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Home Boxing

Boxing Editorials

NOVEMBER BOXING PREDICTIONS PART 1

NOVEMBER BOXING PREDICTIONS PART 1

Chris Algieri vs. Manny Pacquiao
The internet has been abuzz with so much new information since this fight was announced.  Top Rank and Golden Boy patching things up.  HBO bringing back Oscar's fighters.  Al Haymon becoming boxing's biggest enemy for competitive fights.  Mayweather steadfastly refusing to face Pacquiao, unless he leaves Arum.  Pacquiao refusing to do so.  Does this matter come fight time?  No, Pacquiao is always focused in the ring.  Algieri, however, does matter.  Unless there is still a big gap in talent, I see a style nightmare for Manny.  Algieri is tall, smart, quick, brave, and determined.  Pacquiao's left may finish off the eye that Provodnikov started, but barring that, I am picking the upset.  Algieri by close MD.
 
Bernard Hopkins vs. Sergei Kovalev
This is a battle between two freaks of nature, for entirely different reasons.  Kovalev's power is scary, and his delivery method is even unique.  The man's jab has finished off opponents.  Other than Sonny Liston, I can't think of too many others who did that.  Hopkins' refusal to age is what makes him an "Alien".  Eventually, he is going to be too old, and many are picking this fight as the night.  However, this has never been the style to bother Hopkins.  Trinidad, Pavlik, Tarver... all brutal punchers, all couldn't hurt or win a round against B-Hop.  Hopkins will throw less punches this time, but that will be what makes it close.  Hopkins by closer than normal UD.
 
Tomasz Adamek vs. Artur Spilka
Adamek is another I wish would just retire.  However, with other shot Pole's he has always done well.  Spilka showed what little he has at the higher levels when he fought Bryant Jennings.  This is a chance for Adamek to shine, and look less done than he really is.  Adamek in a late TKO.  Shrewd matchmaking.
 
Tyson Fury vs. Dereck Chisora 2
Fury has been idle for quite some time, and during which, both men's careers have changed. 

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THIS IS NOT GOING TO HELP

THIS IS NOT GOING TO HELP

Sure enough, we finally get a fighter fighting hurt, and look what happens.  I, like many boxing fans, have been complaining about the myriad of ways that fights are being cancelled.  Injuries have derailed careers, not to mention all of the delays they cause... wasting primes!  However, we see why this past Wednesday.  The events that took place during Soliman-Taylor for the IBF Middleweight title are not going to help anyone rush to take chances, I am afraid.
 
Jermain Taylor deserves credit for staying calm and fighting the exact correct fight against an injured fighter.  For once, Taylor's patience actually helped him.  This is a fighter who was one punch away from early KO wins against Carl Froch and Kelly Pavlik.  Think where his career would be now if he had scored those wins.  However, he refused to let his hands go, and was ultimately stopped by both men.  He was not in danger of this against lighter hitting Soliman, but stole rounds, and usually at the 10-8 mark, by forcing Soliman back on his injured lead leg.
 
Taylor now has a belt, and Soliman, at age 40, is facing an uphill climb to remain vital.  Many fighters, including Taylor, are under the Al Haymon umbrella, which is not one known for taking chances.  Danny Garcia is now rumored to be pulling out of his mandatory defense against Viktor Postol (a risky fight), due to injury.  You cannot tell me that Soliman's injury did not help Haymon learn a lesson.  He is not alone.
 
Andre Ward lost the better part of 2 years dealing with a  shoulder injury (although legal problems have not helped).  Tyson Fury has faced delay after delay due to the injuries of his opponents!  Not even his most of the time!  Unless we are going to bring back fighting 5-6 times a year, fighters cannot afford many cancellations.  Soliman had a very good chance of winning that fight, had he not been injured.

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OCTOBER 2014 BOXING PREDICTIONS, Part 2

OCTOBER 2014 BOXING PREDICTIONS, Part 2

Sam Soliman vs. Jermain Taylor
Soliman is taking on an odd choice of opponent for a man who did as much calling out as he did.  Losing close controversial decisions, having to fight on the road, being rushed in his opening career.  Soliman survived it all, and after 17 years is finally a world champion.  However, he picked the one sanctioning body that enforces mandatories, so he is wasting his optional facing a shot fighter in Taylor, instead of unifying.  Not that Quillin or Cotto want any part of him... but it makes you wonder why he would not pursue the fight with GGG that he said he wanted.  But I digress.  Taylor is facing legal troubles that do not make his assignment any easier.  I have also seen nothing in his comeback that would make me think he is back to old form.  In fact, a lighter hitting fighter like Soliman may seem like the best option, but it just means he will face 12 rounds of futility against the Australian's awkward style.  Soliman by UD.
 
Carlos Molina vs. Cornelius Bundrage
I am glad K9 gets another shot.  I am glad Molina is finally back in the ring after wining the title over a year ago.  In fact, the winner of this fight is closer to a Floyd fight than you may think.  The IBF belt is the one Floyd has never had, and both fighters are Midwestern, giving Mayweather a chance to return to roots.  Not that I am predicting this, but if Molina gets the win, it would not shock me if he got a big fight down the line.  He will win, as well.  Bundrage is too wild to bother the awkward champion... and Molina is too iron chinned to buckle when K9 does get the odd shot home.  Molina by UD.
 
Odlianer Solis vs. Tony Thompson
Thompson should be done by now, but he keeps finding new life.  His loss got Pulev has many people calling Pulev the best challenger for Klitschko since David Haye and Alexander Povetkin.  Of course both of those men stunk it out against Big Wlad for 12 rounds, as will Pulev likely, but it seems to be a mark of quality.  Quality that Solis was said to have, but it has never really been shown on the world stage.  Much like his fore-bearers Ramon Garbey, Jorge Luis Gonzalez, and in size, Mike Perez, the Cuban heavyweights just get fatter when they find freedom, not better.

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OCTOBER 2014 BOXING PREDICTIONS, Part 1

OCTOBER 2014 BOXING PREDICTIONS, Part 1

Gennady Golovkin vs. Marco Antonio Rubio
In a fight dubbed "Mexican style", a not so subtle attempt to get GGG the Mexican fans, it is ironic who has become the foil.  Rubio, an actual Mexican, has been near the top of the rankings for years, for only that reason.  The WBC is Mexican, so is he.. period.  He has both won and lost explosive early KO's, close fights, and long sustained beatings.  he has also had a long career, and is nearing the end.  This is a nice cash out fight for Rubio, should he be intelligent enough to see the writing on the wall, but this match does nothing for GGG but increase the legend, and kill time.  2015 has to be his year.  Fights with Cotto, Canelo, or the winner of Jacobs-Quillin loom for him.  maybe even a jump to 168 for Andre Ward, if Ward ever fights again.  This is the last gimme he is allowed by the boxing fans and writers.  I hope he enjoys it, because we always do.  Maybe Rubio's guile and experience gets him out of the first round.. but in no way does a bell ring to end round 2.  GGG by brutal, one-sided KO, inside of 5 minutes.
 
Nicolas Walters vs. Nonito Donaire
I don't think I have ever picked against Nonito Donaire, since the first Darchinyan fight.  He is an iron-chinned power puncher.  Those guys don't even need craft to be fairly successful.  They are in every fight.  However, Donaire actually does have skills, and at his peak, the 5 division belt holder was unstoppable.  He has held every sanctioning body strap, has been unified in 2 of the divisions he fought in, and has scored highlight reel KO against other top fighters.  However, it appears the Jamaican is for real.  Walters is still a question mark, but this is the type of fight where he who was never dropped gets dropped, and may, for the first time, find his power handled somehow.  A Donaire KO is never surprising, but I am picking Walters by UD or late TKO on cuts.
 
Martin Murray vs. Domenico Spada
This is only a big deal because these two are ranked very high by the alphabet soup organizations, and they may be considered a safe defense for a GGG or Cotto type, or a first fight for Canelo, should he move to Middleweight and not tackle Cotto immediately.  In fact, Murray is one of the few who experts would pick to go rounds with GGG,

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THEY ARE GROWING UP

THEY ARE GROWING UP

Have you noticed the example that Floyd Mayweather is setting for many young African American fighters?  Oh, I am not talking about his work ethic.  That is legendary, and many young fighters aspire to even be able to handle a Money Team workout.  I am not talking about his promotion skills.  That is knowledge that comes from experience, and nothing else.  I am not talking about his masterful defense.  Most fighters talk about being a warrior more than not getting hit, nowadays.  I am talking about the formula for which Mayweather has slowly but surely gaining acceptance, and Adrien Broner is following suit.  The "hate me first, love me later" template of success.
 
Floyd is not the first.  Ali was actually the first in boxing (it had been done for decades in wrestling) to employ the idea of "the ones who hate you will pay more to see you than the ones who love you" business model in practice.  Ali's humor after his losses, and personality, as well as history proving his stances justified, all helped out to change him from a pariah into a prince.  He is now one of the most beloved sportsmen in history.  Floyd has to be seeing that.  He shares Ali's work ethic, as well as extraordinary athleticism.  He knows that gimmicks be damned, it means nothing if you are not the best... the very best.
 
Adrien Broner had a fight last Saturday with Emmanuel Taylor, where he was clearly making the attempt to follow in those footsteps.  My prediction is not that he will make it or not, but that our hatred of him in boxing's popular culture will subside.  Like Floyd, who used to burn $100 bills and revel in his riches, gradually Broner is letting people into his more human side.  He is now giving respect to opponents, and adjusting during fights.  He found himself in there with the only close tough assignment he has had in his career besides Malignaggi.  Maidana beat him cleanly, and Broner has dominated everyone else.  So, this fight was all about growth.  He is telling us about his past, and speaking softer, while still maintaining the ego and showmanship that is his trademark.  Then, after it all, he finally adjusted and upped his punch output to defeat a determined contender.  He actually came on down the stretch, while still remaining active.
 
Of course, Floyd got to get well into his 30's before softening up and becoming more human.  Floyd actually didn't want to be the heel the way Broner and Ali seemed to choose from inception.  Floyd thought he would be a golden boy like The Golden Boy, and when it didn't happen, he harnessed his great skill into being the enemy, and the very best.  His unbeaten, untouchable status for many years meant he was able to keep his persona for longer.  After Broner's last few fights (an ill-advised move to 147), he has had to "get real" quicker.  He's been beaten, and bored people.

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

GGG-Rubio may seem like a mismatch, but Rubio has had a long career where everything has happened.  He has suffered early KO's, and scored them.  He has dished out long beatings, and taken them.  He is also the first I don't expect to be too afraid of Gennady Golovkin.  My pick, oh, GGG will kill him.. I'm just saying it may be interesting while it lasts.  The motive is clear, to gain more west coast and Mexican fans for GGG.
 
Also, we are getting a Top Rank featherweight bout on the undercard, which is very intriguing.  Nonito Donaire vs. Nicolas Walters is the most intriguing fight that can be made at Feather minus Lomachencko.  Gonzalez seems to be going on a seniors tour with Arce, and as vulnerable a champion as he is, they are going to treat him with kid gloves.  Gradovich is high risk low reward for any of the champions, but Walters is moving up as fast as Crawford, which shows Bob Arum seems to be less concerned with protecting his non-Latino or non-Filipino fighters... which is good news for boxing fans.  However, even Donaire has not been protected, and kudos to Arum for continuously making the best fights with him.
 
Speaking of Filipinos, it looks like we may have lost all of Brian Viloria's golden years to Asian cards and off-network PPVs.  Too bad... he was an exciting American fighter who came back to score big wins after being written off several times.  His career included many belts and wars, but few were in the USA, and even fewer on mainstream TV.  Maybe this is the lesson Arum learned.  By the time he tried to move The Hawaiian Punch forward, it was too late, and he lost his title.
 
Speaking of losing his title, do Floyd and Pacquiao run any risk of being stripped for not facing mandatories?  They seem to be subject to a different rulebook, not that they would follow it.  They are above belts... but I have yet to hear either of them be forced publicly to take a fight in a very long time.  Then again, neither of them ever touch the IBF (where there is no silver, interim, super crap).  Maybe that's why.

