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This is the HBO boxing podcast. I am HBO boxing insider, Eric Raskin and joined as always by my co host fellow HBO boxing insider, Karen Mulvaney and last week on our friends Brian Campbell and Rafe Bartholomew's boxing podcast. Rafe peed in a Cup live on the podcast. So I just wanna say you're welcome here in I have told some bad jokes over the years. But I never made you listen to me urinate, while we podcast at least not yet. There's always this week show in next week's. I right. Exactly. We could just just got in a blaze of glory if that's what we call it. Yes. Yeah. That's what I call it. Like, I'm just gonna go to the bathroom for a blaze of glory. Is that is that what Jon Bon Jovi was actually singing about? That's right. That's right. Also, coincidentally, I live alone. I'm starting to think it's not so coincidental. Right. Just you know, I don't wanna say there's a causal effect here. Yes. And Dato king of actual blazes of glory. It's been quite some right? Eric nearly five years fully two hundred eighty three episodes and counting. But now as long says the end is near we face the final curtain. Yes, folks. This is our final preview this Saturday, December eight HBO boxing takes its final buyer at least the future with a boxing after dark tripleheader and in many ways, it could not have chosen them. More fitting final occasion, the stubhub center in Carson, California, the site of so many truly great and action packed battles over the years where the lawyer and Miguel Koto scored their final wins economic Lufkin really seemed to morph into a superstar Murray seemed for a while that boxing cards just could not fail to be exciting finish here with a triple header on an interesting one is in the opener Olympic gold medalist Clarisa. Shields takes Herman's and the co main Superfly card stole. What from Cisco was Victoria. Lenders. And in the main event the first lady of boxing Cecilia breakup returns to the venue as she made her HBO debut earlier this year, she faces off against Alexander magazines. Lopez that action begins at ten twenty pm. And we begin as always by asking what's at stake. I'm gonna little differently this time. Finally, we're going to start changing things around here. Good time for that. Yeah. Right to what we're gonna do is. We're gonna ask what's at stake for all three of the site fighters, and I'll kick off with the two female sites. They've been mentioned this possible foes for each other and both in some respects similar spots. And really what it comes down to for. Both of them is two words, really relevance and opportunity. Look both will ready accomplished a huge amount in this bore. In terms of women's boxing. Shields is a two time Olympic champion. She's the only American male or female to win back to back box and goals at the games and is undefeated as a pro and breakup regarded as the number one women's box pound for pound in the world. Shields was already a big boxing story before she turned pro an appropriate has been perfect so far. But of course, this is already there have the whispers of criticism have started the fact that for example, she has stopped only two of her seven victims and their comes a point when the celebrity and the potential and the scale no longer enough when that needs to be translated into big fights against big names. Which is of course, difficult and the relatively shallow talent that is women's boxing. But there are names out there and shields needs a strong performance on Saturday night to make those matchups a real possibility. And one of the names that has been mentioned, of course, is indeed Cecilia breakers wasn't as big of an of the United States. Shields is but it's more of a global personality, but her much-heralded US HBO debut. This year was a little bit of an underwhelming surprisingly close win against Caley Reece breakers, also taking a little criticism, partly because she entertained actually quite reluctant to take on shields. Perhaps unreasonably shields is the white class above her and would likely outweigh her considerably on fight night. But rakers can't cope. Forever on this whole being first lady of boxing and being the pamphlet pound number one, especially at a time when women's boxing is getting a lot more attention. And there are other people who are making a case for that position. And so she also does need a good performance on Saturday to underline her status at the top of the women's game. Yeah. To to begin my response. I'll I note that chlorof- shields declared on Twitter that she scored for Deontay wilder over Tyson fury on Saturday night. So she has one strike against her coming into into this fight. But in all seriousness, I look at her. She's only twenty three years old. So any part of me that might want to say, well, she hasn't impressed me that much as a pro yet, the Kurth is she still developing there's no huge rush. She's taken on about the best opposition you could hope for through seven fights. And hasn't come close to losing. So she's on a good track. But if she wants to go to the next level in terms of starpower become the star at the center of women's boxing over the next five to ten years. She needs a big fight against a fellow star. And because of his age the clock is ticking somewhat on that particular fight. And that's really the most interesting thing about combining the two of them in this what's at stake. One of them is twenty three the other is thirty seven. If they're on a collision course, it's a crossroads collision course, where they're at very stages of their lives and careers, but this is a fairly typical situation. We've seen many times in the fights that we've previewed where a loss would be devastating to either of these sides, and if they really wanna help their Q ratings and bargaining power. They need to