Thursday, March 29, 2018

Joshua-Parker: Keys to the Fight

Boxing fans have been treated to a number of memorable fights in the first quarter of 2018 and Saturday's heavyweight unification match between British boxing superstar Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) and New Zealand's Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) should continue the sport's winning streak. Over 75,000 fans are expected to fill Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

As a champion Joshua has been riding the wave to true superstardom. Last year he knocked out Wladimir Klitschko in almost everyone's fight of the year and he also dispatched the capable Carlos Takam in 10 rounds. Joshua features power in both hands and a strong boxing foundation. He did hit the deck against Klitschko and his chin is not his strongest attribute in the ring.

Courtesy of Esther Lin/Showtime

Although there's been a lot of excitement in boxing circles about a possible mega-fight between Joshua and American titlist Deontay Wilder, Parker will look to rewrite the existing narrative in the heavyweight division; this is his moment to shine. However, in his last fight, he was lucky to escape with a majority decision over Hughie Fury. There's no use in sugar-coating it: Parker-Fury was atrocious to watch. Fury had a lot of success back-footing Parker, who often crudely lunged in with ineffective power shots. Nevertheless, two judges preferred Parker's attempts at aggression and he was awarded the decision. 

Luckily for Parker, Joshua won't employ the same type of evasive style that Fury displayed. Joshua prefers to fight in the pocket. He likes to mix in his power shots and he'll look to land his best punch, his right uppercut; however, he needs to be in range for that to happen. Thus, Parker should have opportunities to land and trade. 

But does Parker have enough dimensions in the ring to beat Joshua or will he be outgunned by a more versatile opponent? Will Joshua continue his assault on the heavyweight division? Below are the Keys to the Fight. My prediction will be at the end of the article. 

1. Will Joshua box or fight?

Part of what makes Joshua so refreshing is that he's a heavyweight who doesn't shy away from contact. Unlike the Klitschko brothers, Joshua doesn't believe in neutralizing opponents. He wants to assert himself in the ring and dominate his opposition. He's not afraid to take a shot to land one. However, Joshua's not a brawler by any means. With a solid jab, a large arsenal of punches and athleticism, Joshua can also win rounds via fundamental boxing. 

Against Parker, Joshua will have significant size and reach advantages. He can control the outside and use his feet to get himself out of trouble. The question comes down to what kind of fight Joshua wants. If he's content to win rounds by boxing and mixing it up only sporadically, that opportunity is there for him. However, if he wants to punish Parker and blast him out of the ring, then that scenario would give Parker more options in the fight. 

2. Chins.

Joshua was dropped against Klitschko and staggered when facing Dillian Whyte. To this point in his career, Parker has displayed a good beard. His problems have come more from fatigue than from chin issues. In this fight Joshua has the flashier weapons – straight right hand, left hook and right uppercut; however, don't discount Parker's considerable power. Parker's at his best on the inside and he throws menacing shots downstairs. He may work the body as well as any current heavyweight. In addition, Parker throws a sneaky, short right to the head that often finds its mark because his foes are so conscious of protecting themselves from his body shots. 

Still, one can look at Parker's resume and not see a bona fide puncher as an opponent. Andy Ruiz is heavy-handed but lacks knockout weapons. Carlos Takam is a solid but not spectacular puncher. Although Parker's chin has held up until now, he's never faced a slugger like Joshua. Parker needs to defend himself on the inside against Joshua's uppercut and he also must be wary of Joshua's left hook from close range. On paper, Parker might have the edge in the chin department, but it might not play out that way on Saturday. 

3. Who wins on the inside? 

Joshua has many weapons on the inside, but his shots aren't as short as Parker's; they need time and space to develop. Joshua, however, is the more accurate technician. He can cause damage with any of his shots without needing sustained flurries to land something meaningful. Parker often likes to grapple on the inside. He'll use his body to push opponents around to find angles to land his best shots.  

Much of this fight will come down to Ring IQ on the inside. Joshua doesn't have to engage at close range to win while Parker has to be on the inside to be victorious. Joshua should use his legs or tie up when appropriate. For Parker, he'll need some deception when attacking (something which hasn't exactly been his forte). Rushing in with crude punches won't be enough against a fighter with Joshua's weapons. Parker is also going to have to work in the clinch whenever possible. He shouldn't be initiating clinches to take a breather; that's an area in the ring where he needs to do his best work. 

