Monday, January 8, 2018

The Mystery Of Keith Thurman

This may be worth looking into


First things first - I'm a Keith Thurman fan, and have been for years. The man is skilled, disciplined, and accomplished. He's also an interesting character who makes for good viewing. What's more, I think the Florida native might have the potential to be a crossover star. There's certainly no one out there like him. Something odd has been going lately on with the fighter known as "One Time," however. He seems, well...disinterested in fighting the big names.

Let's face it, the guy didn't look too eager beaver to throw down with Errol Spence when they sat down in front of television cameras a few months ago. And now he appears less than eager to throw down with Terence Crawford anytime soon. It's all quite strange for a man like Thurman, who I doubt is afraid and who I believe would stand a good chance against either of those two fighters.

Perhaps the guy just feels like he's attained the pinnacle of success now that he more or less sits atop the welterweight division. I suppose that's understandable, as he may see himself as sitting on the throne that Mayweather and Pacquiao once occupied. Thurman doesn't have Mayweather or Pacquiao's resume, however. Truth be told, I thought he lost to Shawn Porter a while back.

He's one of the more effective and colorful fighters in the sport, but if he doesn't step up, Thurman will begin to fade into the background. Perhaps he wants it that way...but it's doubtful boxing fans do. At least not yet.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

How Big A Threat Is Lamont Peterson To Errol Spence?



In less than two weeks, rising star Errol Spence will take on Lamont Peterson for Spence's IBF welterweight crown in Brooklyn. The fight will essentially ring in the year 2018 for the sport of boxing and features two highly skilled individuals plying their craft. Spence, however, is the rising star, while Peterson is the vet who fights infrequently and has never attained the glory he may have hoped to - at least not yet. What kind of threat, then, is Lamont Peterson to Errol Spence?

A fairly significant one, if you ask me. While I certainly favor Spence in the fight, I've always liked Peterson, a man who knows how to play chess in the ring. I felt, for instance, that Peterson won his battle with Danny Garcia back in 2015 and that he didn't get the decision simply because Garcia was on a run as one of boxing's favored children at the time.

Still, this is Errol Spence we're talking about here, a man who might well be one of the more unique talents in boxing today. He's young, he's hungry and he's very serious about his craft. All those things will give the Texas native the edge coming into this battle. I won't be thoroughly stunned, however, if the crafty Peterson rises to the occasion and pulls off the upset...and, frankly, neither should  anyone else be.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Tyson Fury Sounds Serious. Is He?



In case you haven't been following along, Tyson Fury has been trashing Anthony Joshua lately on Twitter. According to Fury, he made far easier work of Wladimir Klitschko than Joshua did. What's more, Fury claims he can meet and beat Joshua right away, in the summer 2018 - even after a two year layoff from the ring. While there's little doubt that Fury is an extremely confident and, yeah, charming guy, one has to take what the man says and tweets with a grain of salt.

Why? Because we've heard this song before. Fury, for whatever reason, is more of a wild card than Freddie Roach's Hollywood gym. He seems serious now, but would Fury really be able to step inside the ring with Joshua within the next several months with any realistic chance of winning? I'd say he actually would be able to - if he could stick to living the life of a pro fighter. I'm not sure Fury is willing and/or able to live that life right now, though. Truth be told, he hasn't given fans any reason to be confident.

What this particular fan would like to see is a clean, sober, lean and serious Fury. Trash talking is part of the man's game - as well as part of the fight game, so that won't ever change. If Fury could show a consistent seriousness, however, his tweets might seem less like more of the same, and more like something to be taken seriously.

Friday, January 5, 2018

New Year's Blues - How To Deal With Boxing's Off Season



Let's not kid ourselves, the first part of the new year can be tough on boxing fans. After wrapping up the previous year with some good fights in the weeks leading up to Christmas, the sport essentially takes on a one month hiatus in which not much happens. Boxing in the early and mid days of January is pretty much dormant, which, let's face it, can be depressing. Fear not, though - for there's some things you can do to fill the time between now and the Mikey Garcia - Sergey Lipinets fight on the 20th.

Let's just be grateful for a little thing called YouTube. For it not only offers idiotic clips of people doing idiotic things, it offers a ton of good boxing. Any fights you may have missed this past year? Look 'em up on YouTube. There's a good chance you'll find them. Perhaps you'll even find them being broadcast in a language that's completely foreign to you, which can be interesting. It doesn't end there, though, because YouTube offers a plethora of old fights.

Sure enough, one of the biggest problems with current boxing fans is they know nothing of the sport's history. I frankly have no problem with people calling Floyd Mayweather the greatest of all time, but they should at least look to see what the historic competition is.Besides, watching fights on YouTube can be addicting. Lately I've been gorging on Michael Spinks' light heavyweight run. If you only think of Spinks as a deer in the headlights victim of Mike Tyson, you should really check out some of his fights from the late 70s through the early 80s. My guess is your opinion will change - quickly.

So go out there and become the boxing expert you always wish you were. It will help you appreciate the sport even more when it picks up again in a few short weeks.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Does Adonis Stevenson - Badou Jack Pass The Smell Test?



I've been accused of being harsh on Adonis Stevenson. I don't want to come across that way, however - and I certainly don't want to actually be that way. Unlike Stevenson, I don't risk my ass in the ring in order to feed a family. Props to any man or woman who does such a thing. Yet, let's face it, Adonis Stevenson doesn't willingly challenge himself by facing truly menacing opposition. He gets paid to beat guys he's pretty much supposed to. Now, in fairness, it's not like some, or any, of these guys don't belong in the ring with him. We're not talking truly offensive Danny Garcia - Rod Salka level opposition here. But c'mon, what big name has Stevenson faced since winning his light heavyweight crown?

And when exactly is Stevenson going to face his mandatory? He's been paying off Eleider Alvarez  like Alvarez is a Baraby Pirate. Sure, Badou Jack, who looks like he may be Stevenson's next opponent, represents a quality payday, but Kovalev, Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal represented good paydays, as well. Forgive me if I think something might, just might, be amiss. Jack is unquestionably seen as hard core competition, and hard core competition hasn't exactly been Stevenson's M.O.

Simply put,  I'm saying  there's a fine line between being a realist and being cynical and I think it's perfectly reasonable to curl one's brow at Stevenson's supposed choice of opponents here.Why, exactly, is Stevenson willing to face Jack? Is he really willing to face him? Is this all smoke and mirrors? Perhaps Stevenson realizes that he HAS to fight bigger names now for the money he wants and Jack is the best possible option. Or perhaps Stevenson "sees something," Max Schmeling style, about Jack that makes him believe he'd be easier to beat than other notable opponents. Perhaps it's a combination of all those things.

Or perhaps Stevenson really wants to get it on with a formidable foe. That's not an entirely implausible scenario, after all. And, if that's really the case, good enough for him. Better late than never. Until he convinces fans he's truly willing to mix it up with serious competition with at least some regularity, however, Stevenson will be rightfully leaving people suspicious of his motives. And, honestly, he's only brought that suspicion on himself.


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Boxing Has To Become More Fair If It Wants To Continue To Grow



And so, as we find ourselves freshly arrived in 2018, news is out that Guillermo Rigondeaux has been stripped of his WBA title. Granted, Rigondeaux lost in embarrassing fashion to Vasyl Lomachenko a few weeks ago, but Loma wasn't fighting for Rigondeaux's belt, which is/was for a lower weight division (super banatamweight). Still, it seems the WBA thought the Loma loss would be as good a reason as any to take their title away from the unpopular Cuban - and so that's exactly what they did. Yup, they just took it away from him. Had Rigondeaux beaten Loma, however, the WBA would have let him keep his belt. 

Lovely.

Sadly, the plight of Rigondeaux is just the most glaring and recent example of moral corruption in the sport of boxing. I won't say criminal corruption because I have no evidence of such a thing and one must be evenhanded. Still, examples abound which legitimately support boxing's far less than stellar reputation. How about scoring, for one? Does anyone really trust any judge who oversees a Jeff Horn fight in Australia? Or one who scores a Canelo Alvarez fight in Vegas? Oh, and when exactly is Adonis Stevenson going to face a mandatory?

I know, I know, we should all just shut up, grow up and accept this is the way the adults conduct their business. That's bullshit, though. You know it and so do I. This nonsense that courses through boxing's veins isn't somethings fans need to grow up and respect. It's something that should be gotten rid of entirely. Boxing had a great - and I do mean great - 2017. If it wants to keep growing, however, it's going to have to clean up its act.

Otherwise people will remember why they walked away from the sport to begin with. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

My Completely Left-Of-Center Top Ten List For 2017 - #1



Strike up the band - we're here! It's time to announce the number one ranking on this year's Completely Left Of Center Top Ten List. I'll be honest, this wasn't an easy choice. The number 2 and number 3 fighters this year, Vasyl Lomachenko and Terence Crawford respectively, had an argument to make as to why they could be named the year's best. Still, the fighter who ultimately took the top spot shook the sport of boxing with his talent, his wide ranging appeal, and his achievements.

And so, with no further verbosity, your #1 pound for pound boxer of 2017...Mr. Anthony Joshua.

Yes, Joshua earned his ranking on this spot because he stands poised to become the first truly engaging heavyweight champion since the Holyfield-Tyson-Lewis era. Make no mistake about it, Wladimir Klitschko was a great champion. For whatever reason, though, he was never able to thrill. Frankly, I think this may have had more to do with Klitschko's available competition than his skill set, which is a shame. No matter, the statuesque Joshua is a knockout machine who arguably puts more butts in seats than most NFL teams. What's more, he's existing in an interesting era, where the competition might well be impressive.

For not only did Joshua best a truly impressive Klitschko last spring, he now has names like Parker, Wilder, and even Fury to contend with. That sort of list makes for a colorful resume. Will Joshua be able to take out, or at least best, all competitors? That remains to be seen. What's obvious, though, is that Joshua is leading a revival of the long dormant heavyweight division. I mean, the man's helping make the big guys exciting again.
If that's not enough to earn the top spot on this list, I don't know what is.

Hope you enjoyed the list. Feel free to let me know what you think of any of my choices.

Now, onto 2018!