Contenders put best fists and feet forward to audition for Who Won the Weekend, and the NYF Squad trotted out their takes.
“I thought Avni Yildrim won the weekend,” said John Gatling. “Making the most of his trip to The Armory in Minneapolis while lead by chief second (my own childhood hometown hero and former corner assistant to heavyweight legend Lennox Lewis) Harold “The Shadow” Knight..
..the Turkish grinder made mincemeat out of a less than sharp Anthony Dirrell for most of the contest from this perspective. Fiercely aggressive with an iron will until his head got in the way to produce cuts severe enough to stop the fight, Avni may have lost this bout via technical decision (I saw it the other way around), but there was more than enough there for a rematch.
“Money Powell IV won the weekend,” said Abe Gonzalez. “This rising prospect put on a show Saturday night by delivering a SportsCenter Top 10 type of knockout. If that wasn't enough, his post fight interview was just as epic as he took his moment on live tv to say that all he wanted was some Pizza Hut!
He stole the night and weekend. The future looks bright for Money Powell IV.”
And what say you, Kelsey McCarson? “Humberto Soto won the weekend. He became the ultimate 151.8-pound trash fight champion of Mexico and the LINEAL junior super middleweight champ champ. Okay, I made those things up, but it was a really entertaining fight against Brandon Rios on DAZN, and he was a huge underdog. What Eubank did was okay, but I'm rolling with the 38-year-old with the Dad bod who turned back the clock and beat Rios.”
“I got Eubank,” said David Phillips. “This could be described as a “crossroads” fight for him and DeGale. Whoever lost would have slid a few rungs down the ladder of the division and in their ability to get big paydays. DeGale is still a name, but he's a somewhat diminished one now. Which isn't necessarily fair, but that's how it works. Eubank could have suffered the same fate. Not only did he avoid that, he stuffed his resume and grabbed back one of the belts George Grove took from him just a little over a year ago.”
“Chris Eubank Jr won the weekend,” said Joe “Jab Hook” Healy. “Shackled with a man whose name he shares, a guy who craves all the attention and eyes all the girls, young Chris was not distracted at all. He went out at the bell for round 1 and rarely took a step back the whole bout. He put it on “Chunky” DeGale, who asked father time for a favor, and got a bitter response. The 33yo DeGale appeared to have lost his power and his quickness as could not keep up with Eubank Jr.
Before the bout, Jab conjectured, “…his only chance is if James DeGale goes to the well and comes up short. How much does the 33yo DeGale still have to give us in the ring? The fight could have some drama, with a cut or a foul or both. Boxing will rule the day, and activity will ensure the win. Now Chris Jr can ponder the likes of the new WBC super middleweight title-holder. Yeah, the Dirrell syndrome, who had his hand full will Avni Yildirim Saturday night. The same Turkish boxer that Chris Jr dispatched in 3 slick rounds in Stuttgart. If Eubank Jr could repeat his most recent performance,“The Dog” would heel, roll over, play dead, and yield his belt.”
“My man Soto won the weekend, capturing victory in a fun fight,” said Tom Penney.
“Chris Eubank Jr for me,” said Chris Glover. “He got the best victory of his career. Yes, DeGale was faded, but you can’t blame Eubank Jr for that. He did what he had to do and become 2 time IBO World Champion in the process. This will likely open doors for Eubank Jr within the PBC setup and possibly open the door for a unification fight with Anthony Dirrell. Shout out to James DeGale who has had a fantastic career and I wish him nothing but the absolute best going forward. However, Chris Eubank Jr won the weekend for me!”
“Humberto Soto won the weekend,” said Hamza Ahmed.
“The man nicknamed Zorrita came back following a 2 year retirement and the age of 38, put on a masterful performance. Yes, we know at the age of 32, Brandon Rios is pretty much shot and nowhere near the fighter he once was back in 2011 but the night was about Soto. The story was about Soto. It was a performance reminiscent of Erik Morales' near triumph against Marcos Maidana except Soto wrote a happy ending to his tale. Heck, he was even a 5-1 underdog before the bell rang yet didn't look like it one bit. His performance was a veteran's greatest hits selection – poise when under fire, conservative when needing a breather, offensive when Rios was open, mixed single shots with combinations at the right time, let his hands go to steal rounds at moments which mattered, defensively economical, boxed in the pocket and at range. All of that demonstrated in an absolute shootout in front of his hometown crowd, 2 banditos waging war over valuable loot, 2 gunslingers in a final shootout in the midst of a dusty Tijuana desert.
Humberto Soto, you just made all of the old guys proud and proved age is nothing but a number. Also want to point out how absolutely shocking Sky Sport's commentary was. They did this fight a disservice by constantly telling viewers Rios shouldn't fight Spence or any other welterweight champion. Instead of appreciating the moment and basking in the war, they were fixated on things like that and how both men were shot. Yes we know they're old, we know they're shot, we know they're not going to beat Spence, we know they're not going to claim world titles again but that doesn't mean you have to piss in our breakfasts.”
I will go Soto, leaving us at 3-3, with the dad bod dude and the guy trying to get the respect of his scene stealing dad. Props, Soto and Junior, for impressing our crew.