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Avila Perspective, Chap. 117: Anthony Joshua, Shakur and More

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  • Avila Perspective, Chap. 117: Anthony Joshua, Shakur and More

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    By David A. Avila

    Here’s the tall and the short of it.

    A large bloke with numerous heavyweight title belts fights in England and a thin, small Jersey guy looking to fight bigger guys fights in Las Vegas. Both, on Saturday in different parts of the world.

    But before we get to the weekend, a boxing card of interest takes place on Thursday.

    Mexican Style

    For the past month Roy Jones Jr. Promotions has been organizing fight cards in Northern Mexico, not New Mexico, featuring American fighters versus Mexican fighters. They’re 50/50 fights. No one really knows who is going to win.

    This Thursday, Dec. 10, the main event pits an undefeated welterweight from Texas, Santiago Dominguez (23-0, 18 KOs) versus hard-nose Ricardo Lara (22-8, 10 KOs) from Jalisco, Mexico. If you know anything about Mexican fighters, they do not want to lose to Mexican-American fighters, especially on their home turf.

    UFC Fight Pass streams the fight card.

    Expect do-or-die fights.

    A co-feature matches undefeated Luis “El Koreano” Torres (9-0, 6 KOs) versus Juan Rodriguez-Ortiz (9-2, 7KOs) in an eight-round lightweight clash. Also on the boxing card are three undefeated Cuban fighters now based in Guatemala.

    Take a look at this boxing card which starts around 7 p.m. Pacific Time.

    Return of Anthony Joshua in London

    Matchroom Boxing presents the humongous Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) defending his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight world titles against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) on Saturday afternoon from London, England. DAZN will stream the boxing card beginning at 11 a.m. Pacific Time.

    Big as Joshua may be on paper, I think it’s safe to say he was taken down a couple of pegs when knocked out by “little” Andy Ruiz last year. In the rematch this huge heavyweight ran around the ring like a tinker bell jabbing and avoiding any semblance of hard contact.

    Is this any way to fight?

    It was an embarrassment to see the heavyweight world champion who towered over Ruiz run away from the much shorter and overweight Mexican fighter. Of course, his fans loved it, but it was really laughable to see Joshua run. Sure, he won by decision, but lost respectability by the manner of his victory.

    Can he regain his pride?

    Pulev is known for two things: losing to Wladimir Klitschko by knockout and for kissing a reporter during a post-fight interview in Orange County, California.

    Not much is expected, but hopefully he can at least deliver a rousing fight.

    British fans are craving an eventual Joshua showdown with WBC heavyweight titlist Tyson Fury who has never been defeated. That would be a clash of heavyweight proportions. Joshua needs to win convincingly against Pulev this weekend.

    Also on the same boxing card is Hughie Fury (24-3, 14 KOs) who meets Poland’s Mariusz Wach (36-6) in a 10-round heavyweight match. Fury is the first cousin of Tyson Fury.

    Las Vegas – Shakur

    On Saturday evening, Top Rank features a lengthy boxing card pitting a projected star, Shakur Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs), in a super featherweight test against Toka Kahn Clary (28-2, 19 KOs).

    Stevenson possesses off-the-charts athleticism but it’s a quality that can lead to boredom for fans.

    When are some fighters going to realize that pro boxing is entertainment? Very few fans want to see a fighter exhibit the “hit and don’t get hit” philosophy by running around the ring and firing occasional jabs and combos.

    It seemed that Stevenson had finally learned the pro style but then reverted back to the amateur style when he fought Joet Gonzalez for the vacant WBO featherweight world title. Yes, he won, but fans turned off the television after a few rounds. I doubt that anyone outside of his family and circle of friends watched the replay. There was zero excitement. And now he departs the featherweights for the super featherweights.

    Learning how to use all of that athleticism without running can be tough. Stevenson has the ability to learn how to fight without running. He has all of the weapons including fighting out of a southpaw stance. He’s also lightning-quick.

    It’s southpaw versus southpaw when Stevenson meets Clary in the 10-round main event. Both have speed and both can punch. When lefties fight lefties the guy with the better right hook usually wins.

    Also, on the same card will be Puerto Rico’s Felix Verdejo (27-1, 17 KOs) meeting Japan’s Masayoshi Nakatani (18-1, 12 KOs) in a lightweight clash that looks to be pretty good.

    Nakatani lost by decision against unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez and that is his only defeat. He’s pretty tall and definitely tough.

    Verdejo’s last loss was two years ago and he is making up lost time. He has a big advantage in his fight. The Boricua last fought this past July, while Nakatani has not fought in 18 months.

    We shall see.

    We shall also see some big hitters including super middleweight Edgar Berlanga trying to go 16 for 16 in first-round knockouts. Plus, just recently added is Freddie Roach’s protégé Elvis Rodriguez, another big banger, in a super lightweight bout.

    Texas Lookback

    Two things I got from watching the PBC card from Arlington, Texas last week: First, Errol Spence Jr. seemed pretty on point despite the vicious car roll he endured a year ago.

    Spence was always the favorite, but the way he won proved he hasn’t lost that intensity and willingness to gut it out. He definitely beat Danny Garcia and that is not easy to do.

    Can he do that against Terence Crawford?

    That’s a fight the entire world would love to see.

    One other fighter who stood out was Josesito Lopez, the “Riverside Rocky.” I’m flabbergasted about his talent level. He’s definitely moved up a few notches to near elite level.

    Check out his last four fights. He handed undefeated Miguel Cruz his first loss, nearly toppled Keith Thurman, losing by majority decision, stopped John Molina Jr. and stopped Francisco Santana. That is a murderer’s row.

    Lopez, 36, has been fighting professionally for 17 years now. I remember attending his first pro fight back in 2003 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Time flies.

    One thing is certain: whoever fights him next, watch out. Ever since teaming up with Robert Garcia he has advanced his fighting skills. How could he not? Sparring against the likes of Mikey Garcia, Vergil Ortiz Jr. or Jose Carlos Ramirez you better learn or go home. Or vice versa.

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel

  • #2
    Pulev has atrocious defense.

    He will be RIGHT THERE for AJ.

    And consequently gets his head taken off. 🤕

    Joshua gets the stop inside six. 🇬🇧