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All Time Manny Pacquiao vs Once Upon a Time Keith Thurman~Loser Retires to the Moon?

Filipino living legend Manny Pacquiao challenges Keith Thurman for his World Boxing Association Super World Welterweight Title @MGM Grande in Vegas this Saturday, July 20th, coincidentally on the 50th anniversary of mankind’s first moon landing in 1969?

The only fighting senator in the history of boxing for these past ten years, Manny has looked sensational in his last two fights against fringe contenders, but Thurman has been struggling for his last three, having the look of a shot fighter and needing 2 years entailing surgery on an ailing arm and a prolonged recovery time to repair and heal his seemingly shattered ribs that kept him on a visibly wincing run for much of those 3 fights.

Shawn Porter as is his rugged style mauled him pretty badly for a close and heavily booed decision for Thurman. Then Danny Garcia took some more shine off with a split decision loss in a fight previously most would’ve thought Thurman would have taken a much wider win than a split since Danny has B grade boxing skills on his best day and has always needed a big punch or favorable judging to bail him out of tough fights. Then Thurman after a strong start got rocked badly to finish out his last fight as a running survivor against longtime fringe contender Josesito Lopez for his comeback. His reputation that had thus far been sterling was now so bad that Thurman’s boxing moniker of One Time referring to his lethal Knockout punch became an internet punchline for variants such as Part Time, Run Time, and then Sometime in spite of being only 30 yrs old with only 148 rounds accumulated in 30 fights the ring. Compare to Manny with 474 rounds in 70 fights, so that’s more than double Thurman’s fights and more than triple the amount of accumulated rounds, and make no mistake, Manny has been in some wars with top competition at a much higher level than Thurman, and by all the rights claimed by Father Time, he shouldn’t even be in the same ring as Thurman, yet here we go again.

Let’s compare their recent competition comparison. Looking at their Boxrec records that shows the raw results of their last 6 fights, Thurmond dates 6 years back to 2014 against a 40 yr old Leonard Bundu who was the longtime EBU welter champ. Manny dates 5 years back to 2015 against Floyd Mayweather Jr, a p4p ranked welter, and in his very next fight Manny fights yet another P4Per in Timothy Bradley Jr. I don’t see that level of competition in Thurman’s record. In Manny’s last fight he fought the Boxrec #12, Adrien Broner . In Thurman’s last fight he chose a Boxrec #26 fighter Josesito Lopez, and on his once a year fight schedule Thurman has been in his absolute prime while 40 year old Senator Manny has literally been forced into a once a year schedule to accommodate his senatorial duties that his people elected him to do.

Think about it.

That ring mileage is the reason many of his fans want him to retire, yet amazingly Manny is still in the Boxrec top 10 P4P and the #3 welter, both well over Thurman who had a miserably slow rise to a title fight in spite of the formidable reputation of his youth, so boxing fans have to commend Manny for not just hanging on, but fighting top competition in his elder years.

Oh, and both Manny and Keith have been enrolled with VADA for drug testing for some time now since I started checking their records months before their fight. Just sayin’ in advance of all the crude, unstudied drug testing accusations against Manny that surface in his every fight.

Thurman has been making retirement noises, perhaps in response to this, his biggest cash grab of his career as it is for most anyone fighting Manny. He’s also been making contradictory noises of claiming to fight him like he did Danny Garcia that featured a lot of running to a split decision, and then in the next breath claiming he’s going straight after Manny to knock him out. Too much ado whistling a lot of smacky smack while walking through a dark graveyard to buck up his flagging spirits me thinks.

Here’s some interesting fighter and trainer picks for the fight, the majority favoring the 40 yr old Senator, and most notably, Sean Porter who was a long time sparmate of Manny while Porter was still  fighting at 154 and who fought Thurman recently at welter, why Porter picks Manny. Also P4Per Mikey Garcia who sat out a couple of years to ditch B0b Arum who at the time was pressing him to fight Manny, why he picks Manny also!

Pacquiao vs. Thurman Predictions – 46 Experts Give Their Takes

Here are the predictions from a mix of boxing legends, current and former champions and contenders, plus some of the most renowned trainers in the sport:

Thomas Hearns, former five-division champion

Pick: Pacquiao W 12. Manny Pacquiao has the better skills and the experience overall in comparison to Keith Thurman, and I see Manny winning a decision by just out-boxing him.

Deontay Wilder, WBC Heavyweight Champion

Pick: Thurman SD 12. I like both fighters and what they’ve been able to achieve. Manny Pacquiao’s a legend who still is among the world’s best fighters despite his age and having to overcome so many ups and downs. But I’m going with Keith Thurman on a split-decision in this one based on his youth and mentality. People are talking about Keith’s last fight against Josesito Lopez, but he feels like he’s the best, and that he’s not going to let anyone take that away from him.

Roy Jones Jr., Former Three-Division World Champion

Pick: Pacquiao W12: I’m going to go with Pacquiao because he’s the older and therefore more experienced fighter.

Errol Spence Jr., IBF Welterweight Champion

Pick: Thurman SD 12. It just depends on which Pacquiao shows up and which Keith shows up. I think Keith will be a lot sharper than he was in his last fight. You know he had a long layoff and is just coming back. Keith is a lot tougher than people think he is. He took a lot of punches in that last fight. He took a lot of punches in the Shawn Porter fight, too. He might be a boxer, but he’s tough and he’s gritty, so I think he’s going to win a split-decision or he’s going to blow him out. It just depends on which Pacquiao comes out. If he can turn the tables a little bit and become the Pacquiao of back then, I think he can win. But if it’s the Pacquiao that fought Broner, then I think Keith will edge him out and outpoint him. Keith can get on his bicycle and move around and just pot shot him. I think Keith will edge it out.

Sugar Ray Leonard, former five-division world champion

Pick: Thurman W 12. Keith Thurman has a ton of talent, power and speed. I like him to win.

