Week in Boxing | Bernie's Rant, Sep 30
Callum Smith wins Muhammad Ali Trophy
Friday night in front of a capacity crowd of 8,000 at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia's new, state of the art King Abdullah Sports Arena, Callum Smith 25-0 (18) knocked out countryman George Groves 28-4 (20) to win the 168 pound Super Middleweight WBSS tournament and WBA and prestigious RING Magazine titles.
The fight was interesting while it lasted with both fighters trading jabs and straight rights with very little variance. As the match progressed, the 6'3" Smith was landing the more effective blows by boxing from the outside and using his height and reach advantage. Finally, in the 7th round, Callum caught Groves with a counter left hook and followed up with a flury and a hard body shot that sent the smaller champion to the canvas for the TKO. Until that point, I had Smith ahead in the fight 4 rounds to two.
Location was a good idea
The location and venue for Smith vs Groves, selected by the WBBS and promoter Kalie Sauerland, was presumably aimed at opening the lucrative market in the Middle East. Perhaps they should have tried to showcase Sadam Ali and Amir Khan on the undercard or in the co-feature? Of course Ali vs Khan would be out of the question because Sadam once told me privately that he would never take a fight with Khan because they are good friends.
No female fighters or ring card girls
The absence of "sexploitation" was appealing to me, personally. No female fighters or ring card girls!!! Jeddah, of course, is a somewhat conservative Islamic city the serves as the principal gateway to Mecca and Medina, two of the holiest cities in Islam and popular tourist attractions.
And by the way... HBO only bid 1 dollar to televise the "catfight" between Vincent and Hardy on the undercard of the Jacobs-Derevyanchenko bill on October 27th at MSG. Looks like people are waking up. Perhaps that will become a trend?
So long HBO
HBO has implemented divorce proceedings with professional boxing after a 45 year marriage. It has been evident in the last 10-15 years that boxing in the US has been in a major decline.
Being critical, here
The "legalized" corruption has set in with violation of antitrust laws and fair labor practices that are not investigated and prosecuted by legislators. What is also apparent is the considerable lack of talent being produced domestically in the amateur ranks whuch subsequently feed the pro ranks.
The NYC Golden Gloves sponsored by the NY Daily News has been abolished, the US Olympic team is not a factor in competition and hasn't been for years, arenas are not being filled to capacity for major fight cards especially in NYC, and the industry is now being inundated with boycotts from fans who are upset with mismatches and the concept of female boxing.
Boxing is in a bad place now, there is a glut of salesmanship and few buyers.
At the Fights
The subscribed Sirius sponsored "At the Fights" radio program that has been running for the last 8 years and is hosted by Gerry Cooney and Randy Gordon has changed management recently. With its new priorities, it is now a glorified infomercial lacking concrete progressive dialogue.
They invite phone calls to the show but the caller is forced to discuss a particular topic and if you disagree or pose a threat to sales, they are often rude and cut you off. It is the only game in town and no American show rivals it in attention and publicity. The Executive Producer Joshua Friedman must be contacted if you have concerns about this. He can be reached by Sirius Radio Complaints and Issues or by phoning 877-344-4893. After all, we - the consumer - are paying the salaries.
Zhilei Zhang moving up the heavyweight ranks
Zhilei Zhang continues to be on a fast track to a deserved title shot. The WBO 6th ranked fighter and Olympic medalist from China knocked out his opponent Friday Don Haynesworth 15-2 (13) in Round 3 at the Changshe Social Work College Gymnasium in Changshe, China. Zhang, who stands 6'6", is currently the holder of the minor Oriental Heavyweight title.
Lucas Browne bounces back
In another heavyweight contest in Queensland Australia, Lucas Browne KO'd 7'1 contender Julius Long in a serious matchup Down Under. Long, with a phenomenal reach of 90 inches, came to fight but was caught with a crushing right in the 3rd round that ended matters.
IBF Super Middleweight Champion Jose Uzcategui 28-2 (23) of Venezuela won a ten round UD over obscure pugilist Ezeequiel Maderna 26-5 (16) in Oakland, scores were 100-90 twice and 108-92.
N.B: Bernie's views are simply his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of this website or others who write for FightSaga.
Bernie Campbell is a graduate of Wagner College and has been writing about the fight game for the past several years. He resides in New York City in which he brings to life his 50 plus years of experience in reporting and observing about the "hard knocks" of the world of pugilism!
He has had a renaissance man-like existence, working as a porter, pizza driver, data technician, mailman, and social worker. He tries to see through the smoke screens of professional boxing, and he prefers to “tell it like it is!”
Bernie also does freelance reporting for the Boxing Newspaper publication, USA Boxing News!