If i can ask you to cast your mind back to a few months when we all thought the month of May looked to be a dream month for boxing fans , but that dream has slowly became a nightmare . Firstly we had the final of the World Boxing Super Series called off due to an injury to Oleksandr Usyk then the super fight between GGG and Canelo was called off due to Canelo failing a drug test and being suspended by the Nevada Athletics Commission . So who will save this Month for us ?…..Step forward Vasyli Lomachenko and Jorge Linares . This weekend we will see two of the best technicians in boxing go toe to toe and i cannot wait .
Jorge Linares 44-3-0 27Ko’s
I have been a fan of Jorge Linares for a good few years now , so much so i made the trip from Glasgow to Manchester to see him take Anthony Crolla apart . Linares in full flow is a joy to watch , with his lightening quick hand’s and superb shot selection Linares is really is a handful . Linares isn’t just a nightmare offensively for opponents , due to his fantastic footwork Linares is very rarely tied down or caught against the ropes and can even make his opponents look foolish when they try to do so . There is one criticism that has always stuck to Linares and that is that he lacks heart when things get tough , now i don’t know how much stock i can put in this nowadays as Linares has just came through a hard fight with Luke Campbell , a fight that maybe at one time Linares would have folded mentally but i do think he has matured mentally as a fighter . Linares also has a another flaw , a more biological problem than a flaw in skills and that is that Linares is a bleeder and i do think that could be a big problem for him this weekend .
Vasyl Lomachenko 10-1-0 8Ko’s
Well what else can be said about this man ? In just eleven fights Vasyl Lomachenko is a two weight World Champion and he will fight in his twelfth fight to become a three weight World Champion , an absolutely outstanding statement of intent from the Ukrainian . Where do you start when talking about Loma , never have i seen a man with the ability to destroy opponents mentally , forcing them to quit like his last four opponents giving Loma the nickname “NoMasChenko” in reference to the infamous Leonard vs Duran 2 fight . The beauty of watching Lomachenko is that when you watch him fight you realise you are seeing are a great in the making , the way he glides across the ring literally acting like a matador toying with a raging bull , the way he launches attacks from obscure angle’s that opponents don’t see coming . I don’t have any negatives to say about Loma , so far he has been perfect …disregarding the shambles of a fight against Orlando Salido of course .
Well as you probably can already tell i have made my pick . I think Vasyl Lomachenko really is something special and no matter how good Jorge Linares is I just cant see him getting the better of Loma . The big question is will Linares make it to the end of the fight or will be another quit job ? ….Well i think Linares will make it to the end , i feel with the fight being Loma’s first at 135lbs he will maybe just lacking the power to hurt Linares …….then again I wouldn’t put it past Loma to stop Linares and make no mistake he will going in there to get the stoppage .
This generation of boxing fans have had to put up with something that at no other time in the sport of boxing have fans had to put up with “Fight Marination” and inevitibly as a bye product “Over-Marination” . Some say it started with Floyd Matweather and his super fight with Manny Pacquiao which took around seven years to get signed , and inevitably ended up a bit of a snooze fest . Others say it started back in the 90’s when Lennox Lewis looked set to fight Roddick Bowe in what would have been the biggest fight of that golden era of heavyweights , but after square up’s and heated exchanges the fight had over-marinated and intrest petered out robbing fan’s of the chance to see this amazing specticle . No matter who is blame for this frustrating and greed based addition to making the biggest and best fights all the harder to make , it looks here to stay .
Over the past 6 years Britain has had two of the best 147lbs fighters in the world in Amir Khan and Kell Brook which has seen fans foam at the mouth at the prospect of both men meeting in the ring for what would be the biggest domestic super fight since Benn/Eubank in the 90’s . For years we had Eddie Hearn tell us this fight would sell out Wembley stadium and we had Kell Brook call out and insult Khan on a weekly basis tying to goad him into the fight , but although this fight made so much sense , Amir Khan would not budge nor would he bite . At the same time that Brook wouldn’t leave sheffield and chase big fights , Khan was out challenging the best in the division and picking up some big paydays along the way in the US . Although Brook was a World Champion his CV was weak and Khan used this to his advantage not to come home and fight Brook as Brook needed Khan a lot more than Khan needed Brook .
