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Thoughts on These Approaching / Probable Big Fights in 2021

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Post by 88Chris05 Sat 22 May 2021, 11:26 am

Top Rank seem to be the busiest of the promotional banners right now when it comes to the bigger fights, if indeed Wilder-Fury III goes ahead in July. Arum was interviewed the other day and it looks as if he has some good fights coming our way.

* Of course we have the big Light-Welter unification showdown tonight between Ramirez and Taylor. Have already stated my belief that, providing he doesn't have to rely too much on Ben Davison's instructions and that the judges are on the level, Taylor should win this - I believe in Prograis he's already beaten a better fighter than Ramirez. Arum said that whoever wins this, there is a provisional agreement in place for them to give Jack Catterall a crack in their next fight, and that if it's Taylor they'll be looking to bring him back to the UK for that fight.

* Arum also said that Joe Smith Jr against Beterbiev is more or less a done deal for Madison Square Garden on either September 15th or 22nd. High chance that someone is getting knocked the f*** out there. If Beterbiev wins as he'll be widely expected to, he adds Smith's WBO belt to the IBF and WBC ones he already has and really underlines that he has the upper hand in dictating the terms of any potential showdown with Bivol for all the marbles at 175. If Smith wins it, then who knows, as he's already been outclassed by Bivol once before.

* Shakur Stevenson, the 'New Pernell Whitaker', has what should be a straightforward fight scheduled for next month for the WBO interim title at Super-Feather, and Arum has confirmed that should he get through that, he'll be matched with Jamel Herring later this year for the full title. Herring looked pretty impressive in dominating Frampton last month, albeit Frampton looked a little overmatched at 130 and was past his best in any case. Stevenson is a lovely stylist and has looked the goods so far, but this is a very interesting step up for him. Herring is one of a relatively rare breed - a tall, rangy guy who can also fight well inside, bending those knees, turning his shoulder inwards and shortening the punches rather than accepting the clinch. But I guess it's a step up for Herring, too. Stevenson looks a born ring general and his footwork, positioning and defence have all looked out of the top drawer so far. Very intriguing potential fight indeed.

* And finally Teofimo Lopez. There's been noise that Lopez will be looking to move up to 140 soon, but Arum reckons Lopez has assured him he can make 135 comfortably for another couple of fights or so yet. After the (probable) mis-match against Kambosos next month, it looks like Top Rank's plan is to match Lopez against the winner of Haney-Linares next week. That fight in itself is a decent step up for Haney, at least on paper, but Lopez-Haney would be superb and just the kind of fight we need amongst the talented, young crop between 130 and 140 at the moment (possible article about those guys coming soon). Arum also stated that once Lopez has had those couple more fights at Lightweight, his primary focus will be moving up to Light-Welter to take on the undisputed champion in either Ramirez or Taylor, assuming they're still there or someone else hasn't spoiled the party by beating them in the meantime. He might have to be quick, because if it's Taylor who comes through tonight, he'd made no secret that he plans a raid on 147 at some stage in the future.

Strangely enough, it doesn't look like a rematch against Lomachenko is anywhere near the top of the list for Lopez's priorities, which surprises me to say the least.

Some potentially very juicy fights coming up under Top Rank in the second half of 2021. And boy do we need these to come to pass.


Last edited by 88Chris05 on Sat 22 May 2021, 11:35 am; edited 2 times in total
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Post by Derek Smalls Sat 22 May 2021, 11:29 am

You hears the news too,Chris?
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Post by 88Chris05 Sat 22 May 2021, 11:31 am

Haha sorry pal, crossed wires as we hit at the same time. I'll remove the Pacquiao-Spence bit from my article, and just keep it about the other Top Rank movers and shakers. Makes sense.
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Post by Derek Smalls Sat 22 May 2021, 11:45 am

Crawford is 33 ? Well I never. Considering his rep, he's not been on my radar all that long. When Ezzard Charles was 33 ,he had lost his crown yet had such fire that he fought Rocky Marciano,a truly feared hitter,twice in a year.And this is the guy who lost to Walcott.
Plus 33 was a much older age for a boxer back then.(I know you can't really compare like for like,especially for a bigger guy).
Kudos to Manny, anyhow.He has some big cajones.


