Tournaments in boxing usually sound great and fail in the end-usually due to fighters dropping out (or threatening to) when they don't get everything their own way or injuries that result in the tourney being far too drawn out as in Showtime's Super Six,which lasted too long and was most noted for Andre Ward's breakout tournament win that saw Ward never leave his hometown until the finals and have every break given to him.
I was wondering despite the tremendous purses being offered with the "Muhammad Ali trophy",just how many fighters from different promoters would be involved.
In boxing,something innovative like this usually doesn't involve a wide net of promoters,but this time,the answer was both yes and no.
Yes,as the European fighters/promoters seemed to get past the promotional issues and take their best shot,but the Americans didn't as out of the 16 entrants between the two divisions,just one is American in super middleweight Rob Brant.
The participants were announced today,although the actual brackets will be announced on Saturday.
I like that the top four seeds will be allowed to pick their first round opponents and adds some strategy to the Saturday selection show...
The good news is that the cruiserweight tournament is loaded as three of the four world champions (and the missing WBA champ Denis Lebedev is replaced by their minor title holder in Yunier Dorticos) are in the tourney with title defenses and if all goes well,the tournament winner will hold three of the four titles.
Between Oleksander Usyk (WBO),Marius Breidis (WBC) and Murat Gassiev (IBF) with two former champs (Krzystof Wlodarczyk and Marco Huck),the mentioned Dorticos (WBA minor), undefeated bomber Dmitry Kudryashov this tournament is loaded.
Only the omission of former WBO champ Krzyszyof Glowacki (conqueror of Huck and lost a decision to Usyk) who was not selected in favor of faded former heavyweight Mike Perez brings any questions at all about competition.
You could select any of these except Perez and maybe Huck to win the tournament and it's tough to argue with that selection.
I'm back and forth already on my pick to win the tournament,so I'll wait until I see the bracket before making my official pick.
This division has the potential for some tremendous fights and could wind up being the most exciting tournament ever with some luck...
I wish I could share the same excitement for the super middleweight tourney,which has some good fighters,but only attracted one of the four world champions in WBA kingpin George Groves.
Promotional considerations appear to be the issue with WBO champ Gilberto Martinez (Top Rank),IBF champ James DeGale (PBC and taking time off from surgery) and the vacant WBC title match between Callum Smith and Andre Dirrell was scratched after PBC's antics in agreeing to a bout on one date in Los Angeles and attempting to change the date and venue to Dirrell's hometown of Flint Michigan after a purse bid had been won and a contract agreed to.
Smith then decided he had had enough of Dirrell and the PBC and decided to pass on that title to enter the tournament and the undefeated Briton could win this.
The winner of the July 15th Chris Eubank Jr-Arthur Abraham fight will enter as well and either brings a talented one loss fighter (Eubank) or a former two division champion (Abraham) into the fold.
Former minor WBA champ Jurgen Braehmer drops from light heavyweight to give this a try,but the lower four boxers will have to pull some surprises to win this as none of Turkey's Avni Yildirim England's Jamie Cox,Sweden's Eric Skogland and the United States Rob Brant have anything close to a world class resume'.
It wouldn't surprise me to see one of the four pull an upset or two though,because none of what one would expect to be one of the top four seeds has the type of record that strikes fear into anyone's heart,not even Groves,who has been stopped in two of his three losses.
Still,this tournament doesn't excite me and the talent is somewhat disappointing,especially when you compare it to the cruisers.
I wish that they had decided to do the light heavys instead as even with promotional issues,there could have been fun fights-imagine a tourney with Sergey Kovalev,Artur Beterbiev,Dmitri Bivol,Joe Smith,Oleksander Gvozdyk,Sullivan Barrera,Nathan Cleverly and the final spot could go to Badou Jack or even (it's a dream right) the winner of Adonis Stevenson-Eleider Alvarez.
That tourney would have been so stacked and fun to watch that no one would even miss Andre Ward's absence!
I'm looking forward to the World Boxing Series to see the action and to see if the plans are able to go smoothly or go off the rails as typically happens in boxing..