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Floyd Mayweather vs. Marcos Maidana Recap

Floyd Mayweather vs. Marcos Maidana Recap

Lets look at the entire PPV card, and build towards the main.  Sadly there is not as much to say as we had hoped.  Mayweather is still undefeated, but very safety first.  Maidana is still tough, but dirty.  Vasquez is still boring... so boring that judges did not even see him winning against Mickey Bey.  He may be the least sympathetic robbery victim in boxing history.  Alfredo Angulo is finished, and Santa Cruz killed more time.  The real story is how un-scintillating the undercard was in set-up.
 
Golden Boy/TMT cards have been known to give fans more than Top Rank, yet in this card, they are clearly slipping, and with Macau, it looks as if Top Rank is raising their game for Algieri-Pacquiao, at least in terms of names.  Lomachencko and Shiming may not be tested much in their undercard bouts, but at least they are appearing on it.  Lets look closer at Sept 13.
 
Angulo seemed to lose all of his pop against Canelo Alvarez, and a plodding slugger with no power behind his shots is dead in the water.  he was able to show his heart, chin, and even stamina against James Delarosa last Saturday, but he also showed his big weaknesses.  His eyes (and reaction to them being injured), as well as his lack of boxing ability.  His power seemed to only half return in this bout, and he was the one who was dropped early.  However, as Delarosa tired from his output, Angulo was still there.  It was hopefully the last time we'll see Angulo, who has made money, and has a style that lends itself to long term damage if a career is extended.
 
As for Mickey Bey, a shrug of congratulations is in order.  Not that anyone can look good against Vasquez, but he probably didn't even deserve the decision, but he is now the second fighter to win a belt for TMT (ironically both have been IBF... the one belt that Floyd has never won), and especially in his first title fight, it seems to be a case of win today, look good tomorrow.  He beat the number one ranked guy in the division, and if Crawford comes through his fight with Beltran victorious, that could be an intriguing matchup if promoters move towards working together.

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JUST DOESN'T WANT IT BAD ENOUGH

JUST DOESN'T WANT IT BAD ENOUGH

So, Fres Oquendo has lost yet another close one, in his opponent's back yard, on a rival promoter's card.  Some variation of this story should be on his headstone when he dies.  It was simply the story of his entire career.  He was given plenty of chances, any certainly the outright robberies on his record are not his own fault, but bad luck is helped out by never changing your M.O.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.  Let's look at a some of his most notorious close calls.
 
David Tua - Ahead on all cards, Oquendo suffered his first defeat after he was caught by one of Tua's big bombs, and put to sleep in the 9th.  No shame there, as this was Tua's M.O., yet, he was caught by the right and not the left hook, so that part was original.
 
Chris Byrd - The only time a fighter was so dedicated to fighting off the back foot, that he actually made Byrd come forward!  This must've confused the judges, as Oquendo seemed to clearly win 8 rounds, yet lost a unanimous decision.
 
John Ruiz - a typical Ruiz fight in which he was probably behind by a few points, but it was scored as if he was ahead by 1.  It didn't matter as Oquendo went to sleep late, and was stopped in round 11.
 
James Toney - Again, Oquendo made a counterpuncher come forward, and although he seemed to win 7-5, Toney got the decision 7-5, in a dull affair.  He was on promoter's card, in opponent's adopted backyard... this would begin to prove a theme.
 
Evander Holyfield - relatively neutral territory, but same old Fres... outboxes Holyfield in spots, but keeps allowing the play to be taken away.  Holyfield gets a close split decision, that probably should have gone to Oquendo.

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TAKE THE FIGHT

TAKE THE FIGHT

There are an awful lot of boxing cancellations these days.  Not that this never happened in previous eras, but the idea of fighting hurt was a much more common one in previous generations.  Sometimes it is due to injury. sometimes offers are not accepted due to money, or family obligations that arise.  More often than not, it works out ok, and the fighter in question gets another shot.  This is not always the case, however.  While it is true that one may never recover properly if an injury is not allowed to heal, opportunities can often be the same animal.  Here are a few cases of an opportunity that was passed by, and never came again.
 
Alex Garcia
A decorated amateur who once fought in the finals of the World Championships, Garcia was a Southern California heavyweight moving up the ranks in the early 90's.  His ascension came along at the same time of George Foreman's return to boxing, and after each man had been feasting on soft touches, Foreman came calling for Garcia.  The payday was a whopping half-million, and Garcia was not exactly a household name at the time.  Add to that Foreman was coming off the Holyfield fight, and may be vulnerable.  Garcia's camp, however, turned it down, and for a while it looked like the right decision.  The publicity he received from turning Foreman down actually made Garcia a staple on the USA Tuesday Night Fights series.  It was there, however, that he was eventually KO'd by journeyman Mike Evans, and then decisioned by John Ruiz and Joe Hipp.  Not a great move, as it turned out.  The Foreman fight would have been his biggest money and his biggest exposure.
 
Francesco Damiani
The 1984 silver medalist had a good start to his pro career, scoring big KOs on his way to a then-lightly regarded WBO title win.  His only loss was when he lost that title to Ray Mercer.  Damiani was well ahead when he suffered a broken nose, and stayed down.  It was a forgiveable loss, but was an indication of his lack of fighting spirit.  After Holyfield-Tyson was KO'd in 1991 due to a rib injury, Holyfield elected to fight anyway, and Damiani was offered the title shot.  He initially accepted, yet with only days remaining, he pulled out of the fight with a knee injury.  He did so against everyone's wishes, including his wife.  Damiani claimed that the shots recommended to clear him to fight made him sick.  He turned down 750k to avoid an ill feeling.  He only fought a few more times, retiring after being KO'd by Oliver McCall, for a lot less money.
 
Andre Ward
I know.  I know.  On the list of things Ward has done to stall a brilliant career, cancellations have not been the biggest.  

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SEPTEMBER 2014 BOXING PREDICTIONS, Part 2

SEPTEMBER 2014 BOXING PREDICTIONS, Part 2

Miguel Vasquez vs. Mickey Bey
Vasquez fighting on a Mayweather card??  Surely Top Rank would never let this barnburner of a champion go.  This is an intriguing fight, however, because Vasquez has been unbeatable for years at 135, if also unsellable.  Bey's only loss came when he was well ahead, and power is not likely to be a threat here.  Still it is hard to pick against Vasquez, especially against a fighter who has failed to wow us before.  Vasquez by close SD.
 
Lucas Matthysse vs., Roberto Ortiz
Matthysse's struggles with John Molina had more to do with the chin and toughness and power of Molina, than with any diminishing on the part of the Argentine.  However, Ortiz has been a longtime Silver champion at this weight.  Whatever that means.  His record shows many capable opponents, but no big names.  Still, it is a risky enough fight for Matthysse.  He is vulnerable, and Ortiz is motivated.  Still, a man with his power is hard to bet against, especially when you know his opponent has not yet faced any power like his.  Molina by late TKO, coming from behind.
 
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Kubrat Pulev
Believe it or not, Pulev is the man whose boxing skills I am most impressed with for a Klitschko opponent in a long time.  Haye had power, which made up for other deficiencies, and Pulev cannot rely on that.  Am I picking Pulev?  No, I am not that brave.  Klitschko has been so dominant that I can't pick against him.  But if there is a fighter who has a chance of having a lead when he is stopped, I'd pick Kubrat.  Klitschko by mid rounds TKO, after actually losing a few rounds.  

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SEPTEMBER 2014 BOXING PREDICTIONS, Part 1

SEPTEMBER 2014 BOXING PREDICTIONS, Part 1

Adrien Broner vs, Emmanuel Taylor
Taylor has looked good in his last few fights, and if Broner remains as unfocused as he has been recently, than has-been is a phrase people will be using for a very young man.  Taylor is not a man to go to sleep against, but even a half-in Broner should have the skills to pull it out.  Don't look to be dazzled, however, nor for Broner to be allowed anywhere near the Ortiz-Matthysse winner.  Broner by dull UD.
 
Kiko Martinez vs. Carl Frampton
Frampton taking the safer fight than Leo Santa Cruz may come back to bite him.  Martinez is experienced, hungry, and has a great team behind him.  Frampton may also be the perfect style for him to shine.  The British press have a way of making stars out of ordinary fighters, and that may be the case here.  A Frampton win would not shock me, but I am picking Martinez by UD
 
Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Giovanni Segura
This fight is a classic XYZ.  Meaning just because X can beat Y, and Y can beat Z, does not mean that X can beat Z.  The Y is of course Brian Viloria, who beat up and stopped Segura, yet lost his title to Estrada.  Estrada is riding high, and Segura is damaged.  Both men are fighting in their home country (although Segura was raised in the USA) of Mexico.  This has all the makings of a wide UD for Estrada, but something tells me he'll get caught late.  Segura by 11th round KO.
 
Floyd Mayweather vs. Marcos Maidana 2
Maidana was figured out midway though the last fight.  Unless he does something else (and he can't), it is going to be more of the same.  I'd love to say that this fight will go the way of a Roy Jones rematch (Griffin and Tarver) and end with a shocking KO, but we know better. 

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GENIUS OR GREED?

GENIUS OR GREED?

So, everything went according to plan on the August 9 Brooklyn Showtime card.  Danny Garcia got his highlight reel KO, after several tough assignments in a row.  Lamont Peterson got his dominating win.  Daniel Jacobs can officially call himself a champion, and did so in his backyard.  All three did so by stoppage, and all 3 made money for very little risk, while making Al Haymon even richer.  The Haymon backlash is certainly justified.  His charges repeatedly dodge tough assignments, to the point where you can tell it is even irritating them.
 
Keith Thurman, Deontay Wilder, Gary Russell etc. are all very talented fighters who are taking on very limited opposition.  Russell was finally forced to face a very tough assignment, and seemed ill-prepared by his soft-opposition to handle the task.  However, the man is so powerful in his hold over boxing, that we are forced to deal with his cards.  Not only that, but he is so reclusive, that we are forced to anticipate his next move.  Throughout the telecast, the Showtime commentators were forced to refer to the current joke of a card as some sort of pre-cursor to another event.  Haymon made no mention of his intentions, we are just hoping against hope that this is leading to a Quillin-Jacobs, Garcia-Peterson unification card in December.  I hope so, but I would not bet on it.
 
It is not as if Haymon never takes risks, but they follow his own timeline, not one created by the wants and needs of fans or fighters.  Should Broner have taken the Maidana fight?  No, but it set up an opponent for Floyd where there was none, and made the move to 140 a natural for Broner.  Haymon now has a piece of Peterson, Garcia, Broner, and Matthysse, yet other than the Garcia-Matthysse fight, they do not seem to be facing one another.  We are assuming that by Dec or Jan, Broner will challenge Matthysse, while Garcia and Peterson will finally unify, but I'd be very surprised if that happens.  There is too much money to be made by stalling as opposed to fighting one another.

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

With all the concern about PEDs, why is no one insisting on the testing of Sergey Kovalev or Gennady Golovkin.  Inhuman things are happening when they hit their opponents, yet I hear no one claiming they should take any tests.  In fact, this whole issue seems to have vanished recently.  It was pretty much a major sticking point in nearly every fight from 2009-2013, suddenly we never hear about it.  Maybe that was what the big sanctioning body summit was really about?
 
Speaking of sanctioning bodies, I really hope they do not get in the way of the 175lb unification.  There are great fights to be made, and by the end of next year, one fighter could be in possession of every major belt.  However, between the IBF policy of stripping every fighter who takes more than one optional without facing a useless mandatory, and the WBA and WBC policies of handing out multiple belts, it may end up very confused.  Let me simplify it.  Kovalev, Stevenson, Hopkins.  Those are the three.  When they are done, we will have an undisputed champion... no matter how they try and confuse it.
 
Speaking of unifications, sometimes it is not the sanctioning bodies, but the promoters who hold it back.  Surely the frustration of Sauerland's refusal to unify their champions at 168 ten years ago, or Cruiserweight today, was felt by boxing fans.  Yet, today the worst offender is Top Rank at Featherweight and Lightweight.  They have 4 fighters and 3 belts at least, in each division, yet never the four shall meet?!  Lomachenko vs. Gradovich, and Walters vs. Donaire.  Sounds simple enough.  What is holding it up?

