Weekend aftermath: Fury, Flanagan, Crawford et al
Colin Harris, Paul Zanon, Andrew Harrison, Anthony Cocks, Lee Gormley and James Oddy reflect on a packed weekend of boxing from around the world by answering our questions on Fury, Flanagan, Gorman, Crawford and more...
BM: After a somewhat surreal comeback bout where should Tyson Fury go next?
CH: I think his August fight needs to be against a contender from the world top 20, where he gets a good few rounds in and has some sort of 'fear' of his opponent: maybe Alexander Dimitrenko, Carlos Takam, or European champion Agit Kabayel.
PZ: Fury is still a work in progress. He is two stone away from ideal weight and needs to be serious about boxing. Shades of the 'eye of the tiger' appeared in rounds three and four, but otherwise, the fight told us very little in terms of how he sits in the world of heavyweight boxing. In other news - the fights outside the ring in Manchester on Saturday were epic... but not in a good way!
AH: He's on the Frampton undercard in August, which is wise. You can't have Fury headlining cards at the current level he's fighting at. He needs to fight someone who will try to beat him next and ideally, someone no-one's heard of. If that seems an odd thing to say, it makes sense from the perspective of selling him as 'the man who will once again be king'. If he's thrown in with a BJ Flores or Gary Cornish, we'll be able to relate just how far Fury has to go before he can realistically be considered a viable threat to Anthony Joshua or Deontay Wilder. This comeback needs to be more Foreman MK2 than Ali or Tyson.
LG: Fury needs someone that's actually going to test him a little next, so a fighter that is ranked highly as an actual heavyweight. He showed glimpses of his old self but Sefer Seferi was no threat whatsoever and didn't give him much opportunity to showcase exactly what he can do. For Fury there's also plenty more weight to come off but he's finally back and another outing in Belfast in August should hopefully see him gather some momentum for a bigger end of year bout and 2019. Tony Bellew was mentioned (again) by Frank Warren and while it's not exactly the test he needs before the main guys in the division, it might be beneficial in terms of that 'big fight' buzz and build-up ahead of sterner tests on the horizon.
JO: He needs to fight a durable, legit heavyweight. Not someone dangerous but someone who isn't going to just fold or be physically overwhelmed. I'd say even someone like David Price would be a risk at this stage.
BM: After blasting out Sean Turner in three, how far can 13-0 heavyweight Nathan Gorman go?
CH: I think he can do quite well and should go further than national level. He's coming along at a time when we have the likes of Joe Joyce and Daniel Dubois are taking the 'prospect' limelight, and team Gorman seem happy padding the record and learning from the fights. I thought it was a shame his aborted English title attempt didn't happen and I think he should be collecting titles and working his way up in a more traditional route - as opposed to the Hughie Fury route. I'd avoid Joyce and Dubois, but try to win the national belts before heading towards Commonwealth, EU and maybe even European honours.
PZ: Gorman looks fantastic. Fast hands, strong and great movement. Gorman vs Joyce anyone? How far he goes will be determined on how high he climbs the ladder and I think, based on last night, he's a handful for anyone at domestic and European level at this point (apart from Dubois - although that could be a good fight for both of them!)
LG: There's plenty to like about Gorman and he has the added boost of having Ricky Hatton overlooking his career as well. He possesses impressive movement and speed for a big lad and looks to be improving with every fight. At the moment there are plenty of 'prospects' in the division so mixing it with the likes of Joyce or Dubois would be big tests for him at this stage of his career. If he continues to climb the ladder at this rate then he has a bright future and could be involved in some entertaining domestic match-ups soon enough.
JO: I interviewed Nathan for BM magazine a few months back. He was a very pleasant, reflective young fighter who seemed to be aware of where he was and where he wanted to get. I'd say that's at least European level. Maybe higher. He's only very young, especially for a heavy.
BM: Hooker vs Flanagan - thoughts and how you saw it?
CH: I thought the bookies were a little naive with the odds and so covered my fun wagers on Fury with a couple of quid on Hooker at 5/1. Something told me the layoff would hurt Flanagan - who also only fought once in 2017 - and the American might want it that little bit more: his first world title was more motivation that Flanagan getting another. 140lbs is wide open at the moment in the post-Crawford months: I think Hooker can have a nice little title run and get a few defences, but I wonder if his frame and the lure of big money will see him go up to 147lbs. If so, I think he'll fall short of beating the top names in a very solid division.
PZ: Thought Flanagan didn't hit 'Turbo' boost until he got cut. Then he lost his way getting a bit careless. A rematch may help him redeem his kudos.
