Max Boxing

The best fights in 2018?

By Blake "Racehorse" Chavez

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Wanted: No agendas. No brand-building. No marinating. No promoter/network politics. No B.S.


Mikey Garcia vs Jorge Linares.


I hope Golden Boy and Linares are not bullshitting about making this fight happen. Eric Gomez sounded serious about no excuses for Mikey to take the fight. But I just read an article quoting Linares as saying, “I think we are more than 90% sure that the fight can take place in 2018". OK. When in 2018? Gomez mentioned January 2018, but also mentioned February as well as March 2018.


The clock is running on Mikey’s career after having taken two and a half years off due to Bob Arum’s arrogance and greed. Mikey wanted three fights this year. He got two, albeit they were both the ’right’ fights. The earlier he fights in 2018 the better, so he can optimize his remaining prime years by squeezing in as many paydays as possible. He is the most avoided fighter in boxing, so the time it takes to put his fights in place is considerable. A March 2018 fight limits Mikey to three fights in 2018. If it goes in January, he can thrill us four times in 2018.


Golden Boy sees a vulnerable commodity in Linares. Jorge was once a bad motor-scooter, trouble for anyone in whichever weight class he resided in. Speedy of both hand and foot with good power and tremendous accuracy. But he cuts like Jerry Quarry and he’s had a ton of tough fights and has been tagged a lot, being especially susceptible to leather in the later rounds. The boy is a tired old man now with one huge final hurrah left in him. Going to war with Mikey Garcia gives him a career best payday and a shot at extending his career somewhere other than the outskirts of Tokyo.

Luke Campbell exposed Jorge as tired and slowing down. Linares started fast, but then got old. You know he’s showing his age when a white fighter starts beating him to the punch... repeatedly. So Golden Boy sees the writing on the wall and wants a big pitcher of milk out of him now against Mikey rather than getting a small glass of milk out of Jorge from another bout in England in which Linares is now likely to lose. Straight cash out move.


I predict Mikey Garcia will send Linares back to Japan with a horrific old-fashioned ass-whupping. To put this fight in perspective, imagine a Broner vs Linares fight. Linares is just way too small and doesn’t hit hard enough to even entertain a fight with Broner. But still they wish to put Jorge in with Mikey Garcia. Raw meat at the end for Jorge and a continued Roberto Duran caliber run for Mikey Garcia, the best Mexican fighter on the planet, if not the best fighter in the world, period. If I were a promoter I would pay Mikey Garcia a multi-million dollar signing bonus and get on that runaway train of beatings he is certain to dish out on a legendary run to icon status. You will get super-rich and so will Mikey.


The Mexicans and Mexican-Americans hated that Canelo ran from GGG. Chavez Jr. shamed the Chavez name. That leaves a huge void. The Hispanic fans are absolutely dying for a talented hero with balls that comes to fight. Garcia has boxing in his blood, possesses a helluva punch, speaks English and fluent Spanish. He’s intelligent, speaks extremely well, is a good looking fellow, and is a bad-ass in any ring. And don’t forget that fabulous hair!


Mikey Garcia vs Terence Crawford


No. Though this would be the best fight boxing could make in 2018, it won’t happen. Terence is riding Brother Bob’s glider to the welterweight championship this summer to be won over Horn or whoever has that old PacMan crown at the time. A potential Mikey Garcia vs Crawford fight would be best served--for the fans--at around 142 pounds. With Crawford at 147 it will be at least 2019 before they clash. Most likely after Spence whips Terence in the fall 2019, or after Thurman and Terence rumble in January of 2019.


Santa Cruz vs Mares


No. Santa Cruz vs Mares is not one of the best fights of 2018. Let’s be honest. Mares is close to being a midget at featherweight.

He had to duck his head and throw wild overhand rights to even get near hitting Leo in their first fight. The fact is Mares got his ass kicked big-time in the first fight. Why the media has let the promoters get away as hailing it as a barn-burner worthy of a rematch is a testament to the lack of great matches actually being made instead of this re-heated pap. Abner got smashed 373 times according to CompuBox and only landed 227 of his own punches. Hell, I can at least count. Mares got blasted with 146 more blows than he hit Leo with. Man, whenever someone cracks somebody 150 more times than he himself gets hit, that is a blow-out! Yeah, I said it. The two scores that had Leo winning 117-111 were right on the button. The draw scorecard was retarded. But it got the promoters an opportunity for a rematch they will foist on the Mexican boxing fans draped in a night of beer-drinking and celebrating, so everybody wins something... I guess.


