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.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Why There's Nothing Wrong With Floyd Mayweather Earning $180 Million

Making a ton of money doesn't mean you're on easy street
You've probably heard by now. Floyd Mayweather may earn up to $180 million this May for fighting Manny Pacquiao. That's $180 million. For thirty-six minutes of work. Max. Naturally some, if not many, find this irksome.

It's understandable for people to be taken back by such a healthy sum. Indeed, it might even be natural for individuals to have flashes of resentment. Most of us, after all, have to struggle to make ends meet. Not so with Mayweather. He lives large and, on the surface of things, does generally little for the hefty sums he earns.

Here's the thing, though:

There isn't anything wrong with Floyd Mayweather, or anyone else, earning $180 million for less than an hour's worth of work. There just isn't. To be sure, it's okay to form opinions on what Mayweather DOES with his money. To condemn him, the sport of boxing, or society as a whole for a perceived gross miscarriage of social justice is simply taking things too far.

Mayweather grew up tough. Very tough. He didn't have the benefits and privileges lots of people take for granted. I'm not condoning the less savory aspects of Mayweather's backstory, mind you. I'm just stating a fact.

Truth be told, the rags to riches story of an American citizen should be applauded rather than condemned. Mayweather rose to the top of the toughest profession in all of sports - legally. He worked hard, literally took his best shot, and achieved the American dream.

Why, again, are we complaining?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Logan McGuinness Returns To Extremely Competetive Junior Lightweight Division

Can Logan McGuinness find a place atop the impressive junior lightweight hill?

Irish-Canadian junior lightweight Logan McGuinness didn't have much of a 2014 boxing-wise, for an injury kept him out of the ring. He'll be returning on March 28th, however, hoping to improve his undefeated record upon facing Luis Armando Juarez in Canada.

McGuinness, who keeps an upright guard, employs a come forward style, a probing jab and thudding punches. At 20-0-1, there's little doubt the 27 year old is clearly thinking of bigger things. Yet the competition at junior lightweight is fierce.

For starters, the division is ruled by the extremely impressive Takashi Uchiyama. What's more, it's loaded with names like Barthelemy, Salido, Vargas, and Fortuna. Formidable competition, to be sure.

Still, McGuinness is known to display more than his fair share of dedication. Indeed, the man is said to have the kind of dedication that can lead to big things. If those around McGuinness are to be believed, there will be no Mike Alvarado meltdowns in McGuinness' future.

And that's a good thing, because the young Canadian has quite a mountain to climb before he sits atop his division's peak. Indeed, the entire sport of boxing appears to finally - belatedly - be entering a new golden age, and the junior lightweight division, with its stable of talent, is clearly rising to the occasion.

If McGuinness has his way, he'll be rising to the occasion, as well.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Why Lamont Peterson Has The Edge Over Danny Garcia

Call me the odd man out. I give Lamont Peterson the edge over Danny Garcia when the two men meet on April 11th for the second outing for Premiere Boxing Champions on NBC. Why? Because Peterson, frankly, has more in his tool box than Garcia does.

Forget Rod Salka. Forget old drug tests. Forget Mauricio Herrera. Forget the Amir Khan decision in Washington DC. Forget all the things that have made these two men somewhat controversial and look at matters objectively.

First off, Peterson is the faster of the two men. There's just no two ways about it. Garcia's timing may be exquisite - just ask Khan - but consider what would have happened if Khan had walked into the ring against Garcia with a sharper defense.

Everyone knows Garcia can hit. Peterson knows it, too. Be sure that he and trainer Barry Hunter are doing everything in their power to keep Garcia from landing his potent shots - especially that left hook of his - come fight night.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Peterson can hurt you. Believe it. He may not be known as the hardest puncher on earth, but the guy is quite sound on the inside. His body blows are thudding and can take a lot out of a man - even the rising star from Philadelphia.

Let's also keep in mind that Peterson can move extremely well. Edgar Santana may not have been the most challenging of opponents, but Peterson's footwork in that bout - his last one to date - was something to marvel at. The man can keep distance, but he can also come at you from a variety of different places. What's more, Peterson can change gears, as well as direction, at the drop of a hat.

As for Garcia, well, let's not kid ourselves, the guy's a warrior. Let's not forget that he's bested two top level fighters  who gave Peterson real headaches. Khan may be some kind of boxer but Garcia ended up beating the hell out of him. And Matthysse? Hey, Garcia outgeneraled the guy, plain and simple. Peterson can't say that. Then again, it doesn't matter.

For it's styles that make fights, period. That and heart and intelligence. Peterson has the style to beat the undefeated Garcia. As long as he brings his heart and intelligence with him into the ring that night, he should walk out a winner.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Canelo Alvarez-James Kirkland Fight Is A Big Deal - Here's Why

You don't need to share the stage with Cotto in order to be relevant. 

So yeah, a lot of us fight fans wanted to see Canelo Alvarez step into the ring with a certain smallish middleweight champion from Puerto Rico this spring. Here's the thing, though: a Canelo-Cotto fight simply didn't materialize and that's all there is to it.

Yet Canelo isn't the sort of guy to let a bump in the road keep him from facing the best opposition available. Indeed, the Mexican icon went toe to toe with Erislandy Lara - Erislandy Lara! - for no other reason, really, but to show he was willing to mix it up with anyone.

People should take his upcoming fight with James Kirkland, then, for what it is - a major matchup between two very serious fighters. Those who write off the ferocious Kirkland do so at their own risk. This here is a dangerous man, folks. He's also a man who's now going to enter into the kind of A-list contest many had come around to believing they'd never see him in

Say what you will about Mr. Alvarez - the dude like to take chances. And it's kinda silly to think this May 9th bout in Houston is simply a risk free affair. For both Canelo and Kirkland are battling for future supremacy. Try telling me the winner won't end up in the ring with either Cotto or Golovkin down the road. There's more at stake in this bout than a check in the win column, there's also a possible seat at boxing's elite table to take into consideration.

