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MAGNO'S BULGING MAIL SACK: BOOTS, HANEY-GARCIA, HITCHINS-LEMOS, MORE…

By Paul Magno | April 12, 2024
MAGNO'S BULGING MAIL SACK: BOOTS, HANEY-GARCIA, HITCHINS-LEMOS, MORE…

Here at FightHype, we make a space among the video content for a good, old-fashioned written word money shot from the depths of my bulbous, bulging sack. So, get ready for some of that infamous Magno-rific gooey, salty, sometimes NSFW truth. This week, we have comments/questions regarding Boots Ennis signing with Matchroom, Haney-Garcia, Hitchins-Lemos, and Paulie Malignaggi.

Haney vs. “Crazy”

Hi Paul.

Devin Haney vs. Ryan Garcia is less than two weeks away and I’m not getting any real feeling for the fight. We’ve seen Garcia act crazy and unhinged. We’ve seen talk about poor ticket sales. We’ve seen “new face of boxing” talk from Devin’s dad. And we’ve seen way too much talk about Tank Davis for a fight not involving Tank Davis. But I don’t hear much talk about the actual fight, which I think may prove to be the least interesting thing about this event. I know you’ve touched on the nuts and bolts of the fight before, but do you share my view that this may be a real snoozer, with Devin boxing his way to a safe, easy points win?

– Damon

Hey Damon. 

The safe, sane prediction for this fight would be Haney UD via jab-and-grab and basic boxing. It’s the logical take and, trusting in the smarts of the Haneys, the most likely fight night strategy. For all the bluster from dad/trainer Bill Haney, the Haney way is safe, conservative, and focused on playing to Devin’s strengths. Opening up would give Garcia a chance to land that rocket left hand– the only shot he has to win this fight, IMO. Having said all that, though, I do think there’s a much greater chance of Garcia scoring the upset versus Haney than there was against Tank Davis. Haney holds his head a bit higher, he’s more susceptible to a stiff counter, and he’s been buzzed before, notably against Jorge Linares. Garcia, for all his faults and flaws, has extremely quick hands and his wildness/lack of refinement could be an issue for a well-trained fighter like Haney, who is buried in orthodoxy. If Garcia lands something big at any point, all that edge in skill will be out the window and Haney will be in uncharted territory. That’s what I find intriguing about this fight. At some point, Garcia will touch Haney with something significant. Then, we’ll see what’s what.

All the nonsense in the lead-up to this fight has done nothing for promoting the event. If anything, it’s turned some hardcore fans off. It also discouraged many from planning to attend the card because there was some legitimate doubt as to whether the fight would even go through. For awhile, Garcia’s social media nuttiness was screaming “mental health issues will get this fight canceled” and who’s going to book a flight, a hotel room, and dish out for extremely overpriced tickets to an event that was 50-50 in getting scrubbed? Some of that has been fixed. Garcia is less prominent in his nuttiness and ticket prices have been slashed out of necessity, but it’s still going to be a tough sale.

This Boots was Made for Walkin’

Yo, Paulie!

I just saw the news that Boots Ennis signed with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom and I immediately thought of you. I had to drop you this message to get your take. Will this be a bad or good move for Boots? Will walking away from PBC hurt his career or hurt PBC more? 

– D. from The D.

Hey D. 

First, no offense, but why the hell would I be the first person you thought about after hearing the news? That’s a little weird, but thanks…I guess. Second, Jaron Ennis was never a “PBC fighter,” he just fought on some PBC shows.

As for the signing, I don’t really get the point unless Matchroom frontloaded a ton of money and offered Boots a guarantee he couldn’t turn down. Who’s he supposed to fight behind the DAZN/Matchroom paywall? The only fight even marginally marketable there is with Conor Benn, but I seriously doubt that Hearn would toss Benn to the lions (Boots) like that when he’s currently trying to build Benn into someone who can sell. Truthfully, there’s not a whole lot out there for Boots at 147, no matter who he’s signed with. But that just makes it odder that he’d sign an exclusive deal with a promotional company. You’d think free agency would be ideal for him, allowing him the flexibility to move around and take best available offers wherever he can find them. Moving up to 154, meanwhile, will see him in the same spot in which he now finds himself at 147. I like him as a fighter and I hope he gets the big fights he wants/needs, but I don’t see that happening at Matchroom. 

Hitchins-Lemos, Hatin’ Paulie

Hi Paul

So, I don't want to be one of these know it all guys, but I thought that Gustavo Lemos was going to be pure hell for Richardson Hitchins, Lemos was a come forward volume puncher with good power and Hitchins' only asset is him sporting an Quartey-esque jab. This is a big problem with fights nowadays. I saw a very funny yet full of wisdom comment that said: "I smelled robbery before they even entered the ring.” We know the right path for this would be Hitchins getting a rematch, but in today's standard they will find a soft touch for him to look good for his next fight (Ala Teofimo).

One more question I had for you, what do you think about Paulie Malignaggi the boxing critic? I am asking you because sometimes I feel everything that comes out of his mouth sounds negative. He is the portrayal of a person one of our high school teachers would talk about: “Es una persona que tiene un problema para cada solucion (he is an individual who has a problem for every solution).

Best Regards.

– Miguel

Hey Miguel.

Boxing has a long history of scripts being flipped in the ring, via upset, yet the script being carried on as planned as if the loss never happened. I’m not necessarily saying that Hitchins should’ve lost the fight, but we’ve been around the sport long enough to know that it would’ve taken an act of God for the “rising star” house fighter to take an “L” on a card like this, against an opponent like Lemos. And even if divine intervention managed to overcome boxing politics, the script would’ve still been carried out as planned. Hitchins would be put right back on his same path to stardom and Lemos would’ve been cast aside as if he hadn’t done what he did. 

This happens a lot. The textbook case of this, perhaps, was in 2008 when then-rising star Amir Khan was starched in one round by Colombian Breidis Prescott. Khan would step right back into a minor title fight a few months later and then be set up to win his first world title less than a year after the upset KO loss. Prescott, meanwhile, was given the runaround, got no rub off the win as a fall guy who didn’t do his (losing) job, and was eventually ground down by the business until he became the fall guy he was supposed to be. I don’t need to tell anyone reading this that a fighter’s connections matter. Hitchins just wasn’t going to lose that night, even if he had actually lost. 

As for Malignaggi? He’s fallen into that Teddy Atlas hole where he knows he’ll get attention with negativity, so now he’s just shoveling turds into the furnace to get reactions. I like his analysis of strategy and technique. His soapbox stuff is played out and, IMO, not that credible when you know the personal biases and prejudices he has. 

Got a question (or hate mail) for Magno’s Bulging Mail Sack? The best of the best gets included in the weekly mailbag segment right here at FightHype. Send your stuff here: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com.

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