Connect with us


ShoBox: The New Generation: ‘Wilder vs. Liakovich’ Event Rewind



The Showtime boxing series ‘ShoBox: The New Generation’ focuses on up and coming fighters. The match ups can vary widely in these fights; it can be an easy opponent, it can be a cagey veteran, or sometimes it is two talented fighters that are both moving up the ranks. This past Friday night it was supposed to be two veterans testing the rising fighters in the first and last fight of the night. Sandwiched in between were two undefeated fighters each providing the toughest test to date for one other. The fight in the middle lived up to its billing as Francisco Vargas took a tenaciously fought ten round UD over the game Brandon Bennett. The other two fights ended in very early knockouts. In the main event Deontay Wilder’s 1st round KO of former champion Sergei Liakovich was spectacular. It was a contrast to Jermall Charlo’s (14-0, 10 KOs) 2nd round one over Antwone Smith (23-4, 12 KOs). That one left everyone feeling a little cheated.

This junior middleweight bout should have been the toughest fight of Charlo’s career. Smith comes into it, as Barry Tompkins informs us, with the reputation of shutting down rising prospects. He had only been knocked down once in his career. The talk before the fight between Tompkins, Steve Farhood, and Raul Marquez was about Smith’s ability to be at his best when he is the underdog. He was the more experienced fighter entering the ring as they inform us. He has fought four times as many rounds as Charlo and had been past eight rounds thirteen times. Charlo had never been past six. This sets up as a tough wily veteran fighter, that is hard to knockout, ready to use his guile and wits to take this fight into the unknown later rounds and steal a victory. The other side is the younger talented fighter eager to meet this next challenge and find out if they are ready to move onto the next step.

What we learned in this fight was that Smith apparently cannot make weight and he tried really hard to do it. This was the third straight fight that he came in over weight. He had spent much of the early part of his career at welterweight and was moving up to junior middleweight. It looks like he should have kept going right to middleweight. We are informed that when the announcers saw the fighters at the weigh-ins Smith had not eaten a meal since Tuesday. He looked weak and the announcers estimated that he was at maybe sixty percent of himself for this fight. This left him too tired and weak to implement the necessary game plan of taking this fight into the later rounds. It is no surprise when Charlo KO’s Smith in the second round. You cannot blame Charlo who did what he should against an easy opponent. The problem is that it should not have been this easy for him. The tough opponent he was supposed to face did not show up. Hopefully his next opponent is a truer test for him.

The Francisco Vargas (16-0-1, 13 KOs) versus Brandon Bennett (16-0, 7 KOs) saw two undefeated rising fighters facing each other in this junior lightweight clash. This would be the toughest challenge to date for each fighter. Bennett was the quicker of the two fighters. The keys to victory for him relied on him using his speed advantage and elusiveness to move in and out and make this more of a technical boxing match and not get caught up in a brawling ugly type of fight. While Bennet was technically dropping down in weight it was Vargas that looked to be the bigger of the two. He was taller and had more power with almost twice the number of KO’s as Bennett.

In the first round Bennett was able to execute his game plan. He was effectively using his jab, scoring with some quick combos and using his footwork and head movement to avoid taking damage. Vargas was a little slow looking in this round. He was rarely able to connect and often came up short on his punches. His timing was off, not by much – but still off. If somehow Bennett could have bottled that round he could have won this fight.

Instead what happened was Vargas started to get comfortable with Bennett’s speed. This was made easier by his not being afraid of Bennett’s power. Vargas came out more aggressive in the second round and started to take control of the fight. He started to cut off Bennett. His punches started to land and he was making Bennett miss. The other important thing was he started to pin Bennett against the ropes and work him over on the inside. He was able to control the fight and fought where he had the advantage. He also started to do some bodywork.

From the second round on Vargas attacked the body effectively. As the fight wore on the body blows started to take their toll and they slowed down the quicker Bennett. By the fourth round it was a full on ugly, brawling, grinding fight. Just the fight Vargas wanted. Bennett landed some shots of his own but they did not slow Vargas down. Not even a nasty cut over his left eye from a head butt in the fifth round could slow down Vargas. He looked sharp in this fight grinding and wearing down Bennett.

This was exactly the type of fight Vargas needed to take the next step up. He was challenged by a tough opponent in Bennett that took him the distance. Despite the talent of the challenger Vargas was able to control the fight turning it into a measured controlled brawl. One that lead to his UD win keeping his record without his first loss. here were several times that Vargas had Bennett in trouble but could not put him away. It was an action filled fight and it will interesting to see who the next challenge will be for Vargas.

This was the same thought about the main event winner, rising heavyweight star Deontay Wilder (28-0, 28 KOs) after his fight. Who is next? This is the question that was echoing through people’s heads after his impressive first round KO win over former champion Sergei Liakhovich (25-5, 16 KOs). he power was scary good. It is the kind that gives him a shot in any fight. If he can complete the package then he could truly be the next great USA heavyweight contender. He is not there yet but clearly he is on his way.

This was supposed to be the fight that pushed Wilder into the later rounds. As Farhood explained to us, Liakhovich is a few years past his prime, and he was coming off a seventeen month layoff. He also has not beaten a top heavyweight in seven years, but he has only been stopped four times in his career and never before the ninth round. No one really thought that Liakhovich would win this fight but they knew that it would at least get out of the early rounds. This fight would at least push Wilder.

Instead we learn that Wilder can knockout a former champion on the tail end of his career in the first round. In the short time of this fight it was easy to get excited by Wilder. His style really has nothing to do with his name as he is calm inside of the ring. Instead of pressing and trying to force the knockout he let the fight come to him. When the knockout presented itself, he seized it. It was a left jab, quick left check hook combo that started it. After a beat or so it was a little hop step left hook/jab followed by a hard right that he was able to step into. That sent Liakovich back to the ropes. Wilder came forward and landed a measured right to the jaw and another quick right to the top of head as he was going down. Liakovich was out when he hit the canvas.


It was wicked, vicious, lightning fast and brutal. It was a glimmer of an opening and Wilder blasted his way through it. The purpose of this fight was to get Wilder some rounds, instead we got another display of his impressive pure punching power. Yes, Liakovich is past his best days but he has fought some of the best and no one was able to do that to him before. If he keeps answering the challenges in this fashion he could find himself fighting for the top belts in the future.

It was an exciting night of boxing on Showtime from their ‘ShoBox: The New Generation’ series. We saw three rising potential contenders answer some questions. In the first fight Charlo did what he was supposed to do with the shadow of a fighter that Smith presented and took him out quickly. In the clash between the two undefeated fighters Vargas put on a clinic of technical brawling in taking home the UD. The final fight of the night brought the most fireworks as Wilder scored the scary first round KO.

photo via shobox

article via Dwayne Wolff

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.