Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Appeal Of Mayweather-Pacquiao

All eyes are on Vegas this weekend, 

I've said it before and I'll say it again - the main draw of boxing is that it answers the question of who can beat who. The primary reason boxing has been so in decline recently is, in fact, because that question hasn't been answered due to promotional politics. Or, worse yet, because it was being answered unsatisfactorily by ringside judges.

Now, however, the world is tuned in once again to the fight game. Why? Because the Mayweather -Pacquiao bout is going to answer the biggest question in all of sports: Which superstar is best, Manny or Floyd? It's a question people have been asking for years. Even those who aren't fans of the sweet science have been curious.

Of course everyone's going to weigh in with an opinion now that the fight is mere days away. The truth, though, is that no one knows how Saturday is going to shake out. That's why the world is paying attention to this one. Floyd is favored, sure, but Manny is so good - so unorthodox and aggressive - that it's almost impossible to write him off.

Let's hope boxing offers more answers to intriguing questions of who's best (and in an effective way) after May 2nd. The sport needs the positive attention, after all.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Golden Boy Reportedly Readying To Take Al Haymon To Court

Sports Illustrated is reporting that Golden Boy Promotions is readying to go to court with Al Haymon. In the biggest week boxing has seen in a long, long time, it's very telling that this news has leaked out now.

According to SI,com, "the lawsuit alleges Haymon’s business practices are in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and California’s Unfair Competition laws." It's wise not to become melodramatic, and hyperbole should be avoided - but this could be a game changer.

For Haymon is thought by some to be the most powerful man in boxing. What's more, his Premiere Boxing Champions series - PBC - is airing or about to air on seemingly countless stations. If Haymon and his empire were to crumble, the free fights fans have been enjoying as of late might dry up.

Not that such a potentiality should keep the legal system from running it's course.

If Haymon has broken the law, after all, well then he has to face the consequences. It's worth noting, however,that Haymon hasn't been found guilty of anything. Indeed, he hasn't even been officially taken to court yet.

It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

Pacqiuao Shows Boxing's Positive Side

Boxing can take a real beating sometimes. People think it's immoral. People think it's distasteful. People think it isn't a real sport. Fortunately there are figures who emerge to prove that none of those things are true. Manny Pacquiao is one of those figures.

Here is man who literally lived in a hut, who literally went hungry as a kid, whose life was literally in danger when he was a youth. The sport of boxing has indeed saved the Filipino, and a whole lot of other people indirectly. For Manny, who earned a whopping two dollars for his first match, now gives a lot back - a whole lot back.

There's a reason the dude is so idolized.

He's also perfectly at ease with his profession. A devout Christian, he's personally told me he sees nothing ethically wrong with his job. That job, as far as Pacquiao is concerned, is getting the best of his fellow man - not killing him, not giving him brain damage - simply getting the best of him.

There is a lot of collateral damage in boxing - as there is in a lot of professions. Those professions aren't condemned out of hand, however. Gerald Washington, a rising heavyweight who once played in the NFL, told me that pro football is a lot more dangerous than pro boxing.

No one wants to condemn the NFL outright, however. People merely want the rugged sport of football to be as safe as possible. Why can't the same good will be shown towards boxing? Indeed it can be, when someone like Pacqauio is in the spotlight.

For Manny is a simple, humble man, someone who few, if any, would say isn't honorable. In fact, he's a nice counterpoint to a lot of today's athletes. I once spoke to the man in New York, where he was being very aggressively pursued by the media. Needless to say, Pacquiao was a lot more patient and polite with me than I myself might have been at that moment.

That's something that might be worth remembering - especially for those willing to write off the fight game entirely.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Wladimir Klitschko Raises Some Eyebrows In Victory Over Jennings

Saturday's fight may have some wondering

Heavyweight champ Wlakdimir Klitschko won on Saturday, as everyone thought he would. He didn't dominate like many, if not most, expected him to, however. Indeed, Bryant Jennings gave the man a fight. Oh, Klitschko won fair and square, no doubt about it. But he looked vulnerable, regardless.

While he's still the man in the heavyweight division, it may be time for serious fans to question if the Ukranian is truly the great we've been suspecting he might be. The other day I had an argument with a very intelligent fan who claimed Klitschko is the best heavyweight champ ever and that's all there is to it.

To even suggest Ali or Tyson might have a chance against Klitschko was just silly to this young man. Klitschko, after all, towers over both fighters and has a solid skill set. There was really nothing more to it, this fan argued.

Only we learned on Saturday there is more to it. Klitschko proved he can still be hit. He also proved that you can get in on him. Indeed, I easily imagined a prime Tyson attacking from the inside as I watched Saturday's bout. It wouldn't have been so easy for me to imagine that just twenty-four hours earlier.

Of course, it's important to be fair here. Klitschko may simply have had a bad night for himself. It happens. Holmes and Ali had some of those, after all. Even the greatest fighters are entitled to a few. Still, against an actual skilled fighter who employed movement, Klitschko didn't look quite so impressive on Saturday. The fact that the referee didn't have endless patience for holding didn't help matters for the champion, either.

While there's no doubt, Klitschko won decisively this weekend, the bout may have presented fans with more questions than answers.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Just How Good Is Wladimir Klitschko?

Just how good is Wladimir Klitschko, the one and - let's face it - only heavyweight champion of the world? Well, for starters, he's close to matching Joe Louis' record for longest title reign. That counts for something, right? Not to some people, actually.

The truth is that while Klitschko is enormously popular in Europe, he's not well regarded here. It isn't that he's hated. He just isn't thought about much. What's more, when he is, people don't view his skills in a positive light. Some, of course, argue that Americans just don't like Klitschko because he isn't American. Yet one look at Manny Pacquiao's popularity here in the states shoots down that theory.

The fact is that Klitschko was getting on Americans' radar about a  decade ago. He was a knockout king and some of us were getting excited for a superfight between he and heavyweight honcho Lennox Lewis. A crushing loss to Lamont Brewster, however, trashed people's high hopes for the man. And frankly, they never returned.

Even though Klitschko has fixed the flaws in his game plan since that time, he's fought largely in Europe, and against Europeans. Indeed, he's been completely off the radar. Perhaps more telling, however, is the fact that Klitschko learned to play it safe, to not put his chin on the line after tasting the canvas. In short, many Americans have found the man boring and unsatisfying to watch.

That all may change tonight when Klitschko gets it on with Philly's own Bryant Jennings in Madison Square Garden. Then again, it may not. It doesn't matter, though, at least not in the context of this article. What matters is how good Klitschko really is in the ring. Not how entertaining he is. Not how popular he is. How good he is.

And the truth is that he's very good indeed. Let's face it, there's no one out there who can beat him, save for a fluke. No one. That's saying something. Oh, people can argue that he's benefitting from a weak division, but the same was said of Louis and Marciano. Yet they're still remembered and Klitschko will be too at the rate he's going.

As far as where the man stacks up to the all time greats, I'm not so sure. He's big and talented, true, but could he beat Lewis? Or Tyson the night "Iron Mike" faced Michael Spinks? Or the slippery Cassius Clay who bested Sonny Liston? It's hard to say, frankly. I wouldn't completely write the man off, though.

And that, in and of itself, is saying something.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Roberto Garcia Rises Above A Dark Past - And Earns A Victory On PBC

Roberto Garcia's father was a tortured alcoholic who took Garcia's mother's life as well his own when Roberto was just a boy. From such a dark background, Garcia pushed himself. Rising through boxing's ranks, he landed a primetime bout on SpikeTV on Friday night, courtesy of Premiere Boxing Champions.

