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Showtime Boxing Preview: Cruz vs. Mares, Charlo vs. Trout
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares will rematch from a 2015 fight that featured more than 2000 total punches thrown. This rematch will take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be televised live on Showtime. Santa Cruz and Mares will be fighting for Santa Cruz’s WBA “Super” Featherweight Title.
The co-main event of the night will be an intriguing bout between the rising Jermell Charlo and Austin Trout, who is best known for defeating Miguel Cotto. This bout will be for Charlo’s WBC Junior Middleweight Title.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
The undercard is packed with fights such as Karlos Balderas and Pedo Lopez in the junior lightweight division, Arnold Alejandro and Elliot Brown in the Featherweight Division, Jose Balderas and Luis Montellano in the Junior Featherweight division, and Ivan Redkach and Brian Jones in the welterweight division.
The following is a preview of both planned televised bouts.
Jermell Charlo (30-0) vs. Austin Trout (31-4); WBC Junior Middleweight Title
The opening bout will be for the WBC Junior Middleweight Title between Jermell Charlo and Austin Trout.
Trout had previously faced Jermell’s twin brother, Jermall Charlo, and came up short. Charlo is four years younger than Trout and will have about an inch and a half height advantage and a one inch reach advantage.
They both have decent power, Charlo has stopped fifteen of his opponents while Trout has stopped seventeen. Trout has only fought once in 2016, 2017, and 2018 while Charlo fought twice in 2017, once in 2016. Trout has struggled recently and went 2-2 the past four fights, Charlo has been on a tear and has never tasted defeated and is currently riding a four fight win streak.
Both boxers had a pretty good amateur career. Charlo was a Junior Olympics Bronze Medalist and Trout was a US Amateur Gold Medalist.
Charlo has defeated the likes of Erickson Lubin, Charles Hatley, John Jackson, Vanes Martirosyan, and Gabriel Rosado. Trout has defeated the likes of Joey Hernandez, Daniel Dawson, Miguel Cotto, and Delvin Rodriguez. He has losses to Canelo Alvarez, Erislandy Lara, Jermall Charlo, and Jarrett Hurd.
Unfortunately for Trout the Charlo brothers are very close and will likely be talking about how to defeat Austin Trout. Trout’s biggest victory of his career was against Miguel Cotto and a win against Charlo might be considered an even bigger upset, but his lack of activity the past three years plus his recent struggles against high level competition makes those prospects unlikely.
Leo Santa Cruz (34-1-1) vs. Abner Mares (31-2-1); WBA “Super” Featherweight Title
The first bout between Santa Cruz and Mares was an action packed bout with an abnormally high number of punches. Santa Cruz won a close decision when they first fought and Mares has been itching for a rematch ever since.
Santa Cruz is three years younger than Mares. He also has a three inch height and a three inch reach advantage. He will be the obvious bigger man inside the ring.
Both boxers are known for their ability to throw a high volume of punches and swarm their opponents. But Santa Cruz has been the more active boxer. He fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016, while Mares only fought once in 2016 and once in 2017.
Both boxers come from a successful amateur career. Santa Cruz won a gold medal in the Junior Olympics and Mares competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Santa Cruz has a slight edge in power. He has nineteen stoppage victories while Mares only has fifteen.
Mares has two losses, but was stopped in one of those losses, a mild upset to Jhonny Gonzalez.
Santa Cruz has defeated the likes of Chris Avalos, Carl Frampton, Kiko Martinez, Abner Mares, Cesar Seda, Eric Morel, and Cristian Mijares. His lone loss was to Carl Frampton, and it was a loss he later avenged.
Mares has defeated the likes of Andres Gutierrez, Jesus Cuellar, Jonathan Oquendo, Daniel Ponce De Leon, Anselmo Moreno, Eric Morel, Joseph Agbeko, and Vic Darchinyan. His losses were to Jhonny Gonzalez and Leo Santa Cruz, and he hopes to avenge his loss to Santa Cruz on Saturday.
Unfortuntely for Mares he’s still fighting a bigger man who’s in the middle of his athletic prime, while Mares is hitting the age that boxers tend to show signs of slipping.
It seems likely that Santa Cruz will get a more convincing victory on Saturday night.
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Miguel Cotto vs. Sadam Ali, Rey Vargas vs. Oscar Negrete
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Golden Boy Promotions will promote the last professional fight of Miguel Cotto’s illustrious career. He’ll be facing Sadam Ali at the famed Madison Square Garden on HBO’s World Championship Boxing telecast.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
A WBC Junior featherweight bout between Rey Vargas and Oscar Negrete will also be televised. Other undercard bouts include a WBO Junior Flyweight Title bout between Angel Acosta and Juan Alejo, a featherweight bout between Ronny Rios and Deivis Julio, and a junior welterweight bout between Zachary Ochoa and Erik Martinez.
Cotto, who was a world champion in four different weight classes, has insisted this will be his last fight. The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
Rey Vargas (30-0) vs. Oscar Negrete (17-0); WBC Junior Featherweight Title
The opening bout of the night will be between Rey Vargas and Oscar Negrete for the WBC Junior Featherweight Title.
Both boxers had a successful amateur career. Negrete was a Gold Medalist at the 2010 South American Games in the Light Flyweight Division and Vargas was a 2009 Panamerican Gold Medalist.
Vargas, at the age of 27, is three years younger than Negrete. He will also have a two inch height advantage and a three inch reach advantage. Both boxers have been fairly active in the past two years. They both fought two times in 2017 and three times in 2016.
Vargas is the boxer with more power in his hands. He has stopped twenty two of his opponents and five of his last ten opponents did not make it to the final bell. Negrete only has seven stoppage wins and two of his past five fights were victories by KO/TKO.
Vargas has the better professional resume of the two and Negrete appears to be aware that this is the toughest test of his career.
He stated at a recent press conference, “”I’m so excited for this opportunity. This is everything that I have worked for so far in my career. Being undefeated doesn’t make him [Rey Vargas] invincible. I’m a forced to be reckoned with. People may underestimate me, but I know what I’ve done to make sure I walk away with the victory.”
Vargas has defeated the likes of Ronny Rios, Gavin McDonnell, Alexander Munoz, and Alexis kabore. Negrete has defeated the likes of Sergio Frias, Victor Ruiz, and Neftali Campos.
Vargas is the naturally bigger man with an edge in power. He has been generating some buzz recently and this should be a showcase fight for him. Negrete has the amateur background to make this fight interesting, but it’s a fight that Vargas should win.
Miguel Cotto (41-5) vs. Sadam Ali (25-1); WBO Junior Middleweight Title
The legendary Miguel Cotto has decided to end his career.
He stated at a recent media conference call, “Like Oscar and people have said, it’s my final fight, and I’m working hard for making the final fight really good for everybody. All we have to do is wait until the day of the fight. We are ready for the fight.”
Many boxers have been known to claim that they’re going to retire only to change their mind later on, however with Cotto he appears to be sincere in his desires to stop fighting.
Cotto, at thirty seven years old, will be eight years older than his opponent Sadam Ali. Ali will also have a two inch height advantage and a six inch reach advantage.
That advantages for Ali stop there. Cotto is actually the naturally bigger man and has competed as high as the middleweight division while Ali usually campaigns in the welterweight division. The step up in weight is something that is not lost on Ali. He stated, “Yeah, it’s a huge challenge, a big step up. The biggest opponent in my career, and I’m also moving up to another weight class. But I love the challenge, and I’m ready to do whatever I have to do”.
Cotto has thirty three stoppage victories in his resume and has stopped three of his past five opponents. Ali only has fourteen stoppage victories and has only stopped one of his past five opponents.
Ali has been more active than Cotto and fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016. Cotto did not fight at all in 2016 and only fought once in 2017.
Both boxers had successful amateur backgrounds. Cotto represented Puerto Rico in the 2000 Summer Olympics and Ali represented the United States in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Cotto clearly has the better resume as a professional. He has defeated the likes of Yoshihiro Kamegai, Daniel Geale, Sergio Martinez, Delvin Rodriguez, Antonio Margarito, Ricardo Mayorga, Joshua Clottey, Alfonso Gomez, Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, Paul Malignaggi, Carlos Quintana, and DeMarcus Corley. His losses were to Antonio Margarito, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Austin Trout, and Canelo Alvarez.