Gerry Cooney, former heavyweight title contender

Pick: Pacquiao W 12. Manny Pacquiao’s been a phenom, but age has been creeping up on him. Thurman’s gonna try to box and use his power, and Manny’s been knocked out before. It’s a 50-50 fight, but I’m going with Pacquiao, who is really awkward and fast, to win a decision.

Shane Mosley, former three-division world champion

Pick: Pacquiao W 12. I think that Pacquiao is going to win because of the experience, the speed and his power.

Shawn Porter, WBC Welterweight Champion

Pick: Pacquiao W 12. I’m going with Manny Pacquiao, who still has the hunger, several levels of competitive spirit and quickness out of that southpaw stance that’s hard to game plan for. Keith Thurman’s young but coming off of a very long layoff and a level of relaxation and comfort that makes it difficult for me to see him being ready for this fight. I don’t think Keith’s body will be able to withstand what’s going to come during those championship rounds. Pacquiao weathers the early storm and wins a decision.

Andy Ruiz Jr., Unified Heavyweight World Champion

Pick: Pacquiao W 12. I’m going with Pacquiao because of his speed and aggressiveness.

Mikey Garcia, four-division world champion

Pick: Pacquiao W 12. Ultimately Manny’s footwork, hand-speed, combinations and volume punching will carry him throughout the rounds. Keith Thurman has the power to win it, and he’s very dangerous for that power, but he’s not a better fighter, overall, than Manny. I think Manny takes it.

Julian Williams, WBA & IBF 154-pound World Champion

Pick: Thurman SD 12. Manny’s always super-competitive and I believe we’ll see a hungrier and more determined Manny Pacquiao than the one who beat Adrien Broner. Manny may even be able to hurt Keith Thurman as he does everybody, but I believe Keith Thurman will have too much youth for him. Keith may not look great, but I’m going with Keith to win a close decision.

Derrick James, trainer of welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. and former champion Jermell Charlo

Pick: Thurman W 12. I think Keith Thurman’s gonna beat Manny Pacquiao by a decision as long as he can do what he did for the first seven rounds against Josesito Lopez for 12 rounds against Pacquiao. Keith’s consistency will win the fight.

Leo Santa Cruz, WBA Featherweight World Champion

Pick: Thurman W 12: I feel that Keith Thurman is going to win because he’s younger.

Roberto Duran, former four-division world champion

Pick: Pacquiao W 12: Manny Pacquiao is very tough and for me, he is going to win this fight.

Robert Garcia, trainer of former four-division champion Mikey Garcia, contender Josesito Lopez

Pick: Thurman W 12. Keith Thurman is strong, solid and smart in the ring, and he has youth on his side, so I see him winning a unanimous decision. I would no doubt pick Manny Pacquiao if this was four or five years ago the way he was dominating, but with him being at the age of 40, that’s hard for me to do.

Paulie Malignaggi, former two-division champion

Pick: Thurman TKO 11. I saw Pacquiao in January beating Adrien Broner who was willing to enter the pocket but not let his hands go. Pacquiao is not a defensive genius, and I’m not saying that he’s super hittable. But I do see Keith catching up to him and winning by a late-round TKO.

Tony Harrison, WBC Super Welterweight Champion

Pick: Draw. I have so much love and respect for Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman and I’ve seen fire in each of their eyes. I am envisioning an action-packed, seesaw battle that enhances the legacies of both fighters with the fans getting their money’s worth. Manny’s been re-awakened into the beast he’s been in the past, and when the final bell rings, I believe this fight will end in a draw.

Jarrett Hurd, former unified 154-pound champion

Pick: Thurman W 12. I believe the youth of Keith Thurman will play a big factor. Yes, Thurman had a long layoff but I think he broke the ring rust after the Josesito Lopez fight.

Josesito Lopez, Former title challenger

Pick: Pacquiao SD 12. In our fight, Keith Thurman took a really hard punch from me that would have taken out almost anyone. That proves a lot about his championship ability to come back to win a fight. Thurman has great power and boxing skills and movement, but I still see Pacquiao pulling out a close decision victory.

Gary Russell Jr., WBC Featherweight Champion

Pick: Pacquiao W 12. Keith Thurman is probably the bigger, stronger fighter, which will give him the puncher’s chance, but I think Manny Pacquiao’s work ethic and his punch output will dictate the fight. I really like Keith Thurman, but I don’t know which Keith will show up. He has the ability to get Pacquiao outta there, but I see Pacquiao being more consistent. So, I think Manny’s gonna outwork him and take it.

Ronnie Shields, trainer of 160-pound champion Jermall Charlo, former 154-pound champion Erislandy Lara

Pick: Thurman W 12. Keith is fast on his feet and has enough boxing ability to keep Manny at bay. I don’t believe a KO will occur. I really believe they both will try for one, but in order for Manny to win, he has to hurt Keith early and often. I don’t see it any other way.

Jessie Vargas, former two-division champion

Pick: Pacquiao W 12. I’m going with Manny Pacquiao because of his experience and explosiveness and the fact that I believe that’s something Keith Thurman’s never seen before. A knockout for Pacquiao is 85% possible. Each is a great fighter who doesn’t back down.

Stephen Edwards, trainer of unified 154-pound champion Julian Williams

Pick: Draw. I can’t call this fight. I was picking Keith Thurman due to youth and not being the better fighter. I thought he would control Manny Pacquiao with a check hook. But Thurman has not looked right to me in the training footage. Maybe that’s a ploy. Who knows? One fighter is 40 and the other looks rusty. I expect a close and controversial draw.

Sergio Mora, former 154-pound champion

Pick: Thurman KO 9. Manny Pacquiao’s speed and footwork has diminished with age but he is still dangerous. Both will be aiming for the body and both will have their moments. Ultimately, I see Pac getting over aggressive and caught attempting to be great once again. Size and youth prevails in an exciting and competitive fight.