I think the real reason that the Khan/Brook fight didn’t happen is that although this fight would have made Khan a career high pay day four years ago , he just doesn’t like Eddie Hearn or Brook , instead of throwing Brook a bone he decided to take on the likes of Danny Garcia and Lammont Peterson , keeping the Brook fight as an option whilst trying to make fights with Floyd Mayweather and Manny Paquaiuo which never happened , in a period that also seen Khan badly KO’d three times , which really calmed all talk of the Brook fight being made and the fight looked all but dead .
Now years have passed and as it goes in the crazy world of boxing Amir Khan has now signed a promotional deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom boxing , reigniting hope that the Khan/Brook fight can now be made , i mean it makes sense right ? ….Well I’m not so sure . A lot of people don’t like to admit this but Amir Khan is still bigger name in boxing around the world than Kell Brook and that’s why i have my doubts that this fight will ever be made . I think Eddie Hearn will use Khan on his Matchroom USA show’s to help get them established in the US . Khan has already said there is more chance of him fighting Adrian Broner than Kell Brook , and that would need to take place in the US to maximise interest , and that would be a great statement by Matchroom that they are serious about there US Venture .
So where now for Brook ? , Well Brook has now lost his 147lbs title and moved up to 154lbs , one of the most stacked divisions out there at the moment but still not a lucrative division . The only route i see open to Brook is the WBO route , where champion Sadam Ali will face Liam Smith in May . Im sure Brook and Eddie Hearn will be praying that Ali wins that fight as it would be a lot easier to get a fight with Ali signed as Smith fights for Frank Warren and there is no way he would let Brook get his hands on the title . Kell Brook is not finished just yet , he could easily cash out with a Jerrett Hurd or Charlo coming to the UK in what would be a Sky PPV event , but i believe Brook’s next loss is his last one so i don’t see him rushing to sign up to fight those guys if he can avoid it .
There are some sporting events across the world where the crowd are not only part of the show , but very often they become the show . Crowds where the combination of passion and desire awakes the inner caveman in us as human beings . Here in Scotland we have the Old Firm game between Celtic and Rangers , In Spain there is the El Classico between Barcalona and Real Madrid and even in Holland , the most chilled out country in the world there is the De Klassieker between Feyenoord and Ajax . This weekend we will see that special atmosphere in Belfast when Carl Frampton takes on Nonito Donair at the SSE Arena which will be live on BT Sport .
Nonito Donaire 38-4-0 24ko’s
Nonito Donaire comes from the same island in the Philippines as boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao but as a child he and his family moved to the US . As is the case with so many poor immigrant children Nonito suffered terribly at the hands of bullies which is why he took up boxing . Over the next 20 years Donaire went on to become one of the top P4P fighter’s in the sport . With his skill , speed , power and aggression Donaire has really been a fans favourite over the years . Now at 35 years old Donaire is not the monster he once was , as is the case with every great fighter throughout history , time has ate away at this future ” Hall of Fame ” boxer but i am sure that what is left is still very capable of causing an upset this weekend . For me Donaire has the best left hand in boxing , whether it comes in the way of an upper cut or left hook it will land with devastation , but this is not to take anything away from his right hand which is also a great equaliser . Donaire of old was the perfect all round fighter who could fight off the front foot and back foot which made him a nightmare for opponents to figure out but now as time goes on his reflexes and ability to let his hands go have greatly diminished . This weekend Donaire will be asking himself for one last great performance and who would bet against him producing it .
