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Jan 18th
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Home Boxing

Boxing Editorials

STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

Floyd Mayweather and Bernard Hopkins are saying they plan on being more active.  While that may be good news for boxing fans looking to enjoy the swan song of two all-time greats, it may not be the best thing for either man's legacy or business.  Some fighters rot with long rest periods... certainly Lennox Lewis didn't get any sharper between the Tyson and Klitschko fights... but many others look their best after a year off.  These two men alone have recently demonstrated.
 
Speaking of May and BHop, there are different approaches.  Careful matchmaking is something in which Floyd can be almost counted upon engaging.  However, Hopkins has the admirable, if ill-advised propensity for fighting his useless mandatories, and it almost never works out.  Who can forget Morrade Hakkar running for his life, or the losses Hopkins suffered to Taylor and Dawson.  Something is telling me Murat might be the latest to help Hopkins follow something historic, with something disappointing.
 
Speaking of something disappointing, Kell Brook is taking a useless fight, and will likely never get in the ring with Devon Alexander.  Like Ricky Burns before him, it looks as if he'd rather be exposed slowly and domestically, as opposed to drastically in the states.  One can hardly blame his management, but it would be nice if we were never teased first.  Sven Ottke and Daruisz Michalchewski were scared shitless of coming to the US to be exposed, but their management did everything short of admit it.  Don't tease us.
 
Speaking a tease, Audley Harrison is likely un-retiring almost immediately after retiring.  Don't get too big for your britches, Audley... you were never good enough to go away and be missed.  He was a big, frightened 3-round fighter, who didn't even consistently excel in those 3 rounds.  He's also in his forties, and for his own good, needs to go away.  Roy Jones may be having a pathetic 40-something career, but his 20-35 was magical enough that it won't matter legacy-wise.  Audley, in retrospect, might have been better off staying amateur.
 

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JUNE BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 2

JUNE BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 2

Matthew Macklin vs. Gennady Golovkin
The second legit top ten opponent of Golovkin's 160lb belt reign, and it is not supposed to be an easy one.  One thing is for sure, Mack the knife is going to get cut himself.  Golovkin may have a few rounds of looking awkward and troubled, but his strength and durability seem to break down fighters faster than anyone since JC Chavez Sr.  It's not who he's been beating... it's the way he's beaten them.  He stops guys who don't get stopped.  Macklin already has been.  It will happen again here.  GGG may lose the first round he's lost in quite some time early on, but he'll wear down and stop Macklin by round 7.
 
David Haye vs. Manuel Charr
We can't predict much in David Haye's career.  Haye is definitely going to retire... now he isn't.  He's gonna go to war with Klitschko... he most definitely doesn't.  He won't face Manuel Charr... now he will.  One thing is for certain... with Haye, expect the unexpected.  I might be the only one to do so, but I am calling the upset here.  Haye has by far the superior offensive skills, but I believe he is ripe to get caught by a tough fighter with nothing to lose.  Charr by 5th round KO, with Haye controlling the action, until he gets dropped.
 
Paulie Malignaggi vs. Adrien Broner
While I'd love to give kudos to Broner for taking on a slick boxer type, instead of a plodding slugger for a change, however he is doing so in order to ensure he ends up avoiding two things.  Those things are power and the 140lb division.  He shares a promoter with most of the major names at 140lbs, and yet he is sailing right over that division.  Maybe he is just waiting to face one definable champion there, but by leaping over to face Malignaggi and not Alexander, it looks as if he is also not in a hurry to answer questions about his own chin.  

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BRAVO FOR RISK

BRAVO FOR RISK

I do not wish to make light of what professional athletes go through.  Anytime you step between those ropes, you are taking chances with your health, your future, and your ability to earn a living.  However, in this day and age of sports as business to everyone involved (not just the managers and promoters), the path of least resistance is often the one taken.  Lately, however, fighters have been taking matches that they probably could have gotten out of, in order to satisfy public need.  I would like to congratulate those participants, as they deserve our applause, regardless of the outcome.  

Nonito Donaire vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux
Nonito was riding high, no one would have faulted him if he went up a division yet again and decided to win a belt, and then sit on it.  Rigondeaux had the excuse of building his record a bit more.  Top Rank is not doing business with Golden Boy, however, and Abner Mares was leaving the division anyway.  It appears Bob Arum learned his lesson about lost matchups from Juanma and Gamboa, and now he is matching his toughest guys against each other.  Finally making the monopoly work for itself.  Rigo has no future matchups on the horizon that appear interesting, but Donaire lost without really being destroyed.  He was humbled, not ruined.  This one worked out well for all involved.

Andre Ward vs. Chad Dawson.  
Again, two fighters who could have coasted after meaningful wins making them legit world champions.  Instead they went after each other.  Hats off to Dawson for taking more of the risk... going to Ward's division, and his backyard.  Hats off to Ward for his most impressive performance to date.  Ward pretty much lived the perfect amateur career, and it looks as though he is poised to live the perfect professional career.  It is hall of fame worthy already, and he is ranked number 2 P4P, after only Floyd.  He is there because of disappointing performances by Pacquiao, Martinez, and Donaire, as much as from this performance, but he is there nonetheless.  For Chad, it might not have been worth the risk.  We have yet to see if he will ever be the same.

Lucas Matthysse vs. Lamont Peterson

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JUNE BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 1

JUNE BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 1

Jonathan Banks vs. Seth Mitchell
This rematch is only necessary if it leads to a trilogy, but we know better.  If Mitchell wins, no matter how the win comes about, he will be maneuvered into a bout with a Klitschko, so that Golden Boy may cash in.  Not that Mitchell won't be an exciting heavyweight for some time, but he was revealed against Banks to be this generation's Derrick Jefferson... great for action, but not a world beater.  It's too bad Banks is weak-chinned and undersized, as he seems to have the pedigree and cool head to do well at heavyweight, but his glorious future probably exists in the corner, and not in the ring.  Look for Mitchell to be more careful, and wait for Banks to make the first major error, which he will.  Mitchell by 8th round TKO, after a fairly even fight.
 
Alfredo Angulo vs. Erislandy Lara
If you think the winner is going to get Canelo, guess again.  Golden Boy would never risk it, and the WBC will never make a Mexican do anything he doesn't want to, even if involves another Mexican who sells less tickets.  Lara has typically either looked spectacular against a string of journeyman, or ordinary like against Vanes Martirosyan and Carlos Molina.  His loss/win over Paul Williams is his most impressive fight, and yet all that showed was he can do the same thing over and over if it works.  That will make the difference against Angulo.  While El Perro's strength and power are impressive, he does not have the imperviousness to punches he did prior to Kirkland stopping him, and he was even outboxed by Kermit Cintron... who is not exactly Willie Pep.  Lara should dominate, save for some tense moments, and stop Angulo (via TKO) about round 9.
 
Chad Dawson vs. Adonis Stevenson
Dawson deserves an easy fight.  Taking advantage of his name being known in Canada, as well as the potential for a big money fight with the winner of Bute-Pascal, Stevenson made the most sense.  What remains to be seen is if Dawson will ever be the same after the beating that Andre Ward gave him. 
 
Josesito Lopez vs. Marcos Maidana

 

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MAY BOXING PREDICTIONS PART 2

MAY BOXING PREDICTIONS PART 2

Floyd Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero
The 'Money' show is at it again... another hard-nosed Mexican American, this time with a chin and laser-like focus.  The question is really how much Floyd has left.  When you fight once a year, in your mid-30's, major slippage can occur at any time.  This is not a good fighter to slip against, but he would have to show much bigger chinks in the armor, before I pick against him.  Guerrero has never shown the greatest ability to adjust within a fight, so when Floyd starts to take over in or about round 4, "The Ghost" will probably follow his master around willingly until the final bell.  Mayweather by UD.
 
Daniel Ponce DeLeon vs. Abner Mares
On paper, Mares should win.  He is younger, faster, undefeated, and like Andre Ward, he always finds a way to win.  Unlike Ward, however, his ways are not always legal, and rarely dominant.  DeLeon has had a bit of a resurgence, starting with how well he did against now unbeatable-looking Adrien Broner.  Mares's unbeaten record has been living on borrowed time for a while.  One has to pick the occasional upset here and there.  I pick Ponce by late TKO, when Mares' face busts up.
 
Marco Huck vs. Ola Afolabi 3
 Huck is so unpredictable.  From winning a bad decision over Firat Arslan, when he should have dominated, to getting screwed against Povetkin, when he deserved a win.  This is a man who has stood up to heavyweight bombs, but was KO'd by lighter hitting Steve Cunningham.  Afolabi is as big of a question mark, but motivation goes a long way.  This time, it will finally kick in.  Afolabi finally moves his hands consistently, and wins a split decision.  Get ready for fight number 4.
 
Carl Froch vs. Mikkel Kessler 2

 

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REBUILDING, SOMETIMES NEEDED AFTER A WIN

REBUILDING, SOMETIMES NEEDED AFTER A WIN

I predicted almost every winner correctly on this huge boxing weekend... but I called them all knockouts, and I was wrong virtually every time in that regard.  Thank goodness for Fernando Guerrero and Audley Harrison's weak chins for making sure I didn't have a goose egg for my KO column.  While the courage and abilities of Julio Diaz, Berman Stiverne, and Martin Murray need to be applauded for their respective efforts, I beleive their performances highlighted issues in their opponents that need solving.  Never did I think I would be potentially recommending retirement for all three of their opponents: Sergio Martinez, Amir Khan, and Chris Arreola, but it may not be far off in the scheme of things if changes are not implemented.
 
For Khan, it is too early to tell.  Tough fights against limited opponents with heart is what he does.   Maidana, Diaz, they fight him tough.  However, he also dominates men like Malignaggi, Judah, Salita, and Kotelnik, who almost always make it difficult for everyone else.  His chin will always be a problem, but fighting better when hurt may not be.  Better inside fighting, along with improved defense, and ability to smother opponents is what he needs.  The offensive brilliance on the outside will always be there.  Revenge wins are necessary, too, in order to rebuild his confidence.  Start with Prescott, whose dance card is quite empty, and move him into Peterson fight, regardless of what happens to Lamont against Matthysse.  Garcia showed he is still very solid-chinned against Judah, but actually can be rattled.  Khan could break him down in an even bigger fashion, and unlike Judah, not be behind when doing so.  Again, it is too early to tell, but unless Virgil Hunter drastically improves his learning curve, Golden Boy is going to rush Khan straight into another defeat. If that happens, he could be close to washed up by age 27.
 
Sergio Martinez has more than earned the right to be washed up.  However, when a fighter loses fights the way an older injured fighter does, it leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth.  Vitali Klitschko has never really been beaten, but his body hasn't always cooperated with his ability.  Yet, his punch receptivity was never changed.  Maravilla has not been so lucky.  Never an iron-chinned fighter, he is being caught more often, and being pushed back on his heels in the process.

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Canelo Alvarez vs. Austin - Predetermined Verdict

Canelo Alvarez vs. Austin - Predetermined Verdict

It’s called the Texas 4-Step. First the judges are aligned for a predetermined verdict if the bout goes to a decision. 2nd, without prior knowledge of the Trout Team, the under cover of the ring was changed to thick foam to slow down the boxer Trout’s movement and or retreating to angles quickly. Third, It  was a hard-core Chicano San Antonio Audience who have no respect for the American Flag or National Anthem that was intimidating…not to Trout but to the judges. Too bad they don’t get all the American goodies by first having to be drafted (Like my generation) into the Armed Services. Look at the olden times when men like Manny Ortega and other immigrants fought for this country and gave their respects just like my ancestors and even me, Semper fi.

Bill Knight confirmed same as he was there and told me  the fans were ugly.  And fourth is the worst of all. Since some goons in control of boxing decided to weigh in the day before the fight instead of fight day, all kinds of legal ‘chicanery’ and illegal steps have been taken by the nefarious ones to gain a supreme advantage over the innocent or those with little clout.

