Sunday, June 2, 2019

Andy Ruiz Jr. Floors Anthony Joshua Four Times on Path to Victory.

                               Historical Upset Turns Boxing World Upside-Down

They trained Anthony Joshua’s body but they didn’t train his mind. So it was that he turned up in Madison Square Garden in a half-baked frame of mind that allowed a much smaller last minute stand-in long shot to put him on the canvas four times.  There were perhaps a few of us  that both welcomed that outcome and fewer still predicted it as   likely.

A day before the fight I was discussing with my longtime friend David Lamkin how so many millions of casual fight fans were giving Ruiz no chance.  That was ridiculous in itself even for the novitiates grown addicted to the over-hyped  tempo of Mixed Martial Arts where all it takes is a tattoo on some taut muscle bulk to impress the frat boys.

Hadn’t any of these people seen a fat boy fight?  The first time I saw Andy  Ruiz Jr. he didn’t remind me at all of Butterbean (as many of the fascinati are inclined to mention).  He reminded me of a guy I knew a long time ago, a 300 lb post adolescent with a body that touched both sides of a doorway.  His polite nickname was “Pudge” of course (you didn’t dare ridicule him with sobriquets like “Fat Boy”) and he had the fastest hands in the juvenile delinquent business.

 We used to drive weekly from Pennsylvania to Dino’s bar in   New York because the drinking age then and there was eighteen.  We went there to drink mostly but to fight if the opportunity availed itself.  Being a year older than the oldest of us,  Pudge was our unofficial leader.  While I never saw him pick a fight, I saw him finish plenty of them.  He had fast hands, quick combinations, and power behind his punches.

When I saw Andy  Ruiz Jr. fight the tall muscled Adonis like Ukrainian Dimitrenko not more than a few months ago, that’s who I thought of.  Pudge Benzoni.  It wasn’t called “fat shaming” back in the day but his kind of body attracted some ridicule, a big mistake for many a poor boy, who went down with a few cracks of Pudge’s meaty fat fists and a body which shivered and shook as he threw haymakers and short shots at would-be tough guys.

I like Anthony Joshua – as anyone would like an ambassador of boxing. But I’d always said he was steered away from tough fights by Eddie Hearn, a smart moneymaker, great talker, and (in spite of my early dislike of him)   a man good for boxing.   Between David Lamkin and I, a main point of contention was whether or not Anthony Joshua had ever faced a serious challenge. 

I admit, as Lamkin always maintained, that it was a triumph for Anthony Joshua to beat even  a nearly forty year old Vladimir Klitchko —  but not that much of one.  Still it was the only match challenge I’d seen him face — until Andy  Ruiz Jr.      

  I never believed Eddie Hearn’s hype about Deontay Wilder ‘ducking’ a fight with his boy.  There was all this talk, no documentation;  all Eddie Hearn had to do was show fight fans a contract that didn’t include the ridiculous short money 70 Joshua vs. 30 Wilder.  What was the rationale for that shenanigans anyway?  That Wilder was from Alabama?  That he is less articulate?  (It’s a bit smug, a bit too condescending and colonial besides) That he’s not as lovable to casual fight fans?  That’s all b.s. to real fight fans who only want to see who is the better fighter, the one who will be remembered for the moments of greatness and heightened consciousness it brought to our lives.

So I gotta’ say Viva Mexico! and Viva Andy Ruiz Jr.  It’s okay you want to call him a ‘counter-puncher’ if that’s how you see it.  But Ruiz Jr.’s fight is more than that. He had great head movement,  great poise,  ate big punches, and passed in and out of the violent circle as if all along he had a passport to victory.  But mainly what Andy Ruiz Jr. did, that other fighters failed to do, is get his punches off in the very same fractional seconds Anthony Joshua launched his.

You can have the big reach. You can have the big   punch, the 1-2-3 combination or the 2-3 or any other combination.  You can have the great body.  But you can’t defeat the earthquake shivering molten mass of energy contained in Andy Ruiz Jr.’s bull-like ham-hocks, back, legs, and fists. 

Ruiz got dumped early in the 3rd round and the British fight fans whooped it up so loud that you can hear them from Madison Square Garden all the way to the Canadian border.   But you know what I saw as Ruiz looked up from the seat of his pants?  I saw his eyes narrow on Anthony Joshua. I saw his focus. 

He had no words but I saw what he was thinking as surely as if it were flashing on the MSG big screen.  He was thinking: “Okay, motherfucker, okay.  Now we’ll see what we’re both made of.”

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Terrance "Bud" Crawford: The Silent Killer

By now you've heard:  After eleven grueling rounds, Terrance Crawford KO'd Jose Benvenitez in the closing minute of the twelvth with an upward rocket shot that almost lifted Benvenitez off his feet.  It was a fitting end for months of hostility between the two boxers with over-the-top trash talk coming from Benvenitez. 

I'm no purist when it comes to boxing and no stranger to trash talk. Lord knows I've heard enough of it.  Up to here with it, actually.  There was a time when it was fun and not so malicious as it has become.  I remember being at ringside during Muhammad Ali's sparring matches and listening to him with amusement as he taunted  his opponents to fight harder.  "C'mon chump, shoot your load. Is that all you got?"  And so forth, but aside from the violence, which was very real, Ali usually finished with a wink and a nod.

 But with this match-up, it seemed Jose was drumming up pure hatred.  Crawford did his usual job of tamping things down.  He's seen enough of violence not to be impressed with it. I like Jose B, to tell the truth, and I understand he was trying to drum up the subterranean rivalry between Mexican and African-American street gangs.  And I understand his purpose was to draw Crawford into a brawl where his (Jose's) power and size would be the determining factor.  But there was no excuse for descending to the level that he did.  So while I liked him as a fighter, I was glad Crawford knocked him down and finished him off. It wasn't easy -- Jose B fought a great fight in which he believed more in his power than in any kind of strategy.

Crawford pulled him out into the deep water, Jose tired, and those classy Sugar Ray (both) combinations kept raining down and around. 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Errol Spence Jr. Does Dallas ; Boxing Blowout

Errol Spence Jr. can count me as one of his fans but I'm looking forward to bigger challenges than Ocampo provided Saturday Night in the new Dallas Cowboys' stadium.

Ocampo went down for the count in the first round from some well-placed body blows.  

But unless you enjoyed the hoopla from Texas and the Dallas Cowboys, you might think the fight wasn't worth staying up for. 

 Spence Jr. was decked out in stunning Cowboys garb and they had superstar Cowboy players hugging it out in a big show of Texas' affection.  The affable Jerry Jones put himself in the picture but I wonder if the stadium spectacle overshadowed the purpose of the main event.  It was a bit much, even for me, and I'm usually okay with over-the-top.

In the later interview with Jimmy Lennon, Spence Jr. said he was looking forward to the outcome of Shawn Porter v. Danny Garcia.  The down side of it was that Spence vs. the Victor in that fight is not likely to occur until 2019, a disappointment for people who want to see Spence right now at the top of his game.

The young man is ready, has been ready, and I'd bet on him to end up on top of the division.   All of which brings us to Terrence Crawford and the possibility of a classic as Crawford moved up to the weight class.  Unfortunately, that's not likely to occur until late 2019 at the earliest.   Both Crawford and Spence Jr. are boxer-punchers, with Spence Jr. having the heavier hands (imho). If boxing fans should be so lucky as to see that fight materialize, we'd be back into the boxing time-machine to the era of Sugar Ray Leonard-Marvin Hagler - Tommy Hearns.  Or close to it.  

