Sunday, October 28, 2018

SNB Stock Report 10-28-18

After another busy weekend of boxing, with notable fights in Bulgaria, England, New Orleans and New York City, it's time for another edition of the SNB Stock Report. Whose stock rose (+), whose fell (-) and whose remained unchanged after the fight action (NC)?  Find out below: 

Photo Courtesy of Ed Mullholland/HBO

Ivan Baranchyk (+) Baranchyk seems to be one of those fighters who splits opinion among boxing enthusiasts. His detractors would say that his punches are often way too wide, he loads up on almost every shot and his defense is more theoretical than actual. Baranchyk's supporters could point out that he hits like a mule, is well-conditioned and has positive intangibles like self-belief and a desire to improve. I tend to view him positively. Yes, a good technical fighter can beat him, but Baranchyk won't be an easy day at the office for anyone. In fact, Baranchyk's opponent on Saturday, Anthony Yigit, a decorated amateur and 2012 Olympian, was supposed to be such a fighter – crafty, good feet and stellar punch placement. Well, evidently no one told Baranchyk that he should struggle with that style; he went through Yigit like a human buzz saw, grinding him down with ferocious power shots and relentless pressure. By the seventh round, Yigit's left eye had completely closed and the fight was wisely stopped. Although still crude technically, Baranchyk has improved under trainer Pedro Diaz, incorporating more combinations into his offense and varying his attack to the head and body. 

Sergiy Derevyanchenko (NC) Derevyanchenko put forth a commendable effort in a split decision loss to Daniel Jacobs on Saturday. He was knocked down early in the fight and was trailing (perhaps substantially) at the halfway mark of the bout, yet he closed the match strongly. Derevyanchenko spent much of the fight on the front foot and there were many stretches of the bout where he seemingly trapped Jacobs along the ropes. But from my perspective, Derevyanchenko wasn't consistently effective with his aggression and he let Jacobs get away with too many cute things along the ropes. Nevertheless, he provided Jacobs, his stablemate and frequent sparring partner, with a spirited challenge. Derevyanchenko remains a contender at middleweight, but as it stands now, he seems to lack that little bit of extra skill or flash to beat the top fighters in the division.

Terry Flanagan (-) Although Terry Flanagan was a former champion at 135 pounds, since moving up to junior welterweight he hasn't demonstrated that he has the power to be a factor in the division. In June he lost an attempt at a vacant belt, dropping a split decision to Maurice Hooker. On Saturday he was thoroughly outclassed by Regis Prograis, losing a wide unanimous decision. Flanagan hit the deck in the eighth round and never posed a threat throughout the fight. Although he can handle himself in the ring and is well-schooled, he lacks the physical attributes to be among the best at 140. I'm not sure where he goes from here. 

Hughie Fury (-) Just over a year ago, Fury was robbed in a title shot against Joseph Parker. Fury back-footed Parker expertly and although the fight wasn't scintillating to watch, Fury used his hand and foot speed to get the better of the action. On Saturday, Fury had another opportunity to establish his presence in the upper echelon of the heavyweight division against former title challenger Kubrat Pulev in Bulgaria. Instead of seizing his opportunity, Fury turned in a plodding, listless performance and dropped a wide unanimous decision. Fury featured none of the athleticism that manifested against Parker and seemed gun shy throughout the fight. A nasty cut, which opened up over his eye in the second round, certainly didn't help matters, but Fury fought with little ambition or resolve. Overall, it was a disappointing performance. 

Daniel Jacobs (+) Jacobs won a split decision over Sergiy Derevyanchenko on Saturday. He knocked down his opponent in the first round with a menacing overhand right. He also featured strong power shots to the body and an impressive array of defensive moves. Over the years, Jacobs has learned to relax better in the ring, which has helped him on offensive to pick his punches better and on defense to avoid getting caught with big shots, which had been a problem earlier in his career. All of those positive attributes were on display on Saturday. But Jacobs did seem to lose focus towards the end of the fight and didn't match Derevyanchenko's energy or punch volume, allowing some rounds to slip away. With Saturday's win Jacobs confirmed that he is among the best fighters at 160, but he has yet to put together 12 consistent rounds against a good opponent. At age 31 and with 37 professional fights, I still don't have a great read on him. Depending on the night, he could probably win or lose against any of the top fighters in the division. If that sounds like I don't have a lot of confidence in him, that's true; I don't.  

Alberto Machado (+) Machado established himself in 2017 with an upset victory over junior lighweight titleholder Jezreel Corrales. Machado was dropped in the fight and Corrales dominated stretches of the action, but Machado, packing some serious weaponry in both hands, was able to turn the tide and win by knockout. Earlier this year Machado dominated overmatched challenger Rafael Mensah. On Saturday, Machado barely had time to break a sweat, knocking down Yuandale Evans three times in the first round to pick up a KO 1. Machado has continued to improve under trainer Freddie Roach, adding to his punch variety and becoming a solid combination puncher. He finds himself in an exciting division at the moment with no dominant fighter, but several intriguing candidates to be the top dog. Here's hoping that Machado gets a meaningful fight in 2019; I think he will mix in nicely with the best in the division. 

