Monthly Archives: March 2014

Finally~Manny Pacquiao vs Timothy Bradley~The Rematch

Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley finally have a their big rematch come Saturday, April 12th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas as they look to assauge their wounded pride from their fateful encounter almost two years before. Then n’er do well boxing gods, ring officials, and fans conspired against both of them in one of the biggest controversies of the new millennium.

Grrls In Support

Grrls In Support

Unfortunately, big boxing controversies are becoming a dime a dozen these days to be quickly buried under a never ending avalanche of new controversies, yet some of us still remember. Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum called for an investigation of himself to wash away the stench as the WBO reviewed the fight and concluded that Pacquiao had won a wide decision, not that it mattered one whit to the Nevada honchos who run Vegas boxing events.

This time around there is a new commish and new director in Nevada courtesy of yet another controversy over the scoring of the Saul Alvarez/Floyd Mayweather fight that didn’t even affect the final result for the fighters. Their “new and improved” mantra is that they will no longer be “rubber stamping” fights as they admitted to in the past.

Golly gee, and who to thank now?

Whatever. We know leopards don’t change their spots and boxing remains the only pro sport I can think of where the outcome is so uncertain and irregular than nobody in authority can make a good case as to who deserves to win in many of the matches because the rules are so poorly enforced and subjectively written. Just fill in some blabber with a jigger of opinion and a shot of balderdash before staggering on to the next round of controversial fights.

Boxing as currently scored has about 90% useless padded points added that make the results read like a typical basketball shootout of 100+ goals being scored, yet is actually ass backward one spare point at the time penalty oriented that defines the loser rather than the winner. Sometimes scores are even recalculated after the announced results PO some Big Shot who pulls rank.

Add on all the even rounds that boxing ignores by insisting judges pick the loser of every round no matter how poor the fighters looked or how mightily contested the round was, and it doesn’t matter how many think a fighter may have won or not. Boxing can fill in the result to fit their hidden agenda any time they want just like contract terms of the ring conditions such as ring size, surface, gloves, rehydration limits, ect are almost always hidden from the public view like a pea in a 3 shell monte game.

In that respect, I must applaud the WBC requirements for open scoring where ongoing scores are revealed in the 4th and 8th rounds of championship fights before final results are announced. That recently helped keep the hometown judging of Tony Thompson vs Odlanier Solis on a leash as compared to previously announced results of an undercard split decision where the scores were never revealed at all. The scoring and the judges may still be questionable as in the recent Danny Garcia/Mauricio Herrera controversy, but at least the fighters and fans have a sense of transparency that they never had before.

That’s a better start than incomprehensible half point nonsense or placing judges on pretentious pedestals looking down their noses on the fighters that boxing has been making noises about implementing. Yeah, right, and how about let’s put the ref in a clown suit and the judges in black robes and powdered wigs too while the promoter grinds his organ for their monkey dances?

Of course Bradley was rightly miffed at the official snub of his hard fought victory and grabbed all his marbles to go home to nurse his injuries while pondering the misanthropic death threats against him for the rest of the year and into the new year. He was finally coaxed out by Top Rank into fighting Ruslan Provodnikov and then baited by Freddie Roach into fighting toe to toe with the vicious punching Siberian Bear, almost a fatal mistake since Bradley got rung up hard and often, barely scraping himself off the canvas in the first and 12th rounds to hear the final bell for yet another disputed though exciting win. That fight was chosen as Ring Fight of the Year and led to the match against Juan Manuel Marquez, a weepingly dreary fight as Bradley put his defense on the back foot to make the 40 year old plodding counterpuncher trail him around the ring trying to force the action. The close split decision resulted in yet another dispute where Marquez claimed to have been robbed, his own personal mantra these days since nobody has yet been able to knock him out, not that knockouts have any more credibility than scoring these days either, but I regress.

All the while Manny Pacquiao was taking a well earned rest at home after a long boxing career and new congressional duties have left him in a precarious state, a state of recovery after being KTFO by Marquez in their fourth installment of what will be known as the greatest modern boxing series of the millennium for many long decades me thinks. Top Rank honcho Bob Arum has been trying to build up their frenzied 5th fight by making noises about staging it in the biggest Mexican bullring in the country with more than 100,000 spectators. There’s also the fallback to trusty MGM Grand or the vast Cowboy Stadium as capable of staging such a lucrative spectacle so as to lure the reluctant Marquez back into the breech of boxing history.

