Live at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, it seemed like local favorite Amir “Hardcore” Mansour was finally about to break through to the next level of a crowded-yet-open Heavyweight division in front of a large national audience.
Fighting as the co-feature for the Danny Garcia vs. Robert Guerrero, Premier Boxing Champions main event on FOX Sports, Mansour dropped sledge hammers on his opponent Dominic Breazeale for four long rounds in a bout that was scheduled for ten.
To the shock of everyone tuned in – this two-way war concluded with Breazeale getting off the canvas to snatch a 5th round stoppage win as Mansour could not answer the bell for round 6. Breazeale was well behind on all score cards at the time of stoppage.
There was plenty of tough talk in the lead up to this fight which led to lot of drama inside of the ropes. Coming into the fight, Breazele was looked at by some as a bit of a fraudulent prospect despite his qualification as an Olympic boxer in 2012. Mansour was touted by his cheerleaders as a fighter avoided by the upper end of the division. The narrative was playing out in front of an estimated 2.5 million viewers across the globe.
The 43-year-old Mansour of Penns Grove, New Jersey fought out of his customary southpaw stance and offered a fiercely balanced head-and-body battering. The best shot of the night was a right handed bomb in the fourth round which put Breazeale flat on his back. The former college football QB who turned to boxing late in life was unquestionably stunned, but to his credit, he barely beat the 10-count, survived the round, and then put on a effort that will live in the memory of Philly Boxing fans forever.
On January 23, 2016, Philadelphia’s Danny “Swift” Garcia will put his undefeated record on the line against former World Champion Robert Guerrero (33-3-1, 18 KOs) in a Premier Boxing Champions main event. The fight will be televised on Fox Sports 1, live from The Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Within minutes of this fight being announced, the boxing fans quickly took to social media to express their feelings on the bout. It is safe to say that Danny Garcia remains the most polarizing fighter in Philly boxing.
His true supporters were fully supportive of the bout. Many people hopped online to show love and send good wishes to their man and hashtag #DSG4life. Danny went on to hash tag back saying this one is #forphilly
There were also quite a few who were quick to throw dirt on this fight. On the streets of Philadelphia, these types are known as “haters”. Names like cherry-picker, and young talent ducker were flung from cyberspace at the former Ring Magazine 140 pound champion.
There isn’t much middle ground when it comes to Swift.
It was the moment Travis Kauffman waited for. After 10 long years as a professional , he was finally getting his shot on a national stage against a name opponent. The former “Great White Hope” responded by turning in the best performance of his career.
Unfortunately that wasn’t enough – because after 12 rounds of boxing at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas – the final verdict was a controversial one as two of the three judges saw the bout in favor of Chris Arreola by a score of 114-113. One judge saw it 114-113 for Kauffman. Many people in the crowd and on the internet felt that Kauffman was the rightful winner in this bout.
Overall it was a good heavyweight bang. Kauffman almost closed the show early when he clobbered Arreola with a right hook midway through the third round. This punch put “The Nightmare” on the seat of his pants. The big-hearted Californian got off the deck and continued to fight.
Premier Boxing Champions in association with Kings Promotions came to the Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, New Jersey this past Tuesday for an eight-fight card. Most of the boxing matches were good, but I’ve been to flea markets with more people in attendance. The crowd couldn’t have topped 250 human beings in the audience.
But who needed asses in seats when you are broadcasting to a live national audience on the Fox Sports One network? This is new school boxing where the fighters are getting solid paydays and the revenue isn’t dependent on the gate. One single social media post by the PBC generated over 4 million views with 45,000 likes, 22k shares, and over 4,000 comments. Those numbers will make the industry Mustache Pete’s cringe.
Some say this model of boxing is not sustainable, but rumor is that PBC has a monetary war chest that will knock your socks off. Others will say that these lower-level shows are small potatoes in the grand scheme of Al Haymon’s master plan. I don’t know who is correct, but I did spot lower-level tickets being sold on Groupon for $30.
In the opening TV bout, we found out a bit about PBC’s Cruiserweight prospect Keith Tapia. He showed heart, some skill and the ability to give and take a good punch during his 10 round unanimous decision win over Philadelphia’s Garrett Wilson.
