Tag Archives: next

What’s Next For Manny Pacquiao?


By: Hans Themistode

There have been plenty of fans and reporters who have thrown dirt on the grave of Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs). It’s about time that has came to an end. After picking up a decision victory over former champion Keith Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) on July 20th, it’s clear that the eight time world champion and new WBA title holder isn’t going away anytime soon.

Pacquiao dropped and hurt Thurman several times throughout the fight and proved that he is still one of the best fighters in the world. At this point, he doesn’t want a soft touch, nor does he need it. He still wants to fight the best. So you know what? Let’s give him exactly what he’s looking for.

Errol Spence Jr vs Shawn Porter Winner

On September 28th, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California IBF and WBC champions Errol Spence Jr and Shawn Porter will be fighting in a unification contest. Even at the age of 40, Pacquiao has proven to be one of the best fighters in the world. He has also told everyone that he will have a close eye on that contest.

“I hope to be at that fight on the 28th.” Said Pacquiao after outpointing Keith Thurman on July 20th, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Both Porter and Spence would be extremely tough bouts for the new WBA world champion, but no one should doubt his abilities to get the job done against either man.

Danny Garcia

Many may not want to admit it, but, Danny Garcia has been known as some what of a legend killer.

He effectively retired Erik Morales, picking up a unanimous decision victory in their first contest and a knockout win in their second bout. In between both fights he also managed to stop Amir Khan dead in his tracks in the fourth round of their unification match. Wins over in their prime fighters such as Lucas Matthysse and Lamont Peterson followed by a victory over Zab Judah has fueled his claim as a legend killer.

Let’s all also not forget that he is a two weight world champion. Garcia did lose a close decision to recent Pacquiao victim Keith Thurman, but he has since grown as a fighter. If Pacquiao can’t get the winner of Spence vs Porter next, then this would be a great consolation prize.

Terence Crawford

A showdown between Terence Crawford and Manny Pacquiao is long overdue. While both fighters were signed with Top Rank, everything was lining up perfectly for them to fight one another.

Jeff Horn ended everyones hopes for a matchup as he upset Pac-Man in their 2017 contest. Fast forward two years later and Pacquiao is still a force in the division and Crawford is arguably the best fighter in the world.

Even at the age of 40, Pacquiao is ducking absolutely no one. With both fighters associated with different networks, this could be hard to make, but there is some hope. Pacquiao still has a great relationship with Crawfords current manager Bob Arum. Hopefully he can call in a favor and give the fans the fight that they want to see.

More Columns

What’s Next for Dillian Whyte?


By: Shane Willoughby

With a shot at the WBC title basically guaranteed, what does Dillian Whyte do next?

After his impressive UD win over Oscar Rivas, Whyte is now mandatory for Wilder’s title and is due to fight for the belt in around about 10 to 12 months.

Naturally, we all think that he should sit tight and wait for the shot. However, we have seen fighters like Sterverne and Breazeale sit around, inactive until the mandatory is called and they both got the same treatment. Not to say they would have won if they were active, but I can’t see how going into a Wilder fight with ring rust is beneficial.

With that said we have seen Whyte take some really big gambles with his number 1 position in his past 5 fights which could have been to his detriment.

Whyte was seriously hurt by Helenius, dropped by Parker in the last round, down on the cards against Chisora in the 11th and dropped by Rivas in the 9th.

The body snatcher is constantly taking risky fights which he doesn’t need to do. And by his own admission when you fight good fighters you’re going to lose.

So, with all of that in mind, does he take a risky fight before he gets his shot next year? The most common answer is probably no.

Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn has spoken about getting him out again in November or December, but against what kind of opponent?

Whilst many say Whyte shouldn’t take another risk, as the Brit loves to remind us, he only had 7 amateur fights and it’s been these risky fights that have made him so battle-hardened and it’s really propelled his progress.

It’s very difficult to learn from an easy fight so maybe the WBC interim champion decides to test his metal again. As the saying goes, steel sharpens steel.

However, it would be extremely naive for Whyte to into another 50/50. However, I do agree with Hearn, when he says he wants to get Whyte out again. But against Who?

As it stands, Whyte is most likely going to be fighting Wilder however, there is a chance it also could be Fury or Ortiz, depending on results. With this in mind, it would be fantastic to see Whyte fight someone tall again.

Other than Helenius, who he fought in 2017, the Body-snatcher hasn’t come up against anyone over 6ft 4. Which isn’t great preparation for a Wilder or Fury who both stand excess of 6ft 7.

So a fight against a tall heavyweight will be a good test. If I was Eddie Hearn the person I’ll be pushing for the most is Gerald Washington.

Washington is 6ft 6, one inch shorter than Wilder and is coming off a knockout win against one of Whyte’s previous opponents Robert Helenius. Also, the American has been in the ring with some top fighters and given them some really good work, including Wilder.

Not only is Washington the right dimensions and a very good mover across the ground like Fury and the Bronze Bomber, but if Whyte can beat him in better fashion than the current WBC champion did it could give him a psychological boost.

To top it off Washington is somewhat of a known quantity to the American boxing public so it could be a good coming out fight for Whyte in the States. He shouldn’t cause Whyte any major upsets but could be good prep.

More Columns

Saul Alvarez to Face Gennady Golovkin or Demetrius Andrade


By: Waqas Ali

Saul Canelo Alvarez is on the verge of facing rival opponent Gennady Golovkin or American Demetrius Andrade.

The Mexican superstar recently defeated former world champion Daniel Jacobs in a twelve round unification bout on Saturday night.

The bout took place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with over 20,000 in attendance.

Alvarez took Jacobs’ IBF middleweight title and added that to his WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine belts.

Making him one belt away from the WBO claimed by Andrade.

In the first round, both fighters were caution with their punches. Carefully not trying to get countered as they go on. In the last minute of the round, Jacobs (35-3) increased his activity level to try and steal the round.

Jacobs would take the early rounds based on his activity level and would often land some hooks on top to win rounds.

In the fourth round, Alvarez (52-1-2) came back with punches of his own and around the 43-second mark, Alvarez connected three straight left hands to Jacobs that got the pro-Alvarez crowd on the edge of their seats.

In round nine, as Alvarez continued to dominate with his power punches and swiftly providing good head movement and footwork, he was hit with a massive over-left hook by Jacobs that didn’t even drop him.

It was perhaps the most memorable punch in the entire fight.

At the end of the fight, Judges scored the fight 115-113, 115-113, 116-112 in Canelo’s favour after 12 rounds.

According to Compubox stats, Alvarez landed 188 of 466 (40%) punches thrown, whereas Jacobs landed 131 of 649 (20%) attempted.

Alvarez landed 121 of his power shots and connected at 45%. Also, in round 11 he landed 55% of his power punches.

For Jacobs, 32, this was a complete downfall statistic for him as he landed 32% in his previous eight fights. He landed 7 power shots per round in this fight with Alvarez after landing 12 per round in his previous eight fights.

Officially, Alvarez has had two bouts under the super-middleweight division and five at middleweight.

The question now remains is: Will Alvarez fight Golovkin for a third time or attempt for a fourth world title fight against Andrade?

During the build-up of the Jacob-Alvarez bout, ‘Canelo’ stated his desire to aim for the WBO belt and add to his collection.

“Nobody in Mexico has ever done that, won all four belts in one division, so that’s my motivation,” Alvarez said, before the Jacobs fight.

However, after defeating Jacobs, Alvarez is open to fighting Golovkin too.

“I’m just looking for the biggest challenge. That’s all I want. No, for me, it’s over,” he said regarding any unfinished business with Golovkin.

“But if the people want another fight, we’ll do it again, and I’ll beat him again.

“That’s why I’m here. That’s what I was born for — to fight, to defend what’s mine. I’ll fight anyone.

Gennady Golovkin is a fighter with an exceptional power ratio of 87% and known for activeness, punching ability, calculating puncher and haymaker hunting.

