Tag Archives: ESPN Friday Night Fights

Jeff Horn: Pacquiao’s Next Opponent


Jeff Horn: Pacquiao’s Next Opponent
By: Sean Crose

Sixteen wins. One draw. No Loses. Eleven of those wins by knockout. On paper, at least, Australian welterweight Jeff Horn looks to be a decent enough fighter. On July second, however, the little known WBO challenger will be facing the great Manny Pacquiao – on basic cable, no less – in front of around fifty thousand people (if not more) in his homeland for Pacquiao’s title. Does he stand a chance? Does he even belong in the same ring as the fighter known as PacMan? Well, Horn is more deserving of his big boxing opportunity than Conor McGregor is – but that’s really not saying much. So what’s the deal with this little known fighter whose about to step onto the big stage in a very big way?

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Well, for one thing, he’s never fought outside of his homeland, unless you count some scraps in New Zealand. That means he’s far from the global player that his opponent is. What’s more, a full 25% of his wins have come against men who entered the ring having lost more professional fights than they had won. Taking things a step further, Horn has never faced a true name opponent. Some Pacquiao opponents, like Chris Algieri, were knocked for having less than impressive resumes, but Algieri had at least bested the then feared Ruslan Provodnikov (albeit controversially) before facing the Filipino legend in a high level bout.

On the other hand, Horn is a strong, straight puncher with an aggressive, come forward style. He can employ his jab as a measuring stick and most certainly knows how to finish an opponent of. He’s a tough guy, make no mistake about it. He can also be a lot of fun to watch. Those of us who can remember those exciting, though perhaps not great, fighters who regularly appeared on network sports programs in the 70s-90s can both recall and appreciate the kind of fighter Horn seems to be. Then again, no one has seen Horn rise to the occasion the way he will have to against Pacquiao. Some fighters can simply find a way to truly grasp the moment, sure (Buster Douglas being the most obvious example), but is Horn among that small number?

There are, however, some indicators to at least suggest Horn’s Olympian climb may be easier than thought, prime among them, Pacquiao’s age and outside the ring interests. Most all would agree that Pacquiao is past his prime. At 38, his best days may well be behind him. What’s more, Pacquiao’s job as a Filipino politician must take a whole lot of time and energy out of the man. Will these things come into play when he faces Horn? They may very well. Having said that, it’s hard to see Horn scoring the upset win on the 2nd. Manny is simply too fast, and Horn just doesn’t appear to have the skill set.

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Why Mayweather-McGregor Will (In All Likelihood) Be A Dud


Why Mayweather-McGregor Will (In All Likelihood) Be A Dud
By: Sean Crose

So, you’re a person who loves “big events.” You know, things like the Super Bowl and presidential debates. You’re not really into things like football and politics, but you still really dig the excitement of “the big moment.” Chances are you’re someone who would be interested in seeing Floyd Mayweather
fight Conor McGregor in a boxing match.

Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao

After all, that’s as big an event as society can come up with at the moment, and, again, you’re into such things. Truth be told, there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s millions like you out there and you have nothing to be ashamed of, even when smart asses like myself come along and tell you why you’re interest is misguided. After all, each of us likes “big things” we know little about at one time or another. It’s why I watch the Kentucky Derby. My grandfather knew his stuff when it came to horse racing. Me, not so much. But I watch anyway. So if and when Mayweather-McGregor is made, I honestly hope you enjoy yourself.

There’s some things I think you should know first, though, primarily the fact that the bout will most likely be a dud. Unless you love all things Floyd Mayweather, or just want to see Conor McGregor become, as he himself likes to say, a punching bag with eyes, or simply enjoy seeing people be overwhelmed by physical force, then this fight will, in all likelihood, be a disappointment. Why? Well, there’s a variety of reasons, which I’ll break down for you. Don’t worry, I’m not about to engage in a pretentious diatribe, I’m just going to point some things out as a humble boxing writer with some experience under his belt.

First, and this is extremely important, BOXING IS NOT FIGHTING. Boxing is a sport. Sure, it used to be fighting once upon a time. Back in the 1800s, boxers were allowed to wrestle and toss each other around without gloves. In a sense, bare knuckle boxing, as it’s known, was a strange hybrid between modern boxing and modern MMA. Then, however, a Scottish nobleman called the Marquess of Queensberry came up with a set of rules. Fighters had to wear gloves. Also, things like wrestling and tossing your opponent around were no longer permitted. Boxing, in short, became a sport which focused on an exact skill set rather than on the utilization of various tools. And it remains so to this day.