4. Fatigue. 

Both Joshua and Parker have exhibited conditioning issues throughout their respective careers. Perhaps because of their size or that so many of their developmental bouts ended with early stoppages, neither boxer looks completely comfortable in the second halves of fights. Interestingly, they respond to fatigue differently. Joshua stops moving and becomes much easier to hit. When Parker is tired, he'll use his legs to move along the ropes, avoiding action. Joshua has demonstrated that he can catch a second wind in a number of his bouts while Parker seems to keep fading the longer that fights progress. 

The fresher boxer will have a huge advantage in the second half of Saturday's match. Both Joshua and Parker have announced that they plan to come in lighter than they have in their recent fights (the proof will be at Friday's weigh-in); they are essentially admitting that fatigue and conditioning have been problems in the past. It will be interesting to see which fighter has the conditioning edge over the duration of the fight. Often heavyweight bouts have several rounds that feature lulls in the action. The fighter who can push out a few more punches just might be the one to pick up needed rounds on the scorecards. 

5. The corners. 

With Rob McCracken in his corner, Joshua will have a significant advantage in this fight. McCracken has distinguished himself as a trainer, leading Carl Froch to glory in several big fights as well as shepherding Team Great Britain to great heights during the 2012 Olympics. Not only does McCracken have big-fight experience as a trainer, he has done very well in those matches. Featuring creative game plans and a no-nonsense attitude in the corner, McCracken also excels in the tough moments, helping to guide his charges out of danger and providing them with a path to victory (for example, Froch-Taylor, Froch-Groves I and Joshua-Klitschko). 

Parker's trainer, Kevin Barry, doesn't have the same type of strategic or motivational acumen that McCracken possesses. Parker underwhelmed against Fury and won a surprisingly competitive fight against Andy Ruiz. In addition, I'm not sure if Barry and Parker are always on the same wavelength. Parker can drift through rounds and Barry isn't always successful in goading Parker into fighting with more urgency.  


With a potential mega-fight coming up against Deontay Wilder, it's incumbent for Anthony Joshua to remain undefeated. In addition, Parker's specific skill set suggests that Joshua would be wise to fight a lot of the bout on the outside. Therefore, it wouldn't surprise me if Joshua-Parker turns out to be more of a tactical fight than many anticipate. If Parker's not on the inside, he can't win. No doubt McCracken delivered that message to Joshua during training camp. 

Ultimately, I think that the key word for Saturday's fight will be discipline. Expect to see Joshua utilize his considerable boxing skills to flummox and stymie Parker. Joshua's jab will be a significant factor in the fight and Parker won't find ways to get inside consistently. Joshua will fight within himself and won't look to force the action. If the opening isn't there, then Joshua will wisely pick up points with his superior boxing ability. 

I do expect there to be a few enjoyable tussles on the inside but as the fight progresses, we'll see a lot of the same thing: Joshua giving Parker a boxing lesson. By the end of the fight, Joshua will box his way to a comprehensive and dominant points victory. I'd be surprised if Parker wins more than two rounds. 

Anthony Joshua defeats Joseph Parker by unanimous decision.  

Adam Abramowitz is the founder and head writer of
He's a member of Ring Magazine's Ring Ratings Panel and a Board Member for the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. 
snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Bryant Jennings: On Boxing, Progress and Love

When talking with heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings (22-2, 13 KOs), he consistently surprises with unexpected candor. Here are four examples: 
  1. Top Rank didn't have to persuade Jennings to sign with them. It was actually the reverse. Jennings had to convince the company that he would be an asset to them.
  2. He doesn't love boxing; it's a job. 
  3. He stole his left uppercut from Alexander Povetkin.
  4. He's excited to be boxing on ESPN, perhaps most importantly because he has 15 to 20 friends in prison who haven't been able to watch him fight in years. 
Now that's a lot to unpack, but first things first: 

Jennings fights Joey Dawejko (19-4-4, 11 KOs, and a former amateur opponent) on April 28th in Philadelphia, also airing on ESPN. The card will be headlined by the Jessie Magdaleno-Isaac Dogboe junior featherweight championship bout and Jennings will fight in one of the televised matches on the card. 

For Jennings, this will be his first nationally televised fight since losing to Luis Ortiz in December of 2015. Following consecutive defeats to Wladimir Klitschko and Ortiz, Jennings was out of the ring for 20 months, embroiled in promotional politics. Eventually, he would leave Gary Shaw for Top Rank. Since his return to the ring in August of last year, Top Rank has kept him busy, albeit against lower-level opposition. Dawejko, a fellow Philadelphian, will be Jennings's fourth fight in eight months.

