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!) –
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?!
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
PBC on FS1 Results: Pascal Defeats Elbiali and Retires
By: Ken Hissner
At the Hialeah Park Racing & Casino in Hialeah, FL, on Friday night, promoter Leon Margules of Warrior Boxing over USA Fox Sports 1 presented a triple header.
In the main event light heavyweight Egyptian Ahmed Elbiali, 16-1 (13), of Miami, FL, suffered his first loss as former world champion Haitian Jean Pascal, 32-5-1 (19), of Quebec, CAN, ended his career with a win at 2:06 of the sixth round.
Photo Credit: Douglas DeFelice / Premier Boxing Champions
In the first round after twenty seconds Elbiali landed a left hook to the chin of Pascal rocking him. He went after Pascal who countered with a left hook to the head of Elbiali. Pascal finished the final minute strong with left hooks to the head of Elbiali. In the second round Pascal was swinging wildly mostly with left hooks. Elbiali landed his share of rights to the head. Pascal ended the round with a flurry of punches to the head of Elbiali.
In the third round both fighters mixed it up well taking turns getting the better of it. Pascal would throw and land punches then hold too much. In the fourth round just under a minute into the round the slugfest continued with both fighters landing bombs. Referee Tellis Ashimentos warned Pascal to stop holding. A big left hook by Pascal to the chin of Elbiali was the highlight of the round.
In the fifth round both fighters landed right hands to the head at the same time. With a minute remaining in the round Pascal was overwhelming Elbiali. Both fighters looked exhausted at the end of the round. In the sixth round Pascal turned up the heat over the much younger Elbiali driving him into a corner landing a dozen punches causing Elbiali’s corner to throw in the towel forcing referee Telis Assimenios ending the fight.
Returning after a fourteen month layoff welterweight southpaw Bryant “Goodfella” Perrella, 15-1 (13), of Ft. Myers, FL, wona lopsided decision over southpaw Alex “Chi-Town Heat” Martin, 13-3 (5), over 8 rounds with a first round knockdown.
In round one Perella was the aggressor outworking Martin. With less than half a minute left in the round a vicious right hook from Perella on the chin of Martin dropped him. Referee Andrew Glen gave him the 8 count. Martin held on to get through the round. In the second round Perella continued to walk through Martin who was on the defense for the most part.
In the third round Perella continued to push Martin around the ring. Martin waited until the final ten seconds to land a combination to the head of Perella. In the fourth round Martin worked his way back into the fight with right hooks to the head and body.
In the fifth round Perella was on the offense backing up Martin. With less than a minute left in the round a Perella right hook to the head stunned Martin. In the sixth round Perella continued to outwork Martin. Halfway thru the round Perella landed half a dozen punches that were unanswered by Martin.
In the seventh round Perella continued to dominate Martin. With a minute left in the round Martin landed a rare combination to the head of Perella. In the eighth and final round Perella dominated the first half of the round while Martin came back landing well but too little too late.
Judges scores Green and Ray 79-72 with Ross 77-74, this writer 78-73.
In the co-main event returning after a year off heavyweight Cuban southpaw Louis “King Kong” Ortiz, 28-0 (24), of Miami, FL, knocked out Daniel “The Mountain” Martz, 16-6-1 (13), of Clarksburg, WV, at 0:43 of the second round.
From ringside WBC champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder got into the ring telling Ortiz “you better be in shape because I am going to knock you out!”
In the first round it was all Ortiz. With less than twenty seconds left several body shots while inside dropped a defensive Martz. In the second round a crushing left on the chin of Martz and down he went and out. Referee Sam Burgos didn’t count but just waved it off.
Featherweight Stephen ”Cool Boy Steph” Fulton, 12-0 (5), of West Philadelphia, PA, scored a majority decision over Adam “Blunose” Lopez, 8-1 (3), of Glendale, CA, over 8 rounds.
In the first round both were trading jabs until Lopez landed a 3-punch combination. Lopez gets Fulton in a corner and lands half a dozen punches before Fulton spun out and landed several punches of his own. With half a minute left in the round Fulton landed his best punch of the round a lead right hand to the chin of Lopez. In the second round half a minute in Lopez landed a power punch right to the head of Fulton. With a minute left in the round Fulton landed a big right to the chin of Lopez. Lopez would come back and rock Fulton with seconds to go in the round with a big right to the head.
In the third round Lopez landed several good shots driving a countering Fulton into the ropes. Lopez landed over a half dozen punches to a hands held high Fulton who was against the ropes. With under a minute left in the round Fulton landed a solid left hook to the head of Lopez drawing blood from the nose of Lopez. In the fourth round the blood from the nose of Lopez is flowing. Fulton countered much better in the round outworking Lopez for the most part. Lopez seemed to have some trouble breathing due to the nose bleed.
In the fifth round in the middle of the ring after Fulton becoming the aggressor for the first half of the round Lopez landed several good uppercuts with both hands to the chin of Fulton. Under a minute left in the round Fulton landed a good right to the chin of Lopez. The jab of Fulton is giving Lopez trouble. In the sixth round Lopez turned to southpaw again becoming the aggressor. With a minute to go in the round Fulton takes the lead landing straight rights to the head of Lopez making him go back to orthodox. In the final twenty seconds Fulton drops his hands scoring well but at the bell he got his second warning from the referee Assimenios for a low blow.
In the seventh round both boxers are slugging it out. Halfway through the round Fulton continues to show his better hand speed while Lopez works on the body when inside. In a close round Fulton seemed to have a slight edge. In the eighth and final round Lopez lands a double left hook to the chin of Fulton. Lopez got a warning for a low blow. Lopez was scoring well but walked into a Fulton left hook to the head. Just under a minute Lopez landed a good right to the head of Fulton. Lopez’s trainer former champion Buddy McGirt was screaming to let his hands go. The corner of Fulton was Hamaz Muhammad and assistant Naziim Richardson.
Judges scores were Rupert 76-76, Ross 78-74 and Young 77-75 with this writer having it 76-76.