AH: It was a pretty pedestrian affair. Hooker's height and reach gave Flanagan all sorts of problems before the head clashes completely threw him for a loop. I was struck by how much smaller Flanagan seemed at 140lbs. I didn't score the fight round-by-round but felt that Hooker edged more of the rounds and, crucially, came on strong at the end. Flanagan gave it his all but his 'Turbo' engine seized in the last round. It looks like Hooker will now enter the super lightweight WBSS tourney, where he'll struggle should he come up against the likes of Josh Taylor or Regis Prograis.
JO: I thought the right boxer won. I feel for Flanagan as it seems like he's been a forgotten man as a world champion. He can certainly come back, and hopefully with more fanfare.
BM: After beating Jeff Horn, can Terence Crawford clean out 147lbs?
CH: Of course! The biggest problem is actually getting the top contenders in this division to fight each other: 147lbs is filled with inactivity, so anyone who fights three times a year can make a good claim to be top dog just on fighting regularly. I'd like to see the WBA strip Thurman of his 'Super' title and then people can forget about fighting him until he comes back properly, but in the meantime I think Crawford should go straight after the winner of Lucas Matthysse vs Manny Pacquaio.
PZ: Yes he can,and that's a tasty division!
AH: He can, although his biggest obstacle will be the promotional/TV divide separating him from the best of the rest: Errol Spence. While Crawford looks a better all-round fighter than Spence, Errol is the bigger man – and looks a monster physically at 147lbs. I can already see that one going the same way as Spence vs Thurman: we'll likely be sitting here at this time next year wondering when it will happen.
AC: Crawford impressed with his one-sided trouncing of WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn on Saturday night. While noticeably smaller, he didn't appear to lack the strength or punching power to compete in his new weight class. As of right now, Crawford vs Errol Spence Jr is the fight at welterweight that the world wants to see. If that can't be made, I would accept the winner of Danny Garcia vs Shawn Porter or Keith Thurman when he eventually returns. As of right now, I would fancy Crawford's chances against all of them.
LG: Crawford can certainly reign supreme at welterweight, as he did at 140lbs. He showed against the bigger man Horn that he is a threat to anyone in the division and he has definitely brought his power up the weights. Errol Spence Jr against Crawford is 100 per cent one of the best fights that can possibly be made in the sport at the moment but it'll likely not happen anytime soon. I was already confident 'Bud' would be typically dangerous at 147lbs but after seeing him so comfortable against Horn, I'd fancy him against anyone, although Spence is one who could cause him problems. On another note, I'm not sure if anyone really wants to see an old Pacquiao go out at the hands of Crawford, as previously outlined, because that would be a brutal ending to his career.
JO: No. Not because he isn't talented enough but because welterweight seems to be in a perpetual holding pattern of the best not fighting each other. Crawford against Spence would be brilliant but Thurman, Garcia et al don't seem to be active enough anymore.
BM: After besting Abner Mares in their rematch, who do you want to see Leo Santa Cruz fight next?
CH: I think Santa Cruz should only be fighting other champions now. If he wants an easier fight next then he could get rid of Jesus Rojas and his interim WBA bauble, but I think Gary Russell Jr would be his best match. Having said that, if Frampton is elevated to full WBO champion and free from a Oscar Valdez fight, then their decider takes on a new dimension.
PZ: Santa Cruz vs Frampton III please - a love a trilogy boxset!
AH: Santa Cruz matches up well with anyone. He called out Gary Russell Jr after beating Mares – who is the best opponent available to him currently. The best fight in the division is LSC vs Oscar Valdez while a rubber match with Carl Frampton – should that materialise in Northern Ireland – would be epic.
LG: The most promising next fight for Santa Cruz is surely against Gary Russell Jr, but it's unclear how long we would have to wait for that one. The Carl Frampton trilogy bout doesn't look very likely to happen anytime soon, or ever, either. But, if Russell Jr fancies staying active (for a change), then that's the clash to make for Santa Cruz
JO: I want the Frampton fight to complete the trilogy. It won't happen yet but I can dream.
BM: If Jermell Charlo vs Jarrett Hurd happens at 154lbs who wins?
CH: I thought Erislandy Lara was going to sneak past Hurd, so I feel bad for saying I think the same thing would happen if Hurd faces Charlo, as the unified champion has earned the right to have some faith put in him. However, I think Charlo on a tight, close points decision would be my choice.
PZ: Charlo, but it will be a cracking fight.
LG: Charlo against Hurd is a fascinating one. I have no idea how Hurd continues to make the weight and his size could play a big factor in that potential match-up. It could end up being a brilliant scrap, with both men liking to stand toe to toe and get involved, but it's tough to call for sure. Bring it on!
JO: I think Hurd runs him down like everyone else. He's an underrated boxer and physically, both size and engine wise, he's too much at that weight for anyone else.