The Hottest Boxing Storylines to Watch in Week of August 26
Well, how's that for a weekend of excitement?
This past weekend's fights produced memorable knockouts, stunning upsets and more than their fair share of drama. We have two new world champions and a ton of things to talk about.
This is going to be a bit of a slow week for the sport of boxing, but the good news is we now sit just under three weeks away from one of the biggest cards in memory. Floyd Mayweather vs. Saul "Canelo" Alvarez will meet on Sept. 14, and the media storm will be intense.
So enjoy these last few days of peace and quiet. These are the hottest storylines you'll need to watch for the week of Aug. 26.
Can Abner Mares Recover from a Stunning Defeat?
Abner Mares entered his fight with Jhonny Gonzalez on Saturday night as such a heavy favorite that it was nearly unfathomable that he could lose. The 27-year-old Mexican was undefeated, had just won a Featherweight World Championship in impressive fashion and appeared on the verge of breaking out as a superstar.
All it took was one left-hand shot from Gonzalez to completely flip the script on its head and totally upend the featherweight division.
Suddenly it was Gonzalez—who most considered a no-hoper—whose career prospects brightened, and Mares who was sent back to the drawing board looking for answers.
Mares said all the right things in the ring after the fight, and he didn't appear discouraged by suffering his first defeat in such spectacular fashion. But it was both a spectacular and stunning way to lose, and it'll be interesting to see how he bounces back.
What Is Leo Santa Cruz's Ceiling?
Leo Santa Cruz makes it look easy in the ring.
He's scary aggressive and has all the makings of becoming the next great Mexican warrior.
The 25-year-old captured his second world championship, in as many weight divisions, on Saturday night by absolutely blowing through a game, but overmatched, Victor Terrazas.
Santa Cruz didn't just beat Terrazas, he rearranged his face and swelled his eye shut in grotesque fashion.
Before the fight, all the chatter was that if both Santa Cruz and Mares won, they could be matched up sometime next year.
It's unclear whether Golden Boy Promotions still views that as a viable option given Mares defeat this weekend, but either way, the future is certainly bright for the newly crowned super bantamweight champion.
Will Time Warner/CBS Feud Resolve in Time for The One?
If you're one of the millions of Time Warner Cable subscribers, you may have noticed that you're no longer able to watch CBS or Showtime. That's the result of the recent pricing snafu between the two media companies that led Time Warner to drop CBS from its lineup earlier this month.
These things happen from time to time, and they are generally resolved after some negotiating, a few harsh words and some pixie dust. But for fans of boxing, the stakes are starting to rise.
Boxing fans could probably care less about the details—much less who is right or wrong—all they know is we are getting perilously close to "The One: Mayweather vs. Alvarez," and the potential for getting shutout is becoming very real.
Hopefully, this gets resolved in time for Sept. 14 so that boxing fans can catch the biggest fight of the year.
Is Kubrat Pulev the Next in Line to Challenge Wladimir's Reign?
This past weekend, Bulgarian heavyweight contender Kubrat Pulev scored a unanimous decision over the suddenly resurgent Tony Thompson in a final eliminator bout.
Thompson came into the fight having knocked out one-time British heavyweight hopeful David Price in back-to-back bouts.
With the impressive victory, the 32-year-old becomes the mandatory challenger for the IBF title currently held by Wladimir Klitschko.
The younger Klitschko brother will defend all three of his titles—including the IBF strap—in October against Alexander Povetkin. Should he get by that bout, which most feel he will, it could be Pulev who gets the next shot at toppling the Klitschko dynasty sometime next year.
Will Gary Russell Jr. Step Up and Face Jhonny Gonzalez?
All it took was one left hand for Jhonny Gonzalez to go from washed up to the top of the featherweight division. In the process, he toppled Mares, and he guaranteed he'd still snag a few more paydays and prominent fights before riding off into the sunset.
One fight already being discussed, according to Luis Sandoval of BoxingScene.com, is a potential showdown between Gonzalez and highly touted prospect Gary Russell Jr.
Mares possesses a rematch clause from this past weekend's fight, but if he doesn't immediately execute it, Russell could be a good second option.
The 25-year-old is considered by many to be one of the sport's blue-chippers, but lately he's found himself the subject of harsh criticism for his unwillingness to raise his level of opposition.
Gonzalez would not only present a massive jump in competition, but he might even be more than the younger man can chew. It'll be very interesting to see whether or not Russell jumps at this challenge if it's offered.