Also let's not forget this match promises to be fan friendly. Canelo-Kirkland is simply not going to be confused with the ballet - not by anyone. The fact that it's also going to be presented on regular HBO is just the cherry atop the sundae. If Mayweather-Pacquiao is all about who the greatest fighter on earth is, then Canelo-Kirkland is all about the future. And if that doesn't make it worth everyone's time, I don't know what does.


Friday, March 20, 2015

The Curious Case Of Miguel Cotto

It's easy for fans not to like Miguel Cotto at the moment. Indeed, the guy can come across as sullen, detached, and even a bit snotty. Whether these impressions are true or false, however, is honestly beyond me. For all I know, the lineal middleweight champion of the world is the warmest, sweetest guy on earth.

Like everyone else, I've only got reports to go on - reports and a single experience last year when I covered the press conference for Cotto's upcoming bout with Sergio Martinez.  Cotto rushed off after the festivities that day while Martinez stayed around and answered questions. Since I don't know Cotto's reason for ducking out, though, I can't accuse him of being intentionally less than accessible. 

Still, a guy who seemingly has no interest in facing the formidable Gennady Golovkin while he's standing accused of stonewalling a bout with true warrior Saul Alvarez is going to need to do some PR work. Or not. For it seems like Cotto is one of those guys who just doesn't give a damn what people think about him. That being said, I think Cotto has earned his right to be viewed objectively.

For here's a guy who's faced everyone - that's everyone - in his path until the extreme present. Floyd Mayweather? Check. Manny Pacqauio? Check. Austin Trout? Check. Shane Mosley? Check. Antonio Margarito? Make that two checks.  Cotto's record has simply been a laundry list of boxing's major players. In other words, I'm going to cut him some slack for not getting in the ring with yet another major player, at least for the moment, I am.

My patience won't be infinite, however.

The guy IS the middleweight champion of the world, after all, even if he isn't really a middleweight. He's going to have to defend that title against legitimate competition, or he's simply going to have to give it away. The World Boxing Council said as much itself.

Unfortunately, Cotto's going to look somewhat diminished if he hands back that illustrious green belt without a major defense. Fairly or not, it will seem like the man fled rather than fought. That will hurt Cotto's reputation, at least in the short term, unless he somehow manages to take on the winner of the Manny-Floyd throwdown.

 Either way, with a brand spanking new contract with Roc Nation Sports signed, Cotto may suddenly start to feel the need to impress.

Oh, who am I kidding? This is Cotto we're talking about.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Promoter Bob Arum Claims The Death Of Boxing Is A Myth Perpetuated By White Editors - And He Might Be Right

Mr Arum has given us something to think about

A lot of people are still talking about the fact that boxing is "dead," even - if not especially - now that Mayweather-Pacquiao is about to go down on May 2nd in Vegas. Why, one might ask, would people be so quick to write boxing off, especially now that it's about to present the biggest sporting event in the world for 2015 (sorry, Super Bowl)? Even more importantly, where do these second rate obituaries come from?

According to super promoter Bob Arum, they come from sports editors. Not just any sports editors, though...white ones.

Know something? The guy might have a point.

If you're a boxing fan (and chances are you are if you're reading this), ask yourself the following question:

What kind of person do you see perpetually writing off the sport of boxing as being dead?

Is it African American females? Elderly Hispanic gentlemen? Asian teenagers?

Or is it white guys who haven't seen a fight since Tyson was in his prime? If I were a betting man (and thankfully, I'm not) I'd bet on it being the white guy. Don't ask me why, but my Caucasian male brethren here in the United States love to tell me boxing is dead, that it's been replaced by the UFC, and that it just ain't good anymore anyway (like they'd know) more often than I care to imagine.

Come to think of it, white guys are the only people I've ever heard declare boxing dead. Of course they're correct in one sense. Boxing is indeed dead, or at least on life support, to white male America. That prominent, though declining, segment of our society moved away from the sport pretty much entirely around the turn of the century.

The rise of the white beta male had something to do with it, of course, so did the rise of mixed martial arts which, let's face it, showcased more white fighters. The fact of the matter, however, remains that these individuals simply aren't thinking beyond their own portion of the population when they declare the sweet science to be deceased.

Boxing sells out entire stadiums in Europe. In Mexico, major boxers are national heroes. And let's not even get started on Asia, where a single boxing match has brought in more viewers in China than the Super Bowl did here in the states and where a certain Filipino welterweight has become an international celebrity. Yet major American publications simply won't write on the sport anymore.


You tell me.

At any rate, boxing has pushed it's way back into the national conversation lately, thanks to the Floyd-Manny throwdown and the fact that fights are now being aired on network television again (to healthy ratings, no less). Who knows? If things keep going at this rate, white American males may return to boxing en masse.

Then again...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why Jo Jo Dan Shouldn't Be Ignored

It seems like everyone is ignoring Jo Jo Dan these days. Boxing writers don't have a whole lot to say about him, fans are more interested in Floyd and Manny, even Kell Brook - Dan's opponent on the 20th of this month - seems (on the surface, at least) to be looking on to other things. After all, it's IBF champ Brook whose been telling the media he wants superfights after next week's showdown. 

That might not be the smartest way for Brook to go about things, however. Indeed, Brook might do well to remember that he himself was virtually unknown to many fans when he won his title last year from rising star Shawn Porter. Dan may be in the shadows now...but so was Brook not so long ago.  

