Anthony Joshua Rematches His Andy Ruiz Disaster

Anthony Joshua will confront his nightmare of Andy Ruiz Jr this Saturday, December 7th, only this time the venue is the wildcard of Diriyah Arena, Diriyah, Saudi Arabia for the first ever heavyweight title bout in Saudi history, and what a doozy it is with four titles on the line, WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO.

The future Roman Emperor then military ingenue, Julius Caesar, famously sent word to his then superiors the results of his military campaign with these abruptly succinct words, “Veni, vidi, vici, ie I came, I saw, I conquered,” seemingly words crafted by that Roman Colossus for the boxing world’s American debut of Joshua after knocking over every fighter he faced, emptying the heavyweight stable of Al Haymon, and consolidating the scattered belts. Alas, modern day monkey wrenches were tossed into his sculptured works by the rolypoly rotundeth boy, Andy Ruiz, a favorite son of taco and hotdog venders everywhere, who vanquished our statuesque Caesar to make off with his spoils of war,  a sumptuous banquet of Joshua’s hard earned belts.

So, our boxing Caesar, having been stung badly by his upset as the previous accolades flowing his way have been replaced by howls of derision by the lowbrows who have always existed in any society, why he has been training in hard diligence to right the wrong promulgated against him by his cheeky upstart. Fat Andy for his part has seems to have been training harder than at any point in his career, “possibly” scaling below 250lbs for the rematch. In short, the human interest dynamics and prime boxing motivation dynamics of the fighters are all lining up on the celestial charts in the ink black skies of Saudi Arabia for a potential all time great rematch and, fingers crossed, perhaps an all time great trilogy.

The importance of this seminal fight has not been lost by the boxing world either. Though perhaps being seen something of a schoolboy cornball attempt, The Ring recreated a 45 year old facsimile cover honoring our present day combatants by way of Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman from 45 years ago. While Andy appears in his approximate size dimensions, the half foot taller Joshua has been shrink wrapped to fit in the frame.  Also this fight is a much needed rematch whereas Ali skipped out of the lucrative rematch with Big George, so really, other than both fights were huge upsets fought in foreign lands, there are otherwise no parallels between them.

Africa is replaced by the adjoining Saudi Arabia, and the Don King inspired theme, “The Rumble In The Jungle” is not mentioned in the Foreman vs Ali edition, yet Ring has seen fit to add the rather vanilla “Clash on the Dunes” for Ruiz/Joshua II. I’d have chosen “Duke’m Out In The Desert,” but then I don’t get paid to make critical, hit or miss boxing marketing decisions.

In the first fight, Joshua was easily leading the cards in a rather tepid start by both fighters. Joshua was seemingly puzzled by the one off physical dimensions of Ruiz who sports a massive skull set and upper body hidden under all that lard with a cartoonish pant inseam equivalent to a 5-5 featherweight. Mighty Joe Parker also struggled against the Fat Andy dynamics of constant pressuring punctuated by fast handed combinations. Joshua smartly started slow so as to adjust to this never before seen mix of natural talent and physical attributes in a heavyweight title fight before the frenzy of 5 knockdowns exploded that started with Joshua’s knockdown of Andy who had never tasted the canvas before.

When the smoke finally cleared, Joshua was left staring vacantly into his fuzzy new universe, propped against his own corner after his 4th knockdown as the ref righteously waved off the fight. The blubber of Andy slam dunked skyward in the sheer jubilation of suddenly seizing the biggest prize in all of boxing, the unified heavyweight title from the great champion as one of the biggest upsets in history.

No Way Jose had just come true!

The reactions of the boxing community over the “morbidly obese” first ever Mexican boxing champion(born and lives in the US side of the Mexican border with Mexican being his self identified Demographic) reminds me a bit of another boxing outsider, that of the clowning first “Jewish” heavyweight champion, Max Baer, who sent chills through the morally upright pillars of America in the 1930s when he won the heavyweight title. One stalwart member of the pulpit and the physical culture of the time opined(paraphrased,) “Here we have the disgrace of the new heavyweight champion of the world, and he trains on beer!”

Snickers Galore!

The unexpected manner in which the Colossus of Joshua suddenly imploded after putting Ruiz on the brink of knockout has generated all manner of hysteric theories as befits this vacuous twitter/facebook generation. My own initial take was first the contrast of fighter focus entering the ring. Ruiz made the gauntlet ring walk first through the eerily silent populace of security and fans with a terse, no nonsense stare to the ring of his destination. A roar greeted Joshua as security and fans engaged in hand and back slaps naturally wanting to be a piece of this Colossus history in the making as Joshua willingly engaged them in his natural “nice guy” demeanor for his American debut. He had everything other than this fight in his focus, and folks, no matter the training, a fighter without focus entering the ring, well, it’s gonna be a long painful night as it turned out to be. Has any King of England ever traveled with such a platoonish largess of adoring servants?

