Tag Archives: arthur abraham

3rd Time The Charm? Manny Pacquiao vs Tim Bradley

Nobody was calling for this rubber match, yet we’ll find Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley Jr scrapping again, perhaps in this 3rd time the charm to daze and amaze us at the MGM Floyd in Las Vegas come April 9th. Amir Khan had been begging to fight Manny and was likely the frontrunner, but as typical, he priced himself out much like he did with TUE. At any rate, Bradley is a much more difficult fight for Pacquiao because he’s just as fast, more awkward, and has already logged 24 rounds of hard earned experience.

Such matchmaking shenanigans are the currency of the current sorry state of coldwar between Top Rank and Al Haymon that this rubber happens to be the most viable option for Manny. JMMarquez has steadfastly refused to sign up for a highly lucrative 5th fight, and most every other notable welter is signed with Al Haymon, a non starter for consideration.

Bradley is coming off his best showings in many years after knocking out Brandon Rios. I never counted his running, fleeing, spare split decision over 40 year old Juan Manuel Marquez in 2013 for much. Marquez was quite miffed about Bradley’s lack of engagement, but then Bradley struggled to secure another split against Argentine club fighter Diego Gabriel Chaves. Next, as he was polishing up an excellent showing against undefeated Top Rank darling Jessie Vargas, he was knocked out according to the rules and the reactions of the ref, Pat Russell, but NOOOOOO, this is boxing we’re talking of, so of course the ref amazingly overruled his previous actions to allow the fight to continue. That neat trick bought Bradley enough time to survive the final seconds of the last round that unluckily for Vargas ended the fight, only in boxing folks.

Pac/Bradley II

Pac/Bradley II

While the previous two Bradley/Pacquiao fights weren’t exactly barnburners, they did showcase solid skills, plenty of speed, action, and an interesting style clash for those of a technical viewing bent. Unfortunately both were terribly scarred from the horrendous officiating of the first fight and it’s been an uphill battle to fortify their careers ever since. With them both being somewhat vulnerable these days, they could make for a closer, more dynamic fight. The odds have closed dramatically in this last week with Pacquiao only a nominal 2-1 favorite now.

One new wrinkle for this bout came out of the blue when Bradley picked a new trainer for the Rios fight, the unsparing, loonytune, and congenital loose cannon, Teddy Atlas, who was mentored by Cus D’amato, but not for long after he pulled a gun on the teenage Tyson. His training resume is sparse, briefly with Michael Moorer and Donny LaLonde a long time ago as his biggest successes, and later dragging down Russian heavyweight Alexander Povetkin into the depths of despair most recently. He never seemed to have the mental stability needed for the job, most worryingly at one point going looking for LaLonde with a pistol meaning to do criminal harm. Fortunately he didn’t find Donny, but Bradley found Atlas and convinced him to sign on for the Rios fight. Bradley unveiled a new Wlad Klitschko clinch and release style for that fight that finally made use of his previously useless big muscles, limiting the offensive output of the highly dangerous Rios. And to think that Teddy has spent the better part of two decades running down three of the all time boxing talents ever, the Klitchko brothers and Manny Pacquiao, but I guess he finally found a clue with the clinching strategy and swung with it. It was an odd KO by the light punching Bradley with Rios almost looking like he quit, but I tend to think it was one of those moments when the right punch, the Mexicans call it El Gacho, a left hook to the liver that finally landed in a fashion that flattered the disbelieving Bradley.

Pac/Bradley II

Pac/Bradley II

In contrast, Pacquiao last looked terrible in his last outing against TUE 49-0 who refused to engage to take another home cooked decision based on little more than tossing out the sparest of unpopped kernels of popcorn before turning his back to duck and flee the scene of the crime. See my comments on boxing scoring below. Then the post fight revelation of Manny’s shoulder injury leaked out followed weeks later by revelations by Thomas Hauser of Mayweather’s TUE saline flush just before the fight, but wait, there’s more, this is boxing! The scandal further compounded when the USADA’s Theraputic User Exemption was found to be  submitted for approval  to the Vegas commish a full 3 weeks after the fight ended. The Vegas commish are the same folks who allowed TUE’s hand injections while denying Pacquiao’s request for an injection for his injured shoulder…only in boxing folks. To pile on to that blatant bias, the official scorecards showed the Red Corner winning the fight, ie Manny being in the red corner, before the cards were altered after being submitted…only in boxing folks. These yahoos couldn’t organize a garage sale with the correct sticker prices, but they sure managed to screw up the most lucrative signature boxing event in the 3rd millennium pretty good to give boxing another black eye…gee, thanks guys.

http://espn.go.com/boxing/story/_/id/13621142/floyd-mayweather-took-wada-banned-iv-manny-pacquiao-fight-according-report

Currently there is a combined $400 million combined lawsuit against Al Haymon by Golden Boy and Top Rank on top of a few dozen more lawsuits against the two fighters filed by various fans(re: gamblers) feeling robbed as we all were by the farce that I elaborated about before the fight ever commenced.