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Lennox Lewis Worldwide Search Begins For New Boxing Talent

Lennox Lewis Worldwide Search Begins For New Boxing Talent

Lennox Lewis is launching a worldwide search for new boxing talent. Lennox and his team are looking for the next great boxing champion. If you think you’ve got the what it takes to run with the best, Lennox Lewis may take you under his wing and train you to be a Champion.

If you're an aspiring, undiscovered boxer with raw talent, FORMER UNDISPUTED HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD,LENNOX LEWIS wants to hear from you, no matter your background or country. He's looking for the next great boxing champion and if you think you've got the hunger, the physical stamina and the mental agility to box with the best, Lennox Lewis may take you under his wing and train you to be a Champion.

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MARKETING

MARKETING

So, Canelo got the decision because Lara doesn't sell tickets?  Maybe, but boxing has always been a business.  The troubles we have are not new.  From the days where the mafia flagrantly controlled the sport to today, where it is more covert, there has always been corruption to protect boxing's business interests.  However, it is not all about corruption and racism.  Those, admittedly are the most face-in-front aspects of marketing that take place in boxing.  Yet, there is good old fashioned promoting mixed in there, as well.
 
There are some ways to guarantee sale of tickets.  Ethnicity is one.  If you are Mexican, Irish, or Puerto Rican... there is an agreed upon formula to make you into a ticket seller, even if you are quite ordinary as a fighter.  If you are a brawler (as fighters of those ethnicities often are), the plan is pre-arranged.  They will set you up in LA or NYC (depending on which ethnicity you are)... maybe the bay area if you are Filipino, etc.  Then you will be matched on TV, waving the flag of your ethnic origin, and winning action fights.  It's worked for countless fighters in the past.
 
However, if you are a slick black fighter, prepare to be the "heel" as they call it in wrestling.  You will be the bad guy, all the time.  This may cost you close decisions, as it did for Lara, Whittaker, Trout, etc... but some are even immune to that, as Norwood, Bradley and Mayweather can attest.  These men are marketed as the enemy to the pre-approved ethnic fighters, as they are the opposite in the important ways of marketing: race, style, attitude, etc.  Some play it up, some don't... but be there, and be available, and you'll make money off of an ethnic base that is not even your own.
 

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AUGUST BOXING PREDICTIONS

AUGUST BOXING PREDICTIONS

Shawn Porter vs. Kell Brook
This is about the only fight I am truly excited for in the month of August.  While I will believe it when they are both in the ring, it seems as if brook will finally take the leap.  Brook has had flashes of brilliance, and flashes of ordinary.  Porter is coming on strong, and seems to be iron-chinned, but Brook may have the most power of any top fighter he has faced.  I just think the strength, momentum, and confidence edges all go to Porter, who will put himself in the Mayweather sweepstakes with an impressive win here.  He should get it, by wide decision.
 
Brandon Rios vs. Diego Chavez
This may seem certain to be a brawl, but Chavez was forced to make it a fight against Thurman, because of his style.  however, he may be able to use more skills against Rios.  It remains to be seen how much is left in the tank of the Oxnard-based Kansan, but Chaves was likely selected because the Thurman fight showed vulnerability.  I think he has a solid chance of pulling off the upset in a decision, but gut instinct tells me Rios will pull it out late, with a KO win.
 
Sergei Kovalev vs. Blake Caparello
It makes one wonder why Sergei keeps being put in with light hitters.  He seems to have a good chin, but who knows?  he is a smart fighter for a face-first attacker, and Caparello has not exactly shined against the lower tier he has fought.  Simply put, he cannot keep Sergei off of him.  Kovalev by 2nd round KO.
 
Sakio Bika vs. Anthony Dirrell 2
This matchup may actually provide an opponent worthy of idle champion Andre ward.

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CANELO DOES IT AGAIN

CANELO DOES IT AGAIN

Canelo Alvarez has again put in his golden earning power in the fire of a risky fight, and come out unscathed.  Well, at least he came out a winner.  He also got to do so in a way his compatriots south of the border could respect, by coming forward.  In a match-up where the main prediction was Lara winning 7-5, only to lose 7-5, it seems by many experts tallies that is exactly what happened.  However, the cries of protests are toned down by some intangibles.
 
The Mexican star is one of the few, if not only former opponent of Mayweather or Pacquiao to parlay their fame into his own (unless you count Victor Ortiz 15 minutes as a Dancing with the Stars alum).  Canelo earned that fight with a risky challenge of Austin Trout, and followed it with a riskier fight with Erislandy Lara.  In most people's minds, Lara did not do much better than Trout... but certainly, he was scored much closer.  Judges may have been Texas bought for Canelo-Trout, but other than the one wide scorecard, this bout was at least scored with appropriate closeness.
 
One of the reasons could have been the state.  Nevada certainly has more than its share of questionable decisions, but judges here are likely to work for many promoters, and not trying to kiss-ass to any one in particular.  In Texas, judges are bought and paid for, as is the commissioner, Dickie Cole.  Trout had no chance, save a KO, of getting that win.  Another reason was what was on the line.  Back then, Mayweather loomed.  Trout-Mayweather was not a possibility, so a Canelo win had to be secured for that to happen.  This time, the Cotto fight looms, but not until next year, so even if Canelo lost, there was time for revenge in a rematch.
 
Canelo, however, was able to fight moving forward the whole night, and change aspects of Lara's game.  Lara always fights off the back foot, but looked more uncomfortable here, even more than against Angulo, who he had controlled save a couple knockdowns.  While Canelo may have done little more than go even up, when a fighter throws less and boxes moving backwards the whole night, he better cleanly outland his opponent.  Lara only landed 10 more punches, and not nearly enough straight lefts to dazzle judges.

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MY NIGHT AS A RING ANNOUNCER

MY NIGHT AS A RING ANNOUNCER

I was a ring announcer once.  In most of the things I have been involved in, I had to start at the bottom. In fact, in most cases, I definitely stayed near it.  In comedy, dating, education, writing, etc. I started very badly, and got a lot better.  However, I was allowed to build up a head of steam, before there were too many witnesses to whatever prowess I had gained.  This was not the case in being a boxing ring announcer.
 
I had called a few fights as a commentator for private telecasts, and had been a comedian for 10 years.  Yet, I had never stood in front of people in suit and tie (I don't own a tux), and announced a boxing match.  The promoter for which I had worked, doing the commentary, suggested I do the ring announcing for a card of theirs in October of 2010.  Their normal announcer was busy that night.  I jumped at the opportunity.  However, this was a nerve-wracking experience.  I would not have to be funny, but I would also not be allowed to stumble over words, and sputter out my message, as was perfectly alright in stand-up comedy.
 
Added to my fears was the fact that this was a professional card, with titles at stake for a couple of fights.  People would be watching.  There were even a few celebrities, and many boxing luminaries in the building.  The building itself was Glendale Civic Auditorium in Glendale, which also meant some difficult to pronounce Armenian and Russian names, along with the standard Mexican fare that accompanies most Southern California fight cards.
 
I arrived at the building and was hit with the first of a few snags.  I had also announced the weights at the weigh-in earlier, so I was given a bit of an idea of the fighters names, and what would be expected of me.  It would be the only dress rehearsal I would get.  One of the fighters began vomiting, and had to be withdrawn.  No problem, right?  Fights are cancelled last minute (especially at the four-round preliminary level, which this was) all the time.  It was just one less fight I had to remember, right?  Wrong.

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WBC Female Super Bantamweight Champion and WBC Female Bantamweight Champion Yazmin Rivas

WBC Female Super Bantamweight Champion and WBC Female Bantamweight Champion Yazmin Rivas

Congratulations to Yazmin Rivas on her win this this weekend! She now holds 2 belts, both the WBC Female “Super Bantamweight” Title and the WBC Female “Bantamweight” Title! - Her toughest opponents to date have been Susie Rmadan of Australia and Jackie Nava of Baja California. Photos by Steven Arredondo

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

Boxing scribe Gabriel Montoya noted that they keep putting Sergey Kovalev in with fighters who are not big punchers.  While certainly Ismail Sillakh, Roman Simkalov, and even Darnell Boone could punch at the lower levels, it is a bit of a concern.  I personally feel this is from lack of opposition available to him politically.  They are trying to keep him at the HBO level, and seem to be doing so by offering up unbeaten fighters.
 
The only unbeaten contenders he can face are largely light-hitting, unproven commodities like Capparello and Agnew.  Perhaps more belts would be the answer (never thought I'd type that!).  If Brahmer would ever be brave or stupid enough, that may be a good fight.  The IBF seems dead set on stripping Hopkins or Stevenson, when they finally try to unify.  Maybe that belt will help.  Either way, it's hard to see any Achilles heel for Kovalev yet... so we'll need to see that chin tested soon.
 
Speaking of tested soon, Fres Oquendo actually has the perfect opponent liked up... for him to finally get a belt.  After so many close/bad calls have robbed him, Chagaev is the perfect opponent to show us once and for all if Fast Fres just doesn't do enough, or if he will take it when given the chance.  Chagaev has slowed from his early days, and seems less than motivated.  He may oddly enough be more shot that Oquendo, too, just watching recent performances.  Unfortunately, it's not the perfect political climate for the Puerto Rican, so don't expect a decision to go his way unless it's dominant, which we have never seen out of Fres before.  He has his chance.  No excuses this time.

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THE POWERS OF ADJUSTMENT

THE POWERS OF ADJUSTMENT

Professional championship boxing returned to Omaha, Nebraska for the first time in 42 years.  The last time, a guy from Council Bluffs fought in Omaha.  This time, the Omaha fighter was offered Council Bluffs.  We have Indian gaming to thank for this shift.  Terence Crawford, however, did not want to make his family cross the river, and he knew how well his tickets would sell.  10-12,000 people showed up in Omaha to watch their favorite boxing son make his first title defense, and he did not disappoint.
 
Top Rank usually punishes fighters for wanting hometown defenses.  Bob Arum does this by making it the toughest assignment of a fighters career.  Just ask Mike Alvarado if he'd rather have taken that Provodnikov fight in Las Vegas after all.  Crawford was not punished in result, even if he was in opponent.  "Bud" was victorious against Yuriorkis Gamboa, for one reason and one reason alone.  It was the same reason Matt Korobov was victorious in his bout on the undercard.  They both knew how to adjust.
 
Gamboa had faster hands, and superior combinations.  This is something Crawford has not encountered much in his professional career, and certainly not in his two biggest prior wins: Burns and Prescott.  However, he went southpaw, with an effortlessness that had commentators reminiscing about Marvin Hagler's similar ability.  Then, after losing a round even worse, he began to time Gamboa, and catch him on the way in.  Crawford used this new style, and a well timed southpaw jab, to take over the fight.
 
Once his superior chin was made evident, he also began daring Gamboa to trade.  Then, when he had the Cuban down and hurt, he showed patience and intelligence by landing crippling body shots.  Such incredible maturity has not been seen in a young fighter in many years, but he was not done there.  

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PROMOTIONAL DOWNFALL

PROMOTIONAL DOWNFALL

The world of big time boxing promoters has always been changing.  In the world I came into, Bob Arum and Don King were just making their names as big time promoters.  I am nearly 40, and they are both still there.. albeit at different levels.  However, the recent victory of Bermane Stiverne gives a long-ineffective Don King a bit of a rebirth.  He now has a piece of the heavyweight division more than a decade after he last did.  There are promoters on the rise, and promoters on the downslide.  I have always been a prediction man, so here is my prediction for the next decade of big time boxing, as to who will increase, and decrease, their presence.
 
Increase:
K2 - Started by Klitschkos, and run my Tom Loeffler, this is the European version of Golden Boy.  The one weakness in Golden Boy's game has always been the foreign markets, and K2 seems to be attempting to avoid this by bringing some of their young stars like GGG over to the USA.  It remains to be seen how many more will follow, but with the fading of the other big German promoters, K2 is poised to do quite well.
 
TMT - The money team is still in it's infancy, and needs desperately to attract more fighters who are not trying to be Floyd.  Iron Mike - Probably never going to rival Top Rank or Golden Boy, but a strong Goossen-like long term presence should be expected. Decrease: Top Rank - They are making a good international presence with so many foreign Olympic medalists, but none of them seem special enough to carry the outfit. 

