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Chocolatito, the Sandanistas and Human Rights Violations in Nicaragua


By: Ben Sutherland

To many casual fans, the return of Nicaragua’s Roman Gonzalez probably went largely unnoticed. Just one of several high-profile fights on a stacked Canelo v GGG undercard, many American, Mexican and British fans likely skimmed over the super flyweight bout between Gonzalez – known to his fans as Chocolatito, and former world champion, Moses Fuentes. As with many of the undercard bouts on Saturday night, the fight was a one-sided affair with Chocolatito dominating the early rounds and ultimately stopping Fuentes in the 5th.

What the vast majority of non-Nicaraguan fans likely missed altogether was the colours Chocolatito was wearing on his shorts; black and red, a seemingly minor detail in such a high-profile fight.

However, the political significance of this clothing choice cannot be overstated.

In the early Spring of this year, Nicaragua’s president, Daniel Ortega, took steps toward attempting to establish a familial dynasty dictatorship in his country. Simply put, this was a political move which took power away from the Nicaraguan population and distributed it back into the hands of the political elite. Students, outraged by illegality, injustice and implications of such a move, took to the streets in non-violent protest.

What began as non-violent expressions of displeasure quickly turned sour as a government-hired paramilitary force, known as the Sandanistas, was sent to suppress the protests. Civil war erupted in Nicaragua. Angry students clashed with paramilitary forces in the streets in a guerrilla warfare style conflict.

Ortega’s government quickly shutdown all the universities in the country. Medical students were kidnapped so they couldn’t assist with wounded students and hospitals were forbidden to aide these same students under the threat of terrorism charges. In August, the international group which monitored human rights in Nicaragua was forced to leave.

Thousands of students, unwittingly turned into freedom fighters overnight, have now been kidnapped, tortured and killed. Many others have fled to neighbouring countries and further afield in pursuit of safety. Everyday, new horrific stories emerge of torture and cold-blooded killing. A group of students, seeking protection in a church, found themselves barricaded inside and burnt alive by paramilitary forces. Another student, captured by the paramilitary, had his testicles crushed in clamps as he refused to give up information.

Death tolls are only approximate with Ortega’s government monitoring press releases and statistics in both Nicaraguan and Central American media, but the removal of human rights groups and news leaks are both indicative of the severity of the situation.

There is not much room for debate here. Students are being murdered in the huge numbers and the Nicaraguan state is ruling with fear and an iron fist. Regardless of what you may think of Ortega’s ideas, the manner in which he his carrying out his politics is ruthless, barbaric and something which modern day society should have left behind a long time ago.

The colours of Ortega’s Sandanista movement? Black and red. The same colours that Chocolatito chose to wear on Saturday night. This was far from a coincidence, paid off by the government who are desperately trying to save their international reputation, Chocolatito walked to the ring draped in his black and red attire.

In doing so, Chocolatito actively and knowingly, supported and benefited from a tyrannical government which, as I write this article, continues to intimidate, murder and imprison its own people. Perhaps, it was out of fear, perhaps it was greed, but either way, it was a conscious choice to perpetuate the violence in Nicaragua.

At its core, what is international sport really about? Competition, inspiration and above all, showcasing the very best of a country and the world. Sport has long been a vehicle for political change and expression: Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympics, the clash of communism and capitalism that played out over the international sporting stage during the 1980’s or more recently, Russians and Georgians sharing the top spot of the podium in protest against the conflict of their two countries.

Chocolatito had an opportunity, in front of the world’s sporting media, to speak out and do something, but he chose not to. Not only did he choose not to, he chose to support the abuse and human rights violations in his own country.

Contrast this against his fellow Nicaraguan boxer, Cristofer Rosales. Rosales is the WBC flyweight champion of the world and most recently fought on last month’s Frampton v Jackson undercard in Ireland. Rosales was also approached by the government and offered incentives to wear the red and black of the Sandanistas. Rosales refused. He handed back all the gear that the Nicaraguan government had ever given him and alongside his team, walked into the ring wearing black armbands in solidarity with the Nicaraguan students.

Is this entirely Chocolatito’s fault? Who knows, but would I get excited about his comeback and him up as the type of role model sport and boxing needs? No. No I would not.

Finally, I would urge anyone who reads this to go and research recent events in Nicaragua. Perhaps mainstream consumers of media are too desensitised and distracted to care, but you shouldn’t be.

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Showtime Boxing Results: Spence Makes Quick Work of Ocampo, Roman Defeats Flores


 

By: William Holmes

 

Errol Spence Jr., the man many consider to be the top welterweight in the world, returned to his home state of Texas in Frisco at the Ford Center to defend his IBF Welterweight Title against his mandatory challenger.   The Dallas Cowboys Organization strongly supported Errol Spence’s return to his hometown. 

 

The opening bout of the night was between Javier Fortuna (33-2-1) and Adrian Granados (18-6-2) in the super lightweight division. 

Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account

 

Fortuna was former champion in the super featherweight division and is fighting up to two weight classes higher than he normally does.  Granados had both a reach and height advantage and it was obvious in the ring. 

 

Grandaos was on the attack early on and landing shots to the body.  Fortuna was sharp with his straight left hands and was landing the cleaner shots early on.  Fortuna continued to land the cleaner punches in the second round but Granados was using his size to push around Fortuna.

 

Granados had a good third round and again was using his size to his advantage.  Fortuna lost two points this fight for holding, but those points may have been taken away too early.

 

The fight came to a sudden end in the fourth round when Fortuna was pushed out the ring in between the ropes and may have hit his head on the ring steps on equipment outside.  They had to place his neck in a brace and get a stretcher to take him to be evaluated.

 

The official result of the fight was a no decision due to a fighter getting hurt before the end of the fourth round.  The fight was stopped at 2:50 of the fourth round. 

 

The next bout of the night was between Daniel Roman (24-2-1) and Moises Flores (25-0) for the WBA Super Bantamweight Title. 

 

Flores came in overweight at the weigh ins and looked like the significantly bigger man in the ring.  Flores was swinging wildly and wide early on and Roman appeared to be more settled.  Roman highlighted the opening round with a good lead right hand left uppercut combination. 

 

Roman was focusing to the body for most of the fight and was doubling his left hooks and uppercuts in the second and third round. 

 

Flores kept coming forward in the fourth and fifth rounds, but Roman’s counters were finding his target while he was able to side step around his oncoming opponent.  Most of Flores punches bounced off the shoulders and guard of Roman in the sixth round, but he had a good seventh round and may have stolen it.

 

By the ninth round both boxers had thrown over 1000 punches combined but Roman was landing at a higher clip Roman was lighter on his feet in the tenth round and his body shots had slowed Flores down tremendously.

 

Flores needed a knockout in the final round to pull out a victory, but he didn’t have enough energy to seriously threaten Roman.

 

The final scores were 116-112, 118-110, and 120-108 for Danny Roman.

 

The main event of the evening was between Errol Spence Jr. (23-0) and Carlos Ocampo (22-0) for the IBF Welterweight Title. 

 

This was the first world title fight for Ocampo against the highly talented southpaw Errol Spence.  Spence slowly inched forward in the opening stanza and took some surprisingly good body shots from Ocampo.  Spence was able to land a good straight left to the chin of Ocampo that slowed him down momentarily, but Ocampo was making a good showing of himself early on. 

 

With time running out in the first Errol Spence landed two blistering hooks to the body of Ocampo that immediately dropped him to his knees.

 

Ocampo was unable to get up before the count of ten.

 

Errol Spence wins by knockout with one second left in the first round.

 

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Showtime Boxing Preview: Errol Spence Jr. vs. Carlos Ocampo, Roman vs. Flores


By: William Holmes

On Saturday night Errol Spence Jr., a man many consider to be the world’s top welterweight and one of the world’s best pound for pound fighters, will be making his mandatory defense of his IBF Welterweight title against Carlos Ocampo. Spence will be returning to his home state of Texas to make his title defense.

This fight card will take place at the Dallas Ford Center.

The co-feature of the evening will be a WBA Junior Featherweight bout between Danny Roman and Moises Flores. Other prospects will also be appearing on the undercard including former world champion Javier Fortuna, Yordenis Ugas, Roberto Marroquin, and Stephen “Scooter” Fulton.


Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account

The following is a preview of the televised fights.

Danny Roman (24-2-1) vs. Moises Flores (25-0); WBA Junior Featherweight Title

The opening bout of the night is between Danny Roman and Moises Flores for the WBA Junior Featherweight Title.

Roman is twenty eight years old and three years younger than his opponent, but will be giving up three and a half inches in height and an inch and a half in reach. Roman is also the lesser puncher of the two. Flores has seventeen stoppages in his career compared to the nine stoppages that Roman has.

Neither boxer has a notable amateur career to discuss.

Roman has been more active than Flores. He fought once in 2018, twice in 2017, and four times in 2016. Flores only fought once in 2017, and one round at that against Guillermo Rigondeaux, and once in 2016.

Flores lone blemish on his record was a no contest against Guillermo Rigondeaux, but he was getting badly beaten at the time and the referee actually originally ruled it a stoppage victory for Rigondeaux before it was later reviewed and ruled a no contest due to punches landing after the final bell. Flores has beaten the likes of Paulus Ambunda, Luis Cusolito, and Oscar Escandon.

Roman had to travel to Japan to win the WBA title. He has defeated the likes of Ryo Matsumoto, Shun Kubo, Adam Lopez, and Christian Esquivel.

Flores long layoff, which includes a very brief encounter with Guillermo Rigondeaux, will hurt him against a younger opponent. Roman isn’t known for his power, but his last loss was on 2013 and he has won sixteen fights in a row.

Roman likely won’t win by stoppage, but he should win a decision.

Errol Spence Jr. (23-0) vs. Carlos Ocampo (22-0), IBF Welterweight Title

Errol Spence is one of the top stars in the welterweight division and has held the IBF title since his thrashing of Kell Brook in May of 2017.

He’s looking for a big fight and a matchup with either Terrance Crawford or Keith Thurman is a fight that most fight fans are looking forward to. However, he first has to take on his mandatory challenger, on paper a clearly overmatched Carlos Ocampo.

Spence is a tall, rangy southpaw, and is in the midst of his prime at 28 years old. Ocampo has been relatively unchallenged as a professional and is only 22 years old.

Spence had a highly successful amateur career and competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Ocampo experienced some success on the Mexican amateur circuit, but not on world circuit.

Spence also has the edge in power. He has twenty stoppages on his record, including ten wins in a row. Ocampo only has thirteen stoppages to his record, and only has one stoppage win in his past four fights.

Spence has beaten the likes of Lamont Peterson, Kell Brook, Leonard Bundu, Chris Algieri, Chris Van Heerden, Phil Lo Greco, and Ronald Cruz. Spence fought once in 2018, once in 2017, and twice in 2016.

Ocampo’s biggest victories to date were over Jorge Paez Jr. and Charlie Navarro. He has never fought outside of Mexico. He fought twice in 2017 and three times in 2016.

Spence should win this bout relatively easily, and will likely get another stoppage victory.

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Salido Upset by Roman and Farmer Robbed by Ogawa


By: Ken Hissner

At the Mandala Bay Hotel & Casino Events Center Saturday night promoters Fernando Beltran of Promociones Zanfer, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, Tom Loeffler of K-2 Promotions and Oscar de La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions presented the vacant IBF World Super Featherweight title fight.


Photo Credit: HBO Boxing

Super featherweight southpaw Tevin “American Idol” Farmer, 25-5-1 (5), of Philadelphia, PA, was robbed of the vacant IBF World Super Featherweight title losing a split decision to Japanese champion Kenichi Ogawa, 23-1 (17), of Tokyo, Japan, over 12 rounds.

In the opening round thru the third it was southpaw Farmers quickness of hand and feet that dominated Ogawa. Ogawa came back to take the fourth round getting in with rights to the head but it was a close round. Farmer took over again in the fifth thru the eighth rounds with his unusual style of which Ogawa had no answer. Ogawa won the ninth round but Farmer won the tenth and eleventh with Ogawa winning the final round. Kenny Baylis was the referee.

Judge Tim Cheatham had it 116-112 for Farmer while judge’s Max DeLuca had it 115-113 and Burt Clemens 116-112 for Ogawa.117-111 This writer had it 117-111 Farmer.

Trainer Raul “Chino” Rivas saw his fighter Jason Sosa robbed a week ago and his fighter Tevin Farmer robbed tonight.
In the main event the former WBO World Featherweight champion, Mexican Orlando “Siri” Salido, 44-14-4 (31), of Phoenix, AZ, was stopped in the 8th round by Miguel “Mickey” Roman, 58-12 (45), of Chihuahua, MEX, in an upset scheduled ten.

This fight was a war from the opening bell. Salido took the first round and Roman came back in the second taking a close round. In the third round it was Salido’s body work getting the edge over Roman. In the fourth round Roman dropped Salido to take the round.

In the fifth thru the seventh rounds Salido came back with a furious body attack though Roman gave as well as he took. In the eighth round Roman again dropped Salido with a flurry of punches. In the ninth round the war continued but Salido had obviously got the worst of the war. Roman dropped Salido with body shots against the ropes and referee Robert Byrd waved it off.

“I want to thank God and my trainers for this win. I want a title fight,” said Roman. He was very emotional. “I am retiring,” said Salido.

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Juan Estrada, Naoya Inoue and Sor Rung Win at the StubHub Center, Carson, CA, Saturday


By: Ken Hissner

In the first bout of an HBO Triple Header Juan Estrada, 36-2 (25), of MEX, defeated Carlos Cuadras, 36-2-1 (27), of MEX, over 12 well fought rounds, with a knockdown proving to be the difference.


Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hogan Photos/K2 Promotions

After 5 rounds of Cuadras controlling the fight in all of the first 5 rounds but in the 6th round it was Estrada’s turn. In the 7th round Estrada with a pair of body shots and a right hand to the jaw of Cuadras rocked him. Shortly afterwards Estrada again rocked Cuadras with a right to the jaw. Even with this finish by Estrada it was Cuadras’ round.

In the 8th round Cuadras seemed to get his second wind doing well until 15 seconds to go in the round when Estrada rocked Cuadras. In the 9th round at the halfway mark Estrada rocked Cuadras with a left hook to the side of the head. Cuadras was on the run switching from orthodox to southpaw but Estrada came forward no matter what Cuadras offered.

In the 10th round Estrada rocked Cuadras with a left hook to the side of the head. Shortly later a left hook to the head followed by a straight right hand by Estrada knocked down Cuadras. The referee started the count but Cuadras got up before 8. Then the referee gave him another 5 seconds before Estrada was permitted to come forward.

In the 11th round Cuadras boxed well keeping Estrada at bay for the most part. With half a minute to go in the round Estrada rocked Cuadras with a left hook to the jaw. In the 12th and final round Estrada landed with left hooks and shortly afterwards with right hands all to the head of Cuadras. Cuadras came back in the second half of the round to possibly pull it out.

All 3 Judge’s had it 114-113 for Juan Estrada though ring announcer Michael Buffer announced the winner was Carlos Estrada confusing everyone. One of the judges handed Buffer his scorecard showing it was Juan Estrada the winner. This writer agreed with the scoring.

In the Main Event in a re-match WBC World super flyweight champion southpaw Sor Rungvisai, 43-4-1 (39), of Bangkok, TH, retained his title knocking out former champion Roman “Chocolito” Gonzalez, 46-2 (38), of NIC, at 1:18 of the 4th round to retain his world title.

In the opening round Rungvisai controlled with his jab and scored more punches. In the second round Gonzalez seemed to come back to take the round. In the third round in a slugfest Rungvisai seemed to pull out the round. In the fourth round twice dropped Gonzalez scoring a knockout. The first knockdown both boxers threw punches at the same time with Rungvisai’s right hook getting there first ending the fight.

WBO World Super Flyweight champion Naoya “Monster” Inoue, 14-0 (12), of JAP, won by stoppage at the end of the 6th round over Antonio Nieves, 17-2-2 (9), of Cleveland, OH, with Nieves not coming out for the 7th round.