The Errol Spence Jr. fight wasn’t worth staying up late for, unless you enjoyed the hoopla from Texas and the Dallas Cowboys.  Ocampo went down for the count in the first round.  Errol Spence Jr was decked out in Cowboys garb and they had the Cowboy players hugging it out with Spence.  Jerry Jones put himself in the picture.  I don’t know if it was hilarious or pathetic. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Boxing Around the World - Anthony Joshua is the European Champion

I'm no longer personally involved in boxing and this leaves me at something of a disadvantage.  I never let it go, however, and it never let go of me.  Unfortunately, I'm in no better a position than the average fan to handicap the sport.  So here I am, a fan, looking for a niche. 

There's been a regular bloom of boxing sites, here and abroad, and it's an everyday occurrence for me to use the hashtag #boxing to see what's going on.

After the Anthony Joshua  vs, Joseph Parker fight, and even before it, I had the feeling that Joshua's next victim would be Tyson Fury. Should that fight actually be set, I'd be very disappointed.  It would be an entertaining fight,   largely because of the clownish element attached to it. 

Tyson Fury seems happy enough to have the media spotlight focused on him without actually fighting. I suppose that's better than lying on your back with the ring lights spotlighted on you after Anthony Joshua gets an early knockout.  Joshua is a good boxer against the kind of talent he's faced so far.  He's very strong, has boxing skills, but his style is very conventional, and with the exception of his TKO of an aging Wladimir Klitchko, he's fought only to his own level and not a cut above.  A little heavyweight like Evander Holyfield would get to him easy. Of course there are no Holyfields around that I can see.

 Anthony Joshua s just yesterday  told Tyson Fury to either get busy or shut up.  I don't condemn Eddie Hearn for ka-ching- ka-ching but I do condemn him for his faked-assed deflections of Deontay Wilder's continuous unanswered challenges of the British champion.  A Twitter boxing analyst with the handle of Boxing Kingdom says that shyster Eddie offered disrespectful chump change to Wilder, not because he expected to get it, but because he needed to look like he was actually willing to risk his fake champion's belt when, in fact, he's scared to death of fighting Deontay Wilder. Here's the tweet I'm talking about:  It quotes Adam Abramovitz  of @SNboxing this way:  

  Anthony Joshua is  only the reigning European champion -- even if he has three belts.  I'm not buying he's the heavyweight champion of the world until he fights someone who's not clowning, dog.   And that would be Deontay Wilder.Deontay Wilder.Deontay Wilder.Deontay Wilder.Deontay Wilder.  I'd even be happy  if he took on 38 year old Luis Ortiz who almost KO'd Wilder in their recent bout.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Conor McGregor Learns Lesson, Quits Boxing

Okay, my headline is not an eyeball grabber and falls into the category of bad media as typified by Bleacher Report with its fat-stuffed  whiteboy  pro Conor McGregor SEO.  But you've got to fight fire with fire right?  Wrong, because I'm just telling the truth.

Bleacher Reporter was this morning  already pumping up McGregor's TKO loss to aged Mayweather (40). Cliches came up handy to the Menlo Park California whiteboy  entrepreneurs who founded B-R after bonding at a wealthy white-boy school in an exclusive district you can't afford to live.

Here's how it goes basically. "He did very well considering..."  Considering what?  Considering he looked bad, pounding at Mayweather illegally on the back of the head, backwards on his heels most of the time,  and then getting KO'd. 

Yes, that is doing very well to the Mayweather haters.  But remember this Mayweather hating thing goes back a long way, even to the days when Uncle Roger and Floyd Sr. were fighting.  Both dad and uncle were fighters who would have cleaned up most of the competition today but, in those days, you didn't come by a reputation easily. And for the elder Mayweathers,  boxing was the only school that allowed them in.

 I hold formal education in high regard. I hold white people in high regard too, being one of them.  But there are many very smart people  of every stripe, for reasons sociological or economic, didn't have the advantages of it. I have seen the Mayweathers deprecated in the media by these   bigoted snobs, and even Floyd Jr. himself for being 'illiterate.' This is not out of any desire to improve education in America's minority neighborhoods.  It is, in fact, a permissible sanitized bigotry that allows these anonymous critics to feel better about themselves.

It's for this reason that Floyd Jr.'s current nickname is 'Money'. Bigots rub his face into illiteracy so it's poetic justice that the 'ignorant' Mayweathers rub  bigots' noses into money. Keep striving, motherfuckers.

 So then McGregor comes up  with the notion of an early stoppage by the referee.  If I didn't know better, I'd agree with him in that one.  I wanted the thing played out to its logical conclusion -- McGregor doing a face plant on the canvas or on his back looking up dazed at the ring lights.

With his hands down, no longer punching for a full minute while Mayweather bludgeoned him around the ring, and with the 'save me' look in his eyes, the Ref stepped in to save his life.  Instead of being grateful, he tells his fans the ref stopped it early.  Yeah, right, early for him to be brain-dead. And for the record, I'm glad that Mayweather was pulling his punches when McGregor was obviously going down.

Back to the title -- It's more of a prognostication.  Conor McGregor and Dana White have partically accomplished what they intended, that is, to raise MMA's profile in the hope of drawing more profits.  So does this mean that an MMA guy like McGregor can beat even a Class C journeyman fighter?  Or how about one of those excellent Class B fighters. Or maybe one of the up and comers like Errol Spence, Jr. (one of my favorites as mentioned in previous articles) .

I thought  Mayweather - McGregor was ridiculous from the get-go.  If the MMA really wanted to prove itself, they might have had their guy doubling in boxing by fighting one of the many journeyman guys who would die for the chance to fight a highly promoted 'name.'

But no!  They had to fight one of the most famous boxers in history. Otherwise the scheme would fail. Otherwise, a young no-name fighter would knock McGregor out early and the world would yawn.

So that's why my suggestion is so important. Before the gullible MMA public begins to think the Mayweather-McGregor fight was a real thing, they should call for their guy to fight a young boxer of any rank, though preferably, I would pick one who has some distinction.

Errol Spence Jr. would eat him alive and early.  But because the whole act was a fraud, Conor McGregor will not be going the boxing route.  The sport is too hard. Conor McGregor and his fans know he would go right down the drain.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

First Take August 24 from Las Vegas: Mayweather V. McGregor

First of all, I like Stephen A. and I love Mollie Q. and regarding Max Kellerman, well, not so much.  Well okay, Kellerman has it right when he says Conor McGregor has no chance.  But there he joins about 40 million fight fans who know the same thing.  Nonetheless, give him a pass. He has to cover it.

But among the people who are laughing at the spectacle are people like Teddy Atlas and Oscar De LaHoya, both of whom know a bit about the sport.  Paulie Malignaggi feels he got played when he got pushed down and someone in McGregor’s crew jumped up and snapped a picture of Paulie on the floor and sent it around. Malignaggi says the real story is that he slapped McGregor around for most of the sparring match, and that’s true.  Otherwise, McGregor and his boss Dana White would have freed the entire sparring session for broadcast. 

But since that session is a classified secret in the McGregor camp, and since the release of the clip would have people laughing, we have only to watch the You Tube clip of the session he had with South African boxing champ Chris Van Heerden .  McGregor looked like crap.  Just as in recent videos of his workouts, he’s slow and throws wide arm punches at poor angles and without snap.   Van Heerden said he could hit McGregor at will, that he was shocked at how badly McGregor looked. 

Stephen A. is a veritable oracle at basketball but he appeared as bewildered as a guy recovering from a three-day drunk when he hosted First Take August 24.  He evidently felt compelled to pretend that McGregor has a chance, the ‘big punch’ and all that, or that Mayweather is near death at age 40.