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Then another controversy of sorts as Andy’s sudden defection was revealed not by press release, but rather by the abrupt presence of Al Haymon’s main man, Sam Watson, in the ring with Andy’s team. From my perspective, that revelation put me on RED ALERT for monkey business since Andy had been promoted by Bob Arum from his pro inception. This boxing stealth move equivalent would be a national act of treason.

I’m not saying that any monkey business actually occurred in the ring, but Joshua seemed to be fighting underwater in slo-mo like in a dream. Not being his physician or trainer, I don’t know the exact physical and mental reasons for that, but reliable sources before and after the fight maintain he’d been knocked out in sparring a couple of weeks before. Post fight Josh’s father attacked his promoter Eddie Hearn in the dressing room furious that he had allowed this fight to happen after a grueling prefight scramble of fighters failing drug tests and refusing to fight for the $5 million short notice offer until Andy stepped in. In short, there was too much $$$ already on the line not to mention the prestige of Eddie and Joshua.

Ruiz for his part that night showed patience in carefully adjusting to this new Colossus armed with an Olympic Gold medal after just 2 yrs of Amateur boxing and the best professional knockout record in modern heavyweight title history after his 18 fights. That Andy managed to do so without significant change in his style to ring up boxing’s greatest jackpot points to his previously ignored overall excellence as a fighter buried under vicious howls of derision that night by besotted Brits. Natch, he promptly went on a sorta celebrity tour of Mexico to be properly feted by la gente y politicos who unexpectedly found themselves with a new hero. I’m sure he returned from his impromptu tour well over 300 lbs and fully satiated with his accomplishments, after all, he made his pro debut only a Big Mac Meal Deal short of 300 lbs

Yet still the fallen former hero of the British people still lays in wait to glove it up again. The list of fallen heavyweight champions regaining the unified title in the immediate rematch is a short one. Floyd Patterson became the first vs Ingemar Johansson, and then Lennox Lewis vs Hasim Rahman stands out, but perhaps not even that one given Lewis had already sold his WBA belt to Don King. The racketeering ignominy of that move and later selling his IBF to King can never be forgiven. Lewis finally had to retire days before the WBC was due to strip him of his last belt, a sad end indeed.

As mentioned previously, the mental state of a fighter is perhaps the most important part of any fight, and Josh it appears had a ton of distractions, not the least was his opponent falling out with no replacements to be found until Andy finally stepped up to the scratch line to save the fight and his touted American debut. Now, perhaps disturbingly due the massive fallout over his loss, Josh has been genuflecting in the shadow of his former greatness with some very strange comments. While his focus and determination must be there since he immediately tapped his rematch clause, it’s natural to think his confidence has been cracked with such bizarre talk.

The Venue!

A 2 month blitzkrieg of a purpose built, 15,000 capacity stadium erected on the outskirts of town that will last for several years as a venue if Saudi based sporting events continue to grow. What is not mentioned in all this fight leadup is that months ago Iran knocked out half the Saudi oil production with some well placed missiles, an act of war for most countries save that the Iranian’s deny it. Nobody wants to stomach yet another war in the middle east when Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, and Syria are still smoldering in the ashes of their lost paradises, so what are the Iranians thinking about this splash heavyweight debut in the Saudi desert?

Would they?

I sure would be nervous and I expect both fighters and camps to be doubly nervous over this rematch given the HUGE STAKE$ for the fight. A loss by either knocks the loser out of tens of millions of future dollars, but if we the boxing community are lucky, we may well see an epic Valhalla quality trifecta in the future to date one of the all time great series in boxing history in our era.

If a man’s reach cannot extend beyond his grasp, then what’s a Valhalla for?

 

 

 

Reviewing The 2020 Fighter of the Decade~Manny Pacquiao

Folks, epic history in it’s creation worth repeating again and again for boxing aficionados and naysayers!

Manny Pacquiao as the Fighter of the Decade from 2000-2009, opened up 2010 with successive resounding bombshells. First he knocked his main rival, Floyd Mayweather Jr, out of his scheduled fight date of March 13th at the MGM after their fight talks evaporated over the dubious terms of drug testing. Manny then roared back with a huge flurry to debut both himself and brand new Cowboy Stadium that March 13th that established Cowboy Stadium as the premiere stadium fight in all of America. Longtime welter contenders, Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito, both of whom were ducked by Mayweather, why they had to take what was coming to Mayweather instead…Ouch City!