Andre Berto, former two-time 147-pound champion

Pick: Thurman W 12. I’m picking Keith Thurman to win a decision because he is younger, faster and stronger than Manny Pacquiao.

Omar Figueroa, former world champion

Pick: Pacquiao by KO 8. Keith Thurman is a really smart fighter, but he leaves himself open with some of his punches. I think Manny Pacquiao catches him with those short lefts and right hooks inside and possibly stops the fight in eight.

Robert Guerrero, former two-division champion

Pick: Pacquiao by late round KO. Manny’s experience, combined with this speed and power, hitting off angles, is going to be too much for Keith Thurman.

Jay Deas, trainer of WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder

Pick: Thurman W 12. Can Manny Pacquiao spell bound Keith Thurman, building a lead and holding off a late-round Thurman rally to take a decision? I don’t think so with only one knockout since 2010. Thurman’s left hand will be a key if he can jab the southpaw Pacquiao effectively. If Thurman is intelligently aggressive, uses his left and starts and finishes the exchanges, I believe he will win a decision in an exciting fight.

Joel Diaz, renowned trainer

Pick: Pacquiao W 12. Keith Thurman didn’t look good against Josesito Lopez, who is a warrior but not on the level of a Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao’s a lefty with great speed and footwork to create problems for Thurman. Thurman’s bigger, younger and stronger, but Pacquiao has the power to hurt Thurman with either hand. I see Pacquiao increasing the pace over the later rounds and winning a decision.

Abner Mares, former three-division champion

Pick: Thurman W 12. Everyone is going off Manny Pacquiao’s last performance, where he looked phenomenal against an Adrien Broner who didn’t throw a lot of punches and was on the ropes a lot. Pacquiao’s not fighting Broner but a Thurman who knows how to work every round. He got hurt against Josesito Lopez, but that was after a long layoff.

Erislandy Lara, former 154-pound champion

Pick: Pacquiao W 12. This is a true 50-50 fight and a great one for the boxing fans. Going off their last few performances, I’m leaning towards Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao to win a decision. But I wouldn’t be shocked to see Keith Thurman return to form.

Sergey Lipinets, former 140-pound champion

Pick: Draw. The fight looks like a 50-50 proposition. Manny Pacquiao is a way more diverse fighter then Keith Thurman. The big question would still be if Pacquiao has got any of that left or enough to maintain that through 12 rounds. I think we’ll see them fight to a draw.

Gary Russell Sr., father and trainer of 126-pound champion Gary Russell Jr.

Pick: Thurman W 12. Manny Pacquiao has a herky-jerky style that can cause problems for Keith Thurman, who I don’t think can out-box Pacquiao. Keith’s gonna have to be the more physical fighter, coming out as the stalker and going to the body. I think that ultimately that’s what he’s gonna do to win a decision.

David Benavidez, former 168-pound champion

Pick: Pacquiao by KO 9. I feel like Manny is going to have a hard time with Keith Thurman running around in the first few rounds. Then I expect “PacMan” to start hurting Thurman by Round five or six and then I see him stopping “One Time” around the ninth. It’s gonna be a great fight though.

Marcus Browne, interim WBA 175-pound champion

Pick: Thurman W 12. This is a great fight that’s tough to call, so to pick a draw wouldn’t be far-fetched. I’m a big Manny Pacquiao fan and he looked great in his last fight beating Adrien Broner. But Keith ain’t Adrien Broner, and I think he’ll overcome the ring absence since he appears to be in a zone. I’m going to choose Keith to win a close decision.

Ruben Guerrero, father and trainer of former two-division champion Robert Guerrero

Pick: Pacquiao SD 12. It’s going to be one hell of a fight, but Manny Pacquiao will win the later rounds to win a close one.

Luis Ortiz, heavyweight title contender

Pick: Pacquiao SD 12. Manny Pacquiao will win via decision. He has too much experience and has been active. Keith Thurman has been too inactive. I think it will probably be a split decision for Pacquiao.

Erickson Lubin, 154-pound title contender

Pick: Pacquiao SD 12. Manny Pacquiao’s southpaw style will confuse Keith Thurman. “Pacman” wins by split-decision with his power, speed and combination punching.

Austin Trout, former 154-pound champion

Pick: Thurman SD 12. I’m going to rock with my man Keith Thurman. People who are judging off his last fight don’t understand how much inactivity can play a role. Now that the rust is off, I expect Keith to pull it off. Keith is going to go above and beyond in what will be a 12-round fight that he’s gonna win by a split-decision.

Kevin Cunningham, trainer of Erickson Lubin

Pick: Pacquiao W 12. I’m gonna have to go with Manny Pacquiao on this one because he still has good speed, explosiveness, footwork and punches well in combinations. Keith Thurman may be looking to land something big, and he may be able to hurt Manny in some way, but I’m picking Manny by decision.

Jamal James,147-pound contender

Pick: Pacquiao W 12. Keith Thurman comes in with great skills, but I don’t see him beating Manny Pacquiao, who is a really crafty southpaw, is still quick on his feet, and throws fast, sharp combinations. I don’t think Keith can match Pacquiao’s hand-speed and footwork. I can’t rule out a knockout, but I think Pacquiao wins a decision.

Caleb Truax, former 168-pound champion

Pick: Pacquiao W 12. I think the smart pick is Keith Thurman, but I can’t bet against Manny Pacquiao. I have “PacMan” by close decision in a back and forth fight.

Calvin Ford, trainer of WBA 130-pound champion Gervonta Davis

Pick: Thurman W 12. Keith Thurman’s motivated to get his name back into the spotlight, but Manny Pacquiao looks as if he’s up to the challenge after beating Adrien Broner. Pacquiao throws a lot of punches, but I’m going with the younger guy on this one and Thurman winning a great fight by decision.

