OFF the back of some good news involving Top Rank – the purse bids for Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte finally being settled, and breaking records at that – Bob Arum attracted the ire of pretty much everyone in boxing for some comments he made to IFL TV. He was discussing the broadcast clash between a show he is staging on April 30 headlined by Oscar Valdez against Shakur Stevenson on ESPN and a DAZN card topped by Katie Taylor vs Amanda Serrano on the same date.
He said: “For whatever reason, people don’t particularly pay attention to the women fights. I don’t want to be accused of being anti-women-in-sports, but I’m telling you, this is like Premier League vs women’s football.”
In recent weeks, Arum has been accused by his former charge Terence Crawford of being racially biassed against Black fighters, and while there’s not much evidence to support that claim, Arum has now outed himself as bigoted towards women.
Usually, when someone begins a sentence with “I don’t want to be accused of…” it’s because they’re about to say something that will almost definitely prove them guilty of the thing they don’t want to be accused of.
No, as a whole, women’s boxing is not yet as popular as men’s boxing but to say people don’t pay attention to it is nonsense. When Taylor-Serrano was announced, it didn’t just make headlines at every boxing media outlet, but most major sports news outlets as well.
It is considered to be the biggest fight in women’s boxing history and is easily one of the most significant fights that will take place in 2022. Taylor and Serrano are two of the most decorated fighters in the sport and this is a fight fans have been clamouring over for some time.
Valdez-Stevenson is a really good fight, but if either of these matchups is the equivalent of the Premier League, it’s Taylor-Serrano.
Arum’s comments are outdated and do no one any good. Almost every other major promoter in the sport is actively working to help grow women’s boxing, not shoot it down for their own short-term gain.
It also doesn’t bode well for female fighters like Mikaela Mayer who currently operate under the Top Rank banner – Arum’s comments should have them seriously considering their future with the company.
Going back to the topic of Fury-Whyte, there’s been a lot of ‘he said, she said’ since Frank Warren won the purse bids for the fight. Oleksandr Usyk’s team and Eddie Hearn have both said that Fury flat out turned down a fight with Usyk.
Conversely, Warren told the Unibet Lowdown that Anthony Joshua priced himself out with a proposed step-aside fee, which is why Fury is not fighting Usyk next.
Even when something gets resolved, boxing still manages to muddy its own waters. Ultimately, who cares? Fury-Whyte and Usyk-Joshua II (which is yet to be officially confirmed but now seems inevitable) are both huge fights and are both likely to take place in the UK.
We can enjoy those two enormous events over the next few months, then we can look toward what happens next – the ideal situation being that the winners of both then face each other next.
Though he may still choose to jump up to cruiserweight and fight Ilunga Makabu, according to ESPN Canelo Alvarez has been presented with two other options for his immediate future.
PBC have apparently offered him a fight with Jermall Charlo, while Matchroom Boxing and DAZN sent a two-fight deal his way; a clash with light-heavyweight Dmitry Bivol followed by a third fight with Gennady Golovkin.
This is another example of the advantages that come with being a free agent in boxing; Canelo can do as he pleases. More interestingly, though, it presents the Mexican superstar with a fascinating choice.
Boxing purists would most likely prefer Canelo to fight Charlo, an unbeaten American who has proven himself one of the most talented middleweights in the world.
However, the Golovkin trilogy fight is easily the most marketable bout on the table at the moment, despite the fact few would favour “GGG” should it take place. Their first two meetings are modern classics and both were extremely close; a third fight is a relatively easy sell.
It seems as though two big names are set to move up from their respective weight divisions. Sports Illustrated report that Demetrius Andrade is set for a move to 168lbs, where he hopes to finally force a fight with Alvarez.
It should also be noted that this news came shortly after it was confirmed Janibek Alimkhanuly is now Andrade’s mandatory challenger. It appears the unbeaten American is done with the limited options he’s had at 160lbs – let’s hope he can find the big fights he craves at super-middleweight.
Likewise, Teofimo Lopez is moving up to super-lightweight, according to reporter Dan Rafael. Lopez – who was always big at 135lbs – was upset by George Kambosos Jnr in his last outing.
His move up was always coming, but it’s a shame it’s happened before rematches with the likes of Kambosos and Vasiliy Lomachenko, or other names like Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia. What this does mean, though, is that Lopez is now swimming in the waters that Josh Taylor currently rules. Now that would be a fight.
A special mention should go to all those involved in making the upcoming Roman Gonzalez vs Julio Cesar Martinez fight on March 5. “Chocolatitio” was set to face old rival Juan Francisco Estrada, who unfortunately had to withdraw from the bout.
To replace him with Martinez is a stroke of genius and all but ensures we’ll still get an excellent scrap. The news went a bit under the radar, especially after the Fury-Whyte developments, but it’s still very exciting.