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Squad Profiles 2016-17 - Leicester City [8/20]

Hi /soccer,
As we get closer to the season, I've decided to post squad profiles for each team in the Premier League. I've had a good response to the request for contributors from /LCFC for this post, so if you're interested in writing a paragraph about your favourite player or a young player who people might not know much about, let me know a few days before your team comes up or look in your team’s subreddit as I’ve posted in each one asking for contributors. Thanks to all who read and commented on the previous posts, I got some great feedback, there were some good discussions in the comments, and I wasn't met with hateful abuse which was nice! A link to all posts in the series will be at the bottom of this post. All photos are courtesy of the club website unless otherwise credited.
Apologies (again) for how long this one took. I’ve had some internet issues and only been able to get on on my phone, and then my laptop crashed and I lost the entire thing, hence why it’s kind of half-arsed which I also apologise for. Leicester are probably the most boring champions ever, re-writing this from scratch on Friday evening and this morning is the closest I’ve come to just giving up. But I’m hoping to get them back to being fairly regular now because I have a lot of help for the next few and should be able to get them out quickly and be back in the rhythm.


#12 Ben Hamer - After spending time out on loan last year and with Ron-Robert Zieler joining the club this summer, Hamer doesn’t seem likely to feature in the club’s first team plans much this year. He will probably go out on loan, unless a Championship team with keeper problems comes in with a decent bid in which case Leicester may consider selling.

#1 Kasper Schmeichel - Who would’ve thought that a keeper who originally found himself at Leicester because of a habit to follow Sven-Goran Eriksson around would go on to play a crucial role in winning them the Premier League title? Schmeichel kept 15 clean sheets last season, tied for second in the league with David de Gea and Joe Hart. This season he will have more competition for his place with Ron-Robert Zieler coming in, but he will still be the favourite.

#21 Ron-Robert Zieler - Leicester getting Zieler from Hannover for under 3m while teams like Everton are frantically scrambling for a keeper is fantastic business. The German could’ve easily commanded a £7-8m price tag, maybe even a bit more to a desperate team, and Leicester have paid pennies for him. I’m a big fan of the former Manchester United youth product, he has an air of calm about him when he plays, yet still is a commanding presence in goal and will definitely have Schmeichel on his toes this season.


#3 Ben Chilwell - Despite Arsenal and Liverpool knocking at the door, Ben Chilwell committed his future to Leicester this summer, repaying the faith the club have showed in him. Despite just three senior appearances to his name, Leicester put a price of £10m on the 19 year old’s head this summer, and Chilwell looks to be getting a bigger role in the team this year. With all the potential to be a top Premier League left back, Chilwell just has to put in the performances on the pitch to back up the club’s valuation.

-- Richie De Laet - Last season Richie De Laet became the first player to win Premier League winners medal and a Championship promotion medal in the same season, having played for Middlesbrough on loan for the second half of the season. This season, however, De Laet’s future is uncertain. With new signing Luis Hernandez taking De Laet’s number 2 shirt, De Laet was not given a number when the shirt numbers were announced last week. This could suggest that the Belgian right back is on his way out, although right back is the position with the least depth and the weakest starter for the club.

#28 Christian Fuchs - A free transfer from Schalke last summer, Fuchs took over the left back spot from Jeffrey Schlupp and will be the presumed starter this season. An incredible crosser of the ball, Fuchs assisted four goals last season including this crucial winner against Spurs, a corner that Fuchs made look effortless as he picked out a completely unmarked Robert Huth perfectly, and this gorgeous ball to Jamie Vardy against United.

#2 Luis Hernandez (by Daz93) - Hernandez looks very composed on the ball and reads the game very well. I wouldn't be surprised to see him carry on in place of Huth after Hull, since Huth will be suspended for that game.