Andre Rozier, trainer of former 160-pound champion Daniel Jacobs

Pick: Thurman W 12. I have a tale of two fights for you. If we see the “One Time” Thurman of old, it will be a long night for the “PacMan.” If we see the tentative, super cautious Thurman that we have been seeing lately, the “PacMan” will have a chance.

Stephen Fulton, Unbeaten 122-pound contender

Pick: Pacquiao W 12. I see Manny Pacquiao winning a unanimous decision based on his activity and that fact that Keith Thurman has been inactive for a while. Pacquiao lets his hands go more than Thurman, and I believe that, as well as Pacquiao’s heart and being smarter in the ring, wins the fight.

Mario Barrios, undefeated 140-pound contender

Pick: Pacquiao W 12. I believe Manny’s going to be too crafty for Keith Thurman and Thurman won’t be able to land those big shots on him.

Total:
Pacquiao – 24
Thurman – 19
Draw – 3

Unless Thurman can right his listing ship, Manny will take this if he can avoid the desperate KO punch from nowhere, and make no mistake, Thurman surely must have that big punch buried somewhere in his physiologic infrastructure even if he’s only had one KO from the point of his first full WBA title fight dating back 5 years ago. His record during that period is 5-0, 1 KO with two UDs, a SD, and a MD, so clearly he’s been struggling. If Thurman has to peck and run from the 40 year old Senator whose popularity with fans is off the scale of any measurement, he will earn no favors from the crowd yet again, but who of us outsiders can ever know what the crap shooting judges will see if it goes to decision?

Does the undefeated Thurman even have an upside left to influence the judges? Does he even know that his destiny as a fighter is hanging by an unraveling thread in the balance? Man or Mouse Time for Keith Thurman. Which is it to be?

The Eagle has landed.

 

 

 

 

Moonshot!

Que será, será
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que será, será

Vasiliy Lomachenko Continues Comeback vs Anthony Crolla

Vasiliy Lomachenko looks to continue his post surgery comeback when he defends his WBA/WBO titles against a former title holder, Englishman Anthony Crolla, this Friday, April 12th@Staples Center, Los Angeles.

Bit odd having Loma fight on a Friday that makes me think his shoulder may still be a bother after shoulder surgery, hence a fight against a guy nobody has heard of in LA. In his last outing, Lomachenko was still pretty much a one armed fighter that sorta bodes ill for his future, so by necessity this is not designed as a superfight like most of his fights have been since he turned pro. By now he’s Ring P4P #1 and well established as a very rare, very elite fighter with very rare and very elite skills that have largely proved to be baffling to his previous opponents and absolutely amazing to boxing aficionados who understand the sweet science.

I expect the 32 year old Crolla to provide quality rounds as a benchmark to let us know where Loma’s health is. He’s well experienced, currently 34-6, 13 KO, and a bigger, stronger, and quite durable former title holder and won’t go meekly as many opponents did by their end against Lomachenko.

With over 300 amateur fights and competing to as near to perfection as possible in that venue, the 31 year old Lomachenko is generally acknowledged as the best ever amateur, so it may be time to prepare for a soft landing and retirement since all our mortal bodies, no matter how strong and well trained, eventually wear down before breaking down, and not necessarily in that order. That’s an unbelievable amount of time at the highest level obtainable. His pro record looks spare, 12-1, 9 KO, but it’s packed with 12 world title bouts. 

I’d think most fans and insiders in boxing appreciate the art of Lomachenko’s aggressive matchmaking that has upended the usual novice boxing developmental model. A bout with the 40+ Manny Pacquiao, currently ranked as the #8 P4P and #3 Boxrec welterweight just below Ring P4Per welters Terence Crawford and Errol Spence, has been floated by Bob Arum as a superfight for a few years now. It could be made at 140 lbs to provide the perfect vehicle for a well deserved retirement for both, but will they ever take it?

In the here and now, “Million Dollar” Crolla serves up a decent enough fight for a minor viewing spectacle showcasing sublime Lomachenko skills that kicks both he and boxing down the road for further development. Stay tuned.

Manny Pacquiao vs Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia!

Filipino Senator and Living Legend Manny Pacquiao challenges Argentinian slugger Lucas Martin Matthysse Sunday, July 15@Axiata ArenaKuala LumpurMalaysia for the World Boxing Association World Welterweight Title

Though the official date of the fight is Sunday, July 15th early AM Malaysian time, it will be July 14th by at 9 PM Eastern Standard Time that New York operates on. That translates to 6 PM Los Angeles time. I’d imagine the fight will be broadcast internationally, but in the US will be put on by ESPN+ on some kind of web app that can be purchased from their main website.

Hard to know where to start with this fight since Manny has at least temporarily flown the loving nest of Bob Arum to stage this event under Manny’s own promotional banner with an assist from Golden Boy who promotes Matthysse. From the start it has been problematic to raise the money needed, but supposedly the money end has finally been settled, so here we land in a Malaysian crossroads type of fight. Presumably their political strife will presumably be put on hold for the honor of hosting a Manny fight. Manny has also departed from long time mentor, Freddie Roach, after some sort of acrimonious fallout from the regrettable Jeff Horn fight that never should’ve been staged in Australia by Uncle Bob. Oh, well, here we go again in Manny’s fightcom with a new cast of characters, yet longtime boyhood pal and confidant Buboy will be his trainer though I’ve no doubt a few name trainers flew over to the Philippines for brief private consultations.

Manny enters into his 40th year in December and currently 59-7-2, 38 KO. Matthysse is coming into his 36th year in September and currently 39-4, 36 KO, so we can see at least on paper he’s the slugger in this match up with plenty of experience. And like Manny, he’s been royally shafted by the boxing suits for some losses, and since both are aggressive fighters, it should be fan friendly with plenty of action.