  We all know what the suckers think.  I don’t know if Stephen A believes himself or whether it’s just your classic sell-out to the ESPN powers that be.  Probably it’s a bit of both.  Or maybe he's hoping something really weird will happen, like the time that clown parachuted into the ring during the Evander Holyfield v. Riddick Bowe fight.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Miguel Flores v. Chris Avalos: Good Fights That End Badly

Under the category of ‘Good Fights That End Badly’ is Tuesday’s boxing FS1 Toe-to-Toe-Tuesday matchup between Miguel Flores and Chris Avalos.  Both boxers acquitted themselves superbly although I would have given Flores the win if they’d gone to the scorecards.  Instead, the referee   ruled Avalos the winner by RTD.

At first I didn’t get what was going on when   ref Bruce McDaniel stopped the fight at a break in the action.  RTD means retired by technical decision.  If you’re wondering how RTD differs from TKO, the latter (TKO) means you were stopped in the ring by the punches of the opponent.  In that case, the ref jumps in and stops one fighter from taking further     punishment.  Those punches you take when you’re out on your feet are the ones that can kill you.  But that wasn’t the case here.

An RTD occurs when a fighter refuses to continue or his corner won’t let him continue. In Flores’ case, he was bleeding from a   cut opened up by an unintentional head butt and a combination of punches.  McDaniel says the cut opened up first from a punch. But even if that were so, a head-butt occurred and made it impossible to continue. If strict rules of interpretation (as in criminal law) were applied, then the head-butt would have been the reason for the stoppage and Flores would have been declared the winner. 
 I don’t think anyone knows which caused the greater damage but everyone (including Avalos) acknowledges the head butt.  If the fight were stopped at that point, and for that reason, I would have gone to the scorecards.  The referee, believing that the cut was opened in an earlier round,  went for the RTD.

By the way, all three judges had Flores winning when the fight was halted.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Gennady GGG Golovkin Decisions Danny Jacobs (Beauty and the Beast)

Okay, I’m a whiteboy. So maybe you are   thinking  I’m looking at GGG as the “Beauty” and Danny Jacobs as the “Beast.”   It’s the other way around. And I was for Danny Jacobs before I was against him. 

The reason I was for Jacobs at first was because I followed him for a long time, even before he got cancer. He was someone   the amateurs I used to train looked up to as an up and coming star.  Our kids liked fighters from Brooklyn  like   Curtis Stevenson and Danny Jacobs, and Zab Judah, and Riddick Bowe. And others whose names I can’t remember at the moment.

The reason I switched to rooting for GGG at the last minute were duofold.  I have seen that Golovkin, while he has infinitely more fans than many promotors will admit, has been jerked around by many of the avaricious   boxing promoters, as have other Eastern European fighters.  Reason? I hope it’s not because they’re white and they’re Russian.

  On the alt.boxing channels, I’ve had to listen to many scurrilous and disparaging things about Golovkin, the purpose of which was to downplay GGG’s star value so that people like Canelo Alvarez have excuses not to make contracts to fight him.  

The second reason I had for switching  to GGG was because Jacobs had agreed to go for all the title belts up for grabs, including the IBF.  It was the IBF rules that required a same-day weigh-in. 

Everyone could see beforehand that Jacobs is the bigger middleweight, with a bigger frame, and could take on more pounds.  If he didn’t want to make same-day weight he shouldn’t have made that part of the deal. He broke his word.  Golovkin is a true middleweight – the 160 pound class is the perfect fit.  In the post-fight press conference, Jacobs said he weighed 175 – fifteen pounds over the weight.  It's possible he was closer to 180.

Politically and in terms of risk and business, I completely understand why Jacobs wouldn’t want to get down to the 170 lb grace weight.  It was the shot of his career and one I’m glad he got it.
 Personally, I’ve always thought he was a far more dangerous opponent for GGG than Canelo Alvarez.   I said many times, and publicly, that the oddsmakers were crazy making Jacobs the underdog.  It was a 50-50 fight to me from the git-go.  I'd seen Jacobs fight when people weren't paying attention to him.

. GGG never whines as some fighters (and promotors) do and has, right from the beginning, taken on all comers. The larger problem was that there weren’t that many ‘comers.’ Lots of folks made excuses not to sign their guys to fight GGG.

I had Golovkin   the winner mainly because of the knockdown, but not strictly that either.  Even so, the fight was close enough that Danny Jacobs seemed entirely reasonable in his post-fight press conference.  Owing to whatever subjectivity I am prey to, I had the fight 112-115, but I wouldn't swear to it.

Leave out the knockdown and it depends on the kind of fight you like.  Still, there was enough of beauty in Golovkin’s style to satisfy the sweet scientists amongst us.  And there was enough of beast in Danny Jacobs style to reinforce what I’ve always thought – he’s a gifted strong middleweight.

But basically it was  GGG   with his search and destroy style against Danny Jacobs far more complex and in-the-tradition boxing style. Pretty combinations landed hard sometimes – double left hooks, uppercuts in combination, neat stuff.

But in round four when Jacobs was dumped, he clutched at Golovkin’s leg for some reason. It wasn’t to keep himself from falling because he was already down . 

Golovkin’s unorthodox double right hand was what put Jacobs down.  Very creative, I thought.  Creative also was Danny Jacobs remarks in the press conference that the knockdown didn’t hurt him. He did get up and recover, to his credit. And what else would he say in a career that suddenly has gained serious traction from this fight? Danny Jacobs is a seriously smart student of the game and a serious smart and articulate spokesman for himself.

Beauty and the Beast.  In so far as the prettiest boxer of the two, it’s Danny Jacobs hands down. That’s a matter of my own personal choice;  I’m in no way intended to be persuasive.  I like chocolate. You like vanilla. That’s all.  Think of Sugar Ray Leonard as the Beauty;  Roberto Duran as the Beast.  Or Jake LaMotta v. Sugar Ray Robinson. It’s like that.   

I think now that, if matches can be arranged within 2017, both Gennady Golovkin and Danny Jacobs would KO Canelo Alvarez.  If Alvarez doesn’t stumble over Chavez Jr., he’s going to look awfully silly not signing Golovkin.  Unfortunately, Alvarez’ promotors will find it a lot easier to steer clear of Danny Jacobs because of the catchweight problem.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

David Lemieux Hammers Curtis Stevenson in Sensational Round 3 KO

I’m wondering if Curtis Stevens was cold in the 8 degree weather when he arrived at the Turning Stone boxing arena in Verona New York. Maybe Canadian David Lemieux was more accustomed to the bitter winter weather. 

But if Stevens was cold, he left colder, put to sleep by Lemieux in the third round by a classic combination of right-hand and a left-hook follow.  I don’t see Curtis Stevens as being finished, but I think his sensational early days are well behind him.  In spite of recent wins, Stevens is  still in the position of being the ‘opponent’ . The tag will stick as he becomes more and more the former ‘name’ or rung on the ladder other people have to climb.

I hope he’s saved enough money to retire. It was kind of tough watching his mom there at ringside praying for him to open his eyes. Stevens had his run, I’m afraid, and there was no disgrace in losing to David Lemieux, a guy who I’ve always underestimated.

There is no way to underestimate him now. His 8th ground KO at the hands of Gennady Golovkin was merely one in a long line of GGG KOs.  And while I’m at it, I think I have (by only a tiny bit) underestimated both fighters at one time or another and it’s time I admitted it. At the same time, I’ve always liked and respected both.

What impressed me most last night about David Lemieux was not only his power (which I knew about), nor his speed (which was always evident), nor his boxing knowledge (apparent, too) but his TIMING. 
Timing is something magical that happens when boxers are fighting at a certain high level.  No matter how fast the action looks from the outside, there is something in a   fighter’s mind that clicks in and films the fight in slow motion. Fortunately, the rest of us have real show motion to watch, enabling us to see (but only after watching the slow motion 3 or 4 times…lol) exactly what happened.