#6 Robert Huth - HUUUUUUUUUUUUTH. Robert Huth, as well as being a big fucker and an incredible centre back, is goddamn hilarious. Let’s just get that clear first. Dude was suspended by the FA for playing “cock or no cock” on twitter, a game where people are asked if they think a picture is of a transsexual or not, and the rest of his feed is an absolute goldmine. Anyway, Huth signed for Leicester on loan from Stoke one game into the aforementioned tranny ban, and missed his first Leicester game due to it. He soon made his debut and was a big part of the miraculous push for survival at the end of the season, including the lone goal he scored that season in a 3-2 win at West Brom. His arrival really helped Wes Morgan and the two have built a strong partnership at the back.

#5 Wes Morgan - The Leicester captain. He seemed to struggle a bit in the first half of Leicester’s first season back in the top flight, but last season he was excellent. A powerful centre back who is as good in the air as he is at tackling on the ground and muscling opponents off the ball. Morgan and Huth will be a force to be reckoned with again this year, especially if Mendy can help by going some way to replacing Kante’s defensive contributions.

#15 Jeffrey Schlupp - Striker turned left mid turned left back, Jeffrey Schlupp is an incredibly versatile option for Leicester. With Fuchs at LB and Ahmed Musa and Demarai Gray both likely to be preferred at LM, Schlupp will probably be used primarily from the bench this season, providing an option who can come on to help out defensively and hit quickly on the counter. He is a powerful runner with impressive speed, and always causes problems to the opposing defence when running at them.

#17 Danny Simpson - Right back is Leicester’s weakest position, however Danny Simpson has played well enough under Ranieri to convince the manager not to look for a new RB in the transfer window so he is likely to be the mainstay at right back again this season.


#11 Marc Albrighton - Albrighton played on the left side of Leicester’s four man midfield last season, linking up very well with Christian Fuchs and providing defensive cover when Fuchs played on the overlap to put crosses in. Despite playing every game last season, Albrighton will probably see less of the field this season with Ahmed Musa, Demarai Gray and Bartosz Kapustka all available as wing options and Riyad Mahrez likely playing most weeks.

#13 Daniel Amartey - Ghanian midfielder Amartey joined Leicester in January and made just five appearances last season, four of them from the bench. His only start came at right back in a 1-0 win over Norwich. He will be competing for time with Matty James and Andy King as Mendy and Drinkwater look set to see the bulk of the starting time.

#4 Danny Drinkwater (by Daz93) - I think Drinky has a lot to show this season after the disappointment of being left out of the England squad for the Euros. He's looked immense in pre season, very fit and very sharp. We'll of course be missing Kante a lot, so I'm hoping he can fill his role more and help Mendy adapt to the league.

#22 Demarai Gray - Signed when Leicester activated the release clause of just £3.7m in his contract at Birmingham, Gray made 12 appearances last season for Leicester, all but one of them from the bench. A very talented wide midfielder, he will be pushing for more appearances this season and will likely be the first option on the left when Ahmed Musa is deployed up front.

#8 Matty James - OK so story time: I kinda know Matty James. He went to my high school’s rival school and I played football with him a few times. I know his brother Reece (who currently plays for Wigan) better, and he destroyed me (and basically everyone) at cross country a lot of times. There’s no point to this story really, it’s just cool to think that I’ve played football with a premier league winner (albeit one who didn’t play a single game because of an injury). Anyway, for obvious reasons I’m a big fan of Matty James. He missed last season with a cruciate ligament injury, but will be back in the Leicester side this season, competing for rotation time with Andy King and Daniel Amartey. He started 20 games in 2014-15 prior to his long-term injury.

#14 Bartosz Kapustka - A new signing this summer, the young Polish winger joins Leicester from Cracovia following a very strong season in the Ekstraklasa where he scored four times and set up nine goals, followed by an impressive showing at the Euros. Capable of playing on either wing and as an attacking midfielder or a centre mid if needed, Kapustka will be a vital utility player this season.