In the opening round Inoue started off with jab after jab and then landed an overhand right to the head of Nieves. Inoue kept Nieves on the defense throughout the round. In the 2nd round Nieves landed 3 consecutive right hands to the head of Inoue. A 3-punch combination by Inoue ending with a left hook to the body got the attention of Nieves. With half a minute to go in the round Inoue landed a solid right hand to the head of Nieves. With the 10 second timekeeper warning Inoue buckled the knees of Nieves but then started back to his corner thinking it was the bell after rocking Nieves but it was the timekeepers warning. In the 3rd round a 3-punch combination to the body of Nieves by Inoue got the attention of Nieves.

In the 5th round a wicked left hook by Inoue caused a delayed knockdown. Inoue continued throwing a majority of left hooks to the body of Nieves until the end of the round. With a minute to go Inoue started showboating. Nieves staggered back to his corner where his trainer stopped the fight.

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HBO Boxing After Dark Results: Rungvisai Stunningly Knocks Out Chocolatito, Estrada and Inoue Win Convincingly


By: William Holmes

The Stub Hub Center in Carson, California was the host site for tonight’s HBO Boxing After Dark telecast

The super flyweight division was featured as two world titles were on the line and one world title eliminator fight was shown.


Photo Credit: Tom Hogan/K2 Promotions

The opening bout was between Juan Francisco Estrada (35-2) and Carlos Cuadras (36-1-1) in an eliminator bout for the WBC Junior Bantamweight Title.

Both Estrada and Cuadras have previously lost to Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and were fighting for a chance to have another crack at him.
Cuadras came out firing to start the first round and was able to land jabs and combinations to the body and head. Estrada was throwing punches of his own, but wasn’t landing at the rate of Cuadras. Cuadras ended the first round with a hard right cross.

Cuadras activity continued into the second round as he was throwing more combinations than the stalking Estrada. Cuadras was showing a good variety of punches in the third round, but Estrada ended the round strong with a hard-left hook to the chin.

Cuadras continued to outland Estrada in the fourth and fifth rounds while showboating at times, but Estrada was continuing to come forward and land some hard shots of his own.

Estrada picked up his pace in the sixth round and looked like he hurt Cuadras with a combination ending right cross. Estrada’s uppercut was also finding it’s home and the tide of the fight was turning in his favor.

The seventh round went back and forth and featured several heavy exchanges, but Cuadras was showing signs of tiring and his mouth was wide open.

Estrada’s left hook was landing in the eighth round. Cuadras may have stolen the ninth round with a heavy right uppercut that snapped the head of Estrada backwards, his best punch in several rounds.

Estrada sent Cuadras crashing to the mat in the tenth round with clean straight hand. Cuadras was able to get back to his feet and survive the round, but the knockdown solidified Estrada’s path to victory.

Estrada kept up the pressure in the final two rounds of an action-packed bout. At the end of the twelfth round he acted as if he was victorious.

Michael Buffer originally announced the final scores as 114-113 on all three score cards for Carlos Estrada, and Carlos Cuadras celebrated as if he won the fight.

But Buffer corrected himself and the correct score of 114-113 for Juan Francisco Estrada was read.

The next bout of the night was between Naoya “Monster” Inoue (13-0) and Antonio Nieves (17-1-2) for the WBO Junior Bantamweight Title.
Tonight, was Inoue’s American debut.

Inoue showed off his notorious jab in the opening round and was able to mix in a few uppercuts and left hooks. Nieves was able to block a lot of Inoue’s early punches, but wasn’t able to land anything significant in return.

Inoue’s jab was moving Nieves around the end of the ring in the second round and even had Nieves hurt in the final ten seconds of the second, but Inoue thought the ten second warning was the end of the round and laid off a visibly hurt Nieves.

Inoue started to land heavy shots to the body in the third round and it’s intensity and ferocity picked up in the fourth.

Inoue scored a knockdown with a thudding left hook to the body in the fifth round. Nieves was able to get back to his feet but took a large number of hard body shots in the remainder of the round.

Inoue continued his assault in the sixth round and was landing cracking body shots at will. Nieves was not throwing much in return and looked like he was just trying to survive.

Nieves corner stopped the fight before the start of the seventh round. Inoue wins by TKO at the end of the sixth round.

The main event was between Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1) and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-1) for the WBC Junior Bantamweight Title.
Rungvisai won a shocking upset in a fight of the year candidate in their first meeting.

Rungvisai, a southpaw, looked a lot more confident than the first time they met and came out aggressively and right at Gonzalez.
Rungvisai was able to land his right hands and kept Gonzalez uncomfortable with his pressure.

Rungvisai continued to be the aggressor in the second round but Gonzalez was able to land multi punch combinations even while he was complaining about head butts.

There were several good exchanges in the third round but Rungvisai looked like he was taking the shots of Gonzalez well but landing heavy shots of his own.

Gonzalez came at Rungvisai at the start of the fourth round but Rungvisai was able to land two hooks to the body followed by a right uppercut, and later followed that with a right hook to the chin of Gonzalez that sent him crashing to the mat. He was able to get back to his feet but still in a dazed state and momentarily exchanged with Rungvisai, but another left hook by Rungvisai sent Gonzalez to the mat for the last time.

Rungvisai wins by knockout at 1:18 of the fourth round.

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HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Chocolatito vs. Rungvisai, Inoue vs. Nieves, Cuadras vs. Estrada


By: William Holmes

On Saturday night the super flyweight/junior bantamweight division will take center stage on HBO as three fights in the division, which includes two world title fights and a WBC junior bantamweight title eliminator will take place.


Photo Credit: USA Today

The Stub Hub Center in Carson, California will be the host site for Saturday’s HBO Boxing After Dark Card. This card is stacked in the super flyweight division. Additionally, former UFC fighter Nam Phan will compete on the undercard as well as former world title holder Brian Viloria.

The following is a preview of the three planned televised fights on Saturday night.

Carlos Cuadras (36-1-1) vs. Juan Francisco Estrada (35-2); WBC Junior Bantamweight Eliminator

The opening bout of the broadcast will be between Carlos Cuadras and Juan Francisco Estrada, two boxers in the junior bantamweight division that previously faced, and lost to Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez.

Both boxers stand at 5’4” and have a reach of 66”. Cuadras is twenty nine years old and two years older than Estrada. Both boxers have considerable power. Estrada has twenty five stoppage victories on his record while Cuadras has stopped twenty seven of his opponents. Estrada appears to have the edge in power in recent fights however, he has stopped three of his past four opponents while Cuadras only has two stoppage victories in the past five fights.

Cuadras appears to have the slight edge in amateur experience. Estrada claims an amateur record of 94-4, while Cuadras won a gold medal in the International Junior Olympics and won a gold medal in the Pan American Games in 2003.

Estrada only fought once in 2016 and once in 2017, but that can be partly explained by a surgery he had to his right hand. Cuadras fought once in 2017 and twice in 2016.

Cuadras has defeated the likes of David Carmona, Richie Mepranum, Luis Concepcion, and Wisaksil Wangek. Estrada has a slightly better resume as a professional and has defeated the likes of Hernan Marquez, Giovani Segura, Milan Melindo, and Brian Viloria.

This should be an entertaining bout and could go either way, but Estrada is considered by many to be the second best super bantamweight behind Chocolatito and they appear destined to rematch in the near future.

Naoya Inoue (13-0) vs. Antonio Nieves (17-1-2); WBO Junior Bantamweight Title

Naoya Inoue is a world titlist form Japan that is starting to generate a lot of buzz in the boxing community.

He’s a world champion at only twenty four years old and has spent his entire career fighting in Japan. He’ll be six years younger than Nieves on fight night and will also have about a half an inch height advantage. However, he is giving up about an inch in reach.

Inoue also appears to have the power advantage. In thirteen fights he already has evel stoppage victories, including three of his past four fights. Nieves only has nine stoppage wins in twenty professional fights and is coming off of a loss.

Both boxers experienced moderate success as an amateur. Inoue won the gold medal in the 2011 President’s Cup and Nieves was a silver medalist in the 2011 National Golden Gloves.

Inoue has faced good opposition ever since his professional debut. His list of notable wins include Kohei Hono, David Carmona, Omar Narvaez, and Adrian Hernandez. Nieves is coming off of a loss to Nikolai Potapov. His only notable wins were against Oscar Mojica and Stephon Young.