Garcia's opponent was Baltimore's James Stevenson. The location of the bout was America's windy city, Chicago. Wearing a large pair of rosary beads, Garcia bounced up and down as the two men met in the center of the ring.  It was about time to get swinging.

Stevenson sent Garcia to the mat in the first minute of the fight. Garcia didn't seem hurt, but it was a lively beginning to things, nonetheless. Garcia pursued Stevenson around the ring for the remainder of the round, while Stevenson tried to keep his distance.

The following rounds saw Stevenson again working to keep his space. Garcia, however, was able to land to the body. Yet Stevenson was faster and hit harder. It was clear that Garcia would have to dig hard in order to pull out a victory.

Garcia was nothing if not relentless, though. He simply wasn't going to be dominated. Although Stevenson was a better puncher, Garcia was the more aggressive puncher. It was one of those fights where it looked like the victory might rest on the personal tastes of the judges.

Regardless, Garcia's work ethic was hard to deny. Stevenson looked great in flashes, but Garcia plugged away, second after second, minute after minute, round after round. As the bell rang ending the eighth and final round it looked, perhaps, like Stevenson hadn't doing quite enough.

 The judges clearly agreed, for Garcia took the unanimous decision win. Stevenson just didn't show the necessary consistency, while Garcia was nothing if not consistent throughout the bout. Some people just know how to do what it takes to keep moving forward.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Why People Love Manny Pacquiao

Let's face it, people love Manny Pacquiao. They don't like the guy. They love him. Just love him. Part of the reason, of course, is that he's the arch rival of Floyd "Money" Mayweather,  a man who, on the surface of things at least, symbolizes hedonism and brashness. Yet there's more to Pacquiao than the fact that he's Floyd's counterpart.

What is it, then, about the man from General Santos City that draws people to him?

I would argue that it's the fact that Pacquiao strikes a balance. Sure, he's a buzzsaw in the ring, a guy who can literally land five punches before his opponent can get a shot off of his own, but, ironically enough, Pacquiao is also nice. What's more, he's open about the fact that he's nice.

In our super cool, super ironic culture, that takes some real courage. And people appreciate it. The fact that Pacquiao isn't afraid to smile, sing a love song or say he loves Jesus is refreshing to many individuals who've grown tired of the same old, same old.

And so it's that rare combination of sweetness and menace that makes Pacquiao so well liked. He's the good boy who can beat the bad boy's ass - and people appreciate it. Whether he can beat Floyd Mayweather is another story entirely. Most people "in the know" feel he can't. I won't be writing him off, however.

For the dude can fight. What's more, he can fight exceptionally well - perhaps even better than Mayweather does. But if he pulls it off on May 2nd, don't expect Pacquiao to gloat. He'll thank God, then Mayweather. Then he'll credit his bested foe for possessing incredible skill before having the good nature to say he's up for a rematch. And then Pacquiao will flash that goofy smile.

And then he'll be more popular than ever.  

Can Paul Smith Stun Andre Ward - And Everyone Else?

Will Paul Smith shake things up?

Marlon Starling.

That's who British super middleweight Paul Smith reminds me of - Marlon Starling.

Not that Smith looks or fights like the Hartford CT, 80s era champ. It's just that Smith is an experienced old hand who's going up one of the most lauded fighters in the world. Just like Starling was when he faced Mark Breland for the first time back in 87.

Breland, of course, was an up and comer, a man on his way to superstardom. It was said that the battle hardened Starling would prove a good "test" for the man. Nothing more. How stunned everyone was. Breland ended up getting knocked out and Starling shook the world.

Truth be told, no one expects such a thing to happen in the Smith-Ward match. But no one expected it to happen in the Starling-Breland match, either. Breland had all the skills, all the advantages. Starling had experience, but that was about it.

Like Smith, Starling also had a tendency to lose his most lauded bouts before entering the biggest match of his career. Yet he won. Will Smith? Most don't think so. But, as Starling could tell you, you can't write off an experienced vet. Even if your name is Breland.

Or Ward, for that matter.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Can Bryant Jennings Pull It Off On Saturday?

New York's Got A Fight On Its Hands This Weekend.

With May 2nd right around the corner, not a whole ton of press is headed in the direction of New York City, even though the heavyweight championship of the world will be battled for there. Yup, Philadelphia's own Bryant Jennings is going to take on international superman Wladimir for the big prize at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

I've been following Jenning's for a while now and have always been impressed, if not with his ring work, then with his work ethic. Seriously, the guy raised a kid, worked full time and trained his ass off for years. He's also been nice to speak to personally. What's not to like about the man - besides his chances this weekend?

It's true - things don't look good for my fellow American when he steps into the ring with the giant Ukranian, Klitschko (By the way, why is it now wrong for Americans to cheer on American fighters because they're American? When did THAT become the new thing for tisky people to tisk over?). The champ has that incredible reach, after all. Plus that punch. Man. He may not be explosive, but the dude knows how to turn on the lights.

Still, Jennings does have a shot here. I would hope he's studied fights like Dempsey's pummeling of Willard, or Baer's destruction of Canero, in order to see that huge dudes can, in fact, be beat. That might inspire him. Besides, Klitchko not only can be beaten, he's lost several times already. Heck, he himself openly admits to having a weak chin.

The problem, of course, is that - unlike in the past - enormous heavyweights can actually, you know, FIGHT these days. Seriously, that wasn't always the case. It is now, though, and a lot of the credit goes to the late, great Emanuel Steward. He not only trained Klitschko, he trained Lennox Lewis, as well. And those are the two who've brought about this era of supersized heavyweight domination.

As I said, though, Jennings can do it.

It just won't be easy. At all.

First, he's got to get under, around, or through that jab of the champion's. He's also got to avoid the man's howitzer-like punches and avoid getting tied up on the inside. Oh and Jennings has to land - well and with some frequency. If he can do all that, the guy from Philly can stun the world.

And people can tisk at cheering American fans all they want.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How Does Floyd Mayweather Stack Up To The Greats?

So now a lot of people are irked that Floyd Mayweather has declared himself better than such luminaries as Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson. That's understandable. Ali and Robinson are true icons, after all. The fact that they weren't undefeated, like Floyd currently is, almost ironically adds to their prestige. For here were men who knew how to come back from tough losses. The same can't be said of Floyd.

Still, I'm not so quick to write Mayweather off. Let's face it, the guy has earned the right to be considered one of the greatest ever, if not THE greatest. So, how good is Floyd, and - pound for pound - how does he stack up?

Let's start with Robinson. Frankly it may be tough to imagine Floyd beating the man. There was just something about Robinson - the way he was able throw numerous body shots in rapid fire fashion, the way he was able to last fifteen full rounds with incredible energy. Still, Floyd has proven himself to be incredibly disciplined in the ring. He also adapts well. Could he adapt to the endless energy and skill of the esteemed boxer-puncher? Perhaps not.

Then again, Floyd is more accurate and hits a lot harder than he's given credit for. Were he able to land clean when Robinson was going to the body with two fisted abandon...

As for Ali, it's almost hard to picture the heavyweight stepping into the ring with the welterweight Mayweather. Still, pound for pound and all things being equal, I think it all would come down to activity. Could Ali throw enough to beat "Money?" Fast as Ali was, I think Mayweather would have the edge.

Ali wouldn't be able to float like a butterfly against Mayweather. The question is: would he be able to sting like a bee? And if he could sting, how often would be able to?

