Sherdog’s Weekend Boxing Preview

By James Kinneen Oct 25, 2019


WHAT: Shakur Stevenson vs. Joet Gonzalez, Featherweights
WHEN: Oct. 26
HOW TO WATCH: ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Because in addition to being a good fight between two highly rated prospects, it comes with a juicy, reality TV-worthy backstory.

A 22-year-old former Olympic silver medalist, Stevenson is 12-0 with seven knockouts. He is facing Gonzalez, who, at 26, has compiled a 23-0 record with 14 knockouts. With Stevenson’s slick southpaw boxing and Gonzalez’s orthodox, high guard pressure fighting, this matchup for what would be either man’s first ever world title -- it will fill the WBO vacancy left when Oscar Valdez moved up in weight -- is a fascinating one inside the ring.

However, the relationship between the two men outside the ring makes the fight truly interesting. Stevenson has apparently been dating Gonzalez’s sister, Jajaira, for three years and neither her brother nor her father -- Jose Gonzalez trains his son -- are happy about it. Gonzalez has openly talked about how he thinks his 22-year-old sister deserves better, how he knows Stevenson does not really love her and how Stevenson is “disrespectful,” “ignorant” and has “no class.” So far, he has not brought up the incident in Miami, which seems odd since it would be the best place to start if one wanted to accuse Stevenson of being a bad person for a woman to be around. However, it would not be shocking if he mentioned it at some point. In turn, Stevenson has called Gonzalez a “bitch” and said he was looking forward to beating him up. Promoter Bob Arum compared the entire melodrama to boxing’s “Romeo and Juliet,” with the added weirdness of Jajaira’s father training her brother to beat up her boyfriend.

Who will win? Stevenson is the favorite, and although Gonzalez has significantly more professional experience, it is difficult to see what Stevenson did against a fighter like Christopher Diaz and not conclude that he is going to be tough to beat, even if Gonzalez can win a few rounds. Gonzalez should work his way inside, attack the body and see if he can drag Stevenson into the later rounds, but that is easier said than done. No one has come close to putting Stevenson in trouble since Robeisy Ramirez beat him in the Olympics.

You do not see many duels over a sister’s honor these days. We (sort of) have one here, along with a great fight to see which well-thought-of prospect wins his first world championship.

* * *

WHAT: Regis Prograis vs. Josh Taylor, Junior Welterweights
WHEN: Oct. 26
HOW TO WATCH: Dazn, 2 p.m. ET
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Because it this is the fight we wanted since the 140-pound World Boxing Super Series was announced, and in spite pf a bunch of near disasters and terrible decisions, it is actually happening.

Finally, after all the drama, the money issues and other threats to the tournament, the 140-pound World Boxing Super Series is ready to hand its champion the Muhammed Ali Trophy, and comes down to the fight we wanted the whole time. However, that is not the hardware about which the winning fighter will care; he will care that he holds every 140-pound title, except for the one that belongs to Jose Ramirez.

Scotland’s Taylor was a 2012 Olympian and now owns the IBF 140-pound title. At 15-0 with 12 knockouts as a professional, the 5-foot-10 southpaw holds a 69-inch reach, a weapon he should be able to use to his advantage against the 5-foot-8 Prograis. However, he tends not to do so, and in his most recent win over Ivan Baranchyk, Taylor appeared most comfortable fighting forehead to forehead on the inside. Outside of the Baranchyk fight, his most impressive win came in a decision over Viktor Postol. Most importantly, he will be fighting Prograis inside the O2 Arena in London, so it is basically guaranteed that he will have more fans than “Rougarou.”

Despite having to travel overseas for the fight, New Orleans’ Prograis is the favorite. A fellow southpaw, the WBA champion is viewed as wielding the better power of the two, having stopped 20 of 24 opponents, including stopping Julius Indongo faster (Round 2) than Terence Crawford did (Round 3) and being the first man to ever drop Terry Flanagan. Prograis is hittable, but his body punching is top-notch, which should do him a lot of good against a taller opponent like Taylor.

There has been some stupidity involving this fight. In buildup interviews, Taylor told a story about him putting Prograis in a headlock at a casino and how an intimidated Prograis “didn’t know what to do.” Prograis claims they were just joking around, which makes sense, as he has trained Brazilian jiu-jitsu with former Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight titleholder Jose Aldo, so unlike Taylor, he actually and quite literally knew what to do.

* * *

WHAT: Dereck Chisora vs. David Price, Heavyweights
WHEN: Oct. 26
HOW TO WATCH: Dazn, 2 p.m. ET
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Because Price is either going to going to show why people believed in him so much almost 10 years ago, or Chisora is going to put on a performance that lends credence to him as a star.

An Olympic bronze medalist in 2008, Price was ESPN’s 2012 “Prospect of the year,” a distinction he won over fighters like Demetrius Andrade, Sergey Kovalev, Deontay Wilder and Gary Russell Jr. They are all current world champions. Price has never held a world title. He has been knocked out six times -- Sergey Kuzmin, Alexander Povetkin, Christian Hammer, Erkan Teper and Tony Thompson (twice) were the culprits -- and though he remains a fan favorite, the 6-foot-8 Liverpool, England, native often finds himself on virtually every list regarding the most overhyped prospects of all-time. What does Price have going for him? Size and power, which have resulted in 20 knockouts in 25 wins. What is the problem? His chin.

Chisora was supposed to face Joseph Parker, who was forced to withdraw after being bitten by a spider. Chisora went on a rant to Eddie Hearn talking about how he was the real star of the card, about how nobody knows Prograis and about how no one cares about the Muhammed Ali Trophy. To some degree, he was correct. Chisora has fought Tyson Fury, Vitali Klitschko, David Haye and Dillian Whyte, so there is no question that he has been in there with the best heavyweights the world has to offer. He holds wins over Danny Williams and Carlos Takam, and in his most recent appearance, he viciously knocked out Artur Szpilka. Chisora wants to line up a showdown with Oleksandr Usyk and has attempted to bait the Ukrainian star with callouts and by knocking his training routine. It would be an interesting fight. However, after boasting about being a big deal, it would be incredibly embarrassing for Chisora to lose to one of the most overhyped prospects of the last decade.

Price has a chance to redeem himself against a durable opponent who has finished 22 opponents, the worst possible style matchup for him. Will he rise to the occasion, or will Chisora become the seventh man to put him down for the count?

* * *

WHAT: Erickson Lubin vs. Nathaniel Gallimore, Junior Middleweights
WHEN: Oct. 26
HOW TO WATCH: Showtime, 9 p.m. ET
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: To see if Jermell Charlo figured out something about Lubin and whether or not a late bloomer to the sport can capitalize on it.

Lubin has one loss; the question is whether that one loss exposed a fatal flaw in him. Before he fought Charlo, Lubin was 18-0 with 14 knockouts after opting to turn pro rather than try and win an Olympic medal. Interestingly, this caused issues between Mike Tyson, who signed him as a promoter, and USA Boxing, which accused the former heavyweight champion of interfering with its athletes. Against Charlo, Lubin got knocked out in the first round. Charlo figured out that he liked to slip the jab to the inside before dropping down and trying to clinch. It worked once. The second time he tried it, Charlo timed an uppercut that knocked Lubin unconscious. Since then, he has rattled off three straight stoppage wins.

Gallimore has lost three times -- to Julian Williams, Patrick Teixera and Virgilijus Stapulionis -- but he has never been stopped. With 17 stoppages in 21 wins, he hits hard and has shown some decent skill, despite not having started the sport until the age of 23. A Jamaican who moved to Chicago, he has ironically said that the first fight he ever watched was Tyson-Lennox Lewis.

Did Charlo land one good shot or expose a fatal flaw in Lubin’s game? Even if he did expose Lubin, can a guy who did not start boxing until he was 23 exploit it?

* * *

WHAT: Robert Easter Jr. vs. Adrian Granados, Junior Welterweights
WHEN: Oct. 26
HOW TO WATCH: Showtime, 9 p.m. ET
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: To see what Easter’s new, health-conscious boxing style looks like.

Easter made three successful defenses of his IBF 135-pound title. However, his loss to Mikey Garcia cost him his title and swayed the public’s opinion of him as a fighter, so much so that he has been largely forgotten, despite being the first man to defeat Richard Commey. He now moves up to 140 pounds to face Granados, but his comments going into the fight have some concerned. In an interview, Easter was asked about changing his style. His response? “I’ve had a career of banging. I’m trying to get away from that.” He then answered a question about his current goals in boxing: “Stay healthy. There’s been a lot of deaths. Rest in peace to Patrick Day. I just want to stay focused and stay healthy, so I’ll be able to get out of the ring, see my family and have a good future.” While it was obviously an honest answer, it was not the type of response that inspires much confidence.

Known for his toughness, Granados is a solid fighter but basic inside the ring and figures to allow Easter to work on his new boxing-heavy style. With that said, if Easter is thinking about protecting his health, letting a guy like Granados stick around for a while might be the worst way to do it.

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