The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – this week in boxing

Canelo vs Kovalev
Look out for the way Sergey Kovalev lands his right Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Matt Bevan gives his take on the week in boxing

The Good

Sergey Kovalev: As he went into his rematch with Eleider Alvarez last Saturday, “Krusher” was, according to many, finished. Well, Kovalev showed he is anything but with a superb performance to rip the WBO light-heavyweight title off Alvarez, who vanquished him in seven rounds last August. Kovalev had subsequently moved trainers to Buddy McGirt and gave us a timely reminder of what he is capable of, as he put to bed any notion that his time at the top is over. Kovalev was close to the man that gave Andre Ward hell in their first meeting, a close unanimous defeat, and will now turn his focus to attempting to unify the titles, as he did previously when he beat Bernard Hopkins. Alvarez was poor and failed to live up to both his performance from last year or his “Storm” moniker. If anything it was a light shower and he won’t have done much to convince many to pay him the significant attention they did before he beat Kovalev. Fleeting at best. Kovalev’s next battle though will now be to confront his issues outside of the ring, before we see him back between the ropes.

Special mention to Richard Commey, finally a world champion as he destroyed Isa Chaniev in two rounds to win the vacant IBF lightweight title. Next up for the Ghanaian could be an April 12 unification with pound-for-pound king Vasyl Lomachenko, who holds the WBA and WBO straps. On the same card, Oscar Valdez returned from almost a year out of action to retain his WBO featherweight title with an excellent seventh round stoppage defeat of Carmine Tommasone, who was down four times before the referee stepped in to save him. It was the fifth defence of the belt he won back in 2016 and it could be a big year for the 28-year-old Mexican phenom.

The Bad

Anthony Joshua: It wasn’t a great week for the heavyweight champion. Still no confirmed news on an opponent, usurped by The Who, questioned by his divisional rivals and then a leaked phone call to practically confirm his April 13 date at Wembley stadium looks to be a non-starter. His bottle was called out by Dillian Whyte in a stunning video on iFL TV where Whyte and their promoter Eddie Hearn went back and forward on discussions between the pair for a rematch and the mystery $50m offer that was allegedly made to Team AJ by Deontay Wilder’s people. Hearn is even making claims that a coalition has been formed to potentially freeze out Joshua from the division which he rules. He may not be out and about in public, outside of social media, but all is quiet on the Joshua front and no one appears to be rushing to do him any favours.

Special Mention to Teofimo Lopez. He may have won, again by stoppage and added to his growing reputation, but it was his performance after the win that has got people talking. Lopez proceeded to celebrate in front of his grounded opponent, Diego Magdaleno, almost inciting another scrap during his celebrations. Lopez is full of talent and appears to have a bright future in the sport. However, the disrespect he showed his fallen opponent will do nothing to appeal to the masses.

The Ugly

Ted Cheeseman: Cheeseman had raced to 15-0 since his 2015 debut and looked to be on the verge of some big domestic fights, with the Anthony Fowler rivalry brewing nicely on social media. He won the British title convincingly against Asinia Byfield last October, although there were questions surrounding the power he possessed after his win. He has certainly not been afraid of opening his mouth and making claims, signalling that he had no doubt he would be a world champion, perhaps even delaying the inevitable Fowler clash until he was there. It was all sounding well and good until last Saturday, where he was beaten up by Sergio Garcia, the European super-welterweight champion, who put Cheeseman through 12 wince inducing rounds to retain his title in Cheeseman’s backyard. It was dominant and tough to watch, and even tougher for Cheeseman to be in, although he did show us he has plenty of heart and will do anything to win. Sadly, he didn’t possess the required hardware to get the job done, as the Spaniard struggled to miss the oncoming Bermondsey 23-year-old. “The Big Cheese” is young, he will come again, but the chinks in the armour are there and available for all to see. A bigger puncher may have ended things more conclusively and Cheeseman may well have simply found his level. It was an ugly night for Cheeseman, who still holds the British title. He was the headline fight and his path looked to have been set. He may still be able to follow that path, with the road maybe leading to the winner of Fowler and Scott Fitzgerald’s clash on March 30, but the weaknesses are there to exploit. A major test failed badly by Cheeseman and it won’t get any easier for him, if he wants to fulfil his ambitions.

The corner is also there to look out for their fighter. Yes, the fighter has to adapt, but there wasn’t much help coming from his corner team. He was getting pummelled and outclassed, yet they kept sending him out. All fighters want to go out on their shields which is understandable, but Garcia was taking him apart, yet lacked the power to conclusively end proceedings. Bravery is part of the make-up of all fighters, but the corner doesn’t need to be brave as well. Cheeseman took a much longer beating than he had to and the corner ought to have saved their man for another day.

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