Ali has defeated the likes of Johan Perez, Francisco Santana, and Luis Carlos Abregu. His lone loss was a TKO loss to Jessie Vargas.
Ali is a good boxer and surprisingly longer and taller, but Cotto’s depth of experience and size advantage will be too much for him.
Cotto seems confident going into this fight and has no regrets. He stated, “I enjoyed my whole career, and I can’t point at one fight, you know. I enjoyed my whole career. Every moment made me be the boxer I am right now, the person I am right now. I would have to say my whole career has been amazing for me”.
It’s a career boxing fans have thoroughly enjoyed. It’s a career that should end with a victory.
A Comprehensive Analysis of Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder
By: John Tsoi
Following the fascinating heavyweight showdown between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko this past April, everyone is looking forward to the next blockbuster match that will hopefully happen in 2018 – Joshua vs. Wilder. Many have Joshua as the early favorite against the American, with some even claiming that Wilder would easily get knocked out. After dissecting several of their notable fights in their careers, as well as analyzing their habits and styles, this fight between the two might actually be a 50-50 contest.
Being the WBA, IBF and IBO heavyweight champion of the world, Anthony Joshua is often lauded for his solid fundamentals. He boasts an effective stiff jab, has good defensive awareness with his right hand up protecting his chin, while also using his lead hand to parry his opponent’s jab and measure distance. If one watches his fights closely, his trademark punches would be the uppercut when his opponent gets close, as well as the left-hook-right hook combination. He has shown qualities of being able to gauge the punching range well by his efficient footwork, something that is less discussed because his movements are not really flashy or swift. In addition, he has the ability to create effective punching spurts when his opponent is badly hurt, making him a lethal finisher.
On the contrary, Deontay Wilder’s style is a stark contrast to that of Joshua. Apart from his punching power, he is a boxer that thrives in his overall movement. Being more agile than Joshua, he relies on his reflexes and movements to avoid his opponent’s punches with his hands-down approach. It is expected that Joshua will take up the centre of the ring and stalk Wilder who is likely to move around while trying to find openings, especially when the American is expected to weigh in less than Joshua. The Bronze Bomber loves throwing the one-two that is so powerful that it pierces the high guard of his many rivals, while also unleashing a barrage of left and right hooks when others go defensive. Many expressed their worries that Wilder’s “wildness” in swinging hooks could cost him the biggest victory in his career if this fight materializes. However, the American actually only does that when he has his opponent hurt, showing that he has good boxing intelligence to determine when to be aggressive.
Joshua’s strategy against Wilder should focus on landing hooks and body punches, as well as creating sustained attacks at appropriate moments. The reason behind is that the American’s defense is quite vulnerable to such punches as seen from his previous fights, especially the one against Eric Molina in rounds 2 and 3, and the first contest against Bermane Stiverne in rounds 3, 6 and 12. There were moments when Wilder adopted a high guard defense, for example, when being forced near the ropes, and was tagged with left and right hooks while also allowing his opponent to execute several decent attacks to the body. Being a significantly heavier puncher than both Molina and Stiverne, Joshua can try to trap Wilder against the ropes, forcing him to put up a high guard which opens the door for Joshua to either go up with left or right hooks, go down to the body, or mix them up with combinations. Having shown his aggressive brilliance, Joshua should aim to create sustained pressure on Wilder, something that no opponent has been able to execute against Wilder. It brings the American out of his comfort zone such that Joshua might be able to connect some fight-ending punches that could solidify him as the top heavyweight in the world.
On the other hand, Wilder should aim at exploiting Joshua’s relatively slow movement, counter over the probing jab, and take advantage of the British world champion’s in-round stamina issues. Overall athleticism is a category that Wilder excels in as most of the current heavyweights are heavy and clunky, in which Tyson Fury is perhaps the only one that can match Wilder. The American needs to use his agility to box Joshua smartly instead of letting his emotions go wild and engage in a slugfest. In particular, Wilder is not stiff and has good upper body movement, where he sometimes moves his whole upper body to evade punches. When there is an incoming jab or the lead hand is probing, he should try to counterpunch more after ducking to the left against Joshua’s orthodox stance.
Last but not least, Joshua’s stamina is often criticized by the public. Here I would like to offer an explanation on how exactly his stamina affects Wilder’s strategy. It is common and normal for a fighter’s punch output and stamina to go down gradually as a fight progresses, so the crux of the issue is actually Joshua gassing out within a round that he was aggressive in. In round 5 of his fight against Klitschko, he started really aggressive and knocked down the future Hall of Famer. However, he obviously became tired afterwards as a result of the sudden offensive output that his gigantic body had to cope with, plus Klitschko also landed some punches before that round ended. Notice how his right hand, which usually covers his chin in a disciplined fashion, started to lower, allowing an opening for his opponent. However, after getting knocked down in round 6, this is what most people fail to see – Joshua recouped since round 7. Surprisingly, he looked like he caught a second wind, had his right hand up again, and even adjusted to Klitschko’s one-two combinations by ducking effectively. This hints that possibly due to Joshua’s youth and training, he possesses the ability to recuperate after having rounds where he is gassed out or hurt, but only if his opponent gives him the time to do so. This points us to Klitschko’s mistake – not applying more pressure when he had Joshua hurt. Therefore, given that Wilder has the character of ending fights once he has his opponent hurt instead of playing it safe, he must try to knock Joshua out as soon as possible should he manages to get him into deep water. If Wilder can bait Joshua to be aggressive while he himself stay calm defensively and sneak in some big punches in between, it could work perfectly in the American’s favor.
After a scintillating year in the sport, this is certainly one of the best fights to make that takes us down the memory lane, when two heavyweights would fight their hearts out amidst the euphoric and buzzing crowd. Despite the verbal jabs and social media war of words, there lies a hidden sense of mutual respect. Wilder sees himself in Joshua as much as Joshua sees himself in Wilder – the grit and hard work that brought them from humble beginnings to becoming heavyweight champions of the world. It would be a pity if the business side of boxing prevents this fight from happening. All we want is to see boxing at its finest, where great fighters do not shy away from each other.
Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Preview: Soto Karass vs. Abreu, Tanajara vs. Quezada, Jesus Serrano vs. Genaro Gamez, Ryan Garcia vs. Cesar Valenzuela
By: B.A. Cass
After suffering a first-round KO from Henry Lebron in July, Oscar Eduardo Quezada (6-4) went on to beat Ernesto Gutierrez (0-7-1) in September. Now Quezada is being used as an opponent for the Hector Tanajara (10-0), the San Antonio super featherweight who hopes to be Golden Boy Promotions newest star. Tanajara still needs some development, but he’s young and fast. And he is unbeaten for a reason. Tanajara is a boxer, not a brawler. He has a three-inch height advantage over Quezada, and we can expect him to use his jab to keep Quezada at a safe distance, as he has effectively done with opponents in the past.
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Promotions
The fight between Jesus Serrano (17-4-2) and Genaro Gamez (6-0) should be much more exciting. At first glance, Serrano may seem like the more experienced fighter on a downward slide, a journeyman sent in to fight a younger, up-and-coming fighter who needs some credible wins on his resume. However, the four losses and two draws on Serrano’s record happened earlier in his career and is on a nine-fight winning streak. He has also knocked out over half of his opponents. As for Gamez, he may have less professional experience, but he’s a dangerous fighter: of the six fights he has fought, four have ended in first round KOs. Both fighters like to keep their hands down. Expect a brawl.
Ryan Garcia (11-0) vs. Cesar Valenzuela (14-5) is the fight on the undercard that you won’t want to miss. Valenzuela is a strong, more experienced opponent, but Garcia, who looks about twelve years old, has a knockout record that rivals Deontay Wilder’s. He’s sharp too, and when his punches connect (as they often do), the result is devastating. He was last seen in the ring in September when he knocked out Miguel Carrizoza with a powerful shot to the head that was so fast it was almost invisible.
