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ZUTE FOR THOUGHT: WHERE IS MY AWARD?

By Anthony “Zute” George – I opted not to hand out any year-end boxing rewards like most boxing scribes doContinue Reading

By Anthony “Zute” George – I opted not to hand out any year-end boxing rewards like most boxing scribes do at the end of the calendar year; for no other reason than I did not want to be embarrassed if one of the pugilists that I cited happened to ask for their award. I highly doubt all Canelo Alvarez wants to see is his name in print, you see. He would expect some actual hardware. Which I do not happen to have.

It got me wondering if outlets like The Ring Magazine actually have trophies for their Fighter of the Year. I do not, so… out of respect…

With that said, if I did have the overheard to make one trophy, I would award it to George Kambosos. All due respect to all the great boxers of 2021, George was the best story of the year. He came all the way from Australia and waited an insurmountable time to fight his you-know-what off, in a fight that nobody thought he would see the final bell in.

Also, George Kambosos exemplified what boxing is all about. He earned the number one ranking and had a chance to prove his worth against Teofimo Lopez, a fantastic, talented champion.

Often, a boxer who secures a number one ranking never gets a chance to challenge for a title or was awarded that ranking under peculiar circumstances. Circumstances not in keeping with what they actually did in the ring. Circumstances that would in no way help them against a superior talent. Circumstances that could be seen as a favor to the powerful champion at the top.

None of these circumstances was present with Kambosos, despite what the ‘experts’ thought of him before the fight. The crazy thing about boxing is sometimes you do not just know until the fight finally happens. Now that Kambosos has what every lightweight boxer craves, we will see if he can contain his statues. As they will be coming in droves.

Speaking of Teofimo Lopez, kudos to him for giving a guy like Kambosos a chance to shine. Indeed, most people now feel The Takeover simply overlooked Ferocious. But keep in mind that these are the same people who boasted Kambosos would not see the seventh round. Lopez would serve himself much better to just say Kambosos was the better man that night, move up to 140, and fight the best fighters that division has to offer. Free, and what I think is sound advice.

Speaking of 140, the early schedule suggests mixed results. On the one hand, I am really looking forward to the matchup between Jose Ramirez and Jose Pedraza. A sizzling fight that will put the winner in a fantastic spot for a title shot. At the same time, Josh Taylor’s title defense against Jack Catterall generates lukewarm emotions. At best.

All due respect to Catterall, his 26-0 is not exactly loaded with even third-tier talent. Also, compared to the potential names being teased to the boxing public after Taylor’s epic victory over Jose Ramirez, Catterall is a significant letdown. However, Catterall is the number one guy for Taylor’s WBO belt. Therefore, he will get his chance to show under what circumstance such a ranking was granted.

Speaking of the early boxing schedule, there is plenty to get excited about outside of the 140-pound division. Srisaket Sor Runvisai vs. Carlos Cuadras, Jermell Charlo vs. Brain Castano, and Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Roman Gonzalez are three gems slated for the first quarter of 2022. Yes, please.

Indeed, there are also parts of the schedule that look bleak. How does Keith Thurman expect the boxing public to dish out their hard-earned money in a comeback fight against Mario Barrios? I realize that amnesia runs rapid in boxing. Still, I clearly remember Thurman stating he had no interest in being a fighter on PPV. Citing all the people who could not afford PPV. Well, Mr. Thurman, if people could not afford to see your pugilistic prowess at One Time, nothing happened with the economy that changed their financial status.

Speaking of financial status, if Bob Arum claims that he lost money on Bud Crawford every fight- one of the best boxers of the last ten years- how could he be seen as a legendary promoter? Oh, I kid Mr. Arum. But, really, how? I am pretty sure Hagler vs Hearns and De La Hoya vs. Trinidad sold itself. I miss you forever Marvelous.

Speaking of Terence Crawford, now that Josh Taylor is busy early in 2022, what will be of Bud? The Shapeshifter will get back in the ring by March in a Super Fight if we are lucky. Can you say, Vergil Ortiz, Yordenis Ugas, Boots Ennis, Tank Davis? I know, I know. But if Elvis can say, “If I Can Dream,” why not dream big?
The fact that those fights have no realistic chance of happening in March is everything that is wrong with boxing and why here in the United States of America, it is seen as a miscellaneous sport in the mainstream media.

The Neil McCauley side of the coin is that George Kambosos is everything that is right with boxing. Still, the George Kambosos’ of the world can only take the sport so far.

Stay tuned…
Where can he take it in 2022?

Stay tuned…
Twitter @zutessportstalk
Email zutesboxingtalk@yahoo.com

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