Tag Archives: wbo

Mighty Joe Parker vs Hugie Fury

This Saturday, September 23rd, Mighty Joe Parker defends his WBO heavyweight title against Irish Traveler Usurpist Hughie Fury, he of the notorious heavyweight champion Tyson Fury traveler stock @ Manchester Arena (formerly M.E.N Arena), Manchester, England.

This donnybrook of undefeateds has the prevailing look of the  “weird beards” of modern boxers, so of course the notoriously unreliable BBB of C enlisted the notoriously unreliable referee Terry O’Connor for 3rd man duties in the ring. Also, by modern heavyweight standards these are veritable kids, only 25 and 23 years old respectively, and Hughie ain’t even ranked by Ring or Boxrec, the two most dominant rankings. By WBO in house rankings which are bought by the fighters, young Hughie bargained his way into a mandatory ranking, so here we are with this the rescheduled version of the fight after Hughie literally left Parker in a lurch by pulling out two days before their last fight, citing a “back” injury.

By size these two are near equal, and by styles Parker has resisted the brutish Samoan stereotyping to become a very underrated boxer with some pop. Hughie is also a boxer type without any apparent pop, so this is not likely to be an action fight, but rather tit for tat moving smoothly about the ring. Parker has been in with vastly better competition though and should pull this off rather easily, but he’d better bring his knockout punch because the decision rendering business in boxing these days is more akin to crap shoot than a studied analysis, and the ref  certainly won’t be doing him any favors.

Nor will Big Tyson, the King of Verbose Gaseous Vapors missives will be suffocating Parker all night. It should be further noted that both the Furys may or may not have been involved in a minor Performance Enhancing Drugs mishap that the BBB of C seems to have had a hand in, but in that the alleged parties have largely remained mum on the issue, and thus ignored, the issue steadily receded to be now rattling around the dustbins of dubious history. But, wait, wait, the BBB of C cut a new stacked deck with the reassignment of O’Conner to judge duties with a new British ref, Marcus McDonnell.

Well, folks, it’s a new millennia, a new era of English heavyweight boxing, and such monkey shines are the current state of English boxing, indeed, boxing is just about every jurisdiction sad to say, but lookie-lookie, both the fighters properly shaved their beards!

 

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Manny Pacquiao Hones In On Aussie Jeff Horn

Manny Pacquiao, 59-6-2, 38 KO defends his WBO welter title down under in the topsyturvy world of Australia this Sunday, July 2nd against Jeff Horn, 16-0-1, 11 KO @ Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Queensland. That would be late AM hours in Oz as opposed to 11 PM US east coast time working through the time zones to the US west coast 8 PM time. Yes, such time zone warps are the bane broadcast programmers, but such is the modern age we live in.

As we can see, Horn looks to have not only advantage of youth, but that of size, well, except for the massive fist Pac sports. Pacquiao also has a massive number of rounds in the bank, 443 compared to Horn’s 94 professional rounds, but as we all know how ye olde boxing saw goes, Manny could also turn old overnight with all that wear and tear.

The usual hue and cry of derision echoes around the boxing world when when Manny or any acclaimed fighter doesn’t fight the fighters certain fans demand no matter the improbability of the impossible details unknown to them. And let’s face facts, Horn is scarcely known outside of Australia, but make no mistake, this a fighter behind that school marm background. In the last three years, the collective record of those 10 opponents has been 240-29-7 that averages to a 24-3-1 record when they fought him. And of those ten fights, Horn notched 6 KOs, so clearly he’s not one to pussy foot around the business end of boxing. He’s 29 years old, the traditional peak of athletic prime years, and is solidly experienced even if lacking championship experience. Though unranked by Ring, his Boxrec ranking is impressively #12, and Boxrec rankings are comprehensively inclusive of ALL of boxing and less biased because they are coldly formulaic without blind passions that “boxing experts” bring to rankings.

Trainer, Glenn Rushton, taught Horn in a sort of philosophy of fighting, an unpredictable boxing style he calls “broken rhythm pressure fighting.” Don’t know if such is an original idea or an old one put into modern terms for modern fighters, but I could see evidence of a very unique style Horn used to systematically take apart the still powerfully formidable and experienced Randall Bailey, a 3x champ, end result being he retired on his stool after the 7th round. Bailey had been down over half dozen times, a couple of KDs mixed in with obviously weakened legs leaving him off balance and skating around disastrously on thin ice.