CASE IN POINT. Trout and Alvarez weighed in around 154 pounds as Light Middleweights. But as soon as that was over, Alvarez is on the juice. Of course to make weight he had to take diuretics. He is a light heavyweight before the diuretics. Then the IV’s begin to replace what the diuretics took away. Some boxers even get a good shot of adrenalin and some blood-doping (Texas is so lax..for a reason). Later, some B-12 and other fluids are pumped in along with some heavy protein and glucose. After a good meal of protein and vitamins, a little more adrenalin  and later a pinch of a stimulant(possible) before fight time mixed with a slight dose of pain killer liquids on the stomach and hands and perhaps some internally makes for a  surprising finish in less than 24 hours. Really? Yes indeed, Canelo entered the ring at a reported 172 pounds. Trout, like Mayweather, is thin and cut. They can’t soup up their bodies, they are ectomorph’s while Canelo is a mesomorph. And there you have the Texas 4-Step. Trout was knocked down for the first time in his career. Uh oh, but not by a light middleweight…rather a light heavyweight.  

Bill Knight and half of the boxing websites I have visited and sites of many former world champions still gave Trout a 115-113 victory and co - incidentally, so did I. Hey, what courage and stamina Austin displayed after the knockdown. All he did was dominate the next 2 ½ minutes of the round. He set the pace for eight of the twelve rounds and he landed many more punches than Alvarez (the giant). He easily took the 12th round to secure a victory  that wasn’t about to come because of the ‘bought and paid for judges’ and the sinister circumstances.

 

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MAY BOXING PREDICTIONS PART 1

MAY BOXING PREDICTIONS PART 1

Wladimir Klitschko vs. Francisco Pianeta
A quick glance at Pianeta's record... is all that is justified.  Do we really have to go through this much more often.  Klitschko by TKO, about round 9, and he will have been able to take Pianeta out for about 5 rounds before that.
 
Lamont Peterson vs. Lucas Matthysse
Exciting things are a-happening at 140lbs!  This fight matches two very durable fighters, who put pressure on their opponents.  Matthysse is the bigger puncher, but Peterson is the more complete fighter.  The winner of this fight is the man at 140lbs, and Khan or Garcia will have to step up to match them.  Just how much has Matthysse learned?  Are we too carried away with how good he has looked against lower opposition?  I believe so.  People may say I am crazy, but I pick Peterson to be able to do more things, and even outwork Lucas on the inside... in order to win a close-ish UD
 
Devin Alexander vs. Kell Brook
Had this fight come off as it was originally intended, I'd be picking Alexander, no problem.  In fact, I'd probably go as far as to predict a Billy Dib, Howard Eastman style freeze-up on the part of Brook.  However, given what has transpired during the delay, I believe Alexander will be looking past Brook, and the Brit will be extra motivated.  The skills are definitely there, as are the potentials for big fights for the winner.  Alexander will box well early, but Brook will close the gap.  Brook by MD.
 
Lucien Bute vs. Jean Pascal

 

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RIPE FOR A FALL

RIPE FOR A FALL

Wow!  I really blew that call with Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Nonito Donaire.  I was so sure that Rigo's weak opposition, and potential weaknesses shown against that opposition would come back to haunt him the first time Donaire connected with something solid.  Unfortunately for Donaire, that first time came in round 10.  Rigo showed a better chin, more determination, and willingess to be more careful when he had a good opponent in front of him.  All of his bad habits seemingly melted away with his new concentration.  However, he did have a little bit of help here.
 
Donaire was ripe for a fall the minute people were anointing him as the second coming.  A lot of pressure to follow up a banner year, a "fighter of the year" type of year.  Many a fighter followed up this honor by being beaten, and Donaire now joins that list.  He turned into a one-dimensional fighter when confronted with a higher challenge, the exact opposite of Rigo's reaction to the big stage.  Granted, neither fighter was crazy about engaging, for fear of what was going to come back, but Rigo controlled the pace, and the tempo.  Nothing happened unless he started (and usually ended) the exchange.
 
Donaire won more rounds than the biased HBO call would have you believe, but he won them because Rigo took them off, not for anything special he was doing.  Donaire was even able to fight on fairly even terms for the last few rounds, but it took him too long to figure out that he had to throw combinations, and be willing to miss badly within them.  Donaire was also cheated out of quality time with his trainer.  Robert Garcia should take note of Freddie Roach's recent downfall, and not stretch himself too thin.  Not only was he not there to help his charge prepare, but he seemingly had no real answers for Nonito.

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TAKING TOO LONG

TAKING TOO LONG

I have often written about professional boxers being moved way too slowly nowadays.  Especially considering that this phenomena is unique to men's boxing, it bears more examination.  Women are moved very quickly once they show their chops.  Amateur fighters with 10 fights are routinely put in with men who have over 100, once they qualify for a given tournament.  Let us not get started on how fast certain MMA fighters are moved.  However, with all of these categories failing to influence, in boxing the problem is getting worse and not better.  We look at a few examples of highly stalled careers:
 
Shawn Estrada - Sure, the entire Olympic class of 2008 has been moved with the speed of a snail, so to single out Estrada may not seem right.  However, at least Wilder, Andrade, and Russell give the appearance of finally taking on real competition.  Estrada, however, has been plagued by inactivity, and barely even takes on other prospects, much less journeyman who could present a challenge.  He should have either had a title shot or two by now, or lost once or twice on the way, to real fighters.  Either way, it'd be less sad than where he is now.
 
Vanes Martirosyan - Yes, I know he was only 17 at the Olympics, but he has been a pro for nearly 9 years now, and is still undefeated, yet has only really been tested a few times.  His 2004 teammate Raushee Warren was the same age, and stayed for two more Olympics, and is not that far behind Martirosyan's development!  Given his weight class, Warren could get a title shot before Vanes.  He looked good in beating Mean Joe Greene, but went even up with Erislandy Lara, and was lucky to get the decision against Kassim Ouma.  He has already beaten Vernon Forrest's record for an unbeaten Olympian taking the longest to get to a title shot.  

 

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DAVID HAYE, NOT SO BAD

DAVID HAYE, NOT SO BAD

Many a fighter is appreciated more post-career than during.  Pernell Whittaker put together a streak of 6 titles in 4 weight classes, while scarcely being tagged with a clean punch.  It was not until he began to slip that he was viewed, correctly so, as one of the top 5 lightweights, and top 5 defensive wizards of all time.  Certainly the Klitschko dominance will be viewed with more respect once they both retire.  Oscar de la Hoya has spent so much time as a celebrity, that only now are people beginning to remember he was one of the most accomplished (and for a spell) dominant fighters in history.
 
I am not comparing David Haye to any of these men in overall skill, but he does seem to have the Ali factor in that way... he talks such a great game, we often forget he can fight.  Overcoming a weak chin and inadequate stamina to win multiple titles is no small feat.  Those two things are responsible for the diminishing of many a career: Andrew Golota, Frank Bruno, Junior Jones... with their offensive brilliance, who is to say what they could have become if they could last and take a punch?
 
Only Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye stand as modern examples of overcoming these obstacles to potential hall of fame careers.  Haye ran out of gas in his loss to Carl Thompson, and has never had stamina be a problem again.  He had a "chinny" reputation as early as the amateurs, yet since his move up to heavyweight, has been able to avoid getting caught with too many big bombs.  Because his retire and un retire act gets old.... because he talks his way into fights he may not have earned... it takes away from his true accomplishments.
 

 

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GREATEST (lesser discussed) RIVALRIES, Part 1

GREATEST (lesser discussed) RIVALRIES, Part 1

What constitutes a great boxing rivalry?  Typically it is more than two fights.  Not that one cannot exist with only two.  Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling is one good example.  However, unless the weight of democracy is riding on it, some back and forth is usually necessary to be truly memorable.  Each combatant winning at least once is a necessity as well.  Pryor-Arguello, as well as Robinson-Bobo Olsen could not count, as only one man won in each pairing.
 
Even using these parameters, the lists are long.  I would like to give some credence to some of the lesser sung heroes of the boxing rivalry category... more modern examples, and long ago examples.  Everyone knows about Ali-Frazier, Pep-Saddler, La Motta-Robinson, and Graziano-Zale, so there is no need to rehash those.  These are not obscure fighters, however, but rivalries that simply deserve more attention.
 
Harry Greb vs. Gene Tunney
These two men were arguably the top light heavyweights in the 1920's, minus Georges Carpentier.  They tangled a total of 5 times, with Greb only winning the first.  Although many feel Greb deserved the decision in 2 of the other contests, Tunney would emerge victorious in all 4 subsequent matchups.  Not bad for a guy who many suggested retire after the Greb loss.  In fact, it was the only loss of Tunney's career.  Greb even entered the Fighting Marine's dressing room after the fifth fight, to finally wave the verbal flag of surrender, telling Tunney, "I will never fight you again."
 
Vinny Pazienza vs. Greg Haugen
You take two lightweights with big egos, sturdy chins, great stamina, and average power, and you are sure to have fireworks.  This was a 1980's lightweight rivalry at a time when men like Chavez, Whittaker, and Camacho called the division home, and yet, these two American fighters were packing 'em in, and entertaining TV fans.  

 

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FREDDIE ROACH INTERVIEW

FREDDIE ROACH INTERVIEW

3-time trainer of the year Freddie Roach talked with Chris Strait at Convicted Artist, as he readies his fighters for the upcoming challenges.  Despite a roller coaster year that saw many of his fighters on the short end of big fights, after a great multi-year run of success, Roach is continuing on the path of hard work, and developing fighters.

CA: Freddie, how many fighters do you have on the Florentine Gardens card next Thursday?
FR: Well, it is just Liam (Vaughan) now… Zach (Wohlman) was gonna be on the card, but he has a fractured jaw.

CA: Who are some of the other trainers working at Wild Card we may not know about?  We obviously know about Eric Brown.
FR: Well we finally got Marvin Somodio over from the Phillipines.  We’d been trying to get him here for 3 years, but I finally went there, and hid him in my bag, and got him over here.

CA: (laughs) Visa’s take that long there?
FR: Yes, not the easiest thing to get.  But he’s here now, he’s a great trainer, and he's working with Brian Viloria.

CA: When are we gonna get Viloria back on regular networks?  He’s having fight of the year candidates, and never fighting in the U.S. or on major networks.
FR: Well, the Macau card is gonna be on HBO2.

CA: Yes, a step in the right direction.  So, talk to me about Liam.  How did you find him?
FR: Well, he came to us from Liverpool, England.  We see a lot of prospects, but he was one we liked.  He works hard, he's progressing... getting better and better all the time.

 

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APRIL PREDICTIONS, PART 2

APRIL PREDICTIONS, PART 2

For starters, I predict half of these fights won’t happen.  In the year of cancellations and postponements, it is a safe bet.

Tyson Fury vs. Steve Cunningham
The fact that this fight is legal shows one of the many problems in the heavyweight division.  There could be a 70lb weight gap by fight time.  Cunnignham has a very long reach for a natural cruiserweight, but Fury himself still has a 4-inch advantage.  Cunningham was also not known as iron chinned or heavy-punching at 200lbs.  “USS” has the boxing skills to pull off the upset if he fights the perfect fight, but Fury is smart enough to make sure he does not.  While Fury will not blast out Cunningham in a round or two, as he is not a huge puncher, he will push around the smaller man into exhaustion and submission.  Fury by 8th round TKO.

Nonito Donaire vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux
Donaire gets another big fight, and the biggest of them all at his weight.  Abner Mares is never going to sign up for this inevitable beating.  He’ll run all the way to heavyweight to avoid it, in fact.  Not him, but Golden Boy, his promoter, will run for him.  Donaire is the real deal, and has shown his class and power as a professional.  Rigo is still coasting on his amateur fame, and has disappointed on the rare occasions he has stepped slightly up.  Barring a bad style match-up, which I do not foresee, this is an easy fight for Donaire.  One he will win by mid round TKO.

Miguel Vazquez vs. Ricky Burns
What happens when two tall, counterpunching, light hitting lightweights battle in a unification?  

 

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APRIL PREDICTIONS, PART 1

APRIL PREDICTIONS, PART 1

For starters, I predict half of these fights won’t happen.  In the year of cancellations and postponements, it is a safe bet.

Saul Alvarez vs. Austin Trout
If we are ever allowed to see this one, it will be a great fight.  From an intrigue perspective, and a skill perspective.  This is really the first time either man will step up and face another young unbeaten hungry lion.  They both have wins over aging superstars, and are capable of showing dominance.  However, I think we are in for more of a tactical battle.  The only difference between Alvarez and Trout is race and marketing.  Their skill levels are the same.  That will also make the difference in scoring.  The fact that Trout fights better moving backwards does not help his cause.  He possesses the strength to push Canelo back, but Canelo possesses the boxing skills to make sure he can’t.  This is the recipe for a pretty even fight, that Trout will edge, but the decision will probably go to Canelo.

