Tag Archives: wbo

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.

Tyson Fury Back & Madder Than Ever

And who wouldn’t be mad after panto rival David Haye‘s brave busted up pinky toe yanked the rug out of Fury’s £5 million purse not just once but twice last year? Twitter took a prolonged beating from Fury who graphically vented his rage, but now he’s featured with Dereck Chisora in a Frank Warren co-promotion against journeyman Joey Abell at The Copper Box Arena in London come Saturday, February 15.

The  deal is a 3 fight affair designed to promote the 3rd and final fight against Chisora in a supposed WBO eliminator. That would be a rematch of Fury’s previous tattoo job he did on Chisora a few years back, but to hear him modestly describe the promotion, mainly it’s about being back to fighting, earning some money, and aiming towards a title fight, probably against Wlad Klitschko.

Here he is early in his last fight last year against USS Steve Cunningham. No boxing match that streetside donnybrook, he got stretched by a shot going off like a thunderclap and was quite fortunate to survive such brute force to quickly turn the fight his way. Hard to know where his mercurial undefeated career will end up, but for sure we can hear him before we see his 6-9 presence, and for sure he loves the sound and the fury of the stage and fights as hard as anyone in boxing, so tune in to see how he sorts it all out.

Ma, look at me now!

Ma, look at me now!

Low Key Defense–Wladimir Klitschko vs Francesco Pianeta

Wladimir Klitschko defends his myriad collection of championship titles against Francesco Pianeta Saturday, May 4th at SAP-Arena, Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

On paper, it would seem Wlad is taking a breather against Pianeta, but any fighter measuring in at 6-5, 240lbs is hardly the kind of breather most folks would wish to have any part of. Pianeta has been near cracking the boxrec top ten rankings, and he’s a prime 29 yrs of age, and an undefeated southpaw, 28-0-1, 15 KOs. He has typical “names” on his record to lend respectability, decisions over former WBC champ Oliver McCall and former WBO champ Frans Botha, and a decision and a draw over former EBU/EU champs Matt Skelton and Albert Sosnowski.

Pianeta also has some history with Wlad as a sparring partner as typifies many title fights today, and then there’s the understated backdrop of his comeback from a very unusual cancer of the hand. He’s also a native born Italian living and fighting in Germany as befits any fighter serious about pursuing a heavyweight career, so he’s not quite your Daddy’s usual heavyweight contender.

The Gentlemen

The Gentlemen

Speaking of history, Wlad has some real history to contemplate as he closes in on the Joe Louis record of 26 title wins and final record of 66-3. Wlad is currently at 20 title wins with a record of 59-3 after having already surpassed Louis’ knockouts by a 51 to 49 margin. Comparisons to the great Joe Louis stick in the craw of primarily American fans for whom the Russian Robots represent everything wrong with boxing, ignoring that the Klitschko brothers are genuinely Ukrainian, not Russian, and the only thing being wrong with boxing is that fat, spoilt Americans keep on falling behind the rest of the world. It is what it is, an American gag reflex to the current reality.

Facts are there are almost no truly dangerous contenders left for Wlad, so this defense suffices until up and coming contenders Tyson Fury and Kubrat Pulev gain a bit more experience. The WBA shadow champ Alexander Povetkin and his promoter have may have finally mustered up some courage after falling out of previous contracted fights when the Povetkin manager, Vlad Hryunov, put in an outrageous Russian backed $23 million purse bid to win the rights to promote their fight. October 31st is the projected date with the venue not yet chosen, but Russia probably with Moscow as the frontrunner. Wlad receives 75% and Povetkin takes 25% of the proceedings is how purse bids go.

Getting back to the Pianeta defense, many of the usual complainants to claim Pianeta is unworthy and has no chance, but at Wlad’s 37 year maturity with over 20 years of amateur and professional rounds accumulated in sparring and in bouts, lightning could strike to upset the best laid plans of mice and men, even the Wlad juggernaut. Pianeta is certainly big enough, strong enough, skilled enough and credentialed enough to beat up many contenders throughout the heavyweight history as well as versions of previous great champions upset by a huge underdog.

Wouldn’t be the first time, nor the last, so look in to see a bit of history in the making. Wlad seems to have signed a deal with HBO to broadcast the fight to American shores in the late afternoon hours as the battle takes place according to German evening hours, so plenty of Americans to have access this latest waltz round the German ballroom.

Slugger Paridiso–Brandon Rios vs Mike Alvarado II

Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado reprise their blunt force fan thriller to go mano a mano again Saturday, March 30th at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas. The undercard has the potential for even more fireworks when unrepentant sluggers Breidis Prescott and Khabib Allakhverdiev go toe to toe, tooth and nail in the same division. Could be the winners fight each other in the next promotion with the losers fighting each other in support.

Unfortunately the card suffered a premature knockout when Allakhverdiev pulled out with a damaged shoulder. An unsung American fighter Terence Crawford is making a big step up the division as the replacement. He has a 22nd lightweight rank in Boxrec with an undefeated 19-0, 15 KO. Go figure Boxrec if you can, 18 of his fights have been above the lightweight limit, but guaranteed Prescott and Crawford will be near the 140lb limit at the weighin.

Tête à Tête

Tête à Tête

Rios has become something of a star for Top Rank. They have floated his name in potential bouts against Timothy Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez, and supermegafighter, Manny Pacquiao. He won the last dukem up with Alvarado by way of spectacular knockout, but not before using his face to block a furious blizzard of shots from the smart boxing Alvarado who must have thought he was beating on a block of granite by fights end. That was for the WBO Latino title, this time around they’ll fight for the WBO interim title.

If Rios is to enter into the mega fight promotions, he absolutely has to win again and should be a substantial favorite to do so. The sticking point for him is how much more face first punishment can he absorb in a career before the wheels come off his express? To a lesser extent, the same applies to Alvarado who took similar punishment against Breidis Prescott before knocking him out in another spectacular fight.

Speaking of, Breidis Prescott briefly became an up and coming star of boxing after back to back wins, a gritty split decision win against current WBA lightweight champ Richar Abril, then a spectacular first round knockout of British darling, Amir Khan. The Prescott name was plastered across front pages of British tabloids for whom Khan had been tapped as the King in waiting. Unfortunately boxing is vicious at the business end and Prescott was never properly developed as mismanagement butchered his momentum and title aspirations. Newly signed under the Top Rank banner, he was finally challenging for the WBA light welterweight title against  Khabib Allakhverdiev, but no more since that fight was nixed.

Now Prescott is fighting to stay busy for his next shot at glory, but you can bet that Terence Crawford would like to take that shot instead. That’s what they all fight for, future opportunity, and perhaps a minor belt on the line by the time of the fight.

The 140 division currently has the lean and hungry look of the most dangerously stacked division in boxing, thank goodness for that.

*** Noted development in advance of fight: Brandon Rios and trainer Robert Garcia have revealed they are using BALCO derived elixirs of disgraced Angel Heredia/aka Hernandez to assist the Rios physical development.

Alvarado for his part doesn’t seem to care, but the news highlights further inroads the infamous BALCO tag team of Victor Conte and Angel Hereria have made into elite boxing circles.