Some good background info where Horn admits to being more nerd than natural fighter, so had to be molded much like Gene Tunney. Manny on the other hand, though of course taught at a high level, was a natural born fighter much like Jack Dempsey or Roberto Duran.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-39866485

That said, most think Manny dispatches Horn easily, perhaps notching a KO denied him in a couple of previous fights because of illicit maneuvers by dubious referees. Let’s face it, more and more refs are giving extended long counts as much as 20 or more seconds, plenty of time for fit fighters to recover, so let’s expand on that fitness theme. Manny signs his opponents about 4 months in advance that gives them extra time to train with an extended training camp needed to have any chance against Manny and do proper promotional preparations. Compare to the typical Al Haymon fighter like TUE 49-0 or Deontay Wilder who play TBA fighters off each other until the last minute before signing them for peanuts with insufficient time to train for a big fight. Although the rules of boxing were originally designed to provide fair officiating of fights, backroom skulduggery as often as not still has a place at the table of these shady fighter teams.

Horn is a ring centered fighter using angles and nifty footwork for his offense and defense, not the modern contemptible run and duck and stink style that has regrettably led to the sinking of American boxing. So all in all this promises plenty of fan friendly action, and more importantly, since it will be on a late Sunday morning in Australia, it’s gonna be on ESPN, not HBO PPV. 60,000 crazed Aussies are expected to pack Suncorp Stadium for the fight!

Manny’s Uncle Bob says he’s staging a world tour for Manny, ostensibly to  expand his worldwide profile even more than it already registers off the charts in advance of his anticipated Filipino presidential run in the coming years. As such, this may well be the last year for the 38 year old Manny who had a perfect attendance record in the Philippine senate before his last fight.

So why not have the fighting senator go up against the fighting teacher on the world stage? Both could bring home some honor to those professions currently under fire for long standing, seemingly intractable problems born largely of the the political system they operate in.

Former sparmate Jack Asis Presents Manny With Toowoomba Aboriginal Art Glove Charting His Life Journey.

Former Filipino sparmate Jack Asis Presents Manny With Toowoomba Aboriginal Art Glove Charting Manny’s Life Journey.

Old Lion Manny Pacquiao vs Young Lion Jessie Vargas

Jessie Vargas is the WBO welterweight champ holding Manny Pacquiao‘s old title he won from Timothy Bradley Jr back in April before retiring. Now Manny wants to reclaim it come Saturday, November 5th @ the Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada.

The collective howls of derision from the antisocial media monkeys who were desperate for Junior Welt champ Terence Crawford to get the call promptly soiled any reasonable public expectations for this fight, but just looking at both the excellent title credentials of Vargas coupled with his natural attributes that include significant height, reach, youth, and presumably strength, this looks like a really good action fight. Manny turns 38 next month with 431 rounds waged professionally and Vargas is in a traditional range of athletic prime at age 27 with 189 professional rounds logged, so this the classic battle of the Old Lion against the Young Lion.

Manny’s PPV numbers for Bradley III were about the same as the Floyd TUE Mayweather PPV against the hapless Andre Berto, in other words the expected blow back of fans against both for their sham “Fight of the Century.” So is the public ready to embrace their former favorite again?

Old Lions vs Young Lions

Old Lions vs Young Lions

Boxing is in a major rebuild thanks to that pathetic grubbing of greed and corruption, so nobody should ever expect big PPV numbers again until some legit new crossover stars are born. The much ballyhooed Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward PPV that follows this probably won’t clear more than 300-400K if even that because Kovalev is Russian and Ward a P4P STINKER who has made himself irrelevant these past few years. And speaking of pathetic, Vargas should be undefeated after knocking out Bradley only to have the silly putty ref change his mind AFTER he stepped in to save Bradley. How could such blatant idiocy ever be more convenient than that? Amazingly Vargas seems not to have let it get to him, instead turning around disappointment for a very excellent upswing after that robbery, a vicious KO of the undefeated Sadam Ali that earned him this fight. That said, if Manny gets in a half decent camp, he should handle Vargas in a great fight for fans, but it’s hardly the given win his critics complain about. See the Bradley/Ali KOs for proof. Young Vargas has the lean and hungry look of being reborn with cracking power and confidence.