And if that wasn’t enough problems to send most mortals to an early grave, the the mainstream tabloid press recently dropped a cluster bomb that went viral when it was revealed in February that Manny had said that homosexuals were lower than animals during an interview conducted in his native language that nobody but Filipinos could understand. That minefield had already been well seeded and won’t be going away anytime soon after Pacquiao’s similar comments in the lead up to the first Bradley fight, one of the all time robberies in boxing when the shocked Bradley was announced the winner. The winner immediately had to recuse himself to a wheelchair because Manny had hit him so hard that his ankles popped loose and had to undergo rehabilitation in order to properly function again. But wait, there’s more. Manny did it again in the 2nd fight, popping Bradley’s knee loose this time.

Let’s be clear though, Manny is running for another high public office, the Senate in the Philippines, so his opponents are going to every length to discredit him. Tabloid media has hundreds of sordid years of history of quoting people out of context or making up lies, but since Manny quickly apologized, he must of said something along those lines even as he added that some biblical quotes attributed to him were made up by the media. While his animal comment is regrettable, the imperious, sanctimonious condemnation by the tabloid press was the much greater abomination. One example would be the boorish Bill Dwyre who says he’s retired from the LA Times and now pens articles for Ring Magazine and Fightnews. This is a guy who toed the dirty corporate tabloid line in his sports reporting like most do if they want to keep their jobs. A prime example would be the media typically pandering the story of Floyd Mayweather wanting Olympic drug testing, when anyone could clearly see he only wanted his very own personalized, well paid for drug testing program, and he got it while most of our dear reporters were collecting paychecks for their dutiful blither that they used to slander Manny as if he was ever opposed to drug testing.

More to the point, in one of Dwyre’s recent condemnations of Manny, he utterly clowned himself by claiming animals of the same sex “procreate” with each other, I kid you not. Sorry to tell you Billy Boy, but no mammals of the same sex can make offspring through a sex act, P-R-O-C-R-E-A-T-I-O-N…DUH, something any 7th grader can tell you about. Animals are animals and serve no gay agenda any more than they do Republican, Democrat, or any other political agenda. Of course many in this world like to anthropomorphize their pets with human characteristics as they also take on the characteristics of their “beloved” pets, the animals. Atheist and anthropologist camps like to note that Humans are animals, so maybe George Orwell did get it right in his classic, 1984, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” 

I can appreciate that gays wanting their due civil rights under the laws of the US constitution, as all self respecting citizens would like their own due civil rights, but unfortunately life often doesn’t respect the US Constitution, so we get trampled, especially in 3rd world countries. The gay agenda has morphed into dirty politics just like Republican, Democrat, religious, and most every other worthwhile philosophy once it crosses over the ideal into the political realm that would include, ahem, a certain Philippine boxer running for office. What was he thinking?

Nonetheless, boxing at it’s worst is almost always more honorable than politics that typically create ideal conditions for intractable poverty, disease, injuries, and fatalities compared to the few negative repercussions of boxing. Boxers tend to spring from the poor multitudes beaten down by dirty politics, only trying to fight their way out of otherwise bleak futures. Maybe Billy hasn’t noticed these days that he’s just being used as clickbait in support of the antisocial media comments underneath his articles, so perhaps he should remove the giant logs from his eyes and venture forth to take a sniff of that filth he sits atop of. The puerile pile steams of the discourse of raw sewage, consistently delivering the most aggressively racist, homophobic, sexist, and nationalistic slurs imaginable not to mention brutally violent threats. Far too many have been against Manny dating from when he came to America two decades ago to obliterate the highly popular Three Mexican Amigos, Barrera, Morales, and Marquez. Please do launder your own dirty laundry first Billy, and maybe buy some vowels for some integrity for once in your subservient, lackey life. The typical morally Imperialistic American with his extended height and belly may loom in self righteous indignation over the diminutive Manny, but rest assured neither you nor you colleagues at your best could ever lift Manny’s jock strap on his worst day.

