Thursday, October 29, 2015

Lukie Boxing's Podcast

I joined Lucas Ketelle's podcast this week to talk about Golovkin, Thurman, the good an bad of the PBC and Halloween scares. I also make good on a bet that I lost. I think that you'll really enjoy this one. Click here to listen:

Adam Abramowitz is the head writer and founder of
He is also a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
@snboxing on twitter, SN Boxing on Facebook
Contact Adam at

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Pound-for-Pound Update 10-22-15

Two changes have been made to the Saturday Night Boxing Pound-for-Pound list. After stopping fellow middleweight titleholder David Lemieux, Gennady Golovkin moves up three spots to #8.  Also, junior flyweight titlist Donnie Nietes switches places in the Rankings with bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka. Nietes soundly defeated Juan Alejo this weekend and has amassed a solid body of work at 108 pounds over his nine title defenses (formerly, he had also been a strawweight titleholder). However, the switch in the Rankings has more to do with Yamanaka, who won a controversial split decision over Anselmo Moreno in his last fight. I (and practically all other observers) scored the match for Moreno. It was a competitive fight but Moreno deserved the nod. Yamanaka has had a quality reign as a titleholder but based on present form, Nietes moves ahead of him. Nietes rises to #17 and Yamanaka drops one spot to #18.

The complete Saturday Night Boxing Pound-for-Pound list is below:
  1. Roman Gonzalez
  2. Wladimir Klitschko
  3. Andre Ward
  4. Manny Pacquiao
  5. Tim Bradley
  6. Sergey Kovalev
  7. Juan Estrada
  8. Gennady Golovkin
  9. Guillermo Rigondeaux
  10. Naoya Inoue
  11. Adonis Stevenson
  12. Miguel Cotto
  13. Saul Alvarez
  14. Danny Garcia
  15. Takashi Uchiyama
  16. Terence Crawford
  17. Donnie Nietes
  18. Shinsuke Yamanaka
  19. Nicholas Walters
  20. Leo Santa Cruz
Adam Abramowitz is the head writer and founder of
He is also a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
@snboxing on twitter, SN Boxing on Facebook
Contact Adam at

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Opinions and Observations: Golovkin, Gonzalez and Fonfara

Gennady Golovkin stopped David Lemieux on Saturday with brains as much as brawn. Fighting the biggest puncher of his career, Golovkin expertly limited Lemieux's offensive opportunities with a blistering jab and a high ring IQ. Sure, there were still big punches landed and no, Golovkin didn't turn into a safety-first boxer, but he used his considerable physical and technical advantages to make the fight easy for him. After eight rounds of a one-sided beating (including a knockdown from a vicious body shot in the fifth), the ref had seen enough and stopped the fight. 

Golovkin's jab hasn't been a secret throughout his rise in boxing. He features it, especially early in a fight, as a way to control range and set up his power punches. But Golovkin's jab didn't serve those purposes against Lemieux; it was his primary weapon. The jab turned Lemieux's nose into a faucet and it kept the shorter-armed foe from releasing too many of his power left hooks. Golovkin did mix in the rest of his offensive arsenal but his jab was the real differentiating punch in the fight. Every time he connected with it, Lemieux's head snapped back so emphatically that I expected candy to start spilling out. 
Golovkin has faced some criticism in his career for being relatively easy to hit. Opponents such as Daniel Geale, Martin Murray and Willie Monroe Jr. had stretches of success and perhaps pointed to a way for a better puncher to trouble him – and certainly Lemieux, with 31 KOs in his 34 wins, was such a foe. But one of the main pleasures of Golovkin's performance on Saturday was observing how he specifically tailored his approach to beat Lemieux. If Lemieux couldn't get close, he couldn't be a factor, and Golovkin retained that disciplined throughout the fight. Even when the fight opened up during the middle rounds, Golovkin returned again and again to his trusty jab, which controlled distance, neutralized his opponent and caused further damage.  

As Golovkin's star power has ascended, so has that of his trainer, Abel Sanchez, who has been praised for improving Golovkin's balance and leverage on his punches. Saturday also confirmed Sanchez's considerable abilities as a strategist. Golovkin followed Sanchez's game plan meticulously, ignoring the urge to make the fight into a war, which would have sent his adoring crowd into a frenzy. Instead, he started gradually. He worked almost exclusively off his jab in the opening rounds. Over the fight's duration, he systematically broke down a tough opponent while remaining far more defensively responsible than he's been in his recent outings. Ultimately, Golovkin's disciplined performance on Saturday illustrated his strong working relationship with Sanchez. 

Finally, let me remark upon one additional attribute of Golovkin's: his chin. Golovkin has withstood the left hooks of Curtis Stevens and David Lemieux, two of the three best punches in the middleweight division outside of anything that Golovkin himself throws (Andy Lee's right hook would be the third). Not only did he take these punches, but he exhibited no tentativeness or hesitancy after absorbing the blows. 

If a boxer knows that his beard can withstand whatever comes his way, he feels more comfortable taking risks. Golovkin didn't get hit a lot on Saturday but Lemieux did land some thunderous hooks in the middle rounds of the fight. Yet, Golovkin continued to impose his will on Lemieux as if those shots never occurred. Even when Lemieux scored with a big hook or two, Golovkin simply returned to dominating the action.

Not only is Golovkin a devastating puncher and a fighter with a high ring IQ but he also has a world-class chin. His unique combination of skills and his offensive ring temperament explains why so few top middleweights have been willing to fight him.


After witnessing Roman Gonzalez's spectacular domination of former champion Brian Viloria, who actually gave a wonderful effort, I started to think about what type of fighter could possibly beat Gonzalez. Like Golovkin, Gonzalez has a rare collection of skills that presents innumerable obstacles for opponents: he's a pressure fighter, he's a high-volume guy, he features an enormous arsenal of punches, his accuracy is devastating, and he works side-to-side and up-and-down better than anyone in the business. 

I reached out to Cliff Rold of for his opinion on a fighter profile that could beat Gonzalez (Cliff is well versed in boxing history and a fervent admirer of Gonzalez). He suggested two possibilities: a rangy guy with good hand speed and quickness to get out of the pocket or a guy who could stink out a fight, such as a smaller version of Bernard Hopkins. I kept wondering if a bomber with good hand speed and coordination, someone like a Corrie Sanders, who had height, range, quick hands and power, could be the ticket. Gonzalez isn't necessarily a slow starter but he definitely gets better as fights progress. Perhaps a bomber with early power could be the guy. 

I'm going through this exercise because otherwise I would just gush with superlatives about how exceptional Gonzalez is. To my eyes, he is clearly the best fighter in boxing (with the understanding that Floyd Mayweather is in fact retired). If Mayweather was effusively praised for being a defensive genius, then Gonzalez deserves similar hosannas for his complete offensive mastery. It's everything – timing, balance, footwork, intelligence, punch variety, consistency, endurance, power, willingness to take risks, desire to be great – he has the complete package. 

Maybe we saw something in the final round of the fight. In the ninth, Viloria landed a nasty body shot that stopped Gonzalez in his tracks. Gonzalez didn't throw another punch for about 45 seconds. However, after taking time to recover, he continued his onslaught of Viloria and forced the ref to stop the fight before the round concluded. But let's not read that much into Gonzalez being hurt from a good shot; all fighters are susceptible to this. However, to take a positive from the sequence, Gonzalez showed impressive recuperative powers. 

So for now, I'll keep thinking about the mythical rangy bomber with fast hands in the lower weights because that's the only guy who beats this version of Roman Gonzalez. "Chocolatito" is so good that I'm trying to create fictional characters that could give him a sufficient test.  


