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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Still a Long Way Tua Go

Auckland, New Zealand - David Tua (51-3-1, 43 KO) dominated Nigerian fighter Friday Ahunanya (24-6-3, 13 KO) over twelve high-tempo rounds to win a near shutout unanimous decision at the Trusts Stadium in Auckland.

In front of a largely biased Tua crowd, the 'Tuamanator' controlled the proceedings against Friday 'The 13th', who talked his way into a fight with Tua by claiming he ruined Shane Cameron before Tua took all the plaudits.

Ahunanya decided to fight at distance, pecking and flicking from time to time, getting success but not in droves. Tua was frustrated but relentlessly pressurized, winning the majority of the rounds on punch output.

It's worth noting that Ahunanya has never been decked before, and I think everybody underestimated him in that area. He was durable, and wasn't even wobbled by Tua, who did land his fare share of trademarks left hooks and straight rights. His defense was sharp if his offence wasn't, and Tua had to be patient by accepting a decision win before going in reckless. The judges scores were 120-108, 119-109 and 117-111. The BTBC also had it 119-109.

The performance was there, but the statement wasn't. Tua had done all the right things; weighing-in at a respectable 239 pounds, he fought a tactically good fight, entertained the home crowd; but the Klitschko's heads have definitely not been turned.

There were rumors that the IBF were waiting on Tua to make a decision on their next round of eliminators, even though Alexander Povetkin, the current mandatory, and Wladimir Klitschko, the current king, are in talks over a fight in August.

But why should a Klitschko, Wladimir or Vitali, give a dangerous puncher a shot at the title, when his last win over a real contender was against Michael Moorer in 2002? There's no logic to risking everything to impress a couple of casual fans who remember Tua as the dangerous knockout machine from the 90's.

The blueprint is already down on how to beat Tua, coincidentally created by another Nigerian, Ike Ibeabuchi, which is no shame on Tua's part. So Tua needs to beat a legit contender to even get on the Klitschko waiting list, which is pretty long at this moment in time.

Referring back to the rumour mill, Tua could be facing old rival Hasim Rahman to complete their long-awaited trilogy. But still, Rahman is hardly active, fighting for the first time since the Klitschko loss last week with a KO-1 victory over a premium tomato can. He's not a contender either, unranked in the top 15 by the major governing bodies.

Tua needs to step-up fast and fight top 10 fighters if he wants to be taken seriously. We've heard this all before from other post-prime fighters that their comeback trail will lead to the world stage. Very few have walked the walk, and the time is ticking on Tua.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Magno vs. Machine: The Decision

After a long-winded process that has lasted six months, we have finally come to the end of Magno vs. Machine.

And after twelve rounds of evenly-fought action, we have a split decision on the cards.

And the winner, of the 21st century boxing-related battle of man vs. machine, by split decision... Paul Magno!

Paul Magno sneaked the victory with the last fight of the contest, predicting a Dirrell victory in the Super 6 Boxing Classic fight against Arthur Abraham on March 27.

Both predictor records were impressive, with Magno (17-3, 2 KO) and the Machine (16-4, 3 KO), who predicted the correct winner twelve times in a row from November through March.

Paul Magno has kept his reputation as the boxing encyclopedia in human form, and achieved John Henry’s feat of defeating a multi-functional machine in Title Bout Championship Boxing 2.5.

The Machine is considering filing a protest about the decision, but it would likely be snubbed by The Boxing Tribune, who sanctioned the bout. However, both camps have entered negotiations for a rematch later on in the year.

Prediction History

Abraham-Taylor: Abraham UD 12 (Magno); Abraham TKO 2 (Machine);
Froch-Dirrell: Dirrell SD 12 (Magno); Dirrell SD 12 (Machine);
Haye-Valuev: Haye TKO 7 (Magno); Haye UD 12 (Machine);
Dawson-Johnson: Dawson UD 12 (Magno); Dawson UD 12 (Machine);
Pacquiao-Cotto: Pacquiao TKO 5 (Magno); Pacquiao TKO 7 (Machine);
Kessler-Ward: Ward UD 12 (Magno); Kessler KO 9 (Machine);
Guzman-Funeka I: Guzman UD 12 (Magno); Funeka TKO 10 (Machine);
Bute-Andrade: Bute UD 12 (Magno); Bute UD 12 (Machine);
Williams-Martinez: Williams UD 12 (Magno); Williams TKO 10 (Machine);
Vitali-Johnson: Vitali TKO 9 (Magno); Vitali TKO 9 (Machine);
Bradley-Peterson: Bradley SD 12 (Magno); Bradley UD 12 (Machine);
Malignaggi-Diaz II: Malignaggi SD 12 (Magno); Malignaggi UD 12 (Machine);
Gamboa-Mtagwa: Gamboa UD 12 (Magno); Gamboa TKO 7 (Machine);
Lopez-Luevano: Lopez TKO 10 (Magno); Lopez MD 12 (Machine);
Johnson-Mack: Mack SD 12 (Magno); Johnson UD 12 (Machine);
Valero-De Marco: Valero TKO 3 (Magno); Valero TKO 6 (Machine);
Alexander-Urango: Alexander UD 12 (Magno); Alexander UD 12 (Machine);
Pacquiao-Clottey: Pacquiao TKO 10 (Magno); Pacquiao TKO 11 (Machine);
Wladimir-Chambers: Wladimir TKO 8 (Magno); Wladimir TKO 7 (Machine);
Dirrell-Abraham: Dirrell UD 12 (Magno); Abraham TKO 11 (Machine)

RESULT: MAGNO (17-3, 2 KO); MACHINE (16-4, 3 KO)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Allegations of Dirrell Cheating Are Unwarranted


by Dafs117

Experienced writer and analyst, T.K. Stewart, has been the first to openly criticize Andre Dirrell following his disqualification victory over Arthur Abraham at the weekend, accusing Dirrell of 'mock pain and agony' as he was laid flat on the canvas following a cheap shot from Arthur Abraham in Detroit.

Stewart complains that Dirrell faked injury to claim his first victory in the Super 6 Boxing Classic so he can continue on in Showtime's 168-pound tournament.

As always, Arthur Abraham's fan club has used this to back their poorly thought-out argument on how their guy was badly treated by Michigan officials, and how he was robbed of a 32nd career victory.

Dirrell was clearly ahead at this point in the fight and looked relatively comfortable, if slightly tired, as he hopped on his motor scooter and stayed well clear of Abraham, who stalked him looking for another dramatic knockout. The momentum was hardly with Abraham, even though he should have been awarded a knockdown in the tenth.

Stewart goes on to slate referee Laurence Cole, who made the decision to disqualify Abraham after the foul. He claims that Cole "went for the bait - hook, line and sinker", which is uncalled for in my opinion. Cole's job is hard enough without writers like Stewart on his case every time he gets a big fight, constantly referring to this fight for extra credibility from casual fans.

Abraham claims that he "did not see that he was down." Is that his best response? C'mon get real. He'd been looking up at Dirrell, 6'1'' no less, who had been towering over him, 5'9'', all night, but then suddenly Dirrell was clutching Abraham's ankles. Maybe Stewart went for the bait - hook, line and sinker?

Stewart closes his article with "the boxing ring is no place for actors - especially ones as putrid as Andre Dirrell." But the only actor I saw in the ring on Saturday night was Arthur Abraham, who complained and nagged at referee Cole about non-existent low blows. Trying to buy points from officials is a form of cheating, and because he didn't have 'his' referee, frustration boiled over which ultimately led to a thundering right hand from one of the biggest punchers in boxing landing on a defenseless Dirrell.

If Dirrell was acting, he should really try to get a part in an action film, because I was sold. He was obviously not, as he still hadn't realised that he had won moments after he regained consciousness. The twitching, the disorientation; both obvious signs of concussion, was enough for the doctors to make a thorough check on Dirrell in the ring and at the hospital.

The conspiracy theories are flooding in on forums across the web, but you only need to look at other televised fights to see why there is such skepticism of Dirrell. Francisco Lorenzo's melodramatic actions against Humberto Soto is a prime example, even if the aftermath was as despicable. Lorenzo is the scapegoat here, but he and many others are partly responsible for making spectators doubt the true purity of one's actions. It's the same in other sports, not just boxing.

Was Abraham's foul malicious? Probably not, I think it was more out of frustration than anything. It was out-of-character for a guy that has been very laid-back on Fight Camp 360, without even a mention of hatred towards his competitors. His reputation has been tarnished because of one moment of madness. It was a rush of blood to the head type of thing, nothing more.

Everybody's entitled to their opinion, and I'm not trying to brainwash you into thinking that Abraham's shot was intentional, but the correct decision was made. Make up your own mind, the video is here.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Andre Dirrell Out Of Hospital

According to BoxingScene, Andre Dirrell has received the all clear from the hospital following his visit after last night's disqualification win over Arthur Abraham in Detroit.

Dirrell was knocked-out on his back when Abraham landed a brutal right foul as Dirrell slipped on a canvas logo in the eleventh round. Abraham was disqualified by referee Laurence Cole.

