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Nov 21st
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Boxing Editorials

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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RETURN OF THE AMERICAN HEAVYWEIGHT

RETURN OF THE AMERICAN HEAVYWEIGHT

Long have we wondered what the heavyweight division would be like post-Klitschko.  Much in the same way we have wondered about the post-Mayweather pay-per-view landscape.  Both questions have often been asked with a sense of doom, as if boxing could not recover from the loss of these entities.  However, very soon, we may indeed get our answer to both questions.  While Mayweather's exit will certainly leave boxing's biggest PPV attraction out of the equation, boxing always recovers.
 
The heavyweight division, however, has only been in bad shape depending on your geographic perspective.  Even that may be open to question, as the reality of a Klitschko retirement looms.  The elder Klitschko, Vitali, has not only surrendered his WBC belt, and mandatory obligation, he is calling for elections to take place one year earlier.  This could potentially put him in the ultimate seat of power in Ukranian politics by this time next year.  Wladimir's mandatories are actually getting less interesting, if that were possible, as the loud-talking, but not oft-fighting British heavyweights vie for the next big money fight.
 
The Americans are by no means left out in this equation.  Between Olympians Dominic Breazeale and Deontay Wilder sporting unbeaten records, with all wins by knockout, and the recent performance of Bryant Jennings on HBO, the USA has many players in the Heavyweight discussion.  Perennial favorites like Arreola and Thompson may be falling short of the Klitschko line (or even a bit under it), yet Arreola always makes it exciting, and Thompson keeps reinventing himself.

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FEBRUARY BOXING PREDICTIONS

FEBRUARY BOXING PREDICTIONS

This is a very light month for big fights.  In fact, although many young prospects are fighting in February, the biggest fight was Mares-Gonzalez 2.  In the wake of that cancellation, it seems not many important matchups are taking place.  Some of this has to do with January and March being bigger than usual months, but the fights that are coming off in February deserve at least a bit of our attention.
 
Gennady Golovkin vs. Osumanu Adama
Yet another GGG mismatch has been scheduled, and until Golovkin can get Martinez, Sturm, or Quillin in the ring (all very unlikely scenarios) this will continue through no fault of his own.  Daniel Geale, Andy Lee and Martin Murray may provide better tests at 160, but it looks like a move up in weight may be the only way GGG finds opponents who can beat him.  Adama is tough, but little else, and Golovkin's last appearance in Monte Carlo let everyone know just how far "tough" gets you with him.  GGG by 4th round KO.
 
Daniel Geale vs. Garth Wood
Geale is coming back, while Wood is still living off his KO win over Mundine.  That took place two years ago, and Geale has beaten Mundine twice (even if he only got the decision once).  Geale is also being mentioned as a future GGG opponent, and would probably style-wise give the Kazakh destroyer the toughest fight he's had yet.  Wood should provide resistance, and a chin check, but those are tests Geale passes with no difficulty, especially when he is as motivated as he is now.  Geale by wide UD.
 
Miguel Vasquez vs. Denis Shafikov
This fights makes the list simply because things keep getting interesting around Miguel Vasquez.

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EXCUSES NOT EVEN NEEDED ANYMORE??

EXCUSES NOT EVEN NEEDED ANYMORE??

Lucien Bute landed a whopping six left hooks to Jean Pascal's right side.  That is how far the Romanian-Canadian has slipped.  I am not sure if it was the layoff, Pascal's style and newfound ring generalship, the fallout from the Froch loss, or a simply matter of aging, but Bute was not himself.  Hats fully off to Pascal for getting the job done.  He did not look a world beater by any stretch, but his ring generalship, something that was previously inconsistent at best, was fully in-force on January 18.
 
Bute was the fighter who, not so long ago, was finishing off nearly every opponent with hard lefts to the body.  He barely tried to throw any Saturday night, seeming clearly fearful of the right hands that were coming back his way from Pascal.  Pascal has not exactly shone in front of the Canadian crowds with the regularity that Bute did, hence his having a bit less of the crowd cheering for him.  If he thinks that will end here, he is sorely mistaken... he will not even likely have the lion's share of Haitian Canadian fans if he tries to reclaim the linear Light Heavyweight championship.
 
Pascal may genuinely be proud of his Haitian compatriot, but showing brotherly love makes fans question whether he is truly interested in a risky fight with Adonis Stevenson.  Maybe he simply wants to enjoy this victory before he thinks about such a tough assignment.  That is his excuse, although he should have at least acknowledged that he is looking to face Adonis in an all-Canada showdown.  This would be two Haitians... former champ vs. current champ... for what would amount to the biggest fight in Canadian history.  Stevenson, however, has no excuse for why he is not calling out Pascal.

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BRONER'S BEST MOVE

BRONER'S BEST MOVE

It is only two weeks into January, and already the boxing world is jockeying for position around the major attractions in the sport.  Mayweather-Khan has been whispered about for months, but never become official.  Pacquiao seems to have his choices narrowed down to Bradley and Provodnikov, which pretty much means Bradley.  Provodkinov would need to abandon his trainer and gym.. something unlikely to happen.
 
Marcos Maidana is a hot commodity, and has certainly posted the better resume recently in terms of a Mayweather sweepstakes.  The other hot properties in boxing that are on the rise: Golovkin, Stevenson, Kovalev, and Mikey Garcia seem to be continuing the pattern of heavier activity, in lieu of big matches.  However, most of these decisions, while frustrating to many boxing fans, can be understood from a business sense.  The direction Adrien Broner wants to head, however, does not have an ounce of sense to it.  The Problem wants to find a solution to his most recent defeat, with an immediate rematch.  The problems with this are numerous:
 
First, He lost a wide decision.  This was not a close fight.. therefore in no way does it warrant a rematch except in the sense that it was an upset.  There was also nothing controversial about the fight that would lead anyone to believe an unfair advantage had been had.  Secondly, Broner is too small to be a welterweight.  He is not developed enough, at least not yet, and he has not done what big brother Floyd did when he moved up in weight and found his power less effective.

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

Whoever wins tonight between Mendez and Barthelemy, enjoy it, as a one-sided loss is in the works against Mikey Garcia for the winner.  Caleb Truax is getting a good amount of ink for a fighter with limited skills, due to fights taking place in Minnesota lately.  I bet Jason Litzau wishes he had waited a bit to take advantage of this.
 
Speaking of waiting, why are we all waiting on Danny Garcia to find a dance partner?  Is he going to unify against Jean-Peterson?  Is he going to move up to face Maliganggi, Maidana, or Porter?  I understand waiting for some of these fights to happen may have been a necessity, but Garcia is not yet ready to be reduced to a twice a year phenomenon.  He needs to stay busy.
 
Speaking of busy, I bet Golovkin will have to settle for that schedule again in 2014.  HBO has the champ at 168 and 175, but GGG is closer to a junior middle than he is to super middle.  The rest of 160 lb division is either running scared or promotionally unavailable.  Don't think Sturm will ever fight GGG, nor will Quillin.  Chavez Jr wouldn't touch him with borrowed money.  Ward may expose GGG in a way that kills his marketability, much like they are struggling now with Matthysse.  So, look for maybe Martin Murray to get a shot, while GGG's other 2-3 opponents will be guys we haven't heard of.  Cotto-Martinez may provide false hope, but will likely lead to retirement for at least one, if not both of them.
 
Speaking of retirement, Juan Manuel Marquez needs to go.  He is a great fighter who got a much deserved win over Manny Pacquiao, but the Timothy Bradley loss was more than justified, and he is losing fans by pretending he was robbed.  He may have whined his way into all those Pacquiao fights, but it is not working now.  Bradley will only beat him more convincingly next time, and any opponent he faces will probably insist on drug testing that he is not willing to undergo.  There is nothing left to prove with Pacquiao, either.  Just retire.

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MAYWEATHER ON TOP??

MAYWEATHER ON TOP??

It looks like both Yahoo Sports and ESPN have picked Floyd Mayweather as their fighter of the year.  Apparently, I have different criteria than they are working with.  This seems a bizarre choice.  A choice rather, that people who do not choose to cover the nooks and crannies of boxing would come up with.  Its easy to simply name the best fighter on the planet fighter of the year.  However, such an analysis is obviously void of any true analysis.  Let's look at a few problems with this:
 
He fought twice
Yes, the twice a year schedule is something we have gotten used to, however, Floyd typically only fights once... his fights amounting to a super bowl-like atmosphere that has not been seen in boxing since the 1930s, when the heavyweight title seemed to only be up for grabs once a year, around July.  It may be easy to anoint Floyd because he actually chose to fight twice a year, but several top fighters fought 3-4 times, three of them went 4-0-4Ko's at the championship level.  This level of activity is not enough to push Floyd ahead.  We need special results, in addition to activity, which he did not provide.  This leads to point number 2.
 
He did exactly what was expected
Let us not forget that Canelo and Guerrero were built up in our own minds.  They were and still are good fighters, but were never a match style-wise for Floyd.  I do not blame Golden Boy and TMT for building them up.  The combination of a style that would bother Mayweather, and a fighter who has earned his way there is hard to find.  Add that to the cold war existing between promoters, and it becomes a near-impossibility.  However, he was expected to win a 9-3 decision in both cases, and that's exactly what he did, controlling even the rounds he lost.
 
Too many other fighters had better years
I consider 'fighter of the year' to be something that should also denote a fighter's starting place and finishing place to be drastically different places.  Bradley started the year a pariah, and ended it 2-0 with hall of fame like victories in which he bested tough opponents in completely different ways.  Mikey Garcia started as a contender and ended it a 2 division title belt holder, losing only one round in the process.
 

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JANUARY BOXING PREDICTIONS PART 2

JANUARY BOXING PREDICTIONS PART 2

Lucien Bute vs. Jean Pascal
Finally!  Well, I'll believe it when i see it, but actually this fight is only a big deal because it's been delayed.  It does not promise action, and could be like watching two Aikido masters trying to fight (all-defense).  It all depends on who's more rusty, who has more left, and who wants it more.  Bute suffered a more crushing defeat, but Pascal has been dealing with more injuries.  It's a tough one to call, but I believe the more athletic fighter with more 175lb experience has the edge.  Bute may take an early lead, and his body work could be enough to pull it out, but I think his chin and stamina will never recover from the loss to Froch, and Pascal will turn a slow fight into a fast one, and stop him late.  

Argenis Mendez vs. Rances Barthelemy
Mendez and Barthelemy both seem to confuse judges, but style-wise, it is a bad fight for the champion.  The "loss-win" Rances suffered to Usmanee has seemingly made him a better fighter, and Mendez better be very motivated with a potential Mikey Garcia unification, or else he is looking to lose it.  This may considered a bit of an upset-pick, but I like Barthelemy to outscore Mendez in an entertaining scrap.

Eleider Alvarez vs. Thomas Oosthuizen
Oosthuizen did not exactly scintillate in his HBO debut against Brandon Gonzales.  In fact, he slept-walked through the first half of the fight, unable to adjust until midway through the 5th.  He won the rest of the rounds it seemed, but his counter-punching style is not going to ask for fans to clamor for an Andre Ward match-up.  Alvarez's best opponents were a too-highly ranked Shawn Hawk, and a faded Edison Miranda.  he could not stop either, so he is not likely to threaten Oosthuizen.  It's a tough one to call, as Alvarez is the hometown fighter, being a Colombian based in Montreal, but something tells me we will see a narrow MD for the South African in a less than thrilling co-main.

Jermell Charlo vs. Gabriel Rosado

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JANUARY BOXING PREDICTIONS

JANUARY BOXING PREDICTIONS

I cannot remember the last time January was a good enough month to have two sections for predictions.  However, 2013 was a very tough act to follow, so 2014 seems to be raising its game right out of the gate.  This is a good move for all concerned as these fighters can easily fight 3 or 4 times this year, which is a new refreshing standard for many of the belt holders.

