By Jon Uddin & Tré Berry | 11/18/2020
Jon Uddin and Tré Berry dig deep on this segment to talk about the debacle that happened in Moloney and Franco’s rematch, and how the system can be amended. We also talk about the uprising of women’s boxing, the momentum they are carrying forward in their favor, also where Kell Brook can go from this point forward, and Terence “Bud” Crawford’s placement at the top of the sport.
TURNOUT POST CRAWFORD/BROOK FIGHT
JON UDDIN – Well what more can we say about 🇺🇸Terence “Bud” Crawford that hasn’t already been said? He dusted off 🇬🇧Kell Brook in four rounds and the talks once again turn to the highly sought after matchup with 🇺🇸Errol Spence Jr. The win is Crawford’s eighth consecutive knockout since 2016, and has me leaning towards placing him atop my P4P rankings over my current number one 🇲🇽Canelo Alvarez. The deciding factor to me pondering a change being that I view Crawford as the best finisher in the game right now, challenged closely by Japan’s 🇯🇵Naoya Inoue.
The bigger question at this point surrounds Brook. While I didn’t view his matchup with Crawford as poorly as others did, the result has only solidified the position of those who feels his chin has been permanently cracked and his best days are far behind him. A fight with Amir Khan is well past its expiration date but it’s naturally the first fight mentioned, but I still would be interested in seeing him against any of the second tier fighters at 147 such as Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia. What move would you like to see Brook make next?
TRÉ BERRY III – It was from my vantage point, a good tactical fight while it lasted, and Kell needs to get some respect for his efforts in making it tough for Bud until he figured Brook out, adjusted, and took him out. I often wondered what Brook had left in his career, and what was left of prospects, and after Saturday, I feel like he has enough goods left to make something happen at this late stage of his career – just not against the P4P contingent around his weight classes.
Looking at what I feel is the best path toward retirement, to go out on a high note, if I was promoting or advising Kell Brook, I would have him push for these three fights – in this order. The 🥈🇬🇧Amir Khan fight is severely overdue, however I would try to secure it one last time for bragging rights in England, and a very large check, as it should still garner a big payday, even with loss of interest from the public for this contest.
After an Amir Khan fight, I would line Kell Brook up against well-respected 🇺🇸Jessie Vargas, who is a quality B-rated skilled Welterweight – one who doesn’t possess a lot of power, which would give Brook a little extra comfort in taking some extra chances. The final fight, I would have him go after 🇺🇸Mikey Garcia, which would be his big revenue pot to ride out on. Though Mikey is physically looking more comfortable at Welterweight, he is still a little small for the weight, and is a little slow of hand, and foot – and Kell still has quick hands.
In my mind, I feel that those are actually three winnable fights for Brook at this advanced portion of his career. If he does win out in those 3 proposed fights, then it would put him in restored good graces with the American audience, strengthen his legacy among his U.K. fans, and to have the 💰revenue attached to his name, so that he could retire comfortably.
Now as for Bud, yeah there’s no other way to put it, the boy’s a killer – him and Inoue at this point should be consensus for the two best closers in the sport right now. Factoring that in addition to the ability to finish, they (Crawford/Inoue) have every single ✔️box checked as well in the skill column (a rarity both today, and historically). This is why I go back-n-forth with who I view as the P4P leader for best fighter in the world in the present time, and why I view it as a two-man race.
WOMEN’S BOXING OUTLOOK IN PRESENT
JON UDDIN – The fact remains that women’s boxing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea – but right now…..we are seeing a tremendous talent in Ireland’s 🇮🇪Katie Taylor. Taylor put on perhaps her most complete performance from start to finish Saturday in her win over Miriam Gutierrez. Afterwards Taylor did not hesitate in saying she wanted 🇵🇷Amanda Serrano next and even made mention of a future bout with 🇺🇸Claressa Shields at 147. Even if neither one of those come to fruition, there is the potential for her to face off with the winner of the rematch between 🇺🇸Jessica McCaskill and 🇳🇴Cecilia Brækhus.
