THREE PUNCH COMBO — It’s a point I keep harping on but good matchmaking makes good fights. And good fights bring back buzz to the sport which brings back the fans. Though the participants on Thursday’s Golden Boy show on ESPN are not the biggest names, they are solid fighters who are well matched and should provide excellent action in competitive fights.
The main event is a super lightweight affair between Michael Perez (24-2-2, 11 KO’s) of Newark, NJ and Argentina’s Marcelino Lopez (32-1-1, 17 KO’s). Perez is known for making action fights. He is a natural boxer puncher but when he gets hit his instinct is to throw back immediately. He is coming off a tough loss to Petr Petrov in a title elimination fight and needs a win to still be considered a relative contender.
Lopez is unknown to US fight fans as he has fought most of his career in Argentina. He is also a boxer puncher like Perez and likes to work behind a very solid jab. Lopez’s best punch is his left hook and he likes to throw that punch to the head as well as body working behind the jab. Though he does not possess one punch power, Lopez can be described as having heavy hands and his punches tend to have a cumulative effect as a fight progresses.
This fight is very evenly matched. They both have similar styles and very similar skill sets. Neither has blazing speed and neither can count defense as a strong suit. Both are willing to take a few punches to get in their own shots. In particular, Lopez has a tendency of allowing opponents to throw while he covers up looking to counter with the left. I think we will see a solid competitive fight with plenty of action and probably in spots a slugfest will ensue.
The co-feature is an interesting fight between welterweights Rashidi Ellis (17-0, 12 KO’s) and John Karl Sosa (13-2, 6 KO’s). Ellis is coming off an explosive one round knockout of Eddie Gomez in a fight where many felt Gomez would rise to the occasion. Instead, it was Ellis flashing both speed and power in destroying Gomez. The win put Ellis on the map as a welterweight to watch and his opponent on Thursday was himself once on that map before suffering back to back losses his last two times out. Still, Sosa is no pushover. This is an interesting test for Ellis coming off such a scintillating performance. If he can look impressive again, Ellis will certainly be in line for something much bigger later this year.
Golden Boy has put together a very nice card on Thursday and we should be in store for a good night of boxing. For fans of the sport, it should not be missed.
Julius Indongo’s Options
Julius Indongo scored a mild upset with a dominant twelve round unanimous decision win against Ricky Burns to unify the IBF, IBO and WBA super lightweight titles. Indongo, a total mystery entering this fight, positioned himself for some lucrative options.
The most likely option appears to be a fight with former lightweight belt holder Anthony Crolla. Crolla has expressed an interest in moving up a weight class following his two losses to Jorge Linares. He is a big name as well as a big draw in the UK. From a financial perspective, there is no other opponent for Indongo that could be as lucrative. In addition, Crolla is very beatable by a skilled boxer. Linares had an easy time with him in the rematch. Indongo is excellent at navigating range with his long reach and sharp jab. He would make it very difficult for Crolla to work his way inside where Crolla would need to be to have any success. So from a financial as well as matchmaking point of view, Crolla makes sense next for Indongo.
If Indongo decides he does not want to head back to Europe, he has plenty of other options. The IBF number one ranked contender is Sergey Lipinets and his team is pushing for a fight with Indongo. It would be a fight that would most likely take place in the United States and though maybe not as lucrative as a Crolla fight would get Indongo exposure in the US. Such a fight would likely find a bigger US television platform than a Crolla fight given the fact that Lipinets is associated with PBC.
Finally, Indongo could pursue a fight with Terence Crawford. If he were to go this route, most likely he would be looking at a fight with Viktor Postol to position him for a Crawford showdown. Top Rank, Crawford’s promoter, is a master at building big fights and knows that a Crawford-Indongo fight is right now too high a risk for Crawford with too little of a reward. But if Indongo is built up some by beating a name opponent on HBO, then a showdown with Crawford becomes more feasible. Indongo would be undefeated with a few solid wins including one big one on HBO (assuming he gets past Postol) and fans will begin clamoring for Crawford to fight him. The risk now becomes worth it for Crawford and his team as this would pit the two top super lightweights against each other in a huge unification fight.
Julius Indongo is sitting in a very good position following his decisive victory against Ricky Burns. With options aplenty, it will be very interesting to see which direction he ultimately heads.
Remembering the Strangest Fight I’ve Ever Seen
April 12th, 1997 featured the long anticipated fight between Oscar De La Hoya and Pernell Whitaker. It was a true super fight but oddly the fight most remembered by hardcore fans on that night took place on the pay-per-view undercard. Alfonso Sanchez was being built by promoter Top Rank as a future star and was being showcased against veteran journeyman Micky Ward. Those of us that tuned in early will never forget this bizarre bout with an ending that reminded many of us why boxing has been called the theater of the unexpected.
In 1996, Ward had finally been given a big fight and big payday that came with it. He was scheduled to face Julio Cesar Chavez in December of that year. But the fight would not happen for Ward as Chavez withdrew from the match citing a hand injury.
To somewhat make up for the lost opportunity, promoter Top Rank offered Ward a slot in the undercard of the Whitaker-De La Hoya fight. It would only be for a fraction of what was offered for the Chavez fight but Ward really had no other options at this point to try to move his career forward. Of course, he was not being brought in to win as the match was designed as a showcase for Alfonso Sanchez.
For six rounds, Sanchez totally dominated Ward. This was not totally unexpected but what was unexpected was that Ward was virtually showing no effort. He was throwing very little and basically just covering up taking a beating. Sanchez, for his part, just took what he was given round after round and even dropped Ward in the fifth.
The outcome seemed all but decided entering the seventh. The announcers questioned why the fight should continue with Ward seemingly not willing to provide any sort of effort. Boxing was entertainment and one boxer not willing to compete is not entertainment they argued.
The seventh started out much the same as the previous six with Sanchez picking his spots with Ward covering up and not throwing anything back. About halfway through the round, something strange happened. Ward threw a punch. It was his patented left hook to the body. Sanchez felt it but Ward quickly went back into a shell. However, Ward saw something and seconds later tapped the head of Sanchez with the left before digging it again to the body. This time Sanchez collapsed to the canvas and was in obvious pain. He would not beat the count leading to one of the most unusual finishes to a prizefight that most of us had ever witnessed.
Like most watching the fight, I was shocked. Ward was not even remotely in this fight and seemed to have no path to possibly winning. If the fight had been stopped after round six, it would have been more than justified. But this is a lesson that in boxing anything can happen at any time. It is why I never turn away from a bout even if the outcome seems inevitable, as nothing is certain in this sport until it is over as evidenced by what happened 20 years ago in the Micky Ward-Alfonso Sanchez fight.
Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.