Los Angeles’ Scott Alexander deserves a great deal of credit for arriving on short notice to fight towering Chinese heavyweight Zhang Zhilei. Saving the show, Alexander came on as a late substitute after Filip Hrgovic was forced to pull out of the IBF final elimination bout with “Big Bang” due to the sad passing of his father. The Hrgovic-Zhang tie will be rescheduled assuming the Chinese southpaw does well against Alexander.
The heavyweight fight now on the Canelo-Dmitry Bivol undercard in Las Vegas is of course not as big or important as the Hrgovic-Zhang fight, however at least Zhang, 39, will see action and not see a long and complete training camp is wasted. Currently 23-0-1 (18) Zhang is coming off a snap win over Craig Lewis, while before the November 2021 fight, Jerry Forrest pushed Zhang to the limit.
Alexander, 16-4-2(8) hasn’t boxed in a year, his last fight being a decision loss to Carlos Negron. Alexander has also been with Travis Kauffman, this fight was a majority decision loss for him. Now, against Zhang, Alexander has a chance to score a big upset and really do something with his career in the ring. It seems to be a difficult task for Alexander.
Again, all credit must go to Alexander, 33, for coming on short notice, and hopefully he can give Zhang a good fight on the night. Still, a stoppage victory for Zhang seems somewhat likely. And then hopefully we’ll get that elimination matchup between Zhang and Hrgovic later this year at some point.
Zhang, a 6’6” giant man, hasn’t really lived up to the hype and promise that followed his 2008 Olympic silver medal win. There was talk of a massive super fight with Anthony Joshua, who he defeated Zhang in London 2012, but that fight has not come to fruition. How good is Zhang and how good can he be at 39?
Filip Hrgovic out of IBF vs. Zhilei Zhang; “Big Bang” Seeks Late Subtitles
After searching and waiting so long, and so long, for a willing dance partner, heavyweight contender Filip Hrgovic; who found one in the towering Chinese southpaw Zhilei Zhang; their IBF elimination bout, all set for this Saturday’s Canelo-Bivol card, is now back to square one.
Reports from various quarters say that Hrgovic has been forced to pull out of Saturday’s fight with Zhang, with “Big Bang,” as the 39-year-old Zhang is known, now looking for an enemy (at very) short notice.
It has been suggested that Hrgovic, 29, pulled out of the fight due to the recent death of his father and his utter inability to train with concentration since his father’s sad passing, the event hitting the fighter hard. Of course, this is understandable in terms of a fighter retiring from a fight. If this is why Hrgovic, 14-0 (12) has retired, he gets a pass, there’s no question about it.
But how will this affect Hrgovic’s future? How will it affect Zhang’s immediate future? Fans were looking forward to this battle of undefeated big men, with the fight being the highlight of the previous Canelo-Bivol undercard. Now, we have to wait and see when Hrgovic is ready and able to fight again. If Zhang gets a late substitution, it’s his and my guess as to how good the late dance partner will really be.
There has been no official word yet on Hrgovic or any member of his team, but the fight with Zhang has been removed from the BoxRec schedule, with Zhang, 23-0-1 (18) now on the roster to face TBA. Let’s see if the giant from China will actually see action on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
At this time, our thoughts are with Hrgovic on the sad and unfortunate passing of his father. Let this talented and avoided heavyweight contender get back on track and resume his in-ring career as soon as possible.