Convicted Artist Magazine

Feb 24th
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boxing glovesSo Abner Mares has finally tasted defeat, after coming so close so many times.  Jhonny Gonzalez is a fun fighter, whether he wins or loses, to have him be a three time, two division champion now, with a shot at the hall of fame is kind of a nice ending.  It's probably a short reign, but like everything he does, it will be exciting.  Mares is already saying he'll maintain his tough schedule if a good fight presents itself, but don't be so sure.  He was never a perfect or unbeatable looking fighter, therefore his confidence went a long long way.  They might actually want to step him back a bit, on a card where they are ironically allowing the padded Olympians step up.

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

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

Speaking of Ward, not since Ali are we seeing a hall-of-famer's talent so squandered during their physical prime.  Ward has fought twice in the last 2 years, and while they were two of his best wins, he is in his late 20's, and should be taking the 168 and 175 divisions by storm.  First it was injuries, then promotional difficulties, now network bickering.  He is also not the type of fighter I envision having a career that goes on too long.  We may only see him in the ring a handful more times, and I'd like to see him against Kovalev, Rodriguez, and Stevenson by the time 2014 is out.

Speaking of that year, I have a feeling that will be the year of the breakout star.  It has to be.  2013 was the year of the unfulfilled promise.  Donaire and Mares have both lost... Pacquiao has slipped irrevocably... Martinez and Ward are hurt and inactive.  Klitschkos are fighting less and less, and headed for retirement.  Somebody is going to skyrocket to fame and fill these voids.  I have a feeling Canelo can do so, even if he loses to Mayweather.  He has the latin fan base, the look and style, and is learning english.  Maybe it will be Adrien Broner... for all the wrong reasons.  Maybe a former Olympian will score a few big wins, and be marketed correctly.  Or maybe, just maybe, the sport won't involve this hemisphere as much as we might like.

Chris Strait

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