Marco Huck vs. Firat Arslan 2
Huck was very fortunate to get the decision in their first fight, but the 45 year old challenger has only gotten older, while Huck has gotten better.  Add to that the fact the Huck seems to get better in rematches, and you have not only an accurate prediction, but the reason why Povetkin's people will not be giving Huck a rematch for all the rubles in Moscow.  Arslan will make a game stand for a few rounds, until Huck's measured attack breaks him down.  Huck by 10th round TKO in a very good fight.

Mikey Garcia vs. Juan Carlos Burgos
Burgos deserved the win over Martinez, so much like a screwed Rahman, after the controversial loss to Tua, he gets the next shot after the lucky one gets deposed.  In that fight, Rahman did pull off the upset that Tua could not pull off against Lewis.  However, the talent gap and weaknesses are different here.  Even if Garcia is vulnerable to a lucky punch, Burgos is not the fighter to land it.  He can make Garcia look bad for a few rounds as Burgos' counterpunching style is wont to do, but Mikey is unflappable.  He'll break him down, and stop him a bit later.  Garcia by 9th round TKO.

Lamont Peterson vs. Dierry Jean

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147 - TOURNEY

147 - TOURNEY

How exciting is the welterweight division?  Let me count the ways?: It's so exciting that Top Rank and Golden Boy don't even need each other.  They have enough matchups to last them a few years (especially GBP).  Even the understaffed fighter stable at TRP between 140-154 has many interesting matchups: Bradley, Marquez, Pacquiao, Provodnikov, Kirkland and Andrade taking on anyone moving up, and if Mike Jones ever fights again, him too.  For Golden Boy, however, the sky is the limit.  There are at least 8 fighters at 147 alone that make for amazing matchups that are available to them.  In their case, we are not including 140 and 154lbers which make it an even more exciting, if confusing maze.

It's so exciting that if I told you there would be a tournament of the recent losers in the division, it would still be more intriguing than most of what is happening in other weight classes.  Broner, Berto, Judah, Guerrero, Alexander, Soto-Karass, and the loser of Ortiz-Collazo could still provide a lot of excitement.  Between the names I have just rattled off are many who have already come back from losses to right the ship.. and this would certainly provide the platform to do it again.  Collazo and Ortiz is a fight that could eliminate the loser from serious contention, but these are two men I would not be quick to write off for many reasons.  Erislandy Lara has said he can make 147lbs.  Danny Garcia or Lucas Matthysse are sure to move up eventually.  These are also fighters whose promotional ties provide no barrier to these great fights being made.

It is so exciting that the winners don't need to include Pacquiao or Mayweather to command public interest.  The winners, however, and this is Mayweather not withstanding: Mailgnaggi, Maidana, Porter, and Thurman could give us one heck of a 4-man tournament to rpovider a unified champion, and number one contender to Floyd Mayweather.  Let's be honest, though, the two names we are leaving out are Amir Khan and Kell Brook.  Neither of them have done anything at 147;bs to deserve being considered for this honor, and since a fight between the two of them is the biggest fight in the UK currently, there is not excuse why this should not be made.  Mayweather will probably still face Khan next, but if you thought fight fans were not happy with this match before, just wait for the outrage after Broner's upending at the hands of Maidana.  

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THE SOLUTION

THE SOLUTION

Adrien Broner is not Floyd Mayweather  We never thought he was, but with the similarities in style, background, and their close association, the comparisons were natural.  In fact, although Broner has certainly racked up the haters that Floyd enjoys, he was really the answer to most of their complaints.  He was a Floyd style fighter who had power, and defensive liabilities.  These were long the complaints of many Mayweather detractors... that he made for boring fights.  Broner made many mistakes on his way to the top, in what has become yet another light shone upon the holes in Al Haymon's previously thought perfect progression plan.

Broner took on only a few fighters of note, and had difficulty in most of those match-ups.  Like Wilder, Thurman, and others, Broner enjoyed an HBO/Showtime spotlight during a phase of his career that should probably been saved for FOX and ESPN.  Therefore we get more excited by his brilliance than we probably should have, and get more dismissive of him when he shows chinks in the armor.  The Broner machine was becoming so powerful that he skipped his most natural division to avoid being caught by big punchers like Matthysse and Garcia.  Did they know about his chin the whole time?  Was he purposely matched with light-hitting fighters?  I don't really think so.

Number one, Broner was dropped twice and hurt against Maidana, but Maidana was by far the biggest man, and puncher Broner had fought, and he stood up to the shots fairly well, considering.  He recovered when hurt at a pretty impressive rate, and by Chino's own admission, came back to rattle the Argentine.  De Marco is a big punching lightweight, and he could not bother Broner.  I think he has been carefully matched, but as usually happens in that case, you eventually run into someone who fights beyond what any of their previous encounters suggested them capable of.  That is what happened here.

No, after all the bragging and showboating, it was nothing Broner did wrong that led to his loss to Maidana.  It is what Maidana did right.  With trainer Robert Garcia heading for the fallen grace of a Buddy McGirt if he faced yet another loss for one of his fighters, his skills actually shone through.  He made Maidana a better fighter, but not changing his game; instead merely adding fundamentals to an aggressive style.  

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

If Darren Barker really has to retire due to hip replacements backing up on him, his win over Geale is even more extraordinary.  Sturm's reign will likely be a short one if he steps up, or a long one, if he returns to his protected ways in Germany, but this win was very impressive.  I have never been much of a fan, but he handled business, and went against his own nature to facilitate it.  Kudos to Barker for getting up twice, as well, and was even stopped while firing back.
 
Speaking of surprise results, was Rigo the only one who did what was expected on 12/7?  I know Kirkland won in a way he has before, but that fight with Tapia had so many potential outcomes, none could be considered a surprise.  Porter shocked Alexander.  Malignaggi pulled the slight upset.  Unbeaten and skilled Lamar Russ was outhustled by a recently wounded Macklin.  Even Dirrell could not get the title from Bika.  Trout vs. Lara may have had the winner a lot were predicting, but virtually no one thought it would be a rout.  Kudos to Rigo for winning as easily as we all expected.
 
Speaking of Rigo, we will not really know how consistent he is until he faces a busy fighter.  He has stunk it out when others do not make the fight, yet most of the aggressive fighters would likely walk into their own destruction.  He does not have an iron chin, but like Ward and Roy Jones in his early career, Rigo gets hit so rarely, that it does not matter.  If they can turn Lomachencko into a volume puncher, maybe the Cuban will have some competition.

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STILL MAGICAL

STILL MAGICAL

Tarver wins his comeback bout, and Malignaggi gets a big win over Zab Judah.  The two fighters known as magic men are still magical.  Now, Malignaggi did not capture a real belt in this win, yet in a division swimming with 'Money' makers, he has now made his best case to earn even more of it.  In a night of surprises and upsets, this one was probably the most expected of the least expected.  Zab Judah is just not the kind of fighter to trouble Malignaggi... at least not now.
 
Not to take anything away from Paulie's dominant win, but Zab definitely looked as if he had lost a step or two.  Malgnaggi is no spring chicken, but seems to be closer to his prime than Zab.  He out-boxed him, and had superior reflexes throughout.  Judah's power edge never figured in, not only because Paulie has a better chin, but because Judah was not willing to make it messy.  Up next could be a bout with Garcia moving up to 147.  It could also be a rematch with Broner.  It could even be a unification with Shawn Porter.  By themselves, neither man makes a case for a Floyd fight, but if they were to unify belts, a fall showdown with the "Money" Man would not be such a strange event.
 
Porter pulled off an impressive upset by being the first fighter to even attempt, much less succeed at, duplicating the style with which Tim Bradley defeated Devon Alexander.  Once again, one fight short of the big paydays, Devon falls short.  Again, it was to a shorter fighter, with a good jab, bull-rushing head, tight body attack, and awkward timing.  Porter now stands in a great position, as he won impressively, but still did not look like a world beater.  Khan is probably kicking himself for not taking that fight, as if had he fought that Devon Alexander, and won... he'd be an unquestionable candidate for the Floyd fight, instead of a fan-hated choice.
 
Bika and Dirrell fought well, but like Froch and Groves, completely disqualified themselves from the Andre Ward sweepstakes. 

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NOVEMBER 30 RECAP

NOVEMBER 30 RECAP

11 below Centigrade in Quebec City, and Adonis Stevenson still lays in a bathtub full of ice.  That ice was the hardest thing he would be hit with that night.  Stevenson got what looked to be a fairly easy win over mandatory Tony Bellew, but it is actually more impressive than one might think, at first glance.  With Bellew, he finished off a bigger fighter, coming down in weight, while he himself is a smaller fighter, coming up.  He also finished a man who had not been finished before.  He also had to pursue his opponent, who was intent on countering.  This opened up the holes in his defense, to the point where one would think, if he was in there with a bigger puncher, he may in some trouble.

Sugar Hill said the right things, and Stevenson executed those requests.  Also, he continues to win in different ways, which always lends itself to a great year.  We now have 3 strong candidates for fighter of the year.  One of the other two, Sergei Kovalev, won in even more impressive fashion.  Like Adonis, he was outboxed for a small stretch, before putting it all together, to stop Ismayl Sillakh the second he opened up.  Sillakh is weak chinned, and fights terribly when hurt, therefore we did not get to see many rounds for Kovalev.  However, the explosiveness, as well as the durability he showed early, would have many picking him to defeat the reigning champion in Stevenson.

Krusher vs. Superman is the only fight that makes sense at 175lbs, but since Hopkins is due an optional, and Ward may finally be making the move up, it may get delayed.  Add to that, the Bute-Pascal match, which will likely add a big name, big money scalp for Stevenson in his home country.  It also does not bode well that Stevenson was calling out Carl Froch of all people after his win Saturday night.  Froch looked all but done against George Groves, and is not even a light heavyweight.  What happened to the Adonis who called out Hopkins and Ward after only 60 seconds of work with Chad Dawson?  

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LEFTOVER BOXING PREDICTIONS - DECEMBER 2013

LEFTOVER BOXING PREDICTIONS - DECEMBER 2013

December 7 is such a busy week of boxing, many predictions were left out of my prediction section.  Also, the schedule has taken shape, leaving the closest thing to mega cards we have come (barring Floyd canelo card) in a long time.  When Austin Trout vs. Erislandy Lara is getting third billing, you know you have one heck of a card... and this week, we have two.  Let's look at a few more fights that I did not get a chance to break down in my predictions for December.

Matthew Macklin vs. Lamar Russ.  Macklin and Kirkland deserve respect for coming off of a defeat and a layoff, respectively, and jumping right back in with dangerous, undefeated prospects.  They are both pick em fights, however, I am picking both to be unwise choices by their management.  Macklin is never afraid to shy away from a challenge, but I think his two losses to Martinez and Golovkin will have him ripe for a hungry Lamar Russ.  In Russ, I like the skills, the movement, and the ability to take out wounded prey if the opportunity presents itself.  Macklin should be the sternest test for Russ, but I just think he doesn't have much left.  Russ will out box him, break him down, and other than getting tagged by some smart counters, not face much resistance.  Russ by late round TKO.

Kirkland is coming off of one of his many layoffs.  He technically got the win over Carlos Molina, but it might as well have been a loss.  Molina notched two more wins and a title belt, while Kirkland has been silent for nearly a year and a half. 

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ARUM IS AT IT AGAIN

ARUM IS AT IT AGAIN

Bob Arum is damned good.... very, very good at his job.  He matches fighters carefully, in order to convey that the richest possible matchups are actually competitive affairs.  This is done regardless of whether or not that is in fact the truth.  After last Saturday's Pacquiao win, we saw the latest example.  The Mayweather fight, thought dead for years, is now a rising topic of conversation.  Has anything changed since they reached an impasse years ago?  Not in the business sense, for sure.  Let's set the record straight now.
 
That fight will never happen.  Arum uses the topic to get regular people (non boxingheads, that is) talking boxing again.  The general public is almost always ignorant to the boxing world, save a few names.  Those two names since 2009, have been Mayweather and Pacquiao.  They don't know that boxing experts see that as a normal Mayweather fight, where he counters his opponent silly for 12 rounds.  They also don't know that promoter feuds make it an impossibility.  They also don't even know who Andre Ward and Guillermo Rigondeaux are... nor that those men, along with the Klitschkos, have surpassed Pacquiao in most P4P ratings.
 
