So it has been a few days since we saw two world champions and countless contenders in highly anticipated fights, all of which ended in clear one-sided victories. Now that the adrenaline and expectations of the fans has subsided and the dust has settled, lets take a look back on one of boxing’s most anticipated weekends so far in 2019.
Saturday night’s marquee fights started at Madison Square Garden with Shakur Stevenson (11-0, 6 KOs), in what was supposed to be his toughest fight against veteran fighter Christopher Diaz (24-1, 16 KOs) who was trained by the legendary Freddie Roach. However, Stephenson dominated every round and solidified himself as a real threat in the featherweight division. All of the top names in the division, including Leo Santa Cruz, Gary Russell Jr., Oscar Valdez, and Josh Warrington, to name a few, should keep an eye on him. Shakur was able to frustrate Diaz by forcing him to try and walk Stephenson down. Shakur controlled the range, mixed up his combinations up, never gave Diaz an opportunity to gain control of the fight. The fight ended in a resounding unanimous decision: 100-90, 99-91, 98-92.
Jumping from ESPN PPV to network television – Fox Sports – fans got to see former WBC Welterweight Champion, Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia (35-2, 21 KOs) in his first fight since losing to ‘Showtime’ Shawn Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) in September 2018. Garcia took on the Chicago veteran Adrian Granados (20-6-2, 14 KOs), which was viewed by most as a fight that Garcia would win. Granados had never been stopped in any of his previous fights. Therefore, in order for Garcia to make a statement he had to do what no one was able to do before.
In round 1, Granados gave Garcia some trouble with his movement in round, but after that it was all Garcia. Garcia left hook’s, and overhand right were extremely accurate as Granados did not utilize any head movement and he fell for all of Garcia’s traps. Garcia knocked Granados down three times between rounds two and seven. The referee put a stop to the bout as Granados started to sustain unnecessary punishment, giving Danny Garcia the distinction of doing what no other fighter had been able to do before – stopping Adrian Granados. After the fight, Garcia put the entire welterweight division on notice, stating, “I’m back”.
Flipping back to ESPN PPV, the last and most anticipated fight of the night was between undefeated WBO Welterweight Titleholder, Terence’T-Bud’ Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs) and former welterweight world champion Amir ‘King’ Khan (33-4, 20 KOs). Many fight fans in attendance and at home thought that Khan was no longer at the level he once was and the fight would be an easy win for Crawford. Yet, some fans still gave Khan a chance because he possesses blistering hand speed.
Crawford was able to land shots early in the fight and dropped Khan in Round 1. The knockdown was the clear inflection point of the fight as it became a boxing lesson from there on out. Amir found his shots in spots when Crawford got comfortable on the attack, but even then it was still all Crawford. Crawford attacked Khan’s body throughout the fight and stunned him numerous times. In the sixth round, while fighting on the inside, Crawford landed a low blow that arguably hit as much if not more of Khan’s leg than Khan’s groin. However, with Khan being so far behind on all of the fight cards, it seemed as if he wanted an easy out. Khan claimed that he had no feeling in his legs. He refused to take the standard five minute break for a low blow and instead quit, giving Crawford the victory by TKO.
In retrospect, Saturday night was a great night of boxing action. Even contenders like Teofimo Lopez (13-0, 11 KOs), had impressive outings. Lopez won by KO over veteran lightweight fighter Edis Tatli (31-2, 10 KOs) on the under card of the Crawford vs. Khan fight. Rising start Felix Verdejo was able to achieve the same outcome as well, earning the victory over fellow lightweight Bryan Vaszquez (37-3, 20 KOs) by unanimous decision.
On the PBC fight card, undefeated super bantamweight Brandon Figueroa (18-0, 14 KOs) defeated Yonfrez Parejo (22-3-1, 11 KOs) for the interim WBA Super Bantamweight Title) after Parejo retired.
Coming up this weekend, boxing fans will be treated to five headliner fights, including Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-4-1, 44 KOs) vs. Juan Francisco Estrada (38-3, 26 KOs) and Regis Prograis (23-0, 19 KOs) vs. Kiryl Relikh (23-2, 19 KOs) on DAZN, as well as, Robert Easter Jr. (21-1, 14 KOs) vs. Rances Barthelemy (27-1, 14 KOs).