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JULY 2014 BOXING PREDICTIONS PART 2

JULY 2014 BOXING PREDICTIONS PART 2

Tyson Fury vs. Dereck Chisora 2
Believe it or not, their first match did not have much trash talk.  Maybe this was because both men were barely prospects, and it was a lightly-regarded British domestic matchup.  Since then, however, both have gone in divergent paths.  Fury is still unbeaten, largely untested, and hasn't done that well in the tests he has had.  Chisora has fought for the world title, and had many big showdowns with other top heavyweights, but has also racked up his share of losses: Haye, Klitschko, and Fury.  Chisora has also needed a bit of help to score his most recent wins.  The competition level has been very different, making Chisora by far the more experienced, but something tells me he just can't get to Fury, given their styles.  Fury by another 12 round UD.
 
Bryant Jennings vs. Mike Perez
Just after the tragic Mago fight, there would be no question Mike Perez would be the favorite here.  However, since then, Perez looked fairly ordinary against Carlos Takam, while Jennings looked like a world beater against admittedly not a world-class opponent.  The styles are what's important here, and Perez has not fought as smart a fighter as Jennings yet.  That should make the difference.  Jennings by MD in a close chess match with occasional bursts of good action.
 
Gennady Golvokin vs. Daniel Geale
There are many fighters now being called "the right style to trouble GGG".  Could it be wishful thinking that we want to see the formidable Kazakh challenged at all?  This year, if it does indeed bring Murray, Geale, and/or Soliman, Golovkin should have at least upped the level of competition.  Geale has shown an iron chin thus far in his career, but that has rarely stopped GGG.  Geale's awkward attack could actually make him the first fighter to bank rounds against GGG, but eventually Golovkin will break him, as he does everyone.. probably with body shots in this case.  GGG by mid/late round TKO.

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JULY 2014 BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 1

JULY 2014 BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 1

Chagaev vs. Oquendo.
We are not sure if this match is even going to come off.  Hitz Boxing is suing to stop it from happening, but could we expect anything less from the career of Fres Oquendo?  This is a man who has had many close ones go against him, and was outright robbed against James Toney and Chris Byrd.  He could be a former unified champion, instead, he's been on the outside looking in for over a decade, with no momentum.  He has the skills to defeat Chagaev, but tends to fight in a "just good enough to lose competitively" style, and that will not be enough against Chagaev in Germany.  Chagaev by narrow unanimous decision.
 
Argenis Mendez vs. Rances Barthelemy 2
The first fight ended in a no-contest, when Barthelemy clearly hit a finished Mendez after the bell.  What was first announced as a TKO win for the Cuban, was taken back weeks later.  Now, he has had to wait for 6 months.  Barthelemy may have needed the help of officials to avoid DQ against Mendez, and decision loss against Usmanee, but the momentum is all with him.  Mendez is finished for this division, and I am surprised the rematch is even being made.  Barthelemy by TKO, this time late in the fight.
 
Canelo Alvarez vs. Erislandy Lara
Alvarez certainly not taking the easy path in 3 out of his last 4 bouts, after being accused of doing so early on.  Perhaps he has learned the Oscar De La Hoya lesson... as long as you remain a good-looking Mexican, and keep fighting the best, people will not care if you lose occasionally.  It is a big risk here, but Lara is far from unbeatable.  In fact, in the two opponents they have in common, Trout and Angulo, they have each taken turns dominating one, and winning close and tough against the other.  Alvarez can do more things, and I believe after a difficult start, he will eventually take over.  Lara, for all his brilliance, is not the best at adjusting.  Canelo by 8-4 UD.

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OPENING ROUND SHOULD HAVE ENDED IT

OPENING ROUND SHOULD HAVE ENDED IT

Sergio Martinez suffered three knockdowns in round 1 against Miguel Cotto last week, and this would have ended things in many rings.  Effectively, it did anyway.  This is a day and age where fights are more likely stopped too soon, than too late.  In fact, Sergio regained enough of his old form that he may have been able to come back and win, had he not been facing a world class opponent.  By his own admission, however, he never recovered from the temple shot that separated his mind's intentions from his body's capabilities.  That was not the first time the fight was essentially over after a disastrous first round... long beatings have ended many a career when 8 or 9 rounds of extra punishment were incurred.  However, some times men recover from a bad first stanza.  Here are examples in both directions, modern and historic.

Finished Early
Leslie Stewart TKO 9 Marvin Johnson
This was a rematch for the WBC Light Heavyweight title.  Their first fight was a fight of the year candidate for 1986, and it took place in Johnson's hometown of Indianapolis.  Johnson was now a 3-time champion, and a 33 year old.  That is very old for a pressure fighter who fights a war every time out, and had done so in one of the strongest talent-laden division in history.  He had even made his first successful defense in all 3 reigns, again in his hometown, before granting Stewart a rematch.  While the momentum of the first bout was clearly in Johnson's favor, Stewart was stopped on bad eye cuts.  This time, Stewart wasted no time establishing control, as he was the hometown fighter in the rematch.  Stewart dropped Johnson twice and rocked him badly in round 1.  8 more rounds of suffering happened, however, before Johnson's corner finally threw in the towel.  It was a poor reflection on Stewart's ability to finish off a hurt opponent, as the result was decided a few minutes in.  It was the last fight for Johnson, which was a wise move.  Let's hope Sergio does the same.

Mikey Garcia TW10 Orlando Salido
Salido showed heart and toughness, and might have even won a round or two had the fight gone on.  However, he took 4 spills, 2 in the early going, in a fight that was decided early on.  Garcia showed maturity in not giving Salido a chance to score a lucky comeback punch, but it was the native Mexican who absorbed far too many unnecessary shots.

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SCHAEFER GONE??

SCHAEFER GONE??

So, Richard Schaefer has left Golden Boy?  Well, a twitter announcement does not a big move make.  I will believe this one when I officially see it, but it looks as if Richard Schaefer has indeed left Golden Boy Promotions.  The alliances within that very powerful company are a complex web, that also involves Showtime as well as Al Haymon, and Floyd Mayweather.  In the immediate aftermath, it appeared Schaefer was not only leaving Golden Boy, but based on his wording, he was leaving boxing altogether.  Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather's chief advisor has annoucned that this will also sever the ties between Golden Boy and Mayweather Promotions.  

Many questions are now being asked: What does that mean for Golden Boy's deal with Showtime?  It is Mayweather who is bound to Showtime.  GBP is simply forbidden from HBO.  Does this open the door to new networks?  Does this mean Top Rank and Golden Boy will be working together again (besides the one-off Russell-Lomachencko fight)?  Will Al Haymon fighters jump ship from Golden Boy?  There are many questions, but I will attempt to do what I do best (and by "best" I just mean "frequently"... predict the answers.Floyd Mayweather

I am not sure TMT is really ready to kiss off GBP.  The strong undercards we are accustomed to, as well as Floyd's pool of opponents, all have come from GBP.  If he tries to rely on himself, he simply does not have enough fighters, nor are there many who are unrepresented by one of the big two.  And remember, it was Floyd who said he would not work with Arum, long before Schaefer inferred it.  Odds are, Mayweather will still involve GBP in his own cards, or else his PPV undercards are going to be even worse than Top Rank's, and that is saying a lot.

Al Haymon
Haymon is responsible for 95% of GBP's non-Latino fighters, and if he leaves, they are a strictly a FS1 weekly series with virtually no big names. 

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COTTO'S DAY TO SHINE

COTTO'S DAY TO SHINE

This was a hard fight to watch, as I am a fan of both men.  Miguel Cotto may have not been a huge underdog, yet the way he won this matchup left not too many "I told you so's" around.  Most people who favored Cotto did so, because of the implication that Sergio Martinez's body was done.  While it certainly looked as if Martinez had lost a step or two, we may never know conclusively, as it was his temple that gave way a minute into the match.
 
This was courtesy of the same left hook that Chavez found with a minute left nearly 2 years ago.  This time, it came with too many rounds left, and from a world class fighter who could follow up.  Martinez was out-slugged, out-boxed, and even out-jabbed.  In what will probably end up the biggest win of his career (Mosley a close second), Cotto left little doubt that the skills are still there.  At this new weight, with a new trainer, he can still accomplish much in boxing.  However, let's be clear on his path.  The fans have chosen Canelo as his next opponent, in the first few unofficial polls, and I think I know why.
 
Peter Quillin is the young, hungry kind of boxer (like an Austin Trout) that could trouble Cotto, and not even provide much of a monetary upside.  GGG would tear through anyone at this point, it seems, and Cotto's fans certainly don't wish that upon him.  Mayweather could go for a middleweight legacy fight, but it is a fight for which we do not yet feel we need a repeat, and Arum is not likely to steer him in that direction anyway.  Also, bear in mind, Pacquiao and Mayweather are really 140lbers.  This is a bit of a leap, especially for a formerly vanquished foe for which the fans would call them opportunistic.
 

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WEEKEND RECAP

WEEKEND RECAP

Carl Froch is sitting pretty now.  Not only is he drawing 80,000 fans to see him fight in the UK, but there seems to be no immediate stop on the money train.  He didn't exactly look great in either Groves fight... in both cases, coming from a slow start to score a KO win.  the first time, he was coming off a very bad start, and got a very suspect win.  This time, it was a mildly slow start, and he got an emphatic win.  So, he gets to put Groves behind him, and now his mandatory is another British 168lber, James De Gale.  With division kingpin Andre Ward frozen by legal problems, Froch has become the man at 168lbs.  This in spite of the fact that virtually no one wants to see him face Ward again.

 It reminds me of Kostya Tszyu's situation about a decade ago.  After unifying the division, and leaving no doubt, Tszyu was idle for 22 months with injuries.  During that time, former victim Sharmba Mitchell scored several impressive wins.  he did so, to the point where people forget what a bad match he was for Tszyu.  Not only did Tszyu beat Mitchell again, he did so in even more dominant fashion.  That would be my prediction if Froch and ward ever got in the ring again, but with Ward's lack of power, and Hearn's corrupt British officials, anything is possible.  Either way, Froch is making money hand over fist to be the number 2 guy in a division.  Pretty impressive.  Only Manny Pacquiao's situation correlates.

Nonito Donaire also found a way to win at Featherweight, and can say he is a 4 (or 5) division champion.  However, no longer enjoying his height and reach advantages, as he did at lower weights, has changed things.  He is losing rounds now... something that was unheard of when he was at 118 or below.  he has maintained his iron chin, and devastating power, and he will need it.  He is staring down thee barrel at unifications with Nicholas Walters or Evgeny Gradovich.  Both men may not be favored over Donaire, but they would not be prohibitive underdogs.  Walters looks downright dangerous, in fact.  Nonito is a future hall of famer, but as was said during his telecast, his later career may be the most exciting, because he is much more vulnerable.

Vic Darchinyan on the other hand, was always exciting.  He owes us nothing more.  He has been vulnerable, and suffered losses, ever since his first stoppage loss to Donaire.  He has accomplished much since then, especially at 115, so I am not saying he should have quit long ago.  

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COTTO-MARTINEZ BREAKDOWN

COTTO-MARTINEZ BREAKDOWN

This was the lowest risk / highest reward fight available to both men.  It is still a risky fight, which tells you what kind of options each man is facing.  Other than Canelo's budding PPV career, this is the first pay-per-view in many years that both has the boxing world deeply interested, and does not involve Pacquiao or Mayweather.  In fact, Martinez-Chavez Jr is the only other one that comes to mind.  Cotto and Martinez also may never each be seen in a boxing ring again after this fight, depending on the outcome.  They have both certainly earned the right to be here, and have carried pay-per-views as a B-side before, but this is another situation entirely.

Cotto's options were either another loss to either Manny or Floyd, or perhaps an even lesser loss to someone like Lara.  Delvin Rodriguez was chosen as a foil because of his perfect style, but that being said, he looked far more dominant than expected.  If the motivation is there, he can overtake many a young and unsure opponent, but that is not the case here.  Martinez was facing losses to Golovkin, or maybe even even fights with Geale or Quillin.  While Cotto appears diminished by time and wars... Martinez's wear and tear is mostly from injury.  However, as a man approaches 40, and has been running, biking, and kicking his whole life, BEFORE he became a boxer... he is going to have injuries.  This fight is actually a good way for both fighters to go out.