Many expect Inoue to wow the crowd on Saturday night with a dominating victory against Nieves. A win may set up a possible big money fight with Roman Gonzalez, provided Gonzalez also wins his bout on Saturday.

Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1) vs. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-1); WBC Junior Bantamweight Title

This bout is a rematch of their barn burner fight which saw Rungvisai pull off the stunning upset victory over Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. Many fans in attendance, and many members of the media, thought Gonzalez did enough to win the fight despite the fact he was knocked down in the first round.

In fact, CompuBox stats showed that Gonzalez had outlanded Rungvisai in ten of the twelve rounds, but still wound up losing the fight.

Gonzalez and Rungvisai are both thirty years old and stand at 5’3”. Gonzalez will have a slight half and inch reach advantage on Rungvisai. Gonzalez has thirty eight stoppage wins on his record, but has only stopped one opponent in his past four fights. Rungvisai has thirty nine stoppage wins to his resume and has stopped nine of his past ten opponents.

However, Rungvisai lacks amateur experience and Gonzalez won the gold medal in the 2004 Central American Championships.

Gonzalez fought once in 2017 and twice in 2016. He has defeated the likes of Carlos Cuadras, Brian Viloria, Edgar Sosa, Akira Yaegashi, and Juan Francisco Estrada.

Rungvisai fought once in 2017 and five times in 2016. However, three of those fights in 2016 were against debuting fighters and most of his wins came against suspect competition. His biggest wins to date were against Jose Salgado and Roman Gonzalez. He has a loss to Carlos Cuadras on his resume, and his other three losses came within the first five fights of his career.

Many felt Gonzalez won their first encounter and many expect him to emerge victorious in their rematch. However, you can not discount the heart that Rungvisai showed in their first fight and he appears to be a boxer with legitimate power in his hands that can end the fight quickly.

This should be another entertaining scrap, but it’s a scrap that Gonzalez is expected to win in a way that will take it out of the hands of the judges.

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Super Flyweight Super Card: 2017 Just Keeps on Giving


By: Matt O’Brien

“I think 2016 should go down as one of the worst years in boxing history, maybe the worst.” – Oscar De La Hoya, October 2016.


Photo Credit: HBO Sports

The Golden Boy’s sad assessment of the state of boxing almost a year ago may have been somewhat of an exaggeration, but it’s fair to say 2016 was not exactly a banner year for the sport. Still recovering from the stench of the Mayweather-Pacquiao mega-letdown in 2015 and facing the prospect of being usurped as the world’s No.1 combat sport by a surging UFC, boxing was certainly in need of a serious shot in the arm.

Many of the sport’s detractors, especially the less informed members of the mainstream media as well as some of the staunchest supporters of MMA, were prepared to go even further than De La Hoya and pronounce the imminent demise of the Sweet Science. Writing for the LA Times in September 2016, for example, reporter Dylan Hernandez confidently declared: “Boxing is dead”.

Well, if boxing is dying, it is one hell of a glorious death. 2017 has been an absolute treat, with a raft of superb cards around the world and several of the best and most meaningful fights across the divisions getting made.

January started with a bang as the world’s two best super middleweights, James DeGale and Badou Jack, fought to a draw in their attempted unification fight in New York. Keith Thurman then unified two welterweight belts in March, while April saw 90,000 fans pack out Wembley Stadium for one of the best heavyweight title fights in recent memory. Errol Spence travelled to the UK for another massive stadium showdown with Kell Brook in May, and in June Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev fought to determine pound-for-pound supremacy in a rematch for the WBO/WBA/IBF light-heavyweight championships. Then in August boxing crowned it’s first undisputed champion for 12 years, as Terrence Crawford captured all four major belts at 140lbs.

Of course, most recently the richest fight in history also happened to take place in a boxing ring and saw MMA’s biggest star easily dismantled over 10 rounds. The list of huge boxing fights in 2017 goes on and on, and this weekend the trend continues.

Boxing’s little men do not always receive the attention or the acclaim that fighters higher up the weight classes typically garner, but it’s hard to ignore this stacked super flyweight card. Three quality fights, two of which are for world titles and feature two of the most talented operators in the sport, while the third pitches two exciting former world champions against each other in a battle of top contenders. There is nothing not to like about this event.

Kicking things off, American viewers will be treated to their first look at Japanese sensation Naoya “The Monster” Inoue (13-0), as the WBO 115lbs champion makes the sixth defense of his title on his American debut, versus Antonio Nieves (17-1-2) of Cleveland, Ohio. The young phenom is already a two-weight world champion at just 24 years of age and his fluid, rangy technique and vicious body attack is one of the most pleasing styles to watch in the sport. Expect the Japanese prodigy to do the business and set up a return to American soil against one of the other winners on the main card.

The chief supporting bout is a terrific Mexican civil war between former WBC 115lbs champion Carlos Cuadras (36-1-1) and former WBA/WBO 112lbs champion, Juan Francisco Estrada (35-2). Since losing a closely contested points decision to Roman Gonzalez back in 2012, Estrada is on a nine-fight win streak, including impressive victories over former world champs such as Brian Viloria, Giovani Segura and Hernan Marquez. Meanwhile Cuadras is also on the comeback trail having lost his title to Gonzalez, being defeated over twelve rounds in the Nicaraguan’s 115lbs debut last year.

In what promises to be an exciting, high-skills match-up, the winner will command a spot as the top contender in the division. This one could go either way, but I’m going with the crisp combination punching of Estrada to see him through to a points victory in a tightly fought bout.

Finally, the main event on Saturday sees an immediate rematch of one of the most grueling fights and biggest upsets of the year so far, when the unheralded Thai Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1) claimed a surprising majority decision over Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in March. The Nicaraguan four-weight world champion went into that contest with a perfect 46-0 record and was widely regarded as the finest pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. Floored in the opening stanza by the naturally bigger challenger, Gonzalez responded well and took firm control of the contest over the middle rounds. The Thai fighter showed incredible guts and resilience to come back into the fight over the second half, though he seemed very fortunate to receive the judges’ verdict – if Gonzalez had won just a single extra point on one of the scorecards, he would have retained his title via majority draw.

In the first fight the two men threw an incredible combined total of 1,953 punches, and the return is likely to be just as bloody and fiercely contested. “Chocolatito” clearly owns the superior skillset of the two, but he is also fighting at a significant disadvantage in weight. The smaller frame and aggressive, counter punching style of Gonzalez also means that he will inevitably spend much of the fight “in the pocket”, with the extra natural strength of the Thai posing real danger. Although I expect the more accurate punching and better defence of the former champ to prevail, as I believe he deserved to last time, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Sor Rungvisai drag Gonzalez into another war of attrition and make it a close call on the official cards once again.

The fun does not end at the sound of the main event’s final bell, however. In fact, almost as exciting as the card itself are the potential follow-up fights that can be made in the wake of Saturday’s results.

Most obviously, assuming that both come through with a “W”, one of the best matches that could be made – not only in the super flyweight division but in the whole of boxing – would be a blockbuster clash between Japanese star Inoue and Nicaraguan legend Gonzalez. As well as crowning a unified and lineal champion at 115lbs, this would also springboard the winner towards the dizzy heights of boxing’s best practitioners, pound-for-pound. A match-up of this quality would easily surpass any to take place in boxing’s lower weight classes since Michael Carbajal and Humberto Gonzalez became the first little men to headline a PPV card back in 1993, in what turned out to be one of the fights of the decade. It is no exaggeration to say that a potential meeting between “The Monster” Inoue and “Chocolatito” Gonzalez could live up to similar expectations.

Estrada and Cuadras, both in the hunt for a rematch with Gonzalez, could equally provide exciting opposition for Inoue, should a superfight between the aforementioned pair be left to “marinate” a while longer, to use the promotional jargon. Assuming the two Mexicans deliver the kind of drama expected on Saturday, any combination of winner and loser of that fight vs. Gonzalez or Inoue would make for compelling viewing.

Of course, there is also the prospect of either Sor Rungvisai or Nieves – or both – pulling off the upset and throwing a great big spanner in the works. The Thai’s experience and gutsy style make him a tough assignment for anyone, and even coming off a decent losing performance versus Gonzalez he would still present an interesting challenge for Inoue, with a fight between the two South-East Asians no doubt doing great business in Japan. And while Nieves starts as a huge underdog, he comes in without the pressure of being expected to win on his shoulders. The Japanese fighter is boxing away from home for the first time, and while it’s hard to see him losing, Sor Rungvisai’s win over Gonzalez should remind us that no fight is a foregone conclusion.