Truth be told, there's other known legends who I believe could give Floyd real trouble. Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, Roy Jones Jr, Willie Pep and Pernell Whitaker all come to mind. Whether or not they could actually beat the man (or if he could actually beat them) will always be a matter of conjecture.

Perhaps what's important is the fact that Mayweather's name deserves to be mentioned alongside those other men's. That and the fact that he's got a real life challenge against another real life legend just weeks away.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Why The Canelo-Kirkland Match Is Truly Fan Friendly

Sit and enjoy - without coughing up a hundred bucks. 

I know, I know. Your mind is on Mayweather-Pacquiao. Why wouldn't it be? After all, the May 2nd matchup will be one of the few great superfights in boxing history. By superfights, I mean fights that actually impact the culture outside of boxing's traditional fan base. Yup, there's good reason to be hyped about this much hyped fight. Don't let the cynics discourage you.

There's another fight on the horizon, however, that's far more fan friendly. Indeed, as I've watched the promotion for this bout unroll, I've found myself wondering if the promotion for Mayweather-Pacquiao could have taken a few notes.

For the Canelo-Kirkland bout on May 9th, exactly one week after the Floyd-Manny showdown, is truly being promoted as a fan focused affair. For one thing, it's being held in a HUGE outlet, Minute Maid Park in Houston, to be exact.

Let's just say it's doubtful serious ticket issues will arise in the lead up to this event. For not only are the tickets for this bout affordable, there's apparently plenty of them available to the public. Yet the good parts of this promotion don't just end with the seating.

For here is a fight where the press is literally being asked to attend pre-bout events. Compare that to Mayweather-Pacquiao, where promoter Bob Arum abruptly ended a conference call because too many journalists were on hand. While it's undoubtedly true the overflow of writers and analysts was frustrating for those behind the bout, ending a professional call in a tantrum does not make for good PR.

Indeed, Arum went on to bitch and moan afterward about irrelevant smaller blogs and outlets. This very blog would probably fit Arum's definition of a pissant operation perfectly. Yet some of the PR folks behind Canelo-Kirkland asked if I'd be interested in going down to Texas for some of the promotional events, regardless.

See the difference?

It's not like Canelo-Kirkland is a dud of a match, either. Just you wait and see how packed Minute Maid Park is for this one. Throw in a free showing for HBO subscribers and you've got a hugely popular and relevant match on your hands.

Make no mistake about it, Canelo-Kirkland is no Mayweather-Pacquiao. It isn't trying to be, either. What it's trying to be is a bout that boxing lovers will truly appreciate. It isn't a pop culture event. It's a boxing match. And one well worth looking forward to, at that.

Promoter Oscar De La Hoya is doing this one right.

Algieri's Influence Helped Matthysse Beat Provodnikov

A certain New Yorker's work was influential in Saturday's fight

Long Island's Chris Algieri proved to have a pretty significant influence over Lucass Matthysse leading up to last Saturday's bout between the Argentine and Ruslan Provodnikov. For Matthysse openly admitted he studied Algieri's win over the Russian last year. Picking up things that Algieri did effectively in his bout with Provodnikov ended up helping Matthysse in the ring.

"He moved and gave him trouble," Matthysse said of Algieri. It proved to be a technique which worked for both men, For one of the key points to Matthysse's victory on Saturday was the man's ability to keep just out of range of Provodnikov's formidable attack. Although the extremely game Provodnikov was able to push Matthysse to the limit, Matthysse's superior skills ultimately made all the difference.

It will be interesting to see how Algieri's style matches up against his own next opponent, Amir Khan, or if Algieri will even have to alter his usual style for the bout. Khan is extremely fast, after all, perhaps even faster than Manny Pacquiao. With John David Jackson in Algieri's corner, a unique game plan may be in order.

As for Matthysse, he's undoubtedly going to take a much needed rest after Saturday's grueling affair. The man is unquestionably a hot commodity right now. Surely, he'll be hoping to make the most of his rejuvenated status within the junior welterweight division. Who knows what fighter the guy will end up studying next.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

In A Wild Weekend, Bud Crawford's Star Shines Brightest

It was some weekend for the sport of boxing. Lucas Matthysse showed just how good he is against a brutally game Ruslan Provodnikov while the once hugely popular Julio Caesar Chavez Jr was beaten to a halt by the determined Andrejz Fonfara. Yet it was one Terrence "Bud" Crawford who proved himself to be the most talented of the bunch.

Crawford stepped into a Texas ring on Saturday to face talented Puerto Rican fighter Thomas Dulorme. Already recognized as a true up and comer since having had what can only be considered a stunning 2014, Crawford was recognized by fans to be the favorite. Yet Dulorme had shown up to fight.

For it was indeed Dulorme who was the more active fighter in the early part of the bout. He wasn't doing great, but he was clearly earning himself some points. Crawford, on the other hand, appeared to be patient to the point of becoming inert.

Indeed, one had to wonder if the world was in for a replay of the previous week's Lamont Peterson-Danny Garcia fight, where a more active Garcia bested a more effective Peterson on points. Yet Crawford's patience payed off.

By the sixth, Bud found his mark, sending Dulorme to the mat not once, not twice, but three times; thus successfully putting an end to Dulorme's hope of an upset. If anyone who saw the bout wasn't convinced that Crawford was a man to be reckoned with, that person most likely never will be.

Matthysse was was impressive. Provodnikov was brave. Fonfara was powerful. But Crawford was simply brilliant. And even in the wildest of weekends, brilliance rises above most all other adjectives.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Will Trainer Marvin Somodio Be The Real Star Of The Provodnikov-Matthysse Bout?

So no, superstar trainer Freddie Roach will not be in Ruslan Provodnikov's corner when the Russian faces top notch junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse this weekend at New York's Turning Stone Casino. Roach, you see, is busy working on one Manny Pacquiao, a thoroughly obscure fighter who will be battling the equally obscure Floyd Mayweather in a quiet little event on May 2nd in Las Vegas, Nevada.

With that in mind, Roach's protege, Marvin Somodio, will be acting as Provodnikov's corner general for Saturday's bout. This is a big opportunity for Somodio, for all eyes will be on the Turning Stone for the Provodnikov-Matthysse matchup. If Provodnikov pulls it off, it will be a true feather in the Filipino trainer's hat.

Indeed, Somodio might be someone fans want to become familiar with. For if he learns well from his mentor, Roach, the future can be all his. Some of us remember a young Roach, after all, standing around with trainer extraordinaire Eddie Futch back in the 80s. Futch was Roach's mentor. And now Roach is arguably the top trainer in the sport.

Who's to say Somodio won't someday be a master corner man himself?

Truth be told, sometimes the marginal figures in boxing can be as impressive and colorful as the men and women who wear the gloves. Doc Kearns, Tex Rickard, Angelo Dundee, Emanuel Steward, Roger Mayweather, these are figures were (or still are) as prominent as the fighters they worked with. Will Somodio end up among that elite group? Saturday may offer some indication.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Miguel Cotto Thinks Canelo Alvarez and GGG Should Stand Patiently In Line - Behind Daniel Geale

It's doubtful Cotto's next fight will generate the excitement his last one did.

It's good to be middleweight champion of the world. It seems you can pretty much make career choices with impunity. Face a major star who wants to throw down? Nah. Go head on with the most feared individual in your division? When you get around to it.

Give Miguel Cotto this - he's not overly concerned what others think of him or his choices. After frustrating fans by forgoing potential bouts with Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, the legendary but aging slugger has decided to settle on Daniel Geale, who Golovkin mopped the floor with last summer.