Simply put, Dan is not the sort one would want to overlook. Born Ionut Dan Ion, he's a Romanian immigrant to Canada with an impressive amateur resume and only two questionable defeats to his name as a pro. What's more, he's a mandatory contender for Brook's title. In other words, the bout will not - despite what some journalists might have you believe - be a total mismatch.

To the contrary, Dan has a style that just might be problematic for the talented Brook. Although Brook looked extremely impressive against Porter thanks to his strength and extraordinarily straight punches, Porter went at Brook head on during their bout. All you have to do is YouTube one of Dan's fights to see he won't be approaching Brook the same way Porter did. 

Truth be told, Dan tends to move in and out while employing a solid jab and an extremely impressive left cross (Brook may want to be careful when he's firing off that straight right of his). In other words, Brook might have to prove himself to be a high level chess player if he wants to move on to those superfights he so clearly desires. 

Of course none of this is to imply that Brook might as well just give Dan his IBF belt before the bout even happens. To the contrary. Brook is indeed an impressive welterweight. In fact, it surprises me that he's still so under the radar of so many fans. Brook's a serious fighter, after all, and worthy of serious consideration. What's more, he'll be defending his title against Dan in his home country of England.

Yet Dan is a serious contender worthy of serious consideration of his own. Few may know who Dan is now - but many will know of the man if he manages to upset Brook in England on the 20th. 

Why I Have Mixed Emotions About The End Of Friday Night Fights

Looks like some people's viewing schedules may have to be altered.

If you're a fight fan, you know Friday night has generally been a solid bet. For that's when, for a good portion of the year, ESPN2 would be presenting live boxing featuring up and comers and/or seasoned vets. It's was fun, seeing those hungry brawlers in action. What is always art in motion? No. But it was reliable, well done, and usually entertaining. Yup, Friday Night Fights was good stuff.

Technically, it still is, for the program remains on the air. That's all about to change, however, and; as usual, we can thank Al Haymon for it. For FNF, as it's commonly known, is being replaced by the ubiquitous Premiere Boxing Champions, or PBC, as it's called. The last FNF card - presumably ever - will be broadcast on May 22nd.

Forgive me for having mixed emotions about this. While PBC has certainly delivered the goods during it's first several broadcasts by delivering top level, relevant matches featuring big names within the sport, one has to wonder just how many big names are out there. After all, PBC is now appearing on NBC, CBS, Spike, ESPN, Bounce, and probably the History Channel.

Sure, NBC and CBS can deliver A-level names while Spike and NBCs sports network can deliver the second tier stuff. What will ESPN be showing, though? Will it be all that much more impressive than the matches FNF fans have been watching for ions? It undoubtedly will at be first. Everyone wants to leave a good first impression, after all. Therefore, boxing heads can expect good matchups and marquee production values (something FNF never had - or needed) for a while.

What happens then, however? Will the quality of fights really differ that much from those FNF has been offering for years? That might be something to think about.

Then there's the matter of quantity.

Apparently the wondrously awesome Teddy Atlas and company will still be on hand for PBC, so the familiar faces from FNF will still be around. What's more, the PBC cards will be broadcast on ESPN rather than ESPN2 like the FNF cards were. Yet they won't be on as much. Just once a month is what I'm reading.

I don't know about you, but I enjoyed my regular fix.

Yet, with all that being said, I still don't want to come across like I'm complaining here. As I mentioned earlier, PBC has delivered on a high level so far. Indeed, in a few short weeks, it seems to have literally altered boxing's landscape for the better.

There may not be as many fights on ESPN now, but it's good to keep in mind there's going to be a whole lot of fights all over the television on a regular basis - probably more than at any other time in history.  Make no mistake about it, it's going to be a most excellent time to be a boxing fan.

Still, even though FNF may seem like a poor cousin of today's new and seemingly improved boxing world, I'm going to miss it. I actually liked seeing unknowns get a shot to climb the ladder and wonder what may happen to those unknowns now. I also liked the bare bones quality the whole program had. As I mentioned earlier - it was fun.

And now it's gone.

I may end up thinking that' s a good thing. For now, though, I'm a little down about it all. Perhaps I've just got a thing for poor cousins.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Marcus Browne Prepares For The Spotlight

With Marcus Browne, New York Has Produced Another Fighter Of Note

Marcus Browne is a 24 year old Staten Island native who openly loves God, and likes to frequently take to Twitter. Browne also has his own web page and enjoys interacting with other people.

Oh, and he's an undefeated light heavyweight whose knocked out all but three of his thirteen opponents.

What's more, Browne will be fighting on the undercard of the Danny Garcia-Lamont Peterson PBC extravaganza this April against Aaron Pryor Jr (son of that Aaron Pryor) at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.

Although Browne won't be headlining the card that night, he clearly hopes his undercard days will soon be behind him. Like fellow New York light heavyweight Seanie Monaghan, Browne wants people to get to know him. Truth be told, he's been going about it the right way, too...

...by steamrolling over opponents.

Indeed, the former Olympian is an exceedingly fast southpaw who employs rapid fire straight punches. He keeps busy, too, having fought five times in 2014 alone.

He may have his hands full with the vastly experienced Pryor, but if Browne manages to go through Pryor the way howitzer throwing Adonis Stevenson did back in 2011, it will prove to be a short night's work.

And a ton of good publicity.

For Browne is at the point in his career where he can really start to be taken seriously by the powers that be if he keeps winning in impressive fashion. The light heavyweight division is entering a golden age right now, one not seen since names like Spinks, Qawi and Muhammad ruled the landscape.

