Tag Archives: light

Light Heavyweight : The Division For the Taking


By: Michael Cooke

​2017 was a historic year for the sport of boxing. From the heavyweight division all the way down to the Flyweights we saw the best fighting the best, and great fight after great fight. Joshua vs Klitschko, Canelo vs GGG, Thurman vs Garcia, Superfly 1, Lomachenko vs Rigo, Spence vs Brook, and of course the rematch between the top 2 Light Heavyweights and top Pound 4 Pound fighters Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev. Despite being knocked down early in their first fight Andre Ward came back to win on scores of 114-113 across the board. The decision was highly disputed and led to a 2017 rematch that saw Andre Ward out-work Kovalev to the body and eventually winning by stoppage in the 8th round despite the Krusher never hitting the canvas.

​After that fight Andre Ward vacated the WBO, WBA, and IBF Light Heavyweight Titles and announced his retirement from boxing; leaving the Light Heavyweight division completely up for grabs. Adonis Stevenson holds the WBC title but hasn’t fought a top contender in what seems life forever, and the rest of the titles were left vacant following Ward’s retirement.

Even though Light Heavyweight lost their top guy in Ward there was no shortage of talent at the top. Sergey Kovalev has since regained the WBO title, Artur Beterbiev has claimed the IBF title, and Dmitry Bivol has dominated thus far and has won WBA title in the process.

​Which brings us to where we are right now: Outside of the champions we have former WBA and former Super Middleweight champion Badou Jack is challenging Adonis Stevenson for the WBC title, the talented Sullivan Barrera has only lost to Andre Ward and will now challenge the young talented Dmitry Bivol on the undercard of Sergey Kovalev’s WBO defense against Igor Mikhalkin. American prospect and former Olympian Marcus Browne is ready to challenge for a title, and so is the talented Oleksandr Gvozdyk. The division is on fire right now, and if the best continue to fight the best than the 175 lb division looks like it may be able to compete with 147 as the most exciting division in boxing.

OUTLOOK:

WBC: Champion: Adonis Stevenson vs Badou Jack on May 19th

WBA: Champion: Dmitry Bivol vs Sullivan Barrera on March 3rd

IBF: Champion Artur Beterbiev – No Fight Date/Opponent Currently

WBO: Champion Sergey Kovalev vs Igor Mikhalkin on March 3rd

Other Top Contenders: Marcus Browne, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Eleider Alvarez, and Joe Smith Jr

Prospect to Watch : Anthony Yarde

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Unbeaten Heavyweight Lee “Italian Stallion” Canalito“ The Way It Happened..


Unbeaten Heavyweight Lee “Italian Stallion” Canalito“ The Way It Happened..
By: Ken Hissner

This writer remembers seeing Lee “Italian Stallion” Canalito fight in a couple of his twenty-one fights if memory serves me right. Good looking studd, physically fit and had Angelo Dundee in his corner.

Canalito was a lineman at Sterling H.S. in Houston, TX, and was on Parade magazine’s annual All-America H.S. Football Team in 1971. He played defensive tackle at the University of Houston for two seasons before his college football career was derailed by a knee injury. His coach Bill Yeoman at Houston said “if Lee Canalito had two good legs he would have been the best defensive college football player ever in college football.”

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Canalito won the Houston Golden Gloves with only seven amateur fights. He was trained by Angelo Dundee from 1977 to 1981 when Richie Giachetti took over until 1987 when Canalito retired from boxing with a 21-0 record with 19 knockouts.

In 1978 Sylvester Stallone cast Canalito, who had never acted, to co-star in the 1978 movie Paradise Alley, which Stallone wrote and directed. He would appear in 1988 in The Glass Jungle and in 1990 in the Emperor of the Bronx. He also appeared on Magnum P.I. in their third season. He was managed by Texas millionaire Hugh Benbow and later by Stallonewhen he was 8-0 while trained by Richie Giachetti.

Canalito debuted in January of 1977 on the undercard of a Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran lightweight title defense at the Fontainbleau Hotel, in Miami Beach, FL, posting a knockout in two rounds. It would be his first of four bouts in the Sunshine State during his career. He stopped the first three opponents within two rounds before meeting then prospect Greg Sorrentino, 7-1-1, in St. Louis, MO, in May of 1977 winning a four round decision.

In 1978 starting a movie career kept him inactive for 19 months until returning to the ring in December of 1978 at the Convention Center in Miami Beach posting a first round knockout. In 1979 after scoring a first round knockout in FL, a month later he met veteran Charley Polite, 18-36-3, knocking him out in 6 rounds in Savannah, GA. He wouldn’t fight again for eight months returning at Madison Square Garden stopping Dennis Jordan, 13-7, in four rounds.

Canalito would be inactive for twenty months returning to the ring in July of 1982 scoring a third round stoppage in Atlantic City. Just eighteen days later he took on veteran southpaw Vic Brown, 29-29, and scored a first round knockout in Niles, OH. A week after that he stopped Luis Acosta, 15-5, in the first round in West Palm Beach, FL. That’s three stoppages in twenty-five days.

It would be just short of a year when Canalito returned to the ring in July of 1983 posting a first round knockout and an eight round decision over veteran James Dixon, 15-29-2, both in Atlantic City. Dixon seemed more concerned on survival than winning. Nine months later he would fight in his home city of Houston for the first time in 1984 posting three stoppages that year all in Texas.

In March of 1985 Canalito stopped Lou Benson, Jr., 15-8-2, in Atlantic City and six months later in the same Sands Casino stop Steve Zouski, 24-8, in seven rounds. In 1986 he returned to Houston scoring a seventh round knockout and eight months later stopping Dan Ramsey, 6-3, in the first round in Las Vegas.

Ten months later Canalito would end his career with a first round stoppage over Mike Jones, 4-1, in Houston in September of 1987. As you can see having only twenty-one fights over ten years meant he was a part-time boxer but had an impressive record.He was 6:05 with a high weight of 269 and a low of 239.

Canalito had five fights each in New Jersey and Texas along with four in Florida. If he would have been a full-time boxer this writer is sure he would have been a contender as he was No. 9 in the world then and a title challenger today. Upon retiring as a boxer he opened up the Lee CanalitoVIP Boxing Gym in Houston.He has provided inter-city HISD elementary, junior and senior high school after school boxing and fitness programs.

“He retired from football and was just starting to box when I met him. Great guy and a fun guy,” said Termite Watkins.

KEN HISSNER: After your football career came to an end at Univ. of Houston is that when you turned to boxing and if not when?

LEE CANALITO: Came along with a friend who was competing in the Golden Gloves. Won novice and open went to Nationals and won 2 fights and hurt my hand and had to withdraw.