In short, the possible combinations of intriguing matches emanating from this weekend’s fantastic card are numerous, and the fact that one of boxing’s lowest weight classes is gaining the kind of attention usually reserved for stars in the heavier divisions is a great sign that the sport overall is in very good health.

So, if you know anyone suggesting that boxing is “dying”, you might want to direct them over to HBO this Saturday night – they’ll see that the Sweet Science is alive and kicking. With so many other excellent fights already on the horizon, including the GGG-Canelo megabout and a plethora of mouth-watering match-ups in the World Boxing Super Series, boxing really is booming.

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Monster Invasion: Naoya Inoue Comes To America


By: Sean Crose

Twenty four years old. Five feet, four inches tall. Thirteen wins. Zero Defeats. Zero draws. Eleven knockouts. Two world titles in a career that has run a span of less than five years. Meet Naoya Inoue, the WBO World Super Flyweight Champion from the southern portion of Japan, who is about to make his American debut this Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. The highly acclaimed Inoue will be one of the headliners on a card deemed “Superfly” because it will present fans with top level superflyweight matches. It is most certainly one of the year’s biggest cards.

Aside from Inoue’s premiere stateside foray, there’s Roman Gonzalez’ much anticipated rematch with Srisaket Rungvisai after their brilliant battle for the WBC super flyweight crown last winter in New York. Juan Francisco Estrada will also be facing Carlos Cuadras, who will be looking to show his mettle after a disappointing performance last March. To be sure, there are those who claim that Inoue has the easiest of the three big fights this weekend. This line of thinking, however, may prove to be wide of the mark. For Inoue’s opponent, Antonio Nieves, might not seem as menacing as Gonzalez, Rungvisai, Cuadras or Estrada, but he’s certainly no slouch.

Boasting a record of seventeen wins, one loss and two draws, the Cleveland native’s lone defeat came by split decision to the undefeated Nikoli Potapov in a fight that was aired on Shobox back in March. He may not be a power puncher, but Nieves has a solid amateur background, an effective jab and the opportunity of a lifetime before him. Expect the fighter, who also works as a banker, to try to make the most of his opportunity in front of HBO cameras this weekend.

The man will have his work cut out for him with Inoue, however. For the fighter known as “The Monster” has terrific footwork, blistering combinations, a sound jab and destructive power. It could, in fact, be argued that Inoue is the complete package. He’s certainly proved his worth in less than fourteen professional fights. One matter of possible concern, though, if the fact that people are expecting a lot from the young man from Kanagawa. An upset loss or a less than stellar showing could harm Inoue’s fearsome reputation. Like Floyd Mayweather just over a week ago, the fighter will walk into the ring knowing anything less than dominance will be seen as a disappointment.

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Sor Rungvisai, Gonzalez Hit 7-Day Weight Limit Ahead of Anticipated Rematch


By Jake Donovan

Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez remain on course to make weight ahead of their highly anticipated HBO-televised rematch which takes place September 9 at the famed StubHub Center in Carson, California.

As the WBC super flyweight title is at stake, both boxers have been required to perform 30- and 7-day safety weight checks to ensure they are not losing an extraordinary amount of weight during any point in training camp. The WBC requires that participants are to not weigh more than 10% above the contracted weight at the 30-day mark and no more than 5% above said limit at the 7-day mark.

Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1, 39KOs) tipped the scales at 119 lbs. for the first defense of his second time in possession of the WBC title he wrested in a major upset win over Gonzalez this past March at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Gonzalez (46-1, 38KOs) weighed 119.8 lbs. as he looks to avenge the lone loss of a stellar career that has seen title wins in four weight divisions and worldwide acclaim as high among the very best boxers in the world, pound-for-pound.

The maximum weight any super flyweight can weigh in a WBC-sanctioned bout at the 7-day mark is 121 lbs, rounded up to the nearest whole pound.

Both were also well within the 30-day mark, where neither boxer could weigh more than 127 lbs; Sor Rungvisai weighed 123 lbs, while Gonzalez was at 122 lbs.

Their first fight remains among the very best of 2017, many believing it to be second only to Anthony Joshua’s 11th round knockout of Wladimir Klitschko in their epic heavyweight title tilt this past April. Gonzalez suffered the first knockdown of his career, dropped in the opening round of their HBO Pay-Per-View chief support but rallying back and—in the eyes of many observers—seemingly doing enough to retain his title and unbeaten mark.

The three judges felt different, landing a 113-113 even tally on the scorecard of Waleska Roldan (more infamous these days for her 117-111 scorecard in favor of Jeff Horn over Manny Pacquiao this past July) but losing 114-112 on the respective cards of Julie Lederman and Glenn Feldman.

With the loss, Gonzalez saw his super flyweight come to a close after six months and the only of his four weight divisions in which he failed to lodge a single successful defense. The physically blessed athlete from Nicaragua enjoyed lengthy title reigns at strawweight and junior flyweight before moving up in weight in 2014 to wrest the World flyweight crown from Akira Yaegashi.

Four successful defenses followed before once again moving up in weight last September. The move resulted in his becoming the first boxer ever from Nicaragua to capture titles in four weight divisions, surpassing the late and legendary Alexis Arguello—Gonzalez’ boxing idol—after scoring a spirited 12-round win over previously unbeaten 115-pound titlist Carlos Cuadras.

The result this past March makes that very win come full circle. Cuadras obtained his title in a technical decision win over Sor Rungvisai in May ’14, grinding out six successful defenses before conceding his crown to Gonzalez.

Meanwhile, Sor Rungvisai has peeled off 16 straight wins since the loss to Cuadras—mostly over nondescript competition but of course no victory bigger than the one he managed over Gonzalez in March to become a two-time 115-pound titlist.

Cuadras (36-1-1, 27KOs) has a chance at a rematch of his own agains the winner of the September 9 headliner, as he appears in the opening bout of the HBO-aired tripleheader. The free-swinging knockout artist from Mexico will take on countryman and former unified flyweight titlist Juan Francisco Estrada in a WBC final elimination bout.

There was a little more drama in their weight results, although both were ultimately on the mark. Cuadras was well within the limit, clocking in at 119.9 lbs. Estrada (35-2, 25KOs)—whose flyweight run began as inspiring but was plagued by inactivity and injuries before vacating—barely hit the maximum mark of 121 pounds, benefiting from the 5% overage being rounded up to the nearest whole pound.

The 27-year old former flyweight titlist—who managed five defenses before vacating his belts in 2016 to move up in weight—now has six days to lose six pounds. It’s commonly done at higher weights but could prove an interesting scenario for a super flyweight whose body frame obviously isn’t quite as large.

A potential rematch angle also exists for Estrada, provided both he and Gonzalez come out winners in their respective bouts. The two met in a fever-pitched 12-round war in Nov. ’12, with Gonzalez prevailing by unanimous decision in what marked the final defense of his junior flyweight reign. Both boxers moved up to flyweight soon thereafter, but their paths somehow never crossing despite both owning titles at the weight.

Estrada has managed nine straight wins since his loss to Gonzalez.

Wedged in between the two bouts on the card, the evening’s co-feature offers the stateside debut of unbeaten Japanese wunderkind Naoya “Monster” Inoue (13-0, 11KOs). The prodigious 24-year old talent—who held a junior flyweight belt before moving up two divisions to super flyweight—attempts the sixth defense of his WBO title versus Antonio Nieves (17-1-2, 9KOs).

The WBO does not require 30- or 7-day safety weight checks; therefore any such progress by either boxer remains unreported ahead of Friday’s weigh-in.

Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

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Who is the pound-for-pound ruler: April 2017 Edition


Who is the pound-for-pound ruler: April 2017 Edition
By: Kirk Jackson

Ever since September of 2015, there is a void in the landscape of boxing, as the reigning pay-per-view king and perennial pound-for-pound ruler Floyd Mayweather retired after defeating Andre Berto.
Forget numbers and pay-per-view buys, followers of boxing really want to know is who the best fighter ispound-for-pound?

andreward

Since Mayweather’s departure towards the end of 2015,Roman Gonzalez 46-1 (38 KO’s), who at the time was relatively unknown by many boxing observers, ascended towards the top of many pound-for-pound lists.
ESPN, Ring magazine and most notably, the HBO commentary teamjoyfully touted the exploits of the four division world champion from Nicaragua affectionately known as “Chocolatito.” And not without good reason.