And Browne is in a position to take advantage of it.

This past Sunday, Browne took part in a group run at a Staten Island park with fans. If things keep going his way, Browne may soon have to go out in public incognito, for big wins mean big publicity.

After all, with major fights now on network television, name fighters might become more famous than they could have possibly imagined.



Sunday, March 15, 2015

Why Sergey Kovalev's Victory Over Jean Pascal May Be Historically Significant

Yup, there was some great boxing to be had this past Saturday night. After a couple of disappointing preliminary bouts (seriously, can USS Cunningham ever catch a break?) the world was treated to Sergey Kovalev's light heavyweight scrap against Jean Pascal.

Needless to say, HBO viewers watched Kovalev do what Kovalev does best - and that's polish off opponents well before the final bell sounds. Yet there's little doubt that Kovalev knew he was in a fight Saturday night. For Pascal performed magnificently. That's right, I said it - magnificently. Losing to a fighter who may well be an all time division great is the farthest thing in the world from shameful.

The Kovalev-Pascal bout may have been more than just exciting, however. It may actually prove to have been historically significant.

How so?

Well, it may in hindsight signify the end of  boxing championships as fight fans know them. For Adonis Stevenson, not Sergey Kovalev, is - officially, at least - the true light heavyweight champion of the world. Stevenson won his title from Chad Dawson, after all. And Dawson was the man who beat the man who beat the man...

Yet Stevenson seems to have no interest in ever fighting Kovalev. Oh, he says he does, but his actions have perpetually betrayed his words. Suffice to say, after seeing Kovalev defeat such luminaries as Pascal and the great Bernard Hopkins, fans may have finally had enough. And Sergey Kovalev may now be accepted  by the public as the one true light heavyweight champion, whether or not he ever faces Stevenson in the ring.

This is significant stuff. Even Mike Tyson had to get past Michael Spinks (the man who beat the man) before he was truly seen as king of the heavyweights. Spinks wanted that fight, however (he may have regretted his decision later). Had he avoided Tyson, the view of what constituted a champion may have changed a quarter century ago.

The truth is that prominent fighters have always steered clear of big threats. John L Sullivan never battled Peter Jackson. Jack Dempsey never faced Sam Langford. Today, however, the public is more discerning. A champ has to prove he's a champ. In the age of Twitter, a wary champion can no longer just say he'll face anyone while proceeding to avoid risky opposition.

"The times, they are a changin'," as Bob Dylan once sang. In this case, they may well be changing for the better.    

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Why Kathy Duva Is The Most Trusted Name In Boxing

Why is Kathy Duva the most trusted name in boxing?

Because she sees boxing as a sport.

It's that simple.

Take this weekend, for instance. Duva fighter Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev is facing the dangerous and talented Jean Pascal in Pascal's own Canadian back yard. As Kovalev's promoter, Duva stands to lose a lot if Kovalev loses his light heavyweight titles

Yet the fight is going on anyway. Why? Because Duva understands boxing is primarily an athletic endeavor, not simply a business endeavor. That's why fans can trust Duva will always provide them with the best fights possible - she has a steady track record of doing so already.

Last year, for instance, while Kovalev's counterpart, Adonis Stevenson, faced the likes of Dmitry Sukhostsky, Kovalev faced the great Bernard Hopkins, then made plans to face Pascal. See the difference? If you do, then you should appreciate it.

Of course there are undoubtedly those out there who feel Duva is being foolish for putting so much at risk with her matchmaking. Such people might, I suspect, be fine if Stevenson never met Kovalev in the ring, or if Mayweather never agreed to fight Pacquiao, for that matter.

I call this crowd boxing's "new breed" of fans. For they see boxing more as a reality TV show which focuses on business transactions than as a sport. Why these characters following boxing and not authentic reality TV shows which deal with business matters is beyond me. It's not like there aren't plenty of those out there already.

Still, there are a whole lot more traditional boxing fans than there are those of the "new breed" variety. And those traditionalists owe Kathy Duva a debt of gratitude. Adviser Al Haymon may be delivering the goods now with his PBC series, but where was he in 2014, when Danny Garcia stepped into the ring to batter Rod Salka?

As for boxing's other premiere behind the scenes players, well, they have a lot of catching up to do. If they can follow Duva's lead and emulate her business ethos, boxing may well enter a new golden age indeed.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Will Seanie Monaghan Slug His Way To The Top Of The Light Heavyweight Division?

New York's produced more than its share of great fighters.

Hard hitting New York light heavyweight Seanie Monaghan couldn't be fighting at a better time. For the light heavyweight division is now the most exciting in all of boxing aside from the welterweight and junior welterweight realms. Long poor cousins to the middleweight and heavyweight divisions, the light heavies are now seeing themselves in the spotlight.

This is due, of course, to one Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev, who recently outgeneraled, outhit, and outclassed the great Bernard Hopkins. It also has something to do with Adonis "Superman" Stevenson, but Stevenson's seeming unwillingness to face top competition has done incredible damage to the man's reputation.

It's not easy to imagine Monaghan ducking anyone ever. The Long Beach, Long Island native is a classic Irish American fighter - straight forward, hard hitting, aggressive. Yet there may be more to Monaghan (23-0) than meets the eye. As Sky Sports' Jim Watt has claimed, Monaghan has improved to the point where he doesn't take punches like he used to. What's more, no less a luminary than Tony Bellew has given Monaghan the figurative approving nod.

While it's true Monaghan doesn't have blinding footwork, he has a solid guard and hard, thudding punches - punches that can rip up an opponent's body before almost taking off the poor guy's head. Just ask Elvis Muriqi, who was sent to the mat by a powerhouse Monaghan right last June.

