Boxing & The EDI Landscape…

THE boxing match, several months ago at Madison Square Garden (MSG) between two legends, as we all know now, was a thing of beauty and will be mentioned among the greatest events/fights in history. 

To a casual boxing fan, the opening line of this article, most likely would have conjured up images of male pugilists. Without taking another step into this composition, they may ponder, “Who is this writer talking about, Fury, Haney, Usyk, Inoue..?”

Most serious folks following the game, would correctly think Katie Taylor 21-0 (6) v. Amanda Serrano 42-2-1 (30), due to the MSG reference; however, there are no guarantees. 

Taylor v. Serrano was more than a highly anticipated women’s bout that did not disappoint. The first female fighters to headline a card at New York’s famous venue, unexpectedly brought boxing slugging its way back into the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), landscape. 

It’s not as if boxing hasn’t drifted into this landscape in the past, the game, historically, just can’t seem to get it right.

If you want a look back at how we got here, please take a quick read of two articles I wrote on the subject matter (links in highlight). The first, I penned back in 2017… Million Dollar Ladies- The Resurgence Of Women’s Boxing. The second, a sequel in 2019, Million Dollar Ladies-The Resurgence Of Women’s Boxing…Round 2…Breaking Glass Ceilings.

For those who choose not to hit the link….I’ll provide a brief bit of context here-

In the 2017 article, I quoted Marian “Lady Tiger” Trimiar, who back in 1987, while enduring a month-long hunger strike aimed at bringing better conditions, pay and recognition to women’s boxing, stated, “Unless women get more recognition, we will be fighting just as a novelty for the rest of our lives. There will be no future.”

Sadly, 35 years later, the first all female card only now arrives.

Additionally, it was only TEN years ago in 2012, that women first could earn Olympic gold.

In the 2019 piece, I spoke about a potential Taylor- Serrano match, advising readers to buckle up if the match ever happens, that a “Rock cracks the glass ceiling”

So, what happened? Why is there still a struggle with regards to EDI when it comes to women pugilists? I could take the easy road and blame the root of all evil… lack of interest generating money, and along with it, greed. Or maybe, the minuscule fan interest with regards to supply and demand, and lastly, not enough marketable female boxers, but that would do a disservice to all of these fighters. In fact, lesser known and talented male boxers and YouTube stars turned fighter get more pub than the top females in the game.

One would only have to look at boxing’s sister combat sport of the UFC, and see that they have supremely marketed their female fighters for many, many years. Something is amiss in the sweet science.

Although I have a deep and unwavering love for the sport of boxing, and have followed it a few years shy of 5 decades, I’m going to challenge it herein and make it uncomfortable. Elephant in the room…beware.

Look no further than unconscious bias when trying to identify why boxing cannot get this right. Ah yes, the activation of the amygdala, causing one’s brain to make quick judgments based on past experiences. The sport of women’s boxing has no doubt suffered from unconscious bias, more specifically, gender bias. Quite frankly, most of it has been “conscious bias”. There has not been a lack of negativity from many purists of the sweet science when it comes to women.

Earlier this year, legendary promoter Bob Arum stated that “fans don’t particularly pay attention to the women’s fights” and that it was “like comparing the Premier League to women’s football.”. Once again, a judgement based on past experiences. We need these types of legends supporting women’s boxing with positive statements, not negative ones. Naysayers need to continue to learn, grow and challenge their own perceptions and biases.

As a result of unconscious biases, certain people benefit and others are penalized. Historically, in the case of boxing, men benefit, women are penalized.

Say what you want about Jake Paul, but, as far as EDI goes, he’s been an unlikely champion of the cause. A vocal voice for women fighters, and equality in pay. Paul’s first client under his promotional company, Most Valuable Promotions, was Serrano. Paul believes correctly that women fighters are “being mistreated”.

Said Paul, “I think it’s a bigger question of boxing needing a ton of change and women’s boxing being one of those verticals,” Paul said. “Bringing in a new, younger audience was one vertical I identified.”

A new generation of fight fans open to EDI, and self aware of unconscious bias, could absolutely sustain the effort.

The increase in EDI efforts across all employment sectors has picked up steam over the past year. It appears that this time, boxing is primed to be in alignment, and not behind, which has always been the case. 

Flash forward to this Saturday night in London from the O2 Arena. The first major all female fight card, ever, headlined by two must see TV match ups…

Claressa Shields vs. Savannah Marshall, 10 rounds, WBC/IBF/WBA/WBO women’s middleweight unification, & Mikaela Mayer vs. Alycia Baumgardner, 10 rounds, WBO/IBF/WBC women’s junior lightweight unification.