Peter Quillin vs. Fernando Guerrero
Guerrero was matched very carefully, and we have already seen why.  He is a good ESPN main-eventer, but it doesn’t figure to go any further than that.  Quillin has the real skills.  Guerrero may be able to box on even terms for a while, but by the middle rounds, the gap in talent will be exposed.  Quillin by 7th round TKO.

Amir Khan vs. Julio Diaz
Why is Golden Boy wasting Khan’s time and ours with these meaningless comeback fights?  If Khan is to regain his position, he has to avenge losses.  Prescott, Peterson, and Garcia, in that order.  Diaz deserves the payday for a career well-fought, but he has nothing left.  Diaz only has the punchers chance, and Khan’s skills are superior that he won’t need to take many chances to dominate.  Khan by 5th round KO.

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OLD SCHOOL, MEETS THE NEW SCHOOL

OLD SCHOOL, MEETS THE NEW SCHOOL

When I think of all the old time fighters that we love to watch, I wonder how they would have fared nowadays.  Sure, it would be hard to tell, given how they would have responded to modern training, nutrition, and fight schedules.  It also depends on how "old time" we are talking.  I made a quick list of a couple fighters I think would fare well nowadays, and a couple who would not do as well.  It may not be who you think.

Good

Jake La Motta
He would have probably been a Junior Middleweight, and been moved more carefully, but what Jake brought to the table still translates.  Willingness to face anyone... an iron chin, and not much power.  Fighters like that guarantee rounds, and action, which guarantees TV ratings.  He also knew fundamentals, which a lot of short tough sluggers nowadays do not.  His chin would have been more tested by modern punching, but any man who Sugar Ray Robinson could not floor in 63 rounds, would have trouble withstanding Canelo Alvarez.  La Motta would have certainly had losses, but he did then, too... and his longevity would have even been easier to achieve now.

Joe Louis
Professional, steady, and able to take advantage of any mistake his opponents made.  That would do well nowadays.  He also found ways to win difficult fights.  Louis would have been a Cruiserweight now, but can you see the sloppy champions like O'Neill Bell, Lateef Kayode, or Guillermo Jones being able to hang with the craftiness of a Joe Louis?  He had defensive lapses, but still within the framework of a modern style of defense, and timing, that would translate very well into today's boxing world

Bad

Jack Johnson
Yes, his natural talents would have been re-honed well for modern boxing, but he is just too old-time to translate well.  What he did brilliantly was clinch for long periods of time, and punch within the clinches.

 

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

Tyson Fury is getting fined by the BBBC for twitter abuse.  Ummm, excuse me, but isn't that freedom of expression?  Is the BBBC taking fascism lessons from the NBA?  Just goes to show you that people get too big for their britches if allowed.  Mind your damn business, UK boxing, and regulate fights.  Fury is doing nothing more than what Ali and countless others have done.  You are begging for a lawsuit here.
 
Speaking of begging for a lawsuit, can the fans file class action against egomaniacal promoters?  I am waiting for that precedent setting event.  With all the Top Rank / Golden Boy bickering, as well as PEDs it s making heroes out of the few fighters we know to be behaving correctly.  Nonito Donaire, Timothy Bradley with the clean drug testing, as well as Gary Russell and Austin Trout with the small/no promoter method.  Wish they got more publicity than the ones who make good copy for negative nonsense.
 
Speaking of Trout, his team deserves a ton of credit for maneuvering him into two major fights.  He is not exciting, not Latino, not outspoken, and not represented by one of the big two promotional outfits. Yet, he stands one fight away from potentially being a 7-figure attraction.  Well deserved.
 
Speaking of seven figure attractions, HBO bid adieu to Adrien Broner, by dropping Golden Boy.  Don't think for two seconds that he is not the next multi-fight multi-million attempt by Showtime.  Especially since he is entering the glamour divisions at the same time as his prime.  An explosion of fights and dollars are around the corner, and HBO won't have any piece of it.
 

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WISH I COULD SAY THEY NEEDED EACH OTHER

WISH I COULD SAY THEY NEEDED EACH OTHER

After the last few years of the ridiculous Golden Boy Promotions / Top Rank Feud, we have witnessed many great matchups not get made.  While we always held optimism that eventually it would get resolved, it appears to have gotten even worse, instead.  Occasionally at the lower levels forced mandatories have made the two boxing giants work together, but with anything of true value at stake, both have shown innovation and resolve in their avoidance of one another.  The other sad aspect of this feud is that both sides are perfectly willing to hurt boxing in order to hurt each other.
 
There was absolutely no reason to have competing cards on Sept 15 of last year, when nothing of extreme conflict was taking place on either of the two weekends after. Yet, when given an opportunity to screw one another, that opportunity is what will win out.  They are largely the same company, with exception to Golden Boy being a bit more open to alliance partnerships, which is what makes their feud all the more frustrating.
 
The same smaller cards, with smaller networks, to build talent, as well as similar pandering to the Latino market (hence the May 5, and Sept 16 battle every year).  This is a recent phenomena, in that great strides are made to ensure the pandering.  Perhaps both companies have seen the failure of Don King Promotions to build non Latino boxing stars in the Midwest.  Indeed, it is Golden Boy making that move back to non-Latino America, not Don King.  However, this battle has just gotten more silly, in that it now involves networks.
 
At the lower level it always had.  While ESPN does not have promoter exclusivity (as yet), the smaller channel families seem to ally themselves with one promoter.  Now, HBO, in what has been a stream of questionable decisions, has cut ties with Golden Boy.  Perhaps this is a reaction to Golden Boy slowly moving it's stars to Showtime.  A sort of "I'll break up with you, before you break up with me" mentality", but it also appears to be a hasty decision based on the possibilities with Top Rank.

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WHO WILL TOPPLE MARAVILLA??

WHO WILL TOPPLE MARAVILLA??

With the Middleweight division starting to get exciting again, it may be very poor timing for it's leader.  Sergio Martinez could take years to get old, but serious talent is developing under his championship banner, after a few years of seemingly the opposite.  Martinez is probably the most vulnerable dominant champion is recent memory, so all of his challengers have a chance.  Add to that the fact that they seem unwilling to fight each other lately (only Sturm is taking on tough opposition regularly, and his fights almost always end with close, disputed decisions that solve nothing).  Let's look at how some of the other top middleweights stack up against Maravilla, and their chances of fighting him, and beating him.

Daniel Geale - The Australian has good enough connections to win close decisions in Germany, but his style in overwhelming defensive fighters with activity may not work so well against Martinez.  He is not much of a puncher, and as Dzinziruk found out, if you don't have much to keep Martinez off, you get broken down.  Still, he is the legit number one contender to the crown, and promotional difficulties should not hold this one up.  Chances of fight: High.  chances of winning: Low.

Peter Quillin - He has the skills to defeat an old Winky Wright, and a limited Hassan D'Jam, but we still don't know much about Kid Chocolate.  Anything from protected joke to future hall of famer is believable now, yet I feel Golden Boy is priming Quillin for takeover after Martinez retires, or is toppled, i.e. the Povetkin plan.  Style-wise, if they did fight, Martinez just has too many skills right now.  Quillin would close strong, but probably be too far behind.  Chances of fight: Low.  Chances of winning: Medium.

 

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MARCH BOXING PREDICTIONS PART 2

MARCH BOXING PREDICTIONS PART 2

I am hesitant to make any more predictions, as 2013 is the year of the cancellation.  Testing positive is it’s own annoyance lately, but as confusion reigns over what is and is not legal, one cannot actively aim blame at any party.  There is seriously ignorance on the part of the fighters.  The “injuries” that are cancelling fights, however, are often spurious at best.  Most of the times, I believe the promoters are merely reacting to slow ticket sales, and/or fighters are being encouraged to never enter the ring at less than 100%.  Both of these ideals hurt boxing.  For now, however, I can only assume the following fights will come to fruition.  It has the makings of an exciting month.

Bernard Hopkins vs. Tavoris Cloud
Cloud is actually the one coming off a bigger layoff, and an equally disappointing loss.  These two need each other, because their most recent opponents not only embarrassed them, but then embarrassed themselves in their subsequent fight(s).  Dawson won 9-3 over Hopkins, only to be dominated and stopped by Andre Ward.  Cloud was out-boxed and countered silly against Gabriel Campillo, only to have the Spaniard take a year off, and get brutally KO’d by Sergei Kovalev.  Dawson will not need to fight the winner… as Kovalev is the man, now.  However, the winner will leap ahead of the more blatant pretenders at 175lbs, such as Cleverly, Shumenov, Bellew, and Pascal.  For Hopkins, I don’t think he cares.  He simply wants to go out with a win… trouble is, when he wins, he wants to win again.  Maybe two straight losses are all it takes, at this stage.  Cloud is not who we hoped he’d be, but he’s steady, throws a lot of punches, and won’t be deterred by Hopkins’ tactics.  He also has Don King in his corner, almost assuring that a close one will go his way.  Cloud by MD.

Victor Cayo vs. Breidis Prescott
Maybe Prescott can finally put it together enough to get Amir Khan back in the ring.  Nah, just wishful thinking.  As a Khan fan, I’d like to see all 3 of his losses avenged, but Prescott has never put enough together to warrant that matchup.  Same is true of Cayo, who has lost whenever he’s stepped up to championship level: Maidana, Peterson, and even a shot Nate Campbell.  He’s not stepping there this time, however.  Should be exciting, but I like Cayo by close UD.

 

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

Heavyweight Tony Thompson has finally stated the obvious that many people were thinking... just legalize it!  Thompson said that PEDs should be legalized... and he said this just prior to his fight with David Price.  This may not have been the best timing, as his test could now be tampered with by shady forces, but Thompson has a point.  PEDs do not make anyone a better fighter.  They simply allow for maximization of potential, and quicker healing.  Therefore, they are no more cheating than new nutrition or workout methods.  It seems we have this puritanical no pain no gain attitude that if we don't earn it with sweat, it's must be cheating.  Statements like Thompsons should make us think.... not react.

Speaking of thinking by reaction, fans should not be so quick to think Robert Guerrero is a tough opponent for Floyd Mayweather.  Guerrero is Victor Ortiz with a better chin, and cooler head.  That just means he'll last the distance, and win a couple rounds, while ethnic fans pay good money to watch Floyd embarrass yet another Chicano.

Speaking of Mexican future Floyd opponents, bravo to Canelo Alvarez for taking the fight with Austin Trout.  It is the biggest fight at 154lbs that doesn't involve Floyd, and should be for the 154lb legit title.  Trout has all the tools to defeat Canelo, but if Alvarez pulls it off, he is officially the real deal.  No more doubters (pun intended).  He has not yet fought anyone in their prime at Trout's level, and the same can be said about Trout.  Both hold decision wins over shot hall of famers.  Maybe they will forge their own legacy by having a trilogy.  Either way, pay attention to Bundrage vs. Smith this weekend.  As meaningless as it sounds, the winner is being primed for a big money fight.

 

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WEEKEND OF UPSETS... WHAT DO THEY MEAN

WEEKEND OF UPSETS... WHAT DO THEY MEAN

Three big upsets took place in televised fights this weekend.  Let's take a look at whether or not I think they are good for the overall boxing picture, and what is the likely outcome of each one of them.

Alejandro Perez W10 Art Hovhannisyan
This actually means little to the division, as it took place at the prospect level, but Hovhanissyan was in a hurry due to his age.  Gary Shaw fighters do not always stay busy, as he has not been, and this loss could set him back quite a bit.  Perez will likely move up to the contender level, only to lose and be right back down.  For Art, he should take a confidence building fight, and then ask for a rematch.  When confidence shifts, he can gain revenge, yet still be able to use the vulnerability of this loss to sneak into a title shot by early next year.

Ishe Smith W12 Cornelius K9 Bundrage
Bundrage wins title in opponents backyard, and then loses it in his own.  Smith may carry on that tradition.  This win was good for boxing as a feel good story, and with the Money team, Smith could be in a position to make more of it.  However, his mandatory is no joke, and although a Carlos Molina - Ishe Smith fight is guaranteed to go the distance, there is one difference between the two hard-luck challengers.  There has never been a wavering in Molina's desire/motivation, and that will probably make the difference.  Still, the first Vegas born and bred champion deserves a hometown defense, and Bundrage deserves another big fight... however, even with the belt he was having a hard time finding it.  It probably won't get easier now.

