Jabs and Hooks: September set to be knockout month

Michael Smyth / Tahoe Onstage

The boxing action for September should be the hottest sport in the mainstream if scheduled bouts meet expectations. Action gets going this weekend. As editor of Punchline.live, the assignments I have going around the country is a sign of the month to come. In Brooklyn, New York, will be the main bout on Showtime as Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter battle for the vacant welterweight title that Keith Thurman relinquished after injuring a hand and also having elbow surgery last year.

Thurman defeated both Garcia and Porter in his previous two bouts and rematches were rumored. Looks like this is the fight to see who gets a rematch with Thurman. Porter is the bigger guy and will be relentless, putting the early rounds in the bank. Garcia will be looking to land his solid counters. I look for an exciting fight that Porter wins by decision.

In San Antonio on Sept. 8, I have a writer assigned to cover a card featuring several up-and-coming fighters headlined by Gilbert Venegas Jr. and I will be at the SuperFly 3 card from the Forum in Inglewood, California. SuperFly is the card that HBO has started where they feature title bouts in the 115-pound division. The first two have been exciting shows that gives exposure to champions who are in obscurity with the lack of attention that the lower weight classes receive. This card appears to be no different.

One week later, we have the much awaited rematch between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and “Triple G” Gennady Golovkin. Despite the steroids controversy that has delayed the bout, there is building excitement as the fight approaches. The trend in opinion is swinging heavily in Canelo’s favor. I am not counting out Golovkin. Sure he is aging and couldn’t find his range with the right hand in the first bout, but he is capable of making the adjustments. It’s going to be a great fight and I think Canelo will establish himself early in this bout, with Golovkin swinging momentum in the late rounds. Will it be enough to pull out the fight?  I believe it will be a decision for Canelo or a late-round stoppage for Golovkin.

Tahoe Onstage / Michael Smith

Heavyweights Akhror Muralimov and Bryant Jennings battle in the center of the ring on Feb. 16, in Reno’s Grand Sierra Resort.
Tahoe Onstage photo by Michael Smyth

A look back at August matches

If August was supposed to serve as the calm before the September boxing storm, then September must have a hurricane in the forecast. The month started with an exciting crossroads bout between Andre Berto and Devon Alexander. It was an exciting fight that most thought Alexander had pulled out, but Berto got the decision. Devon Alexander is one of boxing’s class acts so social media outcry was heavy. In what was supposed to be a career-ender for the loser, both fighters now have a nice payday in the future, either with a rematch or in separate bouts.

Heavyweight Bryant Jennings jumped his way back into the Top 10 with his dramatic knockout victory over Alexander Dimitrenko. Knocked down in the fourth round and starting to lose momentum, Jennings dug deep and came back for a ninth-round knockout. Dropped and hurt bad, Jennings overcame adversity that he had faced in his two defeats, but was unable to overcome. Perhaps his experience and confidence to be able to turn the tide may help him the next time he is in a big title fight.

The end of the month was also the end of a Cinderella story, as the clock struck midnight for Ray Beltran when he lost in the first title defense of his lightweight belt against the younger Jose “Sniper” Pedraza. It was a battle of momentum, as Pedraza got off to an early lead. Beltran worked his way back into the fight and it was even going into the final two rounds. Pedraza’s knockdown of Beltran in the 11th round secured the bout for the new champion. Big applause for the hometown judges in Arizona for scoring the fight right and not with their hearts, as Beltran is a local boxer. Pedraza deserved and received the close decision victory and put himself in line for a bout with the division’s jackpot, Vasyl Lomachenko, possibly in December.

Escobar Training Grounds adds another belt

Congratulations to Tracy, CA bred, South Lake Tahoe resident Cameron Church who on August 25th won the King of The Cage amateur lightweight championship in Reno with his victory over the previously undefeated Kaisar Saulbayev. Church is now 13-0 in his overall fight career, with a 4-0 MMA record, and holds a Muay Thai Kickboxing belt and now one for the MMA.

 — Simon Ruvalcaba

About Simon Ruvalcaba

Simon Ruvalcaba is a former professional boxer born and bred in South Lake Tahoe. Ruvalcaba was a member of the U.S. Army boxing team and had a 54-17 record as an amateur. He had an 18-fight pro career that was hampered by a shoulder injury he sustained in a 2003 bout at Caesars Tahoe. His final fight was in 2013. He is a sales associate living in Reno. He is editor of Punchline.live and also contributes to fighthype.com and pound4pound.com

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