That's Canelo Alvarez getting his romance novel cover on, from a still from Saturday's episode of All Access. The episode gave people plenty of things to laugh about and talk about besides Canelo's topless bareback adventure, which marks an improvement from the Showtime series' handling of Floyd Mayweather's last fight. We had Mayweather vocally hoping that the Mexican people wouldn't throw urine on him, as if urine-tossing is a national Mexican pasttime. We had Canelo kicking off the episode discussing his love of shoes, then working out later in a gym that had pit bulls stationed on a ledge for some reason. We had pictures of Canelo's childhood, where he was dressed up like some kind of cowboy/Raggedy Andy doll, followed by his mother wondering why he got in so many fights as a youth. We still had to put up with some Mayweather "I'm young, fly and flashy" rehearsed b.s., but at least it wasn't camera shot after camera shot after shot of Mayweather luxuriating in his wealth like with All Access for the Robert Guerrero bout in May.
We also had some good fights this past weekend, and fodder for debate. What's next for Jhonny Gonzalez? Did Arthur Abraham win or lose his fight Saturday? What about the topics in the headline? We have all that and more waiting for you with the click of your mouse.
- Next for Gonzalez. There's a rematch clause for Abner Mares if he wants to exercise it, but he wants to take some time off instead. That leaves Gonzalez with a variety of options in the featherweight division until or if Mares comes back around. Golden Boy Promotions's Richard Schaefer is talking about Gary Russell, Jr., which I could definitely get behind, although something about Russell's empty track record to date of stepping up the opposition suggests to me the fight won't happen. Schaefer also threw out the name Leo Santa Cruz, although I have to figure that fight comes later since he's still at 122. I keep saying what GBP wants because according to Schaefer, the promoter has "three controlling options" on Gonzalez. For his part, Gonzalez called out Nonito Donaire, junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux and Mikey Garcia. They're all nice fights but all of those men are with GBP's hated rival Top Rank. Really, though, between Russell, Santa Cruz, Donaire, Rigo and Garcia, there's not a bad option in the bunch for Gonzalez coming off a pretty glorious victory.
- A Mares assessment. There's been some dispute about what Mares did wrong in the fight. Personally, I thought he was fighting the right style of fight -- he was feeling Gonzalez out and respecting his power. But he also got fooled by Gonzalez faking to his body before a left hook upstairs dropped him. Some have said he shouldn't have been fooled by an elementary move such as that one; that's hard for me to judge, and certainly part of me wants to give credit to Gonzalez and/or trainer Nacho Beristain for making the move work. But the mistake was obviously costly. He also made the mistake of not holding after he was dropped. Strange as it is to say given Mares' run against seasoned opposition, inexperience here cost him -- he hasn't had to hold on for dear life against his deep run, so he didn't have any instinct other than to fight back. None of this is to say, as some have, that Mares was overrated coming in. He got caught by a big puncher in a division where he was less proven than at 118 or 122, although I personally believed he'd be fine based on what he had proven at 126 so far. But you don't beat (or deserve to have beaten, in one case) Daniel Ponce De Leon, Anselmo Moreno, Joseph Agbeko, Vic Darchinyan and Yonnhy Perez if you are no good.
- The stoppage. This has been another big point of contention. I'm not especially angry with referee Jack Reiss over the call, because Mares looked awfully done to me. But it's also the case that no real purpose was served by not allowing Mares a chance to rise. You can skip the 10 count in a situation where immediate medical help is needed, yet this didn't meet that standard. Mares, at least, said he was fine with the stoppage, which speaks more to his classiness than anything else, I suspect. But at least one other fighter, middleweight Sergio Mora, said on Twitter that it was a good stoppage primarily because Reiss had given Mares a long leash after the first knockdown. So, look, it can go either way. I just wish Reiss had given him a chance, because then, as Eric Raskin observed, there'd be nothing to debate at all.
