Like that indie band you claim to have discovered before they breakthrough and start headlining festivals, Bam Rodriguez is one of the hottest sought-after names in boxing after a stellar start to 2022.
Wins over Carlos Cuadras and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai have seen the 22-year-old rocket from the BBC Introducing Stage to the Pyramid Stage in blistering speed (forgive my belated Glastonbury reference) and slot in near the top of the 115lb rankings.
Bam was a big favourite against the experienced SSR, but not many envisaged how the youngster was able to pick apart the Thai fighter with spite, precision and silky smooth footwork, cementing his place as one of June’s big WINNERS.
Plus, there is a real boyish charm in seeing a performance like his, followed up by his Tweet reading: “Bruh I have ZERO snacks in my apartment.”
Akin to imagining, I don’t know, Artur Beterbiev eating an ice cream, or Naoya Inoue playing hopscotch.
Time is on the side of Rodriguez and his ceiling is a beautiful mystery.
Steph Fulton Jr. vs Murodjon Akhmadaliev dreamers
I’ve been accused of playing the “boxing hipster” card when citing my No. 1 pick for realistic match-ups for the rest of 2022, but hey, I’ll double-down on my choice down at junior featherweight whilst sipping on a craft beer, wearing an Urban Outfitters beanie and humming Arcade Fire.
Steph Fulton and MJ Akhmadaliev both registered impressive wins in June, moving their potential “undisputed” fight into view at 122lbs and confirming their spots as No. 1 and No. 2 in the division at a canter.
I’m not willing to get bogged down in the possible PBC/Matchroom politics in making this fight – which I know could cause a big stumbling block, but I’m choosing to be an optimist today – but rather revel in a clash of two very exciting styles.
Fulton’s fast hands and jab vs MJ’s output, aggression and inside work would hopefully blend into a classic.
I now have Artur Beterbiev comfortably into the top 10 pound-for-pound rankings.
The Russian wrecking machine is completely terrifying, has knocked out everyone he has ever fought in the pros and is building a very solid resume of victims in the 175lb division. Anthony Yarde looks to be next, and I for one will be doing all I can to be ringside on October 22 for Beterbiev’s London debut.
June’s win over Joe Smith Jr. was Beterbiev at his destructive best, and was more than convincing enough to see the 37-year-old grab a place on the month’s WINNERS list.
In a toss-up for the fourth spot between Devin Haney and Naoya Inoue, the American “Dream” takes it by a nose following his journey Down Under to snatch the lightweight title away from George Kambosos Jr.
Sure, the fight didn’t set the world alight, but Haney’s performance added fuel to the old adage that a good right hand can take you around the block, but a good jab can take you around the world... even to Australia!
I’m still expecting a fair amount of pass the parcel-ing around the 135lb division, as we tip our hat to the fourth different king in three years, but for now, Haney is the man in the driving seat.
Jarrell Miller & the WBA
After a near four-year absence from fighting due to multiple bans, BIIIIG “Big Baby” Miller – breaking the scales at 341lbs – returned to action at the WBA’s “KO Drugs” event in Buenos Aires.
Yes, that sentence is pretty mental, and the WBA doubled down on this weird hypocrisy by describing Miller on their website as being “inactive” since 2018, rather than choosing to list his cocktail of EPO, HGH, GW501516 and other expected combinations of banned letters and numbers that has seen him slip into heavyweight irrelevance.
Any sensible promotor with a conscience would do well to ignore the “comeback” of Miller, but, this is boxing, and “sense” and “conscience” are often too easily corrupted by the grimace of a handful of Benjamins.
Oscar De La Hoya
If a) this is true, then he’s a LOSER for not accepting there and then.
If b) this isn’t true, then he’s a LOSER for trying the attention-seeking tactics of a teenager trying to attract the gaze of their crush on Bebo.
While Eddie Hearn revels in playing role of #BantersaurusRex, #ArchbishopofBanterbury and #EricBantona Stateside, Leonard Ellerbe continues to take the bait and bite hard on the British promotors antics.
In what is clearly just a typical promotional dick-swinging contest, Hearn and Ellerbe have been enjoying a war of words over the past month, mainly focussing around Hearn’s attempts to conquer the US market with DAZN, and the poaching Gervonta Davis.
In short, Hearn has delivered at least a couple of 10-8 rounds leaving Ellerbe swinging and missing, and failing to notice when the Briton’s tongue is firmly nestled in his cheek.
British sarcasm... AMIRIGHT?!
Don King Productions
Don King’s “FIGHT FOR FREEDOM AND PEACE” show, headlined by Trevor Bryan vs Daniel Dubois was one of the most bizarre things I have ever witnessed on TV in the late hours of a Saturday night... and trust me, there is healthy competition!
Everything about the event was pure nonsense – including the WBA heavyweight title up for grabs – with the crowd resembling that at a shotgun wedding, where the bride and groom had handed out random invites a few hours before.
The eventual winner, Daniel Dubois, wasn’t even booked a cab to the fight, so would have had to deduct an Uber fair for him and Shane McGuigan out of his purse – probably wrongly assuming that he got paid by the 90-year-old.
* Betting odds correct at time of writing. Subject to changes.