Even Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum turned on him, conveniently forgetting his own ill advised 15 minute rant at JM Marquez in the post fight presser after the 2nd fight with Manny. How many times and how many ways did he scream at Marquez to go fuck himself? While Marquez had a reprimand coming after stupidly complaining about the result, we had to turn away from the sheer volume of Arum’s poisonous profanity pouring forth. And how about Arum’s comments about the UFC where he opined that “nobody wants to see a bunch of guys humping on the canvas?” Where was the gay community outrage then? My guess is they were too busy planning their next public parades and costume parties replete with cross dressing of sexes for insulting pantomimes of heterosexual men and women and their families that they think is so cute. We could only imagine the international condemnation if Manny chose a Halloween party to cavort around as a gay blade or in black face.

It strikes me that in today’s world, Adolh Hitler was born a century too early. Today he wouldn’t have to militarize Germany to invade Europe. Instead he could easily consolidate power off shore thru pyramiding corporate structures and then direct various governments to make his wars for him. No need for those unsightly genocidal death camps either, just tap the teeming 3rd world backwaters for his disposable slaves, a perpetually renewable source of labor. That’s the ticket for world domination these days.

The above was the backdrop from where a desperate, starving, 98 lb stick of a Filipino kid emerged to upset all the odds stacked against him and his people. Those of the western world shielded by the thin veneer of their poorly constructed bubbles of moral hypocrisy shouldn’t be throwing rocks much less lobbing smart bombs on the poor wretches of the world, yet they surely do just as sure as they still stone people to death in the Middle East. Many “boxing writers” today scarcely know much about boxing past droning on endlessly about idiotic punchmonkey numbers. yet another boxing “genius” recently filled his shorts about how Manny can’t win the election after his gay smear. It’s a crapshoot Einstein, nobody knows how the Philippine election will turn out for Manny, not even Filipinos.

In short, gay community supporters generally lack the high moral ground they wish to claim regarding this episode, but they could learn to roll with his apology and move on to more productive endeavors that affect all citizens that they claim to be a part of. As a homeless kid scrapping for his very existence on the 3rd world streets, Manny doubtless had untold negative contacts with homosexuals that forged his views, something that soft western culture is mostly insulated from.

Now, lecture over and back to the match up. Could be that Loony Uncle Teddy and Bradley were destined for each other since Bradley, and more importantly his wife who from all reports seems to run his show these days, so do they believe in miracles? Word is that Tim has taken to eating meat for this fight, his previous vegan diets thought to be a weakness in his extremely strenuous profession that I alluded to in previous articles after his leg injuries piled up.

His training camp has cloaked this fight in a surreal type of wet and foggy Zen mysticism, labeling it The Log in the Ocean. Against Rios during the heat of battle, Teddy was screaming about them being firemen fighting fires, which I guess sort of ties in with Bradley’s fighting moniker of Desert Storm. Beats drinking Koolaide, but if anything might tip the fight in their favor it will be the incessant clinching, not the motivation factor which Bradley always overflowed with. I don’t think Manny is strong enough to handle extensive clinching though he did OK against TUE in that misbegotten fight.

The Typhoon Manny that stormed the boxing world in the first decade of the millennium has long been tamed by the boxing nuance provided by Freddie Roach. Nobody yet knows how well Manny’s shoulder has recovered after surgery, but he does want to go out in style. This is supposedly his last fight because of the strain of being a congressman and fighter all these years not to mention being a professional basketball coach, player, and all around movie star and recording artist. It’s ridiculously crazy to think anyone could ever do so many things, and true, nobody else but Manny has or ever will. If we look at his overall record, he has the most historically spellbinding rivalries in all modern boxing, Erik Morales x 3, Marco Antonio Barrera x 2, Juan Manuel Marquez x 4, and now Tim Bradley x 3. Everyone of them a certified Ring P4Per with nobody else in boxing history being close to putting up his overall number of Ring rated P4P fights, wins, and KOs, currently 8-4-1, 5 KO going for his 14th P4P fight.

That’s why he so grabbed the international community’s attention during the largest boxing poll ever conducted in 2009 with over a half million frenzied boxing aficionados participating. The poll was staged in Las Vegas by an international group of boxing scribes to oversee the boxing communities phoning in their picks from all over the world.

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/179507/sports/boxing/birthday-gift-pacquiao-in-league-with-ring-greats

P4P  #1. Sugar Ray Robinson   #2. Manny Pacquiao   #3. Muhammad Ali

#1 Welterweight:  Sugar Ray Robinson,   #1 Featherweight: Manny Pacquiao,   #1 Heavyweight: Muhammad Ali,  #1 Lightheavyweight: Roy Jones Jr,  #3 Lightweight, TUE 49-0.

