Welcome to the Monday Morning Coffee. A recap of the weekend’s fights. If you missed a fight, check here to find out what happened and what takeaways there were from the fights. You can expect a Monday Morning Coffee every Monday.
From El Anfiteatro Municpal in Cordoba, Argentina Omar Narvaez made his 10th defense of the WBO super flyweight championship.
Omar Narvaez 42(23)-1-2 retained the WBO super flyweight championship by 4th round knockout of Antonio Garcia.
Narvaez’s continued his reign of dominance in one of the lesser heard from divisions in the sport. Narvaez finished his man in the 4th with pinpoint punches. Narvaez greatly benefited from experience in this one. What I mean by that is that you could tell that everything moved a little slower for Narvaez. Garcia appeared in panic mode while Narvaez, like a great tennis player watching a 115 mph serve come his way, appeared poised and aware of all things in the fight. A beautiful left to the body is what hurt Garcia, but a few hard hooks to the head put him down and out. Narvaez has dominated his division for past 4 years, and while there are cases you could make against his choice of opposition, the fact remains that Narvaez at 38 is looking younger and younger. (Don’t send me hate mail, but didn’t Narvaez’s stalking remind you of Lucas Matthysse?)
From The First Direct Arena in Leeds, Yorkshire, Lee Selby headlined a stacked show that featured a terrific farewell performance and one of the top prospects in all of boxing.
Lee Selby improved to 19(7)-1 winning a unanimous decision over Romula Koasicha.
Selby won and he was pretty impressive, but a few things concerned me here. Selby was able outbox Koasicha and put together nice combinations for most of the fight, however he struggled when Koasicha turned up the pressure. His inside defense was okay at best. Another problem for Selby is his lack of upper level power. He couldn’t get Koasicha to respect his power and thus Koasicha spent the entire fight trying to get inside and set Selby up for a big counter shot. It worked a couple of times, specifically in the 8th when Selby appeared hurt from a loaded left hook. In the end, Selby recovered and boxed beautifully.
My problem going forward with Selby is that he’s 27 and time is running out for him to be considered a prospect. What that means is a step-up is due. A story came out that Eddie Hearn, Selby’s promoter, inquired about a match between Selby and Nonito Donaire. Say what you want about Donaire, but that match doesn’t end well for Selby. Selby’s inability to have his opponents respect his power is a disaster waiting to happen. Donaire is a skilled counter-puncher with elite level power.
Gavin Rees ends his career 38(18)-4-1 winning a split decision over Gary Buckland 28(9)-4.
Gavin Rees got a standing ovation from the crowd as he hugged his 2 daughters in the ring after being announced winner of the contest. Rees, who’d said he would retire after this fight, went out in grand fashion. The fight began just as their previous encounter had. A brutal inside fight with a plethora of body shots and big counters. The beginning of every round started the same. Rees gave the impression that he wanted to box off the back foot, but Buckland would come in and make him forget all about it. Around the 6th round, Rees caught Buckland with a sweeping left that nearly knocked Buckland’s mouthpiece out. From there on, Rees fully committed to boxing and did a wonderful job. He was able to move laterally and only fight inside in spurts. The adjustment was the difference in a fight that was a toss-up to that point.
Rees has always been a class act and deserved to go out not only in a war, but on top. Should this really be the final act of Rees’s career, he should be remembered as a little guy with balls the size of grapefruits who was not afraid to make life difficult for bigger men. Though he was stopped on a technical knockout, his performance against Adrien Broner created the blueprint for the comeuppance of Broner. I wish Gav the Rock nothing but the best in whatever his future holds for him and I thank him for the entertainment he’s provided in his career.
Nathan Cleverly 27(13)-1 stopped Shawn Corbin in 2 rounds.
I would’ve preferred if Cleverly was facing a guy who wasn’t so chinny, but I suppose he needed a confidence builder in his move to cruiserweight. If that was the intention, Hearn hit the nail on the head. Cleverly looked like a beast. It took him 2 rounds to beat Corbin (who’d been knocked out 4 times previously) into submission. On a personal level, I would’ve preferred if they’d found a more durable opponent. An easy win like this tells us nothing about Cleverly going forward. I’d like to see what his speed looks like in the 5th, how his stamina holds up after 8, and how he takes a good punch. None of this was answered, but at least we know he can finish…
Callum Smith improved to 11(9)-0 following a 2nd round stoppage of Tobias Webb.
Let’s give Webb a ton of credit. This dude came out to win. He won the 1st round by jabbing and putting combinations together brilliantly. I started to think maybe Smith wasn’t as untouchable as we’d though. All that would alter in the 2nd. Perhaps Smith was taking mental pictures and getting his timing just right in the 1st because the 2nd round was a complete whitewash. Smith went to the body with ferocity a Webb was loading up heavy shots. A left hook to the liver dropped Webb not once, but 4 times before they called it off.
Callum Smith stands as one of the top prospects in all of boxing. (You’ll read about the top guy a little later in this post.) Callum Smith has it all. He’s got a tight defense, solid footwork, good timing, and explosive power. Not to mention he’s 6’3″ in a division where most range from 6′-6’1″. Callum Smith’s future is bright. He’s already leapfrogged several of the super middleweights on the domestic level and I anticipate that Smith is a year away from a title shot.
Boxing returned to the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood, California. I was able to drive past on Friday and take a look at the HBO truck in the flesh. It’s not quite as shiny in person, but hey what is? Let’s go over the fights.
Juan Manuel Marquez improved to 56(40)-7-1 with a unanimous decision over Mike Alvarado 34(23)-3.