Crawford has a chance to grow a few more fans, humility, and the understanding he won’t dictate the weights and finances like he attempted. Manny’s still the boss and most obviously as a welt if he wins back the WBO title. I didn’t see the alleged Crawford shutout of Postol, but I did see a very crafty Crawford using his speed and power to get the two knockdowns that insured in an otherwise well contested fight he would get the win. That was some smart boxing from the kid instead of trying to match brute strength against a bigger, stronger guy. Now he needs to better calculate his appeal after drawing 60K PPVs for that fight. At any rate, Manny is still the fastest in the division with power enough and more experience at top levels than any fighter going today. He too seems to be reborn after his shoulder surgery, so if the Vargas fight reestablishes his star power, he won’t go away quietly if he can come back once every year like clockwork. His greedy Uncle Bob is already talking about the Crawford fight next April, way too much return action for what is now a full time Senator.

And speaking of politics with this being a particularly low brow, low blow waged American presidential election year, the Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte is as harshly hard line conservative and vulgar as they come. He slandered US President Obama as the son of a whore and demanded US troops stationed there exit the Philippines post haste. America is not his friend, instead looking to Asia and especially China for economic and military allegiances. The last time Manny got caught up in presidential politics during an election year was 2012 when he was baited by the press into offering his negative views of gay marriage in the liberal state of Nevada. That faux pas cost him one of boxing’s worst decision losses ever against Tim Bradley that reduced his earnings by multimillions of dollars. So here we go again with Manny perfectly framed for an identical political crunching moment in time, literally a deer in the Vegas headlights against a really rough, tough, game Mexican for boxing promotional purposes, but who is as native born and endemically American as breakfast tacos have become.

It’s an embarrassment to have to broach the historic reach of boxing corruption in the land of the free and home of the brave where all are guaranteed Constitutional rights in theory, but not boxing decisions. A few days later the big Presidential election occurs, and a few days after that comes the “hated” Russian destroyer Sergey Kovalev  fighting the last American Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward in another title fight in Las Vegas. We will see with these two boxing events just how fair America is for honorable visiting foreign nationals these days.

The Odd Couple

The Odd Couple

An interesting development in this fight is the PPV structure will be in house on Top Rank’s own website where they have broadcast fights in the past. The results of this experiment should be interesting, but one problem I picked up early is that the promotion seemed a little weak, and on their website I saw no place to purchase the PPV stream just 2 weeks away from fight time, but we could purchase tickets to the fight, c’mon now Bob. I had to research to google to a completely different website, http://www.toprank.tv/index.jsp where the fight costs $59.99, and which is backlinked to the main Top Rank website. Why their main site has no forwarding link that I see can only be answered by their website designers, but dumb is still dumb by any other name. When I checked back days before the fight, Hallelujah, the forwarding link is there. Better late than never.

The backdrop of this in house PPV was that HBO had already committed to Kovalev vs Ward the very next week and didn’t have the funds left in their reduced boxing budget to finance this, and also didn’t want to have two PPVs on the same month for business reasons known only to them. Top Rank is desperate to develop alternatives after taking a financial bath on both the Manny/Bradley fight and the Crawford/Postal one as well, but criminy, next time put the freaking livestream link on their main site well in advance with the ticket sales for folks to buy the stream at their convenience…duh!

Of course after doing decuple duty, that’s 10x duty as Senator, husband, father,fighter, movie star, basketball player and coach, singer, lover, and the softest touch for money for the needy, Manny could get proverbially old overnight, but I say let him do it his way. He looked dominant in his last P4P battle against Bradley and has earned his chops at least as hard as any fighter in history and harder than most all. Jessie not only earned his opportunity, but is also the hungriest for it in the welterweight division. That counts for a whole lot more than just picking up a payday like many fighters do in big fights these days.

Here they were out of training 2 months away already looking in shape and fight ready. This is gonna be great, guaranteed.

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.

Vasyl Lomachenko vs Roman “Rocky” Martinez

This Saturday, June 11th, All World Olympic boxing legend Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko, 5-1, 3 KO, moves up a division to challenge Roman “Rocky” Martinez, 29-2-3, 17 KO for his WBO superfeatherweight belt at Madison Square Garden.

Rocky Martinez vs Vasyl Lomachenko

Rocky Martinez vs Vasyl Lomachenko

On paper this sounds like an excellent fight since both are highly ranked in their divisions and tend to be in exciting, action type contests that please fans. Lomachenko, the boxer in this battle, is going to be the favorite due to his prodigious talents with the heavy slugging Martinez perhaps being a little shopworn after a few wars, now age 33. Lomachenko, 28 years old, is usually regarded as the most decorated amateur in history, having captured a King’s ransom of gold medals, and more importantly, at the start of his professional prime. If he wins, it means he will be the fastest, least experienced fighter to win a title in his 2nd division. Yeah, I know, it’s a pretty silly stat these days because of all the belts and divisions available, but Lomachenko has proven to be quite impressive, belt or no belt, and he can only fight who they put in front of him, outstanding competition thus far.