Here are the current Boxrec top 11 P4P fighters as of the approximate end of this decade:

1 Canelo Lightheavyweight
2 Terence Crawford welterweight
3 Gennady Golovkin middleweight
4 Errol Spence Jr welterweight
5 Vasiliy Lomachenko lightweight
6 Miguel Berchelt super featherweight
7 Callum Smith super middleweight
8 Manny Pacquiao welterweight
9 Shawn Porter welterweight
10 Deontay Wilder
11 Andy Ruiz Jr heavyweight

The Ring has most of the Boxrec top 10 in a different order including Manny, but The Big Names having fought/beat multiple P4P and/or HOF type fighter in Boxrec order are:

Canelo, 22-1-1 for the decade with 3 P4P/HOF fights, Golovkin, 21-1-1 for the decade with 2 P4P/HOF fights, Manny, 12-4 for the decade with 7 P4P/HOF fights. So while the other prime big guns compiled larger numerical wins and less losses, by P4P/HOF criteria, the sheer density of the quality of Manny’s opposition screams out.

Let’s take a closer look at Manny’s record from 2010 to 2019 while he was pulling duties as an elected Philippine Congressman and then Senator, thus making him necessarily a part time fighter for the decade. In it you will find 7 P4P/HOF fighters, 11 or more ranked contenders, 6 undefeated fighters, Zero(0) Hometown fights, and 14 Knockdowns with one Knockout. We could allow a half dozen more Knockdowns and another knockout with the Chris Algieri fight, farcically “officially” with 6 KDs where Manny was knocking him into the ropes the whole of the fight. The kid proved to be extra tough to last the distance, but it was a needless beatdown of a new contender who has struggled ever since. The cornball ref for that fight held @Cotai Arena, Venetian Resort, Macao according to Boxrec was Genaro Rodriguez, but if you click on the link another name comes up, and if you do a search, a number of identical names come up much like an Ed Smith or Tom Jones search, so no matter the ref’s true identity, for that fight that ref was a joke.

In short, Manny did not just dare to be great, he was insistent upon being great as an extension of his BWAA Fighter of the Decade 2000-2009. Manny holds the Ring P4P record of most wins, most KOs, most fights, and most years consecutively P4P ranked, 12+ years. Moreover, he will have been ranked as P4P in his 4th decade of boxing next year if he chooses to fight again, almost a certainty. I don’t see how these Ring P4P records can ever be broken, and he did it within the adversarial, litigious construct between his promoter, Bob Arum and that of Ring’s owner, Oscar de la Hoya.

At the start of 2010 Manny’s record was 50-3-2, and at the close of 2019, his record was 62-7-2. That translates to 16 fights resulting in a 12-4 record during the decade. He averaged 1.6 fights every year he’s been an elected member of the Filipino Congress, near half of them being against P4P/HOF fighters with the entire scope of his fighting and political life melding seamlessly into the whole of his life that is not only unheard in those two completely unrelated pursuits, yet scarcely comprehensible in the limited modern scope of understanding seminal history in the making before our very eyes.

He has fought in Brisbane, Australia and Macao, China and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as well as inaugurating the brand new Cowboy Stadium with 2 epic shutouts over Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito to establish Cowboy stadium as the premiere boxing stadium in the US not to mention his epic forays in Vegas. He goes to where the $$$ is, wisely I would say.

There is no modern great who brought the “great” fight to so many diverse peoples in and out of the ring in this decade.

We of the western boxing community did not know him at the start of 2000 when he was still fighting as a super bantamweight in the Philippines, but by 2001 this skinny little Filipino made his US debut at the new MGM in Vegas with a sensational KO for his first superbantam world title, kicking off the irresistible, irrevocable Manny Pacquiao era that has been with we, the boxing folk, ever since. He may well have become the most internationally known boxing icon ever since he has basically opened up the vast 3 billion Asian market to boxing far beyond their traditional Southeastern Asian boxing that has always been there. The Chinese have made some significant inroads and the traditional Indonesian/Thailand boxing countries are now stronger than ever with even India also fielding amateur boxing teams and professional.

