Monthly Archives: October 2013

Sweet Revenge? Vic Darchinyan vs Nonito Donaire

Say what you will about Vic Darchinyan being the prototypical Aussie bullyboy, but he never gave up wanting to rematch his first career loss to Nonito Donaire, a devastating highlight reel knockout  for the ages. The rematch will be Saturday, November 9th in Corpus Christi, Texas. This will also be something of a comeback fight for Donaire who suddenly went from being the toasted P4P darling in the fashion of fellow Filipino Manny Pacquiao to boxing’s “Who knows ya and wadda ya done lately kid?”

First Meeting

First Meeting

Darchinyan was a tiger at 28-0, 22 KO who had the boxing world by the throat going into that first Donaire fight. He left the fight in tatters after scary minutes on the canvas in recovery from Donaire’s perfect counter left hook. Raging Bull was born to fight though and has been in against top competition since then, as good as any fighter currently operating, but things didn’t always go his way as his current 39-5-1 record attests. Yet that sole KO loss burned ever so brightly as a brand on his soul that he had a fever to avenge, so finally, here we are.

As to the recent Donaire downfall, he mysteriously fell apart during the leadup before his last fight, a dastardly loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux. Reports had him being mostly self trained with Robert Garcia phoning in a some instructions before compounding his dissolution by divorcing his BALCO associated physical trainer Victor Conte. Reduced boxing preparations on top of being  deprived of those secret magic potions left Donaire very vulnerable with his expectant wife as his only soulmate going into a difficult fight. Indeed, the focus in interviews seemed to be Donaire’s preoccupation with the development of his son and his wife’s health, not his chosen profession.

He looked foolish trying to chase down the rapidly fleeing Rigondeaux as any fighter might appear and was additionally ill prepared for those moments when it came time to trade punches. Though he came to held his own as he adapted to the wily Rigondeaux, he was well off his 2012 Fighter of the Year form. In the 10th round insult would be added to injury when he wasn’t credited by referee Benjy Esteves Jr. with two clean consecutive knockdowns that would have put him up on the two close cards with more impetus going into the last two rounds. Instead he was only credited with one knockdown and completely gave up the last round to protect his damaged eye.

To add intrigue to this rematch, Donaire has recently made amends with his dad who happened to be in his corner when he avenged the brutal loss by his brother Glenn to Darchinyan. A nasty dispute later separated the family as the Nonito star ascended, but now Dad is splitting duties with Garcia in the lead up to the rematch. How the “co-training” works for Nonito is unknown, however on his worst night Donaire could have won his last fight but for poor circumstances, thus he will be the odds on favorite.

Darchinyan may be near the end of his career at almost 38 years of age, but he recently signed a deal with Top Rank to make this fight, so it’s impossible to measure the boost that this opportunity may bring him. He operates out of an awkward lobster like southpaw style and it’s not like he has ever been terribly outclassed in the ring save that thunderous night against Donaire.

Now both are in a different place looking a bit vulnerable, but you can bet on seeing a genuine fight.

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Juan Manuel Marquez & Timothy Bradley Fight For Respect

Coming up fast under the wire like a nuclear studded stealth fighter comes the Timothy Bradley/Juan Manuel Marquez confrontation Saturday, October 12th at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Hard to know how this bout is going to shake out because of the polar opposite styles and attributes of the two longtime P4P fighters. Prior to each fighting Manny Pacquiao, I would have favored the unrelentingly awkward frenzy of the quicksilver Bradley over the traditional, upright, stationary countering style of Marquez.

The boxing landscape has since rumbled massively on the Richter scale, swallowing up the Manny Pacquiao phenomenon of the last two decades that left him twisting cruelly in the forever hot winds of his critics. Nor have the two fighters responsible for that tectonic shift been able to escape venomous strikes against them. Timothy Bradley may have won the judges’ hearts in a split decision win over Pacquiao, but he lost a lifetime of respect built up over his considerable career thus far because nobody but his family thinks he came close to winning that fight.

Billions upon Billions...