Arum knows the end is near for Pacquiao, therefore his undercards, as well as the Macau scene, are being used to introduce his next few years of dominance at 126lbs.  Save Mares and Santa Cruz, every big talent in and around feather is a Top Rank fighter: Gradovich, Lomachencko, Donaire, Salido, Rigo, and Garcia.  A round-robin could take years, and new stars are being made all the time.  The 2012 Olympic class is just now maturing into prospects, and Bob Arum has done a good job gathering up virtually all of them in the international market, while Golden Boy has focused on the Americans.
 

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FORMER-SOVIET INVASION... AND THIS TIME, IT'S A GOOD THING

FORMER-SOVIET INVASION... AND THIS TIME, IT'S A GOOD THING

As a young American boy, the one thing we were all made to fear was a Russian invasion.  This almost always was associated with a military or political strike, yet even ion the sporting sense, it was feared.  The Olympics came to my hometown, and without the communist countries attending, we cleaned up in boxing gold medals.  The implication was clear, however, that if the Soviets had been involved, it would have been a much different story.  Even one Rocky movie was dedicated to the "Red Threat".  Fast forward to 2013, and a new invasion of the former Soviet-Union is underway, and this time it is a welcome sight.

It has been 23 years since the complete fall of the former USSR, and while many a hiccup has taken place in the young nations' thirst for democracy, the high standards of amateur athletic prowess are still in play.  It has taken the full 23 years, however, for the professional game to follow suit.  Much like a maturing fighter, the nation needed nearly two and a half decades to reach its full potential.  Klitschkos and other former world champions, such as Kostya Tszyu, Roman Karmazin, Nicolai Valuev, and Dmitry Kirilov have enjoyed some success 5-10 years ago, and even some home-field accomplishments, but due to the climate in Russia and the Ukraine, champions have not been able to fully enjoy a modern first-world boxing scene.

 If the Russian fighters had trouble, the Belarussian, Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Armenian, and Kazakh fighters have traditionally had to abandon their home countries entirely (save a few 'back-to-roots' fights) to have big pro careers... coming to Germany, Australia, USA, and even Japan: Vassily Jirov, Sergei Lyahovich, Arthur Abraham,

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DECEMBER PREDICTIONS, PART 2

DECEMBER PREDICTIONS, PART 2

Adrien Broner vs. Marcos Maidana
Broner had a tough one last time, so he is back in a very winnable fight, with a man who makes most fights exciting.  This is the first big puncher Broner has taken on, however, and he is doing so at 147, so he deserves full credit for that.  Broner does have a pretty good chin, and Maidana has been dropped with head and body shots before.  I see a replay of the DeMarco fight, with maybe a bit more offensive success by Maidana.  Broner by 8th round TKO.  Then it is time for Danny Garcia... no more excuses.

Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Joseph Agbeko
Agbeko is the type of fighter who would probably age well.  Winning with conditioning, chin, and volume.  However, none of those things will bother Rigondeaux, who is a master boxer.  Abner Mares is overrated, but has good boxing ability.  In the rematch, he showed what can be done against the Ghanan.  This will not be close, but it will be long.  Rigondeaux by wide UD

Keith Thurman vs. Jesus Soto-Karass
Thurman is a typical protected and carefully matched Al Haymon fighter... only taking on guys who are recently exposed, or recently hot.  Karass got a great win, but one can blame Berto's overrating, bad luck, and bad style decisions for that.  Karass did what he always does, which will be suicide against a fighter like Thurman.

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DECEMBER PREDICTIONS, PART 1

DECEMBER PREDICTIONS, PART 1

Shawn Porter vs. Devon Alexander
Alexander can't seem to get a big opponent to risk fighting him.  At least not the British ones.  Khan and Brook would both rather feast on nobodies, while waiting for big money, than risk taking on "The Great".  Shawn Porter has little to lose, and after he has looked nothing more than decent and consistent, he needs a big win to get into the discussion.  The winner of Thurman vs. Soto-Karass is likely waiting for the winner of this match, but welterweights are defining/honing their picture this month.  I think a motivated Alexander is still too good, and too seasoned.  Porter will also have his punch output reduced.  Alexander by dull UD.

Austin Trout vs. Erislandy Lara
One of the favorite junior middleweights and one of the least favorite.  Lara is skilled, but unless he's blasting you out in one round, which he seems incapable of at the higher levels, he can be boring.  Trout can also stink it out, but it largely depends on his opponent.  He is genuinely one of the good guys in the sport, and given the lack of marketability of the Cuban, it seems most would root for Trout.  Yet, Lara is a very live underdog.  Trout has shown his willingness to come forward if his opponents defensive skills warrant it, and the Cuban's counter-punching ability is quite impressive.  Neither man is coming off of a great outing, as Lara may have beaten Angulo, but looks vulnerable in nearly every fight.  Trout lost a close one to Canelo.. but something tells me, Trout is a slight cut above, and this will become clear in the later rounds, as Lara switches from boxing, to running.  Trout by MD.

Paulie Malignaggi vs. Zab Judah

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INTERVIEW WITH HENRY TILLMAN

INTERVIEW WITH HENRY TILLMAN

Winning a gold medal is prestigious enough, especially these days where Olympic boxers from the US have better odds of winning figure skating gold than boxing gold.  However, getting to win it in front of your home country, and hometown?  It can't get any sweeter than that.  Thus is the story of Henry Tillman.  Tillman is a former heavyweight gold medalist, who attained this goal in the LA games of 1984.
 
What followed was a professional career with many ups and downs, including title shots, and big name opponents.  Yet, for Tillman, who has been training fighters for over 20 years now, it has all come full circle.  One of his fighters, undefeated heavyweight KO artist, Charles Martin, is fighting on the Bash Boxing card at Florentine Gardens in Hollywood, November 14.  Tillman talked with Chris Strait for this show's trainer spotlight.
 
CS: You came to boxing late, correct?
 
HT: Yes, they had a program up in Chino, when I was a teenager.
 
CS: I know you were trained by Mercer Smith at Broadway Gym.  What were some of your other amateur accomplishments, besides the gold?
 
HT: I also trained out of Hoover Gym, but I think I had like 73 fights, and only lost 9.  I won the Nationals in Colorado Springs.  I won silver in the Pan Am games.  I was set to win gold in the nationals in Kansas City, but I broke my hand, and Tyson won in a walk over.
 

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NOVEMBER 2 RECAP

NOVEMBER 2 RECAP

We were expecting a lot of action this weekend, and we certainly got it... yet for the action we got, we got more of a commentary on the dangers of the sport than anything else.   We all know how dangerous this sport can be, but in the times of corner rescues and early stoppages, we get far less life-threatening injuries than was once the case.  We were expecting knockouts, and got them, technically (literally)... however the unwavering hearts of all involved this weekend, put these combatants in quite a lot of danger.
 
Curtis Stevens looked to give us what we all expected midway through round two.  He had landed a few good shots, and gotten caught with a huge shot himself.  However, when he showed the heart to continue, he went into a bit of survival mode.. fighting in spurts, and avoiding big bombs.  despite his reputation, GGG is a patient destructor, however, and was content to gradually wear down his opponent, until the corner rescued him.  Stevens was the healthiest loser that weekend!
 
Mago Abdulasamov showed a good amount of heart, as he tried everything he could in his one-dimensional style.  Mike Perez showed he was going to win in the first few seconds, as the fighters traded shots, and he emerged unscathed.  Although Mago is probably the bigger puncher (Perez last 5 wins have been decisions), the Irish Cuban has the far better chin.  The Russian adjusted, however, and was able to last the distance.  Now, he is fighting for his life in a NYC hospital, his career most certainly over.  Was showing heart really worth it, when he knew a few rounds in, that he was not going to win?

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FIGHTERS WHO SHOULD HANG 'EM UP

FIGHTERS WHO SHOULD HANG 'EM UP

Time for another installment of... well... me letting certain fighters it is time to clear the lane.  Some choices are obvious, some choices are wishful thinking, and others may surprise you.  Here is my latest assessment of a few who need to start thinking of their health before money.
 
Juan Manuel Marquez
Much like Holyfield, his style and abilities do lot lend itself to a retirement-level beatdown.  Tyson may burn bright, but he lost just as brutally, or as sadly, as his opponents.  This left him with no question as to when his heart, and body was no longer in it.  Marquez on the other hand can still compete, which may fool him into thinking that he should.  Three of the best defensive fighters ever: Ali, Benitez and Pep, suffered the ill effects of punches, despite us rarely seeing them caught clean.  Marquez has his faculties, his finances, and his legacy secured.  There is nothing left for him to accomplish.
 
Tavoris Cloud
I know he is young, but he is also done.  Two straight fights being outboxed, against Campillo and Hopkins, only to be completely taken apart by Adonis Stevenson.  He is a Don King fighter, so history would suggest he is not set financially.  However, he has been exposed, and now his confidence has been shattered.  He is pretty much out of the discussions at 175, and being the huge jump to cruiserweight, that move seems unlikely either... although an all-Don King war with Guillermo Jones would be entertaining, in his home state of Florida.  Guys like him end up getting beat up badly, and/or becoming opponents for young fighters.  He was such a strong prospect, that it sounds sad to say, but a former belt-holder who appeared on HBO and Showtime many times, is nothing of which to be ashamed.
 
Vitali Klitschko
This one has been obvious for a while, and I have mentioned it before, but new aspects have been recently introduced that make it even moreso. 

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WEEKEND RECAP

WEEKEND RECAP

Bernard Hopkins does not stop fighters, nor does he have an exciting style, nor a Spanish last name.  However, in Mayweather-like fashion,n he keeps us watching for other reasons.  He breaks records for age and defenses, wins multiple weight class championships, etc.  He is also a great interview, and usually has some kind of personality quirk that emerges in the buildup to any fight.  This time, he switched things up by actually exchanging with a safe mandatory, much the same way he surprised us with action against Howard Eastman nearly 9 years ago.
 
He was given as good as he got in dirty fighting, and as usual found a way to make sure his opponent was the only one penalized.  He did everything to discombobulate Murat, including kissing and showboating.  As long as he has the stamina and chin, and at least some of his old moves, he will be around.  B-Hop is not running out of age, so much as he is running out of beatable opponents.  Shumenov and Cleverly may lose in an action fight, but Kovalav and Stevenson would likely be favored.  Ditto Ward or Mayweather if he moves down.  Hopkins even hinted at moving up, but who he would face that would be worthwhile is beyond me.
 
The only controversy on this night, however, was in the co-main event.  There are many things about Quillin's TKO over Rosado that bother me.  The first is the issue of the scoring.  Judges were clearly auditioning for more work from Golden Boy and Al Haymon... scoring a very even fight as a whitewash for champion Quillin.  If the bout was not stopped, we were headed for an atrocious decision.  Much like Chavez-Vera, we can whine all we want.  Those judges will be back again, until we totally revamp boxing scoring.  The second is the style that Quillin used.  It was fairly effective on this night, but did Kid Chocolate make his case as a solid opponent for GGG?  Not really.
 

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

Chris John is being honored for longevity... I just don't see it.  Guys like him, Omar Narvaez, Sven Ottke, etc. do not really impress me, because the one time they left the safe confines of their home cooking, they showed weaknesses, and nothing special.  Longevity is not that hard when you are fed a steady diet of bums, and your belt is the kind that forces someone else to face your mandatories.  Chris John really has nothing going for him except for his unbeaten record.  Calzaghe is actually the only one who shined outside of that decade long protected bubble, and we had to wait forever to see it.

