What We Learned From This Past Week in Boxing (Sept. 30 – Oct. 7)

In looking at the boxing landscape this past week, I was pretty excited. While sure, it’s tempting to start focusing on the Timothy Bradley – Juan Manuel Marquez fight coming up on October 12. It’s a fight that I’m really looking forward to (and we will go into a full fight preview on this week’s episode of the Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report Podcast/Show later on this week). However, even as I look forward to that bout, there were some interesting bouts that happened this week.

HBO, which has basically said a collective NOPE to airing Wladimir Klitschko bouts over the last few years, had an about-face and decided to air his title defense against Alexander Povetkin. We also had the return of Miguel Cotto, fresh off consecutive loses to Floyd Mayweather and Austin Trout in 2013. 

All that plus the long-awaited professional debut of England’s Anthony Joshua, the Super Heavyweight gold medalist, from the 2012 Olympic games. Here’s my analysis of what went down this week in boxing.

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1. Klitschko dominates Povetkin, but sours many fans with his performance – Let’s be clear, I’m a fan of Wladimir Klitschko and think a lot of the criticism he receives is not totally warranted and comes with a lot of undertones, that is more than just how he performs in the ring. However, I was not impressed with his win over Povetkin on Saturday in Moscow, Russia. Klitschko won easily, knocking Povetkin down four times (including three knockdowns in round 7), but he just wasn’t sharp. And the excessive holding and leaning on Povetkin (aided by Povetkin’s constant rushing in) turned folks really off.

2. Miguel Cotto impressively destroys Delvin Rodriguez, but does it mean that he’s “back”? – Cotto, fighting for the first time in 10 months and coming off consecutives losses to Mayweather and Trout, Cotto fought with fire and passion overwhelming Rodriguez on Saturday night in Orlando, Florida.

Cotto, working with new trainer Freddie Roach, was aggressive, sharp, explosive, and fought with great intensity, displaying the vaunted left hook to the head and body that made such a dangerous fighter in the past. Sure Rodriguez was a but of an easy target who is not hard to hit and a bit chinny, but it’s hard to not deny Cotto’s performance and he dominated Rodriguez before stopping him in the third round. The issue now is, where does Cotto go from here? With a performance like this, it’s obvious that Cotto put himself right back into the picture of another mega fight. There’s already talk of a possible match with “Canelo” Alvarez, a rematch against Floyd Mayweather, or a bout with WBC Middleweight champion Sergio Martinez (a fight which Roach has openly talked about wanting for Cotto).

At age 32, I don’t know if Cotto will return to he fighter that he was, but given the way he looked against Delvin Rodriguez, it’s clear that Miguel Cotto still has something left.

3. Terence Crawford Wins, but leaves boxing fans not satisfied – Crawford, and emerging Lightweight from Omaha who has folks already speculating whether he’s the best in the division already, easily defeated Andrey Klimov on the undercard of Cotto – Rodriguez once again showing his terrific skills and defense. The problem is that following his win, many fans are wondering whether Crawford is highly skilled, but boring, a charge that has dogged Guillermo Rigondeaux following his whipping of Nonito Donaire earlier this year. I reject that charge against Crawford in this fight because Klimov fought defensive and didn’t throw many punches. It looks as if Crawford will get a title shot sometime early in 2014, probably against WBO Lightweight champ Ricky Burns (and I will say right now, should Crawford fight Burns, he will defeat him).

Give Crawford an opponent who actually comes to fight and the real Terence Crawford will show. It’s a mistake to judge Crawford solely on this performance against Kimov.

4. Anthony Joshua finally makes his Professional debut – Joshua, the 23-year-old Super Heavyweight Olympic champion from the London 2012 Olympic Games for England, made his professional debut against Emanuele Leo of Italy and did what he as expected to do and dominated Leo via first round TKO Saturday in London.

In looking at Leo, while he sported an undefeated record heading in (8-0, 3 KO’s), closer inspection of his record showed that Leo had fought nobody. Joshua was dominated in every shape, form, and fashion and proved it against Leo. Where Joshua goes from here, who knows. However, he’s a guy to keep you eye on. While raw of course the skills, athleticism, and  talent is obvious. The question is, will Joshua turn into possibly the next Lennox Lewis or (perish the though) the next Audley Harrison? Let us all hope that Joshua is more the former than the latter.

Now with this weekend’s action out-of-the-way, it’s time to start focusing on Bradley – Marquez which should be a good one.  Boxing has been terrific in 2013.  With Bradley – Marquez coming up, as well as many good fights happening throughout the fall, all I have to say is for boxing sake let the good times roll and keep the terrific fights coming.

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