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Post by Derek Smalls Sat 22 May 2021, 11:47 am

88Chris05 wrote:Haha sorry pal, crossed wires as we hit at the same time. I'll remove the Pacquiao-Spence bit from my article, and just keep it about the other Top Rank movers and shakers. Makes sense.

Egad! Just as I start to ramble on about Crawford

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Post by 88Chris05 Sat 22 May 2021, 1:12 pm

Though I really rate Taylor and admire his approach to the sport, I don't particularly like the way he comes across as a personality and he's been acting like a bit of a prat in the build up to this one. Not sure if anyone else has been following the press stuff for tonight's fight, but some of his jibes towards Ramirez and the incident where he was threatening to knock out some short, tubby fella in Ramirez's team were pretty embarrassing, I thought.

Has always come across as a bit of an overly mouthy guy who is prone to bullying those around him (backed up by a story which emerged not long after the Prograis fight which again some of you might have seen in the press).

Hope his words don't come back to bite him, he'll look a bit foolish if he loses after that. Top fighter but not one of my favourites based on his attitude.
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Post by Mr Bounce Sat 22 May 2021, 9:50 pm

Doesn't Taylor hang around with Saunders and Fury? Seems their oafish behaviour rubs off on each other. I like Taylor as a fighter but as a personality I think he's a tool. I do see him beating Ramirez tonight as I think he has the skills to do so.

Smith against Beterbiev is a complete firefight. Artur isn't afraid to take one to give one but he must be careful as Smith can bang. Still, I think Smith will walk on to a big shot and his WBO title will be gone.

I am genuinely intrigued by Herring vs Stevenson. As Chris says, Stevenson really does the basics beautifully, and Herring is a handful for most 130 pounders. I am not going call it specifically, but if you were to go by potential alone, it *should* be Stevenson's.

Lopez in theory should make easy work of Kambosos and will likely focus on the winner of Haney-Linares. I hope it gets made...

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Post by Derek Smalls Sun 23 May 2021, 3:54 am

Well done,Josh Taylor! Great fight,very close.Rematch would be a huge sell
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Post by 88Chris05 Sun 23 May 2021, 4:05 am

So Taylor completes a tremendous clean sweep at Light-Welter. 114-112 on all three cards, with the two knockdowns proving decisive. Personally I thought Taylor won it a little wider than that, and the fight was made to look closer than it was by him cruising a bit too much in the final four rounds. But anyway, no matter. The right man had his hand raised.

I really fancied him to stop Ramirez after that second knockdown, and who knows, had it not come near the end of the round, and had Bayless' inspection of Ramirez after he got up not taken so long, he might well have done. Taylor might not have stopped any of his best opponents, but aside from Prograis he's managed to drop them all, sometimes a couple of times over, and crucially he has that knack of producing 10-8 or 10-7 rounds at just the right time, usually after he's had a difficult round or two himself.

He's been matched tough, and he's had to overcome some very tricky moments in those fights, but he finds a way to raise his game and make things happen when it looks like the momentum might be with the other guy. The mark of a very impressive championship performer.

He still gets hit a bit more than he should for my liking, given his undoubted boxing skills, and I wish he'd use and sit down on his jab a bit more. But when he was flowing there you saw the difference in class between him and Ramirez, who still gave a very good account of himself in defeat. Taylor has a touch of the John Conteh about him in that he makes subtle use of the 'dark arts' or 'veteran tactics' or whatever you want to call them. He's got a real nasty side to him and can by very cunning in how he makes space to get his shots off on the inside, or how he controls an opponent there.

But he's undoubtedly one of the best fighters on the planet right now, pound for pound, and at the rate he's going at the moment you'd have to say he's one of the best from the UK in quite a while. Only eighteen fights into his professional career and he's cleared out a pretty good weight class just about as comprehensively as you can.

Pretty good fight overall, and a fantastic result for Taylor.
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Post by Derek Smalls Sun 23 May 2021, 11:39 am

One has to look at the refereeing for this fight. It certainly appeared to take away Taylor's hope of a kayo, but on the plus side, it meant another handful of very decent action indeed.It's just a relief that there was immaculate scoring going down.
I'm going to have to watch the 3 o'clock repeat, but it seemed very clear to me that Ramirez was given more than enough help when he was floundering very badly.