And what about the Punch Monkeys who tally up nonsensical Peter Pan numbers for talking airheads to babble about. There’s a good chance these numbers will be just about even for this fight. Some recent fights that show the useless babble of those bubblegum boxing experts would be the Kovalev vs Pascal rematch where Sergey grotesquely outlanded Pascal in a terrible beat down that anyone could see. The announcers are probably contractually obligated to blabber about this corruption of the sport, but they should be obligated to have noted that the fight needed to be stopped earlier since Pascal was slumped head down for most of the fight taking mega punches. Pascal has never been the same since his tangle with Kovalev. The second example is Bradley/Pacquiao 1 and 2. First fight Pac “outlanded” Bradley 253 to 159, or 34% to 19%, yet Manny lost a split decision that anyone could see was wrong without needing the stats. Second fight was slower paced with Bradley slightly improving his performance as Manny coasted more, yet Manny still outlanded Bradley 198 to 141, or 35% to 22%, not as dominate as the first fight, yet this time Manny got a modestly wide decision. So if boxing clearly doesn’t use punch numbers, what good are they? Maidana hits 5x harder than TUE and deserved the decisions according to many, but did judges ever bother to multiply his numbers by that factor to give him the decision? Of course not, boxing and punch monkeys are all about serving up a mystery meat baloney sandwiches as far as their end of the product goes. If they were as half as well trained and half as competent as the fighters, the quality of officiating would shoot up 500% and fans would be flocking back in droves.

The official “ABC” guidelines of scoring that boxing is supposed to adhere to with my commentary to follow:

Judges should avoid scoring a round even. (Complete concentration and application of the scoring criteria will allow Judges to pick the winner of each round.) Boxing the only major sport that won’t score even intervals of competition as even. The “Money or Home” fighter typically gets these even rounds to cause great controversy, usually much of the clamor caused by busted wagers on the fight.

1. Clean punching (power versus quantity). Maidana hits 5x harder than TUE, but got no credit as the most blatant example of judges ignoring their rules.

2. Effective aggressiveness. Highly subjective terminology generally ignored as needed when judges are so directed.

3. Ring generalship. Highly subjective terminology generally awarded to American runners as needed when judges are so directed.

4. Defense. Highly subjective and LAST in value, but first in TUE 49-0 scoring. Judges are directed to use it as needed to boost the favored money fighter.

Since Pacquiao has a history off poor officiating aligned against him, let’s look at the officials this time around. Robert Byrd, the ref in the first Bradley fight will reprise his role. As I recall, he did fine in that bout save missing Bradley touching down in the 5th, but now due to a health issue has been replaced by Tony Weeks. Weeks had previously earned TUE 49-0 wrath by allowing to Marcos Rene Maidana to bludgeon him in a straight up fight instead of protecting him. Weeks was banned from any further TUE fights. Dave Moretti and Burt A. Clements were 118-112 and 116-112 respectively in Manny’s last fight against TUE, but Moretti always gives TUE wide wins. Clements was at least somewhat reasonable in that stinker, but wait, remember it was Clements who manned up to making a mistake in the first Manny/Marquez bout by botching the scoring of the 3 knockdown first round that would have given Manny the split decision. We normally don’t see that level of integrity out of boxing judges, but it’d be nice if the judges were credible this go round given the histories.  Steve Weisfeld  is the 3rd judge. He seems to be reasonable overall, especially in his scoring of the 4th JMMarquez action packed fight, 47-46 for Pacquiao before the KO.

Longtime champ, 36 year old Arthur Abraham, 44-4, 29 KO,  defends his WBO Supermiddle title on the undercard against Top Ranks future Mexican megastar, 24 year old , Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez, 33-0, 24 KO. Abraham is short, but very strong and well tested at 5-9, whereas Ramirez is very tall at 6-3, an untested, rangy southpaw. Big step up for the kid, but he has all the suits and fans in his corner against the German based Armenian who used to inflame the typical US xenophobic hatreds that foreigners Lucien Bute, Manny, Canelo, and the Klitschko brothers also endured. This could be the best fight of the night if the kid can handle himself.

A featured part of this promotion was a name coined by Arum, his “No Trump Undercard,” a political shot across the Republican bow featuring a host of future Latino boxing stars. Even worse, days before the fight a deranged man attacked Manny in an underground garage. Foiled by Manny’s small security team, he heaped an avalanche of the foulest profanities on Manny, presumably upset over his gay remarks. Could have caused a terrible international incident had the nut a knife or gun, no doubt sadly whipped up by the tabloid press in an unstable time in this country.

