On the 1st January 2017, the world over, we waved goodbye to a year that was a celebrity travesty. People sat up and hoped that the year in which so many icons had gone would be replaced and be heralded with a new dawn. We wanted a new year of excitement and cultural prosperity.
In the boxing world of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2016 brought down that same curtain on a year when we continued to dominate world boxing but were unable to dethrone the biggest names – Canelo and “GGG”. It was, however, the end of a year in which we still had 13 World Champions.
January was looked forward to because we believed, in this sceptre isle, that we were the people. We had the joy of looking down upon the rest and saying, we are the ones to emulate. In Scotland, the phrase, Wha’s like us? Damn few and they are aw died! (Translates in English as there is nobody like us…)
Now in the UK you can hear the cry – let us embrace February and say goodbye to a month in which it has been nothing short of a mini disaster.
Principally and internationally, we had three hopes in January. An undisputed super middleweight King, the boy from Belfast making it known that he was the best at super featherweight and the Welsh Mayweather taking over Las Vegas – did we not? In the end, of 3 world titles we retained 2, we did participate in 2 highly competitive fights but failed, in the end, to do much more than provide some disappointing headlines.
Let us begin with James DeGale, 23-1-1, 14 KO’s, who came, who saw and who nearly conquered. The fact that Floyd Mayweather, JR., talking in those Trump-like alternate facts, saw the draw as a travesty, tells us a little about the fight. DeGale did not dominate, he came very close to pulling it off and had he not gone down in the 12th we know he would have been crowned the champion he believes, and so do we, that he is.
No matter, though, what the disappointment may have been with the result the fight was a cracker. The money men would surely say, let us go again… Erm no… Badou Jack is away up to light heavyweight…
On the same bill, we also hoped to see what Stephen Smith saw and Jose Pedraza, 22-1, 12 KO’s, should have dominated an encounter that would see him keep his belt. Nobody went into the dressing room and told Gervonta Davis that. What was he thinking about? Going into the ring and showing us that our boy got whipped by a second-best fighter as Davis beat the hell out of Pedraza… It was not the first showing up that a former victor of a British fighter gave us in January.
Fast forward a fortnight and we get into Las Vegas. First is the farce of Jonathon Barros not being ready to take on Lee Selby, 23-1, 8 KO’s. Selby, almost in tears, talks of how he would have loved to have defended his title and then taken on Carl Frampton, 23-1, 14 KO’s who would surely do the business against Leo Santa Cruz.
I say whaaaaaaat???!!!!
As Barros was unable to meet the requirements of a world title contender, Frampton went in and got beat by Cruz.
The showdown of the Welsh Wizard and the Jackal has now gone off the boil.
There has been talk of Cruz/Selby rather than Frampton/Cruz III. There can be no doubt over who won on the night – it was boxing. The Brits though had to lick their wounds.
As for the second whupping that a former titlist who beat a Brit got, former Ricky Burns conqueror, Dejan Zlaticanin got royally knocked out by Mikey Garcia, 36-0, 30 KO’s. Whilst few gave Zlaticanin a chance, we hoped a decent showing would have prevailed. As it stands, Garcia was unbelievable after 2 years off…
In Scotland I could not avoid the continuing disappointment as I saw the Title Taker, Scott Allan, 6-2-1, lose to Ukashir Farooq, 4-0, in his bantamweight title fight. This was a blow as Allan was whipping some very decent press and people were taking to him in a very dramatic way – he saw himself as Marmite man, he came crashing down in a 10-round loss from which he shall learn valuable lessons and will be back in early March.
The bright sides were Scotland’s Josh Taylor, 8-0, 7 KO’s, making it 8-0 on the Frampton undercard at lightweight and super middleweight David Brophy, 18-1-1, 2 KO’s, triumphing on a decent night of Scottish boxing in Glasgow on the 20th January. The following night in Preston we still got shocks as the bright star of super lightweight Atif Shafiq, 16-2, 4KO’s, of whom much was expected did not last a minute of the first round…
Plenty to mull over, lots to debate and loads to write about but we need some brightness. At least in February we have Chris Eubank, JR., 23-1, 18 KO’s for the IBO super…. When does March start???Contact the Feature Writers