Miguel Cotto Built a Legacy of Tough Fights and Few Words
By: Eric Lunger
Miguel Cotto, a man of few words and larger-than-life deeds in the ring, retired from boxing this weekend. At age 37, Cotto dropped a unanimous decision to Saddam Ali in a tough and hard-hitting bout, bowing out on arguably the sport’s greatest stage, Madison Square Garden in New York City. Gracious in defeat, Cotto thanked his fans and summarized his boxing career with characteristic brevity: “thank you [to] all the fans. I am proud to call MSG my second home. I had the opportunity to provide the best for my family because of the sport.” In an age of unrelenting celebrity narcissism, Miguel Cotto spent 17 years in the hurt business for his family; the boxing glory was incidental.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter
Turning pro in 2001, Miguel captured his first world title in 2004, the WBO World super lightweight belt. He then reeled off six successful defenses, the last against Paulie Malignaggi in 2006, a twelve-round unanimous win. Cotto then went up to 147, winning the vacant WBA World welterweight belt against then-undefeated Carlos Quintana in Atlantic City, in December of 2006.
After four successful defenses — including back-to-back wins over Zab Judah and Shane Mosley — Cotto relinquished the WBA belt in July 2008, suffering his first loss against Antonio Margarito (TKO 11th) in a bloody and controversial bout. But in February of 2009, Cotto bounced back, winning the WBO welterweight belt from Michael Jennings (at MSG). In his third defense, Cotto took on the great Manny Pacquiao, then at the height of his talent. Pacquiao won by TKO in the 12th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in an incredible, action-filled thriller.
Cotto then went up to super welterweight, winning the WBA title by stopping Yuri Foreman in nine rounds at Yankee Stadium in June 2010. After a successful defense against Ricardo Mayorga, Cotto faced Margarito for a second time, battering the Mexican fighter into a ninth-round retirement. After Margarito had been exposed with doctored hand-wraps against Shane Mosley, Cotto’s revenge victory was all the sweeter, and called into question the outcome of the first fight.
In May of 2012, Miguel faced undefeated Floyd Mayweather at the 154-pound limit, and lost a unanimous twelve round decision at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, in one of Mayweather’s most coldly efficient exhibitions of defense and counter punching. After a consecutive loss to Austin Trout, Cotto sought new challenges in the middleweight division, defeating Sergio Martinez for the WBC title in June of 2014. This set up a great crossroads battle with rising Mexican superstar Saul Canelo Alvarez, in Las Vegas in November of 2015. Alvarez took the twelve-round decision and the belt.
This time, it would be a nineteen-month layoff before Cotto returned to the ring, as he faced Yoshihiro Kamegai for the vacant WBO super welterweight belt in August of 2017. Kamegai put in a game effort, but Cotto gave his fans one of his finest performances to date. Not content, however, to retire on that note, Cotto decided to finish his career with one more fight, this time at MSG against a top opponent.
That Cotto choose a tough, competitive fight for his last bout, when by all rights he could have taken a victory lap, speaks volumes about who he is as an athlete and a person. As a fighter, he could duck and slip like a bantamweight, his right hand was held high to protect his chin, and he came forward like a dancing bulldog. With his left hook as his best punch, he could throw it as a lead, or from inside. Cotto fought hard, always gave the fans his best, and he took on all the big names of the sport. He summed up his approach to boxing in one of the final press conferences: “I have always dedicated myself fully and worked hard; now [I am] finishing my career on my own terms.” A four weight-class champion, Miguel Cotto leaves behind a legacy of great achievement as a boxer and genuine integrity as a person.
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Cotto Closes Career with Loss to Ali, Vargas Defeats Negrete
By: William Holmes
A champion in four divisions and a lock for the boxing hall of fame, the legendary Miguel Cotto fought the last fight of his career in the building that helped make him famous, Madison Square Garden.
Surprisingly, despite campaigning in the middleweight division, Miguel Cotto weighted in at 151.6lbs while Sadam Ali, who has fought in the welterweight division and is bumping up a weight class to face Cotto, weighed in at 153lbs. Many, including this writer, expected Cotto to weigh in at a heavier weight than Ali
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter
The opening bout of the night was between Rey Vargas (30-0) and Oscar Negrete (17-0) for the WBC Junior Featherweight Title.
Vargas, the taller fighter, was able to use his height to his advantage in the opening round and landed a high volume of punches to the body and head of Negrete. He was able to get a full extension on his shots in the second round and had Negrete taking some hard shots.
Vargas connected with three straight uppercuts followed by a right hook in the opening seconds of the third round. At one point in the third Negrete stepped on the foot of Vargas and knocked him over, but the referee correctly ruled it a push. Vargas’ sharp shots continued into the fourth round and fifth rounds but Negrete, to his credit, never stopped coming forward.
Negrete snuck in a few good shots of his own, especially when he was in tight, but Vargas’ combinations were numerous.
Negrete took some heavy body shots by Vargas in the sixth round, but did land his best punch of the night, a left hook, in the ninth round.
The eighth round was also tight as Negrete surprisingly landed some combinations, and Vargas had a cuts over both of his eyes. The referee checked it in the eighth and before the ninth rounds but let Vargas continue.
Negrete was out matched and out gunned, but continued to press the pace in the final rounds but took a barrage of punches in the process.
Vargas’ cut over his left eye looked pretty bad, but he was never in danger of being hurt.
The judges scored it 119-109, 119-109, and 120-108 for Rey Vargas.
Miguel Cotto (41-5) and Sadam Ali (25-1) met in the main event of the night for the WBO Junior Middleweight Title.
Cotto walked out to no walk out music so that he could hear the crowd.
The crowd loudly chanted for Cotto in the opening round, but Ali established he had the superior hand speed early on and connected with some surprising punches. Cotto was able to land his patented left hook to the body, but Ali looked like he was landing at a higher connect rate.
Cotto was badly hurt in the second round from a right cross by Ali. Cotto’s legs were wobbly, but Ali did not press the action to try and finish the fight. Ali slipped in the second round, but he definitely had Cotto hurt.