#10 Andy King - The first player in the Premier League era to win the top 3 divisions of English football with the same team (#FACTS), Andy King made 25 appearances last season, 16 of them from the bench, scoring twice. He will be the third choice CM again this season, ready to fill in if Drinkwater or Mendy get injured or need a rest. The Welshman is a good backup, but isn’t really good enough to be starting for a Premier League team.

#26 Riyad Mahrez (by abxdsays) - One of the most talented and enjoyable players to watch, even if he makes a simple pass or squirms his way out of a tight spot, he's just pure entertainment from kick-off. Obviously his close-control is often talked about, but his ability to pick a pass or find the right angle to curl one in is second-to-none. However his qualities are known to the world and defenders will close him down and limit his space.

#24 Nampalys Mendy - Signed for £13m this summer with the daunting task of replacing the giant Kante-sized hole in Leicester’s midfield, Mendy seems like an ideal choice. Comparisons to Claude Makelele (the best pure DM in Premier League history) are apt, Mendy is a consistent player who is a talented passer of the ball as well as a solid tackler. It will be very interesting to see how quickly he forms a partnership with Drinkwater and whether he can adapt to the PL style quickly and help Leicester to perform in the league and in Europe.


#7 Ahmed Musa (by Daz93) - Musa's pace is frightening and I'm sure he's every bit as quick as Vards. It was interesting to see them play together in the Community Shield but I'm more interested to see some varied formations with him playing more on the wing, where I think he will thrive.

#20 Shinji Okazaki (by abxdsays) - To me Shinji is the ultimate defensive forward, his contributions are widely overlooked and his hold up play is quite decent. He has an incredible knack of either winning headers or fouls, it's seemingly always one or the other. He is virtually a 5th Midfielder in our system, you could argue he vacates the spot of a false 9, but in our case we still have Vardy as the most offensive player. It's quite a different system to many other clubs and arguably one of the reasons we did so well. When you see Musa and Vardy together, you'll notice the gap between Midfield and the Strikeforce.

#23 Leonardo Ulloa - Poor Leo Ulloa. While the rest of the Leicester team were fighting relegation two seasons ago, Ulloa was lighting it up and was the sole bright spot in the mess that was Leicester. Then Leicester bring in Okazaki and Vardy stops fucking about and starts playing well, and Ulloa is kicked to the curb. OK so that may be an exaggeration, because Ulloa made 29 appearances (mostly from the bench) last season, and scored six goals including a late winner against Norwich.

