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NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: ODDS AND ENDS

By Paul Magno | December 18, 2023
NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: ODDS AND ENDS

There was a lot of stuff going on this weekend and over the last few days, so let’s take a bite-size look at most of it in my semi-regular Odds and Ends edition of Notes from the Boxing Underground.

– I’ll start this Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez-Sunny Edwards mini recap off with some blunt force trauma. Most UK fighters are wildly overrated when they come up to compete on the world stage, especially at the lower weights. With the limited talent pool from which to draw opposition and sparring in their home region, you simply don’t know what’s what with smaller UK Brits until they compete in the Americas or Asia.

I never had any doubt that “Bam,” the defending WBO flyweight champ, would pummel defending IBF champ, Edwards. My only question was whether he’d stop him or if Edwards could bike his way to a one-sided decision loss. As things would turn out Saturday night at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona, it would be the former as the 23-year-old Mexican-American busted up and broke down the cocky cockney (Is Edwards “cockney?” I don’t know, I don’t care. “Cocky Cockney” sounds good), forcing him to quit between rounds nine and ten, shortly after Rodriguez scored a big knockdown with a hellacious left hand.

What can I say about this one? Rodriguez is a great fighter, Edwards was merely good. We saw what generally happens when great meets good.

– While “Bam” became a unified world champ on Saturday, one thing he DIDN’T become was Ring Magazine flyweight champ. Who cares? So what? I only mention this because the “experts” on the Ring Magazine Ratings Panel had a private squabble that they made public (because so many people REALLY cared [Insert Fart Noise]) over whether Bam-Sunny would be for their pretend title. And, yeah, it was as cringey as one might expect. I pity the non-shit head panel members who had to wince their way through these “expert” exchanges. Imagine being a sane, rational human being checking out your inbox and having to be a party to this pretentious, self-important debate about pretend rankings? I'd rather be employed as a penile stent tester at some medical lab than be part of the Ring Magazine Ratings Panel. By the way, they ultimately decided Bam Rodriguez didn’t qualify to compete for the make-believe belt.

– David Morrell Jr. curb stomped Ghana’s Sena Agbeko in two rounds in the main event of Showtime Boxing’s last-ever telecast (more on that later) at the Armory in Minneapolis Saturday night.

Morrell is wildly “for real” and an elite player, right now, at 168. The problem with him is that he’s so skilled and uniquely talented that he’s put himself in a tough spot. Where does he get the developmental fights he needs when he’s so far ahead of everyone but the most elite—the elite, btw, who will absolutely not return his calls for the foreseeable future? I see a lot of squashes similar to Saturday’s in the southpaw Cuban’s future. 

– So, this was the last Showtime Boxing show after a 37-year run. So what? One of boxing’s biggest problems is that we’re bogged down with nostalgia and weepy old men who hog the narrative at the expense of new blood and new ideas. I don’t feel any different about Showtime Boxing shutting its doors than I’d feel about the local Walmart closing down. Just think about how goofy it would look if I did a sentimental 4-part retrospective on all the dog food, light bulbs, frozen pizzas, and power strips I’ve bought at that Walmart over the years. GTFOH. Let’s move on. Onward and upward. 

– On the Morrell-Agbeko undercard, Andre Berto, who hasn’t fought in over five years, lost via unanimous decision to Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, who hasn’t fought in over two years, in a rematch of their 2012 war. This one wasn’t a war, but it was alright for what it was. I just don’t want to see either of these guys matched against a top-tier competitor. 

– Speaking of not wanting to see someone compete against a top-tier fighter ever again, I’d put “Primetime” Chris Colbert into that category now.

Colbert was rocked in the opening moments of his Showtime co-main event bout by Jose “Rayo” Valenzuela and then put away for good with a brutal righ-hand knockout shot in the sixth round. The one-time blue chip prospect from Brooklyn has shown dwindling punch resistance in the outings prior to Saturday’s blowout (His 2022 UD loss to Hector Luis Garcia and a should’ve-been loss to Valenzuela in their first matchup this past March) and a troubling slowdown of his overall reflexes and reaction time. He WILL get hurt if he keeps competing at anything resembling a world class level.

The 24-year-old Valenzuela, meanwhile, takes this WBA lightweight eliminator win and moves on to see what he can do in a division that suddenly finds itself wide open after unified champ Devin Haney opted to move up in weight. There are some rough edges to his game that need smoothing, but he’s got the kind of one-punch power that will allow for some mistakes while he works things out.

– Jake Paul fought on Friday at Caribe Royale Orlando in Orlando, Florida. Jake Paul fight nights are becoming increasingly less of a big deal. In this bout, billed as one against a “real” boxer, the content creator/influencer/novice professional fighter would score a first round knockout of 10-1-1 Andre August with a technically sloppy, but effective uppercut. It was an impressive, level-appropriate win for Paul, something "right" for an 8-1 prospect. There was plenty of title bout talk in the air that night, but before we get ahead of ourselves, it should be pointed out that August’s record is most definitely of the inflated-on-paper variety, with his very weak opposition sporting a combined record of 34-65-6. He was also just one fight removed from a 4-year layoff and competing about 20 lbs. above what might be considered his optimal weight. Still, Paul did what he was supposed to do against a fighter like August. That counts for something. Just don’t count on world title glory, yet.

– Word is that the Devin Haney-Regis Prograis pay-per-view on December 9 only generated about 50K buys. If the sport and its media weren’t so stuck up their own asses, that would be an eye-opener. For a bout hailed for it’s top-notch promotion by fight fans and media, Haney-Prograis didn’t deliver on its sales promise. David Benavidez-Demetrius Andrade a couple weeks earlier reportedly delivered similar numbers, despite solid promotion and a quality undercard. This should tell everyone that we, as boxing people, live in a bubble and are not realistic about what’s “promotion” and what’s attractive to the consumer. This should be a wake up call for introspection and some outside-the-box thinking to get more people into the product and less actual fans into stealing the product via illegal streams.

Got something for Magno? Send it here: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com

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