NY Fights brings back our popular “Who Won The Weekend” recap to review the winners and highlight some losers from Saturday's boxing competition.
Michael Woods, Editor: Gotta take a stand here. Canelo won, but dang it, some luster got taken off a good win by the fact that Jermell Charlo showed up to survive, not thrive.
Let me repeat this truth: all I can ask for as a fan is for the fighter to try his best to win. That is owed to anyone paying a premium and taking the time to watch. Jermell can tell himself he’s proud and all that, but nah, deep down, he knows. The talk of daring to be great is hollow if you take a tough assignment and don’t go all out to win. Jermell lost the weekend.
Jacob Rodriguez, New York Bureau Chief: For me, Mario Barrios won the weekend. He weathered Yordenis Ugas’s early assault, adjusted, and probably retired the always game, but sadly aging former Cuban champion. In beating Ugas, Barrios solidified his position in the welterweight division.
Ernie Green, Writer: Erickson Lubin, for landing 7.5 punches a round, getting outlanded in 10 of 12 rounds, and somehow winning a fight.
Ryan O'Hara, Writer: Canelo won the weekend. He admitted that he hadn’t been at his best in his last three fights. You can tell that he was more serious in the gym, particularly at the weigh-in and the fight. He promised to bring back vintage Canelo and he looked great.
Who Lost The Weekend? Charlo. He was uncharacteristically quiet throughout fight week and that demeanor continued into the bout. He was happy with his participation trophy while Canelo reveled in performing on the big stage. There are levels to this.
Tommy Rainone, Writer: Canelo showed that even a declining and slightly faded version with over 60 fights is still a pound-for-pound guy. The days of his explosive knockouts are most likely over but he can still hurt his man enough to halt his opponent's offense after they taste the power and speed which even at 75 percent of his prime self is enough to beat 95 percent of the landscape.
Editor: Are we sensing a Who Won The Weekend theme yet?
Aaron Brason-Stewart, Writer: I think we are all in agreement. Canelo won the weekend. He looked back to his best pre-Bivol. He looked strong, fast, and slick against Charlo. This performance was not only what us fans wanted to see but what Canelo would have wanted too, to show the critics he's not in decline but back to his best.
Charlo, on the other hand, well he will be disappointed in his performance no matter what he tells himself. He showed Canelo far too much respect, and in turn, the fight looked like a routine sparring session. He had the chance to put himself in the history books. Instead, he has become another footnote on Canelo's resume.
Who Won The Weekend: It's Not Unanimous
Colin Morrison, UK Bureau Chief: No doubt Canelo will get plenty of plaudits here, and rightly so for his convincing win in the weekend's highest-profile bout.
I'll go down a different path though.
Jai Opetaia made the first defense of his IBF and Ring Magazine cruiserweight titles after a 14-month layoff following a broken jaw. The Australian convincingly beat Jordan Thompson on the road in London, showing his quality in the process.
Opetaia looks the absolute business in the 200lb division. Let's see some unification fights for him now.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, West Coast Bureau Chief: No disagreement from me with any of my colleagues who picked Canelo Alvarez. He went from being a fighter past his prime to the man back at the top and unbeatable but for a select and lucky few.
Nevertheless, I'm with Colin and choosing Jai Opetaia, along with Australian boxing, and the cruiserweight division.
Opetaia could have taken it easy, but oh hell no. He went through undefeated prospect Thompson like a knife through butter. The fight might have been over in the first round, but Opetaia kept dishing out the power shots and got the TKO seconds into the fourth round.
When was the last time the cruiserweight division was considered exciting? After this weekend's cruiserweight fight between Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez and Joe Smith Jr. produces a winner, we have some talent worth watching.
Opetaia is part of a wave of Australian boxing talent, including his super welterweight counterpart, Tim Tszyu. They're brash, bold, and willing to take a risk, and it's paying off. Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi, Oi Oi!