The whispers have been that Martinez's leg is done, as well as his hands.  Hands can heal when left alone over time, but the knee is likely to go on Sergio again.  However, Cotto is not a relentless pressure fighter, and does not have a frustrating defense.  He will however, be able to break Sergio's rhythm more than most, and force a more exciting fight than would otherwise be the case.  That, though, leads to one of Cotto's achilles heels.. his skin.  Will he bust up?  More than likely.  Neither man is known for an iron chin, either.  Neither is weak-chinned, but knockdowns are a definite, and TKO losses are a possibility.Basically the question is two fold: who has aged more, and what will break down first: Martinez's body, or Cotto's face?  In between all of this, you pretty much have to predict based on what will happen if the fight is not stopped because of either of these things.  

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The 2014 El Paso Boxing/Martial Arts Hall of Fames Press Conference and Banquet

The 2014 El Paso Boxing/Martial Arts Hall of Fames Press Conference and Banquet

Thursday June 12th, 2014
Press Conference at ‘The Wolves Den’  
1010 Wall St.
El Paso, TX
1:30-3:00 p.m

Saturday June 14th, 2014  
The Banquet is at Region 19 Region XIX
6611 Boeing St.
 El Paso, TX 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Greeting’s,  If you have someone available on June 12th, 2014, we will have “The El Paso Boxing/Martial Arts Hall of Fame Banquet Press conference” at ‘The Wolves Den’ at 1010 Wall St. 1:30-3:00 p.m. That location is just south of I-10 at Hawkins. Turn right on Industrial and follow it to near Dead End. At that point, look left and see Wall St. About 75 yards on the left is the Lone Wolf Trucking Company. To the right is a fence and that is where to enter. Directly to your left after entering is a staircase and door. Enter there and go right and ‘Bingo’ you are in the million dollar weight room. Keep going to the next room and Yahoo, you are in the magnificent boxing gym.This magnificent gym is the best kept secret in El Paso, Texas. It is a multi-million dollar complex. The only thing close in history is the Ft. Bliss Gym when I was head coach of The Ft. Bliss Falcons in the 1980’s.The banquet is at Region 19 on Saturday, June 14th, 2014. We open the doors at 6:00 p.m. and the event will last until a little past nine p.m. We would appreciate your presence. At present we are sold out. I am trying to rent another room.We will also honor some dozen of the children with cancer at the event. The Candlelighters will have three of the best tables in the house. Since I founded the halls back in 1993, we have for the most part made excellent contributions to The Candlelighters. As we are already sold out for the event then it looks positive for a good contribution to the Candlelighters.

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

Vetyeka is a live underdog against Donaire, as far as momentum and weight division comfort are concerned, but it's hard to pick against Donaire.  The gap in opposition is so wide, but it's hard to pick against anyone who dominates Chris John.  However, a closer examination reveals that Vetyeka's weaknesses: left hand low, not following right hand with hook effectively, may play right into Donaire's hands.. eventually, Nonito should get to him.

Speaking of getting to him, Groves and Froch definitely get to each other verbally, as do Sam Soliman and Felix Sturm.  However, this does not always translate into exciting fights.  Sturm is more exciting than he appears at first glance, if given the right opponent.  However given Soliman's style, this is likely to be another long, drawn out decision, where Sturm's paid judges will get it right this time.  Froch and Groves are also talking a good game, but each now has reason to fear the other's power, which I am not sure they did going into the first bout.  This should also play for a less exciting bout than their first.  All I'm saying is the pre-fight trash talk does not always equal a brawl.. even if it is rare when Europeans match their American counterparts in press-conference antics.

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JUNE BOXING PREDICTIONS PART 1

JUNE BOXING PREDICTIONS PART 1

Sergio Martinez vs. Miguel Cotto
This is a very tough one to call, only because it's hard to tell how much either man has left.  Martinez's game depends on his movement, and hard left... but if both of those things are compromised by injury, Cotto should take it easily.  Cotto has lost 2 out of his last 3, and not close, either.  His win over Rodriguez can be dismissed, as the smaller man was the perfect style, and he was never in Cotto's class anyway.  How old has either man gotten, and how has rust and injuries affected Sergio.  Anything is possible, but I think Cotto's face will break before Martinez's knee is reinjured, and I like a decision or late round TKO for the Argentine.
 
Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Gary Russell
I am glad this is happening... opposing promoters... complete opposite ways to bring up an Olympian.  We should make no distinction between Olympic results.  Americans are screwed out of medals while Ukrainans are helped.  It means nothing that Vasyl won 2 golds, while Russell washed out.  Russell is the faster guy, and overall, probably more polished and ready pro.  However, in only 2 fights, Lomachenko has fought the far better opposition, and already showed he belongs in there.  It will actually be Russell who will be thrown off by the moment, and after a fast start, he will wilt late.  Lomachenko by UD.
 
Ruslan Provodnikov vs. Chris Algieri
Ruslan should get used to fights like these.  In his last two fights, the Siberian Rocky has looked too durable, powerful, and dangerous.  He has scared off the few names available to him, due to the cold war.  Algieri has good skills, but has not fought anywhere near the likes of Provodnikov, and is only getting this shot because of Banner, Top Rank, and Star Boxing doing an alliance.  Provodnikov will get outboxed for a round or two, but Algieri should be broken down for the next few, and be gone by the middle rounds.

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Los Angeles, California Boxing Trainer

Los Angeles, California Boxing Trainer

Bray had a solid amateur career prior to turning pro. He won the National AAU Heavyweight Championship in 1991 and won the United States Amateur 201-lb championship. In 1992 Bray competed in the Olympic Trials Western Regionals and won his first match via KO, and then beat his second opponent, but then lost to Marlon Simpkins. Bray is the current boxing trainer to Heavyweight Olympian and current Heavyweight prospect Dominic "Trouble" Breazeale.

Photo by: Steven Arredondo

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PROMOTIONAL DOWNFALL

PROMOTIONAL DOWNFALL

The world of big time boxing promoters has always been changing.  In the world I came into, Bob Arum and Don King were just making their names as big time promoters.  I am nearly 40, and they are both still there.. albeit at different levels.  However, the recent victory of Bermane Stiverne gives a long-ineffective Don King a bit of a rebirth.  He now has a piece of the heavyweight division more than a decade after he last did.  There are promoters on the rise, and promoters on the downslide.  I have always been a prediction man, so here is my prediction for the next decade of big time boxing, as to who will increase, and decrease, their presence.
 
Increase:
K2 - Started by Klitschkos, and run my Tom Loeffler, this is the European version of Golden Boy.  The one weakness in Golden Boy's game has always been the foreign markets, and K2 seems to be attempting to avoid this by bringing some of their young stars like GGG over to the USA.  It remains to be seen how many more will follow, but with the fading of the other big German promoters, K2 is poised to do quite well.
 
TMT - The money team is still in it's infancy, and needs desperately to attract more fighters who are not trying to be Floyd.  They also need to do some business outside of the 168lb division, where many of their young charges are rated.  However, as Floyd recedes into the background as a fighter, one can only assume their recruitment will increase.
 
Iron Mike - Probably never going to rival Top Rank or Golden Boy, but a strong Goossen-like long term presence should be expected.  Iron Mike is in a good place now, has world ranked fighters, a national presence, and TV deals.  He seems to be only a couple years away from getting fighters on the bigger networks as well.

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MAY BOXING PREDICTIONS

MAY BOXING  PREDICTIONS

Arreola-Stiverne 2
The upside to the winner of this fight is endless.  First champion of your ethnicity in the heavyweight division.  Due an optional defense, that is likely to be a big money fight with Wladimir Klitschko.  And either validation for Stiverne, or redemption for Arreola.  The first fight managed to be entertaining, even though Arreola could not breathe, and Stiverne was boxing a smart fight.  With neither of those things a guarantee to slow down fight two, we could be in for a rare high-level brawl in the heavyweight division.  I'd probably pick either guy to lose to Bryant Jennings, too... but that is unimportant in the immediate present.  Either guy would be very deserving of a win on May 10th, as well, and that is something we cannot always say.  The motivation is there for both, but I like Arreola by a close MD... in a fight where it will now be Stiverne, who has no room to breathe.

Marquez-Alvarado
There is really not much reason for this fight.  It is being done because Top Rank's options at 140-147 are so limited, that certain fights need to be made.  Look for Rios-Provodnikov soon.  This is a chance for Marquez to return to the Forum, the building in which he built his name 15-20 years ago, and sign off from there.  Alvarado cannot lose here.  If he loses, it is not likely to be by crushing KO, which after Provodnikov, would end his career.  It will be his biggest payday, and he stands a good chance of pulling the upset.  I don't see much motivation for Marquez, other than a potential 5th fight with Pacquiao, from which he stands to gain nothing.  Marquez is probably still shaken from his loss to Bradley, as he has only been out-boxed like that once before.  Maybe that's the rematch he really wants.  Should he remain focused, however, he should get the win by an 8-4 decision.

Froch- Groves 2
I am glad HBO is picking this up, but I still don't want to see the winner in with Andre Ward just yet... 

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MAY-MAI IN MAY PREDITIONS

MAY-MAI IN MAY PREDITIONS

It's Mayweather vs. Maidana in may.  A lot of Mays.  There are fights worthy of discussion in the rest of the month, but that will come in another article.  Expecting to hear the same prediction over and over, I actually am seeing some variance from the experts.  Seems we shouldn't be so quick to dismiss either Maidana's chances, or Mayweather's power.  Let's break down the televised card:
 
J'Leon Love vs. Marco Antonio Periban
It's seems Mayweather promotions doesn't think the bad luck will continue with matching it's young super middleweights with Periban.  The overrated Mexican 168lber has received a loss and a draw that should have been a loss when he has stepped up... the latter being against Love stablemate Badou Jack.  Love has a lot to prove for an undefeated fighter, mainly because of the closeness and positive drug test surrounding his fight with Gabriel Rosado.  This is a chance for him to right the ship in a division where not much 168lb action exists on Showtime, outside of TMT.  It would be a test, but Periban is only troublesome and durable, little else.  Love by UD.

Mayweather vs. Maidana
I have heard everything from "Maidana has the best chance to make an ugly fight and a close one", to "Floyd will finally get a KO here".  I believe none of it.  Slick boxers with decent chins give Maidana his toughest fights.  He may force Mayweather to be more active, but that will only last until Mayweather has control.  A stoppage is more likely than people think, but that is just not Floyd's game.  And of all the people to risk it against, a bomber like Maidana won't be the one.  Mayweather by 9-3 UD.

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WHO WILL AGE WELL??

WHO WILL AGE WELL??

In the same night, in the same building, we saw chronological age get thrown out as a measuring stick of abilities.  Bernard Hopkins continued to defy logic, time, and nature, as he outthought, outfought, and even out-reflexed a man 19 years his junior.  Just moments before that, however, we watched a 34-year old Paulie Malignaggi fail to get the jab going, and get hit with many punches he used to avoid with ease.
 
In the build-up to the fight, the 'Magic Man' even conceded a slight loss of speed... something "The Alien formerly known as the Executioner" has seemingly never dealt with.  Why is this?  Of course, genetics play the biggest part in this phenomenon, so an accurate estimation can never be calculated ahead of time.  However, there are styles and fighters who give us many hints in their younger careers, as to who is going to stand the test of time.
 
Who will NOT have a long career:
Brawlers - This one is obvious, if someone is taking a ton of punishment, they will age faster.  When they start feeling for the canvas as they step backwards, neurological damage has been done.  There have been exceptions to this, but even most of them were only part-time brawlers, who still had easy wins from time to time.
Men who turned pro young - Again, exceptions such as Orlando Salido are out there, but most who start fast burn out fast.  This could have to do with both absorbing punishment on an unfinished skull, as well as overall wear and tear.  People forget that Hopkins was a late starter, and a man who scored most of his early victories by 1st round KO, until he was 30, and had a much improved defense.
Men who balloon in weight between bouts - Duran is the big exception, but he had to adjust his style as a result of his hard-partying ways.  Ricky Hatton, Carlos Baldomir, and many others watched their prime years shrunk down because of their in-between fights weight fluctuations.

