It's not crazy to think a boxing match could be fixed, that someone took a dive. It's just that sometimes, there's a viable explanation. Like, a boxer gets hit on the temple — a historical knockout button — by a heavyweight with not only a reputation for big knockout power, but evident knockout power that anyone who's watched boxing for very long can detect as authentic. In this case, the knockout victim is Malik Scott, who still loves us insipid bitches, at least. What's more, Corey Erdman of SIRIUS/XM told me Tuesday on-air that Scott had suffered damage to his eardrums during sparring with Tyson Fury even before his questionable KO loss to Dereck Chisora, so maybe he's not been the same since.
Or you can think it was a dive on the level of this Vine below. Your call.
— Marcus (@MJE0103) March 16, 2014
In this edition of Weekend Afterthoughts: the subjects in the headline, Daniel Jacobs' return, Tomasz Adamek, Julian Williams (screw you, he still counts as "weekend"), and more.
- Danny Garcia's performance. How do you square the outcome of Danny Garcia vs. Mauricio Herrera with what we saw in Garcia's junior welterweight championship-winning performance against Lucas Matthysse? I think you square it mostly like this: We see it happen a lot with fighters who move into the pound-for-pound ranks where a revelatory performance is followed by a performance where some underdog almost invalidates the p4p-making performance. Think Carlos Quintana's win over Paul Williams. Herrera and/or his team had very clearly studied Garcia's strengths and weaknesses, and went to great lengths to nullfy his greatest strength, the left hook. When you get this much hype, you also get a target on your chest. Garcia wasn't ready for it and neither was his usually tactically sound dad/trainer, Angel. Nor could anyone have expected a Herrera that was this clever: He mainly brawled in his win over Ruslan Provodnikov and loss to Mike Alvarado, his other encounters with 140-pound top-10 contenders. That Garcia might've underestimated a come-down kind of opponent while dealing with the distractions of a semi-homecoming in Puerto Rico and the struggles of making 140 (and maybe of struggling with the sight of his own blood)? Bonus impact. Long story short: Garcia wasn't "exposed" as some kind of secretly horrible fighter. But now that he's on a world level, elements of his game are going to be "exposed" any time he faces quality competition, which Herrera was, until he shores up all the holes.
- Garcia-Herrera scoring. Only 12 percent of the boxing media via one survey scored it for Garcia, but it's a higher figure than you usually see in bouts that are deemed "robberies." As someone who scored it 115-113 for Herrera, I totally can see scoring it a draw or 115-113 for Garcia. But some of the rounds I scored for Garcia were more of the "close" rounds than the ones I scored for Herrera, so it's a harder conclusion to reach that Garcia deseved to win — and even harder to reach that 116-112 makes any sense, as two judges scored it. But then, we've seen again and again and again that the hometown fighter/champion/lead promoter-promoted fighter will get decisions in some of those circumstances, and Garcia had all three going for him. I'll give Garcia credit for making some late adjustments to get it closer, something a quality fighter would do, although he probably should've done it earlier.
- Next for Garcia and Herrera. Showtime's Stephen Espinoza used to ride the line on Twitter between "candor" and "dickishness," but no longer. It's gone one direction lately, mainly. That said, I'm glad to have read from him on Twitter that Herrera is welcome back on Showtime after a performance like that. The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (of which I'm a founder) saw fit to move him to #7 based on that near-win. Herrera has talked since this weekend of fighting Matthysse, and why not? There was a story about Matthysse facing Fidel Maldonado, Jr., next, but that's less certain now. Meanwhile, Garcia, if he's going to stay at 140, should face Lamont Peterson next, right? If at 147, I can see him easing in at the division acceptably against fringe competition. Especially given the next item.
- Showtime ratings. Somehow, Garcia-Herrera averaged 972,000 viewers (via news release), a high number for any Showtime bout. I guess this means people care about Garcia now. No hardcore fans really cared much about the Garcia-Herrera match-up itself, so it's hard to arrive at any other conclusion. So: Good job, Garcia, on getting to this point. We'll see if he takes a dip in his next fight as a result of the so-so showing.