Undercard has an interesting bout between two light flys scrapping over the much derided WBA belt that Venzuelean, Carlos Canizales, 20-0-1, 16 KO won in March. Bin Lu, 1-0, 1 KO, a Chinese Olympian from the 2016 Olympics aims to be the quickest to earn a title belt, a silly little record boxing likes to make up to sell to their shrinking fan base, but presumably still growing in China that may well become one of boxing’s capital destinations. Canizales only merits a 16th rating on boxrec with Lu worth a 110th ranking after knocking out a developing journeyman for his debut that mysteriously qualifies him for this title challenge.

Just DUMB, yet no other sport does DUMB with so much eloquent sanctimony as does boxing. Pacquiao, on the other hand, may find himself in a major league scrap as Matthysse is a slugger supreme with a good chin. He’s made a successful comeback from eye surgery thus far, so obviously he’s the hungrier, more unrealized fighter even if Manny is the favorite, but not prohibitively so. I’m picking Manny who still amazingly has his reflexes and fighting instincts after such a long career. Should be a great showcase for boxing if a fair and judicious referee can be found, sadly not a given in boxing.

 

English Dillion Whyte vs Aussie Lucas Browne

Englishman Dillian Whyte defends his WBC Silver Heavyweight title against Aussie Lucas Browne for the unofficial Commonwealth title at The O2 in London, March 24. The 29 year old Whyte last beat the inactive, comebacking former contender Robert Helenius, so no surprises to see him as the #1 ranked WBC heavyweight with their WBC champion ducking him to take on an old man on blood pressure medication.

Boxing has been in a slow soak of the steaming hot mess they have made of their sport for a number of years now, just a pitiable oversight of the sport in total disrespect of the majority of honorable boxers only wanting fairly officiated matches in a fairly run sport and rabid fans only wanting the same.

Ain’t no chance in Hell that will happen in my lifetime except for occasional exceptions, so we the fans are gonna have to die and go to Valhalla to see the best face the best in a fairly run sport.

The WBC champ, Deyonce Wilder makes peanut purses fighting TBA journeymen setups compared to the tens of millions former champ Mike Tyson made for every fight that the real Heavyweight champ, Anthony Joshua, now commands in England. The whole world knew who Mike Tyson is, but it’s debatable if 50% of Deyonce’s hometown of Tuscaloosa know who he is. No matter, the winner of Whyte vs Browne is the WBC mandatory challenger to his peanuts purse.

Browne is undefeated, 22-0, 22 KO, as the former interim WBA champ after having been caught in the vise of the incompetent drug testing cartels for some infinitesimally tiny drug infraction of disputed results. He has some size and strength over Whyte, 22-1, 16 KO, who is hardly a wilting flower, but their different boxing styles and fighting mentalities, Browne being more the traditional upright style and Whyte more the awkward slugger style, make this one of the better fights that could be found in the division…Hallelujah…

 

Gorgeous George Groves vs Chris “Daddy’s Boy” Eubank Jr.

George Groves, 27-3, 20 KO defends his new shiny WBA supermiddleweight belt against usurper IBO champ Chris Eubank Jr, 26-1, 20 KO this Saturday, February 17th @ Manchester Arena (formerly M.E.N Arena)Manchester. As fights go in 2018, this British donnybrook to be one of the biggest due to the British public, against all the odds of the last few years of depravity afflicting boxing, still largely love the sport and flock to the venues.

Both Groves and Eubank are a bit fragile as representatives of the weak top echelons of boxing these days as a dying sport, so in a turnabout for fans who might in other more golden years poohpahed such a limited title bout, fans are expecting to be packing the rafters. I picked Groves in my predictor league due to greater experience at the top and overall maturity. Both have some talents, but both also have limited mental faculties needed for a truly top flight fighter as Eubank Sr was.

So, from the first bell the match will slowly progress into an all action fistic crap shoot that fans can only hope the notoriously bad BBBC officiating doesn’t screw up. At least these guys will mostly put on a decent scrap since both are hungry for some much bigger bouts to come.

Groves vs Eubank Jr

Groves vs Eubank Jr

 

Who The Dickens is Jazza Dickens & Why Is Guillermo Rigondeaux Fighting Him?

The “event” takes place this Saturday at the Ice Arena Wales, Cardiff, Wales, July 17th, when Guillermo Rigondeaux, 16-0, 10 KO defends his shaky Super WBA superbantam title against James Dickens, 22-1, 7 KO, aka Jazza Dickens.

And who in the dickens is Dickens you ask?

Damned if I know other than perusing boxrec which reveals him to be a still somewhat fresh fringe of the fringe contender level, rated 64th by boxrec. Of the four opponents Rigondeaux has defended against since lifting his title off a true era P4P great, Nonito Donaire,  the best is currently rated 31st in his division in boxrec and unrated in Ring as are the others. Two are near 40 years of age and currently unranked even in boxrec as their careers wind down from inactivity, yet somehow Rigondeaux managed to get knocked down multiple times in these fights and looked more like a dog pound fighter than P4P. The so called Bible of Box, Ring Magazine rates him as #5 P4P while boxrec ranks him 67th P4P, just over #68 Donaire who remains unranked in Ring P4P rankings. Poor Jazza is so far back in boxrec P4P rankings that he’s effectively buried.

Only in boxing are there such routine, glaring contradictions, a sport that simply fails to offer any but comical self regulation with no end in sight.

Not Charles, but rather the other Dickens

Not Charles, but rather the other Dickens

At this point me thinks Rigondeaux should next attempt to cash out of his disappointing career by taking short money for the biggest possible fight since he cannot be making much money in a peewee division fighting such low level comp. He defected from Cuba to the US where the boxing “establishment” bent over backwards for him. He claims fighters are ducking him, but truth is he’s a management nightmare, never understanding that tiny fighters need a compelling style, thus killing perfectly good fights with salary demands beyond the capacity of his drawing power. He could easily move up or down 4lbs to make some bigger fights than this one, but he don’t want it. Freddie Roach trained him when he first turned pro and thought him “the greatest talent I’ve ever seen.”

