Sherdog Boxing: The Weekly Wrap

By James Kinneen Jun 7, 2019


Rumors Abound of Anthony Joshua Being Knocked Out in Sparring

The boxing world was abuzz this week with rumors that Andy Ruiz’s huge upset of Anthony Joshua last week may have come with some sparring partner help. Many people are saying Anthony Joshua was knocked out or seriously hurt in sparring before the fight, with Joey “Tank” Dawejko, a 19-7 Philly heavyweight on a three-fight losing streak having reportedly done the damage. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn denied it and went on to say the rematch would likely be in November or December in the UK, though Andy Ruiz is trying to posture with “I’m the champion now” statements, so who knows if he tries to put up a fight about it being overseas.

But, while the rumor that Joshua was knocked out in sparing was the foremost conspiracy, plenty of other boxers think it was steroid related. The suddenly savage GGG said in part “First of all, it was his first fight in the United States. It was his first fight at Madison Square Garden, first fight with different doping-test procedures,” while Dillian Whyte argued "Joshua could be heard on camera asking his trainer Rob McCracken, 'Why do I feel like this?' after the sixth round. It is because you're in America with the VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency) testing and you're not on the juice, that's why. It's harder to get therapeutic use exemptions in America than the UK, that's why." Steroid rumors have dogged Joshua for years, so it’s not surprising that when he suddenly doesn’t look the same, this is where people’s minds would wander. It is, however, surprising to see a guy like GGG insinuate it. Perhaps something was lost in translation.

There were also rumors that Anthony Joshua himself shot down, that he had eaten some sort of contaminated food and that he had suffered a panic attack before the fight.

Whether Joshua was dealing with the lingering effects of a concussion, the lingering effects of getting off the juice or something else, he deserves all sorts of credit for continuing to not make excuses about the loss. And Andy Ruiz, still deserves all sorts of credit for the win.

Meldrick Taylor Arrested and Charged with Aggravated Assault

Sixteen years ago, HBO’s Legendary Nights profiled how former Olympic Gold Medalist Meldrick Taylor’s hugely controversial last second referee stoppage to Julio Cesar Chavez essentially ruined his life. This weekend came news that in the time since the show aired, it has not gotten any better.

Taylor was arrested for aggravated assault, possession of an instrument of crime, and terroristic threats after an armed standoff with Philadelphia police. Essentially, Taylor was trying to evict a 26-year-old from a house Taylor owned, and when the young man protested, Taylor stuck a revolver in his face. The police were called, and for ninety minutes Taylor had himself barricaded behind a door and wouldn’t open it for them. Eventually, SWAT teams persuaded him to open the door and surrender.

How true the “Richard Steele ruined his life” narrative is, is unclear. While it undoubtedly stung and probably haunts him to this day, Taylor won the WBA welterweight title over Aaron Davis a year later (and defended it three times), so it’s not like his career went into immediate shambles after the loss. Still, this week one of boxing’s sad stories took another sad turn.

Maurice Hooker Gets Hometown Bout against Ramirez

Dallas Texas’ Maurice Hooker will finally get the hometown fight he’s been calling for since he had to travel to Alex Saucedo’s hometown to defend his own championship. He will officially be facing undefeated Californian Jose Ramirez on July 27 at the University of Texas at Arlington.

The fight will air on Dazn, which is interesting because Hooker is represented by Top Rank, whose fighters usually fight on ESPN. Ramirez is a 2012 US Olympian who has stopped sixteen of his twenty-four opponents and represents a very serious threat to Hooker’s title. Credit to Hooker for taking the fight, and to Bob Arum for making it happen.

Kownacki-Arreola Headline PBC on Fox Card Aug. 3

The year of the portly heavyweight will continue on Aug. 3 in Brooklyn, when native New Yorker Adam Kownacki will face longtime heavyweight gatekeeper Chris Arreola. Kownacki will be the huge fan favorite, considering he fights out of Gleason’s Gym, but Arreola has faced the better competition over the course of his career. This is a fun matchup between a young up-and-comer and a gritty veteran, and with 48 stoppage wins between the two of them, shouldn’t go the distance.