What's also worth noting is the fact that Monaghan has a solid local fanbase and an extremely fan friendly style. For Monaghan attacks. His plan is simply to come forward and beat you. He may achieve that goal in a more nuanced style than he used to - but the plan is pretty straightforward

Search and destroy.

Fans love that kind of fighter. Which means Monaghan can make the people at Top Rank, which represents him, money - lots of money if he can face off against one of the division's elite. This weekend Kovalev will face the extremely talented Jean Pascal up in Canada. It's a fight boxing lovers will most certainly watch with keen interest.

Monaghans' interest level will probably be higher than most people's, however. For the man might well be looking at a future opponent.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mayweather-Pacquiao Press Conference: Floyd, Manny...and Justin Bieber

Some have been downright floored by ticket prices for the fight

It had to have been the longest, most respectful staredown in the history of the sport. There they were, boxing's two biggest stars - Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao - dressed as if they were heading to a high end restaurant, staring each other down, face to face.

There was no glaring, no snarling, no insulting, just a seemingly endless staredown. Strange.

Still, the press conference for the epic Mayweather-Pacquiao bout on May 2nd was nothing if not interesting. Pacquiao, who promoter Bob Arum introduced as a humanitarian, was the first to take the mic.

"I believe it is what you are waiting for since five years ago," Pacquiao uttered in awkward English. "The fight is on...we will do our best on May two to make you happy."

After speaking glowingly (and to warm applause) of God for a few moments, the man from General Santos City stepped aside almost as quickly as he had approached the podium. Mayweather, who seemed fixated with a coffee cup while being announced, took to the mic next.

"It's been a long road," Floyd said in a low, slow tone, "but we're here now."

Clearly, the guy called "Money" is aware of what a big deal the Pacquiao bout is.

"This is an unbelievable matchup," he said, adding that it will be an "action packed fight."

"I've never wanted to win a fight so bad in my life," Floyd noted.

The undefeated Mayweather also took a moment to differentiate himself from Pacquiao, who has lost fights on several occasions.

"When you lose, it's in your mind," Floyd declared. "From day one, I was always taught to be a winner."

The most shocking statement of the day, however, came from Mayweather sidekick Leonard Ellerbe.

"Ticket prices," Ellerbe said of the fight "will range from $1,500 to $7,500."

One might well have asked who could afford to go to such an event. That question would have been answered moments later, however, when Floyd's pal Justin Bieber abruptly stepped smack into a group photo op.

As if to indicate that the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout is bigger than the sport of boxing, Showtime cameras obediently cut Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach out of the shot in order to make room for the pop star.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Amir Khan Accepts Adrien Broner's Challenge: "Let's Make It Happen."

It looks like another major contest may be on its way. Minutes ago Amir Khan tweeted he "would love to fight @AdrienBroner next!" before adding "lets make it happen."

This, presumably, was in response to a Broner Instagram which claimed Broner "and Amir Khan can fight at the end of this month." These words were, of course, accompanied by a faux fight poster of Broner and Khan standing side by side, accompanied by the title:


While Broner's brash statement will surely find a way to offend the easily offended crowd, Khan wasted no time jumping at the opportunity. The man's been looking for a big fight for ages and Broner is about as big a foe as he'll find outside of Floyd and Manny.

Of course Khan is fighting at welterweight now, while Broner is down at junior welterweight. Still, it's not hard to see this fight becoming a reality - especially with PBC looking to put major matchups on primetime network television.

Don't be surprised if you see Khan and Broner starring in their own two man show on NBC in the very near future. 

Erislandy Lara Calls Out Keith Thurman On Twitter

Let's face it, Erislandy Lara is a brave soul. For he's now calling out Keith "One Time" Thurman on Twitter. After Thurman's destruction (is that an overstatement?) of Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero last Saturday night on live network television, Thurman appeared to be a guy most name boxers would do all they could to avoid. That's not the case with Lara, who made it clear he's ready to throw down.

"C'mon One Time," Lara Tweeted to Thurman directly, "come out and play! Stop lying and saying your feared! Let's do it!"

Some may be put off with Lara's brash style of getting big fights, but what choice does the man have? He may not be the thudding puncher Thurman is, but Lara is a slick, skilled professional, one who makes opponents at least as uneasy as Thurman does. Their styles may be distinctly different, but Lara and Thurman are both men who have a tendency to win and win decisively.

The problem, of course, is that Thurman is a crowd pleaser, thanks to his aggressive, hard hitting approach to the sport. Lara, on the other hand, takes a more studied approach into the ring with him. It may well be a more effective approach than Thurman himself employs, but it's easy to brush aside.

Or is it? Arguing that Lara is a boring fighter is a cop out. Boxing is a sport, not a popularity contest. If some fans are bored by Lara's style, they should hope someone like Thurman bests him, not claim that Lara doesn't deserve important matches. Simply put, Lara is one of the best boxers in the entire business.

He may not end up fighting Thurman, but it will be unfair if Lara's name doesn't start getting brought up in serious discussions.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Premiere Boxing Champions Brings In Impressive Ratings During NBC Debut

Well, waddaya know...boxing ain't dead. Truth be told, it's far from dead. As they say, numbers don't lie. And the numbers for Saturday night's Premiere Boxing Champions' card on NBCs flagship station were pretty impressive.

As NBC itself declared in a Monday press release, Saturday's broadcast brought in the highest boxing ratings since 1998. That's the most in fifteen years.

Per NBC:

"Saturday night’s debut of the Premiere Boxing Champions (PBC) on NBC was the most-watched professional boxing broadcast since 1998, according to Fast National Data from The Nielsen Company."