KEN HISSNER: Your trainer Angelo Dundee I’m sure was high on you. When did you switch over to Richie Giachetti?

LEE CANALITO: Angelo saw me in the Gloves and contacted me. He was the best one to communicate with me. He never yelled but the rest of the trainers did and I didn’t need that. I had 8 fights and we parted in a good way. When Stallone took over as my manager that is when he brought Richie in to train me.

KEN HISSNER: How was your fight with Greg Sorrentino?

LEE CANALITO: I had a swollen knee but took the fight and he was hard to hit. I only had a couple days of sparring.I felt I won and was in charge.

KEN HISSNER: After having 4 fights in your initial start in 1977 you had a 19 month gap until your next fight the end of 1978. What happened?

LEE CANALITO: A fight with Gerry Cooney fell through when they didn’t accept the offer.

KEN HISSNER: In 1982 your wins over Vic Brown and Luis Acosta were good wins. A win over James Dixon in 1983 was another good win. 1984 was a 2-0 nothing year and 1985 you came up with another good pair of wins. Did your acting career take away from your boxing career?

LEE CANALITO: Acosta fight he had many fans there. Dixon did nothing but run.

KEN HISSNER: Your last two fights were good wins. What made you finally retire from boxing?

LEE CANALITO: I lost interest. There were too many fights falling through and too many broken promises.

KEN HISSNER: I know you opened a gym called Lee Canalito V.I.P.Gym. How is that? I’m sure you probably had more non-boxers than boxers in order to make any money doing it.

LEE CANALITO: Most favorite thing is holding pads especially with kids. When you work with non-boxers you get paid regularly unlike you do with boxers.

KEN HISSNER: Any funny stories you can talk about?

LEE CANALITO: When I was with Angelo in Miami Ali was there. In the dressing room he said let’s do this for the reporters out in the gym. He started banging on the lockers and yelling “I’m the Greatest”. He told me to go out and shadow box like we are mad with each other. We did just that and he was yelling and then stopped. He was one of the funniest people. I thought he was the best heavyweight of all time and I was glad to have sparred with him several times. I also sparred with Riddick Bowe and Tyrell Biggs and I felt I held my own. I’m not saying it in a bragging way.

KEN HISSNER: What was your feeling prior to waiting for the opening bell of a fight?

LEE CANALITO: I sized the opponent up and when we started boxing I showed him respect but when you get hit you react. I believe you should treat people with respect.

KEN HISSNER: Lee do you attend a church?

LEE CANALITO: Yes I do and I believe strongly in God. I attend St. Mary Queen Catholic church as often as I can.

KEN HISSNER: I want to thank you for taking the time to answer questions and wish you all the success in the world in the future.

LEE CANALITO: It was my pleasure talking to you Ken.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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The Best Match In Boxing Is Going Down This Saturday…Does Anyone Care?


The Best Match In Boxing Is Going Down This Saturday…Does Anyone Care?
By: Sean Crose

While the sports world focuses on more frivolous matters this week, the best matchup in all of combat sports is going down this Saturday. No, it doesn’t involve a loudmouthed Irishman or a flashy hedonist with a perfect record. Believe it or not, it doesn’t even involve a red headed Mexican and a Kazakh knockout machine. No, the best match in all of combat sports involves a Russian immigrant and a churchgoing Californian who are set to collide in the city of Las Vegas. Few outside of the world of boxing even know it’s happening. Perhaps few inside the world of boxing even care.

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And that, friends, is really too bad. For Saturday night’s Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev fight for light heavyweight supremacy promises boxing at it’s best. Exquisite skill. Frightening power. Two men with a lot to prove. Ward-Kovalev II has it all. The first fight between both men last fall wasn’t a classic, but it was damn good, with Ward pulling off a close, yet controversial decision win. Each man now aims to settle things once and for all. Oh, and they don’t like each other. Or at least Kovalev despises Ward. In fact, he despises Ward so bad, he’s made it clear he wants to hurt the man.

Considering the fact that Kovalev has already ended one life, that’s legitimately frightening stuff. Not that the Russian is actually looking to kill Ward, he’s just looking to dispense a world class ass kicking. Ward, on the other hand, is clearly looking to take his opponent to school. And by the way, the guy’s really good at taking opponents to school. One suspects Ward’s also looking to let Kovalev know he’s no pushover. In other words, there’s a lot to look forward to here. The question, however, is whether or not anyone’s actually looking forward to it.

This writer is, and no doubt others are, as well. Probably not too many others, though, and that’s a shame. Neither Ward nor Kovalev has an enormous fan base. People aren’t going to fly across the Atlantic by the jet full for this fight. Nor is an army of people donning hats declaring its preferred fighter the best ever going to be spotted around Vegas this weekend. Nope. This fight is for the purists. As George Foreman once said, boxing is like jazz, the better it is, the less people like it.

Here’s hoping for some seriously good jazz this weekend.

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Sergey Kovalev Interview: “I Want to Destroy this Guy”


Sergey Kovalev Interview: “I Want to Destroy this Guy”
By: Matthew N. Becher

Sergey Kovalev will attempt to redeem his lone defeat against Andre Ward on June 17th, Live on HBO Pay per view. Kovalev has been very outspoken in the media about his disdain for Ward and that he felt ‘Cheated’ out of his titles the first time they fought. We were able to briefly speak with Sergey as he is entrenched in the middle of his training camp in California.

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Photo Credit: HBO BOxing

Boxing Insider: What was running through your mind when the judges read all 3 scorecards were for Ward?

Sergey Kovalev: When I hear him say ‘and the new…’ I could not believe what I was hearing.

Boxing Insider: What do you need to do different in this fight to make sure you win?

Sergey Kovalev: I was “over-trained’ for my first fight against Andre Ward. I did three work outs a day. I tried to do everything faster, more, and stronger. Instead of running five miles, I did eight miles. I did more than I usually do all the time. I over-trained.This time I do everything less, more smart.

Boxing Insider: The last time we spoke I asked “do you think you can actually knock Andre Ward out?”…you answered, “I don’t know”. Nowthat you have fought him, can you knock out Andre Ward?

Sergey Kovalev: This is boxing, anything can happen. Do I wish to knock him out? Sure. We will see on June 17 on HBO PPV

Boxing Insider: What are some things that impressed you with the way Ward fights?

Sergey Kovalev: (No answer)

Boxing Insider: Will you change anything in this training camp compared to the last?