Speaking of waiting forever, Vitali Klitschko is officially holding a belt hostage.  How much more can the WBC bend over backwards to appease him?  You get the feeling they are still apologizing for the Lennox Lewis stoppage, which was not even their fault.  They allow him to go a year with no defenses, even longer with no mandatories, and even invented the "emeritus" status so he could come right back and challenge for a belt, with no tune-ups, after a four year layoff.  I appreciate the skills of both Klitschkos, but the act is getting old.  That boring dominance could be forgiven if they were active, and gave us great finishes, but even that has left their arsenal lately.

Speaking of an arsenal, Vasyl Lomachencko has everything to be one of the greats... but perhaps I am a bit hesitant.  There was another time we were singing the praises of an unbeatable amateur star who KO'd everyone and won Olympic Gold.  His name was Mark Breland, and while becoming a two-time belt holder is nothing to scoff at, he never came close to realizing his potential as a pro.  Skills cannot be measured in 9 minutes, when you know you may have to fight 36.  The good news is, we will know very soon if Vasyl is for real.. I just hope they don't ruin him if he is anything less than perfect.

Speaking of perfection, this trend of unbeaten prospects who have fought absolutely no one has to stop.  Yes, certain fighters are exposed in their first couple of losses (i.e. Seth Mitchell, etc.), but others like Orlando Salido would not have become the fighters they are today without plenty of them.  There is more than one way to build a prospect, just like there is more than one way to ruin them.  If the whispers about Deontay Wilder's chin and stamina are indeed true, how is building him up against stiffs and has-beens going to protect that?  Wladimir Klitschko had both problems, and it wasn't until they were exposed that he was able to get better.  Even Frank Bruno made some adjustments after a few hard losses.  

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MILE HIGH MISTAKE

MILE HIGH MISTAKE

So, we have another great action fight for 2013.  Not a fight of the year candidate, but darn close.  We knew this coming in, but there is always the chance of being disappointed.  The only way Ruslan Provodnikov and Mike Alvarado would disappoint would be a little different.  One of them dancing to victory in a clinch fest is not likely.  The only way the fans could have lost is an early KO, or quick stoppage.  Even that would let us down, compared to what we were expecting.  

As one of the few who predicted this fight correctly, I give all credit to Provodnikov.  There were many occasions where he could have resigned himself to having inferior boxing skills, and just followed Alvarado around the ring.  Ruslan, however, just did what he does.. applied steady pressure.  His only two losses were against fighters who spent most of their time boxing.  Durable guys, who don't expect to hurt you much, and have inexhaustible stamina.  Mauricio Herrera and Timothy Bradley fit that mold.  Alvarado did not.  Not quite, at least.  

Alvarado showed his boxing skills late against Rios, but what a lesson he needed to learn to get there.  He also is a good puncher.  he is used to seeing a result from his bombs.  Add to that, he was drained by his efforts to make weight, and facing a man who punches to the body with tremendous force.  It was not a good recipe for going a full 12 rounds, even with the natural heart that Mike possesses, combined with the pressure of fighting in his hometown.  Provodnikov deserved the win, but Mile High Mike deserved better than this.  You have to understand the way Top Rank operates.  

When you defeat one of Bottom Line Bob Arum's ticket sellers... you are not rewarded.  You are either shelved or buried on undercards.  

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NOVEMBER BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 2

NOVEMBER BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 2

Andre Ward vs. Edwin Rodriguez
Finally, the second best fighter on the planet is back in the ring.  He is actually taking on the most interesting fighter left in his division.  Rodriguez in undefeated, has exposure on the major cable networks, has ventured into the 175lbers with success, and has an inspiring back story.  Everyone else who is both ready and willing has already been beaten by Ward, or exposed by one of his victims.  Unless Chavez starts looking like more than a glorified journeyman, or Golovkin moves up, the future is at 175 for both men.  Rodriguez can be put to sleep, or discombobulated by good ring generalship, heart, or awkwardness.  Ward can do all three.  He can do whatever bothers his opponent, actually.  If Edwin's skin busts up, we may even have a stoppage, but I doubt he'll win more than a round or two.  Ward by wide UD.

Jorge Linares vs. Richard Abril
This is a battle of two men who could easily be undefeated.  If not for Linares's chin and skin betraying him, he has shown himself the offensive superior of all of his opponents.  Ditto Abril, who has not been betrayed by his body, but his lack of connections.  The winner here will get nothing but the win, and each man is not typically the type to give the other one problems.  Abril will likely not KO Linares, while Linares will not pressure Abril.  This could be a dud, but it is also the first time that Abril suffers a legit defeat.  If I am wrong, he is the best lightweight in the world, but something tells me, Linares turns it around on this night.  Linares by MD.

Carl Froch vs. George Groves
Carl Froch does not want Andre Ward... he merely wants it to look like he does.  George Groves is a talent, and a live underdog, but not enough is known about what he can do on the highest level.  Froch raises his game, especially when pressured, and makes believers out of all of us.  He just can't beat Ward, but can likely beat everyone else.  Groves will make it to the final bell, but probably not accomplish much else past round 4.  Froch by wide UD.

Vanes Martirosyan vs. Demetrius Andrade
Some fighters are held back fearing they will not excel at the next level. 

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NOVEMBER BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 1

NOVEMBER BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 1

Gennady Golovkin vs. Curtis Stevens
GGG not only wins, he wins in style, with brutal displays of power.  When Stevens loses, at least in the past, it was usually in anything but style.  This was the same man who allowed himself outslugged by Jesse Brinkley, and outboxed by Andre Dirrell, while barely putting forth a decent effort.  In fact, his showing against Dirrell was so bad, if you had said HBO would ever allow him on their air again, you'd have been looked upon as crazy.  A string of early KO's on television has us rethinking "Showtime", who will ironically get his shot on HBO.  If lighting strikes early, maybe Stevens has a chance here.. but that lighting would be striking a non-conductor.  Golovkin by KO, within two rounds.

Nonito Donaire vs. Vic Darchinyan 2
This rematch is happening about 5 years too late.  However, both men have more to prove.  We now know what kind of fighter can beat Donaire.  We also know Darchinyan will never be able to be that guy.  He is smarter and more patient than he was in 2007, and that should help Vic get to later rounds and make it competitive.  However, unless Donaire is too wide looking for a knockout, it won't be enough.  Donaire by decision or late round TKO.

Mago Abdulasamov vs. Mike Perez
Both big, hard-punching, sloppy heavyweights.  Perez may have the Cuban amateur pedigree, but you'd never know it watching the transplanted Irishman swing away.  He's also had bouts of inactivity.  None of this will matter.  Mago can fight, but looks as if his receptivity may be in question.  Perez, if nothing else, seems to be able to take a punch.  I have a hunch he'll be the first to dismantle, much like Bert Cooper vs. Willie de Wit.  Perez by Ko in the first few rounds, unless he is too sloppy to finish Abdulasamov.

David Tua vs. Alexander Ustinov
Why should we care?  

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KLITSCHKO AND MAYWEATHER

KLITSCHKO AND MAYWEATHER

There are two dominant forces with many things in common.  Let us look at the undisputed heavyweight champion, as well as then undisputed pound for pound king, for the similar aspects of their lives, and let's also highlight the differences.

Similarities
1) Both are 1996 Olympic medalists.  Klitschko won gold at Super Heavyweight, while Mayweather was robbed in the semi-finals at Featherweight.

2) Both left their promoters to be their own boss, as their stars rose.  This point is not too important if a fighter is less than stellar, but Bob Arum and Universum actually missed out on the prime fighting, and earning, years of these two very bright businessmen.

3) Both come from fighting families.  The Mayweather family crest is legendary in boxing now, but even Wlad only went to the gym, because his older brother Vitali did so first.

4) Both are completely dominant over their peers.  Not only do they win, they embarrass their opponents with the gap in skill.5) Both have number one contenders to their throne that they will not/cannot face.  Mayweather had Pacquiao, with the testing and promoter difficulties, while Wlad has his older brother. 

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BRADLEY V. MARQUEZ WRAP UP

BRADLEY V. MARQUEZ WRAP UP

I must say I was thoroughly impressed with Timothy Bradley's performance on Saturday night.  Not only did he win the fight, he made a great counterpuncher miss badly for 12 rounds.  The one scenario I thought could possibly lead to Bradley victory played itself out perfectly for him.  Bradley listened to his corner, and out-boxed Marquez.  The other half of that scenario, was Marquez falling in love with his own power, and choosing to stalk Bradley.  The only other time he tried this, was the only other comprehensive loss of his career.. a 12-round domination at the hands of Floyd Mayweather.
 
While Bradley certainly did not put a beating on Marquez the way that Mayweather did, he did employ a Floyd-like strategy.  Not in a long time, have we seen Bradley this defensively capable.  Marquez missed badly all night, and even in the last rally, missed a 4-punch combination, while getting caught twice himself, and staggered.  Marquez thinking he had won was laughable.  He needed to do nothing more than listen to his own fans booing the scorecard that had him ahead.  Not only do his fans not like Bradley, they are not particularly fond of the style he used to gain victory.  So, if they are booing, you know you got beat.  I have not seen that from a Mexican crowd since Whittaker boxed Chavez's ears off, and was denied.
 
Yet, Bradley's good luck with scorecards, and Marquez's bad luck, made it seem as if something might be amiss.  The only thing wrong in my view was how two of the three judges had it close.  One actually had Marquez ahead!  I had Bradley winning 9 rounds, and although you can argue it was a bit closer, the only rounds Marquez won, were won because Bradley didn't do anything.  Marquez was busy in certain spots, but was pretty much ineffective with everything he tried all night.  His denial will delay his career, but this fight was more of a passing of the torch than anything either man achieved with Pacquiao. 

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2013 John Bray Free Youth Boxing Clinic Photo Gallery

2013 John Bray Free Youth Boxing Clinic Photo Gallery

The John Bray Boxing Foundation held the 4th Annual John Bray Free Youth Boxing Clinic on Saturday, October 12, 2013 in San  Diego, CA at the House of Boxing Training Center.  The purpose of the free youth clinic is to help the community in preventing and combating gang violence while promoting discipline and academic success among school-age students.
   
Special guest appearances by former World Junior Middleweight champion Paul Vaden, Light welterweight prospect "The Relentless" Antonio Orozco, Light Middlweight prospect David Barrragan, 2012 U.S. Super Heavyweight Olympian and current Heavyweight prospect Dominic "Trouble" Breazeale, 2013 USA Boxing National Champion and Continental Champion Danyelle Wolf, and other influential leaders from the community.

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WHY IT WILL NEVER STOP

WHY IT WILL NEVER STOP

Brian Vera gets screwed against JC Chavez Jr?  Surely, you jest.  Yes, our sport of shitty decisions continues.  It will continue for many reasons, and will never stop.  It will never improve.  Just enjoy the action, as well as the knowledge that most of the time the screwed fighter usually gets his shot anyway, out of sympathy.  We often see this coming now, to the point where we are pleasantly surprised when it does not happen.  The reason for this is clear.
 
What most of the general public does not know is how little regulation there is on judges in a normal circumstance.  Judges are flown in by the host promoter, put up in nice hotels, given free food, drugs, women, whatever they wish.  The implication is clear.  If you score against my guy, you will not be back.  We seem to think the new judges scoring fights at home in bizarre ways do not fall under this, as it is a domestic fight.  We think they were just not experienced enough.  However, this is often just an audition for bigger events.
 
Let's look at the two California judges who handed in inexplicable 98-92 and 97-93 scores for Chavez.  Marty Denkin has enjoyed a long and prosperous career as a judge.  He does not want it to end.  He knows how to play the game.  Gwen Adair is hoping for more choice assignments.  That could be the only explanation for their scores.  I have spoken with both of them.  Nice enough people, and intelligent.  They are not incompetent.  They are merely looking for a reason to score for the fighter that will promise them more work.  How many times have we seen these controversial judges rehired over and over again.  It is because, to the promoters... there is no controversy.
 