Tony Thompson KO2 David Price
This would be exciting if it was prospect vs. prospect.  However, Thompson is nearly 40, and already can't win at the highest level.  All he's doing now, is ruining prospects we were excited about.  Tyson Fury could be next, and David Haye's personality is the only thing that has kept him relevant after his exposure.

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FLORENTINE GARDENS -2013 BOXING SEASON

FLORENTINE GARDENS -2013 BOXING SEASON

Boxing returned to Florentine Gardens in Hollywood, California for the 4th time, on Thursday night as the Art of Boxing Promotions in association with Bash Boxing started off the 2013 boxing season. In attendance were Freddie Roach, Robert Garcia, who both had fighters on the card, as well as Steve Forbes, Henry Tillman, Mickey Rourke, and others.
 
In the main event, welterweight Terrell Williams (10-0, 9 KOs) wasted no time in taking out veteran Luis Alfredo Lugo (13-18-1, 5 KOs). Williams landed a devastating left hook that deropped the normally durable Lugo. Shortly after, Williams continued his attack and landed a left uppercut that sent Lugo to the canvas once again as referee Lou Moret stepped in to stop the fight at 1:56 of round 1.  Williams showed patience in his follow-up, and is looking more and more like the real deal.
 
In a scheduled six round cruiserweight bout, Vyacheslav "Slava" Shabransky (3-0, 3 KOs) scored a fourth round TKO over Emmanuel Wright (5-2, 5 KOs). Wright spent most of the fight on the ropes, trying to swing one big right hand, but eventually was staggered in round four, and referee Lou Moret, known for his early stoppages, stepped in to wave off the bout at 2:18.
 
Former NABO bantamweight champ Khabir Suleymanov (14-3, 6 KOs) struggled to win a split decision over Raymond Chacon (4-6) in a six rounder.  Chacon's southpaw stance gave the Russian fits.  All three judges scored it 58-56 with one judge favoring Chacon while the other two scored it for Suleymanov. 

 

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MARCH PREDICTIONS, PART 1

MARCH PREDICTIONS, PART 1

I am hesitant to make any more predictions, as 2013 is the year of the cancellation.  Testing positive is its own annoyance lately, but as confusion reigns over what is and is not legal, one cannot actively aim blame at any party.  There is seriously ignorance on the part of the fighters, and trainers as to what they can and cannot do.  The “injuries” that are cancelling fights, however, are often spurious at best.  Most of the times, I believe the promoters are merely reacting to slow ticket sales, and/or fighters are being encouraged to never enter the ring at less than 100%.  Both of these ideals hurt boxing.  For now, however, I can only assume the following fights will come to fruition.  It has the makings of an exciting month.

Timothy Bradley vs. Ruslan Provodnikov
Any doubt Bradley had about actually losing to Manny Pacquiao has been erased by the aftermath.  9 months of inactivity, followed by an ESPN main event opponent, is not how a winner is treated.  This is actually the opponent Bradley needs.  Provodnikov knows one way to fight, and will meet Bradley head on.  Bradley, however, has the skills to break down an opponent, and is likely to come out of this fight looking like an action brawler, which he has not been in the past.  Ruslan is likely to taste the head-butts early and often, and will be cut up and dazed by the middle rounds.  Bradley by TD or TKO in round 9

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MATTHYSSE VS. THE 140LB WORLD

MATTHYSSE VS. THE 140LB WORLD

We may get a bit too excited after Lucas Matthysse's destruction of Mike Dallas Jr.  However, let's look at the rest of the division, and see who really stacks up well against the Argentine.  Also remember that while Mike Dallas technically had two losses and a draw, those were all controversial, and no one had beaten him nearly as emphatically as Matthysse.

Marcos Maidana - This fight should just happen because of the Argentine connection, and the fireworks it would create.  It's a huge fight in Argentina, and any TV outlet would carry it.  Both men are sloppy big punchers, but Matthysse has a better chin, and learning curve, so it would figure he wins by late round TKO.

Brandon Rios - It's a dream match because Top Rank and Golden Boy don't do business, but this is a slugfest that would make the Alvarado fight look like a waltz.  Neither man needs to take a backward step, but I am guessing Matthysse is more capable of adjusting mid-fight.  Probably a close decision win for Lucas, or a TKO when Rios' face busts up.

Amir Khan - Khan leaps out to an early lead like most fast fighters can do against Matthysse.

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RIP OMAR HENRY, LESSONS HERE

RIP OMAR HENRY, LESSONS HERE

Contender Omar Henry has passed away one week shy of his 26th birthday.  He leaves behind unfulfilled promise, and a 12-0-record, with 9 KO's.  Henry was diagnosed with gall bladder cancer a few months back, and given the proximity to the liver and pancreas, once that cancer moves, it is usually a curtain call.  While an element of freak luck is always involved in a nearly 26 year old professional athlete being diagnosed with cancer, we are seeing this more and more these days.  

Daniel Jacobs and Anthony Dirrell may have gotten a bit luckier in their respective outcomes, but to be diagnosed with cancer during that age range is not nearly as rare as it once was.  We cannot correct every risk factor as individuals, as we are powerless to the big machine of technology, but we can reduce risks by our individual behavior.  There is also a lesson to be learned about how we spend the precious time we do have.

I continue to witness parents, particularly in the black and latino communities, making horrendous nutrition decisions for their children.  Until you eliminate the constant stream of canned foods, white bread, sugary drinks, as well salty batters, sauces and marinades... you will be facing a roster of health problems for your children.  Your body needs raw, organic nuts, fruits, and vegetables, as well as water. That is about it.  

 

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FEBRUARY BOXING PREDICTIONS, Part 2

FEBRUARY BOXING PREDICTIONS, Part 2
Devon Alexander vs. Kell Brook
This one is a toss-up, and the fight I am looking forward to most in February.  Brook has, like many a  Brit, talked a good game.  On the one hand, he looked brilliant against McCloskey.  On the other, completely ordinary against Carson Jones.  This might make it an easy pick if he was not fighting somebody with the same problem.  The brilliance Alexander showed against Witter and Urango has not been there since his loss to Bradley.  However, Alexnander is still a great boxer, and has fought much better opposition, so that sways my pick.  I think Brook will start too late, and finish strong, but Alexander will have built up too big a lead.  Alexander by MD.

Cory Spinks vs. Carlos Molina
Two of the most awkward, difficult guys to fight, fighting each other.  It is a good match, actually, as the winner will still be viewed as vulnerable, and likely sneak into a bigger money fight.  The loser may be back to basic cable for good, or gone altogether.  There is no way, barring an injury, that this fight does not go the distance.  Spinks chin has been getting worse recently, but Molina is not the one to test it.  Believe it or not, a prime Spinks actually had the rare style that could defeat Molina, catching him on the way in, and rolling out of harms way, on angles.  Spinks can no longer get out of the way, however, and Molina punches at any angle necessary.  Molina by wide UD.

 

 

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FEBRUARY BOXING PREDICTIONS, Part 1

FEBRUARY BOXING PREDICTIONS, Part 1

Zab Judah vs. Danny Garcia
Like most, I am picking Garcia... unlike most, I am not so sure.  Typically Judah loses at the top level, and wins one level beneath it.  He exposes men like Vernon Paris, loses to men like Amir Khan, and cuts it close against guys like Matthysse.  Add to that, Garcia's only recent impressive performance consists of catching a weak-chinned Khan, and getting a friendly stoppage.  Other than that, it's two wins over a shot Erik Morales.  I am not sold on Garcia yet.  It is also a Brooklyn bout for hometown boy, Judah.  I think Judah will give it his all, and jump out to an early lead... but the natural durability and power of Garcia will make it so that he will not get discouraged by falling behind.  When Judah smells the lack of fear, his own will kick in.  Garcia by close UD, or late TKO.

Gavin Rees vs. Adrien Broner
Not only will Adrien Broner be staring someone in the eye at lightweight this time, but he will do so, with a sizeable reach advantage, and power advantage.  Simply put, this is another former belt-holder being put in there to make Broner look good.  Although Rees has come back well since his only loss, to Andreas Kotelnik, he has done so with a Prizefighter Tourney win, as well as capturing the British and European titles.  Nice regional accolades, but they do not prepare you for a monster like Broner.  Broner's fights keep going one or two more rounds than the one before it, since his decision over Ponce DeLeon.  This is a chance to get back to an earlier night.  Think Zaveck vs. Berto, and that is exactly what we are seeing here... maybe even quicker.  Broner by one-sided TKO, in 4 rounds.

Johnathan Banks vs. Seth Mitchell 2
No matter what happens here, Banks had the best 8 day span of anyone in the heavyweight division in 2012.  Training the heavyweight champion, and toppling his own country's most hyped prospect.  So, Banks and Mitchell can both punch, and neither man can really take it.  

 

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

Now that Ward-Pavlik is off, Pavlik-Chavez Jr. is the most exciting fight at 168lbs.  Nobody in this country is really hoping for Froch rematches with Bute or Kessler.  Ward is sidelined til summer, so this is it.  Let's hope Bob Arum learns his lesson from losing Juanma-Gamboa, and doesn't wait to make this match between two of his biggest draws.  They are both likely one loss away from losing their championship-level status, and would provide an exciting match.  Pavlik is the better fighter overall, but his skin and chin are not as guaranteed as Chavez Jr's.  Also, can Chavez still fight well without a size advantage?  Pavlik also has a way of hurting the unhurtable.  It's a great fight, and there is no sane reason why it should not happen.  That's why it won't.

Speaking of fights that won't happen, I don't think Klitschko-Povetkin will ever come off.  Povetkin's management knows their man has only diminshed while Wladimir has only gotten more dominant.  Their only ace in the hole is that he is one of the last heavyweights to not be embarrased by a Klitschko, so don't be surprised if another "injury" happens.  Povetkin then gives up his belt, and takes some time off.  Enough time, probably, to wait for the brothers to retire.

Speaking of retirement, I am always talking about fighters who should retire, but to be honest, there have been one or two who have retired recently that baffled me.  John Duddy seemed poised to make a lot of money, especially for a limited fighter.  With all the Irish/English fighters competing in the Middleweight top ten, and HBO ok-ing him as an exciting opponent, he may have even lucked into a title shot, but while preparing for his big all-Ireland fight with Andy Lee, he suddenly walked away.  His health is what matters, and they have a different attitude about retiring over there, but it would have been nice to see an action fighter like him cash out.

 

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABSFight of the year is a tough one.  A lot of great brawls.  Juanma-Salido 2, Rios-Alvarado, Pacquiao-Marquez 4, etc.  Worst decision of the year is a tough one, too, as is upset of the year. Too many lousy decisions, and not enough upsets.  Abril over Rios wins both in my view... if it was scored correctly it would have been the upset.  People are having a hard time with fighter of the year, though, and they should not.  Nonito Donaire.  4-0, all against current or former world champions.  In dominating fashion, he beat all 4.  Nobody else came close to that.

Speaking of not coming close, anyone who thinks Alexander Povetkin is a serious challenger to Wladimir Klitschko need only pay attention to his own behavior.  Between injuries, trainer disagreements, and recent struggles against lower level opposition, he has done everything he can to attain belt status without fighting anyone of note.  And... he is barely beating them!  The bloom is off the rose.  His chin, and Wlad's patience may allow Povetkin to make it to the final bell, but he will lose every round in dominating fashion.  He would also lose to Chris Arreola, David Haye, and maybe even Chambers if they rematched.

Speaking of fashion, I don't mind fighters making a statement, but coordinate with each other.  If you're going to take it as seriously as women do, the same rules apply... meaning wearing the same outfit as another is shameful.  I am a fan of both Karim Mayfield and Adrien Broner, but it looked like twin day when they both showed up at Ward-Dawson.  Give each other a call, fellas!

 

 

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Robert Garcia Interview

Robert Garcia Interview

In the mid 90's... Robert Garcia, a former IBF Super Featherweight champion, shared the ring with greats like Diego Corrales and Joel Casamayor.  Even before Fernando Vargas, he was putting Oxnard, California on the map.  Fast forward to 15 years later, that town is not only on the map, but one of boxing's hotbeds for talent, both homegrown, and imported.  Boxing has always been a family affair for Garcia, who's fighter, unbeaten Erik Ruiz goes for 7-0 at Florentine Gardens Friday night.  That family vibe is also what he recreates with his many fighters, now that he is one of boxing's most sought-after trainers.  ConvictedArtist.com lead writer Chris Strait sat down with Garcia for a brief Q and A, and found out why he is far more at home in the corner, than he was in the ring.