Sergey Kovalev: My preparation right now is doing great, much better than last time because I took care of all the mistakes I did last two fights. Two last fights I was over-trained, for Chilemba and for Ward, and I fought similar. But this training camp I am doing everything very good. I am doing the same training, but less.

Boxing Insider: What are your true feelings about Andre Ward, is it hate, respect, etc.?

Sergey Kovalev: I do not like this guy. I want to destroy this guy as a boxer, as a champion. For me he is not a champion, he’s a fake champion.

Boxing Insider: If you do win this rematch, would you make Ward fight outside of his comfort zone?

Sergey Kovalev: Let’s see first what happens on June 17th. First of all I must get back my belts, we’ll see what will happen after this.

Boxing Insider: Since he missed your HBO Faceoff, Is there any message you’d like to send to Andre Ward right now?

Sergey Kovalev: He’s playing with me, but what’s broken you makes you only stronger right? I only care that I should beat him on June 17 and get back my belts.

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Showtime World Championship Results: Adonis Stevenson Blitzes Past Fonfara, Alvarez Defeats Pascal


Showtime World Championship Results: Adonis Stevenson Blitzes Past Fonfara, Alvarez Defeats Pascal
By: William Holmes

Reigning WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Jean Pascal fought again in the familiar confines of the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada as he defended his title against an opponent he had difficulty with before, Polish light heavyweight Andrzej Fonfara.IMG_3896

The opening bout of the evening was between former lineal light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (31-4-1) and the undefeated prospect Eleider Alvarez (22-0). Despite Pascal’s recent losses, he still remains a popular boxer in Canada.

Alvarez, the taller fighter, took the center of the ring in the opening round and was sharp with his jab and the more aggressive boxer early. Pascal rallied late in the first round with some good shots to the body and may have stolen that round.

Alvarez’s straight right hand forced Pascal to clinch in the second round and was able to land some hard uppercuts. His aggressiveness continued into the third round which featured a fierce exchange between both boxers as the round ended.

Pascal was warned for punching after the break in the fourth round as Alvarez’s sharp jab was forcing Pascal to hold on often. Alvarez’s jab continued to be effective in the fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds and were noticeable effecting Jean Pascal.

Pascal was able to land some good flurries in the eighth round including two right hooks to the temple and a double left hook. But Alvarez retook control in the ninth round and landed two head snapping right uppercuts that had Pascal hurt.

Pascal may have stolen the tenth and eleventh rounds with late flurries near the end of the rounds, but in the final round Alvarez looked like the fresher fighter and was able to close out the bout strong.

The final scores were 114-114, 117-111 and 116-112 for Eleider Alvarez.

The main event of the night was between WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Adonis Stevenson (28-1) and Andrzej Fonfara (29-4).

Fonfara started off aggressively and was coming at Stevenson with his jab, but his momentum was short lived. Stevenson landed his straight left and followed it up with a clubbing straight left that sent Fonfara down to the mat. Fonfara was able to get back to his feet, but Stevenson swarmed on Fonfara and landed several hard straight left hands that had Fonfara hurt. Stevenson was unloading on Fonfara by the corner as the opening round came to an end.

Stevenson landed several hard straight left hands to open up the second round and he had Fonfara backing up and not throwing many punches back towards Stevenson’s way. Virgil Hunter then stepped on the apron to stop the fight before his boxer would take any additional damage.

Adonis Stevenson destroys Andrzej Fonfara by TKO at 0:28 of the second round.

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Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Adonis Stevenson vs. Andrzej Fonfara, Jean Pascal vs. Eleider Alvarez


Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Adonis Stevenson vs. Andrzej Fonfara, Jean Pascal vs. Eleider Alvarez
By: William Holmes

On Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada Adonis Stevenson will take on Andrzej Fonfara for Adonis Stevenson’s WBC Light Heavyweight
Title in the main event of World Championship Boxing on Showtime.

Former world champion Jean Pascal will be the lead fight of the undercard as he takes on undefeated contender Eleider Alvarez.

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Two other light heavyweight stalwarts, Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward, will meet in a few weeks on HBO Pay Per View. It seems logical that the winner of Saturday’s Stevenson and Fonfara bout will likely face the winner of the pay per view bout between Kovalev and Ward, at least it should happen for boxing fans worldwide.

The following is a preview of Saturday’s card.


Jean Pascal (31-4-1) vs. Eleider Alvarez (22-0); Light Heavyweight

Eleider Alvarez is an intriguing prospect with a successful amateur background that includes competing in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Pascal is an ex-champion that has faced some legends in the sport. He also had a successful amateur background and won the Canadian Amateur Championships seven times and competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Alvarez will have about an inch and a half height advantage as well as a three and a half inch reach advantage. They’re both nearing the end of their primes, with Pascal being thirty four years old and Alvarez being thirty three years old.

Pascal has defeated the likes of Ricardo Ramallo, Yunieski Gonzalez, Lucian Bute, George Blades, Chad Dawson, and Adrian Diaconu. His losses have come to Carl Froch, Bernard Hopkins, and Sergey Kovalev twice.

Alvarez opened up a lot of eyes with his knockout in his last bout against Lucian Bute. He has also defeated the likes of Robert Berridge, Isaac Chilemba, Ryno Liebenberg, and Edison Miranda. Alvarez has never tasted defeated.

Both boxers have average power, Pascal has stopped eighteen of his opponents while Alvarez has stopped eleven of his opponents.

Alvarez is an intriguing prospect, he’s undefeated with a deep amateur background but older than the age most people would consider someone to be a prospect. But his career trajectory is on the upswing, while Pascal’s appears to be on the downswing. For that reason this writer has to give the edge to Alvarez.

Adonis Stevenson (28-1) vs. Andrzej Fonfara (29-4); WBC Light Heavyweight Title

This bout is a rematch of their bout in May of 2014 that saw Stevenson win a close and tightly contested decision.

Since that bout Stevenson has gone on a tear, including winning three of his past four fights by stoppage. Fonfara was knocked out viciously and quickly by Joe Smith Jr., but was able to bounce back from that by defeating former world champion Chad Dawson.

Both boxers had moderate success as an amateur. Stevenson won the Canadian National Championship in 2005 and 2006. Fonfara competed regularly on the European circuit. Neither boxer competed in the Olympics.

Stevenson has considerable power and has stopped twenty three of his opponents. Fonfara has seventeen stoppage victories. Both boxers have at times been stopped. Stevenson was stopped by Darnell Boone while Fonfara was stopped twice.

Stevenson has defeated the likes of Thomas Williams Jr., Tommy Karpency, Sakio Bika, Dmitry Sukhotskiy, Andrzej Fonfara, Tony Bellew, Tavoris Cloud, Chad Dawson, and Donovan George. Fonfara has defeated the likes of Chad Dawson, Nathan Cleverly, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Gabriel Campillo, Tommy Karpency and Glen Johnson.