Manny’s opponent list for 2010-2019:

20 Keith Thurman 29 0 0 MGM Grand, Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas
W-SD World Boxing Association Super World Welterweight Title

2019-01-19 Adrien Broner 33 3 1 MGM Grand, Las Vegas
W-UD World Boxing Association World Welterweight Title

2018-07-15 Lucas Martin Matthysse 39 4 0 Axiata Arena, Kuala Lumpur
W-TKO World Boxing Association World Welterweight Title

2017-07-02 Jeff Horn 16 0 1 Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
L-UD World Boxing Organisation World Welterweight Title

2016-11-05 Jessie Vargas 27 1 0 Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas
W-UD World Boxing Organisation World Welterweight Title

2016-04-09 Timothy Bradley Jr 33 1 1 MGM Grand, Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas
W-UD vacant World Boxing Organisation International Welterweight Title

2015-05-02 Floyd Mayweather Jr 47 0 0 MGM Grand, Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas L-UD World Boxing Council World Welterweight Title
World Boxing Association Super World Welterweight Title
World Boxing Organisation World Welterweight Title

2014-11-23 Chris Algieri 20 0 0 Cotai Arena, Venetian Resort, Macao
W-UD World Boxing Organisation World Welterweight Title

2014-04-12 Timothy Bradley Jr 31 0 0 MGM Grand, Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas W-UD World Boxing Organisation World Welterweight Title

2013-11-24 Brandon Rios 31 1 1 Cotai Arena, Venetian Resort, Macao
W-UD vacant World Boxing Organisation International Welterweight Title

2012-12-08 Juan Manuel Marquez 54 6 1 MGM Grand, Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas L-KO

2012-06-09 Timothy Bradley Jr 28 0 0 MGM Grand, Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas L-SD World Boxing Organisation World Welterweight Title

2011-11-12 Juan Manuel Marquez 53 5 1 MGM Grand, Las Vegas
W-MD World Boxing Organisation World Welterweight Title

2011-05-07 Shane Mosley 46 6 1 MGM Grand, Las Vegas
W-UD World Boxing Organisation World Welterweight Title

2010-11-13 Antonio Margarito 38 6 0 Cowboys Stadium, Arlington
W-UD vacant World Boxing Council World Super Welterweight Title

2010-03-13 Joshua Clottey 35 3 0 Cowboys Stadium, Arlington
W-UD World Boxing Organisation World Welterweight Title

Let’s look further: His collective opponent record at the time of their fights in this decade adds up to 560-39-7, and that divided by 16 fights yields an average opponent record of 35-2, and again, just the sheer density of the quality of his competition stands above all other Fighter of the Decade candidates.

Now I could Blah-Blah and moan in ecstasy about the number of PPVs Manny was in and the hundreds of million$$$ he made for himself and boxing, but that would just cheapen the fighter aspect of Fighter of the Decade. With Pacquiao soon to be 41 years of age this year and entering his 4th fight decade, he will be looking in 2020 to make another great fight if he can, great being how he always tackles a brutal, blunt force sport in such an infectious, joyous manner against the best. He is the embodiment of The Alpha and The Omega and The Joy of Boxing wrapped up in the most compactly framed welterweight in history save that of the legendary Homicide Henry Armstrong who would be downsized in this massive new era of day before weigh ins and scientific weight loss and gain tricks.

Folks, in his last fight, Keith Thurman had been a young gun at the top of P4P lists until his health recovery interim after shoulder surgery, 29-0 in the full flower of his rejuvenated youth, yet Pacquiao steadily took the fight to him for 12 rounds, charging and prodding and then firing himself at Thurman with superhuman energy. Thurman, whose face was blotchy and bleeding before the end of the first round after suffering a knockdown, did not know what to make of it; there’s no chance he’d ever experienced this form of relentless mayhem. He was in the ring with a maniacal fighter fighting for something nobody else can see, his beloved Filipino peoples.

Manny’s superhuman P4P strength is like that of the great Achilles, born flesh, blood, and bone to be controlled magnificently by a one off instinctive fighting brain and fast twitching neurons that ultimately must succumb to the ravages of mortality as all mortals must do in their stages. So, in the interest of his health and that of his family, I propose he take the riches that an Amir Khan fight in Dubai would bring to settle the score against another fighter Mayweather ducked before riding off into the sunset of our yesteryears in 2020.  He will always be the most riveting fighter of his generation and for generations well past this one.

 

 

First Lady of Boxing~Cecilia Braekhus Makes DAZN Debut

Yupsir, Boxing’s only First Lady, Cecilia Braekhus makes her  dizzy DAZN debut this Saturday @Casino de Monte Carlo Salle Medecin, Monte Carlo vs Victoria Noelia Bustos of Argentina.

Sounds like some right fancy digs, thus a perfect place for a classy lady to debut. I do hope she makes her DAZN cash grab a short one before retiring unblemished to become a spokesman for women’s boxing through boxing broadcasts and various international corporate endorsements.

