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MAGNO'S BULGING MAIL SACK: WILDER-ZHANG, RYAN GARCIA, DAVID BENAVIDEZ

By Paul Magno | May 30, 2024
MAGNO'S BULGING MAIL SACK: WILDER-ZHANG, RYAN GARCIA, DAVID BENAVIDEZ

Every Thursday here at FightHype, I pull out my gigantic, bulbous, bulging sack and give truth-minded boxing fans a gander. This week, I shoot ropes of truth all over comments/questions regarding Wilder vs. Zhang, David Benavidez, and Ryan Garcia. 

David Benavidez, Hype Job?

Magno.

I just got to say this because no one else seems to have the guts or boxing savvy to bring this up, but David Benavidez is a fake. The man is nothing but a weight bully who fought nobody up until last year and last year just beat a couple of very overrated names in Caleb Plant and Demetrius Andrade. The man is nothing in the big picture of things and the whole act about him chasing Canelo and Canelo running scared is extremely played out. There’s nothing to run from because Benavidez is nowhere near the same class as Canelo. Now the hype job moves up to light heavyweight to fight another blown up jobber whose only claim to fame is getting starched by Artur Beterbiev five years ago while people still say Canelo is running! Benavidez moved to another weight class, dummies! Who’s running from who? I can’t wait for this hype job to be exposed.

-- Sam from Michigan

Hey Sam.

Wow. Tell us how you really feel. I just don’t agree with you in saying that Benavidez is a hype job or that he doesn’t deserve a shot at Canelo. The fact of the matter is that there’s nobody at 168 who deserves that fight more than Benavidez. You can scoff at Andrade and Plant, but those wins-- and the manner in which won-- should’ve earned him that big fight. To be honest, he should’ve been consensus top contender to Canelo even before those fights. There’s nobody Canelo can choose to fight who’s more deserving than Benavidez. That’s just indisputable truth. If Benavidez decides to stay at 175, then Canelo is off the hook. But, until then, he deserves the big fight and Canelo’s legacy will take some well-deserved hits if he doesn’t get it.

As for Benavidez fighting Gvozdyk? I’m not too enthused. But for a first fight in a new division, it’s alright.

I happen to think of Benavidez as WAY more of a legit main stage fighter than you do, obviously. He’s got some sweet offensive skills and underrated defensive chops as well. But we’ll only find out just how good he is when he faces elite-level talent-- like Canelo.

Ryan Garcia: Super Dirty, A Little Dirty, or Clean? 

Hey Paul.

I don’t know what to make of all this PEDs talk with Ryan Garcia. He tested positive for Ostarine the day before and day after the Haney fight. Then the B sample came back positive also. Then he did a hair follicle test that said he was clean. I don’t know what’s going on. What;s your take on the Ryan Garcia situation?

-- Luis

Hey Luis.

All we need to make of it is that Garcia had a banned substance in his system. That’s it. That’s enough for a suspension and more. It doesn’t matter how it got there and how much was inside him, the rules are the rules.

But if we want to take a deeper dive, there are questions about whether Garcia intended to cheat or if the substance came via tainted supplement.

More importantly, we can talk about boxing’s wildly ineffectual anti-doping efforts (or lack of efforts) and how the Garcia situation spotlights the fact that we have no idea whether men and women entering the ring are clean, dirty, how they got dirty, who gave them any illicit aid, and whether anything will be done to truly punish those fighters who do pop dirty. After all these years and all the lip service given to PEDs testing, we’ve gotten nowhere.

Much of this, as I’ve written before, is due to the fact that media and fans were conned into voluntary testing, which essentially allowed boxing bossmen to handle their own testing and results management-- something akin to letting grade-schoolers make out their own grades after the final exam.

The only answer for the sport is the tough one. Boxing needs to turn over its testing to an independent party who will have the power to move beyond simple sample collection and lab work, working like an actual anti-doping program with broader powers and the ability to issue binding sanctions. Good luck with that.

Wilder vs. Zhang

Hi Paul.

The only fight I care about on this Saturday’s 5 vs. 5 card in Saudi Arabia is Deontay Wilder vs. Zhilei Zhang. Wilder looked really bad in losing his last fight and Zhang lost in his last fight as well. So you can say this is a must win fight for both. Both have the power to hurt the other, but who wins comes down to who’s got how much left. For me, this fight is as much of a psych test as it is a power punching contest. For that reason, I have to go with Zhang. How about you? Who wins Wilder vs. Zhang and how?

-- Carlos Zapata

Hey Carlos.

I’ll take your assessment a bit further and say that Deontay Wilder, specifically, will be the key to the outcome. Zhang is slow like a glacier and he’ll be there to be hit. How much he’s hit and how hard he’s hit will be determined by how aggressive Wilder is. In his last fight (against Joseph Parker), Wilder looked absolutely docile. A lot of that may have been because of Parker’s subtle movement away from Wilder’s power hand, but if Deontay wanted to go hard, he would’ve gone hard. He never did. He looked tame and disinterested in pushing things forward. Coming into this Zhang fight, he has to know that, if he plans on continuing his career, everything is on the line. A loss means no Joshua fight, no Usyk title fight. He HAS to come into this fight with a fire lit in his belly. If he does, Zhang-- slow, with defensive liabilities and name value built from some solid wins and gushing media coverage-- is the perfect main stage, career re-birthing opponent for him. As a southpaw, Zhang will also be especially vulnerable to Wilder’s wild right hand. If that fire really can’t be rekindled, though, Wilder will likely be knocked out and retired. It should be interesting.

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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