Of course I still think Manny beats Bradley, I can’t help it even as the Typhoon has calmed down to the last few days of a Monsoon. It’s buried deep in his genetic code, he can’t help it, but I do wish Tim the very best fight he can muster up. Win, lose, or draw, these guys make no bones about teeing it up in the ring which what boxing needs to start rehabilitating the sport. Then they could settle the half billion dollar lawsuits and design a better model starting with their commishes, the scoring and refereeing to go with more reasonable drug testing consistency…nah, ain’t happening anytime soon…only in boxing…

Pac/Bradley III

Pac/Bradley III

 

Here’s a Shout for Carl Froch vs Glen Johnson

Another leg of the forgotten Super Six Supermiddleweight tourney takes place on June 4th this Saturday at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City when the Old Road Warrior, Glen Johnson challenges Carl Froch for his WBC belt and the right to advance to the finals of the tourney.

This should be a cracker of a fight as the Brits are fond of saying, but alas, is anyone else interested outside the usual boxing fanatics? Hopefully there’s enough boxing fans still left on the East Coast to fill the venue in order to honor the fighting credentials of these gentlemen who are loathe to take a step backwards in the ring and willing to take on all comers, a rarity in boxing these days among the plethora of spoiled belt holders. 

In his last outing Froch put on his finest boxing demonstration ever in handling the frustrating style and power of Arthur Abraham. Johnson proved there’s still thunder in those ancient mitts as he knocked out Alan Green who had never been stopped before.

The Fatal Blow

The Fatal Blow

Incredibly, this is 42 yr old Johnson’s 18th year in boxing, and while he has slowed up some physically as to be expected, he is still one of the all time toughest fighters in history and nobody fancies a walk in the park with him unless they are forced to. No surprise that Johnson has logged well over double the fights and rounds of Froch who has become quite experienced in the last few years at the elite level of his division.

Since both are coming off previous performances that were out of character for each fighter, that makes this fight something of a wildcard where anything might happen. Johnson is a pure pressure fighter and Froch thrives at ring center against come forward fighters so there is sure to be plenty of give and take in this donnybrook.

Carl Froch

Carl Froch

Does Froch have the power to keep Johnson off of him in order to pick him off? Can Johnson get inside to outwork and outbrawl Froch?

I must confess to loving the career of the old Road Warrior, but probably he needs a big knockout to win this fight, and of course Froch has proven to be very durable, so my fear is that Froch’s power may trump Johnson by the fight’s end.

Froch will enter a substantial favorite, but he best be running on all cylinders as this will take a huge effort to derail Johnson who is probably as hungry a fighter today as he was 15 yrs ago.

Time for a Big Shout to rattle the cages of fight fans down Jersey way. Everyone always moans about returning to some golden era of old school fighters, and now two of the best modern throwbacks to any golden era in history are gonna duke it out in your backyards, so, gentlemen, “Let‘s git it on!”

The Forgotten Super Six–Ward vs Abraham

The announcement of the Super Six Supermiddleweight tourney a couple of years back was a huge promotional boost for boxing, Showtime, and the original fighters, Arthur Abraham, Andre Dirrell, Jermain Taylor, Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler, and Andre Ward.

Promotional squabbles, injuries, poor health, poorer officiating, and sorry scheduling have combined with short term fan memories to take considerable shine off of the involved parties.

Andre Ward

Andre Ward

The tourney favorite now, Andre Ward, should be at a high career point as the last American Olympic Boxing Gold Medalist, but hardly anyone outside his immediate family knows him, and certainly nobody bigs up his flashy resume, silky boxing skills, and thrilling public persona for good reason since he is none of those things.

Arthur Abraham enters this bout at the lowest point of his previously undefeated championship career, coming off his only two losses with critics now questioning his style, heart, and talent.

So, the fight has become essentially meaningless with the general public and barely registers with boxing enthusiasts as the Super Six Supermiddleweight tourney officially slides into terminal torpor, which is a shame given the level of talent packed into this tourney and the hoopla it stirred.

That Ward continues to recieve blatant favoritism by never having to travel beyond his home environs should be a warning for future fighters signing on for these tournies. So far the “homies” have remained undefeated thanks to sometimes specious officiating designed to protect the hometown fighter whenever things ain’t going his way.

That’s not to say some of the hometown fighters didn’t deserve their hard earned victories, but rather noting that in the more competitive contests, clearly the odds were stacked against the visiting fighter, the reason why the Froch/Abraham bout was held in Finland. That eliminated hometown boxing commission favoritism and it was telling the fight was the cleanest of the tourney thus far.

How the Ward/Abraham fight plays out is hard to tell other than Ward should be a substantial betting favorite with recent career momentum and home advantages swinging his way. Stylistically, his current form shows him to be a fundamentally sound boxer type with a strong bent towards dirty fighting, headbutts being his dirty little favorite, but also some unseemly grappling, rabbit punches, hitting on the break, and general ugly mayhem, things that get opposing fighters complaining to the ref and off their fight plans.

