Summertime blues edition of Views from the Couch here as the dog days of summer have led to some dog fights. Emphasis on dogs here as a few of them won over the weekend. As July heats up in weather, the boxing cools off, but a few gems that happened this past weekend are worth noting.
A Final Thought On Mark Magsayo-Rey Vargas
Saturday night, we had a belt change hands as Rey Vargas edged out Mark Magsayo by a split decision, garnering him the WBC strap at featherweight. Leave it up to a fight in Texas to submit another spotty scorecard as one judge gave Magsayo the nod 114-113 but the right man at the end of the day. What concerned me was what Vargas said after he won about who's next.
“Now I want the unification bout,” said Vargas. “I want to fight Leo Santa Cruz. We've already talked about it with my team, and I'm ready.”
It makes sense on the ol' Mexico vs. Mexico tip if they can make that happen. The keyword is “if,” as Santa Cruz has talked about campaigning at 126 lbs after a run at 130. It's more of a farce that he hasn't had to defend or give up that belt since 2018. Double down on that farce as Leigh Wood is currently sitting as the WBA mandatory challenger, but we all know the WBA can't, won't, and hasn't done the right thing since I've been covering boxing. So expect them to keep up that bullshit here. At least we get a unification bout out of it, but is anyone clamoring for it with what we've seen from Santa Cruz?
No thanks, and the current WBC mandatory challenger belongs to Brandon Figueroa, who looked fine winning against Carlos Castro shortly before. Signs of the times as that fight style-wise you think you'd get out of Santa Cruz is, in reality, the battle against the younger Figueroa. I'm hoping to get that next instead and keep going from there. What I hope for and what boxing does will always be two different things. The WBC featherweight strap was on the line more than once this year, so there is that.
Spence vs. Crawford: Boxing's “Are We There Yet?”
Stop me in the boxing world if you have heard this about Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford. Those two need to fight each other. Sounds good, no? Now you're caught up.
Well, Showtime on Saturday night did confirm a welterweight bout, just not that one as Adrien Broner taking on Omar Figueroa next month in Hollywood, Florida. So the million-dollar question that has been asked in boxing since the Obama administration still has yet to be answered: When are we getting that Spence-Crawford fight? The latest answer we got to sum it up from Spence was one we had heard before.
“I think it's going to happen,” Spence plainly stated when asked for the umpteenth time about a matchup between Crawford Saturday night to Brian Custer.
Boxing fans have long been beaten into submission on patience and the waiting game for fights; this bout is the only one left on the wish list to happen from the last decade. Like, seriously, the last fight on that list. We're getting Canelo Alvarez taking on Gennady Golovkin for the third time in September. Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall on the women's side that goes back to the 2012 Olympics games are even facing off in September. What keeps anyone hopeful is we had Kell Brook stop Amir Khan earlier this year. That bout ended their careers, and before it took place, it looked as likely to happen as this current state of Spence-Crawford does now.
It's the free trial month on Showtime, and I couldn't think of a better idea to push those numbers than, well, you know. So we got the Broner-Figueroa card, the upcoming Bellator lineup, Danny Garcia taking on Jose Benavidez at the end of the month, and a new documentary coming alongside the network's programming and movies. We're getting fights. We all want the other shoe to finally drop on this one from the network that would be behind it once it's official.
We are getting Jake Paul also on pay-per-view. I wanted to make sure I mentioned everything that is happening since, as of this writing, Spence-Crawford isn't. Everyone you ask about says “closer than ever” and hints at a fall date. I'm falling back once again until it happens. Please don't hold your breath on it. You'd for sure been dead twice over by now if you did.
Curtis Harper: From Cast-Off To Winner.
Speaking on the “Say What You Say Boxing Podcast” (out also on iTunes and Podbean), I was interested in seeing what Curtis Harper would look like this weekend since the last time we all realistically saw him was walking out gingerly from the Armory on August 24, 2018. We'll have to table those jokes and write that date down in the history books because he was victorious this past weekend in the co-main event on Probox TV against Christian Thun.
I'll give Thun credit; he was rocked and went down hard in the third, sounding like a tree falling. He could not crack the code of Harper, who took the fight to him and was able to land the same shots repeatedly, as Roy Jones Jr. said on the Probox TV broadcast. The heavyweight division is thin and can always use opponents. Looking to see if this win will get Harper more work or a rematch with Thun in what was a fun matchup.
— ProBox TV (@ProBox_TV) July 10, 2022
What's Next For Derek Chisora?
Retirement. Let me elaborate first on why Chisora should hang it up.
Nobody likes losing, and one fighter who understands that was Derek Chisora. Who was victorious via split decision over Kubrat Pulev to avenge the loss he suffered back in 2016. They say revenge is the sweetest dish ever served, and Chisora getting the nod against Pulev against a backdrop of the hometown hopeful and his two daughters in attendance must taste delicious.
“I needed a win. I've lost so many fights on the road. And what a way to win it. O2 Arena, I'm buzzing right now, you understand. It feels great to be a winner, you understand,” Chisora said post-fight.
Delboy wasn't lying here. After coming up short to Joesph Parker twice and current unified champion Oleksandr Usyk, everything leading up to the main event walk-out felt like a swan song and the last ride for Chisora. After getting the nod in a tough fight against Pulev, I still think this is the end of the line. Chisora's promoter Eddie Hearn said he'd like to make a fight with Deontay Wilder, and no one thinks that fight gets made for the 38-year-old who just went life and death against the rugged but 41-year-old Pulev. No one.
But ending your in-ring career on a win at home sounds like the ideal way to go out, and Chisora gets a chance many fighters don't. He also mentioned his daughters in private school, so we'll see what's next, but I hope this is it.