Monthly Archives: June 2014

Canelo Alvarez To Resurrect Golden Boy?

After beating “los burritos de perros” out of Alfredo Angulo and then turning Erislady Lara into the post fight presser joke, Canelo Alvarez must have liked the hearty responses to his fight performance and punchlines and now looks to add a few more combos on the Lara noggin come Saturday, July 12th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. This Canelo “event” will headline another modest  Showtime Pay Per View attempt as his Golden Boy combine moves to build him into boxing’s replacement PPV cash cow after the recent Mayweather exit.

The 31 year old Lara is one of the dozens “may or may not be” Golden Boy fighters who are now advised, re: managed and promoted by boxing’s stealthiest Wizard, the forever lurking behind the curtains in the dark shadows of the dimmest light, the daylight, nightlight, and always brightlight avoiding Al Haymon. The southpaw Cuban, 19-1-2, 12 KO, was a touted amateur star who managed to “defect” twice before he was able to make his pro career debut in Turkey and now has been “advised” into the interim WBA World light middleweight title whilst fighting out of the United States to the sparest  acclaim imaginable.

The big shakeup at Goldenboy Promotions when honcho Richard Schaefer resigned after a long time dispute with head honcho Oscar De La Hoya and Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum will have their impact on this fight. Schaefer is closely aligned with Al Haymon and was the front and center force in getting this fight signed and off to an early promotional start. What the full repercussions of this seismic promotional upheaval and the future Golden Boy/Haymon related fights may still be unknown, but they’re out there waiting to pounce for better or worse when their time is ripe.

Canelo~Golden Boy Post Rehab~The American Dream

This will be waged as 12-round non-title bout at a “catchweight” between 153-155 pounds to give the ever growing Alvarez a chance to ease into the middleweight division as he did with his last fight against Afredo Angulo at 155 lbs. The soon to be 24 year old Alvarez eased into the junior middleweight division from the welter division in the same manner to great success, success that Lara has been desperate to trump via vehement twitter challenges that have finally brought him this fight, so what are his chances?

Truth be told, Lara’s performance against top fighters has been lucky at best. His best showing was his last against former WBA champ Austin Trout who must be wondering where it all went wrong after back to back knockdown, decision losses to Alvarez and then Lara. Before that Lara looked not long for this world after Alfredo Angulo cracked open his eggshell chin and spaghettied his drumstick pins into chicken cassiatore before being suddenly being suddenly derailed by an alien soft tissue softball popping up over his eye. There was also Lara’s weak spoiling efforts against Paul Williams where he showed he was a great fighter for 30 seconds of every round, giving away the other two and a half minutes with a gold medal worthy track meet performance that had me thinking he was in the wrong sport. Then hows about his droopingly dreary drawers…err…draws against contenders Vanes Martirosyan and Carlos Molina that put him in the same class as nobody special that fewer still even care to remember him by?

There are no big money fighters available now for Alvarez in the 154 division which is currently as weak as a litter of newborn kittens, so why they are handicapping his marketability by making this a PPV probably has it’s roots in unreasonable promotional greed. The biggest Alvarez fights may be already mapped out against newly resurgent Miguel Cotto and Manny Pacquiao now that Golden Boy looks to be working with Top Rank. Those are huge PPV numbers and fights worthy enough to draw in the general public for a spectacle, so in the interim Golden Boy needs to keep his PPV bandwagon on the move.

Lara has long fantasized about crashing their party for another chance to redeem his “American Dream” moniker, his biggest fight ever to prove he can do more than just pose as a touted Cuban amateur talent, but he has to improve substantially if he is ever to reach the potential that his few vehement fans insist on seeing in him. That’s a big unknown to be going against a professional fighter who worked his way through the boxing ranks old school Mexican style before signing with Golden Boy as an 18 year old phenom, currently 43-1-1, 31 KO, more than double the career of Lara. Two more contrasting careers and personalities cannot be be found in boxing even if their boxing instincts almost guarantee a fairly dull bout of natural counterpunchers attempting to counter-counterpunch each other on top of Lara also being runner.

Scratch Alvarez hard enough though and his caged Mexican fighter instincts get unleashed, something the rather meek and mild Lara is not likely to arouse unless he unveils a more aggressive style that might make this PPV worthy. Given the recent failures of his fellow defector Cubanos Odlanier Solis and Yuri Gamboa, the pressure is building on Lara like never before, so how will he respond?

Another intriguing question: How many strings does Al Haymon have left to pull after the big shakeup at Golden Boy?

When Alvarez went against Mayweather, De La Hoya cracked under the heat and ducked out on his fighter to check into isolated drug rehab, thus leaving Canelo without protection from the officiating manipulations of the sharks who run boxing. While few are praying for Lara to be the new hope in boxing, this fight has decision stamped all over it and boxing has lost faith with the public over their Three Blind Mice white stick scoring system. We can only await awash in baited breath for their next preordained travesty.

The supporting undercard is also rather meek and mild with Juanma Lopez being the single unrepentant slugger of any note on the promotion. No spectacular Mexican holiday fireworks extravaganza this, so best be caught up on your sleep and modest in your weekend beverage intake to perhaps appreciate the finer technical maneuverings that might reveal themselves in the course of their deliberate dickerings over who shall be the finest boxer on the night…oh mirror, mirror in the ring, who’s the prettiest in his bling?