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REFS HOLD CAREERS, NOT JUST LIVES, IN THEIR HANDS, Part 2

REFS HOLD CAREERS, NOT JUST LIVES, IN THEIR HANDS, Part 2

PART 2  The career assassinations that take place because of an early stoppage can be drastically damaging.  I will approach this not only from the point of view of fighters who have been unjustly denied the opportunity to continue, but from those who were, and with the imagination of what might have been had they not been so lucky in the referee department.
 
Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Manny Pacquiao 1
It's one of the most famous 4 fight series in boxing history, yet, most referees would have cut it 41 rounds short.  Pacquiao dropped Marquez 3 times in round 1.. and although all 3 were flash knockdowns, tell that to James Kirkland or Iran Barkley (both men who lost in similar circumstances, when they may have been able to continue).  Marquez even laid his head back after knockdown number 3, sure the ref would be waving it off.  Instead, he got up, and won 7 of the next 11 rounds.  With just one wave off, his hall-of-fame career may never have happened.
 
Steve Cunningham vs. Amir Mansour
True, these men had the best ref in the business, Steve Smoger, at the helm.  Fighters do not get hurt permanently in his fights anymore than Moret, Russell, Howard Foster, Terry O'Conner, etc. so the argument that the quick-trigger refs save lives is a weak one at best.  Cunningham could have been saved after the second knockdown, for sure, but he got up, and won the fight.  He should be lucky that fight did not take place in England or California.

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SHANE MOSLEY JR. INTERVIEW

SHANE MOSLEY JR. INTERVIEW

Going into the family business can put a lot of pressure on anyone, but when your father is one of greatest fighters of all time, expectations can be extremely high.  Sugar Shane Mosley won several belts in 3 weight classes, and is a first ballot hall of famer when he becomes eligible. 

We sat down with Shane Mosley Jr., as he prepares to make his pro debut in Oxnard on the Bash Boxing card on 4/26

CS: How do you feel to be making your pro debut?

SM: I feel great, excited and readyCS: What was your amateur record?

SM: I think it was about 37-10  

CS: What does having the Mosley name to carry on, do for your career, or the pressure it puts on you.

SM: That comes with the territory, but I am prepared to do the best I can.

CS: How does your style differ from Shane Sr.? Or compares to it?

SM: Well the way I am different, is that I am taller and longer, so I have to fight a different style.  The similarities are that I  punch hard, and I am tough.

CS: It used to be that being trained by your father wasn't adviseable in boxing, but now it seems to be the rule more than the exception.  Have you had other trainers, and how is it working with your father?

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OXNARD, A 20-YEAR FLOOD

OXNARD, A 20-YEAR FLOOD

Oxnard, California is a study in the boxing equivalent of the concept of “they tell two friends, and then they tell two friends, etc.”  A city that only 20 years ago was never a blip on the boxing map, now has more professional fighters per capita than any other U.S. city.  Local boxing prospect Erik Ruiz says, “There weren't any boxers I looked up to or even knew about that came out of Oxnard at that time. Growing up my brother would always watch Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. that was one of the fighters I looked up to.”  The Garcia family may be the catalyst for this rapid growth, and trainer Robert Garcia brought the city its first world champion, however it was another fighter out of that same gym that put the city on the scene.

Fernando Vargas’s career spanned 11 years as a pro, following an Olympic appearance.  He spent most of that time on television, and was the first to vocally praise his hometown of Oxnard.  He was your classic boxer’s story… single mother raised, tough neighborhood, but many people did not realize this reality existed in Ventura County, an hour northwest of Los Angeles.  South Central and East LA were the rise-from-the-ashes story people knew and understood.  Once it was made public knowledge that a tough lifestyle was breeding fighters in Oxnard, it seems the confidence of the local fighters soared.

Yet the Oxnard explosion would not come as a result of young local fighters.  It actually came in the form of transplants, who have made Oxnard home.  This happened in two ways.  Established champions like Sergio Martinez came to Oxnard.  The Middleweight champion did so in following his trainer Pablo Sarmiento, and this led not only to other Argentines, such as Marcos Maidana making the trip… but also Martinez’s former opponents, such as Kelly Pavlik.  The other way the stable of fighters grew was an almost “sister city” program with Garden City, Kansas.

As local fighter Herbert Acevedo puts it, “I grew up in Garden City, Kansas, and lived in the same neighborhood as Victor Ortiz. He is actually the one who told my dad to take me to the gym when I was 10 years old.  That’s when I first came to the sport of boxing. I really looked up to Brandon Rios and Victor Ortiz since I came out of the same gym and town as them. Seeing their accomplishments in this sport motivated me.”  Acevedo has a record of 11-1-6 KO’s.  His activity stagnated after his first 3 fights out of Kansas, yet he has been steadily busy since his move to Oxnard.

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BRADLEY STILL WORTHY OF RESPECT

BRADLEY STILL WORTHY OF RESPECT

Manny Pacquiao thoroughly outboxed and outfought Timothy Bradley last Saturday night.  It's actually the second time he has done so, in almost exactly the same way.  Where they go from here is more a prediction of egos and business politics than logic.  Pacquiao will likely take a 5th fight with Marquez, should the latter defeat Alvarado, while Bradley will be left to rebuild.  Many things have become clear after watching this match.
 
1) Pacquiao is still a notch above the rest.
Except Mayweather, he would be favored against most, and is still a top 5 P4P fighter.  Andre Ward deserves his number 2 spot, but after Bradley has twice been dominated, I think we can agree that Marquez simply has the correct style to trouble Pacquiao, but is not better than he (much like Fullmer over Robinson, or Norton over Ali).
 
2) Bradley's leg injuries are a result of Pacquiao's attack, nothing more.
For a man who has never injured anything below the waist in a match before, to suffer 3 leg injuries against one man in 24 rounds... it's clear that while Bradley's defense against Pacquiao is underrated, the positions he has to put himself in to avoid punches is what is causing his leg, ankle, calf, foot, etc to hurt.
 
3) Pacquaio is aging, but that still leaves a lot of room
A diminished Pacquiao is still a dangerous Pacquiao.  The fire looked to be back, and he mixed it well with intelligence. 

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REFS HOLD CAREERS, NOT JUST LIVES, IN THEIR HANDS, Part 1

REFS HOLD CAREERS, NOT JUST LIVES, IN THEIR HANDS, Part 1

Refereeing a fight is not easy work.  I do not envy those refs for what they have to tackle.  However, they hold not only the lives of fighters in their hands, but their careers as well.  Much stink is made when a fight is waved off too late, or not at all.  Surely everyone in the world is being blamed for Mago Abdullasamov's injuries against Mike Perez.
 
However, the career assassinations that take place because of an early stoppage can be drastically damaging.  I will approach this not only from the point of view of fighters who have been unjustly denied the opportunity to continue, but from those who were, and with the imagination of what might have been had they not been so lucky in the referee department.
 
Quick Stoppages

Mike Alvarado vs. Brandon Rios
Pat Russell is one of the classic quick trigger California refs.  Like Lou Moret, David Mendoza, either Raul Caiz, Jose Cobian, and others, he waves it off after so much as a stagger.  Alvarado was hurt in round 7, but on his feet, and fighting back when Russell waved it off.  Mile High Mike proved in his rematch with Rios that he could come back from being hurt.  Had he been able to notch that first win, maybe it would have been him being paid millions to lose to Pacquiao, instead of being potentially permanently destroyed by Provodnikov... for much less money.
 
John Molina vs. Antonio De Marco
Molina froze and forced referee Jack Reiss's hand, yet it was only 61 seconds into the bout, when Reiss called it off.  Had Reiss allowed Molina to continue, his natural ability as a strong finisher, capable of late-fight rallies would have come into play. 

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HEAVYWEIGHTS

HEAVYWEIGHTS

Make no mistake, heavyweights nowadays are sloppy.  They are missing key fundamentals.  They punch wide, seemingly all have questionable chins (except maybe Mike Perez, and Arreola), and frequently gas out later in fights.  Some of this is not their fault.  Most heavyweights nowadays did not take up the sport at age 7 like the old days.  Boxing, having long been deposed as a mainstream sport is not on the radar of most children as a viable sporting option.  Most of them pick it up later in life, after failure in another sport, such as basketball or football.  many times, the fighter in question has not started fighting until they are well into their 20s.

 The other problem is lack of trainer discipline.  Indeed, even in some cultures besides USA, fighters are getting sloppier.  There is also the aspect of not having to make weight, meaning many fighters show up in less than perfect shape, which affects what styles they are capable of using.  Even some of the most decorated amateur stars look less fluid than those of yesteryear.  While this new crop of heavyweights may be missing some of the well-trained movements, the recent battles of Tyson Fury, Amir Mansour vs. Steve Cunningham, and pretty much every fight involving Dereck Chisora and Cris Arreola let us know that this may be a blessing in disguise.

The more perfect Wladimir and Vitali were getting, the more boring their fights were becoming.  People marvel at the clinical work of men like Roy, Jones. Floyd Mayweather and Pernell Whittaker, but rarely were their fights scintillating.  These new sloppy heavyweights are providing wars, and Arreola-Stiverne is sure to deliver much more action than your average Klitschko defense as of late.  The sloppiness leads to the abandonment of jab, as well as dirty fighting, and clinchfests... so not all about it is good.  More often than not, however, as long as their is heart and power, we will still get our slugfests and high-light reel knockouts.  Even seasoned Cuban amateurs like Luis Ortiz and Mike Perez are not taking long to adjust to the bomb-throwing of today's pros.

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NETWORKS HURTING MORE THAN PROMOTERS

NETWORKS HURTING MORE THAN PROMOTERS

The shake-up of networks and promoters have created a wall of match-ups that are suddenly not happening.  For many years I lectured MMA fans that Dana White's monopoly was not good for that sport, and eventually it would create an equal opponent, except fights between promoters would never get made.  Well, all these years late, there are many small timers, and other big games have come and gone, but Dana White still stands atop the MMA world, with very few big fights gone unmade.  However, boxing has gotten so polarized, that the networks and managers are now the greater fear than even the promoters.

 We can see no promotional issue with Kovalev-Stevenson, however, once Al Haymon (a man legendary for sparing his fighters tough assignments) signed Adonis Stevenson, and moved him to Showtime, pretty much means Kovalev is off the table.  Even if Main Events and Yvon Michel can come to terms, HBO and Showtime would have to relinquish one of these men.  Fat chance.  We will now see Stevenson making big money to fight Pascal and the Hopkins-Shumenov winner.  He will likely will take a big money fight with Andre Ward, and lose his title that way.  Ward will then be saddled with the task of Kovalev, if someone hasn't already upset that plan in any way.  

Kovalev will probably take on the task of facing the fighters left behind by this network division: Despaigne, Oosthuizen, Brahmer, Maccarinelli, etc will all be dug up and shoved towards the Russian's deadly fists.  Sergei may have seen his first adversity in the ring last Saturday against Cedric Agnew, but it says something as to how dominant he has been lately, that it was still during a shutout performance.  Kovalev was hit low and cut over both eyes from headbutts.  However, Agnew had no intention of winning, and he still could not get out of the 7th round.  In the process, he was felled twice, to body and head, by jabs!  That is how hard this man hits.  

Stevenson may actually have superior offense, and even be able to match Kovalev's power.  Kovalev has a Froch-like gait and movement, with superior footwork.  Even as Agnew made his rare pushes forward with offense, the Russian was able to move back with surprising quickness. 

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APRIL BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 2

APRIL BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 2

Shawn Porter vs. Paul Malignaggi
One of the few boxing (not slugging) matches that I am really looking forward to.  Styles make fights, and while Porter had the right style for slower men like Diaz, and southpaws like Alexander, can he find a way to win, when he does not have the speed edge?  Will Malignaggi be able to adjust if Porter is boxing well early?  Will this fight even come off, given the fast turnaround required for mandatory Kell Brook?  I think it will happen (barring injury), and I look for Malignaggi to win a close MD in a boxing match that opens up late.
 
Peter Quillin vs. Lucas Koneczy
When everyone is already talking Quillin vs. Jacobs, it lets you know just how little we expect from Koneczy.  Quillin has been spoon fed the lower rungs of the middleweight division (and even fringe contenders at junior middle) throughout his brief title reign at 160, but that is not exactly his fault.  Golden Boy has very little to offer at 160, besides fellow Brooklynite Jacobs.  Basically, they had to kill time without threatening him too much, while Jacobs rebuilt after his comeback.  Koneczy is another safe task.  Quillin by late round TKO, after winning every round.
 