Ali’s length gave Cotto trouble in the third round but Cotto was pressing the action. Cotto was hurt once again in the fourth round by Ali, but was able to recover and come forward behind his jab.
Cotto’s attack to the body appeared to be effective in the fifth and sixth rounds, especially when he had Ali backed into a corner. Ali’s right eye began to swell in the seventh round but he was landing good shots to the head of Cotto.
Cotto had Ali backed into the ropes several times in the eighth and did his best work there, but Ali retook control in the ninth round as Cotto looked like he was tiring.
Ali landed a vicious left hook on Cotto in the tenth round that had Cotto on wobbly legs again and his mouth wide open. Cotto was on full retreat in the tenth and appeared to be close to going down.
Ali came out aggressively in the eleventh round and looked like he was going for the knockout. His corner had previously urged him to be more aggressive. Cotto survived and circled away from the attacking Ali.
Cotto came out aggressive in the final round but looked tired and slow. Ali was the fresher fighter and closed out the fight well.
The final scores were 115-113, 116-112, 115-113 for Sadam Ali.
In the post fight interview Cotto confirmed it was his last fight, and revealed he hurt his left bicep in the seventh round.
Cotto stated, “Feeling good. Feeling good with the performance. Something happened to my left bicep, seventh round. I don’t want to make excuses, Sadam won the fight. It is my last fight. I am good, and I want to be happy in my home with my family.
“Thank you for all the fans, I am proud to call MSG my second home. I had the opportunity to provide the best for my family because of the sport.”
I worked hard for it.” Said Sadam Ali. “I took advantage of this fight, and I made sure to make it count. I want to Thank God, and also thank team Cotto, They could have taken an easier fight if they wanted too. ”
“I had him hurt here or there in the first couple of rounds. I knew I had to do something, or he would have dug in. By the 11th, I thought the fight was close. Whatever GBP has next, I’ll take it. Good things happen to good people. I have been training since I was 8 years old, and I am glad I got this win at MSG, in my hometown.”
Mayweather Still In Fighting Shape- Talk of McGregor Rematch
by Bryanna Fissori
Three months into retirement Floyd Mayweather Jr. is reportedly still training “like a maniac” and in fighting shape. His recent training video, recorded in his Las Vegas gym has inspired rumors of a comeback and potential rematch with his most recent opponent, Conor McGregor.
Given the amount of money made by everyone involved with the fight in August, it is not surprising that there is talk of doing it again. The cash is still being counted, but general totals have fight purses at $100 million for Mayweather and $30 million for McGregor prior to accounting for PPV buys, gate sales, sponsorship, etc.
The Mayweather Perspective
Mayweather is 40 years old and boasts an unblemished professional record of 50-0. This is the largest unbeaten winning streak in boxing history, beating out the previous record of 49-0 held by heavyweight Rocky Marciano who passed away in 1969.
This is Mayweather’s third attempt at retirement. He has previously returned to the ring primarily due to financial necessity after running into a number of problems with the IRS and the legal system. Mayweather asserts, that this time he is really done.
“You won’t see me in the ring no more. Any guy that’s calling me out? Forget it. I’m OK. I had a great career. I had a tremendous career,” said Mayweather. “I did walk away from this sport before. Very comfortable. I didn’t have to come back. But we do foolish things sometimes. All of us do foolish things. But I’m not a damn fool. If I see an opportunity to make $300-, $350 million in 36 minutes, why not? I had to do it. But this is the last one. You guys have my word.”
The McGregor Perspective
Conor McGregor is a 29 year old professional MMA fighter competing for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). McGregor’s bout against Mayweather was his boxing debut. He has been very clear that he would gladly rematch Mayweather should the opportunity arise.
In a recent Q&A session McGregor stated, “I’m not calling him out. I’ll sit back. We’ll see how he gets along with this round of money. Maybe I’ll get another call. Originally he was saying an MMA bout next. . . That’s what he said before the fight.”
McGregor is the UFC Lightweight Champion and will most likely have his next competition in the cage, though he has also shown interest in boxing again or spending some time in professional wrestling. Both boxing and professional wrestling have been known to produce solid paychecks in comparison to MMA.
There has also been talk of McGregor talking on former training partner Paulie Malignaggi in a boxing match. It is a match Malignaggi has requested following statements released to the media that McGregor had gotten the best of him during training camp.
Mayweather and MMA
Well, technically if Mayweather was to agree to a bout with MMA rules that wouldn’t have any effect on his assertion of retirement from boxing or his perfect record. The money would be good and the hype would be exciting.
McGregor has stated that he believes Mayweather could compete in mixed martial arts. “He has some very strong tools he could bring into an MMA game for sure.”
One of the most notable crossovers from boxing to MMA was boxer James Toney, who took on UFC fighter Randy Couture in 2010. The match went as expected with Couture out grappling the boxer. Other crossovers that shared as similar fate include Art Jimmerson who faces Royce Gracie in UFC 1 and Ricardo Mayorga who had a series of losses before calling it quits. There are numerous others who have found similar issues with the kicking and grappling aspects of the sport. One of the most recent examples is Bellator fighter Heather Hardy who was unable to outbox Kristina Williams who blooded the boxer with kicks and knees.
The key for Mayweather in an MMA bout would be defending takedowns and watching for kicks and knees, especially given his typical style of playing with his back against the ropes.
McGregor has some proving to do back in the UFC cage and will probably defend his MMA title before any serious considerations of re-entering the ring. In the mean time, Mayweather will count his money and keep training to stay relevant to the masses, teasing fans with a comeback. Is it possible? McGregor may be on to something in his statement that Mayweather’s finances could be the decision maker. Will it be MMA or Boxing? That will likely depend on what the fans are willing to pay the most for.
Deontay Wilder: “If Bermane Stiverne Beats Me, I Will Retire.”