Jesus Soto Karass (28-12-4) wants to show the boxing world that he isn’t just another aging gatekeeper. He’ll get his chance this Thursday, Nov. 2 when he encounters Juan Carlos Abreu (19-3-1), the aggressive Dominican fighter who likes to taunt his opponents as he stalks them around the ring. Karass has beaten some decent talent, including Andre Berto. Recently, however, he’s lost more than he’s won. This fight may be his last chance to prove himself, and he’s sure to give everything he’s got.
Hosted by Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona, this 10-round main event will be aired at 11 PM (EST) on ESPN2.
ESPN3 will stream the undercard fights starting at 9:30 PM (EST). Make sure to tune in early so that you don’t miss the fight between US Olympian Marlen Esparza (3-0) and Karla Valenzuela (3-16-3). It should be a one-sided affair, but Esparza is supremely talent and it will be fun to watch.
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch
PBC on Fox Preview: Santa Cruz vs. Avalos, Mares vs. Gutierrez
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) returns to Fox to telecast two bouts in the Fox network in the featherweight division.
The Stub Hub Center in Carson, California has been major venue for boxing on the west coast and will be the host site for Saturday’s card. The PBC actually has two televised cards this weekend as they will be showing three junior middleweight title bouts from New York on Showtime after the Fox telecast.
Photo Credit: Erick Ramirez/Ringstar Sports
The following is a preview of the two planned televised bouts on Fox.
Leo Santa Cruz (33-1-1) vs. Chris Avalos (27-5); WBA “Super” Featherweight Title
Leo Santa Cruz’s only professional loss was a close decision to Carl Frampton, but he was later able to avenge that loss in another close decision.
Santa Cruz will be facing an opponent on Saturday in which he should be a heavy favorite and win convincingly.
He’ll have a slight half an inch height advantage and about an inch in reach. He’s two years older than Avalos, but is still in his athletic prime since he’s only twenty nine years old.
Santa Cruz has been slightly more active than Avalos. He fought once in 2017, twice in 2017, and three times in 2015. Avalos fought once in 2017, once in 2017, and three times in 2015.
Santa Cruz also has a more distinguished amateur background than Avalos. He won the gold medal in the International Junior Olympics and the silver medal in the US National Championships.
Avalos does appear to have a slight edge in power. He has twenty stoppage victories while Santa Curz has eighteen. However, Avalos has gone 2-3 in his past five fights and three of his career losses have been by TKO/KO. His losses were to Mark Magsayo, Oscar Valdez, Carl Frampton, Jhonatan Romero, and Christopher Martin. Avalos has defeated the likes of Jose Nieves, Khabir Suleymanov, Yenifel Vicente, Drian Francisco, and Miguel Flores.
Santa Cruz’s lone defeat was the Carl Frampton, who he defeated in a rematch. He has also defeated the likes of Kiko Martinez, Abner Marez, Cesar Ceda, Vitor Terrazas, and eric Morel.
All of the physicals and all of the intangibles favor Santa Cruz. It’s difficult to imagine him losing this bout.
Abner Mares (30-2-1) v. Andres Gutierrez (25-1-1); WBA “Regular” Featherweight Title
Abner Mares fought Leo Santa Cruz in 2015 and lost to him. If he’s able to beat Gutierrez on Saturday he’ll likely get a rematch against Santa Cruz.
Mares is thirty one years old and seven years older than Gutierrez. Gutierrez will have about an inch and a half in height and about an inch in reach on Mares. Gutierrez will also have the power advantage. He has stopped 68% of his opponents with 25 KO/TKOs. Mares has stopped 45% of his opponents with 15 KO/TKOs.
Mares has the edge in amateur experience. He was a silver medalist in the World Junior Championships and competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics for Mexico. Gutierrez has no notable amateur accomplishments.
Mares losses were to Jhonny Gonzalez and Leo Santa Cruz. He has defeated the likes of Jesus Cuellar, Jonathan Oquendo, Daniel Ponce De Leon, Eric More, Joseph Agbeko, Anselmo Moreno, and Vic Darchinyan.
Gutierrez professional resume pales in comparison to Mares. Gutierrez has competed mainly in Mexico and lost to a past his prime Cristian Mijares. Gutierrez’s notable wins have come against Wallington Orobio, Daniel Diaz, and Salvador Sanchez.
Gutierrez age and power could give Mares problems, as Mares power has not followed him as he has moved up weight classes. But Mares technical boxing superiority and experience fighting on national television should give him an overall edge to emerge victorious on Saturday.
HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Chocolatito vs. Rungvisai, Inoue vs. Nieves, Cuadras vs. Estrada
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the super flyweight/junior bantamweight division will take center stage on HBO as three fights in the division, which includes two world title fights and a WBC junior bantamweight title eliminator will take place.
Photo Credit: USA Today
The Stub Hub Center in Carson, California will be the host site for Saturday’s HBO Boxing After Dark Card. This card is stacked in the super flyweight division. Additionally, former UFC fighter Nam Phan will compete on the undercard as well as former world title holder Brian Viloria.
The following is a preview of the three planned televised fights on Saturday night.
Carlos Cuadras (36-1-1) vs. Juan Francisco Estrada (35-2); WBC Junior Bantamweight Eliminator
The opening bout of the broadcast will be between Carlos Cuadras and Juan Francisco Estrada, two boxers in the junior bantamweight division that previously faced, and lost to Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez.
Both boxers stand at 5’4” and have a reach of 66”. Cuadras is twenty nine years old and two years older than Estrada. Both boxers have considerable power. Estrada has twenty five stoppage victories on his record while Cuadras has stopped twenty seven of his opponents. Estrada appears to have the edge in power in recent fights however, he has stopped three of his past four opponents while Cuadras only has two stoppage victories in the past five fights.
Cuadras appears to have the slight edge in amateur experience. Estrada claims an amateur record of 94-4, while Cuadras won a gold medal in the International Junior Olympics and won a gold medal in the Pan American Games in 2003.
Estrada only fought once in 2016 and once in 2017, but that can be partly explained by a surgery he had to his right hand. Cuadras fought once in 2017 and twice in 2016.
Cuadras has defeated the likes of David Carmona, Richie Mepranum, Luis Concepcion, and Wisaksil Wangek. Estrada has a slightly better resume as a professional and has defeated the likes of Hernan Marquez, Giovani Segura, Milan Melindo, and Brian Viloria.
This should be an entertaining bout and could go either way, but Estrada is considered by many to be the second best super bantamweight behind Chocolatito and they appear destined to rematch in the near future.
Naoya Inoue (13-0) vs. Antonio Nieves (17-1-2); WBO Junior Bantamweight Title
Naoya Inoue is a world titlist form Japan that is starting to generate a lot of buzz in the boxing community.
He’s a world champion at only twenty four years old and has spent his entire career fighting in Japan. He’ll be six years younger than Nieves on fight night and will also have about a half an inch height advantage. However, he is giving up about an inch in reach.
Inoue also appears to have the power advantage. In thirteen fights he already has evel stoppage victories, including three of his past four fights. Nieves only has nine stoppage wins in twenty professional fights and is coming off of a loss.
Both boxers experienced moderate success as an amateur. Inoue won the gold medal in the 2011 President’s Cup and Nieves was a silver medalist in the 2011 National Golden Gloves.
Inoue has faced good opposition ever since his professional debut. His list of notable wins include Kohei Hono, David Carmona, Omar Narvaez, and Adrian Hernandez. Nieves is coming off of a loss to Nikolai Potapov. His only notable wins were against Oscar Mojica and Stephon Young.
Many expect Inoue to wow the crowd on Saturday night with a dominating victory against Nieves. A win may set up a possible big money fight with Roman Gonzalez, provided Gonzalez also wins his bout on Saturday.
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1) vs. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-1); WBC Junior Bantamweight Title
This bout is a rematch of their barn burner fight which saw Rungvisai pull off the stunning upset victory over Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. Many fans in attendance, and many members of the media, thought Gonzalez did enough to win the fight despite the fact he was knocked down in the first round.
