Blow-by-blow: Ward retiring? Fight of the year announced, more

December 13, 2016

By CJ Russell

A couple pretty interesting bits of news today, so let’s get right to it:

Andre Ward has said that he’ll only take a rematch with Sergey Kovalev if it’s the “right situation.” Now, in an interview with FightHype, he is talking like he may walk away from boxing.  Read the interview and see what you think.  I really think it’s a disservice by Ward to not at least take the rematch with Kovalev.  There was a rematch clause!  I have tried to research the legal obligations of the rematch clause but I haven’t been able to find anything solid on it (if you know anything send us a FB message, tweet, or email openinground@gmail.com). If you’re an Andre Ward fan I think you would like to see him beat Kovalev more convincingly, because even if you are in the minority that thinks he won, it certainly wasn’t a strong win.

– One thing you may have thought about when Anthony JoshuaWladimir Klitschko was announced is whether there will be a problem with the network, at least in America.  Joshua is with Showtime, and Klitschko has always been on HBO.  According to Dan Rafael, things could get interesting:

It’s no secret that HBO’s boxing schedule is terrible, and has been terrible for some time.  Their star fighters Gennady Golovkin, Canelo Alvarez, and Terence Crawford haven’t exactly been in competitive fights recently, and now they have a heinous PPV of Miguel Cotto vs James Kirkland, which is sure to be a financial disaster.  Showtime’s schedule has been vastly superior.  Saturday’s Mares-Cuellar/Charlo-Williams card was a great one, and they have Badau Jack vs James DeGale, Carl Frampton vs Leo Santa Cruz II (with Mikey Garcia vs Dejan Zlatacanin as the undercard), and Keith Thurman vs Danny Garcia all coming up.  Those are great fights.  Showtime Sports head Stephen Espinoza says that Showtime is now the industry leader, and that’s hard to argue with at this point.  HBO needs some big fights, and AJ-WK would fit the bill.

– The World Boxing Council (WBC) announced their pick for fight of the year yesterday.  Their choice was the June 4th, 12 round draw between Orlando Salido vs Francisco Vargas.  That was a great fight, and is generally the consensus choice among boxing fans.  The other two nominees were Roman Gonzalez vs Carlos Cuadras (great fight, there will probably be a rematch next year), and Anthony Crolla vs Jorge Linares.  I wonder if Saturday’s war between heavyweights Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora was considered for nomination or if was too late.  Here’s Salido-Vargas if you haven’t seen it or want to revisit it:

– Three division world champ Hozumi Hasegawa has retired at the age of 35.  Hasegawa won titles at bantamweight, junior featherweight and featherweight.  “I have nothing to prove more, and it becomes truly hard to have myself motivated to go on after my third coronation,” he said, referencing his September 16th title win against Hugo Ruiz.  The Japanese fighter’s final record is 36-5 with 16 knockouts.

Erislandy Lara is set to fight Yuri Foreman on January 13th on Spike…Not the type of opponent you would want to see a titleholder and talented boxer face.  Supposedly this is a stay-busy fight for Lara, who aims to get a junior middleweight unification fight later in the year.  The other titleholders are the Charlo brothers and Canelo Alvarez (who he already has lost to in a controversial decision).  We’ll see what happens.

– In case you missed it, Canelo Alvarez could face Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. next year, and Errol Spence Jr. wants to face Kell Brook, the winner of Garcia/Thurman, then Manny Pacquiao.

 

 

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