Sherdog Boxing: The Weekly Wrap

By James Kinneen Mar 15, 2019

Deontay Wilder Reportedly Offered, But Rejecting over-$100 Million Deal from DAZN

Earlier this week, ESPN was reporting that a fight between Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua was a real possibility because DAZN was going to throw a huge money offer at Wilder involving a fight with Dominic Breazale first, then a matchup with Joshua. Unfortunately, that deal seems to have fallen through as Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix is reporting that Wilder will likely turn down that deal, supposedly worth over $100 million.

Fans didn’t like Wilder’s reported rejection, and the responses to tweets saying this is the plan are overwhelmingly anti-Wilder, with many simply being images of a duck. If Mannix’s reporting is correct, Wilder would have essentially turned down a fight with Anthony Joshua and a rematch with Tyson Fury in back to back weeks, despite immense amounts of money being offered. It’s hard to see what Wilder’s plan is, if he signs with PBC or remains with Showtime, whom will he fight?

One guy who wants to fight Wilder is Adam Kownacki, the undefeated, pasty heavyweight last seen stopping Gerald Washington in just two rounds. However, Kownacki is way too green and way too unknown for anybody outside of the Polish community to want that fight.

Humberto Soto to Fight Jessie Vargas on Rungvisai-Estrada 2 Undercard

Fresh off of his win over Brandon Rios, Humberto Soto and Jessie Vargas are going to be meeting at a catchweight of 150 pounds on Dazn’s Rungvisai-Estrada 2 card April 26th. Vargas was looking to fight Kell Brook, but Brook wouldn’t be ready in time for that card so Eddie Hearn reached out the Mexican veteran to make the fight, which will be Soto’s 82nd fight as a professional. The winner of this card will supposedly have a good shot at facing WBO 154-pound champion Jaime Munguia, who fights Dennis Hogan April 13, in their next fight. This will also mark Vargas’ first fight training under Freddie Roach.

Top Rank Signs Youngest Fighter Ever

Top Rank Promotions signed a 16-year-old high school junior this week, a fighter so young he decided to turn professional because he is actually too young to compete in the Olympics. Xander Yarob Zaya, AKA “XYZ,” is a Puerto Rican who holds a 118-14 amateur record and will be fighting for Team USA in next month’s Emil Jechev Memorial Tournament in Bulgaria.

Top Rank has been around for over 50 years, so while athletics are skewing younger and younger -- college football recruiting now begins in middle school -- it is still notable that they would sign someone so young. They must see a lot of potential, both in the ring and in future earning potential from Zaya.

WBO Orders Yarde-Kovalev; They Have 30 Days to Negotiate

As was expected, this week the WBO ordered Sergey Kovalev to defend his belt against undefeated Brit Anthony Yarde. If Kovalev wants that fight, and cares about keeping the WBO belt, it will be an easy one to make. Both fighters now fight on ESPN, and it is not expected that the 30-day purse bid will be a huge deal.

Kovalev is already a star and a KO artist, and at 18-0 with 17 knockouts, Yarde could prove to be a star if he can beat a guy like Kovalev. With 45 stoppages in 51 wins between the two, that fight would be fun to watch; hopefully it happens.

Billy Joe Saunders Leaves Trainer Dom Ingle Ahead of Move to 168 Pounds

Billy Joe Saunders, the still undefeated middleweight that was stripped of his WBO middleweight title after a failed PED test who is moving up to challenge for a title at 168 (although that ran into issues this week as well), announced that he would be leaving trainer Dom Ingle. That could be a huge story, as under Ingle, Saunders, who has admitted to trouble with partying in the past, embraced a monastic lifestyle resulting in Saunders’ two best performances to date (wins over David Lemieux and Willie Monroe Jr.)

Saunders must not be worried about the split though, because he’s calling out Canelo Alvarez. Saunders (rightfully) pointed out how much trouble Erislandy Lara gave Alvarez and noted that he is far slicker than Lara. As for whether that fight will ever happen, Saunders doubts it. He believes that Golden Boy saw what happened to their fighter, David Lemieux, and decided that their cash cow would never face the stylistic nightmare that he provides.

Ryan Garcia Creates YouTube Show, Shows off Acting Chops

Ryan Garcia is getting dangerously famous, without having accomplished all that much as a professional boxer. The surefire star that everyone is still waiting to see against an elite contender is now starring as Sonny Mendoza, a high school student and boxer in “On the Ropes,” a new YouTube series produced by digital video studio Brat Inc.

While it is true that this will boost Garcia’s already quite strong star power, it’s hard not to be nervous about how much “Kingry” cares about his boxing career when he’s become so well known outside of the ring, without having to really test himself in it. If Ryan Garcia got into boxing to get rich and famous he’s almost there already, if he got into boxing to become a champion he had better keep grinding, even if he’s not exactly struggling.

Floyd Mayweather Sparring Again, Mocking Conor McGregor’s Phone Incident

Floyd Mayweather used his fame to take a shot at Conor McGregor smashing a fan’s phone this week. Mayweather was approached by the paparazzi in Beverly Hills and exaggeratedly told them to “shoot me, shoot this greatness” an apparent slight at McGregor’s anger over having his picture taken. It was also reported that Floyd was taking sparring more seriously than he has in years, leading people to speculate he will be returning to the ring against a worthy opponent soon, possibly a rematch with Manny Pacquiao.

Caleb Plant’s Mom Killed by Police, George Foreman’s Daughter Commits Suicide

And finally, a couple of tragic stories hit the boxing world this week, as George Foreman’s daughter and Caleb Plant’s mom both met untimely deaths. Foreman’s 42 year old daughter Freeda was found dead after committing suicide by hanging, leading the former preacher Foreman to tweet “Daddy I want to Box,”Get an Education first” I said, well she Brought The bacon home ( degree) 2 Kids 3 Grands (Husband) First Sunday in 42 years without my Freeda. She’s With her maker now.10 kids forever. Just 1 more day I wanted okay 1 more year aw I more decade.”

The mother of Caleb Plant, the undefeated IBF super middleweight champion of the world, died this week, when a police officer in Tennessee shot her after she reportedly charged at him with a knife. Details are scarce at the moment, but this is a bizarre story that is going to gain a ton of attention as Plant’s career continues and police shootings remain such a controversial issue.
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