Stevenson started late as a professional but is currently thirty nine years old. Fonfara is ten years younger at the age of twenty nine. Stevenson will be giving up a three and a half inch height advantage. They have the same reach.

Their first bout was close, but Fonfara is coming off a knockout loss. If this bout goes the distance Fonfara has a chance at winning as stamina favors him. But this writer believes Stevenson will walk away the victor and hopefully chase after the winner of Ward and Kovalev.

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Boxing Insider Interview with Seanie Monaghan: “This is going to be a real big win on my resume”


Boxing Insider Interview with Seanie Monaghan: “This is going to be a real big win on my resume”
By: Matthew N. Becher

​Sean Monaghan is an undefeated (28-0 17KO) light heavyweight from Long Island who has been waiting for his big shot, for the last few years. He is a staple in the NYC fight scene, bringing a dedicated and raucous crowd wherever and whenever he fights. For a while, Monaghan was thought to have finally gotten his big fight chance against current WBC light heavyweight champion, Adonis Stevenson, until the fight was unexpectedly called off. Monaghan then believed that a fight with fellow Long Island fighter Joe Smith Jr. would come to fruition, until Smith took a better deal on the left coast against Sullivan Barrera.

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​Fortunately for Monaghan a big fight came through in the way of undefeated, Staten Island fighter Marcus Browne. The two will battle it out on July 15th, on Fox primetime television and will be part of the first boxing card at the newly renovated Nassau Coliseum. Seanie took some time away from his training schedule to speak with us at Boxing Insider.

Boxing Insider: How does it feel to be on the first boxing card at the new Nassau Coliseum?

Sean Monaghan: Its beautiful man. I run on Mitchell field, the track is right outside of there. Every Monday and Wednesday morning, I’m doing my laps and I look up at the Coliseum, imagining myself fighting in there. So it’s the perfect fit for me. That’s my home.

Boxing Insider: You are going up against someone you know in this fight. Tell us about your relationship with Marcus Browne.

Sean Monaghan: Out of all the guys in boxing, he is probably one of my better friends in the boxing game. It is a little unusual for me, I’ve never done this before. We haven’t spoken about it yet, but I’m sure we will be cool when it’s all over. We just have to go do what we gotta do. It’s nothing personal, strictly business.

Boxing Insider: Is he someone that you have trained and sparred with before?

Sean Monaghan: I’ve sparred with Marcus more times than I can remember, I’ve sparred with Marcus a lot.

Boxing Insider: Is this fight “Make or Break” for you?

Sean Monaghan: 100%. I feel like, I’m thinking like none of my fights before this even mattered. This is my chance to prove that I’m one of the best fighters in the world. This is going to be a real big win on my resume.

Boxing Insider: Talks were out there that you were going to fight Adonis Stevenson or Joe Smith Jr. What happened to those fights?

Sean Monaghan: I don’t know what happened with the Adonis thing to be honest with you. I thought it was a go, we trained for five weeks for it and then one day I found out like everybody else. So that sucked. Lou DiBella made me a promise that he would get me a big fight, he gave me his word. They offered me Marcus or this Swedish kid. The money for Marcus was double. I said if I beat this Swedish kid (Erik Skoglund), nobody would care. I knew I would have to fight Marcus, we’ve always known. There were times when you had me, Marcus Browne and Joe Smith all sparring, all doing the round robbing sparring at the same time. We all knew that, sooner or later, we would all have to fight.

​We tried to make a fight with Joe Smith and it just wasn’t the time. His promoter thought they had a better gig somewhere else. So that is on hold for now. It’s a fight that I want and I know personally Joe would do it. It’s just a matter of the promoters getting it together.

Boxing Insider: What are your thoughts on the WBC letting a guy like Fonfara getting a crack at Adonis twice, before giving you a shot?

Sean Monaghan: With boxing, Fonfara has been in there with tough guys, but no way does he deserve a shot over me. And as much as I don’t like to say it, Joe Smith really deserved the title fight, he knocked Fonfara out in one round. I mean we’re all here scratching our heads thinking how does this thing happen. I think boxing fans have to take a stand and demand better fights, because these sanctioning bodies work in mysterious ways. I think they are hurting the sport, with whatever private deals they make. Like if you look at the UFC, those guys have to fight a tough guy right away, and if you beat him then you get an even better fight. If you get knocked out you aren’t getting a title fight your next fight, it doesn’t happen like that. I don’t know. I’m just focused on this fight, I was pissed off about the Fonfara thing, but I don’t even care about it anymore, I got bigger fish to fry. Marcus is going to be a very tough fight. Stevenson is a killer puncher with his left hand, but Marcus has a very difficult style to deal with, he’s got power in both hands, he’s slick, he’s fast. These are the kind of fights I’ve been looking for and I’m super excited about it.

Boxing Insider: This is a big show, you will be primetime televised on FOX. If you win this fight, you will have a huge audience watching, will you be calling out any names?

Sean Monaghan: I still want Adonis Stevenson. I’m not sure if it really matters to call out names at this point. It doesn’t seem to do anything. Right now I’d have to imagine that the winner of this fight would be next in line for a title shot.

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Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev Robbed of Belts and Unbeaten Record!


Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev Robbed of Belts and Unbeaten Record!
By: Ken Hissner

As a boxing writer I have covered former WBA, WBO and IBF light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, 31-1-1 (26), for years. He is a perfect example along with Gennady “GGG” Golovkin of how a boxer should act in and out of the ring.

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On November 19th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV, this writer was stunned at the decision of judges Burt A. Clements, Glenn Trowbridge and John McKaie scoring it the same at 114-113 for Andre Ward, 30-0 (15) depriving Kovalev of the victory. I can’t remember a time in a major 12 round fight all three judges had the same score. Even back in 2014 when Kovalev shut out Bernard Hopkins only two of the three judges agreed with their scores.

When this writer saw who the referee was I knew Ward had an edge already. Of all the referee’s that the NV commission had to pick from such as Kenny Bayless, Tony Weeks, Jay Nady and Vic Drackulich they picked Robert Byrd. He is without a doubt the slowest moving of the group. If you go to www.you-tube.com as I did you will see that Ward initiated 46 clinches in the 12 rounds while Kovalev initiated less than 10.

