Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Weekend Roundup

There's worse jobs to have than one which requires you to watch boxing.

So much for this being a dull boxing weekend. There was interesting stuff afoot, my friends. Let's start with Friday night's Khan-Algieri card at the Barclays Center down the road from me a bit in Brooklyn, New York.

Admit it, people weren't excited about this one. Indeed, I saw a lot of people outright mocking the event. Who, I ask, is laughing now? I'm guessing it's probably  Chris Algieri. He lost to Khan, but gained a whole slew of admiration and respect for his effort. We'll get to him later.

First, let's talk about the initial televised scrap of the evening. Analysts may have loved the Javier Fortuna-Brian Vasquez junior welterweight scrap, but I was a bit put off by it. Fortuna, the winner by decision and WBA champ, seems like a decent guy, but his looping punches bother me. Hooks are great. Roundhouses, on the other hand, are for Popeye.

Next up came the main event. Let me be blunt here: Amir Khan is not a second rater like so many seem to think. He's one of the top fighters out there and should be taken seriously. Want proof? Watch this fight as soon as possible and see how he adjusts to a very formidable Chris Algieri.

What's that you say? Chris Algeiri is a joke? Now you REALLY need to watch this fight. For this was a new, VASTLY improved Algieri, one the other big guns at welterweight would be well advised to keep a wary eye on.

Khan, however, handled the attacking Long Islander with the kind of skill that only a high level fighter could have in his arsenal. The Englishman won a decision and now needs to get in the ring with Mayweather, Brook, or Pacquiao ASAP. As for Algieri - the future seems to be very bright for him indeed, so long as he sticks with new trainer John David Jackson.

As for Saturday, it was a great day to be British, or at least to have access to British airwaves. For there was a full card in front of a seemingly packed house at London's O2 arena.

Lee Selby won a share of the Featherweight Title - the IBF share - by besting Evgeny Gravovich. I confess to not having caught this one (yet), so I'll withhold judgement and opinion. Fortunately, I caught the other big fights on the card and am therefore able to weigh in on what I saw.

And what I saw was pretty decent stuff, overall. Jorge Linares was able to retain the WBC piece of the lightweight pie by stopping Kevin Mitchell in a bout that became something of a thriller. Linares looked good at first, but Mitchell was able to put his man down in the fifth. Linares came back, however, and was able to earn a stoppage win in the tenth. Credit the game and bloodied Mitchell, though, for proving himself a true warrior.

Speaking of warriors, heavyweight Anthony Joshua is a battler of the first order. I'm serious, here. The big names of the division need to keep their eye out for this guy. Skilled, hard hitting and gunfighter cool, Joshua looks like he just might be the face of the future. The manner in which he stopped a WAY over his head Kevin Johnson within two rounds on Saturday is the stuff people take note of - and with good reason.

As for taking note, fans all over the globe are finally taking note of Kell Brook, the IBF Welterweight champ, who handily dispatched of Frankie Gavin in last night's main event. Brook has an impressive skill set going for himself that includes an effective employment of strength and the ability to switch stances.

Gavin learned just how impressive that skill set was throughout the bout, as Brook was able to track his man down and land with real effectiveness. Now that the Mayweather-Pacquiao era is winding down, Brook is clearly finding himself in line for the role of heir apparent.

In closing, let me just say that I have to pick up more of the Spanish language. There's some great fights here in the states on Spanish language television and I'm finding myself watching these broadcasts with greater frequency.

Saturday saw me wrapping up the evening by watching Javier Mendoza keep his IBF title in the junior flyweight division by beating Milan Melindo in Mexico. The fight was a bit on the dirty side - okay, perhaps more than a bit, and ended in the sixth when Mendoza was cut by a clash of heads. Mendoza, however, ended up winning by decision.

On to next week.

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