The OGs know that to make long-term plans in the world of boxing is asking for Fate to throw you a curveball thunderbolt. We are NOT saying that Team Kownacki was doing that…But many fans and pundits were indeed assuming that the Saturday main event at Barclays Center, and on Fox broadcast was a “fait accompli,” that it was a given the Polish American Adam Kownacki would continue his momentum ride.
The 36 year old Robert Helenius played the thunderbolt, though, showing that he wasn't pumping himself up when he said he was feeling better physically than he had in several years and saw himself an 80-20 favorite over the 30 year old Kownacki.
Helenius won the weekend for me, but no, I won't go as far as to say Kownacki, now 20-1, LOST the weekend. I say that because the big lad impressed me by not pulling a Wilder. He said that the better man won Saturday, he gave Helenius (now 30-3) props, and said he'd be back, an improved version, in the near future. But that's me–what about the rest of the NYF Squad, and extended fam. Who won the weekend, gang? And who lost ground?
“Robert Helenius won the weekend as he pulled off an upset special,” said Abe Gonzalez. “Kownacki was being groomed for bigger fights in 2020 but this loss delays those plans a bit. Helenius may have put himself into a position to earn some good money for future fights from that performance. The theater of the unexpected strikes again.
“Efe Ajagba won his fight but lost the weekend. The hype train almost went off the rails prior to his December fight. He was then rocked and knocked down but earned a KO victory. Saturday night, he seemed a little hesitant at times while still being clipped by that over-hand right. Think it's time we slow all the way down with the hype, develop him by way of non televised fights and try again either later this year or early next with the hot prospect talk.”
“In a battle of Beefaloes, the “Nordic Nightmare” (fun nickname, that!) took down the undefeated Adam Kownacki. In doing so, he probably set himself up for a big payday while robbing Kownacki of his,” said David Phillips. “I'm going to have a hard time getting excited about either of these guys, but in a weight class where being out of shape seems to no longer matter a damn bit, these two guys get my vote for winner and loser. I will say, when Kownacki hits the buffet table, he's going to be a big winner and the Golden Corral is going to take it on the chin. So, there's hope for him to get a W on his ledger, and right soon.”
“I love the term ‘Beefalo' so I'm going to steal it and claim it as mine,” said Pete Carvill. “Helenius is the big winner this weekend, and it'll be interesting to see which version of the belt he'll be aimed at.
“There are three big losers this weekend. Kownacki, obviously, but as Thomas Hauser pointed out, Al Haymon had all four beefalo belts under his control a few months ago through Wilder and Andy Ruiz. That's obviously no longer the case. The third big loser may be the fans because if Helenius gets a mandatory shot, we'll either see Fury-Joshua delayed or, if it does go ahead, it may not be for all the belts.”
“Robert Helenius won the weekend by pulling off another heavyweight upset and putting himself in position for another big fight this year,” said Vladimir Lik. (Check out the Lik report on undercard action at Barclays Center Saturday.) “The interesting piece is that Helenius looked spent at the end of round 2 and his body language walking back to his corner was awful. He came on in the third round and absolutely beat Kownacki down.
“Adam Kownacki lost the weekend! He was poised for another big fight and possibly a title shot and instead will now have to go back to the drawing board. What makes this tough to bear for the Polish born Kownacki is he filled Barclays with 8,000 fans from his old neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn and they watched in shock as their hero was beaten down. Another victim of fighting in his hometown.”
“Jono Carroll won the weekend for me,” said Chris Glover. “Absolutely outclassed Scott Quigg in phenomenal fashion, putting himself in line for another world title shot. Helenius was close but Carroll (below) for me for his excellent display of his boxing ability against a proven top class fighter in Quigg.”
“The winner of the weekend is a coin flip between Robert Helenius and Jono Carroll,” said Matt Andrzejewski. “I am going to side Carroll as he put on quite the impressive display in handily beating (and even getting the stoppage) of Scott Quigg in a fight that many viewed as a 50/50 fight. The weekend's big loser is TJ Doheny. He returned to the ring in what was supposed to be a tune up fight on Friday and was out hustled losing an eight round unanimous decision to the unheralded Ionut Baluta.”
“Anyone who made fun of how either Joanna or Weili looked after their UFC 248 classic lost the weekend,” said Josh Friedman.
“This was Robert Helenius‘s weekend to win, and Andrew Kownacki‘s to lose,” said Jeremy Herriges. “The worst-case scenario played out for Kownacki as he became the latest heavyweight prospect contender to lose in surprising fashion. Anyone who was ringside in Minneapolis in July of 2019 for Helenius's bout against Gerald Washington can tell you that Helenius looked like a shot fighter. Washington's knockout of Helenius in round 8 was vicious. The fact that Helenius was able to pull it together physically and mentally against Kownacki speaks volumes about his resilience. The Nordic Nightmare proved that he has depth and should never be counted out. He deserves a lot of credit for his performance against Kownacki.”