Courtesy of Mikey Williams/Top Rank

When asked if he was excited about being back on national television, Jennings saved his most impassioned remarks for his friends in the penitentiary as referenced above. When asked if there was any bad blood between him and Dawejko, who defeated Jennings in the Philadelphia Golden Gloves in 2009, Jennings stated that he had none. 

"I’m a person with great positive energy," he said. "I don’t have negative energy toward anybody, and I don’t want to create any either."

Sure, Jennings believes that he should have been awarded the decision against Dawejko but he has a serene outlook about it. 

"If I hit him more times than he hit me than I felt as though I won," he said. "I wasn’t really devastated even with the decision going his way, but a lot of people in the audience and my corner thought the fight went my way. I didn’t really care about it. I wasn’t really worried about it. I wasn’t chasing anything. I just started [that fight was just four months after he had made his boxing debut]. It wasn’t a dream of mine."

Which leads to the subject of love. When asked when he fell in love with boxing, he replied that he never did. When asked if he would have answered that question differently four years ago, before he had several ups and downs in his career, he remained resolute in his response. 

“I still don’t love the sport," he said. "It’s just a job to me. I’m just clocking in. It’s just work. You know, I have ambition. I have a passion for success. I have a passion for being secure and comfortable in life… 

"The love for the game – it will hurt you over and over again. You tend to love the things that the game can bring to you or the things that the game can bring out of you."

Jennings further expounded on why boxing is not something that should be loved, and it was a fascinating explanation: 

"I understand what love is. I’m very careful about spreading the word love and even telling individuals that 'I love you.' It’s hard to even respond to people with 'I love you too' when you really don’t love them back...When you say you love something, the love is something where it will be stuck, unconditional. Love will always be there. Love never exits. Love never leaves. If I can feel that I used to love something, then I never loved it. There’s no such thing as I don’t love you anymore. It’s either you still do or you never did."

There's wisdom there. And perhaps some hurt. But either way it's not your stock answer to an innocuous question. With Jennings, there's a consistent thread of a developing philosophy of life, one that's been hard-earned through various trials and tribulations. It's clear that he's now focusing on the elements that he can control – his performances in the ring, his individual choices – and not those that can shift focus or distract. He's not worried about when or if he's getting another title shot, what that timetable is, or getting into a war of words with the other players in the heavyweight division. For him, so much of life presently seems to be about clarity of purpose. 

When talking about the intersection of boxing, philosophy and Philadelphia, it's likely that another fighter comes to mind – Bernard Hopkins, and it's no coincidence that Jennings and Hopkins have talked a lot over the years about the adversities that come inside and outside the boxing ring. Jennings and Hopkins have often discussed focus, clarity, and blocking out distractions. The X's and O's – not as much. 

"We don't talk about in-the-ring things," he said. "We talk about out-of-the-ring things. Out-of-the-ring things exercise your brain into how to think...preparing your mind to be able to take in certain information when you’re fighting or just keeping it clear. Fighting is based on a lot of situations that you’re going through at that present time. So if you’re having financial problems, it’s going to show in the fight. If you’re having baby mamma drama, it’s going to show in the fight. He’s helped with just being able to have the wisdom to think clearer – focus a lot better, receive information a lot better and fight a lot better.”  
This notion of focus is something that Jennings and trainer John David Jackson continue to work on in the ring. When asked about what Jackson has taught him, Jennings highlighted the psychological aspects of the sport. 

"We're working on being comfortable," Jennings said. "Being lighter on your feet, not being stiff. And being more offensive. Trusting in the power. Believing in the power. [He's] molding me into being who I can actually be with the education that he brings."

Courtesy of Mikey Williams/Top Rank

It's often tough getting quality heavyweight sparring in Philadelphia and Jennings has learned his trade as a sparring partner in numerous camps throughout his career. During his hiatus from the ring, he was in camps with Alexander Povetkin, David Haye and Shannon Brings. Even though his professional career was at a standstill at that point, he remained focused on his craft. While Jennings may not love boxing, he maintains a strong sense of professionalism for his vocation. In fact, it was during the Povetkin camp where Jennings picked up a new way of throwing his left uppercut. Further refining Povetkin's shot with Jackson's knowledge of angles, Jennings now believes that his left uppercut is one of his best punches. 

But ask Jennings to name his best punch...he won't answer.

"The best punch is the punch that's open." 

