ESPN and Showtime offered up fighting fare Saturday night, and the UK fight fans had a bunch of bouts and storylines to savor Saturday, as well.
As is now our custom, we collected thoughts and appraisals and analysis from the NYFights team, to get a better sense of whose work stood out in boxing matches from Friday through Sunday.
Going in, I think the consensus would be that Mikey Garcia would be the odds on favorite in Who Won the Weekend. He was pitted against a solid hitter, Robert Easter, in a 135 pound consolidation match, and it felt like Easter was feeling confident, he was talking like he’d be at the top of his game and believed in his chances to spring the upset. I feared that it would be an “easy work” outing for Garcia, the 30 year old Cali boxer who has aspirations to be a pay per view driver. And, indeed, it was.
I had Mikey 118-109, same as Steve Weisfeld.
So, Mikey doesn’t get my vote for Who Won the Weekend. My pick comes later, after the crew tells us their take.
“Dillian Whyte won the weekend with his tremendous win over Joseph Parker,” says Texas-based Kelsey McCarson, who does a quite entertaining YouTube boxing analysis hit with his wife Rachel which you should check out. “Whyte had to brave through some real choppy waters, but he showed grit, heart and determination in the win and secured his way to world title opportunity.
Parker was the favorite, but Whyte dug down deep to prove his worth as a legitimate heavyweight contender for either Anthony Joshua or Deontay Wilder to pursue next. Joshua defeated Whyte three years ago but Whyte has clawed his way back into the upper echelon of the heavyweight division and should be considered a late bloomer by heavyweight boxing standards. Whyte's emergence alongside the likes of Luis Ortiz has truly reinvigorated the heavyweight division. There are some really great matchups headed our way.”
The Scottish Sage, Colin Morrison, weighed in with his nomination and his pick reminds us of the global nature of the sweet and savage science. “Masayuki Ito is Who Won the Weekend,” Morrison says. “The Japanese boxer travelled to Florida as a substantial underdog but impressively overpowered Christopher Diaz in a fan friendly fight. His jab and eye catching right hand were too much for the well supported Puerto Rican to handle on the night. Ito won the WBO 130lb strap and I suspect expanded his fan base in the process. That's the way to win the weekend!” Amen; mixing fighting prowess and adding an emotional element, which was apparent when we saw Mrs. Ito clutching their lil one, and weeping in relieved joy, post-fight, fast tracks your chance to snag this honor.
Put another check next to the name “Dillian Whyte,” please, as Tom Penney picks the Brit hitter in this WWTW edition. “It's Dillian Whyte for me,” says Penney. “Not only was it a career best win, but in beating Parker he sets himself up to be a major player in the heavyweight division. He's never looked better.”
And WWTW, David Phillips? “It's unfashionable and obvious, but I'm going with Mikey Garcia,” said ‘Brother Julius.' “Who after that 2 1/2 year bout with inactivity from 2014-2016 has won four fights in the last two years against fighters with a combined record of 89-2. He's now on the doorstep of big paydays for himself, and more exciting for us, the possible fulfillment of his potential. Which has always been huge.”
Our man Abe Gonzalez…
has three words regarding #WWTW: “King Kong Lives!” Luis Ortiz to me won the weekend. His perfectly executed KO punch may have very well positioned himself to another title fight,” Gonzalez said. “Wilder may fight Breazeale next but Showtime may persuade him otherwise with a bigger payday for the rematch as people will now be clamoring for it since they won’t get the Joshua fight. Also, the fact that he fought under the huge emotions of his daughter receiving a cure for her illness makes King Kong the winner for sure!”
Mikey could have taken WWTW if he’d taken out the Ohio boxer, but he was more so in economical mode than taking heads off shoulders mode for much the match. Gabriel Bracero’s win over Artemio Reyes in Florida, underneath the Diaz v Ito mainer, earned an honorable mention for me:
He’s 35 and fights hard to stay on that straight and narrow and be a good citizen, so, I confess, I have a soft spot for the fighting pride of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. But trekking from Japan as the underdog and offering a rock-solid, technically on the mark and energetic showing has me picking Masayuki Ito in the Who Won the Weekend run-off. Ito is Who Won the Weekend, in my book.
Readers, feel free to leave us your nomination.