The fight was interesting in all three rounds. In the second, Lemieux was told to settle back a little and pick his shots which he did and very effectively. I suppose the announcers were being respectful in speaking of Stevens ‘coming on.’ I didn’t see any ‘coming on.’

But Stevens  (and I’ve seen him do this in other recent fights) was letting himself get backed up against the ropes, something he never did in his early fights. Then in one minute fifty nine seconds of the third round, he was backed up again, and with perfect timing Lemieux threw a touch feint jab to hide a crushing straight right hand that landed flush. Stevens’s instinct was to counter with a flailing hook that was weakened by the right hand he took. 

And that’s where the part about Lemieux’s amazing TIMING comes in. What looked like Lemieux’s fluid left hook in real time actually contained the very slightest hesitation before striking with leverage and power (for doesn’t one flow from the other?)  
In that fraction of a second measured usually and only in racing and the NFL combine, Lemieux’s guiding instinct was to ‘wait’ (waiting is the wrong word but there’s no smaller word to describe a fraction of a second) until Stevens’s right hand lowered enough for Lemieux’s hook to penetrate his guard. And boom!

Okay, look at it as a movement all in one piece, fine. Touch jab, right hand, left hook. Fine.  The reason I mention it is that Lemieux’s timing was right on the money in every punch he threw.  His sense of timing was such that the could have beaten a computer last night.  And so, I must give him his   props with apologies for underestimating him in the first place.

Do I think he can beat GGG in a rematch? My pick would be GGG again.  But I’d like to see Lemieux matched up against Canelo Alvarez.  Not going to happen, because Alvarez is booked up with Chavez Jr. and for how long can Canelo delay a fight with GGG?

For all that, I think it’s about time Alvarez and everybody else stopped talking about how much of a public draw Alvarez is and how lesser a draw is GGG.  Golovkin’s getting older. I want to see himn in his prime. Beating him in old age doesn’t count.
WTF do I care about those fan numbers anyway?  Golovkin is a plenty big draw and there’s plenty of money for both fighters.  I tried to keep an open mind about it but now it’s clear that Golovkin wants to fight and Canelo wants to delay.

I’ll bet ten to one that Alvarez is hoping for Danny Jacobs to knock GGG off. That’s a possibility that shows GGG’s bona fides, his authenticity, because Jacobs is a greater risk than Chavez Jr. in the weight class.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Keith Thurman Won, Danny Garcia Didn't Lose

Nobody bothered to tell Danny Garcia that the fight was an invitation to "Dancing with the Stars."
I picked Danny Garcia to win last night’s unification bout against Keith Thurman.  What happened is that both men went into the fight with strategies in mind.  I was wrong about the outcome but I had Thurman’s strategy right even before he stepped into the ring.

You didn’t have to be a genius to figure it out.  Danny Garcia has a reputation of being a slow starter.  He usually plants himself in a good defensive posture where he can bang but he relies on the other person to fight.  So I knew Thurman would jump on him in the early rounds, which he did effectively. The problem with that strategy came later, in the middle of the fight, when he discovered that Danny Garcia was still there, unhurt, and had a chin like a cement block.
 And  that’s where Keith Thurman went into the second phase of his strategy – Dancing with the Stars.  I’m sure his people had discussed it with Thurman before the fight.  Jump on him early and try to put Garcia down.  Get ahead. But if Danny Garcia is still there in the middle rounds, then use your feet, don’t let him get set, above all don’t fight with the guy. You’re now the Dancing Queen.  Your job is to win on points. Amateur rules.  Get the two belts. That’s where the money is. Boxing is a business.

It worked, too.  The judges had it about right in the scoring.  The one judge who had Thurman way out far ahead didn’t deduct points for Thurman’s failing to engage in the second part of the fight.  The two judges who had it 115-113 both ways gave Garcia credit for aggressiveness in the later rounds, pushing the fight people expected to see.

Give the early rounds to Thurman, no doubt.  I didn’t like Thurman’s fight in the second half but feel the decision was accurate according to the rules. That being said, Thurman didn’t gain admirers with what was a showy but disappointing performance.

Danny Garcia also had a game plan.   He’d stand inside the pockets for the early onslaught, take whatever shots Thurman gave, capitalize on the opportunity if there was one, and then come on in the middle rounds. Trouble was that Thurman didn’t provide any opportunities in the early rounds and fought really well for maybe three-four rounds.  Then came the problem with Danny Garcia strategy – they guessed wrong, believing that Thurman would settle down to fight.  If Thurman did stand in and fight, he was going to get battered. But he didn’t stand in.  He danced, pop-shooting here and there.   And Garcia Inc. didn’t adjust to the situation, fighting too cautiously, and not pressing until rounds 8 through 12.  Easoer said than done, I suppose.  But Thurman’s waltz gave rise to lots of well-deserved booing and didn’t win him any friends.

Thurman’s people may have been content to conduct business in collecting two titles, but that kind of fight don’t sell in places like Fresno, Oxnard, and Stockton. Those are fight venues where un-hyped, unheralded not yet known fighters are . . . well…. actually fighting.

 Jonathan Maicelo,  Danny Valdivia, Andy Vences, Alex “Cholo” Saucedo, Jose Carlos Ramirez and other names you never heard of and I can’t spell are waiting in the wings. Judging by Thurman’s general tendency to avoid confrontations, they will be in for a long wait.

Bottom line:  Thurman won, but at the same time, I’m not finding it easy say that Danny Garcia lost.  I know for a fact that he picked up a few more fans by his serious, hard-work, no b.s., old-school Philly style.  How are those ribs today, Keith Thurman?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Errol Spence Jr. – Here Comes the Next Big Thing in Welterweight Boxing

This fighter has the look of someone who knows what's about to go down.
When I say Errol Spence Jr. will be the next big thing in boxing, people will say I don’t know what I’m talking about. He's too green. He hasn't fought any of the big names.  But if the topic is Errol Spence Jr., they will be wrong. 

He’s 26 years old but has the ring maturity of a fighter of much longer standing. What does this mean?  It means he sees and understands immediately what the other fighter is doing.  There is no waiting period.  There is no ‘feeling-out.’ He knows what to do and immediately gets to doing it. Which is destroying. 

Errol Spence Jr. has a record of 21-0 but he’s knocked out 86% of his opponents. This puts him into the category of a slugger but watch him and you’ll see he’s a lot more than that.  He has a great sense of ring space, of positioning, that thing which boxing commentators call “ring generalship.” 

It is true he has not been rushed along but victories over his last two opponents are instructive.  His punching power comes from both hands in punches both economical and accurate.  He stunned Leonard Bundu with a classic left uppercut (Spence Jr. is a southpaw) and later KOd his man with the same uppercut followed by a hard right hook.

Never in a hurry, Errol Spence Jr. knows that his opponents will fall under an accumulation of blows if they last more than a few rounds.  It is perhaps that he knocks people out too soon that is his greatest vulnerability (if that can even be said to be a weakness b/c who doesn’t want to go home early?)

Some people have said that Errol Spence Jr. looked good only if his opponents stood in front of him.  Enter Chris Algieri.  Whatever may be said of Algieri, he is athletic, hard to hit, comes to win rather than to lay down, and had acquitted himself decently against top talent like Manny Pacquiao.  Spence Jr. looked like that ideal boxer-puncher guy as he stalked Algieri, beat him down with thudding punches, and forced the end of the fight early – something that Pacquiao couldn’t do.

In the same vein, Keith Thurman couldn’t get rid of Leonard Bundu whereas Spence Jr. did – and in bone-crushing style. 

I don’t really adhere to the so-and-so did such-and-such to whatever boxer and therefore one may draw a conclusion about a different fight. It’s more something to talk about rather than a yardstick with which one can gauge fights. Every fighter is different and every fight is different. It’s boxing, reknowned for its dangers and one-punch upsets. 