These two fights will no doubt pick up where Serrano v. Taylor left off, and keep the momentum moving.

The rest of the card rounds out nicely, Lauren Price vs. Timea Belik, 6 rounds, female middleweights, Karriss Artingstall vs. Marina Sakharov, 6 rounds, female featherweights, Caroline Dubois vs. Milena Koleva, 6 rounds, female lightweights, Ebonie Jones vs. Vanesa Caballero, 6 rounds, female featherweights, and Ginny Fuchs vs. Gemma Ruegg, 6 rounds, female flyweights.

These are the types of cards that will go a long way in strengthening the standing of women in the game. Quality matchups will need to be sustained. This will require quality fighters, and personalities to sell the fights, thus gaining fan interest. Further, a great marketing campaign to make some of the fighters household names, and we’re on our way. Once that happens, here come the promoters, advertisers, and networks, all of whom will never look back.

The future is bright with names like Mccaskill, Estrada, Crews-Dazurn, Kozin, Fundora, Jones, Mercado, Netisri, Daniels, and Lujan. (First names have intentionally been left off. Do some research, that’s how change begins.)

Shields is not shy on the subject saying, “My fans are going to show up for me, for sure, when you put me against a very tough opponent,” ….”The Taylor-Serrano fight proved what I’ve always said — when you give women equal pay, equal promotion, equal TV time, women’s boxing can sell.”

Shields continued, “They always try to say women can’t do this and can’t do that,” “You don’t know where women’s boxing has gotten to if you don’t give them an opportunity.” Shields criticizing all “these men who are in charge.”

Boxing must sustain this momentum. From April’s instant classic of Serrano v. Taylor, to the highly anticipated Shields v. Marshall & Mayer v. Baumgardner this Saturday, 2022 may prove to be the year that changed the path of the women, bringing EDI to the forefront.

It’s a crisp morning this Sunday the 16th. Be it on the tube in London, the Metro in D.C., or the subway in NYC, a conversation is overheard….

“What great fights last night from the O2 Arena!” states a seasoned boxing fan.

“No doubt” states a casual fan, “Claressa, Savannah, Mikaela, and Alycia, are some of the best in the game”.

All of these talented women in the game haven’t just arrived, they’ve been here all along. We just need you to notice🥊🥊🥊🥊

“It’s the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you”

-Million Dollar Baby

Fury Stops Schwarz In 2

Tyson Fury (28-0-1 20 KO) utilized combination and power punching, excellent defense, and gypsy like movement in route to stopping Tom Schwarz (24-1 16 KO) by TKO2.

At the opening bell, Fury kept his jab active and worked behind it setting up his power shots. Fury landed a solid left hook and went to the body. Schwarz was able to land a few right hands but Fury adjusted quickly and had the undefeated and untested challenger swinging at air.

Fury utilized the southpaw stance to start the second and it appeared to have confused Schwarz momentarily. Fury lands a solid uppercut and momentarily stuns Schwarz and then controls most of the first two minutes of the second round with his jab and timely punching.

Fury extracts whatever confidence Schwarz has left as his outstanding head movement sees Schwarz miss a five punch combination.

An exerted Schwarz backpedals after missing his combination. Fury follows Schwarz and drops him with a three punch combination. Schwarz is up at the count of four, bloody nose and all, and as the action continues, Fury lands ten unanswered punches causing referee Kenny Bayless to stop the fight seconds before the bell.

Fury did what he was supposed to do. He was supposed to KO Schwarz. That is what you do when you are considered the top heavy. Deontay Wilder is in the conversation but like most others, Standing-8 believed The Gypsy King had won the fight against the Bronze Bomber.  Thus all the “lineal heavyweight champion” talk.

It’s the fights that you are supposed to win that are the most dangerous…(insert overused Ruiz v. Joshua analogy here)…..Fury made sure that even the easy one’s look easy and are easy.

For a big, Fury has a skillset unlike all the others. For all the power that Wilder possesses, Fury equally possesses the boxing skills. Power vs. finesse. Their rematch is must see TV…. rumored for early 2020.

 

Million Dollar Ladies-The Resurgence Of Women’s Boxing…Round 2…Breaking Glass Ceilings

“It’s the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you”

-Million Dollar Baby 

This piece is a sequel to an article that I wrote in March of 2017 titled, Million Dollar Ladies-The Resurgence Of Women’s Boxing, if you want the backstory, the article can be found here….- https://standing-8.com/2017/03/27/million-dollar-ladies-the-resurgence-of-womens-boxing/

If you’d rather just jump ahead,……..protect yourself at all times….

For many decades, as you listened to the chatter in major cities the world around, be it on rapid transit, at airports, or in pubs/bars, you’d hear it, conversation on the purest of sports, the sweet science. “Did you see that knockout?” one would say,  “The knockout? What about that body shot and the beautiful boxing?” another would chime in.

In year’s past, the temporal lobe of an eavesdropper would immediately envision a male pugilist with red gloves hitting an adversary.  Or, their minds eye may think more specifically to any number of current or past male champions landing an assault as described.

However; in 2019, it wouldn’t be a shock if said eavesdropper thought of a female fighter first when envisioning the combatant. Some of the best fighters in the game today are not only male..but female. Gender be damned.

The most astute boxing observers of the bunch will know what I’m talking about. If I was to reference Taylor’s relentless combination punching and sick skillset, Mayer’s excellent work behind the jab with disciplined movement and defense, Shields’ straight right, wicked left hook, and ferociousness, Hammer’s all around game, the constant relentless brutal pressure and counter punching of Serano, or the undisputed, undefeated Braekhus…you just know.

If you don’t know, you’ve been missing out on some of the best pugilists in the game today. These fighters are moving in on new territory. They are headlining cards and are the attraction. There is momentum with some huge fights on the horizon and the sky is the limit.

In no particular order, let’s take a deeper look at these skilled fighters.

Because she’ll be in action tonight, we’ll start first with Ireland’s Katie Taylor (12-0 5 KO). Already the WBA world lightweight champion to start 2018, Taylor had a heck of a year beginning in April as she captured the IBF title besting Victoria Bustos. All Taylor did the remaining eight months is defend her titles three times, setting up her first bout of 2019 against WBO titlist Rose Volante (14-0 8 KO).

Katie Taylor Credit- Katie Taylor Twitter

   Credit- @KatieTaylor Twitter

As Taylor told the Independent-

“Ever since I won my first world title as a pro my goal has been to unify the Lightweight titles so this is obviously a massive step towards that, “Volante is unbeaten so I’m expecting a tough fight but that’s exactly the kind of challenge I want. I think the better the opponent and the bigger the challenge, the better I will perform”

Taylor Volante Credit Matchroom Boxing'

       Credit- Matchroom Boxing

If she is successful, she will add the WBO strap and look for a unification fight against once beaten WBC champ, Delfine Persoon, who just defended her belt on March 9 with a TKO7 against Melissa St Vil.

“For now my focus is on Volante but of course after that fight I would love to have all the belts as soon as possible. Hopefully the Persoon fight can finally be made for the summer and then there are some other huge fights out there as well for the rest of my career.”

If all goes as planned, that fight is rumored to be on the undercard of Anthony Joshua v Jarrell Miller on June1.  Rock hurled at glass ceiling…..

I’d be perfectly fine watching Taylor on a black and white TV, she is a throwback fighter. The hand speed, angles, body work, and forward attack. If I ever have the honor of covering one of her fights live, I’m going to wear a derby with “Press” inserted in the band as I bang away on the keys of my Smith Corona typewriter smoking a cigar.

Another interesting matchup for Taylor down the road is against Amanda Serrano (36-1-1 27 KO). Taylor beat her sister Cindy by shutout on all three judges scorecards last October, now, younger sis wants revenge.

What can you say about “The Real Deal” that hasn’t been said already? An unheard of seven weight world champion, she has simply dominated. You have to go back seven years to locate the one and only loss on her record and ten years for the draw.

serrano-voraberger.jpg

         Credit- YouTube

In her last fight, Serrano didn’t let her opponent Eva Voraberger survive the first minute of the fight, stopping her in about thirty -five seconds. In true Serrano fashion she attacked from the opening bell moving forward as always and landed a wicked left hook to the body, which crumbled Voraberger…game, set, match. Oh, did I mention that Serrano dropped six weight classes to go after that seventh belt? Brutal.

Serrano would welcome the fight against Taylor but as she told DAZN, she’s looking to first knuckeup with “Raging Raja” (Amasheh)-

“I think seven is good and I will probably want to keep this one for a while and defend this against the so-called real champion Raja… maybe she won’t take the fight”

Regarding Taylor-
“If that fight comes, I hope she is ready for it, but right now I have other sights on my mind. But she better be ready for me.”