not only win on Saturday. But look good win. As for what's at stake for the third side on the card. One Francisco Estrada, we've talked plenty in the last two years about the hundred fifteen pound division, and how strong it is at the top and Estrada has been a part of that discussion throughout and his position as a top two fighter in the weight class is at stake in this fight with fellow Sonora, Mexico native, Victor Spock Mendez who I guess maybe looks a little like Zachary Quinto Spock from the newer star treks about I don't know. I took I was looking at him and thinking, that's my best guess as to where the nickname comes from a nerve pinch and around the he might something to watch for hard to do that with gloves on. But anyway, I it's it's interesting. How this opportunity came about four Estrada this slot on the card was supposed to go to Romana chocolate Tito Gonzalez, but he suffered a knee injury. So I'm less than two weeks. Notice Astrada who was training for another fight. Keep busy fight stepped in. Of course, Astrada famously lost to chocolate. PTO in an outstanding competitive fight back in twenty twelve when chocolate was at its peak and Estrada was only twenty two years old. And in a dozen fight since strata has only lost once to reach a cat soaring. Visa by majority decision this February and one of the best fights of the year soaring. Visa is the lineal champ in the division. Estrada is his top contender. I think all fans of the little guys in boxing would love to see a rematch and Estrada has to take care of business against Mendez to keep that fight in high demand. Yeah. Stratas sort of been in many ways the most consistent presence joined the rise of the super flies really on. That is a couple years hasn't the Java. Tita was of course, the initial main attraction and the guy around whom will that that franchise is sort of initially built, but you know, brought him back to earth. If in the first fight, and certainly the second one, and then Triscuit has himself, of course, emotions the dominant force. But you know, he's been he's taken a little bit of time away in dealing with some issues and has gone. You know, how to fight back back home and tight end of. Course there was cardis Quadros. But he's falling away a little bit, partly because of Francisco Astara in way appeared showed up, and then was gone moving moving up. And then more recently we've had yet as in Yoka sort of be a part of it. But all the way through Strada has been there up there or near the top. He's the one that you mentioned a push by Chuck Latigo answer cat to the brink. I mean, terrific fights both of those. The thing is what he's got to try and correct here is the fact that his last outing, although it was a dominant one wasn't unimpressive one. This was I think we would probably saying something very similar before his last fight against philli pay or AKU. This is up unity to go out there and seize the mantle and so everybody that with with chocolate. Tito, maybe out of it as we thought he might have been then Triscuit sort of his mind. Elsewhere Astrada can just absolutely seize the mantle and sees this division, and he just kinda slept walk through his fight against Rakuita. He won comfortably. But he just didn't look like he could be bothered to be there for a lot of it. And so it wasn't that opportunity that he needed to really Mark himself as at best or worse than number one eight and the division. So he needs to be the econ- be different uninspired. He needs to go out there and look really wants to be there looked like he really wants to make the fight looks like he wants to win the fight looks like he really wants to make an impression the stage is set for him. Once again, he kinda had one bite of the. A few months ago and didn't look right doing it. He really needs to seize the opportunity on Saturday. Yeah. Getting an opportunity that he didn't know was coming until until just a few days ago. Gotta make the most of it. All right. Let's move on to a couple of story lines. And I'm up with the first one here as of seven months ago there had been exactly zero women's bouts on HBO boxing by the end of Saturday night. There will have been four break us making her US debut against Caley Reese in may, then Heather hardy defeating Shelley Vincent in New York in October. And finally shields and breaks on Saturdays card. Also was not that long ago either that flyweight or super flyweight fighters being on HBO was a rarity. But over the last couple of years, they've been something of a staple because of the quality and depth of talent in and around those divisions with one Francisco Estrada, the only fighter who appeared on Superfly Superfly to and Superfly three. And now we have. To women's bouts and a super flyweight contest on one card. So a few questions is this a sign that some of these overlooked boxers are now getting opportunities, and that fans are more receptive to watching them. Can we expect to see more of these kind of matchups on our TV's and apps and in the future? Or is there? Another reason why we've been seeing more of these lately my suspicion is that. At least in in the hardcore fans receptivity for seeing these fights. Sometimes exceeded the awareness of programmers and matchmakers promoters. Boxing. Just wanna see good fights and good fighters. Whatever this whatever their gender. I think you know, Michael Carbajal and Chiquita Gonzalez beaten holy hell out of each other. What twenty five years ago now for pretty darn good purses? Wasn't that long after that that Christy Martin undersea Reicher had some attention? And then Lali after that. I think the problem to some extent with the very small whites. I'm pops most significant women's boxing has been a depth of the talent pool. We just want to earlier, you know, so that been waves of an Epsom flows. They'll be a star