Nothing against Geale, he's a talented guy and a game one, to boot. This is not the bout fans want to watch, however. It will be interesting to see how the ratings are for HBOs live broadcast of the fight on June 6th. Indeed, Cotto's recent comments are most likely not generating a whole lot of excitement for the throwdown.

"I had to wait sometimes in my career for my opportunities," the Puerto Rican legend said. "Canelo has to do the same. Golovkin has to do the same."

And there you have it.

"Just sit, be calm, and wait you turn," Cotto added.

Freddie Roach - Boxing's Greatest Trash Talker

I know, I know, Adrien Broner is boxing's reigning ruler of the obnoxious set. It's hard to argue that fact since I know of no one else who's flushed money - real or fake - down the toilet of a fast food joint. Still, outrageous as he is, Broner falls short in the trash talking category.

For the ruler of that particular realm is none other than trainer extraordinaire, Freddie Roach. Yup, the man who whispers in PacMan's ear can really talk some smack. And yeah, he's better at it than Broner. For Broner is cartoonish. Roach, on the other hand, says all sorts of things with seeming seriousness.

Here's a guy who really, REALLY wants to get in an opponent's head. That's why Roach has had so much to say about one Floyd Mayweather lately. While it may well be true that Roach feels "Money" is a bad influence for young people, or that Floyd really was ducking Pacquiao all those years, there's more at work here than Roach simply speaking his mind.

The one person Roach really wants to lend him an ear, however, is Mayweather himself. For Floyd is cool as ice in the ring. Seriously. The dude is unflappable. Any break in the emotion department, be it even a sliver, will be beneficial to team Pacquiao.

Truth be told, however, I don't see any of this frustrating Floyd in the least. He's heard it before. He'll hear it again. It's all a part of the business and he knows it. If Freddie were training Floyd instead of Manny, we'd all be hearing about what a decent guy Floyd is. Everyone knows it. You know. I know it. Floyd knows it.

And Freddie knows it, too. Not that he cares much.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cotto To Fight Geale - And Few Are Happy

How much things can change in a year.

It's amazing how much things can change over the course of a single year. Just twelve short months ago Miguel Cotto was considered a has-been who was making a last, feeble stab at greatness against a formidable and lauded middleweight champion.

In between then and now, Cotto shocked a lot of people by decimating that champion, Sergio Martinez, in a New York City blowout last June. The love appears to have been short lived, however, for Cotto has done a pretty good job aggravating fans since that time. 

First off, the guy has made it perfectly clear that he has no real interest in facing the fighter who many believe is the real dominant middleweight in the world today. That's right, it's Gennady Golovkin, not Miguel Cotto, who people see as the baddest dude in the middleweight division. The fact that Cotto appears unwilling to at least try to prove everyone wrong is indeed moving many the wrong way.

Then there's the Canelo Alvarez situation. The Mexican star and his promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, have proven to be more than willing to arrange a superfight between the two stars. That fight isn't happening, however, at least not at the moment. And if indications are correct, Cotto is the one to blame. 

Last but not least, there's the weight issue. Middleweights tend to fight at or around 160lbs. That's the standard weight for the division, after all. That doesn't matter to Cotto, however. Being a star (he seems to relish letting people know he's a star), he seems to pretty much get to fight at any weight he wants - while being recognized as a middleweight, nonetheless.

And, as if the public isn't annoyed enough, word comes out today that Cotto will now be facing Daniel Geale on the 71st Anniversary of D-Day. With all due respect to the talented Geale, that doesn't exactly seem like Normandy Beach heroics on Cotto's part. 

Oh well, at least this fight is being aired on HBO. And who knows, maybe Geale will be the one to surprise everyone this time around.  

Chris Algieri To Turn The Page By Facing Amir Khan

Looking ahead...destination unknown

Long Island's Chris Algieri may not have done all that great against Manny Pacquiao last fall, but the man is nothing if not persistent. Yup, here is a guy who just won't quit. Those who are yawning at this fight should keep in mind that Algieri's stock will go way, way back up if he pulls off the upset here.

The bout, which will be aired live on Spike TV as part of the successful Premiere Boxing Champions series, will go down May 29th at Brooklyn's Barclays Center. This is very good news for Algieri. For the fight will basically be held in his own back yard, and will appear on free primetime television, as well. Talk about a comeback.

This will be no walk in the part for the New Yorker, however. Don't listen to the naysayers, Khan is the real thing. The guy truly has the fastest hands in the division and he's learned from previous mistakes. That's something that can't be said for Algieri- at least not yet.

While many see Khan is man who's perpetually left at the Mayweather-Pacquiao alter, he's looking towards the future here. Once people are done snarkily rolling their eyes, they'll watch and then be impressed with the winner of this bout.

That means to the victor may well go a bright future. Manny and Floyd are the current kings of the world, true - but both men are aging, and time is the true undefeated champion of the fight game. With John David Jackson in his corner these days, Algieri will undoubtedly enter the ring well prepared.

Khan will, too, however. For the man is hungry. Very hungry.

Don't write this one off.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Floyd Mayweather's Open Workout Reveals Little - Except For a Great Taste In Music.

"It's great for the fans. It's great for the media. It's great for the different outlets."

So Floyd Mayweather claimed before engaging in a very public workout on Tuesday. The workout was supposed to begin at 4:00 PM Pacific Time. However, it really began almost a full two hours later.

That, my friends, was just Floyd being Floyd. Mayweather does things on his clock, after all. Not yours. Not mine. Not anyone else's. The guy likes making people wait, I believe. It's his way of asserting control.

"It's business as usual for us," said team Mayweather honcho Leonard Ellerbe of this training camp.


Things finally started with Floyd doing mitt work with longtime team member, uncle Roger. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Floyd and his uncle tapped away. Floyd ducked some swings. Roger did some behind the back work.

"Money" then moved on to hitting the body mitt. Afterward, he literally ran to a heavy bag while music from a Tarantino soundtrack blared.

After a minute, a new pair of gloves were slipped onto the pound for pound great...and he began thumping away. Sure, Floyd worked it like a pro, but it was nothing too impressive.

"He's dialing it back a little bit for us, I think." Showtime broadcaster Kieran Mulvaney told the audience. And that was the big story from this workout. Money wasn't showing his hand. He wasn't giving anything away.

There was little Freddie Roach and team Pacquiao could take away from the whole affair, other than the fact that Floyd seems to have great taste in music. Seriously, the music was incredible.

The Mary Jane Girls "All night Long," Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall," Hall and Oates' "Maneater," these songs may not have made for the greatest workout soundtrack ever. But they definitely made for the coolest one.

Take that, Survivor.

Truth be told, the workout, like all workouts, was somewhat redundant (aside from Floyd mastering the speed bag). Training, after all, is the hard grind which leads to success. There ultimately isn't a whole lot thrilling about it - unless you're watching a "Rocky" movie.

There was one thing, however, that would have been interesting to see. Floyd's been employing swimming as part of his regimen. How interesting it would have been to see the man working in the pool.

"Water tells the truth about a person," strength and conditioning man Alex Ariza claimed. It would have been nice to see that sliver of truth on Tuesday. Yet Mayweather's a pro...and there was no way he was going to reveal his secrets.

Kathy Duva (And Sergey Kovalev) Walk Away From Kovalev-Stevenson Purse Bid

A short time ago, when the WBC ordered it's light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson to  face Sergey Kovalev later this year, not everyone was thrilled with the Council's decision. Why, some wondered, was the Council ordering a bout when it was clear Kovalev had a mandatory title defense ahead of him? Was that really the way things should be done?