Rick Reeno also reports that the brain scans are negative, which is always good to hear. On our forum, people question how much impact the knockout will have on Dirrell mentally. I honestly don't think it'll have any affect on him what-so-ever. Dirrell didn't expect the blow, and will probably not be in that situation again where someone crouches over him and lands a blatant foul. I have no reason to believe that Dirrell will be at a slight disadvantage because of Abraham's cheap shout.

His next opponent is Andre Ward, who first has to defend his new WBA belt against Allan Green on June 19.

Wilfred Sauerland, Abraham's promoter, has said that he will file a protest over Dirrell's 'acting'. The protest will be pushed aside, as anyone in their right minds can see that Dirrell was not messing around on the canvas.

Moreno And Molitor Win In Title Fights

Ontario, Canada - Steve Molitor (32-1, 12 KO) got the better of Taklani Ndlovu (30-6, 18 KO) for the second time as he outpointed the South African over twelve rounds.

The fight began at Molitor's pace; very slow and hesitant. As the rounds went by, the pace and intensity upped slightly, until the fifth, where both fighters decided to let their hands go and trade plenty of leather. Molitor landed the most punches, but Ndlovu scored with a head-rocking straight right that could've tipped the round in his favour.

Ndlovu upped his game as the fight approached it's end, but Molitor's superior defensive skills were impressive as he used his footwork to get out of Ndlovu's range.

Molitor was the winner by unanimous decision, winning with scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113 to fill the IBF super bantamweight vacancy. The BTBC scored the fight 116-112.

I don't expect Moltior to face the highest level of competition, but he'll be looking forward to defending his new title in front of his home fans. Considering the talent that the division holds, Molitor is behind other titlists Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym and Toshaiki Nishioka, but I wouldn't rule him out of a contest with either of them.

Neven Pajkic (12-0, 5 KO) won the battle of the undefeated heavyweight prospects on the undercard, decisioning Grzegorz Kielsa (11-1, 5 KO) with scores of 100-90, 99-91, 99-91. Pajkic wobbled Kiesla early on and cut him early in the fight, which allowed Pajkic to run away with the fight.

La Guaira, Venezuela - WBA bantamweight titlist Anselmo Moreno (29-1-1, 10 KOs) retained his title via controversial split decision over previously unbeaten Nehomar Cermeno (19-1, 11 KOs) at Polideportivo José María Vargas.

Moreno and Cermeno were evenly matched throughout the fight, and look all set to agree on a rematch in the future. Cermeno thought that his relentless pressure was more than enough to win the fight, but the judges disagreed.

The judges had Moreno ahead 114-113 and 115-112. Cermeno was up 115-112 on the third card. Team Cermeno are reportedly thinking about filing a protest about the decision.

Jorge Linares (28-1, 18 KOs) rebounded from his first loss with a less than impressive ten round majority decision over Francisco Lorenzo (34-8, 15 KOs). The scores were 97-93, 97-94 and 95-95. It wasn't controversial, but it was close enough for one judge to score it level. Linares didn't look his usual self as he struggled to get in the groove against a declining Lorenzo, who has lost four of his last five fights.

Morales Outpoints Alfaro In Successful Return

Monterrey, Mexico - It was hardly convincing, but Erik Morales (49-6, 34 KO) won for the first time in five years as he outpointed club fighter Jose Alfaro (23-6, 20 KO) in his native Mexico.

Following a two-and-a-half year layoff, it took time for Morales to come to terms with the challenge he was putting his body through as he looked badly prepared for the fight.

But as the contest got older, Morales quickly found himself in a brutal battle, that was although pleasing to watch for some fans, very hard to watch for Morales die-hards. He took a lot of punches, but also returned a lot of fire, but there was just something not right about the fight, and I didn't like it.

Morales was involved in a typical Morales fight, and claimed a hard-fought and wider than expected unanimous decision by scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 116-112. With only one eye on the fight as I was busy watching Abraham-Dirrell, my scorecard rounded off to 115-113 for Morales, but as I was concentrating on the bigger fight, it's a rough score.

It's hard to work out what's Morales' motivation behind this comeback. Is he bankrupt and looking for pesos? Is he looking for revenge against Marco Antonio Barrera, or God help me, Manny Pacquiao? Whatever it is, it's puzzling.

On the undercard, Chris Henry (25-2, 20 KO) produced a career best result with a stunning first-round kayo victory over former WBA light heavyweight titlist Hugo Hernan Garay (32-5, 17 KO). This was the first time Garay had been stopped in his professional career, and Chris Henry is now at the front of the queue for a mandatory shot against the winner of Shumenov-Uzelkov, which is expected to happen in the Summer.

Heavyweight David Rodriguez (33-0, 31 KO) predictably did his usual thing, stopping another tomato can in Daniel Bispo (22-13, 16 KO) in the second-round of their one-sided bout.

Baja California, Mexico - In northern Mexico, Ulises Solis (30-2-2, 21 KO) defeated Bert Batawang (45-15-3, 37 KO) for the second time in his career, this time winning by sixth-round corner retirement.

Solis was impressive as he completely outclassed Batawang throughout the six rounds, handing him a pretty heavy defeat in the process. Batawang's corner did the right thing by pulling him out in the sixth, as he was taking a beating at the time.

As this was an IBF eliminator, I presume that Solis will get a chance to regain his old title back later on in the year against new titlist Carlos Tamara, who pulled off a mighty upset in stopping Brian Viloria in their January fight.

Solis slots right back into the 108 pound picture, while Batawang seems finished at the highest level, and he drops down below second-tier in my humble opinion. I was very impressed by Solis, who looked back to his best against a potentially tricky opponent in Batawang, who he handled with ease.

In a non-title fight, Giovanni Segura (24-1-1, 20 KO) kept busy with a fifth-round corner retirement victory over Ronald Ramos (28-8-3, 14 KO).

The 27 year-old Segura had no problmes dispatching Ramos, who was grossly overmatched on the undercard.

Segura, who holds the WBA version of the light flyweight championship, could potentially be set-up to face Solis later on in the year, but I doubt that will happen just yet. If all goes to plan, a potential unification fight could be on the table for Segura and Solis.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Maidana Crushes Cayo In Six

Las Vegas, Nevada - Marcos Maidana (28-1, 27 KO) knocked out Victor Manuel Cayo (24-1, 16 KO) with a sweet body shot in the sixth-round to end a very entertaining contest controlled largely by the Argentinean knockout machine.

Cayo started well, staying disciplined on the outside and winning the opening round, despite Harold Lederman giving it to Maidana. The second started off pretty much the same, until Maidana began to find his helpless target, who crumbled under a rocket right in the second.

Maidana could smell blood and stalked Cayo to every corner of the ring as he tried to end the fight there and then. Cayo however, landed the cleaner punches in the round, but Maidana's greater activity topped every bit of good work Cayo did in the third.

Cayo gave up fighting on the back-foot and joined Maidana in the center of the ring for a brawl that had an air of Arreola-Minto about it, but half the weight. Maidana, acting as the thinner Arreola, was catching Cayo, who played Minto pretty well, flush with nearly every single power punch thrown, but Cayo was game as he managed to weather the onslaught to survive the fourth and began to get back into the fight in the fifth.

Maidana calmed down at the beginning of the sixth, which sent Cayo negatively into retreat, which ultimately proved to be his downfall. Maidana only needed to land one crisp body shot, and that was it. Cayo's resilience had been broken by something relatively new to Maidana's various choice of weapons, as he's become a much improved body puncher. The scores at the time of the stoppage were 49-45, 49-45 and 47-47, which shows that Cayo was competitive in one judge's eye.

Maidana is primed for a title tilt against Amir Khan, but I highly doubt that Team Khan will want anything to do with Maidana after this performance, which I rank up there with Ortiz. Maidana is definitely a top 10 junior welterweight, maybe even top 5, so the future is bright for the Argentinean, who could face Devon Alexander if Khan backs out.

For Victor Cayo, he can return home with his head held high. He gave a credible performance, slugging it out for six rounds against a fierce puncher in Maidana, who's up there with Ediwn Valero and Arthur Abraham as the pound-4-pound biggest puncher in the sport. I wouldn't be surprised to see Cayo challenging for a title again, but I don't think it will be anytime soon.

BTBC House Fighter Daniel Jacobs (19-0, 16 KO) kept up his impressive run for our House Fighters as he destroyed overmatched and an overweight Jose Miguel Berrio (20-5, 12 KO) who quit on his stool after only one round of action. It was a stay busy fight for Jacobs, who'll be looking to make big strides in 2010.

Arthur Abraham Disqualified Against Andre Dirrell

Detroit, Michigan - Andre Dirrell (19-1, 13 KO) dethroned Arthur Abraham (31-1, 25 KO) via disqualification tonight in the Super Six World Boxing Classic, picking up two points in the process. The BTBC had Dirrell leading 97-92 after ten.

Abraham was a long way behind on the cards in the eleventh round, when Dirrell slipped for the second time on an advertisement logo, and went down with his hands out in front of him to keep him from falling on his face. Abraham saw the perfect opportunity to land a right hand that put Dirrell's lights out. Abraham was disqualified by referee Laurence Cole, losing for the first time in his professional career.