will come along and an attractive. Sort of tent pole if you will love awake class or in the women's division, and you know, and there'll be some interest in that. But then you realize the lack of good opposition for them and that kind of their by themselves a little bit. And as a result in you know, in interest miniatures little bit and we move on. Again. I think the big difference now and going forward, particularly is thought the change in the way, the boxing media is going to be consumed always already being consumed, and it's going to be consumed over the coming years means that fines are increasingly able to see entire cards. Right. Not just two or three fights big cars and Vegas and New York wherever and his opera type of during. So you know, you combine that with social media, you've got plenty of people watching undercard streams and discussing them in real time on social media. And what that means is if you're lighter white fight or a female fighter there. More opportunities for to see you and become familiar with you on the way up which increases the likelihood if you and if you have a fine friendly style. A good media presence and good opponents of making your way up the card and increasing that audience, so yeah, I think we are probably going to see a lot more of both. And, you know, initially on the under cards, and the going to have that much more of an opportunity as well to you know, to the way up to the main cars on the other factor that, you know, plays into some of this on the women's side is that women's boxing in the Olympics, which is certainly going to help the development of talent and rivalries. It's going to increase skill level is going to expose female fighters to the audience, even before they turn pro Katie Taylor already had already made offering following when she turned pro so diplomatic shields. And I think that seems likely only to improve I guess, yeah. I think that's really the key thing that I focus on here. Looking at this is how attitudes toward women's boxing are changing or have changed, you know, not universally. Of course, there are still some people you talk to her very stuck in their ways of all. I don't wanna see women hit each other. But. Whereas once it was a sideshow providing four rounders on under cards as a change of pace. Now as you said, thanks to the the Olympics. The rise of amateur women's boxing, the fights and fighters are taken more seriously and there's real skill at the top. So you know, boxing, doesn't have its Rhonda Rowzee yet. But I do think the possibility of women headlining major cards in the years ahead is strong. Yeah. You know, you mentioned on device. It makes me think you know, we talked about this already. Of course, in a way is probably helped because for whatever reason Emma may funds became more rapidly happy with the idea of watching women fighters in the octagon, and perhaps just kind of just helps inject into the bloodstream the fact that it's okay to to you know, to be watching women fighters, maybe that maybe is help crossover into boxing little bit. Point. All right. There's one other massive story line here. We've been tiptoeing around the proverbial elephants in the room for the last couple of months, we can ignore. It's trumpeting no longer. Yes. As we've mentioned a couple of times already on this podcast, this Saturday's card is least presently scheduled the final HBO boxing card ever after forty five years. And by the time, we got off the air one thousand one hundred nineteen televised by next week when we review this card. We will also take the opportunity to back of HBO boxing, and our being part of it has meant to us personally. But before we ever worked, very HBO, Eric we will boxing reporters, and before that we will fans and for both of us and many many others HBO was a huge part of the boxing on scape for decades now. And as we near the end, I'm curious what stands out to you from the last forty five years. Really what you think HBO's legacy will prove to be in the sport. What stands out to me simple as it? Sounds. Is all the great fights and fighters, and those things don't entirely go hand in hand having great fighters doesn't always get you. Great fights. There have certainly been moments in history when they were so determined to have the best fighters on their air that the matchup sometimes suffered, but you can hardly name an elite pound for pound fighter from the past three or four decades who didn't compete on HBO and to list all of the great fights would take an hour. And when you combine that with the production values, and what Jim Lampley voice means to those of us who fell in love with boxing sometime in the eighties or nineties or two thousands. The HBO boxing legacy to me is one of just astounding class. This is not a knock on any other network that has televised boxing in my twenty one years on the beat but hearing the HBO boxing music and hearing Lampley voice at the start of the show just stirred up a certain excitement and signalled a certain level of class and nothing lasts forever as we've been reminded. But I think when a little time passes HBO's boxing legacy will be that. It was the number one boxing network for a damn longtime. Yeah. And it gave us the best fighters. The best fights, great, boxing documentaries. Twenty four seven legendary nights. It's all part of this package. Wherefore not just a generation, but a few generations HBO was synonymous with the best of boxing in. America. I I suppose I should save a little something for next week. But, but that's how I view HBO boxing's legacy. Yeah. My nose is very similar. I mean, if I would try of summit the legacy in a couple of words, it would be production values. I mean just this year quality of the production. You would turn on HBO. And it would look great the whole it would this feeling of a big event