Serrano had began to navigate to MMA; however, after her promoter Lou DiBella signed a co-promoted deal with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing for a three fight deal that feeds exposure on DAZN, she is poised to stay for the moment.

As she told The Sporting News-

“Thanks to the platforms DAZN and Matchroom Boxing, they’re actually giving women a platform to fight on,”

They’re paying the women what they deserve, so that’s exciting for me. I was just tired of the way [women’s] boxing was going. Now, it’s going up and even if I could continue to open doors for female fighters and make history, and have girls have someone to look up to, I’m happy to do that. But I don’t have much more in me in boxing.”

If a Taylor- Serrano match is made, buckle up. Rock cracks glass ceiling….

When you call yourself “The Greatest”, or “GWOAT” (Greatest Woman Of All Time), you are stepping into rarified air.  That said, when your resume documents history as the first U.S. amateur boxer to win two Olympic Golds, the capturing of three middleweight world titles after only eight fights as a pro, and fighting on April 13th for a chance to unify the division in only your ninth fight?…. You might have a case for said acronym.

Referencing of course IBF/WBA/WBC World Middleweight Champ Claressa Shields (8-0 2KO), or T-Rex, as you will. A nickname that stuck when she first began the sport because of her short arms, and continuous punching.

Claressa Shields Credit Stephanie Trapp.jpg1

Credit- Stephanie Trapp-Showtime

Shields is street. There are many definitions for the word; however, used here to reference, as the Urban Dictionary defines it, “The cold reality of day to day life and achieving” as in growing up in Flint, Michigan and achieving success, and “Someone who is ready to defend themselves at all times and jump on any opportunity to level up”…that’s Shields, always on point.

Like Taylor, Shields is a throwback of sorts. When I think of her training, I see an old hole in the wall gym, all business. Goof around here and get knocked out, or thrown out on your ass. You don’t play boxing here…. bring your A-Game every time out. Every second, every minute, be it sparring, on the heavy bag, or the speed bag. This is the stuff that forged her.

Shields probably possess the strongest Ring I.Q.. She is a student of the game and it shows in her approach. She can attack or sit back and box from the outside. It’s her call and whichever she chooses, her adversary would be wise to adjust their own game plan.

On April 13, she will face Christina Hammer (24-0 11 KO), the winner, a chance to become only the second woman in the four belt era to unify a division.

Said Shields at the first press conference for this monumental bout-

“This has been long overdue. I’m just glad that Hammer is here and the fight is set. She’s been at my fights before but I can’t wait to get inside the ring and show her I’m the real champion………..April 13 you’re going to see someone fold. I promise you, it will not be me. Make sure you all tune-in” 

“I think for women’s boxing this is a true super fight that we’ve never gotten before. We’ve never had a fight like this in women’s boxing. It’s great to make this happen and us being from two parts of the world makes this fight even better.

“I want to make her quit. I don’t want her to just know I’m a good fighter, I want her to know I’m great.

Countered Hammer-

“I’m looking forward to April 13. I want to show the world who I am….This is a big risk to come from Germany to the U.S., but I believe the best should fight the best and I did what I had to so that this could happen. This fight can be a game changer for our sport” 

“This fight is the real deal. This is going to be a game changer for women’s boxing. I think we’re going to inspire a lot of female athletes who want to live their dream. It’s motivation for everyone…..I’ve had the title for a long time. I always push myself. This is the fight I wanted to show everyone who is the best. I will be the undisputed champion.”

“Shields is beatable……….I want to finish the job if I get the chance…….Anything can happen in boxing. I’m prepared to go the distance. Knockout is the goal but most importantly, I want to win.”

Hammer Shields 1st Press Conf Stephanie Trapp SHOWTIME 3

              Credit- Stephanie Trapp-Showtime

Hammer has held a strap for nine years. It’s no coincidence. She simply knows how to use her physical attributes to execute her game plan. She uses her jab to perfection as she sets up her power behind it. She works the body and navigates the ring on her terms using some great footwork in the process. And beware, her timely sneaky uppercut is lethal as is her right cross.

Hammer Shields 1st Press Conf Stephanie Trapp SHOWTIME 7

Credit-Stephanie Trapp- Showtime

Yes, Hammer v. Shields fighting for the unified title is must see TV. Glass ceiling is shattered.

