By Eóin Kennedy: After his emphatic knockout victory over Deontay Wilder in their trilogy fight, Tyson Fury’s coach, Javan ‘Sugar Hill’ Steward, spoke repeatedly for his love of what he called “big-time boxing.” Fury’s destruction of Wilder certainly falls into the category of big-time boxing, as does Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s history clinching defeat of Caleb Plant in last Saturday night’s super-middleweight showdown for all four of the governing body’s world titles in Las Vegas, Nevada. But sometimes, after such gargantuan fights, there tends to be a little lull. A boxing hangover, so to speak. But boxing fans need not worry as there’s plenty of wonderful fights to feast their eyes on between here and the end of the month. Here’s a look ahead to some of the most interesting bouts on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
November 13, Anaheim, USA
Jaime Munguia vs Gabe Rosado
This fight has a funny feel to it for a couple of reasons. Number one is that fans have gotten on the back of Munguia in recent years for the caliber of opponent that he has fought. What some seem to forget is that Munguia is still only twenty-five years old and has already been a world champion at light middleweight. But maybe a more telling number than his age is the amount of fights he has racked up in his career already, thirty seven to be precise, and fans are grumbling that a fighter that has been tipped as a star of the sport and a future opponent and/or heir to Canelo still does not have a standout win on his resume. His next opponent, Gabe Rosado, will not provide him with that either should the Mexican conquer the Philadelphia-born pugilist. Rosado is a well-known name in the boxing world, but despite the fact that he has challenged for a world title in the past and is coming off an emphatic knockout victory in his last fight, it’s hard to ignore that Rosado is ten years Munguia’s senior and far more shopworn from a career that has seen him amass thirteen losses.
Verdict: Munguia TKO
November 13, Sheffield, England
Kid Galahad vs Kiko Martinez, IBF World Featherweight Championship
For those that have followed the career of Sheffield’s own Bari Awad, AKA Kid Galahad, his world title triumph may have felt like a lifetime coming. For those that have followed the career of Saturday’s opponent, Kiko Martinez, it may just feel like it has lasted a lifetime. It feels like the plucky Spaniard has been around forever, and while he has given boxing fans many exciting nights, it certainly feels like this latest world-title tilt may just be a bridge too far. Martinez will likely try and makes things uncomfortable early on for Galahad, but as the champion demonstrated in his most recent victory over Jazza Dickens, he is extremely hard to hit. In fact, Galahad is a bit of a Rolls Royce boxer in many ways. He oozes class in the way he moves around the ring and seems to be so efficient in finding the target with his shots without ever looking like he’s exerting too much energy. Eddie Hearn mentioned Galahad would have a “nice defense up in Sheffield” after he won the vacant belt, and that’s exactly what Martinez presents at this stage of his career, decent name recognition but with little risk of upsetting the odds. A “nice” start to life as a champion for Galahad.
Verdict: Galahad KO
November 19, New Hampshire, USA
Demetrius Andrade vs. Jason Quigley, WBO World Middleweight Championship
This is a fight that has been ignored and groaned at in equal measure, and while not a blockbuster showdown when compared to other world title fights, this match-up certainly isn’t short on intrigue and could end up surprising quite a few people. From purely a spectacle standpoint, this fight should be really interesting. It is taking place in New Hampshire, which isn’t exactly a hotbed for big world title fights, but given that Andrade reigns from nearby Rhode Island and Quigley will have the back of the large numbers of Irish that reside on the US east coast, it should at least make for an interesting atmosphere. The middleweight division seemed to be boxing’s crown jewel a few short years ago, but with Canelo’s ascension to the one-hundred and sixty-eight pound division combined with Gennady Golovkin fighting a string of uninspiring opponents since his loss to Alvarez, fight fans have turned their eyes elsewhere. This has left Andrade frustrated as he has desperately searched for a ‘super-fight.’ There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that he is boxing’s most avoided man. Why Jermall Charlo wouldn’t want to fight another undefeated American champion for both of their belts can only leave you determining that Charlo, among others, just do not fancy stepping in the ring against the highly unusual southpaw style that Andrade possesses. Quigley, however, is in a different situation to the likes of Charlo and Golovkin. He came to the paid ranks as a highly touted amateur who had secured silver for Ireland at the world championships and gold at the Europeans. Since dropping the vest, it hasn’t been plain sailing and a bruising loss to Tureano Johnson two years ago halted his momentum. He’s since linked up with Andy Lee as his trainer and has notched up three straight victories. Andrade will be the heavy favorite, but it has to be noted that he has a habit of starting extremely fast and the slowing down dramatically as the fight wears on. Quigley is a good enough boxer to win rounds of Andrade if he loses concentration like he usually does. Sometimes when a fighter like Andrade has been chasing a big PPV fight for so long, there is a danger that they can take their eye off the ball when fighting the likes of Quigley. Andrade has Canelo on Golovkin fights on his mind, while this is the moment Quigley has been waiting for since turning pro. That could be telling.
Verdict: Quigley PTS
November 20, Las Vegas, USA
Terence Crawford vs. Shawn Porter, WBO World Welterweight Championship
When ‘Sugar Hill’ Steward talked about “big-time boxing,” I’m sure it’s fights like this that he had in mind. Ever since the mercurial Terence Crawford has stepped up to welterweight, the big asterisk next to his title reign has been that he doesn’t have any defining victories. On November 20th, he will be up against a truly elite welterweight in Shawn Porter, a man that always leaves everything in the ring and has been a world champion himself. Crawford will probably never truly get unanimous adoration until he fights Errol Spence but perhaps Vergil Ortiz aside, outside of Spence, Porter is probably the toughest challenge available in the division. Porter, who himself ran Spence extremely close in their battle two years ago, brings a rugged fighting style that is all about making his opponent uncomfortable and applying maximum pressure from the opening bell. Porter’s excellent conditioning allows him to maintain such a level of pressure through the fight, which can be very disconcerting for his opponents. Crawford is a different animal to most, though, and besides his ability to switch from orthodox to southpaw seamlessly, there’s really no aspect of his game that is lacking. He can box, he can fight, he carries power, and is a ruthless finisher when he senses vulnerability. Porter may provide the toughest test of his career to date but expect him to pass with flying colors as usual.
Verdict: Crawford UD
November 27, New York, USA
Teofimo Lopez vs. George Kambosos Jr, WBO, IBF, WBA World Lightweight Championships
This fight has been snake bit ever since it was announced. From the fiasco with Triller winning the purse bid only to prove how much of a basket case outfit they are in repeatedly botching getting this fight on to Lopez’s positive COVID-19 test, which further delayed proceedings. Alas, we are finally here, and this fight’s build-up has mostly been about who the champion will fight afterwards. Dangerous territory (see Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz). Teofimo Lopez has been asked more about Devin Haney and Josh Taylor in the build-up to this fight than he has Kambosos. While plenty of blockbuster fights are on the table for Lopez should he come through this defense, he still can’t take his eye off the ball. Yes, the Australian doesn’t have anywhere near the level of victory on his resume, such as the one that Lopez possesses over pound-for-pound great Vasily Lomachenko, but that doesn’t mean he should be counted out. Kambosos has never tasted defeat in his nineteen-fight career, and Lopez will know better than anyone that a fighter that is given no chance can be a very dangerous commodity. But all things considered, one still has to feel that the champion’s pedigree will just be too much for man from Down Under, and by the end of the night, the conversation will most likely be dominated once again by the question of who Teofimo Lopez will face next.
Verdict: Lopez KO