In fact, CompuBox stats showed that Gonzalez had outlanded Rungvisai in ten of the twelve rounds, but still wound up losing the fight.
Gonzalez and Rungvisai are both thirty years old and stand at 5’3”. Gonzalez will have a slight half and inch reach advantage on Rungvisai. Gonzalez has thirty eight stoppage wins on his record, but has only stopped one opponent in his past four fights. Rungvisai has thirty nine stoppage wins to his resume and has stopped nine of his past ten opponents.
However, Rungvisai lacks amateur experience and Gonzalez won the gold medal in the 2004 Central American Championships.
Gonzalez fought once in 2017 and twice in 2016. He has defeated the likes of Carlos Cuadras, Brian Viloria, Edgar Sosa, Akira Yaegashi, and Juan Francisco Estrada.
Rungvisai fought once in 2017 and five times in 2016. However, three of those fights in 2016 were against debuting fighters and most of his wins came against suspect competition. His biggest wins to date were against Jose Salgado and Roman Gonzalez. He has a loss to Carlos Cuadras on his resume, and his other three losses came within the first five fights of his career.
Many felt Gonzalez won their first encounter and many expect him to emerge victorious in their rematch. However, you can not discount the heart that Rungvisai showed in their first fight and he appears to be a boxer with legitimate power in his hands that can end the fight quickly.
This should be another entertaining scrap, but it’s a scrap that Gonzalez is expected to win in a way that will take it out of the hands of the judges.
Top Rank on ESPN Preview: Crawford vs. Indongo, Gvozdyk vs. Baker
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Top Rank Promotions will continue their relationship with ESPN by broadcasting a junior welterweight unification bout between one of their top stars, Terence Crawford, taking on fellow junior welterweight title holder Julius Indongo. This bout will take place at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Another bout to be televised will be in the light heavyweight division and will be between Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Craig Baker. The undercard will feature many familiar names, including Mike Alvarado, Bryant Jennings, Dillian Whyte, Shakur Stevenson, and Nicholas Walters. Don’t be surprised if some of these names make their way to the main broadcast.
The following is a preview of both televised bouts.
Oleksandr Gvozdyk (13-0) vs. Craig Baker (17-1); Light Heavyweights
Oleksandr Gvozdyk is another Ukranian prospect with a high ceiling and a deep amateur background, though he doesn’t have the amateur accolades of fellow Ukranian Vasyl Lomachenko.
Gvozdyk won the bronze medal for the Ukraine in the 2012 Summer Olympics. He also competed in the World Series of Boxing before turning pro and was undefeated there. He’s thirty years old and three years younger than his opponent, Craig baker. Gvozdyk also stands at 6’2” and has a long reach of 76”.
Baker competed in the 2008 US National Amateur Championships and the 2008 National Golden Gloves but did not place. His amateur background pales in comparison to Gvozdyk.
Gvozdyk turned pro in 2014 and already has an impressive list of defeated opponents. He has defeated the likes of Nadjib Mohammedi, Tommy Karpency, Isaac Chilemba, and Yunieski Gonzalez. He’s currently riding a seven fight stoppage streak.
Baker’s only notable victory was against Umberto Savigne. The one time he took a step up in competition he got knocked out by Edwin Rodriguez. Fourteen of his seventeen wins have come against opponents with records of .500 or worse.
Gvozdyk has the edge in speed, defense, amateur background, and even power. Baker has thirteen knockouts in comparison to Gvozdyk’s eleven stoppages, but Baker’s stoppage victories have come against subpar competition.
It’s doubtful this fight will be competitive. Gvozdyk should won handedly.
Terence Crawford (31-0) vs. Julius Indongo (22-0); WBO/WBC/IBF and WBA Junior Welterweight Titles
It’s rare to see all four major world titles up for grabs in one unification bout, but this anomaly will occur on Saturday night and should be applauded.
Both boxers are undefeated but Crawford is the heavy favorite.
Crawford will be giving up about two and a half inches in height and one and a half inches in reach. However, Crawford is five years younger than Indongo and appears to be the quicker boxer with the harder punch.
Crawford has twenty two stoppages on his resume and five of his past six fights resulted in a stoppage victory. Indongo only has eleven stoppage wins, but three of his past four fights resulted in a KO/TKO.
Crawford has been fairly busy recently. He fought once in 2017 and three times in 2016. Indongo has matched his activity and also fought three times in 2016 and once in 2017.
Crawford’s list of defeated opponents shows he is deserving of his pound for pound ranking. He has defeated the likes of Felix Diaz, John Molina Jr., Viktor Postol, Henry Lundy, Dierry Jean, Thomas Dulorme, Raymundo Beltran, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ricky Burns, and Andrey Klimov.
Indongo fought mainly in Africa early on in his career and has not faced the level of opposition that Crawford has faced. He has recently defeated the likes of Ricky Burns and Eduard Troyanovsky, but has not defeated any notable opponents before those wins.
The one edge that Indongo might arguably have is amateur experience. He competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics and Crawford failed to make the Olympic team of the United States. However, Crawford is a former National PAL Champion.
Indongo’s height and reach may give Crawford some issues early on. He was able to surprise many when he defeated Eduard Troyanovsky and he had little problems defeating Ricky Burns. However, Terence Crawford is an elite level boxer and he has enough experience to solve the height and reach of Indongo.
Crawford should win by a comfortable decision.
What Happened To Adrien Broner?
By: Sean Crose
He seemed on top of the world once, not so long ago, a terrible representative or the sport who was on his way to stardom, nonetheless.
And now this.
After being dominated this past weekend in New York by Mikey Garcia, many are left asking what happened to Adrien Broner. This was the future celebrity, the Mayweather with a bad/worse attitude, the soon to be face of boxing. Now, though, it’s clear the man can’t beat an above average opponent. All that talk, all that hype, and for what? For three losses in a row to big names? For smack talk after defeat? For endless acts of stupidity outside the ring with little to show in the way of real merit inside of it? This isn’t what the public was led to expect.
Oh, the public was led to expect bad behavior when it came to Broner, of course. In fact, the public was expected to celebrate it. For Broner was supposed to be the big mouth who couldn’t be shut up, the man who appealed to people’s inner mean streaks, the guy who acted like many amoral types wished they could have, but were afraid to. Yet the public was also led to expect Broner to back it all up with big win after big win. Thing is, with the possible exception of Paulie Malignaggi, who some feel actually won their fight, Broner has no big wins to his name.
What he has is a record of having attained lots of belts without placing lots of big names under them. It’s now being said the man was a hype job from the word go. Perhaps that assertion is the correct one. Perhaps Broner was never as good as advertised. Perhaps he was simply never going to become as good as advertised, even if he took his profession seriously, which – until recently – he didn’t seem to on any sort of regular basis.
The question, of course, is where to from here for the Cincinnati native. Many, if not most, hope he will fade away. Don’t expect him do, though. Broner’s colorful image is still marketable, even on a smaller scale than it used to be. There’s still titles and lots of money available for the man in the future. Keep in mind that he’s fun to watch fight – and that people also like renegades (and Broner is most certainly that).
The truth is that Broner took a tough loss and if he’s not the total hype job some are saying he always was, he’s going to want to grow as a fighter – as in actually pick up new things. That might take a bit of learning, but he’s still a young man with a considerable amount of God given talent at his disposal. The story of Adrien Broner might still have some more chapters to go. He’s going to have to play is smart, though, if he hopes to eventually go out on top…if it’s even possible for him to go out on top at this point.
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Adrien Broner vs. Mikey Garcia, Jermall Charlo vs. Jorge Heiland
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Showtime and Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) will present one of the best boxing matches during the month of August as Adrien Broner takes on Mikey Garcia in the junior welterweight division. Jermall Charlo will also be making his debut in the middleweight division as he bumps a weight class to take on Jorge Sebastian Heiland.
The undercard is also stacked and featured several entertaining fights and high level prospects. Jarrell Miller will face Gerald Washington in a matchup featuring two top ranked heavyweights. Katie Taylor and Rau’shee Warren are two former Olympians that will also be competing on the undercard.
