IT was the American fighters who claimed most of the headlines this weekend, with Terence Crawford generating the most chatter with his stoppage win over Shawn Porter on Saturday night.
The evening prior, Demetrius Andrade walloped Jason Quigley inside two rounds on DAZN in a performance he desperately needed. The unbeaten American, now 34, still lacks a defining win on his CV and is still hunting down a truly big fight.
To his credit, he did his part on the night. He dismissed Quigley with little fuss, then threw down the gauntlet to the likes of Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin and Jermall Charlo in his post-fight interview.
DAZN, and more specifically Chris Mannix on commentary, dropped the ball though. Mannix’s soft spot for Andrade isn’t exactly well-hidden but he projected it to the masses on this broadcast without a shred of self-awareness.
He said that a fight between Andrade and Charlo is the biggest that can be made in boxing right now. Bigger than Tyson Fury against the Oleksandr Usky vs Anthony Joshua rematch winner, and bigger than Crawford against Errol Spence. Those were his words, on a live broadcast.
What are we doing here? What did we do to deserve this? It’s all well and good commentators and pundits having strong opinions, but Mannix skipped past that line and waltzed straight into lunacy.
The machinations and politics of boxing are hard enough for casual fans to follow as it is, even without the likes of Mannix spouting this nonsense. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if DAZN weren’t a major platform, but it is, and a lot of people were talking about Mannix’s comments after the show.
That’s not his job. The attention should be on the fighters, not the commentators. Mannix isn’t doing Andrade or Charlo any favours with his comments; no one in their right mind sees it as the biggest fight in boxing. A good fight? Undoubtedly. A blockbuster? Not exactly.
Numerous promotional hurdles would also have to be cleared for Andrade-Charlo to be made, so even if there were people swayed by Mannix’s proclamation, they’re very likely to just be left disappointed anyway.
Mannix also shrugged off the suggestion of Andrade fighting someone like Jaime Munguia, a popular and exciting middleweight who boxes on DAZN and fought just last week, placing him on the same timeline as Andrade.
Over on ESPN+ (and Sky Sports in the UK), Crawford impressed in an excellent scrap with Porter. Thankfully, the broadcast team weren’t hogging the limelight, though there were plenty of talking points after Crawford’s victory.
Porter’s father and trainer, Kenny, explained why he threw in the towel in a post-fight interview, displaying a brand of tough love that wasn’t suited to the situation. However, he did provide further context during the press conference a few moments later, highlighting that he always had his son’s best interests at heart.
The bigger news came when Shawn announced his retirement from boxing, closing the book on an exciting and memorable career.
Crawford’s post-fight presser was no less interesting, though. With Bob Arum by his side, Crawford – now a free agent, as this fight with Porter was the last on his contract with Top Rank – all but confirmed he won’t be continuing his partnership with the veteran promoter.
He said: “Bob [Arum] couldn’t secure me the Spence fight when I was with him, so how is he gonna secure me the Spence fight when I’m not with him? I’m moving forward with my career.”
It was pretty extraordinary to watch; Crawford berating Arum and Top Rank, all while Bob sat calmly next to him. In fairness, this wasn’t a huge shock. Crawford’s relationship with his promoter had become more and more fractured in recent months as frustration grew over a lack of truly big fights for the pound-for-pound star. Let’s see if he’ll be able to get them elsewhere.
One fight that categorically cannot be classified as “big” is Luis Ortiz vs Charles Martin, which will take place on January 1st. Regardless, it’s topping a pay-per-view show for FOX in the US. This is truly, truly baffling – in what market is this a PPV fight? Neither Ortiz nor Martin is a top 10 heavyweight, and they aren’t exactly household names.
The other major broadcast of the weekend was Sky’s show from London, which featured some promising fighters for the channel. Since their partnership with Matchroom Boxing ended, Sky have been doing something of a rebuild on the domestic front, and nights like this were a step in the right direction.
Richard Riakporhe performed as expected in the main event and looked good doing it, but it was light-heavyweight Dan Azeez who stole the show and the British title along with it. Brothers Adam and Hassan Azim were also impressive on the undercard, and all three will undoubtedly be featured more on Sky.
Two years on from the tragic death of Patrick Day after his fight with Charles Conwell in 2019, The Atlantic ran an in-depth piece looking at how death affects boxers and those around them, written by Jacob Stern.
It’s a lengthy and, at times, harrowing article but it’s one any serious boxing fan should read. It details the panic attacks Conwell suffered anytime he saw anything related to the sport in the weeks and months after the fight. The article outlines how Day’s brother, Jean-philippe, has still not forgiven those involved in that fateful fight.
The most haunting line of the piece comes from Jean-philippe, when he discusses how, if his brother Patrick had to die, he would rather it was doing something more meaningful than fighting for pay: “To die in the ring means nothing.”