He had a 23 knockout win streak dating from June 2008 – March 2017.

Both fights with Alvarez were close in their respected styles and performances. Fans on the Golovkin side firmly believe that both results of the bouts were exceptional robberies.

Both GGG and Andrade have fights later this year and have to win in order to secure themselves a bout with Alvarez.
By the numbers, Golovkin who is ranked no.3 Pound for Pound (by Boxrec), throws at a high amount of 64 punches which is nine more than the average middleweight (55) and lands at 25 (39%). The average middleweight lands at just 16 (30%).

In the power punching department, Golovkin throws around 35 with a connect rate of 44%. The average middleweight throws around 31 with a rate of 37%.

With regards to Andrade, his record consists of 26 wins (16 KOs) and zero defeats.

In the amateurs, he defeated future world champions like Keith Thurman, Austin Trout and Daniel Jacobs.

The 30-year-old, who holds the WBO middleweight belt has a great sense of style of being cautionary with his combinations and as a southpaw can be a limit for his conventional opponents on landing their jab.

His body movement is a positive asset, considering the fact that he is able to move away from any return shots.

Alvarez has not faced a competitive southpaw with lateral foot movement since Erislandy Lara in July 2014 in which he only landed five jabs out of his 97 landing total. A bout with these two would be interesting.

In terms of statistical data, he throws around 60 and lands at 18 (30%). By the power punches, he attempts 32 with a connect rate of 45%.

Another fighter that has entered the debate but not on the mainstream spectrum as of yet is current WBA and Ring Magazine Super-middleweight champion. Callum Smith. The Liverpool-born fighter has a record of 25 wins and no defeats.

He’s also tall with a height 6 feet 3 inches and a reach advantage of 78 inches. Smith is known for his active punching ability and body shots. Ironically, body shots are also favouritism of Alvarez’s punching of expertise.
Especially the left hook to the body.

His notable opponents that he defeated are Rocky Fielding & George Groves.

According to a poll conducted by Editinking, out of 5,100 plus voters, 59% chose Alvarez to beat Smith and 41% for the English fighter.

The boxing world is up and rolling by naming who should Alvarez fight next. Both fights are interesting as many of the Golovkin fans want to see vengeance taken against the Mexican based on the last two disputed results. Politics is a dangerous game and has a long history with boxing. Going as far as 150 years ago. Andrade is in a good position as he could prove how much has in value of his style and skills against one of the biggest names in boxing today. Though he did not manage to prove his name against Billy Joe Saunders but no doubt against Alvarez, it will be a mega-fight. Smith is a good name and also a possible threat to Alvarez. He’s tall and possesses good power to really knock his opponent off the canvas. Being England and his hometown of Liverpool, the fight would definitely be a huge sell in the UK. Venues like the Echo Arena, Manchester Arena, O2 or even Wembley stadium would be a big attraction. Liverpool is a passionate crowd for their heroes and figures and are always behind them. It wouldn’t be a surprise to many if a crowd was a majority pro-Smith rather than pro-Alvarez in the UK.

More Columns

What is Next for Errol Spence?


By: Waqas Ali

IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr produced a masterful performance following his 12-round decision win against former world champion Mikey Garcia (39-1).

The bout took place at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas in front of over 47,000 fans in attendance.

Spence (25-0) executed his craft, cynical and crisp jab right from the start of the first round and kept using that for the entire round.

Garcia, a former four-division titlist did very little in terms of the activity level. The 31-year-old did step up his tactical style in the second round. Arguably that was his best round and close round to give him.

Spence, who was in the third defence of the title, stepped up his pace and landed devastating hooks in the third round that shook Garcia in his position.

The 29-year-old mixed up his punches in the middle and later stages of the fight with sharp left hooks to the head and body.

Garcia doing very little to fight back.

In round nine, Spence aka ‘The Truth’ cornered Garcia to the ropes and landed blistering body shots.

Much of the later rounds were repetition to the previous one and despite Garcia not landing any more than 10 punches per round, he showed great heart and devotion to the ring.

According to Compubox, Spence landed 345 of 1082 punches (32%). This was the most ever punches he had thrown as a professional.

This was also the most punches ever landed on Garcia.

Garcia landed only 75 of 406 punches (20%). His previous five bouts, his power punching accuracy was at above 40%. However, against Spence, he landed at a low 28%.

Spence won every single on all three judges scorecard. Reading at: 120-107 and 120-108 (twice).

The question remains: who is next for Spence and can he conquer the welterweight division?

According to a poll conducted by well-known boxing page on Twitter called Editinking, out of over 5,000 voters, 47% of them chose Terence Crawford for Spence to fight next, 28% chose Pacquiao and 15% picked Keith Thurman.

In a post-fight interview of the bout, Spence instantly called out Pacquiao, who could be in the works of fighting him in July.

“Manny Pacquiao would definitely be a good fight,” Spence said.

“I’ll definitely give him that retirement check that he needs. I’m ready in July,”

Pacquiao in response stated: “Yeah, why not? We’ll give the fans a good fight. I’m so happy to be here in Dallas and I’m hoping I will be back here soon.”

For Pacquiao, this is a unique fight for him – considering the fact that he would a huge amount of money from this and to end his career on a high note would be big for him and a learning curve for Spence.

A much bigger financial award for the Filipino could be fighting the bigger fighters in the middleweight division such as Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin or the Charlo brothers.

But that is highly unlikely considering the huge weight advantage they would have over the 40-year-old veteran.

Terence Crawford, as boxing fans in the poll above, voted the most to fight Spence, is the main fight that has been going on for over two years.

He’s got great styles and variations in his arsenal of weaponry. His style of artilleries consists of footwork, speed, restricted and defensive guard, height and accuracy.

According to Compubox review, Crawford throws around 48 punches per round and connects with a rate of 35%. That’s five percent higher than the average welterweight.

In the power punching department, Crawford throws around 22 with a connect rate of 48%. That is 11% higher than the average welterweight.

Crawford opponents landed just 7 punches per round- 10 fewer than the welterweight and just 5 power shots per round.

Another fighter that could be a challenge for Spence is former two-weight world champion, Amir Khan.

Khan is always up for a challenge and has never been backed down from any competitor. He’s fought the likes of Marcos Maidana, Marco Antonio Barrera, Zab Judah, Paul McCloskey, Paulie Malignaggi, Luiz Collazo, Lamont Peterson, Danny Garcia and Canelo Alvarez.

Khan is known for his immense speed with blistering combinations which has always been his strongest asset throughout his amateur and professional career.

He would certainly be a great matchup for Spence in late 2019.

Whatever the case may be for Spence, the names listed above and in the poll are no easy target to take on. He possesses great talent and has proved it in the Kell Brook fight and even against Garcia. He is a fighter to watch out for and definitely a star of the future. Spence deserves to fight the big names in his division and boxing fans both casual and hardcore will no doubt be supporting him.

More Columns

Canelo and Golovkin: What’s Next for Both


By: Oliver McManus

With the benefit of 72 hours to sleep on things, it’s time to address what’s next for Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin after their ferocious rematch at the T-Mobile Arena and, whilst some of these options are a little more realistic than others, we can be dreamers, so here are my top picks (trilogy aside!) –

Mexican fiesta?

This one seems a little adventurous to begin with but there are two fights that makes me stand up with interest, with regards to Canelo, and they both involve fellow Mexicans in what would make the perfect Cinco de Mayo bouts for 2019 – whilst it’s likely that Alvarez would look to fight in December first, these fights could brew nicely into the early months of next year.

First up is Jaime Munguia and given the size of the WBO 147lb champion, it’s equally likely that this bout could be taken at middle as it is welterweight and we’ve seen Munguia really start to stamp his authority over the course of 2018 with the youngster playing the role of underdog in his title challenge against Sadam Ali and, marginally, in his first defence against Liam Smith.

