It didn’t feel look too many people were in the Hulu Theater to see the boxing portion of TrillerVerz, but Michael Hunter and Chris Algieri both took care of business in one-sided fashion as the new series premiered.
Hunter improved to 20-1-1 (14 KO) by dominating Mike Wilson in their heavyweight main event, scoring a knockdown and stoppage in the fourth round. The 33-year-old Hunter was never really tested at all by Wilson (21-2, 10 KO), who was once a top American amateur but is now 38 and has been a club fighter in his professional career, save for a loss to Denis Lebedev in 2018.
This was pretty much the mismatch you’d have expected on paper, as Hunter is a legitimate top 10 heavyweight right now and Wilson isn’t in the top 100. But it does get Hunter fighting again, and it put a regional WBA strap on his shoulder, so he’s got some rankings juice there, too.
Here’s a look at the knockdown that ended the fight:
The co-feature was another mismatch, as former 140 lb titlist Chris Algieri returned from a 26-month inactive spell to dominate Mikkel LesPierre over 10 rounds in a 144 lb catchweight fight.
The 37-year-old Algieri (25-3, 9 KO) could still be a plenty useful fighter at 140/147, not a top guy in either division, but he can still fight, still has a good motor, and has maintained himself physically over the years better than most fighters do. All in all, he’s won four straight since his 2016 loss to Errol Spence Jr, and while the opposition hasn’t been amazing, there have been some decent wins in there.
LesPierre (22-3-1, 10 KO) was reportedly hoping that having his first “real” and full boxing training camp would make the difference, but he was out of his depth here just as he was in losses to Maurice Hooker in 2019 and Jose Pedraza in 2020. He’s a tough, game fighter, but he’s barely won a round in any of those fights, and we’re talking 32 rounds of boxing here. In fact, officially, he’s won exactly six rounds of those 32, and we’re talking over nine separate score cards there, not everyone agreed he won those six. At 36, he is what he is, and we’ve seen the levels that are beyond him.
Scores were all wide for Algieri at 99-91, 100-90, and 100-90. Bad Left Hook also had it 99-91.
In the opener, 140 lb prospect Aaron Aponte improved to 4-0 (2 KO), stopping a clearly over-matched Gerardo Gonzalez (2-1, 1 KO) early in the second round.
Now that we’ve talked about the boxing, let’s talk about the show
I’m certain the “edgy” commentary (mostly just mean the CUSSIN’ here, otherwise it’s the same house-focused salesmanship as every other boxing show you’ll watch) works if you’re 14. Beyond that, when they just called the action, I thought Ray Flores and Jamel Herring did a good job. Sean Wheelock is very good to have on board even if just as unofficial scorer, and Crimefaces didn’t hurt the broadcast at all, he’s definitely at least enthusiastic which can make all the difference. He clearly likes watching the fights, and that can be plenty as the third voice in a booth.
Production was quite good, Triller seem to have found an effective balance in camera work especially, using some of the stuff they’ve experimented with on prior shows and mixing that with what you might call more “traditional” work. I thought it turned out nicely on that end, well-shot and they never made anything difficult to see or follow, but it had a bit more flavor than you might find on other shows.
As far as the matchmaking, if you’re going to have Snoop Dogg boasting on the commercial that this isn’t “the weak shit” that people associate with modern boxing, you do need to do better than Hunter-Wilson in particular, which was an obvious and clear mismatch on paper, much worse than the average main event you’ll find on DAZN, ESPN, Showtime, or usually on FOX. At least Algieri-LesPierre, which turned out one-sided but spirited, had the question of what Algieri would be able to showcase after a couple years off.
You especially need to do better if you’re hoping to get boxing fans to pay $2.99 for a Tuesday card once a month going forward. Maybe you can make enough on the Verzuz rap battles, and if so, that’s fine. And to be clear, yes, the boxing is clearly a garnish to the rap battles, at least by design judging by this debut show. But if you want to get the boxing fans, who are a loyal if very judge-y fan base, to pay you every month, you gotta convince them there will be better fights than this one. Doesn’t have to be elite level, top of the line stuff, but look at the model for Ring City USA, which was working great. If you’re not going to have elite fights — and at three bucks a month, no one expects that — then have good fights, well-matched and competitive on paper.