By: Sean Crose
“That’s the thing about it,” WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder said on a recent conference call to promote his upcoming rematch with Bermane Stiverne. “You take it in the first place, and you make up excuses, and then the blame is pointed at me. It’s starting to sicken me.” The 38-0 Alabama native was referring to the failed drug tests which have ruined numerous planned matches for him. For both Alexander Povetkin and Luis Ortiz, two high level opponents, have tested dirty and ruined their chances to lift Wilder’s title. Infuriating as it may be, accusations that he hasn’t fought top level opposition have clearly taken their toll on Wilder, as well.
“I don’t want to feel this way about boxing,” Wilder claimed, “because I was once in love with it and it’s starting to make me rethink my career.” Wilder went on to present some of the questions that have been running through his mind. “Am I better out of this sport than in this sport because of this stuff that’s going on?” he asked. “Am I that dangerous to other fighters’ careers that they feel they have to do certain things when it comes to Deontay Wilder?”
The 25-2-1 Stiverne, on the other hand, made it clear he’s simply eager to rematch the man who won the title from him back in 2015, via unanimous decision. “I always thought that the fight was never going to happen with Deontay and Ortiz,” he said. “If you asked me from the moment they announced the fight. The first thing I said is, ‘This fight is not going to happen. And I’ve got to get ready for Deontay.’” Stiverne, who has only fought once since losing to Wilder, presented himself as the picture of confidence. “I’m 110% ready mentally and physically,” he stated. “I’m really happy that it happened the way it happened. There was just something there that I knew this was going to happen.”
Whereas Stiverne now has a prime chance at redemption, Wilder has to deal with the fact that the types of new, highly ranked opponents fans have longed to see him face have repeatedly kept themselves from fighting him due to failed drug tests. “This is just another obstacle that I had to deal with,” he said, “that I had to face. I put so much into it. Ortiz had been wanting it; he wanted this fight to happen. I never thought in a million years that he would do what he did.” The 32 year old Wilder showed little patience for those who make excuses for his would-be foes.
“No matter what they say,” Wilder stated, “it was done; it was a banned substance. You can’t get around that. You all make mistakes in there because they tried to get their leverage.” Wilder went on to claim “there are a lot of guys that are doing it though. I know each and every last one of them. There’s a lot of them doing it.” If Wilder is telling the truth, it’s nothing but bad news for the sport of boxing. Regardless, the titlist made it clear that he’s looking forward. “The ultimate goal is to get (Anthony) Joshua,” he said, referring to the reigning heavyweight king. “We’re not just going to be sitting up here and doing this and doing that. I don’t see what’s the difference between me and any other guy.”
“Joshua say he need more time,” Wilder continued, “he ain’t ready. He wants to put himself in a better position. But you already fought a guy that got way more experience than I.” Once again, Wilder’s frustration became clear. “I don’t understand this sport when it comes to me. It feels like I’m better off not being in this sport than being in it. I don’t understand it.”
As for Stiverne, the Wilder rematch, which will go down at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn (and aired on Showtime) on November 4th, represents nothing but good news. “I feel better,” the Vegas (by way of Haiti) fighter said when comparing this training camp to the one before his first fight with Wilder. “Just the workouts and the people we decided to deal with. Everything is so different, man. I feel better. Obviously there’s a couple of mistakes that we made for the first fight. One thing I’m good at man, is not to repeat my mistakes.”
“This is a different Bermane Stiverne,” he claimed.
Of course, if Stiverne is right, if he’s a new man who somehow beats Wilder, the world will clearly be shocked. Wilder himself went so far as to say an upset would lead to him stepping out of the ring entirely. “The way I’m feeling about boxing right now,” he said, “if Bermane Stiverne beats me, I will retire. You can put that down. I will be out of the way.”
Floyd Mayweather’s Return? Don’t call it a comeback…
By: Kirk Jackson
“Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years,” famous lyrics recited from the Hip-Hop legend LL Cool J from his number-one single Mama Said Knock You Out can certainly apply to a recent scenario featuring the retired/semi-retired Floyd Mayweather.
In recent weeks, the eventual Hall of Famer posted videos to his social media sites featuring short snippets of training.
In the video, Mayweather is rigorously punching the heavy bag and participating in other boxing-fight related activities across other video footage. The question is why? What is his intent? Is he teasing for yet another comeback and if so, against who?
Notorious Mayweather criticizer and HBO boxing analyst Jim Lampley, suggests Mayweather intends to fight Conor McGregor one more time.
“Why else is he putting out videos of him working out?” Lampley said to a TMZ reporter. “He allowed Conor McGregor to ‘win’ three rounds. Why did the whole thing last 10 rounds, etc.? It’s all a setup.”
Lampley of course is referencing when the undefeated former boxing champion Mayweather defeated the current UFC lightweight champion McGregor via TKO in the 10th round Aug. 26 in Las Vegas.
“Why should he retire?” Lampley said. “He created a marvelous scam with this whole thing. He allowed Conor to quote ‘win’ three rounds, so the whole global MMA wish community could have something to latch onto.”
“I think there’s a decent chance, there’s enough suckers out there, Floyd could maybe make another $150 million.”
No matter how the fight played out at the very least, the event was a financial success. Although the official numbers have yet to release, UFC President Dana White has celebrated the fiscal achievements of the circus that was.
“The thing ended up doing 6.7 million pay-per-view buys globally,” said White on The Unnamed Podvideocast. “How about this, we broke the record in Australia, we broke the record in the U.K. at four in the morning. We broke the record in Spain, Canada and the United States.”
It’s estimated the fight generated around $670 million in PPV revenue alone, leaving Mayweather with the lion’s share of the profit, providing Mayweather with incentive to run this lap yet again as Lampley suggested.
For McGregor’s part, he probably wouldn’t mind getting another crack at Mayweather.
For one, he will not receive criticism for losing to Mayweather; even though he back-peddled from the smaller, older, frail, fighter most of the fight.
He’ll continue to make excuses and escape criticism.
Of course there’s also financial incentive. Why return to the Octagon for peanuts (comparatively to boxing) when you can earn when you can earn multiple millions more in the boxing ring against one of the highest all-time grossing athletes across any sport?
As for the fight itself, the proposed rematch between Mayweather and McGregor and the excitement factor for most boxing fans will more than likely be non-existent.
