By Arne K. Lang
Two local boxers – Charles Conwell and Montana Love – bolstered Sunday’s fight card in Cleveland that showcased YouTube star Jake Paul. Conwell, a 2016 U.S. Olympian, won as expected, dispatching Juan Carlos Rubio in the third round. Montana Love (pictured) stepped up in class and increased his profile 100-fold by stopping Russian tough guy Ivan Baranchyk whose corner pulled him out after seven rounds.
Baranchyk was a former IBF 140-pound world title-holder with a strong amateur pedigree. He had taken Josh Taylor the distance on Taylor’s turf in Glasgow in a semifinal match-up in the World Boxing Super Series. He was a 17/10 favorite over Love who was appearing in his first 10-round fight and the betting – in terms of tickets written – was heavily skewed in Baranchyk’s favor.
Love vs. Baranchyk was the most entertaining fight on the card. Baranchyk had the best of the early-going, but it was Love’s fight from the fourth round on. Late in the seventh, he put Baranchyk down hard with a vicious left uppercut. Baranchyk made it to his feet as the bell sounded, but his handlers wouldn’t let him continue.
A 26-year-old father of three, Love was raised by a single mother in one of the toughest sections of Cleveland. He’s had a lot of adversity in his life. Love was three years old when his father died and he lost his mother to colon cancer when she was thirty-eight. In 2015, as his career was just getting started, he was remanded to prison and served 16 months on theft- and drug-related charges.
Love has fought as high as 150 pounds, but going forward he plans to compete as a junior welterweight. The top guns in the division are the aforementioned Taylor and Gervonta Davis. Love, who improved to 16-0-1 (8), called them both out in his post-fight interview. He’s not quite ready for that level of competition but he punched his way into the conversation.
Twenty-four-year-old North Las Vegas native Andres Cortes won two out of three from Teofimo Lopez as an amateur. He brought a 14-0 (7) record into his Aug. 14 date in Tulsa with Genesis Servania. They fought on the undercard of the show anchored by the third meeting between Joshua Franco and Andrew Moloney.
Cortes was expected to beat Servania, but the assumption was that it wouldn’t be easy. After all, the Filipino was 34-2, had never been stopped, and was a former world title challenger. His only losses had come at the hands of Oscar Valdez, arguably the best 130-pound boxer in the world, and Carlos Castro, currently 27-0.
Cortes not only became the first man to stop Servania, but needed only one round to do it. A right hand to the ear knocked Servania sideways and then a sweeping left hook finished the job, knocking him to the canvas where he lay with his upper torso splayed under the ropes. Referee Jack Reiss started his count but discontinued it. There was no reason for him to keep counting; Servania’s goose was cooked.
Cortes, who improved to 15-0 (8), was making his third start for Top Rank after signing with Floyd Mayweather’s Money Team coming out of the amateur ranks. He can fight at 130 or 135 which gives him a lot of options going forward. It’s a fair guess that his next appearance will come on Dec. 11 at Madison Square Garden underneath Vasyl Lomachencko vs. Richard Commey. One or both of those guys could be in Cortes’s future.
Trey Lippe Morrison, the Back-Slider
Trey Lippe Morrison also appeared on Top Rank’s Aug. 14 card, but his match with Don Haynesworth wasn’t televised. True, with Muhammad Ali’s grandson making his pro debut, the TV portion of the show didn’t need more sizzle, but one suspects that Morrison was tucked away in the shadows because of the fear that he wouldn’t look good and erode his marketability. As the son of the late Tommy “The Duke” Morrison, with whom he bears a strong physical resemblance, Trey Lippe had the requisite backstory to be a big seller even if he lacked his father’s trademark left hook.
Morrison won all six rounds of his match with Haynesworth, but was underwhelming. He took some hard shots noted reporter Keith Idec and the scorecards were misleading. The right guy won, yes, but in a fight that was anything but a stroll in the park.
Don Haynesworth is a blubbery 38-year-old journeyman. He was fodder for Guido Vianello who blew right through him in less than one full round in June of last year. That Morrison couldn’t put him away after opening his career with 17 wins by stoppage suggests that his career has plateaued.
Injuries have hampered his development. He missed all of 2017 and all of 2020. However, as we wrote on these pages 25 months ago, it was past time for his manager Tony Holden to crank up the level of competition. We didn’t suggest throwing him in against a ranked opponent, but there were better journeymen out there than what he was feasting on.
Tommy “The Duke” Morrison was 24 years old when he holstered his fearsome left hook and ran rings around George Foreman to win a version of the world heavyweight title. Trey Lippe Morrison is now 31. He’s still undefeated, but the sport is passing him by.
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