Clearly Kathy Duva, the head honcho of Main Events Promotions, doesn't think so. For she's essentially pulled Kovalev out of a purse bid for the proposed Stevenson bout which was supposed to go down in Mexico. That means hopes for a title unifier between Kovalev and fellow light heavyweight champ Stevenson have been crushed yet again.

Yet I'm not about to point the finger at Duva. Let's not forget that it was Duva who was expecting Stevenson to face Kovalev last year and that Stevenson walked away from the deal. Just because the WBC has now decided Stevenson and Kovalev need to fight doesn't mean Duva suddenly needs to drop all plans and loyalties.

Indeed, Kovalev is an HBO fighter. A purse bid could possibly lead the man to breaking his contract with that network. Could HBO have simply outbid all competitors for the bout? Sure. It most likely wasn't evident that the cable outlet would do that, however, so Duva did what she had to. She's Kovalev's promoter, after all.

It's also worth asking whether or not Stevenson would have given up his WBC strap rather than face Kovalev. He clearly hasn't been all that keen on facing the man in the past, after all. With PBC having downplayed belt ownership already, is the fighter known as "Superman" really that interested in being the WBCs man at light heavyweight?

Eddie Hearn Makes It Clear Guillermo Rigondeaux Is Too Good To Be Bothered With

Urgent Memo: avoid Guillermo Rigondeaux by any means necessary.

Eddie Hearn is doing his best as a promoter to keep his fighter, Scott Quigg, away from Guillermo Rigondeaux. Like many who fear the talented Cuban, Hearn claims that Rigondeaux simply isn't popular or lucrative enough for his man to face in the ring.

So, who does Hearn want Quigg to face instead of Rigo?

Why, Nonito Donaire, of course! After all, Donaire is popular. What's more, a fight between he and Quigg might prove to be quite lucrative. There's also the fact that Donaire is no Rigondeaux.

Indeed, Hearn is quite open about his Rigo aversion. Speaking of his choice of Donaire over the Cuban slickster, Hearn couldn't be more clear about where his mind is.

"It's easier," he's quoted as saying of a Donaire fight.

And so there you have it. Guillermo Rigondeaux is now considered too good for the most popular and talented competition to face. Such men will simply work around him.

Nice. Real nice.

Of course, Hearn admitted that Rigo can't be avoided indefinitely.

"I think in time you've got no choice but to fight him," he says.

Don't worry, Eddie. Maybe Rigondeaux will age quickly. Or retire. Or become a monk. Or...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Can Floyd Mayweather Withstand Manny Pacquiao's Offense?

Yup, the fight of this young century is almost here. Time to stop cheering the fact that it's been made and time to start thinking about what exactly will go down when Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao finally get it on in the ring.

The smart money here is on Floyd. Smart doesn't mean infallible, however. Truth be told, I give Manny the edge. Why? Because of the strange angles Manny attacks his opponents at, because of his speed and because he's apt to throw at least twice as many shots as Floyd will at a clip.

Don't get me wrong, Floyd is bigger, stronger and more accurate. He also hits much harder than he's given credit for, and - perhaps most importantly - remains cool as a cucumber at all times. Still, I have a hard time seeing Floyd dominate Manny the way he has so many previous opponents.

What I can see, however, is Floyd knocking Manny out. Believe it. Again, Floyd is accurate and has a harder punch than his reputation might have you think. What's more, Manny gets hit. A lot. The ferocious warrior takes a whole lot of chances in the ring and Juan Manuel Marquez showed what can happen to Manny when one of those chances backfires.

That being said, Floyd can't walk in on May 2nd expecting a knockout victory. That might be the worst strategy in the history of major fights. What Floyd has to do is walk in ready for the buzzsaw which is Pacquiao. And by ready, I mean really ready, not ready the way Chris Algieri and Brandon Rios were. I mean ready to face one of the most successfully aggressive fighters in all of recorded history.

It's a tall order, to be sure. If anyone can pull it off, however, it's the man they call "Money."

Can Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. Wipe the Slate Clean This Saturday?

His name is synonymous with all that's wrong with contemporary boxing. Lazy, arrogant, entitled, unserious and unprofessional are all words fans have been apt to call Julio Caesar Chavez Jr over the past several years. Indeed, the son of  boxing legend Julio Caesar Chavez has gone from boxing royalty to boxing punchline.

But what if all that's about to change?

Sure, the younger Chavez has shown signs of being a troubled kid, but kids grow up. Even overgrown kids eventually do sometimes. They become mature, responsible and serious. They shed the shackles of their Augustinian youths and move on to more laudable endeavors.

What happens if that's the case with Chavez Jr? What if the young Mexican steps into the ring in California on Saturday and does to the rugged and talented Andrzej Fonfara what Adonis Stevenson simply wasn't able to do when he fought Fonfara last year?

What, in short, will happen if Chavez looks GOOD this weekend?

For starters, I think the criticism will dry up considerably. That's the thing with boxing. Fighters are generally one profound act away to improving their reputations. No one's accusing Floyd Mayweather of being a ducker anymore. What's more, Robert Duran ceased being called a quitter after redeeming himself in a hard fought loss to Marvin Hagler.

Boxing is simply one of those endeavors that has a way of wiping the slate clean.  It's one of the things that makes the sport a truly noble endeavor. Will Chavez Jr. wipe his own slate clean on Saturday? I personally hope so. The Twitter mob can be far more harmful than any opponent in the ring, after all.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Garcia's Decision Win Against Lamont Peterson Suggests Boxing Will Remain A Marginalized Sport

"He just didn't do enough in those early rounds."

Variations of that statement have been floating around the internet since Lamont Peterson lost a close decision on Saturday to Danny Garcia, a man he had clearly beaten up. One look at both fighter's faces after the final bell told viewers all they needed to know. Peterson's face looked to be blemish free, Garcia's face looked like raw sausage.

Yet Garcia got the victory - and the majority of boxing's fans who have subsequently taken to the internet seem to be supporting the judge's decision. For Peterson spent the first portion of the bout avoiding and flustering Garcia. While Garcia was clearly having a hard time of it, the Philadelphia native was indeed moving forward and landing the occasional shot.

The fact that Peterson went on to dominate, and to literally rearrange Garcia's appearance, proved to be irrelevant, both to the judges and to the seeming majority of boxing's closest followers. Yet it's hard to imagine the casual viewer who happened upon Saturday's NBC broadcast sharing in those sentiments - a least the casual viewer who saw the entire bout.

For boxing matches are still called "fights"...and there's no doubt Peterson, not Garcia, was the better fighter on Saturday. Peterson beat Garcia up, plain and simple. To the average viewer, who NBC and powerful boxing adviser Al Haymon are hoping to woo with these live broadcasts, the niceties of professional scoring probably don't count for much.

And that's not good for boxing. The sport's power players have been trying to bring the sweet science back from the margins for years. And now that Floyd Mayweather is facing Manny Pacquiao in a May superfight, it appears there may be a real chance for boxing to return to the mainstream American consciousness.

It might not stay there for long, however, if Saturday's decision is any indication of what the general public has in store for it. Most viewers likely won't understand how a battered Garcia could get the nod over someone like the dominant Peterson - and most might not stay interested in the sport long enough to find out.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Popular Boxer Danny Garcia Wins Decision Over Less Popular Opponent

Would Danny have won if he weren't Danny? 

