed more punches, more jabs, more power shots and was the more accurate puncher.  Every phase of the bout favored Williams. 

From the very beginning, Williams used his accurate punches to take advantage of his opponent’s wider punches and his body shots aided his overall attack. Over the second half of the bout, Hurd tried to turn the tide but Williams kept his cool and, while both fighters were shaken by power shots, both fighters remained on their feet. 

This was an action fight from the beginning and the judges had it scored correctly.  I had it 116-111 but the 115-112 score was reasonable and even Hurd accepted that he lost. No complaints.

Matt Korobov entered a hard fought battle with Immauwel Aleem. I had the fight 97-93 in favor of Korobov but it depended upon how you scored the first seven rounds, which I gave to Korobov. A couple of rounds were close but Aleem won the last three rounds on most judges scorecards and I agreed with them on that.  Korobov is not a stranger to close decisions as he lost a close bout to Jermall Charlo.  This was a tough call for Korobov, but Aleem did come back strong after being dominated early in the fight. One key call was a Korobov knockdown of Aleem in the fourth round which was ruled a slip. If ruled a knockdown, this would have resulted in a 10-8 round and a Korobov victory.

Miguel Berchelt defeated Francisco Vargas in a rematch of their bout two years earlier.  The 34 year old Vargas slipped skill wise from his previous bout and Berchelt improved.  Two years earlier, the bout lasted 11 rounds before Berchelt won by TKO. This bout was a one sided affair as Berchelt landed double the punches of his opponent.  Berchelt landed 48 punches in the second round followed by 41 punches in the third round, 47 punches in the fourth round, 50 punches in the fifth round, and 45 punches in the sixth round. That is complete domination and Vargas’ corner threw in the towel after the sixth round.  Vargas had no problem with his corner stopping the fight.

This was an evening of great action bouts and we get a Hurd vs. Williams rematch in the future which will be a fight friendly bout. 

From the world of boxing

Bert Cooper, Harold Lederman (R.I.P.)

May 18, 2019Harold LedermanR.I.P.Tom Donelsonadmin

By Tom Donelson / Author, Member Boxing Writers Association … Contributor to dmboxing.com since 2008 with expertise, articles, and input

Last week, boxing lost both Bert Cooper and Harold Lederman.  Bert Cooper began as a cruiserweight but it was as a heavyweight that he fought every major figure in the late 1980’s and the 1990’s including George Foreman, Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe, Ray Mercer, and Michael Moorer. His overall record does not speak Hall of Fame with 25 losses go to with his 38 wins but many of his losses came later in his career.  From the time he fought his first pro fight in 1984 to his last fight in 2012, he proved to be a warrior and willing to go toe-to-toe with any fighter.  RIP Bert Cooper.

Harold Lederman educated an entire audience on the nuances of boxing and scoring through his position with HBO.  Perhaps Lederman’s death symbolized the change in boxing and the new TV reality. Lederman, from his perch at HBO, was part of some of the biggest fights, and there was a time that HBO was where the big fights were; but today, HBO no longer covers boxing matches and Lederman, sadly, is no longer with us to score fights.

Lederman would tell the boxing fans that the four big ways to view a fight include ring generalship, clean scoring, defense, and effective aggressiveness. He explained how each played a role in his scoring, and I would agree with Lederman’s view the vast majority of the time. 

Lederman spent six decades involved in the sports and now his daughter, Julie, carries on the legacy.  Lederman was known more for his scoring fights on HBO, but he judged over 1000 fights as a judge and those six decades gave Lederman a unique perspective on the sport as well historical insight.  He also was not afraid of the new technology, such as Compubox, and used them in his analysis. (While Compubox has its limitations, it does give a fan insight into the sport and, explained correctly, it does give you insight on why a boxer won or lost a fight.)

I met Lederman at a bout in New York that was part of an ESPN telecast in the early part of this century. He was the perfect gentleman and gave both myself and my daughter great insight into the fight game that evening. 

Lederman originated the practice that every broadcast now does, which is combining the scoring with his view of the boxing match.  HBO over the past several years was eclipsed by Showtime and other cable outlets.  Showtime is now where the boxing action is, but ESPN still has a hand in boxing along with UFC, while FOX Sports has their own broadcasts, as well. Harold Lederman still provided excellent analysis until the bitter end of HBO.  Harold Lederman RIP. 

Danny Garcia Stops Adrian Granados … Terence Crawford Stops Amir Khan

On Saturday night, while Terrence Crawford was preparing to enter the ring against Amir Khan, Danny Garcia had already put on a show by pounding Adrian Granados, a tough fighter who never been stopped and came into the fight with a reputation as a pressure fighter who threw punches in bunches.  First round saw Granados do what he does best, box and then move forward while throwing volume of punches, winning the first round on my card.

