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Bad Left Hook March Mania: Semifinal voting, stage one

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The tournament continues with semifinal matchups in nine divisions.

Bad Left Hook’s March Mania fantasy boxing tournament continues today, with voting opening for the semifinal matchups at heavyweight, 175, 160, 147, 135, 126, 118, 112, and 105. We’ve got some much more debatable matchups in the semifinals than in most of the first round, of course, because the best of the best remain.

The idea behind how to vote:

Obviously I can’t make you vote any which way, but the idea is to assume everyone is in their best condition they can be right now, nobody struggled to make weight, nobody’s out of shape, nobody’s got any injuries. Imagine everyone being the best fighters they can be as of right now, whatever that means to you. And to be extra clear, we are talking current form, not the absolute prime for anyone.

If you don’t feel you know enough about a certain matchup or division or fighter to vote on that one, you don’t have to! And please, feel free to add some comments or reasoning for any of your picks!

The voting for these matchups will remain open until Wednesday, Mar. 25 at Noon ET.

Let’s go!

AND NOW HERE IS THE GIANT BARRAGE OF POLLS (AND MATCHUP NOTES)!

Poll

Heavyweight: Fury vs Whyte

This poll is closed

  • 95%
    (1) Tyson Fury
    (366 votes)
  • 4%
    (5) Dillian Whyte
    (19 votes)
385 votes total Vote Now

Notes: Fury (30-0-1, 21 KO) and Whyte (27-1, 18 KO) guarantee that at least one UK fighter will be in the heavyweight final. It’s a matchup Whyte would like to have in 2021, when the WBC have promised, possibly with their fingers crossed behind their backs, he’ll get his “owed” title shot. There’s an obvious favorite here, of course, but maybe you see Whyte presenting something Fury would have trouble with, people are wild.

Poll

Heavyweight: Joshua vs Wilder

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    (2) Anthony Joshua
    (237 votes)
  • 43%
    (3) Deontay Wilder
    (180 votes)
417 votes total Vote Now

Notes: Here’s one people have been debating and speculating about for a few years now. At one time, Wilder-Joshua was THE fight to make at heavyweight, and it’d still be a great one to make at this moment. Joshua (23-1, 21 KO) and Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KO) can both still crack, both are big guys, and the style matchup you thought you’d see in 2018, you really might not get that anymore. This one is gonna be interesting; Joshua’s loss last year came to Andy Ruiz Jr, a true shocker, but he came back solid in the rematch, while Wilder recently got smoked by Fury, but Fury’s the clear cream of the crop at the moment, too.

Poll

Light Heavyweight: Beterbiev vs Alvarez

This poll is closed

  • 97%
    (1) Artur Beterbiev
    (363 votes)
  • 2%
    (5) Eleider Alvarez
    (8 votes)
371 votes total Vote Now

Notes: Unbeaten titleholder Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KO) has smashed up everyone he’s faced so far, not that he’s never shown any vulnerability or anything. Alvarez (25-1, 13 KO) is a well-rounded former titleholder who I think actually fights better when he’s forced to be a little more aggressive, and Beterbiev would certainly bring pressure and force the issue. It’s about whether or not Eleider can survive the rushes and relentlessness. That’s the story for anyone Beterbiev faces, basically.

Poll

Light Heavyweight: Bivol vs Gvzodyk

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    (2) Dmitry Bivol
    (256 votes)
  • 29%
    (3) Oleksandr Gvozdyk
    (108 votes)
364 votes total Vote Now

Notes: A nice matchup of very sound boxers. Bivol (17-0, 11 KO) is unbeaten and has a belt, but Gvozdyk (17-1, 14 KO) was unbeaten and had a belt, too, before he fought Beterbiev, and Bivol is basically nothing like Beterbiev. Personally I wouldn’t count Gvozdyk out here, but it’s really down to whose skills you like better.

Poll

Middleweight: Golovkin vs Charlo

This poll is closed

  • 78%
    (1) Gennadiy Golovkin
    (292 votes)
  • 21%
    (4) Jermall Charlo
    (79 votes)
371 votes total Vote Now

Notes: Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KO) has certainly done more in his career, but Charlo (30-0, 22 KO) is much younger, much fresher, and a talented fighter in his own right. Even a 37-year-old GGG would be a pretty big step up from Charlo’s recent competition, though. Another good matchup.