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Alex Leapai
Klitschko actually has real contenders to his throne now: Wilder, Stiverne, the winner of Fury-Chisora, etc.  He may have to wait for them to eliminate each other, but these mandatories against men like Leapai (who rightly earned a ranking with his win over overrated Boystov) and Pulev may take him a year or more to get through. 
 
Anthony Mundine vs. Joshua Clottey

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APRIL BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 1

APRIL BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 1

Timothy Bradley vs. Manny Pacquiao 2
This is the big one... lots of opinions... lots of possibilities.  How much of Pacquiao is left?  Has he recaptured the killer instinct?  Is Bradley at his peak?  Will he be more dangerous after the 2013 he had?  Will the judges try too hard to right a wrong by giving Pacquiao undeserved rounds?  This is a hard one to pick for me, but as there is every reason to think that Bradley will be better, and Pacquiao will be worse, I should pick Bradley.  There is also every reason for Arum to be stalling, as he is running out of opponents, and seems to not want to risk anyone against Provodnikov.  A trilogy is what he will go for.  Pacquiao by controversial decision, in a B+ action fight.
 
 
Beibut Shumenov vs. Bernard Hopkins
A unification is the only way Shumenov reenters the conversation.  It is also the only way Hopkins gets to lay claim to be more of a champion that killer Kovalev, or linear champ Stevenson.  The HBO/Showtime shutdown stops the unification of these, unless Stevenson jumps ship with Haymon, and Main Events refuses to play the game with Kovalev.  Either way, Shumenov is remarkably inexperienced for a several years pro... even if he is likely peaking.  he also fights in the perfect style for Hopkins.  Unless he gets old in one night, which at 49 is always a possibility, look for Hopkins to win a wide UD, in a fight about as exciting as the Murat match was... which was decent.
 
 
Raymundo Beltran vs. Roman Martinez
Beltran should have been the one anointed to lose his WBO belt to Terrance Crawford, but now it looks like he will have to win another match to earn that fight as a challenger.  Beltran beat Burns, only to be screwed with a draw.  Crawford beat Burns so wide they could not take it from him, and now Martinez has to rebound from his loss to Garcia

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GARCIA - HERRERA RECAP

GARCIA - HERRERA RECAP

Let's start with the reality... nobody looks good against Mauricio Herrera.  He did not fight like a fighter who knew he was going against a favored, iron-chinned champion in his backyard, for his title.  The Californian fought just hard enough to lose a close one.  I had it a draw, and would not have been upset either way, but you have to know the odds you are up against, and fight a more dominating style.  Perhaps a consolation title shot is in order against Peterson.  Herrera has certainly earned it, and it looks as if he may have scared Danny Garcia up a division anyway.  There is no way they are risking a rematch, even if Danny Garcia does stay at 140lbs.
 
While Juanma Lopez breathed new life in his career, and is in a division full of belts he can win, his career as a serious threat is still over.  He cannot take a shot anymore, and is only in the game because he can still deliver one.  Hence the jump to Golden Boy, where he won't run into any of the 126lb killers at Top Rank.  Mendez is ripe for the plucking, or maybe a venture into Japan, or a bout with a rising Abner Mares.  For De Leon, he still has fight left, but I would not take on Juanma again.
 
I also do not disagree with Luis Pabon's stoppage.  I am usually the first to say nearly every stoppage is early.. but the knockdown of Ponce was drastically harder than the one of Lopez, and he fell without much of a punch, seconds later.  Then he attempted to cover up, and was still nailed with the majority of the shots Juanma threw.  Yes, he threw back, but a fighter with Deleon's heart always will, with or without legs.  The criteria for stopping a fight is if a fighter can no longer defend himself effectively, and Ponce could not.

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MY FAVORITE UPPERCUTS

MY FAVORITE UPPERCUTS

It is one of the most important punches in boxing... yet often goes unnoticed.  Nary a combination that lasts more than 4 punches can or should be without one.  It is also responsible for some of the best highlight-reel KO's in the sport.  Yet, when was the last time the uppercut was listed as a fighter's best punch?  When was the last time a trainer mentioned it as part of a game-plan?  It happens all too rarely.  Here are a few of my favorite uppercut-related KO's.
 
Buster Douglas KO10 Mike Tyson
I know the fight did not technically end via the uppercut, and the dominance was more the result of the jab than any other punch, but the uppercut was the punch that Tyson used to nearly turn the fight around... with a knockdown in round 8.  It was also the punch that spelled doom for Tyson, two rounds later.  Douglas followed a flurry of pawing jabs, with a huge uppercut.  A brief combo later, and Tyson was down and out.  However, if any fight showed what an effective punch this could be for fighters of any height, this was it.  Tyson could also be on this list for his KO wins over Ribalta, Thomas, Ferguson, or Bruno... all wins helped in a big way by the uppercut.
 
Michael Carbajal KO7 Muangchai Kittikasem
It wouldn't be his biggest win, or even his biggest 7th round KO (Gonzalez), but when he repeatedly decked the Thai fighter to lift his IBF Junior Flyweight title, it was usually with the decisive blow being the left uppercut.  This was a previously unsung punch from right-handed fighters.  Carbajal was a rare huge puncher for the lighter weights, and could certainly do it with either hand.  It was this fight that let everyone know, however, that he could also do it from any angle.
 
Jeremy Williams KO1 Arthur Weathers
Ok, this fight is not well known, at least not for the punch that landed.  It was 10 second bout, with Williams rebounding from his loss to Larry Donald, in front of his hometown fans.  Williams problem was always his own chin, as well as dedication.  It was never his power.

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REVISIONIST HISTORIAN

REVISIONIST HISTORIAN

Corruption in boxing is there for one basic reason.. it works.  It is actually deeper than that in the ego-driven business world.  Control, greed, money, etc.  The shark-like atmosphere, and types of people drawn into such a tough business, etc. are all factors.. but lousy decisions and/or quick stoppages are often forgotten, while the result is remembered.  There are exceptions, such as Lewis-Holyfield 1, Chavez-Taylor 1, and Froch Groves 1.  In those cases, the controversy is more famous than the result, so the bad and/or corrupt decisions made by officials backfired.  However, in every case, a rematch was called for, meaning the true guilty (or suspected) parties made a lot of money on the controversy.

 In either sense, corruption works.  It does not drive away as many fans as it ultimately attracts, because controversy creates passion, and drama, which gets normally elitist print and media outlets to write about a sport they love to hate.  It actually creates attention.  Was Bradley-Pacquiao a match that needed to be fought a second time, even given what has happened to each man since?  Not likely.  There are, however, a few fights where controversy did not exist as a result of officials or promoters.  namely, the losing fighter and/or a few writers decided there was a controversy, and eventually we all bought it.  Here are 3 fights that actually were quite simple, yet were made complex by complaining, and marketing spin techniques.

Pacquiao-Marquez 1-3.
These were all close, legit wins for Pacquiao.  In the moment, few, if anyone outside of the Marquez camp thought these were lousy decisions, but Marquez has made this part of his modus operandi.  He also lost close decisions (still legit) to Chris John and Freddie Norwood. 

Hopkins-Calzaghe
Because Calzaghe retired unbeaten, and Hopkins has gone on to make even more history, people often point to this fight as the only one he may have lost.  actually, the only controversy in most people's eyes in the moment was the scorecard that found a way to have Hopkins ahead. 

Hagler-Leonard

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

Is it me, or is Mauricio Herrera a bad style match-up for Danny Garcia?  I know this should be an easy win for Garcia, but Herrera has good boxing skills, great stamina, and an iron chin.  Seems like Garcia would have picked a better foil for his Puerto Rico homecoming.
 
Speaking of Garcia's homecoming, aren't fighters most vulnerable when they return home for a stay-busy defense after one of their biggest wins?  From Nunn taking on Toney, to Martinez's near miss over Martin Murray... it seems that a letdown is almost always expected.  Squeeze in the hometown defense early on against optional opponents who offer nothing.  Don't try to do it against a spoiler, after you've been up for too many tough fights in a row.
 
Speaking of many tough fights in a row... I am not exactly excited by the potential opponents at 168 for Andre Ward, but if anyone has earned a break, it is he.  Oosthuizen is inactive, troubled, and not scintillating.  Gonzales is in his own camp.  Groves and Froch need each other.  Ditto Steiglitz and Abraham.  Hell... ditto Anthony Dirrell and Bika.  Taylor and Andre Dirrell don't seem interested in fighting, Pavlik is retired, Periban has been exposed twice, and Jack just got KO'd in 1 round.  Either Ward moves up, or a 160-lber moves up for him.  The winner of GGG-Chavez would be his natural next opponent, but there is no guarantee that fight would even come off.  In the meantime, Ward will either have to kill time, or take on a softie.  After the 2009-2012 he had, however, who cares?

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CANELO VS. ANGULO RECAP

CANELO VS. ANGULO RECAP

Ok, I will not be the first to say it, but Angulo looked slow, ponderous, and asleep.  Granted he is sometimes a slow starter, but there was always a crispness to his shots.  However, if one had to guess, 3 or 4 rounds in, which of the two had trouble making 154, nobody would have guessed Canelo.  His punches looked crisp, hard, and his movement and defense were very impressive.  This confirmed what many people had expected... Angulo was chosen to make Alvarez look good.

 Canelo has long had overrated power, and underrated defense.  The way he made Trout miss was particularly impressive, yet his own offense suffered, and in a fairly run state (unlike Texas), Canelo may have even been in trouble on the scorecards in that fight.  He needed a foil that would allow him to be the slick boxer.  To recapture the moves, and public's imagination, after being outboxed by Floyd Mayweather.  Angulo was that perfect dance partner, but no one expected the result to be this one-sided, round after round.  

Angulo barely started to wake up when Joe Cortez waved it off after one uppercut in round 10.  That marks the 5th consecutive stoppage win that Canelo has achieved via early referee trigger.  Lopez, Gomez, Cintron, and Rhodes also watched a referee wave their hands while clearly still alert.  This could be because of the loud thud with which Alvarez lands his shots, or because of how far these men were behind, or because of Golden Boy hinting to the refs to protect their investment.  Either way, he has not had a legit KO over a legit fighter since his one-punch crushing of Carlos Baldomir, which now appears to be the exception, rather than the rule.

 If he moves up to 160lbs, the KOs will need even more help.  Therefore, he needs to win via his defense and movement, which are underrated.  However, this fight tells us nothing about them.  Yes, he was dominant.  Yes, he was hardly touched. 

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WBC Super Bantamweight World Title Challenger Cristian Mijares Pre-Fight Interview

WBC Super Bantamweight World Title Challenger Cristian Mijares Pre-Fight Interview

We met up with Christian Minjares during his training camp as he prepares to challenge the WBC Super Bantamweight World Champion, Leo Santa Cruz.  Leo Santa Cruz vs. Cristian Mijares is the co-feature on the Canelo vs. Angulo card this Saturday Night March 8th, at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mijares, a 32-year old and former three-time World Champion Southpaw is considered to be one of Mexico’s toughest fighters.  He holds a record of (49-7-2, 24 KO) and is 14-1 in his last 15 fights.  His only defeat came in a world title fight, a controversial split decision against Victor Terrazas for the vacant WBC Super Bantamweight World Title.

World Champion Leo "Terremoto" Santa Cruz is undefeated, 26-0, with 15 knockouts. Originally from Michoacán, Mexico, he now lives and trains in Los Angeles, CA.  Santa Cruz is recognized as one of the highest volume punchers in boxing today.  After knocking out the Super Bantamweight World Champion Victor Terrazas in August 2013, he now faces mandatory challenger Christian Minjares.

SA:  Cristian, your  loss against Victor Terrazas for the vacant WBC Super Bantamweight Title last year ended with a controversial split decision. What did you learn from this experience?

Cristian Mijares: I learned a lot from this. I believe that the judge’s decision taught me to be more active and focused in my next fight. Don’t leave it up to the judges, if there is a way to finish the fight it’s better to do it that way because as we saw in this fight, we were robbed and that’s not right.  We learned a great deal, therefore we won through this defeat. The people who did not believe in me discovered that Cristian Mijares is capable and will become a world champion again.