Photo Courtesy of Amanda Westcott/WBSS

Regis Prograis (+) Although it wasn't his flashiest performance, Prograis's dominant decision victory over Terry Flanagan may have been his most impressive as a pro. Tightening up on his defense and reducing the wild swings that often left him vulnerable to counters, Prograis fought intelligently in the pocket and consistently got the better of the action. A beauty of a straight left hand sent Flanagan down in the eighth and although Prograis wasn't able to get the stoppage, he asserted his dominance throughout the fight. Saturday's contained performance was an important sign of maturation and an indication that Prograis can be much more than a go-for-broke knockout artist. He'll fight Kiryl Relikh in the next round of the World Boxing Super Series 140-lb. tournament in what should be an intriguing style matchup. 

Kubrat Pulev (+) At 37 and with more than 18 months out of the ring, it was certainly possible that Pulev would begin to see a rapid decline in his physical skills. But fighting Hughie Fury at home in Bulgaria on Saturday, Pulev, beat back Father Time and demonstrated that he can still be a factor in the heavyweight division. Although there was nothing Pulev did that was overly flashy, his consistent effort, physicality, and short, sharp punches were more than enough to earn a wide decision victory. Pulev had to drop out of an Anthony Joshua fight last year due to injury and it's possible that he could face the heavyweight titleholder next year. It's hard to envision a scenario where Pulev beats Joshua, but with wins over Dereck Chisora and Fury, he certainly has earned the opportunity to fight for another title shot (he lost to Wladimir Klitschko in 2014). 

John Ryder (NC) In one of the stranger fights of 2018, John Ryder was getting summarily outboxed by Andrey Sirotkin for six rounds, and then Sirotkin suddenly hit a wall. Sirotkin's frenetic movement subsided in the seventh and Ryder took advantage of the opportunity, unloading pulverizing body shots. Late in the round a beautiful right hook to the body sent Sirotkin to the canvas and he didn't want any more. Ryder remains a fringe contender at super middleweight. He has some pop but is fairly vanilla in the ring. I imagine with Eddie Hearn as his promoter that he will get another opportunity for a big fight. He wouldn't be favored against the best in the division, but he certainly would have a puncher's chance.

Anthony Yigit (-) On paper Anthony Yigit possessed many advantages over Ivan Baranchyk – hand speed, athleticism, coordination, and a larger punch arsenal – but he used none of them in the ring on Saturday. For some strange reason, Yigit decided to slug it out with Baranchyk instead of attempting to box him. Yigit paid the price for that decision, eating some enormous shots throughout the contest. His left eye completely closed from Baranchyk's punishing right hands and after the seventh round, the doctor and referee stopped the fight. Yigit, a former amateur star, is not without talent, but he demonstrated a poor ring IQ on Saturday and will be out of action for an extended period of time as his body heals from Saturday's beating.

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. 
snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook.

Monday, October 22, 2018

SNB Stock Report

This weekend featured three major fight cards with title bouts at middleweight, junior lightweight and bantamweight, and a high-profile World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) clash at cruiserweight. So after all the dust settled, whose stock went up (+), whose went down (-), or whose stayed the same (no change)? Find out in the SNB Stock Report. 

Demetrius Andrade (+) Andrade beat late replacement Walter Kautondokwa to earn a vacant middleweight belt. He scored four knockdowns and cruised to a wide decision victory. On the plus side of the ledger, he displayed sharp punching and his power looks like it will play at middleweight. On the other hand, he carried Kautondokwa in the latter rounds and didn't really try to finish him off when the opportunity was there for the taking. In addition, Andrade touched the canvas during a rare double knockdown. Fortunately for him, referee Steve Willis missed the call (more on him below) and Willis also failed to discipline Andrade for hitting Kautondokwa while he was already knocked down (Andrade could have been disqualified). Ultimately, Andrade's performance puts him in a position for a bigger fight, but there were a number of head-scratching moments as well. In short, Saturday was a microcosm of his career: loads of talent on display, and several confounding choices. 

Rob Brant (+) Not all that much was expected for Brant heading into Saturday's fight against Ryota Murata. Top Rank was already making plans for Murata to face Gennady Golovkin in a middleweight mega-fight in Tokyo next year. Furthermore, Brant looked completely overmatched last year in his super middleweight WBSS fight against Juergen Braehmer. Brant's team pointed out prior to Saturday's fight that he was undefeated at middleweight – to a collective yawn might I add. But they had the last laugh as Brant put together the performance of his career to upset Murata and win a wide unanimous decision. Brant, working with trainer Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, executed a brilliant game plan, using angles, volume and grit to get the better of Murata. In addition, Brant showed a solid beard. He took a number of big shots from Murata, but always came back swinging. Overall, it was a career-defining performance and he should be in line for a decent payday in 2019. 