I’ll add one more for you. There has been a rivalry brewing that should be settled between Super-Featherweight Champs 🇺🇸Mikaela Mayer and 🇬🇧Terri Harper. Let’s not rule out the possibility of the winner there moving up or Taylor moving down to face them. As I said before, women’s boxing gets cast aside by some, but in my opinion we are finally seeing some depth being built that can provide plenty of quality action. Can this be the turning point where women’s boxing captures the attention they haven’t been able to before?
TRÉ BERRY III – Right now, I am loving the direction in which women’s boxing is moving. Though there is still plenty of work to continue to get done, the right type of changes are taking place, and this generational abundance of talent has opened the eyes to detractors in showing them that women can indeed master the sweet science as well. Now the most important component to me though is that the top 🏷️tickets on that side of the sport, they are all interested in fighting one another, even if it means crossing different divisions to do so.
For it to all work, you need marketable names with interesting personalities. In men’s boxing, the draw of the knockout is synonymous to the homerun in baseball, or the long pass in football, it captures the imagination of the public, and the gravitational pull of attraction automatically pulls people in. Back to boxing, most women of elite note don’t have big power (🇵🇷Amanda Serrano is one that can sure crack), so they have to find alternative ways to market themselves.
Running through the names, it looks like 🇺🇸Claressa Shields has stepped out as the leading vanguard, who is a lightning rod with the gumption, and confidence to express herself. She is flashy, opinionated, ands she can really fight. Though she rubs some people the wrong way, she is willing to put on the black hat and bank on you watching her anyway, even if you’re one who tunes in with hopes to seeing her lose.
🇮🇪Katie Taylor has the polar opposite approach, and is about as nice a woman as you can come across. She is soft spoken, and if you seen her in the street, you wouldn’t think that she was a boxer (unless you look in her piercing eyes). Like Claressa, these two lead women’s boxing, and do it in their own respective ways. Katie’s talent, appreciation for the sport, and her graceful approach to interviews is how she brings the attention to her craft, and to the sport.
🇨🇴Cecilia Brækhus was women’s boxing’s longest ever reigning Champion, who has a big smile, class, and legitimate model looks to mirror her level of talent (you could say the same about Serrano, to pair with her immense power). Someone like a 🇺🇸Mikaela Mayer maximizes her exposure on many Top-Rank undercards with her outside boxing skills, sense of humor, and inviting personality, while 🇬🇧Terri Harper is more on the soft-spoken side, but carries herself in a way that gives her English fans more reason to marvel at her presence.
The interesting thing in just analyzing those that I specified – you will realize that they are all different in their personality and approaches, which broadens/diversifies the level and type of exposure that is needed to break some generational gender gaps, to getting more people to believe in them as a serious sector to the sport. Women’s boxing was clearly who brought back big-time boxing after Covid-19 sidelined the sport. They produced 2 giant-fights (Braekhus/McCaskill, Taylor/Persoon II) before male boxers started to do the same, so people should take them more seriously – it should only grow from here.
BOXING HURTING ITSELF…ONCE AGAIN
Boxing continues to be scarred by incompetence. Saturday we saw it once again as a phantom headbutt ruled by referee Russell Mora lead to 🇬🇧Andrew Moloney being denied the WBA Super-Flyweight title in his rematch with 🇺🇸Joshua Franco. It’s funny, or maybe not at this point, that boxing fans can see certain referees and judges and collectively sigh in anticipation of a fight being ruined because of them.
Russell Mora fits that mold, he has the track record. But in this case his initial call became less of the issue due to the fact it could have been corrected with the instant replay available. But guess who controlled that? More old, bad eyes, these owned by referee Robert Byrd and Bob Bennett of the Nevada Athletic Commission. So we have previously discussed what future changes could be made for ringside scoring, now give me your take on how to handle the instant replay situation.