Andrzej Fonfara and Nathan Cleverly engaged in one of the year's most vicious wars on Friday. The light heavyweight battle featured over 2,500 punches with both fighters firing power shots at close range. After a good start by Cleverly, where his fluid combination punching earned him several of the early rounds, Fonfara's heavy artillery carried the second half of fight. He destroyed Cleverly’s nose and Cleverly also had to have his ear drained after the fight. Fonfara won a tight unanimous decision (115-113, 116-112 and 116-112) and the scorecards were just.

I appreciated the fighters' courage, tenacity and guts. Either of them could have opted for alternative strategies after the brutal early rounds but they both maintained their ferocious combat throughout the entire match. Even though both had been stopped in previous bouts, they fought with reckless abandon. The match was a real treat. 

But let me stop right there. Perhaps the reason why Fonfara-Cleverly turned out as well as it did had to do with the fighters' limitations. It took Fonfara five rounds to take a step back to get appropriate leverage with his right hand. Early in the fight, he was so close to Cleverly that he was stifling the punch's impact. When he finally found range, his shots were more effective. That it took him almost half the fight to make this adjustment doesn't speak too highly of his ring IQ or the work of his corner. In addition, Fonfara has difficulty stringing combinations together. His balance is poor and that prohibits him from throwing more than two punches in a sequence. Yes, Fonfara won the war of attrition, but perhaps if he added strategy and technique to his unquestioned toughness he would be a better fighter. I'm not asking him to dance around the ring or dazzle with hand speed, but a corner with more experience could do wonders for him. 

Cleverly's issues are between his ears. In short, he suffers from too much self-regard. Cleverly isn't a power puncher yet he fights like one. He has significant physical and technical gifts but he throws them away to bang on the inside. As Cleverly has aged, his legs may not be what they once were, but he still has the athleticism, jab and boxing skills to present problems for top light heavyweights. Ultimately, if he insists on standing in front of punchers, he will continue to take losses. Yes, he deserves credit for providing a spirited showing on Friday and expunging the putrid stench of his second-half performance in the Tony Bellew rematch. However, his loss on Friday could've been avoided with better strategy and tactics. 

As a fan, I loved Fonfara-Cleverly, but as someone who wants to see greatness in the ring, the fight gnawed at me over the weekend. These boxers aren't reaching their full potential. Equipped with a better technical corner, maybe Fonfara could've possessed the punch variety and creativity to take out Adonis Stevenson after hurting him. With some more humility, perhaps Cleverly would only have one loss on his ledger instead of three. So, I loved their fight on Friday but it also left me frustrated.  

Adam Abramowitz is the head writer and founder of
He is also a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
@snboxing on twitter, SN Boxing on Facebook
Contact Adam at

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Deontay Debate

A few years ago, I interviewed longtime Philadelphia boxing institutions Tommy Jenkins and Bobby Archer* about Miguel Cotto. What followed was a great debate and I thought that it would be interesting to see what they had to say about heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder. 

After talking with them separately, I was excited to find out that they held massively different opinions on the fighter and it seemed like it would be an entertaining endeavor to get them together for another debate. Jenkins and Archer (friends for decades, by the way) almost always provide a spirited back-and-forth and the way that they constantly rib each other can be side-splitting. They agreed to meet me at an outdoor cafe in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia. What follows is a transcript of their conversation:

Tommy Jenkins (TJ): So the kid [points to me] wants us to talk about Wilder.

Bobby Archer (BA): You still call everybody a kid. [Looks at me] Don't sweat it. He's been calling me "Kid" for almost 40 years. 

TJ: [Laughs] Well you let me guess, you love the guy. He's the future. He's taking us back to the glory years. [Laughs again]

BA: I wouldn't say "love" but I think he brings some excitement to the division. And he has the eraser. And even a hardass like yourself knows that's true. 

TJ: So he has a right hand. Or we think he does. Has he knocked out a good fighter with it?

BA: He's hurt everyone with it.

TJ: But almost every heavyweight could hurt someone with something. They're like 230, 240 lbs. these days. You get hit with a good jab from a guy weighing that much and it hurts. You remember Mikey Serrano. Same thing with him. Yeah, if he catches you it hurts. Don't mean he's catching you with it. 

BA: Wilder's right hand is legit. And he wants to knock guys out. And that's a big difference. He's not Ray Austin. He's not Calvin Brock, or guys like that – the guys who are happy to be there. Deontay wants to be great. 

TJ: Every fighter wants to be great. Tell me a fighter who says, "I just want to be average. I just want to be mediocre." None. Nobody. But the truth is the truth. Listen, if you don't have that base, that foundation, it don't matter. Every punch you can see coming. He telegraphs it. Then, he just looks at the guy after he hits him. 

BA: Admires his work.

TJ: Yup. Like, kid, either keep punching or get the hell out of the way. [They both laugh.] 

BA: But can't he learn that? 

TJ: He's already what, 27? 28?

BA: 29?

TJ: 29! Shit. He ain't gonna get much better. 

BA: But even if he gets even 10% better with his defense, he has a real shot. 

TJ: A real shot at what! What are we talking about here? A guy who has one punch and no damn defense. Sounds like a "B-fighter." Dime-a-dozen 20 years ago. Wouldn't have even cracked TV in the '70s. 

BA: Bullshit! He won an Olympic medal. Back then that counted. The networks would have been all over that. 

TJ: Fine, maybe that's true. But he loses the first step up. Is he beating Shavers? Norton? Jimmy Young? And I'm not even talking about the Alis of the world, the Foremans, the Fraziers. 

BA: I don't even want to get into that nonsense. Those guys aren't around anymore. It's a different era...but someone we both know used to say, "If you got a punch, you got a chance." Remember that one? 

TJ: You're an idiot. 

BA: [Laughs] I learned it from the best. And 29 isn't even that old for a heavyweight. He still has time. And [expletive deleted].

BA: And you're a [Expletive deleted].

TJ: [Expletive deleted]

BA: [Expletive deleted]

TJ: [They both laugh.] Glad we got that out of the way [laughs]. Listen, Wilder's a good kid. He's a good interview. He's promotable. I get all that. But he couldn't tie his shoes without falling over. That footwork is terrible. And don't get me started on his defense. 

BA: Some holes there. Sure. 

TJ: Holes! It's goddamn Swiss cheese! You can march an army in there. 

BA: [Laughs] C'mon man, it's not that bad. 

TJ: You get inside on him and he's in a panic. He don't know what to do. 

BA: He did show the uppercut last fight.

TJ: Yeah, but it took him six rounds to throw it. It was there from the jump. He's just not a natural fighter in the ring. Like he's learning how to box from a manual. 

BA: But I think [Mark] Breland's helping him, don't you? He has a lot less nervous energy now. 

TJ: That's true. He's no longer shitting himself in the ring. [They both laugh.] 

BA: Yeah, he needed to relax some. But Breland's helped. He's mixing in his punches better.  

TJ: I like Breland. And I'm glad he's there but he can only do so much. The kid has bad habits. You don't suddenly break them. It takes years. And he don't got that kind of time. It don't matter if he's throwing left hooks when they're from a mile away. A guy with any talent beats him there with the right hand. 

BA: But who are those guys out there? Fury? You're calling him a ring genius?

TJ: Fury's the British kid right? The clown?

BA: Yes. That's him.

TJ: [Laughs] Well I wouldn't say that. [They both laugh.] He can punch though. 

BA: But I'm talking about counterpunchers. Who can do that in the heavyweight division?

TJ: The guys here can – Cunningham, Chambers, Scott – but they couldn't hurt Wilder. 

BA: See.

TJ: But they could outpoint him. 

BA: And please. Scott went down from Deontay's first punch.

TJ: [Inaudible] …please.

BA: Fine. We don't have to talk about that. But Steve goes down from a stiff breeze. 

TJ: Yeah. 

BA: Who else are we talking about?

TJ: That kid Perez, the Cuban, he can counter. But he's inconsistent. 

BA: He just got flattened by Povetkin too.  You know they're fighting next year?

TJ: Who? 

BA: Wilder and Povetkin. Have you seen Povetkin fight?

TJ: I saw Eddie's [Chambers] fight with him. He went into a panic and gave away the fight. [Inaudible] Klitschko fight too. One of the worst fights I ever saw. Povetkin had no clue in that fight. 

BA: He's been knocking guys out left and right since then. 

TJ: Knocking out who?

BA: Perez for one.

TJ: You know don't matter...yeah, Povetkin's OK, I guess. Accurate. Decent power.  

BA: So does Deontay beat him?

TJ: And so what if he does? Who the [expletive deleted] is Povetkin? 

BA: Probably the second-best guy in the division. 

TJ: [Turns to me] This is why I can't watch heavyweight boxing anymore. They're awful. All of them. 

BA: Everything was so much better when Tommy was a kid. Grandma Lois would tuck him in after listening to the fights on the radio. 

TJ: Oh you went there! [laughs] I'm gonna knock your ass out after this meal. 

BA: With what? Your cane, old man?

TJ: You see these [raises his fists]. Still dynamite in these hands. [They look at each other and start laughing.]  Good shit, Bobby. But seriously, I like Wilder. I wish him the best. I want him to be good. God knows we could use it. He's just not the guy. 

BA: But again, with that punch –

TJ: Yeah, yeah, yeah. He can punch. But can he take a punch?

BA: He took some good hooks from Stiverne. 

TJ: Yeah, he did. But in a real fight…even against the robot. He's going to get hit a lot. That robot hits him with those right hands, will Wilder still be there? No, he's going down.

BA: But Klitschko’s gone soon. The division's opening up. 

TJ: Opening up for what? Ain't nobody I see worth giving a crap about. 

BA: Just a jaded old man. [laughs]

TJ: Maybe true. But that don't make me wrong. 

BA: No, It doesn't. But if Wilder can be the guy, it would be very good for the sport. 

TJ: And if you had a left hook you could have gone all the way. 

BA: Always a [expletive deleted]. 

TJ: [They both laugh.] True.

*Tommy Jenkins and Bobby Archer are both fictional. 

Adam Abramowitz is the head writer and founder of
He is also a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
@snboxing on twitter, SN Boxing on Facebook
Contact Adam at

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Q&A: Russell Peltz

When considering Philadelphia boxing institutions over the last four decades, promoter Russell Peltz belongs on a short list with Joe Frazier, Bernard Hopkins, Rocky and the Blue Horizon. Peltz has served as the backbone of the local fight scene since 1969. Over the years, he has been Director of Boxing for The Spectrum, the head matchmaker for the Blue Horizon and the promoter of numerous world champions, including Jeff Chandler, Marvin Johnson, Charles Williams, Gary Hinton, Charles Brewer and Kassim Ouma. Perhaps he is most associated with the golden era of Philadelphia middleweights, which included "Bad" Bennie Briscoe, Eugene "Cyclone" Hart, Willie "The Worm" Monroe and Bobby "Boogaloo" Watts. Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, the World Boxing Hall of Fame the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame and the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame, Peltz continues to persevere in the sport despite many trends that have harmed boxing both locally and nationally.

At heart, Peltz believes in the importance of good matchmaking, respecting fans with a quality product. To him, boxers shouldn't be afraid to fight tough opponents. If the fight is good, then both combatants stand to gain fan support and additional opportunities. Although Peltz bemoans many of the developments in U.S. boxing, from poor fighter development to various promoters' indifference to selling tickets to over-inflated purses, the good fight still excites Peltz; that's what he's after. That's what keeps him going.

On Friday, Peltz launches the Puerto Rican Boxing Classic (PRBC) at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia. The seven-fight card is headlined by Jason Sosa (17-1-3), an emerging junior lightweight from nearby Camden, N.J. who knocked out former world title challenger Jerry Belmontes in his last fight (the card is available on, 7 p.m. EST). The PRBC reflects the changing demographics of Philadelphia's fight scene. Over the last few years, Peltz has signed several Hispanic fighters and more than a few of them have cultivated significant fan bases around the region. He hopes that this event will showcase some of the emerging talent in Philadelphia and become an annual tradition.

Earlier this week, I sat down with Peltz for a wide-ranging interview in his Philadelphia office. The Q&A below covers the Puerto Rican Boxing Classic, the current Philly fight scene and how to improve local boxing.

(This interview has been edited and condensed.)

What is the genesis of the Puerto Rican Boxing Classic?

Michelle Rosado [Business Development and Marketing for Peltz Boxing]. It was all her idea and it was a good idea. We’re getting a lot of press and people seem to be excited. We’ve got a lot of Hispanic fighters in the area. Hopefully the fights are good. 

Has it been challenging getting sponsors to the event? What has the corporate support been like for local shows? 

It’s tough. We have Parx Casino in for four shows. Michelle has come up with Coors and Don Q Rum, which is a popular Puerto Rican rum. Cricket Wireless.  She’s got a lot of contacts so this is what she does. She’s done very well.

I noticed that the headliner, junior lightweight Jason Sosa, just signed a co-promotional agreement with Top Rank and that you will be co-promoting him. Tell me a little bit about what you’ve seen from Sosa and what about him excites you? 

He can punch. Anybody who can punch excites people. I know it’s the manly art of self-defense and I appreciate Pernell Whitaker as much as the next guy but I wouldn’t want to go to a show and see seven Pernell Whitaker fights. But I could go to a show and see seven Mike Tyson fights or seven Jason Sosa fights. He’s young and he’s a good kid. Religious, God-fearing, a good family. He tells me not to worry. He tells me, “Russell, I was born for this.”  

If Sosa comes out of this weekend’s fight OK, what are some of the immediate plans for him? 

December 11th in San Juan is written in pencil. That would be his next fight, probably off television, and then we start moving up next year.  

What can you tell me about lightweight Victor Vasquez, who fights in the co-featured bout? 

The Fighting Barber. He’s probably the most popular Puerto Rican fighter we’ve had in the city – including Danny Garcia – in years, especially for someone at his level. He brings a big crowd. He’s liked. He’s very well-known. He has a fan-friendly style. Is he going to become a contender or win a world title? I don’t know. But he gives you his money’s worth and you can’t ask for anything more than that.
You’ve been promoting in the Philadelphia market for decades and the city has gone through numerous demographic changes in that time. Who are Philadelphia boxing fans these days? 

There’s a small core of old-liners, those who haven’t passed on. It’s been tough getting young people involved with boxing because of the sport’s decline over the years. Whether or not the UFC and MMA have anything to do with it I don’t know, but they do attract a younger crowd. 

It seems in recent years that a lot of the shows are made up of fans of a certain fighter. They come to see that certain fighter. Unless you get a real fight that clicks, like [Joey] Dawejko and [Amir] Mansour back in May, even though the fight was a disappointment, the attraction wasn’t. Unless you can get a fight like that, it’s going to be a struggle. Like if Teon Kennedy were still fighting and he fought Sosa, that would be a big fight. Sosa against X? We’ll see Friday night.

How have ticket sales been for the event? 

Fair. Better than fair. I think it will pick up. The whole city has been buried under the Pope in the past week. It will pick up.

How would you classify the Philly boxing scene today? 

Sad.  I mean there are some talented fighters but how do you know because they’re not fighting anyone? Nobody wants to fight a competitive fight until they can make a lot of money. They all want easy fights. A guy called me up and said can you get me six wins in a row [laughs]. I said do you think Bennie Briscoe ever called me up and said get me six wins in a row. Or Jeff Chandler. The fighters talk like managers and that’s why the business is hurting because there’s no reason to go to these local shows. There’s nothing compelling about them. It’s just the case of one promoter trying to get his fighter wins at the expense of the paying public. That’s why people are giving tickets away like crazy.  

