The Week That Was (June 10-16, 2013)

By Teron Briggs on June 17, 2013
The Week That Was (June 10-16, 2013)
Whether Juanma Lopez retires or continues to fight, his time in the spotlight is likely over.

What happened in Dallas hardly qualified as theater of the unexpected, as Garcia was as much as a 10-1 favorite entering the fight…

American Airlines Centers, Dallas, Texas, USA

Garcia makes the grade, but not the weight

Saturday night on HBO Boxing After Dark, former WBO featherweight champion Mikey Garcia (32-0, 27 KOs) scored a spectacular knockout when he starched two-time titleholder Juan Manuel Lopez (33-3, 30 KOs) in four one-sided rounds.

Lopez’s only hope for winning this fight was a puncher’s chance, which usually means little to no chance or none at all. Despite being brutally knocked out twice by Orlando Salido, Lopez wasn’t the least bit gun-shy, but he unfortunately displayed the same lack of defense that cost him those fights. Juanma just can’t seem to protect himself after he punches. When he threw his combinations, he repeatedly left his head on a pedestal for Garcia to connect with. Before the end of the second round Garcia, one of the best counterpunchers in the sport, landed a short compact right hand that knocked Lopez off his feet. By the fourth round, Garcia was landing at will. The pro-Garcia crowd had even more to cheer about when a picture-perfect left hook put Lopez on his back. He tried to beat the count but the referee correctly signaled an end to the fight and hopefully Lopez’s career in the ring.

What happened in Dallas hardly qualified as theater of the unexpected, as Garcia was as much as a 10-1 favorite entering the fight. But the events that unfolded the day before the fight were as unexpected as they were unwelcome. Most pundits gave Lopez little chance of capturing Garcia’s WBO strap. No one, however, thought that the fearsome opponent known as the scale would ultimately dethrone Garcia.

When the Oxnard native stepped on the scale he shocked the world when he missed the 126-pound featherweight limit by a whopping two pounds. But another shock was to come, when he refused to try to cut the excess baggage and willingly gave up his title. Yeah, Garcia had to vacate his belt and fork over a hundred and fifty grand to his opponent in order for the fight to go on, but the damage was done. Lopez, who has had weight issues of his own in the past, likely tortured himself the week of the fight to shed any extra pounds. Fighters in lower weight classes squeeze every ounce of fat out of their already lean bodies to make the contracted weight. As my colleague, noted writer Ryan Songalia wrote, if Garcia was two pounds overweight the day of the weigh-in, can you imagine how much he weighed at the start of the week? Garcia said after the fight that he couldn’t make the weight because he had fallen ill and couldn’t train properly. That may be so. But Robert Garcia, a former fighter, as well as Mikey’s trainer and brother, has been around the sport for decades. He almost certainly knew that his fighter wouldn’t be able to make weight given the little time allotted them. Instead of notifying Team Lopez that a new catchweight needed to be negotiated, he went along with the charade that this was going to be a featherweight bout. Bottom line, Mikey Garcia refused to make the physical sacrifices that Juanma Lopez endured. Shame on Team Garcia, but more importantly, shame on the boxing commissions that allow this to happen too often.

There was a time when Lopez was on the road to superstardom, but a porous defense and shaky chin derailed his trip. Whether he retires or continues to fight, his time in the spotlight is likely over. By contrast, for Garcia the future is bright. He will be a force to be reckoned with at any weight.

Crawford puts on a show

Terrence Crawford’s (21-0, 16 KOs) promoter Top Rank gave him a showcase fight in Dallas and he delivered. With 10 seconds remaining in the 6th round he landed a flush left hook on the chin of unknown Alejandro Sanabria (34-2-1, 25 KOs) that forced the referee to call a halt to the proceedings.

In Sanabria’s 36-fight career he’s fought one recognizable opponent, Rocky Juarez. In February of 2011 he handed the former title challenger a decision defeat, which marked the latter’s fourth straight loss and eighth of his career. Sanabria had previously never appeared on American television, or for that matter ever fought in America. However unknown, Sanabria’s record turned out to not be inflated, as he was able to land a few good shots on the chin of the super prospect Crawford. Though Sanabria remained competitive throughout, unfortunately for him Crawford is one of the best young fighters in the sport. He displayed some crisp, dazzling combinations and power shots as he effortlessly moved around the ring, tagging Sanabria at will. Crawford, who’s a gifted defensive fighter, is able to be effective offensively without betraying his defense. He stayed on his toes yet he still put his weight behind his punches. There were few things to knock about his performance, but I could’ve gone without seeing him try to box from a southpaw stance, which he unsuccessfully tried to do in the second round. Though Crawford was clearly winning the fight, Sanabria had his moments, until that left hook in the sixth checked his chin and introduced him to the canvas. Sanbaria fell forward, but somehow landed on the top of his head, and rolled over onto his back in obvious distress. That was all she wrote for the tough Mexican lightweight.

It was a nice victory for the Omaha native who was a decorated amateur and former 2008 Olympic alternate. I look forward to seeing him in the ring again, hopefully against an opponent with a more noteworthy record.

