Weekend Review: Raymond Ford, Jake Paul KOs, Amanda Serrano’s bizarre fate

A critical look at the past week in boxing

Raymond Ford

That’s how you make a statement. Ford, the talented 24-year-old from Camden, New Jersey, was in big trouble as the seconds would down in his battle with Otabek Kholmatov for a vacant 126-pound title Saturday in Verona, New York. He was up on one card (105-104) but behind on the other two (106-103 on both) after 11 entertaining, brutal rounds. He needed multiple knockdowns or a knockout in the final round or the Uzbek would be crowned champion. Ford chose the knockout. He hurt Kholmatov with about 30 seconds left and then seized the remarkable moment, attacking with all the ferocity he had in him before the referee stopped the fight with only seven seconds remaining. It was one of the most memorable stoppages in recent years, one for which Ford certainly will be remembered over the years. So too Kholmatov, unfortunately for him. Rematch? Doesn’t sound likely, at least not immediately. Ford indicated after the fight that he had trouble making 126 and would likely move up to 130. He’ll probably feel stronger at that weight, which could help him avoid scoring deficits going forward. That could mean that no more Hail Marys will be necessary..


Jake Paul

I get why Paul riles hardcore boxing fan. The guy came out of nowhere, with no boxing background, a crude skill set and a big mouth. And he makes more money and gets more attention than all but a few genuine boxers. That infuriates people. Not me. I wish boxing had a higher profile and that all legitimate fighters could make enough money to set themselves up for life. God knows they earn it. However, I don’t think it’s right to begrudge Paul what he’s earning, both in dollars and headlines. He’s doesn’t have the ability or experience of the top boxers but no one since Floyd Mayweather is better at self-marketing, which I admire. There obviously is a demand for his goods and he delivers them, fight after fight after fight. And he appears to be improving in the ring. I don’t believe his first-round knockout of the chubby Ryan Bourland on Saturday in Puerto Rico means Paul is ready for the “big leagues,” as he called elite boxing. At the same time I liked his footwork, I liked his jab, I liked his body work. And knockouts are always fun to watch. He seems to be evolving, even it’s happening slowly. Can he beat contenders? God no. Can he continue to deliver entertaining performances against increasingly capable opponents? I believe that’s realistic.


Serrano-Meinke cancelation

The sight of Serrano crying in the ring after her title defense against Nina Meinke was canceled at the last minute was difficult to see. Fighting for her home-country fans in Puerto Rico meant everything to her, more than money, more than legacy, more than anything. The fact officials there wouldn’t allow her to fight because of a bizarre eye injury left her devastated. “I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart,” she said to the crowd at Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot in San Juan as she held back tears. Heartbreaking. The injury? Bizarre might not be a strong enough word. She evidently had her hair dyed on Thursday. On Friday, the dye dripped into her eye and damaged her cornea. And she was declared “medically unfit” to fight. I trust that she – and everyone else who uses dye – will be careful to avoid such an unfortunate mistake going forward. One more thing: Should Serrano or co-promoter Jake Paul have gone public with the news earlier to give spectators the option of staying home? They evidently still hoped she could fight only hours before the opening bell, which made the last-second announcement understandable. And the fact they will provide full refunds and pay Meinke were good moves. Paul said the fight will happen after the eye heals.

Story originally appeared on Boxing Junkie