Maxim Dadashev (no change) Dadashev, an Egis Klimas-managed junior welterweight, was seen by some as a serious prospect. Entering Saturday's fight against old war horse Antonio DeMarco, Dadashev featured a nifty record of 11-0 with ten knockouts. Yet, there Dadashev was in the second half of the fight eating right hooks and clinching to buy himself some time. The optimist would say that Dadashev got some needed rounds and seasoning. He's a good athlete and features excellent hand speed. But the pessimist might watch Dadashev's performance on Saturday and wonder what would have happened if someone fresher and more menacing than DeMarco was landing that cleanly on him. Ultimately, Dadashev won a competitive unanimous decision, but more was expected of him. 

Yuniel Dorticos (no change) When last we saw Dorticos in February, he lost a war to Murat Gassiev in the semifinals of the cruiserweight WBSS. The fight was clearly one of the best of 2018. Now entering a new WBSS tournament, Dorticos had a tougher-than-expected fight against Mateusz Masternak, winning a close unanimous decision. Dorticos looked a little sluggish and his vaunted power failed to materialize in the fight. Credit Masternak for beating expectations, but it's fair to ask just how much the Gassiev fight took out of Dorticos. 

Tevin Farmer (+) It's rare when Tevin Farmer scores a knockout; before Saturday his last one was eight fights ago against Daulis Prescott. Yet there Farmer was on Saturday, raising his hands in glory – in the fifth round! It was just Farmer's sixth knockout of his career. Farmer uncorked a beautiful rear hook to James Tennyson's liver in the fourth round and then finished him off with a lead right hook in the fifth. Overall, it was one of Farmer's most offensive-oriented performances on the world level. Farmer continues to improve and he would be a handful for any of the other junior lightweight titlists. 

Jason Moloney (+) Although Moloney lost to Emmanuel Rodriguez by a split decision, his performance should guarantee another big opportunity at bantamweight in 2019. Moloney was down early in Saturday's fight due to Rodriguez's accuracy, punch selection and athleticism. However, Moloney kept plugging away and in the championship rounds, he was the one getting the better of the action. His sharp counters and committed body attack gradually reduced Rodriguez's output and ambition. Nevertheless, the judges got it right. Moloney had several fine moments in the fight, but Rodriguez was the rightful winner. Still, if Moloney is matched right, he definitely could pick up a belt at 118 in the future. 

Ryota Murata (-) Murata fights as if he has A+ power. Patiently walking down his opponents, when he lets his hands go, almost all his shots are hard. His approach could work at the top level if he actually possessed such power; but he doesn't. Rob Brant consistently beat Murata to the punch on Saturday and used Murata's style against him. As Murata would contemplate whether to let a right hand go, Brant would paste him with a quick three-punch combination and then get out of range. This same exact scenario occurred dozens of times throughout the fight. Yes, Murata did land a few of his bombs, and perhaps the scores were a little too kind to Brant, but Murata didn't do enough to win the fight. Even the best knockout punchers have to know how to win fights on the cards; Brant made Murata look one-dimensional on Saturday. 

Emmanuel Rodriguez (+) Rodriguez is an excellent fighter and it's a shame that because of the bantamweight seeding in the WBSS that he'll have to face Naoya Inoue in the semifinals. In my opinion, those are the best two fighters at 118 at the moment. Rodriguez turned away a spirited effort from Jason Moloney on Saturday. Featuring a large arsenal of punches, excellent movement and imposing physical dimensions, Rodriguez did his best work in the first nine rounds of the fight. Perhaps he took his foot off the gas a little or was getting a bit winded by the end of the fight. Nevertheless, he put forward a commendable performance in the best fight of the weekend.   

Steve Willis (-) The rule for hot dogs is this: it only works when you back it up in the ring. Yes, referee Steve Willis is a showboat. He knows that eyes are watching him in the ring. He's aware of all of the .gifs and memes that are circulating on social media. He's a minor cult hero among the boxing hardcore. However, all of this ceases to be amusing when he misses a knockdown and fails to penalize a fighter for hitting an opponent who was already on the canvas. Willis was dreadful during the Andrade fight. Maybe a little less mugging and a little more humility is needed at this juncture. Willis has been a fine world-class referee for some time, but his work on Saturday was far from satisfactory. 

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. 
snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Punch 2 the Face Podcast

This week's Punch 2 the Face podcast looks back at a big fight weekend, including Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Naoya Inoue and Eddie Hearn's first U.S. DAZN card, which featured a number of entertaining fights. Brandon and I previewed Saturday's matchup between Terence Crawford and Jose Benavidez Jr. We also gave our opinions on the cancellation of Saunders-Andrade and Billy Joe Saunders' failed drug test. In addition, Lou DiBella joined us to talk about Jacobs-Derevyanchenko, Prograis-Flanagan and Farmer-Tennyson. Lou also shared some recollections from his time at HBO Boxing and what the network leaving the sport means to him.

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. 
snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook.