And Still…oh Wait
Featherweight Mikey Garcia destroyed former kingpin of the division Juan Manuel Lopez on Saturday night in Dallas, Texas, yet lost his title. Garcia, who knocked out Lopez in the fourth round after sending Lopez to the floor,making easy work of the brawler who had no solution for Garcia’s combination of technical skill with power. Garcia finally finished the fight with a Roy Jones-esque left hook that left Lopez looking helpless. Yet Garcia did the unthinkable, coming in two pounds overweight, thus losing his belt on the scales. For Garcia’s brother/trainer Robert, this is third time one of his fighters has missed weight surrounding a big fight and begs the question of why the Oxnard, Calif based gym has not considered a nutritionist. In the post-fight interview, Garcia claimed a cold that he acquired the last week of camp affected him in making weight, but even still, one would worry that Garcia may just be too big for the division, and destined to fight at 130 lbs, where HBO’s Max Kellerman seemed insistent on pitting him up with Rocky Martinez, one of the major champs at that weight.
Garcia is clearly one of the best in the world and should be in the pound for pound rankings , but the big questions are who can fight him and be favored, as well as what division will he call home for years to come. Garcia is in flux at this point, unsure of commitment to any weight class as he seemed more interested in staying at featherweight yet willing to go to junior lightweight as well. Though some fighters have done this well, the scary example of the move up in weight then back down was Roy Jones, who moved up to heavyweight and seemingly harmed his body in the process.
As for Lopez, it could be the end. Lopez appeared to seem a bit on the fritz, like a computer with worn out wires that need repaired. The problem is, boxing is not the sport for the shopworn, and Lopez only knows one way to fight and that is to brawl. It is the style that gets you a network contract, a following, and money, but it does not allow for longevity in the sport.Really, it’s time for Juan Manuel Lopez to call it quits, yet we know how this story will moore than likely go. If he is cut from Top Rank, an over-eager promoter will try to repackage Lopez with a steady stream of bums, trying to cash in on one last payday. One thing for sure is, barring a career resurgence and a newfound level of boxing skill, Juan Manuel Lopez will not be a fighter that people feel interested in watching after Mikey Garcia simply made him look foolish.
Crawford wins, the hype begins – is it just?
Terence Crawford may not be fun to watch, but he is a tough guy to fight, and on top of that he continues to win. After jumping in on late notice to fight Breidis Prescott and winning, it seems as though he has HBO’s endorsement, as Max Kellerman explained he has Crawford as the number one lightweight in the world. A tall order for someone who has yet to fight a top ten foe and fought last night a guy who seemingly was dragged out of the obscurities of Solo Boxeo or Box Azteca in Alejandro Sanabria. The bizarre thing is though, as HBO sells Crawford as a defensive wizard, he seems to get hit a bit more than I would like to see against C level competition. With this being said, Crawford caught Sanabria with a left hook early in the sixth round that had him laid out and counting stars well past the allotted ten count.
Crawford seems to be the star of lightweight division now that Broner is gone from HBO. Fans can expect a 2 Days feature on Crawford after the Mikey Garcia 2 Days airs, as well as a more in-depth focus on developing the story of Crawford. Even though a majority of hardcore boxing fans view Showtime as the premium network for boxing, when going head to head HBO doubled the rating of Showtime with a card that had far less hype, and to get the backing of the network could be parlayed into a strong career.
Evans wins, Nelson stumbles, may be taking talents elsewhere
Rashad Evans defeated Dan Henderson in a battle of light heavyweights struggling to stay relevant at this point. Evans, who was nearly knocked out in the first frame, rallied back to tire out Henderson and win a close split decision that keeps him in the mix, as Henderson once again failed to do much against a fighter who had the speed advantage against him. For Henderson, this is second loss after pulling out of a title fight against Jon Jones late last summer and he now will wonder if he will be brought back for one last hurrah, or is this end. His performance had its moments , but at the same time, he looked every bit the 42 years of age that he is. As for Evans, he still does not look like the Evans of before the Jones fight, who seemed to have found a new stride. With the Blackzillian camp in Florida, the camp that was created essentially for him, struggling, one might wonder if criticism should be directed at the camp, or at Evans himself..
In one of the bigger upsets of the night, heavyweight Stipe Miocic defeated Roy “Big Country” Nelson, who could not land his right hand and looked gassed, much like a man of his physique would as the fight went on to the later rounds. The big story here is not just Miocic, who now could move up the ranks and create fresh match-ups with the top dogs of the division, but the question of Nelson’s own cockiness to take this fight, hoping to go into free agency riding a long winning streak. It is no secret UFC brass and Nelson are not on the best of terms, and with Bellator having very little depth in the Heavyweight division, Nelson may take the money of Bellator and move to Spike TV for a chance to be a champion, since in reality his title hopes in the UFC are slim to none.
Yeah Dow! Jennings wins again, New threat at LHW emerges
Mr. Yeah Dow, Bryant Jennings wins again on what has become his home on NBC Sports Network, a network that is single-handedly bringing back American heavyweights as much as you can in this day and age. Jennings stopped Andrey Fedosov between the sixth and seventh round due to a cut above his eye, in what was a fairly entertaining bout by today’s heavyweight standards. Jennings, who had the boxing edge, appeared unnerved at times when forced to the ropes by Fedosov, who invested in body punching early that appeared to be slowing Jennings down. The only thing was, Fedosov had little defense, so the abrasions on his face continued, despite the fact that his inherent toughness tried to power him to continue. Jennings continues to be a man in an odd place, as all heavyweight champions have challengers, making him the odd man out who desperately wants his chance to prove himself.
Sergey Kovalev is for real. The light heavyweight, who did what no one had done before in knocking out Gabriel Campillo, continued to strike fear in those at the top of division, as he may be the best prospect in boxing. Kovalev beat up Cornelius White, who never even had a chance and seemed to know it, before mercifully the ref stepped in and stopped the fight in the third. Thanks to the Bernard Hopkins-Karo Murat fight card being called off due to Murat not obtaining a work visa, the IBF has now ranked Kovalev the number one contender for Hopkins title and would pit Hopkins up against one of the toughest fights of his lifetime late in his career.
Pavano displays counterpunching, Vincente wins early
Juan Carlos Pavano simply was too much for Jundy Maraon, whose aggressive style played right into the hands of Pavano. Except for one punch in the third round that sent Pavano to the canvas, barring that shot Pavano danced around Maraon with glee and had no worries until fatefully knocking Maraon out cold in the seventh with a devastating counter punch that left Maraon on the ground for a rather long time. The unique thing about the match was that both fighters had been previously unbeaten, and it is rare in boxing to see to rising stars fighting each other so early on.
In the co-feature, Yenifel Vincente charged forward early and simply overpowered Jorge Diaz who found himself on the ropes in the fourth round with the ref pulling Vincente off him. Though Vincente may have had troubles with conditioning in the past, the fight was no worry for Vincente, as he jumped on Diaz quickly and finished the fight before the second half of the fight could began.
Next week, I will be live at the promotional debut of War MMA, UFC welterweight Nick Diaz’s promotion in Stockton, Calif and will have complete coverage in my column next as well as throughout my social media devices. For more information about the event please visit http://www.nickdiazpromotions.com