Crazed Filipino Media In Manny Heaven

Crazed Filipino Media In Manny Heaven

The unvarnished truth going into this upcoming bout is that both the 30 year old Bradley and 35 year old Pacquiao have been damaged and are not the same fighters as before. Bradley is no longer that awkward, leg driven irrepressible energizer bunny and Pacquiao is no longer the invincible Pacman gobbling up all who stand before him, but they can still both fight if need be and fight hard they surely will for the respect and acclaim both have lost through no fault of their own. Their first fight was an intense conflict of physical styles and test of mental wills with matching speed for at least the first 9 rounds, but then they ran out of steam. They ended up posing their way to the final bell before relying upon the unreliable crap shoot of judging.

Bradley reportedly fractured his left foot and sprained his right foot in that fight before being brought into the post fight presser in a wheelchair. He has since moved to a more traditional upright defensive style to cover for those leg injuries. After finally returning to the ring at end of 2013, Pacquiao scored a lopsided win over Brandon Rios in Macao, but he was definitely a bit gun shy and chose to box mostly. Bradley doesn’t hit as hard as Rios and Marquez and has his own chin issues with no best use of his legs as backup this time around, so I expect more overall offensive action as Pacquiao should be able to press him to force a fight instead of having to chase him around.

This may well be the best bout by the official rankings as can be made this year and could end up a shootout given the contrasting strengths and vulnerabilities of the fighters. Major props for the combatants in putting aside wounded pride and getting the rematch made. There were mixed announcements as to whether the drug testing was to be by the competing VADA or USADA cartels, but you can be certain results are all funneled through the NSAC.

Can “boxing” can keep it’s sticky fingers from lousing up the results again? We’re watching and we don’t forget.

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Tiger Tony Thompson Enters Odlanier Solis Turkey Zone

One thing great about the international expansion of top ranked contenders is that American heavyweights now have more opportunity overseas for bigger purses against higher rated contenders than they can currently find in the US, so enter the infamous “gong” promoter Ahmet Oner. He has set up, set up being a key idea here, he has set up his long suffering project,the Cuban Dancing Bear Odlanier Odlanier Solis, to fight his way back into the title picture against the 42 year old long time American contender Tony Thompson in Kusadasi, Turkey.

Yes, Virginia, there is such a place however remote and goofy the name may seem to Americans. It happens to be a beautiful resort area on the west coast looking out over the  Aegean Sea. The locale also has notable historical ties, such as  Mary the mother of Jesus having lived here in antiquity along with  St John the Evangelist for starters.

Thompson as much as any long time American heavyweight hopeful suffered somewhat coming up independent of the declining Don King heavyweight promotions. He fought mostly away from the glitter of Las Vegas and the glamour of New York in palookaville type of promotions. His first big splash was making it to the finals against Maurice Harris in the 2002 Thunderbox promotion by Cedric Kushner in Atlantic City. He lost that unofficial 3 round fight, yet managed to stay in the mix by fighting fringe contender types and the usual collection of journeymen.

Thompson the Lumberjack

Thompson the Lumberjack

His record became steady enough to make him an untouted mandatory challenger to Wlad Klitschko twice where he was knocked out both times, but he rebounded to land on his feet with a very busy 2013. Two big knockouts of touted British heavyweight giant David Price landed him in another eliminator against current Russian juggernaut Kubrat Pulev.

Thompson lost that fight which is how he landed the Solis fight. Oner needs his Cuban Dancing Bear to face fighters that have vulnerabilities that Oner can exploit in his canned promotions. Odlanier Solis was the heralded 2004 Olympic heavyweight gold medal winner who defected to the US some 8 years ago. At 33 years of age, technically he still has a few good years left, but there is nothing technical about the lard he has padded himself with and the soft opposition he has padded out his record with.

Solis did almost manage to complete one round of his sole title challenge as WBC mandatory to Vitali Klitschko before being clocked out, his highest touted achievement thus far to hear his fans rave about him, so where does he go from from there? Hows about a sumptuous holiday on the Aegean to await another anointment to the summit of boxing.