The sheer size and explosivity of Munguia means the fight with Canelo would guarantee action – akin to the last two with Golovkin – and of course there’s that added all-Mexican spice.

Looking into the super middleweight and you find another WBO champion in Gilberto Ramirez who has failed to really find any momentum over the last couple of years despite defending the title on four occasions and Zurdo has made no bones about his desire to land a big fight.

We know Canelo looks BIG when out of the ring – I’m not even going to go near the whole clenbuterol situation – and even at the catchweight of 164 for his bout with Julio Cesar Chavez he looked comfortable. I mean, admittedly, not a great performance but it wasn’t because of the extra weight.

More of a tactician than Munguia and, indeed, Golovkin, Ramirez would represent a different type of opponent for Alvarez with the opportunity to show a different set of skills than the, relatively, brawling nature over the last few months and Canelo, certainly, is an elite level boxer not just fighter. (If that makes sense).

Munguia and Ramirez, starting to sound like a fajita, but I want to see ANOTHER all Mexican encounter involving Canelo because you just cannot beat those atmospheres and the two champs either side of middleweight appear to be the frontrunners in that respective category.

Saunders vs Golovkin

A fight that has been mooted for a long, long time and it seems that now could be the most realistic timing for the super-fight to take place and on the assumption that the WBO champion can navigate his way past Demetrius Andrade on October 20th , this would provide the opportunity for GGG to bounce straight back into the world title scene.

For Saunders it provides him with the chance to carry on with the momentum he picked up in Canada last December with a, let’s not beat around the bush, masterclass performance against David Lemieux and, whilst his antics outside of the ring have been less than respectable, in the boxing world a victory over Golovkin would cement his credibility as one of the best.

An awkward southpaw who dictates the tempo of the bout from the centre of the ring, Saunders poses a distinctly different threat to that of Canelo but is equally capable of getting dirty on the inside and involved in a firefight as he is executing a technical, counter-punching gameplan.

Golovkin doesn’t need warm up bouts following his first ever career loss, he’s an elite fighter, certainly a Top 15 pound for pound and, with only a few fights left in him, it seems logical to target the fight with Saunders because it’s one we know he is mightily confident in winning and if he were to be able to reclaim the single belt that has alluded him his whole career then, surely, we could be looking at the best middleweight ever?

Saunders vs Golovkin make sense, it’s been in the works for a long time and it’s a bout that both men are confident of winning so let’s get it on!

Canelo vs Lemieux

We’ll keep this section short and snappy because I think we’re all aware that David Lemieux, especially after the pasting he got via Billy Joe Saunders, is in a different league, technically, to the world champions but following a devastating knockout over Spike O’Sullivan he finds himself back in the fold for a world title.

The one that can’t be argued with is the power of the Canadian who, when given a chance, is able to unfurl bombs in the direction of whichever Tom, Dick or Harry is standing in front of him. Having said that, he is equally susceptible to stinking out a stadium when he fails to turn up for a fight and that happens alarmingly often for him to be taken seriously as a contender.

It’s very hot and cold with David Lemieux but even when he’s on top of his game it’s nothing that would really send Canelo back to Mexico quivering in his boots looking for some more of that steak – the threat of Lemieux is easily nullified by Canelo taking the fight to the Canadian, boxing at a high tempo for the duration of the fight with a strong lead jab.

Canelo vs O’Sullivan was being lined up for December and, thusly, it makes sense that O’Sullivan’s conqueror is also in the frame.

The truth of the matter though, like it or not, is that this would only serve as a stay busy fight until a big clash in May.

Retirement for GGG?

What is left for Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin to achieve in the sport of boxing? With seemingly little possibility of moving a weight class, the former unified middleweight champion has literally been there, done that and seen it all.

20 successful defences of his belt, five as unified champion, the 36 year old possess a record matched only by the great Bernard Hopkins and, looking through the eras, you’d be hard pressed to suggest he wouldn’t have found success across them all.

A World Amateur champion and Olympic silver medallist, to boot, Golovkin has a career, both amateur and professional, to be immensely proud of and in the eyes of many an onlooker he has got nothing left to prove.

On many scorecards he should have won that first fight with Canelo, the second was a stormer and there can be no loss of legitimacy for losing what was, let’s be honest, a fight that could have gon either way; you get the feeling that Golovkin and Canelo could go toe to toe 60 times and it would never get boring, 20 would be a win for Golovkin, 20 for Canelo and the other 20 a draw… it’s just that sort of a fight!

But for the love of the sport and the pride he gets from fighting, there is nothing left to achieve for Triple G so, if you ask me, hang those gloves up, kick back and just enjoy life Gennady!

Of course the fight we all want to see, well most of us anyway, is ANOTHER rematch between the two protagonists of the middleweight division and why shouldn’t we want that? 24 rounds of simply stunning action during which neither fighter could comprehensively claim to be the better man, throw in some controversy, a bit of bad blood, and we have got ourselves not just a fight but an EVENT.

The first two fights were must-see entertainment that captured the imagination of the boxing community and there’s very little reason to believe a third would be anything but the same – the only question’s that really need answering are where, when and how much is it going to cost us?

Preliminary talks are being held between the parties, allegedly, so hopefully we’ll be able to see the trilogy contest sooner rather than later because there’s some unfinished business to take care of and it’s a fight that I, certainly, will never get bored of.

Having said that, what if Golovkin wins the third fight? Does that mean we’ll have to have a fourth?!

More Columns

How Relevant is Manny Pacquiao Now?


By: Charles Jay

After Manny Pacquiao’s fight this past weekend, ESPN commentator Mark Kriegel declared that with his victory, he had “changed the configuration of boxing again.”

My first thought was that I didn’t know if I would characterize it quite like that, but there is no doubt that he is very much alive to do what he’s done so well throughout the last decade or so of his career, which is to make money, both for himself and his opponents.

Whether he is a real player in the battle for supremacy in his weight division is an entirely different question to be addressed.

Time and again, the ESPN announcers asserted that everybody wants to fight Pacquiao. Well, sure they do, because (a) He is a viable pay-per-view entity in a sport that doesn’t have many of them, and (b) The risk-vs.-reward quotient might be very much in their favor.

In other words, they can pick up a big win, and a lucrative one, in a fight they probably should not lose.

Pacquiao improved his record to 60-7-2 with his 39th early win in a 7th-round knockout of Lucas Matthysse, who was the WBA “regular” champion at 147 pounds. How significant was this victory? Well, that’s a good question, because Matthysse came in as the kind of opponent who seemed designed to make Pacquiao look good. He was slow, plodding, not all that skilled, not good enough defensively, no match for Pacquiao’s speed, and thus in no position to counterpunch.

He also didn’t exactly come to wage war. His approach appeared to be geared toward loading up for one power punch – which he is capable of delivering – but was seemingly frustrated that it didn’t happen. No, we can’t get into a fighter’s head, and we can’t gauge how hard certain punches hurt, but he looked as if he was looking for a way out after being hit with a half-hook, half-jab in the fifth round (almost immediately after showing more resistance than he had previously) and then stayed on one knee when one would have thought he could get up, following a Pacquiao uppercut in the seventh.

I thought Teddy Atlas was on the mark when he said that Pacquiao got the job done, and did what he had to do, but did not have a whole lot in front of him (RIGHT in front of him, we might add, for whole fight). You can’t really fault him for any of this, and he did show a lot of energy.

And don’t underestimate the moral boost he may have gotten by scoring his first win inside the distance since the Miguel Cotto fight in 2009.

So the natural question is “Who’s next?”

Pacquiao was asked that in the ring after the fight. He couldn’t just say “I’ll have to talk to my promoter,” because he is, for all intents and purposes, his own promoter now. So he didn’t get specific.

I think the truth is, he doesn’t really know.