That's good news for fight fans, good news for NBC and good news for adviser Al Haymon, the force behind PBC and the attempt to get boxing back into the American mainstream. On average, PBC brought in roughly three and a half million sets of eyeballs on Saturday evening.

As NBC stated, however:

"Viewership increased every half hour through the telecast and peaked at 4.2 million from 10:30-11 p.m. ET during the exciting Rounds 7-12 of Keith Thurman’s unanimous decision over Robert Guerrero."

Indeed, the final few rounds of Saturday's main event between Thurman and Guerrero made the bout a thriller, with Guerrero receiving an incredible beating, but continuing to give it his all. It's was a terrific fight, the kind die hard boxing fans were hoping for.

Good matchups don't always guarantee good bouts. When the fighters deliver, however, people simply want to watch the drama. That's what happened on Saturday night. Hopefully, that's what will continue to happen with PBC cards down the road.  

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Amir Khan Wants - And Deserves - A Major Bout

The wait has gone on long enough.

Amir Khan is quite a guy. Not only is he making his name in the ring while appearing all over the news, he's also offering a British vacation to some pretty notable figures.

"Love to get Cotto, Bradley, Marquez or winner of Mayweather v Pacquioa at Wembley stadium," the English welterweight posted to Twitter. "Would be massive. What do you think?"

Personally, I agree. Khan has a huge British fan base. A battle with the winner of the Floyd-Manny scuffle would make last year's Froch-Groves rematch look like a small time affair. A meeting with Cotto, Bradley, or Marquez would be no small deal, either.

For each of these men are major players, men who have been featured on pay per view attractions, men who Khan feels he should be in company with. That's understandable, of course, for the lightning fast puncher has been on the short list for both Mayweather and Pacquiao for quite some time now.

In short, Khan wants his moment in the spotlight. And frankly, he deserves the opportunity to try for it. At first blush, I would argue Khan could beat both Bradley and Marquez (no small thing), while standing a very good chance of besting Mayweather and Cotto (there, I said it). I'm not sure how well he'd match up against Pacquiao stylistically, but I wouldn't mind finding out.

Here's the thing - Khan has been left in the dark for a while now. It's time to give the kid his shot. Why, one might well ask, can Chris Algieri, Brandon Rios, and Mike Alvarado face some of the above mentioned names, but not Khan? Is the man a pariah - or is he perhaps a bit too dangerous to face without first getting a guarantee of a whole ton of money?

Last night saw Keith Thurman blast his way towards the top of the welterweight heap. It's only a matter of time before the guy called "One Time" is facing the division's crème de la crème - and with good reason. Make no mistake about it - boxing's landscape is simply beginning to look far better than it did a year ago.

If there's no room at the inn for Khan, however, the sport still has a long way to go before reaching its full potential.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

PBC Delivers - In A Big Way

Now that was boxing.

Adviser Al Haymon and the folks at NBC must be thrilled right now. For Premiere Boxing Champions' maiden voyage on the peacock network this Saturday night proved to be a smashing success. Welterweights Keith Thurman and Robert Guerrero went to war at the MGM Grand in Vegas, thrilling all who saw their fight by waging a toe to toe test of guts.

Thurman won a unanimous decision, after dropping Guerrero late in the bout, but Guerrero never - ever - stopped fighting. Indeed, it seemed like Thurman might have been puzzled after a point, wondering what exactly it was he had to do to finish the former multi-time champion Guerero off. Yup, it was a main event that delivered fireworks.

Good thing. For the opening bout, between Adrien Broner and John Molina, proved to be a junior welterweight snooze-fest. Molina just never seemed to get into the bout. Broner got crass and shot off his mouth afterward, but there really wasn't much else to take note of. Broner dominated. Molina acted lethargic. And that was all there was to it.

Thank heavens for that main event.

If PBC can keep delivering in this fashion, boxing will be back in a big, a very big, way.

Why NBCs Primetime Boxing Broadcast Is Relevant

So you probably haven't watched boxing in a long time. Truth be told, you may never have watched boxing at all. Yet as you flick through the channels tonight, you're probably going to stumble across live boxing. No, it won't be on Showtime or HBO. It won't be on cable outlets like ESPN or Fox Sports, either. It will be on NBC. The NBC, flagship channel of the peacock network.

Chances are, you will stop for a second. And, at that point, the odds are good that you may want to keep watching what's on the screen - at least for a moment or two. At least that's what the folks at NBC and super advisor Al Haymon hope you will do. In fact, they may not want you to do a whole lot more. They just want to get it in your head that boxing is on network television. Good boxing. The kinds of boxing that entertains and intrigues.

Haymon and NBC, you see, have decided to place major matchups on this weekend's broadcast. These aren't up-and-comers you'll see on your television. These are top of the line pros, guys who may well find themselves facing guys named Manny and Floyd in the very near future.

In fact, one of the fighters being showcased tonight - Robert Guerrero - has faced Floyd Mayweather once already...in a major pay per view fight, no less. Now Guerrero will face ferocious contender Keith Thurman, a man with designs on being heir to the throne Floyd and Manny will leave behind, perhaps sooner than later.

Indeed, Thurman is dying to get one of boxing's marquee names in the ring. What's more, Guerrero wants his second chance at glory. Make no mistake about it, Guerrero-Thurman is a major fight in the sport of boxing. There's simply no other way to put it. By offering it to the world free of charge, NBC and Haymon are letting you know that they want your interest, that they want to learn in a year or so that boxing is as closely followed as America's other major sports.

