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The Hauser Report: Thurman-Lopez and More

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  • The Hauser Report: Thurman-Lopez and More

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    By Thomas Hauser

    The January 26 Premier Boxing Champions fight card at Barclays Center offered fans a mixed bag. There were thirteen bouts live and on various viewing platforms. Fans on site saw the predictable one-sided undercard bouts with one notable exception. In the second fight of the evening, Marsellos Wilder (Deontay's younger brother) fought a late replacement from Kearney, Nebraska, named - depending on where one looks - William Deets or William Quintana.

    Deets/Quintana came into the bout with 6 wins, 12 losses, and a meager two knockouts to his credit. Further burnishing his resume, he'd been out of action from mid-2013 through mid-2018 and, according to the Lincoln Journal Star, spent two years in prison after pleading no contest to charges that he sexually assaulted two women that he met online. Three additional women also came forward and made similar allegations against him. At his sentencing, the judge noted that Deets seemed to have "a low regard for women."

    Wilder dominated the early going to the point where the fight was almost stopped after two rounds. Then, in the fourth stanza, Marsellos got lazy. Deets-Quintana whacked him with a left-right combination, and Wilder went down. He rose on unsteady legs, fell into the ring ropes, and referee Al LoBianco properly stopped the contest with 25 seconds left in the bout.

    That's why they fight the fights instead of just mailing in the results.

    Three bouts were televised on the Fox broadcast network.

    Mongolian-born Tugstsogt Nyambayer (10-0, 9 KOs), who fights out of Los Angeles, announced his presence on the boxing scene with a 116-111, 115-112, 114-113 verdict over Claudio Marrero (23-2, 17 KOs) in a WBC featherweight elimination bout. Boxing writers and fans who spent years learning how to spell "Pacquiao" will track Tugstsogt's career with trepidation.

    Then it was time for Adam Kownacki (18-0, 14 KOs) vs. Gerald Washington (19-2-1, 12 KOs).

    Kownacki looks as though his 260 pounds (give or take a few donuts) have been sculpted out of wet pancake mix. He's a big, strong, affable man whose heart is unquestioned and defensive skills are suspect. Washington is a big, strong, better-sculpted fighter whose chin and punching power are in doubt. That combination made Kownacki a 5-to-1 betting favorite in what promised to be an entertaining fight.

    A large vocal contingent of Polish-American fans made its feelings known as the fighters entered the ring. During the pre-fight introductions, Kownacki seemed happy to be there; Washington, not.

    Adam came to fight. Gerald came to box. But Washington's boxing wasn't good enough to keep Kownacki off. There's very little subtlety in the way Adam fights. It's full speed ahead, throwing punches (mostly right hands), hit, get hit, and punch some more.

    Kownacki staggered Washington with a series of right hands in round one. Fighting aggressively at the start of round two, Gerald opened a cut over Adam's left eye. Then Kownacki dropped him with a right. Washington rose on wobbly legs, took a few more punches, and referee Harvey Dock stopped the bout at the 1:09 mark.

    It was a statement win for Kownacki and his most impressive victory to date.

    Two years ago, Washington lasted into the fifth round against Deontay Wilder and the eighth round against Jarrell Miller. Comparisons will be made, although that's a bit like comparing apples and oranges.

    Adam was able to walk through Washington's jab. He won't be able to do that against a world-class heavyweight.

    The main event matched Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) against Josesito Lopez (36-7, 19 KOs).

    Thurman, age 30, turned pro in 2007 and established himself as a champion in the true sense of the word when he decisioned Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia to claim the WBA and WBC titles. But he has been plagued by injuries in recent years, needing elbow surgery after his March 4, 2017, victory over Garcia and then suffering a deep bone bruise on his left hand during training. Those injuries kept Keith on the shelf for almost 23 months and led some to question his commitment to boxing.

    "I can care less what people say and what they think about Keith Thurman," Thurman noted during a February 24 media conference call. "'Oh, he's ducking guys. He's getting injured to avoid people.' There's a lot of people that don't understand what it means to be a world-class fighter. So a lot of opinions just really don't get to me. If anything, some of them were humorous. You know - I'm Keith 'One-Time' Thurman. I'm Keith 'Run-Time' Thurman, Keith 'Sometime' Thurman, Keith 'Once-Upon-a-Time' Thurman. That was pretty amusing."