Gonzalez is an impressive fighter, boasting extraordinary stamina and an offensive arsenal that would make even the high powered Golden State Warriors envious.

In spite of Gonzalez’s greatness and dominance of the lower weight divisions, his standing as pound-for-pound king was not on steady footing.

Other fighters could be argued as no.1 pound-for-pound.

Fighters such as Andre Ward, Gennady Golovkin, Sergey Kovalev, Terence Crawford, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Keith Thurman, along with a few others.

With Gonzalez recently tasting defeat in stunning and controversial fashion, the pound-for-pound ranking reflects the change and displays a new king on the mythical list.

Who steps up to fill the no.1 position?

First thing to establish is the criterion used to judge the qualities of a pound-for-pound fighter
If we are to abide by the “Bible of Boxing” fromRingmagazine,the metrics for analyzing the pound-for-pound list is as follows:

RATINGS POLICY
1. Results. This is the most objective criterion and takes precedence over all others.
2. Performance. How a fighter performs in a victory or defeat can be a factor to determine his place in the ratings.
3. Track record: A fighter’s accomplishments in the recent past can be a factor to determine his place in the ratings. That includes quality of opposition.

All bases are covered with this set of criteria. These are great bench marks to test the merit of fighters and to grade the selected few who make up the pound-for-pound list. The criteria can be subjective, just like with scoring a fight.

Scoring the fight ties in with performance. It is important to note the criterion for scoring a round, tallying up points round by round and ultimately scoring a fight.

Effective Aggression: Assuming the role of aggressor may leave an impression of dominance, but the aggressor must actually land punches and avoid counter-punches in return, in order to be effective.Chasing the opponent and throwing punches does not necessarily suggest fighter is effective with their aggression. Cutting off the ring is a sign of effective aggression.

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

Defense: How well a boxer is blocking, parrying and slipping punches. Clinching/tying up the opponent, moving around the ring, moving from side to side, presenting different angles is considered defense.

It’s not running; there is nothing stated within the rules of boxing that suggests a boxer must only
step forward throwing punches. It’s important to keep in mind good defense is just as important as offense.

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

Now that we have a barometer on how to score rounds, fights, and a general consensus for how to analyze and format pound-for-pound lists, let us proceed with the pound-for-pound selection.

The pound-for-pound results post-Gonzalez loss:

My Rankings:
1: Andre Ward 31-0-0 (15 KO’s). Undisputed WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight champion.
2: Terence Crawford 30-0-0 (21 KO’s). WBC, WBO, The Ring and lineal junior welterweight champion.
3: Guillermo Rigondeaux 17–0 (11 KO’s). Super WBA and lineal super bantamweight champion.
4: Sergey Kovalev 30-1-1 (26 KO’s).
5: Manny Pacquiao 59-6-2 (38 KO’s).WBO and lineal welterweight champion.
6: Roman Gonzalez 46-1-0 (38 KO’s).
7: Keith Thurman 28–0–0–1 (22 KO’s). WBA and WBC unified welterweight champion.
8: Vasyl Lomachenko 7-1-0 (5 KO’s). WBO Super featherweight champion.
9: Mikey Garcia 36-0 (30 KO’s). WBC Lightweight champion.
10: Gennady Golovkin 36-0-0 (33 KO’s). Super WBA, WBC and IBF middleweight champion.

ESPN Rankings:
Note: Results are through March 23
1. GENNADY GOLOVKIN
RECORD: 37-0, 33 KOs
DIVISION: Middleweight (unified champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Daniel Jacobs, March 18
NEXT FIGHT: TBA

2. ANDRE WARD
RECORD: 31-0, 15 KOs
DIVISION: Light heavyweight (unified titleholder)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Sergey Kovalev, Nov. 19, 2016
NEXT FIGHT: TBA

3. VASYL LOMACHENKO
RECORD: 7-1, 5 KOs
DIVISION: Junior lightweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO7) Nicholas Walters, Nov. 26, 2016
NEXT FIGHT: Jason Sosa, April 8

4. SERGEY KOVALEV
RECORD: 30-1-1, 26 KOs
DIVISION: Light heavyweight
LAST FIGHT: L (UD12) Andre Ward, Nov. 19, 2016
NEXT FIGHT: TBA

5. ROMAN GONZALEZ
RECORD: 46-1, 38 KOs
DIVISION: Junior bantamweight
LAST FIGHT: L (MD12) SrisaketSorRungvisai, March 18
NEXT FIGHT: TBA

6. TERENCE CRAWFORD
RECORD: 29-0, 20 KOs
DIVISION: Junior welterweight (unified champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO8) John Molina Jr., Dec. 10, 2016
NEXT FIGHT: Felix Diaz, May 20

7. CANELO ALVAREZ
RECORD: 48-1-1, 34 KOs
DIVISION: Junior middleweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (KO9) Liam Smith, Sept. 17, 2016
NEXT FIGHT: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., May 6

8. MANNY PACQUIAO
RECORD: 59-6-2, 38 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Jessie Vargas, Nov. 5, 2016
NEXT FIGHT: TBA

9. KEITH THURMAN
RECORD: 28-0, 22 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight (unified titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (SD12) Danny Garcia, March 4
NEXT FIGHT: TBA

10. GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX
RECORD: 17-0, 11 KOs
DIVISION: Junior featherweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO2) James Dickens, July 16, 2016
NEXT FIGHT: TBA

Ring Magazine Rankings:
Rank Fighter Record Weight Class Title(s)
1 United States:
Andre Ward 31–0 (15 KO) Light heavyweight Undisputed WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight champion
2 Russia:
Sergey Kovalev 30–1–1 (26 KO) Light heavyweight WBC Diamond Champion, WBO Super Champion
3 Kazakhstan:
Gennady Golovkin 37–0 (33 KO) Middleweight Super WBA, WBC, IBF and IBO middleweight champion
4 Nicaragua:
Román González 46–1 (38 KO) Super Flyweight N/A
5 United States:
Terence Crawford 30–0 (21 KO) Junior welterweight WBC, WBO, The Ring and lineal junior welterweight champion
6 Ukraine:
Vasyl Lomachenko 7–1 (5 KO) Super featherweight WBO Super featherweight champion
7 Cuba:
Guillermo Rigondeaux 17–0 (11 KO) Junior featherweight Super WBA and lineal super bantamweight champion
8 Mexico:
SaúlÁlvarez 48–1–1 (34 KO) Junior middleweight The Ring/Lineal middleweight champion, WBO junior middleweight champion
9 Shinsuke Yamanaka 27-0-2 (19 KO) Bantamweight WBC and The Ring bantamweight champion
10 Naoya Inoue 12-0 (10 KO) Super flyweight WBO super flyweight champion

Transnational Board Rankings:
Rank Name Nationality Record Division
1 Andre Ward USA 31-0-0 (15) Light Heavyweight
2 Sergey Kovalev RUS 30-1-1 (26) Light Heavyweight
3 Roman Gonzalez NIC 46-1-0 (38) Jr. Bantamweight
4 Manny Pacquiao PHI 59-6-2 (38) Welterweight
5 Terence Crawford * USA 30-0-0 (21) Jr. Welterweight
6 Gennady Golovkin KAZ 36-0-0 (33) Middleweight
7 Vasyl Lomachenko UKR 7-1-0 (5) Jr. Lightweight
8 Naoya Inoue JPN 12-0-0 (10) Jr. Bantamweight
9 Leo Santa Cruz USA 33-1-1- (18) Featherweight
10 Shinsuke Yamanaka JPN 27-0-2 (19) Bantamweight

ElieSeckbach Rankings:

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Who is the pound-for-pound ruler: April 2017 Edition: Who’s Number One?