The disqualification has taken a little bit of the limelight away from something much more important; Dirrell's coming of age. He used his attributes to his advantage and learned the harsh lessons he learned from the Froch fight in Group Stage 1. Even though he got tagged often by Abraham, he annihilated the Super 6 Boxing Classic leader over ten eventful rounds.

Dirrell floored Abraham for the first time in his career in the fourth, landing a straight right on an unbalanced Abraham. Abraham was down again in the seventh, but referee Cole made the wrong call. However, Cole evened things up as he failed to award Abraham a knockdown when he put Dirrell on the canvas legitimately in the tenth.

This has made the Super Six a lot more interesting, with every fighter still with a strong case in making the semi-final spots. If Abraham would've won in Detroit tonight, he could've retired on his stool after the first round against Carl Froch and still qualified.

After the bout, Abraham irritatingly claimed that Dirrell was "acting to get the DQ", which erased any sympathy left for King Arthur. The most frustrating thing for me was that it was getting interesting too, with Abraham getting real close at times to nail Dirrell with those trademark right hands as they approached a nail-biting conclusion.

Next up for Andre Dirrell is fellow Olympian Andre Ward, who first has to tackle the obstacle that is Allan Green. Arthur Abraham will be back at home against Carl Froch, who faces Mikkel Kessler on April 17.

Joan Guzman Gets Split Verdict Over Ali Funeka

Las Vegas, Nevada - Disgraced boxer Joan Guzman (30-0-1, 17 KO) got the better of South African rival Ali Funeka (30-3-3, 25 KO) in their highly controversial rematch as the Dominican fighter earned the nod on two of the judges scorecards by scores of 116-111 and 114-113. One judge gave it to Funeka 114-113.

Guzman was just too slick for the flat-footed Funeka, who rarely threatened to punish Guzman when he rested against the ropes. Funeka took a lot of time to find his range, and never quite knew what to do when he got there.

Guzman on the other hand executed the perfect strategy laid out to him by his new trainer Lee Beard, as he waited on the back-foot to catch the oncoming Funeka as he switched from long range to close.

Unexpectedly, Guzman floored Funeka in the sixth with a peach of a right hook to the side of Funeka's temple. Funeka got up and wasn't hurt, but it did show that the nine pounds advantage Guzman had at the weigh-in made a difference.

The frustration was apparent in Funeka's game as he never seemed to catch Guzman at the right time. He desperately began to swing wildly as he realised that the IBF title was slipping from his grasp. The BTBC scored the fight 115-112 in favor of Guzman.

Joan Guzman does not win the IBF lightweight belt as he unprofessionally weighed-in at 144 pounds, nine pounds over the lightweight limit.

The win actually doesn't help Guzman one jot. His unprofessionalism has put off any promotional company with more than one braincell to even approach him with a fight contract, and I doubt Golden Boy will go looking for one either. I see Guzman rotting away on Golden Boy undercards in Mexico or his native Dominican Republic, but definitely no TV date for a long long time.

For Funeka, he's in the same situation as he was in November. He'll feel cheated again, but he's earned major recognition for his three HBO performances which he has given 100% in every single round. He's got a little following and he's in good hands, so I'd expect to see him fight in an eliminator for that IBF title that seems impossible for him to capture.

Gamboa Decisions Barros In Hamburg

Hamburg, Germany - Cuban sensation Yuriorkis Gamboa (18-0, 15 KO) predictably defeated overmatched Jonathan Victor Barros (28-1-1, 16 KO) but in less than impressive fashion, winning by unanimous decision.

It was obvious from the get go that Gamboa was a class above Barros as he got the Argentinean's attention with decent counter-punching in the opening exchanges. But the lack of action made an Anthony Small fight watchable, as everybody knew that it was target practice for Gamboa.

The posturing was a sign that Gamboa was in control, but he was coasting until the final 20 seconds of every round, where he would pump a couple of jabs and switch to the body. He would win the round, but only just.

Up 'till the eighth, Barros was puzzled by Gamboa's athleticism and pure speed as he struggled to mount a consistent offence. Barros finally caught Gamboa with a clean punch, that triggered something in the Cuban brain of his, as he punished him by knocking him down with more relentless pressure than punching force.

As we all came to expect Gamboa to finish things there and then, the Gamboa of old came out of the closet. In the ninth, Barros caught Gamboa flush with a right hook that sent Gamboa's legs into a funny dance, but he quickly recovered to finish the round on his feet. It made you wonder that if Gamboa had made the same mistake against Celestino Caballero, who he's fated to face late Summer, that he would be so lucky.

Barros finished well, gunning for the knockout he needed to keep his unblemished record. But Gamboa was content in winning by decision than going reckless again, and Barros won a couple of rounds in the Championship rounds.

The scores were 118-109, 118-109 and 116-111, all in favor of Gamboa. The BTBC scored the fight 118-109 to Gamboa. As mentioned above, his next opponent will likely be Celestino Caballero, who faces Indonesian Daud Yordan in what could be a tricky fight for the freakishly tall Panamanian.

Even though this was Gamboa's best defensive display by far, there were signs that he's not as polished as what we thought. I'd still favour him to batter Caballero if they met in the Summer, but the brightest talent in boxing has a few issues he needs to work on in the gym before we can consider him as a finished product.

On the undercard, Juan Carlos Gomez (45-2, 36 KO) made a successful return to the ring with a thrid-round knockout win over Alexey Mazikin (13-5-2, 3 KO). Mazikin went down following a body shot in the first, and again in the third following relentless pressure from the former title challenger.

Steffen Kretschmann (14-2, 13 KO) failed to extract his revenge over Denis Bakhtov (33-5, 22 KO) as they bored the hell out of the Hamburg crowd in a horrible heavyweight fight.

In a bizzare ending, promoter Ahmet Oner jumped onto the apron to call a halt to the proceedings, claiming that Kretschmann wasn't fit to continue after the German had turned his back from the action. This came in the ninth round after Kretschmann had been down in the sixth following a harmless body shot.

Bakhtov, who scored a first-round knockout win over Kretschmann in the first fight, is no further up the heavyweight ladder after that fight. He did dominate the fight and was looking like he was going to get robbed or disqualified by a pedantic referee. Expect to see Kretschmann playing the role of sacrificial lamb for a heavyweight prospect such as Manuel Charr or Kubrat Pulev and so on.

The released scorecards show that Kretschmann was ridiculously ahead 80-72, 78-73 on two judges scorecards, and this includes a knockodown for Bakhtov against the German. The BTBC had it 76-75 to Bakhtov at the time of the stoppage.

Arthur Abraham's leftovers Mahir Oral (28-2-2, 11 KO) won a worthless WBA trinket with a tenth-round technical knockout win over journeyman Juan Camilo Novoa (14-5-1, 12 KO).

Guzman-Funeka Update: Joan Guzman 148.2; Ali Funeka 143.2

After the farce of yesterday's weigh-in, both Juan Guzman and Ali Funeka re-weighed ahead of their catchweight fight at the Hard Rock Hotel tonight. Joan Guzman weighed-in at 148.2 lbs, while Ali Funeka tipped the scales at 143.2 pounds.

If your not aware of yesterday's events, here's a brief re-cap. Guzman is still a joke. He disgracefully weighed-in at 144 pounds, a staggering nine pounds over the lightweight limit, which Ali Funeka met with no fuss.

According to various reports, Guzman will be penalized 25% of his purse for failing to make weight by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC). Funeka will receive an additional $25,000 for taking the fight. The title will only be on the line for Funeka.

The fight will be the co-feature to Marcos Maidana's junior welterweight battle against Victor Manuel Cayo, broadcasted by HBO.

Wonjongkam Defeats Kameda In Thriller To Reign Flyweight Champion

Tokyo, Japan - In a cracking contest, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (75-3-1, 39 KO) won The Ring magazine's flyweight championship and regained the WBC flyweight title from the hands of Koki Kameda (22-1, 14 KO) with a competitive majority-decision win in Tokyo.

It was a top drawer back and forth battle, Wonjongkam got the better of the early action, dictating the pace in the opening four rounds. In the fifth, a nasty clash of heads caused both fighters to cut with Kameda getting the worse of it, but it seemed to spring him into action as he began to even things out in the middle rounds.

But the pace gradually caught up with Kameda, and Wonjongkam came on strong to finish with a flurry. The last round summed up the fight, with the momentum switching hands from one boxer to another, but Wonjongkam finishing the stronger of the two. The scores were 116-112, 115-112 in favour of Wonjongkam with a level card 114-114. The BTBC also scored the fight 116-112 in favour of the Thai fighter.

If your a Kameda fan, there's no need to worry, he was competitive against the most experienced and probably the best flyweight around at the moment. He's still #2 at 112 pounds, and only 23, he has a fabulous future ahead of him. A rematch with Wonjongkam is highly possible.

