Matt Bevan (@MBevs68)
So after a quiet January, it’s time to take a look at the winners and losers from a much busier February. Last month was a tough one to select a few, but there is no shortage of either this month.
If you disagree with any selections or want to add your own, leave us a comment.
Terence Crawford: Is this man the best fighter in the world today? The case carried on building, as Crawford yet again adjusted under pressure to put away “Hammerin’” Hank Lundy away in five at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
After taking over at 135lbs, he is now on course to do it again at 140lbs, before the inevitable step up to 147lbs, where you wouldn’t bet on him doing it again. Top Rank are desperate to turn Crawford into a PPV star, in addition to him becoming the biggest franchise in Omaha, Nebraska and he is well on his way.
Fights against Ruslan Provodnikov and Lucas Matthysse are being touted, although a fight with Viktor Postol to confirm who is the man at 140 could also be on the agenda.
At the start of 2013 barely any had heard of this guy. By the end of 2016, we could be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard of Terence Crawford.
Carl Frampton and Team: We were promised the British version of Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera, but what we got was a rather disappointing version. However, at the end of it all, Carl Frampton stood at the top of the mountain, as he got the better of Scott Quigg.
Frampton has a huge following in Belfast and could be a bonafide star, but he needed to get the Quigg problem out of the way. He was helped by Quigg’s refusal to do anything for seven rounds, as well as the broken jaw the Bury man suffered in the 4th, but none of that matters, as “The Jackal” has proven he is the better man.
He’ll move on to a potential fight with consensus number one Guillermo Rigondeaux or Shingo Wake or perhaps a move to featherweight, whilst his team led by Barry McGuigan can now bask in the knowledge that they were ultimately right.
(For my of my thoughts on the fight, take a look at my column which is out on Thursday)
Amir Khan: Long has Khan been linked to a massive fight. He has talked, moaned and annoyed people into thinking he will be in a huge fight, but ultimately, although not through lack of trying, it hasn’t come off.
May 7th that all changes. Khan will step into the ring in the new Las Vegas arena and in the opposite corner will be one of the sport’s PPV superstars, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and the WBC Middleweight title will be on the line. For the minute we’ll ignore the ridiculous 155lbs catchweight limit.
Why shouldn’t the Bolton man pursue the biggest fights in the sport for as much money as possible? Isn’t that what all fighters are in it for? To earn as much money to set their families up and win world titles, as well as the chance to fight the biggest names out there.
Khan should get massive credit for taking this fight, not slated for “avoiding” Kell Brook. How long will it take people to realise that Khan doesn’t need Brook? And that’s coming from someone from Sheffield.
Eddie Hearn: After plenty of hype and “banter juice”, Hearn’s man in Scott Quigg, a man who he claimed would be knocked out by Frampton in 2013, was defeated by his Belfast nemesis, whilst the all-summer showdown between Khan and Brook at Wembley Stadium looks to be totally shelved.
Hearn doesn’t have many bad months, but this was one was as close as he has got in a long time. The quality of the cards he is putting on for Sky Sports viewers and the paying audiences is dropping as well, which means 2016 hasn’t got off to the start he wanted.
The Matchroom leader has more than enough opportunities to redeem himself this year, but the Quigg loss and the likelihood of Khan ever facing Brook disappearing by the day don’t help. But, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter because he still has Anthony Joshua. Just imagine if he loses in April.
Fedor Chudinov: Most writers are sick to death writing about poor refereeing decisions, bad stoppages and awful scorecards from judges. It is not helping the sport’s image and is becoming a right royal pain in the arse.
But, Fedor Chudinov was quite frankly robbed on February 20th in Germany, when three judges inexplicably decided to award a win and the WBA super-middleweight crown to Felix Sturm, who has once again benefitted from a hometown decision in his home country.
There are plenty of fans who have more than enough to say about Germany and bad decisions, although Britain has more than their fair share too, but this one was atrocious. I think along with the three judges, and the world’s worst commentator, Sturm should be thanking his lucky stars and retire quickly.
MGM Marbella: February 6th was looking like a good card in Dublin at the National Stadium. Headlined by Gary Corcoran facing off with Danny Butler, as well as Irish hopes Jamie Kavanagh and Stephen Ormond amongst others in front of a vociferous crowd, it was shaping up to be an entertaining bill.
Then the weigh in happened. A man was killed and two others injured, whilst the footage was shown worldwide, shocking viewers and once again showing boxing in a bad light. MGM have been gaining a steady reputation of putting on good cards, but this will be hard to come back from.
Police have said it was a gangland shooting and it’s well known that the Kinahan family are involved with the MGM group based out in Marbella. I can’t see them promoting in Dublin for a while.
AIBA: This one came out of the blue. AIBA, who are the governing body that run amateur boxing, have decided that they would now like to encourage professional boxers to compete in the Olympic Games this Summer in Rio.
Ridiculous. Dr Wu, the moron who runs AIBA, has claimed he wants to take over pro boxing and have it under one umbrella before, which is the stupidest wish, and more unlikely than Nick Halling and Jim Watt ever doing some good commentary on a fight.
He is now going to completely ruin the image of amateur boxing, which has traditionally been one of the showcase events of the Olympic Games. No headguards and 10-9 scoring, I can cope with. The WSB has proven to be a good venture, although I’m less sure about the APB.
But this is the just the most pointless thing Wu has ever come out with. Their should be a difference between amateur’s and pro’s, the clue is in the title. Every amateur’s dream is to win the Olympic gold medal and go on to be a pro, not fight a pro in the final and potentially be humiliated.
The sooner Wu is voted out and taken as far away from AIBA, then the sport will be in a much better place. AIBA might as well just close it’s doors and cease to exist if this actually happens.
Matt Bevan is freelance journalist and contributes to several other leading publications on a weekly basis. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MBevs68.