Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Weekend Roundup

There's worse jobs to have than one which requires you to watch boxing.

So much for this being a dull boxing weekend. There was interesting stuff afoot, my friends. Let's start with Friday night's Khan-Algieri card at the Barclays Center down the road from me a bit in Brooklyn, New York.

Admit it, people weren't excited about this one. Indeed, I saw a lot of people outright mocking the event. Who, I ask, is laughing now? I'm guessing it's probably  Chris Algieri. He lost to Khan, but gained a whole slew of admiration and respect for his effort. We'll get to him later.

First, let's talk about the initial televised scrap of the evening. Analysts may have loved the Javier Fortuna-Brian Vasquez junior welterweight scrap, but I was a bit put off by it. Fortuna, the winner by decision and WBA champ, seems like a decent guy, but his looping punches bother me. Hooks are great. Roundhouses, on the other hand, are for Popeye.

Next up came the main event. Let me be blunt here: Amir Khan is not a second rater like so many seem to think. He's one of the top fighters out there and should be taken seriously. Want proof? Watch this fight as soon as possible and see how he adjusts to a very formidable Chris Algieri.

What's that you say? Chris Algeiri is a joke? Now you REALLY need to watch this fight. For this was a new, VASTLY improved Algieri, one the other big guns at welterweight would be well advised to keep a wary eye on.

Khan, however, handled the attacking Long Islander with the kind of skill that only a high level fighter could have in his arsenal. The Englishman won a decision and now needs to get in the ring with Mayweather, Brook, or Pacquiao ASAP. As for Algieri - the future seems to be very bright for him indeed, so long as he sticks with new trainer John David Jackson.

As for Saturday, it was a great day to be British, or at least to have access to British airwaves. For there was a full card in front of a seemingly packed house at London's O2 arena.

Lee Selby won a share of the Featherweight Title - the IBF share - by besting Evgeny Gravovich. I confess to not having caught this one (yet), so I'll withhold judgement and opinion. Fortunately, I caught the other big fights on the card and am therefore able to weigh in on what I saw.

And what I saw was pretty decent stuff, overall. Jorge Linares was able to retain the WBC piece of the lightweight pie by stopping Kevin Mitchell in a bout that became something of a thriller. Linares looked good at first, but Mitchell was able to put his man down in the fifth. Linares came back, however, and was able to earn a stoppage win in the tenth. Credit the game and bloodied Mitchell, though, for proving himself a true warrior.

Speaking of warriors, heavyweight Anthony Joshua is a battler of the first order. I'm serious, here. The big names of the division need to keep their eye out for this guy. Skilled, hard hitting and gunfighter cool, Joshua looks like he just might be the face of the future. The manner in which he stopped a WAY over his head Kevin Johnson within two rounds on Saturday is the stuff people take note of - and with good reason.

As for taking note, fans all over the globe are finally taking note of Kell Brook, the IBF Welterweight champ, who handily dispatched of Frankie Gavin in last night's main event. Brook has an impressive skill set going for himself that includes an effective employment of strength and the ability to switch stances.

Gavin learned just how impressive that skill set was throughout the bout, as Brook was able to track his man down and land with real effectiveness. Now that the Mayweather-Pacquiao era is winding down, Brook is clearly finding himself in line for the role of heir apparent.

In closing, let me just say that I have to pick up more of the Spanish language. There's some great fights here in the states on Spanish language television and I'm finding myself watching these broadcasts with greater frequency.

Saturday saw me wrapping up the evening by watching Javier Mendoza keep his IBF title in the junior flyweight division by beating Milan Melindo in Mexico. The fight was a bit on the dirty side - okay, perhaps more than a bit, and ended in the sixth when Mendoza was cut by a clash of heads. Mendoza, however, ended up winning by decision.

On to next week.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Top 11 Pound For Pound List For 5/30

It seems like countless sites offer Top 10 Pound for Pound Fighter lists. Sean's Page offers a Top 11 one. Why? Because it's different. And sometimes that's a good thing. Enjoy.

  1. Floyd Mayweater: How could it possibly be anyone else? The man may annoy those who want wall to wall action in their fights, but Mayweather is a craftsman the likes of which few, if any, have ever seen. 
  2. Manny Pacquiao: Yeah, he lost to Mayweather. But honestly - ask yourself if anyone on this list beyond Floyd is truly more accomplished. Or skilled? 
  3. Andre Ward: Sorry, but I'm not a bandwagon type of guy. I've got no problem with this extremely talented fighter - except for the fact that he's gone forever without a fight. That's about to change. Here's hoping he stays active. 
  4. Guillermo Rigondeaux: Again, I'm not a bandwagon rider. The Cuban exile is one of the greatest practitioners in the sport. The fact that he's been ignored rather than challenged - and that fans are okay with it simply because he's not exciting - is a travesty. 
  5. Wladimir Klistschko: The facts speak for themselves here. Klitschko wins. Over and over again. He's as dominant as they come, whether or not he's an artist in the ring. Credit where credit is due. 
  6. Sergey Kovalev: The most dominant light heavyweight since Michael Spinks. This Russian is so good that no one really sees lineal champ Adonis Stevenson as anything but a nominal monarch. That's saying something. 
  7. Roman Gonzalez: This Nicaraguan sensation is as exciting as he is skilled. In that, he's similar to Pacquiao. Here's a fighter who may bring boxing's smallest weights into the spotlight. And that, my friends, is a big deal.
  8. Gennady Golovkin: He lays guys flat, but without being impatient. In fact, he seems to actually be impervious to slicksters. The only reason GGG isn't getting the big fights right now is because the big names don't seem that interested. What's that tell you?
  9. Bud Crawford: riHe's taken on all comers. And they've been good - sometimes really good. Yet he's beaten them anyway. And he's undoubtedly got other really good fighters - and maybe even some great ones - in his sights. The guy is the very definition of a rising star.
  10. Carl Froch: He's beaten everyone he's faced aside from Andre Ward. And he's faced some serious hombres. Make no mistake about it, Froch is real life legend. He'll probably be retiring soon, with a terrific legacy in his wake.
  11. Miguel Cotto: He's hasn't fought in almost a year. What's more, his last opponent was aging and not at his best. No matter. Freddie Roach has given Miguel Cotto a second prime, making the old star a real force to be reckoned with long after people thought he'd be irrelevant. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Chris Algieri Shows He's The Real Thing

So yeah, Amir Khan bested Chris Algieri at the Barclays Center on Friday night. Truth be told, it was most likely a fair call (I've got to watch it again). Make no mistake about it, though, Chris Algieri is no second rater. Remember those cage jokes? Stifle them. With a new trainer in tow, the Long Island native is indeed looking like force in the ring.