Boxing hasn't been in an esteemed position in quite some time, you see. In the 1980s, it was said to be one of the most popular sports in the country, behind only football, baseball and basketball. Now it's behind MMA in many regards. Yet NBC and Haymon know that can change. For boxing at its best is an extremely fast paced and dramatic sport, one where the drama of the individual is of primary interest to fans.

And that, really, is the point. Haymon and the peacock network want you to get familiar with the likes of  Thurman and Guerrero. They want you to know their names, faces, and fighting styles. They want you invested in them, like you may have been invested in the likes of Hagler and Leonard not so long ago. That way you'll keep tuning in - for free - and boxing will rise again.

The fact that it just might makes tonight's NBC broadcast a relevant event in the world of contemporary sports. That and the fact that the co-main event, between Adrien Broner and John Molina Jr. is a top quality throwdown, as well.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Sergey Kovalev - On The Road To Joining Boxing's Elite

I remember the first time I saw Sergey Kovalev fight. It was a Friday night and I was in the stands of a Connecticut casino with my father. No one knew who the Russian brawler was at the time, but those who watched Kovalev that night saw a fighter who possessed a strange combination of skill and punching power.

For here was a light heavyweight who hit like a fan favorite, but who also employed patience. Kovalev was more exciting than, say, Wladimir Klitschko, that most deliberate of knockout artists, yet no one would confuse him with a wild slugger. Here, in fact, was someone who had a whole lot going for him, a boxer whose nuance could please the purists and whose sheer destructiveness could please the red meat crowd.

Walking out of the arena that night, I was indeed impressed.

And I've stayed impressed. Scratch that, I've become even more impressed since that time. For Kovalev hasn't exploded through the ranks like some might have you believe. He's carefully risen through them, fighting opponents of various styles along the way.

Take Cedric Agnew, for instance. He was an unknown commodity when he faced Kovalev last year, but the few who knew of the man assured me that he was an extremely serious fighter of considerable ability. What's more, Agnew proved to be just that - a challenging opponent. Watch the Kovalev-Agnew fight if you don't believe me. Kovalev has to make adjustments before finishing his man off.

What's telling, though is that Kovalev made those adjustments without growing frustrated or falling apart. With the help of his masterful trainer, John David Jackson, Kovalev has developed well beyond being a one trick pony.

That's why Kovelev was able to handily beat the masterful Bernard Hopkins, because he had enough experience under his belt to rise to he occasion. Oh, his natural talent helped, sure, but boxing is littered with natural talents who can't get beyond the A-minus level. Kovalev clearly wants to stand atop boxing's Mount Olympus with that handful of others who prop themselves high above the norm.

And he's willing to put in the hard work to get there. That's why Kovalev will be facing Jean Pascal this month. Because in order to be the best, you have to beat the best. Kovalev is willing to put himself out there time and time again. Money is important, sure, but you get the distinct feeling Kovalev would rather get the big wins than have the easygoing, lucrative career Adonis Stevenson has had of late.

For Kovalev has been earning accolades while Stevenson has been earning eye rolls. Stevenson may indeed be cashing in now, but which fighter do you think represents the best long term investment? There tends to be a whole lot of money at the top of the heap, after all. You just have to work your way through some serious challenges to get there.

And challenges are something the guy who calls himself "Krusher" seems to relish.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Why It's Unwise To Forget About Shawn "Showtime" Porter

I know, I know. You're thinking about Floyd and Manny. And Keith and Robert. And Adrien and John. And...

Perhaps you've forgotten about a former IBF welterweight champion by the name of Shawn "Showtime" Porter. If that's the case it might behoove you think back to not so long ago, back to when Porter absolutely demolished the colorful, decorated and lauded Paulie Malignaggi.

Or perhaps you can think back to that night in December of 2013 when Porter upset reigning IBF welterweight champ Devon Alexander. Or perhaps you can think back to some of Porter's twenty-two consecutive victories before that.

The truth is that Porter was looked on as exactly what he was - an extremely talented fighter on the rise. He was then bested by the strength and straight punch of Kell Brok last spring - and was subsequently forgotten. Porters name has rarely, if ever, been mentioned along with the top names in the welterweight division in nearly a year.

On March 13th, however, Porter aims to change all that. For he'll be featured on Premiere Boxing Champion's inaugural live card on Spike TV that Friday night against Roberto Garcia, a fighter whose bested the likes of Breidis Prescott and who hasn't lost a fight in nearly four years.

Indeed, Garcia is no easy payday. He's a man whose faced the likes of Antonio Margarito, after all, a man whose looking for that one big win to catapult him to the big time. In short, Garcia is an opponent whose coming to win.

Yet Porter is determined...and if you've forgotten, quite skilled. For the Ohio native is aggressive and a terrific puncher,with a high defense and a bouncing, in and out style. His heart, and old-school ability is the stuff that can give more lauded fighters fits.

That's something worth remembering. Especially if your name is Keith Thurman, or Robert Guerrero, or Amir Khan, or...

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Introducing: Robbie Cannon

You may not have heard of lightweight boxer Robbie Cannon. That's because, like so many young pros out there, Cannon has no major representation. His record of 14-11-2 doesn't help much, of course, but it's worth keeping in mind that popular, well-represented fighters are often carefully guided along.

They may indeed end up being as good as advertised, but their growth is frequently the result of well orchestrated career plans. The same simply can't be said for men like Cannon.

"Almost all the guys with undefeated records have promoters," Cannon tells me. "They built the guys up the right way."

Cannon, who was named St. Louis' Best Boxer of 2008 by The Riverfront Times, was once represented himself. He had an impressive resume as an amateur, after all. He also had a solid beginning as a professional ("I started off as 10-0 as a pro," he says). Things fell apart, however.