For viewers possessing a greater understanding of boxing semantics, many could see what Mayweather was doing and how the fight was going to turn out. Lampley even mentioned it.
Mayweather toyed with McGregor, intentionally conceded rounds to sell/carry the fight and there isn’t much McGregor could do in a rematch that could change the outcome.
For those latching on to hope a rematch will be different, keep this mind. McGregor is a talented fighter and is exceptional within his realm of fighting.
McGregor is a good athlete and with time and proper training, could potentially develop into a good boxer.
But boxing is not an art mastered over the course of a few months. Boxing takes years to master and Mayweather is one of the grandeurs of the sport.
The initial fight promotion was based on racial propaganda and viewed by many people invested in that drama; the rematch may potentially feature some of the viewers from the same crowd.
If Mayweather isn’t training for a McGregor rematch, who is he training for? Is it current middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin? Or former two-division champion Danny Garcia?
The interview was conducted roughly a year ago and the options mentioned may no longer hold much merit.
Garcia is rumored to face Brandon Rios towards the end of the year and if he emerges victorious who knows what is footing will be in the convoluted welterweight championship picture. Although a bout with Mayweather promptly trumps any other option.
There was a stipulation for Mayweather regarding a bout with Golovkin but due to Andre Ward’s recent retirement, combined with Golovkin performance against former Mayweather adversary Canelo Alvarez, there could be a slim opening for the fighter referred to as “Triple G.”
At the age of 35, Golovkin is slowly but surely transforming into a household name with his last bout reaching nearly one million Pay-per-view buys.
He’s undefeated, a long time champion and regarded by many as a feared knock-out artist; that’s enough of a storyline to sell a potential fight against Mayweather.
There’s also another fighter knocking on Mayweather’s door asking for a fight with the retired champion.
In any fight I’ve never been out boxed. Mayweather khan fight would be a game of chess. Speed movement and accuracy will cause him problems
— Amir Khan (@amirkingkhan) October 23, 2017
Although it’d be hard-pressed to find anyone outside of Amir Khan’s family who wants to see a bout between Khan and Mayweather.
At this point, it’s purely speculation whether Mayweather will return to the ring as a fighter in the
The question remains why post training footage unless there is a plan in motion?
Mayweather may keep us guessing until he’s ready to reveal his move; just as he does to opponents inside the boxing ring.
Andre Ward: Path of a Champion
By: Kirk Jackson
— Andre S.O.G. Ward (@andreward) September 21, 2017
Indeed he did it, shocking the world once more, Andre “Son of God” Ward 32-0 (16 KO’s) retired from the sport of boxing Sept 21. 2017.
On the phone with ESPN’s “First Take” last Thursday, Ward cited the physical toll the sport has taken on him as the primary reason he’s stepping away from boxing.
“Just the accumulative effect of all the training and all the fights, it starts to wear on you and … starts to take your desire,” Ward said. “And when you don’t have the desire and you don’t have the ability physically to go out there and prepare the way you need to, you shouldn’t be in a boxing ring. My goal has always been to walk away from this sport and retire from this sport and not have the sport retire me, and I have that opportunity today.”
“People see what I do fight night, they see under the lights, but they don’t see the toil, they don’t see the grind, they don’t see the physical pain that you go through, again, not just in the fights, but to prepare and get ready for those battles,” Ward said.
Ward departs the professional ranks as a five-time world champion, winner of the Super Six World Boxing Classic, unified champion at super middleweight and light heavyweight. He is also the ESPN, Ring Magazine, Sports Illustrated and Boxing Writers Association of America, 2011 fighter of the year.
Ward also accomplished amazing feats as an amateur. Maintaining an amateur record of 115-5, Ward hasn’t suffered defeat amateur or pro since the age of twelve and is the last American male to win Olympic gold in boxing (2004 Athens).
Amid his remarkable accomplishments, not everyone was a fan of Andre Ward.
Some thought of him as “Boring” and a “Hugger,” among other disparaging comments regarding his fighting style.
Certain people may not like him as a person and feel he is disingenuous.
Some fighters do not want to see him leave because they want another shot at him. Most notably, Russian rival, Sergey Kovalev, wanting the opportunity to settle unfinished business in his mind.
Although Kovalev offered a different perspective while discussing Ward’s retirement according to ESPN.
“I don’t care,” Kovalev told ESPN when asked about Ward’s announcement. “If he’s gonna retire, he has a right. He’s undefeated, with the help of judges — OK, no problem. It’s sport, and sometimes sport can be dirty.”
Some people may not want to see Ward retire because they feel he has more to offer to the sport and will miss what he represents. Especially the contingent of supporters from the San Francisco – Bay Area.
“It’s a blessing, what the Bay Area fans have always done for me and for what they do for their athletes, whether they’re homegrown or transplants from other cities,” Ward said in reference to Bay Area supporters.
“They just appreciate the people that go out there and represent them well. And they always return the favor.”
It’s fair to suggest Ward is a great representation of what an athlete should be. In an era featuring polarizing personalities such as Floyd Mayweather, Adrien Broner, Tyson Fury and others, Ward exemplifies the opposite.
Not to suggest one side or the other is right or wrong, not bestowing judgment, because all ends of the spectrum is necessary for the wheel to work.
Ward epitomizes the hard-working, grinding, hard-nosed, low-key mentality. Efficient and straight to the point.
His personality is comparable to his fighting style inside the ring. Not necessarily flashy, but extremely effective. Not ostentatious, but full of substance.
Boxing News writer Caryn A. Tate summarized Ward’s style in brilliant article, stating his style is “Formless.”
To expand, essentially Ward adapted to his opponents. Ward does not have a set-style; he can’t be conformed into a box due to his resourcefulness and adaptability.
Whether it’s in-fighting inside the trenches, inside the pocket, mid-range fighting, fighting from a distance, distance manipulation, immaculate footwork, utilizing various jabs, switching stances from orthodox to southpaw, unleashing lead right hands, slipping punches, overall defensive mastery, devastating body work, he could do it all.