Problem for Lomachenko being that this will also be the same day as Puerto Rico Day in New York City, so with Martinez being Puerto Rican, he and his fans will be extra pumped for this, making him more a dangerous fighter. He certainly has the pro experience advantage and has been operating at his own very high level.

This should be one of the better competitive matches that can be made this year, the only tragedy being that so many more competitive matches could have be made over the years, yet are not because of current boxing operations and politics which has been poisoning the sport. Well, we beggers can’t be choosy, so any fans of the sweet and not so sweet science should tune in for this rock’em, sock’em fight fest.

 

 

Marco Huck vs Krzyzstof Glowacki

Long time German boxing icon Marco Huck, 38-2-1, 26 KO, defends his WBO Cruiserweight title against Krzyzstof Glowacki of Poland, 24-0, 15 KO, Saturday, August 14th. It’s the first time the two have ever fought in America but they should have plenty of their native emigres in attendance when they square up at the Prudential Center Newark, New Jersey.

Huck made the change to self-promotion after his contract with Sauerland finally expired. Hard to know if he will fight here long when so many worlds of opportunities still exist for him in Germany and even Russia, but it’s here in America for now with his new trainer Don House. Glowacki looks to be a solid physical challenge, yet without the experience of Huck who could set a new world record for cruiserweight title defenses if he wins. He may be looking past Glowacki though as he’s talking about defending against Roy Jones Jr next, but then again, that might just be some marketing nonsense to get Huck’s name out in America for recognition.

I’m expecting Huck makes this action fight with Glowacki Polish fans dominating the cheers and screams. We’ll be seeing how that works for him as he’ll have to greatly exceed his best performance to beat Huck who may no longer be the best cruiser, but is still tough, can punch, and a lot craftier about how to get the job done.

Coming to America

Coming to America

 

Justice Served: Raymondo Beltran vs Terrence Crawford.

Terence Crawford of course is the latest meteor streaking across the boxing landscape with his recent ascension to champ after stunning victories over Ricky Burns and then Yorkis Gamboa. Crawford now makes his second title defense at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha against mandatory challenger Raymundo Beltran on Nov. 29 (HBO).

All Smiles

All Smiles

The unsung Beltran who oddly enough is ranked #2 in Boxrec rankings to Crawford’s #1 was last year a victim of the grievous injustices practiced by boxing when he broke the jaw and otherwise beat up hometown favorite Ricky Burn only to lose the decision. Boxing has much in common with ice skating and gymnastics histrionics in that regard save being so much worse, but I digress.

This is a rare opportunity that sees Crawford and Top Rank salve that injustice by giving Beltran a crack at the belt he should have won and been defending for this fight. Unfortunately Beltran lacks the elite talent and natural attributes that Crawford has been demonstrating, but he looks game enough to take it hard to Crawford and to risk going out on his shield which is what will give him his chance, a puncher’s chance that he can turn the fight around with a big set of punches. Not too many title offers are gonna come the way of a 29-6 journeyman, but surely in the back of his mind he understands there have been much bigger upsets than this if he pull it off, so there is always his hope that he will be at his peak at just the right moment.

The problem for Beltran is that Crawford is just as hungry, perhaps more so now that he might be inline for some really big fights. He has the frame to eventually go up to welter if the money is there, but for now he’s needing to make his chops in the lightweight division. Thank goodness he has a Raymundo Beltran to put a hard test to him and put him through his paces as too many top fighters in boxing are taking easier paths of development that leaves them soft and vulnerable when push comes to shove. His cause is helped with this defense being in Crawford’s hometown that looks to grow his home fanbase before turning to bigger fights at bigger venues for more money.

Win, lose, or draw, this donnybrook has a Win-Win-Win feel to it for all the parties involved, so good luck gentlemen and may the best man on the night take home the belt as it was meant to be when Jack Broughton first drew up codified rules some 4 centuries ago that form the historical root of modern boxing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Finally~Manny Pacquiao vs Timothy Bradley~The Rematch

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

Grrls In Support

Grrls In Support

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

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

Golly gee, and who to thank now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crazed Filipino Media In Manny Heaven

Crazed Filipino Media In Manny Heaven

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

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

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

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