More philosophy. That could be from Hopkins, or another cerebral fighter like Lennox Lewis (a friend and mentor to Jennings), but it's in fact Jennings's own belief. To Jennings, the keys are putting shots together and gradually breaking down a fighter. Sure, Jennings believes in his jab, left hook and right uppercut, but to him, one punch doesn't make the difference; it's the combination of shots that matter – exploiting openings and taking what the opponent provides as opportunities.

Here is where Jennings's in- and out-of-the-ring philosophy starts to coalesce. Asked to name a heavyweight he'd like to fight, he won't. Asked where he will be in a year from now and he provides a similar answer to his in-ring approach: take advantage of what is available. 

"We go after the opportunities," he said. "We go after the money. We go after the upper echelon of achievement, which is to be the heavyweight champion of the world. With these other fighters [in the division], it’s not personal, they just hold that titles that we want."

There's a sense that Jennings is still a developing product, both in and out of the ring. Although he's already 33, he started boxing only at 24. With Jackson, a former two-time champion, Jennings believes that he has the approach that he needs to get to the next level, but he's not in a rush. 

Somehow, Jennings has worked to push distractions aside. If he has a timetable for what he wants to accomplish, he's not saying. He understands that various elements of the sport are out of his control. But within those areas that are in his purview, he holds himself to a high standard. 

He mentions ambition and dedication but a healthy dose of realism continually manifests itself. He had to go looking for a promoter. Where once he appeared on HBO with regularity, now he had to make peace with fighting on three consecutive fights off TV. How many recent heavyweight title challengers had to do that? But there's no bitterness when discussing these facts. He understands the realities of the sport. 

"Progress and consistency," he said, "that’s all you can ask for in this game. This game brings a lot of shit. I want to still be around, to progress, to still be consistent, to still be building the brand and filling the cup." 

Modest aims, but realistic ones.

Bryant Jennings has a number of interesting perspectives on life. He's an original thinker. And if he can keep winning, another big opportunity will come his way. If he's able to take advantage of it, he can cut a very compelling figure in the boxing landscape. But he would object to this type of talk. He has no use for a distraction.

Adam Abramowitz is the founder and head writer of
He's a member of Ring Magazine's Ring Ratings Panel and a Board Member for the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. 
snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Pound for Pound Update 3-18-18

As the first quarter of 2018 winds to a close, it's time to update the Saturday Night Boxing Pound-for-Pound List, where a number of fighters made significant leaps in the Rankings, notably Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Mikey Garcia, Errol Spence, Oleksandr Usyk, and Donnie Nietes. The major updates to Rankings are as follows: 

We have a new number-one in the SNB Pound-for-Pound List, as Srisaket Sor Rungvisai won via majority decision over Juan Estrada in FebruaryDuring the last 12 months Srisaket has beaten the then-top fighter in the Rankings (Roman Gonzalez) and the number-nine boxer (Juan Estrada). No one else under consideration for the top spot in the Rankings has wins over that level of competition. Srisaket is ranked in various positions in the top-10 by different ratings organizations. The divergence of opinion regarding his placement most likely depends on whether his majority decision victory over Gonzalez in their first fight was viewed as a legitimate result. In my estimation, that fight was close enough where I thought that the official result was defensible; others may disagree. With the win over Estrada, Srisaket moves from #3 to #1 in the Rankings. Estrada remains at #9. 

Mikey Garcia continues to impress as he now has won a title in his fourth division. Earlier this month he defeated junior welterweight titlist Sergey Lipinets via unanimous decision. Garcia currently holds belts at both 135 and 140 lbs. Perhaps most notably, in his title fights that have gone to a decision, Garcia's closest margin of victory on any scorecard has been a four-point victory. Through this point in his career, not only is he beating solid fighters, but he's winning convincingly. He rises to #5 from #8. 

Errol Spence earned a seventh-round stoppage over Lamont Peterson in January. Spence dominated a legitimate top-ten contender in the division. He continues to rise in the Rankings, moving up to #11 from #17. 

Oleksandr Usyk is now a unified titleholder in the cruiserweight division after squeaking by with a majority decision win over Mairis Briedis. Perhaps the scores were a little closer than they should have been (the fight was on Briedis's home turf) but Usyk was a deserved winner in my estimation. Usyk rises to #12 from #19 with the victory and has a chance to ascend even higher in the Rankings later this year when he takes on titleholder Murat Gassiev in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series   

Donnie Nietes shined last month during his HBO debut by knocking out the rugged Juan Carlos Reveco in a flyweight title defense. Nietes, a three-division champion, continues to impress even at the advanced age of 35. He moves up two places to #13. 