Does the guy still have to grow as a fighter? Yes. But Algieri is most certainly not a one hit wonder. Nor is he a has-been. Algieri looked pretty depressed after the judge's decision was read on Friday night. He shouldn't remain depressed for long. The man has a future ahead of him in boxing - so long as he sticks with Jackson. Don't be surprised if you find Algieri with another title belt soon enough.

As for Khan, it's hard to say how he looked. Algieri was surprisingly good, even to those of us who thought the fight might be a quality one (we were out there, by the way). He was more Jack Dempsey and less Gene Tunney than before, That may have taken Khan off guard. Then again, it may have simply exposed the man.  

I suspect, however, that the English native may now indeed be Floyd Mayweather's September opponent. For Khan just didn't look good enough on Friday night to be a threat to the pound for pound king, who's probably (and rightfully) looking for an easier go after besting arch rival Manny Pacquiao earlier this month. That's good news for Khan.

And nomatter how you look at it, Friday's bout proved to be good news for Algieri. For there's now probably a lot more people eager to see his next fight than would have been expected. And that's never a bad thing. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Chris Algieri - A Tuneup For Khan, Or A Real Threat?

The Big Apple presents another interesting matchup

So on Friday evening there's going to be a televised fight which I apparently find a lot more interesting than some. Amir Khan, arguably the sole remaining threat to Floyd Mayweather's unblemished legacy, is going to be taking on Chris Algieri, a slick New York boxer who stunned a lot of people by beating Ruslan Provodnikov...before being thoroughly outclassed himself by Manny Pacquiao.

Most people see Algieri not standing much of a chance against Khan, and with good reason. For Khan is faster, more experienced and hits harder than his American foe. On the other hand, Algieri is one of he most high-energy fighters out there. That's important to remember. He's also very hard to knock out. Like the Terminator, he just keeps getting up after he's dropped to the canvas.

What's more, Algieri has very good footwork and possesses an impressive skill set. He's a real craftsman who now has the masterful John David Jackson in his corner. Indeed, the presence of Jackson could be a game changer. He led Kovalev to victory over Hopkins and knows how to map out a game plan better than anyone. Don't expect any talk of cages in between rounds on Friday.

Still, Khan's talent is so vast, his ring mastery so impressive, that it's very hard to say Algieri is going to pull off the upset victory (unless of course, the judges at the Barclay's in Brooklyn decide to do some home cooking). If he wants to stand a chance, however, Algieri is going to want to let his feet do the talking.

While there's just no way Khan will stalk Algieri around the ring the way Provodnikov did, Algieri can attempt to make things difficult for the Englishman by employing a defensive strategy that's gauged to frustrate his foe. Khan's best weapon may well be his jab. It sets up all his assaults. If there's nowhere for the jab to land, however...

It's understandable to consider this pie in the sky thinking. Again, Khan's skill level, on paper, at least, is superior to Algieri's. They say styles make fights and it's hard to imagine Khan's speed being nullified by Algieri, no matter how fancy the Long Islander's footwork in the ring may be. Still, this is boxing, a sport where it seems anything can happen.

At that's why Algieri is more than just a tuneup for Khan on Friday night.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Can Freddie Roach Help Ruslan Provodnikov Get Back On The Road To Success?


That's what I thought of while rewatching the Ruslan Provodnikov-Lucas Matthysse fight. Like Dempsey, Provodnikov kept moving forward. And, like Tunney, Matthysse stepped back and nailed his man with effective punches. Thing is, Provodnikov was never able to unload on Matthysse the way Dempsey was finally able to unload on Tunney. There was no controversy to be found between these two modern warriors. There was no long count, no question of who the better man was in the ring.

Truth be told, I've been iffy about Provodnikov for a while. Sure, he seems like a great guy and he's a whole lot of fun to watch. But while everyone else was singing his praises last spring, I was wondering if Chris Algieri would have a chance against him. That's not a boast, just the truth.

My suspicions proved to be correct. Algieri DID give Provodnikov a hard time. Don't get me wrong, I thought Provodnikov beat Algieri that night last June, but no matter. The Long Islander made Provodnikov look shaky, regardless. The fact that Manny Pacquiao went on to make Algieri look close to amateurish a few months later didn't help Provodnikov's case, either.

Still, Freddie Roach, Provodnikov's trainer, said in a recent interview that he's going to try to redo his fighter's strategy. Simply put, he wants the guy to box more and to pretty much be less of an easy target. Roach is right to wish for a change in style, for Provodnikov's current MO is dangerous, not just for his career, but for the man's overall health, as well. After all, there's only so many hard shots a dude can take to the head.

Will Roach succeed in his plan? That depends as much on Provodnikov as it does anyone else, frankly. Hopefully the Siberian will take his trainer's advice seriously. He can't afford too many more beatings like the one he took against Matthysse. After all, Dempsey ended up having a full life outside of boxing - and Provodnikov will want to have one, too.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Does Geale Have a Chance Against Cotto?

Does Daniel Geale have a chance against Miguel Cotto when they meet in New York City early next month? We won't know until the two men fight, of course. Yet, after watching the last fight each man has had, I've come to the conclusion that Cotto is simply far too sharp for his Australian foe.

This isn't to say Geale isn't good. To the contrary, the man's a slick mover, isn't afraid to engage when the situation calls for it and has a ton of heart. It's just that after watching Cotto's beatdown of Sergio Martinez in comparison to Geale's handling of Cotto back to back, it's hard not to conclude that Cotto is simply the all around better fighter.

Now I know there's people out there who will argue that Cotto simply beat up an old man last June, that Geale is the natural middleweight, that Cotto's no kid, etc. While all this is true, I still don't think it takes away from the fact that Cotto is an exponentially better fighter when he has Freddie Roach in his corner (at least in comparison to his recent decline). He's sharp, he moves quickly, he's hard to figure out and he hits far, far harder than he's given credit for.

He's also fought the best there is. Again, Geale is good. True enough, against most middleweights not named Golovkin or Cotto, I'd give him a true chance of winning. Indeed, I think he has a chance of beating Cotto himself. I just don't think he has much of a chance. That's no knock on Geale, it's just as I see it.

