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Jan 22nd
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Home Boxing JUNE 25 RECAP
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anthony-joshua-vs-dominic-breazealeIt is not often you can bill something as a big fight, and expect to get it.  Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman are 2 top 5 welterweights (now that Floyd and Manny are supposedly out of the mix), and other than Brook-Porter two years ago, none of the current crop had faced each other until Saturday night.  It was a brawl for 12 rounds, and although not likely to win fight of the year with Orlando Salido vs. Francisco Vargas out there, as well as more than half the year still available, it was exciting at the top level.  There was little actual controversy, other than with the watching-live fans.  

Porter's style makes it hard for fans to cheer against him, and most watching on TV were noticing the cleaner punches were usually Thurman's.  We do have to believe the unbeaten fighter will usually get the decision , especially in a Haymon-promoted card (Big Al loves the 0), but this decision was just.  In true stalling Al Haymon fashion, everyone was talking rematch, instead of talking Brook vs. Thurman, or Porter vs. Vargas, or Garcia vs. the winner.  I'd like to see the 147lb division tournamented, but it is not likely.  Still, if these two fought 2 more times, that is one hell of a consolation prize.

Anthony Joshua has power, speed, movement, and decent defense.  His chin is not perfect, but big punchers are hard pressed to catch it much, and when they do, he usually takes it very well.  That spells trouble for his opponents, especially Dominic Breazeale, who ironically took the nickname, "Trouble" into the ring Saturday against Joshua.  Within 2 rounds, it was clear who was going to win, and Breazeale had only to look forward to tying for the honor of extending Joshua the longest.  For AJ, the speed difference was noticeable, of feet and hands, and the maturity of the Brit also meant Breazeale was rarely given a mistake of which to take advantage.

 As many have said, fighters make belts, not the other way around.  That is definitely true here.  The IBF stripping of Fury was a bogus decision, but with he and Klitschko waiting what will likely end up being nearly a year to have their rematch, Wilder and Joshua have been given an opportunity to shine.  Wilder could have accelerated with a win over Povetkin, but he was denied the chance, due to Povetkin's "accidental" doping.  Luis Ortiz is not being active enough, nor getting top challengers to fight him, after his one-sided beat-down of Bryant Jennings.

Therefore with a couple of wins over unbeaten American contenders (Martin and Breazeale), Joshua has leapt over the pack.  Forget Ruslan Chagaev, who is only in the discussion due to corruption.  Lucas Browne beat Chagaev, but did not look good doing so, so no one thinks Browne will beat any of the top heavyweights.  Joseph Parker belongs in the Martin and Breazeale (unbeaten but untested) category, and he is Joshua's mandatory.  Therefore, by the end of this year, there may be a more legit case for AJ being the real top heavyweight as for anyone else.  Either way, the division is fun again.  And God save the queen, for helping us out with that.

Chris Strait

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