This scenario is becoming familiar territory for Thompson, that of traveling overseas to fight with all the cards and all the suits stacked against him. He knows he need a definitive knockout as he showed against David Price, something he could possibly achieve against the plodding Solis who tends to look like he’d much rather be dining as opposed to fighting whenever his opponent has a pulse.

Compatriots in Arms

Compatriots in Arms

Sadly, it has become too easy to make sport of the tubby Solis, but he is the big money star for this hometown style promotion of the Turkish born Oner against Thompson who was brought in to lose, probably with Oner devised shennanigans hampering him every step of the way.

 Tony Thompson has the tall, tricky, southpaw style, heft, and experience that has pretty much seen it all and done it all, so we shall see what ultimately transpires in the Oner designed Solis Turkey Zone.

Thompson 266.5 lbs ~ Solis 257 lbs

Thompson 266.5 lbs ~ Solis 257 lbs

Heavy Ides of March: Adamek vs Glazkov & Wilder vs Scott

My, my, The Fates have left the two best American based foreign national heavyweights fighting each other in America this Ides of March while the two best American heavyweight prospects have been sent packing to Puerto Rico for a showdown. That would be Saturday, March 15th when grizzled veteran Tomasz Adamek of Poland takes on his natural prime aged rival Vyacheslav Glazkov of Ukraine at the Sands Resort and Casino in Bethlehem, PA, a prototypical Eastern European fight held on American soil these days.

The 37 year old two division champion “Goral” has a stiff task in the 29 year old 2008 superheavyweight Olympic Bronze Medalist “Czar.” Adamek’s 49-2-1, 29 KO record makes the Glazkov 16-0-1, 11 KO record look a bit puny, but things should be spiced up since this is the IBF #2 Eliminator and both fighters are fairly offensively oriented and hungry for a crack at the Wlad sweepstakes all everything that counts title.

The Fates may have gotten their shipping orders mixed up when they sent the last American boxing Olympic medalist, heavyweight Bronze winner Deontay Wilder and his opponent Malik Scott to Bayamon, Puerto Rico in support of the undercard of the Danny Garcia/Mauricio Herrera mismatch. The saving grace might be some nice Caribbean sun and surf relaxation for them after their gig as winter storms continue to torture much of the western world.

Incredibly the 28 year old Wilder is in his 7th year as a pro with 30 wins by 30 knockouts, yet he has never fought another title contender yet in spite of being aligned with the powerful Al Hayman/Golden Boy Promotional combine. Here he goes against what passes as a modern day American gym legend, the 33 year old Malik Scott best known for nursing along his undefeated record for years against the usual spate of blue collar journeymen, currently at 36-1-1, 13 KO.

Once Malik stepped up his competition, first there was the stinker of a draw against Glazgov and then an unseemly knockout loss in Britain to Dereck Chisora. Scott couldn’t be bothered to step up his end of the action in those two breakout fights for him, but now he gets another chance, a mighty big one, but will he take it? Wilder currently holds a scruffy WBC Continental Americas bauble, but rumors say this match might end up being a WBC eliminator with the winner fighting the winner of the Bermane Stiverne/Chris Arreola battle for the vacated WBC title. Team Wilder’s long developmental path has thus far targeted the easiest path path possible to a belt, so enter the bewildered Scott.

I tend to think the Adamek/Glazonov bout will be action packed and favor Adamek in a hard fought decision where Glazkov earns new respect by the end of the fight. Scott’s negative defensive boxing is likely to make Wilder look like stink early on, but I have to think if Wilder doesn’t gas out, a possibility given his lack of professional rounds, only 53 rounds recorded thus far compared to Scott’s 223 rounds, that eventually Wilder catches up to whack out Scott.

It’s now up to the fighters. I await their verdicts.

Alfredo Angulo Seeks The Truth About Canelo Alvarez

Canelo Alvarez returns to the scene of the crime at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, March 8 to fight a very dangerous big punching Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo.

Alvarez was last seen tethered to a stake in the ring for the ever skulking capricious jackals of boxing when his “promoter” of record, Oscar de la Hoya, needed to hide away at a celebrity drug rehab clinic so as to be removed from the final manipulations of the catchweight Alvarez fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. The overall performance was the usual canned rinse and repeat Mexican Holiday sleepwalk at the MGM Grand that Mayweather has reprised like an annual Punxsutawney Phil Groundhog Day appearance for the last 7 years now. 