Carl Frampton 24-1-0 14ko’s
Carl Frampton is one of the most popular fighters in the British Isles , a lad who can bring the divisions of N Ireland together when he’s fighting , a guy who on fight night even us here in Scotland will come together in song and celebration and that is the power Carl Frampton . Frampton fights are rarely dull due to his open and exciting style which see’s him throw punches in bunches , switching between head and body then getting out of danger before his opponent has the chance to counter . Frampton did have power to go along with his combination punching but since moving up to featherweight the power didn’t come with him , now he look’s to break opponents down with accumulative shots rather than that one big punch . The past couple of years have not been easy for Frampton since losing his World Title to Leo Santa Cruz he has fallen foul to management disputes , dispute which are still going through the courts today . He also split with highly rated trainer Shane McGuigan over the same incident which seen Frampton sit idle for ten months . After teaming up with trainer Jamie Moore , Frampton fought Horacio Garcia on his comeback . An unknown Mexican that most of us hadn’t heard of , a fight most of us expected Frampton to walk but when Canelo Alvarez had made the journey over to Belfast it should have been a warning sign that this guy wasn’t here to roll over . Carl had to dig deep in the fight after hitting the canvas to come back and win the fight on the cards in a fight which at one point looked to be slipping away from the irishman . It has to be said that Carl Frampton looks in fantastic shape going into this one and with Donaire having such a big reach advantage over Frampton , he is going to have to work hard and hit hard once in the inside and looks to have given himself every chance of doing that .
This is a really hard fight to call as we don’t really know where both fighters are at the minute . Yes Donaire is on the slide but has he slid enough for Frampton to be to much for him ? . Was Frampton’s last fight just a little ring rust or has Frampton peaked aswell ?. I believe Donire has a good 4 or 5 rounds left in him where he will be immensely dangerous , especially as Frampton can be easy to hit . I feel this is a fight where we could see both guys hit the canvas and i also think this is a fight where both fighters will be out to prove people wrong , and that always makes them more dangerous . I think Donaire will start this fight strongly but he will start to fade badly after the fourth . Frampton has been working with Man City’s strength and conditioning coach for this one and i think it will pay off going into the last third of the fight , where Frampton will get a stoppage .
Every so often boxing will throw up a big upset and last year’s biggest upset was when Caleb Truax beat IBF Super Middleweight Champion James DeGale in a very convincing victory in what was supposed to be a relatively easy fight for DeGale . That night the 21st century got it’s very own Cindarella Man …..Well to an extent . This weekend we will see DeGale look to avenge his defeat in Las Vegas on the Lara vs Hurd undercard which will be shown live on Boxnation and BT Sport .
James DeGale 23-2-1 14Ko’s
There are some guys in boxing who go out and make things happen for themselves and James DeGale is one of those fighters . Since winning Gold at the 2008 Olympic Games DeGale was earmarked for big things in the sport whilst building a fanbase here in the UK , but that all came to a shuddering halt in 2011 when he fought George Groves and Groves beat him . After that loss though DeGale done well to rebuild himself and in 2015 he won the IBF super middleweight title on the road in Boston against Andre Dirrell . DeGale successfully defended his title against Lucian Bute and Rogelio Medina on the road again , in fights he was expected to win but we seen DeGale form a bad habit in these fights , a habit of taking a one sided fight and turning them into battles which has seen DeGale really start to slip in recent times . DeGale also fought Badu Jack in what became a classic battle in which he took some heavy and sustained punishment and if you go back and check DeGales post fight antics ( bottom of the page ) its clear to see he was acting out of character , almost insane like which suggested me he must have had a concussion , and after these previous fights where DeGale has took punishment i really think it has started to deteriorate DeGales reflexes which really showed in the first fight with Truax .
DeGale also has a poor gas tank which can cause him to take a rest on the ropes which leaves him so vulnerable . It’s not all doom and gloom for James DeGale though as i have always thought he was superbly talented fighter who looks fantastic when throwing quick combinations to the head and body and then pivoting back out of range . DeGale knows going into this fight that he is the better boxer of the two so if he boxes properly he should win .