    "You always have to be a little worried about new injuries," Thurman added. "There's nothing wrong with your car until the day it decides to break down. So at the end of the day, it's always in the back of my mind. Athletes and their bodies go through a lot of things."

    Thurman-Lopez was viewed in advance by many as a non-competitive showcase fight. Josesito is willing to go in tough. But when he does, the results tend to not be good. He was knocked out by Andre Berto, Marcos Maidana, and Canelo Alvarez, and had four other losses on his record.

    When asked about being regarded as a low-level opponent, Lopez responded, "I wouldn't say it offends me. There's a lot of casuals that don't understand the ins and outs and don't realize what I bring to the table. You can't really judge a fighter by his wins and losses. I've had some tough defeats and some close defeats. Wins and losses aren't everything. I'm a better fighter than I've ever been. So it doesn't matter how many bumps on the road I might have had throughout my career. It's going to come as a surprise when I pull off the victory. I'm not new to the game. I know exactly what I have to do. I've just got to go out there and execute. People are overlooking me. Does it bother me? Not at all. It motivates me."

    But talk is cheap. Thurman was a prohibitive betting favorite with the odds running as high as 50-to-1 in some quarters.

    It turned out to be an entertaining fight. Early in Thurman's career, observers focused on his power. But he's also a skilled defensive boxer - always moving and hard to hit - who transitions well from circling out of harm's way to quick-strike offense.

    Against Lopez, Thurman traded blow-for-blow when he had to but preferred to punch and keep moving rather than wait for a receipt. He had an edge in speed, power, and basic ring skills. Lopez kept coming forward, but his efforts were largely ineffective and his punches rarely found the mark the way they were intended to.

    Late in round two, a textbook left hook up top deposited Josesito on the canvas.

    Round seven saw one of those dramatic shifts that make boxing at its best the most compelling sport of all. Midway through the stanza, Lopez (who fought valiantly throughout the bout) shook Thurman with a straight right hand, then followed up with a left hook and another right.

    Suddenly, Thurman was in trouble. "He had me buzzed and shaken up in the seventh round," Keith admitted afterward.

    For the next minute-and-a-half, Thurman backed away as fast as he could, throwing next to nothing and struggling to survive. He stayed on his feet but was on the short end of a 10-8 calculation on each judge's scorecard.

    Then, as suddenly as it had opened, Lopez's window of opportunity closed.

    The overwhelming majority of people at ringside thought Thurman won by a comfortable margin. CompuBox statistics are sometimes wide of the mark. But here, they showed undeniable superiority for Thurman in the form of a 247-to 117 advantage in punches landed.

    Inexplicibly, ring judge Don Ackerman scored the bout even at 113-113. Order was restored by Tom Schreck (117-109) and Steve Weisfeld (115-111) who, unlike Ackerman, appeared to have watched the fight and understood what they were watching.

    Photo credit: Stephanie Trapp

    Thomas Hauser's new email address is thomashauserwriter@gmail.com. His most recent book – Protect Yourself at All Times – was published by the University of Arkansas Press. In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing journalism.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    Lopez showed against KT something AB refused to show against Pacquiao (I'm spelling it by reflex now!) which was a willingness to truly fight hard, get hit, and try like heck to win because it's a disgrace not to. A unanimous 10-8 round for Josesito without scoring a knockdown? Dang, that's the sign of an honest effort by a determined underdog. That's all we ever wanted from the Cincinnati Dufus against Manny, just that he put forth an honest performance worthy of PPV. Lopez earned his money and retained the respect he long ago earned with his fighting heart while Broner ripped us off and cried about a robbery, the whole while it was probably dirtbags just like Broner that were robbing Pacquiao's house while he was in the boxing ring!

    I'd like to see Thurman rematch Porter and then hopefully find his way to a Spence and/or Crawford unification showdown. Can he beat Manny? I'm not so sure but that's why they don't mail in the results, thanks for the reminder about that Mr. Hauser.
    Last edited by KO Digest; 01-28-2019, 04:44 AM.

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