The only woman to ever unify a division?  None other than The “First Lady” of boxing, undefeated and undisputed…..Cecilia Braekhus (35-0 9 KO). A champion for ten years, and a pioneer of sorts for those coming through the ranks now.

In 2018, Ring Magazine awarded Braekhus with their first ever women’s pound for pound ranking and championship belt. In addition, she became the first woman to be featured on HBO Boxing.

Braekhus’ footwork is no doubt the key to her success. She effortlessly moves in and out while picking her shots. It is at the core of everything she does. Very skilled in all aspects of the fight game, we need to see her more on the big stage. It is a shame that she has been this dominate and has not gotten mainstream exposure until recently. It’s not that she hasn’t been a star and on PPV, it’s just that it was mostly across the pond. Let’s hope that changes soon and we see much more of her. It has been rumored for awhile that a match against MMA legend Chris Cyborg is a possibility. No doubt a Mayweather-McGregor result….

cecilia-braekhus-sporting-news.jpg                                         Credit- Sporting News

It is rumored that Taylor and Braekhus may get together at some point. That should solve the problem.

No article would be complete without a rising star. One who has exhibited everything needed to become a champion but is on the cusp just waiting for their opportunity.

Enter Mikaela Mayer (10-0 4 KO). Top Rank has a hidden gem in this pugilist, and they knew that early on as she was the first woman signed by the promotional company to a multi-year deal.

Mayer YouTube

    Credit-YouTube

Well, not so hidden now, as Top Rank has done a great job in getting her exposure on some high profile cards.

Mayer may be the purest boxer of the bunch. Her skillset is very solid and polished, she’s well schooled in the sweet science. Like Braekhus, her footwork is excellent as she sets up her arsenal. She uses her length well and fights tall working off of her active jab. Be it solid left hooks, straight or overhand rights, body work, or defense, she brings just about a complete package into the ring.

We’re looking forward to seeing Mayer get that title shot, and like her as the next big star.

While there are many more female fighters that are on the brink of greatness and are beginning to become regular names in boxing circles, I chose to profile the ones herein because they are on the doorstep of becoming household names, even to the casuals.

Just give me one FOY candidate out of the scheduled or rumored bouts mentioned above and women’s boxing can rise to another level and be sustained.

If that happens, the ceiling is shattered for good and long overdue.

Pay these ladies what they are worth and get them the exposure they deserve. They are not at any less risk then their male counterparts.

Just refer to them as a boxer.

Gender equality is a beautiful thing.

The time is now ladies……we see your dream!!

 

 

 

 

 

ESPN and Top Rank Announce Historic Agreement

Press Release

New Seven-Year Deal Runs Through 2025
Includes 54 Exclusive Live Top Rank on ESPN Events Per Year

(Aug. 2, 2018) – ESPN and Top Rank, the world’s premier boxing promotional company, today announced the most comprehensive, exclusive rights agreement in the history of boxing. This new seven-year deal runs from 2018 to 2025 and includes 54 events per year, as well as a full offering of exclusive shoulder programming, classic fights and studio content.

Top Rank on ESPN content will air on ESPN linear networks or stream on ESPN+ — the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.

This new agreement is the result of the huge success of the first year of Top Rank on ESPN. It will allow for a comprehensive alliance between Top Rank and ESPN’s leading networks and platforms to showcase even more Top Rank content, including live events, additional original programming and library content.
Highlights from the first year of Top Rank on ESPN include:

Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn (July 1, 2017) – The “Battle of Brisbane” had an average viewership of 3.1 million viewers and a peak of 4.4 million viewers, making it the highest-rated boxing telecast on cable since 2006 and ESPN’s highest-rated boxing telecast since 1995. Horn defeated Pacquiao by unanimous decision in a thrilling match.
Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux (Dec. 9, 2017) – Second most-watched cable boxing telecast of 2017, averaging 1.85 million viewers. It was the first boxing match in history to feature two two-time Olympic gold medalists.

Terence Crawford vs. Jeff Horn (June 9, 2018) and Manny Pacquiao vs. Lucas Matthysse (July 14, 2018) – Pound-for-pound elite Crawford won the WBO welterweight title over Horn in an event that drove subscriptions and was streamed live and exclusively in the United States on ESPN+, ESPN’s new and innovative direct-to-consumer streaming service. The only eight-division champion in boxing history, Pacquiao headlined a second sensational fight on ESPN+, winning the WBA “regular” world welterweight title in a seventh-round TKO of Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Terence Crawford vs. Julius Indongo (Aug. 19, 2017) – Crawford unified all four 140-pound titles with a third-round TKO over Indongo, becoming the first undisputed champion in boxing (in any weight class) since 2005.

Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Jorge Linares (May 12, 2018) – Thus far, it is the most-watched cable boxing broadcast of 2018. Lomachenko dethroned Linares to win the WBA lightweight title, becoming the fastest fighter to win world titles in three weight classes. Lomachenko accomplished that feat in 12 fights, breaking the previous record held by Jeff Fenech, who did it in 20 professional fights.

In the new deal, the 54 live events provide fans with a consistent boxing destination that showcases not only the finest of U.S. and international championship matchups, but also comprehensive coverage of up-and-coming prospects and contenders.
The exclusive live event breakdown per year is as follows:
– 18 events on ESPN
– 12 exclusive, prime time events on ESPN+
– 24 premium international events on ESPN+
– Undercard coverage of all 54 events on ESPN+

Subscribers to ESPN+ will also have access to a variety of new and existing boxing content throughout the year, including:
The Boxing Beat with Dan Rafael (Tuesdays)
In this Corner (twice monthly)
Camp Life

The unmatched, on-demand treasure chest of the greatest fights of all time, including hundreds of fights from the ESPN Big Fights Library and the Top Rank archive, including Ali vs. Frazier I-III, Ali vs. Foreman, Leonard vs. Duran I-III, Hagler vs. Hearns and Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, among many more

Re-airs of all Top Rank on ESPN and Top Rank on ESPN PPV bouts Weigh-ins, post-fight interviews, and press conferences, boxing news, information, and opinion will also appear across ESPN platforms and new programs will be developed and announced at a later date.
Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN President and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks, said: “ESPN is thrilled with this new long-term agreement with Top Rank, which represents the most innovative and comprehensive relationship in the world of boxing today. By creating and distributing significantly more Top Rank events and boxing content, ESPN and Top Rank will jointly cultivate upcoming fighters and fights, creating the stars of tomorrow while providing fans with the sport’s best content in a more personalized manner.”

Todd duBoef, President of Top Rank, said: “This partnership will continue to bring the biggest events and best fighters from around the world to ESPN networks. Our collective ability to integrate live events, classic fights, studio shows, and behind-the-scenes features will raise the long-term profile of the sport of boxing and the athletes.”
Added Kevin Mayer, Chairman, Direct-to-Consumer and International, The Walt Disney Company, “This expanded relationship with Top Rank increases the ability of ESPN+ to serve boxing fans better than ever and allows us to continue to build more direct relationships with this incredibly passionate audience.”

Launched in April, ESPN+ is an integrated part of a completely redesigned ESPN App. Already the leading sports app, the new ESPN App is the premier all-in-one digital sports platform for fans and highlights the company’s culture of innovation. With a richer, increasingly more personalized experience, the new ESPN App curates all of ESPN’s incredible content into an experience unique to each fan’s individual tastes. ESPN+ is also available through ESPN.com.

The deal with ESPN was brokered by Creative Artists Agency (CAA) on behalf of its client, Top Rank.

Lomachenko and Linares finalized for May 12

Updating yesterday’s post, Vasyl Lomachenko and Jorge Linares, as of today, is now more than a rumour and has been finalized. Linares, the lightweight world champ will put his strap on the line against junior lightweight champ Lomachenko on May 12th at Madison Square Garden.

If there is anyone who can move up in weight to challenge Linares, it’s P4P King Lomachenko.

Although Lomachenko’s last four opponents yelled “No Mas Chenko” it’s doubtful that Linares will follow suit. That said, even as masterful a boxer as Linares is, he is going to have his hands full with the Ukrainian.

Lomachenko is flat out on another level until proven otherwise. As Standing-8 likes to say, he’s part throwback, part modern day, and quite frankly, something from the future.

I’m having difficulty thinking about a current fighter or one in recent memory that looks for the toughest opponent every fight out and ensures that their management team gets the deal done. Lomachenko is that fighter.

In any event, this is going to be a cracking fight which will bring out the best version of Hi-Tech yet and that is scary.
Fun Fact- If Lomachenko defeats Linares, he will capture his third belt in as many divisions in only his twelfth fight which will be a record.

Oh, and one other positive here; however, it may be a sign that the apocalypse is upon us, The Cold War keeps getting warmer….TR and GBP playing nice in the sandbox. A tip of the hat here is well deserved.