Is it monkey see, monkey do? Like Showtime with their successful Super Six Tournament, ESPN is giving it a second try with the tournament format. They hope their strategy will eliminate most of the behind the scenes troubles with the unscrupulous promoters who most times are finagling to get themselves a bigger piece of the pie and short change the boxer.
When it comes to declaring a single boxing champion, you can't beat the tournament approach. The draw of this format for the boxing fan is the fact they get to see more competitive fights. A single loss elimination brings out the best in every boxer just as we see in tennis at the U. S. Open and Wimbledon tournaments, on the golf courses, with the U. S. Open and PGA tournaments and baseball with their World Series for both the Little League and Major League Baseball.
As a result you won't see a boxer with a (2-10-3) record going up against a boxer who is 20-0 with 19 knockouts. Those selected for ESPN's Boxcino 2014 were chosen because on any given night one or the other boxer could prevail. Also, with parity, you can bet we won't be seeing any shenanigans from an unscrupulous judge. With all the attention on the judges, they will most certainly do their due diligence.
The pairings for the two eight-man Boxcino 2014 tournaments were unveiled on this week's "Friday Night Fights" on ESPN2.
The lightweight tournament kicks off with six-round quarterfinal bouts on February 21 at the Edgewater Hotel & Casino in Laughlin, Nev.:
• Chris Rudd (12-1, 8 KOs) vs. Yakubu Amidu (22-4-1, 18 KOs).
• Fedor Papazov (14-0, 9 KOs) vs. Petr Petrov (32-4-2, 15 KOs)
• Miguel Gonzalez (22-3, 16 KOs) vs. Miguel Angel Mendoza (21-2-2, 21 KOs).
• Fernando Carcamo (15-5, 12 KOs) vs. Samuel Neequaye (21-0, 15 KOs).
The March 28 semifinals are eight-round bouts at the 4 Bears Casino & Lodge which is four miles west of New Town, North Dakota. The Rudd-Amidu winner will meet the Papazov-Petrov winner and the Gonzalez-Mendoza winner fights the Carcamo-Neequaye victor.
In the middleweight tournament, which begins Feb. 28 at Harrah's Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana, the pairings are:
• Donatas Bondorovas (18-4-1, 6 KOs) vs. Willie Monroe Jr. (15-1, 6 KOs).
• Cerresso Fort (17-2-1, 11 KOs) vs. Vitalii Kopylenko (22-0, 12 KOs) of Ukraine.
• Brandon Adams (12-0, 7 KOs) vs. Daniel Edouard (23-4-2, 12 KOs).
• Raymond Gatica (13-1, 7 KOs) vs. Sena Agbeko (15-0, 15 KOs)
The middleweight semifinals are April 18 at the Turning Resort & Casino in Verona, N.Y., and will feature the Bondorovas-Monroe winner against the Fort-Kopylenko winner and the Adams-Edouard winner against the Gatica-Agbeko winner.
The finals, which will be scheduled for 10-round bouts, will take place on the same card on May 23 at Turning Stone. The boxers are slated to perform in one of the first three Boxcino 2014 tournament shows presented by Banner Promotions in association with Corona Extra and ESPN Deportes' Noche de Combates.
As noted in an earlier article, San Diego, CA is represented by 24 year-old, middleweight Brandon Adams who has a professional record of 12-0-0, 8 KOs. Adams' promoter is Hall of Fame promoter Bobby DePhilippis of San Diego's Bobby D Presents and his coach is the veteran trainer Dub Huntley.
Adams' opponent on February 28 is the 33 year-old, no nonsense Daniel "The Haitian Sensation" Edouard (23-4-2, 14 KOs) who hails from West Palm Beach, Florida by way of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Edouard, who stands 5'10" tall, has a 74 inch reach.
It's important to note that even though Edouard has faced much, much stiffer competition (of Edouard's 29 opponents, only four had a losing record), it will be three years, one month and 17 days since he last fought anyone.
In his last bout, back on January 14, 2011, he lost an unanimous decision to Peter Manfredo Jr. plus it's now almost 10 years since he defeated Willie Gibbs to win the USBA Middleweight title.
Their fight is scheduled to take place on February 28 at the Hammond Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana.
The first of five shows can be seen Friday, February 21, at the Edgewater Casino in Laughlin, Nevada, and air live at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2, broadband Spanish-language ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN. ESPN. For later viewing, ESPN Deportes will televise the fights on Saturday, February 22, at 8 p.m. The competition is a single-elimination, two-weight class tournament featuring eight boxers from both the lightweight and middleweight divisions.