Perhaps I'll be proven wrong.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Fighter Of The Week - James DeGale

Yup, everyone thought it would be boring. It was one of those fights the "real" fans, the ones who want excitement rather high skills, didn't want to bother with. Well, if that was the case, those fans missed out. Because James' DeGale's bout against Andre Dirrell this past Saturday in Boston was an exciting, action infused affair.

DeGeale was a man who had clearly come to win. He took to the talented Dirrell quickly, and even put him on the mat twice in the second, courtesy of some thunderous punching. Dirrell was no slack, however. For the man came back and essentially started taking the fight to DeGeale. By the last few rounds it was basically anyone's to lose.

DeGeale made sure the day was his and that's why he and not Dirrell is being written of right now. Knowing everything rested on three to six minutes of high octane performance, DeGale went out and did what champions do - he sealed the deal. He took a unanimous decision victory and the IBF World Super Middleweight title back home with him to England.

Even with names like Froch and Groves dominating the division's horizon, it's time to take DeGale seriously. Froch will most likely be retiring soon enough and DeGale may well become "the man" at super middleweight. It will be tough to hold onto his crown, however, especially with names like Gennady Golovkin possibly appearing on the horizon. Yet DeGale proved on Saturday that he's a true for to be reckoned with - a man to be underestimated at one's own risk.

And that's why he's the Fighter of the Week.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Julio Caesar Chavez Jr Teams Up With Robert Garcia

Looks like Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. isn't ready to call it a career after losing to Andrzej Fonafara not so long ago. The son of a boxing legend with a career trajectory similar to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride will reportedly be fighting Marcos Reyes on the 18th of July. Chavez will have a new man in his corner this time, however. For he is now going to be trained by the legendary Robert Garcia.

Although Chavez has had other notable trainers before, such as Freddie Roach and Joe Goosen, he didn't perform particularly well under their tutelage. It will be interesting to see if the highly respected Garcia will help the man change course. Fortunately for Chavez, these are fast paced times, so fast paced that if he's impressive in July, people may forget the Fonfara fiasco.

He'll have to look impressive, though. The man's smart enough to hook up with a good trainer and to drop down to super middleweight (Chavez' single foray to up to light heavyweight resulted in the Fonfara loss). The question now is, will Chavez be able to shine? That, frankly, is more on him than it is his trainer(s).

Chavez is an interesting case in that he's quite good for someone who arguably got famous for a name. He's been middleweight champ and even had Sergio Martinez in real trouble when they met a few years back. He's fun to watch and is capable of surprising even his harshest critics.

Chavez has done himself no favors with those critics, however, with some choices he's made in and out of the ring. Now that he's with Garcia, perhaps the fighter will finally be able to put the criticism behind him.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Miguel Cotto Factor

A month ago, people couldn't get enough of them. Now, everyone wants them to just go away. Yup, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao can't retire quickly enough for boxing fans (okay, they may tolerate one more fight for Floyd). It's time, it seems, for some new blood, for the page to turn, for a fresh spring to bloom. We live in shallow times, after all, and the masses want something new and shiny.

Yet, in a sense, people are right to wish to move forward. Since there truly is a season for everything it's only natural to assume that the endless Mayweather-Pacquiao season is finally wrapping up. Just like Hagler-Leonard truly gave way to the Tyson era, Mayweather-Pacquiao will organically give way to another era. The question, now, however, is who this new era will belong to.

Obvious names come to mind: Bud Crawford, Vasyl Lomanchenko, Sergey Kovalev. Perhaps most of all, however, people are expecting Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez to be the sport's next golden boys (no pun intended). It's easy to see why.

Both represent something refreshing - a willingness to face new challenges. That's still an odd thing in the Haymon era. Sadly, it seems, fighters such as Leo Santa Cruz and Adonis Stevenson are more in keeping with the times. Until proven otherwise, these are two true representatives of the Kardashian age - people who put business before achievement.

No one in their right minds will accuse Golovkin and Canelo of being of the money first variety. This is especially true in the case of Canelo, who fought the slick and skilled Erislandy Lara rather than take the easy way out. As for Golovkin - hey, he's waiting for someone really good to step in the ring with him.

It's easy to see, then, why these two are front and center in line for the position of "next superstar."

Yet someone is standing in their way. A relic from the past, if you will. A multi-division titlist who now holds the middleweight crown even though he's not really a middleweight. I'm writing, of course, about Miguel Cotto, lineal and WBC middleweight title holder.

All you have to do is hop on Twitter to see that Cotto isn't just a major possible opponent for Canelo and Golovkin, he's an enormous roadblock, the guardian who won't let these faces of the future pass into a new era. The fact that the man also seems about as fun as a dead bass outside the ring at times doesn't help Cotto in the PR department either.

Here's something people need to keep in mind, however:

Cotto is a legendary fighter. What's more, his victory over Sergio Martinez last year wasn't a fluke. People can say he crushed an injured old man all they want - the fact is that Cotto looked amazing that night. Like him or not, trainer Freddie Roach has given the dude a second chance at boxing life and Cotto appears to be making the most of it.

So...will Cotto go the route of so many greats by eventually being trampled well pas this prime by an up-and-comer? Or will he take part in another new era - one started by a Mr. Bernard Hopkins, an era which says this season's old man ain't like last season's old man?

It will be interesting to find out.

Friday, May 22, 2015

It's A Shame Friday Night Fights Is Going Off The Air

Obscure individuals will now remain obscure.

It's a shame Friday Night Fights is going off the air. There, I said it. I know, I know, ESPN is now going to be airing PBC fights with the Friday Night Fights crew still in place and that's very cool. Yet Friday Night Fights offered up the little guys - and by little I don't necessarily mean small. I mean the guys you couldn't see fighting anywhere else.

And now those days are gone. Oh, less popular fighters will still be showcased all over the cableverse. Boxing, after all, is now more ubiquitous than it's ever been. Yet the less than popular fighters you will see in small televised venues now will at least have powerful backing. Could that always have been said of the guys stepping into the ring before those ESPN2 cameras?

Call me nuts, but I enjoy watching minor league baseball. It isn't as relevant as the majors, but the whole gritty, bare boned, stripped down aspect to it is fun. Plus, you never know whether or not you're seeing the sport's next big star. There's a certain electricity generating through the whole thing.

The same can be said - or could have been said - for Friday Night Fights. Figuratively speaking, it's as if the minor league ballparks are now being shut down. Chris Algieri, Ruslan Provodnikov and Willie Monroe Jr pretty much owe their careers to Friday Night Fights. And those are just recent names. How many other careers might now find the door being closed on them?

