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2023’s Biggest Moments in Boxing

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Please stand and join me, let’s give boxing a round of applause. 2023 was an outstanding year for the sport. Fans were privy to big fights and in return boxing did big business.

Let’s look at a few big moments that happened in 2023…

Jake & Logan Paul Continue their Box Office Dominance

Jake Paul fought 3 times in 2023 and fans continued to support him. On February 26th, The “Problem Child” fought Tommy Fury. Paul would suffer his first professional defeat, but the bout sold over 500K PPV buys while yielding around $25M in revenue. Paul would return to ring to fight retired MMA veteran Nate Diaz on August 5th. Coming off a potential career ending loss, Paul would prove to be too much for Diaz, netting a unanimous decision victory. The event sold over 450K PPV buys and earned $3.1M at the gate.

Logan Paul took to the ring on October 14th in the co main event against MMA fighter Dillon Danis. The fight ended in a bizarre disqualification win for Paul when Danis attempted a guillotine choke late in the fight. The business side of the fight was small compared to Jake Paul’s events, but it can still be viewed as a success. The event netted over 100K in PPV buys and generated $5.5M.

The Paul Brothers are two of the biggest crossover names today, but can they continue to shine in the business of boxing?

Ryan Garcia vs. Gervonta “Tank” Davis: PPV Kings of 2023?

The 24-year-old social media star, Ryan Garcia, stepped in the ring this year with arguably the top knockout artist in the sport today, Gervonta Davis. A matchup between two of the brightest young stars ended in Round 7. Davis would land a sneaky left hand shot to the body that floored Garcia, who went to one knee and failed to get to his feet. The event was the 5th largest gate in Las Vegas history with $22.8M at the gate, 1.2M PPV buys and over $100M in revenue.

We have to give a round of applause to these two rising stars in the sport for spearheading this massive financially successful event.

Francis Ngannou for the Win in a Loss

On October 28th, the former UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou, was a monstrous 8 to 1 underdog against Tyson Fury who is the WBC lineal heavyweight champion. In his pro boxing debut, Francis looked confident and unbothered by the bright lights. The champion was unsure how to attack Ngannou, who possessed top notch counter-punching. The OMG moment of the fight came in third-round, when Ngannou floored Fury with a left hook.

As the fight went on, Ngannou’s confidence grew and he showcased both heart and skill in the boxing ring. Fury’s title was on the line as he won a controversial split decision win. One judge scored it 95-94 for Ngannou, but was overruled by tallies of 96-93 and 95-94 for Fury. Some would argue that a lot of the close rounds went to Fury but with his left eye nearly closed and he wore a cut on his forehead. Ngannou was pretty much unmarked.

Despite the loss, it’s Ngannou who grabs the rare moral victory and a possible rematch with Fury down the road. Ngannou has a future in boxing and has a chance to be a bonafide prize fighter.

Devin Haney: Questions & Answers

Devin Haney (31-0, 15 KOs) has heard it all despite his accomplishments in boxing and they are
normally followed with a “but”. On May 20th, Haney faced grizzled veteran Vasiliy Lomachenko. Haney used bodywork and his jab to ward off Lomachenko in a nip-and-tuck fight. Haney would win by unanimous decision (116-112, 115-113 and 115-113). Many fans believed Lomachenko deserved the decision or a rematch. After the Loma fight, fans were wondering if Haney was that good due to his lack of punching power. In the coming weeks, Haney shocks the boxing world by announcing his next fight would be at 140lbs and not against Shakur Stevenson at 135lbs.

Instead, moving up to 140 could be a problem for Haney. But more importantly, would he have the chin to compete at his new weight? All those questions were answered on December 9th when he stepped in the squared circle across from Regis Prograis. In what was billed as a competitive scrap, ended up being a one-sided mismatch dominated by the former undisputed lightweight champion. Haney won every round, scored a knockdown in Round 3 and busted up Prograis’ face during the 12-round beating.

Like it or not, Haney is an attraction and now needs competent foes (Teofimo Lopez Jr., Ryan Garcia & Gervonta “Tank” Davis) that are also stars to continue building his resume.

Terence “Bud” Crawford: Best in the World

“I get to tell you, ‘I told you so,'” Terence Crawford (40-0, 31 KOs) said to the media, bragging about how easy his win was over Errol Spence Jr. to become the undisputed welterweight champion. On July 29th, Crawford (No 1, P4P) battled Spence Jr. (No 4, P4P). Crawford destroyed Spence Jr. and after 3 knockdowns, the ref called this one-sided fight off in the ninth-round.

Crawford, the first undisputed welterweight champ in the four-belt era and the first male fighter to unify multiple divisions, proved to not only be the best welterweight in the world, but an all-time great. There might not be anyone in Crawford’s weight who can test him at 147lbs, so his most attractive fights could be at 154. Canelo Alvarez and Jermell Charlo both threw out the possibility of a future fight with Crawford. For years, Crawford told anyone willing to listen just how good he was. Now, he has told and shown everyone just how great he is.

2023 saw a resurgence in the sport. Boxing needs to use all the good things from 2023 to springboard into 2024 and ride the wave back into relevancy.

Honorable Mention: A Tale of Two Charlos

Jermell Charlo (35-2-1, 19 KO): The unified junior middleweight champion (154 lbs) moved up two weight classes to fight Canelo Alvarez. In the first meeting between defending undisputed four-belt champions in men’s boxing history, Alvarez reminded boxing fans why he still belongs among the pound-for-pound best in the world. Alvarez overwhelmed Charlo en route to a dominant unanimous decision. Charlo was never able to establish his jab or slow down Alvarez.

Jermall Charlo (23-0, 22 KO): Jermall hadn’t fought since June 2021, but returned on November 25th to face Jose Benavidez Jr. and unfortunately missed weight. Benavidez (28-3-1, 19 KO) is a very tough opponent and was repeatedly warned for fouls by referee. Charlo was sharp and showed no ring rust in a dominant return to the ring. Charlo landed 40% total punches, 46% of his power punches, landed 116 jabs and 47 body shots. After the fight, Charlo did not say what weight class he will be fighting at, but mentioned he would be more active in 2024.

What other big Boxing moments were worth mentioning? Let us know in the comments below.

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