There are three champions of note in the welterweight division:

* WBO – Terence Crawford 33-0, 24 KO’s

* IBF – Errol Spence 24-0, 21 KO’s

* WBA – Keith Thurman 28-0, 22 KO’s

Crawford would seem the most likely opponent of those three, because of the connection that still exists between Pacquiao and Top Rank’s Bob Arum. And for that reason, there is also the possibility of Vasyl Lomachenko, who is currently the WBA’s lightweight champ. For a fight like that to happen, there would have to be a meeting somewhere in the middle as far as weight is concerned.

Some might argue this, but Pacquiao isn’t likely to advance his career against any of those three welterweight champs. There is some intrigue against Loma, since there is a built-in handicap, as the Ukranian began his career as a featherweight and would be making quite a leap. But at the same time, he is the kind of whirlwind that Pacquaio may have been once, but isn’t now. The punches he landed against Matthyssee aren’t nearly as likely to find their target against any of these guys.

There is that other possibility, which is a rematch with Jeff Horn, who beat him controversially in Brisbane a year ago. There still has to be something sticking in Pacquiao’s craw about that fight, enough so that one of the reasons he cut himself loose from Freddie Roach – allegedly – is that Roach did not complain about Horn’s rough tactics during the fight, instead waiting until after the bout to do so (where it didn’t do a whole lot of good), then adding some other commentary that was largely unwanted.

Horn lost rather decisively to Crawford, but he has credentials for this purpose because of the win over Pacquiao. And almost as soon as Pac-Man got out of the ring, Horn was calling him out. There was a rematch clause in the contract, which Pacquiao did not exercise immediately because of his duties as a senator in the Philippines. And Horn’s promoter, Dean Lonergan, thinks that Pacquiao’s performance this past weekend makes his guy’s win look all that much better.

Maybe so, but according to reports, including one coming out of the Los Angeles Times, Pacquiao might try to give it a go in the United States again to fight one of Arum’s guys. He’s got problems with the IRS, which will take some of his money, so I’ll believe it when I see it.

And besides, the big edge for Manny in any negotiations is that HE is the pay-per-view draw, and thus the gateway to big money. None of these five prospective opponents we’ve mentioned can say that they have carried a pay-per-view event. That means Pacquiao has the ability to dictate deal points like where the fight would be held, and Arum admitted as much. And his “independence” as a promoter unto himself might make his word final.

We know that Horn, at this moment, is in the midst of talks with Anthony Mundine, the ex-rugby player who has held a WBA super middleweight title and a WBC and WBA super welterweight title. This fight would presumably be at 154 pounds, and Horn would be expected to come out the winner. He’ll also make upwards of $4 million, because these guys can fill a stadium.

So he’s got the luxury of being able to grab a big payday even after a pretty one-sided loss, something a lot of guys don’t have. But even if that fight happens, I wouldn’t disqualify a subsequent fight with Pacquiao, in or out of Australia. Remember, none of the fighters who are bigger threats to Pac-Man are enough of a draw that they would necessarily steer him away from a fight with Horn, from a dollars-and-cents perspective. While Pacquiao-Horn II may not be of ultimate importance on the world stage, it will be extremely important to Manny’s constituency (pardon the pun), which would be pretty sizable.

And in every fighter’s mind, there is that thought of “getting the win back” when they think it was unfairly snatched from them.

This decision is very much in Pacquiao’s hands. He IS the promoter, isn’t he?

And you can bet those aforementioned world-beaters will be keenly interested in what he decides.

Considering how they’re are all thought to be emerging superstars, maybe Manny Pacquiao IS the most relevant guy out there – at least for the time being.

More Columns

What’s Next for Pacquiao?


By: Oliver McManus

The clock was ticking, the guard began to change as star after star began to fade into the background but an ever present constant in the boxing hemisphere, Manny Pacquiao, was determined to shift the sands of time back into his favour last weekend as he faced Lucas Matthysse, in Malaysia, for yet another world title.

“He’s too old”, the doubters said. “Matthysse has too much power”, cried the naysayers. “Getting rid of Roach was a mistake”, echoed those who questioned Pac Man.

He paid no attention to the script, setting about what can only be described as a demolition job in crushing the Argentine in a manner akin to taking a hammer to a peanut. Matthysse landed a fair few half-decent punches but never looked like carrying a realistic threat to the legacy of Pacquiao and was dropped time after time before the contest was waived off in the seventh round.

What next for Pacquiao, then?

RETIREMENT

Seems harsh to suggest in the immediate aftermath of such a scintillating performance – his first knockout victory since 2009 – but retirement does seem to be a genuine option for the Filipino with the huge money making fights seemingly few and far between and with increasingly more risk to the ageing eight-weight world champion.

The legacy of Pacquiao is solidified with the defining moment seeming to always be characterised by his series of fights with Juan Manuel Marquez so there’s no real need for the legendary fighter to carry on and risk becoming a Roy Jones Jr figure – albeit at a higher level and not against guys such as Bobby Gunn, Rodney Moore and that respective ilk.

It’s not as though the 39 year old is without other options, boxing is very much a secondary focus as things stand in Pacquiao’s life with his priority being politics – elected as a senator in his home country, Pacquiao has a minimum term until 2022 which, in itself, makes preparing and organising fights relatively difficult.

And let’s be clear this was probably Pacquiao’s best performance in six or seven years and there will always be the eternal question regarding his age and stamina – he proved his doubters wrong on Saturday but as we saw against Horn there is a distinct blueprint for beating Pacquiao and he’s ripe for the taking – so what better a night than to call it quits, retire as a world champion with plaudits aplenty.

AMIR KHAN

On the distinct polar opposite vein you could argue that because Pacquiao looked so good that in itself is all you need to back-up a call for him to continue – whether that’s papering up the cracks or not is something we’ll find out as and when future bouts happen – and an immediate fight that springs to mind is Amir Khan.

Big in the States and big in the United Kingdom, Amir Khan is of an ideal profile for a mega fight with mega dollars to boot – it could also see Pacquiao in the United Kingdom for the first time though such is the statue of the guy we’d likely only see him for a press conference over here as opposed to the actual bout.

Let’s not forget that the pair were scheduled to fight on April 23rd last year in the United Arab Emirates before the bout was called off but the desire to see the two meet in the ring has not dampened and if anything the flame has only burned brighter since Khan’s successful comeback.

For Khan, who has more options than Kell Brook, this is a perfect opportunity to return to the world title scene and, in all honesty, it’s possibly the easiest champion he’d have to face in the division which is saying quite something.

Amir has been there, too, he’s no stranger to these big fights and even though he lost, viciously, to Canelo, he put up a really good showing and there’s no doubt that against Pacquiao we could witness a tremendous, 50-50 fight with styles meshing.

From that knockout loss to Canelo, mind, Pacquiao will be able to take immense confidence especially off the back of such a convincing beat-down of Lucas Matthysse. Couple in the notorious “glass chin” that Khan is often accused of having, the risk for Pacquiao would be relatively big but the reward would be phenomenal – Khan is possibly one of the biggest names that the Filipino could face whilst still possessing the tag as favourite.

For me this is a fight that simply has to happen.

VASYL LOMACHENKO

Dropping down a weight division to super lightweight there is the possibility of facing Vasyl Lomachenko in yet another HUGE fight – Lomachenko needs no introduction so I won’t bother giving him one but it’s fair to say that a fight of this magnitude would invoke memories of Pacman’s contest with Mayweather and supersede the sport of boxing in becoming a sheer event for the pubic, fans or not.

Loma is out until December at least following shoulder surgery and Pacquiao has hinted at wanting to drop back to super-lightweight for some time now so the build-up for the potential clash would no doubt capture the imagination of the boxing world.

A clash with Lomachenko is the only bout that could have a positive impact on how we look back on Pacquiao’s career in 10 years – any other opponents are merely extra icing on the already lavishly decorated cake that are his 23 years as a professional boxer – but the Ukrainian provides a test that is unlike any other, a living legend, a walking Hall-of-Famer, a fighter who is, frankly, a freak of nature.