- Kubrat Pulev-Tony Thompson. Pulev has put together a nice little run of wins at heavyweight, not that he was especially impressive against Thompson. He did what he had to in order to outpoint the tall, savvy southpaw, namely getting into an unpredictable rhythm and peppering Thompson with jabs and right crosses at sporadic intervals. But no, he'll not fare any better against Wladimir Klitschko than anyone else, a fight he earned with this victory. Thompson clearly lost, but he more or less held his own respectably, such that you can't really dismiss him as a top 10 contender at heavyweight.
- Arthur Abraham-Willbeforce Shihepo. Abraham has never been a particularly effective super middleweight, and whatever lifeforce is left in his 168-pound run is slowly draining from his body. Willbeforce deserved to beat Abraham in the eyes of many, although I scored it 115-113 for Abraham -- 117-111, as one of the judges had it for King Arthur, was contemptible. If you count the 5th round knockdown that should've been scored, Shihepo's case gets even stronger. And kudos to Shihepo for fighting well enough to get himself in the ballpark of a win, even if some of it was about how underwhelming Abraham has become. I'd like to see Shihepo get another nice paycheck off of this performance.
- The knockdown in Argenis Mendez-Arash Usmanee. I've rewatched the alleged 12th round knockdown in the Friday Night Fights main event between these two junior lightweights, and yes, I'm now convinced it was a knockdown. I checked it out several times because I wasn't sure if their feet got tied up. It was clean, though, however flash or fleeting -- Mendez wasn't really hurt. That would made the fight a draw on my scorecard, if it had been ruled as such.
- Mike Tyson's sobriety. Tyson, promoting his first boxing show on FNF, also gave some revealing interviews and sought peace with ESPN's Teddy Atlas, who used to be part of Tyson's training team. Atlas seemed to appreciate the gesture, although it wasn't clear to me all was forgiven for Tyson having gotten physical with his young niece all those many years ago. The bigger headlines came after the fight, when Tyson admitted he was not sober, as he had been claiming: "I'm on the verge of dying, because I'm a vicious alcoholic." Whatever you think of Tyson, and there's plenty of reason to think ill of him, it's hard not to root for the guy to get his act together. He really hasn't acted up in a harmful way toward anyone for a long time, at least that we know of. It now seems the only person he's hurting is himself.
- Atlas on the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. Atlas again threw out his support for the TBRB, this time upping the ante to apparently suggest the network should be relying on the Board: "When are we gonna get some consistent, real viable, credible ratings committees?" he asked, as two WBC-ranked "contenders" did nothing in the ring to justify their top-10 status. "I think there's one out there that we're missing the boat by not using: The Transnational Boxing" Rankings Board, Atlas said. Music to my ears.
- The rest. Some people are fine with Showtime's Mauro Ranallo, some aren't. Fewer are after he quoted rapper/crooner Drake. I'm more fine with Drake than most, but poorly played, Mauro... For some weekend results that I skipped over, read here... 7,686 were at Carson, Calif. for the Showtime card. I dont know the paid/freebie breakdown but it feels to me like live gates in the U.S. are on the rise this year... Top junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse was in attendance in Carson, too. His haircut was simultaneously horrendous and bad ass.
@HitDog I wish I was bad ass enough to just not care whether anyone thinks my head looks absurd. Matthysse has earned it.
I scored Arthur Abraham vs Willbeforce Shihepo (My new favourite name in boxing by the by) 112-117 in Shihepo's favour. Shihepo wasn't all that accurate but Abraham went too many rounds barely throwing. I wasn't at all surprised the judges gave it to Abraham but the fact the German crowd booed a decision in his favour says it all. Stieglitz is going to steamroll him.
@Borten I think 117-112 is too generous to Shihepo but a lot of rounds were close. The only thing that wasn't close was Willbeforce having the best first name in boxing.
If Stieglitz and Abraham rematch again, I know who I'm favoring.
@ALEXMAC I haven't spent the time in Mexico you have. If what you say is true, I need to go sooner rather than later.