Good, bad, worse: Rise of Jared Anderson, disheartening George Foreman news

A critical look at the past week in boxing

GOOD

Did we see a future heavyweight champion on Saturday night?

Jared Anderson demonstrated again in his second-round knockout of Miljan Rovcanin on the Jose Pedraza-Richard Commey card that he doesn’t have obvious deficiencies beyond a relative lack of experience on the professional level.

Anderson seemed to have some trouble with Rovcanin’s awkward style in the opening moments of the fight but quickly adjusted, quickly broke Rovcanin down and quickly scored his 12th stoppage in as many fights.

Of course, we can’t read too much into Anderson’s performance because of Rovcanin’s limitations. The Serb has some ability but he isn’t a genuine test for a prospect of Anderson’s ability.

That said, Anderson has been highly successful on each step toward his goal of becoming a top heavyweight contender and ultimately a champion. That’s all we can ask of a young, rising fighter.

And he is young, 22. You could see that in his performance on Saturday.

I thought he was a little too aggressive at the opening bell, which was one reason he took some shots from Rovcanin (24-3, 16 KOs). I would’ve liked to see more patience, more of a feel-out process. That’s where experience comes in, though. He’ll continue to grow fight by fight.

Love his quickness. Love his power. Love his jab. Love his size (6-foot-4, around 240 pounds). Love his ring acumen. I could go on and on. He seems to have all the qualities necessary to become a top big man.

He even seems to have a good chin, although that will be tested again and again going forward. If his durability ultimately matches his ability, he could become a star.

 

BAD

The fact boxing is a dangerous sport couldn’t be more obvious.

We saw frightening evidence of that when heavyweight prospect Richard Torrez scored one of the more brutal knockouts you’ll ever see on the Pedraza-Commey undercard.

Torrez, the 2020 Olympic silver medalist, landed three hard punches – two lefts and a nasty right – that put Marco Antonio Canedo flat on his face and out cold. He lay there for several minutes, that period of time when onlookers think the worst and the TV network won’t show replays.

Canedo finally was able to rise on unsteady legs with some help from his cornermen but it took a while for him to shake off the effects of the knockout, after which he was taken to a hospital for precautionary reasons.

No one is to blame. The matchmakers at Top Rank are the best in the business. And it’s common practice to pit journeymen like Caneda (4-3) against top young prospects. After all, Torrez entered the night with only two pro fights.

I would try to change the culture, though. Torrez at 2-0 is better than most heavyweights with 20, 30 fights. I’m not saying he should be required to face a contender at this stage in his career; that would be unfair.

I am saying that commissions should take a harder look at the opponents they allow to face fighters as talented as Torrez, who could easily defeat someone with more of a track record than Caneda.

I think it’s reasonable to have watched that fight and think, “I’m not sure Caneda had any business being in the ring with a guy like Torrez.”

 

WORSE

George Foreman has been accused of sexually assaulting two girls in the 1970s.  Stephen Cohen / Getty Images for Sports Illustrated

Not George Foreman.

Big George had become a beloved figure because of his Hall of Fame success in the ring and bigger-than-life personality, which has made him a wildly successful pitchman for grills and much more over the years.

Now comes word that Foreman has been sued for allegedly sexually assaulting two underage girls back in the 1970s, at the peak of his abilities.

That sort of news is disturbing on any level. However, when an admired figure is accused of such a horrible crime, it somehow becomes more difficult to fathom. You think, “George Foreman couldn’t have done this.”

Let’s hope he didn’t. He has been accused, not convicted. We have to let the wheels of justice turn before we can draw concrete conclusions.

Foreman himself denies the allegations. He said in a statement: “They are falsely claiming that I sexually abused them over 45 years ago in the 1970s. I adamantly and categorically deny these allegations. The pride I take in my reputation means as much to me as my sports accomplishments, and I will not be intimidated by baseless threats and lies.”

Foreman indicated that he plans to fight the allegations in court, not settle with his accusers. If his attorneys can demonstrate that the claims are baseless, he will save money and much of his reputation.

The sad thing for him is he’ll probably never be perceived in quite the same way unless the accusers recant. That could mean no more endorsements going forward. And, obviously, the word “beloved” would no longer be apt.

 

RABBIT PUNCHES

Neither Pedraza nor Commey left the ring satisfied after their 140-pound fight in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is typical of a draw. They both had hoped to take a step forward after losing their most-recent fights. The good news is that both performed well, giving fans a good, competitive 10-round fight on national television. The former titleholders will have more opportunities to take a step toward gaining another belt. … One thing I’ve always liked about trainer Robert Garcia is that he’s a straight shooter; no BS. He said after working the corner of Anthony Joshua in the heavyweight contender’s split-decision loss to Oleksandr Usyk that the Ukrainian was the mentally stronger fighter down the stretch and that Joshua should’ve pressured his rival earlier in the fight. True and true. Joshua might not have liked to hear that but it was an honest assessment, one from which Joshua probably could benefit. … Undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney’s father and trainer, Bill Haney, was critical of those who dismiss the importance of sanctioning-body titles. He couldn’t be more wrong. Title belts mean a lot to fighters because they dream of winning them from childhood. And promoters and the networks find them handy as marketing tools. However, savvy boxing fans know they mean next to nothing because of questionable rankings systems and the ridiculous proliferation of belts. Listen to Ryan Garcia, not Bill Haney.

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Story originally appeared on Boxing Junkie