Q: How did you get the nickname Grandpa?  You're not the oldest member of your boxing family.
A: (laughs) I am actually one of the youngest.  I have been in boxing so long, they were always calling me that.  Since I was 5 years old, i have been in the gym, and a lot of fighters come and go.  When they would see that I was always still there, no matter how long they were away, they told me, "you've been here so long, you're like the Grandpa of the gym"... because I was so old in boxing.

Q: You've actually said that you were more meant to be a trainer than a fighter.  That is the kind of thing we are used to hearing from clubfighters who end their career with an 11-8 mark.  What would make a former world champion say that?
A: Well I was always around the sport my whole life, because of my father.  I didn't play any other sports, or anything.  I was just in it, because it was all I knew, not because I had any special passion to be a fighter.  

 

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2012 BOXING AWARDS

2012 BOXING AWARDS

Fight of the year

Juan Manuel Marquez KO 6 Manny Pacquiao - This fight had everything.  2 top pound for pounders, a fourth meeting after 3 controversial endings, and countless comebacks within the fight.  Pacquiao, who is never hurt to the head, was on two occasions.  He responded very well to the first, rising to win the rest of the round, and even dropping Marquez in the 5th.  Only the first round was less than scintlillating, but it was made up for with a definitive 'shot heard round the world' type ending.  Boxing needed this, in every way.  It killed Mayweather-Pacquiao, but that was dead anyway.
Honorable mention, Brandon Rios TKO 7 Mike Alvarado.  Better back and forth action than any other fight this year, but lacking definitive ending, and the drama of Marquez-Pacquiao.  Also, not fought at quite as high a level.

Round of the year

Ji Hoon Kim - Ray Beltran, round 1 - A first round knockdown is not bizarre in a Ji-Hoon Kim fight.  He is a fast starter, big puncher, and has been stopped in the first round himself.  Beltran does not typically hit the deck, however, and that's exactly what happened midway through the opening stanza.  Kim swarmed in afterward with his usual attack, but usung the counterpunching skills that make Beltran one of the most underrated fighters in boxing, the Mexican retook control, and dropped Kim harder by the end of the first round.  This round also featured tremendous action in between, as Beltran slowly regained his wits and took over.  The rest of the fight was still good action, as Beltran's class edge showed, but nothing could top that first round.
Honorable mention: Marquez-Pacquiao, round 5.  It began with Pacquiao still clearing cobwebs, and by rounds end, Marquez had been dropped, and was bleeding badly from the nose.  A bit overshadowed by what happened in the round before and after it, but still the second best.

Fighter of the year

This is not so easy.  Sergio Martinez, Andre Ward, and Juan Manuel Marquez all notched big enough wins to put them here, but it was the only impressive thing they did this year.  Ward and Mayweather fought only once and Mayweather was not dominant.  Pacquiao technically had two losses.  Consistency is key, so I believe that after he dispatches Jorge Arce, the 3 wins of Nonito Donaire's year will put him there.  He scarcely lost a round this year, and even stopped longtime belt holder, Toshiaki Nishioka.  After a measure of Filipino revenge,

 

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INSIDE SCOOP

INSIDE SCOOP

With more and more big men choosing to scrap their distance strategies, and fight on the inside, I usually join the purists in grimacing.  As a tall man, I know the importance of using your natural size and strengths to their full advantage.  However, height is not the only strength that many tall fighters have, and sometimes, the ability or mentality overrides the visual stature of a fighter.  With certain fighters like Tyson Fury, who may like to fight inside, but are powerless and sloppy when doing so, it is important to remember a few of those big men who excelled at inside game, despite our initial objections.

Jim Jeffries
Yes, I am going back quite a ways here, but at 6'2" over 100 years ago, Jeffries has a height advantage over nearly everyone he fought,  With his pawing left hand, which was also his hardest punch, Jeff could have very easily walloped most opponents from the outside.  However, when he did score those kayoes, it was usually after muscling and frustrating opponets with his strength on the inside.  He fought out of a crouch as well, further negating his height advantage.  In fact his biggest asset was his superior strength, and not his height and reach, therefore he was wise to give it up.  It did ultimately lead to his downfall.  Combating ring rust, age, rapid weight loss, and the best opponent he had ever faced, Jeffries could not outmuscle Jack Johnson, and played right into the champion's better defense.

Riddick Bowe
Again, Bowe's amazing infighting ultimately led to an early demise.  That, combined with his taking on so many tough opponents, tremendous heart, and lousy defense.  At 6'5", with a great jab, Bowe could have made a career of outboxing opponents, and did so on occasion, but it was a rare Bowe fight, when he did not want to rumble on the inside.  His favorite combo, the jab/right uppercut, required him to do so.  

 

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FIGHTERS WHO SHOULD HANG EM UP

FIGHTERS WHO SHOULD HANG EM UP

Well, I actually have done one of these recently, but there are already additions to be made.  I don't want to have to re-add Glen Johnson to this list, but it looks as if I have to do so.  The Road Warrior does not get his own paragraph, but just my head-shaking.  It's sad if he cannot let go.  It's even sadder if he needs the money.

Yusuf Mack
I know he has a big fight ahead of him against Carl Froch, but we've seen Mack fail at this level enough times to know how this is going to end.  Trouble is, Mack does not just fail, he wins at the lower level.  This way, he can continue to earn shots where he will fail.  That is bad enough if he is losing decisions while showing toughness and durability.  However, Mack is weak-chinned, and easily broken down.. Therefore, he could get hurt.  I don't anticipate the drop to 168lbs making any difference, either.  Like Johnson, I hope this is one last UK payday on which to walk away.

Allan Green
He is coming off a win.  So what?  He was dropped and hurt again, this time by a glorified clubfighter.  Green showed heart and toughness, but that will only make it worse.  He has no chin left, and was getting hurt at Middleweight.  Now, he is struggling to make 175lbs.  He looked promising as a prospect, and has talked his way into several money fights, so his finances should be in order.  There is no need to keep chasing that last shot.  He's already getting KO'd in brutal fashion, and now hurt by smaller journeyman fighters.  Time to walk away.  His sharp mind would be better served preserved, in order to aid young fighters.

 

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MY FAVORITES - Paul Williams - Andre Ward

MY FAVORITES - Paul Williams - Andre Ward

Here are two more personal favorites, and there are many more that will be added to this list as I continue to rack up fighters to appreciate.  Starting to like Seth Mitchell, Thomas Oosthuizen, Austin Trout, and Sergio Martinez.  It is recent enough that they don't apply here, or I have cheered against them at least once.  On this list, there are only fighters I always side with, no matter the opponent.

Paul Williams
Like Corrales, a tragic end to his career will add to his legend in fans' eyes.  However, also like Corrales, it is not necessary in order to love and appreciate him.  He can still say he has beaten every man he has fought, holds the last victory over pound for pound great Sergio Martinez, and went out on a victory.  Even if most, including myself, thought he lost to Erislandy Lara, he deserved to make the money he was headed for against Canelo Alvarez. 

Andre Ward
He crosses boundaries that are supposed to be uncrossable.  He won gold against a system set up to stop US fighters from doing so.  He sells enough tickets at home that European fighters come to him, not the other way around.  He connects with the badasses of his hometown of Oakland, even though he is a god-fearing family man.  As a gold medalist in 2004, he did not play up his father's death, nor his bi-racial heritage.  He went home quietly with his gold medal, and built up his pro-career under the now very intelligent guidance of Dan Goossen and Virgil Hunter.  

 

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MY FAVORITES - Diego Corrales - Greg Haugen

MY FAVORITES - Diego Corrales - Greg Haugen

This is a place I have not yet gone in my writing.  For over twelve years, I have been making predictions, covering fights, conducting interviews, as well as giving analysis and opinions.  In that time, many people have asked me, "who's your favorite fighter?"  I'll admit, I've never been much of a favorites guy.  I don't have any one favorite song, color, food, or place.  However, I can usually give a longer winded answer that reveals a few of the top picks in any one category.  In boxing, however, I have never really thought of it.  

I have always been content to enjoy the sport.  As I have now spent nearly half the time I have been a fan engaging the sports other fans in a journalistic capacity, I have put myself in neutral for far too long.  Now, after some thinking, I have come to realize there are a few fighters for whom I will always make no attempt to show my lack of bias.  These guys are the ones I would always cheer for, even if I was the only guy in the room doing so.  

Diego Corrales
Long before his tragic death and bloody battles made him a beloved legend in boxing, Corrales was an excited new champion.  In 2000, he took his time with an equally excited young reporter, who was covering his first press conference.  Chico never made me feel as out of place as I must have looked, before talking to him.  It is a selfish reason to like a fighter, but it helped me cheer him on in every fight he had.  

He was also a rare fighter who would show his human side.  He did not merely chalk up his bravado to machismo.  He was very transparent with his demons, giving us all a glimpse into the vulnerability that made one of the sport's best people.  Corrales was never able to overcome those demons long enough for us to properly thank him for all the thrills he gave to boxing, but I cannot think of a fight where I was not hoping he'd win.

Greg Haugen

 

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"Season's Beating," Boxing at the Florentine Gardens Results

Boxing returned to Hollywood, CA on 12/21/12 as Art of Boxing in association with Bash Boxing presented “Season’s Beatings,” at the Florentine Gardens. In the main event, south central L.A.'s  USBA junior welterweight champion Cleotis “Mookie” Pendarvis (17-3-2, 6 KOs) scored a TKO over former world title challenger Michael “Cold Blood” Clark, of Columbus, OH (43-8-1, 18 KOs). Clark boxed cautiously, as Pendarvis landed the cleaner shots, especially with the straight left.  Clark took a knee twice in the 3rd round after what appeared to be an accidental thumbing.  He seemed to recover, and did his best work in round 4, however, Pendarvis retook control in round 5, and at the end of the round, Clark's corner called a halt.

In a mild upset, Oakland's Tony Hirsch (14-5-2, 6 KOs) won a six round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Lynwood, CA middleweight Louis Rose (5-1, 1 KO). Hirsch landed the heavier and cleaner punches, and showed good defense, as Rose did not engage nearly enough to impress the judges, instead engaging in verbal sideplay with Hirsch's corner.  The judges scored it 60-54, 59-55, and 58-56.

In heavyweight action, Charles Martin of Carson, CA, (3-0, 3 KOs) stopped Terrence Perro (1-2, 1 KO) with a right hook sending him to the canvas as referee Wayne Hedgepeth stop the contest at 41 seconds in round four.  Perro boxed cautiously as his corner implored him to let his hands go.  Martin's dreadlocks came loose from their tie, but it did not hamper his vision, as he went for the kill.  Perro, of Denver, rose after the knockdown, but told the referee he was done.

 

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Austin Trout vs. Miguel Cotto - I TOLD YOU SO HERES WHY

Austin Trout vs. Miguel Cotto - I TOLD YOU SO HERES WHY

Austin Trout's victory over Miguel Cotto went pretty much the way I expected it.  I am not this right, this often, so allow me to gloat momentarily.  Ok, now that that is done.  Let me analyze this fight, and why it went the way I saw it going.  Then, I will spell out the aftermath.  First off, Trout is the naturally bigger man.  Miguel Cotto's main forays into the 154lb division were against others who, like him, had moved up from other divisions.  Whether or not he is boxing or slugging, Cotto needs a certain strength advantage over most opponents to truly employ his style.  He did not seem to have it against Trout.  

Second, Trout has been ducked for a long time.  There has to be a reason why.  We now know... because he's good.  Cotto did not look shot, or old, or slow, or off balance.  He simply got beat by a better, bigger fighter.  Cotto is definitely not what he once was, but any thoughts that Trout was being avoided simply because he was a non-latino fighter with a small time promoter were out the window by round 4.  he belonged there, and was winning rounds.  Trout, unlike others, did not need to break Cotto down to beat him.  He simply outscored him.

Neither man was really able to seriously hurt the other, but it was a necessary part of Cotto's plan to do so.  No wonder Canelo was quickly rushed out of the building following the bout.  Canelo vs. Trout makes more sense than any other fight at 154lbs.  It is a unification between two young lions, and a chance for brotherly revenge.  There is no decent reason this fight should not be made.  That is why it will not be made.  I hope I am wrong, but I doubt I am.

