Sherdog Boxing: The Weekly Wrap

By James Kinneen Nov 8, 2019

If you were one of the few fans devoted enough to wake up at 7 a.m. ET to watch Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire face off for the Muhammed Ali Trophy, you witnessed a great fight, a tremendous performance from Inoue in the face of real danger and likely the last great fight of the soon-to-be 37-year-old Donaire’s hall of fame career.

Though he lost a unanimous 117-109, 116-111 and 114-113 decision, Donaire landed many clean shots on Inoue, including a left hook that opened a cut under Inoue’s eyebrow in the second round. It was the first cut Inoue has suffered as a professional and had him seeing double for the rest of the fight. A couple more shots had Inoue bleeding out of the nose soon after, but he was still hurting Donaire and came close to finishing him a few times throughout the fight. Donaire landed a big right hand in the ninth that wobbled Inoue, but he could not capitalize; it was as closest as he would come to winning the fight. The 11th round was the most exciting one, as Donaire was dropped by a left hook to the body before he came on strong and landed some big shots of his own. It was an excellent fight and featured gutsy performances from both men, but it was clear Inoue deserved the win.

Unfortunately, not many people in the United States watched, and not many people outside of hardcore boxing fans are aware of Inoue in general. However, that is all about to change. After the fight, it was announced that Inoue had signed with Top Rank and is going to fight twice in the United States in 2020. That means Inoue will be fighting on an ESPN platform at a time people will be able to see him.

WBC’s New Clenbuterol Rules Irk Fans

The WBC announced it was increasing the amount of the PED clenbuterol that fighters were allowed to have in their systems to the threshold suggested by the World Anti-Doping Association. The move was likely in response to the number of Mexican fighters that have tested positive for the drug due to contaminated meat.

While the move puts the WBC in line with the WADA’s suggested levels, many fans saw the decision as a move to protect marquee champions, like Canelo Alvarez, who have tested positive for the drug in the past. Just a few days ago, Rey Vargas and Julio Cesar Martinez tested positive for the drug, but the WBC said it was not going to take action because the amount was so small it must have come from contaminated meat. Both fighters are Mexican. Vargas, it should be noted, is the current WBC super bantamweight champion.

The idea that the Mexico City-based organization is protecting its largely Mexican, Clenbuterol-contaminated cash cows may not be fair, but it shows how far the WBC’s reputation has fallen in the eyes of boxing fans and media members. After all the hubbub about its franchise champions, Deontay Wilder came out a few days ago and publicly stated he had no desire to hold that title because so many fans are upset about it. After his big win over Nonito Donaire, Naoya Inoue did not want the WBC title and waved it off while being draped with all the other belts. It is clear that the WBC has a crisis of confidence in the eyes of both fans and fighters, but it seems doubtful Mauricio Sulaiman will do anything about it until it starts costing the organization money.

Jacobs-Chavez Jr. Moves to Arizona After Chavez Flees VADA Testing

While the Daniel Jacobs-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight looked dead in the water after Chavez fled VADA testing, the fight is apparently still on after a change in venue. Jacobs’ debut at 168 pounds will take place in Phoenix on Dec. 20. However, while the move to Arizona allows Chavez to dodge the Nevada State Athletic Commission, it is still not clear if the Association of Boxing Commissions is going to let the fight happen. If the fight gets shot down in Arizona, Gabriel Rosado will take Chavez’s place.

We have seen fights like Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis switch states when they could not make the fight happen, but this would involve a fighter currently under investigation fighting somewhere else. It would be shocking if this fight happens on Dec. 20, mainly because the money will not be big enough -- son of the Mexican legend or not, there is no way Chavez still has a fanbase -- that everyone would be willing to look the other way.

Harrison-Charlo Rematch Set for Dec. 21

Jermell Charlo is finally getting his rematch with Tony Harrison. After Charlo suffered his first loss as a professional and surrendered his WBC 154-pound belt via a controversial decision in December, the rematch will take place on Dec. 21, almost a year to the day of the first fight. The fight will headline a PBC on Fox card from Ontario, California. The rematch was supposed to happen earlier, but Harrison got injured and has not fought since. Charlo, on the other hand, kept himself busy with an easy knockout win over Mexico’s Jorge Cota.

Vision Problems Force Nicola Adams into Retirement

Nicola Adams, the two-time Olympic gold medalist from the United Kingdom and current WBO female flyweight champion, retired from boxing at 37 years old. While older in age, Adams only had five professional fights, as she went 4-0-1, fighting to a draw against Mexico’s Maria Salinas in her last fight. Adams wrote an open letter explaining her decision in which she noted the following: “I’ve been advised that any further impact to my eye would most likely lead to irreparable damage and permanent vision loss.” It is a shame to see a champion forced out of boxing due to vision problems, but if you have a chance to go blind in the ring, you retire.

Vitali Klitschko Being Investigated for Treason

While the media is full of headlines about Ukrainian politicians in relation to impeachment, there is a strange boxing-related story about Vitali Klitschko’s political life in the former Soviet nation. Apparently, Klitschko was supposed to be fired as mayor of Kiev in July, when the new president of Ukraine, Volodymr Zelensky, requested the move and had it approved by the government. However, Klitschko claimed it was an illegal firing, and the case has gone to court. Possibly as a result, Klitschko is now being investigated by the Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau for treason and abuse of power after he apparently overstated the cost of building a bridge and using Kiev’s budget to enrich private individuals.

As for Wladimir Klitschko, the rumors of his making a boxing return will not go away. Despite claims from other boxers that Oleksandr Usyk in 2015 beat him so badly in sparring that Klitschko kicked him out of the ring so he did not look bad in front of the press, Klitschko claims he may wait two years until he is 45 years old to come back to break George Foreman’s record. That would be a bad decision if he has to face someone like Usyk, Wilder or Tyson Fury, but he might be able to pick up a lesser title over someone he has already beaten, like Kubrat Pulev. Remember, as great a story as Foreman beating Michael Moorer for the WBA and IBF titles was, Moorer had upset Holyfield, who Foreman had already proven he could not beat.
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