My point is that Errol Spence Jr. is the real deal, a throwback fighter and legit tough-guy (albeit with an engaging public demeanor for a kid 26 years old).  They are in different weight classes but I’m putting him up there soon to follow my other two favorite ‘new big things in boxing’ – Gennady Golovkin (36-0) and Saul Alvarez (48-1) .   

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Tyson Fury: Running to the Ends of the Earth to Avoid Fighting Vladimir Klitschko

I was promised a private interview session with Britain’s engaging and entertaining World Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury but all I got was this holograph.  I shouldn’t be surprised that Tyson Fury was a no show because everyone’s having trouble finding Tyson Fury.

Oh, he showed up for his surprise birthday part with family and friends, but the quickly disappeared.  Several real heavyweight boxers are looking for him. First in line former Heavyweight Champion Vladimir Klitschko (remember him?) had a special kind of date with him on July 9 after Fury stole the title from him in a lackluster sloppy fight that looked like what happened in a mosh pit. 

I’m sure Vladimir Klitchko regrets being bored that night he lost the title. Bored or drugged, I don’t know which, but likely he felt he didn’t have to train to defeat a long tall string bean who knew how to scuffle and smother but not to fight.  The judges awarded the decision to the elated Fury who is working hard to stay elated forever by being unavailable for anything but fun being heavyweight champ.

Surely, Fury realizes the impossibility of his position. And why shouldn’t he hold the title as long as she can even if it means wearing disguises and traveling only at night so that other fighters can’t find him. 

So I ask the Holograph Tyson Fury why he doesn’t get it over with.  He points at his foot.  “You see this? A bunion?  You know what happens if you risk the title by going into the ring with a bunion.” 

But you keep delaying, and you pop up once in a while like a jack-in-the box in the oddest places talking about what a great fighter you are.  And then you were so frightened that you were said to be taking performance enhancing drugs.  But no fights? 

Are you waiting for the 40 something Klitchko to pass away from old age?  And look, there are lots of young fighters just waiting for you since you claim Klitchko will be a cakewalk. 
   “What about Deontay Wilder?” I ask.

Ah, Alabama!  What? Alabama.  Who wants to go to Alabama?  Oh no, I protest, Deontay says he will fight you in Buckingham Palace if you wish, or Picadilly Circus, or under a streetlamp in Brixton.

To name just two.  C’mon man, give it up.  We’ve heard of running but that usually refers to inside the ring running.  You run like a space traveler, dude. You got lucky. We like you and you’ve had your five minutes in the spotlight. What I have against what you’re doing is that you’re holding up the careers of a lot of good people.

Let’s get it on, Tyson Fury. The curtain’s down. You have to know it’s time to exit stage left.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Beware Tall Skinny-Boy Boxers: Thomas Hill vs. Marco “Madman” Hernandez – Super Welterweights

I’m trying to catch up on my boxing after being so busy with other less important things having to do with paying the rent. While much attention is given to the big fights upcoming (hopefully), I get almost as much enjoyment out of watching boxers who are up and coming and those who had or have solid careers but did not rise to huge media attention. 

I’m talking about guys like Hammerin’ Hank Lundy and Breidis Prescott for the latter, not to exclude many other great ones, just that these two just now popped into my mind. There are so many that I respect because they have been successful in the hardest sport in the world.

 Many are not called to the sport and these become either disinterested or critics, but of the many who are called to the sport, few will be chosen to ascend to the Realm of the Boxing Gods.  That doesn’t mean they couldn’t wipe the rest of us out in about two seconds.

I’ve talked some trash on occasion, having learned from the likes of James Toney (best of the trash talkers imho), but I try not to.  Seems to me the only people entitled to trash  talk even journeyman or beginning boxers are those who have actually survived the ring.

It’s okay to have your favorites – whether it’s Canelo or GGG –  or Adonis Stevenson vs. Kovalev – or Andre Ward vs. anyone, but I don’t appreciate these people who bust on one or the other saying the one is weak and scared, the other is going to beat the ass of the other like a rented mule. It’s all bullshit – anyone who has gotten that far in boxing is in a place few people know anything about.

Therefore I am a boxing fan, only a boxing fan. I know where I fit in the world of boxing. I watch it with a great deal of admiration, trepidation, and edification. Meaning I like it, appreciate the dangers, and learn from it.

I’d recorded some fights I didn’t have time to watch and now I’m catching up. A very interesting fight I watch today featured Thomas Hill of Milwaukee but fighting out of Vegas and Marcos “Madman” Hernandez of Fresno, California. Fresno is a long time fight town whether people know it or not and Hernandez has that kind of mentality, you know. Life’s a struggle – keep fighting therefore and have a good time doing it.

His opponent, Thomas Hill, was also undefeated. Both fighters had seven victories, and both were light on KOs. Hernandez went into the fight with one, and Hill with none, but both guys were undefeated and had a lot to lose. Hill had some good sparring partners and teachers at Mayweather’s gym, and the announcers seemed to think he’d have the edge.

The fascinating thing about Hernandez is the way he uses a 4-3 combination, something he used effectively in three or four earliest rounds and then intermittently throughout to the 8th and final round. The fight announcers, especially Sergio Mora, were criticizing Hernandez for shooting the uppercut (4) and then a left hook (3).  Mora felt Hernandez it was too dangerous leading with a right uppercut and said he was throwing it from too far out but it was working and Hill was getting tagged regularly with the combination. I think Mora was right in his theory but wrong in its practice, as so many things are in boxing.

Hernandez started to flag in maybe the 5th and 6th rounds and Hill put together some of his really blazing fast 1-2-1-2 body attacks but then Hernandez crew (his dad is the trainer) woke him up and he went back to work.  Two good fighters, and both have futures if they wish to remain focused on the sport, but the unanimous decision was right in giving Hernandez a big edge.

Another interesting thing about the super- welterweight bout was that both fighters were tall – Hill being 6 foot 1 and Hernandez being 6 foot even. Beware tall skinny boys with fast hands and big hearts.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Andre Berto Stuns Victor Ortiz with 4th Round #KO

ortiz-berto-weigh-in (5)

It was supposed to be Victor Ortiz' proof that he was a boxer first and a celebrity slash movie star second but it didn't turn out that way. Berto launched Ortiz to the canvas with a big right uppercut and followed it up with a barrage of punches for which Ortiz had no answer.  He made it to his feet to the count of nine and referee Jack Reis would have let him continue except that Victor Ortiz wasn't in the mood for talk.  He didn't answer when the ref asked him if wanted to continue and Reis stopped it.

The harder working Berto looked stiff in the early rounds and seemed to be struggling to find the range when Ortiz, a southpaw, scored a flash knockdown that set Berto on his ass looking surprised. Berto was in great shape and it seemed to embarrass him more than bother him.   He described the knockdown as an event from which he would have to play 'catch-up.' It took about one more round to get the measurement right and in the fourth round, the welterweight Berto delivered the shots that stopped Ortiz. 

It wasn't a big action fight but it was interesting in its way for the reason that Ortiz has not been a very active fighter. He said in the post fight interview he had gone at his training with renewed determination  during the training camp. It did look that way in the early rounds as Ortiz surprised Berto by being on his toes and moving well.  That wasn't the way he started his career and it seemed to baffle Berto for a little while but not for long enough. The outcome of the match reminded me of that old fighter meme -- you play at some sports, you don't play boxing.