Possessing the versatility to implement all of the aforementioned skills and tactics requires not only the athletic ability, but intelligence to adjust and make the necessary moves to succeed and overcome whichever weapon his opponent is armed with.
We could spend countless time analyzing the nuances of the scientific sophistication of the pugilistic arts utilized by Ward.
Watching him fight, you can visualize the influences of other great fighters who came before him. It’s a testament to how studious he is as someone attempting to learn and perfect their craft.
He has the ability to adapt and I believe his greatest strength as a fighter was his mental fortitude and intelligence.
Ward mentioned in his retirement statement, the rigors of training. The punishment the body and mind endures. It takes a special individual to overcome the physical and mental hurdles of fighting and life in general.
“I’ve faced a lot of adversity inside the ring. You know, some of it the public has seen. A lot of it, maybe, the public hasn’t seen in the many gyms or the many sparring sessions and everything you’ve got to do to get to a certain level in the sport.” – Andre Ward
It’s the same mental fortitude that pushed him to rise from the canvas when he met Kovalev in their first encounter. Not only did he get up, but he raised his level and overcame the bully in what was a Rocky-esque performance.
Ward knocked out Kovalev in the follow-up rematch earlier this year.
For those reasons and understanding the high-level of opponent Kovalev is, stand out as Ward’s greatest performances as a professional.
Although one can easily point to winning the Super Six World Boxing Classic tournament, running through the high quality opposition encountered during the tournament (Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham Mikkel Kessler), or defeating Chad Dawson right after winning the tournament, as his greatest or signature accomplishments.
I reflect back to Kovalev because again, mental toughness should never be underestimated or underappreciated.
“I knew what I had in me. I’ve been on the canvas before. I’ve been hurt in fights. I’ve been cut. Things have happened and, you know, my response has always been the same where if I’m physically able, I want to come get that back,” said Ward in reference to his battles against Kovalev.
From a personal end, I can’t say I know Ward in depth personally, but from what I’ve witnessed and experienced, I understand why he is admired by those sharing personal relationships.
He is appreciative, endearing to fans and supporters and we gathered a glimpse of that with his retirement message.
Ward has the respect and admiration amongst his peers:
The very first boxing event I covered was an affair featuring Andre Ward vs. Chad Dawson as the main event for the card at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Ca.
Experiencing the overall event, networking with other journalists, interacting with fans, spectators, fighters and trainers ranging from Adrien Broner, Larry Merchant, Shane Mosley, Jeff Mayweather, Ward and his family, was a great experience.
It was the validation I sought for what I was pursuing.
Few years later, I attended the 2016 USA Olympic Trials held in Reno, NV. It was a great experience, again interacting with spectators, trainers, fighters, some of the fighters obviously ended up representing the USA in the Olympic Games held in Brazil and other fighters who eventually turned pro and will represent the new infusion of boxing talent.
Other great fighters were in attendance, Shawn Porter, Terrance Crawford and Ward ultimately assisted with commentary during the Olympic Trial Finals.
At the time, I was competing as an amateur fighter and I had the chance to speak with Ward on multiple occasions throughout the weekend; one-on-one discussing boxing and a few other things.
He didn’t have to take the time to speak with me in depth, but he displayed genuine humbleness despite his acclaim and exhibited why he is a champion in and out of the ring.
@andresogward Happy retirement to one of the greatest fighters I've had the pleasure watching. First boxing event I ever covered was the fight against Chad Dawson at the Oracle in Oakland. Featured in this photo is Mike Martino, Pat Schellin, Andre and myself at the Olympic trials in Reno. Thanks for speaking to me one-on-one (more than one occasion and providing valuable insight and knowledge). Glad to see a Bay Area native shine on the highest platform. Thanks for all your contributions to the sport. Much respect and you're an undisputed champion in and out the ring ????? #boxing #bay #bayarea #reno #champion #unr #p4p #jordan #? #sog
I think this quote from an interview leading up to his second fight against Kovalev summarizes his mindset regarding giving back.
“So outside of my family, I didn’t really have a lot of ex-fighters that I could pick up the phone and call,” said Ward. “So I just try to be available, have my phone available, and make the time where I need to make the time (for some of the younger fighters). They’ll let you know what they need to talk about and what they want to talk about. If I have the answer, I’m going to definitely give them everything that I can give them.”
“If I don’t, I’ll try to help them find it because at the end of the day, whether it’s Claressa [Shields] or Shakur [Stevenson], I’m for the fighter. I’m pro fighter. We talk about [training] stuff but it’s also more about life—being stable and making the right decisions now so that down the road, you’re happy that you did what you had to do. It’s an honor and a privilege to be someone that any of those fighters would want to pick up the phone and call. I don’t look at it like a burden. It’s an honor and a privilege.”
It was an honor and privilege watching your career and I want to extend thanks to Andre Ward for his contributions to the sport of boxing. Mission accomplished.
Andre Ward Retires From The Ring
By: Sean Crose
Andre Ward, the light heavyweight mutli-titlist, former Olympian and one time king of the super middleweight division has announced his retirement from the sport of boxing. The news took the fight world by surprise, as Ward is currently regarded by many as being the pound for pound best in the sport of boxing at the moment. Still, the thirty-three year old made clear in a message on his web page that it was time for him to move on from the dangerous sport which has made him famous. “As I walk away from the sport of boxing today,” he wrote, “I leave at the top of your glorious mountain, which was always my vision and my dream. I did it. We did it.”
Ward steps away from the ring with an unblemished record of thirty-two wins and no defeats. His last fight was a rematch against light heavyweight powerhouse Sergey Kovalev, who he beat decisively by way of a viscous body attack. That fight confirmed that Ward was indeed one of the smartest boxers in the sport, but also showed that the man had power to hang with the hardest of hitters and still emerge victorious. Such battles, however, have clearly taken their toll on the man. “I want to be clear,” he writes, “I am leaving because my body can no longer put up with the rigors of the sport and therefore my desire to fight is no longer there.”
