Sunday, September 24, 2023  |



Weekend Review: Frustrating night

Fighters Network


Timothy Bradley: The Southern California fighter lost an opportunity to soundly beat Nate Campbell and might yet have his TKO victory on Saturday changed to a No Decision, which would be the right thing to do. Nevertheless, everyone saw what they saw for three short rounds – further evidence that Bradley is a fine all-around fighter who will be difficult for anyone in the 140-pound division to beat. He’s quick, skillful, tough and works hard — a potent combination. He has already defeated the likes of Junior Witter, Kendall Holt and Nate Campbell (for the time being). That’s an impressive lot. And he’s only getting started.


Nate Campbell: The former titleholder was yelling after the third round that he couldn’t see. What he was really saying was that he didn’t want to fight any longer and he had a perfect way out. He knew that the cut above his left eye was caused by an accidental head butt and, according to the rules, a fight is declared a No Decision if it ends in such a way within four rounds. He also knew that he couldn’t beat Bradley, certainly not with that gash. In other words, he quit. The California State Athletic Commission might yet declare the fight a No Decision or the WBO might order a rematch. Still, Campbell’s reputation took a hit.


David Mendoza: The Bradley-Campbell referee blew it, or so it seems. Television replays showed fairly clearly that the cut above Campbell’s left eye was caused by a clash of heads, even if a punch did immediately follow. We should cut him some slack because he didn’t have access to a replay. Still, he almost certainly made the wrong call. Then he compounded his mistake by talking about it on national television. He was courageous to get on camera; for that, he should be applauded. In this case, though, his lame explanation made a bad situation worse. He might’ve been wise to decline the interview. What a mess.


Derrick Wilson: The young fighter from Fort Myers, Fla., predicted beforehand that he was going to knock out Charles Huerta on the Fight Night Club card Thursday in L.A., which was a bold statement considered he had one KO in five fights and Huerta was an undefeated former amateur star. And then Wilson did exactly what he said he’d do. He seemed to send Huerta flying across the ring with as devastating a left hook as you’re ever going to see. Huerta never recovered and was counted out. Of course, afterward, Wilson said he told us so.


Club Nokia: The nightclub-turned-boxing venue that hosts the Fight Night Club cards provides an environment I’ve never experienced in 20 years of covering boxing. Think of a rock concert, with people standing many rows deep right up against the stage looking up as their idols perform. That’s what it’s like at Club Nokia, where the dance floor is packed with standing boxing fans. They can also watch from the balcony, from where they look down on the action. A colleague told me the seats up there also provide an excellent vantage point. Add a handful of entertaining fights and you end up with an exciting atmosphere.


Golden Boy Promotions executives Key figures in Oscar De La Hoya’s company – COO David Itskowitch, head matchmaker and VP Eric Gomez, Executive VP Raul Jaimes and others — didn’t stand around and bark orders when the ring post somehow came out of its base during the Fight Night Club card. They immediately rolled up their sleeves and provided some muscle – even working up a sweat — to get the post back in place and the card back on track. I knew these guys work hard but this was going above and beyond. I think I speak for all the little people when I say, “Kudos.”


Victor Cayo: Veteran cornerman Tony Rivera told me so. He told me that Cayo might be the best fighter to come out of the Dominican Republic and that he would beat Julio Diaz on Friday. Well, he certainly did the latter. The tall (5-11), 24-year-old boxer-puncher was too quick, too busy and too good for the experienced former titleholder from Coachella, Calif., who lost a unanimous 10-round junior welterweight decision. Cayo (23-0, 15 knockouts) is ranked No. 3 by the WBA, which means a title shot might not be too far off.


Julio Diaz: The well-schooled, tough former titleholder has a decision to make. He performed reasonably well against a very good fighter in Cayo and looked comfortable enough in a new weight class. However, he’s lost two fights in a row (to Rolando Reyes and Cayo) and three of his last five, which might be a sign that he can no longer perform at an elite level. I suspect he might give it one more try. If he doesn’t, he certainly has nothing to be ashamed of. Diaz (36-6, 26 KOs) won two major titles and provided fans with a lot of thrills.


WBO title or no WBO title: Bob Arum reportedly went along with Miguel Cotto’s demand that Cotto’s WBO welterweight title not be on the line when he faces Manny Pacquiao on Nov. 14, although now it appears it will be stake. That was a mistake on Arum’s part. The promoter should’ve known that the belt is important to his star – Pacquiao, not Cotto. However, I believe strongly that Arum was correct when he said that no one in the U.S. cares whether they fight for the title. Think about it: Do you really think any boxing fan is going to say: “You know, the WBO belt isn’t at stake so I think I’m going to skip the Pacquiao-Cotto fight? Absurd.


Isaac Hlatshwayo: The light-punching, but talented South African welterweight has been a title contender for more than three years but things hadn’t fallen his way. He beat such fighters as Phillip N’Dou, Cassius Baloyi and Nate Campbell to climb close enough to smell a title shot only to lose a one-sided decision to Kendall Holt, setting him back. Then, after he appeared to outpoint capable Delvin Rodriguez in a title eliminator in November, the result was later changed to a draw. Finally, on Saturday, he defeated Rodriguez by a split decision to win the vacant IBF belt.


Bradley: “(Campbell) was getting older after every round. I was beating him easily.”

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]