For Wonjongkam, he won his 75th professional fight, that's an amazing achievement. He adds another alphabet trinket to his trophy cabinet, but most importantly, the lineal flyweight championship. Like I've seen posted elsewhere, this probably seals Wonjongkam as a hall-of-famer. At 32, he's just overcome a younger opponent that was heavily tipped to defeat him, so big stock boost for Wonjongkam who looked really good in that ring.

On the undercard, Oleydong Sithsamerchai (34-0, 12 KO) successfully defended his WBC strawweight title with a closer than expected unanimous decision victory over Yasutaka Kuroki (23-4-1, 15 KO), winning by scores of 114-112, 114-113 and 113-112. Sithsamerchai is a major player at 105 pounds, but I don't expect him to face Roman Gonzalez, Nkosinathi Joyi or Denver Cuello anytime soon.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Hangover

East London, South Africa - Nkosinathi Joyi (21-0, 15 KO) dominated Mexican Raul Garcia (27-1-1, 16 KO) over twelve rounds to capture Garcia's IBF strawweight title and hand him his first professional loss.

Joyi produced an outstanding performance as he controlled the fight from the outside with his southpaw jab that set up everything else in the South African's arsenal. Joyi's speed and power was too much for Garcia, who was rocked several
times in the six rounds I caught.

This is the most meaningful fight in the division for a long time, with two of the top four sharing the ring, something unheard of in the 105 pound history.
South Africa are known to produce some awful hometown robberies, but the wide scoring was deserved as Joyi won on scores of 119-109, 118-110 and 118-110. Joyi could be the best fighter in the division and he outclassed Garcia, who's also a damn good fighter.

Dagenham, England - Matthew Hatton (39-4-2, 15 KO) put on his career-best performance as he comprehensively out-pointed Italian challenger Gianluca Branco (43-3-1, 22 KO) to capture the vacant European welterweight crown via unanimous decision, winning by scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113. The BTBC scored the fight 116-112 in favour of Hatton.

Hatton's activity was too much for the aging Branco, who's naturally a 140 pounder. Hatton seemed to ease off in the end, but Branco couldn't capitalise as Hatton won a deserved victory in the end.

As for Hatton's position in the welterweight division, he's a long way away from the top 10, maybe even top 20, but his determination to get a title shot earns my respect straight away, even though I don't rate him as a boxer.

Hatton deserves this victory for the effort he's put in since he lost to Craig Watson, and to keep going in his older brother Ricky's shadow. I actually want him to get a big payday against the big names he's been linked with, I really think he deserves it.

In the co-feature, Sam Webb (16-1, 4 KO) rolled back to the amateur years to pull off a surprising result by putting on a stellar performance as he eked out a majority decision victory over Anthony Small (23-2, 16 KO) to win the British and Commonwealth light middleweight titles.

Small began the fight his usual self, showboating for no apparent reason, taunting his opponent while flicking out meaningless punches. Despite being cut in the fifth, Webb started to dominate proceedings by drawing Small into a brawl, which Small didn't want.

Small gassed in the seventh, and after excellent corner work to close Webb's cut, he picked up the pace to attempt to punish Small. Small wobbled all over the place in the ninth, but recovered to last the distance.

Webb won by scores of 117-113, 117-112 and 115-115. The BTBC scored it level at 114-114.

On the undercard, undefeated featherweight prospect Joe Murray (7-0, 3 KO) cruised to a points victory over veteran Yuri Voronin (27-11-2, 18 KO) over eight rounds. Overrated Yassine El Maachi (12-4, 5 KO) also won on points, but over six rounds against Bertrand Aloa (15-6, 1 KO).

Mexico City, Mexico - Lightweight contender Vicente Escobedo (22-2, 14 KO) fought for the first time since his split decision defeat to Michael Katsidis on the Mayweather-Marquez undercard with a third-round stoppage victory over Carlos Urias (43-24, 32 KO).

Helsinki, Finland - Heavyweight prospect Robert Helenius (12-0, 7 KO) improved his record with an uninspiring win over Gbenga Oloukun (17-4, 10 KO), who gave the Finn his toughest outing to date.

The fast-tracked Helenius won an eight-round unanimous decision via scores of 79-76, 78-75, 77-75. The BTBC had eyes on other things, but scored it 77-75.

Nice, France - Former junior middleweight contender Chrisophe Canclaux (41-3, 26 KO) got back to winning ways with a routine second-round knockout victory over inexperienced Janos Varga (6-2, 5 KO). Canclaux recently lost a WBO interim fight against Joachim Alcine, which dropped him down the pecking order at 154 pounds.

WBA Reject Campillo-Shumenov Trilogy

In disappointing news for fans in particular, the WBA have rejected claims from former light heavyweight titlist Gabriel Campillo for a rematch of the highly controversial decision loss to Beibut Shuemnov in January.

In 2009, Campillo outpointed Shumenov in Kazhakstan, also via controversial decision, but Shumenov received the rematch he felt deserved. Campillo wasn't as fortunate, even though his case was far stronger than his rival.

It's disappointing news in so many ways. We miss out on the excitement that a trilogy would've offered. Campillo has been hard done by, you could argue that it's some sort of a punishment for the Spaniard. He brings no money to the table, and the risk/reward ratio he offers is terrible.

Most importantly, Shumenov will keep his trinket hostage for months, similar to Felix Sturm, Paulus Moses and other WBA titleholders, who receive kind mandatories from the organization. There's a reason why Shumenov shouldn't have that belt around his waist; he's not that good. Shumenov will defend his crown against official challenger Vyacheslav Uzelkov next, in a fight that I see Uzelkov winning with ease.

This is another blow to an already suffering light heavyweight division, which lacks the depth that has made the division what it is today.

Guzman vs. Funeka In Jeopardy as Guzman Fails Weight... Again

We've been here before. At the weigh-in ahead of his hotly anticipated rematch with Ali Funeka, Joan Guzman (29-0-1, 17 KO) staggeringly failed to make weight by nine pounds at the Hard Rock Hotel, tipping the scales at 144 lbs.

Cast your minds back to September 2008, where Guzman unprofessionally failed weight ahead of another HBO date, this time against Nate Campbell. The consequences were much bigger than anticipated, with Nate Campbell filing his bankruptcy shortly after the fight.

The IBF could award Ali Funeka the belt, or make it inaccessible for Joan Guzman if the fight goes ahead, as the South African weighed-in on the lightweight limit, 135. Guzman's purse should be withheld, but it's highly likely that the fight won't go ahead, as promoter Gary Shaw whispered to BoxingScene.

Both Marcos Maidana and Victor Cayo made weight ahead of their light welterweight clash, both weighing in at 140 pounds.

Guzman has two hours to lose the weight, which is virtually impossible. If there's a breakthrough, it'll be below.

***A deal was struck between camps allowing the fight to go on – providing that Guzman does not weigh more than 150 lbs. tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. If Funeka defeats the overweight Guzman, he will also be allowed to bring the IBF lightweight title home to South Africa.***

Maccarinelli's Third Attempt At Redemption

As David Haye prepares for a vital defense of his WBA heavyweight crown, things couldn't be more different for Enzo Maccarinelli.

It was only two years ago that they were competing for the biggest purse in cruiserweight title history, a scary thought when you compare both fighters' careers since that March night.

Maccarinelli is an old 29 year-old. He's been beaten up badly in every attempt at honours since he was blasted out in two by Haye, so why should the tables be turned against Alexander Kotlobay (18-1-1, 12 KO), a unknown fighter that boasts a KO percentage of 66%? If Maccarinelli is successful in his European title shot, he'll be forced to defend against Alexander Frenkel (22-0, 17 KO), another German youngster that has a stubborn punch.

The signs have been there for a while now that 'Big Mac' is not fit to be matched against hungry lions no more. Ola Afolabi and Denis Lebedev have displayed just that, both stopping the limited Welshman in stunning fashion.

Frenkel and Kotlobay are no better, or much worse for that fact, than Afolabi or Lebedev. Simply put, they're your stereotypical cruiserweight. They're heavy handed, physically strong and cover up their dodgy beards that are yet to be tested by their over-matched tomato cans. But as has happened to others like them, the step-up in class is a step too far.

If Maccarinelli does manage to pull off an almighty upset, I can assure you that the WBO will immediately catapult their favourite cruiserweight into a dizzy high ranking. Of course, he'll have the option of defending his European strap on Sky Sports or in Germany, but the intent is to get him back into the world title frame.

But let's get back to planet Earth, the odds are heavily stacked against the former titlist. The fight will take place in St. Petersburg, which means two things. 1. Frank Warren couldn't care less about his former star product; 2. Alexander Kotlobay will win. An away win in St. Petersburg is as common as a Vitali Klitschko fight going the distance. It happens occasionally, but not often.

So Maccarinelli's downward spiral seems all set to continue while his counterpart Haye is gearing up for another Pay-Per-View box office against John Ruiz.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mares and Hopkins Stay Busy With Expected Wins


Los Angeles, California - Over at Club Nokia, Abner Mares (20-0, 13 KO) won his tune-up fight against journeyman Felipe Almanza (17-16-4, 8 KO) via fifth-round technical knockout in front of a vocal crowd at Los Angeles.