Locked & Loaded @155lbs X 2

Locked & Loaded @155lbs X 2

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Amateur Legend Vasyl Lomachenko Fights 2nd WBO Challenge vs Gary Russell Jr

Ukrainian amateur legend Vasyl Lomachenko battles American Gary Russell Jr for the vacant WBO Featherweight belt at the Stubbhub Center in Carson, California Saturday, June 21st. This is the 2nd consecutive such WBO challenge for Lomachenko who lost his first challenge by split decision against the shamelessly fouling and grossly overweight beltholder Orlando Salido only a few months before.

This will be only Lomachenko’s 3rd pro fight, his official record being 1-1, 1 KO, yet somehow Boxrec’s incomprehensible rankings system pegs him at 19th best featherweight compared to 5 year pro Russell’s 24-0, 14 KO ranking of 28th. Never mind that they probably got it right, how on God’s green earth did they ever come up with the mathematical equations to luck into that result without tweaking the system? Well, it happens that Russell’s last opponent currently only has a rating of 300+ with precious few of his other TBA opponents rated much better, so there you go. This will be a huge step up in class for him, yet for Lomachenko it will be a step down after he beat up and otherwise made the powerful Orlando Salido very uncomfortable in their battle. Salido was also quite fortunate to last the distance thanks to his proven chin and experience, something that Russell will likely wish for the first time he gets hit clean by Lomachenko.

This fight action is likely the physical reversal of the recent Ruslan Provodnikov/Chris Algieri fight and controversial result. Russell is a very short fighter, only listed at 5-4 and probably shorter, and incredibly his reach considerably shorter than that. Lomachenko is listed in the 5-7 range and will be the more powerful hunter looking to track down the fast retreating Russel who has shown no evidence any power at the elite level because he never fought at that level. As such matches go, too often the lessor “home” fighter cops the decision and most assuredly Lomachenko is the threatening outsider that “boxing” abhors. Fortunately for now he has Top Rank on his side, but unfortunately this is a Golden Boy card in California, the fight coming about only because of WBO orders that left opportunities that neither party could turn down.

Lomachenko is likely be the betting favorite, but if it goes the distance with Russell taking a very controversial decision, well, it’s gonna be another mess boxing created for itself. Of course if Russell turns out to be brilliant, most fans will warm to him, but he needs to improve in leaps and bounds over his previous efforts for that to happen. He’s never been tested and what a shame a fighter with a 1-1 record will be the one to test the ever livin’ hell out of him.

It’s a more interesting fight because of the boxing politics than it will be in the ring, not that it couldn’t turn out to be a ring classic. Gotta fight first for that to happen, so let it be…

 

 

 

Boxing Enters Dead Zone Until July~Say Bye Bye To Swiss Pie, Richard Schaefer.

 Boxing officially enters a summer “dead zone” with the recent completion of Miguel Cotto’s signature win over Sergio Martinez. Certainly the hard core fan can still see plenty of good fights featuring top fighters most every week, but there are no more “Big” Fights” until July. That’s when Canelo Alvarez fights Erislady Lara in an exploratory Vegas MGM Grand PPV and Tyson Fury rematches Derek Chisora in a big stadium fight to be held in Manchester, England. Often the general fan’s schedule is unable to make time for these summertime blues “dead zone” fights, and I won’t be writing about them, so the question gets begged before the stifling summer ennui sets in: What of Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer’s recent adversarial departure from his long time gig at Golden Boy? Alvarez vs Lara was his last creation as it were and he won’t be around to massage the final details.

Oh for sure, the “boxing expert” world is agaga over what the impact will be not to mention all the anti-social media monkeys over flowing their shorts with competing befouled projectile offerings of what the former Swiss Banker Schaefer and the rest of his boxing crew does next.

Myself? Neither boxing expert, boxing insider, nor fly on the wall of Richard Schaefer am I, but I can guarantee a big shakeup in the boxing world that’s been a long time coming. This arcane 17th century sport looks to be setting up a scramble for big international dollars as boxing is being developed in the Asian markets as it wanes in the American market. The European market seems to be holding with the Brits and Germans hanging in there as Russia is gaining traction to pull even with them.

So Golden Boy is conclusively split up with Floyd Mayweather Jr also announcing he’s exiting the ranks. And mum’s always the password at the Al Haymon underground boxing works buried somewhere deep down in a former Howard Hughes bunker in Las Vegas, still stocked with thousands of rows of kleenex box slippers ready to be shuffled around in me thinks. Schaefer has given no indication of what capacity he might continue in boxing, but if he does he will have to start from scratch and get to working with as many promoters not named Golden Boy or Top Rank if he is to continue his adversarial relations with Oscar de la Hoya and Bob Arum even as he is still a shareholder in Golden Boy.

Bad Marriage

Bad Marriage

 

 

And where do the Showtime contractual obligations land?

Another sticking point is the many Golden Boy fighters also signed with Al Haymon. Word is many of those fighters don’t actually have a contract with Golden Boy and may no longer be promoted by them, not the least of which is Floyd Mayweather who has his big Mexican Holiday set for his 10th consecutive appearance at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for September 13th. That would be vs TBA, of course with a TBA vs TBA supporting undercard. Sticky Mayweather negotiations are typically settled at the last minute, but now they may be stickier and more unsettled than usual. His promotional company supposedly lacks a license to officially do business, but no problems when he was aligned with Golden Boy. Just slap his logo up on all the promotional banners and and reap the extra profits.

The Logo

The Logo

Somebody somewhere running some connected responsible promotional entity has to come up with those monstrous 30 and 40 million dollar guarantees that Mayweather has enjoyed, but by whom and by what means will that be accomplished?

Stay tuned for the gold rush crush as everyone and his aunt and sister stake a claim as lawsuits whizz by like bullets in an OK Corral Shootout. It may not be pretty, but sure as shootin’, “It’s Boxing!”