It was quite the lively fight night at Barclays Center Saturday evening, with lots of lights, and cameras, and action.
Not to be flippant, but some of those lights were of the flashing variety, provided by law enforcement, who were out in force, before, during and after the show, which was topped by Adrien Broner versus Jessie Vargas, in a Can Broner Bounce Back bout.
Broner did bounce back, some, or a lot, or not at all, depending on who you listen to. He fought to a majority draw against the Las Vegas based boxer, and seemed pretty pleased with his outing, as he chatted with media ringside, because there was no postfight presser scheduled for after rmidnight, as we typically see.
No one laid it out, but the idea there was this: let’s wrap this shit up, and go home, safe and sound.
That concept seemed appealing to many of the almost 14,000 in the joint, because there was a certain aura of, shall we say, awareness in the air. Three weeks ago, fight fans took in the Charlo Brothers versus Gervonta Davis and Adrien Broner beef on social media, and we thought then that if that didn’t get squashed, there could be a crew smashup on fight week or fight night. Then, last week, Floyd Mayweather, the head of Mayweather Promotions, lead promoter of the Broner card, with a heavy assist from Lou Dibella, was the target of a shooter in Atlanta. A car in the Floyd caravan was shot up, and a bodyguard fired upon. Then, fight week saw Broner and B plus rapper Takeshi 6ix9ine go back and forth on social. There was a fear that feud could mushroom, as word spread that 6ix9ine has gang pals that might be keen to escalate the feud to involve weapons. A workout at Gleason’s Gym was scratched, maybe because of a better safe than sorry policy.
One high level trainer posted on social that one of these days, one of these beefs is going to escalate and end bad, real bad, gun play bad. And there was a ton of chatter this week, and on Saturday late night, that it’s up to someone to get some of these intense characters in check. Intensity is fine, some feuding is expected, but upping the word play to start promising violent out of the ring payback is over the line. It’s all just talk, until it isn’t, and I agree, I think some wiser heads need to have sit downs with some of these ruffian sorts, tell them to take it down a notch. Corpses don’t get paid all that well….
Other takeaways and thoughts: Broner continues to confound. He isn’t letting the hands go, though, I Tweeted early on in the headline fight. But he did indeed get busier and as he warmed up, his flurries and combos started to do more damage on Vargas.
Broner won one card, and if he fought the 12th with “proper” passion, he would have won a majority decision. All in all, he is what he is, a talented guy who will likely never get over that mental hump, and present as the total package his skills suggest he could or should be.
Jermall Charlo grew the rep of the Charlo twins with a rubout of Hugo Centeno, who got pretty slaughtered. Charlo goes at foes like they owe him money, and talked ill of his mama when he asked politely to be paid back. He called out GGG in the ring after, and on Twitter, that potential match drew thumbs up across the board.
I myself was a bit distracted at the start of Charlo-Centeno, because word filtered to me that there maybe had been a shooting incident inside the building. Reporter Xavier Porter messaged me, saying that he was on lockdown in the basement of the building, with a couple other boxing folks, because, he’d been told, someone fired off a round. I asked around, and a high level executive told me no, there’d been a loud noise, but it wasn’t a shot. Later, someone in the lockdown region said there would loud sounds, like something heavy had been dropped. Maybe because of the aura coming in, nerves were on high. But a patron on site reported to me that ushers told him someone in possession of a weapon had been removed from the building.
“To me, it sounded like bottles popping and breaking but then security said someone was shooting in the locker room,” a source from the lockdown group told me on Sunday. The chatter during the Charlo fight and after was heavy. Someone was shot at in the 40-40 club, on site, someone told me, in a rapper vs rapper beef. No, no shooting inside the building at all, I heard from others. Rumors galore and maybe the lesson is this: Let’s all move away from too intense trash talking and beefs on PEDs. It’s promotion and interesting, until it goes over the line. It appears that line wasn’t crossed Saturday, so let’s make sure we don’t get to that point.
Gervonta Davis had them buzzing Saturday and beyond. My cabbie on Sunday said Davis is the real deal and he was mega impressed with how the Baltimore boxer took out Jesus Cuellar. He also said if he were Tank, he’d wait for Vasyl Lomachenko to get old before he agreed to glove up with the Ukrainian dazzler. OK, I told cabbie, but Floyd Mayweather mentioned that he’d like to match Tank with Loma, soon. Davis himself said he wants that to be PPV before he agrees to it, so he’s thinking more like a manager than a young gunslinger who thinks his draw is the fastest in each and every town. We will see if the gunslinger or the managerial mindset winds…
More thoughts…Floyd Mayweather laid low, and didn’t show in BK. Leonard Ellerbe held down the fort for him, as he decided to be better safe than sorry, given the drama over the last few weeks. Probably wise.
The fighting pride of Gerritsen Beach Brooklyn, Heather Hardy, made a successful return to the squared circle, after forays in the MMA cage. She used smart boxing, tons of movement and angles, to get the UD8 over Iranda Torres. Hardy is 21-0 and Torres now 12-3-1. I saw Hardy winning rounds while backing up, but some watchers didn’t appreciate that subtle skill as much and thought a draw was called for. We will agree to disagree.