The bantamweight contender looked confident in his public sparring session, showing no ring rust for a guy who hadn't fought since August. Almanza was no match for Mares in any area, which probably was Golden Boy's plan as he has a much bigger fight on the horizon.

That's against IBF bantamweight titlist, Yonnhy Perez, who entertained us all in a thrilling fight with the popular Joseph Agbeko. He'll have a big stage to perform on, as they fight in the co-feature for Marquez-Vasquez IV.

Watching last night's fight will hardly swing your opinion one way or the other for Perez-Mares. At the moment, I'd go with the more experienced Perez to outpoint the more talented Mares, but my opinion may change closer to May 22.

On the undercard, Ronny Rios (10-0, 5 KO) stopped Andreas Ledesma in five, while Derrick Wilson (5-1-2, 2 KO) took another hit to his record with a points draw against Adam Ochoa (2-1-1, 1 KO). He landed scoring shots often, but maybe not often enough as he was too timid at times.

Commerce, California - Demetrius Hopkins (29-1-1, 11 KO) made a successful comeback from a 15-month layoff with a shutout ten-round unanimous decision victory over journeyman Jesse Feliciano (15-9-3, 9 KO) at the Commerce Casino, California.

From the opening bell, it was clear that Hopkins was a skill level above as he shook off any apparent ring rust to dominate every round against the tough Feliciano. Hopkins looked very sharp, landing scoring shots at will at times against his late replacement, Feliciano, who stepped into Freddie Norwood's role for the night. The judges' scores were 100-91, 100-90, 100-90.

Hopkins was impressive, especially when you consider he was fighting a junior middleweight, as Feliciano tipped the scales at 149 lbs. Felicinao's record is also deceiving, with most defeats against well-known fighters and a surprise TKO-7 win over Delvin Rodriguez.

This win shows that Hopkins is not here to mess around, and probably gives him a ranking by one of the organization bodies. Considering he was competitive against a top-5 Kendall Holt in 2008, I would not be surprised to see him in an elimination process soon, and knocking on the door of the top 10. He needs to stay active if he wants to be taken seriously.

On the undercard, amateur flyweight sensation Randy Caballero scored a 49-second KO in his pro debut against Samuel Jude Yniguez (2-5-3, 0 KO)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Save Our Heroes: Take The Legends on the Road and Away from the Main Stage


by Paul Magno

A few years ago I had the honor of co-promoting an event which featured a comeback of sorts for Mexican legend, Ruben "El Puas" Olivares. Actually, it was more of quick money grab for the 59 year old former bantamweight and featherweight world champion.

Olivares was having a tough time and was just about broke. I can attest to his sad state because I was a co-trainer in his gym down here in Central Mexico and I had to deal with the unsavory characters that would burst through the doors looking to collect the debt; These were the types of guys who made other guys disappear, if you know what I mean.

It was a sad state of affairs for a national hero and one of the true greats of the sport.

Obviously, "El Puas" couldn't make a real comeback at his age and in his condition. The alternative was to cash in on his fame and put some bucks into his pocket. We put some feelers out among the population and came up with more than a few businessmen willing to associate themselves with Olivares.

Ultimately, a local gym owner put up a purse of twenty thousand pesos for the privilege of going a few rounds with a legend. A card was constructed around the exhibition and fans were jam-packed into an auditorium to catch a glimpse of a legendary figure in Mexican sports. The fight itself was more of a low-end sparring session; Three rounds of two minutes each with 16 oz. gloves, but from the fan reaction, you would've thought that this was the Olivares of old, battling Bobby Chacon at the Forum in Inglewood, CA.

That night, Ruben Olivares added some much-needed money to his bank account and was able to bask in the adulation of his fans. It was truly a win-win for all involved.

The initial reaction among fight fans is to condemn exhibitions like this as exploitation of a legendary name, but nothing could be further from the truth. It was a celebration of the fighter and not much different than the fantasy camps that exist in just about every organized sport.

This leads me to thinking about Erik Morales and his comeback bout, schedule for this Saturday, March 27th in Monterrey, Mexico.

Morales swears that he's not doing it for the money, but he can't seriously think that he'd be able to pick up the pieces of a career that he was pushed out of three years ago. The Erik Morales that steps into the ring on Saturday will be the one who hasn't won a bout since 2005 and the loser of five of his last six.

At some point, common sense has to enter into the picture and if the fighter can't execute it himself, it should be forced upon him by the commissions and the promoters. Unfortunately, boxing has never executed such common sense and it isn't likely to do so anytime soon.

Look at Jose Luis Castillo's performance on the Pacquiao-Clottey undercard. Castillo has been notably shot as a fighter for years now and his exercise in futility against a club-level Alfonso Gomez was a waste of time for all involved.

All of these guys, from Morales and Castillo to Evander Holyfield and Hector Camacho, are just taking up space that would otherwise be going to other, legit, fighters. None of them will ever be serious challengers for a world title; None are likely to break the top ten anytime soon.

Whether they're fighting on for money, attention or, in the case of Johnny Tapia, for psychological redemption, they are just wasting everyone's time on the main stage.

Why not take these legendary names and give them a payday, an ego-boost, and something to do that wouldn't jeopardize their well-being?

Why not create a "Legends Show" where fans can bid for the honor of being batted around the ring by their heroes? Limit the exhibitions to three 2-minute rounds with 16 oz. gloves, just like the previously mentioned Olivares exhibition. It's no different than wealthy businessmen paying 20k to spend a week with the old-timers in a baseball camp or some executive paying the same amount to play one on one basketball with Michael Jordan.

Take the show on the road, 8-10 dates a year in exhibitions against novice fans in packed auditoriums. Names like Holyfield, Tapia, Camacho and Morales will sell out all the reasonably-priced seats. Money-wise, the legend's opponent pays the purse and extra money can be added from a percentage of the live gate.

Seeing their favorite fighters engaged in exhibition bouts against middle-aged businessmen might be a little melancholy for some, but is it any sadder than watching these legends fool themselves into thinking that they're still relevant? Is it any sadder than watching them beat to a pulp by fighters who aren't worthy of carrying their gym bag?

It's time for the sport to start exercising some common sense. Tell the heroes of the past that enough's enough already...They can still get paid, still be treated like stars, but let's stop pretending that anything good can come from a fighter sticking around way too long.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Harry Carpenter, 'The Voice Of Boxing' Dies Age 84


From the BBC:

Former BBC boxing commentator Harry Carpenter has died at the age of 84.

Carpenter was the BBC's voice of boxing for almost half a century after joining the corporation in 1949, when he first began commentating on the sport.

Known for his double act with British boxing great Frank Bruno, Carpenter also presented Sportsnight, Grandstand and Sports Personality of the Year.

He retired in 1994 and died in his sleep at King's College Hospital in London in the early hours of Saturday.

His lawyer David Wills said: "He had been unwell since last summer when he had a minor heart attack.

"The funeral has not been arranged but will be a family funeral, to be followed by a memorial service in London."

Carpenter became closely identified with Frank Bruno, whose catchphrase "Know what I mean, 'arry?" featured in their post-fight interviews.

The former world heavyweight champion, 48, was said to be "very upset and shocked" by the death.

"He [Carpenter] was obviously part of Frank's up-and-coming career from the early days when Harry used to commentate, particularly at the Royal Albert Hall, on Frank's boxing," said a spokesman for Bruno.

"Then they became a bit of a double act with the 'Know what I mean, 'arry' thing. From there they went on to do appearances together almost like a little cabaret act."

He also referred to the moment during Bruno's world-title fight against Mike Tyson in 1989 - which the American won - when Carpenter forgot his impartiality for a moment and cried out: "Get in there, Frank."

"The most exciting time was probably the Tyson fight when even Harry Carpenter, who was quite a cool man, sort of lost his cool," the spokesman added.

Former world heavyweight title challenger Sir Henry Cooper said Carpenter was "a lovely guy" who was "never flash".

He added: "If you were good then he'd give you a good write-up and if not, he told you one or two truths.

"I always enjoyed his company and enjoyed talking to him. And he knew the game."

Promoter Frank Maloney also paid tribute to Carpenter, describing him as "probably one of the greatest commentators of all time".

He added: "His voice was so distinctive and I remember all those Ali fights and Bruno fights he commentated on.

"It's like a piece of boxing history has been taken away."

And former world light-heavyweight champion John Conteh said Carpenter had an "outstanding passion" for boxing.

"We in this sport, including people like Muhammad Ali, can intuitively tell when someone loves boxing - and he was steeped in it," added Conteh.

"I remember watching and listening back to some of my fights that he commentated on and there was always constructive, not destructive, criticism from him."


Rest in peace 'Arry

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Klitschko Hammers Chambers; Solis Makes Drummond Quit


Dusseldorf, Germany- In front of a packed soccer stadium, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko (54-3, 48 KOs), did what he does best and gradually dismantled game challenger, Eddie Chambers (35-2, 18KOs).

Chambers came out with energy and a definite plan, but was kept at a distance for almost the entire fight by Klitschko's trademark long jab.