Though Bird made several warnings he never took away a point from Ward which was unbelievable from my point of view. Allowing Ward to jab and grab made it one frustrating fight and hard to watch. For those who said it was a good or great fight should either go to their local optometrist or were rooting for Ward all the way. I judged it 116-111 for Kovalev. To only award Kovalev 5 rounds when he took 5 of the first 6 rounds would make one wonder what the judges were thinking. HBO judge Harold Lederman an IBHOF inductee had Kovalev ahead.

Sadly the organizations of the WBC and WBA have Kovalev ranked No. 2. The WBO No. 1 and for some reason the IBF do not have him ranked. Go figure! Kovalev’s manager Egis Klimas has commented that Kovalev will need a knockout in a rematch. Seems Ward has already asked for WBC champion Adonis Stevenson in his next fight.

Kovalev came to the USA from Russia to start his career in 2009. He didn’t go to New York City like many of the Europeans do but to St. Petersburg, FL. Down there he hooked up with trainer John David Jackson. He turned professional and won his first eleven fights with ten by stoppage. The veteran Darnell Boone known as the “upset kid” was not only the one to go the distance but lost a split decision in Kovalev’s first eight rounder. It would be almost two years before they had a rematch with Kovalev stopping Boone in seven rounds. Two fights prior to their first meeting Boone stopped current WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson.

In Kovalev’s eleventh fight he stopped Devin Vargas, 22-5. Then in his twelfth fight he returned to Russia scoring a decision win. Then back to the states. In July of 2011 he would win his first minor title the vacant WBA-NABA USA knocking out Kenyan Douglas OtienoOkola, 23-6, in his first ten rounder. In August of 2011 his opponent Grover Young suffered a bad cut from an accidental clash of heads making it a TD in the second round.

Kovalev would return to Russia in his next fight putting Roman Simakov, 19-1-1, into retirement winning by knockout and claiming the WBC Asian Council title. Next was the return match win over Boone. Then he stopped Lionel Thompson, 12-1, and followed up stopping former WBA champion GarbielCampillo, of Spain, 23-4-1. In June of 2013 he stopped Cornelius White, 21-1, earning him a WBO world title shot two months later in the UK stopping Nathan Cleverly, 26-0, in 4 rounds despite getting cut over the right eye in the second round.

Just three months later Kovalev would make his first of three defenses stopping opponents IsmaylSillakh, 21-1, of the UKR, in Canada, Cedric Agnew, 26-0, and Australian Blake Caparello, 19-0-1. This set the stage to meet Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, 55-6-2, who held the WBA and IBF titles, in Atlantic City, NJ. Kovalev would shutout Hopkins winning all 12 rounds on two score cards plus mine. He would make a return trip to Canada and stop former WBC champion Jean Pascal, 29-2-1, of Haiti, living in Canada, in 8 rounds.

In Kovalev’s next fight he stopped Frenchman NadjibMohammedi, 37-3. Then a return bout in January of 2016 with Pascal in Canada, stopping him in seven rounds. In July he returned to Russia and won a decision over Isaac Chilemba, 24-3-2, of South Africa. This set the stage for the Andre Ward bout in November. Ward had returned from an eighteen month layoff to move up to light heavyweight in winning three bouts.

Kovalev was at the stage of his career to make the boxing world wake up to his greatness. In boxing if it comes down to a decision and the “3 blind mice” determine the outcome anything can happen and it did. This deprivedKovalev of much as his promoter Kathy Duva of Main Events is doing her best to sign a rematch with Ward who may be reluctant before having a fight in between. The WBA, WBO and IBF should have demanded an immediate rematch but have been silent!

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Did Sergey Kovalev Scare Andre Ward into Retirement?


Did Sergey Kovalev scare Andre Ward into Retirement?
By: Matthew N. Becher

A little less than two months ago, at the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas, Andre Ward defeated Sergey Kovalev in one of the most highly anticipated fights in years. Ward, the former unified Super Middleweight champion edged out the undefeated “Krusher” Kovalev on all three judges’ scorecards 114-113. Some called it a controversial score, with the majority of fans and media scoring the fight for Kovalev. Either way, it was a close fight, Ward edged out the official win and thus became the new unified Light Heavyweight champion of the world.

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This week, in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Ward discussed how he has little left to prove in the sport of boxing and that he might not only skip over any rematch with Sergey Kovalev, but walk away from the ring for good.

“I really just got to take my time right now because I really don’t have to fight anymore”, “I’ve accomplished pretty much everything that I’ve wanted to accomplish. It’s not about the money anymore, it’s just because god has blessed me to still have the ability to do it and I still love it. I just really got to take my time right now and make sure that every decision that I make and every fight that I take is the right situation because if it’s not, I don’t know if it makes sense to continue on.”

At 32 and undefeated, Ward seems crazy to be considering retirement. He is correct in that he has accomplished great things in the sport of boxing. Unified champion in two divisions, the last American male to win an Olympic Gold Medal, Ward has done a lot. He is also still very young, and probably in the prime of his career. The question that burns is why would he quit now?

It was only a few years ago that Ward, who was then a constant #2 on everyone’s pound for pound list, was Suing his promoter, the late Dan Goosen, for not getting Ward big money fights. Ward only fought once in 2012 & 2013, and not at all in 2014. He was sitting out, not making money, because he wanted more money. So to say “It’s not about the money”, seems a bit like a stretch. A man that was literally suing his promoter for more money, instead of actually boxing for more money doesn’t add up.

And it was only a few months ago that Ward was talking about possibly moving up to the Heavyweight division if he could fight the “right guy”, as he told ESPNs Dan Rafael

“Listen, I’ve talked about this a lot and I know it sounds crazy. I know it does,” Ward said. “But I feel like I have a Roy Jones-type of situation in me before my career is over. And I have a great guy to do it with, Mackie Shilstone, but it’s got to be the right guy.”

The only thing about this recent Andre Ward story is… he does not want to rematch Sergey Kovalev. His contract stipulates an immediate rematch clause, should either participant invoke it. Kovalev and his promoters at Main Events did, so if Andre Ward wants to keep his titles, or fight in the division again, he has to go through Kovalev first.

The fight was Wards first payper View, and the money was the best he’s ever made. It was close, and the rematch could only do better numbers. So why not just sign the paper to fight Kovalev again.

“I’ve got to make some tough decisions over the next couple of months. Boxing isn’t a sport to play with. I’ve obviously been doing this for a long time and it just has to make sense.”

Let’s hope that Ward decides to defend his newly minted titles against the former champion and put any uncertainty about the first fight to rest. If it’s not fear then a rematch shouldn’t be a problem, but retirement seems more like running away then going out on your own terms.

