Is it a bad thing when outside-the-ring gossip-like media reports overshadow some good stuff inside the ring? Well, anyway, here are the most eye-catching boxing stories this weekend:
– The Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia “will they, won’t they fight” drama added a new chapter. This time, the hangup over the rematch clause is reported to be settled.
Last week, Golden Boy Promotions founder and figurehead Oscar De La Hoya told ESPN that talks for the April 15 bout between his guy, Ryan Garcia, and PBC’s Gervonta Davis had stalled over the specifics of the contractual rematch clause. Apparently, the clause had Davis’ side retaining lead promoter status for the rematch, which could only be forced if Davis lost. De La Hoya, meanwhile, argued that the winner’s side of the first bout should take lead promoter status for any rematch.
Despite widespread buzz that the hangup would sink the proposed bout, news came late in the week that Team Davis/PBC were fine with the revision, giving lead promoter status to the winning side of fight one. So, apparently, the fight is back on…for now. Davis goes to trial later this week on serious hit and run charges.
– Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is close to signing on for a bout with UK super middleweight contender John Ryder on Alvarez’s usual Cinco de Mayo weekend fight date. The bout for the Mexican’s four 168 lb. belts will reportedly be held in Alvarez’s native Guadalajara, Jalisco. Although Ryder is a solid enough fighter, nobody gives him much of a chance against Alvarez and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the only ones really looking forward to this fight are Ryder and his team and the Mexican fans who will be able to see their home country fighter in person for the first time since 2011.
– Rumor has it that Top Rank is planning a Josh Taylor-Teofimo Lopez junior welterweight title bout to be held in Taylor’s native Scotland in May or June. Taylor, who was once a 4-belt unified champion, now only holds the WBO 140 lb. title after vacating his other three belts due to disagreements over sanctioning body mandatories. The 32-year-old Taylor was scheduled to face Jack Catterall in a rematch of their controversial 2022 bout, but a torn plantar fascia put off the contest and, subsequently, opened the door for the more bankable bout with Lopez, the former 3-belt lightweight champ. The 25-year-old Lopez is 2-0 since moving up to the junior welterweight division, scoring a seventh-round TKO over Pedro Campa in August of last year and turning in a lackluster performance in a split decision victory over Sandor Martin in December.
– According to The UK’s Daily Mail, WBC heavyweight champ Tyson Fury and IBF/WBA/WBO titlist Oleksandr Usyk are “a long way off” when it comes to financial terms for a proposed 4-belt heavyweight title unification bout. Hopes were high that this much-anticipated bout could be put together by the end of April. Hopes are significantly less high now.
– In the biggest boxing story that took place inside the ring this weekend, O’Shaquie Foster beat 2-division world champ Rey Vargas via unanimous decision at the Alamodome in San Antonio by scores of 116-112, 117-111 and 119-109 to claim the vacant WBC super featherweight title.
Foster, who picked up his first world title with the win, looked sharp and “for real” as a main stage fighter with an all-around solid performance that saw him gradually pull away and handle the veteran champion solidly in the last half of the bout.
After the fight, Vargas said he plans on moving back down to featherweight where he’s the reigning WBC featherweight champ.
– On the Foster-Vargas Showtime undercard, hometown San Antonio fighter and former world champ Mario Barrios returned to the ring and stopped Jovanie Santiago in eight. Also, Cuban heavyweight Lenier Peró would come from behind to stop Ukraine’s Viktor Faust in the eight round with a paralyzing body shot.