He looked pretty beat up and, man, was he getting tagged at the end of the bout, but no matter. Danny Garcia won a decision over less popular boxer Lamont Peterson on Saturday night and that's all there is to it.

Undoubtedly most are happy.

To be sure, Peterson spent far too much time avoiding Garcia and not enough time throwing punches throughout the first half of the bout. When push came to shove, however, it was Peterson who landed the more effective shots and who controlled the ring. Plus he downright beat Garcia up in the last portion of  the fight.

Again, though, it didn't matter. For Danny won.

I'm not sure I'd want to face Danny Garcia if I were a welterweight fighter at the moment. For the guy has heart and a good chin...and if you can't knock him out, I suspect the judges are going to rule against you no matter how dominant you may be. Danny's a popular fighter, after all. Twitter was loaded with approving nods after the decision went his way on Saturday.

So there's that.

There's also the fact that this fight with Peterson is worth a second look. Perhaps Garcia's beat up face shouldn't matter. Perhaps the fact that he spent what seemed like a good amount of time swinging at air shouldn't matter. Perhaps a lot of things shouldn't matter.

And let's face it, in the end they don't matter. For Danny Garcia won a decision over less popular boxer Lamont Peterson on Saturday night and that's all there is to it.

Undoubtedly most are happy.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Why Isn't Kell Brook Fighting Brandon Rios?

Brook's chosen to fight someone from across the pond.

Kell Brook looked pretty great against Jo Jo Dan a few weeks ago. He also talked pretty great after the match by expressing a willingness to face all sorts of big names. One of those names, of course, was Brandon Rios.

Needless to say, Rios jumped at such an opportunity and loudly proclaimed to anyone who would listen or read his tweets that he was ready to take the talented Brook on - even in Brook's home country of England if need be.

Great stuff, right? The thought of the rising Brook facing the hardened and rejuvenated Rios was exciting. Rios knew it. Brook did, too. Why, then, has it been announced that Brook will be facing Frankie Gavin in his next bout instead of Rios?

Again, Rios made it more than clear that he was ready to throw down. What's more, it was Brook who mentioned Rios by name just weeks ago. So what gives? Is a Gavin fight simply more lucrative in England? Were there talks between the Rios and Brook camps that just fell through? Was Brook merely talking smack? Or does he see Gavin as a kind of tune up?

Inquiring minds want to know. And deserve to know.

Truth be told there's too much talk in boxing these days and not enough proactive behavior. Stevenson says he wants Kovaelv. Santa Cruz and Frampton say they're willing to fight Rigo. Meanwhile those fights don't get made.

Make no mistake about it, I like Kell Brook. I was sounding the alarm here in the states before he ever came to fight Shawn Porter. I think he's a hungry, talented, brave guy. That's why I believe an explanation is clearly in order here.

Despite what some may say, talk isn't always cheap. It certainly can be, however. And when it appears to be it should be explained.

So...what gives here?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

It's Time For Top Fighters To Stop Avoiding Guillermo Rigondeaux

So there's been a lot of chatter this week about English fighter Scott Quigg facing Irish fighter Carl Frampton. Both are extremely good boxers who attract a lot of attention. But guess what? Neither man is the best in his division. What's more, neither man has shown any real interest in FACING the best in the division.

Why? Because the absolute best super bantamweight in the world is one Guillermo Rigondeaux. And Rigo is a great fighter. The chances of either Quigg or Frampton beating the Cuban slickster aren't that great so it's understandable why both men might be wary of facing the guy. Still, this is boxing we're discussing here - and boxing is a sport.

Waiting around for Rigo to age just enough to get caught by a solid shot simply doesn't pass the smell test. Nor does arguing about how boring the guy is. His matches may not always be thrilling but his KO percentage is higher than many may at first think.

What's more, arguing that Rigo's not a lucrative enough opponent only goes so far. Again, boxing is a sport. The idea of cancelling the World Series simply because both teams are small market clubs would be scoffed at. So why is the avoidance of titlists and dominant peers so acceptable in boxing?

Because the fans allow it to be. The fact that Leo Santa Cruz isn't fighting Rigo is laughable. The fact that Quigg and Frampton might well follow Santa Cruz' lead is just sad.

And unsportsmanlike.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Can John David Jackson Elevate Chris Algieri's Game?

Some people find a way to rise above the dark clouds in life

Okay, so everyone's had their fun laughing over Chris Algeiri's corner during last November's disastrous bout against Manny Pacquiao in Macao. It's time to move on, folks. People make mistakes. Sometimes very embarrassing ones. Yet they move on - and sometimes those bad moments even end up being long forgotten over time.

Remember Joe Biden's plagiarism scandal during the 1988 Democratic Party Presidential Primaries? Didn't think so. You get my point, then.

The truth is that Algieri has altered his camp a bit so now Mr. John David Jackson is at the helm. You may not have known who Jackson was a year ago, but if you've been following the career trajectory of one Sergey Kovalev, you probably know exactly who he is now.

For it was Jackson who led Kovalev to his brilliant - and I mean brilliant - victory over the legendary Bernard Hopkins last fall. Who would ever have thought the Russian could best "The Alien" through the use of strength and distance? Jackson did. That's why, for my money, he deserved to be up for trainer of the year in 2014.

Yup, Jackson's good. Make no mistake about it. That's one of the reasons why it's wise to continue to give Algieri serious attention. Algieri may never have been able to best Pacquiao in China, but one gets the impression it would have been a much closer fight if Jackson had been in command of the Algieri war room. For "champion lifestyle" would have been combined with "champion strategy."

Again, that probably still wouldn't have done the trick - but the Long Island native would have looked a whole lot better in the ring that evening. And chances are, Algieri will look a whole lot better the next time he's in action.

Word is a bout with Amir Khan looms on the horizon. Fans don't seem too happy about it, but I'm not willing to write it off as a dud. Khan's is a vastly under-rated talent, as far as I'm concerned. And Algeiri? Well, with Jackson in his corner, he may be let of the cage for real this time.

And, if you step back and think about it, that's no joke.

Seanie Monaghan To Have A Staring Role In Top Rank's Televised Card

A certain New Yorker is moving on up.

Seanie Monaghan, the rising light heavyweight from Long Island, is in the news today - and the news is good. For the man with fifteen knockouts on his record is about to take on former Olympian Cleiton Conceicao. Needless to say, this is big news indeed for the popular New Yorker.

For the bout will appear live on truTV this May 8th as part of its Main Events broadcast. Monaghan is already highly ranked and has a strong fan base. This kind of exposure can only help matters for the man from Long Beach.

Indeed, Monaghan has an exciting style that fans will take to. He's been presented well to the public and, with this extra exposure, has a real chance to broaden awareness considerably. That's important because right now the light heavyweight division is in a golden era, the likes of which haven't been seen since guys like Spinks and Qawi ruled the division.

The question now is, can Monaghan beat Conceicao? The Brazilian certainly didn't look good when he was crushed by Victor Ramierez last July in the fourth round, but he came back in impressive fashion to stop Nei Andrade de Lima in the first this past February. Let's just say Monaghan won't be the only one entering the ring on May 8th knowing what's at stake.

The card will be aired from the Prudential Center in Newark and will also feature Jersey native Glen Tapia, who will be fighting in his own backyard. Newark is relatively close to Monaghan's Long Island back yard, however, which means the man gets to stay close to home as he climbs further up the ladder.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Does Danny Garcia Get Preferential Treatment?

Sometimes, one just has to wonder.

