Blake Chavez takes a penetrating look at what Sergey Lipinets victory over Lamont Peterson means to the welterweights
About a week ago Mikey Garcia had a truckload of steer manure dumped on him by a number of fighters, managers & pundits after being totally obliterated by Errol Spence Jr. and suffering through what seemed at the time to be as big of an embarrassing performance by a top five pound-for-pound fighter in memory. In fact, some boxing "journalists" erased Mikey from their Top Ten and questioned his talent, his resume, and it seemed, his very heritage.
Shame on all of them.
Why? Because Mikey and all he’s accomplished was validated Sunday night when Sergey Lipinets lit a roaring bon-fire under Lamont Peterson’s azz, pounding the proud warrior so ferociously that Lamont’s vaunted corner threw in the towel.
Peterson’s face was a grotesque mask, a testament to the fury and raw power in Lipinet’s fists. Sergey is no boxing savant... he’s a war horse of the kick-boxing game. He entered the bout with only 15 pro fights under his belt, all in the super-lightweight division. What is so stunning is that Lipinets engaged in this Fight of the Year candidate competing in the welterweight division against a veteran of 40 fights!
Peterson is now 35-5-1, and the blistering he took caused him to retire from the ring on the spot. God Bless Lamont Peterson. His story as a child of the streets and his quiet professionalism is well known. Peterson battled and lost to the likes of world champions Tim Bradley, Lucas Matthysse, Danny Garcia, and Errol "The SeaHorse" Spence. That is Murderer’s Row. He also defeated world champions Victor Ortiz, Kendall Holt, Amir Khan.
He had eight title fights and was a two-time champion. In this, his last fight, he went out throwing hot grease and Malatov cocktails. His unleashed numerous ghastly patented left hooks from-waaaay-around-the-corner-to-the-liver. Body work and a blue-collar work ethic has been his calling card, much as Mickey Ward’s was. He acquitted himself well in his farewell bout. I salute you Lamont Peterson.
And what of Lipinets? He was scoffed at and ridiculed as being "EZ work" and a "soft-touch" for Mikey Garcia to "steal’ a fourth weight division world title from. Mikey whipped the much larger Lipinet’s azz, knuckling him up with out-sized purple and crimson knots seared onto the massive head of Sergey. Garcia beat him up, outclassed, and out-boxed him, even knocking down the iron-chinned champion.
After the fight, Lipinets, through swollen lips paid homage to Mikey stating straight out that, "Mikey Garcia can crack!"
So we know Peterson is an excellent, elite-level boxer, and yet it was the under-sized Mikey who dominated and schooled Lipinets, taking a few Kazakhstan howitzers to the mouth in the process. Garcia didn’t even blush on clean shots from Lipinets, whilst Peterson wilted.
The above tells us that Mikey Garcia is a much better boxer and puncher than Lamont Peterson, who was a very respected force in the 140lb division for a decade. It also confirms that indeed, Mikey can crack.
Mikey did get a bloody nose versus Sergey, but considering the leather Lipinets was slinging, a lil nose leak can be viewed as a blessing. Other than a purple crease to the right-side of his face, Mikey was unblemished. Peterson looked like a melted wax figure after Lipinets.
Think about that.
Now it becomes clear why supposed dangers Regis Prograis, Josh Taylor, and Belarus native Ivan "The Beast" Baranchyk, avoided challenging Lipinets, despite him only having a dozen pro fights. All three chose the cozy confines of the World Boxing "Super’ Series. C’mon, how "super’ could it be if Lipinets didn’t get an invite? It’s apparent that the fighter’s promoters hid them and were ducking a title fight with Lipinets. Ditto Top Rank hiding 140 lb WBC champ Jose Ramirez by having him fight almost exclusively in the middle of the searing Central California farm worker’s industry town of Fresno, California.
What no unifications Bob? Lou DiBela pops off at every opportunity about Prograis becoming an international star... but Lou must question his charge’s chin, because a bout with Lipinets would have been the most direct route to a title fight. Lou just didn’t want none. Nobody at 140 wanted that Sergey smoke.
So Mikey Garcia took that smoke and threw cold water on it. And Mikey, in reality, is a long-time feather jumping weight classes. Lightweights can sometimes jump to welter, but it is so very, very rare to hear of a successful jump from feather champ to welter champ. And therein lies the rub. Nobody does that. Not Duran, not Sugar, not Hearns, not Arguello, not Julio, not Marquez, not Morales nor Barrera. See? Feather is a bridge too far. That should tell us how insanely special Henry Armstrong and PacMan are.