The following is a preview of the televised portion of the bouts that Showtime will be televising live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Jermall Charlo (25-0) vs. Jorge Sebastian Heiland (29-4-2); Middleweights
Jermall Charlo is dropping his junior middleweight title to bump up to his brother’s division and chase a world title there. He’s younger than his brother by one minute but they hope to hold titles in the same division as the same time.
Charlo is twenty seven years old and younger than his Argentinean opponent by three years. He’s from Houston, Texas and has been relatively active in the past two years. He fought twice in 2016 and three times in 2017. He stands at 6’0”, but has a pretty good reach of 73 ½”. Heiland has fought once in 2017, twice in 2016, and once in 2015.
Heiland is a southpaw and has four losses on his record. He doesn’t have the power of Charlo and has stopped sixteen of his opponents. Charlo has stopped nineteen boxers.
Despite his four losses Heiland has been boxing well recently. He is currently riding an 8 win fight streak. Neither boxer has any notable amateur titles.
Charlo’s most impressive victory was in his last bout when he defeated Philadelphia native Julian Williams by knockout. His other notable victories include Austin Trout, Winky Campfort, and Cornelius Bundrage.
Heiland’s only notable victory was a knockout over Matthew Macklin before Macklin retired. He has losses to Mateo Damian Veron, Billi Godoy, Nilson Tapia, and Sebastian Zbik.
Even though Charlo is bumping up a weight division, he’s facing an opponent that is not on his skill level. It’s a good first fight to feel out the middleweight division for Charlo.
Adrien Broner (33-2) vs. Mikey Garcia (36-0); Junior Welterweights
Adrien Broner has been in the news a lot recently, but not for boxing. He’s had a few run ins with the law, including an arrest in April of 2017 when the SUV he was driving was found to have bullet holes in it. Broner claimed at the time that his vehicle was shot at.
Broner is a boxer with amazing talents, but the outside issues could be a distraction and he’s facing an elite level talent.
Broner and Garcia are similar in age, with Broner being 28 years old and Garcia being 29. They are also similar in size and height. They are the same height and stand in at 5’6”. Garcia will have a slight reach advantage of one inch.
Neither boxer has been very active in the past two years fighting under the PBC banner. Broner only fought once in 2017 and 2016, but did fight three times in 2015. Garcia only fought once in 2017 and 2016, and did not fight in 2015 and most of 2014 due to contract issues with Top Rank Promotions.
Broner has defeated the likes of Adrian Granados, Ashley Theophane, Khabib Allakhverdiev, John Molina Jr., Emmanuel Taylor, Carlos Molina, Paulie Malignaggi, Antonio Demarco, Daniel Ponce De Leon, and Eloy Perez. His losses were to Shawn Porter and Marcos Maidana.
Garcia’s inactivity has cost him some possible big name matchups, but he still has a good list of defeated opponents. He has defeated the likes of Dejan Zlaticanin, Elio Rojas, Juan Carlos Burgos, Roman Martinez, Juan Manuel Lopez, Orlando Salido, and Jonathan Victor Barros.
Both boxers experienced some success on the national level as an amateur. Broner as a National Silver Gloves Champion and Garcia was a US Pal Gold Medalist and a US Junior Golden Gloves Gold Medalist.
Garcia’s inactivity and recent wins against subpar competition would normally big a cause of concern when facing a highly skilled opponent like Adrien Broner, but Broner’s recent run ins with the law and his two losses against top level opponents is a bigger concern.
This writer wouldn’t be shocked if Broner emerges victorious, but the edge has to go to Garcia.
Hard-punching 50-50 Match-ups Featured at the Forum
Hard-punching 50-50 Match-ups Featured at the Forum
By Adam J. Pollack
On Saturday July 15, the Forum in Los Angeles will feature several highly entertaining matchups. The main event features WBC World Super Featherweight Champion Miguel Berchelt, 31-1, 28 KOs, vs. Takashi Miura, 31-3-2, 24 KOs, two punchers who love to fight. Although Berchelt likely will win, for he has the superior talent and skill, this is one of those fights that you watch simply because you know that regardless of the result, both guys will fight hard, in entertaining fashion. Miura forces the fight with hard punches and can take some big ones, and both of these guys can hit.
Photo Credit: Kyte Monroe/BoxStats
If you are looking for a really hard-punching intriguing 50-50 type match-up, in which the outcome truly is in doubt, Joe Smith, Jr., 23-1, 19 KOs, vs. Sullivan Barrera, 19-1, 14 KOs is the fight for you. The very heavy-handed Smith, Jr. has freakish power, such that regardless of what the score is in a fight, if hits his opponent, the fight can be over in the blink of an eye. Remember, he knocked out Bernard Hopkins, who although old, had never been stopped before, and was a guy who knew every trick and artifice of the game. He also knocked out Andrej Fonfara in the very 1st round, and Fonfara had gone the distance with Adonis Stevenson, knocked out Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., and beaten Glen Johnson and Byron Mitchell.
Smith Jr. is going up a very tough man in Sullivan Barrera, a guy whose only loss was a decision to Andre Ward. Barrera knocked out Jeff Lacy in 4, Karo Murat in 5, and handed the hard-punching then 17-0, 14 KOs Ukrainian Vyacheslav Shabranskyy his only loss, stopping him in the 7th round. Like Smith Jr., Barrera can punch. So this is likely to be another hard-punching bang-‘em-out war. The likely winner is unclear.
Also on the card, undefeated WBA Super Featherweight Champion Jezreel “El Invisible” Corrales (21-0, 8 KOs) takes on Robinson “Robin Hood” Castellanos, 24-12, 14 KOs, who recently stopped former champion Yuriorkis Gamboa in his last fight. Castellanos has managed to score several upset victories, defeating Rocky Juarez and then-undefeated Ronny Rios, in addition to Gamboa, so he seems to thrive on his underestimated underdog status. The undefeated Corrales won the championship by handing then undefeated Takashi Uchiyama his first losses, both by knocking him out and winning the rematch by decision. This is a really solid, competitive contest.
Other quality match-ups on the card include:
Mercito Gesta, 30-1-2 vs. Martin Honorio, 33-10-1
Manny Robles, Jr. 12-0 vs. Christian Esquivel, 30-11
Horacio Garcia, 32-2-1 vs. Diuhl Olguin, 11-16-3
Ryan Garcia, 9-0, vs. Mario Antonio Macias, 28-21
PBC on Fox Preview: Omar Figueroa vs. Robert Guerrero, Marcus Browne vs. Seanie Monaghan
PBC on Fox Preview: Omar Figueroa vs. Robert Guerrero, Marcus Browne vs. Seanie Monaghan
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) will return to the Fox network to broadcast a double header live from Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island in Uniondale, New York.
Other bouts fighting on the undercard include boxers such as Artur Szpilka, Jamal James, Jo Jo Dan, Eliezer Aquino, and Brandon Figueroa.
Photo Credit: Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment
The following is a preview of the two main bouts on the card.
Marcus Browne (19-0) vs. Seanie Monaghan (28-0); Light Heavyweights
This is an intriguing fight between two undefeated New York Light Heavyweights, and it’s a great fight to open up the televised portion of the card from Long Island, New York.
Monaghan, who was born in Long Beach, and Browne, who was born in Staten Island are familiar with each other and bring a local flair to this event.
Monaghan is undefeated, but aging, and is currently thirty five years old. A win against Browne could catapult him to a future title fight, but a loss will likely end any hopes he has of becoming a world champ. Browne is twenty six and nine years younger than Monaghan. He also has about a two and a half inch height advantage and a three inch reach advantage on Monaghan.
Monaghan has some success on the local amateur circuit and lost in the finals of the 2009 New York Golden Gloves. Marcus Browne experienced success on the national level and represented the United States in the 2012 Summer Olympics. He was also the 2010 Amateur PAL Champion.
Monaghan fought twice in 2016 and three times in 2015. Brown fought once in 2017 and once in 2016, and four times in 2015.
Monaghan is signed to Top Rank Promotions, but has yet to face and defeat a big name opponent. His biggest wins to date have come against Donovan George, Elvir Muriqi, and Anthony Caputo Smith.