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

Note to Al Haymon: As good as you are, you cannot be the best manager in boxing if you do not allow your fighters to face one another.  Paul Williams vs. Vernon Forrest made sense for so many reasons: geography, ranked numbers 1 and 2, styles, passing of torch, etc.  Now that both have met tragic ends, we were cheated out of a unification at 154 because of a personal policy you have.  Ego Ego Ego.  Not good for business.  Don't let it slow the progress of anyone in your stable, again.

Speaking of good for business... Andre Ward vs. Kelly Pavlik is a great match.  Maybe not for me, since these are two of my favorite fighters, and I now have to choose.  My pick is the obvious: Ward by late TKO on cuts or unanimous decision.  However, it is still an intriguing match, as Pavlik's size, strength, and power give him a chance in any fight.  Let us not forget that he even outboxed Sergio Martinez for a few rounds.

Speaking of Ward, isn't it amazing how he has never followed trends in boxing, yet has been a success?  Fought above his natural weight in Olympics, not below.  Actually got foreign judges to credit him in those Olympics.  Had virtually no international experience prior to Athens.  Now, as a pro, he has managed to clean out a division full of Europeans without touching European soil.  He is also selling tickets without the benefit of big KO power, a trash-talking personality, or a Latino fan base!  Ward simply did it the Joe Mesi way, by being a home-based sports franchise to a specific town.  While the odds are against it, don't be surprised if Ward also pulls a Sandy Koufax, and even retires at the right time.

 

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Action Packed Card at the The Hanger

Action Packed Card at the The Hanger
At The OC County fairground, Roy Englebrecht promotions put on another action packed card at The Hangar.  In the main event, Rowland Heights, CA heavyweight Alex Flores moved to 11-0-9KO's, after his opponent, Las Vegas' Matt "Hurricane" Hicks blew a little too hard with a left hook, and injured his knee, as he fell to the canvas.  Hicks fought on for the remainder of round one, but doctors called a halt, dropping Hicks' record to 13-8-12KO's.

The other two big undefeated heavyweight prospects failed to impress as Vince Thompson, of Federal Way, Washington, outboxed northern California's Yohan Banks over 6 one sided rounds.  Banks made a good effort, but Thompson's boxing skills from the southpaw stance led the way.  Thompson is now 12-0-2KO's, while Banks falls to 5-8-3-3KO's.  60-54 on all cards.  Time for Thompson to step up in class of competition.

The same can be said for Newark, NJ's Joe Hanks, who made a return to the OC fight cards.  He easily outboxed the timid Texan, Lorenzo Smith, who falls to 11-4.  While the strength and skills clearly lay with Hanks, Smith had a bad case of sparring partner syndrome, and only offered enough offense to avoid being stopped.  Hanks is now 21-0-14KO's, and should not still be in 6 rounders against this type of opponent.

In an all-out robbery, John Worthy dropped his 154lb foe, Javier Albonica in the first round, and seemed to outwork him in at least 2 of the other rounds.  However, all three judges gave Albonica every other round, for a 38-37 sweep on all cards.  CA had it 39-36 for Worthy, of Ontario, who now falls to 3-5-1KO, while Albonica, of L.A., improves, if you can call it that, to 7-1-4KO's.

 

 

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JANUARY BOXING PREDICTIONS

JANUARY BOXING PREDICTIONS

Orlando Salido vs Mikey Garcia
Bravo to Salido for taking this fight.  He is riding high after his two wins against Juanma.  He had his hometown defense in between.  Maybe he feels he's been rewarded enough for his long journey into championship status.  However, if he beats arguably the best young prospect/contender in boxing, the whole boxing world is his oyster.  Although Salido has been KO'd, those losses took place much earlier in his career, and he is quite durable now.  Maybe that would bother some fighters, but anyone with the boxing IQ of a Mikey Garcia, will simply find new ways to dominate.  Figure this fight to be a replay of Gamboa vs. Salido, without Orlando having the punchers chance.  Garcia will be a step ahead throughout.  Garcia by UD.

Andre Ward vs. Kelly Pavlik
Being forced to root against one of my favorite fighters no matter what is the only negative here.  This is the biggest fight at 168 this country can produce by itself.  Pavlik has shown improved inside skills since being trained by Roberto Garcia, but that will just mean he will be comfortable where Ward can do the most damage.  The real place for Pavlik should be on the outside, breaking Ward's rhythm with the jab, and trying to land the big right hand.  He can forget about winning rounds, or even looking good during it.  He can also forget about breaking down Ward, who does not break down.  I believe Garcia's whole strategy for Pavlik should be around catching Ward on the way in and out.  If he cannot hurt him, he cannot win.  As big a puncher as Pavlik is, Abraham's power certainly did not bother Ward.  Andre Ward by wide decision, or late round TKO if Kelly's face busts up.

 

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STAPLES CENTER ANALYSIS - Chris Strait at Ringside

STAPLES CENTER ANALYSIS - Chris Strait at Ringside

In the main event, Anselmo Moreno showed that eventually his lack of firepower would prove his undoing.  WBC Super Bantamweight champion Abner Mares attacked at will, never really concerned with what was coming back from his opponent.  There were many close rounds, 3, 8, 10, 11 for example.  As usual, Mares employed low blows as part of his repertoire, but they were largely ineffective aspects of a potent body attack.  The Californian attacked his Panamanian challenger, rising from 118lbs, with steady pressure, left uppercuts, right hooks, and shoe-shining body shots... some legal, some not.  

Moreno was floored in round 5, and was routinely bullied to the ropes.  Although the WBA Bantamweight champion landed his fair of crisp counter shots, Mares was unnaffected by the blows, and by the middle rounds, was even inviting his opponent to strike him.  Ironically, the lone point deducted in the entire bout was one from Moreno for pulling Mares head down.  Indeed, Moreno was guilty of that offense, yet Mares's low blows and burying of his skull in Moreno's chest, were hardly the result of this particular foul.  One scorecard of 120-106 seemed quite ridiculous, yet 116-110 for Mares, as the other two judges saw it, was more appropriate.  Mares retained his title, and immediately called out Nonito Donaire.  Promotional difficulties aside, that would certainly be a great match-up for boxing, and an uphill climb for Mares.

Alfredo Angulo, corn rows and all, is back.  However, his opponent Raul Casarez, was chosen well.  The Texan was not a bomber, but jumped right into Angulo's chest, and in less than a minute, the two traded left hooks.  The result was a definitive statement about the difference in class.  Angulo, who has a total of 3 decision wins, all having taken place in his first 4 fights, IS a bomber.  Casarez fell hard, and stumbled on his attempt to rise.  In California, the benefit of the doubt is rarely given, and the referee stopped the contest at :56 seconds of round 1.  Angulo is someone who will retain a fan base for his style, heritage, and power, regardless if he can win at the higher levels.  

 

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NOVEMBER BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 1

NOVEMBER BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 1

For the first time in many years, November will go by without a major fight.  This is in part to neither of the big draws, Pacquiao or Mayweather, fighting in that month.  It is also in part because of the Klitschkos being without a serious threat.  Finally, it is also due to the rampant Latino pandering that ensures most big fights in the middle divisions take place in May and September.  None of this need bother the die hard fan, however.  November is still full of exciting possibilities.

Wladimir Klitschko vs. Mariusz Wach
I know the Klitschkos have to look hard for competition.  Either their contenders have lost to them already (Adamek, Arreola, Chambers, Haye), or are seemingly afraid to face them (Helenius, Boystov, Povetkin).  Wach is from the Manuel Charr school of unproven, yet big.  Therefore, maybe it will look like less of a mismatch, that is until 15 seconds into round one.  I predict Wach's size, and new-found power will only make it harder for him to get away once he realizes how overmatched he is.  Klitschko by 5th round TKO.  Only Klitschko's measured style will allow it to last that long.

Vanes Martirosyan vs. Erislandy Lara
Martirosyan's handlers were probably thinking they'd be rewarded with a free belt by taking the slow road.  Little did they know how interesting 154lbs would get.  After an 8 year unbeaten pro career (only Vernon Forrest comes to mind as an Olympian who took longer), Martirosyan is stepping way up.  He is a live underdog here, yet the awkwardness of a Carlos Molina, and persistance of a Paul Williams seem to be the only things that have bothered Lara to this point.  Neither of these things can be found in Vanes.  Lara does not possess much power after his first-round explosions, so I think 10-12 rounds of solid counterpunching are what we are likely to see.  Lara by UD.

 

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WORK OUT THE KINKS IN THE GYM!

WORK OUT THE KINKS IN THE GYM!

A recent HBO card showcased many young and up and coming fighters in Verona, New York, at the Turning Stone Casino.  While three contenders notched good wins, more questions were raised than answers.  There are more and more fighters these days who seem to be lacking the most basic key parts of their arsenal.  This would have been discouraged at the 4 round prelim level 30-40 years ago, yet fighters are making it to contender, sometimes even champion status without correcting them.  A few examples:

Thomas Dulorme - I don't care what kind of power, movement, and boxing ability a young prospect shows, how does he make it to number one in one of the sanctioning bodies, without knowing how to block a telegraphed right hand?  To Dulorme's credit, he was finally kayoed by a left hook, but he had to turn southpaw to avoid the right hand, instead of one of the more known defenses: roll and counter, elbow block, or opposite-hand parry.  Any one of those would have been more effective than simply ducking or trading his way further into the punch.  You've got to have a counter for this in the gym, because his chin is definitely not the answer.

Carlos Abregu - The Argentine is a power puncher, but he might as well also wear a flashing sign that says "right hand on the way" for all of his cleverness.  It took him finally mixing his attack to stop Dulorme, but why was the southpaw stance of Dulorme so befuddling when the Puerto Rican employed it?  Isn't a right hand supposed to be more effective against a lefty?  Not in Abregu's case, because it is often an off-balance, telegraphed shot.  If he wants to win at the next level, he needs to correct this.

 

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MIDDLEWEIGHT TOURNAMENT, part 1

MIDDLEWEIGHT TOURNAMENT, part 1

I know it is wishful thinking, given how long the super middleweight "super six" took, but I have an idea for a middleweight tournament that should be over by the end of next year.  It will be a single elimination tournament with fighters seeded.  there are more than 8 fighters who are worthy, so I will explain my inclusions.  The tourney should take place exclusively in the U.S., as this is neutral ground for most, and virtually all have plied their trade here.  

This tourney should feature, in order of seeding: Sergio Martinez, Daniel Geale, Gennady Golovkin, Dmitry Pirog, Peter Quillin, Matthew Macklin, Martin Murray, and Domenico Spada.  Now, for those of you asking why not Sturm, Chavez, Proksa, or Barker?  Barker, Proksa, and Sturm are coming off losses, and/or had not done much impressive up until then.  Chavez needs to be at least a 168lb-er, and is also coming off a dominant loss.  Here how I would stack them, complete with predictions.

Sergio Martinez vs. Domenico Spada
Spada is only getting this shot as a mandatory, and because Martinez deserves an easy touch.  Not sure how easy he will be, as Martinez always takes his time to break guys down.  Something tells me the talent gap will be wide, and Spada's corner will pull him out, down 6-0 on the cards, before round 7.

Daniel Geale vs. Martin Murray
Avoided like the plague since his "draw" over Felix Sturm, Murray deserves to be in this tournament. however, as anyone offensive looks great against the turtle that is Sturm, it remains to be seen how he will do against a fighter who many say has never legitimately lost.  we are headed for a volume punching 12-rounder here, that may be hard to score.  I assume, however, that Geale will have a bit too much, and win a close-ish UD.

Gennady Golovkin vs. Matthew Macklin
Macklin has earned another shot, but it won't be any easier.  I expect Macklin to show toughness, but Golovkin is a freak of nature with his strength and persistence.  Macklin's chin might hold steady, but his skin will not.  Golovkin by 9th round TKO.

Dmitry Pirog vs. Peter Quillin
Kid Chocolate needs a step up, after careful matchmaking, and i know Golden Boy has bad memories of Pirog.  

 

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NOVEMBER PREDICTIONS, PART 2

NOVEMBER PREDICTIONS, PART 2

For the first time in many years, November will go by without a major fight.  This is in part to neither of the big draws, Pacquiao or Mayweather, fighting in that month.  It is also in part because of the Klitschkos being without a serious threat.  Finally, it is also due to the rampant Latino pandering that ensures most big fights in the middle divisions take place in May and September.  None of this need bother the die hard fan, however.  November is still full of exciting possibilities.

