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Weekend Roundup: Postol is your new fave, Matthysse has issues, Broner is Broner

A lot of stuff happened in boxing this past weekend. Let's talk it out.

Hogan Photos/Golden Boy

Your New Favorite Fighter Is Viktor Postol!

"The Iceman" put a real hurtin' on poor Lucas Matthysse on Saturday night, scoring an upset knockout (which within the upset was a bigger upset) in the 10th round of their fight at the still magical StubHub Center in Carson, California, live right there on HBO, on your TV screen.

Postol (28-0, 12 KO) was not known as a puncher, but had certainly shown some pop and sting in his May 2014 win on the network over Selcuk Aydin, which was an 11th round knockout. Between that fight and this one, he went eight rounds with Jake Giuriceo in New York this past April, tuning up for his return to TV, so maybe if that had been scheduled for 10 or 12 it would have continued his KO streak.

The 31-year-old Ukrainian is now the WBC junior welterweight champion and has a good case for being considered the top guy at 140 pounds, considering Terence Crawford's résumé at the weight consists of a win over Thomas Dulorme and an upcoming fight with Dierry Jean, neither of which is equal to a shellacking of Matthysse. Crawford still seems the better fighter on The Eye Test, but if we're just talking results, Postol is, at least for now, the top dog at the weight.

EXPOSED! Lucas Matthysse!

Lucas Matthysse v Viktor Postol Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

"Exposed" is one of our great overused boxing terms mostly thrown about by people who use the hashtag #TMT or say things like "Pacroids." It's right up there with "bum" and "tomato can" and "quitter" in the macho boxing guy lexicon.

But, like, seriously, Matthysse's inability to adapt during a fight and his limited variety of punches were genuinely exposed on Saturday night. Postol messed up Matthysse with two separate game plans. Early, he was able to clinch and grab the shorter Matthysse whenever he came in with his head down, looking to fire off his best punch, the left hook. This disrupted everything Matthysse wanted to do, similar to the style that has made Wladimir Klitschko a multi-millionaire and a world famous world champion, and even brought to mind some of what Joe Calzaghe would do, where he was content to pit-a-pat punch and then tie up his opponents, so that he had offense and then shut down the other guy's attempts at coming back with his own.

Once referee Jack Reiss firmly put the kibosh on that, Postol started leading the offense more, and getting a little more serious, if you will, about his punches. Matthysse was in the fight much of the way, and did have some really good moments. He hurt Postol a few times. But he never got that stunner punch that he needed to set up some big charge and attempt at a finish. In 2012, we saw Matthysse struggle with Humberto Soto before finally just overpowering him. Soto is smaller than Postol, and was less able to effectively keep range and box Matthysse.

When you look over Matthysse's run of fights dating back to Soto, it's clear that he can be outboxed pretty handily. Even John Molina, a rugged brawler at his best, used superior height and reach to give Matthysse some real issues. Lucas will always be dangerous in a fight because he has major league power and a great left hook, but if a smart fighter takes away his better weapons, he has little else to offer other than brute punching power. I'm absolutely not saying Matthysse (37-4, 34 KO) is a bad fighter, or an overrated bum who sucks, I'm saying that he is flawed, as most fighters are, and that, as always, styles make fights.

Still, when you also look at Matthysse's four career losses, they all came against quality opposition in Postol, Danny Garcia, Devon Alexander, and Zab Judah, and the latter two were controversial defeats. He's a good fighter and remains a contender, but there's definitely a blueprint on him, if you're good enough to make it work and can take his shots.

About Boxing Billions Business Broner

Adrien Broner v Khabib Allakhverdiev Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

I didn't watch Adrien Broner's 12th round stoppage win over Khabib Allakhverdiev live, but I saw the last couple of rounds live, anyway, and thought Broner was looking good. Broner, like Matthysse, is limited. Unlike Matthysse, Broner wishes often to fashion himself a slick boxer. He's just not, though. Broner's limitations are often self-imposed, as he tries to be something and someone he is not.

Watching the fight on DVR after, I liked what I saw of AB in that fight, because he did what I think he's best at doing: getting in the pocket, putting punches together, and fighting mean. That's what he did against Antonio DeMarco in 2012. It's what he did for the most part against Allakhverdiev. It's what works best for his abilities. Broner is not a monster puncher, but throws great combinations and has the speed to make up for a lack of one-punch type power at 140.

I still don't think Broner is an elite fighter, nor has he ever been, nor will he ever be. His achievement of winning four world titles in four weight classes is pretty bunk. It's not totally absurd, but it's a reflection of the modern boxing landscape more than something amazing he's done. That sounds petty, but I'm just being honest. I don't take a lot of world titles very seriously, Broner is not alone in this criticism.