Second round saw the fight turn badly for Granados as halfway through the round, Garcia threw the short left hook that sent Granados down.  Garcia continued to press the action as Granados looked wobbly.  With seconds left in the round, Garcia launched a right hand that sent Granados down.  Garcia dominated the action in both the third and fourth round as he pressured Granados and throwing the most accurate punches.  Granados was not throwing punches in bunches but fought in survival mode as he moved away from Garcia. 

Garcia sent Granados a third time in the fifth round and Granados’ corner was ready to pull the plug after the round as Garcia was chopping Granados apart.  Granados changed strategy  in the sixth round and for the first two minutes,  he crowded Garcia to minimize Garcia power but Garcia adjusted as he moved a couple of steps back to give him enough space to counter.  Over last minute, Garcia nailed Granados with several big shots and there was very doubt how this fight was going.  The Fox team had the scorecard 50-42 and I had it 49-43 so there was no real doubt about the scoring.

Garcia ended the fight in the seventh round as he trapped Granados, landing with a big shots before Referee stopped the fight.  This was the best I have seen Garcia in a long time and he sent a message to the rest of the division that he is back and ready to rumble with the best of the  division.

The Welterweight is loaded at the top beginning with Terrance Crawford who simply dominated Amir Khan.  (David Martinez, which my blogs appear on dmboxing, told me prior to the fight that he saw this as a one sided affair and he was certainly right.)  Crawford easy victory now opens up Welterweight for a semi play-off where the best started fighting each other.  Thurman, Porter, Garcia, Spence, Crawford are all excellent fighters and then there is Pacquiao whose at 40 still provides big dollar potential for those willing to fight him.

As for Crawford, more print was spent on the ending in which Khan corner essentially threw in the towel while he was recovering from an accidental low blow but Crawford was headed for a victory and Khan’s corner knew that.

And, Garcia sent his own message that he is a contender ready to capture his title back and there is enough talent to have some great fights if promoters allow those fights to happen. 

Alvarez wins over Jacobs

Daniel Jacobs did what he normally does in the big fight vs the best of his division, he came up short.  Jacobs is one of those fighters one can easily admire, a man who conquered cancer  but he has yet to conquer the two elite fighters of his generation in Middleweight division, Canelo Alvarez and the triple G’s.

Compubox numbers show the story accurately.  Jacobs threw nearly 200 punches more than Alvarez but landed nearly sixty less punches as Alvarez connected on two out of every five punches compared to Jacobs who connected only one out of five punches.   Over the last half of the fight Alvarez averaged 20 punches connected per round versus 13 punches per round for Jacobs.  Alvarez connected more jobs and power shots in particular body shots. 

Alvarez had a more diverse attack throughout the bout and showed more flexibility in his punches thrown. 

The early rounds were slow but what actions was dictated by Alvarez but over the second half of the fight saw both fighters have their moment.  In the tenth round, Jacobs became the aggressor as he pushed Alvarez to the ropes but over the course of the round, Alvarez countered back and seemed unfazed by Jacobs aggressiveness. Canelo Alvarez resumed the role of aggressor in the eleventh round, but Jacobs went toe to toe as he landed his left to Alvarez’s body. Alvarez landed solid rights back and the final round saw Jacobs slip to the canvas while throwing a wild punch.  Both fighters landed combinations with Jacob starting with body shots before moving up to Alvarez’s head, while Alvarez landed enough of his own combinations to win the round in my view. 

The judges had the fight 115-113, 115-113, and 116-112, which was an accurate view of the fight. I had the fight 116-112 but 115-113 for Alvarez was a reasonable score. 

We had a fight that was correctly scored for the winner with no controversy and while Jacobs had his moments, Alvarez was the better fighter.  His defensive skills allowed him to slip many of Jacobs punches while effective jabbing set up combinations.  Jacobs could not land consistently as Alvarez simply moved quickly out of range.

The question is what next and maybe what is next could be a third Golovkin-Alvarez fight. While Alvarez has one win and a draw against triple G’s, many boxing observers viewed the first draw as a Golovkin win and it could easily be two wins for Golovkin. Both fights were close affairs and worth a third bout.  As for Jacobs, he has lost two bouts to both fighters and while one could see a second triple G’s-Jacobs or a second Jacobs-Alvarez but while both bouts would be entertaining, does anyone expect the results to be different?  I don’t.  A third Golovkin-Alvarez may be what the Middleweight division needs.