Ringside Roundup is back with another digest of the top stories and fights in boxing, targeted at casual and hardcore boxing fans alike on this karate magazine known as Bloody Elbow. The summer months are typically a light period for boxing, and this year is no different. Last week's top fight was a brutal squash match, but it did produce the violence it intended to provide, although this week's major bouts aren't anything to get too excited about.
Last week's results
Sergey Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KOs) KO-3 Nadjib Mohammedi (37-4, 23 KOs). No sane person ever believed this was a competitive fight on paper, but Mohammedi was a "mandatory" challenger so Kovalev had to do his mandatory face punching. Kovalev clocked the Frenchman with a hard right hand and then put him down with a few more punches in the 2nd. Mohammedi was put away in the 3rd round, and he either suffered a broken orbital or a broken nose based on his reaction to the finishing blows. Either way, something got busted, and Kovalev remains the WBA, WBO, and IBF light heavyweight champion of the world.
Jean Pascal (30-3-1-1 NC, 17 KOs) UD-10 Yunieski Gonzalez (16-1, 12 KOs). A bit of controversy in the Kovalev-Mohammedi undercard, as Pascal started slowly against Gonzalez and was taking some big punches, but in a back-and-forth slugfest largely avoid of pure boxing skill, Pascal controversially got the unanimous nod over the Cuban. Gonzalez outlanded Pascal by 9 punches but also threw more than 200 to get there. A tough break for the crestfallen Gonzalez, who was in tears after hearing the 96-94 scorecards went in Pascal's favor.
Beibut Shumenov (16-2, 10 KOs) UD-12 BJ Flores (31-2-1, 20 KOs). I didn't watch this PBC on NBCSN main event and I had zero intention to do so. In fact, I still didn't bother with the highlights because there are seldom such instances where BJ Flores is involved in any highlight. Apparently Shumenov's movement was too much and Flores complained that Shumenov wasn't fighting. Flores outlanded Shumenov 117-104 and on fewer thrown punches, but he got a trio of 116-112s against him. Shumenov is the WBA's "interim" cruiserweight champ, and now actual champion Denis Lebedev (29-1-1 NC, 20 KOs) awaits him.
News and Notes
Cotto vs. Canelo venue is set, but fight isn't finalized. The highly anticipated matchup between Puerto Rican legend Miguel Cotto (40-4, 33 KOs) and Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs) is expected to take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on November 21st. It's a smaller venue than the MGM Grand, but both men see the venue as "Mayweather's place", with both men having lost to Floyd there. Final details haven't been ironed out so this still isn't official, but consider Cotto-Canelo as a done deal. One thing to note, the Latin Grammy awards take place days before the planned date, so there's some strategy to the date and venue selection.
Is Artur Beterbiev next for Sergey Kovalev? According to Kovalev's promoter, Kathy Duva, the Russian is expected to fight again on November 28th, and the target opponent could be unbeaten beast Artur Beterbiev (9-0, 9 KOs). An interesting angle to this fight is Beterbiev's triumph over Kovalev in the amateur circuit. However, Beterbiev is part of Al Haymon's PBC stable, and HBO has put the kibosh on their relationship with Haymon. Duva says the Beterbiev match-up was suggested to her by HBO, so we'll see how it plays out. On paper, this is an insanely violent piece of matchmaking, but don't get your hopes up too high when dealing with the ugly business side of boxing.
Badou Jack vs. George Groves set for Mayweather undercard. New WBC super middleweight champion Jack (19-1-1, 12 KOs) won the belt with a mildly surprising win over Anthony Dirrell on Spike back in March. The Swede will make his first title defense against England's Groves (21-2, 16 KOs), whose only losses were a controversial TKO to Carl Froch, and then an absolutely murderous KO in the rematch at Wembley Stadium. Groves has bounced back by beating some relative unknowns in his last two bouts. This fight was originally scheduled as a main event on August 22nd but it was later postponed to the undercard of Floyd Mayweather's next fight, which is likely Andre Berto, but still hasn't been announced yet.
This week's schedule
Danny Garcia (30-0, 17 KOs) vs. Paulie Malignaggi (33-6, 7 KOs), PBC on ESPN at Barclays Center on August 1st at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT. This is Garcia's official debut at 147 lbs after his last fights were catchweight bouts against Lamont Peterson and the farcical booking that was Rod Salka, whose last bout was at super featherweight. As an Al Haymon fighter competing in a Haymon-created series, he gets to face Paulie Malignaggi in Brooklyn. Malignaggi was crushed by Shawn Porter last year in the single most devastating KO loss of his career. In his prime, he was a tricky, speedy, and effective boxer with a very good chin. Now? He's not prime Malignaggi. Chances are Garcia is going to win easily.
Danny Jacobs (29-1, 26 KOs) vs. Sergio Mora (28-3-2, 9 KOs), PBC on ESPN co-main event. This is for the secondary WBA middleweight title held by the heavy-handed Jacobs, who defended it earlier this year with a 12th round stoppage over Caleb Truax. Jacobs, a cancer survivor, has won his last 9 by stoppage, although his strength of opponent isn't terribly impressive. Meanwhile, former junior middleweight titlist Mora is two fights removed from boxing up former UFC fighter Dashon Johnson. There are many other things you can do with your time than sit through potentially 36 minutes of Sergio Mora. He's never been stopped, he hardly stops his opponents, and the bulk of his fights are ugly.
Juan Carlos Payano (16-0, 8 KOs) vs. Rau'Shee Warren (13-0-1 NC, 4 KOs), PBC on Bounce at Full Sail University on August 2nd at 9 PM ET. Dominican Republic native Payano is the reigning WBA bantamweight champion, while Warren is a prospect who has never fought in a scheduled 12-rounder. I have no idea what the hell Bounce is, but evidently boxing can be shown on it.
Video of the Week - When you're so knocked out you deny ever being knocked down
On July 29th, 1988, WBA welterweight champion Marlon Starling fought Colombia's Tomas Molinares in Atlantic City. At the end of the 6th round, Molinares landed a clean punch on Starling after the bell had sounded. However, Starling was controversially counted out and it was scored a KO win for Molinares in a shocking upset. New Jersey's commission would later turn this into an NC, but the memorable part of this fight was Starling's post-fight interview with HBO's Larry Merchant. Not only did Starling deny being knocked out, he insisted he wasn't even knocked down. Have a watch for yourself.