Talent in boxing has always been in abundance, yet never guaranteed a great fighter, instead reinventing himself into the most talented slug in history hanging on for the few peanuts his grade C latest shady promoter can scrounge for him. This is America, so it’s his choice if he likes that kind of fare.

The International public could care less, but plenty enough local rabid Brit boxing fans to care to at least make at least some noise in Wales on the night. Might keep a pillow handy if you’re watching on the tele just in  case you nod out early and need a place for your noggin to fall. It’s that type of fight though on paper he could easily knockout the overmatched Jazza.

Keith Thurman Unfettered vs Shawn Porter

Al Haymon has ostensibly freed Keith Thurman from his fetters for his first ever serious fight against Shawn Porter, Saturday, June 25th at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York. The weak WBA welter title will be on the line as Thurman, 26-0, 22 KO, also defends his perfect record against that of Porter, 26-1-1, 16 KO.

The talented Thurman has certainly faced decent opposition of sorts, but they’ve all been in the class “B” type fighters he was expected to beat, not a prime top contender and former champion like Porter. Of course this being an Al Haymon fight, the very well spoken but somewhat bland personality Porter will be the underdog as Haymon looks to replace the undefeated TUE, 49-0, with the telegenic, Thurman who could certainly use a publicity boost after being on the shelf all these years.

Tale of the Tape

Tale of the Tape

In Porter’s last fight against another Haymon darling, Adrien Broner, the catchweight drained Porter heavily pressured Broner who unaccountably changed his style from his standard face first defense to a flapping, running chicken that resulted in a terribly dreary fight. Broner suddenly turned the tables in the opening seconds of the last round for a flash knockdown over a surprised Porter, but the decision turned out to be a rare gem in boxing these days by going to the infinitely more deserving Porter. I expect Thurman to also utilize an excessively cautious style as he looks to set up a far bigger punch than Broner could ever dream of, but can he land it when he needs it?

Big Problem for Thurman: He suffered injuries from an unusual single vehicle accident in whatever the latest blingmobile he was driving that set back this fight 3 months. The forces involved in the collision set off his air bags that TKOed him by whiplashing his neck and spine. After a couple of months of therapy, he resumed sparring and reportedly progressed well, so we shall see how well he’s recovered soon enough.

Both are in their primes with Thurman being faster, Porter being stronger. Hard to know how such a competitive matchup might turn out other than as previously mentioned, Thurman is the undeniable choice of the Haymon who runs his end of boxing somewhat like the UFC, each existing as their own league though Haymon has yet to create his own belts as the UFC has done. Such is how it currently goes in his little fiefdom of boxing, so good luck to Porter who will need a whole lot of it coupled to a good game plan if he plans on winning this fight.

Zombie vs Human

Zombie vs Human

 

No Fool Like April Fool Broner vs Ashley Theopane

In yet another one of boxing’s stranger than fiction assinine alignments, the supposed WBA Jr Welter Superchampion, Adrien Broner, defends against the unlikely British non contender, Ashley Theophane, at the DC Armory, Washington, District of Columbia this Friday, appropriately on April Fools day.

Theophane, 36-9-1, 9 KO,  is, of course, unranked by Ring, so referencing Boxrec which ranks every active fighter, we find that he’s ranked 47th in his division as of this publication. So why o why was this bout ever made? Easy, Broner has been looking so shaky for so long that his value has dropped. Enter the Theophane promoter who made this fight happen,  TUE Mayweather, who has created an ongoing feud to be carried out in youtube rants and tweets that Broner assists in. How convenient, a high profile boxing family feud of thugs with an easy pushover to play tug of war with for the show. One could almost believe TUE is planning his easy money comeback against the hapless Broner, himself another easy pushover these days.

Even more convenient was the felonious assault and aggravated robbery and civil suit filed in Cincinnati by a fellow Cincy miscreant accusing Broner of using a gun backed by 8 goons to split his noggin open and steal $14,000 back in January. You’d think Broner would have been arrested and arraigned by now, but nope, this dope appears inviolable for now, supposedly “training” his larded rear off in the safe haven at the seat of the US Government, Washington DC. Such is what passes as law enforcement these days. One supposes if indeed he is allowed to fight, he’ll use his purse to pay off all the interested parties. Whatever works to get him back in the public eye and a quick payday.

If I was the light hitting Theophane, I’d target that open fish mouth style he uses to break his jaw. I’m surprised nobody yet has really targeted this major flaw save Marcos Rene Maidana. Poor guy can’t even shut his mouth in the ring he’s so challenged and now also looks to be at least 20 lbs over the weight limit just two days away.

This “All About Billions” promotion is looking for billions one step at a time. Gotta admit, at least Broner was smart enough to have a gun and 8 guys backing him up to kick off their one strong arm $14K robbery at a time business model. Can’t beat the bowling alley venue either, pure p4p clown. Might take a while to secure the billions, but who in this outfit could ever count that high anyway?

Refugees from the Bearded House of David baseball club?

Refugees from the Bearded House of David baseball club?

Bryant Jennings Challenges WBA Heavyweight Interim Luis Ortiz

Wow, Bryant Jennings Challenges WBA Heavyweight Interim geegaw holder Luis Ortiz, Saturday, December 19th @Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, New York, so where to start with this one in the current reprehensible state of boxing?

Well, how about we begin with a positive in that Jennings has proven to be a worthy challenger and this another big opportunity for him. Ortiz is to be commended by his quick turn around after beating little known Argentine Matias Ariel Vidondo for the belt in October, a mere 2 months from the time of this fight. Those spare positives thusly acknowledged, it must be noted that the manner in that Ortiz won the belt befits the current soiled ills of boxing after one of this era’s more dubious knockouts of Lateef Kayode last year was changed to a No Contest.