MMA, on the other hand, is more like “real” fighting – though it, too, thankfully has its rules – because it allows assorted tools to be used in a contest. Punches can be weapons, but so can kicks and numerous other martial arts maneuvers. Boxing, though, just sticks to the punches. And boxers, like Liam Neeson in Taken, possess a very specific set of skills, skills which can make life hell for the likes of Conor McGregor. Sure, McGregor is known as a striker, but this time he’ll fight a guy who only strikes, who doesn’t have to worry about takedowns and kicks – like McGregor himself has throughout his career – whose been able to keep his mind entirely focused on one specific aspect of fighting for over two decades – and who has done it better than anyone.

Here’s an interesting story – back in 1892, the heavyweight champion of the world, John L Sullivan defended his title against Jim Corbett. Sullivan was a “real” fighter, a man who knew fighting to be a combination of punching and grappling. His opponent, Corbett, knew only boxing. He was considerably smaller than Sullivan and had never been in a “real” fight in his entire life. Easy boxing match to pick, right? It was if you had picked Corbett. He danced away from the tough guy for round after round, deftly popping Sullivan in the face in the process. Finally, Sullivan fell to the mat, thoroughly defeated. Corbett, the man who wasn’t a “real” fighter, the man who had only used his fists, had beaten the hell out of his opponent.

The truth is that tough guys rarely dominate in boxing. Yeah, the Tysons and Dempseys are popular – and with good reason – but it’s the guys who can be tough AND skilled who tend to REALLY rise above the crop, men like Ali and Leonard, Robinson, Pep and Roy Jones Junior. McGregor seems to be able to hit like a tough guy, but can he move about the ring – not the octagon, the ring – effectively, can he employ angles and head movements the way, say, Manny Pacquiao does? He better hope he can do those things better, because – let’s face it – Mayweather beat Pacquiao handily. Yeah, I hear some saying, but this is McGregor, the master of mind games! He beats his opponents with his verbal taunts before he even faces them! Tell that to Nate Diaz, who made McGregor tap out back in 2016. Also, Mayweather brings mind games of his own. Never mind Mayweather’s own tendency to taunt his opponents, he generally gives himself all the advantages before he even steps in the ring. I’m talking referee, location, the works. Has McGregor found the kind of boxing gloves he wants to wear? He better hope Floyd doesn’t make him switch to another pair just before the fight. Floyd does things like that.

Lastly, let’s focus on the small matters that can lead to a figurative death from a thousand cuts. Accuracy rules the day in boxing. Conor can hit Floyd ten times in a row, but if Floyd lands just two or three shots that happen to be more effective than Conor’s, the judges may well ignore Conor’s blows and reward Floyd for his single punches. It’s not the punches that count, after all – it’s their quality. And Floyd, lack of power aside, punches better than anyone. He’s also harder to hit than anyone. Oh, and if the fight goes the distance, McGregor will be fighting eleven full minutes longer than his longest MMA battle.

That’s over two full MMA rounds. By the way, Floyd likes to go the distance. Oh, and excitement isn’t really his thing, either, so he probably won’t be big on engaging McGregor in a blow for blow battle.

Perhaps McGregor will defy the odds and pull it off. Perhaps he’ll do what no one else has and land clean enough to really rattle his man. Perhaps he’ll manage to get in Floyd’s head enough to make Mayweather throw decades’ worth of professional and amateur experience out the window. Perhaps, on a more sinister note, Vegas will decide it wants more revenue from suburban whites and, in the end, give McGregor an undeserved decision win. All those things are entirely possible, after all.

They’re unlikely, though…and that’s something people should consider before hopping aboard this particular “big event” train.

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Interview with Delvin Rodriguez: “I feel stronger than ever”


Interview with Delvin Rodriguez: “I feel stronger than ever”
By: Matthew N. Becher

​Delvin Rodriguez is a Jr. Middleweight that is in his 17th professional year as a boxer. He has a combined record of 28 wins, 8 losses and 4 draws. He has fought for a world title twice, coming up short against Austin Trout in 2012 and most recently against Erislandy Lara in June of last year.

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​Rodriguez will begin his journey towards a world championship again, when he takes on Shawn Cameron this Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. Rodriguez took some time to speak with Boxing Insider about his upcoming fight and his future in boxing.

Boxing Insider: You’ve been pro for seventeen years now. Why do you continue to fight this late in your career?

Delvin Rodriguez: First of all, the reason is that I feel healthy, I am healthy. I feel stronger than ever. I think that is the main reason I continue fighting. I love the sport, even though I hate to lose. I feel that I have a lot to give to the sport, and I want to get that one more fight. Hopefully I can get that one more title shot. I think I have a very good chance, next time, to accomplish for so many years, which is to get a good fight.

Boxing Insider: You’ve been in two world title fights. Is winning a world title a personal thing, to cement your own legitimacy in the sport?

