This coming weekend feels like a big deal for boxing in 2020. After the famine comes the feast, and Halloween evening has delivered more treats than tricks. Inoue–Moloney, Usyk–Chisora and Davis–Santa Cruz lead the way, with plenty to consider en route to the action.
Does size matter to Usyk?
The question mark hanging over the head of Oleksandr Usyk since moving up to heavyweight has been that of his size. All previous cruisers have experienced the same scrutiny when leaving their 200-pound waters, but in a heavyweight era of big big men, the question this time around seems a little more pertinent.
Derek Chisora has been seen as a gatekeeper in the heavyweight division for a number of years now, able to reinvent himself after losses and bounce back onto his feet in meaningful fights. Nine losses punctuate this talent of crafting opportunity after opportunity that might not necessarily reflect his ability, clinging onto the notion that all it takes is one punch to change the course of heavyweight history.
How to Watch Usyk vs Chisora
Chisora is a big, strong, powerful heavyweight, and in many ways, the perfect litmus test for the Ukrainian great up at heavyweight. If Chisora can manage to slip inside Usyk’s peppering southpaw jab and fire off artillery on the inside, questions turn to answers in how the former undisputed cruiserweight king reacts. Moving to the left in the early stages of the fight, in an attempt to bring Usyk onto his big overhand right will be something Team Chisora will be looking at on Saturday night, as they look to negate the southpaw excellence of the favourite.
Usyk has previous experience at this weight before his body had a chance to naturally adapt. Outpointing Joe Joyce inside London’s York Hall in the World Series of Boxing showed his pedigree in dealing with a much bigger man, but Chisora’s aggression and doggedness is something that may cause Usyk to learn on the job. For what it’s worth, I think he passes this test, but it should give us a little more of an idea of where his ceiling as a heavyweight may hang – if at all.
How big is Jason Moloney’s heart?
I’ve had the pleasure to get to know Jason Moloney quite well over the past year. In a year that has forced a majority of fighters to move a couple of steps back in their career, Moloney is one of the anomalies who has benefitted through opportunity.
An impressive stoppage over Leonardo Baez inside Top Rank’s Bubble this summer paved the way for his second shot at world honours — previously falling short in a razor-thin loss to Emmanuel Rodriguez in 2018 — against Naoya Inoue this weekend.
Inoue is a special fighter. The Japanese “Monster” has broken the hearts of opponent after opponent, including a run of three big victories as world champion inside two rounds. However, many feel that his Fight of the Year against Nonito Donaire last November took an inch of gloss off the champion’s reputation and Moloney is confident he’s able to capitalize.
How to Watch Inoue vs Moloney
“I’ve probably watched Inoue vs Donaire around six to eight times,” Moloney told me whilst deep into his camp. “Nothing too crazy. It was a fantastic fight. It certainly showed that he was beatable and that he could be hurt fairly easily. I’ve had success against Donaire in previous sparring sessions, so that also gave me a degree of confidence. I think Donaire let him off the hook a couple of times when he could have pressured more.”
If Moloney is able to shock Sin City on Saturday night, he’s going to have to fight with a massive pair of balls and dig deep into his heart. Stranger things have happened.
Is Tank the real deal?
Headlining a stacked pay-per-view card — it still baffles me that you folk across the pond have to pay $74.99 for one night of boxing — Gervonta Davis has the chance to put a more than credible win on his resume. Leo Santa Cruz is tough, durable and, despite coming towards the end of his career, still a big threat to a relatively unproven Tank.
LSC is a 19/4 (+475) dog in this 130-pound contest, and is terrific value considering his pedigree. If Santa Cruz can use his height, reach and keep a relatively high volume of output while boxing off the back foot, Tank is going to have to find answers he hasn’t previously been asked.
If Tank can close the ring off and not waste opportunities against a man adept at going the twelve-round distance, then he’ll be expecting to land enough smoke to hurt Santa Cruz. According to my memory and a quick flick through BoxRec, Santa Cruz hasn’t been dropped, let alone stopped in his career – Tank doing so will immediately make an intended statement.
How to Watch Davis vs Santa Cruz
Date: Saturday, Oct. 31 | Start Time: 9:00 pm ET
Location: Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
TV: Showtime PPV | Stream: Showtime.com
Live Online Coverage: BadLeftHook.com
Regis Prograis 2.0?
With newly found motivation to re-climb the 140-pound ladder to the very top, Regis Prograis return to action on the Tank–Santa Cruz undercard looking to prove a point.
“Rougarou” convinced me last week in our interview that he is looking forwards rather than backwards following his defeat to Josh Taylor last October, pinpointing specific improvements in his approach to boxing that will allow him to become a world champion once again.
“Training like a maniac”, “not falling asleep in rounds” and “training back home in Texas” were things that Team Prograis will be looking to build on, squeezing another 1-2% of performance out in order to fulfil his potential at junior-welterweight before moving up to 147.
Juan Heraldez has promised a fun fight on Saturday night, alluding to his accomplished defence which could give Prograis a few problems breaking through. After inactivity and a war in London last year, we’ll learn a lot from Regis this weekend. If we see signs of a Prograis 2.0 then who’s to say what he can’t achieve over the next few years.
With Juan Francisco Estrada and Teofimo Lopez gatecrashing many pound-for-pound lists over the past couple of weeks another argument for a re-shuffle will occur following this weekend’s results.
I get it. Some of you don’t care for pound-for-pound debates and some of you REALLY care, but let’s just postulate at a couple of the questions that may arise on placings.
If either Inoue or Usyk win, can either man expect to find themselves in at No. 1? If Tank Davis knocks out LSC emphatically, does he knock at the door of the top 10 or higher? Does LSC re-enter if he beats Tank? Where would Jason Moloney sit if he upsets Inoue?
After writing this I realize how stupid it is to try and rationalize pound-for-pound lists before a big fight weekend, let alone the Monday morning after.
That being said, I’ll leave it to Scott who I know LOVES it!