It’s been a while since we diced up boxing news hunks into bite-sized Quick (S)hits morsels. And what better time to do that than this week, where the news cycle is slow and the fight slate was somewhat of a “meh?”
So, let’s get to (S)hitting…
– I was low-key looking forward to Montana Love-Stevie Spark on DAZN since it was signed. Spark is not as bad as his thin resume looks and Love is not as good as he’s been hyped to be. And for almost six rounds on Saturday night, I was not disappointed. The favorite had his moments, despite being dropped by a pair of Spark right hands in the second round. Love’s hand speed and all-around raw ability is evident, even if it’s sometimes muted by lapses in focus and urgency. Fans saw a bit of the best and a bit more of the worst of Montana Love in this bout.
Then Love got cut over the eye via headbutt in the sixth round. He seemed to be looking for a way out of the tougher-than-expected fight as he lamented his inability to see the ringside doctor. When the doc didn’t wave off the fight and, instead, gave him another minute to see how things went with the cut, he then proceeded to get himself disqualified when he threw a hard-charging Spark over the top rope. While it wasn’t exactly a WWE-style launch over the top rope, it was clear that he meant to do it and even clearer that he completely disregarded referee David Fields’ efforts to stop him from pulling the Aussie outside the ring.
All in all, this goes down as a loss for the Cleveland native who was fighting in his hometown for the first time since notching a breakthrough stoppage victory over Ivan Baranchyk in August of 2021 on the Jake Paul-Tyron Woodley undercard. Love came to the ring as Michael Jackson in a King of Pop-themed ring walk, but left the ring as Tito Jackson– a clear second tier presence.
In a junior welterweight division that’s starting to be filled with high-end talent, Love has now turned in two straight uneven performances– this DQ loss and a lackluster effort against Gabriel Valenzuela on the Canelo Alvarez-Dmitry Bivol undercard (where he was also dropped in the second round).
DAZN will probably book a Love-Spark rematch (because they mistakenly see Love as star material and want to wash away the stink of a defeat) and Love will probably tap his way to a safe and dull points win. But that won’t change the fact that the guy is not elite-level material.
– Janibek Alimkhanuly-Denzel Bentley on ESPN Saturday night was every bit as entertaining as I thought it would be. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. WBO middleweight champion by default, Kazakhstan’s Alimkhanuly is skilled and mega-competent. Unfortunately, being really, really competent doesn’t necessarily make for compelling TV.
The UK’s Bentley is a British middleweight champion, but is UK regional level-talent, only. He did what he could against the better fighter, but lost every round (despite two judges somehow scoring the fight 116-112, eight rounds to four).
Promoter Bob Arum has been trying to play the old “He’s so afraid…nobody wants to fight him angle” with Alimkhanuly, but that tactic only works with a beast (like fellow Kazakh Gennadiy Golovkin). Nobody is buying that anybody, anywhere is shaking in their boots over the prospect of fighting Alimkhanuly. If anything, other top middleweights just don’t want to bother with a guy who nobody cares about.
Saturday’s competent, but monotonous unanimous decision win over an overmatched Bentley won’t make anyone care more about Alimkhanuly. As I said on Facebook as the rounds dragged on– Get this guy some steroids or something.
– Kudos to Floyd Mayweather for making another bundle of money on Sunday for an exhibition against YouTuber Deji Olantunji, yet another opponent I’d never heard of before signing on to fight the Hall of Fame 5-division former world champion. Of Mayweather’s five exhibition bouts, only Logan Paul had a “name.” Love him or hate him, you have to admire the hustle of fighting unknown entities and getting a bigger payoff than most active fighters get for elite-level contests.
– Terence Crawford ain’t naming names when it comes to the mysterious hedge fund guys who supposedly offered him and Errol Spence $25 million guaranteed, each, to fight one another. This makes me think that maybe they’re the same shadowy fantasy land Middle East figures who kept offering Bob Arum hundreds of millions of dollars for Pacquiao-Mayweather, conveniently enough, whenever Arum was promoting a Pacquiao in-house Top Rank fight that DIDN’ T involve Mayweather.
– Speaking of Errol Spence…The WBC is “ordering” a bout between him and former titlist Keith Thurman, now that a Crawford unification is off the slate. Ordering. LOL. From a PBC perspective, the WBC “ordering” the in-house Spence-Thurman fight is a bit like someone “ordering” me to sleep with a half-naked, in-heat Shakira, writhing seductively on my bed. Business-wise, this is a significantly better fight for the Al Haymon-run boxing company and it comes with much less behind-the-scenes negotiating drama and all-around risk. Spence-Thurman is not a bad fight by any stretch of the imagination, but, yeah, it’s not THE fight.
– Tyson Fury’s meltdown during a YouTube interview with British YouTuber True Geordie was an instant classic (look it up) and a bit of a lesson for those who actually claim to be journalists in boxing. True Geordie went hard on Fury for his selection of Derek Chisora as an opponent for his December 3 title defense and Fury did not handle it well, hurling insults and fumbling to end the video chat. The YouTuber is most definitely not a journalist or even a real “boxing guy,” but he was braver than any of the guys/gals who make a full-time gig of interviewing fighters. It’s not enough to hold a mic and take everything a fighter says at face value, leaving every bit of fluff and nonsense unchecked. There has to be some value to the information you’re getting. It can’t be all public relations. Yeah, if you “go hard,” you’ll probably never get another interview with that fighter or any of the fighters competing under the same promotional/network banner. But if EVERYONE “went hard?” Everyone in the sport would be held accountable for shady shit and we’d get a lot of boxing’s messiness cleaned up. The boxing media has forfeited the inherent power of the press and now serves zero purpose. They are of zero benefit to the fans. It took a YouTuber to show how things SHOULD be done.
– By the way, I don’t have that much of a problem with Fury-Chisora 3. Fury’s entitled to a gimme and a wallet-padder among blockbusters. I can see, though, where some may balk at him facing a guy he’s already beaten decisively twice before. Choosing Chisora makes for an unnecessary shit stain on a Tyson Fury event. His people could’ve picked any number of fall guys and would’ve sold out a soccer stadium just as easily.
Got something for Magno? Send it here: [email protected]