Delvin Rodriguez: Yes, that is my personal goal right now. It would be the biggest accomplishment in my life. At this age, to get a world title. I’m a very realistic person. If I felt that I didn’t have it anymore, I would give it up, but that is not the case. I never felt like I had fights that I got beat up, and I just feel great. I think people are gonna start seeing the old me, where I was with my old trainer, where I was aggressive and strong. I’m bringing all that back to the ring.

Boxing Insider: Win or Lose, you are heading toward the end of your career. What would you like to do after boxing?

Delvin Rodriguez: I’ve been a commentator with ESPN for six years now and I just started commentating for HBO about seven months ago. That is something I am looking forward to pursuing full time. It will keep me around boxing, something that I love.

Boxing Insider: Okay, so let’s switch over and put your commentator hat on. Who do you see right now that could be the next big star in the sport?

Delvin Rodriguez: Crawford. He has already dominated one class and now he’s stepped up. I think he’ll be the next star. He has a lot of technique, he is mean in the ring, and he can really punch with both hands. You will see a lot out of him in the next year.

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ESPN Friday Night Fights Results: Petrov and Shelestyuk Win by Decision


By: William Holmes

The Omega Products International Outdoor Arena in Corona, California was the host for tonight’s ESPN Friday Night Fights broadcast as former Boxcino lightweight tournament winner Petr Petrov looked to impress against Gamaliel Diaz in the main event of the night. The co-main event of the night was between rising welterweight prospect Taras Shelestyuk and Juan Rodriguez.

The first bout of the night was a six round bout between Wilberth Lopez (5-4) and Emanuel Robles (12-0-1) in the junior welterweight division.

Robles was a former Police Athletic League national champion and had a pretty record, but he only had three stoppages in his career and his lack of power showed early on. Lopez was about three inches taller than Robles, but was unable to avoid his counters in the first two rounds.

Robles started landing stiffer straight left hands in the third and fourth round, but neither boxer really took over the action to strongly win the middle rounds. Lopez’s best punch of the night connected in the fifth round when his straight left found its home. Robles also had a good-sized cut over his left eye as the round came to an end.

By the last round, it seemed Robles was ahead on the cards, but he was far from impressive and appeared to be the more exhausted boxer. Neither fighter scored a knockdown the entire bout.

The judges scored it 58-56, 59-55, and 59-55 for Emanuel Robles.

The next bout of the night was in the welterweight division between Taras Shelestyuk and Juan Rodrigez Jr. (12-1) in the welterweight division.

Shelestyuk had a very successful amateur career and his hand speed advantage was evident at the opening bell. He had quick accurate jabs and appeared to be very comfortable with his range and staying at a safe distance.

Shelestyuk was less active in the second round, dodging and blocking most of Rodriguez’s punches. Rodriguez opened up more in the fourth round, but his punches lacked any sting.

A clash of heads led to a bad cut over Shelestyuk’s right eye in the fourth round that bothered him throughout the remainder of the fight. However, Shelestyuk was able to fight through it, outbox Rodriguez and keep his opponent at bay with accurate long range shots.

Shelestyuk opened up more with effective combinations in the sixth round and pummeled the body of Rodriguez in the seventh. Rodriguez needed a knockout in the final round to win, but he was unable to hurt his opponent.

The final scores were 78-74, 79-73, and 79-73 for Taras Shelestyuk.

The main event of the night was between Petr Petrov (35-4-2 ) and Gamaliel Diaz (39-11-3 ) in the lightweight division.

Diaz had been knocked out seven times in his career, and two of his past four fights resulted in a stoppage loss.

Both boxers spent the first half of the first round feeling each other out, but a glancing left hook by Diaz off the shoulder of an off balance Petrov resulted in an iffy knockdown. Petrov dominated the remainder of the first round with hard straight right hands and stunning right uppercuts.

Petrov was loading up on his shots in the second round and had Diaz on the defensive. Diaz began to resort to dirty tactics, such as low blows and head butts, in the second round to avoid getting knocked down. It was a tactic he had to resort to repeatedly throughout the night.

Petrov’s domination continued in the third round and he started to land effective body shots. Diaz landed a low blow in the fourth round but was getting pummeled in his body by the always advancing, menacing Petrov.

Both boxers looked tired, but Diaz was the more visibly tired of the two by the sixth round. Petrov finally scored a knockdown in the seventh with a lunging lead left hook and the only thing Diaz could do was fight dirty and whine about a small cut near his left eye.

Diaz lost a point in the seventh and was scolded by the referee in the ninth round for fighting dirty and whining about legal blows.

Diaz showed heart by staying on his feet in a bout that many expected him to get stopped, but Petrov was in clear, masterful control throughout the entire bout.

The judges scored the bout 98-89, 97-90 and 97-90 for Petr Petrov.

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