It goes without saying that our busy schedules make it difficult to read all kinds of fight reports. But even when we do have the time, it’s often just more convenient to have everything all in one place.
That’s what the Weekend Briefing is for.
All in all, a big boxing weekend on paper delivered just enough to scratch fans’ itch. Nothing was epic and in some ways the biggest fights were disappointing, but not enough to derail a nice 2017.
CBS – Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
Part-time fighter and full-time amateur flutist Keith Thurman unified two welterweight belts with a split decision victory over Danny Garcia in the main event of a CBS broadcast that reportedly did quite well, ratings-wise. Generally speaking, high quality fights getting serious attention on big network broadcasts is a good thing. It can be a double-edged sword, however, when fights become tedious, as Thurman-Garcia often was. Garcia managed to nullify some of Thurman’s early rush in the middle rounds and the latter mostly took the last two rounds off, but “One Time” stayed busy enough to justify a decisive win.
Thurman, now 28-0 with 22 knockouts and 1 No Decision, was taken the 12 round distance for the fourth time in his last five bouts, and again showed signs of fading down the stretch. The Clearwater, Fla. native nonetheless demonstrated enough versatility and skill over the stretch to make the win decisive. Garcia appeared out-sized and overwhelmed in the first half of the fight and his good body work went largely unnoticed, and then he picked up the pace as Thurman tired, making scoring interesting. Ultimately the decision was the correct one, no matter how little class the already-classless Angel Garcia is demonstrating. His son, Danny Garcia, falls to 33-1 with 19 knockouts.
A somewhat lackluster main event couldn’t dull the shine that Orlando, Fla.’s Erickson Lubin brought to the CBS card in the broadcast’s opener. The 21-year-old super welterweight Lubin dismantled Mexico’s Jorge Cota in four rounds and brought his record to 18-0 with 13 knockouts. But it wasn’t just that Lubin had a good post-fight interview after working over a guy wearing a knee brace, it was that he made it fun.
With the loss, Cota’s record is now 25-2 with 22 knockouts.
Sky Sports – O2 Arena, London, U.K.
In a match up that was anticipated mostly because both men were able to talk their way into annoying many British boxing fans, heavyweight Tony Bellew smacked David Haye around for a while before sending him home in 11 often-sloppy rounds. Bellew confidently landed first and dictated the pace of the bout while Haye appeared sluggish and rusty. The last half of the fight featured many collisions and plenty of mauling as Bellew tired and Haye reportedly fought with a ruptured Achilles tendon that required surgery. Bellew, 29-2-1 with 19 knockouts, made good on his pre-fight trash talk and seems to be angling for a showdown with British heavyweight Anthony Joshua. But at 36, with a history of nagging injuries and facing another large one, Haye should be looking to retire. His record is 28-3 with 26 knockouts.
Another name fighter stared down likely retirement on the same card, as welterweight Sam Eggington, 20-3 with 12 knockouts, seemed to seize victory from a 36-year-old Paul Malignaggi, who did well until a body shot ended his night in the 9th round. Malignaggi, now a commentator who truly has no reason to keep fighting, does just well enough to justify sustaining his career. While Eggington isn’t a bad fighter by any stretch, this marks Malignaggi’s third stoppage loss in his last six outings. At 36-8 with 7 knockouts, it’s time.