Browne has been facing an increasing level of opposition as he’s advanced as a professional. He has defeated the likes of Thomas Williams Jr., Radivoje Kalajddzic, Gabriel Campillo, Cornelius White, Aaron Pryor Jr., and George Blades.
Browne and Monaghan are about equal in power. Browne has stopped fourteen of his opponents while Monaghan has stopped seventeen.
There should be a large number of fans in attendance to watch this bout between two native New Yorkers, but Browne’s physical advantages, age advantage, and amateur pedigree indicates that he should walk away the victor on Saturday night.
Omar Figueroa (26-0-1) vs. Robert Guerrero (33-5-1); Welterweights
Robert Guerrero’s career has taking a sharp downturn since he lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. He’s 2-4 in his last six fights and seems far removed from sniffing another world title shot.
He’s facing Omar Figueroa, an undefeated boxer seven years his junior. But Figueroa has been relatively inactive, he hasn’t fought since 2015 and has experienced issues with his hands recently.
Guerrero will have about an inch and a half height advantage but Figueroa will have a two inch reach advantage. Both boxers have eighteen stoppages to their record.
Guerrero has the better amateur accomplishments; he won a gold medal in the National Junior Olympics. Figueroa competed briefly as an amateur but turned pro at a young age.
Guerrero has defeated some good opponents, and they include Yoshihiro Kamegai, Andre Berto, Selcuk Aydin, Michael Katsidis, Joel Casamayor, and Jason Litzau. However, Guerrero has had a rough stretch recently and has lost to many of the top welterweights in the world. His losses were to Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and a loss he later avenged to Gamaliel Diaz.
Most concerning for Guerrero is the fact he lost his last bout to an Argentinean cab driver by the name of David Peralta and he escaped with a lucky decision over Aaron Martinez.
Figueroa has spent most of his career fighting in the lightweight division but holds victories over notable boxers such as Michael Perez, Abner Cotto, Nihito Arakawa, Jerry Belmontes, Ricky Burns, and Antonio DeMarco.
This is a bout between a boxer who’s career has been on a steady decline and a boxer with a bright future. Guerrero’s recent performances have been disappointing and it’s hard to imagine him turning his career around against a young hungry fighter at the age of thirty four.
If Figueroa’s hands aren’t injured he should be able to defeat Guerrero.
Five Post Fight Thoughts from Pacquiao vs. Horn
Five Post Fight Thoughts from Pacquiao vs. Horn
By: William Holmes
A legend in the sport of boxing lost to a man that nobody thought he would lose to on Saturday in Brisbane, Australia.
Manny Pacquiao is a sure fire first ballot hall of famer and is an eight division world champion. Since 2005 almost all of his fights were made available exclusively on Pay Per View. However, many were stunned to see Jeff Horn be named the victor and were left in disbelief. Many, including the announcers on ESPN, strongly felt that Manny was robbed and clearly won the fight.
Is this the end of Pacquiao’s career? What does this mean going forward?
Here are five post fight thoughts from the Pacquiao vs. Horn fight.
1. Pacquiao Was Not Robbed
This may come as a shock to some, but Pacquiao was not robbed. I’m not saying he didn’t win the fight, but you can’t argue with the judges who felt Horn won the fight. Pacquiao didn’t dominate any round with the exception of the ninth, and many, many, rounds were “swing” rounds and could have been scored either way.
Fans have to remember that crowd reaction affects judges and this fight took place in Horn’s home country. Most of the fans in attendance were rooting for their fellow Australian and were reacting positively to every punch that Jeff Horn threw. Yes, judges are supposed to be able to block out the sound and view a fight objectively, but that’s easier said than done and no judge is completely immune to the vocal support that surrounds him.
Fans also have to realize that viewing a fight live is much different than viewing a fight on TV. When you’re watching a fight on TV you can be swayed by the commentary of the announce team and you have a much better view/angle on the action inside the ring than those who are watching the fight in person. Ring side judges do not have the advantage of wide camera angle and often their views are obstructed by the ropes, ring, competitors, and the referee.
Additionally, Jeff Horn pressed the action and was able to dominate the exchanges when they were in tight or when Pacquiao’s back was against the rope. Ring Generalship and effective aggression are two criteria that judges use to judge a fight, and it was clear that Horn was dictating the pace to Pacquiao and never stopped coming forward.
Again, I’m not saying Pacquiao didn’t win the fight, I’m merely stating he wasn’t robbed.
2. CompuBox Stats Are Overrated
Many upset boxing fans point to the CompuBox statistics as evidence that Pacquiao was robbed. They note that Horn only landed 15% of his punches and that Pacquiao landed almost 100 more punches.
However, fight fans have to understand that CompuBox punch totals are done by a person sitting ringside keeping a manual tally. There is nothing scientific or reliable about CompuBox, at best it is an estimation. CompuBox also doesn’t take into consideration the visible effects of the punches landed.
As a general rule punches are more noticeable when a bigger man lands against a smaller man, and Jeff Horn was clearly the bigger man. When his punches landed they visibly moved Pacquiao and many of Pacquiao’s punches were not noticeable to the untrained eye.
3. More Big Fights Need to Happen Outside of Las Vegas
As a fight city, Las Vegas is overrated.
Yes, it’s the gambling capital of the world and very few locations can compete with the purse sizes that Las Vegas provides. But, if you’ve ever gone to a fight in Las Vegas you’d know that most of the fans who attend a big fight in Las Vegas are more concerned with the glitz, glam and celebrity that Las Vegas provides instead of the action in the ring.
I’ve been to Vegas several times for big fights, and a good 95% of the fans in attendance do not show up until a few minutes before the main event starts. Most of the fans at a Las Vegas fight do not know the difference between a jab and a cross and are more concerned with looking good at a big event.
The Pacquiao Horn fight was held in an outdoor stadium in Australia and came across great on television. 50,000+ fans were in attendance, a number that currently can not be reached in Las Vegas. The excitement and anticipation of a fight comes off much better in a big stadium when compared to Las Vegas, and makes it more attractive to the casual sports fan.
The Klitschko vs. Joshua fight was held at Wembley Stadium and was one of the best fights of the year. The crowd was unbelievable and that fight also looked great on television.
The most entertaining fight that this writer ever attended live was when Pacquiao fought Margarito at the home of the Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium. The venue was a big reason as to why that fight was so entertaining.
Granted, there will still be fight fans who only show up for the main event if a good boxing card were to be held outside of Las Vegas, but the overall experience is much better when it’s held in a stadium.
4. Pacquiao Needs to Drop Down in Weight
Ever since Pacquiao made the jump to the junior welterweight division and higher he has been the smaller man inside the ring. His walk around weight is near the welterweight limit and he often has to fight someone who has cut 10-20 pounds to make the welterweight limit.
When Pacquiao was in his prime his movement and endurance was good enough to run circles around his opponent so that they couldn’t catch him. He’s no longer in his prime and Jeff Horn was able to capitalize on his size advantage and trap Manny on the ropes with effective body work. If Jeff Horn was able to trap Pacquiao imagine what some of the other top welterweights could do to him.
Keith Thurman, Errol Spence Jr., Kell Brook, Shawn Porter, and even Lucas Matthysse are all opponents that are bigger than Pacquiao and would probably inflict more damage on him than what Horn did on Saturday.
Even though the current version of Pacquiao would still be competitive with most of the welterweights ranked in the top ten, he is risking serious damage to his body and health if he continues to campaign against bigger and stronger opponents when he is pushing 40.
5. An Aged Version of Pacquiao is Still Entertaining
Should Pacquiao retire? That’s a tough question but at the very least it should be discussed amongst him and his team.
But one thing that we learned on Saturday night is that even the faded and aged version of Manny Pacquiao is still exciting in the ring. His fight with Jeff Horn dominated social media and ESPN and has been the talk of the sports world for the past two days.
Fight fans were on the edge of their seat the entire fight and the ninth round was one of the most thrilling rounds of the year.
