Over the past few days we have seen another major player enter the boxing promotional game as Roc Nation, the sports arm of rapper Jay Z's organisation, has involved it's self in it's first major boxing event.
The organisation won purse bids to stage the WBO Middleweight world title bout between unbeaten Russian Matt Korobov (24-0, 14), the mandatory challenger, and current champion Peter Quillin (31-0, 22). The bout, the first fight under the Roc Nation banner, has seen Jay Z and his company digging deep to win the hosting rights with a bid of almost $2,000,000, though with that amount of money it's clear that Roc Nation has deep pockets to invest in the sport and could well be the big shake up that the US market needs.
From what we understand the bout will be hosted in Washington with a date of November 8th pencilled in. One would assume that a major US TV network would jump on the fight though at the moment there is no clear confirmation on which particular channel would be showing the fight. Interestingly both fighters have been separated by TV so far with Quillin, a Golden Boy fighter, being a regular on Showtime whilst Korobov, a Top Rank fighter, is typically a HBO fighter. With the purse bid however Jay Z has the ability to take the fight to which ever TV company they want or which ever are willing to offer the most money to show the fight.
When great amateurs turn professional we expect them to become great professionals. It's almost as if we demand the amateurs to turn professional and succeed. Unfortunately not all amateurs will be great professionals and we expect that to be the case with Matt Korobov (22-0, 13).
Korobov, of Russia, turned professional way back in 2008, since then he has promised much but delivered little. No one doubted his talent or his potential but people did doubt him, him as a fighter.
That doubt was shown to be right this evening as he had an unexpectedly tough test whilst facing Derek Edwards (26-3-1, 13).
Korobov started by looking sensational. He dominated Edwards and battered him from pillar to post for much of the opening round until he walked into a bomb and was dropped hard. It had taken 22 fights but we finally found out that Korobov hasn't got the greatest of chins, sure he got up but he wasn't meant to be dropped by a moderate puncher like Edwards.
Following the knockdown Korobov managed to re-establish himself into the fight. This was helped by the fact Edwards did next to nothing. This was an opponent who appeared made to order for Korobov to look good against but unfortunately he really failed as he went through the motions for a number of rounds.
Having realised that Edwards was unwilling to really fight back Korobov managed to slowly go through the gears dropping Edwards 3 times before forcing referee Steve Smoger to sop Edwards.
By the time of the stoppage Korobov had already shown a lot issues with his game to leave us with more questions than answers. Yes he's got talent, that's not questionable but there is too much missing from the Russian for us to feel he'll ever be a genuine world level professional. A real shame considering that his amateur achievements include 2 World Amateur Championships and victories over a genuine who's who.
Former Russian Amateur stand out Egor Mekhontsev, pictured above-bottom right, recently inked a deal with American promotional power house Top Rank.
Top Rank, the promotional company headed by Bob Arum, have been shrewd in recent months signing up a number of 2012 medal winners including Vasyl Lomachenko and Ryota Murata, with Mekhontsevbeing the latest.
The Russian, who won an Olympic gold at London 2012 and has claimed various other medals including World Amateur gold in 2009, will make his debut on December 7th in New Jersey as part of the undercard to Guillermo Rigondeaux's title defense against Joseph Agbeko.
Although Mekhontsev's opponent has yet to be named we expect him to be fighting against a somewhat limited opponent as Top Rank see what to do with his skills. We're hoping they'll treat him more like Lomachenko and Murata than fellow Russian Matt Korobov who has yet to really prove himself despite having also been a solid amateur.
Talking about Korobov he will also be on the same card facing Derek Edwards who has won just 1 of his last 4 contests.
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