#9 Jamie Vardy - A brief note before we begin: I don’t like Jamie Vardy. (Please don’t all brigade to the comments with abuse, this is my opinion and is basically going to be an entirely biased rant. I’m going to say a lot of very nice things about him afterward. Maybe skip this paragraph if you’re a Vardy fanboy.) He’s a colossal shithead, and looks like the kind of person who turns up to a club in a tracksuit, spills his drink on you and then demands you buy him another one, or else his mates will “fuckin bottle you mate.” I find it interesting, as a Liverpool fan, that people are so quick to vilify Suarez for the biting incidents (quite rightly, they were disgusting) and the racial term used toward Evra, yet are tripping over themselves to verbally fellate Vardy despite the fact he has an assault conviction and was caught on camera LAST SUMMER shouting a racial slur in a casino. In my mind, the fact everyone says “Suarez is a great player, but he’s a chompy racist” should also apply that “but” to Vardy, but no, he’s just The People’s Striker. People talk about Vardy playing while wearing an ankle tag like it’s some badge of honour that helps his underdog story. It fucking isn’t. Cristiano Ronaldo could play in an ankle tag; he’d just have to be stupid enough to beat the shit out of someone outside a pub. On top of all that, he got sent off for swearing at a ref last season. Chat shit, get banned you dick. How fucking dense do you have to be to get sent off for that? I’ve watched Wayne Rooney call a ref a cunt right to his face and only get a warning, come on Vards.
Anyway, now that I’ve vented about Vardy the person, I’m going to write a completely fair and unbiased review of Vardy the player: he is a damn good striker. I use Suarez as a comparison up there, and it’s surprisingly apt for his playing style too. They have a lot of the same strengths. Finishing? Here’s Vardy, and here’s Suarez. Ability on the ball? VardySuarez. Getting in behind defenders quicker than they can react? Vardy,, and Suarez. The ability to create something magical from nothing? Jamie Fucking Vardy. Luis Fucking Suarez. One more highlight for each because I’m enjoying this? Vardy with his first touch for England, Suarez with a great header (with bonus Aly Cissokho making the greatest cross of his life completely by accident). The only difference really is Vardy’s acceleration vs Suarez’s free kicks It’s part of what makes him such a popular figure in spite of the personal issues he’s had – he’s a joy to watch and it’s difficult to dislike him when you’re watching the things he can do on the pitch. Hell I’m as anti-Vardy as they come, and watching these highlights I find myself starting to like him, although I’m sure at least one person in the comments will insult me for daring to dislike him, or post "DAE chat shit get banged hur dur" and I’ll go back to the dark side. Vardy got his first England call-up this year, and made the Euros squad. He was one of the few decent performers this summer, and despite my dislike for him, I’m excited to see him hopefully contribute some more big moments for the Three Lions in the future. A couple of half decent seasons and he’ll have a shout for the World Cup squad, and I’d take him. He’s a kind of player England have struggled for, a little menace with a nose for goals. Jamie Vardy is, in my opinion, the best pure finisher in the league. You put the ball at his feet ten yards from goal, and he’ll score 99% of the time. He may not be as complete a striker as Aguero, or as strong as Kane or Rooney, or as dynamic as Sturridge if he ever manages to avoid injury long enough play 100% again, but he’s damn quick, he’s good on the counter and he puts the ball in the net. I may not like him, and I would be very surprised if he ever has a season as good as 2015-16 again, but he’s damn talented and he’ll be drawing the attention of a lot of defenders this year.


This was tough. This is how I expect them to line up the majority of the time, which is why I’ve gone with it, but I really struggled with it. Demarai Gray is the biggest sticking point for me, he’s an incredibly talented young player and I’m a huge fan but I couldn’t drop Mahrez and Leicester spent so much on Musa (and with good reason), it’s hard to leave him out too. I also think Ulloa is too good to be on the bench but not good enough to crack the lineup. It hurts to leave Inler out too, but he’s just not shown enough yet in a Leicester shirt and Drinkwater and Mendy are in by default at this point. Similarly Ben Chilwell is supremely talented, but the spot is still Fuchs’ to lose. Leicester’s biggest strength in my opinion is the fact that they have two players at almost every position who could realistically break into the team with a bit of good form.
Aaaaand they just lost to Hull. Fucking great start Leicester.

Previous posts

Thank you to the people from /LCFC who contributed. If you want to contribute to your team's post, either look in your team's subreddit for the post or message me in the few days leading up to it. I have now posted in every team’s sub asking for contributors.

Any comments, questions, rebuttals etc please comment, one of the reasons for doing this series was to promote discussion as I frequently see comments complaining that there isn't enough discussion. Even if you just want to tell me my strongest eleven is shit (it's probably wrong) drop a comment!

Tomorrow’s Team: Liverpool
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[FIGHT PREVIEWS] Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez vs Alfredo Angulo, Rustam Nugaev vs Marvin Quintero, Jorge Arce vs Aldimar Silva Santos, Paul Butler vs Oreste Bernabe Nieva + more

Friday March 7

Pala Casino Spa and Resort, Pala, California
Time: 9:00 PM EST, 6:00 PM PST, 2:00 AM GMT
Television: ESPN2 (USA) DigiSport (Hungary)
Fight Thread: Yes

Rustam Nugaev 26(16)-6-1 vs Marvin Quintero 25(21)-4

10 rounds
lightweight division
Nugaev has a pretty shabby record, but he hasn’t lost in 7 years. Granted, the wins don’t necessarily add up to contender level. His opponent is coming off nearly a year and a half layoff. Quintero was last seen giving it his all and still losing a split decision to lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez. Prior to that, Quintero had never had a win that screamed contender. These two should combine for an entertaining fight with the winner possibly positioning himself for a shot at the #1 contender for a title at lightweight.