The annual rinse and repeat spectacle

The annual rinse and repeat spectacle

Alvarez was easily “guided” by referee Kenny Bayless after repeated warnings into boxing with the notoriously slow paced defensive Mayweather resulting in a nondramatic duck and peck majority decision. The resultant stinkbomb created by emasculated Mayweather fans when they couldn’t collect their canned rinse and repeat bets made on a Mayweather unanimous decision quickly engulfed the Nevada fat cat boxing establishment to choke them out. Fast forward and they say it’s a new dawn down at the Nevada State Athletic Commission with a new commish, director, and presumably other turnovers so as to no longer “rubber stamp” boxing matches that they have admitted to doing in the past.

“Their words,” not mine. No need for me to make this stuff up when boxing is a gold mine of the “stuff.”

Alvarez would seem to be thrown to the wolves again in this SHOWTIME PPV® promotion against the WBA 7th ranked Angulo who is otherwise unranked by Ring with only a 30th Boxrec ranking. With all respect to Angulo who is considerably more dangerous and capable than his slight 22-3 record shows on paper, this should not be a PPV promotion and likely does poor numbers unless Alvarez truly is a one off media phenom at age 23. I see a PPV baby unfavorably compared against the grizzled PPV kings Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao who have millions of PPVs sold over many years.

Nonetheless, the unwashed public can’t get too weepy over the cinnamon whiz kid who made a $12 million guarantee plus residuals in his last encounter that he took a lot of stick for. Angulo for his part is guaranteed to start like a bad joke delivered with a killer punchline when the bell rings. He’s also a fellow Mexican fighter like Alvarez, but that’s where the comparison ends. Angulo started his pro career with modest acclaim as an undefeated former Mexican Olympian and developing knockout artist, but The Fates did him no favors in his losses. He was deathly sick with the flu against Kermit Cintron in what was meant to be his breakout fight. He refused to call off the bout and took the expected loss when he had no zip in his feet or oomph to his punches. He rebuilt with 4 straight knockouts against solid contenders before being detained on the US border for most of a year in a ham handed Homeland Security snafu. After being released he was rushed into a fight against fellow slugger James Kirkland who himself had been released from the clink earlier in the year, but at least with the chance to whip himself back into shape with 5 quick fights before they met. The result was an epic encounter of concussive savagery that left both fighters terribly battered and the poorly trained Angulo beaten down when the smoke and debris finally cleared. In his last loss to Erislandy Lara, Angulo had put him down hard twice with a favorable end in sight before his left eye mysteriously blew up and he had to turn away in pain. The stoppage was an horrific result for a fighter who gives it his all in every fight like Angulo does.

Alvarez has always been able to make adjustments, even in the Mayweather fight that saw him taking some of the last rounds as he stalked Mayweather around the ring, but he has never faced this type of raw power, strength, and pressure as Angulo has. Angulo has always made a good fight, so maybe that’s what the PPV honchos were thinkin’ when they were sitting around drinkin’ up this PPV disaster, that at least the fight would be a great one even if the PPV numbers didn’t deliver.

Regardless, the supporting bouts are weak with no star power though they are credible matches of ranked contender/champ types. Noteworthy is Canelo’s 32 year old brother and fringe lightweight contender Ricardo Alvarez seems to be overmatched against a sharp looking undefeated knockout phenom out of Weslaco, Texas, Omar Figueroa. Not a fan of putting brothers on the same card in a critical match such as this since a brutal loss can negatively impact the brother who follows.  Perhaps the saving grace is that Canelo has been in against stronger grown men all through his teenage years with a reported 100 unofficial Mexican fights added to his 44 official fights, so maybe his constitution is stronger than he is credited with.

As it turns, that bullet was dodged when Omar Figueroa suffered a wrist injury and scratched himself from the card. Maybe Ricardo Alvarez has a chance against the replacement if he fights at all since I don’t see him listed on the card any more.

Bottom line, this is a deadly serious gut check fight between Alfredo Angulo and Canelo Alvarez, a real shame that there will have to be a loser, but such is the life of fan friendly Mexican fighters from time to time, and now their time lies in wait…..waiting, waiting, always waiting for the inevitable.

Combatants in good cheer

Combatants in good cheer