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Murphy’s Law Has Redounded into a Bountiful Day of Boxing in Mid-October

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  • Murphy’s Law Has Redounded into a Bountiful Day of Boxing in Mid-October

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    By Arne K. Lang

    Organizers of boxing events need a thick skin because the sport is governed by Murphy’s Law: anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

    One of the harshest examples harpooned BOXXER founder Ben Shalom, the new kid on the block of big time boxing promoters. After months of preparation, Shalom’s all-female extravaganza at London’s O2 Arena on Sept. 10 was shipwrecked by the death of Queen Elizabeth. The plug was pulled hours before the scheduled weigh-in on the day preceding the event.

    Shalom, in his words, was financially devastated, but to his credit he patched things up while keeping everyone on board. The show, topped by two unified title fights – a middleweight match between Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall and a junior lightweight match between Mikaela Mayer and Alycia Baumgardner – was rescheduled for Oct. 15.

    Had the show gone off as scheduled on Sept. 10, the event would have pretty much had the spotlight all to itself. There were no other prominent boxers in action on that day. But that won’t be the case on Oct. 15 which is shaping up as one of the busiest days of the year. That is bound to hurt receipts even though Shields vs. Marshall et. al. won’t have a competing show going head-to-head and tickets in every bracket save the least expensive have purportedly been gobbled up.

    Oct. 15 is a bonanza for U.S. boxing fans who subscribe to ESPN+ as they will be treated to a day-night doubleheader assuming they don’t eschew the nightcap for an arguably more interesting offering on Showtime.

    The ladies get to go first. The rematch between Devin Haney and George Kambosos Jr will complete the network’s double bill. It will be early afternoon on Sunday in Melbourne when Haney and Kambosos touch gloves, but that translates into primetime on Saturday in the U.S. (According to press releases, the rematch will air on both the main ESPN platform and on “+.”)

    The first meeting between Haney and Kambosos at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium attracted 41,129, roughly half of whom came from outside the state of Victoria. The bout, which went the full 12 rounds, was a lackluster affair. Consistent with the odds, the local fighter, Kambosos, was outclassed.

    This wasn’t the sort of fight that begged for a rematch. Hardly. But Team Kambosos had the foresight to build a rematch clause into the fight contract, stipulating that the do-over had to take place in Australia and, so, come Oct. 15, here we go again. But while Melbourne remains the host city, the rematch will take place in a far more intimate setting, the Rod Laver Pavilion, capacity 14,820.

    The crowd won’t be as large but the pre-fight hype might be louder. “Kambosos-Haney I was the Devin Haney show. George is going to have to fight a completely different fight to get that victory, and he knows it. That alone assures an action-packed rematch,” says Kambosos’ promoter Lou DiBella.

    Okay, whatever.

    The competing attraction on Showtime marks the return of knockout artist Deontay Wilder who opposes longtime sparring partner Robert Helenius at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Super middleweights Caleb Plant and Anthony Dirrell collide in the chief supporting bout.

    Wilder has been in Las Vegas since August preparing at the UFC Apex which is part of the mammoth UFC complex and has become the go-to gym in Las Vegas for several prominent boxers. (Michael Hunter, who has a date with Hughie Fury in Birmingham, England, on Oct. 29 has also been training here.)

    Wilder held a meet-and-greet for members of the media today (Thursday, Sept. 22) which included an intense workout while the attendees – primarily folks with smart phones mounted on tripods, the new world order of journalism – soaked in the scene while standing on the ring apron.

    What struck this reporter as Wilder was raining punches on an invisible opponent was the pop in his lightning-quick left jab. That’s been the major criticism of Deontay, an ineffective jab that he has been using primarily as a range-finder for his explosive right hand. Of course, it’s one thing to show a well-rounded arsenal in the gym and quite another to do it in an actual fight, but if Wilder can become less dependent on his money punch, watch out.

    In the meet-and-greet, Wilder reaffirmed once again his declaration that Tyson Fury cheated in the second of their three meetings. (Wilder alleges that Fury had a foreign substance in his gloves, “something the size and shape of an egg-weight.”) “I will feel that way to my grave,” he told this correspondent.

  • #2
    Wilder looked/seemed happy at that presser.

    Much more comfortable in his own skin.

    Suddenly he’s very likable. 😃

    The Furious beatings he took are doing him good.

    Soon he won’t even cast such graven aspersions.


    • #3
      I'm not sure about the graven aspersions part but otherwise you are spot on. During the meet and greet, I remarked to several people that I had never seen Wilder look happier. To some athletes, these sessions are understandably a grind -- answering the same stupid questions over and over again -- but they do it because it comes with the territory, a necessary nuisance. But Deontay enjoyed the attention and was in good spirits, a very likeable chap which I didn't expect.


      • #4
        The graven aspersions of those of Fury cheating.

        I contend Wilder will wise up and recant that BS.