Bob Arum hires those who play ball.  As does Don King, Golden Boy, Sauerland, Gary Shaw, Goossen, etc.  Felix Sturm is his own promoter.  Do you think they finally found justice in their hearts, when Soliman and Geale got the decisions over Sturm?  Hardly.  Their promoters learned the game, and simply had more earning power than Sturm.  If it appears that 50 Cent fighters don't get the close nod as much as we'd like, that is to send a message to 'Fiddy'... play ball, or you'll never get a decision in any state.
 

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OCTOBER BOXING PREDICTIONS PART 2

OCTOBER BOXING PREDICTIONS PART 2

Kell Brook vs. Vyacheslav Senchenko
Brook has very good skills, but when a fighter is managed the way he has been, one has to wonder if something is being avoided for good reason.  Senchenko is riding high after a win over Hatton, but didn't exactly look like a world beater until he landed the crushing body shot.  If Brook is dragged into a slugfest, or his self-belief wavers at all, the Ukranian will find it out, but odds are Brook will outbox him on the way to a wide 12 round decision
 
Shane Mosley vs. Anthony Mundine
Mosley looked like he still had some fight in him against Cano, and Mundine is the kind of fighter who runs and runs when threatened.  I see Mundine outboxing Mosley for a while, but gradually Mosley will walk him down, and pummel the mouthy Australian into submission.  It may even give Mosley a rare impressive knockout, I'm guessing by round 11.
 
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Alexander Povetkin
This fight is finally happening, and although Povetkin may be, on paper, the best fighter Klitschko has fought in awhile, styles make fights.  Povetkin has been carried for a reason, and he hasn't even looked great against that level.  The Moscow crowd will actually serve to motivate Klitschko,
 

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OCTOBER BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 1

OCTOBER BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 1

Mike Alvarado vs. Ruslan Providnikov
After engaging in nothing but exciting fights, these two are almost guaranteed to give us a slugfest.  However, it only behooves one of them to hope for that.  Provodnikov only knows one way to fight.  Alvarado has different speeds.  The Russian also has a better chin, meaning that Alvarado should try and make it a boxing match.  He already has the support of the Denver crowd, so he does need to impress them, but there are enough holes in his boxing game to guarantee some great brawling moments.  Much as with the Bradley fight, Ruslan will also lose most of the lull times between those brawling moments, resulting in an exciting but clear cut decision win for Alvarado.
 
Bernard Hopkins vs. Karo Murat
Bernard Hopkins has a history of following up a legendary win, with a poor business decision.  He defeated Trinidad, then fulfilled a couple of mandatories, with a 14-month gap in activity.  He defeated Kelly Pavlik then took more than a year off.  He beat Pascal, then instead of retiring on top, he fought Chad Dawson in a high-risk, low reward match.  Here it is again, after beating Tavoris Cloud, he is not dropping down to 168 lbs for a big money fight with Ward, or moving up to make more history.  He is facing a useless mandatory where he has nothing to gain, and all to lose.  Murat is nothing special, but doesn't fight in the robotic way that would make Hopkins' night easy.  This is not a slam dunk for Bernard, and I feel he is headed for a very unimpressive 7-5 decision win.
 
Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Timothy Bradley

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4th Annual John Bray Free Youth Boxing Clinic

4th Annual John Bray Free Youth Boxing Clinic

San Diego, California (September 19, 2013) - The John Bray Boxing Foundation is holding the 4th Annual John Bray Free Youth Boxing Clinic in an effort to continue to help the community in preventing and combating gang violence while promoting discipline and academic success among school-age students.  After three successful events held in the San Fernando Valley and Central Valley of California, the John Bray Boxing Foundation has teamed up with the House of Boxing Training Center for an event in San Diego, California.
    
The House of Boxing Training
Center's Carlos Barragan Sr. and Jr. have continued to make major contributions and positive impacts within the South Bay communities of the city of San Diego for over 20 years.  Both organizations have arranged this free youth boxing clinic in an effort to raise awareness of issues that impact the youth of our community.  

Children and teens face many temptations everyday; whether it is drugs, gangs or peer pressure.  The John Bray Boxing Foundation and House of Boxing Training Center want to provide these promising young men and women with an alternative where they can feel at home and escape the pressures they have to deal with daily.  Although it is considered a boxing clinic, these participants will also listen to inspirational speakers, and learn about nutrition, life skills and attitude development.

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

So Abner Mares has finally tasted defeat, after coming so close so many times.  Jhonny Gonzalez is a fun fighter, whether he wins or loses, to have him be a three time, two division champion now, with a shot at the hall of fame is kind of a nice ending.  It's probably a short reign, but like everything he does, it will be exciting.  Mares is already saying he'll maintain his tough schedule if a good fight presents itself, but don't be so sure.  He was never a perfect or unbeatable looking fighter, therefore his confidence went a long long way.  They might actually want to step him back a bit, on a card where they are ironically allowing the padded Olympians step up.

Speaking of the Olympians, I love Top Rank's new strategy with Murata and Lomachenko.  Both are punchers who are taking on tough assignments right out of the gate.  Both fighters could be titlists within 5 fights, and challenging today's elite, not just tomorrow's.  Exciting.  The other good thing about this strategy is that it shows us just how little they truly believe in the talent of Zou Shiming.  He is a doorway into the Chinese market, but the back-up plans for that region are already being lined up in an intelligent way, when we discover that Shiming is Chinese for Paul Gonzales.

Speaking of punchers, I am as excited as everyone else to see Santa Cruz, Kovalev, Golovkin, and Matthysse continue to impress.  They do so in exciting fashion, with aggression and power, and are usually secure men who do not waste our time with a lot of hype.  The even better news about fighters like this, is that much like their recent forebearers Kelly Pavlik, Nonito Donaire, and Brandon Rios, they will continue to entertain and sell tickets after they lose.  However, the hype often leaves out the type of fighter that will beat them.  As much as we are falling in love with this type of fighter, the slick boxer at the top of the heap will beat them every time.  As it was with Hopkins and Rigo (who would also still beat Kovalev and Santa Cruz, respectively), don't be surprised if this time next year, Andre Ward and Adrien Broner have scalped a couple of these favored punchers each.

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THE LINE BETWEEN PROMOTION AND EGO

THE LINE BETWEEN PROMOTION AND EGO

Andy Kaufman was the first comedian to make mind-games the whole show.  So good was he at luring in an audience, it was almost like watching a magician work, more than a comedian.  As brilliant and brave as it was, it had a very negative side-effect.  Generations of unfunny comedians were released into the population, thinking they were being misunderstood artists because the audience hated them.  Clearly there was a line between creatively insane, and just a selfish jerk, who was using an example to justify his lack of craft.  I make the analogy not just because boxing and comedy are the two worlds I understand, but because the boxing world has it's own Andy Kaufman in that way.  In fact, they share a January 17th birthday.

Muhammad Ali was the first to bring pro wrestling trash-talk into legitimate sports.  His braggadocio and poetry were insulting to many, but few could deny he worked at it, and was trying to sell tickets for both he and his opponents.  He had the standard ego and insecurity issues that plague many a human being who achieves stardom at a young age.  The bizarre mix of feeling superior, yet inferior, to the world around you at the same time.  What was considered novelty in Ali's day, however, has now become par for the course.  A whole category of entertainment programming is based on trash-talking.  Whole celebrities have been made out of this.  It is almost expected of a star athlete that he be what the WWE fans would call "a heel" at some times.  The enemy who wishes to be hated as much as loved, doesn't even get his wish very often.  It has become so old-hat that it is often ineffective.  In fact, people are forgetting what made it so effective for Ali in the first place.

When it comes to ability, we are talking about one of the greatest fighters of all time.  I don't mean top 100.  I mean in virtually everyone's top 3!  He predicted which round he was going to stop an opponent, and was often capable of succeeding!  When his body began failing him, he found new strategies and ways to win.  He took a stand, socially, and made himself available to be interviewed at different stages of his life, up or down.  If he didn't have this personality, he'd still be remembered by fight fans as one of the best, but with it, he became an international celebrity... the most recognizable sportsperson in history.  At some point, however, we stopped requiring fighters to be top-shelf before doing this.It is ok for James Toney to talk trash... ditto Floyd Mayweather.

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BIG FIGHT PREDICTIONS

BIG FIGHT PREDICTIONS

Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios
Careful matchmaking is a whole different animal when a fighter becomes a big star.  You cannot ever take the easy fight.  Instead, you have to look for the fight that is simply less difficult.  Promoters are forced to employ a tactical search for an opponent that is: name, exciting, competitive, but not threatening, and close enough to the business, that he can draw a crowd on his own if he pulls off the upset.  Occasionally that has not been done in Pacquiao's case.  Clottey and Bradley were high-risk opponents with lower fan bases, but PacMan is so big a name now, that even 5 straight decisions, followed by a dubious loss and a brutal KO defeat will not hurt his numbers much.

 What Pacquiao needs badly is an exciting opponent who will not beat him unless he is truly finished.  In which case, Arum cannot lose, as it will save Brandon Rios' drawing power.  Bam Bam is still reeling from lowered expectations after 2 losses in his last 3 fights (Abril was a loss, no matter what the judges said).  Expect Rios to not do much better than David Diaz did against Pacquiao.  Although Rios is a better fighter, and Pacquiao is slipping, he is a fighter than will allow Manny to get back to basics.  Pacquiao outboxes Rios, and turns back the pressure to score a late round TKO, probably more on skin damage than chin damage.

Timothy Bradley vs. Juan Manuel Marquez
This fight could make a PPV attraction out of the winner.  Ironic in that both are on the downsides of their abilities.  Marquez, because of age, and Bradley because of damage incurred in his last two fights.  Bradley's will to win, combined with his lack of power, mean he puts a lot of miles on the odometer, every time he fights.  Marquez does just enough to lose competitively in the major fights, and without the lucky punch he landed against PacMan, he was probably on his way to doing so again.  Their histories show the outcome.  Bradley will overwhelm Marquez with activity, while being countered very effectively in spots.  I feel as if both men will taste the canvas from flash knockdowns, but we will see the final bell.  Bradley by close, controversial split decision, in an entertaining battle.

Mike Alvarado vs. Ruslan Provodnikov
Who would have thought Top Rank's limited stable in 140-147lb range would have produced such good results?  

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ALL THAT GLITTERS IS BRONZE

ALL THAT GLITTERS IS BRONZE

Deontay Wilder has many parallels to George Foreman.  On Olympic medalist who barely had any amateur experience prior to the games, he turned pro and was brought along slowly... mowing everyone down in his path.  Sound familiar?  His opposition was questioned, but even as he stepped up, the early knockouts kept coming.  Sound familiar?  The only difference is Foreman aged into the strongest heavyweight division in history, and never went beyond short-term champion.  Wilder is approaching one of the weakest.  He could certainly be given the same Ali-style lesson by either Klitschko, but both are aging, and Wilder may play the Holmes to their Ali by the time he is seasoned.  

As it stands now, who on this continent would you pick over The Bronze Bomber?  Banks, Mitchell, Arreola, etc have all shown the wrong style to compete with him.  Even the UK doesn't have too many people who could stand up to Wilder's power.  Much like Big George, it's not so much who he is beating, but how he is beating them.  However, like recent fighters with his history: Lara, Fortuna, and maybe soon Golovkin, one has to wonder when he does fall, will it be hard.  Maybe Tony Thompson?  Maybe Denis Boystov?  To be honest, I'm not sure I'd pick any of them to last past round 7.  Maybe we finally have the real thing.

Big George continued to win at the very highest level, until he suddenly crash-landed against Ali. The aforementioned examples had similar experiences.  Fortuna went from 1 round destroyer to a boring draw.  Same with Erislandy Lara, who has since proven his mettle.  What if Golovkin is outboxed in a stinker by Martinez or Geale?  Stranger things have happened... but the competition is there to make them happen.  Wilder may not be so fortunate (or unfortunate) depending on how you look at it.  Thompson could catch him early, and take over.  Either Klitschko would probably take him into deep water and drown him now, but rest assured, he will be steered clear of those threats until he is wearing hardware.  Povetkin will have been exposed by the time the year is out, and perhaps Pulev, too.  The division is just too shallow.  