With just days to go before he steps into the ring with fellow junior welterweight Lamont Peterson, Danny Garcia probably has a lot to pleased with. He appears to be something of a crown jewel in adviser Al Haymon's collection of notable fighters, after all.

For he's been promoted well, he's been matched to his advantage (excessively so) in the recent past, he's arguably gotten a controversial nod (against Mauricio Herrera) and now he doesn't even  need to make weight in order to fight Peterson on Saturday.

Oh, and lets not forget that Garcia's titles aren't at risk either. The IBF has reported that it will strip Peterson of his version of the junior welterweight championship should he lose on Saturday. As of this writing, I've learned of no such judgments from  the WBA and WBC, whose respective junior welterweight belts Garcia holds.

So yeah, it's safe to at least wonder aloud if Garcia is getting the favorite son treatment. Another unsettling question, however, is whether or not Garcia will get preferential treatment on Saturday.

If all goes well, the Garcia-Peterson bout will be a top level affair, with both men showcasing their considerable skill set. Say what you will about Garcia, the kid from Philly is nothing if not talented. Then again, so is Washington DC's own Peterson.

Hopefully the conclusion of Saturday's bout, which will be aired live on network television, will be definitive and non-controversial. For if Garcia somehow gets all the good calls from the ref or receives another decision of the Mauricio Herrera variety, the questions will continue being asked - only in a louder tone.

That won't be good for boxing - and it won't be good for Garcia, either. In fairness, it's worth noting that there's no evidence out there indicating such things will happen. Hopefully fans will have nothing to worry about when all is said and done.

Monday Update:

Well, it seems fans had something to worry about, after all. For Garcia won what many feel was a gift decision over Peterson on Saturday. Peterson mastered Garcia in the ring, no doubt, but Garcia's more or less ineffective aggression was apparently enough for the judges. It was a close fight, true, yet it was clear who the better fighter was.

And so we beat on...

Why Keith Thurman Epitomizes the Up-And-Comer

Keith "One Time" Thurman wants to fight again very soon. Just how soon? How's early summer - or even the late spring - sound? Oh, he's made it clear that he's willing to be patient, but only for guys who can give him a challenge. And what kind of guys are those?

Guys named Brook. Or Bradley. Or Maidana. Or Berto. But especially Brook. Make no mistake about it, Keith Thurman epitomizes the up-and-comer, a young man willing to get it on with the best to prove he's the best. In a sense, Thurman's the opposite of Leo Santa Cruz, a man who, nice as he is (and, trust me, Santa Cruz is pretty nice) just doesn't appear to be interested in challenging himself now that he's achieved a certain level of success.

What's more, Thurman is a character. He's as apt to go out and play what looks like a woodwind instrument as he is to bust someone in the ring. He's also extremely loyal to the memory of his late mentor, Ben Getty - so much so that it's reminiscent of Tyson and Cus D'Amato. In other words, the dangerous welterweight has a personality to match his talent.

The question of where Thurman will stand after the dust settles in the Wild West show that is now the welterweight division remains to be seen. Yet it's a question Thurman himself is as eager to find the answer to as anyone else. And that's what makes the dude exciting.

Truth be told, I don't know how Thurman would end up against the likes of Tim Bradley or Kell Brook. That's no knock on Thurman, by the way. It's high praise for how good the division is right now. Having said that, I wouldn't be surprised if One Time bested either or both men. He's just a promising contender, no two ways about it.

The good, or bad, news for Thurman is that he appears to be fighting in the dawn of a golden age for boxing. Let's face it, things are looking good for the fight game right now. To say the sport may well be starting a great new era for itself isn't hyperbole.

What all that means, however, is that Thurman will either end up being Ray Leonard or Ernie Shavers. Leonard, after all, rose to the top (albeit controversially) of a Hall of Fame heap. Shavers, on the other hand, had the misfortune of being an A-list heavyweight in an A-plus era. Shavers is still remembered fondly, however.

And, the way things are going, people are going to remember Thurman, as well.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Khan, Algieri, Bradley, Brook, And A Whole Lot Of Chaos

There's a lot to ponder here.

While the world waits eagerly for Manny and Floyd to step inside the ring on May 2nd, another battle is heating up in the welterweight division. Unlike the Mayweather-Pacquiao scrap, however, this fight isn't going down in a ring. It's going down in court - the court of public opinion. And, needless to say, it's all a bit confusing.

Let's start of with Amir Khan, an extremely talented Brit who has been longing for a major bout. With Manny and Floyd fighting each other, and Miguel Cotto focusing his attention elsewhere (and with Roc Nation Sports), the man has yet again been left to look for less lucrative matches.

Fellow Englishman Kell Brook is obviously dying for a match with Khan, however, as it would be an enormous deal across the pond, as well as being internationally relevant and, well, interesting. Yet Khan doesn't seem to have been biting, arguing that it's unfeasible for him to get into the ring with Brook just yet.

So Khan has gone and declared his next opponent will be the talented Chris Algieri, who lost a one sided battle to Pacquiao last autumn, but who still possess a significant New York fan base and who, to this writer's mind, still has a potentially bright future to look forward to, as well. Unfortunately for both men, however, no one seems to want this fight to happen.

That probably has more to do with the potential excitement factor than it does with anything else.

Fans would, for instance, most likely tune in to see a PBC card where Khan fought Keith Thurman and Algieri battled, say, Adrien Broner. For those would be unique matchups. Khan-Algieri, on the other hand, just doesn't seem to promise a whole lot of excitement. Again, it's not either man the fans don't like, it's the stylistic combination of the two.

So no one's particularly happy with idea of Khan facing Algieri. To make matters worse for Khan, however, the name of the formidable Timothy Bradley has now entered into the mix. For the IBF has apparently claimed it presented a potential Khan-Bradley elimantor and that Khan ignored them. Khan, needless to say, argues otherwise.

To argue that this is descending into chaos may be an overstatement, but it can't possibly make anyone involved too happy at the moment. Of course, I have an idea which might solve everyone's problems, an idea which will undoubtedly never come to fruition.

Why not have Khan face Thurman while Algieri drops down to face Broner and Brook defends his title against Brandon Rios? Heck, throw in the Bradley-Cornelius Bundrage fight we've been hearing about and you've got yourself a decent card.

Like I said, though, it will never happen. It's better for people to point accusing fingers at others, after all.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Is Kathy Duva Right About Adonis Stevenson?

Will we ever know the answer? 

So sure, Adonis Stevenson won against Sakio Bika in Canada this weekend in dominant fashion. Take nothing from "Superman." The guy's good. He's strong, he hits hard, he's certainly not slow and he knows how to control the ring.

Just how good is he, however?

Kathy Duva has made it clear that she thinks Stevenson's not all that great, that he's apt to lose sooner or later, be it against her fighter Sergey Kovalev or against another, less heralded opponent. Could this be true?

Let's think about that.

Stevenson, after all, tends to get hit. Sure, Kovalev gets hit, too, but not like Stevenson does. Bika walloped him on numerous occasions, after all. Indeed, it was hard not to imagine how things would have turned out had it been Kovalev - or even Jean Pascal - firing those rights at Stevenson this weekend.

On the other hand, Stevenson does have that incredible power. It's hard to forget about what he did to Chad Dawson a while back, actually. It's also good to keep in mind that Stevenson has battled the likes of Travoris Cloud and Tony Bellew, as well. Those guys weren't exactly jokes.

Yet it's hard to get over the fact that Stevenson had such a hard time last year against Andrzej Fonfara. It's also worth noting that Stevenson looked like he might be running out of fuel a few times this weekend against Bika. The look on a fighter's face in the heat of combat can be a very easy thing to read.