Billions upon Billions…

Who to thank in Vegas for yet another rinse and repeat “rubber stamped” hack job? Insert Carl Sagan intoning “billions upon billions” of hack jobs littering the great boxing galaxy in perpetuity it would seem.

Speaking of Vegas, their favorite fighter not named Floyd Mayweather Jr just happens to be Juan Manuel Marquez. He may have finally scored a highlight knockout for the ages over his long time nemesis, but all was for naught on the respectometer due to the sordid reputation of his BALCO associated physical trainer Angel “Memo” Heredia who transformed Marquez’s modest physical frame into Hulk Jr. This ain’t your tubby, pissoir tonic guzzling Juan Manuel Marquez of the Floyd Mayweather Jr fight anymore, that’s for certain.

As to physical frames, Timothy Bradley is right out of a Superman comic book, clearly engaged in a lifetime of body building that he apparently pares down with a vegan diet during training camp if what I have read is correct. He loves to flex and pose, so it will be interesting to see the weigh in contrast between what used to be the modestly composed Marquez who used to let his fists do his talking in the ring.

Hulk Jr vs Superman Jr?

Hulk Jr vs Superman Jr?

Bradley was coaxed into a comeback of sorts after his one year rest period to recover from serious ankle injuries sustained in the Pacquiao bout. The deranged death threats against him and his family along with the failure of the boxing community to rally round his huge “upset” put a rust on his insecure form against Ruslan Provodnikov, a brutal bout Bradley spent much time out on his feet as he staggered around looking for a place to fall. We’ll see soon enough if he’s recover full use of his ankles and chin since this new form of Marquez punches harder than ever.

Marquez found out the hard way that hiring BALCO associated trainers won him no new fans either. This fight was cobbled together after a last ditch compromise that sees Bradley being tested by the illicit VADA drug testing cartel while Marquez is drug tested by some fly by night illicit drug testing cartel because of longtime down and dirty disputes between Victor Conte and Memo Heredia who claim to be cleaning up boxing with their magic elixirs. Yeah, and I’ve got some lovely ocean frontage in Afghanistan for sale too, just send me your bank account numbers for a steal….errr….the deal of the century!

It also goes without saying that neither of these guys can carry a PPV on their own, so it will be interesting how those numbers pan out. Both could’ve earned much more against Pacquiao, but their egos insisted on parity if not the lions share of that purse, so this fight is also when their high flying rockets make a hard return to the boxing business world they live in.

Bradley could get careless and pop like a burnt out light bulb, or he might do light saber pirouettes around the bulked out form of Marquez. Don’t know who the favorite will be since Marquez is 40 years old to Bradley’s 30, but like I say, Vegas loves Marquez, thus he can be seen as both the money and the home town fighter for this bout and likely the modest betting favorite.

Be a nice change of pace to see an exciting, well contested, well officiated, and well scored fight to make up for the last couple of big duds this year. Marketing grossly exceeded the quality of the officiating and fighting of the year’s big “events.” Mayweather vs Alvarez and Klitschko vs Povetkin were anticlimactic compared to the hype of their big money promotions, so maybe next year boxing can get quality back into big events…..always a next year.

Mr. Klitschko Goes To Moscow for Mr. Povetkin

Maybe Wladimir Klitschko goes to Moscow to look up Alexander Povetkin for a score to settle, or maybe not. Povetkin has already pulled out of two signed deals from years back, leaving the Klitschko promotional team scrambling for last minute replacements.

Big and Bigger?

Big and Bigger?

It may be revealing that in spite of both fighting mainly out of Germany and having signed contracts for the third time now, Wlad says he never actually met Povetkin until weeks before they step into the ring. This promotional poster follows the precedent of Mayweather/Alvarez promotions that had Floyd in two inch lifts to make him incrementally the bigger fighter. Povetkin will actually be dwarfed in the ring come fight night contrary to the illusion of the poster above.