Abner Mares vs. Anselmo Moreno
One has to admire the number of good fighters Mares is taking on, one after another.  For a young kid, who should not be in a hurry, he does not get many soft touches.  He has also shown that he can either box or slug, depending on what is needed fight by fight.  He will need to slug here.  Moreno does one thing, but does it very well.  I do not see that changing against the Californian.  Mares has had some close ones, and he will get to Moreno more than most.  Style-wise, I see him following Moreno around, and losing a unanimous decision.

Carl Froch vs. Yusuf Mack
Mack gets shot after shot the same way Justin Juuko did years ago... because he wins enough to stay in the top ten, but offers little to no resistance to the top fighters.  Froch was a distance fighter for so many years as his competition was high, therefore he deserves an opponent who has shown to be only an 8 round fighter against the division's best.  I am talking about 175.  I don't feel the new division will bother them at all.  Froch by 8th round TKO.

Adrien Broner vs. Antonio De Marco
Broner stays as cocky as he is in the ring outside of it... yet plies his craft expertly.  

 

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NOVEMBER BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 1

NOVEMBER BOXING PREDICTIONS, PART 1

For the first time in many years, November will go by without a major fight.  This is in part to neither of the big draws, Pacquiao or Mayweather, fighting in that month.  It is also in part because of the Klitschkos being without a serious threat.  Finally, it is also due to the rampant Latino pandering that ensures most big fights in the middle divisions take place in May and September.  None of this need bother the die hard fan, however.  November is still full of exciting possibilities.

Wladimir Klitschko vs. Mariusz Wach
I know the Klitschkos have to look hard for competition.  Either their contenders have lost to them already (Adamek, Arreola, Chambers, Haye), or are seemingly afraid to face them (Helenius, Boystov, Povetkin).  Wach is from the Manuel Charr school of unproven, yet big.  Therefore, maybe it will look like less of a mismatch, that is until 15 seconds into round one.  I predict Wach's size, and new-found power will only make it harder for him to get away once he realizes how overmatched he is.  Klitschko by 5th round TKO.  Only Klitschko's measured style will allow it to last that long.

Vanes Martirosyan vs. Erislandy Lara
Martirosyan's handlers were probably thinking they'd be rewarded with a free belt by taking the slow road.  Little did they know how interesting 154lbs would get.  After an 8 year unbeaten pro career (only Vernon Forrest comes to mind as an Olympian who took longer), Martirosyan is stepping way up.  He is a live underdog here, yet the awkwardness of a Carlos Molina, and persistance of a Paul Williams seem to be the only things that have bothered Lara to this point.  Neither of these things can be found in Vanes.  Lara does not possess much power after his first-round explosions, so I think 10-12 rounds of solid counterpunching are what we are likely to see.  Lara by UD.

Orlando Salido vs. Mikey Garcia
So much for giving Salido an easy touch after his brawls with Juanma Lopez.  

 

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GAINING MOMENTUM

GAINING MOMENTUM
Terrell Williams Interview
Like many other fighters... welterweight Terrell Williams (6-0-5 KO's) followed his brother into the gym.  Dwain "Tyger" Williams was a California State Middleweight Champion in the last decade, and the first in his family to box.  However, the elder Williams was done as a boxer before he turned 24.  His brother was just turning pro around the same age.  The younger Williams may have come to boxing early, but like many, left and came back to it later.  Although he is the youngest of 6 children, he has been forging his own path ever since.  Chris Strait of www.convictedartist.com talked with the young prospect, prior to his fight September 20, 2012 at Florentine Gardens in Hollywood, CA.

CS: Where are you from?

TW: Los Angeles... West L.A. but I train in Van Nuys now.  

CS: When did you first start fighting?

TW: I was 8 years old.  I had around 60 amateur fights (only 6 losses), but most of them were before I got into high school.  Then I stopped boxing altogether.

CS: When did you come back?

TW: I was 21, and had maybe 6-8 more fights, tops.  I went into the golden gloves, then decided to turn pro.

CS: You've had a lot of gaps in activity for a fighter with only 6 fights.  What led to that?

 

 

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FIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION

FIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION

When Boxing returns to Florentine Gardens in Hollywood, CA for the second time this year, on September 20, it is continuing a great tradition.  A tradition of which many people, even hardcore fight fans, do not know the history.  We all know if the legendary Rocky series, as well as star-studded films like Cinderella Man and The Fighter.  However, did you know that boxing is by far the most covered sport in the movies?  Did you know the tradition goes back as far as movies have existed?

One of the very first 5-minute motion picture released to the public was a boxing demonstration being given my Jim Corbett, the first gloved heavyweight champion of the world.  That started a love affair between film and prizefighting that has lasted nearly 120 years.  In fact, a few years later, Los Angeles was where the heavyweight champion called home. 

Hundreds of actors every day work in Burbank, California movie and television studios, never knowing that in that very same town, "Great White Hope" Jim Jeffries raised alf-alfa in his retirement years.  It was from that retirement that he was drawn out, to unsuccessfully challenge the great Jack Johnson.  Jeffries lived the majority of his life in Southern California, and is buried in Inglewood Park Cemetery.  Of course, the movies were just a coincidence then, as Hollywood had not yet become ground zero for that activity. 

Fast Forward to the 1930's and clown prince of the heavyweight division Max Baer.  Today he is more known as the guy who killed two men in the ring, told jokes during fights, and lost to the Cinderella Man.  But in Hollywood, he was known as the star of "The Prizefighter and the Lady", the filming of which is how Baer spent his championship reign, rather than training.  Heck, Baer might even be more well known among entertainment buffs, as being the father of the actor who portrayed "Jethro Bodine" on 'The Beverly Hillbillies'.

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Q AND A WITH ERIC BROWN

Q AND A WITH ERIC BROWN
Q AND A WITH ERIC BROWN

The Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California is known more for Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach's stable of fighters than anything else.  What most people in the world of boxing know is that many other good fighters, like Amir Khan, James Toney, and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. also call it home.  What many don't know from how this gym is portrayed on 24/7 or any other show on which it is featured, is that there are other world class trainers there as well.  Chris Strait, of www.convictedartist.com sat down with Eric Brown, to discuss the journey he has taken to become a top-notch boxing trainer.

CS: How did you get involved in boxing?

EB: I came to it from martial arts.  I started doing martial arts in Detroit the early 1970's, and came to boxing in 1976.  I took a break from it in 1985, and started working at GM.

CS: What took you away from boxing?

EB: I had to feed my family, my children were young at the time.

CS: Did you come from a boxing family?

EB: No, I was the only athlete period.  I was into music as well, and when I expressed interest, my father introduced me to martial arts.  Looking back, I wish he would have gotten me straight into boxing, but it was ok that I did martial arts first.

 

 

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SPORTSMEN'S LODGE FIGHT NIGHT

SPORTSMEN'S LODGE FIGHT NIGHT
The second installment of Goossen Tutor’s local fight cards at Sportsmen’s Lodge again played to a packed house, and showcased several up and coming prospects.  In attendance were former world champions James Toney, Steve Forbes, as well as former contender Randy Shields.  Baseball legend Pete Rose was also ringside.

In the main event, 2008 Olympian Shawn Estrada moved to 15-0-13KO’s with a brutal 2nd round KO over previously unbeaten cruiserweight Felix Piedra.  Piedra, of Weslaco, TX pursued Estrada, but could not handle the East Los Angeles fighters power punches, which resonated throughout the intimate venue.  Piedra was dropped with a barrage of right hands in his own corner, and struggled to rise on splayed, unsteady legs.  Referee Jack Reiss wisely called it over.  Piedra drops to 9-1-1-6KO’s.  Estrada said after the fight, he plans to drop from this career high 185lbs back down to 168.

Anatoliy Dudchenko went 8 rounds for the first time in his career, as he won a shutout decision over Los Mochis journeyman Alfredo Contreras.  Contreras showed his toughness by standing up to the Ukranian’s big right hand, but was taking clean shots throughout, and never threatened back.  Contreras falls to 11-14-3-4Kos, while Dudchenko, the USNBC Light Heavyweight champ, rises to 16-2-11KO’s.  All scores were 80-72.
Other than that, judges Carla Caiz and Barry Druxman had a difficult time, as three fights were scored draws, at least two of which seemed erroneous.  Heavyweight Sergo Pogosyan seemed to make his debut a successful one, as he outboxed debuting Avery Gibson, of Lancaster… however only judge Lou Moret had it correctly, as the result ended up a majority draw.  Pogosyan, of Russia, as well as Gibson are each 0-0-1draw.

 

 

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SEPTEMBER PREDICTIONS - Middleweight Explosion

SEPTEMBER PREDICTIONS - Middleweight Explosion
In September, within two weeks of one another, things are finally going to get interesting at 160.  By the middle of next year, the top 5 fighters may have all faced each other.  Middleweight has always been a division that does far better when unified.  Some fighters specialize in division hopping, facing names, whether or not belts are at stake.  However, Monzon, Hagler, Hopkins, all added to their fame by being "the man" at 160, and 160 only (until Hopkins moved up).  Here is the breakdown of upcoming action, and my predictions.

Sergio Martinez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez
Well, there is at least one fight that has been postponed for years, that the public is finally going to get.  Of course, before this was a fight of come-uppance.  We all couldn't wait to see Martinez dispose of this nepatism-carried overprotected joke.  Now, don't get me wrong, Chavez Jr. has still been guided and matched very carefully.  He has also had the benefit of Top Rank, the WBC, and the Texas commission in his back pocket.  These corrupt influences gave him the confidence of knowing, like his father before him, that all he had to do was make it to the final bell, and he would be awarded a victory.  He will not need to make weight.  He will not need to provide urine samples.  He lives by different rules than other fighters.

This is why, should Chavez win or lose, I do not want to see him matched with Felix Sturm.  How boring of a fight would that be?  Two guys who are used to coasting to controversial decision wins?  Like watching two aikido masters fighting!  However, Chavez has legitimately beaten several middleweight contenders, utilizing different styles as necessary.  He has legitimately earned this shot more convincingly that Macklin or Barker.. Martinez's two most recent scalps.  However, I don't see this fight going any differently than those two.  Martinez hits normally iron chinned fighters in places, and in ways, that makes them more vulnerable.  He also finds ways to wear down an opponent without a bruising body attack.  I don't know how he does it, but I don't think Chavez knows either.  It will be close and interesting, until Martinez turns it on.  Don't be surprised if Chavez is controversially ahead on the scorecards, and allowed to recover too long if hurt.  It won't matter, however.  His own people will pull him out, about round 10 or 11.

 

 

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FLORENTINE GARDENS BOXING RINGSIDE COVERAGE

FLORENTINE GARDENS BOXING RINGSIDE COVERAGE
Retro was the theme, as boxing returned to Hollywood Blvd July 12th, at the historic Florentine Gardens.  Bash Boxing and Art of Boxing Promotions presented a 9-bout (all four-rounders) car showcasing local talent.  The referees were Wayne Hedgepeth and Tony Krebs.  Ring announcer was Jim Fitzgerald.

In the Welterweight main event, Zachary "Kid Yamaka" Wohlman stayed unbeaten as he scored a four round unanimous decision over Phoenix's Jose Martell.  Martell awkwardness provided tense moments, especially in round 3, but Wohlman was by far the superior boxer, and utilize defense and counterpunching to maintain control.  40-36 twice, while the third judge had a more appropriate 39-37.  Wohlman proves to 4-0-1KO, while Martell drops to 2-3-1 KOs.

Another L.A. fighter remained unbeaten, as junior middleweight Terrell "Tyger" Williams scored a 1st round KO over Cleveland's Clifford McPherson.  For the second straight fight, McPherson seemed to quit, as he was dropped by a hard body shot.  Williams connected with a soft shot to the temple as McPherson was on one knee, causing McPherson to overact.  Referee Tony Krebs was not buying it, and counted McPherson out, dropping the Cleveland fighters record to 2-10-1-1KO.