She was chosen to shutter HBO’s storied boxing broadcasts last year, so those of us who love boxing and classy women are hoping the best for her as she comes to the end of her record setting career after having turned 38 in September. We should all be so lucky!

 Say Hello to Deontay Wilder vs Luis Ortiz Rematch

The regrettable rematch of Deontay Wilder vs Luis Ortiz will supposedly be occurring Saturday, November 23rd that could be seen as an extension of Halloween from a few weeks ago, but truth be told this becomes a sorta rubber match trifecta for the two after our dear Deyonce skipped out of the first scheduled fight. The dirty deed will occur @MGM Grande in Vegas for the WBC title..

I advisably said “supposedly” occurring because of Wilder’s propensity in skipping out in high profile fights with gobs of money involved over the bane of modern boxing, drug testing! In this fight, Ortiz has a VADA CBP ID #528949, and Wilder #468841. What that means in the dirty world of boxing hooking up with a BALCO Vic Conte designed VADA program is anybody’s guess.

When they actually did fight last time, in typical Wilder fashion, he was getting the seven bells of hell blasted out of him and needed a fortuitous time delay by the regrettable New York based referee, David Fields that allowed him extra recovery. Ol’ man Ortiz was spent in fatigue as he emptied of most his arsenal to put Deyonce on the brink of knockout only to have the bell save him. Ortiz didn’t have enough left to KO Wilder the next delayed round, and not long afterwards succumbed to KO, but praise the heavens above!

Perhaps redemption is at hand with the unexpected rematch, and word floated in the street by the media is the Cuban southpaw King Kong Ortiz has been having a most excellent camp whereas Wilder has been struggling. Could just be more media codswallop to sucker the unwashed rubes into their tyny bets on the underdog Ortiz, but no matter, both are fighting for a fraction of the viewing audience compared to the celebrity pro debuts of Logan Paul fighting Olajide William Olatunji in a 6 rounder a couple of weeks earlier this November.

The real $$$ and bragging rights in boxing will be in Saudi Arabia December 7th when Andy Ruiz Jr defends his hard earned unified titles against the former great champion, Anthony Joshua looking for his own redemption. More than titles will be on the line with the future of their legacies at stake. Is Fat Andy just a one hit wonder, or has The Fashion Model Joshua arrived past his sell date at the championship level?

In that 2 week interim, nothing wrong with the grade B talent willing to glove it up, and given the open stance, aggressive styles of both Wilder and Ortiz, they are not likely to disappoint those knockdown, drag out aficionados, so in that regard, this becomes parental guidance recommended for violence, a must see for adult boxing aficionados.

YouTube Donnybrook on DAZN~Logan Paul vs KSI

Folks, for better or farce, American Logan Paul rematches his dubious civilian youtube fight against Englishman KSI, aka Olajide William Olatunji, from last year as they make their official pro boxing debuts under the auspices of DAZN and promoter Eddie Hearn this Saturday, November 9th @Staples CenterLos Angeles.

It Happens!

They previously sold out the O2 in merry aulde England to relocate to sunny California with an undercard featuring new DAZN signee and WBO supermiddle weight champ, another Englishman name of Billy Joe Saunders, 28-0, vs Argentinian Marcelo Esteban Coceres, who sports an almost identical undefeated record of 28-0-1.

The previous KSI/Paul draw result with amateur headgear will certainly be overturned under professional boxing rules in a 6 round fight in the Cruiserweight division. They had to take a medical exam and pass the physical and drug test to do the dirty deed, so good on them and Eddie for doing the right thing here. They were playing before, but now know the stakes are considerably more serious with this. After all, the loser could potentially be harassed in perpetuity if a catchy video highlight meme surfaces of his comedy moment before his demise that happens to some of the best fighters.

So let’s Hype the rematch with the old match!

The first bout was pretty much the professional looking Paul landing the biggest, cleanest shots while KSI stirred up the breeze with his useless haymakers, but of course this being a sorta Kiddie glitterboy boxing rematch under professional rules with 10 oz gloves, the draw result is less likely. In fact, given the more expertise training both have undergone by now, a knockout may be more likely under those rules.

Paul fired up the controversy in advance by threatening, “I’m going to f******murder that dude bro, actual murder bro. Deyonce Wilder said this, boxing’s the only sport that you can kill a man in the ring and get paid to do it.”

Paul earned his previous Youtube notoriety by filming the dead body of a Japanese suicide victim to put on Youtube. Yeah, stupid, light in the loafers morbid with no respect for the dead or Japanese culture, but KSI not much better as a flash rapper wannabee, the new young generation of vacuous, crotch grabbing, tongue hanging males.