Boxing has always been a feast or famine endeavor. Now, however, the famine may spread a bit.

And that's too bad.

Here's to Friday Night Fights. It will be sorely missed.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

GGG May Fight Carl Froch

The days of everyone saying Gennady Golovkin can't get a solid opponent may well be close to over. Various outlets are reporting that team GGG is talking to team Carl Froch, which means a battle between the rising middleweight and the soon to be retiring super middleweight star might be close at hand.

First things first - this is exciting stuff, even if it doesn't come to fruition. Who wouldn't want to see these two in the ring together? GGG is taking the sport by storm. He's like a destructive machine with nuanced boxing skill,s to boot. As for Froch, the man is pure warrior. What's more, his photo perfect victory over antagonist George Groves in front of 80,000 people last year was the stuff of legend.

This has the makings of a real attraction.

Still, let's face it, Froch hasn't fought in a year. What's more, he's no kid. There's a real good reason why the guy's thinking retirement at this point. Does he really want to go in with GGG right now? I'm afraid this might smack of Marciano-Louis or Holmes-Ali, where a great master on the decline was destroyed by a younger superstar.

Then again, this is Carl Froch we're talking about here. And, quite frankly, he's not a guy you simply go and write off. It would be nice to see the man finally get some American spotlight time, as well. Sure, his fight with Andre Ward was a big match, but this will be a VERY big match. Win, lose or draw, Americans will know who Carl Froch is, and that ain't a bad thing. It's also good to keep in mind that GGG, not Froch, is reportedly the one who would be switching weight classes here.

Interesting all around.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Kovalev Era

It's time to just come right out with it - we're all living in the era of Sergey Kovalev. Yup, the man is the single most dominant force above 160lbs in all of boxing. Sure, Klitschko is "the man" at heavyweight, but even with his impressive amount of talent, the Ukranian isn't as dominant at heavyweight as Kovalev is right now at light heavyweight.

Klitchko, after all, has never defeated anyone near the status of Bernard Hopkins (sure, Hopkins looked old last fall against Kovalev, but does anyone strongly feel Hopkins could have beaten Kovalev at any time during his Hall of Fame Career?). What's more, Klitschko has never, as far as I know, had a formidable foe avoid him by switching network alliances.

Kovalev has. And that's only added to his fearsome reputation. Oh, there's people now saying that Kovalev is ducking fellow titlist Adonis Stevenson, but let's face it, Stevenson will always be remembered as the guy who avoided Kovalev, and Kovalev will always be known as the guy who Stevenson avoided. That's probably just how it's going to play out, folks. Unless, of course, they actually fight.

Kovalev seems to genuinely want to get into the ring with Stevenson, despite what the naysayers may argue. As for Stevenson, well, that's not so clear. Hopefully the two men will get it on sooner rather than later. The smart money will be on Kovalev at this point - since he's clearly dominated a more impressive list of foes than Stevenson has...and has looked better than Stevenson has recently in doing it.

None of this, of course, is to say Kovalev is a saint. He's shown that he can be downright mean in the ring. What's more, it's said that he's mean outside of it, as well. If his recent t-shirt shot at Stevenson (whether it was intentionally prejudiced or not) is any indication, Kovalev may well end up being one of the more controversial fighters in recent history - and that's saying something.

Yet, regardless of what type of person he or isn't, Kovalev is unquestionably a ring master. Under the tutelage of John David Jackson, he's shown himself to be nearly as skilled a boxer as he is a hitter. Again, that's saying something. Get used to seeing the man around. Chances are, he's going to be on the scene for a good long while.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Bradley-Vargas Winner Will Be Crowned WBO Welterweight Champion

Floyd Mayweather is a man of his word. He said he would give up his welterweight titles after beating Manny Pacquiao and now Bob Arum has announced at that Timothy Bradley and Jessee Vargas will be fighting for the WBO welterweight strap that Floyd has relinquished. The battle for the future is on.

"Not only are you getting a good fight, you're getting two wonderful personalities," Roy Jones Jr, Vargas' trainer, told the media at a presser to promote the June 27th throwdown. Things may be changing, indeed. In an age where even "good boy" Gennady Golovkin took to sounding cocky the other night, it would be nice to see a couple of gentlemen soaking in the spotlight.

Sure enough, both men appeared pleasant and composed when they took to the microphone. "This is an opportunity I've been waiting for for years," Vargas said from the podium. Bradley, who had to wear sunglasses due to the fact that his eyes were dilated after a doctor's appointment, appeared far more at ease than he did in the lead-up to his rematch with Manny Pacquiao two fights and a full calender year ago.

"This fight is not easy whatsoever," Bradley told the assembled media.  "Hey, I'm nervous." Still, the man was clearly happy to learn that he has the chance to once again hold a major title. Compared to facing such giants as Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, Bradley made it clear that he's taking no short cuts in preparation for Vargas.

"I'm training just as hard," he added, in reference to his past major bouts "if not harder."

Fighter Of The Week - Roman Gonzalez

Man, this was a close one. Should I pick middleweight roughhouse Gennady Golovkin or Roman Gonzalez, the stunning flyweight from Nicaragua to be this week's fighter of the week? Both appeared on HBO this past Saturday and both decimated the competition. At first, I chose Golovkin for walking through the talented Willie Monroe Jr and literally making him quit (no shame in that, by the way - Monroe Jr put up some kind of fight). Golovkin is an extremely hot commodity right now. Some are even calling him heir to the Mayweather throne - and with good reason.

Ultimately, however, I changed my mind and went with the hyper-impressive Gonzalez. Indeed, "brilliant" is the word to employ here when describing the guy's performance on Saturday against Edgar Sosa. In fact, it reminded me of the kinds of fights my dad would have me watch on Saturday afternoons, when he wanted to introduce me to someone really impressive. And make no mistake about it, Gonzalez is impressive.

Smaller guys simply don't get the props they should. Michael Carbajal was an obvious exception, but he was a rare, rare exception indeed. That's a shame because there's some terrific stuff going on in boxing's smallest weight classes. My hope is that Gonzalez will change all that. Why not have a flyweight superstar in boxing? It's not like Gonzalez isn't looking like one of the best fighters out there.

Maybe Gonzalez will prove to be a game changer. He certainly has the talent to.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Enough Of The Andre Ward Bashing!