- Juan Manuel Lopez stoppage and next. Our man Matthew Swain was down on the stoppage in the Juan Manuel vs. Daniel Ponce De Leon rematch at 130 pounds. I see why. It was an early stoppage, and given the suspect scorecards in the main event, it's not unreasonable to ask if the stoppage was premature for the home soil fighter. But it wasn't, by my eye, so early a stoppage that it should be castigated. De Leon had been dropped twice, was a bit shaky, was trapped against the ropes and wasn't firing back until the referee stepped in. So now De Leon could retire — I'd be fine with that; it's been a long, hard career and this was a bad loss — and Lopez is interested in Jorge Arce or another Orlando Salido bout. Before this weekend I'd rather Lopez never fought again, but if he's going to, I'd far rather he face another badly rundown guy like Arce than Salido, who has stomped Lopez dangerously twice.
- Daniel Jacobs. I'm all for (middleweight) Jacobs' comeback but I'm beyond fed up with him facing terrible competition, especially after a semi-quality win over Giovanni Lorenzo last year. He doesn't need to stay busy anymore against the likes of Milton Nunez, loser of nine of his last 14. That's the kind of win he got this past weekend on Showtime Extreme and it doesn't make any sense to have these level of fights going forward. It doesn't make any sense for his frequently-discussed opponent Peter Quillin to be facing Lucas Konecny in April instead of Jacobs. Let's move on.
- Canelo vs. Angulo epilogue. The All Access epilogue for the junior middleweight bout between Canelo Alvarez and Alfredo Angulo had some notable moments. One of them was that Angulo's trainer, Virgil Hunter, had talked about stopping the fight earlier than I knew before. We learned the full extent to which Angulo was upset, and wrongly, about the stoppage — there's nothing embarrassing, at all, about the referee stopping the fight. I'm also not sure what was up with him sleeping under tables — that doesn't seem like a normal thing, physically, to be doing before a fight.
- Next for Tomasz Adamek. We talked before about Vyacheslav Glazkov's path after beating fellow heavyweight Tomasz Adamek, less about what might be next for Adamek. He's been fading so long, and he's only arguably a top 10 heavyweight anymore. Our man on TQBR Radio James Foley recommended Adamek fight Artur Szpilka in an all-Polish money fight between heavyweight brawlers, Szpilka being younger, Adamek being more battle-tested and skilled. That sounds like a great way for Adamek to go out, no?
- The Rest. Isaac Chilemba vs. Denis Grachev was about I didn't comment on originally, though. Chilemba won this battle of fringe light heavyweight contenders on NBC Sports by outboxing Grachev, basically, which is kind of odd considering that Chilemba doesn't have a huge reputation as a boxer, but it's not like all boxer-types have great luck with Grachev… After a little reprieve from awfulness, the FS1 program is right back to big awfulness. Junior middleweight prospect Julian Williams does look like the goods — Paulie Malignaggi did a great job talking about the subtleties of his knockout punch against Freddy Hernandez, subtleties that you don't see in run-of-the-mill prospects. But then, he also fought Hernandez. So, reprieve over… Tony Bellew moved up from light heavyweight to cruiserweight and appeared as though he had made the adjustment well until Valery Brudov hurt him for almost the entire 7th round. Brudov has been in there against many big names at 200 lbs. so he was an advanced cruiserweight debut opponent, but based on how he fared, 12th round stoppage win or not (from a broken foot somehow???), the near-KO loss in the 7th isn't a great sign for Bellew… One of the best flyweights in the world, Moruti Mthalane, finally got back into the ring after a long layoff, and he didn't have an easy night of it in his return win… What goes for Jacobs above also goes for welterweight Kell Brook, who constantly seems to be fighting lower level opposition that he ought to at this point in his career. He handled Alvaro Robles with as much ease as you can handle a game but overmatched opponent.