Caleb Truax 29-3-2 18Ko’s
Now i have to admit i have seen Caleb Truax a grand total of one time , but in that one performance he did really impress me . Truax is very basic in his style but is also quite smart in how he uses the talent he does have . In the first fight Truax made DeGale look very ordinary trapping him on the ropes and going to work , even showing a bit of class when destroying DeGale with a left hook then a spin out of range which DeGale couldn’t answer the full night . I am also a big believer that once a fighter becomes a champion something changes in there mentality and they start training like a champion , they now have something to protect and that will make Caleb Truax more dangerous .
This fight has really flown under the radar up to now , not getting any coverage which is a shame as this should be a good fight on a good card . In the last fight DeGale looked to be really struggling for most of it which some put down to DeGale rushing back from injury , but i think it is something deeper than that , i really think James DeGale is showing signs of being a shot fighter , the big question is can he muster enough up to to avenge his defeat to Truax ? . I have went back and fourth with this in my mind but the more i think about it i have a feeling Truax will retain his title . I don’t think James DeGale’s heart is still in boxing and when going to America he will be fighting a man full confidence in Truax .
I think the American will take this fight on the cards but I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if Caleb Truax stopped DeGale .
Well I’ve took a few days before sitting down to write this review of the AJ vs Parker fight thinking once i had digested it i would be able to find some positives , i thought that I would have put some sort of spin on it by now , but no matter what the sky company men have been saying or even AJ himself since the fight , it was still a very poor fight . I will struggle to keep you entertained talking about it , so i will keep the review of the fight short and sweet and maybe divulge into other aspects of what we seen like one of the worst commentary performances I’ve ever heard and maybe even take some time to clear up this whole Deontay Wilder stuff and hopefully that’s enough to keep you a reader .
Since Saturday there has been a spin attached to this fight which started ten minutes after the fight ended and has mothballed into something amusing but so inaccurate at the same time . Just after the fight we had Sky pundits describe how well Joshua boxed then even AJ himself called his performance a “A introduction to the sweet science ” . Now anybody that seen the fight will know this is just pure make believe and I’ve seen enough on social media the past couple of days to know that even the biggest casual fans know what they saw . There is credit to be given to AJ i had him winning 9 – 3 or 8-4 in rounds which is a clear victory against a good opponent but this suggestion of “Sweet Science” is way over the top , and even though the gameplan was the right one by McCracken to get the job done , for the most part i don’t think AJ boxed that well . AJ was happy to keep Parker at the end of his long jab which Parker didn’t have the head movement or ring craft to get past , so for that you have to give Joshua credit but there was little in the way of creativity from Joshua and even tho his jab won him the fight it got progressively worse as the fight went on as two one dimensional fighter plodded away in what was a poor mans game of chess . Another major issue in this turning out a stinker was the referee who was shocking and totally overwhelmed by the occasion . The key to the fight for Parker was him being able to get inside and work on AJ but the ref was far to eager to get in between both guys killing any chance of this one catching fire which you could see was frustrating both fighters as AJ is very good on the inside also . Then I must comment on the poor judging with two judges only giving Parker one round and the other giving him two rounds which is so disrespectful to Parker who for me won a minimum of three rounds clearly and you could add another couple of swing rounds on to that so yet again a big fight is partly killed by officials . In the end Joshua this was a clear winner but Parker can take positives from this fight , he stayed in there and fought for the full twelve rounds against AJ , something no other person has achieved so far and the AJ Hype Train keeps rolling on with now with just one more title to collect to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world .