The first two rounds were close with Chambers using movement and some defiant roughhouse tactics to keep things close. In the first, Chambers lifted Klitschko in a clinch and in the second, he lifted and body slammed the defending champ to the canvas. Klitschko responded by connecting with a one-two combination that nearly dropped the challenger.

In the third, Klitschko firmly established the distance and pace of the bout and, from that point on, it never varied. Chambers did try to dig into Klitschko's body, the way he did to Alexander Dimitrenko, but he was never able to get close enough, long enough for the body attack to be effective.

Rounds four through eleven were nearly identical with Klitschko controlling the tempo and the distance while Chambers seemed to be just biding his time with survival on his mind. A tear in Chambers' glove gave the challenger a rest before the tenth and it seemed to energize him, but it was to no avail as the champ re-established the pace before the end of that round.

At the urging of Emanuel Steward, Klitschko came out for the twelfth with fire in his eyes and took the fight to a tired and dejected Chambers.

The end of the bout came via a lead left hook to the temple which immediately put out Chambers' lights in the corner. Referee Geno Rodriguez waved off the bout at the 2:55 mark of the twelfth.

On the undercard, Johnathan Banks (24-1, 17 KOs) continued his campaign at heavyweight with a sixth round TKO over Travis Walker (34-4-1, 28 KOs)

Also, Alexander Ustinov (20-0, 16 KOs) won via RTD 4 against journeyman Ed Mahone (24-10-2. 23 KOs)


Key West, Florida- Undefeated Cuban, Odlanier Solis (16-0, 12 KOs), was set to answer Wladimir Klitschko's impressive performance earlier with a gem of his own. Unfortunately, his opponent, Carl Davis Drummond (26-3, 20 KOs), never really came to fight and ended up turning the bout into a non-event.

Solis looked as impressive as possible, but Drummond plodded along and refused to engage. Drummond ended up quitting in his corner after the third.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Final Round: Magno vs. Machine


by Dafs117/Paul Magno

Paul Magno’s attempt to emulate John Henry, a figure from American folklore, concludes this week with a slight twist from the normal proceedings.

The toe to toe battle with Title Bout Championship Boxing in a 21st century boxing-related battle of man vs. machine has been competitive, with both still evenly matched going into the final round.

In the final round we’ll be combining the next two weekends, which starts with Wladmir Klitschko making his defense of his heavyweight championship against Eddie Chambers, and concludes with two fighters that kicked-off the contest, Arthur Abraham and Andre Dirrell.

John Henry was successful, but will Magno be?

Wladmir Klitschko vs. Eddie Chambers

Magno:
This isn't as easy as some would believe. Chambers, in his last fight, executed the perfect strategy against a taller, stronger Eastern European heavyweight. Yeah, Alexander Dimitrenko is no Klitschko, but nonetheless, it was a perfect game plan that I can see working against Wlad.


I'm tempted to pick Chambers in a shocker, but for the sake of the competition, I'll make the safe pick and say Wladimir Klitschko via TKO 8. But, if Chambers comes to the fight in shape and focused, all bets are off.


Machine: In the machine's view, Wladmir Klitschko is far the better fighter in this fight, and holds all the tools that are required to win this fight. He holds the WBO, IBF, IBO and The Ring Magazine's version of the heavyweight championship. Basically, he's dominating the division.

Eddie Chambers has a slight speed advantage, but everything else points to Klitschko's favour, plus the added incentive of fighting at home, if Klitschko needs some home cooking of course.

The Machine doesn't think he will, and predicts Wladmir Klitschko to be victorious via seventh round technical knockout. Eddie Chambers won't be in the fight at all, and will be picked off by the taller and rangier Klitschko, who'll continue his dominance at the top of the heavyweight division.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Americans, Get Over Yourselves: Klitschkos Are Kings!


by Paul Magno

Boxing fans from 110 countries around the world will be watching a world heavyweight title fight this Saturday as Wladimir Klitschko defends his IBF and WBO heavyweight titles against, literally, America's last chance at snagging a real heavyweight title, "Fast" Eddie Chambers.

If you're reading this in the United States, though, you'll have to settle for a $14.95 internet-only pay per view screening on the small screen.

Sounds frickin' insane.

I sort of buy HBO's excuse that the European start time would be too early in the United States and would take a beating against the NCAA basketball tourney. So, for the money required, the bout is not economically viable for the network. Ok.

But what I can't understand is the sentiment among American fight fans and the almost glee some are taking that the fight isn't being broadcast.

The excuse made is that the Klitschkos are boring and that Wladimir, especially, is a chore to watch.

However, these same fans that whine about the Klitschkos are often the same ones who have high regard for a guy like Ivan Calderon, the jr. flyweight champ whose fights often turn into mind-numbing track meets. And these are the same fans who tolerate Paulie Malignaggi's jab-and-grabs and HBO-supported Rocky Juarez as he tries for one world title after another.

I don't buy the critics' sudden high standards when it comes to the fights they watch.

It's more likely that the critics are just frustrated that no American fighter can come close to handling the Eastern European kingpins. Americans are supposed to rule the heavyweight division; It's our division, home of Ali, Marciano, Dempsey, Louis and Frazier.

So, with an absence of dominant US heavyweights and with little hope for the future, the fans have just taken to ignoring the Klitschkos. "Let's just close our eyes and make believe they don't exist...we'll open them in a couple of years and hope for the best."

Yes, it's frustrating to see fighter after fight fall at the hands of the Klitschkos, but since when has the American attitude been, "If you can't beat 'em, marginalize 'em?"

It's not Wlad's and Vitali's fault that Tony Thompson and Kevin Johnson couldn't pull the trigger, it's not their fault that Sam Peter and Ruslan Chagaev were shut out and it sure as hell isn't their fault that Chris Arreola keeps losing the directions to his gym.

I'm not a big fan of the Klitschkos and I'll be overjoyed if Eddie Chambers finds a way to bring home the world title, but I think it's just plain petty that the American public, en masse, has decided to proudly snub the legit world champions.

Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko have taken on all comers and have conducted themselves with class and dignity. And, no, sorry...they are not overwhelmingly boring.

America, get over yourself...If you can't build the perfect heavyweight, at least recognize the best of the best right now. You should be ashamed of yourself for marginalizing the world champion; You shouldn't be celebrating the fact that you've succeeded in burying your head in the sand.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Why Blame Joshua Clottey?

by Paul Magno

Post Pacquiao-Clottey rout, the internet has been abuzz with Joshua Clottey critics and expressions of disgust at the effort he put forth at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday.

As someone who was crying "mismatch" from the moment the bout was first announced, I can't say that I was surprised nor will I feign modesty on the issue. This was a horrible stylistic mismatch featuring one guy who is a buzzsaw of activity in the ring against another who practically has to be cattle-prodded to throw punches.

Most experts and people "in the know" had to see the writing on the wall. Those who didn't, were either optimistically hiding their head in the sand in hopes of a great fight or, well, not so expert after all.

While it's easy to pick on Clottey for his non-performance, you have to accept the fact that nothing else was to be expected. Clottey is well-known for crawling into a shell for as long as he has an active opponent in front of him. He's always been a catcher more than a pitcher and it just wasn't realistic to expect him to completely turn his mindset around and suddenly become anything else.
 
Clottey's psychology and game plan was not exactly a secret...He flat-out told us what to expect:

“My body can take it. When he throws punches at me I will block him and that will confuse him...(Pacquiao will throw 30 punches, I will throw 4) and the four will connect while I will block most of the 30. I will wear him down for sure.”- Joshua Clottey to Boxingscene.com

The fact that Clottey would keep his hands up the entire time and look to negate and wait Pacquiao out was the worst kept secret in boxing and it was something that the organizers of the match-up surely had to be aware of as well.

So, if Clottey was just being Clottey on Saturday night, who deserves the public scorn?

That would be one Mr. Bob Arum, Top Rank boss man and bionic BS machine. It was Arum who purposely put this entire card together and peddled it as "The Event." It was Arum who took a small-venue card and stuck it in a state of the art megaplex. And it was Arum who essentially delivered a big "F-You" to 51,000 boxing fans who crowded Cowboys Stadium and to those who paid fifty bucks a pop via pay per view to see an entertaining, competitive bout and card.

Don't blame Joshua Clottey for being Joshua Clottey, blame the one who put him in the position to turn an "Event" into a non-event.

With the world watching and the fans crowding in to see world-class boxing, Arum showed pure disdain for the sport by putting a "Latin Fury" undercard on a big ticket show and by picking a main event opponent for Pacquiao who was sure to disappoint.

Boxing had a chance to shine on Saturday, but instead, it was just another "ho-hum" night with the entire world watching...If you ask me, that's a lot worse than a defense-minded Joshua Clottey.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Event Analysis: Pacquiao Manipulates Clottey


by Dafs117

In front of over 50,000 boxing fans at the impressive Cowboys Stadium in Dallas and the thousands watching on HBO PPV, Manny Pacquiao’s first defense of his WBO welterweight title against Joshua Clottey fell short of its label as ‘The Event.’