So I hope Victor Ortiz has a nice TV-film career.  He's a guy who had a lot of boxing promise but never delivered. Maybe he can play a boxer in a film.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Archie Moore Says: Time to Make the Gennady Golovkin VS. Canelo Alvarez Fight

Many people may not know of or remember a great fighter named Archie Moore -- aka "The Mongoose." Still others may not know that old Archie fought well into middle age, and that he fought middleweights to heavyweights and was about 44 years old when he lost to young up and coming Rocky Marciano.  He had about 219 pro fights. 

But who knew that Archie Moore liked to recite Shakespeare?  I don't know if this was one of Archie's favorite quotes but it might have been:

There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries...

It means there's a time for things, and if you don't seize the time and the opportunity that is there, you will lose the moment and you will forever wallow in your failures and what might have been.  Will this be the fate of champions Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez?

This is the fight the entire world wants. It's the fight GGG wants, and it's the fight Mexico wants, and I have no doubt it's the fight Canelo wants. Both fighters seek greatness and legacy. Perhaps it is more appropriate to say that both fighters, already having attained greatness, now seek legacy.

What's in the way of such a fight this year? Youth and pounds. Golovkin is age 34, a brutal and stalking puncher who seems inescapable. His KO record says it all. One could point to his record and say there are few great names on it but that is only minutiae. Look at the KO record. Do you imagine that, where any other boxer was concerned, that he could knock out almost EVERY journeyman fighter he's faced? Truth to tell, mostof GGG's opponents, just like his latest victim Wade, were not regarded as journeyman fighters until they were knocked out by the Krusher from Kazakhstan (Yeah, I know Kovalev is the Krusher but think about it). 

What I'm saying is that you're a boxing media hero when you go up undefeated against somebody like Golovkin or Alvarez. After you get KOd, they speak of you as a journeyman fighter. It's complete B.S. because you're still something that 99 percent of the people in the world cannot even hope to aspire to. Alvarez beat the great Miguel Cotto. Now Cotto is a 'journeyman' fighter? LOL -- you get in there with him then. David Lemieux is a journeyman fighter after GGG destroyed him? You try it.

Another reality: Golovkin has fought anyone who was put in front of him and few people wanted to be put in front of him even as he had a ravenous appetite for any opponents.  But the age -- I hate it when old age beats a fighter. Golovkin wants the fight now, this year if possible. If it happens when he's 38 or even 36 or 35, it won't count as much as it does now.

Canelo Alvarez, the "Cinnamon" Mexican is a great fighter now. I think the battle for the 'next big thing' is between Canelo and GGG.  I also think Canelo's promoter is right in saying his true weight is 154 pounds. He's also 25 years old. So you have the prospect of a fresh guy who has not yet reached the height of his man strength physicality and skills but is on the cusp of it, riding a wave of victories (one loss only to Floyd Mayweather Jr. ) which includes high explosive bomber James Kirkland. I mention Kirkland only because people don't really get what happened in that fight. I'm not sure I can explain it effectively either but that night I saw something in Canelo Alvarez that was in the best tradition of the sport which, when combined with is skills, heritage, and training, signals both greatness and legacy.

My conclusion isn't anything you didn't think of already. Catch weight. Both fighters give something up.  Both fighters are big draws already and will be gargantuan later for I'm sure it will be a battle which screams of rematch.  Even split of the purse. If anyone gets too greedy, it means they don't want the fight. I don't see greedy being a big part of it. I think everyone wants this fight more than any other.  Make the fight now, after Canelo dispatches Amir Khan. I uses the word 'dispatches' instead of 'destroys' because I have grown to admire Khan for his heart and his manner more than anything else (he's fighting 2 weight classes up from his normal weight). 

Make the Canelo Alvarez v. Gennady GGG. Golovkin later in 2016. It would be perfect for November.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Wide Open Heavyweight Division: Deontay Wilder KOs Artur Szpilko in Nine Rounds

Watching the Deontay Wilder v. Artur Szpilko fight last night, I was struck by how many people are still doubters about Deontay Wilder. The reasons for doubting him are rational enough but you can't argue logic.Logic little to do with boxing.

Wilder started late in the boxing game, no doubt about that, but he's a gifted athlete, not just another lumbering heavyweight.

 Other people have questioned Deontay Wilder's"chin" but without acknowledging that he took big punches from guys like Bermane Stiverne before destroying him.

Does anyone question Stivernes "chin" as the result?  The whole business about "chin" is overcooked hype designed to psyche opponents. There's a bit of truth in it, but the fact is that any single one of the best heavyweights can be dumped onto the canvas if they get hit flush by even a good journeyman Heavyweight. That's why they teach you defense.

As for defense, Pzilka was positively brilliant throughout the fight, doing exactly the right thing in taking away Deontay Wilder's power. Aside from the constant head and upper-body movement, he continuously changed angles, giving a different look every second.  He used the small tight spaces to great advantage, and as someone said, Ronnie Shields had imparted the right wisdom to his fighter.  But if you watched any of Wilder's previous fights, you knew that the bullet would eventually come with its speed and flat trajectory.

Deontay Wilder may have started late in the boxing game but he's a very athletic puncher.  The ninth round shot that made Artur Szpilko look like he'd been hit by a sniper's round was going to happen sooner or later. It was lightning fast, had great leverage on it, and landed while Pzilka punched the air.

Pzilka was great, and he's mentally tough enough and smart enough to know that these things happen in boxing. He's disappointed, sure, but his fans have nothing to be unhappy about.  Pzilka's stock will rise as people recognize that Wilder is on his way to be a dominant champion.

 My previous writing about Wilder is that he would jump for joy when Tyson Fury beat a lackadaisical Vladimir K. That was the worst fight I'd seen in a long time. Vlad was so lazy I was glad he lost to an unimpressive Tyson Fury who flailed away with windmill punches that looked he was beating the dust out of a rug.

 I'm glad Fury made a million or whatever, but the delirium in the division is that Fury is holding a major belt. Fury won't be holding the belt for long, though he might get the comedy award. He showed up at the Wilder - Pzsilka fight to taunt Wilder at the end but apparently needs to brush up on his trash talk. No Britisher has so far been able to dethrone American fighters in trash talk, and maybe Tyson Fury could get James Toney to give him lessons. As it was, it looked like he was retreating and cowering on the sidelines before a charged up Deontay Wilder.

The delirium (my own especially)  of a wide open heavyweight division subsided a bit when I realized Klitscho had a rematch clause in there.  If Vlad decides to work out, and if Vlad still has the desire to win, Fury will return the belt to him straightaway.  If THAT Klitschko shows up, it is a danger for everyone facing him.

So here's my bottom line. Klitschko v. Wilder is the matchup I"m looking for but it's by no means guaranteed. Wilder has a mandatory with Povetkin and there are many people who think Povetkin will be even harder than illusive bad boy Pzsilka.  Povetkin went twelve with Klitschko but lost a decision. Sticking around that long marks him as no tomato can.

So I'm going out on a limb to say Wilder will beat Povetkin to face Klitschko (who will take back his title) at the end of 2016. Out on a limb, I say, because there's a new shadow hanging over the division.

No one will believe me when I mention Luis Ortiz 24-0 with 21 (TWENTY ONE) KOs.  I watched him defeat good Philly boxer Bryant Jennings with a stunning knockout.  Ortiz is yet another Ortiz so you might not have noticed but the guy I'm talking about is a very big man, a very motivated Cuban defector to the U.S., and can throw fast stunning combinations (Southpaw) with the punching power of an Ernie Shavers.

 The Heavyweight division has been the Rip Van Winkle of boxing for too many years but finally it's come back to life. Now if only the promoters and the money men don't interfere with progress.