Well, there it is, November 9th. Be there on DAZN in LA or risk being the newest Youtube boob on the block!

Monster Alert~Naoya Inoue vs Nonito Donaire=WBSS Ali Trophy

Japan’s “Monster” Banty, Naoya Inoue, 18-0, 16 KO, and legendary Filipino-American Nonito ‘The Filipino Flash,’ Nonito Donaire, 40-5, 26 KO, are set to go mano a mano for the WBSS 118lb Ali Trophy at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on this Thursday, November 7th. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday is an odd weekday to have a fight in most of the western world, but Japan has it’s own highly developed media programming and have always been unique in that  regard and too many other regards to mention in this history of this legendary Island Nation. As it pertains to this fight, that would include it’s own unique time zone, so this forewarning is for those connoisseurs of the sweet science who are insistent in watching a boxing match live if at all possible.

The 26 year old Inoue has generated Monster Alert Warnings ever since he turned pro, and after his thunderous quarter-final and semi-final performances in the WBSS Banty tourney, this fight promises to be a deja vu post-Halloween Monster Fest all over again.

In that vein, The Monster has scarcely had to fight in this tourney, logging only 5 minutes and 29 seconds ring time against the likes of Emmanuel Rodriguez and Juan Carlos Payano, dispatched as easily as any raging Godzilla might dispatch the fleeing population.

A trivial detail to Monster’s presence in this tourney; at age 23 and the younger brother of Naoya, Takuma Inoue is also undefeated and ranked 4th in boxrec, just under #3 Donaire, so for the sake of family diplomacy he wisely chose not to enter the tourney. I doubt they will ever fight, but we all know the kid has his work cut out for him following in his already legendary brother’s footprints.

Donaire was blessed to win his quarter-final when Ryan Burnett was forced to retire after four rounds due to a lower back injury. Donaire then got another break in the semis when IBF champ Zolani Tete pulled out with an injury, so instead Nonito fought late sub to feast on Stephon Young with a sixth round TKO. In essence, thanks to the luck of the draw, Donaire has had something of a rebirth with an Indian Summer of his stellar career that may be flattering his #3 Boxrec and Ring rankings.

This fight and fighters are so important to the international boxing fraternity that Ring commissioned Japanese manga author and artist George Morikawa to do their cover for Ring Magazine.

Alas, nothing for the future dead certain lock in the IBHOF, the Filipino Flash, but he’s been looking pretty fair for the former new kid on the block, so an upset here…well, it’d be mighty tasty when washed down with a farewell fight in the Philippines for his final sayonara. Sadly, Monster won’t let him out of the gate in this one, but I expect Nonito goes out magnificently on his shield in a firefight as so many greats by their end have done to hand over the flame of Valhalla to the new generation. C’est la vie.

Canelo Challenges Sergey Kovalev For LightHeavy Supremacy

Grab all your family jewels for safekeeping on November 2nd this Saturday when Saul “Canelo” Alvarez jumps yet another division for the glory of taking on the Boxrec #1 Lightheavy in the world, the fearsome Krusher, Sergey Kovalev @MGM Grande, Las Vegas. This is part of the DAZN extravaganzas for the close of the year.

Hard to know who is the more hated panto villain in modern boxing fandom, Canelo or the Krusher. This becomes a sort of a “Quiet” Odd Couple pairing where Kovelev will sport a half foot of height and reach over Canelo, and face it, two more ethnically and stylistic disparate fighters could not have been picked for such a big fight. Their only similarities are both are fighters and quietly soft spoken outside the ring to let their fists do their talking inside the ring.

Finally, the much maligned Kovalev gets a payday commensurate with his contributions to the sport of boxing as Canelo gets another challenge to further enrage his growing legion of critics who simply cannot seem to stew enough in the bile of their self created hatreds.

And to be sure, Krusher is certainly no schoolboy here after being charged and perhaps ultimately sentenced to a US penitentiary for the crime of allegedly, ie horribly beating up a woman who spurned his sexual advances if no out of court settlement is forthcoming to compensate the victim for her injuries. And then the specter of Canelo in his slick, silk finery rubbing the noses of his critics in his myriad of championship belts begets an arrogance born of the excellence of his teenaged craftsmanship that has carried him to this point in time, a veritable Hater’s paradise!