TRÉ BERRY III – The way that this situation unfolded was terrible to see. It was bad enough that Moloney was cheated out of his efforts, but what made it even worse was knowing that a specific system of order was put into place in recent years simply FOR these type of moments, yet it still failed the boxer in question, and there was nothing that could be done about it while the absurdity of those in power formed a thick black cloud that rained over Moloney’s head, and struck lightning to Moloney’s hope of due justice.
First I will go broad, then hone in on the specifics in what I’d recommend. For starters, when it comes to officials and people on the administrative side of the sport, the ⛓️“chain-of-command” mentality has to dissolve, and expel its way away from the sport. The reason why I bring that up is that even during a review process in which is designed to overturn a poor ruling, their traditional feel for bouncing off one another’s verdict in their specified area creeps into the picture and fogs clear judgement towards how they handle matters.
Referee 🕴️Russell Mora, like you stated, garners a collective groan from people given his lengthy past record of poor, and sometimes ridiculous officiating. Throughout the first round, Mora dubiously warned the fighters 7 times “watch ya heads”, when there was only 1 actual headbutt that occurred. That lone headbutt in the round prompted him to signal out an “accidental headbutt”, a call clearly when a Ref believes or sees that swelling, or a cut was open due to that infraction.
Because of that, the narrative of the fight apparently was changed by the commission sitting at ringside. It also leads me to wonder what the hell was Russell Mora watching in there? Franco’s eye was virtually closed shut a minute before that headbutt even took place, and on replay, it was abundantly clear that a jab was the proponent towards initiating a swell up, as there was a little thumb action on the edge of the jab.
Now surely with that visual evidence in a 2-rounder, you would think that they (Bennett and Byrd) would recognize what was going on, watching the round over and over at least 8 times in a half an hour span – however instead they kept focusing on the headbutt that Mora signaled out to them. With replay, and slow motion capabilities, they STILL DID NOT RECOGNIZE, that the American’s eye was reduced to a puff and slit at a time not even close to the accidental foul.
Now was it because of their complete ineptitude to recognize and do their jobs properly to identify blatant evidence that should have swung in Moloney’s favor? or did it have to do with them being handcuffed to the Referee’s ruling? this isn’t an open question, there’s a clear answer. When 🇺🇦Oleksandr Gvozdyk and 🇷🇺Artur Beterbiev fought, there was a ruled knockdown of Gvozdyk in the second round by the Referee. After a challenge was put into play, they reversed the knockdown call and eradicated it, restoring the integrity of the fight, and resetting the scoring portion of it.
Simply by that, it shows even in a situation where a Ref is at fault for a call, it can be completely overruled, so that the proper verdict could be administered, so this points to a couple of different things in my vantage point. Either they are unfit to hold the seat in which they occupy as overseers of the replay protocol, or something else sinister…what if they both stuck to their guns because they did not want to throw their colleague Mora under the bus❓ The plot thickens – we can’t really prove that last point, however when a mistake this egregious happens, all factors have to be thrown on the table.
So what can be done about this to strengthen the process so that boxers and the public can regain trust in the system once again? They should have an isolated independent odd numbered committee (of either 7, or 9 members) present at the given arena to break the tie if there is a gridlock between the 2 present state Athletic Commission representatives.
I also propose an 🗓️age limit for personnel who occupy seats on the committee, or at the table ringside. Seeing someone like Robert Byrd, who in recent time, has been undoing all the great things earlier that he did for the sport is very difficult to see, but it is abundantly clear that at age 76, he is losing his mental clarity to recognize, and make sound decisions. I’m not sure how old Bennett is, but I suspect he may be even older…..we need decision makers with the depth, cognizance, and mental dexterity to handle complex situations, so an age limit between 30 and 59 would be ideal in my mind.
There is much room for the process to grow in time, and grow effectively, but given the state of boxing today in this capacity, it is difficult to have any faith in them in making the right accommodations to help clean up the process to make for a last wall of defense in regulating in-ring activity. We can only hope that they finally get wise toward a workable process, so that hard working, prizefighters like 🇦🇺Andrew Moloney don’t get cheated by being stuck in the crosshairs of misguided logic from those that hold important seats in power.