Sands Casino Resort, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA

Another good win for Bryant Jennings

Heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings (17-0, 9 KOs) scored another impressive victory on NBC Sports Network when he made the durable Andrey Fedosov (24-3, 19 KOs) quit on his stool after the sixth round.

Coming off a six-month layoff, the longest layoff of his career, Jennings got off to a slow start before finding his rhythm in the third round. The first two rounds saw Fedosov land some digging body shots to the ribs and liver of the Philadelphia heavyweight. Fedosov is a come forward slugger who was intent on slowing down the fleet footed Jennings. Fred Jenkins, Jennings’ trainer, pleaded with him before the third round to go to Fedosov’s body to take away his power and prevent him from attacking. A short lead uppercut rocked Fedosov early in the round, as Jennings started to throw combinations with fluidity, hitting his opponent in the head and body. Jennings, who has moved around a little too much in some of his previous fights, began used nifty footwork to prevent Fedosov from being able to set before punching. Fedosov, however, wouldn’t be discouraged as he bounced back in the fourth round, when By-By Jennings allowed himself to be pushed to the ropes where he took unnecessary punishment. The fifth round featured some good exchanges between the two, as neither man was willing to back down. The sixth round was all Jennings as he showed a renewed sense of energy and applied constant pressure on the tiring Fedosov. Between rounds the NBC cameras showed Fedosov’s corner as they frantically tried to re-open his rapidly closing left eye. One of Jenning’s right hands did the damage in round five and it was now preventing the Russian fighter from seeing. The ringside doctor signaled the fight be waived off.

Fedosov is a hardnosed heavyweight with some skill who can make good fights, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him serve as a B-side to another heavyweight contender. Jennings, who has almost no amateur experience, continues his on the job training and is climbing the heavyweight rankings. He’s been demanding a shot at a shot and he’s probably only a win or two away.

South Mountain Arena, South Orange, New Jersey, USA

Payano crushes Maraon in seven

Juan Carlos Payano (14-0, 8 KOs), a bantamweight fighting out of the Dominican Republic, scored the biggest knockout of the weekend when annihilated Jundy Maraon (15-1, 12 KOs) in the seventh round of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights.

The first round of this fight would set the tone for the next six. Both undefeated fighters bolted out of the gate, knowing they were facing the best opponent of their respective careers. A clash of heads between the two southpaws caused a cut over the right eye of Payano. Veteran referee Randy Neumann missed the head-butt and indicated the cut was caused by a punch, but ESPN cameras caught it. Unfortunately, because the State of New Jersey doesn’t allow the use of instant replay, Neumann’s initial ruling couldn’t be overturned. The State Athletic Commissioner, Aaron Davis, who has stepped up the plate in the past, was sitting ringside for this nonsense, and hopefully will take the right steps to have instant replay installed.

In the early going, though both fighters were throwing punches neither seemed able to land much and certainly nothing significant. As pointed out by expert analyst Teddy Atlas, Maraon’s head was there to be hit. The Filipino fighter apparently never heard the phrase tuck your chin in. Despite this flaw, his offensive output made up for this glaring weakness. In the third round he connected with a big overhand right that pushed Payano back to the ropes before eventually falling. The fourth, fifth and sixth rounds featured a number of reckless punches as both fighters gunned for the knockout. In the seventh round Payano’s punches seemed to have more steam on them, as he landed multiple shots at a time. With less than a minute to go in the round, the Dominican landed a Big Papi-sized right hand that sent Maraon colliding to the mat face first. After attempting a count, Neumann rightfully waived off the bout as Maraon lay in agony staring up at the lights. Payana celebrated wildly in ring after as the ringside doctor rushed to the aid of Maraon, who eventually and gratefully came to his senses.

Maraon will take some time to recover and at 28 years of age, he can still have a bright future in the sport. What a way to make a statement by Payano; let’s hope he returns to action soon.

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2013-06-14 Bryant Jennings vs Andrey Fedosov

2013-06-14 Jundy Maraon vs Juan Carlos Payano

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  1. Ted 07:50am, 06/18/2013

    Yes. BK My next article mentions it. Chisora could be a tough opponent. His problem has been that he fights guys with a style that he can’t handle—tall guys—but he is due for a good showing. The winner has great options.

  2. bk don 07:42am, 06/18/2013

    Ted - You know Scott is headed over to England to face Chisora this summer? I assume you think he will prevail. I think Scott would cause a lot of problems for Jennings. You can argue he has a higher boxing IQ, if that’s worth anything when the fist fly.

  3. Ted 05:07am, 06/18/2013

    Andrey Fedosov is hardcore indicating that Jennings may be better than many thought. A natural would be a fight with undefeated and also Philadelphian Malik Scott, but that would be too logical for the illogical guys who make these matches. It could be billed as a “Philly Eliminator.”

  4. Ted 11:42am, 06/17/2013

    Great stuff Teron. I shall steal freely and extensively!!! :)

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