Although Ward may technically be just slightly removed from his prime, at best, he has proven to be the rarest of athletes in that he’s stepping away from the sport which has earned him enormous sums of money and accolades while remaining on top of it. Future big fights, perhaps with middleweight powerhouse Gennady Golovkin or fellow light heavyweight titlist Adonis Stevenson might remain, but it’s clear that Ward, who would be a certain favorite against either fighter, no longer feels the need to prove himself. Most would agree he doesn’t have to. “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!” Ward posted in a tweet that was accompanied by an impressive one minute video.
Along with two wins over Kovalev, Ward bested former light heavyweight titlist Chad Dawson, and esteemed junior middleweights Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham and Mikkel Kessler, among others. Although he never became the household name that contemporaries Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao did, the reserved, spiritual Ward left a huge imprint on the sport of boxing.
“Above all,” he wrote on his site, “I give God the Glory, for allowing me to do what I’ve done, for as long as I have.”
Why the Sport of Boxing Needs a Canelo Victory
By Jaime C. Feal
To many casual observers and fans, Saturday night’s superfight between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin represents a thoroughly even match up. Two fighters in their prime with fantastic records, both champions, ready to throw down and entertain all at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The largest gap between the two fighters, however, exists not in the ring, but outside of it.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Simply put, Canelo has a fan base that can be monetized in a way not many other fan bases can. As a Mexican fighting in America, Canelo has the support of both his home country of Mexico, a neighbor to the U.S., and all the Mexican-Americans living in the U.S., as rabid fans who turn out for Canelo fights. Furtermore, Canelo is a “Golden Boy” both literally and figuratively, the baby-faced assassin being both the pride, joy, and hope of Mexico, and an Oscar De La Hoya-promoted boxer. A lot rides on Canelo’s success in the sport of boxing. While a loss to the highly ranked GGG wouldn’t ruin his career by any means, what the big players in the boxing industry want more than anything is a resounding victory for Canelo. Just shy of 30 years old, Canelo has many more years of top ranked fights ahead of him, and lucrative ones at that. Golovkin, on the other hand, is 35 years old, and might only have a couple years of top-level fights left in him.
GGG just can’t match the same level of numbers with his fan base. A native of Kazikhstan, a small country with even fewer immigrants in the U.S., Golovkin is at a disadvantage on the marketing side of boxing. While most American boxing fans appreciate a good knockout artist, they don’t have the same kind of attachment that Mexicans and Mexican-Americans do for their native son Canelo. What this means is that unlike the Mayweather-McGregor fight, which had a roughly even split of fan support both in the arena and at the bars and restaurants showing the PPV, the Canelo-GGG scrap figures to have the fan support massively in favor of Canelo. Indeed, the bars and restaurants will be filled with Mexican pride and support, and the T-Mobile Arena will be lit up with Mexican flags and apparel. You may see the odd Kazakhstani flag here or there, but for the most part, the sheer numbers and loyalty that the Canelo fan base produces will drown out anything the GGG fan base can muster.
What does this all mean? Now that Floyd “Money” Mayweather is out of the sport completely, Boxing needs a new money fighter. Canelo is much more ready to be the hero the sport needs, to drive the big money fights going forward into 2018 and 2019. Because of this, HBO and the powers that be will be massively rooting for Canelo, the younger, more popular fighter, to win emphatically. And although a rematch with GGG would be potentially lucrative, Canelo disappointed in his last big fight and still has a lot to gain with a victory over Golovkin. On Saturday Night, Canelo will not only be carrying the pressure and expectations of his home country, but also his adopted one. Here’s hoping he can live up to the hype and propel boxing to new heights and popularity.
Pacquiao Opts For Horn Rematch As Bradley, Marquez Retire
By: Sean Crose
Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez – arch foils of the great Manny Pacquiao – have announced their retirements. Good for both men. They’ve earned their keep in the sport. Sure enough, both fighters deserve Hall of Fame status upon becoming eligible for induction. As for Pacquiao (59-6-2), word is out that he aims to keep fighting – and that he plans to rematch Jeff Horn (17-0-1), which he is contractually permitted to do. Horn, for those with short memories, bested Pacquiao in highly controversial hometown fashion this past Fourth of July Weekend in Australia.
The problem for Pacquiao now may be the fact that it looks like he’ll be fighting Horn in Australia yet again. This, of course, means that the Filipino legend will probably once more find himself at the mercy of the judges. To say Pacquiao should simply knock his man out is to arguably divorce oneself from reality at this point. Pacquiao hasn’t had a knockout or stoppage in ages and he certainly didn’t seem his old self when he battled Horn this past summer. In all likelihood, a rematch will go to the scorecards, much as the first fight did. And that might not be good news for Pacquiao.
The bout will be for the WBO welterweight title which Horn lifted from Pacquiao, but it’s really for Pacquiao’s legacy, Horn’s future and for lots of money. Pacquiao isn’t the pay per view draw he used to be. Indeed, he’s not a pay per view fighter at all anymore. What the man remains, however, is a hugely popular, internationally known athlete. ESPN was rewarded for broadcasting the first Pacquiao-Horn fight with millions of viewers. No doubt the rematch, which may go down in November, will bring in some good ratings, as well.
Many believe Pacquiao has been on the downslide for years, and it’s hard to argue against that line of thought after seeing the man’s ring performance last month. The buzzing, dominating, angle maestro who threw punches in bunches with piston-like speed was nowhere to be found. Having said that, it certainly seemed like Pacquiao had done enough to win the fight after the final bell rang. Horn was tough, determined and more skilled than perhaps most people thought before the fight, but defying expectations doth not a winner make. Not in a fair world, at least. Life, however, isn’t always fair.
That’s something that’s painfully evident in the sport of boxing.
As for Pacquiao’s former foes, both Marquez and Bradley have opted to remove themselves from such ugliness. Both have earned a ton over the course of their careers. Marquez leaves the ring a legend. Bradley seems poised to perhaps become a legend as time moves on. He’s one of those fighters who looks to grow in stature as the years pass by. There are analysts who feel Pacquiao is at the point in his career where he too should hang up his gloves. A brilliant performance against Horn might change a lot of opinions, but does the man have another brilliant performance left in him?