From the outset, Pacquiao used his exceptional footwork to dart in and out as he threw combination after combination after combination, being his usual self. Unfortunately, so was Clottey.

‘The Grand Master’ was successful in landing his trademark left uppercuts and his improved right hand, but they were rare spurts in rounds dominated by Pacquiao flicking out straight punches. As the fight gradually increased in intensity, it was all due to Pacquiao and his crowd-pleasing blitzes, not Clottey’s statue stance.

Similar to the Cotto bout, Clottey frustratingly waited for Pacquiao to stop punching before throwing his own leather. He kept his ears warm all night with a tight guard that was rarely broken by Pacquiao, but that didn’t matter to either fighter. Pacquiao was pleased with how easy his night’s work had turned out while Clottey was content with going the distance.

Clottey simply didn’t have the fortitude to make the fight a competitive one. I gave Clottey the second round, and frankly, it was the only round I even considered giving the Ghanaian. It was a landslide, and the stats also displayed how easy it was for Pacquiao. The Filipino threw over 1200 punches, connecting with 20% en route to an emphatic unanimous decision.

I’m amazed that it took until last night for most to figure out that Clottey isn’t great. He’s always been a limited fighter in my view, and the vending machine simile couldn’t have been more suitable. They hyped up Clottey but as 'the devastating brawler' in the TV promo, but they couldn't have been more far-fetched if they'd tried.

Take nothing away from Pacquiao, he was very disciplined. But descriptions of 'a scintillating performance', and 'most impressive victory to date' are just ludicrous. He was scintillating against Hatton, most impressive against Cotto, under-matched against Clottey.

It seemed that Clottey wasn't really that bothered about winning. He was quoted before the fight saying that he would wait until 'Pacquiao punches himself out'. That backfired miserably.

The judges’ scores reflected how one-sided the fight was. 120-108, 119-109 and 119-109 showed the difference in class between both fighters that shared the ring. The BTBC scored it 119-109.

The main event was only part of the problem. The so-called competitive undercard that was badly out of place in a fight labelled 'The Event', was at times cringeworthy.

The potential blood-bath middleweight scrap between John Duddy and Michael Medina was average. It was watchable, even though it had no importance to the division. Duddy won by scores of 96-93 across the board, The BTBC also scored it 96-93. For me, Duddy had improved slightly since his previous fights, but he's still a county mile away from being ready to challenge anyone from the top 25.

My relentless negativity continues, as Alfonso Gomez retired Jose Luis Castillo in the fifth round. Castillo looked awful. He had nothing on his punches, he was slower than Gomez, and he was out-thrown 3 to 1. I read somewhere that Castillo looked worse than he did against Sebastian Lujan, and I agree.

Castillo officially announced his retirement from the sport after the fight.

The chief-support for the PPV card was Humberto Soto vs. David Diaz for Diaz's old WBC lightweight trinket, vacated by Edwin Valero. It's hard to really gauge how good a performance Soto gave, as Diaz is no more than second-tier and he's very limited. Soto is a poor man's Juan Manuel Marquez, he's more dynamic but less skillful. Soto knocked Diaz in the opening and closing rounds. During the fight, Diaz attempted to pressurize Soto, but he was taking counters for the majority of the fight. The judges' scores were 117-109, 117-109 and 115-111. The BTBC scored it 116-110.

The undercard had no drama, no excitement, not even one thrilling moment. Even Soto's knockdowns didn't get the blood pumping.

However, the most bizarre moment came when Jim Lampley's started to play cops and robbers with Max Kellerman at the end of round 8:



The highlight of the night? No doubt about it, the stadium. Nothing but praise for Arum and Jones for making a bold move away from Vegas. Hopefully, a few more fights can be staged in different stadia across the States.

Pacquiao Has His Way With Clottey


Arlington, Texas- 51,000 attendees at Dallas Cowboys Stadium and those watching via pay per view almost had to check if there wasn't a chain hanging from behind Joshua Clottey's back as he played the role of heavy bag to Manny Pacquiao on Saturday in their bout for Pacquiao's WBO welterweight title.

The bout was pretty much fought at the same pace throughout with Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs) darting in and throwing quick shots at a Joshua Clottey (35-4, 20 KOs) who seemed more than content to block those shots with hands held high while throwing nothing in return.

Most vexing about the fight was that, on the rare occasions where Clottey did let his hands go, he had success and seemed more than able to do some real damage to the Filipino. Unfortunately for Clottey and his fans, the fighter from Ghana never really chose to put in the work to take the welterweight crown from defending champion, Pacquiao.

Final scorecards correctly represented the one-sided nature of the bout: 120-108, 119-109, 119-109 all for Manny Pacquiao. The BTBC also had it scored 119-109.

On the undercard, Humberto Soto (51-7-2, 32KOs) displayed class and skill by outpointing David Diaz (35-3-1, 17 KOs) to take the WBC lightweight title via unanimous decision.

Humberto scored two knockdowns in the bout, one in the first and one in the twelfth to seal the deal.

Scores were 115-111, 117-109, 117-109. The BTBC had it scored 116-110, also for Soto.

Also, on the card, Alfonso Gomez (22-4-2, 11KOs) beat former champ, Jose Luis Castillo (60-10-1, 52 KOs) via RTD 5 as Castillo opted not to come out of his corner before the sixth round.

In the opening telecast of the ppv telecast, John Duddy (29-1, 18KOs) put in a workmanlike effort to beat a game, but slightly behind the curve, Michael Medina (22-2-2, 17KOs) via unanimous decision. Judges scores were: 96-93 all the way around.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Event: The BTBC Suggested Retail Price



The Event:

Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey
Humberto Soto vs. David Diaz
Alfonso Gomez vs. Jose Luis Castillo
John Duddy vs. Michael Medina

Before each major pay per view the members of the Boxing Tribune Blue Corner will make a bid on what they'd be willing to pay to see the event. The numbers will then be tabulated and the real value of the event will be established.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Dallas Weights: Clottey 147, Pacquiao 145 3/4


Manny Pacquiao tipped the scales at 145 3/4 pounds and Joshua Clottey at the 147-pound limit for tomorrow night's WBO welterweight title fight in Dallas' Cowboys Stadium.

Pacquiao didn't look as ripped as he did for his November bout with Miguel Cotto, or Ricky Hatton and Oscar De La Hoya fights for that matter. He also looked dry, but I doubt he struggled to make weight. Clottey as always, looked in tip-top condition.

Lightweights Humberto Soto and David Diaz successfully made weight, with Diaz coming in at 134, and Soto at 134 1/4. They will fill the WBC lightweight vacancy left by Edwin Valero, which Diaz held before being knocked-out by Pacquiao in 2008.

Jose Luis Castillo came in at a very impressive 144, which suggests he's taking this fight seriously. Gomez came in at 145. In my opinion, this fight will be the most intriguing of the whole card.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pacquiao vs. Clottey: By The Numbers


by Paul Magno

Tribune writer, Dafs, has already broken down this Saturday's bout between Manny Pacquiao and The Human Vending Machine / Sacrificial Lamb, Joshua Clottey, but let's dig in beyond the analysis and look at the numbers behind the facts.

So, here's The Event..By The Numbers:


Estimated Attendance at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas: 45,000

Price of "The Event" Pay Per View: $49.95

Price of "The Event" Pay Per View in High Definition: $59.95

Betting Odds for Pacquiao-Clottey: Pacquiao -800, Clottey +500


Time (in seconds) that we'll see Pacquiao's "humble guy" smile: 323 seconds


Time (in seconds) that we'll see Pacquiao's "humble guy" cry: 319 seconds

Number of times Clottey will shake his head in defiance: 2

Number of times Pacquiao will shake Clottey's head: 189


Synonyms of the word "amazing" to be used by the Top Rank broadcast team: 8


Hot Dogs consumed by Dan Rafael during the show: 8-12

John Duddy fans in attendance: 1

Number of legit trainers in Clottey's corner: 0


Number of orgasms collectively experienced by the writing crew at The Examiner: 44


Number of Olympic-style blood tests taken: 0

Stage 11: Magno vs. Machine


We've reached the penultimate round of Paul Magno's long endurance-test battle with the multi-functional predicting machine that is Title Bout Championship Boxing 2.5 no-less. Both are level with only a KO separating them as we reach the final two hurdles. Can Magno level up the KO count this week? Or will a challenger go for broke in a desperate dash towards the finish line?

Magno: Walk in the park for Pacquiao. Clottey is the exact opposite type of fighter needed to beat Manny. He’s slow-footed, passive and robotic. Manny will dart in, dart out and be well out of range before Clottey can even put his hands down from his defensive position. Clottey will defend as long as Manny throws, but Manny won’t tire. For Clottey to win, he’ll have to change his style and mindset completely and develop skills that he has never shown before in his career. I’d be surprised if he manages to win even two rounds. Clottey is a good fighter, just all wrong for Manny. Easy win via TKO or RTD around the 10th as Clottey’s inexperienced corner overreacts and stops the bout amidst the chaos generated by 45 thousand screaming Pacquiao fans.