Other bouts on the card include Andre Berto facing Miguel Cruz, and undefeated WBA light heavyweight champion Marcus Browne fighting Jean Pascal. Berto is coming off a decision win over Devon Alexander, which doesn’t look like a great win after Alexander was stopped last weekend. Still, he should be too good for Miguel Cruz.

23-0 Marcus Browne should be too good for the 2019 version of Jean Pascal, and after Pascal’s performance against Dmitry Bivol in November it’s odd that Fox thinks this fight will be entertaining. Still, for Browne it should be a good win over a very recognizable name to boxing fans.

Speaking of Pascal, Chad Dawson, who Pascal beat in 2010 after Dawson was cut by an accidental headbutt and the fight went to the scorecards announced he was coming back to boxing this week after a two-year layoff. He’s fighting June 29 at Foxwoods.

’Knockout King’ Randall Bailey Next Former Boxer to Fight Bareknuckle

The Paulie Malignaggi-Artem Lobov card just picked up another former boxing champion, but with all due respect to Paulie, this one is far more intriguing. Randall Bailey, a 44-year-old boxer who retired in 2016 after a loss to Jeff Horn, will be facing 24-year-old Brazilian MMA fighter Daniel Santos. So, while he’s not exactly an elite fighter in his prime, what makes this so exciting is how hard Randall Bailey hits.

A title holder at both 140 and 147, Bailey ended up with a 49-6 record, but knocked out 39 of his opponents. His heavy hands earned him the nickname “The Knockout King,” and though he was never good enough to beat guys like Miguel Cotto or Devon Alexander, his decision win over Demarcus “Chop Chop” Corley shows he wasn’t just a brutal puncher.

Whenever boxers fighting without gloves (or even with MMA gloves) comes up on message boards, two camps emerge. The first camp says that slick boxers would be the best, because they will all of a sudden develop knockout power when they take off the gloves. Take their natural defensive abilities and combine it with a sudden power surge and you’ve got a serious problem.

The other camp says that you find the hardest puncher you can, take his gloves off, and suddenly, you’ve got a terrifying monster with hands like stun guns. A shot anywhere, not just on the chin, will be a one punch knockout and assuming the fighter has even decent defensive abilities, they will be unbeatable.

While not perfect, that’s pretty close to what we have with Randall Bailey and Paulie Malignaggi fighting on the same card. It should be fascinating.

Tony Harrison Out, Jorge Cota in Against Jermell Charlo

Jermell Charlo is going to have to wait a bit longer to get his belt back from Tony Harrison, to whom he lost a highly controversial decision back in December. This week, Tony Harrison pulled out of the fight, which was scheduled for June 23, citing torn ligaments in his ankle he suffered in sparring. In his place steps Jorge Cota, a 31-year-old Mexican who is 28-3 with 25 knockouts but has lost any time he’s fought anybody good.

This is unfortunate for Charlo, as a win over Cota doesn’t do him much good when it comes to regaining the status, he lost in the Harrison fight. The card will also feature Guillermo Rigondeaux facing Julio Ceja, a 32-3 Mexican coming off a knockout loss.

Gervonta Davis Fighting in Baltimore July 27

Gervonta Davis is getting a hometown fight in Baltimore on July 27, when he will face Panama’s Ricardo Nunez. Nunez is 21-2 with nineteen knockouts. Only one of those losses is legitimate; the second is a disqualification for low blows in a fight where he had already knocked down his opponent. But he has never fought in the U.S. before, with the vast majority of his fights having taken place in Panama. He has also never faced anyone close to as good as Gervonta Davis. Davis loves calling out opponents on Twitter, so it’s hugely disappointing to see him taking a fight like this.

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