Sky BoxOffice Show (commentary)
This is not something i usually comment on but i feel obliged to say something on how bad Carl Froch was as part of the Sky commentary team on Saturday night . Now usually i just turn the sound down enough that you can barely hear what’s being said but loud enough to still hear the crowd , after all what you want at home is to still capture the atmosphere and i think that is something that is being lost by most shows shown on the TV as they continually speak all the way though the show but on this occasion i watched it in a friends house so we had to listen to the ramblings of cliche driven mad man . It is obvious that TV commentary teams nowadays have been instructed to have no free air , no prolonged periods of silence , no time to let fans sit and enjoy the fight , which would be fine but it encourages complete drivel to be spoken which if anything distracts you from the fight . Froch was a world class boxer but he is not a fan of boxing and his knowledge of fighters and division is little to none and egged on by Adam Smith , Froch continually makes a fool of himself and it really does make for painful listening . This week we will be putting another classic fight on Casual’s Corner so listen out for how less is more when it comes to boxing commentary . Casual’s Corner
To top off Saturday’s show we finished up with Eddie Hearn pushing this narrative that because Wilder didn’t come over to the UK for the fight he doesn’t want to fight AJ ….What a load of nonsense . Deontay Wilder was booked to come over right up to ten days before the fight when Hearn announced that Wilder would NOT be allowed in the ring to call out AJ , a tried and tested stunt which is proven to drum up interest in a fight After hearing he wasn’t allowed to enter the ring Wilder read what was on the wall , he was going to be hijacked by Dillian Whyte who Hearn is now selling as a gatekeeper to AJ . Hearn jumped in the ring and started insulting Wilder right away about ticket sales etc , he’s spent the past four weeks insulting Wilder’s manager because they dared to expose the emails between both camps showing that Eddie doesn’t want to make AJ vs Wilder . Whilst Eddie Hearn was was mid rant post fight i couldn’t help but think , I’ve watched Wilder/Ortiz five times i don’t think i will ever rematch AJ’s last two fights . Lou Di Bella says it best in a fantastic interview with FightTalk.Net .
( Follow the fight talk guys on twitter @Sam_OReilly1 @craigscott209 @Fight_Talk1 )
Five years ago i predicted that the heavyweight division was coming into another Golden Era after years of mediocrity , and i predicted this due to the likes of Tyson Fury , Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker all coming of age and with the likes of Deontay Wilder and Alexander Povetkin already around the top of the division the future looked bright , but it hasn’t panned out that way . Tyson Fury had a brief stint at the the top of the division when he beat Wladimir Klitschko but then served a ban due to drugs and had retired from the sport , Povetkin is another who had failed a drug test and since his return to the ring hasn’t looked the same fighter so now there are three and this weekend we will see two of them go toe to toe on Saturday night when Anthony Joshua takes Joseph Parker of New Zealand .
Anthony Joshua 20-0-0 20Ko’s
This weekend the AJ hype train will again roll up in Cardiff as Anthony Joshua looks to get his hands on another World Title to go along with his IBF and WBA straps when he fights Parker for his WBO title on his way to being king of the heavyweights . Over the years the hype that has been built up around Joshua has been like nothing ever seen before in this country which has even swept up the most cynical of us at times , and now building up to one of AJ’s biggest fights we must strip back the all hype and separate the man from the myth when trying to break this fight down . There is no doubt Joshua’s main asset is his power and shot selection , which even after all this time watching the big Englishman still has the ability to shock . We seen a great example of both assets when AJ took on Wladimir Klitschko last year when Joshua caught Wlad with a superb uppercut which nobody saw coming , not even the legendary Klitschko and although that wasn’t the Knockout punch it was the punch that won fight .
Countless times we have seen AJ pull a variety of power shots out of the bag to the expense of opponents like Dillian Whyte and Carlos Takam . For all AJ’s power and shot selection impress there is no getting away from Joshua’s biggest flaw ….his gas tank . We have seen AJ gas out after four rounds against 42 year old Klitschko who showed the world the blueprint to beating AJ is with movement and agility and had Wlad not been so old or inactive i firmly believe Joshua would have picked up his first loss . There has been a lot of talk coming out of AJ’s camp that they are looking to come in light for this fight which would suggest they have been working on his stamina , but is it enough to last twelve rounds ? …..I’m not so sure .