SA: What do you think is going to happen with your upcoming title fight against Leo Santa Cruz?

Cristian Mijares: It is going to be a very difficult fight. He is a very strong fighter, he is champion.  But my attitude is 100% with concentration and desire.  If God permits I will be world champion again on March 8th. I will win this fight! 

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MARCH BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 2

MARCH BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 2

Danny Garcia vs. Mauricio Herrera
Herrera has been a tough customer in the d140lb division for many years, even having a win over red-hot Ruslan Provodnikov.  Durable, and a slick boxer, he is a style that Garcia has not yet faced.  Two of the best chins in boxing are not likely to yield a stoppage... add to that the underrated defensive skills of both men.  However, Herrera has needed judges help in a few close ones, and he will not have that here.  Besides, Mauricio does one thing very well, Garcia does everything well.  Garcia by wide UD.
 
Deontay Wilder vs. Malik Scott
I am glad Scott gets another top contender, after his screw job loss to Chisora.  With how slowly his career progressed at first, he ahs no time to waste.  I am very glad Wilder is stepping up to  a fighter that should be undefeated.  However, the perceived weakness of Wilder's chin and stamina will not be tested here.  He gets outboxed, until he lands big, and even then, that is only if Malik is not shell shocked.  Wilder by TKO, probably in round 5 or 6.
 
Sergei Kovalev vs. Cedric Agnew
I am glad Kovalev has so captivated the public, that even a mismatch like this is an HBO headliner.  With Adonis' recent signing with Al Haymon, the Canadian titlist is being maneuvered away from the dangerous Russian, and towards easier fights with Hopkins, Froch, and the like.  Therefore, Kovalev has to make his own name, which he ahs done with no problems, thus far.  Not enough is known about Agnew, except that even if he has the skills to beat Sergei, he does not have the experience.  This fight goes like all the others.  Kovalev by KO inside of 4 rounds.
 
Juanma Lopez vs. Ponce DeLeon 2

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MARCH BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 1

MARCH BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 1

JC Chavez Jr vs. Brian Vera
Chavez Jr, like his father, wins a lot of dubious decisions.  Unlike his father, however, he seems content to fight immediate rematches, and always does better in them.  This should be no exception.  Vera may be motivated by the hometown crowd, but the judges and referee will be in Chavez' back pocket like always.  As the Andy Lee fight showed, Vera is rarely capable of being difficult two fights in a row, especially against a durable opponent.  It will be close again, but unlike the highway robbery that took place before, Chavez will win an undisputed 2-3 point decision.
 
Vasyl Lomchencko vs. Orlando Salido
This is a very difficult fight to call.  The odds-makers are buying into Lomachencko, hook, line, an d sinker.  However, one of the few guarantees in boxing, is that there are no guarantees fighting Salido.  Even if the Ukranian star is out-boxing Salido cleanly, he will likely not be able to stop him early, and Orlando will keep coming.  Will Vasyl be ready for that?  Too tough to call.  Both men are deadly bodypunchers, and a strong mind will overcome the Mexican's charges (Mikey Garcia for example).  I think win or lose, he will grow more in this fight than 100 of his amateur wins.  Lomachencko by tougher than expected UD.
 
Canelo Alvarez vs. Alfredo Angulo
Although this is not the fight that fans wanted Canelo to take, post-Mayweather, it is not an easy one.  Canelo has a 3 PPV fight schedule this year.  That means he needs to win the first two, so, they will not be calling out Martinez, Lara, or anyone else who is likely to beat him.  Angulo makes everyone fight going backwards, even men who slug in every other match.  This is the fight to showcase Angulo's toughness, and Canelo's boxing skills, and it is also the style against which Canelo shines the most.  Canelo by decision or late round TKO, after early fireworks make room for a boxing clinic.

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BOXCINO EXPOSURE

BOXCINO EXPOSURE

I remember being 21 years old and watching the first Boxcino tournament.  It is now remembered as the tourney that launched Acelino Freitas.  It is also the very same tournament that ruined his younger brother Luiz.  Putting in a young fighter with other young tough guys is not done nearly enough (note: there are NO Al Haymon fighters in Boxcino).  However, it does not come without risks.
 
After Luiz Freitas thoroughly out-boxed Juan Gerardo Cabrera, only to have the tough Argentine walk down his tough shots, and stop him late, the young Freitas never recovered.  Cabrera would go on to be wiped out in 2 rounds by Naseem Hamed.  Just looking at the prospects in the lightweight division, no one is jumping out yet as the big name, and most have losses already.  This is where the stars of tomorrow should come from.  We want to see battle tested fighters, who are amazing, yet vulnerable.
 
Boxcino is not the only place this is happening.  For all of his trash talking, Hank Lundy seems to always seek out dangerous opponents, and has not been trying to pad a record.  This is why he is routinely rewarded with TV exposure.  Amir Khan may have some embarrassing losses on his record, but it was a result of his being matched tough throughout his career.  In fact, only recently has he stepped back a bit in competition, and he is no better or worse in that case.  Some guys really need the risk of losing to bring out the winner within.  My only question is why is this an ESPN tournament, and not the network TV show.

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BOXING IS A BUSINESS

BOXING IS A BUSINESS

In the wake of the recent Floyd Mayweather poll debacle, its time to define what was really taking place there.  For those not in the know, Floyd Mayweather put out a recent poll question asking whom he should fight next.  The move was made to curb the backlash over the perceived opponent being the undeserving Amir Khan.  Khan won some polls, lost others, and now there is controversy that is was all a hoax.  Mayweather has made a career of doing things his own way, and being very successful at it.  However, this move may have backfired a bit.
 
Bob Arum is from the old guard... fighters are indentured servants to him, and they should do their jobs, and fight.  The trouble with this, is with the recent inventions of social media, and the very public way in which all business is done, nowadays, is that the fans and fighters are now privy to details that would not have otherwise been made public.  This does not mean that deals are not still done in silence.
 
Al Haymon has managed to make his entire presence a huge one, from a virtually invisible platform.  The downside to everyone knowing your business is they see all the inner workings, and can create doubt and bad PR for you.  The upside is that you have the chance to adjust, relate, and have instant feedback from the market you are trying to get dollars from.  The younger promotional outlets, rather than be frustrated by this change, are attempting to break it.  Yet, to do so, opens them up to ridicule, and an agenda that does not care about their bottom line.
 
Fight fans have every right to not care about anyone's individual pocketbook.  This is especially true of promoters, who are often rich men before they enter boxing, and their insistence on making fights the public don't want is met with disdain. 
 

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INTERVIEW WITH DEON ELAM

INTERVIEW WITH DEON ELAM

Convicted Artist Lead Writer Chris Strait spoke with Deon "The Natural" Elam, a Los Angeles cruiserweight who appeared on the Contender TV series.  That was many years ago, and after many layoffs due to personal and managerial issues, he finally has his team complete, and is ready to make a run in the 200lb division.  Elam fights in a 6-rounder in the February 6 card at Florentine Gardens in Hollywood.
 
CS: Where are you from originally?
 
Deon Elam: I was born in South Central Los Angeles, but I grew up and still live in the San Fernando Valley.
 
CS: How did you get into boxing?
 
Deon Elam: I had a friend who boxed, and we were watching fights one day, and he asked me to come work and spar with him in the gym.  That started it.. I just kept on going every day after that.
 
CS: And what was your amateur record/accomplishments?

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HOMETOWN FIGHTS WE HAVE LOST

HOMETOWN FIGHTS WE HAVE LOST

After Victor Ortiz lost his 3rd straight fight, and not exactly in heroic fashion, it would appear the career of the Kansas-born Californian is at an end.  This gets even sadder when you consider that the small town of Garden City, Kansas is also saying good bye to the serious career of it's other native son, Brandon Rios.  Both men have made a lot of noise in boxing for the last several years, but Rios was out-boxed by Abril, Alvarado, and Pacquiao, and seems to be through as a serious player.  Ortiz followed up a fight of the year candidate, and a WBC Welterweight title-winning effort against Andre Berto, with three straight stoppage losses.
 
Don't get me wrong, Rios made a ton of money, and his lone victory in recent years was a fight-of-the-year match, as well.  Ortiz also cashed-in like no other frequent loser in boxing history, with Mayweather and 'Dancing with the Stars'.  Yet, it appears these two exciting fighters will never meet in the ring.  Sad really, as boxing often relies on the marketing of the big city audience: LA, NYC, and Vegas... but to rely on it when it is not necessary is foolish, and this is a big fight for a small region, that every fight fan would have wanted.  We have also lost a couple of other similar fights.. all because of the familiar enemy of boxing politics.  Rios is Top Rank, while Ortiz is Golden Boy... need I say more?
 
Vernon Forrest and Paul Williams were from towns 30 minutes apart from each other, and for a time, they were the number 1 and 2 junior middleweights in the world.  Style-wise, they would have made for a very intriguing match-up, and could have sold out any venue in the Augusta area.  Yet, this fight never happened, and now due to Williams paralysis, and Forrest's death, it never will.  Why?  Because Al Haymon had a policy of not matching his fighters together.  He has relaxed that a bit, now that he manages so many.  However, he should not be forgiven so soon for costing those men, and the fans, dearly with such an egomaniacal stance.

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Courage Tshabalala Interview

Courage Tshabalala Interview

ConvictedArtist.com Lead Writer Chris Strait spoke with former heavyweight contender Courage Tshabalala, whose journey as a fighter took him from South Africa to headlining TV cards in the USA.  For the last decade and a half, he has been training his own fighters, after learning from many of the great trainers.

CS: Where did you grow up, and what led you into boxing?

Courage Tshabalala: I am from Johannesburg, and I was not a kid who could naturally fight, so I got picked on.  I wanted to learn to fight, and many of my cousins fought, so I went into boxing.  (His cousin Ginger Tshabalala was a world ranked light heavyweight, until he was murdered in 1995).

CS: Many fighters come to the USA from South Africa, and they keep going back and forth, like Corrie Sanders, Isaac Hlatswayo, Thomas Oosthuizen, etc.  but you are one of the few who stayed, and the whole second half of your career was here.  Why was that?

Courage Tshabalala: Well, I was in Lou Duva's camp, and there were so many great fighters.. I was working with Ray Mercer, Roy Jones, Al Cole, it just made sense to stay here.. plus every time I would go home, I would gain 20 lbs (laughs).  Many of the African fighters that come here are very strong, but their technique and skill level is just not the same.  There are exceptions like Azumah Nelson, Brian Mitchell, but mostly it is much better here.

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Zachary Wohlman Interview: "There's no substitute for experience in this sport, prize fighting is no joke!"

Zachary Wohlman Interview:

ConvictedArtist.com Lead Writer Chris Strait spoke with young prospect Zachary Wohlman to discuss how his young career has progressed since we last spoke with him, and what he has learned thus far in boxing.

CS: You suffered your first defeat since we last spoke to you.  What happened that night, from your perspective?  
 
ZACHARY WOHLMAN: That was over a year ago. In retrospect I think I got too much success (press, attention, whatever) too quickly. I wasn't behaving like a fighter anymore outside of the gym. Eric and Freddie told me that I wasn't ready to fight on short notice, but I didn't listen. Sure enough, by the third round I had no gas in the tank. I used to make all kinds of excuses about this fight, but I don't anymore. I'm human like any other fighter. I train hard and act accordingly now.

CS: I was in the crowd that night, and spoke to Paulie Malignaggi minutes after (whom you have described as being like a big brother to you).  He said he was more concerned about how you would mentally handle a first loss, saying that the next few days after a first defeat are the toughest on a fighter.  Was that your experience with it?

ZACHARY WOHLMAN: Well... I had my head cracked open from a head butt the fight before that (38 stitches). Took my first loss, then I had my jaw broken in the gym (mouth wired shut for 6 weeks). So more like a tough few months, opposed to a tough few days.  As far as the night of the loss, I'll never forget that. Paulie had tears in eyes, he said, "You gotta have a short memory in this game, you gotta train hard and you can come back from this." Since then I've come back strong which helps the pain subside. But I don't forget what happened.  Sh*t like that makes a man out of you.

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