Main Events ran a card at Foxwoods on Saturday afternoon, and some of the scraps ran on NBC. Thabiso Mchunu and Karl Dargan, campaigners for Main Events, won their scraps. I asked Main Events boss Kathy Duva what she thought about the card, about Dargan, who won by KO, and Mchunu’s effort. She complied…
“I think that Dargan is brilliant,” the promoter said of the 29 year old lightweight who went to 17-0, after I noted that I think he could ideally look to be more dynamic for more of each round. “He is still learning and developing and he has the look of a world champion. It is most definitely time to move him up to the next step on the ladder. I’m not sure I agree that he didn’t excite people, as I am told that his ratings grew throughout the fight and his name trended on Twitter. Pretty impressive stuff versus wall to wall college football.”
Dargan beat Angino Perez, who slid to 17-5, via TKO5. “As far as Mchunu is concerned, it is a shame that a guy who fights like a heavyweight Floyd Mayweather doesn’t jazz the masses,” Duva continued, after I noted that he and foe Garrett Wilson may have been too similar in style to produce an epic battle. “But that is the state of boxing in 2014. Thabiso got the message loud and clear on Saturday that he is going to have to go for the KO when he gets the chance because that is what fans want to see. It is also a way to make what should have been an early KO win a lot harder on himself. He certainly showed us that he has the power to take anybody out.” This was the third straight UD10 for the South African lefty, for the record.
“And to be fair, Garrett Wilson is a true warrior who was well-prepared for this fight and has never been KO’d—even taking most fights on short notice. But I agree that Thabiso missed an opportunity by giving Wilson a breather in the fourth round. Saturday was another opportunity for Mchunu to gain valuable experience that will serve him well when he becomes the world champion. I doubt that he will make that mistake again.” Mchunu elevates to 17-1 with 11 KOs.
“And that is why we at Main Events believe in challenging our fighters with opponents who will not simply fall down the first time they get hit,” she said. “I know I say this a lot, but the first time our fighters have to solve a problem in the ring will not be during a world title fight. Professional boxers don’t get rich or build a legacy by simply winning a world title. They get rich and build a legacy by defending that title successfully, over and over again, against the very best in the world. And you can only gain the experience to do that by fighting the kinds of opponents on the way up that Mchunu and Dargan faced on Saturday. The NBC fans got to see two future world champions in development against opponents who came to win. Both faced some adversity from foes who presented very different challenges, and both were impressive in different ways. Dargan’s KO was highlight reel spectacular. And Mchunu showed us that, not only is he ready to step up into a world title fight, but that he will be even more impressive against a higher caliber of opposition—something that we cannot afford on the NBC budget. Thabiso learned that he should have put his foot on the gas in the fourth round because he could have taken Wilson out. And I expect he will put that knowledge to use in the future. But knowing when and how to step on the gas is what comes with experience.
“Dargan got knocked down by a game, aggressive guy with a big punch, got up and won with a truly sick KO,” said Duva, who is beyond buzzed about her Sergey Kovalev headlining in AC against Bernard Hopkins on Nov. 8. (And in the spirit of being citizens of the world beyond our stoop, may I take this time to lobby you guys to make the trek to NJ for that one, to do your bid in helping their economy. Yes, I wanted that fight in my front yard, in Brooklyn, but AC has been hemorrhaging, and it's up to us, the masses of the lower classes, to respond, and give them a hand up. A sellout at Boardwalk Hall might save a couple jobs, convince someone to step in and give that region some love n money, so that the chance remains that people there will hurry up and figure out that the gambling mecca model is an atrophying one.) “I think that he made a lot of fans with that KO and with his post-fight interview, where he was remarkably honest and genuine. Dynamite showed us where he got his nickname. And he shared with us a little bit of his truly engaging personality. What more could a promoter ask for?”