Lomachenko would be the best opponent since Floyd Mayweather and there’s a reasonable argument to be made that he’d be the best opponent INCLUDING Floyd Mayweather, at least in retrospect, and would enter the fight as a favourite but if Pacquiao is determined to prove, once and for all, that he IS back then this is the sort of challenge he really needs to be looking at.

The question that gets raised when you talk about this fight – potentially held at catchweight – is whether Manny really looked that good against Matthysse or if he was simply the least washed up of the two boxers as whilst it was a very accomplished performance you’d be hard pushed to say the Matthysse that turned up was on his A game.

It’s a risk, yes, but is it a risk worth taking?

JEFF HORN

I’ve opted for Jeff Horn to fill this last section although I was tempted to select Terence Crawford instead but Horn gets the edge because there is history in that encounter, we all know what happened in Australia and this would be a perfect opportunity to silence his critics from that night and prove it was a fluke loss.

Over here in the United Kingdom endless repeats of their first fight were being shown on the broadcaster and, make no mistake, there wasn’t anything like the outrage shown in America with regards to the scoring but this is a fight that would sell, literally, to all four corners of the globe; you’ve got the Australian market who will be fervently routing for their home hero, the America’s backing Pacquiao and the Brit’s / European’s who love nothing more than a rematch with a bit of needle so in terms of marketability, this fight has it all.

Redemption is a factor that can never be over-stated because looking back on his career, Pacquiao is not a man who will be satisfied with a perceived injustice if there was a possibility to put such a situation to bed and we’ve seen immediately after their contest in February last year that Pacquiao wanted the rematch so his self-belief is there.

Horn, himself, is looking for an avenue back to the big time after getting soundly beaten by Crawford and the fight against Pacquiao is the instant avenue to go down because, for him, if he can pull of the “miracle” a second time then who can doubt him, immediately goes away all the criticism from their first encounter.

A snagging point in this whole deal is the style of Horn, it’s not exactly conducive to a performance that will knock your socks off because even if Pacquiao is able to control every second of every round, he’s going to emerge with a bruised and bloodied face such is the aggressive nature of the Australian – the less sound about his leading head, the better – so whilst emotionally and sentimentally the fight may be seen as a win, stylistically and in terms of future stock, it’s hard to see Pacquiao emerge looking any sharper than the fight at the weekend.

Time after time we’ve sat here and idolised about what could be next for such an icon of the sport and time after time he’s delivered the complete unexpected, the only thing we can ever take for granted with Manny Pacquiao is that he will never duck an opponent and he will always bring his all to a fight.

What more could you ask for from an all-time great? Wherever he goes next, even if he doesn’t fight again, let’s just take a minute to bask in his shadows because for now, at least, this warrior is taking a one-man stand against the surge of young pretenders and, boy, is he holding his own when everyone and their dog seems to be writing him off.

More Columns

What’s Next for Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker


By: Oliver McManus

When the dust settled in Cardiff on Saturday night, the 80,000 fans made their way home and the blood on the canvas was wiped clean, there were two people left in their dressing rooms to ponder over the contrasting future career trajectories they were left with.


Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing/Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account

Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker went toe-to-toe at the Principality Stadium for the unified WBC, WBA, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles of the world in a bruising encounter that saw the British fighting pride move to 21 and 0, one step closer to the title of undisputed heavyweight champion.

Joseph Parker, who fell short in the fight , will have several options following his career high pay day and New Zealand’s first ever heavyweight champion has already seen his stock rise past that of, national legend, David Tua.

For Parker and his promoter David Higgins it was always a brave move to take on Anthony Joshua especially after launching such a strong social media campaign pre-agreement to “bait” AJ and Eddie Hearn into taking the fight. The talk was strong, the game plan was calculated but ultimately not enough.

Truth be told Parker hasn’t particularly impressed in any of his world-title fights; he edged out Andy Ruiz to claim the vacant WBO title in a fight that saw neither styles click; against late-replacement Razvan Cojanu he looked lacklustre; and against mandatory challenger Hughie Fury he looked slow and less than 100%.

Despite this Parker has proven before that he has the talent demanded from world level boxing, in particular with his clash with Carlos Takam, and in the showdown at the Principality on the 31st he certainly enhanced his credentials as a technically supreme boxer – catching AJ with some fast, flashy shots between the 5th and 7th round of the fight, saw his reputation only heighten.

There was no shame in this defeat for the Kiwi legend but what does the future have in store?

Well, unfortunately for Duco Promotions, the pathway is distinctly less clear than if their charge had won but here are three potential options;

Dereck Chisora

Joseph Parker won’t be wanting to restart his journey back to the top of heavyweight boxing by fighting some unknown Hungarian plumber so where better to start with “gate-keeper” Dereck Chisora?

Now I use the term gate-keeper loosely because Chisora doesn’t label himself as such but, nonetheless, Chisora remains in the top 20 worldwide and is guaranteed to come to the ring all guns blazing – especially for a fight such as this would be whereby the winner is almost guaranteed another world title shot.
‘Del Boy’, with 28 wins and 8 losses, would also be a good opponent for Parker to be able to demonstrate his technical ability and enable the former Commonwealth champion to work the body of Chisora, up nice and close, something he wasn’t able to do against Anthony Joshua.

With Eddie Hearn saying he’d like to see Joseph Parker back on British shores and Dereck Chisora promoted by the Matchroom Boxing banner, this fight is certainly more than speculation and would be an incredible encounter.

Jarrell Miller

Big Baby Miller would be a far bigger risk to take for the former WBO Champion with the hotly rated American bringing nearly 300lbs of brutality into the ring; HBO’s heavyweight hopeful is ranked 3rd with all of the WBA, IBF and WBO so the fight would make sense, especially if it were to serve as an eliminator of sorts.

Miller has been a regular feature of Eddie Hearn’s ventures over into America and is next in action on the 28th April against, former Deontay Wilder opponent, Johann Duhaupas in Brooklyn. Should he come through that encounter unscathed then you sense the uber-confident American will want to take on Joseph Parker to really stamp his mark on the world scene.

Why would Parker want to take on the 20-0, 18 KO, behemoth of a fighter? Two-fold, really;

Firstly it’s an easy profile-raiser for him over in the U.S.A, having already made his name in the UK and, naturally, his home-countries of New Zealand and Samoa, the next big boxing demographic to crack is America and by beating Miller there can be no clearer attention-raiser;
And secondly, whilst Miller is a more risky opponent due to his sheer size and power, he also blows hot and cold within his fights and has never, particularly, came through entirely convincing – his size has it’s downfalls as well; he’s not particularly fast!

Let’s wait and see on this one but, heck, it would be a dust-up.

Junior Fa

This is certainly less realistic than the two previous names but in Junior Fa there is far more history and romance to the match-up, going all the way back to the amateur days when the two New Zealand fighters faced-off on four occasions.

With two wins apiece the crux of the needle came in their last fight when Fa and Parker took place in a final eliminator to decide who would be the Oceanic representative for the London 2012 Olympic Games – Fa won in a tight grudge match by 11-8 but since they turned professional the anticipation has been growing for what, must surely be, an inevitably tasty bout.

Despite the fact Fa is currently, attempting, to make his name in America with Bob Arum and Top Rank, he’s looked incredibly unimpressive in his last two fights Stateside and would, undoubtedly, jump at the chance to cash-in back on home soil should the offer come from Joseph Parker’s team….
…. WATCH THIS SPACE!

For Anthony Joshua the path is far clearer and he has the, odd, pleasure of being at the mercy of the governing bodies which makes his job – and that of Eddie Hearn – a lot easier. Nonetheless here are his three most likely opponents;

Deontay Wilder

SURPRISE! Can you even mention the two remaining heavyweight world champions independently anymore? The hype surrounding this potential fight was so extreme that Wilder seemed to be mentioned more than Parker in the build-up to their unification clash and Wilder is now the only man in the way of Joshua’s ROAD TO UNDISPUTED.