The reason you ask?

Only the usual, stupid, positive drug test for steroids by Ortiz. Was the victim Kayode offered this fight? Of course not, that would be too fair of boxing, which as everyone knows is becoming less and less a fairly officiated, regulated sport as fans flee their viewing fleecing by the thousands yearly. Just scare up some ring rusty 38 year old Argentine medical student as fodder for drug cheat Ortiz to have another dishonorable crack at the most pathetic geegaw in modern boxing history, the WBA heavyweight interim title.

As to this upcoming bout, let’s face facts, the winsome, 31 year old American, Bryant Jennings, is the money fighter here with a future, not the 36 year old Ortiz, who, like most Cubans, looks older than his listed age, and a lot fatter than 237 lbs in his last fight would suggest for a 6-4 slugger, his numbers just not jibbing to what we see on the screen. Jennings is a very low mileage 31 years of age coming off 12 sometimes competitive rounds against the best heavyweight of this era, Wladimir Klitschko. He has a very underrated trainer in John David Jackson at his camp to soak up all his experience. In spite of the Ortiz storied Cuban ama career, save for a puncher’s chance, and Ortiz does pack a solid punch not to be sneered at, he is likely to be outclassed by Bryant speed of hand and foot based on their styles. Might even get knocked out since Jennings should possess more power than his career shows thus far and has likely been working on his biggest weakness in camp.

Maybe Jennings can restore a bit of shine to the long time befouled WBA belt, but he has to go through Ortiz first, so let’s see it.

Jennings vs Ortiz

Jennings vs Ortiz

 

 

Future Destiny In Waiting~Wladimir Klitschko vs Kubrat Pulev

***Fight postponed due to Wladimir injury reported alternately as a hamstring pull or left bicep tear. Sad but true perhaps this warning shot across the bow of the aging Klitschko juggernaut as he dragged Shannon Briggs across the landscape that left him shaking his right hand. Not much else in the story, but link here for confirmation:

http://www.espn.co.uk/boxing/sport/story/336929.html

Wladimir Klitschko is back in action to defend his myriad collection of world title belts against IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev at O2 World Arena in Hamburg, Germany on Saturday, September 6th. He is coming off a successful defense against his WBO mandatory Alex Leapai who was well tenderized before being knocked out in the 6th round, but there’s much more at stake than just this upcoming title defense.

The Combatants

The Combatants

Klitschko is currently 23-2, 17 KOs in title fights coming into his his 26th title fight. Only the immortal Joe Louis was in more heavyweight title fights, sporting a 26-1 record with the 26 all consecutive wins, one record heavyweights will likely never break. A win against Pulev puts Wladimir within two title fights of tying Joe’s 26 title wins record and breaking his 27 total title fights record.

Records are fascinating reflections of the eras in which they occur and most will eventually be broken as the rules and culture changes, but boxing has a history of pulling the plug on modern fighters approaching Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 heavyweight record. The Joe Louis records may be even more revered as we may discover once Wlad tries to cross that threshold. This is the first recorded instance of a modern heavyweight champion also simultaneously approaching the Joe Louis final record of 66-3, 52 KO, dead square within his sights with Wlad currently at 62-3, 52 KO and still on top of his game. There will be much moaning and wringing of limp hands about this heavy division being soft by the grandsons of the same moaning critics of previous eras who were never satisfied with the greats who do pass through their eras, always preferring the good old days of their misguided besotted youth when the biggest impressions are made on the soft clay of their memory.

The perfect modern era example of that misanthropic thinking is the stellar record of two division champ Dariusz Michalczweski who was the long time “lineal” lightheavyweight champ according to the varied arcane claims kept by persnickety purist “boxing experts” as he waged one of the best title runs in history. He approached the Rocky Marciano career mark of 49-0 as he also made a bid to tie the Joe Louis record of 26 consecutive title wins. During his span of 9 years the aptly monikered “Tiger” defended his WBO lightheavy title while adding the WBO cruiserweight title that he never defended and the IBF, WBA, and “lineal” titles when he beat HOFer Virgil Hill.

The Fates could not have arranged for a more eventful challenge to boxing history, but being such fastidiously fickle sisters, they upped their ante on this poor Polish boy by booting him into Germany where he became a huge star with the expected accumulating hubris as he played out his preordained destiny before adoring fans.

They also made sure that Michalczweski was to be infamously and quite immediately stripped of his hard won WBA and IBF baubles that Roy Jones Jr then moved up to claim to much more acclaim that in turn secured his own lock as a first ballot International Boxing Hall of Famer that Dariusz currently remains locked out of. Roy fought many of the same fighters Dariusz fought, often after Dariusz had already taken care of business in advance. As Dariusz approached those legendary boxing milestones, he and his team obviously developed a sense of history and wanted affirmation from American media that historically define prevailing boxing media content. They flew to America for an HBO televised Jones title match where he publicly lobbies for a Jones unification fight to no avail. Jones and his HBO paymasters blithely snubbed what would have been the biggest money purse in Roy’s career. You could ask them why, but I doubt there will be any truth forthcoming. You see, all that big money was only if the fight were held in Germany with a German broadcaster that HBO either could not or would not match in a home setting for Roy. Nor would Roy travel abroad for a big fight much like the the current crop of acclaimed undefeated American P4Pers whose names are already forgotten in the span of time.

Instead Roy settled for the much touted Don King canned WBA heavyweight challenge against John Ruiz with King contractually keeping that title “in house” for well over a decade before his own inevitable decline finally saw him lose his grip. So King held the WBA heavy option on Roy for one year to no avail when Roy simply refused to defend, instead holding a King’s Court as suitors supplicated themselves before him with a dozen heavyweight and cruiserweight big fight offers before vacating the heavyweight title which, cough, cough, immediately reverted back to the justly maligned John Ruiz.  Roy did finally return and beat Antonio Tarver to an unexpected savaging by critics who finally saw their estimation of his otherworldly talents and career dashed on the rocks of their own misguided expectations of Roy cleaning out the heavyweight division.