Machine: The Machine has thought about the possibilities in this fight long and hard, balancing out both fighters' chances of winning the fight. The Machine agrees with the bookmakers, Pacquiao is favourite.

In the 100 simulations, Pacquiao was victorious in most by eleventh round technical knockout. Clottey however won over a quarter of the fights, which makes you wonder if the Machine was onto something.

The only advantage Clottey has is defense and dimensions, which is inconclusive if he crouches into a shell defense. The speed, power and tactics lie in Pacquiao's corner, which makes it hard to see where a Clottey victory can come from.

Current Scores: Magno (14-3, 2 KO); Machine (14-3, 3 KO)

Controversial Fight Series: Marquez-Pacquiao I

As part of The Boxing Tribune’s build-up to Manny Pacquiao’s maiden defence of his WBO welterweight title against Joshua Clottey, we revisit the infamous Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez in one of the most controversial fights of the past decade.

Hearts and Fists on Fire - WBA + IBF Featherweight Title
JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ
(42-3, 33 KO, WBA + IBF Titleholder)

vs.
MANNY PACQUIAO (38-2, 29 KO)
May 8, 2004 | MGM Grand - Las Vegas, NV


May 8, 2004
This was Manny Pacquiao's second fight at 126 pounds, his first was an impressive display against Marco Antonio Barrera, who he stopped in the eleventh round to capture the Ring Championship belt. Pacquiao had made four defences of his IBF title at super bantamweight, and he was ready for a step up in class. He dominated Barrera in his debut at featherweight, leading by a wide margin on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage. Pacquiao, was favourite to take Juan Manuel Marquez's titles away.

Juan Manuel Marquez had defeated Robbie Peden and Hector Marquez by tenth round stoppage in 2002, Manuel Medina by convincing seventh round technical knockout, and Derrick Gainer via shutout technical decision over seven rounds in an unification fight. Marquez was also ready for a step up in calss.

After the first minute and a half, few gave Marquez a hope that he would come out of the round. He staggered through the latter stages to finish the opening stanza on his feet, cue HBO quotation.
"Manny Pacquiao is a storm! Juan Manuel Marquez has never seen anything like that." - Jim Lampley
To think that Marquez would go on to last the full twelve, and still have a shot at winning the contest is an amazing achievement in itself. Did Marquez do enough to retain his titles and take away Pacquiao's Ring belt? Or did Pacquiao's 10-6 opening round give him enough of an advantage to coast through and win the fight?

The Boxing Tribune have replaced the judges with our own set of officials. The three judges will be Dafs117, Siren1927 and Mentaldynamo. They will give their round-by-round thoughts, with the quest to find the real winner of this thrilling fight.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Picture This: The BTBC Captions


The members of The BTBC fan forum were shown this photo and asked to caption it...This is what they gave us:

Roach: "Right guys, Scissor, paper, stone, to see who's first to the medicine cabinet!" - Vezwood


Roach: "Did you see my cute dimples?" - Jadef

Pacquiao to Chavez Jr.: "You should've refused the test...say you're afraid of piss tests..." - Paul Magno


Freddie: "When you hit 50 constipation isn't funny anymore" - PHONETOOL

Roach: "Dot dot dot dot" [Morse Code] - Dafs

Roach: "Why do my glasses keep on slipping!?" - Dafs

Roach to JCC Jr "When are you turning pro?" - Siren1927


Roach says to Chavez: "Theres always singing, look at him" - Mecky1888

JCC: Manny, thanks for the hookup                                     - fullarmor613
Manny: No problem I got them from Jimmy Kimmell

Freddie: Guys not in front of the camera

New Pick'Em Game At The Boxing Bulletin


Our friends at The Boxing Bulletin have launched an in-depth easy to play prediction game that will run for ten weeks. And where better to start than 'The Event' on Saturday.

All you have to do is create an SB Nation account, and simply make your selections in the comments section. There are four fights to listed for week 1, so get over there now to get your predictions in by 4 PM EST on Friday, March 12.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pacquiao-Clottey Undercard Is Unacceptable

Continuing with The Boxing Tribune's preview of Pacquiao-Clottey, Dafydd Thomas writes about how he hopes Bob Arum and Bruce Trampler's horrific choice of undercard fights will come back to haunt them.

******

In case you've been in hibernation for over a year, we're gradually recovering from a recession that has affected everyone, no matter what their financial status reads. Many are carefully counting their pesos, only spending on necessary goods while saving for another rainy day.

For fight fans, any fight involving the pound-4-pound king is a necessity, and on Saturday, 2010's maiden HBO PPV will be aired as "The Event", which will cost $50 or even $60 for the HD broadcast. As you all know, Manny Pacquiao headlines against Joshua Clottey, in one of the highest gross tune-up fight in the history of the sport.

The fight isn't as competitive as some will drive it up to be. Pacquiao is obviously the clear favourite, and to bet against him you have to be out of the loop. Clottey, also a Top Rank fighter, is earning a nice cheque for providing enough resilience to carry Pacquiao some rounds before folding under the pressure from the Filipino great.

They have one common opponent, which is Miguel Cotto. Cotto defeated Clottey via hotly disputed split decision (a fight that we'll be investigating later on in the week), while Pacquiao made Cotto run... run... run en route to a twelfth round technical knockout victory. Of course, styles make fights is rule of thumb in predicting a contest. But this isn't one. Clottey hasn't got the bottle to win.

Back to the matter at hand. Normally, the strength of the main event will carry the PPV numbers, regardless of whoever's fighting on the undercard. But when you've got a bigger headline act fighting just over a month after, with an evenly matched dance partner, for the same amount of dollars, plus a stronger undercard, there should only be one thought in your mind if you don't have the finances. No, not going down to the local bookmakers, but save up for the stronger show.

I'm not trying to be a financial advisor, but that's logic. You'd think that Arum and Trampler would spot the weakness and strengthen it somewhat. But when has Arum put on a decent undercard? He's always been one for cutting costs and maximizing profits, showing 'The Son of the Legend' who needed banned substances to help him against Troy Rowland. But this undercard has crossed the line.

We have a "Contender" loser, two shot to smithereens fighters, an Irishman that's not once looked like a future successor to Kelly Pavlik, and a guy called Michael. That's what you're paying for.

It could've been so different. The despicable Antonio Margarito was scheduled to make his return against Carson Jones, but he couldn't even get past the high standards of Texas officials. To think that he would've been allowed to return on one of the biggest events of the year would've been humiliating for the sport.

Boxing has the sporting world's attention for this week, a chance to build a stronger fanbase for the future. For hardcore boxing fans, the sweet science is like a drug. We seem incapable of disconnecting from the sport. The loyal fan has given up hope of a change in the drab state of affairs. If celebrity bouts, worthless pay-per-views and disagreement over some random drug test dominate the sport, so be it. It's like we don't expect a change, so we won't do anything about it.

That's why Arum puts on these ghastly cards. Most of the PPV's brainwashed buyers will be gullible enough to believe that this is competitive. The others just buy it for the sake of boxing. And that's what will keep Arum going for the rest of the year. Pacquiao is far better than Clottey. Basically, bet the farm on Pacquiao. If you buy, it encourages promoters to put on more garbage undercards for your enjoyment.

The first televised fight is John Duddy vs. Michael Medina in a 10-round middleweight contest. Honestly, does anybody give a fuck? No seriously now, does anybody desperately want to know the result of a mildly competitive and dull fight that makes no difference what-so-ever to the state of the division? Medina has been competitive against Martirosyan in 2008, and on the basis of a fight that happened a while ago, I choose Medina by close decision. But frankly, I don't care.

Following the middleweight blood-bath is Alfonso Gomez vs. Jose Luis Castillo in another fourth-tier clash that turns no heads. Castillo is shot. Gomez is shit. It's a complete mystery to me how Gomez is ranked #11 by Boxrec, while Castillo is more accurately ranked at #30. Even a shot Castillo should have enough pop to keep the slicker Gomez at bay, Castillo should take it by competitive decision. Again, it's a crap undercard fight for one of the biggest events of the year. It's an interesting fight, but not one you'd want on a 700,000 buy pay-per-view.

Again referring to Boxrec, the last televised undercard fight is rated at five stars. Humberto Soto vs. David Diaz is a decent fight, but does it deserve the same recognition as Pavlik-Martinez or Abraham-Dirrell? Piss or get off the pot. It's not even competitive. Soto is on a steam-rolling streak, while Diaz is shot. It shouldn't be a contest. Soto should stop Diaz late on.

Looking at the undercard fights, they're all decent fights but are unworthy of this kind of stage to perform on. On November 14 2009, I thought I had witnessed the worst ever undercard for a big event. I was wrong. I seriously think this tops it. At least there was a title on the line on Firepower, even if Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. helped me catch up on sleep (no joke, he seriously did).

This time though, it might not pay off. Pacquiao-Clottey is nowhere near as well marketed as Pacquiao-Cotto, and not even close in fight interest. Pacquiao-Cotto didn't need a strong undercard to sell, but I feel that this fight does need an extra fight. And I hope, for boxing's sake, that the pay-per-view numbers aren't as high.