"They were giving me good, winnable fights," Cannon explains. Then, unfortunately, things went south.

"They made me a fight against a guy who had been fighting middleweight," the lightweight Cannon says. "Come weigh-in, he's six pounds overweight." Cannon stepped into the ring, regardless. "I needed a payday," says Cannon. "I had just had a kid."

It's a story that's been told far too often throughout the fight world: a boxer in need of a payday steps into the ring with the odds stacked against him.

Fighting afterwards without representation, Cannon found that the road to glory had become rockier and rockier. "A lot of fights I've had in other guy's hometowns," Cannon laments, "you can't tell me I didn't win a round."

Indeed, it's not easy being the man who has to face an opponent in that opponent's own backyard. "There's a lot of hometown favoritism," Cannon says.

Still, Cannon doesn't blame his current career situation solely on his lack of representation. "I think I have stuff I need to work on more," he admits. "I'm going to work harder on getting stronger." Like most serious fighters, Cannon is well aware of the necessity of professional reflection. "My power is not where it needs to be," he states honestly.

Although his status in the ring is yet where he wishes it to be, Cannon remains hopeful. "I'm still getting fights against top guys," Cannon says. "My goal is still to win a world title."

That being said, it's time to introduce Robbie Cannon, a lightweight fighter trying for a second act. Boxing is a sport where those who were written off and ignored have risen to the occasion and achieved glory time and time again.

Will that be the case with Cannon? Who knows? He doesn't need representation for fight fans to keep an eye on him, though.




Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Canelo Alvarez And James Kirkland Bring The Heat At Houston Press Conference

"You guys want to see a war," Saul "Canelo" Alvarez told a crowd gathered at Houston's Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, "you’re going to get a war."

Alvarez was speaking at a press conference to announce his upcoming battle with hard hitting pit bull James Kirkland, which will occur at Minute Maid Park on May 9th.  Many people had assumed that Alvarez' next opponent would be smallish middleweight king Miguel Cotto. After negotiations dragged, however, the 44-1-1 junior middleweight arranged a brawl with Austin native Kirkland, a thrilling brawler with a 32-1 resume, instead.

The fight will air live on HBO, but for those who can make it, ticket prices for Minute Maid Park will be extremely affordable. This is a bout which, by design, is meant to please the fans.

"Action, action, action," Kirkland said to the gathered audience on Tuesday. Like Alvarez, Kirkland clearly believes that fans wish to be thrilled. "They want a true, heart to heart fight," the man who goes by the name of "Mandingo Warrior" exclaimed. "Blood sweat and tears in the ring all the way to the finish line."

The bout, which will come a week after the Mayweather-Pacquiao superfight, may conceivably draw in a live crowd of well over thirty-thousand people. Television ratings look to be extremely healthy, as well.

Although many wanted to see Alvarez fight Cotto, Kirkland is an exciting foe indeed. Those who argue that Kirkland is no longer a threat since leaving trainer Ann Wolfe may well be underestimating the man. As promoter Oscar De La Hoya noted, Kirkland is "a fighter who doesn’t know how to take a step back."

In short, the slugger with twenty-eight knockouts is simply not to be shrugged off. Alvarez knows that, and fans should, as well. This is a match which has the potential to really deliver.

"It will be," promoter 50 Cent told the crowd, "something exciting for everyone to remember."

Monday, March 2, 2015

PBC Aims To Change Boxing


Boxing will most likely never be the same after this weekend. Seriously. Why? Because Premeire Boxing Champions, otherwise known as PBC, is about to go to air live on major network television. What's more, it's providing viewers with major fights - for free.

Don't believe it? Check out this weekend's roster on NBC's flagship station. Undefeated welterweight Keith Thurman is going to face former Floyd Mayweather foil Robert Guerrero. What's more, three time titlist Adrien Broner is going to battle world class tough guy John Molina Jr in a junior welterweight scrap.

Not only are these big names, these are major, relevant matches, as well. Even more enticing is the fact that it's tough to pick a winner in either fight. Thurman is a knockout machine who appears to well be the future of boxing. The operative word here, however, is "appears." For Guerrero is an exceedingly skilled foe who has won titles in numerous weight divisions. Simply put, it's feasible to assume either man could score a knockout.

As for Broner, the brash, bold Cincinnati native seemed well on his way to being heir to Floyd Mayweather's throne when he was bested by Marcos Maidana in a brutal 2013 battle. Now the man who calls himself "The Problem" has moved down to junior welterweight where his speed, power and notable defense are likely to be more significant. The opponent he's up against, however, is a pure warrior.

For Molina waged such a war against Argentina's Lucas Matthysse last year that many, myself included, saw it as the greatest fight in all of 2014. Molina may not have been able to beat Matthysse, but he came so dangerously close that it's easy to see him upsetting Broner. Again, it's hard to be comfortable choosing either man to win.

Needless to say, NBC is going all out here. The peacock network hasn't run a major fight in primetime since Larry Holmes barely beat Carl "The Truth" Williams in a heavyweight title squeaker a full thirty years ago. Yet NBC clearly plans on making up for lost time. The legendary "Sugar" Ray Leonard will be on mic duty now, as will broadcast icons Al Michaels and Marv Albert. Throw in a Hans Zimmer score and you can see what a big deal it all is.

NBC isn't the only channel to be showcasing PBC (SpikeTV and BounceTV will also be showing PBC cards), yet the NBC flagship channel is going to be carrying this biggest cards this side of pay cable. And that may be what makes PBC a game changer. Fights of a caliber that fans used to have to pay to see will, as of this Saturday, be available to everyone with basic cable.

If that doesn't have the potential to bring boxing back in from the margins, it's hard to imagine many other things that can.