VADA Drug Testing Trivia: Canelo #348759~~Kovalev #505927

By natural attributes and size, the fight reminds me a bit of IBHOFers Bob Foster vs Dick Tiger in 1968. The carefully crafted Tiger was around Canelo’s size, and Knockout artist Foster a bit taller than Kovalev at 6-3, but Tiger was the older Lightheavy champ with an excellent chin, and Foster the 9 years younger contender having been knocking over Lightheavies like bowling pins. In this fight, the shorter Canelo is the 7 year younger fighter, yet with more than double the pro rounds against the WBO beltholder Kovalev who is still on top of his game with an additional #2 Ring rating to supplement his Boxrec #1.

Foster ended up knocking out Tiger rather easily, but Tiger turned out to be not only on his last legs of his boxing career, but on his last legs here on earth with his departure a 3 years years later via liver cancer, as sick as a man can be. Me thinks this fight may well go the distance. Kovalev is an excellent long distance fighter fully capable of utilizing his height, reach, and jab advantage at his range, so the impetus will be on Canelo to figure out how to slip his punches to get inside that range for his shorter, more compact punches, because otherwise, he will just be target practice for Kovalev.

Nothing about this Mutt and Jeff fight will be easy for either because of the overall excellence of the fighters, but perhaps the wild card in play will be can Canelo get Krusher to respect his power? Canelo easily dismantled the towering Rocky Fielding for a minor 168 WBA title, and though Rocky still highly rated on Boxrec at #5, in no way can he compare to the legacy of what Kovalev brings to the table still at the top of his game no matter the frothing thrash of his bibby bedecked babbling critics.

Another harsh criticism of this fight making the antisocial media rounds is Krusher is having to fight too soon after a hard, damaging fight against Anthony Yarde, so let’s deconstruct that myth:

1. Other than a few minor contusions as in any fight, Kovalev suffered no injuries in a fight he was in command of for the 11 rounds it lasted. It was a good mental and physical workout against a strong, new young gun. There is also a 70 day gap between the Canelo fight that translates to 10 weeks worth of time.

2. Now, allowing that Kovalev was already in prime condition two weeks before the Yarde fight, and immediately afterward, but allowing 2-3 weeks judicious rest and relaxation in advance of the biggest fight of his life, that leaves him 7-8 weeks to train for Canelo, meaning that barring any training injuries, Kovalev may well end up in the best shape of his life. Allowing 4-5 weeks rest and relaxation, that would leave 5-6 weeks training, a standard minimum training time needed for most fighters not having to lose excessive weight or get into physical shape, a scenario not in play here. All Krusher needs is light exercise designed to maintain his already fine condition and specific strategy based sparring to work out his fight plans.

Has there ever been any”true” fighter who ever existed to turn down such a lucrative opportunity as this? 

I can only think of a few, but more importantly as pertains to this fight, certainly not this battle tested Russian who has completely upended the light heavy division ever since he was an up and coming unranked fighter. Unbelievably I’m hearing Canelo is a 4-1 favorite, meaning you reap 25 cents on every dollar bet for Canelo if he wins, yet earn $4 for every dollar you bet for Kovalev if he wins!

Myself never being the betting sort relying on such a shaky proposition as boxing officiating, it becomes beyond my comprehension as such odds in such an unknown type of fight can be determined, yet such were floated 6 days from the fight date!

I would think Kovelev holds most of the cards against a novice debutante to the Lightheavy division no matter the difficulties of parsing the unusual physical and style match ups, but if push comes to shove, well, then, I’m picking “The Good Fight, May The Best Man Win,” so that’s my choice and I’m sticking to it! 

 

WBSS Finals~Regis Prograis vs Josh Taylor @O2 London

This much maligned WBSS on again/off again tourney finally may make it to the finish line when the New Orleans based native, Regis Prograis, travels to London to take on the long and lean Englishman Josh Taylor @O2 in London this Saturday, October 26th.

Few American fighters are willing to travel for big overseas bouts that are almost always bigger than can be had stateside, yet top modern P4P welters Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr and Timothy Bradley Jr have done so in Merry Aulde England with great success, so Prograis, 24-0, 20 KO means to continue their successful mean streak against Taylor, 15-0, 12 KO. Prograis also has a definitive KO win over another long and lean champion in Julius Indongo.

The WBSS problems have been endemic from the start: 1. Overexposure of the format that has long been proven fragile for the way an individual sport of boxing works. 2. A bizarre new financial compensation package contrary to the traditional method boxing uses. 3. Shortage of cash leading to the bad publicity of fighters having to wait long times to get paid. 4. Shortage of ethics with their financier, the regrettable Richard Schaefer who paid an out of court settlement to Goldenboy Promotions for fraudulently running the company into the ground as their CEO that surreptitiously served to jump start the equally regrettable Al Haymon into in the boxing biz.