Marquez headlined an exciting card and put on the type of performance we’ve come to expect from him. He was, as Anton in Training Day put it, “surgical” with his counters and benefited greatly from a speed advantage over Alvarado. My only criticism of this fight was that Alvarado, while being a very good and tough fighter, isn’t in the class that Marquez is in. A win over Alvarado isn’t exactly a good barometer for how Marquez is going to fair in rematches with Pacquiao or Bradley, or even Ruslan Provodnikov. Well, one thing we know for sure is that if Marquez lands an overhand right to your chin, I don’t care who you are. You’re going down.
As for Marquez’s gameplan, it was just about what I predicted. I thought Marquez would focus the early part of the fight on using his jab and going to the body during combinations. The second half, I thought, he’d start to load up and hit Alvarado with the heavy artillery. A momentary lapse for Marquez and he found himself on the canvas, however that’s nothing new for the Mexican legend.
As Marquez continues to add to his legacy, I’m curious where people will start to rank him among the other great Mexican fighters. Has he surpassed Morales? Barrera? Sanchez?
Viktor Postol moves to 26(11)-0 and is now the WBC number one contender by knocking out Selcuk Aydin in the 11th round.
What a strange fight this was. Aydin came out and rocked Postol in the first round. It looked like Aydin’s aggressiveness and speed would ruin the supposed coming-out party for Postol. Instead, Postol showed a masterful ability to box, go to the body, and put together combinations… all in slow-motion and without moving his head. There was a tension during the whole fight because it felt like at any moment Aydin would crack Postol’s chin. Instead, it was Postol who delivered a sensational right uppercut that crumpled Aydin in grotesque fashion.
Postol has jumped from being a fringe contender with a nice record to a legit opponent for any of the top junior welterweights in the world. He’s now the mandatory for Danny Garcia, but there are other options out there should promotional or network conflicts impede the fight. If I’m Danny Garcia, I take this fight. I can’t imagine Postol punching harder than Lucas Matthysse and his stationary head make him a good target for Garcia’s impeccably timed power punches.
Diego Magdaleno improves to 26(10)-1 by winning a unanimous decision over Oscar Bravo.
Bravo was brought in from Chile to challenge Magdaleno who’s still on the rebuild following his close loss to Roman Martinez. Bravo carried a significant size advantage, but was unable to use it effectively. Magdaleno was too fast and his ability to get in and out carried him to an easy win. The highlight in an otherwise dominant, but forgettable fight was a 4th round knockdown. Magdaleno hurt Bravo with a hard body shot and dropped him with a big right.
Oscar Valdez moves to 11(11)-0 after the ring doctor stopped Noel Echevarria after 7 rounds.
First things first, Echevarria might be one of the toughest dudes you’ll ever watch. This guy was beat from pillar to post and never stopped trying to win. It just so happened that his opponent may very well be the future of boxing. Oscar Valdez showed an unbelievable variety of punches, pin-point accuracy, and dazzling footwork. If there is one criticism of Valdez, it’s that he’s not as heavy-handed as his record would indicate. The good thing for Valdez is that he’s patient and is willing to break a guy down.
The sky is the limit for Valdez. If there’s any prospect out there that could easily be projected, it’s Valdez. While his stablemate Felix Verdejo has the highest ceiling of any prospect (both in boxing ability as well as star status,) Valdez’s ceiling is far more predictable. (Imagine that Valdez is Andrew Wiggins and Verdejo is Embiid or Parker.) I can see Valdez not only winning a world title, but doing it in multiple weight classes. Luckily for us, both Valdez and Verdejo campaign around the same weight class. That has future pay-per-view attraction written all over it.
Isn’t it a little strange that Top Rank put on 2 competing cards? I thought it was. Here’s the recap from the card over at the Selland Arena in Fresno, Califonia headlined by Andy Ruiz Jr.
Andy Ruiz Jr moves his record to 22(16)-0 stopping Manuel Quezada in the 2nd round.
One of my favorite things about Ruiz Jr is that he fights like he trains with much smaller guys. What that means is he doesn’t fight like a typical heavyweight. He’s not throwing 25 punches a round and clinching all the time. Instead, he stands in the pocket and trades, tries to get inside and bang away at the body, and then steps out while throwing a right over the top. For a big guy, he’s surprisingly quick. There’s a lot to like about Ruiz Jr. As for his fight with Quezada, well, Ruiz Jr appeared a class or 2 above him. Quezada was game and gave a good fight, but Ruiz was too accurate and too active for him. Ruiz hit him with numerous overhand rights and body shots that broke Quezada. If Ruiz can become a little more elusive to the straight right, his future is bright. The problem is Ruiz keeps his lead hand out and sometimes carries it pretty low. Quezada and Tor Hamer caught him with the right often and a big puncher like Wladimir Klitschko will turn the lights out on you if you give him that luck. That aside, Ruiz is one of the more entertaining heavyweight prospects out there and I can easily see him being in some terrific throwback wars in the coming years.
Jose Ramirez adds another win making it 10(8)-0 with a 2nd round knockout of Jesus Selig.
Those that fear for the future after Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather should take a look at guys like Errol Spence and Jose Ramirez to see that the future isn’t as grim as it seems. Jose Ramirez stepped up his level of opposition taking on Jesus Selig and delivered in grand fashion. Ramirez showed his ability to switch from offense to defense nicely and dropped Selig in the second with a straight right hand followed by a left hook to the body. The visible pain Selig was in shows how devastating Ramirez is. Ramirez may lack the polish that Valdez does, but his crowd-pleasing style should quickly make him a fan favorite.
That’s all for this weeks wrap-up. I missed the Friday night fights. In the future those will be included. Thanks for reading.