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RIP THE DUKE

RIP THE DUKE

Tommy The Duke Morrison has passed away at the age of 44.  In the most recent photo taken of him, it looked as if he was pushing 60.  Most even remotely close to him knew the end was near, and he lived a reckless life that would lead one to self-destruction.  He had flashes of offensive brilliance.  He showed tremendous heart in all matches, and was both the victor in, and victim of, big upsets in the Heavyweight division.  While there was controversy over the way his career ended, there is too, about the way his life ended.  Those things make for a more interesting read, watch, or listen, but they do not make us remember a fighter, or personality, in and of themselves.
 
We remember the things that matter, when we know we will be receiving no more new output from someone.  I don't care if he really was related to John Wayne, or how closely.  I am not a John Wayne fan anyway.  I don't care if he was or was not HIV positive.  With his style, and frequency of fighting schedule, he probably got to live longer (or more clear headed) by retiring with that diagnosis.  I don't care that he was glass jawed, and had stamina problems.  That only made him more exciting.
 
I don't care that he was a white American heavyweight.  At that time, we didn't realize what a novelty that was, and it only helped him land big fights.  I don't care that he was in arguably the least memorable of the Rocky films.  His character was believable, and he was a 22 year old fighter who had never acted.  I don't even care that he never got Tyson in the ring.  The ideal time for that fight was when Iron Mike was locked up, and Morrison had already been exposed a bit.

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2013 WISH LIST

2013 WISH LIST

We are more than halfway through 2013, and there is much more to look forward to than has already occurred.  Mayweather vs. Canelo is the closest to Mayweather vs. Pacquiao that we are going to get.  Pacquiao is not nearly atop the P4P list anymore, but he is sure to have a barn-burner against Brandon Rios, and usher in the new Asian era of dominance.  Who would have thought?  China is taking over for the USA in every category soon.  We will get to say boxing led the way.  Here's how I'd like to see the rest of the year play out.

Outcomes for scheduled fights:
Mayweather should dominate Canelo, and throw ice water on the "Viva Meheeco" bandwagon as only he can.  Alvarez will still be vital, and have a ton of time to move forward and get better.  He will then kill time by beating Khan in the UK, waiting for Matthysse to become a star.
Matthysse should destroy Garcia, and it won't be quick either.  He will then take on Broner.  That is a pick 'em fight.  
Pacquiao should beat Brandon Rios, but he will take more damage.  He will be on the retirement list by next year.
Bradley vs. Marquez... I hope it's a good, not great fight.  One more brawl will ruin them both.  The winner deserves the big money Pacquiao fight, and I hope it happens next spring.
Alvarado vs. Provodnikov.  Don't be surprised if that is fight of the year.  I really hope so.
Haye will KO Fury, and eliminate one of the many loudmouth Brits who can't beat Klitschko.  Price and Chisora are entertaining.. nothing more.
Arreola will beat Mitchell, but it won't matter... for now.  Soon, all these US heavyweights will have a nice round robin.

Retirements:
Sergio Martinez - He is on the way out.. he should quit on top, instead of Golovkin hammering him into retirement.  he's earned as much.
Vitali Klitschko - Don't hold a belt hostage, when you are already 42 years old, injury riddled, and planning your next career.  It's not fair to the fans, or the other fighters in your division.  You are a future hall of famer.

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LEFTOVER BOXING PREDICTIONS - AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER

LEFTOVER BOXING PREDICTIONS - AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER

There have been a number of good fights added to the schedule since I predicted top fights for these two upcoming months.  Two title bouts within the same division have been added to the Mayweather vs. Canelo megacard, and an intriguing heavyweight eliminator has sprung upon us.  The hype machine for Pacquiao-Rios has already started, and that fight should be an entertaining war as long as it lasts, but let's put the cart before the horse, and enjoy all the action that will be preceding it.

Carlos Molina vs. Ishe Smith
This fight is a giant question mark, even though on paper the spoiler against the underacheiver looks like an easy pick.  Molina has responded well to being the favorite, and his performances against Lara, Kirkland, Cintron, and Spinks show that he can succeed against virtually any style.  However, he does not have the best of luck getting judges and referees to be on his side, and in Smith's hometown, on his promoter's card... the Chicagoan will have to do everything perfectly to come out on top.  That is not typically how Smith loses.  He is competitive, goes rounds, and wins a few along the way.  This was the case, even when he was not well managed or motivated.  He is very much so now.  A unification bout with the winner of Martorosyan-Andrade, or a bout with the loser of the main event, or Austin Trout is almost assured for the winner.  My pick is both Molina, and Smith.  I pick Molina to deserve 7-5 decision, but it will be Smith who gets the nod.

Vanes Martirosyan vs. Demetrius Andrade
It is the battle of slowly-brought-along Olympians.  Will the solid all around fighter with better experience and opposition have the edge?  Or will the fighter who seems to have more speed, talent, and momentum end up on top?  Andrade is the goods, and he pretty much has all the pluses of Erislandy Lara that gave Martirosyan trouble, with more size, and activity.  Martirosyan will try to take Andrade into deep water and drown him, but he won't swim enough in the early rounds to keep up.  Andrade by an 8-4, 12 round UD.

Kubrat Pulev vs. Tony Thompson

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SEPTEMBER BOXING PREDICTIONS

SEPTEMBER BOXING PREDICTIONS

Floyd Mayweather vs. Canelo Alvarez
The biggest fight of the year, by far.  This is as close to the hype and pre-fight excitement of a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight as we are ever likely to get.  One can never silence your critics, as they are critiquing you for some things that are beyond your control, but any sane naysayer will be silenced if Floyd puts on a clinic against Alvarez.  Canelo is such a wild card for the divergent ways in which he wins fights.  A physically strong man, his once feared power has not been much of a factor at the higher levels, except in that it illicits respect.  However, none of his skills would really be effective against Floyd.  If he goes defensive, Floyd will simply pick his spots.  If he is aggressive, Mayweather will employ his excellent defense.  If he leads, he will be countered.  If he tries to counter, Floyd is already gone.  Alvarez has one realistic chance... the hope that Maywetaher's reflexes show significant rust, and he can be outhustled.  Other than that, it's a close start, but then another pull-away win for Mayweather, by UD.

Lucas Matthysse vs. Danny Garcia
The best undercard fight since Canelo himself took on Mosley, except this match is pitting two men in their prime against one another.  It is also for the undisputed 140lb championship, and an unspoken assumption that the winner may be next in line to face Mayweather, should Floyd be victorious only an hour later.  Danny Garcia is the most durable fighter Matthysse will have faced, but thus far, that has not been what bothered the Argentine to this point.  A slick southpaw who is durable might be the worst person to face Matthysse, and Garcia is not that guy.  He may take Matthysse late, but Lucas is on fire, and I think Garcia only knows how to pressure an opponent.  Much like Peterson, this will lead to his demise.  Garcia will do his best, and make it a memorable night, but his corner or the ref will have seen enough, probably by round 8.

David Haye vs., Tyson Fury
David Haye does not have a good chin, but his chin has actually never cost him a professional fight.  His two losses came from fear and wind.  He knows how to protect himself, especially from a fighter who himself has a weak chin, and widely telegraphed punches.

 

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NEW PROSPECTS MOVED TOO SLOW, BUT IT IS FOR A REASON

NEW PROSPECTS MOVED TOO SLOW, BUT IT IS FOR A REASON

I have been one of the many leading the charge for promoters to maneuver their fighters into serious challenges much quicker when they have a long amateur background.  Gone seem to be the days of Olympians starting out in 6-rounders, and getting to titles in 10 fights or so.  Nowadays virtually no one from the 2008 class has made any real noise, and the 2012 team is being moved slower than molasses.  To understand this, one must go back to the 2000 class.
 
The lack of success for the US Olympians is partly to blame for promoters protecting their investments, yet if those fighters showed promise in early pro bouts, it would not have made a difference that their Olympic dreams ended medal-less.  Vargas, Forrest, Cotto... all fighters who fell well short of gold, only to become future hall of famers.  The 2000 class, however, failed so miserably in the pro ranks, it became the catalyst for promoter paranoia.  Yes, there was Cotto, and Jermain Taylor... and Rocky Juarez fought for many belts.  If you include foreign promoters, guys like Darchinyan and Sturm have done quite well, but the US market got burned royally.
 
It was our first year with no gold medals in over 50 years, and the biggest star of the games, Ricardo Williams, burned out in under 10 fights.  He lost, and was convicted of cocaine trafficking.  Juarez never won a title.  Taylor started great, then imploded.  Calvin Brock did well until an injury ended his career, but as a heavyweight, you pretty much have to go all the way for people to care.  Team captain Michael Bennett and Dante Craig were KO'd multiple times in their first year or so of fighting, and reduced to Palookaville in no time.
 

 

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

Zou Shiming has to look impressive.  Zou Shiming has to be explosive.  Why is everyone saying that?  Ummm, excuse me, he has to do nothing of the sort.  He had both of his gold medals bought for him, and the same will be true of his pro career.  Get ready for a lot of distance fights, where he wins dubious decisions, and becomes a major star in Asia, while never fully catching on internationally.  Remember you heard it here first.  He's Sven Ottke minus the tough opposition.

Speaking of dubious decisions, Juan Carlos Burgos now has two straight draws that should have been wins.  While it is true that promoter connections probably screwed him the last time, we now see a style pattern.  He may out-throw his opponent, but he does it off the ropes, and gets caught in between his combinations.  That makes every fight and every exchange look closer than it is.  His style confuses judges, and he will not be able to dominate anyone of note unless he learns to move forward occasionally, and polishes up his defense.

Speaking of defense, I would not be surprised if that was the way to defeat Floyd Mayweather.  Everyone expects it to be a volume punching quickster, but Floyd has beaten them before.  Someone he cannot catch may be different.  Alvarez beat Trout with defense, and Roy Jones was given hell by Antonio Tarver in just the same way... ditto for Barker and Murray against Sergio Martinez.  It requires a bit of patience, and gambling with the scorecards, but the old adage about "hooking with a hooker, or jabbing with a jabber" does not apply to defense.  The best defensive fighters can't do anything if they cannot land their counters.  Whittaker against De La Hoya is another example.

 

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VYACHESLAV SHABRANSKYY INTERVIEW

VYACHESLAV SHABRANSKYY INTERVIEW

The World Series of Boxing introduced many amateur stars into the pro game with a transition unlike any in the past. One of the most visible members of The Los Angeles team is now an unbeaten cruiserweight professional, still making his home in the Los Angeles area.  We caught up with Vyacheslav Shabrasnkyy as he prepares to try to collect his 4th career win.

CA: How old were you when you started boxing?
VS: I started kickboxing when I was 13 and after becoming 2 time world champion in full  and light contact, I tried boxing at the age of 16 and loved it from day one.

CA: Was boxing in your family?
VS: No I'm the first one.

CA: What was your amateur record?
VS: To be honest I lost count, But 150 in kickboxing and after 150th fight in boxing I stopped counting .. Probably 200

CA: Who were your boxing heroes growing up?
VS: Tyson

CA: Where do you live and train now?
VS: Currently live in Los Angeles.  I train all over the place. Mainly Maywood Boxing Gym with Manny Robles.

CA: How had the World Series of Boxing prepared you for the professional ranks?
VS: Wsb is not so different from the pros.. We had no head gear and started with 5 rounds. Also we had an extreme preparation . Great trainers and heavy training routines. When I started as a pro I felt ready.

 

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AUGUST BOXING PREDICTIONS - HEAVYWEIGHTS

AUGUST BOXING PREDICTIONS - HEAVYWEIGHTS

Deontay Wilder vs. Sergei Liakhovich
There are a number of noteworthy heavyweight fights in the month of august.  Not noteworthy in that any of them have a chance of beating a Klitschko, but in that they feature heavyweight contenders of past present and future.  In the first installment, Deontay Wilder is taking on a former belt-holder in Liakhovich.  Wilder is being super protected at this stage, as is now the sad norm for former Olympians.  Gone are the days of 8 fights to a belt.  The Belarussian is only being chosen because he has been on a losing streak, and that will continue here.  Wilder will win, and win early, because that is his style... when he wins.  I'd love to tell you more about him, but we haven't found out much... we won't in this fight either, because Sergei is done.  Wilder by 4 the round KO.