Klitschko retires – what next for Anthony Joshua?
By: Thomas Nicholls
Anthony Joshua’s much anticipated rematch with Wladimir Klitschko is OFF as the legendary Ukrainian has called time on a prestigious 64-fight career.
Since winning a gold medal at the Atlanta Olympic games in 1996, Klitschko has established himself as one of the all-time Heavyweight greats.
Retiring with an admirable record of 53 KO wins in 64 bouts, Klitschko burst onto the heavyweight scene with older brother Vitali in the mid to late 90’s, bulldozing his way through his first 24 opponents before a shock defeat against much unfancied Ross Purity in Wladimir’s hometown of Kiev in December 1998.
Amidst the renaissance for Klitschko, he captured his first world title in October 2000, beating America’s Chris Byrd via Unanimous Decision. Klitschko set his sights on unifying the division and was on course to fulfill his ambition until another shock defeat to South Africa’s Corrie Sanders. Another rebuilding process was underway yet just three fights later he was stopped once more, this time it was Lamon Brewster who had Klitschko on the canvas. A career which held such promise was in turmoil. Klitschko was at his lowest ebb.
It was back to drawing board for “Dr Steelhammer”, under the tutorship of the late Emanuel Steward and they had found the winning formula. A much lamented “Jab & Grab” style, as effectively crafted as it was uneasy on the eye, Klitschko was formidable.
By 2010, Klitschko’s resurgence had seen him capture the IBO, IBF & WBO versions of the Heavyweight crown, pummeling his way through Tony Thompson, Ruslan Chagaev and Samuel Peter in the process. Up next was WBA belt holder David Haye, Hamburg was the venue and many had tipped the Londoner to expose the vulnerability of Klitschko’s chin. For all of Haye’s promotion and promise, he failed to land a glove on the champion.
Klitschko had conquered the Heavyweight division, he would defend his four world titles against Wach, Povetkin & Pulev in spectacular fashion before being outfoxed by a gamely Tyson Fury.
As Klitschko seeked redemption and in what was his final fight, he captured the admiration of the millions that had their focus on Wembley Stadium in April 2017. Klitschko engaged in a titanic battle with “little bro” Anthony Joshua, sending the Brit to the canvas with a huge right hand in the sixth round. Joshua, with youth on his side, had showed exceptional powers of recovery and seeked and destroyed a tiring Klitschko in round 11. Klitschko, at 41, showed wonderful heart and courage to rise from the canvas twice to fight on, but his time was up.
Klitschko’s retirement spells the end of a remarkable career and of course the possibility of a rematch with Joshua, who is now seeking his next opponent.
Yesterday, the WBA ordered Anthony Joshua to defend his WBA heavyweight title against mandatory challenger, Luis Ortiz.
The governing body released a statement telling both parties they have 30 days to come to an agreement, or the fight will go to purse bids.
IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev seemed set to fight “AJ”, but the WBA had previously confirmed in January that Ortiz would face the Wembley winner.
Eddie Hearn has recently spoke of his desire to take the Joshua roadshow to the states, as a fight with Deontay Wilder gathers momentum, besides the “Bronze Bomber” there isn’t a host of stand-out candidates that have the ability to dethrone the British champ.
Other prospects that will have Joshua in their sights are of course Dillian Whyte, the winner of Parker vs Fury and Jarrell Miller – it’s hard to see Joshua being dethroned any time soon.
Joshua has the heavyweight division at his mercy, as did Klitschko for many years, the torch has been passed and Joshua is the new era.
Wladimir Klitschko: A Man Who Represented His Sport In Respectable Fashion
By: Sean Crose
And so Wladimir Klitschko, one of the longest reigning heavyweight champions in history, has decided to retire. Good for him. We should wish him all the best. He was, make no mistake about it, a credit to his sport. While Klitschko was never able to engross all of western society the way Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali, Joe Lewis or Jack Dempsey had before him, he was able to show that a gentleman could also be a tough guy. That’s saying something – especially right now, at this point in boxing history. The fact that Klitschko is retiring in the leadup to the insanely hyped and sadly beloved Mayweather-McGregor matchup signifies, in a way, exactly where we are in the road.
While Klitschko believed a champion should represent his sport in respectable fashion, Mayweather and McGregor engage in gutter speak for the roar of the crowd. While Klitschko believed that practicing an incredibly violent sport didn’t mean you had to act like a narcissistic headcase outside of it, Mayweather and McGregor recently turned their seemingly endless press tour into a cross between a circus act and a bad LSD trip. Whatever his flaws may be, a parent might actually point to Klitschko as a source of inspiration. Anyone who wants their kid to act like Mayweather or McGregor needs a psych evaluation. Now, though, Klitschko is gone, leaving the fight world with a loud mouthed Irishman who acts unhinged and a gleeful American hedonist who looks forward to making some serious “easy money.”
Only there’s more to it than that.
There are, believe it or not, fighters out there who act like, you know, adults. Canelo Alvarez is one. His future opponent, Gennady Golovkin, is another, Shawn Porter certainly appears to be role model material. Last weekend’s big winner, Mikey Garcia, clearly treats his work, life and public image responsibly. There are others in boxing who could be on this list, as well. Count on it. They simply don’t get the attention Mayweather and McGregor do. And that’s partly understandable. For part of boxing is salesmanship. What boxing shouldn’t be, however, is bottom of the barrel, base entertainment. Sadly, that’s where some think it is at the moment – at the bottom of the barrel – thanks to two less than sportsmanlike characters and the legions who adore watching them.
The point of this piece isn’t to be Puritanical, however. It’s to point out the fact that fighters don’t have to behave in an antisocial manner in order to be successful. The truth is that Klitschko might have earned more fans had he been a bit more colorful – not idiotic, just more colorful. That wasn’t the man’s personality, though, and I’ve got to respect him for it. Better Klitschko, in my humble opinion, than the Pop Culture Event Of The Summer we’re heading towards. Is it August 27th yet?