But hey, that's my hit on it. I'd be interested in other opinions. Tell me where I'm wrong.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Deontay Wilder a Happy Man as Tyson Fury Upsets Vladimir Klitschko

A message from a friend said it all when I told him Tyson Fury got a unanimous decision against former champion Vladimir Klitschko in Germany.  Whaaaaaa?  I didn’t see the fight until later and then I’d caught only the last six rounds.  Lucky me.  The fight seemed to be one of the ugliest I’ve ever seen and, while I always respect the combatants in this most difficult of sports,  Klitchscho  seems to have jumped the shark, gone way past his sell-by date, and lumbered and clinched his way around the ring as if he had MMA trainers in his corner. 

This is not to say that Tyson Fury looked brilliant, just that he showed up and punched occasionally. It is said that he had some boxing skills, and yes, you could see he had something in development.  But this time Fury was the bigger guy and it bodes well for other American heavyweights that Fury couldn’t retire his opponent inside of the 12 round limit.  I’m glad that Fury got the unanimous decision because you kind of like the guy in spite of his awkwardness and the UK could use a championship belt in the Heavyweight division. God save the Queen and all that! 

BUT REALLY:  The path is wide open for even a mediocre American heavyweight to take the title from Fury, who exhibited minimal boxing skills.  The happiest person in the Heavyweight World at this moment has to be Deontay Wilder who is way better than mediocre and knows how to fight.  I hope they get that fight hooked up soon b/c the division is embarrassing until they get some real talent in it.

It is true Fury  had some speed to his punches, and that was  good thing, for he was parsimonious in delivering them.  Or did it only look that way because of the floundering Klitschko, flapping his arms like an off-balance penguin as he looked for a spot where he could land a powerful right hand. (Manny Steward RIP) Klitschko still has the powerful and thudding right hand but he mostly seems to have left it in a past decade.  Nor did he have the excitement to win, which was evident even in the face of his ringside GF beauty Hayden Panettiere.  He seemed bored, like an 8th grader in an extended lecture – OMG! Get me out of here. There was a little desire in the 11th and 12th rounds from Klitschko but it was too late.

HERE’S WHAT I HATE:  I hate being the OG telling younger people about the days of real heavyweights but I’m sorry.  Even the worst heavyweight in the eras of Ali, Frasier, Foremen, Quarry, Ezzard Charles, Floyd Paterson, Ingmar Johansen, Ernie Shavers, Bob Foster, Jimmy Young, Larry Holmes (none of this in order and the list could go on forever) Every one of these smaller heavyweights would have chopped down either of these two amateur imitating show-ups.  I mean, didn’t little guy cruiserweight boxer U.S.S. Steve Cunningham drop Klitschko in a previous fight? Corrie Sanders? Bryant? All of the present day. 

Want to say, I’m not a Klitschko hater -- I respect what he’s done outside the ring as well as inside. But it’s Father Time’s time. Your hearts not in it. Tyson Fury – you need to continue your development as a boxer.  Put things together. Looked like you were on a training exercise, ducking under your opponent and hiding where he keeps his deodorant.
Deontay Wilder. Straighten out this mess will you?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Canelo Alvarez: Demolition Man Beats the Great Miguel Cotto

The Canelo Alvarez v. Miguel Cotto fight is now history, though the dust of history has not yet settled.  People are still talking about it, offering various versions of it, but the judge’s decisions were unanimous. The only viable issue is whether the score was as lopsided in favor of Canelo as the judge’s cards had it.
Let me say, first of all, that I called the winner right but didn’t expect the fight to go all twelve rounds. My prediction was that Cotto would get stopped by the 8th or 9th round. That appeared to be the case for a moment in the 8th but Cotto was durable, determined, and undaunted. He survived the round and fought back, and had his moments even in the later rounds.  Give Cotto A plus for durability and a heart which has never been questioned. Neither his chin.

Cotto’s trainer, Freddie Roach, held in the press conference (Cotto did not attend) that he believed his fighter had accumulated enough points. That version was born out while the fight was in progress as the HBO pundits talked to him about how Cotto was doing.  Roach did seem unruffled and appeared confident Cotto was eluding punches, moving,  pivoting off into angles, and never getting pinned on the ropes.  There were other people on the social networks who thought the same thing.

What it comes down to is that there are two way of looking at a fight.
One way takes its measure from amateur boxing. In that view, all scoring punches count, and the strategy is to land as many as you can. Cotto did that – he fired off lots of punches, with some landing solid, but most just touching Alvarez.  Observers noted that Canelo was able to “walk through them” which wasn’t always the case.  Cotto landed some hard shots, none of which rocked or stalled the young warrior opposed to him. But a great number of Cotto’s punches, delivered in fast combinations, after which he moved away as instructed, were really ineffective.  So people who counted those as scoring punches tended to think the judges tilted the scorecards toward Canelo Alvarez.
The other way of looking at a fight is in the old-school style of which I am myself an adherent. You look at the whole of the thing, the damage done.  There was no doubt that Canelo was landing punches that rocked Cotto’s world. The damage was evident on Cotto’s face after the fight, and though cuts and bruises and swellings are often greater on the winner than on the loser, Cotto seemed to have lost both ways. 

I liked what Cotto was doing and I still think that there is reason to say he is the better boxer of the two men. This is to say his experience shows in versatility.  

That is not to say that Canelo is a poor boxer by any means. It amazed me the way he slipped punches, moved his upper body, and blocked shots. He was very impressive defensively. As for the offense, he wasn’t going to pitty-pat. He knew and his trainers knew he was the stronger. He was going for the demolition. Seeing that Cotto put his head down (calculating Alvarez’ feet and body movement), Alvarez’ uppercuts were explosive, sometimes followed with right hands over the top.  Alvarez was doing the demolition derby kind of thing that he knew would win the day. He had only to throw three punches:  the uppercut, a right hand up top, and that tremendous right hand body shot which slammed too many times into Cotto’s ribs. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Errol Spence: Demolition Man Defeats Tough South African Chris Van Heerden

Settling in for a night of boxing.  I almost missed the Errol Spence v. Chris Van Heerden fight on SpikeTV because I was tuning in to TRU TV boxing card.  My home boy called me up fortunately and told me about the Errol Spence card.  Ain’t it great now that boxing is once again ubiquitous after being prematurely declared dead by the straining and desperate MMA publicity squad?

Lennox Lewis, former world Heavyweight Champion  was with the Spike TV promotion of Adonis “Superman” Stevenson versus Thomas Karpensky. Lewis had a partner so I hope he’s not the one who lined up Karpensky for Stevenson.  I like Karpensky but it was clear he was from the minor leagues. He was the underfunded setup guy for a Stevenson KO.  Stevenson got the big buildup but he should really be fighting Sergei Kovalev, whom he ducked by signing to a promotion which assured he could keep ducking Kovalev in perpetuity. I won’t believe Adonis is any kind of Superman until he faces Kovalev. It can be done.  The fans want it even if Stevenson doesn’t. 

The Error Spence matchup against Chris Van Heerden was a good match.  Spence has gone from good beginnings at the 2012 Olympics to four rounder, then to six and eight rounders, and now to the whole distance.  Spence had dispatched all his previous opponents and it was time to move him up.  Van Heerden was a good pick, a tough, durable and talented fighter who actually had a chance of winning. Spence was his usual fantastic self, doing all the right things at all the right times.

He was methodical in his work, offsetting Van Heerden efforts with a stiff jab. If Van Heerden closed in, Spence would deliver uppercuts.  Ultimately, he pounded a very game and courageous Van Heerden into a defeat but it was hard work with a guy who didn’t come all the way from South Africa just to lie down.  

On the other hand, I’ve been a long-time fan of Spence and think he got a raw deal at the Olympics.  Usually, I laugh when I hear people saying a guy could be the next Mayweather or the next Tyson, or the next anybody.  But the plaudits that follow Spence around are well deserved.  He’s got the complete arsenal, the body and the mentality to deliver it. While they mention him as a Mayweather, his temperament seems more like that of an Ali—much less noise of course—but with the same grace under pressure.