The Bronze Bomber has drawn scorn for saying he “wants a body” on his record but for all the controversy that the WBC Champ courts, there is no denying the incredible power possessed in the hands of the Alabama-fighter.

Having toppled Luis Ortiz in his last fight, despite very tight scorecards, it was Wilder’s windmill-esque power that saw his Cuban succumb in the 10th round – many, beforehand, were suggesting this was a 50-50 fight and, so it proved, with Wilder coming through his toughest test do date.

For all the talking done by the forty fight veteran, Wilder refused to show up in Cardiff for the AJ-Parker mega-fight and has turned down career high money to face Dillian Whyte in the interlude between a potential unification with Joshua; the BIGGEST potential fight but, let’s be honest, is it likely?

Alexander Povetkin

Having brutally knocked out, past-it contender, David Price in the 5th round on the undercard in Wales last week, Povetkin managed to retain his WBO and WBA Continental titles, as well as their respective, number one rankings and is likely to be called as the WBA mandatory any time soon.

The Russian has fallen foul of anti-doping rules in the past but since his return to the ring he has continued to highlight what made him, once, the most feared heavyweight in the world. To boot, and if I can say this, it’s noticeable how less “drugged-up” he looks, for want of a better phrase, so whilst suspicion will always loom there is a renewed belief that Povetkin is clean, again.

Fighting on the undercard of Anthony Joshua was a deliberate move by Eddie Hearn to introduce the 38-year-old to the British public ahead of what would be, inevitably, Povetkin’s final tilt at such prestigious titles – indeed it would be the biggest money of his career.

Povetkin packs a nifty punch and as was displayed in full glory against Price, he is capable of turning up the heat AT ANY MOMENT. Weakness were also displayed so whilst this might be AJ’s most exciting fight, you can be sure he’d be feeling mightily confident against the Russian Vityaz.

Kubrat Pulev

Pulev and, his promoters, the Sauerland Brothers will have been banging the door down of the Matchroom offices since the Bulgarian withdrew from his scheduled face-off with AJ last year – a fight that was meant to happen on the 28th October AT the Principality Stadium.

The 36 year old would continue in the same vein as Joseph Parker in seeking to test Joshua’s technical capabilities with the chin of Pulev being one that, should, withstand the pressure of AJ and Joshua may want to face Pulev in order to prove he’s not just an one-trick pony.
Having impressed against Dereck Chisora back in May 2016 to claim the European title, he’s since faced Samuel Peter and Kevin Johnson but, frankly, not made any earth-shattering statements against either man.

His rankings remain strong and The Cobra finds himself 5th the WBC, 4th with the WBA and 2nd with the IBF so there’s no questioning his credentials – unlike some who find themselves within the top 15.
Certainly all the talk before his pull-out last year was that Pulev could have been the toughest technical test of Joshua’s ability with his amateur pedigree bleeding into his professional game plan and, to all intent and purposes, replicating his success.

An eliminator between Breazeale and Pulev for a shot at the WBC Heavyweight title has been called so it looks as though his chance at taking on the pride of Britain is all but gone.

You can hope though, can’t you?

For both fighters involved in Saturday’s showdown in Cardiff, there can be no looking back on what could have been different, on what might have been, eyes must firmly be on the future because Joshua and Parker proved themselves as worthy world champions and whilst it was AJ who emerged victorious and with his undefeated record intact, Parker gained more credit over those 36 minutes than he did across all three of his previous world title fights.

For Anthony Joshua, though, the Road to Undisputed just got one step closer…

More Columns

Manny Pacquiao and Bob Arum Continue to be at Odds Over Prospective Opponents


By: Bryant Romero

Manny Pacquiao’s return to the ring sometime this year has been on been ongoing saga on whether the proposed bout with Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs) will actually pull through for sometime this summer. Reports of strain relations between Pacquiao and Arum should come to no surprise as there were signs prior to Pacquaio’s fight with Jeff Horn in Australia. The Pacquiao camp caused a stir in recent weeks as they announced to boxing press that Pacquiao is currently a free agent and no longer contractually obligated to Top Rank.

“I reviewed the contract and I found out that Bob Arum has no more say even in the rematch, should there be any between Manny Pacquiao and Australian boxer Jeff Horn,” said Pacquiao’s lawyer Eldibrando Viernesto to the Philippine press.

Furthermore, the camp also announced a date that has since been rescheduled at a site in Malaysia with the hopes of sealing a deal with Matthysse through his promoter Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. Pacquiao was reportedly insulted with the initial offer from Top Rank to perhaps be on a undercard to Horn-Crawford to fight Mike Alvarado. Manny rejected the offer and is now reportedly negotiating a fight through his own without the involvement of Top Rank.

Pacquiao and Arum have been down this road before and it’s obvious that Manny had very little interest in fighting Jeff Horn last summer in Brisbane as he tried to set up a fight with Amir Khan in the UAE instead. The fight fell through however, and Pacquaio was left to fight Horn as Arum didn’t seem to offer any other opponents.

There are doubts that the Pacquiao vs Matthysse fight will pull through to a now rescheduled date of July 8. Aquiles Zonio who is Pacquiao’s media relations officer has made allegations that promoter Bob Arum has in the past threatened to sue some of the financial backers for which resulted in the fights being scrapped. Accoring to Zonio, Arum is trying to sabotage the Pacquiao vs Matthysse fight in Malaysia by threatening a lawsuit to the Malaysian financial backers.

It’s going to be an interesting next couple of weeks on finding out whether Pacquiao is truly a free agent and whether Bob Arum can once again convince Manny to get back on board and fight an opponent of his choosing instead.

More Columns

What is next for Vasyl Lomachenko?


By: Waquas Ali

One of boxing’s greatest talents in the modern era, Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1) has been acclaimed for his boxing skills and achievements ever since he turned pro.

From being a two-time Olympic gold medallist to winning his first world title in only in his third professional bout and to beating one of also boxing’s best and also a two-time Olympic champion Guillermo Rigondeaux.

Rigondeaux (17-1) is Lomachenko’s fourth consecutive opponent to quit on his stool and was his first loss since his amateur days.

After outboxing the Cuban in six rounds, the question now arises for Lomachenko is what next for him and what compatibility do the next fighter hold against him?

According to a survey poll conducted by Lomachenko on Twitter, he asked his followers with the options given on who he should fight next.

Out of 32,000 plus voters, 44% of them picked Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) and 39% picked Gervonta Davis (19-0, 18 KOs).

Those two in particular are without a doubt one of the best fighters in their respected weight classes. However, Davis himself fights at the super-featherweight division which is the exact same division that Lomachenko fights.

Back in February of this year, Davis was asked the question about fighting the Ukrainian by IFL TV and he stated that at the time it wasn’t the right move but “in the future, yes.”

Ten months later, the former IBF super-featherweight champion is now being talked about with Lomachenko and over 12,000 voters of Lomachenko’s followers want to see them fight.

In terms of styles and techniques, Davis also known as Tank has huge extensive and loads up wild combinations that dazzle his opponents. His most notable punch is the left to the head whilst countering on the inside.

Davis is also more of an accurate puncher and then starts to increase his activity level when he has his opponent in trouble, Lomachenko on the other hand tends to unload with great and consistent jabbing to the head and body.

Davis’ footwork isn’t quite unique as a Lomachenko’s is and doesn’t utilise any threat along with the stance of being southpaw – considering the fact that Lomachenko is also a southpaw.

Davis (5 feet 5 inches tall with a 67 inch reach) has a two inch reach advantage whilst Lomachenko (five feet 7 inches tall with a 65inch reach) has a two inch height advantage.

The second person as mentioned in the poll is three-weight world champion Mikey Garcia.

