ESPN13 Mar, 2023 Reading: 8 min.
Usyk accepts a furious 70/30 offer for the title
Oleksandr Usyk Tyson Fury accepts a 70/30 offer for the heavyweight championship fight on April 29 at Wembley Stadium.
After big fights to start the year, it’s been wild on the calendar for boxing stories this spring, including, most recently, Tim Tszyu’s knockout victory over Tony Harrison for the interim World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title.
After the big win, how does Tszyu match up with the clear 154 pound champion Jermell Charlo? What about Joe Cordina’s next title fight? Could he be the next UK Fighter to claim a world title? Joseph Diaz is also in the hunt for the 135-pound title. Could a move to the top division give him the title soon?
As it stands, Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. later in the year they are available for battle. Could 2023 be the year the two stars meet in the ring? And has Gilberto Ramírez done enough to be considered the best active pure boxer after Canelo Álvarez?
Ben Baby, Mike Coppinger, Nick Parkinson and Salvador Rodríguez separate what is true and what is not.
True or not: Tim Tszyu can beat Jermell Charlo for the championship for sure
Copinger: True. Before Tszyu’s performance against Tony Harrison on Saturday, it was hard to see the Australian boxer as anything more than a dog against Charlo. After all, Charles is not only a solid 154-pound champion, but an elite fighter.
Tszyu, on the other hand, was inexperienced; the best victory came vs. Terrell Gausha last year, there was nothing in that outcome to suggest that Tszyu could topple the Royal Division.
but they go round the nine vs. Harrison in Sydney, Tzsyu emerged as a dramatically better fighter. The 28-year-old showed a keen sense from distance, taking shots while forcing and impressing with his weapon punches. Tszyu also attacked while moving forward and retreating when needed.
Most importantly, perhaps Tszyu was patient against the best opponent of his career. Harrison is a former champion who earned a contested decision win over Charlo in 2018 and was favored on the scorecard when Charlo stopped him in the 11th round of their rematch.
Against Tszyu, Harrison won just one round on my scorecard. Tszyu dominated. He consistently overpowered Harrison and landed some very clean punches. And indeed in the ninth round the show ended with that beating of the hooks.
When Charlo thought about pulling out his January vs. Because of Tszyu’s hand injury, Tszyu was waiting for Charlo to recover. But against an experienced boxer, he was rewarded. He’s gained a lot of experience and exposure over those nine rounds and is much more prepared for the one-on-one with Charlo.
Charlo still deserves the win against Tszyu. He is a formidable puncher who knows how to prepare his shots. But do not write Tszyu. Brian Castaño tried Charlo twice, arguably winning his first fight, and the Argentinian boxer has a similar style to Tszyu, the son of Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu.
No matter what wins when they meet later this year, Charlo-Tszyu will be much more anticipated after Tszyu’s work this weekend.
True or not: Joe Cordina will be the next UK Fighter to win a world title
Parkinson: True. Cordina challenges Shavkat Rakhimov for the title in Cardiff, Wales on April 22 over the thin IBF challenge and can win back the belt.
Cordina was stripped of his world title without a defense after withdrawing from a fight against Rakhimov (17-0-1, 14 KOs), 28, of Tajikistan due to a broken hand in October. There is no lack of appetite or excitement for this fight.
“I worked my whole life to become a world champion and I didn’t even have a title to defend,” Cordina said after the title was stripped from him. “I feel like I’ve been robbed.”
Cordina (15-0, 9 KOs), 31, won the belt in June 2022 by knocking out Kenichi Ogawa at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, the same venue where Rakhimov faces off and has the support of his hometown fans. Much will depend on how Cordina recovers from her right hand injury, the latest setback in her life.
Rakhimov, trained by Freddie Roach, claimed the vacant belt by knocking out England’s Zelfa Barrett in the ninth round in November and faced Cordina’s best opponent ever. Rakhimov also gave a good impression of himself when he held off Jose “JoJo” Diaz in his previous title attempt in 2021.
But Rakhimov remained on points when Barrett stopped and dropped an early right hand. Cordina is a pain boxer. You can rewrite the title if you can avoid getting caught in the data and fighting.
True or not : Terence Crawford vs. Errol Spence Jr. It will not happen in 2013
Child: This is not true. Moaning I’ve been burning a lot about whether it’s going to be Spence-Crawford. But look at the facts. Both fighters want this to happen. Multiple sources told ESPN that the fight took place in 2022 before negotiations over individual contracts broke down. That left each fighter pointing the other finger like a fan demanding answers for yet another disappointment.
But Spence and Crawford will be available at the end of the year. Spence’s next fight has yet to be announced, but ESPN’s Mike Coppinger reported that Spence is closing in on a deal with former champion Keith Thurman. Meanwhile, the WBO has ordered Craufurd to defend his title against Alex Rocha.
Whether at welterweight or super welterweight, the long-discussed Spence-Crawford matchup remains interesting. It is too early for the possibility that it will be in charge at the end of the year.
Real or not: Joseph Diaz Jr
Child: This is not true. It doesn’t even invest as much. Even if Devin Haney defeats Vasiliy Lomachenko and subsequently vacates all four of his lightweight world titles and moves down to lightweight, as expected, Diaz will be on the fence. The best win in the last three years before the pandemic has come so far: the last victory over Tevin Agricola in January 2020. And this was in the thin division, not the 135-pound division.
Diaz has also lost two straight fights, one to Devin Haney for the WBC belt and most recently a unanimous decision with Guillermo Zepeda in a non-title fight.
Of course, the belts could be released, but Shakur Stevenson and others are still lurking in the division. Stevenson, that unified super-weight champion who had moved up in weight, was set to be a force for the foreseeable future.
True or not: Gilbert Ramirez is arguably the best Mexican fighter after Canelo Álvarez
Rodriguez: It’s not real. Canelo Álvarez has been the face of the Mexican boxing career despite setbacks in his career. However, it is not Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramírez who is next on the list of the best current Mexican fighters, not even Jaime Munguia, although he fights in a good middleweight division.
The best current Mexican boxer after Canelo is Juan Francisco “Gallo” Estrada, who recently established himself by beating future Hall of Famer Román “Chocolatito” González in a high-action trilogy fight.
After all these, I would like to list the names of boxers Emanuelis Navarrete, Scar Valdez, Luis Nery, Mauricio Lara, Luis Alberto López or Julio César Martínez.