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HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Smith Jr., Usyk vs. Mchunu, Diaz vs. Garcia


HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Smith Jr., Usyk vs. Mchunu, Diaz vs. Garcia
By: William Holmes

On Saturday night a legend in the sport of boxing and one of the greatest, if not greatest, fighter that the city of Philadelphia has ever produced will, allegedly, be fighting his last fight in his illustrious career.

Bernard Hopkins will step into the ring to face Long Island, New York native Joe Smith in a light heavyweight showdown in the main event of HBO World Championship Boxing. This bout will take place at the Forum in Inglewood, California.

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HBO and Golden Boy Promotions will be televising three bouts on Saturday night. The opening bout of the night will be a WBO Cruiserweight Title bout between upstart champion Oleksandr Usyk and Thabio Mchunu. The co-main event of the night will be between Joseph Diaz and Horacio Garcia in the featherweight division.

The following is a preview of all three televised bouts.

Oleksandr Usyk (10-0) vs. Thabiso Mchunu (17-2); WBO Cruiserweight Title

Oleksandr Usyk is one of the best prospects to come out of the Ukraine and is a former Olympic Gold Medalist in the 2012 Summer Olympics and was a Gold Medalist in the 2011 World Championships. He won these medals while competing as a heavyweight and was able to capture the WBO Cruiserweight World title before his 11th professional fight.

His opponent, Thabiso Mchunu, does not have the amateur pedigree of Usyk but held several regional titles as a professional.

Usyk holds the edge in height, reach, and power. He is four inches taller than Mchunu, he will have a five and a half inch reach advantage, and has stopped all of his opponents except for one. Mchunu only has 11 stoppage victories and eight of his opponents were able to go the distance.

Both boxers are southpaws but Usyk is a better technical boxer than Mchunu and should be able to handle it well.

Usyk has defeated the likes of Krzysztof Glowacki in Poland, Pedro Rodriguez, and Andrey Knyazev. He has fought three times in 2015 and once in 2016.

Mchunu has beaten the likes of Boniface Kabore, Garrett Wilson, and Eddie Chambers. His losses were to Illunga Makabu and Zack Mwekassa. He fought once in 2015 and once in 2016.

Usyk is a boxer to keep a close eye on as he has a high ceiling and has fights televised on HBO early on in his career. Mchunu should be a good test for him, but it’s a test that Usyk is expected to pass with flying colors.

Joseph Diaz (22-0) vs. Horacio Garcia (30-1-1); Featherweights

Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz is one of Golden Boy Promotions’ best prospects and is expected by many to be a future star in the sport of boxing.
Diaz is two years younger than Garcia and will be giving up one inch in reach. They both stand at 5’6” tall.

Diaz has the better amateur background and competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics for the United States. He has been very active and fought five times in 2015 and three times in 2016. Garcia has not been as active and fought once in 2016 and three times in 2015.

Diaz, a southpaw, has thirteen stoppage victories and three of his past four fights ended in a stoppage victory. Garcia has twenty two stoppage victories and has gone 4-1-1 in his last six fights.

Diaz has slowly been facing stiffer competition and has beaten the likes of Jayson Velez, Ruben Tamayo, and Rene Alvarado. He does have a loss in the World Series of Boxing to Braulio Avila by points, but that’s considered to be a part of his amateur record.

Garcia hasn’t beaten many opponents that are well known outside of Mexico. He has beaten the likes of Jonathan Perez and Raul Hidalgo, but he also has losses to Hozumi Hasegawa in Japan and Erik Ruiz in his last bout.

Garcia has gone 2-1-1 in professional fights that take place outside of Mexico and it seems a near certainty that his record outside of Mexico will worsen to 2-2-1 on Saturday.

Bernard Hopkins (55-7-2) vs. Joe Smith Jr. (22-1); Light Heavyweights

Bernard Hopkins first professional fight took place in 1988, one year before his opponent Joe Smith was born.

Hopkins has claimed that Saturday will be his last professional fight, but many wonder if he will uphold that promise if he wins in convincing fashion.

Hopkins turned pro after being released from prison in 1988 and lost his debut fight to Clinton Mitchell. But his career after that loss has been stellar and clearly hall of fame worthy.

Hopkins is 51 years old and will be 24 years older than Joe Smith when they step into the ring. However, Hopkins will have a one inch height advantage and a two inch reach advantage.

Currently, Smith probably has the edge in power. He has stopped eighteen of his opponents while Hopkins has stopped thirty two. However, Hopkins’ last stoppage victory came in 2004 against Oscar De La Hoya.

Hopkins has fought nearly everyone that had a name in the middleweight division and has a very impressive list of boxers that he has defeated. He has beaten the likes of Joe Lipsey, John David Jackson, Glen Johnson, Keith Holmes, Felix Trinidad, William Joppy, Oscar De La Hoya, Antonio Tarver, Winky Wright, Kelly Pavlik, Roy Jones Jr., Jean Pascal, Tavoris Cloud, Karo Murat, and Beibut Shumeno.

He has losses to boxers such as Sergey Kovalev, Chad Dawson, Joe Calzaghe, Jermain Taylor, and Roy Jones Jr.

Joe Smith Jr. became well known with his shocking upset TKO over Andrzej Fonfara in his last bout. His only other well known victory came against Will Rosinsky. His lone loss was early on in his career to Eddie Caminero in only his seventh professional fight.

The biggest concern about Hopkins is his age and his recent inactivity. Not only is Hopkins fifty one years old and close to mandatory retirement age, he also hasn’t fought since 2014, over two years ago and was forty nine years old at the time. Joe Smith has faced six different opponents since Hopkins last fought and fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2016.

They say father time is undefeated, but it appears Hopkins is intent on beating father time. This writer isn’t sure Hopkins will beat father time in the long run, but is fairly confident he can beat Joe Smith, even if he’s over the age of fifty.

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Will Joe Smith, Jr. Bring Bernard Hopkins to His Waterloo?


Will Joe Smith, Jr. Bring Bernard Hopkins to His Waterloo?
By: Ken Hissner

Will Long Islands Joe Smith, Jr., 22-1 (18) bring former champion Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins, 55-7-2 (32), to his Waterloo dealing Hopkins his first knockout defeat?

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For Smith at 27 his career was started back in 2009 and seemed to have his share of hand-picked opponents up until his last fight. He scored his biggest win stopping Poland’s Andrzej Fonfara, 28-3, out of Chicago, in the first round in June of 2016 which was Smith’s last fight. With the win he took the WBC International title.

On the other hand Hopkins hasn’t fought since losing every round to Sergey Kovalev in November of 2014 in a unification fight. Hopkins will turn 52 in January and has fought in California where the fight will be held on December 17th at the Forum, in Inglewood.