‘T’ain’t ever easy being the best ever in the best of times when the times savagely turn on you.

The discouraged Dariusz instead held his historic bout against the light swatting Julio Gonzalez whom Roy had previously beaten in 12 lackluster rounds. Gonzalez was the best Dariusz could find under the circumstances, yet a poor substitute that showed in his own lackluster performance where he looked to be sleep walking underwater for the first half of the fight as the gentle pitty-pattering rain of Gonzalez racked up the points. Then the switch gets turns on as Dariusz finds his timing and desire to chase and pound on Gonzalez down the stretch. I thought Dariusz showed the heart of a champ under adverse conditions to win those rounds, but instead the judges denied him that fight and his place in history with a razor thin split decision loss.

Dariusz record here: Dariusz Michalczewski

The modestly equipped Gonzalez could do nothing with the belt but to promptly drop it to talented undefeated Hungarian Zsolt Erdei who had his own problems making big fights with Americans. So the great Roy Jones thus became something of arcane anomaly after all his storied dozens of title fights in never having once held the “Lineal” belt holder in any of the four divisions he held the belt.

So the extensive history of the above/\ is the backdrop setting in this upcoming international fistic play as we get back to the robust upcoming challenge ahead to Wlad’s own considerable legacy.

The 33 year old Bulgarian Pulev is a rugged 6-5, 250 lbs who doesn’t give away any size or strength worth noting. He has recently beat 3 “giant” heavyweights in a row, knocking out top 20 contenders Alexander Dimitrenko and Alexander Ustinov and then beating top 10 Tony Thompson by decision. Though his record pales compared to Wlad, only 20-0, 11 KO, he seems like the type of fighter who fights up or down to the importance of the fight and this his biggest fight ever.

The Klitschko brothers’ K2 Promotions won the IBF mandatory purse bid over Pulev promoter Saureland promotions which was the only way this fight could have been made since both are big German promotional rivals who seldom work with each other unless circumstances force them.

Sound familiar?

Pulev has managed to go a bit further in the prefight than previous Wlad opponents, claiming he, Pulev, is drug tested 6x per year and demanding Wlad take his same tests. Wlad only undergoes post fight drug testing under the auspices of the German Boxing Federation, approximately 2-3x per year dependent on his fight schedule, so no Olympic drug testing controversy this one. The recent Felix Sturm/Sam Soliman bombardment of vicious charges and counter charges over the legality of a nominal compound used in vitamins and supplements highlights the shameless incompetence of cartels and commissions who crudely rule over this untidy sport. If the illicit cartels and commishes ever establish themselves to be as well tested and competently trained as the fighters that they attempt to pass judgement on, then some day the public might take these clowns seriously. Yeah, fat chance that, but such is the way life is everywhere, so we the people of the world adjust to modern prefight and prework drug testing posturing the best we can.

The Cannon Iced!

The Cannon Iced!

And speaking of going further than normal in prefight posturing, a special mention must be made for the grotesquely abnormal pre-prefight posturing of Shannon Briggs in a frothing, rabid state of hysteria during the weeks to the lead up to this fight. He had been stalking Klitschko in his Florida training regimen with what looked like staged video setups, the first of which showed him taking off a shoe to throw at Wlad who was having his hands taped. OK, just some harmless goofy stuff that gets the usual suspects all riled up, but five weeks away from the Pulev fight Briggs stormed a restaurant Klitscko was dining at, screaming hysterically before grabbing his plate to wolf down Wlad’s meal. Wlad blithely joked around before pouring ice water over his bald noggin which flashed Briggs to sweep the table clear in a shattering violent explosion before a bodyguard wrapped him up to cart off outside where Briggs fled to the local hospital with cut hands and feet. Wlad may have cut or broken his right hand as well as he was looking at the palm and shaking something off.

So, Wlad has to effectively negotiate through Shannon “The Loose Cannon” Briggs first who may well be stalking him in his return to Germany as he has done in the past before Wlad can fight Pulev. We shall see soon enough if these were publicity set ups if and when Wlad schedules the desperate Briggs for his next fight. Video here:

At the very least the best heavyweight champion of this era will meet yet another of his main rivals, something that seldom happens in the US at the lesser weights they represent these days.

It should be noted that Wladimir’s brother Vitali was recently elected mayor of Kiev in Ukraine which is currently engaged in a tragically escalating border war against Russia. Hard to say how those political and war distractions add up, but Wlad should be the betting favorite by a good margin over Pulev who looks like he’s durable enough to be dangerous over all 12 rounds.

The usual anti social media monkeys male bonded in a fury of vitriol over Klitschko’s excessive holding against Russian Alexander Povetkin last year and then piled on over the quality of Alex Leapai as a fighter. Wlad looked like a proctologist grown weary of his profession as he gazed down upon Povetkin in a reflective pause before donning the rubber gloves for the perfunctory examination, but look a little closer and you can almost see a return to the original London Prize Ring Rules with 3 hard knockdowns and otherwise manhandling the surprisingly game Povetkin to toss him about the ring old school style into the ropes and onto the canvas like a rag doll. This Pulev fellow looks too strong and densely built for that, but at the end of the day, Wlad has been executing his various mandatory defenses by the textbook, meaning Pulev is likely well pulped by the end of their session however the means.

Is Pulev made of greater stuff than just another lumped up, lopsided heavybag twisting on the chains for Wladimir? Been much bigger upsets than this one which could be interesting on many fronts. Just you watch and wait and see history in the making…

The Essentials

The Essentials