Tryptophan won the weekend in some houses, as attacks on leftovers resulted in max sofa time for many Americans who indulged Thursday on Thanksgiving and said what the heck, might as well achieve some consistency, and keep up the momentum.
But sweet scientists plied their trade the world over in this new era of fights galore, eschewing the slug-life, and we saw streaming here and there and everywhere…
HBO had their second to last show, and Dmitriy Bivol did the expected, having his way with Jean Pascal, still proud and capable, but at 36, a few ticks past his prime.
One or two other unexpected also made the list of Who Won the Weekend, and read on to see how the NYF Squad viewed the action…
“Dmitry Bivol won the weekend,” said our Marine media man Abe Gonzalez said, “and I'm pretty sure he won every round of that fight too. Think the matchmakers were hoping that Pascal would give us one last thrill in order to get Bivol “over” (wrestling term) with the crowd. Bivol won convincingly but I don't think we really get to see how good he is until he fights the Jacks, Alvarez,’ Kovalevs in the world, who can really crack.”
Kelsey McCarson, the Texas truth teller, what say you? “Former U.S. Olympian Michael Hunter won the weekend with his impressive stoppage of Alexander Ustinov at heavyweight. Hunter (16-1, 11 KOs) has now won four straight since losing a unanimous decision to Oleksandr Usyk in April 2017. He's 30 years old and seems to be on his way to being a legitimate heavyweight contender. Hunter is the son of former heavyweight contender Mike Hunter, who was one of Mike Tyson's sparring partners and also notched impressive wins of his own over the likes of Oliver McCall, Pinklon Thomas and Tyrell Biggs before his career was derailed by addiction.”
Capn' David Phillips weighed in…“Dmitriy Bivol handled the faded Jean Pascal with relative ease, continuing his rise up the charts. My only demerit for Bivol is can we get him in the ring with something other than an on the downside veteran? Bivol/Bertebiev makes the mouth go into saliva overload. Hell, Joe Smith Jr. would even be interesting.”
“Michael Hunter won the weekend,” said the sagacious Scot, Colin Morrison. “The American cruiser/heavyweight grabbed his second win in five weeks in the land of the giants when he stepped in at late notice to stop Alexander Ustinov in Monte Carlo. After his win over Martin Bakole last month Hunter is ending the year strongly, staying active (apparently boxing again on Dec. 22) and getting himself into a position to get a money fight at heavyweight.”
“Every light heavyweight that wanted an excuse to duck Bivol won the weekend,” said young Tom Penney. “In with a game Pascal, Dmitry Bivol managed to dominate while looking pretty ordinary once again. I think he's no worse than the third best 175 pounder in the world, but Bivol needed to make a statement to demand fights with the other champs. He's not far away from ‘all risk no reward' territory and you can ask Guillermo Rigondeaux and Luis Ortiz how that worked out. That isn't to say the Bivol didn't win nearly every second of that fight – he did – but it is troubling to me that a fighter being sold as a lights-out puncher is morphing into more of a snappy surgeon, content to discipline opponents for 12 rounds. We purists might love it, but the general public sure won’t.”
“In Monte Carlo, Monaco, Kal Yafai successfully defended his WBA World Super Flyweight title in a hard fought encounter with tough Baja Californian native Israel Gonzalez,” said Chris Glover. “Gonzalez really come to fight, however, it was Yafai’s cuter work that was winning him the rounds. Many saw this fight closer than it was, but it was Yafai walking away with the unanimous decision victory as he looks forward to DAZN’s version of Superfly in early 2019. Chief support saw former world cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev overcome previously undefeated Mike Wilson via a lopsided unanimous decision as he looks to build his way back to a title shot in the 200lbs weight class. The undercard saw US Olympic representative Michael Hunter continue his success at heavyweight, earning an explosive 9th round stoppage of tried and tested Alexander Ustinov, in the process capturing the WBA International heavyweight title. Fanlong Meng picked up the IBF Inter-Continental Light Heavyweight title against Frank Bulgioni due to a bad cut suffered by Bulgioni, and there was also wins for Daniyar Yeleussinov, Khalil El Hadri, Sultan Zaurbek and Ruslan Kupchik. For me Michael Hunter won the weekend. Really established himself as a heavyweight prospect. With his only professional loss coming to Olexander Usyk, I feel his victories over Bakole and Ustinov have really shown that he will be a viable heavyweight contender in the not so distant future.”
And Hamza Ahmed, your ballot?
“Personally I feel Main Events won the weekend. Not only did Kathy Duva manage to secure a primetime slot to showcase and act as lead promoter for Saturday's double header but her and the company secured history by holding the final ever HBO WCB card. Not only that but in the midst of attempting to secure a deal with NBC cable, she was able to begin showcasing her latest talent – Akhmadaliev. The kid loved impressive, darting in and out, light on his feet, Lomachenko-esque angles to work with, Zarate was thoroughly outclassed. It means now that folks have already seen Akhmadaliev, they'll know what he's about when shown on NBCSN so that audience retention/carry over is important for his starpower development. We all know what Bivol is about but Akhmadaliev…man…
One person who did not win the weekend was Oscar de la Hoya. Hosting the first ever MMA card under Golden Boy Promotions, the card was topped by (what some could say was) the anticipated 3rd fight between Ortiz V Liddell. When old man fights come off (see Rampage V Silva 4) it's a great nostalgia rush. When they don't…well it looks like Saturday's main event. They produced a hard to watch car crash and led to Oscar drawing the ire of MMA fighters and being repeatedly hammered for putting it on.”