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Who Won the Weekend? Kovalev Or Commey?

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“Theater of the unexpected” rolls off the tongue and will be one of Larry Merchant’s top two legacy highlights…but it isn’t quite accurate, as any play or show you attend, the script has been pre-written, and the ending is set in stone.

Not so in boxing, obviously, which is why the most anticipated bout of the weekend saw a 35 year old Russian badass coming off a stoppage loss, with, presumably, heavy stuff hanging over his head in the form of an impending court date following his arrest.

He can’t come back, can he? Sergey Kovalev has got to be rip to be picked off, again, by Eleider Alvarez, and might this be his last since chance? We thought we knew what the ending would look like…

Not by a long shot, or a short one, or what all Kovalev was using to get that UD12 and regain a light heavy crown.

Oh, and but of course, we must give credit where it’s due; Richard Commey’s story featured a sweet chapter, as well. I send it to the crew; NYF squad, who won the weekend?

Nights picks the fighter who stood out most and bestows that person with The Who Won the Weekend award.

Sergey Kovalev won the weekend,” said John Gatling. “I saw enough from him in camp with Buddy McGirt to indicate that his mental focus– the weakest aspect of his game, would be there for 12 rounds if needed. Considering the allegations and distractions swirling around him, I thought he was a consummate pro in outclassing an Eleider Alvarez he had no business losing to in the first place. We didn’t really believe a victory over Shabranskyy to win the WBO light heavyweight championship meant anything, nor did we buy the Mikhalkin defense; the Andre Ward saga seemed to linger. With this victory, he reclaimed glory and a measure of redemption. Good on him.”

Richard Commey won the weekend! He received another opportunity at a world title and did not want to let this one get by him,” said Abe Gonzalez. “From the sound of the bell, he fought with an enormous amount of confidence leading to the destruction of his opponent. With that win, he has secured himself a shot at Lomachenko while gaining a ton of new fans with his performance. If he is healthy, April in SoCal will be one hot ticket!”

“Before the weigh-in Jab asked, “…can a former multi-champion change his game? Can Kovalev become “Special K” and rearrange his style under expert guidance based upon boxing?” Yes he can. Who needs the “Krusher” when you’ve got something better? Teddy Cruz took Kovalev’s 35 year old body and tuned it up perfectly, while Buddy McGirt (below, in David Spagnolo pic) gave Sergey back his heart and his dignity,” said Jab Hook Joe Healy, when asked Who Won the Weekend. “McGirt took Kovalev home to the comfort of boxing, reanimating his B-Hop beatdown form by showing him what a fine pugilist he has always been. This was the maiden voyage of this boxing team. They all went to work and put together a masterclass in boxing that returned the champion to glory. He is no longer the bully, but he is still the BOSS.”

Trainer Buddy McGirt gives instructions to Sergey Kovalev. David Spagnolo picture.

“I think Buddy McGirt won the weekend,” said David Phillips. “McGirt has long languished in the shadow of Freddie Roach – often thought of as a good “but not that good” trainer. Eventually, the results add up. Much like how one day you woke up and realized Tom Petty wasn’t just good, he was great. You did this because the laundry list of classic tunes read like a scroll that when released fell from your hands all the way to the floor and rolled away from your feet. Buddy McGirt has just such a scroll and should be recognized for it. Counterintuitively, let me also throw in a bonus winner – the Los Angeles Rams. Who despite losing the Stupid Bowl, will not be subjected to cold Big Macs and potential food borne illnesses at the very White Housr. Jared Goff can also rest easy knowing that he is not Adam Levine this morning. He lives in a world where no matter how poorly he played last night, someone on the TV was actually worse.”

“I loved Commey’s performance this weekend,” said Tom Penney. “Showed power, poise, and a real desire to get a shot he’d probably already earned to fight Lomachenko. I thought Commey might have gotten a raw deal against Easter, but I’m glad to see he’s no longer content to just be in the fight.”

“Another tough week of contenders,” said Hamza Ahmed. “I think the obvious pick is Kovalev and by extension Buddy McGirt, who as David aptly pointed out, was wrote off as washed up and denigrated as never really being to lead his charge into winning a major fight. Well, with his and more importantly Kovalev’s backs against the well, they not just won but masterfully shut out Alvarez. I don’t think we’ve ever seen such a startling difference in performance based on one camp. I’d have to side with David and say McGirt takes the W. That said, I think the Kovalev power is gone now, sacrificed in favour of balanced boxing and defensive responsibility. He’s not the Krusher of old but more a kraftsman now.

Side mentions to Lopez, probably the hottest prospect in boxing right now and to Commey. I felt Commey got unlucky in the war against Easter a couple of years ago but he finally got his hands on a title. I like Commey a lot and I agree with Chris – I reckon if he can touch Lomachenko the way Linares and Pedraza have been touching him, don’t rule out a stunning upset come April.”

“Some great performances this weekend,” said Chris Glover. “I thought Kovalev’s move to Buddy McGirt has worked out to be a thing of beauty. Teofimo Lopez really showed he was the really deal, producing another spectacular finish against the game Diego Magdaleno. However, it was Richard Commey’s coming out party. What an explosive display of power against Isa Chaniev, who really did come to fight. Commey showed that at 135, he has absolutely ferocious power, and is pure entertainment inside the ring. He’s improved leaps and bounds under Andre Rozier, and it really has showed. Lomachenko is a fantastic fighter, but if Commey lands the same punches Pedraza or Linares did, will the power difference tell? I think it will. From someone who had no glittering amateur career, and was a footballer turned kick boxer coming from the streets of Ghana, what a story it has been for Richard Commey to join an elite group of Ghanaian’s in becoming World Champion, it’s hard to dispute Richard Commey won more than the weekend, he’s won at life.”

“I’ll let my very able peers cover this province,” said Gabe Oppenheim. “I’m looking East to 21-year-old southpaw flyweight Junto Nakatani, who used the long levers of his 5’7″ frame to land hard right uppercuts and laser-guided straight lefts in taking Nippon’s 112-lb. national crown (by ninth-round TKO). He’s hardly the most-skilled prospect, but so long as he can stay at that wispy weight, he’s gonna be a problem for foes and an absolute pleasure for viewers:

Kovalev for me,” said Johnny Wilds. “He listened to his trainer McGirt and fought a masterpiece of sorts.”

“I will cause a tie, not break it. The deck was stacked against Kovalev and he said eff that, y’all can eff off. He did what the smart fastballers do, mix in off speed stuff, work on placement over power, and went the distance in showing us that this is the thater of the unexpected, and nobody bounces back better than boxers. Sergey Kovalev won the weekend,” said Michael Woods.

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About Michael Woods

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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