Three Punch Combo: Notes on GGG, the World Boxing Super Series and More

THREE PUNCH COMBO: Boxing can be a funny sport. Often it is not if a fighter wins but how he looks in winning that determines his future fights. Sometimes, not looking sharp in winning can open the door to bigger fights more than looking impressive in victory. This may be the case for Gennady Golovkin following his twelve round unanimous decision win against Danny Jacobs this past Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

There is no doubt Golovkin (pictured with his trainer Abel Sanchez) appeared vulnerable. Jacobs boxed effectively at times and was able to freely navigate the ring using lateral movement better than any recent Golovkin opponent. The shiftiness of Jacobs kept Golovkin from getting into a rhythm. By not getting into a rhythm, Golovkin was not able to land his power punches with precision. By not landing clean, Golovkin wasn’t as devastating as he had shown in previous bouts. Jacobs, who had once been hurt and dropped by a light hitting Sergio Mora, seemed to be able to easily withstand the feared punching power of Golovkin.

In the end, in a fight where many expected Golovkin to steamroll his opponent, he nudged out a close decision. But this might be the best thing for Golovkin’s career. He won and remained undefeated but didn’t look great. He is also getting older and will soon be 35 with a lot of professional as well as amateur fights under his belt. The time may finally be right for Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and his team to step up to the challenge to face Golovkin on the heels of Golovkin’s less than formidable performance against Jacobs.

Canelo is Golden Boy Promotions main attraction as well as cash cow. For a long time, facing Golovkin was too much of a risk and not enough of a reward for Canelo. If Canelo got destroyed, his marketability going forward would have taken a huge hit. Why fight Golovkin when he could make good money fighting the likes of Liam Smith? Or why choose Golovkin over say Julio Cesar Chavez Jr? Chavez Jr. brings a substantial payday and far less risk than the fearsome Golovkin we saw leading up to the Jacobs fight.

But with Golovkin looking so vulnerable against Jacobs, Canelo and Golden Boy may jump at the opportunity to face him sooner rather than later. The risk comes down in their eyes and they would save face in boxing circles claiming this was a fight they wanted all along. Moreover, Jacobs set a blueprint on how to handle Golovkin and Canelo has the ability to do the same things Jacobs did with Golovkin. The ultimate irony here is if Golovkin had demolished Jacobs, a fight with Canelo may not have been possible for some time. But by looking not as destructive, a fight with Canelo becomes very realistic for September.

World Boxing Super Series

On Thursday March 9th, Richard Schaefer along with Kalle Sauerland announced plans for a boxing tournament called the World Boxing Super Series. The initial plan calls for 16 fighters to participate with two different weight classes featured in a single elimination format with $50 million in prize money on the line. This could be a huge hit for the sport if Schaefer and Sauerland can pull this together.

With the kind of money being discussed, a lot of fans and writers seem skeptical of the event coming off in the current proposed format. Like him or not, Richard Schaefer would not have held a large press conference if he wasn’t confident he had his ducks in a row. Schaefer is a former Swiss banker and does have a lot of connections in the industry. It would be surprising to me if he didn’t have the financing 100% in place before making such an announcement.

If done correctly, tournament style formats can be very successful. Some point to the Super Six as an example of how tough tournaments can be to hold together in the sport. But that was a multi-year event and as such opened itself up to potential issues such as injuries or fighters not wanting to stick with such a long commitment. With a single elimination tournament, there is no such long commitment and with quick turnarounds, injury risk is somewhat mitigated. ESPN held single elimination tournaments in the past similar to the format proposed by Schaefer and Sauerland. By and large, those tournaments came off with very few issues.

With a $10 million top prize in each division, it is almost certain that top level fighters will want to be involved. Keep in mind that for their recent showdown, both Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia netted $2 million each. So a $10 million top prize will no doubt attract the attention of even the most elite in the sport. We all know what happens too when the best fight the best. We get top level fights that are generally very competitive with good action and high drama.

I am pulling big time for Schafer and Sauerland to pull this proposed tournament together. If they are true to their word that all fighters will be considered regardless of what promoter or manager they are affiliated, we could get some blockbuster fights. The World Boxing Super Series is something that should be monitored closely in the coming months and could be the big positive jolt that the sport of boxing so badly needs.

Random Thoughts On Last Week’s Action

A lot happened in the sport of boxing this past week. We saw a prospect look a little suspect on Tuesday, an all-time bad scorecard turned in Friday, and a Thai fighter pull off a shocker on Saturday that brought back memories of another Thai fighter who scored a big upset in a title fight in the United States.

On Tuesday, prospect Sergiy Derevyanchenko scored a 5th TKO of the previously undefeated Kemahl Russell. Derevyanchenko was expected to win but his performance raised some questions about how far he can go in the sport. Specifically, Russell found a home for straight rights and left hooks consistently to the head of Derevyanchenko. In watching the fight again, Derevyanchenko displayed little to no head movement and often held his hands low. He needs to do some serious work in the gym to tighten this up or he risks getting exposed by better competition down the line.

On Friday, David Grayton faced Kermit Cintron in a welterweight contest. Grayton seemed to control the bout and had Cintron down in round 5. Later that round, an accidental head butt caused issues with Cintron. The bout was stopped and went to the scorecards. Inexplicably, judge Tony Lundy had Cintron ahead 49-46. The other two had it 47-47 for a majority draw. Though I don’t agree with the two cards at 47-47, it is the card of Lundy that raised a lot of eyebrows.

Home cooking in boxing goes back a long way and continues to give the sport a black eye. Hopefully, Lundy’s score is addressed in some manner by the Pennsylvania Boxing Commission.

Finally, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai’s performance against Roman Gonzalez brought back memories of another Thai fighter, Saman Sorjaturong. Like Sor Rungvisai, Sorjaturong was a big underdog who had come up short in a previous big opportunity when he faced Humberto Gonzalez at the Great Western Forum in 1995. In an all-out war that was Ring Magazine’s fight of the year, Sorjaturong stopped Gonzalez in round seven. Sor Rungvisai’s performance against another heavily favored, well regarded champion brought back memories of that night. Much like Sorjaturong, Sor Rungvisai is an aggressive, exciting fighter to watch. Let’s hope that unlike Sorjaturong following his big win, we see more of Sor Rungvisai in significant fights in the United States.

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