Khabir Suleymanov 16(6)-3 vs Roman Morales 17(9)-0

8 rounds
bantamweight division

Saturday March 8

From Domo de la Macroplaza, Nogales, Sonora, Mexico
Time: 11:00 PM EST, 8:00 PM PST, 4:00 AM GMT
Television: Azteca (Mexico) UniMas (USA)
Fight Thread: No

Jorge Arce 62(47)-7-2 vs Aldimar Silva Santos 19(10)-7

10 rounds
featherweight division
Arce’s latest retirement lasted all but 11 months. He made his return moving back to featherweight and knocked out Colombian Jose Carmona. Arce thinks he’s got one last run in him. The 34 year old will need to get past Silva Santos who’s 4 and 6 in his last 10. Shouldn’t be too hard.

David Alonso Lopez 41(23)-13-1 vs Jose Uzcategui 21(17)-0

10 rounds
middleweight division
From Aintree Equestian Centre, Liverpool, Merseyside, UK
Television: BoxNation (UK)
Fight Thread: No

Paul Butler 14(7)-0 vs Oreste Bernabe Nieva 15(6)-2-2

12 rounds
super flyweight division
Butler will enter world level in the near future. Nieva shouldn’t be too much of a threat to Butler. Nieva, at one point, fought 3 opponents in a row with a combined record of 0 wins 15 losses and a draw. Butler has elevated his level of opposition over the past 8 months this is yet another step for him. By the way, there will be no round-by-round of this fight simply because I don’t believe the demand is there for it. If this is something you guys want, then we’ll do it.

Kevin Satchell 11(2)-0 vs Isaac Quaye 25(16)-4-1

12 rounds
flyweight division
From MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada
Time: 9:00 PM EST, 6:00 PM PST, 2:00 AM GMT
Television: Showtime PPV (USA) Boxnation (UK) Main Event (Australia) Sport 1 (Hungary) Televisa (Mexico) RPC-TV (Panama) GSP TV (Romania)
Fight Thread: Yes

Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 42(30)-1-1 vs Alfredo Angulo 22(18)-3

12 rounds
junior middleweight division
I’m a strong believe in gut reactions. Usually my initial reaction when a fight gets announced is right 80% of the time. It’s only through hype, select highlight videos, and sheer human wonder that has led me to sometimes sway my picks and get them wrong. Anyway, in this case when it was announced it would be Canelo, coming off the loss to Mayweather, against Angulo, coming off the loss to Lara, I thought Canelo had it in the bag. Not only is it just my eye test, but I looked at boxrec and checked out Angulo’s record. I saw no notable wins. He was schooled by Cintron, destroyed by Kirkland, and outboxed and quit against Lara. Angulo fights with the heart of a lion, but he’s never had an impressive victory. Canelo’s close win over Trout and the mere fact that he’s improved in every fight except his last (the day someone shows improvement in a fight with Floyd… that’ll be the day.) I was confused at this point when I looked at the response from various boxing communities who proclaimed this to be a big mismatch and that Canelo (who’s only ever been hurt once in his career) would be stopped. On what grounds? I thought. How could people say this. Angulo is completely unproven when it comes to winning. He’s got power, certainly, but not the wins.
I brought all this up in conversation with hungry_freaks_daddy a few weeks ago and he had a brilliant point about this fight. I have yet to watch episode 2 of All Access, but I believe that what you’re about to read should have been the narrative Showtime ran with. Here’s the conversation:
Me: Trout is definitely his best win. The case I'm going to make is that this is a 50-50 fight. A lot of people believe Angulo is gonna wipe the floor with Canelo and while it's possible, it's unlikely. Angulo has ZERO notable wins. Canelo's win over Trout trumps anything Angulo has done. People have fallen in love with Angulo's supposed power, but when has he finished the job on a legit opponent?
HFD: Of course people don't want to show Canelo respect. He's the pretty boy darling fighter that is the protege of the pretty boy darling fighter. People don't identify with Canelo. They think he's been handed everything. They identify with Angulo because he looks the part of the fearsome underdog warrior. He has some pop, and he's in memorable fights. Somewhere in people's minds that turns into this being a mismatch for Canelo. People need to forget about the Mayweather fight. It shouldn't even count when you lose against Mayweather because it means jack shit. So, Canelo coming off beating Trout, vs Angulo coming off being stopped by Lara, and Lara dominating Trout. The A/B/C logic is usually silly, but come on.