First things first. Andre Ward is not the world's most thrilling fighter to watch. What's more, he's waited way too long to fight someone new. On top of that he needs to get in the ring with top level opposition ASAP after his first tuneup match on Black Entertainment Television this spring. Now, with all that out of the way, allow me to say something that I think is in desperate need of being said:

Enough of the Andre Ward bashing!

Seriously, the dude is an amazing fighter. What's more, if he shows he doesn't have much ring rust in his comeback bout, he'll still be an amazing fighter. Unfortunately, that will just make people hate him more - though it's hard to see that even being possible at this point. I've seen and heard all sorts of crap about Ward lately, especially now that he's about to fight  on BET.

Indeed, some apparently think it's cool to make jokes about the guy eating watermelon, consuming fried chicken, and smoking menthols. Look, I'm not one of these politically correct types who screams and yells whenever he thinks it's trendy to, but, as far as I'm concerned, that's the sort of humor punks employ. It's low, and it pisses me off.

Smoking menthols. The only thing Andre Ward is going to be smoking is anyone who steps in the ring with him not named Golovkin or Kovalev. And who knows, he just might smoke them, too. Know why? Because he's good. Real good. Close to the best in the world good. If people don't like him, they can cheer for the other guy, just like everyone on the planet cheers for whoever the Patriots are playing on autumn Sundays.

Not liking a fighter's style is fine. Not liking a fighter for no good reason on earth is just sad, especially when that fighter is as good as Andre Ward is.

Enough said.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

We Owe You An Apology

On second thought...we should probably say we're sorry

You're going to have to give me a minute here. My mind is completely blown. I just rewatched the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, this time with the sound off, and guess what? It's a completely different bout from the one I experienced watching on May 2nd.

Truth be told, I didn't want to rewatch the fight. Like many viewers, I found it less than interesting the first time around. My friend Spenser, however made it clear that he thought I should. What's more, he told me upfront that he thought Pacquiao had won. I can't lie, I thought this was a bit outrageous. Still, being a friend, I promised to watch the bout again, only this time with no sound, so that I couldn't be influenced by anything other than what was before my eyes.

Man, what a different fight it actually was compared to the one I thought I saw. First, and foremost, it was close. Very close. I still had Mayweather winning, but only by a single round. What's more, I wouldn't mind seeing a rematch now. In fact, I want to. And I don't care if the general public wants to see it or not. They'll still make millions off of part two catering to serious fans.

Yet there's another point here that I feel the need to address:

I owe an apology to those who have listened to me or read my words up until now on this Mayweather-Pacquiao matter. In fact, most of us who are writers and analysts of the sport of boxing do. You see, we watched the fight as "experts." We  oh-so-seriously took into consideration how many times Pacquiao missed his target. We considered Floyd's retreating tactics "just part of the game." In short, we saw the whole thing as a chess match rather than what it was - a boxing match.

To make matters worse, we convinced all of you it was a chess match rather than a boxing match. Not cool. Boxing isn't fighting but it's the closest thing to it out there in the world of sports. Yet we didn't make that point clear. Instead, we "experts" focused on nuances rather than on the big picture.

And when some of you said you thought Manny won, we just shrugged and told ourselves you didn't know what you were talking about. Now, though, I see that we were staring intently at trees rather than at the entire forest. And because of that we convinced you the fight was boring - even when it wasn't. This was especially true for those of us who broadcast the fight live and for those of us who provided a running commentary for the people we watched it with.

Yeah, you may indeed have thought the fight was boring - but that may be in large part because we presented it to you that way. Had we all said what we should have - that it was very close all the way down until the last two rounds, you may have seen things differently. Sadly, we didn't do that. We influenced each other and then influenced everyone else as a result.

Don't get me wrong - Floyd still won the fight as far as I'm concerned. Yet up until the eleventh round, it was anyone's game. Manny may not have landed a whole lot of punches, but he took the fight to Floyd in a big way and that should have counted for something. Floyd's reluctance to engage should have counted for something, too.

Hopefully, we'll all know better next time. The question is, will any of you want to pay attention to such a bunch of loud mouths again? Either way, that's on us.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Fan Appeal Of GGG

Let's face it - Gennady Golovkin has captured, truly captured, the imaginations of serious fight fans. What's more, his popularity may only grow. People are griping about May 2nd, sure, but boxing remains in the mind of the general public, which might mean it's still apt to pay attention for a while, despite it's residual bitterness over the whole Mayweather-Pacquiao affair. And if the general public pays attention to the likes of GGG, it may just stay focused.

But again - why?

Well, first we have to accept the fact that boxing is, was and always will be primarily a personality driven affair. People flocked to watch John L Sullivan not because he was good with his bare fists, but because he was good with bare fists AND had a unique personality. Yup, it takes more than skill to make a fighter famous to the public at large - it takes skill and a certain quality that allows the individual stand out from the crowd.

And GGG, who promises everyone a "big drama show," has that quality. Oh, the easily offended, politically correct bunch might resent the fact that fans love GGG's tortured employment of English, but that's because such people like being offended in general. The truth is that fans find the GGG's English language deficiencies and all around goofy quality endearing. This is especially true because the guy's actions in the ring are so damned vicious. Seriously. The dude is pure destruction. And skill. Don't forget about the skill.

Skill and destruction...and a nice, goofy demeanor. That's what draws fans to GGG. And it may be what could draw the general public to the guy in the inevitable post-Mayweather era. Provided, of course, that he keeps winning.

One never knows in boxing, after all.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Frustrated Brandon Rios Can't Land a Good Opponent

It was arguably the fight of Brandon Rios' career. For the third - and most likely final  - time, Rios stepped into the ring to meet arch foil Mike Alvarado...and then he demolished him. People are apt to blame a lot of Alvarado's destruction on Alvarado himself. That's understandable, for the Colorado native has proven to be his own worst enemy.

Yet Rios looked great that night. Just great. The kid was sharp, aggressive and disciplined. I haven't seen the guy look that good, frankly. And now, for a follow up, Rios is...waiting...and waiting...and waiting for a new opponent. That's a bit odd.

Kell Brook literally called Rios out, but when team Rios took the bait, the interest from team Brook seemed to vanish. Why? Brook-Rios would be nothing if not entertaining. It would also generate interest on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet Brook has opted to fight Frankie Gavin instead. Again, why?

Yet it's not just Brook who isn't getting into the ring with Rios. No one is. No one. Indeed, the fighter recently voiced his frustrations to ESNews. And still he waits. The welterweight division is red hot right now. Tim Bradley is facing Jessie Vargas. Amir Khan is facing Chris Algieri. Shawn Porter is facing Adrien Broner (albeit at a catch weight). It would be nice to see someone of note decide to face Rios.

