Mikey Garcia unified the IBF and WBC lightweight titles this weekend, dropping Robert Easter Jr. in the third round, and ultimately winning a decision by scores of 118-109, 117-110 and 116-111. The fight was even after five rounds on two of the three scorecards, but ultimately the consistent pressure of Garcia wore down Easter, who was fighting in what was really his first big contest. This was a great performance by Garcia and will ultimately go a long way towards proving he is one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world. There’s just one thing he seems hellbent on doing, that makes zero sense.
Ringside for this fight was Errol Spence Jr. who went on to tell reporters that a fight between himself and Garcia would be easy to make, and great for everyone involved. Garcia once again reiterated after the fight that he would like to move up to welterweight and fight Spence, despite the fact that his own father and trainer think this is a bad idea. Just to be clear, Garcia unified the titles at 135 pounds and is talking about taking on ESPN’s 4th ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world at 147 pounds. Yahoo’s Chris Mannix called the idea “the kind of fight that could damage his career forever” while Lee Wylie shucked off any comparisons to fighters who have done that type of move before by noting “Mikey isn't even a natural 140-pounder. He will be undersized and pudgy at 147.”
Worse, there’s a perfectly sensible fight for Garcia to take with a man who also has a lightweight title and is a far bigger name than Spence. Yes, a fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Garcia makes sense for everyone involved. It would unify three lightweight titles, sell millions of PPV’s, and would stylistically match one of the current era’s best pressure fighters with one of the slickest boxers we’ve ever seen in the ring. There are some promoter and network issues, but we’ve seen things like this get worked out before when the money has been big enough. This fight makes sense, the other one doesn’t, but if we’re being honest about it, we’ll gladly watch either.
Luis Ortiz violently made sure the boxing world could not forget about him, knocking out Romania’s Razvan Cojanu in the second round. After the knockout, Ortiz expressed the idea that he felt he was still undefeated, saying “In my mind, 'King Kong' has not been defeated. I don't feel I lost against Deontay Wilder” and called out Anthony Joshua by saying "I want to fight Joshua, but he only fights boxers he's sure he can defeat, I'm going to ask the government to put me on disability, maybe that way Joshua will fight me.” I don’t know what either of those statements mean, since Ortiz was viciously knocked out by Wilder and Wilder aside, Joshua has faced far better opposition over the course of his career than Ortiz has, but with a record of 29-1 with 25 knockouts whatever strange way he thinks about life is working for him, and should get him a huge name in his next fight.
Remember that beautiful story we told you about, how Christopher Diaz who lost his home to Hurricane Maria was going to win a world title to lift the spirits of a downtrodden and ravaged Puerto Rico? Well, that will have to remain nothing more than a story, as Tokyo Japan’s Masayuki Ito thoroughly outboxed Diaz, dropping him in the fourth round before winning a 118-109, 117-110, and 116-111 unanimous decision. Ito deserves a lot of credit, as he was fighting for the first time outside of Japan in front of a heavily Puerto Rican crowd in Kissimee, Florida, while Diaz deserves credit for consistently and tirelessly pushing for the knockout when he realized how far down on the scorecards he was. With the win, Ito now holds the WBO junior lightweight title.
Fans clamoring to see Joshua fight Wilder should have been rooting hard for Dillian Whyte to stay down when Joseph Parker dropped him in the final round of their back and forth fight on Saturday. Alas, it was not meant to be as Whyte got up, survived and won a close 113-112, 115-110, 114-111 decision over the Kiwi. Because Whyte is managed by Eddie Hearn (who also manages Anthony Joshua) it’s virtually guaranteed the two will have a rematch of their 2015 battle, which Joshua won via seventh round knockout. The question is when.
It appears that Hearn is looking to have Whyte, not Joshua, face Wilder next with reports that he is willing to pay the American $8 million and have the fight take place in America sometime before Christmas, coming from various overseas media outlets. If this is true, it may mean Hearn is serious about making the Wilder-Joshua fight in April, as a Wilder victory in November would nicely set up a Spring 2019 showdown between the two champions. But, if Hearn doesn’t like how the negotiations for a Whyte-Wilder fight go, Whyte will likely face a lesser fighter before getting his shot at redemption against Joshua in April. And a fight between the two best heavyweights in the world will once again be anointed with the three most dreaded letters in boxing fandom, TBA.
Another British Hearn stable heavyweight, Dereck Chisora scored an impressive come from behind knockout win in the eighth round against France’s Carlos Takam. Chisora knocked Takam down twice in the eighth both with big right hands, then immediately called for himself to face the winner of the Parker- Whyte fight. Whyte (who has already beaten Chisora) won his fight and immediately shot that idea down.
Nigel Benn’s son, Conor Benn, won an exciting rematch against Cedrick Peynaud by decision, after flooring the Frenchman three times, and flooring himself with an atrocious, failed Ali shuffle attempt. The fight was a rematch, and Benn proved he is improving as he was never knocked down in the fight, after being knocked down twice in their first matchup. Still, at the end of the day Benn beat, but did not stop a 6-4 fighter, so he has a very long way to go before anyone should be making comparisons to his dad. In other boxing family news, Marcos Maidana’s brother also won this weekend, despite his fight getting nowhere near the publicity of Benn’s.
And finally, the man who famously beat up and disgraced an over the hill and out of shape Mike Tyson, Danny Williams looked fat, over the hill and got disgracefully beaten up. Yes, Lee McAllister, the former titleholder at lightweight dropped a paunchy Danny Williams three times before Williams’ corner decided to throw in the towel in the 10th round. All credit to McAllister, but this fight was a horrible idea for everyone involved and had a high potential to end poorly. Still, we can use this display by Williams as a teachable moment for retired boxers who think they can still fight. Earlier this week the boxing twitterverse was flooded with rumors that Sergio Martinez was contemplating a return to the ring. Hopefully Sergio can see what happened to Danny Williams and opt against that idea before his nostalgia starts writing checks his knees can’t cash.
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