Meanwhile, if boxing couldn’t get any more blatantly ridiculous after the refereeing of Alvarez/Mayweather and subsequent scoring controversy, the WBA which seems to have the say so in the officiating of Klitschko/Povetkin, well, one of their judges, Ted Gimza, he’s on probation confined to his house, yet will be released for duties for the duration of this match. We couldn’t make this up. The WBA provides all necessary materials for our horror:

http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/klitschko-povetkin-judge-on-probation-wears-electronic-ankle-bracelet-227825

Slipped a Super Mickey

Slipped a Super Mickey

Lot’s of potentially ugly nationalist politics brewing for this fight. “Russian agents” were thought to have poisoned the former Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko a few years back that almost killed him and most certainly knocked him back many rungs in his ability to function. The Klitschko team had a similar experience, claiming Wlad was drugged in the the Lamont Brewster fight. He dominated the action and was on the verge of an early stoppage of Brewster before a mysterious collapse left him weak as a newborn lamb before Brewster ever landed the few glancing blows on him that weren’t even necessary at that point.

Add in the suspicious financing of an incredible $23 million purse bid for this fight that seems to be the largest purse bid in history, lots of potential for the usual monkey business of boxing for this fight. Then the controversy on whether a Russian or German drug testing cartel would be doing the drug screening for this match, the validity of often nebulous drug testing procedures and the dubious ethics of the “cartels” being as much a question mark as the athletes themselves. Let’s be clear though, Wlad is a huge favorite over Povetkin who was never that well experienced or accomplished and has been on a downward spiral from the promise he showed as a hot prospect several years back. I can’t see anything but monkey business being able to derail Wlad for this fight, so we’ll see soon enough what kind of sportsmanship is on display by the promoter and local commish.

Late breaking news shows big players greatly reducing the odds with a surge of Povetkin bets. A tsunami of Brewster bets from the UK actually shut down the bookies several days in advance of his “upset” of Wladimir, so the duplicitous history of boxing seems to be in full swing for this promotion.

http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/late-money-flowing-in-on-povetkin-227994

Previous international type of fights in Russian have been pretty much above board that I can recall, so there you have it, October 5th in Moscow. Tune in to bear witness on the current health of boxing.

Boxing 101~~How To Score Ugly, Part II~~Alvarez vs Mayweather

This followup pertains to the recent Alvarez/Mayweather “outrage” that has sent a long time boxing judge scrambling to ignominious retirement while the resident guvn’r was rudely roused from oversight of his Den of Gaming and Trolloptry by swarms of angry complainants using his name in vain. Anyone needing to catch up on the longtime scoring dilemmas facing the modern era of boxing can review my first draft on the subject here concerning the Shane Mosley vs Sergio Mora tempest in a teapot. It was a typical scoring controversy that got the usual antisocial ninnies boiling over in forever misplaced outrage for about a week before their tiny attention spans had found a new outrage to run off to knock over more gravestones:

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/boxing-101-how-to-score-ugly-or-mora-vs-mosley-the-no-win-non-fight-of-the-year/

There is no doubt that boxing, notwithstanding record revenues by Alvarez vs Mayweather, well, boxing has a problem of legitimacy as older American fans are dying out faster than new ones are coming aboard by an alarming margin. There are fewer American fighters left in the sport, probably due to fewer kids wishing to leap into a career of corruption where there is almost no money to be made except at the very top. The UFC shines in today’s New World Order as boxing moves to the pro wrestling format of  prefight promotional themes of conflict. Even old timers are fleeing modern matchups to pine over lost glory years when the fighting actually took place in the ring without a 3 ring circus of announcers corrupting the experience.

Moreover, if an average kid does decide to turn pro, chances are forever that the deck will be stacked against them in the referee enforcement of rules and the assignment of points by the judges anytime they face fighters associated with the larger promoters. By modern marketing standards, company products are always promoted #1, as such the ancient and forever poorly managed sport of boxing has been moving to canned fights reminiscent of old truck commercials between Ford and Chevy. One truck would attempt to climb a pyramid stack of loose rocks and fail half way up, so then the featured truck cruises breezily up to the top of the pile to show us all how champions comport themselves in “difficult” contests.