AB lost some respect quickly when he immediately called out Ashley Theophane, a 35-year-old journeyman fighter. I want to try to be as clear as I possibly can about this. Theophane is a decent fighter. In 2011, I thought he was around the back end of the top 10 at 140 pounds. But losses to Darren Hamilton and Pablo Cesar Cano, no quality wins, and the fact that he's not exactly gotten younger since then have not exactly built a case for a world title shot. It seems likely that Broner-Theophane will actually happen, so again, I can't take this world title very seriously. If he's going to fight someone ranked 47th in the world by BoxRec as a first defense, Broner's title is paper only.

Other Thoughts

  • Robert Easter Jr is an intriguing lightweight prospect. He smashed an overmatched, undersized Juan Solis on the SHO Extreme prelims on Saturday night, and while that in itself isn't particularly impressive, Easter's potential is real. At 5'11", he's very tall for the weight class, has power, and shows good offensive ability. At the very least, he figures to become a consistently fun TV fighter.
  • Jamel Herring was solid in his 10-round SHO Extreme win over Yakubu Amidu, but it's hard to take much from the fight, since Amidu showed up and left it at that.
  • I had Edner Cherry a 116-112 winner for Jose Pedraza when watching that fight on DVR, and felt he definitely deserved the nod over the younger Puerto Rican fighter. The two 117-111 cards for Pedraza were absolute nonsense.
  • Speaking of nonsense cards, Antonio Orozco getting shutout and near-shutout scores over Humberto Soto was hideous. Not blaming Orozco, he had an argument for the win, as did Soto, and a draw would have been an acceptable decision. But the scores reeked of judges having made up their minds who was going to win going in.
  • Ovill McKenzie put in a hell of an effort on Friday in Argentina, fighting IBF cruiserweight titleholder Victor Ramirez to a draw. McKenzie, also known as "The Upsetter," benefited from Ramirez looking sluggish in the early going, but he also did fight as well as he could have hoped. Despite the short notice, he looked fit and ready, like he'd trained for eight weeks specifically to face Ramirez. That's a huge credit to fighter and team. As for Ramirez, it wasn't a good night, and he was lucky to get out of there with his belt.

P4P TOP 10

Now, you can argue about something meaningless!

  1. Roman Gonzalez: Despite BJ Flores' objections to people who don't weigh very much being professional boxers, "Chocolatito" is the best fighter in the sport today.
  2. Sergey Kovalev: Kovalev is, to me, a bigger, better version of Gennady Golovkin. I said it. I totally slammed your best friend, Gennady Golovkin, with whom you are secretly in love.
  3. Guillermo Rigondeaux: He is really good at boxing and nobody cares. "I care!" you say. Well, you should have been millions of people a couple of years ago.
  4. Andre Ward: Ward could be the overall most talented/best fighter here, but that is assuming he's the same fighter that he used to be. One win over Paul Smith, no offense to Smith, is not enough to come back and claim top P4P status after a year and a half out of the sport.
  5. Gennady Golovkin: Yeah, look how much I hate Golovkin. I only have him fifth!
  6. Terence Crawford: There's still a little bit to prove, at the least, but he doesn't just pass the eye test, he aces it. There's nothing I don't like about Terence Crawford as a fighter, at least not yet. Eventually someone will be a stern test for him. Maybe it'll be Postol next year. Maybe not. I've said this before, but Terence Crawford, laid back dude from Omaha, is everything Adrien Broner has proclaimed to be for the last five years.
  7. Manny Pacquiao: My feeling is he's still quite a good fighter. I mean, we'll see going forward, but that's my feeling for now.
  8. Canelo Alvarez: This one could raise some eyebrows, I guess, but I think Canelo is terrific. I mean, he lost to Floyd Mayweather, like everyone else did, but around that he beat Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout, who could still be considered the Nos. 2 and 3 fighters in the division, or at worst two of the top five. His wins over Alfredo Angulo and James Kirkland were more exciting but not as impressive. Cotto is going to be a real test of where he's at.
  9. Juan Francisco Estrada: The "other" top flyweight is on a hell of a run, most recently obliterating Hernan "Tyson" Marquez. Since a 2012 loss to Roman Gonzalez, he's gone 7-0 and made his claim as a top fighter in the sport.
  10. Wladimir Klitschko: Recently I went through an understanding/apologetic phase with Wladimir Klitschko, where I would say things such as, "Well, he's dominant." And he is. But I still don't think he's particularly good. He is tall, and he is well-trained, and he is physically strong. But every time I try to think of him as a great fighter, at least historically, I remembering him fumbling around for 12 rounds with Alexander Povetkin. Yeah, he won every round, but at what cost? It was an awful fight that only proved that Klitschko needs to be tall and smart to beat what is supposed to be another top heavyweight, because he certainly didn't exhibit skill in that fight. But I'll put him 10th so that the heavyweight fetishists only lose some of their minds at my hatred.

Not Listed: Vasyl Lomachenko, who lost to Orlando Salido last year. That really did happen.

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