No one's saying Rios is the best in the division - but he's certainly operating towards the top. He's lost all of two times, to notable opponents, no less; one being the great Pacquiao. And yet there's no one of note out there willing to fight the guy at the moment?

Seems strange.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Why I'm Interested In Khan-Algieri

New York will be hosting another interesting match up.

I know, I know. I've heard it all before. The Amir Khan-Chris Algieri fight is going to be boring. It's going to be high on skills and low on thrills. In short, no one's going to be interested.

Well, I'm here to say that I'm at least curious to see how this one turns out. There's several reasons for this. The first is that Khan is pretty much the only fighter out there right now who could even be considered as  having a chance against Floyd Mayweather. The only one. Believe it.

What's more, I think there may be more to Algieri than his one sided loss to a certain Filipino legend. Yeah, Manny went all Patton's Third Army on him, but now Algieri has John David Jackson in his corner. And Jackson's a formidable general in his own right.

Besides, I think Algieri has talent. Simply put, he went too far, too fast after the Provodnikov fight, which was controversial to begin with. The Long Islander appears to have emerged from his first loss smarter and more determined than ever, though, and I think he deserves another look from the fans.

Amir Khan certainly isn't writing Algieri off. Maybe that's because too many analysts have been writing Amir Khan off for too many years. Yeah, I feel Khan should have taken Kell Brook up on his offer to fight in England, but here he is angling for a superfight he deserves to be in the running for.

Both Khan and Algieri have a lot - a whole lot - riding on this one. They're both dedicated pro's with something to prove. This isn't going to be one of those instances where a fighter is going to show up over-weight for the weigh-in, that you can count on. These are serious fighters, who at the very least deserve to be taken seriously.

I aim to tune in.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

About That Whole "Boxing Is Dead" Thing...

4.4 million.

That's how many Pay Per View buys there were for the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout according to Showtime.

4.4 million.

That crushes all previous records.

Oh, and the amount of money the live gate brought in?

How's over $72 million sound?

That pretty much grinds all previous records into dust, as well.

And yet I've been told repeatedly - and rather smugly at times - that boxing is dead. 

Well, as they say, numbers don't lie. And these numbers are astronomical. Mayweather-Pacquiao took in about half a billion dollars total. That's half a billion. What's more, it's looking like the uptick in interest in the sweet science is more than just a one time thing. 

For a week before Mayweather-Pacquiao, heavyweight kingpin Wladimir Klitschko beat a game, competitive Bryant Jennings live on HBO. The numbers for that fight were the highest for HBO since 2012. Yet there's more to tell.

A week after Mayweather-Pacquiao, Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez bested James Kirkland in a three round war. The numbers for that fight were the highest for HBO since 2006. See where this is going? 

Now, about that whole "Boxing is dead" thing... 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Boxer Of The Week - Canelo Alvarez

Welcome to the May 12th edition of Boxer Of The Week!

This week, frankly, is a no brainer. The honor goes to none other than Saul "Cabelo" Alvarez. Why? Because he looked nothing short of brilliant in his dominant and thrilling win against James Kirkland this past Saturday evening in Houston.

Canelo sat back and let Kirkland slug away at first, but he wasn't taking it easy. It seems he was studying, just using his great defense to prevent serious damage while observing and waiting for an opportunity to arise. Needless to say the opportunity presented itself rather quickly.

Kirkland was down and nearly out by the end of the first.

Kirkland, to his credit, survived. But a Kirkland victory simply wasn't meant to be. Canelo proved to be too skilled, too relaxed, too confident, and most of all, too accurate for his determined foe. That accuracy of Canelo's is a startling thing.

Truth be told, I never knew how good Canelo was until this past weekend. Sure, I had seen plenty of the man over time, but I had never been overly impressed until the Kirkland fight. Was I missing something before? Or has the young Mexican developed that much as a fighter since his high profile loss to Floyd Mayweather back in 2013?

I'll need to go back to those earlier fights to find out. In the meantime, I'll just admire what I saw this past weekend while keeping in mind that Kirkland was custom made for Canelo's style; that Miguel Cotto and Gennady Golovkin would prove to be far more difficult nuts to crack. Still, it's clear that Mr. Alvarez is some kind of fighter.

Willie Monroe Is Not A Joke

Monroe isn't just some guy they chose off the street.

Boxing writers can be snide. Really snide. And self-righteous. Inexcusably so. And testy. Man, they can be a testy, juvenile bunch. In other words, lots of boxing writers out there don't like being disagreed with. Not to offend anyone, but I may be in disagreement with some boxing writers right now.

For Willie Monroe, Gennady Golovkin's opponent this Saturday, is not a joke. I know, I know, he's just supposed to be red meat tossed of to the fearsome GGG for consumption, but I think he's more than that. This doesn't mean I think he's going to win. Chances are that Golovkin, who can cut off the ring better than any fighter I know, will catch his man and then go to work - and we all know what happens when Golovkin goes to work.

Still, those who roll their eyes at fighters who appear on ESPN might want to start watching boxing on ESPN. There's some talent there, believe it. And Monroe is a prime example of that talent. This guy is slick. Slick and illusive. He also possesses a nice right jab.

And while it's true he doesn't have the energy needed to be a great scientific fighter like Floyd Mayweather or Guillermo Rignodeaux, he does possess the speed, bounce and slickness to frustrate a great many men. Will Golovkin be one of those men? I actually suspect he will be - at least for a short time.

The question for Monroe now is whether or not he can keep GGG away for twelve straight rounds. That's no small task. That's a monumental task. Golovkin, after all, appears impervious so far to an opponent's speed and slickness. Still, Monroe has earned his chance and he can be expected to make the most of it.

Long story short - although it may be a bit much to predict a Monroe victory on Saturday, it may also be a bit much to write the man off entirely. After all, in boxing one never does know.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Canelo-Kirkland Proves To Be Explosive

Yup - that was a fight.

Those disappointed with last week's fencing contest in Vegas got more than their fill of top notch action this evening as Canelo Alvarez brutally knocked out James Kirkland in what must surely be the fight of the year so far. Give Kirkland this - the man came to fight.

Moving in like a fighter in a black and white film, Kirkland went at Canelo from the go, attacking from a crouched stance and pounding his man on the ropes. Canelo was one cool customer, however. He took the shots, then unleashed harder, more effective blows of his own. Before the first round was over, Kirkland was down and nearly out.