The ratings support the entertainment value of Pacquiao. ESPN recently released a press release indicating that the fight delivered a 2.4 overnight rating and was the highest rated fight for a cable network this decade. The release also indicated that the Battle of Brisbane was likely to be the highest-rated fight on ESPN’s networks since the mid 1990s.
The current version of Manny Pacquiao may have difficulty reclaiming a world title in the welterweight division, but he still draws eyes to the TV.
Andre Ward crushes Sergey Kovalev and shows he is King
Andre Ward crushes Sergey Kovalev and shows he is King
By: Kirk Jackson
Silencing the opinions of fans and critics amongst the media, Andre “SOG” Ward 32-0 (16 KO’s) defended his WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight titles defeating Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev 31-2-1 (26 KO’s) via eighth-round technical knockout in their highly anticipated rematch.
Ward picked up where he left off in their first encounter; using lateral movement and angles to navigate inside the Kovalev’s dungeon of danger. Ward avoided the full brunt force of the hazardous, powerful 1-2 combinations (straight right hands, left jabs) of Kovalev while unleashing his own devastating attack.
As menacing as Kovalev’s punches can be, Ward proved again his will and fistic sophistication is even more demoralizing.
“I think it was plain to see that I broke him mentally and physically,” said Ward in a post-fight interview.
“I’m not a person that demands respect or none of that. You don’t have to respect me and I don’t demand anything, but at a certain point and time, you got to give a person their just do. I’m 13 years in and I’ve been doing it against the best.”
In crushing Kovalev from a physical standpoint, the emphasis of Ward’s attack was towards the body. A successful strategy utilized in their initial encounter.
After taking command during the first half of the first fight, Kovalev slowly succumbed to the constant pressure applied from Ward; squandering his lead and losing his titles in the process.
As the bigger man and the fighter thought of as the more threatening figure based off his destructive punching power, Kovalev looked worn for wear heading into the later rounds. The “Krusher” looked deflated after a hard fought highly competitive battle.
The same strategy proved successful the second time around.
“When I saw him react to the body shots that were borderline, I knew I had him,” Ward said. “Go back down there. Why get away from it?”
“Then I hurt him with a head shot and I just had to get the right shots in there to get it over with. That one’s probably borderline – he was hurt, I went right back there again, he wasn’t reacting, right back there again and the referee stopped it.”
And as with the first fight, the second fight also appears boiled in controversy. In which HBO, the network responsible for broadcasting the event contributed to regarding confusion the first time around.
Whether it’s the dubious scorecards from longtime HBO judge Harold Lederman, or the questionable calls of analysis from play-by-play commentator Jim Lampley, more times than not, the casual fan is misinformed regarding the content and story of the fight.
The controversy regarding the results of the rematch stems from the interpretation of what is perceived as effective body punches or illegal low blows.
Critics, most notably Kovalev’s promoter, Main Events CEO Kathy Duva, points to low blows from Ward as a reason Kovalev lost yet another fight to Bay Area boxer. HBO analyst and boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. suggests otherwise.
“We saw earlier that he [Kovalev] was complaining from a borderline body shot and anytime someone fakes that much from a borderline body shot it makes it hard for you not to go back down there if you a seasoned veteran,” said Jones.
“It was borderline but when your cup is above your navel, the ref usually tells you I’m not gonna call these shots low right below the belt, because your belt is above your navel.”
Bob Bennett is the executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The bout between Ward and Kovalev took place in Las Vegas, NV.
Bennett talked to the referee in charge of the fight, Tony Weeks. Bennett also expressed his confidence and belief that Weeks made the correct decision regarding the bout between Kovalev and Ward.
“I felt we had it right the first time. And I thought Tony did a great job this time,” Bennett said to USA Today.
“I’ve reviewed the fight this morning. I looked at those punches that were allegedly low, and even spoke to (HBO’s) Tom Hauser, who sent me a video, saying one of those punches was low but it was very hard to determine because Kovalev’s arm was by his waist, and the punch looks like it comes up underneath and hits on the belt line.”
Bennett continued, “It’s rather interesting at the end that when Ward hits him in the stomach at the end, he sat on the ropes. And the punch looked good. Weeks was in good position to see where those blows landed and they’re right on the belt line.”
“Are they close? Sure. But do they look good? Yeah. Did he have one or two low blows where Tony told him to keep them up? You could argue that he did. But at the same time you could argue that Kovalev put Ward in numerous headlocks and Tony had to reprimand both of them. I think the stoppage was good.”
Bennett’s assessment, along with Weeks’ assessment of where Ward’s punches landed regarding Kovalev’s belt line, reiterates the observation and analysis from HBO analyst Roy Jones Jr.
What we have from Duva and Team Kovalev is a litany of excuses. Ironic as the theme for this particular event is “No Excuses.”
“Excuses” correlates to the main reason Kovalev suffered defeat against Ward not only once, but twice.
This isn’t just the physical element at play. Yes this is a sport, this is boxing, the highest form of competition, one on one battle, where physicality matters. But there was a psychological war waging as well.
Kovalev’s foundation and mental makeup is constructed as a carefully crafted portrait of a cerebral, cold blooded killer. What was left out is the mountain of lies and excuses shadowing this illustration.
There are two types of people.
The first type makes excuses for their shortcomings and lacks accountability.
The second type recognizes and accepts their flaws and weaknesses, while making necessary adjustments to correct mistakes and progress forward.
Excuses can be regarded as a sign of mental weakness.
As great of a fighter Kovalev is, rising to the top of the sport bullying fighters and relying on intimidation; mainly predicated from his punching prowess, he lacks accountability regarding his deficiencies.
He mocked fighters, singled out and disrespected groups of people varying in sex and background en route to his rise of success.
Whether it’s suggesting to the two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields, that women should be at home making family life comfortable, or addressing Haitian-Canadian, light heavyweight rival Adonis Stevenson as a monkey, referring to Ismail Sillakh and African-American fighters as “negros,” along with other references aimed at “dark-skinned people,” is uncalled for.
Referring to Grover Young as a “thoroughbred nigga” further implies ignorance and immaturity.
Utilizing memes and videos, attributing idiotic stereotypes based on someone’s skin complexion and background is another red flag.
Former light heavyweight champion Beibut Shumenov of Kazakhstan, expressed his belief in Kovalev’s narrow-minded bigotry in an interview with Ring Magazine.
“I was shocked when I heard about his racist comments that he said in reference about African-Americans. There was no misinterpretation or lost in Russian-to-English translation of what he said,” Shumenov said.
“He will have to live with the derogatory words that he said in print and video. A lot of my team are African-Americans, and they are more than members of my team, they are family to me. They have my back and I have theirs, and I have zero respect for racist views of any kind.”
Do you notice a pattern here?
Whether its disrespectful remarks hurled towards peers, distasteful comments and tweets, or thoughtless posts across various social media outlets, character is often revealed through particular actions.
The “Krusher’s” character is on full display.
But what happens to the bully once he’s confronted? The bully usually folds. The case with Kovalev and Ward is a classic example. Ward stood up to Kovalev.
Regarding their fights, it’s why entering the jaws of death (fighting in range of Kovalev’s punching power) was imperative for the success of Ward.
It leaves a psychological effect; telling the bully I’m still here regardless of your tactics.
The “Krusher” openly and adamantly discussed his desire to end Ward’s career. Time and time again, his tag line for the rematch and this was directed at Ward, “I’m going to end your career motherfucker!!”
Perhaps it was just for promotion for their fight, although there appears to be genuine dislike between camps.
After suffering consecutive defeats and the last by TKO to Ward, it now appears Kovalev’s career is heading down the drain.
The question is who will fight Kovalev now? He is still a great fighter and arguably still one of the best fighters pound-for-pound.
But that’s the underlying issue; he’s still a great fighter, possessing terrorizing power, but lacks leverage or incentive to garner fights.
So which upcoming challenger is going to take the risk of fighting him? The question beckoning for that challenger is the financial compensation worth the risk of potentially losing?
It’s unlikely he and Ward will mix it up for a third time. The option of WBC and Lineal light heavyweight champion Stevenson appears improbable due to failed negotiations of the past.
