Sherdog Boxing: The Weekly Wrap

By: James Kinneen
Oct 18, 2019
Patrick Day, the fighter who had lapsed into a coma after his Oct. 12 bout with 2016 United States Olympian Charles Conwell, died from his injuries on Wednesday at the age of 27.

Tributes poured in from all over the boxing community, with everyone talking about Day being a good human being and expressing shock over his tragic death. Before Day died, Conwell wrote an open letter discussing how terrible he felt, how he would take it all back if he could and that while the incident made him consider quitting the sport, he knows that is not was his fallen counterpart would have wanted. Instead, he promised to win a world title for Day. Joseph Higgins, Day’s trainer, responded to the post: “I too am distraught because I feel responsible but do realize there is no fault. Stay strong and please don’t think we blame you.”

There is not much to analyze, given how everything about the fight was done in accordance with regulations. It was not a mismatch, Conwell has never tested positive for any PEDs, and, while Day was dropped the round before being knocked out, nobody was calling for his corner to stop the fight before the finish. Deaths just happen in boxing, and if you support the sport, it is a reality you have to acknowledge.

One of the interesting things about Day was that he came from a middle-class background and had an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree. Even his promoter, Lou Dibella, noted that, unlike many others, he did not need to box but chose to do so knowing the risks involved. His death should give serious pause to anyone looking to become a professional boxer and has other financial options.

Marshall Launches Boxing Career

One of the people who should be giving pause to a boxing career is former NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Despite having played 13 seasons -- he was selected to six Pro Bowls -- in the NFL, the 35-year-old Marshall is apparently going to make his professional debut in May and will fight in the heavyweight division.

Rather than easing into his new profession, Marshall made an Instagram post calling out the biggest names: “I’m about to do the unthinkable. Thirteen years, NFL. Thirty-five, phenomenal shape. Just went 24 rounds. I’m about to do the unthinkable. Heavyweight champion of the world. Lotta people that try fail. I promise you. [Anthony] Joshua, [Deontay] Wilder, [Luis] Ortiz, [Tyson] Fury. All you boys, I can get it. I’m telling you. You’re not that tough, not that strong. Where I come from, and what I’ve been through in my life, I’m built for this. I promise you that. I’ll see you next May.”

Plenty of former college football players became good heavyweights once their football dreams ended -- Dominic Breazale was a quarterback at Northern Colorado, Gerald Washington played defensive end at USC and Seth Mitchell was a linebacker at Michigan State -- but Ed “Too Tall” Jones is one of the only high-profile NFL players to pursue a boxing career later in life. He was 29 when he started and got embarrassed quickly. Mark Gastineau was 35, and his big win came over an opponent who admitted to taking a dive. Maybe Marshall will buck the trend, but it seems safe to say that Ortiz, Wilder Fury and Joshua are not too worried about him.

Spence Faces DWI Charge After Crash

Errol Spence’s crash comeback story took a bad turn when it was announced that the Dallas Police Department would be charging him with a misdemeanor Class B DWI, meaning his blood alcohol level was above .08 but below .15. Because of the nature of the crash -- a single car accident with no other charges -- Dallas police will not be seeking the car’s CDR (black box) to determine how fast he was going, but nobody buys a Ferrari to do 45 miles per hour in a 40-mile-per-hour zone.

The fact that Spence was drunk and likely speeding is going to put a serious damper in all the feel-good, champion-comes-back stories his handlers would like to sell. It remains unclear if Spence understands that reality, seeing how he posted “No broken bones, I’m a savage!” on his Instagram story, then took it down minutes later when someone perhaps informed him how bad bragging about your lack of drunk driving injuries makes you look. Spence needs to donate some money to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, claim he has straightened out his life and gone sober or just fight Terence Crawford if he wants to get back in people’s good graces.

Another tough sell in the world of boxing is going to be the idea that Claressa Shields is a great ambassador for the sport. However, she was somehow named “Sportswoman of the Year” by the Woman’s Sports Foundation, despite the fact that her 28-year-old brother was charged with assault for sucker punching Ivana Habazin’s trainer, James Ali Bashir. Obviously, we cannot blame Shields for her brother’s actions. However, when you consider one of the other candidates was Simone Biles, a non-controversial American who is literally inventing new moves in gymnastics, Shields seems like a weird choice.

Murata-Butler Booked for Dec. 23

After a fight with Jeff Horn fell through when Horn could not get past stay-busy opponent Michale Zerafa, many thought Olympic gold medalist Ryota Murata would face Zerafa next. Instead, it was announced that Murata will meet Canadian Steven Butler on Dec. 23 in Yokohama, Japan. It will be interesting to see if Butler made a smart call, as it is being reported that Demetrius Andrade was willing to give him a title shot. He chose to fight Murata instead. Butler has stopped 20 of 24 opponents, with his lone loss coming to Brandon Cook. Murata has stopped 12 of his 17 opponents, so the odds of a knockout seem quite high.

On the same card, Ken Shiro will take on Nicaragua’s Felix Alvorado, and South Africa’s Moruti Mthalane will defend his IBF flyweight title against Japan’s Akira Yaegashi.

A couple more fights that were long rumored have been made official. They include the Yuriorkis Gamboa-Gervonta Davis fight on Dec. 28. No venue has been announced, but rumors have it taking place in Atlanta. Meanwhile, the full Crawford-Egidijus Kavaliauskas, Richard Commey-Teofimo Lopez and Mick Conlan-Vladimir Nikitin card for Dec. 14 at Madison Square Garden in New York has been made official. It is also being reported that Alexander Povetkin is fighting 2012 American Olympian Michael Hunter Jr. -- a former cruiserweight whose sole loss as a professional came to Oleksandr Usyk as a professional -- on the Joshua-Andy Ruiz 2 undercard.

It is also somehow being reported that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is back working with Freddie Roach at Wild Card Gym in advance of a Dec. 20 fight with Daniel Jacobs, which will take place at 168 pounds. Boxing fans can make fun of people for watching two YouTubers fight, but that makes much more sense than ever watching Chavez again.

CSAC Weight Cut Rule Also Applies to Boxing

If you are an MMA fan, you have likely heard that the California State Athletic Commission recently passed a rule mandating that a fight be canceled if a fighter shows up on fight night above 15 percent of his or her official weight. California’s decision obviously set the MMA world on fire, but it should be noted that this rule applies to boxing, as well. While the CSAS reports that 28 fighters in 285 MMA fights came in above the 15 percent mark, only nine boxers in 570 fights did the same. Nevertheless, it remains something to keep an eye on.
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