Boxing fans got three cards this weekend from coast to coast as the spring boxing season got rolling in earnest. With several upsets and twists of fate, making our picks for Who Won The Weekend is a little like mindlessly swiping on Tinder – or so I've heard.
So let's get to it, NY Fights fam. Who won the weekend?
Michael Woods, Founder: Mmmm … The Tinder Edition would be fun. Brian Mendoza won the weekend. I had a sneaky suspicion he MIGHT get the W, more so from how he was talking during fight week. I picked up on a certain confidence thing—- so when Ryan O submitted a Mendoza story, I gave it an extra measure of love for a B-side attraction… just in case. Guess what? “Just in case” happens every so often in this unpredictable milieu.
Marquis Johns, Writer: My winner by far is, without question, Brian Mendoza, for his knockout over Sebastian Fundora. I've watched the visual of Fundora falling on repeat all day Sunday—another fantastic win for Mendoza, who now had impressive back-to-back stoppages.
Colin Morrison, Writer: While the boxers who pulled off against-the-odds victories this weekend helped themselves immensely, Shakur Stevenson won the weekend. His display against Shuichiro Yoshino in Newark, New Jersey, reset the opinion of many fans on the 25-year-old American. He showcased his talents in an entertaining fashion by winning by sixth-round TKO. He's on his way to becoming a three-weight world champion – perhaps more importantly, he's taken a big step toward changing the narrative on his fighting style. Big nights are ahead for Mr. Stevenson.
Michael Montero, Host, Montero on Boxing: Brian Mendoza's knockout of Sebastian Fundora was exciting and definitive, but I'm gonna give the nod to Marlon Tapales. In my opinion, his split decision win (which should have been unanimous if not for that terrible scorecard from judge Javier Alvarez) over Murodjon Akhmadaliev was a much bigger upset. Akhmadaliev was a unified titleholder who was seen by most as the second-best junior featherweight in the world coming in.
Matthew Aguilar, Writer: I know who didn't win the week: those six blind mice at ringside judging the Lee-Campa and Nuñez-Olivo cards, headed by George Cruz's despicable 100-90 card in the Nuñez-Olivo fight. This needs more than a column. This needs some answers. Why is an established commission like California allowing inexperienced judges to work high-profile, nationally televised Showtime cards? I can only think of one reason. They're there to advance someone's agenda. If I have any time whatsoever in the coming weeks, I hope to look into the insane regularity of these inexplicable decisions. As I wrote on Twitter, there are lifelong boxing people – fighters, managers, trainers, writers, and fans – who can be in agreement about who won a fight, but these unknown, faceless judges are voting against what everyone appears to be watching. That is not chance. That's intentional. And disgusting.
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) April 9, 2023
Gayle Falkenthal, West Coast Bureau Chief: Ismael Salas won the weekend. The Las Vegas-based, Cuban-born Salas might be on a roll toward 2023 Trainer of the Year honors. Last weekend, Robeisy Ramirez won his first world title.
Friday night, underdog Bryan Flores defeated Shinard Bunch on the ShoBox card in Northern California. Brian Mendoza made it a trifecta this weekend with his stunning upset win over Sebastian Fundora. Let's not forget Salas is also working with heavyweight Joe Joyce. He was behind the victory of Yordenis Ugas over Manny Pacquiao. Salas has a way of getting the very best out of his athletes. Mendoza made it a point to credit Salas and his team for his victory.
Ryan Ohara, writer: Brian Mendoza won the weekend with his spectacular knockout of Fundora. Loser of the weekend: Murodjon Akhmadaliev. He fought terribly for the first half of the fight, eating jabs and straight left hands consistently. And while he arguably won a majority of the rounds down the stretch, it wasn't enough. It was like Loma-Teo all over again.