Besides Sosa, who are some guys in the region that you are excited about? 

Julian Williams is a good fighter. DeCarlo Perez just scored a nice win in Vegas. He’s young. He’s only 24. [Ismael] “Tito” Garcia, a junior middleweight from Vineland, New Jersey, he has a lot of talent. I like Dawejko. I just couldn’t see eye-to-eye with management so we’re not together but Joey Dawejko knows how to fight. People get blinded by his body type. Will he win the title when the champ is 6’7? I don’t know but there are a lot of guys out there that he could fight, certainly guys like Dominic Breazeale and Fred Kassi. He could beat them. What happened against Mansour? I have no idea? 

He had some good early rounds.  

Both of them were terrible. That was such a disappointment. That was such a big fight. I was so pumped and it turned out to be such a disappointment. For so much at stake on ESPN – I mean it was my first show on ESPN in seven years [Peltz once was the head matchmaker for ESPN's boxing programming] – not that it would have mattered because they were rolling over at that point to Haymon. But for them to perform like that… 

I remember that night I went over to Brian Kweder [he was ESPN’s executive in charge of boxing] and I said you could go to all those bleeping casinos you want but you’ll never get this kind of atmosphere, and he agreed. What a disappointment that was! But listen, Joey came back and if Mansour comes back to beat Gerald Washington next month – 
He’s live in that fight. 

Yes, he could win that fight. We’ll see what happens.
What will it take for big fights to come back to Philadelphia? 

If you put Danny Garcia in with Manny Pacquiao – but when you’ve got casinos paying big money – and I don’t know how big Danny Garcia is right now in Philly. He never fights here. He had a couple of early career fights in Philly. But you’ve got casinos competing against that for dollars. The Barclays, they’re not even a casino but they’re paying enough money that that’s where Danny Garcia fights. 

Philly is only going to make it as a boxing town if Philly guys fight Philly guys. I mean there might be an occasional transplanted Philadelphian like Marvin Johnson or [Billy] “Dynamite” Douglas. Or a big name like Emile Griffith or when Roberto Duran fought here for us. The recipe for success in Philly has always been Philly against Philly. For these “so-called” managers of today, they don’t get it.  

Dawejko fought Mansour, now that’s basically an all-Philly fight, but who got knocked off? Dawejko lost and then scored a smashing knockout on ShoBox. So if anything, he’s bigger now than he was before he fought Mansour. The same thing happened a couple of years earlier with Derek Ennis and Gabriel Rosado. Rosado lost the fight but he became a big star. That’s the formula. 

As long as you have promoters who are willing to cater to these guys and get them win after win after win…when I go to make a fight like [I talked about], even at the six-round level, and a guy says, “Why should I do this Russell? I could get a fight on Joe Blow’s card and fight an easy guy and get a win. Why should I fight a tough fight?” 

You’re promoting at the 2300 Arena now. What do you like or not like about that atmosphere? Do you enjoy promoting there?  

It’s off the beaten track although in 10 years from now it’s probably going to be the hot spot in the city with the river development. I mean there’s no real public transportation like there was at the Blue Horizon or the Arena or the Spectrum. It’s a little small. They’ve been talking about building a balcony but they’ve been talking about that for years. It’s a work in progress because they’re struggling to make ends meet.  

It’s a coming place but it’s never going to replace the Blue Horizon, unless or until they get a balcony in there to get more seating. Because, to sit on the flat, it’s not the same. If you had three rows of risers in the back, it would be better.  

Listen, Jimmy Toppi, who owned the Blue Horizon when I got into the business, said, “People will go up a blind alley to watch a fight if it’s a fight they want to see.” If they want to see it, they’ll figure out how to get there. 

Adam Abramowitz is the head writer and founder of
He is also a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
@snboxing on twitter, SN Boxing on Facebook
Contact Adam at