With the retirement of Kazuto Ioka, Badou Jack enters the Rankings at #20. Jack had already proven to be one of the elites at super middleweight and looked sensational in knocking out former light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly last summer. 

Here is the complete Saturday Night Boxing Pound-for-Pound List: 

1.   Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
2.   Terence Crawford
3.   Vasyl Lomachenko
4.   Gennady Golovkin
5.   Mikey Garcia
6.   Saul Alvarez
7.   Sergey Kovalev
8.   Naoya Inoue
9.   Juan Estrada
10. Keith Thurman
11. Errol Spence
12. Oleksandr Usyk
13. Donnie Nietes
14. Manny Pacquiao
15. Adonis Stevenson
16. Roman Gonzalez
17. Guillermo Rigondeaux
18. Leo Santa Cruz
19. Carl Frampton 
20. Badou Jack

Adam Abramowitz is the founder and head writer of
He's a member of Ring Magazine's Ring Ratings Panel and a Board Member for the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. 
snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook. 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Opinions and Observations: Wilder-Ortiz

For many years Deontay Wilder has been regarded as a one-trick pony in the heavyweight division. His defense was horrible. He lunged and over-committed with shots. Putting combinations together seemed exceedingly difficult for him. His footwork could get sloppy or cumbersome. Sometimes he would sleepwalk through portions of a fight. 

But he had that right hand. 

It's not as if conventional wisdom regarding Wilder was all wrong, maybe off by 20%-25%. But Saturday's thrilling 10th-round knockout victory over Luis Ortiz demonstrated that Wilder brings more to the table than just a straight right. He scored three knockdowns in the fight, each with a different punch: right hand, left hook and right uppercut. When he was hurt badly in the seventh round, he found a way to buy time, either by using the ropes or tying up. His jab was effective at points. And while Ortiz certainly had success landing his power shots, Wilder's positioning and defensive posture led to Ortiz being cautious with his offense; Ortiz had a couple of very good rounds in the fight, but it wasn't if he was teeing off on Wilder.

Courtesy of Tom Casino/Showtime

Wilder-Ortiz eventually turned on a few pivotal exchanges in the fight. After four rounds where Ortiz successfully established his pace and rhythm, Wilder connected with a right hand temple shot in the fifth. He followed up with another right, sending Ortiz to the canvas. In the seventh, Wilder rushed in with a big right hand. Ortiz countered the shot perfectly with a right hook. Ortiz then connected with a punishing straight left and another right hook, forcing Wilder to hang on for dear life to make it out of the round. 

In the 10th it was Wilder who landed a perfect counter, a short right hand while Ortiz was out of position. He then poured it on, scoring with a right hand/left hook/right hand/left hook four-punch combination, leading to his second knockdown. He finished the fight with a number of right hands, finally ending matters with a pulverizing right uppercut – perhaps the first uppercut that he had landed all fight. 

Was there more to the fight than that? Yes, a little. Early in the match, Ortiz kept Wilder at bay with some beautiful counter left hands. Ortiz essentially forced the early rounds into an offensive stalemate, which, credit to him, illustrates his supreme ring generalship and sublime countering ability. 

In the eighth round, Ortiz went for the kill during the first minute and then gradually reduced his offensive output. Did he punch himself out? Was he fatigued? Was he overconfident? In the beginning of the ninth, Ortiz might have thrown two punches in the first 45 seconds, surely not a way to attack wounded prey. 

Similar to last year's wonderful Joshua-Klitschko fight, there were opportunities missed by the older fighter. Wilder showed mettle by absorbing punishment, finding a way to recover and then regaining control of the fight. Overall, it was a thrilling bout and it sets up a potential superfight later in the year against English heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua. 


And now it's time to take a break in the action for an aphorism from Confucius: "Better to be a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." 

A few years ago I had a Twitter exchange with my friend Ryan Bivins. This was probably in late 2013 or early 2014, before Wilder had become a headliner on premium cable. Through that point in his career, Wilder had amassed several early-round knockouts but often looked terrible in doing so. Bemoaning Wilder's myriad technical flaws, I kept harping on all the things he couldn't do. Ryan retorted: That right hand could knock anyone out in the division. Right now. 

I thought about that exchange with Ryan after watching Wilder-Ortiz. Yes, Wilder has slowly improved in a number of fundamental areas. He's not as raw as he was when he was battering the Matthew Greers and the Nichola Firthas of the world. But during his development, that straight right hand has brought Wilder all the way from prospect to contender to champ. 