Poll

Middleweight: Andrade vs Derevyanchenko

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    (2) Demetrius Andrade
    (180 votes)
  • 53%
    (3) Sergiy Derevyanchenko
    (205 votes)
385 votes total Vote Now

Notes: Fascinating matchup, I think. Andrade (29-0, 18 KO) constantly bangs on about wanting the biggest fights out there, but he hasn’t gotten them. Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KO), on the other hand, has gotten a pair of big fights, and while he lost both of them to Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs, he came very close to winning both. They have a common opponent in Jack Culcay. Back in 2017 at 154 pounds, Andrade beat Culcay on the road in Germany by split decision that shouldn’t have been split, and in 2019 at 160, Derevyanchenko looked a little flat but won a decision over Culcay in Minnesota. Like I said in the first round results post, to me this one screams controversial decision.

Poll

Welterweight: Spence vs Porter

This poll is closed

  • 86%
    (1) Errol Spence Jr
    (329 votes)
  • 13%
    (4) Shawn Porter
    (50 votes)
379 votes total Vote Now

Notes: We saw this one last September, and it wound up one of the best fights of 2019. Spence (26-0, 21 KO) proved he’s got some real dog in him by going a brutal 12 with Porter (30-3-1, 17 KO), who gave the younger man all he could handle. Spence won that fight by split decision. Maybe you think Porter could do better in a rematch. Maybe you think Porter performed at peak ability there and that Spence could make some adjustments and do a better job a second time around.

Poll

Welterweight: Crawford vs Pacquiao

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    (2) Terence Crawford
    (319 votes)
  • 17%
    (3) Manny Pacquiao
    (66 votes)
385 votes total Vote Now

Notes: A matchup Bob Arum refused to put together when he had both at Top Rank, and one he’s said recently is not a consideration. Arum’s belief was and is that Pacquiao has gotten too old to deal with Crawford, and that he’d be leading a fighter he still has affection for into slaughter, which he doesn’t want to do. That’s his public stance, anyway. Maybe it’s all a cover-up because he fears Crawford, with whom he has many more years to make money, might be in over his head with Manny? I’ll float these ideas if I damn well please. Crawford is nine years younger than Pacquiao and can fight effectively in either stance. But Pacquiao is still Pacquiao, and there’s a lot of fight left in him based on recent form. This one could go either way, I expect, with some strengths for both to point to for an argument.

Poll

Lightweight: Lomachenko vs Campbell

This poll is closed

  • 98%
    (1) Vasiliy Lomachenko
    (368 votes)
  • 1%
    (4) Luke Campbell
    (6 votes)
374 votes total Vote Now

Notes: Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KO) beat Campbell (20-3, 16 KO) quite convincingly last August in London, so frankly this is one of the less intriguing semifinal matchups. It’s not as if Campbell fought poorly or didn’t give a great effort, it’s just that Lomachenko was better than him, and I’m not guessing many people think that’s changed.

Poll

Lightweight: Lopez vs Haney

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    (2) Teofimo Lopez
    (218 votes)
  • 42%
    (3) Devin Haney
    (163 votes)
381 votes total Vote Now

Notes: The much more interesting lightweight semifinal. I was a little surprised by how handily Haney (24-0, 15 KO) defeated Gervonta Davis in the opening round, I thought that would be a more competitive vote. But Lopez (15-0, 12 KO) is, unlike Tank, a natural lightweight, really a pretty sturdy lightweight at that. Both young fighters pass the eye test. Teofimo’s knockout win over Richard Commey is easily better than anything Haney’s done to date, but Devin has some big believers, clearly, and they of course might be dead on about his upside.

Poll

Featherweight: Warrington vs Galahad

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    (1) Josh Warrington
    (287 votes)
  • 18%
    (4) Kid Galahad
    (64 votes)
351 votes total Vote Now

Notes: Warrington (30-0, 7 KO) beat Galahad (27-1, 16 KO) via controversial and ugly split decision last June in Leeds, which is Warrington’s hometown and featured a crowd that reacted big to the various bits of work he actually managed to get done. It was not a good fight from an entertainment standpoint, but Galahad proved plenty capable of both nullifying and hanging with Warrington, and there were certainly more people than just judge Howard John Foster who thought Galahad deserved the nod. This one was so close and so debatable the first time that it has potential to be an upset here.

Poll

Featherweight: Russell vs Stevenson

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    (2) Gary RussellJr
    (191 votes)
  • 49%
    (3) Shakur Stevenson
    (190 votes)
381 votes total Vote Now

Notes: Russell (31-1, 18 KO) has proven himself over the years in terms of his talent and skill, if not necessarily in terms of his drive or ambition. But he’s 31 now and his inactivity seemed to get the better of him just a bit in his February win over Tugstsogt Nyambayar, where he did fatigue a fair amount, though he definitely deserved the win. Stevenson (13-0, 7 KO) is a rising star at 22, and the former Olympic silver medalist has the tools, perhaps, to match Russell’s skill. The only time we’ve seen someone do that in the pros, Lomachenko beat Russell. But Stevenson, with due respect, is not Lomachenko, either, at least not yet. I think the biggest question here is not about Russell, but rather if Stevenson is truly ready for this level of opponent or not. This is a very young fighter who has a belt, sure, but he’s also been handled quite carefully.