Arthur Abraham

Arthur Abraham

Abraham is the slugger in this match with proven power, but he can also be a slow starting, clumsy looking fighter when on the hunt, open to being out maneuvered and outboxed as Carl Froch most recently showed in his last encounter. Abraham is the shortest boxer of all the super six by a substantial margin which may innoculate him against the Ward butts. Though Abraham is extremely strong for his size, it’s a given that Ward is the bigger man and may try to test Abraham early by muscling him inside and brawling to confuse him.

It’s up to Abraham to figure out how to best apply his power to Ward. He did hurt the durable Froch late in their fight, but it was too little delivered too late and I just can’t see him outboxing Ward, so it’s knockout or bust for this fight, something Abraham thrived on in before his last two fights robbed him of his invincible mojo.

Ward turned pro with rumors of a weak chin being the reason this touted Olympic Gold Medalist has taken the slow train to nowhere approach to his career and likely the real reason for his dirty fighting. Thus far though, he has endured every good shot, but it’s fair to say that Abraham even in his diminished capacity of late has more power than Ward has ever experienced, and in an awkward fight as I suspect this will be, King Arthur could well surprise.

They turned pro within a year of each other, but Abraham has logged considerably more fights and rounds, 34/226 compared to Ward who has notched 23 fights in 139 rounds. So add in that Abraham has been fighting at championship level for some 7 yrs and near his athletic prime at age 31, that’s a significant advantage that many are overlooking for this fight since the 27 year old Ward is a relative newcomer to title fights with his 3rd defense of his WBA strap .

Strategically, King Arthur’s long time trainer Ulli Wegner is used to European style boxing where German refs don’t tolerate dirty fighting. Wegner and Abraham had a public falling out after the Froch loss before making up, but I can’t say if all the residual bad feelings between the two have been settled coming into this fight. Can Wegner properly train a fighter for the foot movement and brawling, mauling style of a Ward type of fighter?

More disturbing, Abraham’s promoter, Hall of Famer Wilfried Saurland has warned that he will keep Abraham at home if the California Boxing Commission can’t appoint “neutral” officials for this fight, so lots of “ifs” going into the fight.

Thankfully in a recent interview, Abraham sounded confident and ready to fight, so it may be worthwhile to tune in this Saturday, May 14th at Home Depot Center, Carson, California to see if anyone shows up.

!WoW-Abraham/Froch vs Marquez/Katsidis For FOY!

!WoW-Abraham/Froch vs Marquez/Katsidis For FOY!

Post Thanksgiving, November 27th this Saturday sees what could well be two of the top ranked action packed Fight of the Year candidates.

Just a quick note with all due respect to the abruptly terminated middleweight classic Sergio Martinez and Paul Williams put on.

Planted

Planted

Martinez is smokin’ red hot coming off his dramatic career signature victory and rumored to be in talks to face the newly Showtime signed Lucian Bute, two potential candidates to meet the winner of the Super Six tourney………double WoW!

 First serving this Saturday comes from the “exotic” locale of Helsinki, Finland as part of the Showtime Super Six SuperMiddleweight Tourney when former middleweight champ King Arthur Abraham goes against former supermiddleweight champ Carl The Cobra Froch for the vacant WBC supermiddleweight crown that used to belong to Froch.

These two are far and away the most physical and powerful fighters in the tourney and they usually get their way in the ring by knockout with each being the best or near that the other has ever fought. The ring is gonna get a workout in this one as most folks are thinking a knockdown, drag out, knuckle busting war here.

Both are coming off their first career losses and are hungry to reclaim the glory that used to be theirs. It’s also worth noting that Abraham has knocked the first two fighters he faced clean out of the tournament with brutal concussive force. In Froch’s last bout, Mikkel Kessler outgutted and outboxed him but took enough punishment to pull out of the tourney, citing eye problems that first surfaced in the Ward fight, so fighting Froch is no Sunday picnic.

The Cobra

The Cobra

Froch has really stepped up his competition in his last 4 fights, 3 of which he took some solid punishment in. At age 33, he’s beginning to enter boxing’s twilight zone when traditional athletic attributes start to erode and a fighter needs to make use of smarter conditioning, better ring craft, and nuance. Froch generally likes nothing better than to get in a slugout rather than box which has served him well since he’s so strong, but I rate Abraham’s power over his, so we shall see what transpires when push comes to slug.

One More Down, So Who Wants It Next?

One More Down, So Who Wants It Next?