Yet the guy kept coming. Kirkland's ability to take punishment proved to be nothing short of extraordinary on Saturday night. For not only did the man keep fighting through the second - he actually started coming forward and landing again.

It was starting to look in the third like Canelo may have been gassed. Perhaps he was, but he still had enough left in him to knock Kirkland out. And knock the guy out he did, with a thunderous shot that will stand right up there Tommy Hearn's KO of Roberto Duran and Manny Pacqiuao's one shot destruction of Ricky Hatton.

For Kirkland was literally spun by the force of Canelo's blow before falling to the ground in what almost seemed like slow motion, his own blood trailing behind him. It was an incredibly violent moment, one punctuated by the fact that Kirkland seemed like he may have been seriously hurt. Even Canelo stood over him after the fight was called with a look of concern on his face.

Fortunately, Kirkland proved to be okay. Now Canelo can move on to new horizons. They say Miguel Cotto is next, but a match up with a certain Gennady Golovkin may well may make for the first superfight of the post Mayweather-Pacqiuao era.

Can Canelo-Kirkland Be The Fight Everyone Wanted Mayweather-Pacquiao To Be?

Can tonight's Canelo-Kirkland fight from Minute Maid Park in Houston actually be the fight everyone wanted Mayweather-Pacquiao to be? In a word, yes, if what everyone wanted last week was an exciting exchange of fists of willpower. Indeed, Canelo-Kirkland looks like it can be just that fight.

Canelo hasn't taken an easy out here. Not at all. Kirkland appears to a modern day version of Jake LaMotta - a guy with a dark, or perhaps troubled, side who can absorb and deliver tremendous amounts of punishment. What's more, if he's honed his skill set under the tutelage of a new trainer, Kirkland  might indeed surprise Canelo with his ring IQ tonight.

To take things a step further, Kirkland has gotten something here that few people get in world - a second chance. Up until this point, Kirkland has been seen as, well, the poster model for misspent talent. He can change all that with a brilliant performance this evening. Don't think for a minute the man isn't aware of that.

As for Canelo - he knows the Mayweather-Pacquiao era is coming to an end, that sooner and later new stars are going to dominate the sport of boxing, as well as the public's attention. Needless to say, Canelo wants to be one of those stars. Never has this author seen someone recover from an enormous loss the way he's seen Canelo emerge from his schooling at the hands of  Mayweather. Seriously, it's as if the guy just shrugged his shoulders and said it's time to move on.

Good for him.

Perhaps the biggest thing to keep in mind before tonight, however, is that both Canelo and Kirkland are entertaining fighters. No one will ever confuse their names with those of Mayweather, Rigondeaux, or Hopkins. These two simply bring the heat every time.

And if they do that again tonight, fans may feel a lot happier than they did after last Saturday's tech-fest.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Is It Time For Boxing To Part Ways With Pay Per View?

First things first - the fight wasn't THAT bad.

You know what fight I'm talking about.

THE fight. The one everyone's bitching and moaning about.

Let's face facts. It was clear what kind of night it would be if Mayweather proved dominant on Saturday. The Mayweather style, after all, is and was no secret. Still, up until the last two or three rounds, Saturday's match was somewhat interesting - for it seemed like Pacquiao had a chance to turn things around. The truth is that there have been far worse fights.

Those fights never cost fans close to a hundred bucks, however. Yessir, the Pay Per View prices for last weekend's fight have proven to be quite problematic. Why? Because fans simply didn't get what they paid for. Indeed, Hagler-Hearns may not have given fans what they paid for. The price was that outrageous.

Perhaps - just perhaps - it's time for boxing to say goodbye to Pay Per View. The Super Bowl is free, why not a Super Bout? No doubt there are a million financially sound reasons why not, but those reasons would undoubtedly fall on deaf years were they presented to the legions of angry fans currently out there.

Ask yourself this:

Would people be as mad as they are had last weekend's bout been aired live on network television? Or even on paid cable?

Of course they wouldn't be.

You might think this article has an anti-capitalist bent, but you couldn't be more wrong. I think it might be time to consider taking boxing out of the Pay Per View realm because the great capitalist market is letting itself be heard through a million disappointed tweets.

Yup. The free market is speaking here - and it's saying the paying customers have had it with fights airing on Pay Per View. It's time for the powers that be to at least give the market a listen.  

Monday, May 4, 2015

Can Seanie Monaghan Help Ring In The Post Mayweather Era?

Sugar Ray Leonard fought for years after besting Marvelous Marvin Hagler in a controversial 1987 superfight. No one talks much about the post-Hagler career of Leonard, however. That's because boxing moved on after that April brawl at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. Leonard continued to be in big fights for big money, but the page had been turned by that point and the era of Mike Tyson was in full swing.

It's hard to imagine boxing's Floyd Mayweather era lasting too much longer. Oh, the man will probably fight at least once more - and for great money, too. The sport, however, will most likely now be moving on. And not a moment too soon as far as most fans seem to be concerned.

For, masterful as he is, Mayweather isn't thrilling to watch. And that pisses people off. Truth be told, boxing's next premiere fighter will most likely be an exciting figure, one who generates genuine electricity in the ring. That's good news for some of the sport's up and comers. It's particularly good news for New York's Seanie Monaghan.

For, as I've written before, Monaghan fights in a classic, Irish American style. He comes forward, he likes to engage and he knows how to swat. In other words, the dude is entertaining. Whether Monaghan has what it takes to rise to the top of the very competitive light heavyweight division he now fights in remains to be seen.

Monaghan will have a great chance to prove himself this Friday, however, as he appears on TruTV to battle Cleiton Conceicao in New Jersey. He may be appearing on the undercard of Jersey boy Glenn Tapia's bout with Michel Soro, but Monaghan will be fighting close to home, which means fans may well bring him the love.

Will the general public? We'll have to wait and see. One thing that's interesting is that Monaghan's will be one of the first televised bouts to air on television after the much derided Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. In that sense, it may serve as a notable way to turn the page.

Does Boxing Have A Floyd Mayweather Problem?

Let's get something out of the way right off the bat - boxing ain't dead. Oh, I know the smartest people in the room are all saying it now, but I very much doubt they were saying it when they coughed up a hundred bucks to see Mayweather fight Pacquiao on Saturday night. I doubt they'll be saying it when the next superfight rolls around either. No, they'll wait at least twenty four hours after that one ends before starting up again.