Saving Money Investment

Saving Money Investment

In a world run by Marketing…getting back to Alvarez/Mayweather, the vilest of the directed bile has blasted judge C J Ross full broadside to the backwater docks for repairs and probable retirement, all for scoring a 114-114 draw on her card which did not affect the victory for Mayweather, not one single bit. In contrast, last year Manny Pacquiao was “robbed” by both Ms Ross and Duane Ford in scoring that actually did alter a seemingly wide unanimous win for Pacquiao into a split decision loss that drastically altered future big fight fight negotiations.

So how could such a trivial scoring anomaly in the Alvarez/Mayweather “event” become upgraded to such importance?

I’d guess you’d have to start with some basic facts: Official fight scores were 117-111, 116-112, and 114-114 with Mayweather winning a majority decision. Each fighter starts a 12 round fight with 360 points or 120 points per each of the 3 judges cards, that’s 10 points for each round. The way boxing does it’s scoring is ass-backwards from the way almost every other sport is scored where athletes have to “win” points to win their contests. In boxing, athletes lose points, so in that respect it’s much like the well known punitive politics of amateur ice skating and gymnastics where the 10 point mandatory is used to mark down athlete performances before being collected and totaled for an average score.

Mayweather “lost” 13 points in the fight to end up with 347 points out of the 360 point maximum. Alvarez “lost” 23 points to end up with 337 points out of the 360 point maximum. So Mayweather ended up with 96.3% of his maximum and Alvarez ended up with 93.6% of his maximum, the difference in the fight being that Mayweather was 2.7% better than Alvarez. The academic difference suggests the zone between an A+ test result and an A test result if we use 90-100% scores as traditionally being an A test score. This is hardly the dominance suggested by the media who seldom had any problems reporting the perfect 44-0 official record of Mayweather coming into the fight as though he were perfectly unblemished during his career. No fighter gets through a long career without some controversies, and Mayweather has some doozies.

This fella, Bobby Hunter goes to great lengths to tabulate consensus fight scores, and of 86 “press” scores, the average was 119-109 for Mayweather. That would be 357 of 360 maximum points compared to 327 of 360 maximum points for Canelo, or 99.2% for Mayweather to 90.8% to Alvarez, a larger spread of victory, but still in the “A” academic range for both fighters.  

http://www.boxingnewsonline.net/latest/feature/floyd-mayweather-scored-a-clear-winner-over-saul-alvarez-by-86-members-of-press

The typical boxing fan might say that boxing is actually scored round by round, sorta true that, but only indirectly. As mentioned, each fighter is assigned a 10 point maximum value to start a round with on each judge’s card. I don’t make this up, it’s just happens to be the big white elephant in the room that boxing media and fans ignore, that the scoring in boxing is not only counter-intuitive, but contains unneeded padded points that are utterly useless  until someone wishes to add an element of smoke and mirrors to hide the deceptions and misdirections that magicians, carny barkers, and card gamblers also use to deceive the common rube. Moreover, time and time again we see the scoring is overly complex for some of the more arithmetically challenged judges who sometimes miscalculate their totals that cause delays in announcing the results, sometimes even resulting in a recalculation of the announced result that leads to ever more fan distrust in venues big and small around the world.

Re-calculable scorecards. Yeah! Who wouldn’t like to recalculate their own bank balances when they don’t like the results?

True round by round scoring hasn’t been used for some time, but perhaps the greatest ever round by round scored fight was the 1971 Fight of the Century, Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier in Madison Square Garden. Joe Frazier won that dramatic 15 round classic by scores of 9-6, 11-4, and an amazing 8-6 by referee Arthur Mercante under rules of the day when refs were part of the scoring process. I seem to recall Mercante having to use “supplemental rules” to enact the tiebreaker. Nontransparent supplemental rules of scoring such as this are likely one reason round by round went the dodo bird route of extinction, but let’s contrast the scores of this slugfest often called the greatest single fight in history.

Frazier won 28 total points(rounds) to Ali’s 16 points(rounds), a margin of victory of 75%, quite a bit the more compelling result. Yet Ali supporters were claiming he was robbed, not because of a trifling scoring error, but rather that “The Man” had it in for him to be beat, a popular political expression expressing deep divisions within America emanating out of that era. These days, most agree Frazier won the fight hands down, but modern fans have no such arbitration by wiser, cooler heads. That usually comes after they go senile and die out. Since Mayweather may well have fought his best fight against his best opponent of record, let’s look closer at the fight later on.