Joseph Parker 24-0-0 18Ko’s
Around 18 month’s ago i wrote a scathing review for the Boxing Asylum on Joseph Parker when he took on Andy Ruiz Jnr in a fight he won narrowly won on the cards . After being high on Parker for a while i had seen him gradually lose all the qualities that made him a top prospect not to mention he looked to be coming in far to heavy . Since then i have found out i may have been a bit harsh on Parker as he was struggling with injuries on his shoulders and elbows at the time , which has since been operated on and i have to admit Joseph Parker is coming into this weekends fight in the best shape i have ever seen him . The best tool in Parkers locker is his lightening quick hands which he will need to use to full affect this weekend . Seeing Parker coming in so light for this fight means he is coming to be mobile , which isn’t really his style but if he does it right he might just be able to pull it off . Joseph Parker can be very one dimensional and has a habit of getting lazy the longer a fight goes on which could be his undoing against AJ .
If you would have asked me two months ago who was going to win this fight i would have told you AJ would win easily , but seeing Joseph Parker this week it really does look as if he means business . The talk from Team AJ is that they have been preparing for a twelve rounder and i really hope he has been as i can see Parker employing a hit and run tactic which would kill the engine of Joshua . So who is my pick for this weekend ? ….Well i am going to stick with my original pick of Anthony Joshua but rather than predict it will be a 4 round demolition , now i am going to say a 9th round KO in a game of chess type of fight . I think Parker will implement his gameplan early but he will get careless at some point and that’s when Joshua will pounce .
Dillian Whyte has always been a boxer i felt was playing at boxing , someone who has been able to talk himself into big fights and make good money along the way , but on Saturday night we seen an in shape Dillian Whyte using good boxing skills and ring smarts to destroy Lucas Browne and record his best win to date . Before the fight i said Lucas Browne would need to bring his very best game to beat Whyte but after years of inactivity Browne looked far to heavy alongside the well toned Whyte as they squared up at the opening bell .
Right from the opening bell Whyte knew exactly how he was going to beat Browne , by breaking him down with the jab and choosing his times when to follow the jab with big left hands shots over the top . Browne finished the first round with a cut just above his left eye which Whyte used as the bull’s eye on a target and my god he couldn’t miss . Browne was just far to slow in the ring , every time he tried to land something Whyte was catching him a big counter and from as early as the second the writing was on the wall for Lucas Browne .In our preview i pointed out Browne has a habit of throwing punches from the hip and it is a habit the big Australian hasn’t remedied and Whyte was punishing him for it time and time again . Whyte looked agile , quick handed and surprisingly light on his feet in stark contrast to Browne who looked slow ,heavy , laboured and after 3 rounds he was a bloodied mess . It was obvious that after 4 round Browne was fighting with one eye due to the amount blood pouring into his left eye and he was taking a beating and even this early in the fight i was starting to think that Browne’s corner should be thinking of pulling there man out of there . Dillian Whyte could not miss Browne and in the fifth i think myself and most people watching were expecting that towel to fly in at any second but it never came , bravery or foolery from Browne’s corner but there man paid the price early in the sixth when Whyte landed a massive left hook which sent Browne’s lifeless body flat out on the canvas and it took around 5 minutes to get Browne up and away to Hospital but thankfully Lucas Browne is going home to his family in one peice .
Dillian Whyte had fought a fantastic fight , easily a career best for the big Londoner and what a time to do it with HBO beaming the fight in the US . What’s next for Whyte ? The nosies coming from Eddie Hearn is that they want the Deontay Wilder fight which i don’t think Dillian Whyte is ready for . I personally would like to see Whyte fight Big Baby Miller and if he performs at the level he did against Browne on Saturday night i might even back him .