It was a very busy night in the boxing world, even with the card-to-card carryover centered on unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez and George Kambosos. IBF and WBA bantamweight world champion Naoya Inoue has reminded the world of the otherworldly power he possesses at 118 pounds with a third round knockout of Michael Dasmarinas, and he’s on a trajectory to get himself. fight for an even higher spot on ESPN’s pound-for-pound list. So how far is it to knock on the door and outsmart Canelo Alvarez or Terence Crawford?
Jermall Charlo had a tougher time with his world title defense on Saturday, going the distance against Juan Montiel. Was it about neglecting Montiel, or Montiel about getting on a big stage? And where does this fight and result leave Charlo in the middleweight pecking order?
Mikaela Mayer also went the distance in her first defense of the WBO World Junior Lightweight Title. Was her tough test against Erica Farias a speed bump on her road to division unification, or a serious red flag?
Finally, UFC legend Anderson Silva did the unthinkable and beat former world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in Mexico. What does this mean for Silva’s future boxing earning potential?
Our panel of Michael Rothstein, Ben Baby and Marc Raimondi looks at the fallout from Saturday’s action.
What does Naoya Inoue need to do to realistically challenge Canelo Alvarez and Terence Crawford at the top of the pound for pound ranking?
There’s not much more Naoya Inoue can do at this point, but wait. Almost every fighters Inoue has faced he is dominated. Most of the time, the fight doesn’t last very long either. But the fighter who might make the most sense for him to face next – provided he defeats John Riel Casimero in their title unification fight on August 14 – stood next to Inoue on stage on Saturday night after his victory: Nonito Donaire.
Donaire and Inoue have fought before – Inoue won a unanimous decision on November 7, 2019, in an instant classic – and facing the winner of Casimero-Donaire makes the most sense, as it would unify all the titles at 118 pounds. It’s also Inoue’s best chance of trying to overtake Terence Crawford or Canelo Alvarez in the Top 2 in the pound-for-pound rankings in the short term.
Inoue also pays attention to those rankings – he told ESPN last week – and it’s a start for the 28-year-old to show he could be the best fighter in the world, regardless of the division.
“These are the opponents that I’m going to fight – better quality opponents – and basically as we move towards unification of the title that should push me up in the standings,” said Inoue.
If he unifies the titles at 118 pounds, he would likely look to a divisional move up to 122 pounds, where new fights and new challenges await him. He could also become a four division champion if he wins gold at 122. Win there, and Inoue would have an even stronger CV to bolster his record for the No.1 spot. Barring a surprising loss. of either of the men in front of him, which is not something Inoue can control, he just has to keep doing what he did. –Rothstein
Anderson Silva made future millions against Julio Chavez Jr.
Anderson Silva probably made a nice payday on Saturday night for his fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in Guadalajara, Mexico. There was never any doubt, no matter what the outcome. What was doubtful was what Silva would look like. He is 46 years old. He has earned only one UFC victory since 2012. Chavez Jr., although he has never lived up to his last name, is a former WBC middleweight champion with nearly 60 professional boxing matches. Silva hadn’t boxed professionally since 2005. It doesn’t take an advanced mathematician to figure out that those numbers didn’t work in Silva’s favor. In all respects, Chavez Jr. should have won and won easily at Jalisco Stadium.
And yet, that is not what happened at all. Silva won by split decision in a fight that wasn’t even as close as the scores would have indicated. He dominated much of the fight, which is pretty ridiculous to type. Yes, an aging and supposedly failed Silva complained about a boxing veteran who beat people like Marco Antonio Rubio and Andy Lee – a fighter who went the distance with Canelo Alvarez, and fought Daniel Jacobs just one year and a half ago. Silva won so clearly that there wasn’t even enough room for a summary decision to bail out Chavez Jr. except for that ridiculous card that got Chavez Jr. to win 77-75.
Silva absolutely smoked all expectations. Crushed them. Amazed them. It’s important in itself to see one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time – a former UFC middleweight champion for seven years – achieve a remarkable performance in another combat sport. That’s great. But it is doubtful that it ends here. This performance puts Silva in the driver’s seat at the absolute perfect moment. It is the era of the unconventional boxing match. The Paul brothers are doing their thing. Oscar De La Hoya comes out of retirement and takes on Silva’s former rival Vitor Belfort in an exhibition. Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. faced off at an exhibition last year.
All of this to say that Silva made himself a major staple on Saturday night for a future boxing match against another legend, a YouTuber or a number of other people who could generate a lot of buzz. Silva has said for a decade that one of her dreams was to box her friend Jones Jr. It really seems on the table right now. How about Anderson Silva vs. Jake Paul, if Paul can get rid of Tyron Woodley in August?
But let me suggest this: Tyson vs. Silva. The meanest ex-man on the planet vs. the most creative knockout artist in MMA history. It would probably have to be an exhibit, but you’re telling me it wouldn’t sell a la carte units? Silva could be looking at one of his biggest fight bags of all time – maybe his biggest ever, period – and he’s closer to 50 than he’s 40.
These are crazy times in combat sports and Silva has just made a relevant name again, eight years after losing the UFC middleweight title to Chris Weidman. – Raimondi
Did Jermall Charlo take his fight against Juan Macias Montiel too lightly?
Not at all. What else was Charlo supposed to do? In the sixth round, he did everything except send Juan Montiel to the canvas, and yet the challenger kept coming. Montiel had something very few underdogs possess – shameless levels of self-confidence and a genuine will to win. This is why Charlo (and most observers) were in awe of Montiel after this performance. Instead of acting like another opponent, Montiel really came out on top and gave Charlo fits all night. It was not the easy night that everyone expected.
Charlo had to face a fighter who had a good chin on Saturday night – a fighter who was incredibly awkward as he changed positions with a jerky movement at the start of the fight. Charlo picked his shots early, then found himself drawn into action combat, which made for an entertaining night.
Even in the win, Charlo showed why he has a case as the world’s best middleweight. He has all the good boxing skills he needs – decent power, precise punches and a solid sense of the ring. On his best night, he can be absolutely dominant.
Yes, there will be people upset that Charlo hasn’t had a shutdown. In most cases, that speaks badly of the champion against someone with credentials like Montiel. Charlo’s victory does not fall into this category. It was a good performance – Montiel was just ready for it.
Charlo still showed he could be the best 160-pounder in a division that still includes Gennadiy Golovkin (and, yes, Demetrius Andrade). And Montiel has shown he deserves another fight against a renowned opponent. – From baby
Mikaela Mayer goes all the way to successfully fend off Erica Farias and defend her WBO junior lightweight championship.
Was Mikaela Mayer’s first title defense a learning experience or a wake-up call?
It wasn’t necessarily the dominant performance you might expect from a first title defense. Mayer lost a few laps, others appeared much closer than she would have liked. And while a title defense is a title defense, Mayer will need to be better to achieve his goal of unifying the junior lightweight division.
She will then face Maiva Hamadouche, in Q4 2020, and Hamadouche could cause problems for Mayer if she is not careful. That’s not to say Mayer can’t win this fight – she clearly can. It also doesn’t mean that Mayer won’t be favored for doing it – she probably will be.
But Mayer is still relatively young in her professional career, and Erica Farias was experienced and better than some might have thought. Farias’ only losses came in the title fights. So it’s one of those old clichés that fits team sports – it’s easier to learn from wins than losses, especially in boxing where titles and livelihoods are involved if titles are. lost.
Mayer can therefore learn from this. This is something his trainer, Al Mitchell, will make it clear to him. She won. She did what she needed. And now she can move on to what she’s been focusing on since the start of the year – unifying her division. –Rothstein