For Smith his first fight off the east coast was in his last fight in Chicago. How he will fair with the California environment will be determined at fight time.

Prior to Hopkins match with Joe Calzaghe he said “no white boy will ever beat me or I won’t be able to return to the hood!” After his loss to Calzaghe in his next fight he defeated previously unbeaten Kelly Pavlik back in 2008. Only since then have his last three opponents been white of which he went had two wins and the loss to Kovalev. Is it a co-incidence his chose a white fighter to wrap up his career? I wouldn’t underestimate Smith if I were Hopkins, especially since he hasn’t fought in just over two years. The confidence of Smith must be at his career highest after his last fight. Let’s hope it’s the “Aliens” last fight win or lose. He certainly has enough money to carry him for life!

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Another Black Eye for Boxing with Kovalev-Ward Decision, Bout Confirms Golovkin’s Status as P4P #1


Another Black Eye for Boxing with Kovalev-Ward Decision, Bout Confirms Golovkin’s Status as P4P #1
By: Ken Hissner

Kovalev’s manager and promoter allowed a terrible referee like Robert Byrd to get picked. All US judges? How about one from Russia, one from CA and one from either CAN or MEX? Byrd favored Ward the whole fight. I had Ward causing 47 clinches and Kovalev 8 clinches. Byrd was so slow getting to break a clinch it was sad. Good fight? Compared to what?

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This writer felt Kovalev won 5 of the first 6 rounds. Then lost 2 and won 3 straight losing the last round for a 116-111 score 8-4 in rounds. I cannot believe in a 12 round fight that all 3 judges had the same scores. There would not have been a fight if Kovalev didn’t force it all the way. Both fighters were a disappointment to this writer. Can you imagine comparing this to the first “Sugar” Ray Leonard and Tommy “Hit Man” Hearns fight?

But there is one thing this bout proves, and that’s Gennady “GGG” is P4P the Best Fighter in the World!

To call either Kovalev or Ward the best P4P after what I saw you better start watching MMA. If Gennady “GGG” Golovkin isn’t the best P4P boxer in the world then who is? He can’t get Jacobs, Saunders or Alvarez in the ring with him.

In looking at the No. 1 middleweight contenders in the 4 organizations you will be saying “who?” WBC is Jorge Sebastian Heiland, 28-4-2, ARG. WBA Alfonso Blanco, 12-0, VZ/Oxnard, CA. IBF Tureano Johnson 19-1, Bahamas/ GA. This guy can fight and the fight he lost I covered and he was well ahead when a quick stoppage ended it. WBO Avtandil Khurtside, 32-2-2, GA, got screwed losing to Tony Marshall. I’ve seen Heiland and Avtandil Khurtside in person and GGG would beat both if they were a “tag team”. Danny Jacobs holds a WBA title and just changed his mind and said no to GGG. Billy Joe Saunders doesn’t have the experience and is smart not to take this fight. Alvarez should stay at 154 or get beat and he knows it and has put this fight off a year so far. He has the Charlo’s and Julian Williams to consider fighting.

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More praise and less criticism: The battle between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev


More praise and less criticism: The battle between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev
By: Kirk Jackson

Andre Ward 31-0 (15 KO’s) captured the WBA, WBO and IBF light heavyweight titles from Sergey Kovalev 30-1-1 (26 KO’s), in an action-packed, highly competitive bout, with historical ramifications this past weekend.

Historic, as this fight was the seventh instance, seventh world title fight featuring two undefeated fighters with at least 30 wins each. Ward also became the seventh fighter to capture world titles at 168 and 175 lbs.

After Capturing Light Heavyweight Titles, What is Next for Andre Ward?

Instead of celebrating the fact we witnessed two truly great fighters; each fighter exercising their skills in a highly competitive bout and displaying why each fighter is highly regarded as a top pound for pound fighter.

Instead of reveling in the actual instance of watching two elite fighters in their prime, going back and forth as was the ebb and flow of the fight, Rocky-like if we consider the storyline and circumstances of the fight, we are talking about controversy.

We’re all entitled to our opinions, and in the United States at least, we are allowed the freedoms to express such.

With these varying perspectives and interpretations of what is witnessed, we can certainly have a difference of opinion.

Now how someone interprets a fight is subjective. But scoring rounds and scoring fights are supposed to be based on primarily four factors.

Effective Aggression: Being the aggressor may leave an impression of dominance, but the aggressor must actually “land” punches and avoid counter-punches in return, in order to truly be “effective.” Just chasing the opponent is not effective aggression.

Ring Generalship: The fighter who controls the pace of the fight; the fighter enforces his/her will and is the conductor of the action. Setting the range, establishing the distance in which the fight takes place, which can include clinching/in-fighting.

Defense: How well a boxer is blocking, parrying and slipping punches. Clinching/tying up the opponent, moving around the ring, moving from side to side, presenting different angles is considered defense. It’s not running; there is nothing stated within the rules of boxing that suggests a boxer must only step forward throwing punches. It’s important to keep in mind, good defense is just as important as offense.

Clean/Effective Punches: To the untrained eye, it can appear as if a boxer is landing a lot of punches, when in fact, most are either blocked, not landing flush or grazing punches. A judge or observer needs to look for hard punches that land clean. Hard punches can definitely constitute as effective, but a boxer should not be penalized if he/she is not a powerful puncher; again, it’s about clean, landed punches.

Truly unbiased commentary.

As former world titlist and current esteemed boxer analyst Paulie Malignaggi points out;

Kovalev missed many of his big shots and some of the punches were glancing blows. More importantly points out, the HBO commentary team, missed what was actually going on.

There were various moments in the fight where play by play commentator Jim Lampley, inaccurately called out punches, claiming they landed, while they did not indeed land at all. He even admitted this in round 11.

“Yep, I gave him [Kovalev] credit for a landed punch, but it didn’t land.”

Problem is, Lampley has a long standing history of doing so. As a boxing analyst, play by play or punch by punch boxing commentator, these kind of mistakes are unacceptable.

Question is, are these unintentional mistakes, or intentional calls to paint a narrative to go along with the intended agenda accompanying his commentary?

Harold Lederman is notorious for his bad scorecards during HBO telecasts. As Lampley was quoted as saying in round 11 of Kovalev vs. Ward, “The Lederman card is unofficial and judges often disagree with it.”

The narrative Lampley and former judge Lederman attempts to and successfully projects is the narrative of only appreciating “certain” types of fighters.

There seems to be an agenda aimed against other “certain” styles of fighter. A fighter with a slick defensive style, who is not overly aggressive with an offensive punch output, is not appreciated or even respected by their standards.