Leo Santa Cruz 26(15)-0-1 vs Cristian Mijares 49(24)-7-2

12 rounds
WBC super bantamweight title
Santa Cruz is one of Golden Boy’s rising stars and he appears to not need their help. He looks like a young Margarito without the slow start. He’s a torrential downpour of offense and if we apply the transitive property here, Santa Cruz will blitz through Mijares with the force of the German blitzkrieg.

Carlos Molina 22(6)-5-2 vs Jermall Charlo 17(13)-0

12 rounds
IBF light middleweight title
With the recent arrest of Molina, it appears the fight may be bumped off the televised card. Seems like an appropriate way to avoid discussing Molina, now an outed sex offender, for an hour. As for the fight, I’m really happy for Jermall Charlo. I think his brother is a tad more skilled than he is, but he carries far more power and has the perfect style for it. Jermall has one of the best jabs in boxing already and that might be key to keep this fight watchable. Molina loves to make fights ugly by getting on the inside and clinching. If Charlo can keep Molina at the end of his jab, Molina will be in for a long night. The problem for Charlo is that Molina has shown to legitimately give problems to just about everyone he’s faced and it seems no one has completely figured out how to beat him without question. Molina has a case to be a 1 loss fighter if he had some luck, but he doesn’t.

Jorge Linares 35(23)-3 vs Nihito Arakawa 24(16)-3-1

10 rounds
lightweight division
This will be a don’t blink fight. Arakawa will come to fight, no doubt about that. The intrigue is that Linares will do his best to keep Arakawa from asserting his will by boxing his head off. I feel it will be only a matter of time before Arakawa breaks Linares down and it becomes a blood bath.

Will Tomlinson 21(12)-0-1 vs Jerry Belmontes 18(5)-3

10 rounds
super featherweight
Wild Wild Will will make his American debut after spending his entire career down under in Australia. This is a good time for Tomlinson to take his competition up a notch because super featherweight is stacked right now and there are a ton of fights to be had.

Sergio Thompson 28(26)-3 vs Ricardo Alvarez 23(14)-2-3

10 rounds
lightweight division
There are rumblings that this card may open the televised broadcast seeing as how Molina has gotten himself into a bit of trouble with the law. It will be a fun fight. Thompson’s power is no joke and he was in a fight of the year candidate last summer with WBC super featherweight champion Takashi Miura
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[WEEKEND RECAP] Canelo Alvarez vs Alfredo Angulo, Paul Butler vs Oreste Bernabe Nieva, Jorge Arce vs Aldimar Silva Santos, Rustam Nugaev vs Marvin Quintero + more

Friday March 7

From Pala Casino Spa and Resort, Pala, California

Rustam Nugaev stopped Marvin Quintero in the 4th

A sad loss for Quintero. At the time of the stoppage he was probably easily winning the fight, but an apparent broken hand forced to him withdraw himself from the fight. Nugaev stays on the fringe of relevance while the question of retirement must surely be present for Quintero.

Roman Morales won a UD over Khabir Suleymanov

Morales dropped Suleymanov multiple times on his way to an easy UD. Morales is now added to the prospect watch.

