Action Images/Andrew Couldridge
Luis Ortiz is no wrecking ball
Prior to his fight with Malik Scott at the weekend, much of the talk surrounding Cuban heavyweight Luis Ortiz was about how dangerous he is and how much of a threat he poses to the current champions. While he earned a lopsided win over Scott, the 37-year-old failed to impress, mainly because he failed to wipe Scott out. The American had suffered dubious stoppage losses to Deontay Wilder and Dereck Chisora, but Ortiz did not do enough to warrant the referee’s intervention and his reputation may suffer for it.
Stephen Smith is a true warrior
Liverpool’s Stephen Smith was almost stopped on his feet by hard-hitting Jason Sosa on the Ortiz-Scott bill, though managed to survive a torrid start to push the American hard and turn their super-featherweight clash into a thriller. Despite being in trouble at numerous points in the fight, Smith continued to rally and fire back at a marauding Sosa. It wasn’t for the faint-hearted but the Monte Carlo crowd were treated to one of the fights of the year. The loss puts another dent in Smith’s world title ambitions but his courageous showing will ensure he can secure more big fights.
Jamie McDonnell was very fortunate
World class bantamweight Jamie McDonnell found himself in a spot of bother in Monte Carlo when Liborio Solis ripped up the script and gave him a serious run for his money – in fact, he may well have won the fight. However, McDonnell was awarded a farcical unanimous decision. Virtually every single impartial ringside observor had Solis winning the 12-rounder. The fight was close but it seems difficult to make a case for McDonnell legitimately earning a unanimous decision. He may choose to move to super-bantamweight, a decision he will make after Christmas.
There is genuine needle between Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman
After Danny Garcia predictably dismantled Samuel Vargas in Philadelphia, he was confronted by Keith Thurman, who he will fight in March 2017. The welterweight unification fight sells itself, but the unbeaten duo certainly seemed to have a personal grudge which resulted in them yelling at each other inside the ring. It adds another layer to what is already one of the best match-ups of next year.
Leon McKenzie can come again
Former Premier League footballer Leon McKenzie was edged out on a split verdict by English super-middleweight champion Jahmaine Smyle in London, though the 38-year-old was unlucky on the night. While avoiding a salvo in the second, McKenzie slipped through the ropes and was given a standing eight count – which proved costly as one of the judges gave the fight to Smyle by one round. Leon has since said he will take time out and consider his future in boxing – though his showing proved he can still mix at title level.