David Tua vs. Alexander Ustinov
Yes, Ustinov is hardly a legit contender, and Tua is past his prime, but due to ranking nonsense, the winner of this fight is all but assured an optional defense from a Klitschko, both of whom are facing mandatories next.  Tua's plan is never a secret.  He will stalk closely, taking punishment, until a chance to strike presents itself.  I have a feeling that he is too shot to take advantage, and Ustinov will play it safe.  Tua could still find lightning in a bottle, but odds are Ustinov will give it his all to earn the big money title shot.  Ustinov by UD... and Tua will re-retire.

Tomasz Adamek vs. Tony Grano
Adamek has not won his last two fights legitimately, but he sells tickets, and still has skills.  Tony Grano is a rare fighter who he can stop, and will keep attacking no matter what.  We know what that is setting up, and it will happen.  Adamek will get caught, rocked, and recover quickly like he usually does, to stop Grano, probably in round 6.  He is probably one of the first to capture a belt, if the Klitschkos retire in the next couple of years.

Eddie Chambers vs. Thabiso Mchunu
This fight is only included as Chambers is having a tough time getting cruiserweight opponents.  The reason is that he would beat most of them, and has no fan base.  This has also set off a funny twitter battle between Chambers and his South African challenger... but something had to get Chambers excited for this fight.  Mchunu's jawing will end the moment he experiences Chambers quickness, and strength at this weight.  He will then go into survival mode, which will be his only victory.  Chambers by UD.

 

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AUGUST BOXING PREDICTIONS PART 1

AUGUST BOXING PREDICTIONS PART 1

Gabriel Campillo vs. Andrzej Fonfara
Fonfara is still proving himself, and Campillo is coming off a brutal KO loss.  However, Fonfara is getting better each fight, and building a Polish-American fan base, so he is worth watching.  Campillo's loss to Kovalev is also a bit forgivable when you see how the Russian won exactly the same way in his next fight, and is now getting a title shot.  There is also the fact that it was only the 2nd legitimate loss in the Spaniard's career.  He is again going into the lions den, and I do not know why he keeps taking those chances with judges in his opponents' hometowns.  This time it will be a bit more legitimate.  Fonfara will use pressure to win by close, but justifiable UD.

Nathan Cleverly vs. Sergei Kovalev
Speaking of Kovalev, this is the last belt holder I thought would take a chance on him.  Shumenov is a non-entity, and Pascal cannot get healthy, but I honestly thought Kovalev would get in there with Hopkins or Stevenson before Cleverly's team took a chance.  The two men fight the same, pretty much, except Kovalev does it with a ton more power.  Unless Clev has an iron chin that has not been tested yet, this does not end well for the Welshman.  Kovalev by 5th round KO, in an exciting brawl while it lasts.

Daniel Geale vs. Darren Barker
Barker has made his reputation largely in losing competitively to Sergio Martinez.  Martinez is typically not dominant in his victories (Chavez Jr being a noteworthy exception), so I wouldn't take much stock in that.  Geale knows how to win decisions, and keep resetting so defensively efficient fighters get caught with shots the

 

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QUICK Q AND A: FREDDIE ROACH

QUICK Q AND A: FREDDIE ROACH

CA: Freddie, there's been quite a turnover lately.  Who are some young fighters you are training?
Freddie Roach: Ruslan Provodnikov, Anton Novikov , Frankie Gomez, Suhrab Shidaev, Liam Vaughan, Denis Shafikov, and Taras Shelestyuk.
 
CA: What do you think of the boom in Asian venues for boxing?
Freddie Roach: Competition is great for boxing?
 
CA: You are bringing Zachary Wohlman back from his first defeat and longest layoff.  How do you prepare him?
Freddie Roach: He's just gotta get back on that horse.
 
CA: Is there still a way we would see Pacquiao vs. Marquez 5?
Freddie Roach: If Marquez has any balls.

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INGLEWOOD FIGHT NIGHT

INGLEWOOD FIGHT NIGHT

Bash Boxing and Art of Boxing returned to Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California for the first time in 4 1/2 years, as part of a Top Rank showcase on Solo Boxeo.  It was a sellout crowd, with extra chairs brought in, and the fans were treated to several great action fights, and thrilling KO's.  

Former WBC featherweight and WBC junior lightweight world champion Takahiro Ao scored a devastating knockout over Hardy Paredes of Chile on Saturday night at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California. A short right hand by Ao in round two sent Paredes to the canvas. Paredes quickly got up but a straight left by the Japanese fighter knocked out Paredes cold, as referee Wayne Hedgepeth waved the bout at 2:51 of round two. With the win Takahiro Ao wins his U.S. debut and improves to 24-3-1, 10 KOs and Hardy Paredes falls to 16-12, 10 KOs.

In the main event, Alejandro Perez (19-3-1, 13 KOs) of Salinas, California scored a seventh round KO over veteran Edgar "Basura" Riovalle (35-16-2, 25 KOs). Early on Perez picked his shots and landed overhand rights. In round four Perez began to bleed above right eye from a headbutt. Riovalle’s experience was evident, as well as his durability. However in round seven a liver shot by Perez floored Riovalle and referee Lou Moret reached the ten count at 1:14 of the round 7.

Welterweight Zach Wohlman, Los Angeles, got back into the win column with a 40-36 shutout against Saul Avelar, of Moses Lake, WA.  Avelar tried to get Wolhman to slug with him, but to no avail, as "Kid Yamaka was content to box his way to victory, even rocking Avelar in the final round.  Wohlman is now 5-1-1-1 KO, while Avelar is now 2-8.

 

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GO EAST, NOT-SO-YOUNG MAN

GO EAST, NOT-SO-YOUNG MAN

The United States boxing fan has seen the writing on the wall for some time, in so much that the future of boxing would not be confined to our borders.  It never really has been.  It just seemed that way during the cold war, when the two meccas for the fight game were well within our borders.  Madison Square Garden from the 30's through the 70's was THE place for big fights.  In the 80's and 90's, that had shifted to the Las Vegas strip.  However, as early as 1990, when the Soviet Union fell, boxing was becoming a more international sport.  The former soviet bloc nations were ill equipped to hold big fights, however, so the talent pool was the only thing that had broadened at first.  Indeed, the big fights that took place in the 1970's in other countries (Zaire, Phillipines, Venezuela, Jamaica, Malaysia, etc.), came from US promoters, and with shopped out American heavyweight talent.  That trend began to reverse at the turn of the millennium.  

Floyd Mayweather hangs on as a rare born-and-bred American talent, and while many may be figuring out how to grow the next Floyd, promoters have already moved on.  The emergence of Manny Pacquiao took the boxing world and the financial world by surprise.  The Klitschkos dominating heavyweight boxing is seen largely as a negative to American fight fans, due to their often unscintillating styles, and foreign citizenship.  This is said, even though both brothers clearly have charisma and personality.  Pacquiao is not a great interview, says nothing groundbreaking in press conferences, and while he comes from a proud boxing country, the Phillipines was not a market that historically translated to US dollars.  

PacMan made it strictly on his amazing abilities, his winning smile, and excitement that comes with his attempts to branch out to the worlds of entertainment and politics, while still being an active boxer.  The Pacquiao era is coming to an end, but what was learned about the Asian market will not go to waste.  Even American Brian Viloria has been able to defend his titles in his blood-line home country more frequently that in his native USA.  In much the same way promoters and sanctioning bodies are opening up the Middle East after the successes of Prince Nassem Hamed and now Amir Khan in drawing power, the Far East is making more stars.  The Beijing Olympics made every sport a priority for medal-ing in China.  When they had success in boxing, suddenly a country that had never had much interest, became a major player.  When amateurs grow up, there is only one place left to go: professional.

 

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Q AND A, ALEJANDRO PEREZ

Q AND A, ALEJANDRO PEREZ

Fresh off his upset win over hot prospect Art Hovhannisyan, Alejandro Perez headlines the Unimas card, presented by Top Rank, Art of Boxing, and Bash Boxing at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, CA on July 13, 2013.  Perez sat down with Convicted Artist, to discuss his upcoming match.

How did you start boxing, and how old were you?
I was 9 years old.  My father was a boxer in Mexico, but didn't ever have a good trainer or manager, so he didn't stay with it.  My brother was a pro fighter, too, but retired after 9 pro fights.

Where are you from?
I was born in Michocan, Mexico, but when I was 7, we moved to Watsonville, CA, and then to Salinas two years later.

What was your amateur record?
I was 33-10 I think.  I won the Silver Gloves locally, and had the opportunity to go to the Junior Olympics in Michigan

Who was the best fighter you have fought as a pro?
Probably Diego Magdaleno.  He's a slick boxer.  I dropped him in the first round, but I let him recuperate.  It's true what they say, though... you learn so much more from your losses than your wins.

 

 

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

Jessica has been offered her own reality show... I guess it doesn't matter how you get famous, as long as you get famous, but it makes me wonder what it would take for one of the men she's had sex with... you know, the ones who've actually accomplished something, to get their own show.  Floyd has to be the best fighter in the world to get one, and it comes and goes with his fights.  Yes, this is fair.
 
Speaking of fair, the Broner-Malignaggi decision was fair, but like most fair decisions recently, it was still arrived at by way of two bizarre scores.  Broner did not win that wide, and Malignaggi did not win at all, unless you only appreciate one style of boxing.  And if you only appreciate one style of boxing, be a fan.  You have no business judging the sport.
 
Speaking of having no business, is it me, or is Don King fully enjoying his marginalization?  He may be in denial, but he has purposely not done what it would take to stay vital.  He has never changed his business model to share more of the pie, to hire out his fighters, to gain exclusivity with networks.  Consequently, networks and fighters look at the lack of activity and leave him in droves.  I'm half expecting him to have a retirement round robin tourney between Cloud, Jones, and Pianeta in Florida, that we all get to see on ESPN.  Would be great action, and he could exclusively promote, and we get to say goodbye in style.
 
Speaking of saying goodbye in style, I hope Sergio Martinez does so soon.  The way he looked against Murray is usually the beginning of the end.  He deserves to go out on top, not beaten by one of the lesser fighters at Middleweight.  I would not pick him to beat Quillin, Golovkin, or Geale now.  I would have picked him to beat all of them 2 years ago.
 

 

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WHO WILL BEAT BRONER??

WHO WILL BEAT BRONER??

So, Adrien Broner won a spilt decision over Paulie Malignaggi.  I agree with the verdict, and think it was a close fight.  That is not earth shattering.  Broner has had a close fight before, and prevailed.  The aura of invincibility is not there for Broner, as it is for Mayweather at this point, and even Money May had a couple guys get close to beating him.  Before I analyze who will be most suited to put an L in Broner's column, let me point out the obvious differences between he and Floyd.
 
It is difficult to tell who would be best at beating Floyd, as both counterpunchers and aggressive fighters tend to fail to catch him cleanly.  However, Broner is hittable.  While he employs the roll and counter better than anyone else except Floyd, Broner does so while pursuing his opponents.  He is not by nature simply a counter puncher.  Mayweather does it while making fighters pursue him.  Broner also digs to the body much more than Mayweather, and intends to break down an opponent's body, while Floyd mostly breaks down a fighter mentally.
 
We have not seen Broner fight too many punchers, and the one puncher he did fight was lacking in speed (De Marco).  Rees and Malignaggi could not hurt him, but were able to catch him cleanly to the head and body.  This would lead one to assume it's a puncher with fast hands that would beat Broner, but wait a minute.  He was also given trouble by his inability to hurt Malignaggi and Ponce De Leon.  His punch output is too low for a fighter without flawless defense.  If he cannot hurt you, he is in trouble.  So, it would be a fast-handed, taller, power-punching, hard-chinned fighter.
 