Poll

Bantamweight: Inoue vs Rigondeaux

This poll is closed

  • 87%
    (1) Naoya Inoue
    (317 votes)
  • 12%
    (5) Guillermo Rigondeaux
    (44 votes)
361 votes total Vote Now

Notes: Inoue (19-0, 16 KO) is the Monster, a three-division titleholder who has largely trounced his opposition since turning pro in 2012. At 26, he’s maybe just hitting his prime years in some ways, but you also have to wonder if bantamweight might be the division cap for him. Rigondeaux (20-1, 13 KO) is 39, hasn’t always stayed active, hasn’t always been able to get opponents to actually fight him, but other than a move up from 122 to 130 to fight and lose to Lomachenko in 2017, he has done nothing but win. Now at 118, Rigondeaux remains plenty viable, it seems, and his style and technical skill may well present a serious challenge for Inoue on paper.

Poll

Bantamweight: Oubaali vs Donaire

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    (2) Nordine Oubaali
    (156 votes)
  • 58%
    (3) Nonito Donaire
    (218 votes)
374 votes total Vote Now

Notes: This fight is tentatively set to actually happen in May, though that’s up in the air now, of course. Oubaali (17-0, 12 KO) has an unbeaten record and a belt, and he was a good amateur for France. At 33, he’s not as young as you might think, though he certainly has less pro miles than the 37-year-old Donaire (40-6, 26 KO). Nonito’s return to bantamweight has been a great success so far, even with the competitive and brutal loss to Inoue last year, winning Fight of the Year. At 5’7”, Nonito would have a few inches of height on Oubaali, but Oubaali is physically strong in his compact build, and certainly has the power to keep opponents honest. Good matchup in the real world, good matchup in the fantasy tournament.

Poll

Flyweight: Tanaka vs Dalakian

This poll is closed

  • 89%
    (1) Kosei Tanaka
    (248 votes)
  • 10%
    (4) Artem Dalakian
    (28 votes)
276 votes total Vote Now

Notes: Tanaka (15-0, 9 KO) and Dalakian (20-0, 14 KO) are both undefeated titleholders. Dalakian, 32, has fought all but one pro fight at home in Ukraine. Tanaka, 24, has fought all of his pro fights at home in Japan, but Japan is certainly a bigger pro boxing event hotbed than Ukraine. I suspect we have a significant favorite here, in all honesty, but I also think it would be a hell of a fight.

Poll

Flyweight: Martinez vs Mthalane

This poll is closed

  • 87%
    (2) Julio Cesar Martinez
    (241 votes)
  • 12%
    (3) Moruti Mthalane
    (35 votes)
276 votes total Vote Now

Notes: A more interesting matchup at flyweight, as Martinez (16-1, 12 KO) has exploded up the rankings over the last year, while Mthalane (39-2, 26 KO) has just been kinda chillin’ in this general area at 112 for, oh, about a decade. The 37-year-old from South Africa has seen just about every type of fighter there is to see, and the 25-year-old Mexican warrior might find himself having to consider a Plan B for once against a crafty vet like Mthalane.

Poll

Minimumweight: Wanheng vs Mendez

This poll is closed

  • 88%
    (1) Wanheng Menayothin
    (225 votes)
  • 11%
    (4) Wilfredo Mendez
    (29 votes)
254 votes total Vote Now

Notes: Wanheng (54-0, 18 KO) looks to continue his TBE run, as the 34-year-old Thai veteran is matched with 23-year-old Mendez (16-1, 6 KO) of Puerto Rico. Mendez is the island’s only remaining hope in the entire tournament, if I’m not mistaken, and I might be, I didn’t double check. In reality, there will come a point where some young fighter gets Wanheng if he doesn’t retire first. That’s inevitable, most likely. But is Mendez the guy? Mendez is a southpaw, maybe has a bit more pop than the record lets on, but he’s also had struggles in fights against guys who ain’t Wanheng level.

Poll

Minimumweight: Knockout vs Argumedo

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    (2) Knockout CP Freshmart
    (209 votes)
  • 18%
    (3) Jose Argumedo
    (46 votes)
255 votes total Vote Now

Notes: Knockout (21-0, 7 KO) and Wanheng will look to make it an all-Thailand final at 105. Mexico’s Argumedo (23-4-1, 14 KO) is, like Mendez in the other matchup, a good fighter. But the Thai guys are the clear 1-2 in this division today for a reason. That’s not me telling anyone how to vote, it’s just how the division has been seen for the last few years.