Yes Josh certainly has an eye for a merciless set up, pushing away Ramirez's guard for example, before one of his knock-downs.But that seems to be acceptable these days and nobody seems to pick such antics up as all that dubious. I'm sure i saw Lomanchenko do a very similar move once or twice.
On the more positive side,Josh knew that he had to get some clear water between them and the 10-8 rounds did just the job.Two punches that changed the whole fight
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Post by CaledonianCraig Sun 23 May 2021, 11:56 am

Surely, Taylor's has to have had the most meteoric rise of any of the four other boxers to have held all belts at one time. Taylor has risen to that immense achievement in just 18 professional fights and the question is what now? Moving up in weight seems inevitable and perhaps a super fight against Terence Crawford.
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Post by 88Chris05 Sun 23 May 2021, 12:30 pm

CaledonianCraig wrote:Surely, Taylor's has to have had the most meteoric rise of any of the four other boxers to have held all belts at one time. Taylor has risen to that immense achievement in just 18 professional fights and the question is what now? Moving up in weight seems inevitable and perhaps a super fight against Terence Crawford.

Usyk did it in slightly fewer fights (and as the away fighter each time), but that's splitting hairs and doesn't detract from Taylor's achievement at all. Also worth noting that, as an Olympic champion and all-round phenomenal amateur, great things were always expected of Usyk and many predicted he'd dominate and clean out the Cruiserweights from the off. On the other hand, while he had a very good amateur pedigree in his own right and was definitely considered one to watch, I don't think anyone expected so much from Taylor by this point. So to that end, yep, you could argue his rise has been even more meteoric and dramatic.

In terms of his plans for the immediate future, it's looking like Catterall will have to be accommodated soon (Arum said that fight would almost certainly be in the UK) as he is the mandatory for one of the belts (I forget which one) and already agreed to sit aside so that this big unification could be made. In his post-fight press conference Taylor seemed to indicate that will probably be his next fight "unless something huge comes up which we can't turn down" or words to that effect, in which case he'd probably vacate whichever belt Catterall is mandatory for in favour of a big-money fight in the States.

Personally, while they're not the biggest fights out there from a global point of view, I'd like to see Taylor have a couple of fights back in the UK against the likes of Catterall and / or Ritson, as the lack of fanfare and publicity he gets over here in the UK relative to his achievements is a joke and a couple of domestic showdowns, now that he has the undisputed tag and the full force of Top Rank behind him, could really boost his profile. Ritson in particular has cultivated a pretty dedicated and vocal following in the North East and I'm sure they wouldn't mind travelling across the border to see him have a crack at Taylor. Apparently Easter Road / Hibs have put the feelers out a couple of times to Taylor and his team about a potential fight there, which is the least he deserves and something I'm sure he'll want to do.

After that he'll probably head back to the States for whatever is the biggest fight for the most money at the time, which will likely be Crawford. He's said for a while that he plans on fighting at Welterweight eventually. Politically it's an easy one for Top Rank to make, and they're desperate for a credible opponent for Crawford. For those reasons it might be hard for Taylor to resist the pull of that one.

Arum floated the idea of Teofimo Lopez facing Taylor in the not-too-distant future, but Taylor seemed quite dismissive of the idea last night, stating that Lopez wasn't on his radar and that he should concentrate on his unfinished business at 135 before he starts calling out any Light-Welters. Both Lopez and Taylor have said they're comfortable making their current weights and that moving up is in their plans, but isn't their priority just yet, which makes me think the timing might never be quite right for that one, and that Lopez will move to 140 more or less the same time Taylor moves up to 147.

But Taylor is in a fantastic position. Top Rank's stable is very good in and around his weight class and he's got a hell of a lot of leverage now. Personally I'd love to see a rematch with Prograis with all the belts on the line (could be tricky now as Prograis is becoming more and more entangled with PBC) as well as at least one solid domestic fight over here against Catterall or Ritson. But there's Crawford at 147, a possible rematch with Ramirez or possibly Mikey Garcia at 140 and the chance to bring Lopez, or possibly even Lomachenko up from 135. Whichever road he takes he's pretty much guaranteed to be involved in some corkers against big names / classy opponents in the next couple of years - and he's seldom in a bad fight anyway.
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Post by Herman Jaeger Wed 26 May 2021, 10:27 am

Thought 114-112 was way too close, admits he boxed a stupid fight against Taylor, says Broner gone ghost and Floyd and Ellerbe ‘ecstatic’ about Tank facing Regis (we all know Ellerbe won’t let Tank anywhere near him of course)

https://youtu.be/d-EURsjHWjY

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Post by 88Chris05 Sun 30 May 2021, 10:32 am

A couple of results of note from last night.