So, is Duva right? Is Stevenson just not as great as he's been cracked up to be?

Perhaps we should take Kovalev out of the equation entirely in order to figure this one out. Kovalev, after all, appears at least to be on his way to becoming an all time great. Although I'm sure there are some who would favor Stevenson should the two ever meet, the odds not would most likely be in Kovalev's favor.

Let's forget about Kovalev for a moment, then. What kind of champion would Stevenson be considered if Kovalev had decided to attend medical school rather than the University of John David Jackson? How would he hold up against the Pascals, and Hopkins of the division?

The truth is, we don't know because he's never fought any of those guys. Never mind how good Stevenson looks stacked up against Kovalev. No one knows how good he looks stacked up against the other top names in his division.

Only Stevenson himself can prove Duva wrong. The question now is - does he want to?

PBC Delivers On CBS

Saturday offered fans some good television

Let's face it, it's great to have boxing back on Saturday afternoons. This is the sort of thing that, believe it or not, will bring back the sport from the margins. With all due respect to Floyd and Manny, they may only hold the general public's attention for a short period of time. A successful weekend sports program, however, can have a lasting effect.

Saturday afternoon's Premiere Boxing Champions card on CBS showed how it's done right. First and foremost, it had solid fights (at least on paper). What's more, it had a great team (Kevin Harlan, Paulie Malignaggi, Virgil Hunter) and good production values.

To the fights: Artur Beterbiev showed why he's a light heavyweight force to be reckoned with by destroying, and I mean destroying, crafty vet Gabriel Campillo within the first twelve minutes of their bout.

Here, folks, is someone to keep an eye on.

After replaying part of one of the card's untelevised bouts, it was time for the main event. Ignoring recent criticism, Adonis Stevenson came out with a red cape and posing like Christopher Reeve while John William's "Superman" theme blared across the Canadian auditorium. It was fun stuff,and was hopefully a taste of things to come.

Stevenson's opponent, the talented Sakio Bika, had moved up in weight for the bout and had expressed a great deal of confidence walking in. The first round was a feeling-out affair. Bika stayed in Stevenson's face, but Stevenson's punches were hard and thudding.

Bika nailed Stevenson with a left hook in the second, but Stevenson held strong. Yet Stevenson also appeared to be looking for the knockout at the expense of all else. He hurt Bika later in the round, but Bika was able to survive. It was a close one to call.

As the fight progressed, it was Stevenson's superior strength that told the tale. Simply put, Stevenson's punches were such that they allowed him to score more than his foe. Whereas Bika should have been moving in, Stevenson's power was able to keep him at bay.

Bika and Stevenson both went down in a tangled web in the fifth. It wasn't ruled a knockdown however, and Stevenson soon took to showboating - Anderson Silva style - while pounding at his man. Bika went down - maybe - at the end of the sixth. Things had clearly entered into a kind of pattern.

Or had they? The seventh ended with a solid Bika right. Was the tide about to turn?

No it wasn't. A savage shot put Bika on his rear three rounds later, in the ninth. Bika survived the round and indeed showed great heart by fight's end, but Stevenson was simply too strong and talented. He won a fair and square unanimous decision.

Is Stevenson too strong and talented for rival champ Sergey Kovalev, however? Thats a question fans want answered.

That's for another time, however. Right now CBS and PBC can sit back and breathe a sigh of relief. For they delivered an impressive performance.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Willie Monroe Jr - From Friday Night Fights To Gennady Golovkin

Golovkin's next opponent didn't just walk in off the street

One of the things I'm going to miss the most about ESPNs Friday Night Fights is the fact that I knew I might be seeing a star of tomorrow when I watched the cards on a Friday night. Ruslan Povodnikov. Chris Algieri. These are two recent FNF grads who have moved on to far bigger things. The latest is middleweight Willie Monroe Jr.

I really enjoyed watching the guy win last year's Boxcino Tournament on FNF. Not only was he fast and talented, he was gracious in victory - something that's not as common as it should be. Now, Monroe has really reached the big time. Needless to say, it's dangerous at the top.

For this May, the former FNF star will be facing none other than ferocious title holder Gennady Golovkin. Oh, Miguel Cotto may be the lineal middleweight champ at the moment, but everyone knows who the man may well be at 160, even perhaps Cotto himself.

Some will claim that's why Monroe has his shot this spring...because no one else wants to face a man whose knocked out almost one hundred percent of his opponents. Their loss may be Monroe's gain, however. Although the odds are clearly against the man, Monroe is no mere tuneup. He's a guy who can box and box well.

In short, he's the best available opponent to face the feared Golovkin - and that's saying something.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: FNF does it right. Enjoy it while you still can.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

PBC's "Corner To Corner" Returns

There's definitely some good stuff on tv for fight fans lately

Premiere Boxing Champions' "Corner to Corner" returns tonight to focus the spotlight on the four men doing battle April 11th on NBC's flagship station in primetime. Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson, Andy Lee and Peter Quillin will all be featured.

PBC did a good job with it's first C-to-C episode, which featured Keith Thurman, Robert Guerrero, Adrien Broner and John Molina, so I'm confident tonight's episode will deliver the proverbial goods, as well. Truth be told, shows like this are important if boxing is to branch out from the margins in which it's found itself in the past decade or so.

As a kid, my favorite fighters were often the ones I saw on network television during the weekends. Not only did I get to know their respective styles, I got to know their personalities. Styles may make fights but personalities make fan bases. Part of the allure for Ali, for instance, was that he was, well, Ali.

Truth be told, none of the four men featured tonight come across as particularly offensive, which is a good thing for PBC and its network hosts. Quillin is quite likeable to listen to, for instance, and Peterson has a back story straight out of Charles Dickens.

While the world awaits Mayweather-Pacquiao in May, there's plenty of good matches to behold in the interval. Two of them will feature players which will be highlighted in tonight's episode. Needless to say, it's a good time to be a fight fan.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Brandon Rios Eager To Fight Kell Brook

Rios calls out to Brook across the pond for a throwdown.

Last weekend, after his brilliant victory over Jo Jo Dan, Kell Brook made it clear he was willing to fight pretty much anyone out there. Fellow Englishman Amir Khan came up, of course, but the name of a particular Oxnard, California fighter came up, as well.

Yup, Brook called out Brandon Rios. And Rios has responded with a clear affirmative. On Twitter this week the man known as "Bam Bam" not only expressed his willingness to fight the talented "Special K," he went out and pushed for it.

"Let's make this fight happen man," Rios Tweeted to Brook in the very early hours this morning.

What makes this whole thing so intriguing is the fact that Brook clearly wants to fight again soon, word is out that he may even want to get in the ring again this spring. With Khan apparently looking to get it on with Chris Algieri or someone not named Brook at the moment, Rios seems like a pretty good option.

He may have been bested by Pacquiao in 2013, but Rios always comes to fight. What's more, he looked magnificent in his third go round with Mike Alvarado this year. Sure, Alvarado clearly wasn't his best that night - but that's Alvarado's fault, and it takes nothing from Rios' performance.

That being said, Brook is truly a fighter on the rise. His strength, impressive straight punches and formidable defense make him a dangerous foe for anyone. Rios would undoubtedly love to play the spoiler, though. Besides, this would promise to be a fun fight. Both men like entertaining fans and rarely, if ever, put on anything less than a good show.

There are lots of interesting fights out there in this banner 2015. That doesn't mean there isn't room for another one.