Just as nobody at 147 wanted Spence’s smoke. Mikey took that smoke... and got burned. But we as journalists and as boxing fans should appreciate the balls it took for Mikey to fight much bigger guys in both Lipinets and Spence. Prograis. Taylor. Baranchyk. Keith Thurman. Shawn Porter. Danny Garcia. Terrance Crawford. They all said hell no to Lipinets and Spence. But only Mikey Garcia said, "Hell, yes!" And we should never, ever forget that when judging Mikey.
I predict Mikey will go down to defend his lightweight title in scintillating fashion and that Loma will hide behind Bob Arum’s age-encrusted drawers. It’s simple:
Can any of you even imagine Loma in the ring with Spence? Hell no. How about Loma in there trading with Lipinets? Hell no. Then why on earth are there cynics out there that think Loma can beat Mikey Garcia? Lol.
So if Mikey’s reputation benefitted greatly by Lipinet’s sterling performance, sand it did, so too should Spence’s.
That Lipinets could jump into the welterweight division and do immediate damage, yet he could not compete with Mikey, heightens the shine on Spence’s star immensely. That Lipinets showed he’s going to have to be dealt with, and what with Spence having dominated Mikey most thoroughly, Spence is on fire. In fact:
I proclaim Errol Spence Jr. as the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
And it’s not even close. I further believe that Kell Brook is the second-best welterweight in the world. Kell Brook gave Errol Spence Jr. a real fight. The eye injury to Brook basically ended their torrid battle. I can’t see anyone else even challenging Spence at welter.
So, the upshot is that we have two kings: Spence and Mikey. That’s the reality.
Spence will go down as an all-time great welterweight, and should cash in as a champion in the 154-pound division as well. Mikey will go back down to lightweight and slap around everyone. The best fights on the horizon for these two---- based on promotional roadblocks, boxing politics, and emerging stars demanding their day in the sun are Spence versus 154 lb. WBO champ Jaime Mungia and Mikey versus Teofio Lopez at 140 and Mikey versus Devin Haney at 135.
Mungia, who has a big Mexican following, has a real puncher’s chance against Spence, and may in fact be the bigger man and harder puncher. Tony Harrison exposed Jermell Charlo and Hurd has zero fan appeal. The next PPV $ fight for Spence at 154 is Mungia. Then we can decide if he’s 160 lb. Canelo material. Teofio is the type of guy that might force Arum’s hand to give him a super-fight against Mikey. Lopez has outgrown the lightweight division but might stick around if Mikey calls his bluster, but at 135. Lopez at 140 might be a tougher fight for Mikey than Devon Haney at 135 would be. The lightning-fisted Haney and Teofio most likey won’t share the same ring for another five years, and Haney is destined to be a fabulous champion at 135.
THINGS I SAW: Bad corner work by Lamont Peterson’s team. It was apparent to the naked eye that Peterson was landing anything and everything he threw, but also that Sergey was handling the business. Peterson had a rather large lead early and was way ahead. The body shots of Lamont just had not taken the legs of Sergey and Lipinets who was coming on strong. It was that simple. But nobody took the bull by the horns and told him to "dance", as Lipinets has two left feet. Lamont could have avoided the incoming missiles and just jabbed the last four or five rounds away. Just win, Baby.
Instead Barry Hunter and his cohort, Kenny Porter, had him digging in. The problem was that Lamont’s bread n butter body burn a lot of starch and Lamont weakened visibly. Kenny Porter couldn’t believe his eyes when Lamont was getting pimped.
Who in the hell do you think you are Barry Hunter? After the fight is stopped you grab the mike to have Lamont’s retirement announced to the crowd?
That punk-move stole the luster off of Lipinet’s victory and you damned-well know better. The classy way would have been to have the winner be congratulated and given an opportunity to speak first during in-ring interviews. Then, after the victor has spoken, the loser gets to have his say.
If I was Sergey’s corner, I would have snatched that mike away from you and demanded you wait your damned turn. I don’t care if the venue and locale are Lamont’s home grounds.
I noticed FOX had an unofficial scorer. And sure enough, he was scoring for the house fighter just like HBO’s tired old shill, Harold Lederman always did. Say it aint so Marcos Villegas! I assume Fight Hub TV and The Boxing Channel will be tainted with obvious promotions of the PBC. Marcos is the new Sean Hannity of boxing who swears he’s only being objective as he basically serves as Al Haymon’s cheerleader. Lol. How do you say "Conflict of Interest?"
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