Boxing, a strange sport, arguably, on surface. (Two people, hitting each other, and doing this in plain sight, while patrons watch…in this, a supposedly civilized society!) And also a strange animal when you look into deeper layers, as well.
Such as…A fighter can emerge with a higher and more positive profile off a loss than the winner of the bout which the “loser” took the L. That dynamic was in the minds of several of our respondents when I asked Who Won the Weekend.
Here, the NYF fam and extended crew weigh in, and share their thoughts on what one athlete for them took the weekend, and snagged this unofficial “W.”
“Devin Haney won the weekend,” according to Abe Gonzalez. “What an impressive outing, showing everyone that he is more than ready for the champions and big names at 135. Everything was working for Haney especially that hard left jab which set up the clean and fast combinations. Devin Haney is knocking on the door of stardom.”
“Heather Hardy won the weekend, by what should be the same wide UD Amanda Serrano scored in losing it,” said John Gatling. “If you're reading this Heather, we're so very proud of you, for it may not be possible for defeat to be as victorious under any circumstances. Nothing I saw on paper or film translated as false, for every demonstrative physical advantage Serrano had showed up at the sound of the bell and carried over into the 2nd round. But after swimming through the waters of fire, “The Heat” did in fact put a radiator in front of “The Real Deal”, introducing the prohibitive favorite to the ring version of an in Hell's Kitchen. And since she was in with a woman [whose team at least] considers her the Sugar Ray Robinson of feminine pugilism, it was inspiring to witness the almost almost female rendition of Jake LaMotta refuse to go down. Never was I so happy to be wrong about an outcome. Never has the belt for the winner seemed too small for the victor.”
“It wasn't supposed to be a good fight, but Otto Wallin sure made it one,” said Kelsey McCarson. “Tyson Fury had to dig deep to overcome a tough opponent after Wallin cut him over the right eye in the third round of their 12-round bout in Las Vegas. The optics of the gritty Fury walking Wallin down over most of the fight despite not being able to see through all the blood make him the weekend's big winner according to my scorecard.”
“I'm giving my vote to both Amanda Serrano and Heather Hardy,” said David Phillips. “Serrano proved that she is not only the best women's boxer in her weight class, but perhaps the best in her field, period. I would argue in the short history of women's boxing, she might be a top 5 contender on the all-time list. And I'm not even sure if that's fair. Maybe she's top 2. As for Hardy, it was a shame to see her lose her 0 after all she's been through, but that young woman is a full-on warrior. By mid-fight, it became clear that she was probably not going to be able to steal the fight from Serrano, and despite her face getting continually battered and puffier, she pressed on. As a human being, I would not recommend her course of action, but as a fighter, she was every bit of the definition.”
“Otto Wallin won more than just a weekend,” said Jonathan Leir. “On the biggest stage, belittled and beyond a betting underdog, Otto all but reversed a tumultuous 2019 within the span of 12 rounds. Canceled fights, bad medicals and the loss of his father. And while he may have originally felt fortune had finally smiled on him with the opportunity to fight Fury, he was only met by unwarranted insults and labeled a loser before the opening bell. And as he did all year, he stood tall against adversity, showed what he was made of and came away with a statement that hit harder than any punch in the fight. Fury won the fight. But no one is labeling him a loser after this weekend, or in weeks to come.”
“The weekend belonged to two gutsy warriors of disparate stature — the long man with the punches from distance and the smaller foe who tried to will himself inside that reach.
I'm referring, of course, to Ryo Sagawa and Reiya Abe (I thoroughly enjoyed Fury-Wallin, but I'll let my always-able peers handle it),” said Gabe Oppenheim. “Sagawa, 25, a graduate of an agricultural college, barely edged Abe on points Friday to become the 64th Japanese national featherweight champ. Now 8-1, Sagawa slots in at 13th in the Boxrec world 126-lb. chart — or one slot above Shakur Stevenson. I'm not saying he's better than Shakur now — but here's another Japanese fighter worthy of import to an American card — another Masayuki Ito, if you will.
None of this is why I chose Ryo Sagawa as this weekend's winner — it's because I have a pronounced Japanophilia second only to Keith Thurman's and because Sagawa has a job outside boxing — he's in the sales department of the Columbin confectionery. Dude sells cakes. Given that up-and-coming heavyweight Efe Ajagba was formerly a baker, I sense an opportunity for a pastry-production reality show. Strong dudes, sweet desserts. That's gold, Jerry. Gold.”
Who, then, Tommy Rainone? “Only oneeeeeeee Tyson Fury,” the Long Island based fighter said.
“In defeat to Tyson Fury, Otto Wallin found a way to win the weekend,” said Jeremy Herriges. “This matchup originally seemed like a drab tune-up bout for Fury, but Wallin managed to elevate his game in the biggest spotlight of his career. Betting brokerages had him listed at anywhere from 11-1 to 22-1 odds, but he fought with the spirit of a legitimate challenger. Boxrec.com had Wallin rated as the 46th heavyweight in the world coming into this fight, but he performed like a top-20 prospect. Wallin lost the match, but he dramatically improved his stock. He may never win a title, but he proved that he can hang with the best. Wallin earned a lucrative payday opportunity with his performance against Fury.”
Who won the weekend, Alden Chodash? “Man, tough pick. Fury, Wallin, Haney, Serrano, and Hardy are all up there in close contention. Have to go with Fury, who battled through a horrific cut for the majority of 12 rounds to hold onto his multi-million dollar payday against Deontay Wilder next year. To imagine how much blood he lost, blood that obstructed his vision as Wallin pounded away (legally and otherwise) at his eye, speaks volumes of his heart. Might be some career altering scar tissue, however, and I hope him a speedy recovery.”
My vote goes to Heather Hardy. Now, that might not surprise someone who maybe follows my IG, or Twitter account…that's because I make no secret of this fact–Hardy is a family friend. Friends with my wife, my kids sometimes train with her, and they like and love and look up to her. That's my way of saying, full disclosure alert! But I'd like to think that whoever was across from Amanda Serrano, and weathered a storm of fire and barbed wire hail in round one at the MSG Theater Friday, as Hardy did, would have earned my vote. The way she stood tall, refused to cave, stayed standing, adjusted, and used the tools in her kit to win rounds, yep, she won the weekend, by a wide margin, on my unofficial card.