As for Adonis Stevenson, he gets no praise from me for knocking out a seriously overmatched and unrepresented kid from a small town in Pennsylvania.  The matchmaker gets an “F” for making this one. It was entirely bogus and shouldn’t have been allowed.  In spite of having an upset wins over Chad Dawson, justifying this supposedly, he was clearly not sturdy enough to fight a heavily muscled and fast punching Adonis who comes at you from all angles.  Stevenson has some skills, and he’s strong  but this fight with Karpensky didn’t do him any good.

At the end of the fight and during the post-fight interview, he calls out Kovalev, which was kind of a joke because he turned down a fight with Kovalev about a year ago before Sergei signed with another promoter. Fact is, Stevenson is milking his division for whatever he can get out of it.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Golovkin KO's Willie Monroe Jr in Six

I watched it on HBO. You can read the Daily Mail version here. I haven't read it.

Okay, I wrote a previous blog, complete with a picture of me with Willie Monroe Jr. when he was a kid just starting out. You know where my heart was and I wasn't trying to hide it. Nor did I want to jinx Monroe before the fight when it was clear he needed two things -- courage and a big punch. He only had one of those two things.

Monroe showed courage when he got off the canvas after two early round knockdowns. Both were devastating. Who doesn't know that Golovkin is the savage destroyer, a search and seek and find guided missile capable of launching nuclear firepower against all opponents. An acknowledged predator inside the ring. 

But it was clear from the start what I knew already, that he had only six KOs in a career of 19 fights. He doesn't have the big bomb.  Never did. I knew that was a problem, a problem mentioned in so many words by Roy Jones Jr. during the fight.  He needs to get respect, said Jones, though that was not the way he said it. 

Getting respect is the real first rule of Fight Club. If you can't put some hard leather on Golovkin's face or body, then he's going to walk right through you. That's exactly what Golovkin did, shaking off most of Monroe's punches like they were bouncing rubber balls, even asking for more. 

Still, don't get the idea that YOU can take Monroe's punches. Unless you're the real deal, you'd go down in a hot minute.  What I"m saying about the lack of a big punch applies to the top dogs of boxing. 

And then I'm thinking what it must have felt like to take so many hard, hard punches from Golovkin.  I've been KOd before and it kind of leaves you in a tough spot, even after the headache dies away. Dies away is probably a poor choice of words. 

But I've got to say this about Gennady Golovkin.  I've been a huge fan, even though my heart was for the local American man. His attitude is great and I long ago embraced him as the fight promoters and the American public should, and as they seemed to be doing in last night's arena.  

He's smart, too, and if you were listening, you would have heard him say that he'd like Cotto or Canelo Alvarez before he'd think of Andre Ward. Andre Ward, remember, was the first guy to say he'd be glad to take on Golovkin. This while lots of other guys who should have been stepping up were in absentia.

Know what I'd like from the wish fairy?  I'd prefer Alvarez vs. Golovkin before Golovkin v. Cotto. Cotto's great, mind you, but he's light and also not at the peak of his career (though by no means inconsequential) .  Alvarez v. Golovkin is fresh on both sides. Two devastating brilliant fighters. 

The winner would face Andre Ward, of whom we've seen too little lately. 

I want to say one other thing, writ large:  ROMAN GONZALEZ.  I want to say it again:  ROMAN GONZALEZ.  But that deserves a separate space.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Gennady Golovkin v. Willie Monroe Jr. --Oddsmakers Give Monroe Little Chance to Beat GGG

I'm going to stick my head way out on a limb here and the statistical likelihood is that it will get knocked off.  On hearing of Gennady Golovkin's next fight with Willie Monroe Jr., one fight fan lodged the typical comment:  "GGG's gonna' murder this fool."  But there's something to be said for the undisputed underdog here, and in boxing, the lines separating the winner from the loser are not so finely drawn.

I'm conflicted b/c I'm a long time fan of both GGG & Willie Monroe Jr. I met Monroe when he was just starting out, a kid.  We were both at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canistota, New York.  I used to do a bit of work in boxing and if boxing has "groupies" then I'm one of them. Anyway, I took a picture of myself and young Monroe, talked to him a while, whereupon he told me he was going to be a middleweight champ.  I was thinking, like "How can anyone even say you're going to be a middleweight champ when you've only had a couple of pro fights?

It takes some balls, I know, but it's also possible you're seriously naive. Yet, there was something different about Monroe Jr. He was so nice about, exuding a kind of humble confidence that kind of make you think, well's possible. The guy is likeable in the extreme. We had a nice chat and talked about his uncle? grandfather? Willie "The Worm" Monroe" who was a clever tough Philly fighter I liked to watch long ago.

But then I saw this new Monroe in a couple of fights (you always watch the fighters you've come in personal contact with --it's been like that with me since the days I met Ali at his training camp in Deer Lake Pa.) and I see he's coming up in the game. I stilll had my doubts, especially when he was scheduled to fight Brian Adams in the Boxcino tournament.

 Weeks earlier I'd seen Brian Adams demolish his opponents with what looked like nuclear bombs. So I wondered how this well-spoken highly intelligent college boy was going to deal with that.  In fact, Monroe Jr. made it look easy, and the way he did it was through smart fighting which didn't look like Mayweather style fighting but had the same result.  And hey, you can say all you want about being "too defensive" but both Mayweather & Monroe can hit, and hit accurately with combinations.

I like GGG and I know he's got devastating punching power but  I recently saw his performance in the Martin Murray fight and a few others. There is a certain type of fighter that could give GGG trouble, and it wouldn't surprise me if Willie Monroe Jr. was the guy.

I talked to Monroe again after he won the Boxcino Tournament (same place, I can't stay away from the joint, especially during the inductions). I told him I was afraid for him in the Bryan Adams fight. He laughed it off, saying he had a great training camp, and had "learned ways to deal with that." (meaning big punching power)

I call GGG's thing the "Tyson Effect" but what if there are guys like Buster Douglas who, for one night at least, don't buy into the "Tyson Effect?"  I'm kind of a red, white, and blue guy and so I'm going for my American boy Willie Monroe Jr. to give GGG a lot of problems.   There's a way to fight tough brawlers--look at the way Lucas Matthyse busted up my favored Ruslan Provodnikov just a few weeks ago.  The game's called "boxing," don't forget, and that doesn't mean  jumping forward with your head lined up with your opponents punches.

So okay, if you've read this far, you might want to read this interesting article from BOXING NEWS 24.  It's got some facts and figures.

If you read nothing more, you should at least read what Willie Monroe Jr. had to say about the lead up to the fight next week. This is a quote from the article in Boxing News 24:

"“It was shortly after he (GGG) fought Martin Murray and what a lot of people don’t know and it’s closer to the fight so I can let this be released without it being too crazy (is) a lot of people don’t know that GGG’s camp turned me down twice when my name was brought up. They turned us down and they wanted to fight Tureano Johnson. There’s a picture floating around – they had already made the poster for him (GGG) and Tureano and that’s who they were gonna fight. HBO was sort of like ‘We really don’t want to see you fight him because you knocked out Curtis (Stevens) and then Curtis went and knocked him out’. So then it was between me and (Jorge Sebastian) Heiland. HBO was like ‘He’s not really known in America and the only guy he’s really beat is Matthew Macklin and you (GGG) knocked him out!’ So he was almost forced to have to fight me. I know for a fact that the other two opponents was offered more money than me. I hear a lot of people saying ‘Monroe must be taking this for the money’, I know for a fact they were offered more money than I was but that’s just the type of guy I am, I like to fight."