Monday comes round, and we gear up for the week ahead, and also ponder some what went on over the weekend.
It can be a blur, these weekends now, from a boxing perspective.
This is the “content is king” age, where we are seeing two or three big cards week in, week out. The ability to send out a telecast has been made much easier because of the internet, and streaming. That leads us into the first vote cast for Who Won the Weekend, compliments of The NYF Squad.
According to Abe Gonzalez: “Fightnight Live won the weekend! After doing two shows last weekend, Linacre Media was back at the 2300 Arena in Philly streaming another great card. That night, Nahir Albright (6-1) produced a huge knockout win against Roy McGill who was undefeated at the time. If that wasn’t exciting enough, Fightnight Live registered eighty thousand live views taking them over five million views in thirty shows while doing it in just under two years. Promoters need to pay attention as Mark Fratto and the boys are getting these shows some quality views while providing a primetime platform for their fighters.”
Hey John Gatling, who won the weekend? “First, I'd like to throw out an honorable mention to Eduardo Ramirez, who most likely won a shot at Can Xu and his lesser version of the WBA featherweight world title by dramatically stopping Bryan De Gracia in the 9th round in the SHOWTIME telecast opener. It was thrilling, out-of-nowhere and good on him– but Brian Castano won the weekend. The WBA super welterweight champion narrowly won defeated Erislandy Lara on my scorecard and greatly enhanced his profile as an action fighter before a national audience. A throwback to Rocky Graziano, the rampaging Argentinian will only get better from here, as a rematch with Lara would seem likely.
“Erislandy Lara won the weekend,” said Kelsey McCarson. “At age 35, he showed the grit and determination that helped him become one of the better junior middleweights in recent history. His clean punching beat a very game and talented Brian Castano in my eyes, though Lara almost never wins on the cards when he doesn't dominate. As CBS boxing expert Brian Campbell said Saturday before the fight: ‘I'm not sure I've ever really seen Lara lose a professional fight.' I felt the same when he said it then, and do so after the judges turned in the split-draw.”
“The Argentine pugilist Brian Castaño won the weekend of March 2nd, 2019,” said Joe “Jab Hook” Healy. “In a big step up in opposition, Castaño mounted an impressive seek-and-destroy pressure campaign for much of the bout vs the wily Cuban veteran. His attacks included lovely, consistent body work. Many of “El Boxi's” punches were blocked, but his tight guard and forward pressure were impressive, not to mention his ring generalship (oops, Jab Hook just did). Erislandy Lara was pushed to his limits and barely eked out the draw. Add a few more preparatory jabs and an occasional combination up the middle and we'll have a real champ on our hands with Castaño.”
“Luis Ortiz won the weekend.. he is very quietly having a lucrative second act in what was once a disastrous career,” said Thomas Penney. “Since the Wilder fight Ortiz has been featured prominently on Showtime and has endeared himself to fans who usually default to booing the cautious and stylistic heavyweights. I have my doubts that Ortiz will get another crack at a belt, but at least he's getting paid and the fans aren't being deprived of watching him. If he can spend the early part of his forties (or fifties, depending on who you believe) as a horrifying gatekeeper/boogeyman/Cuban John Wick then good for him.”
“It's hard to say the guy who won the weekend was the guy who didn't win his fight, but Brian Castano kept his title, drew with a first class – and better known fighter – in a pretty damn entertaining (!) scrap with Erislandy Lara,” said David Phillips. “Honorable mention to Luis Ortiz, who easily won his bout over a decent opponent and kept himself in line for another title shot and sizable payday.”
Who won the weekend, Hamza Ahmed? “Hard to pinpoint, in my opinion at least, who won this weekend. No outright frontrunners like the previous weeks have given us so I'll pick both Castano and Lara. The natural candidate would have been the winner of SHOWTIME'S crossroads main event but as the judges decided, there was no winner.
Castano has arrived now, the kid is a major player in an extremely stacked 154 lb division. Great punch selection, educated pressure, solid chin and gas tank and doesn't mind standing in the line of fire in order to get his own shots in. Him vs Hurd could end up being really fun later on.
Lara, the evergreen 35 year old Cuban silverfox, showed his class against the younger Castano. Like Kelsey, I personally thought Lara had done enough to win and to his ire, it seems the judges will never give him the benefit of the doubt. Nevertheless, his performance indicated there's still a lot of life left despite having lost a step or two, especially in terms of foot speed. He might not reach the heights again of being the king of the division but he remains dangerous and I hope for the sake of his legacy, Lara one day gets a win over an A class opponent.”
“Brian Castano won the weekend for me,” said Chris Glover. “Put on an entertaining performance that would endear him to the American audience, and opening himself up for a big rematch with Lara in the future along with some big paydays he fully well deserves!”
For me, Oscar Riojas (below) won the weekend.