So yeah, boxing is alive, and from the looks of it, not doing too badly for itself right now. That being said, my friends, I think our beloved sport may have a problem - a Floyd Mayweather problem.

The guy just ain't bringing in new fans, folks. Not like a star of his caliber should be. Take the Pacquiao bout, for instance. That one will, by year's end, have proven to be bigger than just about any other sporting event besides the Super Bowl. Believe it. Yet the uptick boxing will have received from it probably won't move the sport as far in from the margins as it logically should have.


Because Mayweather doesn't thrill. Yes, he's a stylist rather than a puncher, but both Ali and Ray Leonard were stylists and they knocked people out. Not always, but enough to draw the love. There's nothing exciting about Floyd. His is a masterful study of process rather than electrifying art.

Yet it's not his fault. The guy's 48-0, people. And yeah, he's now beaten the best in the business. He may not be "The Best Ever," as he claims, but Floyd is most certainly up there. What's more, there's no reason why he should change his style at this time. None whatsoever. Barring any flukes, he's going to retire undefeated.

He also, sadly, is probably going to retire boring casual fans - and even a lot of hard core ones - near to death. Fortunately, the end of Floyd's career is on the horizon. He's most likely going to leave the sport of boxing while the general public is still really willing to give it a chance. Hopefully the heir to his throne will be more satisfying for potential fans.

Paging Keith Thurman.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Mayweather Proves That Boxing And Fighting Are Two Entirely Different Things

Some found last nights' match about as exciting as watching the grass grow

I hear it all the time - that UFC stars would "kill" boxing stars if they met in a real fight. Okay. Maybe the people who say it are right. Maybe they're not. I don't care. Why? Because neither boxing nor the UFC deal with actual fighting. They deal with contact sports. There's a big difference between the two.

And that distinction was made quite clear - painfully clear, in fact - on Saturday night when Floyd Mayweather ran, held and pot shotted his way to a victory over the lauded Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao in a twelve round superbout in Vegas.

Lots of people are complaining today about the fact that Mayweather won. They shouldn't. The guy was masterful. He beat Manny fair and square and that's all there is to. Oh, and for the record, I thought Manny would take it.

Still, griping that Floyd held and ran his way to a victory isn't really a valid criticism. That's what Floyd does, after all. He holds and runs. And throws incredibly accurate punches that score points rather than hurt opponents. Sure, he may have held a bit excessively on Saturday, but to say the bout would have turned out differently than it did had Mayweater not is a bit of a stretch.

It's time for everyone to face facts - Floyd's a far better boxer than Manny is. In fact, Mayweather is unquestionably the best in the sport. And, oh yeah, he's boring to watch. And if this troubles you as a person who watches one fight a decade, just imagine how much it troubles those of us who want the sport to work it's way back into the mainstream.

Regardless. Floyd is the man right now and until a more exciting and at least as talented individual steps into the spotlight, his nuanced, temperate, sleep inducing style will be what the sport is all about. That's great for Floyd, of course - though perhaps not so great for boxing.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

A Guide To Mayweather-Pacquiao For People Who Aren't Boxing Fans

Here's something you probably don't know:

The people behind tonight's Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight don't really care what people like me will think of the match.What's more, they don't care what you will think of tonight's fight either - if you're a boxing fan, that is. This is particularly true if you're a hard core boxing fan who follows the sport religiously.

If, however, you're not a boxing fan, yet all the hype has you curious, then the people behind Mayweather-Pacquiao are very eager to make you happy indeed. Why? Because people like you have already gone and removed boxing from the margins, where it's been for well over a decade now. You've actually gone and made it Kardashian popular. Yup, you - yes, you - are responsible for putting boxing back in the spotlight, however briefly.

By mentioning the matchup in passing at the water cooler, by raising an inquisitive eyebrow while watching television, by briefly considering for a single moment whether this extravaganza is worth coughing up close to a hundred dollars for, you've done the sport of boxing wonders.

Truth be told, most of you who are not boxing fans won't watch this fight. But a lot of you will. A whole lot. Enough, in fact, to make this one of the biggest sporting events of the year. Believe it. So, for those of you who will be watching to satisfy your curiosity, or simply because you're caught up in all the hype (there's nothing wrong with that, by the way), here's a guide to Mayweather-Pacquiao that will provide you with all you need to know.

First, this fight really is that big of a deal. Both Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are all time great boxers, and probably the two best fighters in the sport of boxing today. The match is going to be in the welterweight division, which means that neither man will have weighed in at more than 147lbs and numerous titles will be at stake.

As for styles, Pacquiao is something of a anomaly. He's a southpaw, which means he fights left-handed. He's also extraordinarily fast, and extremely aggressive, What's more, he moves towards and away from his opponents at off angles. He's a lot like that mosquito that annoys you at family picnics, only he throws a lot of punches when he's in range of you and those punches are very hard.

Mayweather, who is widely regarded as the greatest pound for pound fighter on the planet ("pound for pound" simply means if size didn't matter), is amazing to watch. Some say he's boring and they may be right in saying so. Still, the man's a wonder. He simply avoids getting hit in ways that are extraordinary. He's also possibly the most accurate puncher in boxing, which means his punches find their targets at a greater percentage rate than anyone else's in the sport. In short, Mayweather is extremely hard for you to effectively hit...but he can literally hit you more efficiently than perhaps anyone else on the planet.

You can see why Floyd's won close to fifty matches without losing once in his life. You can also see why this is a compelling matchup. There's two very unique and very effective styles are at play here. Most experts think Floyd will win, but they also agree almost universally that he's never met anyone as good as Manny before. Oh, and I personally believe that Manny will be the one to win tonight (for what that's worth). Floyd's simply never met anyone as fast, as active or as aggressive before now - and I think that will tell the tale.

Expect this fight to go late. It won't start until after 11 P.M. on the east coast and probably won't actually begin until significantly later. People always worry about the judging in boxing matches being unfair, especially in Las Vegas, where this fight is being held, so that's a concern you may hear being brought up. Also, Floyd has a tendency to hold his opponents a lot (to keep them from hitting him, of course) and the referee for this fight, Kenny Bayless, is known to allow holding, although it's technically illegal. Another possible point of contention.

One quick thing - this fight will go no longer than twelve three-minute rounds, with a one minute rest period in between rounds. And, oh yeah, both Floyd and Manny are going to make a TON of money for a maximum thirty-six minutes of work.