Who is the pound-for-pound ruler: April 2017 Edition: Who’s Number One?
By: Kirk Jackson

Who is the best fighter pound-for-pound as we close the chapter on the first quarter of the calendar year?
With Roman Gonzalez 46-1 (38 KO’s) recently falling albeit in controversial fashion, this leaves an opportunity for another fighter to seize the no.1 position. Gonzalez was cited by most media outlets at the top pound-for-pound guy prior to his defeat.

Who are the most qualified fighters to occupy the position as the no. 1 guy?

Salido_Lomachenko_140301_002a

It’s important to know what to look for, so we’ll use criterion from Ring magazine as a set of guidelines.

RATINGS POLICY
1. Results. This is the most objective criterion and takes precedence over all others.
2. Performance. How a fighter performs in a victory or defeat can be a factor to determine his place in the ratings.
3. Track record: A fighter’s accomplishments in the recent past can be a factor to determine his place in the ratings. That includes quality of opposition.

This isn’t law, but it provides a rough estimate on what we can use to establish who is fit as the no.1 fighter pound-for-pound.

Here are the candidates.

Gennady Golovkin 36-0-0 (33 KO’s). Super WBA, WBC and IBF middleweight champion.

The Good:

Golovkin is one of the more dominant fighters in recent memory and the most dominant champion in the middleweight division since Bernard Hopkins. ESPN’s Dan Rafael has Golovkin as the best fighter pound-for-pound.

Golovkin has a well decorated amateur background capturing an Olympic silver medal at the 2004 games in Athens. His skills transcended into the professional ranks as he currently holds three middleweight world titles, possessed a 23 fight knock-out streak and is 18-0 (17 KO’s) in world title fights.

Golovkin possesses a piercing, accurate jab, displays great ring generalship with his ability to cut off the ring, has a solid chin (never been knocked down) and has tremendous punching power sporting an 89% knock-out ratio.

The Bad:

The biggest markagainst Golovkin is his lack of quality opposition and the debatable narrative of his boogeyman status within the world of boxing.

As a skilled fighter with punching prowess it’s easy to see how Golovkin may be avoided by some fighters but there are willing participants wanting to face Golovkin and these match-ups have not come into fruition. Erislandy Lara, James DeGale, Andre Ward come to mind.

Politics are a part of boxing and it’s unfair to blame a particular side especially if we do not know the details of hypothetical match-ups.

As Golovkin approaches the age of 35, time may be potentially running short for ‘GGG’ to attract some of bigger names of the sport and to add names to further cement his legacy.

Vasyl Lomachenko 7-1-0 (5 KO’s). WBO Super featherweight champion.

The Good:

Lomachenko is regarded by many boxing analysts as one of the greatest amateur fighters of all time. He won a silver medal at the 2007 World Championships, consecutive gold medals at the 2009 and 2011 World Championships, and consecutive gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

Lomachenko won the WBO featherweight title in his third fight and has a record of 6-1-0 (4 KO) in world title fights. He became a two division world champion in just seven professional fights breaking the record set by Naoya Inoue of two divisional world titles in eight fights set in 2014.

The Ukrainian star also known as ‘Hi-Tech’ possesses excellent hand speed, superb reflexes, offensive versatility and tremendous lateral movement.

The Bad:

From a skill standpoint, Lomachenko is there. He has arguably the best footwork in boxing. But he has less than ten fights on his resume and is it possible for a fighter lacking the professional experience to be regarded as the best pound-for-pound?

Although there is a lack of experience, Lomachenko is facing top opposition.Nicolas Walters and Gary Russell Jr. are elite fighters. Orlando Salido – the only man to defeat Lomachenko, may not be considered elite, but he’s as rugged as they come and a tough match-up for anyone.

Lomachenko’s next opponent Jason Sosa is solid fighter – if not considered elite opposition.

Lomachenko is a few fights away from potentially securing top status as the pound-for-pound king. Perhaps a fight against undefeated three division champion Mikey Garcia 36-0 (30 KO’s) awaits Lomachenko in the near future and may propel him to the top.

Terence Crawford 30-0-0 (21 KO’s).WBC, WBO, The Ring and lineal junior welterweight champion.

The Good:

Crawford is a two division world champion, currently holding the unified WBC, WBO, Ring magazine, and lineal light welterweight titles since 2016.

Crawford previously held the WBO, Ring, and lineal lightweight titles from 2014 to 2015 and was voted Fighter of the Year for 2014 by the Boxing Writers Association of America and ESPN.

Crawford is an extremely gifted fighter equipped with high boxing I.Q., technical prowess, good hand speed, punching power and mental tenacity.

All of these qualities describe a nightmarish match-up for opponents.

Oh yeah, Crawford is also a switch-hitter; likes to switch from the orthodox (right-handed) stance to southpaw (left-handed) ala Marvin Hagler and appears to be more effective from the southpaw stance.

The Bad:

From a technical standpoint the only slight criticism of Crawford is he occasionally has lulls on the defensive end and gets hit with unnecessary punches.

Crawford has the skills and a solid resume.

He effectively cleared out the lightweight division. The switch-hitter defeated the likes of Ricky Burns, Raymond Beltran and YuriorkisGamboa. He even moved up in weight to junior welterweight and defeated Viktor Postol – a fighter regarded as the best in the division.

As great as Crawford is, the career defining super-fight is an ever elusive target. As talks of facing Manny Pacquiao continue to fade, it’s difficult to imagine Crawford getting the super-fight against the high quality pound-for-pound opponent (Pacquiao) he desires.

Andre Ward: 31-0-0 (15 KO’s). Undisputed WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight champion.

The Good:

One of the most gifted fighters of his generation, second arguably to Floyd Mayweather, War d is a complete fighter. Defensively oriented, Ward has the ability to fight at any distance and excels at fighting in close proximity.

America’s last male Olympic gold medalist, Ward once ruled the super middleweight division as the winner of the Super Six World Boxing Classic tournament and was the unified WBC, WBA and lineal champion defeating notable fighters such as Mikkel Kessler, Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham and Chad Dawson.

Last November, Ward moved up to the light heavyweight division and battled pound-for-pound contemporary Sergey Kovalev in the most significant fight of 2016. Because of the magnitude of the fight, it was believed by many boxing critics the winner would ascend as the pound-for-pound king.

The Bad:

A criticism in the past about Ward has been his stretches of inactivity. These stretches of inactivity were either due to injury or due to promotional issues – both of which have been resolved for the time being.

Another knock on Ward is with his most recent and significant victory. Many spectators believe Kovalev won the fight and unfortunately for Ward, he is not given the credit for defeating Kovalev.

Perhaps the rematch in June will give both the fighters and observers the resolution and clarity they seek.
Final Take:

How we measure skills is subjective. Each fighter mentioned has a unique skill set, different from each other.
As an observer, it’s okay to have a preference for one style over another. But it’s important to understand the effectiveness of other styles and to have an appreciation for various skill sets as well.

What separates Ward from Crawford, Golovkin and Lomachenko is the level of opposition. The others have good resumes as far as opposition goes but Ward actually faced and defeated a pound-for-pound contemporary (Kovalev). If Kovalev defeats Ward in the rematch later this year, he obviously has a case for the no.1 position pound-for-pound.

Wins over Chad Dawson and Carl Froch – fighters who both had stints on the top ten pound-for-pound list also gives Ward the edge regarding resume.

Again, how we view fighters and measure them against another is all subjective. Each fighter has a valid case for the top spot.

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How Many Wars Does Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez Have Left In Him?


How Many Wars Does Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez Have Left In Him?
By: Sean Crose

Chocolatito looks to be returning. The WBC has ordered former junior bantamweight champ Roman Gonzalez to face Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the man who beat him this past March, in a rematch for the title strap. Gonzalez-Sor Rungvisai was a fight of the year candidate that showed both men going for broke before a thrilled Madison Square Garden crowd. Many, if not most, felt that Gonzalez did enough to win the fight, but the judges gave the nod to the challenger. Up until that time, the Nicaraguan icon was regarded as the pound for pound best fighter in the world. Controversial or not, the decision loss to Sor Rungvisai dented Gonzalez’ reputation.