Saturday March 8

From Domo de la Macroplaza, Nogales, Sonora, Mexico

Jorge Arce stopped Aldimar Silva Santos in 5 rounds

I know what you're thinking. Didn't Arce retire? Yes, but come on. When has a fighter not retired 3 times before finally getting retired by some guy young enough to be their grandson? This wasn't that night for Arce. Arce dropped Santos with a very clever left hook and when he got his man in the corner and started to unload, the referee jumped in to stop it. Arce had too much veteran guile for Santos.

Jose Uzcategui stopped David Alonso Lopez in 6

From Aintree Equestrian Centre, Liverpool, Merseyside, UK

Paul Butler knocked out Oreste Bernabe Nieva in 4 rounds

Butler ended it with a left hook to the liver that granted him Mexican citizenship. Nieva was tough and tried to pressure Butler, but his defense and a well timed body shot finished Nieva.

Kevin Satchell won a unanimous decision over Isaac Quaye

From MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada

Canelo Alvarez stopped Alfredo Angulo in the 10th round

Canelo fought like a man possessed… or maybe all the dog left in Angulo was left in Carson, California after his fight with Erislandy Lara. Even if it’s true, you can’t take anything away from Canelo. His performance warrants comparisons to Pacquiao’s fights with Antonio Margarito or Brandon Rios and Canelo deserves all the respect in the world. Unfortunately, those who paid to see a “toe-to-toe” war may find it hard to give him his full respect. A somewhat strange stoppage from Tony Weeks after Canelo landed the boxing equivalent to Ryu’s Shoryuken (dragon punch) early in the 10th. The truth of the matter is Canelo hit Angulo with everything but the kitchen sink and after that uppercut, it looked like he was going to bring out the sink. Depending on how you feel about Canelo you’ll either say Angulo had nothing and was a piss-poor match-up for Canelo or you’ll say Canelo just confirmed what we already know and that is that he’s a pretty special talent who may not be the greatest of all time, but definitely a worthy stand-in while we wait for the next great one to emerge.

Leo Santa Cruz won a UD over Cristian Mijares

Leo Santa Cruz dominated Mijares, but that’s not the story I’m interested in. Santa Cruz is now at the point where it’s tough to judge how good he really is. His opponents thus far have been very well selected and Santa Cruz has won each in dominating fashion. We’re at the point we had reached with Canelo before the Trout fight. Santa Cruz needs a signature win if he’s going to be taken seriously as a guy who can headline his own card. In many ways, I think Santa Cruz is in a similar position Donaire was in. He had wins that were even more brilliant than what Santa Cruz has accomplished, but it all came so easy and the opponents were usually a little past their prime, that it was tough to see how good Donaire truly was.

Jorge Linares won a UD over Nihito Arakawa

There’s something so beautiful and captivating about watching Jorge Linares fight. There isn’t a sexier offense in the game, and his defense looks definitely tolerable… but in the back of your head you know that at any point, the tides could change. It didn’t happen on Saturday night. Arakawa simply couldn’t land anything significant on Linares. Linares put on a beautiful clinic that has put him back in the conversation for a title shot against a champion. His likely next fight will be Omar Figueroa.

Sergio Thompson won a UD over Ricardo Alvarez

This was perhaps the fight of the night. Alvarez lost just about every round, but he showed tremendous heart. From the opening bell it was clear Thompson was on another realm when it came to punching power. Most people probably thought this fight wouldn’t see the end of the first round, let alone all 10. Thompson is there to be outboxed, but if you’re a lightweight with a suspect chin, watch out.

Jerry Belmontes won a UD over Will Tomlinson

For now, Daniel Geale remains as the premier and top Australian boxer in the world. Tomlinson made his American debut hoping to not become another Billy Dib. He unfortunately was soundly beat over 10 rounds.
Previews are a little brief this week. Previews will probably be too. I'm going to be away this weekend and I'm also working on a couple of other pieces. Apologies to anyone disappointed.
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Breaking Vegas Documentary: The True Story of The MIT ...

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