Don’t know anything about 28 year old Taylor other than he has 80% KO ratio and highly rated by Boxrec and Ring as is the 30 year old Prograis who also possesses all those things.

And both undefeated! And all this for the Ali Trophy!

A decision favors Taylor in his home environs, so I’m pretty sure Prograis will be carefully angling for the definitive KO.

Officiating? We can only avert our eyes and pray for the best fighter to win. We’ve had a number of Fight of the Year fight contenders in 2019, so fingers crossed this fight will prove to worthy of that caliber.

The Other Ukrainian Oleksandr~Oleksandr Gvozdyk vs Artur Beterbiev

The other Ukrainian Oleksandr, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, WBC Lightheavy champ,  defends against highly touted Russian IBF champ, Artur Beterbiev, this Friday, October 18th @Liacouras Center, Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. 

This is a highly desirable unification bout between two Eastern Europeans whose countries are currently engaged in a low simmering war with multiplying long term casualties and displacements. The 32 yr old Gvozdyk, 17-0, 14 KO, and the 34 yr old Beterbiev, 14-0, 14 KO, don’t seem hold such deathly hostilities towards each other, yet nonetheless, these are two no nonsense fighters who will look to discombobulate the other within the legal rules of boxing. World leaders would do well to emulate that honorable part of boxing, but the corrupting spoils of war and glory have regrettably proven endemic throughout history.

You can also see that Beterbiev has a massive skull set that may well prove to be impossible to crack. While he knocked Gvozdyk in the amateurs, he also lost to the other Ukrainian Oleksandr, Oleksandr Usyk having beat him on the way to Gold in the 2012 Olympics in the heavyweight(Pro Cruiserweight) class. So here Beterbiev is now drained down to current pro era Lightheavy limit of 175 lbs that allows maximum rehydration after the weighin, that in his case may be well into the 190s. That advantage may well explain the overall thickness of his physicality, power, and perpetual scowl from having to make an unnatural weight class.

In short, Beterbiev is a Big Load for the division.

I suspect that Gvokdyk is the better boxer but for the handicap of his new trainer, the certified Loonytunes Teddy Atlas who is known to have pulled a gun on young amateur teenage Mike Tyson that got him booted from the Cus D’Amato stable, and years later and none the wiser, he grabbed his gun to go track down Donny Lalonde with bad intentions. Thankfully that search turned out to be fruitless, but nonetheless, Teddy is the wildcard in this fight and typically will viciously bait Beterbiev in the pressers hoping to get him off his team strategy.

Beterbiev is not the kind of guy to be put in a frenzy, so The Nail really does have his work cut out for him similar to the Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier first Fight of the Century. To paraphrase Joe during the post fight after beating up and knocking down Ali, “I knew Clay was gonna have to fight and run whereas all I had to do is fight.” Most assuredly, gonna to be some kind of an epic fight in Philly this Saturday night and near a guarantee Loony Teddy blows his top by the end.

American & Heavyweight Debut of Oleksandr Usyk vs Chazz Witherspoon

Ukranian all everthing, Oleksandr Usyk, 16-0, 12 KO, makes both his American and heavyweight debut against long suffering American fringe contender, Chazz Witherspoon, 38-3, 29 KO, this Saturday, October 12 @Wintrust Arena, Chicago, Illinois.

Witherspoon is the nephew of former heavyweight champ Tim Witherspoon and winner of the 2004 National Golden Gloves Heavyweight Tourney, so wondrous things were expected as he’s a big heavyweight and obviously a good boxer, but 3 losses to top fighters have prevented him from gaining traction. Yet he soldiered on to stay busy enough such that at age 38, the gift of a lifetime fell into his lap after the previous Usyk opponent got popped for drug violation by VADA.

Usyk was last seen defending every Cruiserweight World Title known to man in England against a surprisingly game Tony Bellew last year who retired after his beatdown. So after a torn biceps training injury canceled Usyk’s previous debut, here we are with Chazz salivating over the opportunity to test out that dinged up arm of his.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plus a couple of lively undercard fights with the lovely Jessica McCaskill vs  Erica Anabella Farias as well as Lightheavy champ Dmitry Bivol going against Lenin Castillo.

I suspect Usyk who is a cautious slow starter preferring to rack up early boxing points as he works out his opponents will eventually want to make a KO statement. Of Chazz’s 3 losses, the last two were by KO, and in the first loss he was on the verge of being knocked out at the bell when his team got on the ring apron as the ref administered a count that triggered a DQ ruling by the ref, so make of Chazz’s chances what you may.

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