There are a myriad number of rules selectively enforced to officiate or score a bout, in effect a form of “movable goalposts” for treatment and evaluation of different fighters that fans are either blindingly unaware of or simply apathetic about, take your pick. In this case, had the referee and judges been given different instructions, the bout might well have been controlled in the other direction for Alvarez by whatever margin, yet the outrage would have been about the same. Been much worse pillar to post beatdown robberies in boxing history than this tepid stylist soiree, that’s for sure. These folks crying in their beer simply have no context to rationally discuss a fight.

Or do they? What’s missing?

Well, as Juan Manuel Lopez mentioned after being blasted to the deck by Orando Salido in their rematch, he suspected the referee who “prematurely” stopped the fight had bet on the Salido stoppage. Lopez was promptly suspended and fined, yet the ugly little can of worms remains kicked over and squirming. There are few if any regulations pertaining to boxing teams and other boxing insiders placing wagers on involved fights much less any oversight. Nobody screams louder in boxing than “players” losing their main stake plus their projected winnings because of a “bad” referee or judging decision, and guess what?

Vegas and international bookies at large saw the most business they’ll have for many years that somewhat made up for the thrice canceled Pacquiao/Mayweather Superfight fights with even bigger players and revenue streams. Still, stupendous amounts were bet on this fight with the best odds given on the exact round and result prediction. Since Mayweather tends to rack up unanimous decisions like clockwork, there you go, the projected mass of the betting being put on that outcome. The unexpected majority decision tossed a monkey wrench into that payout, hence the stampede of howler monkeys on the suits that run boxing. Before the fight we also saw the rumor stampede that the fight would be scored a draw so they could stage the lucrative rematch for another big flood of bets lost forever. Great for business though.

Oh Yeah & True Confessions: The NSAC commish Bill Brady asserted that his office was no longer going to be a “rubber stamp” for fight venues, presumably unlike the previous NSAC “rubber stamped sanctions of Mayweather “events” these oh so many years. Just check out the two Joe Cortez refereed Mayweather fights for a snapshot of rubber stamped Vegas “in action.”

As I projected in my prefight, the opening round was a cautious feeling out where little was accomplished until just before the bell ended the round. Mayweather leaped inside with a perfectly vicious Bernard Hopkins’ style upperbutt to the jaw of Alvarez, a blatant foul everyone but referee Kenny Bayless could see. No message in a bottle this, but rather a bottle crashed over his noggin that let Alvarez know he was out of his element and away from home. Mayweather could do what ever he wanted with impunity, so he followed up in the 4th round by locking up Alvarez left arm with both arms as he wrapped up his body trying to pull it out of socket Bernard Hopkins style. Alvarez tapped him on the thigh with his free right hand, reflexively leading Bayless to jump in for the break, pushing Alvarez back as he severely admonished him for the “low blow.” Then he went over to Mayweather for a much friendlier pow wow. Alvarez had been struggling with the baffling timing of the Mayweather defense, but when he started getting in some good rights to the body, one finally hit the Mayweather kidney while in his classic “show the back defense” that he’s gotten away with the whole of his career. It’s illegal to deliberately turn your back in boxing, so Bayless issued more dire warnings Canelo instead of correcting Mayweather. Reminds me of the complaints not so many years back when fighters were warned by German refs for hitting the last undefeated wonder Sven Ottke in the jaw or the stomach, I kid you not.

I myself chose  not to score this fight because it was clear before the fight that Alvarez needed a concussive all time knockout to win. As I’ve found like clockwork from so many of my previous efforts, every controversy revolves around the number of even rounds that I score that boxing judges are forbidden to score as such. Typically the “Home” or “Money” fighter, both descriptors fitting Mayweather in his fights, he gets those rounds by default, but on occasion the judges give don’t care to go that route. Previously CJ Ross was widely pilloried for preferring the “slick, black, awkward, reverse footwork style of undefeated” Timothy Bradley over the offensive firepower of Manny Pacquiao, so duly ravaged by  antisocial media misanthropes, she scored some those even rounds for Canelo this time around. There were only two rounds difference between her another Mayweather judge, normally a perfectly acceptable range of difference. Of course this being the Las Vegas gambling destination of the world, any judge or ref can be seen as suspect when it comes to their roles as history has shown us repeatedly.