Abraham is also a pretty basic boxer, never really looking to outbox anyone, but rather to engage in a test of wills, ring generalship, and power. To that end, he does two things exceedingly well: 1-He covers up well on the ropes as he uses them to rest, to gage, and to extend out the opposing fighter.  2-He tends to attack without warning in violent bursts that do a lot of damage and he’s a great finisher when needed.

That’s pretty much 90% of any fight against him that he controls using his style, the ringmanship.

Not many have given Abraham much credit for his footwork, but it’s also topnotch as he’s very quick on the mark, can cut the ring off, and has stayed very well balanced from what I’ve seen in his career save the Dirrell fight where he was forced into a chicken chase of the greased lightning Dirrell and looked off balance and off his game in the early going.

Nobody ever looked good chasing chickens around the pen, though.

If Abraham has any real weakness, it might be found in his titanium rebuilt jaw that Edison Miranda literally shattered in one of the most brutal fights in boxing’s history. It’s a gut wrencher to watch after you understand the full extent of that damage.

I wouldn’t claim to know how long a rebuild of that type could last, but Froch is very heavy handed and the fight game is about exposing and then exploiting any weaknesses as they show up, a predator’s artform.

So for me, it’s Abraham’s footwork and basic style over Froch who will be wanting to rock hard with Abraham in a brutal beauty.

About eight or so time zones later in the more traditional locale of Las Vegas, Nevada, modern Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez means to put his lightweight titles on the line against Aussie based Michael Katsidis for the Ring, WBA and WBO belts.

Marquez is getting up there in years and accumulated ring time, being 37 years of age now and having turned pro in 1993 some 57 fights ago, but he’s currently the man to beat in the lightweight division, so this is the goose who laid the golden eggs opportunity of a lifetime for former WBO champ Katsidis.

The Great Katsidis

The Great Katsidis

Katsidis is the younger, age 30, bigger, stronger, and more powerful puncher in this one whose natural style is as a swarming puncher/brawler. He showed he can box some as the undefeated young contender Kevin Mitchell found out this year when the cagey Katsidis moved and boxed to open before luring Mitchell in for the quick finish.

Marquez is a natural counter puncher, but he won’t back away from a tear up when it comes to him, which it will since Katsidis figures his time is now and knows he could never outbox Marquez on the cards in his adopted Las Vegas fight home.

Marquez knows that he should be able to sharpshoot this one to mark up Katsidis badly, so the question is whether he can finish it before the swarm comes when his old war weary bones will be forced to trade heavily?

A Spritzer Para Tu, Senor

A Spritzer Para Tu, Senor

This one is tougher for me to call. Marquez beat their common opposition that Katsidis lost to, Casamayer and Diaz, but he was struggling although the Diaz rematch went much smoother for him.

Katsidis had Casamayer finished but wasn’t smart enough back then to close the show, and he was never troubled by Diaz, a split decision loss in Diaz’s hometown of Houston, a lackluster fight between two dispirited fighters coming off their first losses and boxing too carefully without any of their usual fire.

Katsidis is now back on the upswing again with a new swagger and better experience whereas Marquez is coming off a dispiriting, lopsided loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr that his rematch win over Diaz scarcely bandaged. Marquez knows that a win puts him in the Manny Pacquiao sweepstakes, a rubber match that has plenty of support in the boxing community, but he also knows that his promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, they are being sued by Manny Pacquiao for defamation, so what was a natural 3rd fight between them becomes problematic.

Katsidis could well wear down the creaking Marquez, but only if his face lasts the distance. Marquez will be the substantial betting favorite though, and Vegas is effectively his home town, so he gets all the officiating perks of the hometown fighter, all ring conditions the game road warrior Katsidis is experienced with. He means to walk through fire for this Golden Goose or go out on his shield trying.

WoW, 2 likely Fight of the Year candidates on the same day well separated by time constraints for your select viewing. Must see to believe!

A Poke Here + A Poke There x 12 = A Lotta Pokes

A Poke Here + A Poke There x 12 = A Lotta Pokes

GrandMaster Marquez Survives to Thrive

GrandMaster Marquez Survives to Thrive

 

And Then There Were Three-The Demise of The Showtime Super Six

Chop-Chop

Take out your photoshop shears and saw off the right side from the middle of the above photograph, a scarily eerie sequential grouping portending the fate of this acclaimed elimination tourney launched with much fanfare.

There was hope for all the parties involved, not withstanding expectations of boxing fans everywhere. Oddsmakers quickly put together their numbers and folks lined up on the side of their favorites. Sleeping nationalistic fervors were fired up and internet boxing forums were buzzed as the prefight debates and squabbles commenced.