Haney overcame Linares, but not without a genuine scare the championship rounds. Haney was shaken up right at the end of round ten (the bell couldn't have come at a better time) and hadn't recovered by the start of the eleventh. He looked potentially there for the taking - but Linares couldn't close the show, and I think he was actually trying to be too precise and perfect in finding the shot to finish it, when he should have jumped all over Haney and actually punched on the inside and out of the clinches when Haney was grabbing to buy time - which he did a lot in the first of the eleventh and second half of the twelfth when he was wobbled again.

That aside, Linares looked his age for the most part and Haney pitched a shutout for the first nine rounds in my opinion (scores were definitely too close on that cards). It was good matchmaking by Haney's team, picking a Linares who is clearly on the downturn but still credible enough to be a good 'name' on the record, and Haney did box well overall. Pretty cautious early on, just beating Linares to the punch, mixing the jab between head and body and leaving Linares hitting thin air when he tried to counter. Haney stepped it up a bit in the middle rounds, pushing Linares back and going with more power shots - the left uppercut through the guard worked particularly well.

It was a more focussed and defensively responsible performance by Haney for the most part. Linares was always reacting and didn't look sharp enough to get anything going until that right hand in the tenth. Questions will be asked of Haney but it'll be a good learning experience for him and he can pleased with his performance on the whole. As for Linares, probably time to call it a day but I suspect he'll be back before long.

And then Nonito Donaire wins yet another world title by knocking out Oubaali in four rounds for the WBC Bantamweight belt. What more can you say about Donaire that hasn't been said countless times before? I wanted him to retire between 2014 and 2018 as I couldn't stand seeing one of my favourites looking so uninterested in there and losing to guys he was either too small to face or who he probably would have beaten a few years earlier.

But the return to Bantamweight for the WBSS tournament seemed to reignite something in him - he was a lot more competitive in the final against Inoue than I was expecting. I've said before that I always felt Bantamweight was Donaire's optimum weight class and where he looked his very best and I wish he'd stayed there longer after 2011, albeit he did still come pretty close to clearing out Super-Bantam over the next couple of years after that.

Hard to gauge Oubaali - I'd only seen his fight against Warren beforehand, and Warren is hardly a great yardstick of quality. A long amateur career, turned pro relatively late and quietly rushed to world title level without any really notable wins. He was the favourite to beat an old Donaire who fights in spurts even more than he used to, but ended up getting a right good hiding.

Either way, it was typical Donaire - outboxed / outworked until he started throwing that counter left hook in the third, and pretty much instantly once he did it brought rewards. Even at his age he's still one of the purest punchers out there and precious few Bantams will survive that left hand if he gets them positioned to land it cleanly. His timing is still there even if the rest of his game is diminished. He wasn't setting anything up with the jab, using feints etc. when he was trying to close the show in the fourth, but he didn't have to.

Such a tremendous fighter for so many years now. In a way I still want him to retire as it would be nice for him to go out on a world title win, and he's never going to hit those 2007 - 2012 heights again, but at the same time I want to appreciate him while he's still around. Will always be a fighter I've got a soft spot for.
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Post by Soul Requiem Sun 30 May 2021, 11:15 am

Just watched the Donaire fight and the left hook looks as good as ever, once he found his range he couldn't miss. His career since Rigondeaux has been a disappointment in the sense that everyone that's beaten him since wouldn't have done during his prime. The exception being Walters but then again he should not have been fighting at featherweight in the first place.

He's been competitive enough against the likes of Frampton and Inoue to make me believe he'd have beaten them comfortably ten years ago. 38 for a little man is ancient.

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Post by Guest Mon 31 May 2021, 1:35 pm

Haney has zero power. He couldn’t hurt Gamboa or Linares whom are both considered to have very weak chins.
Throw in Linares was way past his prime.
I think Lopez would literally destroy Haney.

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