Good, bad, worse: Sunny Edwards impresses again, Floyd Mayweather entertains

A critical look at the past week in boxing

GOOD

The best fighter in the United Kingdom might be a flyweight from London.

IBF 112-pound titleholder Sunny Edwards gave another impressive performance on Saturday night in Sheffield, England, where he defeated former 108-pound champion Felix Alvarado by a convincing unanimous decision.

And he used a rare combination of skill and durability to do it, further evidence that the 26-year-old could go a long way.

Edwards (19-0, 4 KOs) boxed brilliantly, using his quick, fluid stick-and-move style to frustrate the capable Alvarado in the first half of the fight. Then, in the second half, Edwards had to rely on his determination and toughness as much as his ability to survive Alvarado’s relentless pressure and leave the ring with another victory.

The official scores were 116-112, 115-113 and 115-113, the last two of which were too generous towards Alvarado.

And remember that Edwards can’t punch, as his knockout percentage indicates. That only makes his accomplishments more remarkable: He’s able to dominate opponents without the power to hurt them.

That limitation probably works against him in terms of his place among the best British fighters, including the more-complete Josh Taylor. However, I’m not sure anyone in the UK can box better than Edwards.

What’s next? He wants to face another hot fighter, highly respected Bam Rodriguez, who said he plans to move down to 112 pounds. That interesting matchup of sublime young technicians would be a genuine test of Edwards’ ability.

I would lean toward Rodriguez to win that fight, but I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if Edwards had his hand raised, cementing his place among the best in the business regardless of origin. He’s that good.

BAD

There is nothing inherently “bad” about boxing exhibitions involving retired fighters, such as Floyd Mayweather.

I remember enjoying old-timer baseball games as a child. I was thrilled by the opportunity to see my heroes and legends of the sport return to the field one night even though there were no winners or losers in a competitive sense. It was good fun.

Obviously that’s how some fans feel about seeing Mayweather, Mike Tyson and others climb through the ropes to remind us of what made them great. That’s why retirees can still make money in boxing.

Mayweather gave us a reminder once again on Sunday in the United Arab Emirates, where he toyed with ridiculously overmatched YouTuber Deji Olatunji and then stopped him in six rounds.

The Hall of Famer had a blast, demonstrating that he can still bring it at 45 years old and playing to the crowd along the way. There’s no doubt that many fans worldwide were entertained, which Mayweather later said was his goal.

The only reason this item is filed under “bad” is that I don’t get the appeal. To me the most entertaining part of the broadcast was the back-and-forth antics of marketing wiz and part-time commentator Jake Paul and the Fury family after Tommy Fury and Rolly Lambert engaged in an exhibition.

The moment the hefty John Fury, the father of Tyson Fury, took off his shirt in the ring and challenged Paul to fight him then and there was hysterical.

To each their own, though. If you enjoy these exhibitions enough to fork over the pay-per-view fee, God bless you. You must be pleased that there are many more to come.

WORSE

It’s always painful to write this.

We learned after David Morrell knocked out Aidos Yerbossynuly that Yerbossynuly was placed in a medically induced coma to treat bleeding on his brain, which has us praying for the best but thinking the worst.

In retrospect it seems clear that referee Tony Weeks or Yerbossynuly’s cornermen should’ve stopped the fight earlier than the 12Th and final round, in which Morrell stopped him. However, the brave Kazakh was fighting with vigor almost until the end, which made it difficult to step in.

My opinion? Err on the side of caution. You might be criticized, but an early stoppage is better than one that comes too late.

Such a tragic situation, which haunts us periodically, serves as a reminder of the fighters’ courage. They don’t necessarily believe they’ll suffer such an unfortunate fate, but they know it’s a possibility. Still, they step through the ropes to pursue their dreams and entertain the fans.

I believe the powers that be will do their best to protect the fighters in an inherently dangerous sport. Let’s hope they continue to do so and then some. Yerbossynuly and his peers deserve nothing less.

RABBIT PUNCHES

Middleweight titleholder Janibek Alimkhanuly (13-0, 8 KOs) didn’t live up to the hype against Denzel Bentley (17-2-1, 14 KOs) on Saturday in Las Vegas. The 2016 Olympian from Kazakhstan won the fight by a unanimous decision but wasn’t particularly impressive in any respect, which must’ve been a disappointment for those hoping he’d make a statement. Alimkhanuly said he is ready for any champion. We’ll see. … Kudos to Bentley. He’s a good fighter. … Strawweight titleholder Seniesa Estrada (23-0, 9 KOs) was impressive in her unanimous-decision victory over Jazmin Gala Villarino (6-2-2, 1 KO) on the Alimkhanuly-Bentley card, her first fight in 11 months. The Los Angeles product might be as skilled as anyone in women’s boxing. … Montana Love (18-1-1, 9 KOs) was disqualified for throwing opponent Steve Spark (16-2, 14 KOs) over the ropes and out of the ring in the sixth round of their junior welterweight fight Saturday in Cleveland. It was a rough fight. Love when down in Round 2 and suffered a cut from a clash of heads shortly before the unusual ending. I don’t know what the fuss is about. It seems to me that Love did exactly what he was accused of doing, which is an egregious foul. I might’ve docked him two points and allowed him to continue, but a disqualification was certainly justified. …

Canelo Alvarez said his therapy is going well and that he should be ready to fight again in May after having surgery to repair a right wrist injury. That’s good news. He seems to be targeting the 175-pound champion Dmitry Bivol, who outpointed him this past May. That makes sense. I’d still rather see him take on a fellow 168-pounder David Benavidez. … Former two-time junior middleweight champion Fernando Vargas seems to have produced some good fighters: His three sons, whom he trains, are a combined 12-0 (10 KOs). His youngest boy, 18-year-old Emiliano Vargas (2-0, 2 KOs) got everyone’s attention by stopping Julio Martinez (1-1, 1 KO) with a single left hook in the second round of their lightweight bout on the Alimkhanuly-Bentley card. Another son, Fernando Vargas Jr. (6-0, 6 KOs), is considered an outstanding junior middleweight prospect. He’s scheduled to fight Alejandro Martinez on the Regis PrograisJose Zepeda pay-per-view card on Nov. 26. And a third son, lightweight Amado Vargas (4-0, 2 KOs), also has promise. The second-generation Vargases will have trouble living up to the standard of their father, who was one of the best fighters of his generation. However, they are obviously worth watching.

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