Even the casual viewing general public stood up to take notice, proving that boxing is not yet dead in the hearts and minds of the larger populace just yet. This was a new world order shaping up the boxing world where 3 Americans and one Dane, Brit, and German apiece were mixed and matched in a dream come true, the best fighting the best.

The Fates Plot
The Fates Plot

Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men get dashed so easily in the grand scheme of things once The Fates of Perchance enter the picture. 

In perfect sequential order as per the photo, Jermain Taylor, Mikkel Kessler, and Andre Dirrell have dropped out of the tourney citing the bane of boxers everywhere, neurological problems.

Blame meisters are of course in overdrive trying to assign the blame for the collapse of the tourney, but technically, the tourney is still on with replacement fighters Allan Green and Glen Johnson selected to replace Jermain Taylor and Mikkel Kessler respectively.

 Showtime should instead be applauded for aspiring to such a grand idea that elevated the worldwide profile of boxing. So what if they fell short because of inherent structural problems involved in organizing a promoter controlled sport of brutal consequences? It was a wonderful learning experience that they can utilize as they launch their new Super Six Bantamweight Tourney.

Nobody is claiming that Super Six tourneys are the solution to boxing’s woes, but it is a nice piece of creative organizing that with a little luck, will open up promoters, broadcasters and boxers to better work with each other for better fights.

There are legitimate criticisms of course, the overriding one being the blatant home favoritism that has seen every visiting fighter losing with the taint of incompetent officials too often spoiling the show. Perhaps, tellingly, the venues have too often turned out to be small potato type hometown low attendance type locales for such a high profile global tourney.

Why are they fighting in Nottingham, England, Oakland, California, and Detroit, Michigan for example? Froch, Ward, and Dirrell have little local following and would be best served up in Las Vegas or London where their names and publicity would resonate more.

And what of the fates of the fighters you might ask?

Jermaine Taylor at age 32 was the first to drop out, but he has had a fine career with great earnings if he chooses to retire. Twelve of his last 13 fateful fights have been against past, present, or future champions. All four of his losses have come in his last 5 fights against prime, very strong, murderous punching undefeated fighters. If not the end of the road for him, the end surely must be near.

Mikkel Kessler followed Taylor, yet started the tourney as the favorite, and at age 31, he’s has had the longest professional career with a record of 43-2. As a 3x champion with great earnings, the end of his prime may be near with him still relatively intact. No sob stories yet, but that’s assuming his eyesight will return to normal.

Andre Dirrell is the latest dropout, a relative novice at age 27 with a 19-1 record. This was supposed to be where his career flowered, but his sole win in the tourney also saw him splattered incomprehensible on the canvas after Arthur Abraham was finished with him. It would be a shame for him, his family, and his team if this was the end of the road. His style is not to take punishment, so it could be that once his chin was finally cracked, the problems will only start to cascade. Every fighter has a limited time, so I leave those decisions to him and his advisors.

Arthur Abraham is still a strong favorite to win the tourney, and at age 30 with a 31-1 record, he’s had a fine career and earnings and seems well poised with the fearsome reputation of having knocked his first two opponents out of the tourney. One could easily imagine him doing the same to Carl Froch in his next bout.

Carl Froch at age 33 started as the elder statesman who has had a fine warrior type of career thus far, but not the big earnings and acclaim he might have hoped for as a British champion. He seems to have been shaken up by his loss to Kessler and perhaps sees the end of his own prime slipping away in the undertow of the tsunami of formidable talent washing over this tourney. We shall see.

Andre Ward at age 26 is the baby of the tourney with a perfect record of 22-0 still intact as Dirrell, Abraham, and Froch have seen the first nicks on their records. Ward has been the biggest winner of the tourney as far in jumping the ratings, but has shown some serious cracks in the façade that still sees him as a regional California fighter with a small following in spite of being the last US Olympic Boxing Gold Medalist. Probably the oddsmakers have him down as the favorite now, but that may change if he is ever pried out of his hometown and forced into a fight under neutral conditions.

Allen Green at age 31 is still waiting for his career to take off. The public was last seen waiting for him to throw a meaningful punch at Andre Ward, and may still be waiting after Glen Johnson finishes with him.

Glen Johnson at age 41 and record of 50-14-1, gives some serious gravitus to the tourney IF he can reduce down to the 168 lb weight limit. He has to be The People’s Choice of the tourney now and truly the pre-eminent road warrior of his era…..Have Gloves-Will Travel.

Insert the next replacement to fight Andre Ward here___________. Showtime is scrambling to find a suitable replacement to carry on. Good luck.

So, perhaps the rumors of the death of the Showtime Super Six are premature, but it’s been a grand experiment, so surely boxing enthusiasts can better appreciate the logistics of making credible fights when so much is at stake.