The 30-year-old has a variety of factors that back his resume up. He has a good leading jab that even leads to countering effectively and has caused a couple of opponents to be dropped with the jab. Garcia’s power also comes in great strength and he’s able to use his power punches really well.

According to CompuBox statistics review, Garcia was shown to have landed an average connect percentage of 43% of his power punches.

Both fighters however are in the top three as being hit with the least amount of punches in terms of connect percentage.

Garcia’s average opponent connect percentage stands at just 17% and Lomachenko’s opponent average is 16%, who is number one the list.

All these factors and stats could come in to place, should these fighters meet but they are just some of things to point out of these fighters.

More Columns

Could The Canelo-GGG Winner Actually Face Cotto In December?


By: Sean Crose

There’s little doubt that Miguel Cotto has had a Hall of Fame worthy career. Now that his life inside the ring is winding down, though, Cotto wants to go out with a bang. For the former lineal middleweight champ has made it clear he wants the winner of this Saturday’s Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin middleweight superfight. “I will have the last fight of my career in December,” ESPN quotes Cotto as saying, “and fighting the winner would be a good way to go out.”

This may strike some as a bit strange, since Cotto had previously made it clear that he never saw himself as a real middleweight – even when he was middleweight champion of the world.

Indeed, Canelo fought Cotto at a catchweight when they met in 2015 (in a fight Cotto lost by decision). Now that Canelo is fighting as a full middleweight this Saturday, however, it’s doubtful he’ll be willing to drop weight again for Cotto. What’s more, Cotto never seemed too keen on facing Golovkin when he wore the middleweight crown. Despite paying lip service to the possibility, team Cotto never did agree to face the feared Kazakh in the ring.

With that in mind, there’s little doubt that a fight featuring the 41-5 Cotto against either Canelo or Golovkin would be a notable event. Cotto’s fight with Canelo was certainly competitive and past glory alone would draw eyeballs to a bout with the fighter known as GGG. Still, at thirty-six years of age, Cotto is widely viewed as a fighter on the downslide.

Golovkin, at thirty-five, may be just a year younger, but the general consensus, should a fight between the two be made, would surely be that Golovkin hasn’t aged as Cotto has (provided, of course, that Golovkin looks sharp against Canelo this weekend).

For fans, the more appealing of the two options for Cotto might be Golovkin. A second Canelo fight would bring with it a sense of been there/done that, especially when one considers that the first fight, although entertaining, was far from a classic. Yet Golovkin, with his frightening knockout power, would make for an intriguing – or frightening – matchup. Even after a very sharp performance last month against the heroic Yoshihiro Kamegai, Cotto would no doubt enter the ring a heavy underdog. Would Cotto truly be willing to face Golovkin, however, or is he simply keeping his name in the media during fight week?

Furthermore, would a December fight with either man be a real possibility when one considers such things as recuperation and contract clauses?

Time may well provide the answers.

More Columns

Vasyl Lomachenko is Hi-Tec; Dominates but Has Questions Moving Forward


By: Kirk Jackson

Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko improved his professional record to 9-1 (7 KO’s) defending his WBO super featherweight title against Miguel Marrioga 25-3 (21 KO’s) at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, Ca.

This event broadcasted across the ESPN network, as Top Rank Promotions attempts to emulate the Premier Boxing Champions formula; this was the first of two high-profile airings this August.

“I never saw anything like this. He’s unbelievable,” said Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum to ESPN.com.

“Not only does he have the knowledge, he has the skill set that I’ve never seen before. Fast, reflexes, everything and he really entertains. Who else did that? Muhammad Ali.”

Let’s not forget in the past, Arum echoed the same sentiments about Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.

Being referenced to any of the four aforementioned legends is a great compliment either way. However, in light of Lomachenko’s brilliant performance, questions remain.

Although some ESPN analysts and other pundits are quick to announce Lomachenko as the No. 1 pound-for-pound best boxer in the world, Lomachenko enthusiasts conveniently leave out or overlook Andre Ward, Terence Crawford, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Keith Thurman and Mikey Garcia.

Crawford by the way happens to fight on the very same network of ESPN Aug. 19.

After conquering the lightweight division, capturing the WBO, The Ring and lineal lightweight titles, Crawford moved up to super lightweight and aims to unify the division by attaining all four titles from the sanctioning bodies.

A feat only accomplished in the recent alphabet era by Joe Calzaghe and Bernard Hopkins.

Ward defeated another fellow pound-for-pound fighter Sergey Kovalev in back to back bouts over the course of seven months.
He is the unified light heavyweight champion of the world and prior to that, won the “Super Six Tournament,” virtually cleaned out a stacked super middleweight division and ruled that very same division with iron fists.

Rigondeaux dominates opponents with skill and bends their will as Lomachenko does. The Cuban born star dominated the super bantamweight division for just over half a decade and easily dismantled Nonito Donaire, who at the time was considered the best fighter in boxing pound-for-pound.

Thurman is regarded by most as the best fighter in the best division as of now. Historically, the welterweight division produces great fighters and great matches.

Thurman added another trinket to his collection capturing the WBC welterweight title while defeating undefeated two-division champion Danny Garcia in the process.

Mikey Garcia is a two-division champion, recently embarking on his third division while soundly defeating four-division champion Adrien Broner in the process. Garcia is undefeated, highly skilled and wants to fight Lomachenko.

Determining the best fighter pound-for-pound is not an easy task.

The measure of skill is subjective and up for interpretation. But the professional accolades and accomplishments undoubtedly favor Ward in this instance – and the same can be echoed for virtually every other fighter considered on the mythical pound-for-pound list.

For the Lomachenko contingent, this isn’t intended to bash the Ukrainian star. He is clearly one of the best talents in boxing and one of the best fighters.

But it is a disservice to the sport and other top level fighters who proved their worth over this past decade, to prematurely crown Lomachenko pound-for-pound king. He still has to add on to his resume before he takes the throne.
Furthering our focus on Lomachenko, what is next for him?

The narrative promoted for Lomachenko is he is so skilled, so transcendent with ability, there isn’t a fighter with desire to face him. That’s the perception, but not necessarily reality.

It sounds good from his perspective to state there is a lack of competition or willing volunteers – and then to put on performances as he did against Marrioga.
But if we really analyze the situation, there’s other layers to look at.

Marriaga is not ranked within the top 10 of the junior lightweight division. Marriaga is also coming off a sound defeat against Oscar Valdez via unanimous decision this past April.

Prior to the fight against Lomachenko Marriaga was ranked 27th according to Boxrec. Lomachenko’s opponent prior to Marriaga, Jason Sosa, is not an elite fighter at any stretch as well.

It’s one thing to look amazing against standard competition, but it’s another thing to do so against the very best of the division.

There’s an argument there are willing combatants ready to fight Lomachenko; Garcia, Rigondeaux, Gary Russell Jr. and a few others.

Russell Jr. has been quoted as saying, “I don’t care if he [Lomachenko] loses his next 10 fights, before my career is over he’ll have to see me again. The people didn’t see the Gary Russell that they’re used to seeing.”

These are valid options and Garcia mentioned key points in regards to Lomachenko’s issue in regards to finding suitable opponents.

An argument can be made in Lomachenko’s favor in regards to guys not wanting to fight him, is if we look at the risk vs. reward element and the value Lomachenko brings in regards to money.

This is a dilemma Floyd Mayweather faced early in his career. The same notion can be argued for Marvin Hagler and Rigondeaux currently.

As Garcia alluded to, there is the question of drawing power. Can Lomachenko draw crowds or sellout arenas? What are his ratings television wise, is there pay-per-view potential? What is the budget looking like?

Lomachenko’s last HBO affair against Jason Sosa was an average of 832,000 viewers tuning in to watch Lomachenko defend his WBO world super featherweight title as the main event of HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” tripleheader.

Lomachenko has comparable numbers to Rigondeaux if that is of importance.

More people have access to ESPN so in theory, this recent showing against Marriroga should enhance Lomachenko’s brand.