It was also a semi-bizarre ending for Sacramento's Larry Ward.  Amateur standout Paul Parker of Toledo, OH made his Cruiserweight pro debut a successful one with a 1st round KO over Ward, yet after catching Ward with a temple shot, things got a bit off-script.  Ward grabbed on, and was wrestled to the canvas.  Although it was correctly ruled no knockdown by Tony Krebs, ward was dizzy from the previous shot, stumbling and confusing Krebs.  Although the referee allowed the fight to continue, Ward was down again from another straight right, and the bout was waved off.  Krebs seemed a bit confused, and seemingly thought ward might have been made dizzy by the takedown, but thew bout was still awarded to Parker, who moves to 1-0-1KO, while Ward drops to 1-3

 

 

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THE SCIENCE OF AVOIDANCE

THE SCIENCE OF AVOIDANCE
It is bad enough when a promoter is attempting to protect his own fighter, or when a sanctioning body begins doing the same.  However, when they are both in it together, it is amazing how long a prospect can go untested.

Canelo Alvarez is no longer a prospect, and neither is Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.  They are bonified contenders now, as their respective victories over Shane Mosley and Andy Lee finally show.  However, the WBC in particular seems to be of the practice of making a man a champion before he is even a contender.  Both of these men replaced Sergio Martinez as champion in two respective weight classes, without ever defeating him.  They did so with the help of the WBC, and their respective promoters: Golden Boy and Top Rank.  

Chavez has no one else with whom to cash in.  He is being forced to finally face Martinez.  The timing is right, too.  Arum has built him up to the point where his confidence is high, and his strong chin has been revealed.  Therefore even if he loses to Martinez, it will probably not be humiliating.  This will enable JC Jr to blame the loss on weight issues, and move up to 168 with his fan base still intact.  Given Martinez' propensity for having close-ish fights, it might even be close enough for the old Chavez corruption magic to work a screw job decision.  This is Arum we are talking about here.  

For Alvarez, however, he gets a smoother ride.  There are huge names in Mayweather and Pacquiao for him to face.  Promotional anger will likely prevent the Pacquiao fight from happening... as Arum would rather die than share a penny with Golden Boy.  That leaves Mayweather, whom Canelo is being groomed to lose to.  He will likely also not get the Pacquiao fight, no matter how badly the fans still want it, and Alvarez will be a nice payday for a May 5th or Sept 15 Mexico-pandering event.  

 

 

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AUGUST BOXING PREDICTIONS

AUGUST BOXING PREDICTIONS
Tavoris Cloud vs. Jean Pascal
This fight should not be a big deal.  Pascal snuck in a victory over Chad Dawson, and then looked befuddled twice against Bernard Hopkins.  He has good talent, and heart, but ring intelligence is not coming along like people hoped.  He won't need it against Cloud.  Cloud was exposed in his loss (a Don King special delivery victory) over Gabriel Campillo.  Cover up and counter is the way for fighters to beat Cloud now, and we all know it.  Very few do it as well as Campillo, but Pascal has the tools.  Add to that Tavoris knows he lost the last time out, so even though he is technically unbeaten, he is unsure of himself... especially of his ability to finish a hurt fighter.  This was the Don King cash-out fight, being held in Canada, that he was waiting for.  I do not believe the judges will not be as kind this time.  Cloud's work-rate is impresssive, but I give Pascal 5 rounds before he figures it out, and sweeps the rest of the fight.  Pascal by 8-4 UD.

Gennady Golovkin vs. Dmitry Pirog
Finally!  These two are fighting, as are Geale and Sturm.  Ok, it won't be on our shores, because Sturm will never give away his corruption advantage... but Geale has overcome that Germany jinx before.  That fight will be held the next week, and if those two winners face each other, Martinez has a decent foe on the horizon after dispatching Chavez Jr.  For Pirog, the bloom is off the rose.  He fights awkwardly, and that surprised Danny Jacobs, but he is quickly becoming the Mayorga of this decade.  I think Golovkin will finally expose him, although the awkwardness will allow it to go the full 12.  Golovkin by wide unanimous decision.

Mia St. John vs. Christy Martin
I know, I know... why include this fight?  It's a slow month, so here goes:  It's a good comeback story.. especially for Martin, who is proving that even female boxers can stick around too long.  She's over the hill, and coming off a stabbing and shooting injury at the hands of her ex-husband, but just to see a boxerette not run for the hills when solid competition gets too close (a la Laila Ali, Lucia Rijker, Ann Wolfe, etc) is admirable.  Same with St. John, who I would have incorrectly predicted would be retired long ago.  Nostalgia will earn these female boxing pioneers a payday, and I am going to pick the upset.  St. John won't have as much to be intimidated by this time, and I think Martin has gone to the well one time too many.  St. John by unanimous decision.

 

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Zachary "Kid Yamaka" Wohlman Interview

Zachary

Zachary Wohlman adapts to his surroundings.  I'm not just speaking of his having the rare ability to train at the wild card gym even in the beginning of his pro career; sparring against some of the best, and learning from trainers Freddie Roach and Eric Brown.  I'm speaking of the very reason he began boxing in the first place.  Most boxers describe themselves nowadays as warriors, at least on these shores.  However, Zac Wolhman said he fell in love with "boxing, not fighting", and it is that which guides and facilitates his learning curve.  It was not always that way.  Writer Chris Strait sat down with "Kid Yamaka", as he prepares for his 4th pro fight next week, against Jose Martell of Arizona, in his own backyard of Hollywood, CA.

CS: Your nickname obviously makes you stand out, as there are not many Jewish boxers nowadays.  Where did that come from?

ZW: I actually didn't get bar-mitzvah-ed until a few years ago.  I came back to my faith later, and Kid Yamaka (yarmulke) was a nickname given to me in the gym.  You either pick your nickname or it picks you.  Mine definitely picked me, but the more people heard it, they were like, "hey, that's a really good nickname".

CS: How did you begin boxing?  And at what age?

ZW: I was 14, and I went to military school on the Texas/Mexican border.  I was nervous to be there, so I told them I was a boxer to gain respect.

 

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THE CANELO SWEEPSTAKES

THE CANELO SWEEPSTAKES
It is true that Saul "Canelo" Alvarez is having a great difficulty finding an opponent for September 15th.  His first opponent, Paul Williams, would have marked one of the biggest, if not the biggest, challenges of Canelo's career.  Unfortunately, Williams is likely paralyzed permananetly, and at any rate, will definitely never fight again.  James Kirkland then priced himself out, and got injured (conveniently).  I think Kirkland's handlers finally realize what they have in Kirkland.  An offensively gifted fighter with a lot of heart, but who can be both outboxed, and hurt easily.  A fighter like Canelo, who has both power and boxing ability would not be a favorite foil for a fighter like that.

Then Victor Ortiz was mentioned as the opponent.  Enter Josesito Lopez and Ortiz's bad luck.  Ortiz was ahead on all cards, when a broken jaw prevented him from continuing.  Ortiz now has 4 losses and 2 draws on his record, all of which ended bizarrely.  A technical draw early in his career, and a DQ loss both were against fighters he would have easily beaten.  Then he was ahead against Maidana, before two eye injuries ended his night.  Then, the weird head-butt/look at ref KO loss to Mayweather, and now the broken jaw.  I think Ortiz has just had awful luck, but he will soon make another list of mine in a subsequent article for that reason.  However, Lopez, a natural 140lb-er is too small for Canelo, so he is not a viable opponent.  The handlers of Alvarez are left scrambling, once again.

The only real opponents for Alvarez are Miguel Cotto or Austin Trout.  The WBC is playing it's favorite game "protect the mexican" and saying they will not accept Trout as a unification bout.  Twisted logic somehow saying that they will be harming the "WBC brand", by unifying.  Funny, they have no problem doing it with Cornelius Bundrage, the IBF champion.  These cretins have been in power so long, they don't even bother to tell believable lies.  Trout will likely outbox, and frustrate Alvarez all night.  He is the kind of slick boxer who gives nightmares to fighters like Canelo, and will put fans to sleep in the process.  It is simply a cowardly business decision to avoid him.

 

 

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Rico Ramos vs. Efrain Esquivias; Ringside Coverage

Rico Ramos vs. Efrain Esquivias; Ringside Coverage

Goossen-Tutor Promotions kicked off their inaugural show of a 6x a year proposed series at the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City.  Celebs in attendance included James Toney and the Ruelas brothers, Gabriel and Rafael, who were honored in the ring, with plaques commemorating their ring careers.  Judges for all bouts were Max DeLuca, Fritz Werner, and Fernando Villareal.

In the main event, former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Rico Ramos, Watts, CA won a disputed 8-round decision over previously unbeaten Efrain Esquivias, Gardena, CA  the fight featured good action throughout, and while Ramos was effective counterpunching on the inside, the pace of the fight seemed clearly dictated by the pressure of Esquivias.  Ramos appeared hesitant in his first start since his only loss... a dominatingly one-sided stoppage defeat to Cuban star Guillermo Rigondeaux, while Esquivias forced the fight to be held on the inside, much to the delight of those in attendance.  Esquivias seemed to at least deserve a draw, but only got one on one card, 76-76, while the other two judges scored 78-74 for Ramos, who moves to 21-1-11KO's, while Esquivias drops to 16-1-9KO's.

In the co-feature, Palmdale CA's Matthew Villaneuva picked up his first decision victory, as outgunned but game Bruno Escalante, San Carlos, CA made it the full 8 rounds.  Escalante, dubbed the "Aloha Kid", was a speedy southpaw, who made things difficult for the taller, more powerful Villanueva in the early going.  gradually the power shots of the Palmdale fighter took over, however, and Escalante was hurt in every round from 3-7, but managed to remain on his feet throughout.  Surprisingly, Escalante managed to win the eighth.  Scores were 79-73,l 78-74, and 77-75.

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CHISORA VS. HAYE – BOTH GOOD AND BAD FOR BOXING

CHISORA VS. HAYE – BOTH GOOD AND BAD FOR BOXING
Let’s face it.  Boxing has not had the best year thus far.  In fact, it has been downright depressing, featuring controversies, outright screw-jobs, cancelled fights, and not many memorable brawls.  David Haye vs. Dereck Chisora is a British version of what we thought we had in the U.S. with Adamek vs. Chambers.  It turned out to be anti-climactic, as Chambers had an injury that allowed Adamek to outwork him and win a controversial (is there any other kind?) decision.  Here, however, there is more potential for fireworks.

David Haye is the superior boxer and puncher, however Dereck Chisora has showed guts, durability, and energy in his 3 losses.  Although the Helenius loss was really a win, he has held his own against the giants in the heavyweight division.  The others being Klitschko and Fury, to whom Chisora lost undebatable decisions.  Oliver McCall is still fighting, amazingly, but Dereck Chisora seems to be the modern equivalent, and is good for boxing.  The WBC punishment of his punk-like behavior (spitting at Vitali, and brawling with Haye) might have been warranted, had it not come from a boxing sanctioning body… which is the equivalent of being lectured on business ethics by Donald Trump.

Neither man will be able to fight a safe fight against one another.  Chisora, because Haye is the better boxer.  Haye, because he does not have the firepower to keep Chisora off of him.  I predict that virtually anything is possible, but that Haye will start by outboxing Chisora, and piling up a bit of a points lead.  Chisora will close the gap both literally and figuratively.  I do not think Haye is above a track meet in order to avoid a charging Chisora, in the final rounds.  However, it may be enough to pick up a close points win, and make both fighters a lot of money.

 

 

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS
I like the activity level of Victor Ortiz in theory, but I’ll be very surprised if both fights come off.  Ortiz is quickly becoming the next Fernando Vargas, in which too many big fights are going to have him a shot fighter by age 28.  He figured to win the Lopez fight, but it also figures to be a brawl.  He also figures to lose to Canelo, but do so excitingly.  He is a convenient tool for Golden Boy to throw in there against their stars.  Much the same way Bradley is for Top Rank… even if he has not technically lost yet.

Speaking of Bradley, he is actually the innocent one in all of this.  It is our impulse to hate the fighter who benefits from shitty judging… but only when it happens multiple times: Chavez, Ayala, Ottke, Sturm… does the fighter really come off looking like a protected punk.  Bradley will probably end up wishing he hadn’t gotten the bad decision over Pacquiao, because if he had lost (as everyone knows he did), we could instead focus on his heart and determination, going the distance and winning two of the last 3 rounds… while hopelessly outgunned, and fighting on two broken feet!  Instead, we treat him like he committed the horrible robbery.

Speaking of broken, it would be a nicer ending to the Paul Williams tragedy if he can eventually walk again.  I know he’ll never fight, but he’s a fighter who should not be wheeled to hall-of-fame events years from now.  He should be a success story, speaking at events the way he always spoke after a fight… way too fast, and repeatedly asking us all if we “know what he sayin’”.

 

 

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