How about the “boxing media,” nearly all dismissing Alvarez well before the fight was ever signed. How many lost their meager wages on the match?

Media transparency has never existed, but Ring transparency would be a big improvement, like having all the officials and promotional teams list their wagers on fight they’re involved in as well as the full disclosure of contract conditions for the fight, like gloves, catch and rehydration limits, ring size, fast, slow, or medium speed canvas, purse particulars, all of which play a role in the outcome to various degrees, yet usually squirreled away from the unwashed public. Of course the “insiders” could just move to having their friends or relatives place their bets, but at least they would be driven to an illegal netherworld befitting their natures.

Getting back to the maddening puzzle that is Mayweather, here are some fight shots representative of his style that the boxing press has gone screaming Colonel Bob agaga over:

Blind Man Touching

Blind Man Touching

To Fight or How to Score Ugly?

To Fight or How to Score Ugly?
Below The Beltline Boxing or Alternative Lifestyle Flick?

Below The Beltline Boxing or Alternative Lifestyle Flick?

Thank goodness for Mayweather’s hometown Grand Rapids Press photos or someone might accuse me of photoshopping which would be easier than scoring a Mayweather fight. Mayweather won the fight, no doubt after the kid was stifled by Bayless early when Mayweather was at his freshest, fastest, and most puzzling. However the number of hurtful punches landed by either was exceedingly low because of their defensive natures. I’m remember when Miguel Cotto visually came out almost unscathed against the busted up Mayweather.

Punched?

Punched?

Even feather fisted Pauli Maglinaggi managed to bust up a much younger, fresher Cotto in their fight long ago, so what kind of impact do most of Mayweather’s punches have other than as flash and glitter?

Boxing needs a major comeback with the larger public who now prefer more easily understood team sports like basketball, football, and baseball. I dare say most would rather even cruise down to the local rec fields for, gasp, co-ed kickball for easily understood rules and first rate viewing. Broadcasters could put chokers and muzzles on announcers to allow real fight audio that could distinguish between silent love taps and thunderclap hammer shots for the edification of the public. Then state commishes and ABCs could come up with simplified, transparent scoring and scrap recalculable duffed scorecards with negligible point differences that define the loser more than the winner.

In other words, instead of using modern assbackward 10 point must scoring, every fighter should start off at the zero ledger like God intended athletic contests to start, even golf and track and field for crimony’s sake!

They could keep their current one point assessments for “rounds won, knockdowns scored, and assessed fouls awarded to come up with a point total that may not solve the weekly cries of “robbery,” but would remove the unwanted flab points that flabby overseers of boxing have used to cover up their obtuse tamperings of fights. Translating Alvarez/Mayweather, we’d get scores of 9-3, 8-4, and 6-6, totaling 23 of 36 maximum points for Mayweather and 13 or 33 maximum points for Alvarez, making Mayweather the winner by a 77% margin which is substantial. Yet I read many in the “media” scored 100% for Mayweather, typically the mindset of those who have failed in their journalistic duty to even handedly report on an athletic event. If Mayweather were really 100% good, he would have no need of catchweights and rehydration limits with the opposing fighter having to drag the ref around as a ball and chain for the full 12 rounds.

And if Mayweather, his promoter, and his handlers were really cleaning up boxing, they’d answer why his Mayweather Promotions fighters have failed drug tests and why Mayweather refuses to answer failed drug testing allegations against him.

http://www.maxboxing.com/news/max-boxing-news/the-ped-mess-part-one

Meanwhile, back at the hideout:

http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/all-star-boxing-given-court-go-ahead-to-seek-punitive-damages-against-golden-boy-for-their-signing-of-canelo-alvarez-227250