Sherdog Boxing: The Weekly Wrap

By James Kinneen Feb 22, 2019

Tyson Fury Signs with Top Rank, Putting Wilder Rematch in Jeopardy

This week, “The Gypsy King” Tyson Fury signed an over $100-million deal to be co-promoted by Top Rank, and to fight on ESPN. When the news was announced, boxing fans immediately panicked that this meant he would not be fighting Deontay Wilder in a highly anticipated rematch of their split draw back in December.

But while the media panicked, both Wilder and Bob Arum seemed far from worried. Despite his long history with Showtime, Wilder said that in regards to networks, he’s a free agent, and Bob Arum claimed he’s already thrown a big money offer The Bronze Bomber’s way. For what it’s worth (which is likely very little), before the ESPN news came out Brendan Schaub told Joe Rogan “spoiler alert” the rematch would be in May, and that he was covering it for Showtime.

Wilder also acknowledged that if the Fury rematch isn’t next for him, he will look to fight the UK’s Dillian Whyte. As for Joshua, despite Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller’s fight with Anthony Joshua, he and Fury have begun a media beef. Fury claimed that he brought in Miller for sparring, and that he had to fire him after knocking him down seven times the first day.

In response, Miller said that you could make up any story devoid of proof if you’re looking for publicity, telling reporters “I heard Fury humped a donkey seven times. Do you believe that? You don’t believe that? Why not? I just told you, I’m about to put it in the media, I’ve seen Fury hump a donkey seven times. The thing about media is they all suck up too much dumb s*** instead of putting out the right crap.”

It was a strange way to make a point about journalism.

Lomachenko-Crolla Official for April 12, Saunders-Isufi Official for April 13 on ESPN+

A couple of disappointing fights from some highly talented fighters are coming to ESPN+ in April. First is Vasyl Lomachenko fighting The UK’s Anthony Crolla live from the Staples Center in LA. It’s not a great fight, but when Richard Commey got injured there weren’t many better options for Top Rank to make.

In a sign of his confidence about the fight, this week Lomachenko hosted an Instagram live chat, and freely spoke of future matchups against guys like Gervonta Davis (whom he said he would drop a weight class to face) and hard-hitting prospect Teofimo Lopez.

Lomachenko praised Lopez’s trash talk, saying, "He is a young and ambitious guy. I think he does great job, people in the United States love these kinds of boxers. He tries to copy McGregor but Teofimo must keep in mind... everything that happened to Conor in the octagon. Especially when matched with top fighters — Conor lost."

So, while boxing fans wait for Lomachenko to face Mikey Garcia, Tank Davis or Teofimo Lopez, with this subtle shot (and the inevitable Mcgregor response) we now get to fear months of trash talk leading up to an inevitable Mcgregor-Lomachenko matchup.

The more disappointing fight is longtime middleweight contender Billy Joe Saunders moving up to 168 to face Shefat Isufi for the currently vacant WBO super middleweight title. If he’s motivated, Saunders should win easily. Isufi has three losses as a professional and a first name that describes every girl I match with on Tinder, the fight won’t be competitive.

Saunders’ career has been in a rut lately, not because of his in-ring abilities but because of his inactivity and issues with his personal life. Saunders would make a great opponent for GGG, Canelo, Demetrius Andrade (somewhere other than Massachusetts), or Daniel Jacobs, but his last fight was at 173 and now he is pulling a Canelo and chasing a 168-pound title against a fighter he should be far too good for. Billy Joe Saunders is 27-0 and put on a show in his last big fight against David Lemieux. Hopefully, he comes back to 160 and takes on some of the major stars in that division. There’s a very real possibility he would beat them all.

Rumors Have Usyk Facing Povetkin in May

If twitter rumors are true, the long-awaited heavyweight debut of undefeated and undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk will come this May, somewhere in the USA. His rumored opponent? Alexander Povetkin, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist in the super heavyweight division, who is 34-2 as a professional, and has only lost to Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua.

But, while this will teach us more about Usyk’s future as a heavyweight, it won’t answer how the Ukrainian will deal with the heavyweight division’s massive men. See, Povetkin is a very short heavyweight at six foot two, in fact, Usyk will have a one-inch height advantage going into the fight. That’s not going to tell us how he would do against the six foot six plus inch giants of the division.

Still, if true, that would be an interesting matchup and one that would either stop Usyk’s hype train dead in its tracks or have boxing fans convinced he would destroy any heavyweight fighter on the planet.

Floyd Mayweather Defends Wearing Gucci amid Blackface Scandal

Floyd Mayweather found himself all over TMZ this week, and not for any good reasons.

See, Gucci released a turtleneck designed to be pulled up to your face, with large red lips on the neck. Immediately, the high end fashion brand faced a backlash as critics pointed out that the sweater looked a lot like blackface, culminating in various black celebrities calling for a boycott of Gucci and some like 50 Cent going so far as to burn their Gucci clothing.

Floyd Mayweather, on the other hand went on a massive Gucci spending spree, telling TMZ that he wears what he wants to wear and that he is not a follower. Then, in the face of a vicious social media assault on him, Floyd doubled down; taking a photo of himself and posting it on Instagram in which he wore head to toe Gucci clothing, and releasing a statement arguing that if Gucci was so terrible why wouldn’t you boycott every brand owned by Gucci’s parent company like Alexander Mcqueen and Balenciaga.

Longtime Floyd enemy TI quickly denounced Floyd, releasing a diss track against him, complete with a photoshopped image of Mayweather in the controversial sweater, while former friend 50 Cent took another shot at Floyd’s supposed illiteracy on Instagram.


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