As far as figuring Kovalev’s next step, these duties fall under the promoter and management team correct? The same promoter responsible for paying Kovalev.
This is the sheet from the commission with the purses and officials for Ward vs…. https://t.co/AQokYxtGvr pic.twitter.com/fWAwvOWNag
— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) June 15, 2017
Or not paying him, depending on the live gate and pay-per-view success of this past event.
Duva is clearly frustrated, displaying emotional discomfort during a trying time for her fighter who is short on options.
It’s also fitting the fighter and promoter in this instance is paired together.
Now this isn’t an obituary for Kovalev or his promoter Duva.
The 34-year-old former champion can work his way back to title contention, it’s just a matter of how he decides to do so and if he decided to remain in the light heavyweight division.
Regarding the winner of last weekend’s festivities, Ward proved yet again, he is the best fighter pound-for-pound.
Speaking to HBO after the fight Ward said, “Let me ask you the question, can I get on the pound-for-pound list now? At the top?”
Five time world champion, winner of the Super Six World Boxing Classic, unified champion at super middleweight and light heavyweight.
He overcomes every test and every adversity placed in front of him; whether it’s nagging injuries, criticism from fans and the media, or physical and psychological challenges of his opponents. No excuses, he rises to the occasion.
After conquering the super middleweight division, he moved up to a loaded light heavyweight division and just knocked out the biggest bully in boxing.
Enough said, crown him.
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Errol Spence Jr. vs. Kell Brook
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Errol Spence Jr. vs. Kell Brook
By: William Holmes
On Saturday afternoon at the Bramall Lane Football Ground in Sheffield, England one of the best fights that could be made in the welterweight division will occur.
Uber prospect Errol Spence Jr. will take on IBF Welterweight Champion Kell Brook in Kell Brook’s home town and this bout will be televised on Showtime in the United States.
Eleven bouts are currently scheduled to take place on the undercard, including a WBA Super Middleweight Title bout between George Groves and Fedor Chudinov. It’s unlikely that the Groves bout will be televised in the United States absent a quick stoppage.
The following is a preview of the IBF Welterweight Title fight. The lead promoter for this bout is Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.
Kell Brook (36-1) vs. Errol Spence Jr. (21-0); IBF Welterweight Title
The welterweight division has always been a stacked division full of talent. Keith Thurman currently holds the WBA and WBC World Titles, Kell Brook holds the IBF Title, and Manny Pacquiao holds the WBO title, but only Kell Brook had the courage to move up two weight classes to face Gennady Golovkin and give him a better fight than most expected.
Brook could have taken an easy fight after his bout with Golovkin and most boxing experts would not have blamed him. However, Brook has decided to take on one of the most dangerous prospects in the sport today, Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr.
Errol Spence was an amateur star on the United States amateur scene and was a 2011 US National Champion and a 2012 Olympic team member. Kell Brook didn’t compete in the Olympics, but was able to experience a good amount of success as an amateur in England, including two Amateur Boxing Association of England titles.
Spence appears to have the advantage in the physicals. Spence will have about a half an inch height advantage, a three inch reach advantage, and is four years younger than Brook. Spence also appears to have the edge in power. Spence has stopped eighteen of his opponents and is currently riding an eight fight stoppage streak.
Brook also has power in his hands as he has stopped twenty five of his opponents. Seven of his past eight wins were stoppage victories, but his last bout was a TKO loss.
Both boxers have been fairly active the past two years. Spence fought twice in 2016 and four times in 2015. Brook fought twice in 2016 and twice in 2015.
Spence has soundly defeated the likes of Leonard Bundu, Chris Algieri, Alejandro Barrera, Chris Van Heerden, Phil Lo Greco, Samuel Vargas, Ronald Cruz, Emmanuel Lartei Lartey. Kell Brook has defeated the likes of Kevin Bizier, Frankie Gavin, Shawn Porter, Vyacheslav Senchenko, Carson Jones, Matthew Hatton, Lovemore Ndou, Michael Jennings.
This is a tough bout to choose the winner. Spence will be in enemy territory and the 30,000 expected fans in attendance will be loudly cheering for Brook. However, Brook is coming off a TKO loss to Gennady Golovkin and has not been seen in the ring since.
Additionally, Brook will have to make the cut back down to 147 again after competing in the middleweight division.
This is a rare time that we get to see a young prospect with high expectations take on an established champion still in the midst of his athletic prime, and it’s a fight that hardcore boxing fans are looking forward to.
It’s a fight that this writer expects Errol Spence Jr. to officially announce to the world that he is, in fact, the next big thing with a convincing and clear victory.
Style Analysis Sugar Ray Leonard v.s. Marvin Hagler
Style Analysis Sugar Ray Leonard v.s. Marvin Hagler
By: Sean Kim
The flow of Ray Leonard’s footwork in the face of a highly disciplined power puncher such as Hagler was the perfect instrument for achieving a dominant performance. What Leonard was able to employ brilliantly was a series of flurries to Hagler’s head all the while gaining quick victorious momentum right from the get go, partially thanks to Hagler’s odd choice of using the orthodox stance for the first two rounds.
Leonard did not permit Hagler to engage in a combative boxing match. He refused to stand right in front of Leonard and face his opponent like James Toney. To commit to such a stance in front of someone like Hagler, whose timing and boxer-punching versatility was brilliant when his opponents stood before him, would have been the formula for self-defeat.
Even if some may say Leonard didn’t give Hagler a fight, Leonard geared his tactical contemplations towards objective analyses which were not dominated by emotion or pride but towards the end goal in all boxing matches: victory.
Hagler no doubt was able to give a highly spirited effort. Like Joe Frazier, Hagler refused to step back once. Though for a majority of the rounds he was ineffective in cutting off the ring (as say Gennady Golovkin or
Julio Cesar Chavez), some psychological advantages may have played in Hagler’s favor for the sake of the late rounds as Hagler threw multiple combinations as he pinned Leonard against the ropes.
This was a confrontation between two top-caliber boxer-punchers, but clearly, in such a clash between two masters of the sport, both Leonard and Hagler had to resort to their primary identities as a fighter: boxer and puncher respectively.
Just to bring in another boxer-puncher v.s. boxer-puncher match, this contrasts with the bout between Canelo Alvarez against Miguel Cotto. Though both were primarily aggressive brawlers before anything else, both were able to display great versatility in their choice of footwork angles, counter punching opportunities and timing of combinations.
How come Hagler could not pull off a versatile performance with Leonard?
Because Leonard was just simply the greatest boxer of his generation, whose footwork was unparalleled and the greatest witnessed at that time since perhaps Willie Pep. Leonard was completely comfortable in that ring for a majority of the fight. At one point even, during Round 5, Hagler managed to pressure Leonard to the corner while causing his opponent to momentarily stop his dance around the ring. But Hagler could not capitalize on this opportunity. Hagler threw inaccurately, perhaps psychologically frustrated up to that point by Leonard’s refusal to engage in a brawl while constantly evading him. At that moment in the corner, he also threw multiple southpaw jabs, but Leonard- completely relaxed and confident- was able to dodge them all with his hands down.
Hagler was at his finest during the last three rounds, when Hagler began to overwhelm Leonard with a multitude of combinations and successful jabs to Leonard’s head. The constant pressure paid off for that moment, causing for an incredible ending to what had essentially been a dominant chess match forced upon by Leonard. It was at that point that Leonard at last accepted Hagler’s invitation to a brawl. And did Leonard disappoint?
Not at all.
After all, Leonard wasn’t just a boxer with fanciful footwork. He had a fighter’s instinct who wished to knock out his opponents with overwhelming speed and aggression. Leonard may have been overwhelmed against the ropes strategically, but he was in no way momentarily caught in an inescapably dangerous situation. He basked in the moment and fought back with equivalent willpower and amazing speed.
Even during Hagler’s finest moment, Leonard did not permit him to win any rounds easily.
Leonard employed a masterpiece of footwork, timing, speed, reflexes, psychology and ring generalship while simultaneously displaying will and bravado.
This was perhaps his greatest performance.