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The WBC unquestionably made fans happy by ordering this rematch, though. Even if Gonzalez had pulled off the victory the first time, a rematch certainly wouldn’t be something to shake your head at. Yet it’s worth wondering at this point how many wars Gonzalez has left in him. The first bout with Rungvisai, who people inexplicably under-rated walking in, was nothing if not a grueling affair. Furthermore, Gonzalez’ previous bout, against the undefeated Carlos Cuadras, was no walk in the park, either. Boxing is a tough sport. After a point, it starts taking its toll.

Still, this has the potential to be the crowning moment in Gonzalez’ spectacular career. Being the first Nicaraguan to win major titles in four, that’s four, weight classes may have been a big deal – the great Alexis Arguello was unable to pull off such a feat, after all – but overcoming his only loss against a truly game opponent might act as the cherry on the sundae. Not that Rungvisai would have any intention of simply giving his belt back to the man he won it from. The Thai slugger is tough as nails, has an incredible heart and, yes, was able to drop Gonzalez the first time around.

Rungvisai was originally supposed to face Cuadras – the man he lost the junior bantamweight title to before winning it back by besting Gonzalez (who had won it himself by besting Cuadras). The WBC has also arranged, however, for Cuadras to face Juan Francisco Estrada, with the intention of the having the winner of that bout face the winner of Gonzalez-Rungvisai II. Give the WBC this – it has a plan for itself. And it’s one the fans, and certainly Gonzalez, can approve of.

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Already A Legend, Roman Gonzalez Still Wants To Challenge Himself


Already A Legend, Roman Gonzalez Still Wants To Challenge Himself
By: Sean Crose

“I have already accomplished a lot,” undefeated multi-division champion Roman Gonzalez said on a recent conference call. Without doubt, the Nicaraguan slugger known as Chocolatito has earned some well deserved accolades. Last November the man won a world title in his fourth weight class by grinding out a grueling win against Carlos Cuadras for the WBC world super flyweight title. His legacy assured, Gonzalez is turning his attention towards other matters. “Now,” he claimed on the call, “my goal is to hold onto my fourth world title in order to gain higher purses and more money.” Fighting at 115 pounds isn’t exactly easy for Gonzalez, however.

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“Never did I think it was going to be easy campaigning in this division at 115,” Gonzalez said. “It takes time to get used to and I think that’s what is happening at the moment but I think I will be fine.” His battle against Cuadras certainly was no walk in the park. Defending champ Cuadras wasn’t in it to lose. Indeed, the undefeated Mexican made it clear that he saw Gonzalez was his ticket to the big time. And even though Cuadras lost the fight, he gained an enormous amount of respect from the fight world.

And now people, including, it seems, Gonzalez, are looking forward to a rematch. “As I look at a fight coming up against Carlos Cuadras again,” Gonzalez claimed, “I realize I have to train harder. Every opponent presents different challenges. I do believe that the second fight, the rematch, will be better.” First, however, Gonzalez has business to attend to in Madison Square Garden this Saturday. For, Gonzalez will be featured in the co main event of the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Jacobs card. His opponent? The hard hitting former champ Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the man who Cuadras won the super flyweight title from.

In other words, it’s not necessarily easy going for Chocolatito this weekend. Sor Rungvisai may not have faced a murderer’s row throughout his career, but he goes to the body like it’s no one’s business. What’s more, Sun Rungvisai, like Cuadras, undoubtedly sees a great future ahead of him should he beat the Nicaraguan legend. Then there’s the matter that Gonzalez’ last fight was an absolutely brutal affair. Such things can have an impact. Add all this to the fact that the man has already reached Olympian heights and it’s worth wondering if an upset might be in the air.

Still, this is Gonzalez fighting here, the fighter widely regarded as the best pound for pound boxer on earth. Whether that’s really true or not, Gonzalez is a force to be reckoned with. What’s more, he knows what it’s like to be on a big stage. “On any other show,” promoter Tom Loeffler said of Gonzalez-Sor Rungvisai, “it would clearly be the main event.”

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HBO PPV Preview: Golovkin vs. Jacobs, Chocolatito vs. Rungvisai


HBO PPV Preview: Golovkin vs. Jacobs, Chocolatito vs. Rungvisai
By: William Holmes

On Saturday night one of HBO’s biggest stars, Gennady Golovkin, will face off against one of the PBC’s biggest stars, Daniel Jacobs, in a WBA/WBC/IBF Middleweight Title Unification bout live on HBO Pay Per View.

This bout will take place at the legendary Madison Square Garden and will also feature a WBC Junior Bantamweight Title fight between Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.

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Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/K2 Promotions

The Golovkin vs. Jacobs fight is one of the biggest fights that could be made in the middleweight division and is pay per view worthy. The winner will put himself in good position to possibly face Golden Boy Promotions’ cash cow Canelo Alvarez in the fall.

The following is a preview of both world title bouts on the HBO PPV telecast on Saturday.

Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-0) vs. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (41-4-1); WBC Junior Bantamweight Title

Roman Gonzalez fought a close match with Carlos Cuadras the last time he stepped inside the ring and Cuadras fights on the undercard of Saturday’s PPV card. However, Gonzales has to get past Rungvisai before he can rematch Cuadras.

The undefeated Gonzalez has stopped thirty eight of his opponents and has never tasted defeated. Rungvisai has four losses but has stopped thirty eight of his opponents, including winning his past thirteen fights by stoppage.

Both boxers are roughly the same size at 5’3” and Gonzlaez has a very slight half an inch reach advantage. Rungvisai has been more active than Gonzalez and fought four times in 2016 and six times in 2015, while Gonzalez only fought twice in 2016 and three times in 2015.

Gonzalez won the light flyweight gold medal in the 2004 Central American Championships and turned pro at the age of 18. Rungvisai has no notable amateur background and a lot of his wins came against opponents with losing records.

Gonzalez is considered by many to be on e of the top pound for pound boxers in the world. He holds victories over Carlos Cuadras, Brian Viloria, Edgar Sosa, Akira Yaegashi, Juan Francisco Estrada, Omar Salado, and Rocky Fuentes.

Rungvisai has spent most of his career fighting in Asia, and three of his losses came in the first five fights in his career. His last loss was in 2014 to Carlos Cuadras. His other notable loss was to Akira Yaegashi. His notable victories pale in comparison to Gonzalez, but he has defeated the likes of Jose Salgado, Yota Sato, and Alvin Bais.

This isn’t a hard fight to pick the winner, and unless Rungvisai is able to use his power to stun Gonzalez in the early rounds it will be nearly impossible for him to win. If Gonzalez can survive the power shots of Brian Viloria, he can survive the power shots of Rungvisai.

Gennady Golovkin (36-0) vs. Daniel Jacobs (32-1); WBA/WBC/IBF Middleweight Title

This is the best fight that Golovkin could have made outside of Canelo Alvarez. Daniel Jacobs also represents the biggest challenge to Golovkin’s titles ever.

Both boxers are known to be knockout artists. Golovkin has stopped thirty three of his opponents and his past twenty three opponents failed to make it to the final round. Jacobs has stopped twenty nine of his opponents and has twelve straight stoppage wins.

Both boxers also have good amateur backgrounds. Golovkin won the Silver Medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics and Jacobs is a former Golden Gloves Champion, a US National Amateur Champion, and a US Olympic Trials Runner Up.

Jacobs lone loss was by TKO to Dmitry Pirog in a major upset at the time. He has defeated the likes of Sergio Mora, Peter Quillin, Caleb Truax, and Ishe Smith.

Golovkin has never been defeated and nobody has ever come close. He has defeated the likes of Kell Brook, Dominic Wade, David Lemieux, Willie Monroe Jr., Martin Murray, Marco Antonio Rubio, Daniel Geale, Curtis Stevens, Matthew Macklin, and Gabriel Rosado.

Two things should be pointed out about both boxers. Jacobs has only fought once since the beginning of 2016 and may be rusty. The other is that Golovkin is thirty four years old and will be turning thirty five in less than a month. Age may be catching up with him and he didn’t look like his usual dominant self when he last fought Kell Brook.

However, Jacobs lone loss was by stoppage to a boxer who isn’t known for his power like Golovkin is. Also, Jacobs is a good boxer, but his competition has been suspect at best. His best victory came against Peter Quillin, his other wins were against pedestrian and above average at best opponents.

This should be an exciting bout and is one of the best bouts to be put on pay per view in awhile, but it’s a fight that Golovkin should win.

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