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Boxing odds and Ends: Fundora-Lubin Redux and Frank Warren’s Flaccid Undercard

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  • Boxing odds and Ends: Fundora-Lubin Redux and Frank Warren’s Flaccid Undercard

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    By Arne K. Lang

    “I hate it when the Main Events start at the same damn time!,” tweeted Rosie Perez, the actress and noted boxing aficionado. She was referencing the situation on Saturday, April 9, when shows on ESPN, DAZN, and SHOWTIME went head-to-head.

    For boxing purists (as opposed to fanboys and fangirls) with access to all three networks, this should have been an easy decision. Ryan Garcia’s bout with Emmanuel Tagoe on DAZN was considered a virtual walk-over for Garcia. Likewise, Mikaela Mayer’s match with Jennifer Han on ESPN was viewed as undoubtedly one-sided in favor of the defending champion (Mayer). Contrastingly, the main go on Showtime between super welterweights Erickson Lubin and Sebastian Fundora shaped up as highly competitive – as measured by the odds – and the contrast in styles imbued it with another layer of intrigue.

    Boxing, as Larry Merchant famously said, is the theater of the unexpected. Matches frequently run counter to expectations. But the advance dope was right on the button with respect to Garcia-Tagoe and Mayer-Han. Both bouts were largely devoid of drama and the Garcia-Tagoe affair was a flat-out snoozer.

    As for Lubin-Fundora, it goes without saying that it proved to be even better than advertised; it was a humdinger. The momentum swings were mindful of Fury-Wilder III, the runaway choice for the 2021 Fight of the Year, and the bout also harked in some respects to an even more iconic fight, the first meeting between Julio Cesar Chavez and Meldrick Taylor where a man took an awful beating while yet ahead on the scorecards when the bout was stopped.

    At the sound of the bell signaling the end of the ninth round, Erickson Lubin’s trainer Kevin Cunningham pulled the plug. There was grotesque swelling around both of Lubin’s eyes and Cunningham wouldn’t allow him to take any more punishment. Lubin, who went to post a small favorite, was ahead by one point on two of the cards and the bout was tied on the other.

    Sebastian Fundora, with his praying mantis physique, is an interesting specimen. At six-foot-six and with an 80-inch reach, he prefers to fight on the inside which is counter-intuitive. His triumph set him up to face the winner of next month’s rematch between Jermell Charlo and Bryan Castano. All four 154-pound belts will be at risk.

    Fundora vs. Lubin was buttressed by two other bouts in the 154-pound weight class, 10- rounders between Tony Harrison and Sergio Garcia (Harrison UD 10 in a mild upset) and between Bryant Perrella and Kevin Salgado (DRAW). The telecast was replayed on Sunday morning and will air again Monday, April 11, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME.

    A Limp Undercard

    In press releases issued on behalf of boxing promoters, the word “stacked” invariably precedes the word “undercard.” The press release regarding the undercard for the April 23 mega-fight between Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte stands as a notable exception. The word “stacked” is nowhere to be found. Veteran British promoter Frank Warren, the lead promoter of the event, exhibited admirable restraint.

    The chief undercard bouts are a 10-round contest between junior lightweights Anthony Cacace and Jonathan Romero and a 12-round featherweight contest between Issac Lowe and Nick Ball.

    Cacace (19-1, 7 KOs) vs Romero (34-1, 19 KOs) is interesting. However, Cacace, who hails from Belfast, Northern Ireland, isn’t a big puncher and Romero, despite his fine record, is likely on the downside. The 35-year-old Colombian, who briefly held the IBF world bantamweight title, has been matched very carefully of late. Only one of his last five opponents had a winning record.

    “Fireworks are guaranteed,” says Warren regarding the bout between Isaac Lowe (22-1-3, 6 KOs) and Nick Ball (14-0, 7 KOs).

    Fireworks? The view from here is that the contest will most likely induce yawns.

    Lowe proved himself to be a very limited fighter even before his last outing when he was taken to the cleaners by Mexican spoiler Luis Alberto Lopez. At five-foot-seven, he will have a five-inch height advantage over Liverpool’s Ball who has never fought beyond eight rounds.

    Lowe, a member of the Irish Traveler community, is Tyson Fury’s bosom buddy.

    Tyson’s half-brother Tommy Fury will also appear on the undercard where he is matched against an obscure fighter from Poland. From all indications, Tommy Fury, who made his bones on the British TV reality show “Love Island,” lacks the tools to make any headway in the sport. That may not be true of David Adeleye, a heavyweight prospect who has been training with Tyson Fury at Fury’s home in Morecambe, but Adeleye is only on the card because of the Fury connection.

    Frank Warren, reacting to the predictable backlash, concedes that he may have to come up with another fight to pacify the detractors. If he cannot find someone whose name resonates with North American fight fans, we would suggest he consider Fabian Wardley or Alen Babic, heavyweights who are rough around the edges (especially Babic) but have crowd-pleasing styles. Both are available. Babic (10-0, 10 KOs) last fought in December. Wardley (13-0, 12 KOs) last fought in February.

    It matters greatly that Wardley and Babic are both co-managed by Dillian Whyte who feels so disrespected that he has refused to take part in pre-fight promotional activities. This junky undercard, as currently constituted, is all about Team Tyson Fury, more reason to think that Whyte might actually do the unthinkable and sabotage the promotion.

    If it comes off, it will be quite a spectacle. Wembley Stadium has been configured to hold 94,000 and it appears that every seat will be occupied. Tyson Fury vs. Dillian Whyte is the biggest all-British showdown in boxing history.

    A strong undercard wasn’t needed to fill the arena, but one would have thought that Frank Warren would have shown more respect to boxing fans in general and especially those outside the U.K. who will be tuning in on pay-per-view.

    Photo credit: Ryan Hafey / Premier Boxing Champions

  • #2
    Thanks for the write up, yea it was in the order of Showtime First well of course that was after 3G the man of 40 years who I have yet to read about as I have been having to keep a cash flow myself. But 3G did fine and will continue to do so for two more times. But Lubin Fundora shoot out the light man that was fun stuff. It ended the way it ended not left to the Cards. Cards have never been more dishonest in the fight game then they are right now and the match ups usually are skunky too. Threre was a lot to watch in those rounds of fighting yea fighting not dancing, not sweeties just that part of boxing that we dont always see on display. Did Garcia look pretty enough for the ladies I dunn know, but he looked about as I expected, not worth the time last in line his payday a crime..

    Appreciate the words...........