right through the screen, wouldn't it? Everything the way it looked wait was filmed to see mention the quality the commentary. Yeah. HBO was the pinnacle of the boxing broadcasting business. You know to be fighting on HBO was to have made it to reach the biggest of the big times. Nothing else came close for so long in terms of glamour, insignificance and. Yeah. Before HBO, the truly big bites could be massive events that Frank Sinatra covering site photographer, the first, you know, Frazier, of course, but what did I think was make? Vice that weren fights of the century feel like truly big and exciting events on a consistent basis that you know, maybe hadn't come a long before, you know. It it made them feel like big events. Not just through the production values at brought by simply bestowing. It's imprinted. You're on them. You know, sure that we're downsides. You could argue, and it has been argued that the migration of big fights premium cable, remove them from the masses. Right, and maybe help maybe contributed to the decline of popularity for the sport in the US, but could easily make the case that was a symptom that stepped in and gave glamour and credibility to a sport. At the time where everybody else was running away from it. So. You know, that's a discussion that unshowable go back and forth for low these many years boxing. Of course, we'll go on. And indeed is already moving on is going to be very hard. I'm sure like you. I'm sure like a lot of people af spent a lot of time going through YouTube videos deliberately to look at fights. And also, it's just very hard to look at YouTube videos off great bites and it not being HBO fights. And it's just really hard to for a long time. It's gonna be hard to look at some of these great nights. And here Jim Lampley, Barry Tompkins or maximum Larry merchant or Ray Leonard Lennox Lewis, Roy Jones or Andre ward or George Foreman or blessed Manny, steward and just not feel a real tug of of melancholy, and thus Talia as we look back at what's been a really significant era, though, the boxing business. Yeah. All right. Let's let's cut that conversation off there before one of us gets little weepy. Let's move onto prediction time. And I'll go first with my predictions for all. Three fights. And then as is HBO boxing podcast tradition. Cure three with every single one of my picks. And we say that somewhat in jest. But also, I it's likely to be true with this card because there is such a clear Eisai in each fight. I'm taking Clarisa. Shields by decision over fem key Herman's, probably somewhere between ninety eight ninety two and one hundred ninety in other words, a Clarisa. Shields fight in the second fight of the evening. I think Victor Mendez is a solid fighter. But he essentially beats the journeymen and club fighters and loses to the world class guys. And Estrada is certainly that. The question is whether Estrada can stop him. And I'm going to say, no, I think we're getting a lot of rounds on Saturday night. So I'm saying one sided points win for Astrada. And then in the main event breaks clearly a couple of notches above her opponent. But Cecilia is not a big puncher. I see another distance fight. And I predict that we will see Clarisa shields in the ring calling break us out after it's over. So I'm taking all. Three on points. And the fight of the night is Raskin versus his narcolepsy. If they do all go the distance. I'm really going to be put to the test. We have a mild disagreement, which by our standards is a stop the presses kind of deal. I've got all kinds of different orders here. I'm gonna go first with the the main. The two women's fights. For spray has nine Cao's and thirty four wins. Magsi? Lopez has one and eighteen. Yeah. This one's going to distance and like yourself fully expect prices to emerge victorious, Mike. Lopez clearly no mug on those occasions that you asked up a bit she's fallen just short, and I do expect that trend to continue as breaks Wednesday, comfortable unanimous decision and similarly in the opening by we talked earlier bike shields lack of knockouts, but she Herman's actually have half as many stoppages combined five even just sixteen wins together as breaks amac. Lopez have in fifty two, but I also see this going the distance shields pervading perhaps sharing a bit of the focus that it looked like she didn't quite have going into last flight when she allowed us to get dropped before he came back and won quite comfortably. And I am going with the side and the co main as well, but not this time by distance Mendez has never been stopped. But side of a young Louis nary. He's he's never faced opposition remote. Oatley of the caliber of Estrada of and and as we mentioned the top in. No, even though this is a a last minute call to be on this card for he'd already been training. He was already ready for a fight. He's gonna come into this in good shape. And I think this time he is probably going to try and seize the opportunity that chocolate ITO has given him a little bit better. I'm going to pick him to be more aggressive time out and to really take advantage of the exposure. I'm get a late eight nine thousand stoppage not necessarily a clear Nakai, but just the final, you know, maybe the corner steps in the referee steps in the punishment. Just eventually becomes too much. They you have it a cataclysmic difference of by three rounds between Eric and myself. Yeah, you really I take it up there. I'll say. Well, that will do it for this edition of the HBO boxing podcast. We will be back next week with not my final HBO boxing podcast, but Kieron's final Awa boxing podcast, the final regular edition of the pod as we discuss everything that goes down in the ring Saturday at stubhub until then thanks as always for listening. I'm Eric Raskin. And i'm. I'm.

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