That was much better.
Boxing returned to Showtime on Saturday evening, following an earlier comeback from a couple other networks. It was only one card, but even with the now-standard “guy’s not in the fight cuz he tested positive for Covid-19,” the matchmaking here was much better than what we’ve seen on ESPN.
The main event featured the tenth-ranked junior featherweight Angelo Leo taking on replacement and fellow undefeated Tramaine Williams, winning a decision victory in a bout that started pretty poorly for Leo before he took over. Williams stepped in for Stephen Fulton, moving up from the undercard. It was ultimately a wide decision on the scorecards — 117-111 (as TQBR had it) and 118-110 twice — but that undersells how “in” the fight Williams was in most rounds.
Williams, the quicker man, was landing counter left hands at-will early, standing right there with Leo — who wanted to get inside — plus Williams slipped his punches for two rounds very well. Williams is a southpaw, and Leo trained for a right-hander. Eventually, though, really starting in a close 3rd, Leo began outworking him to the body and anticipating Williams’ moves; for instance, Williams was fond of ducking out and to the left, so Leo began hitting him with uppercuts from down low or sweeping shots to the side of his head. From there, Leo didn’t lose a round. Neither man got hurt except for two separate rounds where each, respectively, took a pause for low blows.
It’s a deep division, which is why the guy who was supposed to fight Williams, Raeese Aleem, could soon get in the ring with Leo himself. That said, Fulton is up next. In a remote interview afterward, Fulton was so bizarrely chipper despite missing out on the fight that you have to wonder if he was on MDMA or some Tom Cruise-on-Oprah Scientology.
Aleem, by the way, got a rematch with a fella he’d already beaten, Marcus Bates, and even that wasn’t a half-bad competition for a while; it was kinda like the main event in that Bates was “in” the fight often, except Bates didn’t win any rounds. Aleem is the rare aggressive offensive fighter who doesn’t get hit much. You wonder what he could’ve done by now if he hadn’t waited until he was 30 to be on the precipice of a particularly meaningful fight. He won this one after punching Bates on his right wrist, forcing the stoppage. Bates before the fight had suggested someone or something tampering with his water during his first meeting with Aleem, so now he’s two-for-two on weird-ass reasons to get his only two losses.
The undercard was a rematch of a controversial light heavyweight bout between Joe George and Marcos Escudero from November that everyone thought Escudero won, and part II was almost a carbon copy of the first: Escudero began banking rounds after some early competitiveness based on raw aggression and forcing George into the ropes, then George hurt him in the 9th. “Almost” is the key word here, because in the 9th George didn’t just wobble him, he gave him those tweety birds. Check out the big Knockout of the Year candidate below.
#SHOBoxingReturns with a BANG 💥
Joe George KOs Marcos Escudero with a massive uppercut in Round 9. pic.twitter.com/dVdWogdfwe
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) August 2, 2020
(Photo: Angelo Leo delivers to the body of Tramaine Williams; via)