Fighters such as Erislandy Lara, Floyd Mayweather, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Bernard Hopkins, Andre Ward, and the list goes on and on. Terence Crawford, was a guy on the list they constantly criticized, until he changed his style and became more action oriented.

Guess what other trait each fighter has in common aside from their defensive acumen? Let it marinate.
Certain companies like to promote fighters who are action fighters; all out-action like the late Arturo Gatti for instance. Hence the “Gatti List” from HBO’s Lampley.

Fighters who are about constant action with no regard for defense, or guys with tremendous punching power or high punch output.

Reminiscent to former HBO broadcaster Larry Merchant, with his criticisms of fighters reluctant to openly engage in all-out slugfests.

However, it’s unfair to criticize a fighter on the basis of his/her lack of punching power. Especially at the highest competitive level of boxing, it may be more impressive for a fighter who is successful despite their lack of punching power.

It’s unfair to criticize a fighter on the basis of their style; there are no unwritten rules where it states a boxer must walk directly towards their opponent and engage in open warfare. And they must not move around or avoid punches; they must stand directly in front of their opponents and throw punches back and forth with disregard for defense and their health.

Again, these commentators openly critical of a fighter for his/her fighting style never stepped in the ring themselves; don’t have to worry about the long term effects of the damage sustained in the ring.

As a commentator, as a boxing analyst, the goal is to educate the fan, to educate and explain to the viewer what they are watching. As the well informed, there is a responsibility to go over different styles, analyzing strengths and weaknesses of each style.

That is the beauty of boxing, the sweet science. The goal should not be to force feed viewers bits of false information to fit your narrative.

It’s okay for fans to have a particular bias; not for commentators. Some observers believe Kovalev won the fight and that’s fine.

They may believe Kovalev won the fight based on total punches landed. According to CompuBox, Kovalev threw 474 punches, landed 126. Ward threw 337 punches, landed 116. 26.6 percent (Kovalev) to 34.4 percent (Ward).

So Kovalev threw 137 more punches and landed only 10 more. Also, just because more punches are landed throughout the course of the fight, this statistic does not necessarily tell the entire tale of the fight. It’s important fights are scored and tallied round by round.

Another thing to consider is some observers may not consider the inside-the-trenches work from Ward; fighting inside the clinch, landing many effective body punches. The HBO commentators surely neglected to mention the activity.

Some observers may say Kovalev chased Ward around the ring and all Ward did was run and hold.
Kovalev never cut the ring off, if he did, he would be showcasing ring generalship and would throw and land more punches. Ward was never trapped against the ropes or in the corner and he did not initiate all of the holding. There were many instances of Kovalev placing Ward in a DDT-styled head lock.

From each fighter, from each camp, of course they’ll have opposing views on what transpired and who won.
Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva expressed her disdain towards the decision after the fight.

“I knew all along this would be a close fight, but once I watched the first five or six rounds [Kovalev] was clearly dominating, Ward was backpedaling and actually looked afraid for a while there. When he knocked him [Ward] down it was so emphatic.”

“It’s close. And when it’s close like that I know you can’t yell too loud…but it’s just one of those fights where some of the rounds were so clear-cut.”

Kovalev added, “I don’t think I won only because I dropped him early. I won with my speed and power. He would touch me with the jab, and then grab. I don’t understand,” said Kovalev.

“I feel a bit uncomfortable because I don’t agree with the decision. Boxing fans saw what happened today.

Clearly understandable from their side. Duva believes in her fighter, believes he earned the decision and she is doing her diligence as his promoter. Kovalev was in the fight; it was close and should feel like he won, nothing wrong with that.

The Ward camp, had a different view of course.

“I’m pleased and I’m happy. Of course I wish it was a dominant performance in terms of the scorecards,”
said Ward. “But this was a tough victory against someone a lot of people thought would stop me. We did what we had to do, we got stronger, and I’m very happy.”

“I can’t do anything about the controversy,” Ward said.

“It was a close fight, it’s boxing. If I honestly felt I lost the fight, I would tell you guys. I would
hold my hands up and say, ‘I don’t know what happened, the judges got it wrong, I lost.’ But that’s not how I feel.”

What’s lost in the mist of complaints from Kovalev, his promoter Kathy Duva and some other spectators, was this was a truly great fight.

Ward was knocked down, behind on the scorecards and had to find a way to not only adjust to the power of Kovalev, but to the skills, safely trying to find a way implement his style of fight and enforce his mental toughness and fighter’s spirit.

Ward climbed mount Kovalev and conquered it.

Some journalists such as Larry Merchant, Steve Kim and others say this was a robbery; likening the decision to the greatest robbery since Pernell Whitaker and Julio Caesar Chavez. Some even compared it to the first encounter between Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao.

Stop it.

If anyone wants to talk about robbery, why not discuss the fight between Maurice Hooker 21-0- 3 (16 KO’s) vs. Darleys Perez 33-2-2 (21 KO’s). Want to talk about bad decisions, Perez was robbed of a victory and ended up with a draw.

As a result of the decision between Ward and Kovalev, people are not giving Ward the credit he deserves, even questioning his top position as the sport’s top p4p fighter which is ridiculous.

According to the The Ring Magazine, the “Bible of Boxing,” Ward is ranked no. 4, still behind Kovalev listed as no. 2.

The Ring should reflect the results of the fight, not their interpretation of how the fight went. Going off official records and paperwork, going off Boxrec, Wikipedia, fighters book, however you want to document it, this fight goes down in the history books as a win for Ward.

The Ring did the same thing with Pacquiao with the whole Bradley fiasco of their first fight. They still had Pacquiao as the no. 1 fighter, in spite of his defeat.

But The Ring had nothing to say when Juan Manuel Marquez appeared to defeat Pacquiao in their third encounter, albeit falling short of victory according to the judges. Their p4p standings did not reflect what many interpreted in the ring as defeat for Pacquiao, even if it was not registered officially as a defeat.

According to The Ring, how they critique and fighters:

Results: This is the most objective criterion and takes precedence above all others.

Performance: How a fighter performs in a victory or defeat can be a factor to determine his place in the ratings.

Track record: A fighter’s accomplishments in the recent past can be a factor to determine his place in the ratings. That includes quality of opposition.

You see the justice there? The double standards are remarkable. Again this is the same publication that featured a mma fighter on the cover. A fighter who would ultimately lose to another mma fighter who was accomplished as a world champion boxer.

Again, both Kovalev and Ward should be applauded for their efforts in what is truly a classic.
Consider what Ward had to do and how he effectively enforced his will and skill to EARN victory over another truly great fighter.

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