There is the rub.  Offensively, Amir Khan sounds like the perfect fighter to face Broner, but his weak chin, and lack of inside game, means he will be taken apart before he can do any real damage to "The Problem".  Matthysse's chin and power would present a big issue, but has his technique/speed improved enough to land anything clean?  Garcia has technique, and is both powerful and durable, but he is too slow, and defensively weak.  Garcia would follow Broner around all night.  Forget any Top Rank guys...
 

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WHERE DOES HE GO?

WHERE DOES HE GO?

After a brutal loss to Adonis Stevenson, former undisputed Light Heavyweight champion Chad Dawson is at a crossroads.  He has made a career out of giving fighters he has beaten second chances: Hopkins (technically), Tarver, Johnson... yet the same courtesy has never been afforded him.  Nobody wants to see him lose to Ward a second time, but he deserves a second shot at both Pascal and Stevenson, yet it looks as if that is not likely to happen.
 
Avenging losses is making a bit of a comeback lately.  Both David Price and Seth Mitchell are attempting to do so immediately following a defeat, which is encouraging, however some fighters like Amir Khan and Manny Pacquiao seem to be in no hurry to get back in the ring with anyone who put an L on their record.  No matter what Dawson does, we can bet there will be more trainer changes.  Let's look at Bad Chad's options:
 
Dawson may simply want to retire.  He is a 4 time belt holder and former undisputed champion.  He is too small for Cruiserweight, and failed miserably at Super Middle, so what else could he accomplish but what he has already done?  He has never had a big time promoter, or a huge fan base, and has increasingly been traveling to his opponent's backyards in order to make better money.  He had two impressive hometown title wins, however, so he has even checked that item off the boxing bucket list.

 

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JULY BOXING PREDICTIONS

JULY BOXING PREDICTIONS

This summer is being largely passed over in favor of bigger money fights in the fall, however, the entertaining scraps may actually take place during this supposed down-time.  Not to mention the winners are poised to join the fray of money-making battles in the fall.  For every big name like Pacquiao and Khan that are waiting until late, there is someone like Berto and Molina, trying to remind us they are still there.
 
Bernard Hopkins vs. Karo Murat
Murat is basically a typical 175lb-er these days... comes straight forward, stands straight up, nothing fancy.  He is the perfect foil to make Bernard Hopkins look like he still has it.  Murat will open strong, but the old master will dominate from then on out... even if he has lost a step.  Hopkins by wide UD.
 
David Price vs. Tony Thompson 2
In the same fashion that Golden Boy is trying to rebound Seth Mitchell by an immediate rematch with a man who KO'd him in round 2, the same is being attempted with Price.  It never works.  Just ask Lennox Lewis.  In fact, the more dominant one is post-shocking loss, the more that loss stands out in retrospect.  Like Lewis, Price seems to have lost to a questionable stoppage and a balance issue.  Unlike Lewis, Price doesn't not have to overcome an insane person to get revenge.  Thompson is crafty enough to put fear in Price, and make him box cautiously, but will eventually be worn down.  Price by late round TKO.
 
Andre Berto vs. Jesus Soto-Karass

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OK, NOW WHAT??

OK, NOW WHAT??

There are great victories in boxing which open the door to wealth, fame, and adulation.  There are also great victories in boxing that lead to layoffs, lack of opposition, promoter/manager issues, etc.  Not to be negative, but I think some plan of action needs to be taken prior to a big win.  It is not in the nature of a fighter to look past an opponent.  Well, it may be in their nature, but they are encouraged not to do so, or at least pretend they are not doing so.  Many a fighter are also not known for thinking through to end game anyway.  Warriors must live in the moment.  Managers should prepare for the best and worst case scenarios, so that fighters are not forced to be punished for that which they should be rewarded.  Here are a few examples of an "ok, now what?" situation.  Forget the Fabrice Tiozzos and Guillermo Jones' of the world.  The were mis-promoted after winning belts, but they are Don King fighters, and had to know that inactivity is part of the game in the situation.  Here are three fighters who have had recent great performances, and really nowhere to go from there for the foreseeable future.

Andre Ward - Yes, there is money in a Froch rematch, but nothing to prove, and a big risk of being robbed.  It almost happened when they fought in the US... imagine the guaranteed screwing he'd get in the UK.  He's bested all challengers at 168 and toppled the man at 175.  He can't make any other weights, and while his injuries are buying him time, they have cost him two big money fights.  Pavlik and Bute likely would have succumbed to Ward to the tune of nice dollars, yet when injuries sidelined Ward... Bute took the path of least resistance (or so he thought), while Pavlik outright retired.  It doesn't help that the developing talent in both divisions are moving at an even slower pace.  Rodriguez, Dirrell, even Taylor's comeback.  Nobody seems that anxious to do anything real at 168. 

 

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Gerald Washington Returns to the Ring On Showtime Extreme

Gerald Washington Returns to the Ring On Showtime Extreme

Burbank, California (June 6, 2013) - It was just over 3 years ago that Heavyweight prospect Gerald Washington realized that his career was better suited for the squared circle than the gridiron.  After a successful career at the University of Southern California (USC) and subsequent tryouts for NFL  teams, Washington decided to try his fate in the sweet science.

His choice of career change would be a good one as Washington did well in the amateur ranks and decided to turn professional in 2012.  Since then, the former USC standout has caught the attention of boxing aficionados everywhere, catapulting his career off to an impressive 7-0 (5 KO's) record.  On Saturday evening, June 8, 2013,  Washington will face his toughest opponent to date in journeyman Sherman Williams 35-12-2 (19 KO's) in his first televised bout on Showtime Extreme (SHO Extreme).

It may seem bittersweet for Washington and he is hoping to make the best of his opportunity.  Washington did not take a traditional path to the sport of boxing and worked hard to get there.

Washington grew up in a humble household in Vallejo, California.  A son to a single mother of Mexican descent and a father that was African-American, Washington was blessed to have both parents in his life.  He stayed with his mother during the weekdays and spent the weekends with his father and stepmother.  

At the age of 12 years old, Washington was sent to live with his godmother in Mexico to experience a part of his culture.  He learned a lot from his experience and later moved back to the states.  After graduating fromWashington-Pullman high school, Washington decided to join the United States Navy and completed his four year enlistment under honorable conditions in 2004.

 

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ANDRE WARD'S OPTIONS

ANDRE WARD'S OPTIONS

Standing atop the 168lb world seems like a great position to be in, but if you are Andre ward, it may leave you without a dance partner.  Not only has S.O.G. won, he has usually done so in dominant fashion.  Some have run from this, like Lucian Bute... who was brutally KO'd by Carl Froch, then abandoned the division entirely,  and some have stepped up (or down), like Chad Dawson.  However, injuries have bought him time.  It is the wrong kind in his case I'm sure, as it cost him an easy fight for big money against Kelly Pavlik, but it has allowed for the division to sort itself out a bit.

The time has done nothing, however, but develop a line of people he has already beaten.  DeGale, Groves, and Oosthuizen are interesting challenges, but are they big enough fights for the number 2 pound for pound fighter in the world?  Hardly.  At least not yet.  Hopkins would be a big fight, but it would add nothing to Ward's legacy.  Not to mention Hopkins wants nothing to do with Ward.  There is nothing exciting happening at 175 right now, either, especially considering Ward vanquished the division kingpin.  So, now it's time to look at possible challenges... the realistic ones, anyway.

Carl Froch
I know, there first fight was not close, but Froch has avenged his only other defeat, and destroyed the number one contender at the time in Kessler and Bute, respectively.  He is the only other name and money man in the division.  Going to the UK would be scorecard suicide, as he was almost screwed right here in the US when he fought Froch.  Unless Ward can establish a rider that includes him picking the referee and judges, it is not worth the gamble.  His options are thin besides, but can be interesting.

Gennady Golovkin / Sergio Martinez
They exist as one, because either Sergio will have to retire, or Golovkin move up in order for this fight not to happen.  GGG and maravilla will likely tangle in the next 12 months, and the winner will have no one truly interesting at 160lbs.  The victor will also be outgrowing the division if it is GGG, and need to move up. 

 

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ODDLY TIMED QUITTERS

ODDLY TIMED QUITTERS

If at first you don't succeed, quit?  Apparently some do take that road.  For every Jersey Joe Walcott, Leavander Johnson or Frank Bruno that become champions on their 3rd, 4th, or even 5th try, there is one who packs it in, and says enough after failing once at the highest level.  In many cases, it is even their first defeat.  Today I will look at 3 examples of bizarrely timed retirements.  not fighters who walked away for personal reasons.  No, these men had a bad loss, but not one bad enough to stop fighting altogether:

Joe Lipsey
He was an unbeaten middleweight contender, with a handful of TV appearances, when he took on a relatively new champion named Bernard Hopkins.  From Mississippi, he fought out of Michigan, and while some record-padding was definitely a part of his 25-0 record, he had beaten veteran Sanderline Williams, and upended a few unbeaten prospects on his way to the title shot.  However, once the fight started, the class difference was apparent.  Lipsey was stopped in 4 rounds, and never fought again.  Knowing what we now know about "The Executioner", it is a wonder if Lipsey might have had more success if he kept going.

Valdemir Pereira
Ok, he technically was a world champion, but had only won a vacant belt, when he lost it in his first defense.  The IBF Featherweight champion from Brazil had come to the US, won the vacant title on ESPN2, and was making an optional defense against ordinary Eric Aiken (a recent loser to a 6-5 opponent).  Aiken had a scored a couple of upsets to get to the title shot, and was beginning to do so again, after dropping Pereira twice in the 4th and 5th rounds.  However, what happened next was a compete unraveling.  Pereira repeatedly hit Aiken low until he was finally DQ'd in round 8.  Never known as a clean fighter, this was not a surprise. Tthe surprise was that this seems to be how Pereira chose to end his career.  Nearly 7 years later, he has not fought again.  He was in his twenties, and competing in a division that was just about to get hot.  Wonder what happened.

 

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WELTERWEIGHT TOURNEY??

WELTERWEIGHT TOURNEY??

Ok, I believe it is time, for many reasons, to clean house at 147lbs.  The big fights are going on at 140 and 154, even though 147lbs is the most comfortable weight for boxing's two biggest draws.  Instead of waiting for a Guerrero-like shot at the big money (which isn't even an option unless you are Mexican), an elimination tournament, which is half-started, should commence.  The action is so good at 154 and 140, how could it not take place at the only division in which they can meet.  Justice seems to be prevailing at the aforementioned weights around welter, anyway.
 
There is a champ at 154lbs, and the other belts are facing deserving mandatories.  Matthysse will likely get Garcia for an undisputed champion to emerge.  Khan's handlers will likely send him screaming for 147lbs.  The Top Rank lock-up has the 6 fighters he represents at 140-147 all fighting each other (wait for Provodnikov vs. Alvarado to be announced any day now), but this leaves a gap at 147lbs, for many name fighters to get it on.  The first leg has already happened, the second is about to.  We just need to fill in the gaps, and if my plan is put into place, Floyd will have an agreed upon number one contender to fight by next May.
 
Who's in: Mosley, Malignaggi, Broner, Alexander, Keith Thurman
Who's Out: Kell Brook, Pablo Cesar Cano, Robert Guerrero, Andre Berto (May and Pac get to do their own thing until the smoke clears, also). Berto is out because he needs to rebuild... ditto Guerrero.  Cano can't make his name off of two close losses, so he needs a good win, maybe against Guerrero or Berto.  Randall Bailey and Mike Jones are out too.  Kell Brook is out because he chooses to fight nobody real.  Amir Khan is out until he proves himself (maybe with a win over one of the other "outed" fighters) at 147lbs.
 
Mosley beat Cano, and Alexander stayed busy.  The winner of Malignaggi and Broner moves on.  Alexander vs. Thurman needs to take place in the early fall, as does Mosley vs. the winner of Malignaggi-Broner.

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