If Lomachenko’s handlers are having such difficulty finding guys to fight him, what are they doing to resolve the issues behind it?

When it comes to negotiation, are they submitting low-ball offers? Nicholas Walters mentioned that issue in the past, as did Rigondeaux.

Orlando Salido mentioned the same. For those keeping track, Salido is the only man to defeat Lomachenko in the professional ranks.

Although chasing a rematch with Salido may appear hollow, because with every day passing is another day closer to retirement for the battle-worn veteran Salido. Lomachenko mentioned a lack of interest in a Salido rematch, as it appears to be a moot point.

Networks, promoters, budgeting, all appear to be the key issues with Lomachenko vs. better quality opposition.

If these are the issues behind the scenes, then we may never see the match-ups we want to see. That means everything the fighters and promoters are saying is essentially lip service.

The well informed boxing fan would love to see Lomachenko vs. Mikey Garcia or Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux.

An eventual showdown with Gervonta Davis or Terence Crawford sounds fascinating as well.

Unfortunately, the well informed boxing fans can’t dictate which match-ups will transpire and when. We can only hope extraordinary talents such as Lomachenko is afforded the opportunities to continually showcase his skills at the highest level.

More Columns

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?

IMG_4050

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.

More Columns

After Conquering The United Kingdom, what is the Next Move for Errol Spence Jr.?


After conquering The United Kingdom, what is the next move for Errol Spence Jr.?
By: Kirk Jackson

He came, he saw, he conquered.

IMG_3811

Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. 22-0 (19 KO’s) delivered on his promise, dethroning IBF welterweight champion Kell “Special K” Brook 36-2 (25 KO’s) in a thrilling, competitive bout across the pond in Sheffield, Yorkshire, United Kingdom this past weekend.

Displaying what Spence described as “True grit,” the newly crowned champ accomplished the same feat a few high profile, contemporary American fighters accomplished – traveling to the United Kingdom to win their first world title.

Terence Crawford, Timothy Bradley and Marvin Hagler won their first world titles in the United Kingdom. Pretty good company.

After eating a few of Brook’s “Chocolate brownies,” Spence dissed out his own punishment, stopping the brave Brit in 11 rounds.

“I watched some of his fights and he likes to fight at a certain pace,” Spence told Showtime’s Jim Gray after winning the title.

“And once you pick up the pace on him, he kind of breaks down a little bit, and he can’t throw a lot of punches. So I decided to press the action, make him fight at a pace that he didn’t wanna fight at. Then he started breathing hard and he started slowing down, and I knew that I had him.”

Spence stated in his post-fight interview, the goal is to fight all of the top guys in the division. He wants to unify all of the belts and specifically called out unified WBA and WBC welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman 28-0 (22 KO’s) and WBO welterweight champ Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao 59-6-2 (38 KO’s).

“I’ve been calling Keith Thurman out for a long time,” said Spence. “Now it’s time. You say I have to prove myself and I haven’t fought anybody. Well, I just beat the so-called biggest welterweight in the division – Kell Brook. So now, Keith Thurman, you know, come-out. It’s time to fight.”

Thurman appears to be game. Whether these fights occur remain to be seen. It’s been suggested Spence has been avoided in boxing’s toughest division.

It will be difficult to avoid Spence now that he has championship stake in the division. If he can unify, then all championship welterweight roads must be traveled through him.

“The goal is to unify the titles,” Spence told Sky Sports following Saturday’s fight. “I wanna fight Keith Thurman next, you know, Manny Pacquiao next. I wanna fight the champions next, unify the division and become the undisputed champion of the world.”

Danny “Swift” Garcia 33-1 (19 KO’s) and Thurman played their part in the unification process earlier in March and it will be great for boxing if the trend continues throughout the year.

With Pacquiao facing relatively unknown contender Jeff “The Hornet” Horn 16-0-1 (11 KO’s) in July, time to will tell if he wants to participate in this unofficial, welterweight-tournament styled unification process.

Spence appears to have a bright future and it will be interesting to see the challenges in store for him next.

More Columns

Boxing Insider Interview with Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez: The Next Big Thing


Boxing Insider Interview with Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez: The Next Big Thing
By: Francisco Martinez

Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez a 168lbs southpaw standing 6′ 2” with technical boxing ability along with speed and stamina and not to mention good looks is an easy sell to the public. This coming Saturday April 22nd he’s set to step back into the ring after a lay off do to a hand injury and defend his WBO 168lbs title for the first time against Max Bursak of Germany in a triple header card which will also showcase Oscar Valdez and Jessie Magdaleno whom will also defend their versions of the WBO title at 126lbs and 122lbs. All in a stacked Top Rank promotions PPV card at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

Ramirez_Lorenzo_espn_140411_001a

BoxingInsider was at hand for the media day at the famed Magnifico Boxing Gym own by 3 time champion, legend Israel El Magnifico Vazquez who’s gym resides in Southgate, Los Angeles as Zurdo Ramirez, Oscar Valdez and Jessie Magdaleno worked out in front of the media and fans we managed to get a few quotes from Zurdo as he taped up for his workout and this is what he had to say.

BoxingInsider: “How was training camp?”

Zurdo Ramirez: “Really good, really good, my preparation is done now” says with a big smile on his face.

BoxingInsider: “You look very happy why?”

Zurdo Ramirez: “Because the fight is really close and I’m really happy. One year and 13 days out of the ring and now it’s time to go back”

Zurdo Ramirez was suppose to defend his title on the night Manny Pacquiao soundly defeated Jessie Vargas but Zurdo suffered a hand injury which required surgery and has kept him out of the ring since April of last year. Although not being able to compete Zurdo maintained active while back home in Mazatlan, Mexico where he kept his physical shape in tact by running, swimming and strength and conditioning work. Something trainer’s, father and son Jesus and Hector Zapari feel benefited him greatly being out of the ring from over a year.

BoxingInsider: “So that was on your mind the whole time to step back into the ring?”

Zurdo Ramirez: “Yeah because one year out of the ring and now it’s closer to the fight and I’m really happy”

The bigger picture here lays within the victory of April 22nd if Zurdo Ramirez manages to successfully defend his title the possibility of a showdown with Kazak powerhouse Gennady Golovkin will be explored as both Bob Arum and Tom Loeffler have expressed great interest in this possible match up. One that the boxing community is also hoping for. After his tough earned and controversial victory against Daniel Jacobs Gennady Golovkin and his team went on record that a June fight date versus Billy Joe Sunders was the goal and with a win Gennady would move up to 168lbs as undisputed status was his ultimate vision regardless of the potential Canelo fight they were not gonna wait for him.

Those comments sparked legendary promoter Bob Arum to quickly say Zurdo Ramirez would “destroy” Gennady Golovkin and that he would be looking to make that fight. A fight Zurdo and his team are also hoping for but not over looking their April 22nd assignment. Zurdo assures us that “first thing is first, first thing is April 22nd, Max Bursak and after that like I say doesn’t matter whatever comes. I have the skills, power, everything. I’m really confident about me, myself that’s why I asked for that fight but I need to win this fight (April 22nd)”

Trainer Hector Zapari also confident in Zurdo and likes the idea of a Gennady Golovkin fight “yeah for sure Zurdo is a very complete fighter, yeah, Zurdo beats Golovkin for sure” with Gennady Golovkin now passing up on that June fight date which could have possibly ended up taking place if his home country of Kazakhstan not happening it opens the door for a possible move to 168lbs or he awaits the winner of Saul Alvarez vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. but given the general opinion that Alvarez will have an easy night this coming May 6th a possible Alvarez vs Golovkin fight is a little sketchy do to the history of their negotiations which have lead to nowhere and can only leave the door open for other possibilities with one of those being Zurdo Ramirez.

Tune in this April 22nd for the Top Rank promotions PPV triple header at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Follow complete coverage leading up to the fight by using #TopRankBoxing

More Columns