In baseball, they use a scouting system to evaluate players' skills based on the 20-80 scale. "Fifty" is an average score for a major league skill. Each 10 points on the scale represents one standard deviation above or below the norm. For instance, Yankees slugger Aaron Judge would rate an "80" on the power scale while Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton would score an "80" for speed. The top score is reserved only for the elite of the elite for a given skill; there might be only three or four players who grade at an "80" in any particular category. 

Well Wilder's right hand is an "80" in the power category – and that includes boxers from every division. It's such an elite punch that it can excuse other mistakes. Are other heavyweights more coordinated? Could we find a dozen heavyweights who have a better jab? Are there those with better hooks, lateral movement or defense?  The answer to all of those questions would be yes. However, there may not be a heavyweight that grades at an "80" in any specific skill besides Wilder. Maybe Joshua's right uppercut would be a "70", but that's still one standard deviation below Wilder's right hand. (When thinking about standard deviations, think about exponential differences, not linear. A difference of 10 on this scale is several magnitudes greater in reality, not just 10 points higher.) Wilder's right hand is a diamond. Yes, he contains several flaws and warts in the ring, but he still possesses a diamond, one that no one else does in the division. 

Now, on to other matters: it's time to remove the one-dimensional talk from Wilder. Let's bury it, say a prayer, give it a proper remembrance and move on with our lives. Wilder's conditioning and heart allowed him to hang in against Ortiz during the seventh and eighth rounds. Only because of these factors was he able to then land his power shots in the ninth and tenth. Without his conditioning and heart, there isn't a knockout on Saturday. If he was just a one-trick pony, he would have been knocked out. If he didn't take his training seriously, he would cease to be threat later in fights. Yes, he can still be ponderous at times on his feet, but don't mistake that for a lack of athleticism or a blasé attitude about his career; he has a desire for greatness. He doesn't want to settle for being a novelty act with a freak right hand.  

Here's another old saying: Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  

Wilder produces memorable knockouts. And he stops guys at any skill level, and at any time in the fight. When watching Wilder, there's a realistic chance of seeing a special and dramatic ending. If and when those moments happen, they create an indelible imprint on boxing fans; those moments are shown a bazillion times on sports highlight shows and create a buzz for the sport.

Sure, we can always focus on what Wilder is not; I know that I've made that mistake in the past. But let's remember what he is: a highlight reel American knockout artist – certainly not the worst thing in the world to be. He's never out of a fight, he's not a frontrunner and he can end a bout in a blink of an eye. Slowly, he has incorporated additional technical elements into his game. Remarkably, at 40-0 and at age 32, he still may not have hit his ceiling.

All of this doesn't mean Wilder is the best heavyweight in the world or that he will become the top guy in the foreseeable future. But he has made himself into an attraction. The greater American sporting world has started to take notice; all of these are positive signs and great for boxing as a whole.

Other than Wilder, perhaps nobody had a better night on Saturday than Deontay's financial planner. With that performance, Wilder added millions to his side of the ledger in a potential megafight with Joshua. Recent generations of boxing fans aren't used to seeing a captivating heavyweight division. But now, with Joshua and Wilder, there are two champions in their respective primes who are knockout artists and bona fide attractions. The pair has single-handedly elevated the division from its previous somnambulant state. Joshua has brought millions of new boxing fans into the fold in England and hopefully Wilder will start to grow the sport in his home market. Joshua-Wilder could be absolutely huge if the fight is promoted correctly. Hopefully the powers that be don't fuck it up.

But for now, let's rejoice in the pleasures of the sport and remind ourselves of how wonderful it can be. For the moment, let's brush the unpleasantness of boxing politics off to the side. We've seen two unforgettable heavyweight fights in the last year. In what decade was the last time we could say that? And we may not be done yet.

Adam Abramowitz is the founder and head writer of
He's a member of Ring Magazine's Ring Ratings Panel and a Board Member for the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. 
snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Punch 2 the Face Podcast

This week's Punch 2 the Face Podcast previews Saturday's big fights: Wilder-Ortiz, Kovalev-Mikhalkin and Bivol-Barrera. Brandon and I also recapped the wildly entertaining Superfly 2 card. We also discussed the trend of fighters moving from the PBC to Top Rank. We covered it all and it was a great show.

Click on the links below to listen.

Blog Talk Radio Link:
iTunes link:
Stitcher link:

Adam Abramowitz is the founder and head writer of saturdaynightboxing.comHe's a member of Ring Magazine's Ring Ratings Panel and a Board Member for the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. Email: 
snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook.