Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Canelo May Fight Cotto After All

Will Cotto share the stage with Canelo in the near future? 

If reports are to be believed, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez may end up stepping in the ring with Miguel Cotto, after all. Word is that Cotto is on track to fighting Jorge Sebastian Heiland, but that HBO won't be interested in that one unless Cotto first agrees to take on Canelo the fight after that.

That development, if it's true, is what's known as a big deal, for HBO is clearly not going to sit back and let Cotto fight just anyone with their blessing. He may be a great fighter, he may be on his way to the Hall of Fame, he may be enormously popular and lucrative, but Cotto is clearly not going to be allowed to go the Leo Santa Cruz route - at least not with HBO on board.

In truth, though, it would be unfair to toss Cotto in with the likes of Santa Cruz and Adonis Stevenson. Those two men have taken a lot of heat from the media and public for appearing to fear getting beat by talented foes. It's hard to imagine Cotto being afraid of Canelo...or anyone for that matter. He just appears ("appears" being the operative word here) to want things his way during negotiations - to a fault.

No one can have everything they want in life, however, at least not those with appetites as huge as Cotto's reportedly is. At the moment it's clear that he can't simply forgo Canelo and have HBO gleefully approve of whoever it is he wants to fight instead. Even the greatest of warriors don't have that kind of pull.

And Cotto is indeed a great warrior. Canelo is quite the warrior himself, however, and his eagerness to fight anyone, even if conditions aren't exactly to his liking, have made him appear to be the good guy in this saga. Cotto pretty much has two choices right now. He can fight Canelo, or he can fight Gennady Golovkin, If he doesn't, the bloom will be off the rose that sprouted up last year after he beat Sergio Martinez.

And that will be too bad.

Monday, March 30, 2015

"Impractical Jokers" And Live Boxing? No Wonder Why "truTV" Might Be My Favorite Channel

There's now less reason to get off the couch. 

Okay, so admittedly, I had no idea - or very little idea - what truTV was before last fall. Indeed, I had some vague image of trials and talking heads in my cranium, but that was about it. Then, this past fall, I was introduced to the comedic antics of "Impractical Jokers" and I was hooked.

Truth be told, I laugh out loud when I watch that show, and I watch it all the time. I'm also guessing you laugh out loud at it too, if you're a fan like my wife and I are. So yeah, I've been a loyal truTV viewer since the last portion of 2014.

Now that I've learned that truTV will also start broadcasting live boxing, via Top Rank Promotions, however, it might just be my favorite channel. Look, I know some hardened boxing heads will gripe about the fact that Top Rank honcho Bob Arum won't put on cards that can rival Al Haymon's PBC series - but I honestly don't care.

More live televised boxing is a good thing. You know it as well as I do. For we hardcore fans will watch cards broadcast in English, Spanish, Russian and possibly some other dialects we haven't even heard of. We're that into it.

And now I'm that into truTV, as well. All the channel has to do is start showing my favorite movies once a month or so and I won't have to leave the house (I wonder if they can get the rights to "Patton" and "Three Days Of The Condor?).

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Yup, Kell Brook Is That Good

So yeah, Kell Brook is that good. Oh, I knew the dude was a high quality pug long ago, way before he met and bested Shawn Porter here in the states last year. In fact, I wasn't surprised the Brit pulled that victory off.

I thought, however, that Brook might have trouble this weekend with Jo Jo Dan. For Dan was an awkward fighter who stepped into the ring with a good resume. Whereas Porter came right at Brook, I knew Dan was all about movement.

It would make for a unique challenge...or so I thought.

How wrong I was. For Brook owned Dan on Saturday. Owned him. In a fight which offered nearly as many knockdowns as Pacquiao-Algieri, Brook dominated his outclassed foe. During the live broadcast I asked myself who I felt could beat the talented Englishman. Needless to say, the list was very thin.

Names like Thurman, Bradley, Rios, Khan and Marquez danced through my head...and I wasn't sure any of those men could take "Special K." I wasn't convinced Brook could beat them all, mind you, but I wasn't convinced he couldn't, either.

And that's saying something.

For Brook's punches are straight and powerful, his defense extremely sound. While I don't see Brook fighting Floyd or Manny any time in the near future, I can most certainly see him fighting one of the aforementioned top level names.

That would be a fight I'd love to see...no matter which guy Brook was up against.

Why Chris Algieri Can't Be Written Off

The road to success ain't always an easy one. 

I remember close to a year ago, when New York's Chris Algieri was about to step into the ring with the wildly hyped Siberian, Ruslan Provodnikov. Those who know my writing know that I'm fascinated by the underdog, by the guy emerging from the shadows without pomp and circumstance. Algieri was just such a man. Sure, he had appeared on Friday Night Fights, but he was far removed from boxing's spotlight.

I was impressed with Algieri, however, and let readers know about it. Here was a kid with heart and talent to back it up. He was more than just some guy plucked from obscurity. He was a guy with real skill. And guess what? Algieri showed that skill against Provodnikov. Whether you thought the undefeated challenger from Long Island really won or not that night, it was hard not to give the man the nod of approval.

Yet, almost as suddenly as Algieri found adulation heaped upon him, that adulation disappeared. For the suburban product of graduate school went from being the toast of boxing to being the butt of Twitter jokes almost overnight. That sort of thing can happen when you're thrust into a match with an all time great like Manny Pacquaio, and that's certainly what happened with Algieri.

I'm not so sure we've seen the end of the tale, however. Everyone knows Algieri will be back, but I still feel he can be a force, as well. Losing to Pacquiao is no shame and shouldn't be a blemish on anyone's record. What's more, Algieri has the inner drive to make it as a fighter. Ask yourself what other opponent would have kept getting up from Pacquiao's blows that night in China.

None of this is to say Algieri will end up back on top of the sport of boxing, mind you. It's just to say that's it pretty premature to say he won't. Word is the guy's looking for new trainers. John David Jackson has been mentioned. That would be an impressive choice. Scratch that. It would be a real impressive choice.

No matter what Algieri decides to do, he'll remain a fighter to keep an eye on, though. It's been proven the man can hang with the best of them. Now it's time to see where he goes from here.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Brandon Rios Doing His Part To Help Kids With Cancer

One of the joys of being a fight writer is that you get to regularly dispel the myth that boxers are knuckle dragging thugs. While it's true, I've had contact with some fighters I'm not so crazy about, the vast majority have come across as decent men and women.

Manny Pacquiao. Mike Tyson. Oscar De La Hoya. Canelo Alvarez. The list goes on and on. Heck, even Sergey Kovalev, the reputed meanest guy around, is perfectly cool to speak with. I wasn't surprised, then, when I learned that tough guy Brandon Rios is doing his part to help kids with cancer.

Rios may be a young guy, but he's definitely a throwback. His speech is vulgar, he fights hard and he makes no secret of who he is. Yet the same Brandon Rios has stepped up to the plate to be a spokesman for, as well as a participant in, a 5K run for the "Stand for Hope" charity.

The event will be held at California's famed Rose Bowl on May 31st and aims to bring in donation money to help children with cancer. Rios doesn't have to be a part of the event, of course. There's probably a million other ways the guy can spend his time.

But he's doing it anyway. And that's worth noting, especially when you consider Rios has a reputation for being a foul mouthed slugger. You can't judge books by their cover's and you can't judge boxers by their media reputations.

Now, if only Rios could do to cancer what he did to Mike Alvarado.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

WBC Demands Stevenson Face Kovalev

Many will be curious to see how this shakes out. 

The WBC has apparently spoken...and the Council has told it's light heavyweight champ, Adonis Stevenson, to get in the ring with fellow light heavyweight champ Sergey Kovalev. Yup, reports came out today that Kovalev is an official mandatory opponent for Stevenson's share of title.

Whether or not the fight will actually happen is anyone's guess. Truth be told, Stevenson's already severely damaged reputation may well be beyond repair if he steps away from this. For the Canadian stands accused, fairly or not, of  going out of his way to avoid the hard hitting Russian in the past.

If he cares about his legacy at all, Stevenson is going to want to rise to the occasion here. As for Kovalev, he's in so good with boxing's fan base right now, he's got to be laughing at this cherry as it's placed upon the proverbial Sundae.

For now the only thing keeping the guy called "Krusher" from being the undisputed king of the light heavyweights is the belt Stevenson has just been ordered to put on the line by facing him. Indeed, it must be nice to be Kovalev right now.

First he beat Hopkins, then he beat Pascal. And now Stevenson, his illusive prey, is being ordered to finally face him. As for Stevenson, no doubt he'll say he'll be happy to throw down with the Russian. Whether that will be true or not, however, remains to be seen.  

British Invasion: James DeGale Coming To America To Face Andre Dirrell

Dirrell will undoubtedly be eager to greet DeGale on American shores.
James DeGale may have traveled as far west as Canada to ply his trade as a boxer but on May 23d he'll be fighting in the good 'ol US for the first time. For the British super middleweight will be battling Flint, Michigan's own Andre Dirrell for the IBF super middleweight championship in Boston.

DeGale may have wanted to fight at home in England for his long awaited title shot, but the money's good and the lure of a title is hard for the Londoner to resist. He's been waiting for his shot for a while, after all. Now that fellow Brit Carl Froch has vacated his IBF strap, he's finally getting his chance against the impressive Dirrell.

Indeed, in keeping with 2015s banner year, this should be a good fight. Both men have only lost once, to Froch and George Groves respectively. Here's the thing, though: both losses were controversial, which pretty much takes a lot of the blemish off.

Looked at through a certain prism, both DeGale and Dirrell arguably defeated two of the most lauded sluggers in Britain, whether the officials at the time thought so or not. That's impressive stuff. With Froch nearing the end of an illustrious career, it's hard to not see this upcoming throwdown in Boston as a changing of the guard.

While it's true British warriors have traditionally had a difficult time in Beantown, DeGale obviously intends to change the course of things. He knows he's going to be in with a real pro and has been training extremely hard already. Yet there's little doubt the extremely talented Dirrell will be eager to give his foe a warm American greeting come late May.

Boxing's big year continues.