Canelo vs Triple G.


I’ll believe it when I see it. Canelo ran most of the night in their fight. Canelo had never ran from a fight, until he got swarmed by GGG. Lara didn’t deserve to get a win vs Canelo because he ran, much like Alvarez did vs GGG. Shame on Canelo, Oscar and Eric. The fans in the arena had boos cascading down on the ring when the results were read. Did Canelo land some combinations and good hard shots? Of course. But he also fought off his back foot most of the night, and basically fought scared. Yeah, I said it. Canelo got bullied and played the role of running like a little girl. GGG ignored the body and still dominated the fight. Shame on boxing for swallowing that horrendous decision. Shame on Golden Boy and shame on Canelo for pretending he deserved the draw, if not an outright win.


That being said, Golden Boy knows there will be hell to pay if GGG gets robbed twice in a row, so I highly doubt they toss Canelo in with GGG in 2018. Canelo now knows without a doubt who the boss in that ring was and so does Golden Boy. No matter how shills such as Lampley and Kellerman lobby for the audience to believe Canelo was putting on a tremendous show, the real fans, including Mexican Canelo fans, know what time it is. Canelo got his ass kicked and if he dares to try his luck again, he would be forced to run again and hope for mercy from the business minded boxing commission in Las Vegas who appoints the judges. Hey, Canelo. Show some balls and fight like a man. Or run and shame your country again like you did the last time.


Keith Thurman vs Errol Spence


"One-Time" Thurman is on the mend. After a tune-up bout, he needs to face Errol Spence. Spence is all up in his Koo-Aid on every media platform known to man. He is constantly calling out Thurman and the perception grows that Keith fears Spence. No, not in the sense that Keith is quaking in his boots, as pro fighters rarely are scared to get down and dirty as they have been fighting most of their lives, both on the street and in the gym. But rather in the sense that Thurman has seen what Spence did to Algieri and especially what he did to Kell Brook.


Algieri got hammered back into his unopened cage and Brook got the broken eye-socket treatment same as he got from GGG, whilst Thurman went to the wall vs Shawn Porter and couldn’t even snuff out a little fella like Danny Garcia. The eye test tells me Garcia doesn’t even belong in the ring with Spence. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. And since Danny doesn’t even want any of Porter, he damned-sure don’t want none of Spence; so there’s that.


I believe pride and a huge purse will put "One-Time" and Spence in the ring at the very end of 2018. That way Keith can milk a spring tune-up fight and along with another easy summer win against a no-threat "contender’ that gets him a couple of decent paydays to go along with his big Spence purse in December. Enjoy it Keith. After the thrashing you get from Spence, there will be no red-hot demand from the public to see "One-Time’ two times.


Joshua vs Wilder


No. A huge interest fight for 2018, but it’s not to be. Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn would be guilty of promotional malpractice to put that fight on in 2018. Yes, Wilder looked sensational in his one round KO of Stiverne. But let’s face it, Stiverne knew he was getting drilled and so he didn’t even cut weight to get even near championship fighting shape. He was a stuffed pig for the Wilder feast. So see y’all in 2019... at the earliest.


Charlo Brothers vs Andrade


Either one of the Charlo brothers... please shut-up Demetrius Andrade. Andrade is damned-near thirty years old, and talks nine kinds of shit. Like to see if Charlo’s are really, really real.


Andrade basically wasted any talent that he may have at one time legitimately possessed. Kinda like Lara, who ran from his own chances at elite-status. Charlo bros. looking like monsters. So take on Boo-Boo and see if he scares easily. Timing makes this fight very possible despite Andrade’s erratic history and problematic promotional inconsistencies. It’s simple Andrade. You are now in Gamboa’s shoes when he faced Crawford. Getting old and it’s time to fight. Really fight. Got the nutz for it?


No: Gary Russell Jr. vs anybody, please! Russell and his lil flicking jabs that do nothing remind me of a baby T-Rex. Fast hands that only travel 25 inches. I believe he’s a fraud. But just my opnion.


No: Andre Berto vs anybody, please! Berto is a sham. Must be tighter with Uncle Al than anyone suspects. How else does this guy remain on the scene? Berto has made more money fighting bums than anyone not named Adonis Stevenson or Leo Santa Cruz.


No: Jesus Soto-Karass vs anybody, please! It should be a crime to put this guy on a card in 2018.


What do you think?


Blake Chavez answers all his emails:



Boxing has a critical problem: the majority of the time high-profile professional champions fighters fight mediocre opposition. That makes for crap fights with zero entertainment value. To top it off, every up-and-coming elite prospect is matched with cab drivers. What an ignorant way to run a business. I read articles/blogs and observe folks debating the real reasons boxing is no longer considered a major sport and lamenting the abyss the noble art form is slipping into.


The answer is to make the fighters fight competitive fights. Engage the public. Romance them with wars. Seduce them with skills and rivalries fulfilled. Show how steel sharpens steel. Hell, anybody can wipe the floor with a bum. Feed me the right cabbie and even my old ass could rack up a W. How to force those fights into happening? The boxing media has the greatest ability, and more than that, the responsibility, to pressure for change. Real change. How to accomplish that?


By squeezing the nutz off of the promoters and networks at each and every turn. By staying right on their ass. By consistently and relentlessly asking the frigging hard questions and demanding a damned good answer or roasting the hell out of them for attempting to get by with a BS answer.


Call them out. Every day, every city, every event. Every time. It’s the only way.


From there it is simple. Just tell the truth. When they lie; call them liars. Immediately. Right there in front of the camera or on the airwaves... on the spot. Is it really so hard to tell it like it is? Howard Cosell made millions of dollars telling it like it was. Charles Barkley is doing that today all the way to the bank. Ever wonder why Paulie Malignaggi rocketed to that sweet gig at Showtime so damned fast, despite being an ’average’ ex-champ? It’s because, love him or hate him, the little bastard tells it like it is. He did it live on HBO after getting burned by the judges in a couple fights and people appreciated being treated like an adult and being respected enough to be told and trusted with the truth. Pretty damned simple, huh?


Paulie will never be mistaken for being an old lying shilling prude like Jim Lampley, who, by the way, just got a nice new contract rewarding him for his ability to call a fight in such a way as to influence viewers to believe the ’house’ fighter is winning every single time, without fail. His commentary reminds me of a politician lying his/her ass off during a campaign. It has successfully rubbed off on Max Kellerman, and even Roy Jones is a house-man now.


It goes like this: Post-fight press conference for Canelo/Triple G. Oscar and Eric speak on how close the fight was. The media responds; "No, it wasn’t that close. There is no way Canelo deserved a draw. Oscar... Eric... everybody in here, and on every pay-per-view buy the public heard the crowd booing Canelo and that horrible decision. You know it and we know it.


How can you sit there with a straight face and lie your ass off like that and expect us to swallow your BS? We are smarter than that. The fans are smarter than that. Please stop it. you are insulting our intelligence". Oscar and Eric will stutter and mumble but when the next reporter follows up in the same way... just telling the truth, it will become harder and harder to even try to lie. After several press conferences where the truth is expected and demanded good things would happen organically. Business principles would demand the thieves deliver competitive product or their brand would suffer unsustainable losses as their actual practices would be subject to honest reporting and factual accounts of BS matchmaking would shame them into action Shame those who have no shame. Then shame them some more. Eventually... actually relatively quickly, they would have to change their stripes. But you gotta dig in and shame them extremely hard because they do not want to change one iota.

Remember who we are dealing with. Think Don King. Yeah. Makes you shudder, right? In his prime he was vying for the title of being the most rotten businessman in America. And King smiled right through the hate and just kept right on ripping off anyone and everyone. Smart guy; no shame.


Then think Bob Arum. Arum knows how to develop talent and is a very shrewd business man. But everyone knows Bob is chock-full of shit. Oscar escaped him and made real money. Floyd escaped and made really unreal money. Mikey Garcia got out of Bob’s gnarly clutches and may realize pay-per-view riches soon. How much dough do you imagine friendly Bob scorched the ignorant PacMan out of? Yeah, makes you shudder, right?


Oh, I would be remiss in not mentioning the royal screwing Timothy Bradley most certainly took. Bob had to be in hog heaven when Bradley’s wife ’took over" as Tim’s manager and sat at the negotiating table with Arum. But that’s best for another column. (although Tim did get some decent paydays for being a mediocre welterweight) Bob is a smart guy; no shame.


So how about ’advisor’ and PBC Uncle Al Haymon? The pure turds he matches with old man Adonis Stevenson tells us all we need to know about Al. Smart guy, no shame. He never even shows his face.

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