In the early going it looked like Wilson was going to pull the rug from under the undefeated prospect as he landed good power shots that wobbled Tapia in rounds two and three.
Boxing is the craziest sport on planet Earth. Garrett Wilson’s odyssey through his craft in the past year is a testament to that statement.
By everyone’s account, the year 2015 started out horribly for the Philly fighter. In mid-January, Wilson (16-9-1, 9 ko’s) accepted a huge, short notice assignment on national TV and was stopped by Russian prospect Vyacheslav Shabranskyy. It is one thing to lose to a prospect, but Wilson lost every round of this fight, maybe even every minute.
It wasn’t pretty and many were saying the time had come for “The Ultimate Warrior” to consider hanging up the gloves.
Fast forward to today – Wilson has rebounded to the point where he has a legitimate opportunity to put his name in the forefront of the 2015 Philly Fighter of the Year award conversation.
So what the hell happened in between now and then?
Late last week, Amir “Hardcore” Mansour traveled a shade under 3,000 miles to pursue an opportunity to snatch the spotlight from an undefeated prospect who was riding the easy road through the contender ranks.
Fighting in front of a sparse crowd at the Little Creek Casino Resort in the remote town of Shelton, Washington – he came within a hair (and a competent judges scorecard) of pulling off the mission against Gerald Washington, a former USC Trojan defensive lineman turned professional fighter who is being groomed under the banner of boxing’s most powerful organization.
In typical theme for a local fighter taking his talents on the road – the 43-year-old puncher was forced to settle for a hard luck draw in a fight where many viewers felt he was the better man.
Last night, Spike TV and Premier Boxing Champions came through with an evening of boxing that produced a Fight of the Year candidate in the opening bout and a touch of controversy in the main event held at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
To start the show, Polish new comer Krzysztof Głowacki pulled off an epic come-from-behind win to take the belt from longtime Cruiserweight champ Marco Huck of Germany.
The only thing that this bomb fest lacked was grace and technique. What they lost in the style point department was more than made up for with display of intestinal fortitude, in particular when in the 6th round, Glowacki dipped into his inner Matthew Saad Muhammad by barely beating a 10 count, to regroup, revive and score a miraculous 11th round knockout victory.
The main event was in stark contrast of the opening bout. It was more of a chess match than riot, where two seasoned veterans positioned near the top of the Heavyweight ladder applied their craft in hopes of climbing that final rung to enter the division sweepstakes.
We saw Philadelphia’s Steve Cunningham apply quickness and athleticism to counter balance Antonio Tarver‘s strategy of patience and power over the course of a 12 round bout that was inevitably scored a draw. Cunningham was by far the more active fighter though Tarver flashed good defense and a sharp straight left that found home on many occasions when he used it.
There seems to be mixed feelings on the end result of a bout that was a close one. It seems like everyone is in agreement that this one was a snoozer.
What were your thoughts on this show and where do they all go from here?
All he does is win! Like it or not – Philly’s Danny Swift Garcia‘s test run at 147 lbs went according to plan as he out muscled and eventually stopped Paulie Malignaggi in the 9th round of their Barclays Center main event on ESPN. After the fight the former 2x world champ Paulie announced his retirement.
Now it is on to bigger fish for Swift (31-0, 18 ko’s) to fry – who has his eyes on the likes of Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter for future fights. More to come soon as I wrap up my weekend in Brooklyn…
Who said that boxing was a young man’s game? On August 14, 2015, longtime contenders Steve “USS” Cunningham (28-7, 13 KOs) and Antonio Tarver (31-6, 22 KOs) of Orlando will face off in a 12-round Heavyweight contest that could launch the winner in to the title conversation. Yes, both fighters have been around for a long time, but like the saying goes “age ain’t nothin’ but a number”. This is especially true in the Heavyweight division where eight of BoxRec’s top 20 Heavyweights are 35 or older and fourteen of the top 20 are at minimum 30 years old.
The resumes of the two fighters have been well documented over the years. Both have won World titles in smaller weight classes, both are signed to contracts with Al Haymon, both yearn for a shot at the divisions big daddy Wladimir Klitschko. Both had careers full of ups-and-downs, yet refuse to go out on someone elses terms.