Sergey Kovalev steals the show everywhere he goes, even from the audience. First he beat up that mini speed bag last year every time the camera focused on him in the crowd; this weekend, he upstaged tepid action on HBO with that goofy smile and big block letter t-shirt. Is there anyone in boxing right now with lovability and punching power in such high ratios at the same time? And it gets better: It sounds as if there is real movement in making one of the best bouts that can be made in the sport, with Kovalev and light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson getting closer to a fall showdown. We'd find out whether Krusher Kovalev could Krush someone with similar amounts of Krushing power. (screen capture via)
The only bigger collection of studs in one place I can think of than Kovalev-Stevenson is the TQBR Radio team of Patrick Connor and Bad Left Hook's James Foley, who doubled their already sizable testosterone levels by bringing Joel Stern and Matthew Swain onto the show Tuesday. It aired during my day job hours, so I haven't caught up to it yet, but I will, and so should you. They summarized the weekend vocally, much as we did in non-verbal form here with six different blog posts on Friday (here and here), Saturday (here, here and here) and Sunday. If you thought that meant we were done with the past weekend, you are wrong! There's very little high-level boxing for the next month-plus, so we might as well pick at the bones of the considerable leftovers.
- Lamont Peterson's performance, next. Having rewatched the main event on Showtime, Peterson's junior welterweight fight against Dierry Jean doesn't feel as close as it did live. Peterson complained that the crowd would sometimes get carried away thinking shots landed that he rolled with, and while I noticed it at the time, I still thought more landed than it looks to me after seeing it on TV. The early rounds were close, sure, until Peterson shifted from cautious boxing to aggressive stalking. Steve Farhood speculated on Showtime that it was due to the earlier approach not working, but Peterson attributed it later to part of the gameplan all along, and that he was just waiting for the cue from trainer Barry Hunter to switch it up. Peterson didn't appear any worse for the wear from the Lucas Matthysse knockout, it's true. (Peterson's run-in with synthetic testosterone in 2012 must be noted. Since, he has not participated in any advanced testing by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency or Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, despite talking about doing so when he could afford it in big fights — something that went for this fight, too. Peterson spokesman Andre Johnson informed, when I asked him about advanced testing: "The DC Boxing Commission administered a post fight urinalysis for both fighters and the samples were then sent to an Olympic testing lab in Utah. It's the same lab they used for Lamont's fight against Kendall Holt." Peterson, given his history, should be doing more [and by more I mean not just the "we're doing our own random testing in our camp, trust us" like they've said in the past].) Peterson's desire to fight champion Danny Garcia next is commendable and desirable, but it feels unlikely. Garcia is trying to book an easier fight, against Mauricio Herrera, and has talked about moving up in weight after that. Given the HBO/Top Rank vs. Showtime/Golden Boy divide, it might be hard for Peterson to find a fight anywhere near as lucrative or significant.
- Next for Jermell Charlo. I probably understated how impressive Charlo was to me in his junior middleweight battle against Gabriel Rosado. He's not just newly a top-10 contender by the reckoning of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board; he'd be a solid pick against any junior middleweight besides the champ, Floyd Mayweather. I'm not saying this instant I'd pick him against, Erislandy Lara, say, only that I can't discount him against anyone. Before the fight the talk was of getting him a title shot, and that would mean Carlos Molina, Demetrius Andrade or Mayweather; except Molina is fighting Charlo's brother next, Mayweather isn't about to take on someone with as low a profile as Charlo and Andrade fights on HBO. So what he'll do next isn't really clear, and there's no obvious "must" fight for him this instant.
- Adrien Broner interview on Showtime. What Broner doesn't understand, obviously, is why people hate him — they weren't celebrating his loss because he's the closest thing to Mayweather, as Broner maintained. They were celebrating his loss to welterweight Marcos Maidana because he's the kind of guy who has a public break-up and then dogs out the girl he was with for having a miscarriage. In other words, they hate him because he's a horrible human being. They might also hate him some for his personal mannerisms — bragging about his Burberry and shit — but mainly it's that he's despicable at his core.
- Anthony Peterson in March. Lamont's brother was going to be on the undercard, but was shifted to ESPN2 Friday Night Fights in March instead. The lightweight is booked against TBA on March 7, and on one level I'm happy for a local guy making his return, and with Iron Mike Productions coming to town Mike Tyson will do a lot to stir up publiclity (even if the card also includes serial weight-scofflaw Joan Guzman, booooooo). On another level, there was a show booked for March 7 in the region already via Keystone Boxing and featuring junior welterweight prospect Mike Reed, so somebody needs to move or both cards will suffer. Why pick THAT date? Maybe I'm a homer but I think Washington, D.C. is a legitimately good fight town, and it would be a shame if the market got dilluted by things like this. Boxing can't get out of its own damn way most of the time.
- Mikey Garcia's appeal and how to boost it. First, Top Rank keeps putting a West Coast fighter in New York City for reasons I've not seen explained. So maybe that needs to end. Second, Garcia falls into that category of fighter who does good ratings on HBO but simply isn't everyone's cuppa tea. That he gets knockouts so frequently puts him a notch above the excitement quotient of someone like super middleweight Andre Ward, but otherwise he fights in a very similar "do exactly as much as you need to win and don't take any stupid risks" mold, not that he catches the same heat for it Ward does (for some reason!). So you can't do much about that, unless Garcia changes his style and it doesn't seem to be his temperament. But for all Garcia's appeal problems, for as much as Yuriorkis Gamboa has fallen from fans' favor, people still would be down for Garcia-Gamboa, something that somebody had the big idea to hype by having Gamboa get into the ring after Garcia beat Juan Carlos Burgos. It would probably be at lightweight, since Garcia is preoccupied with moving up in weight quickly all the time, and since there's not much worth him staying at 130 for anyway.
- Next for Bryant Jennings. Marco Huck, Thomas Mchunu. Jennings is a heavyweight who wants to take on bigger fish in the division, Huck is a cruiserweight who wants to move up to heavyweight and take on champion Wladimir Klitschko, and Mchunu is a cruiserweight who wants a bigger fish from his division. Jennings is saying he wants a title shot, so that either means Klitschko or the winner of Bermane Stiverne-Chris Arreola II. The second is a more winnable fight. I think Jennings is ready for a step up like that, whether I'd pick him or not. Huck has shown he can contend at heavyweight, but Klitschko would mess him up pretty bad. It'd be better if he stayed at cruiser and fought Yoan Pablo Hernandez in the obvious best fight in the division, only that won't happen because they share the same trainer. And Mchunu wants Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, a good fight except Wlodarczyk would make a bigger paycheck against the likes of Hernandez in one of the next best fights at 200 pounds. Lesson of this blog post: You can't always get what you want.
- Thomas Williams Jr. vs. Cornelius White video. I'm not sold on Williams' chances of becoming a light heavyweight contender, but I know this: It's only January and we have a strong Round of the Year candidate already thanks to what he and White did on ESPN2 Friday. Three knockdowns, three minutes — gonna be a real contender for the 2014 award.