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Here Is The Gameplan To Beat Floyd Mayweather

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-Floyd-Mayweather-Jr.-Jua-001The records show that there have now been forty three plotted fistic attacks against boxing's impenetrable fortress since 1996 -each of them thwarted by one of the most advanced defensive systems so far seen in boxing.As of yet, there are no clear clues nor is there any definitive evidence -the Floyd Mayweather case remains open. Pump the jab, close him down, rough him up, don't stop throwing. Much like the infamous Roswell incident, everyone has a different opinion; just how do you decrypt and decode Mayweather's boxing database?

Floyd Mayweather is not like other fighters. Other fighters are self contained by their respective styles. Boxers, punchers, swarmers, sluggers -by locking themselves into stylistic boundaries, they limit their ability to adjust to what is in front of them. Trying to categorize Mayweather's style, is in itself, a daunting task. Floyd Mayweather is a counterpunching, intercepting, boxing chameleon -multi layered, he can alternate his technique, adapting it to his surroundings.An extensive trainer, Mayweather's hard work and dedication is now folklore. And yet, the biggest problem Mayweather opponents face in the ring took place during his childhood, not his training camp.

His pacifier? A boxing glove.

His crib? A boxing ring.

Boxing is in his genes. Like a thoroughbred race horse, Mayweather comes from a long line of boxing blood -his father and uncles embedded their knowledge into his boxing DNA. Floyd Mayweather has spent his entire life living and breathing the science, not the usual sweet science we are accustomed to, no. This,his own unique brand, is far more complex.

The Tao Of Floyd Mayweather:

To fully understand Floyd Mayweather, we first need to appreciate his art.Mayweather's approach to boxing is more like that of a fencer than a fighter. Most of the time, Floyd's emphasis is on blocking an attack, with an attack -this is the foundation of Mayweather's art. He is at the opposite end of the boxing spectrum to fighters like Brandon Rios and Jorge Arce, both in terms of talent and intent. Mayweather's approach to boxing is best described using what I term the three Is: Intellect, Intuition and Instinct.

Intellect: Mayweather's ring acumen is as high as anyone else's in boxing, trainers and cornermen included. His understanding of strategy, tactics and ring generalship are unparalleled in the modern game.

Intuition: Mayweather possesses almost a sixth sense when it comes to anticipating an opponent's next move or action.

Instinct: Mayweather's ability to take advantage of any mistake, habit or opening maybe his greatest asset.

Mayweather has combined the three I's in such a way, that he is without doubt the most cerebral, adaptable and reactive practitioner in boxing.Every action from his opponent will result in a reaction from Mayweather.

The Science Of Mayweather:

Mayweather's greatness may be open for debate; his craft however, is not {at least not from a statistical standpoint}. According to Compubox, Mayweather's 46 percent average connect rate, compiled during his last nine fights, ranks as the very best among current active fighters -Mayweather's defensive genius clouds the fact that he is also one of the finest offensive fighters in the sport {more on that in later}. It is not surprising then, that Mayweather's defensive numbers are even more impressive -Mayweather's opponents manage to land a measly 16 percent of their punches thrown, which is the lowest collective figure in Compubox's 4,000 fight database. These numbers equate to a plus/minus connect percentage rating of plus 30 percent, which is double the offense/defense ratio of his current peers {Andre Ward is in second place with a plus 15 percent connect rate}.These numbers are a graphic representation of what Mayweather opponents are faced with; Floyd Mayweather is in an entirely different class when it comes to the essence of boxing -to hit and not get hit.

Over the last few months, in preparation for the Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto fight, I have spent more time studying Floyd Mayweather footage than I care to admit. Throughout the next part of this article, I will shed some new light on numerous Mayweather assumptions regarding his in ring behaviour, how he operates and how one should set about trying to upset him.There will be some strange analogies along the way, but rest assured, they have not been written for writing's sake. Each will have an important meaning with regards to trying to diagnose the best way in derailing Floyd Mayweather, boxing's unsolved mystery.

Forget what we think we know.

The following comment was taken from a recent interview.

Ricky Hatton: “I was clipping him and catching him here and there and a couple of rounds were even but I felt he was always calling the shots. He was slippery. I couldn't have hit him with a handful of confetti and even when I got a shot through it half-caught his shoulder or he half-rolled it or he moved half a step back or half-slipped out of the way. His timing was incredible. If I had him on the ropes and threw seven or eight punches, he blocked about six of them and then countered me.”

The next comment was offered when the question was asked, How do you beat Floyd Mayweather?

Emanuel Steward: “The main component you need to defeat Floyd Mayweather is to pressure him with a solid, hard jab. You have to get the simple things right, then everything else will fall into place. Floyd's a very talented fighter. You must pressure him and take him out of his comfort zone. The jab is the key. He's used to fighting his own fight, so again, the target is to force him out of his comfort zone.”

Mayweather, The Counterpuncher:

Within these comments, lie some of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to understanding Floyd Mayweather. The biggest, and most popular of these is that one must apply unrelenting pressure in order to be in with a chance of defeating him. Many believe that counterpunchers are at their most vulnerable when confronted with severe pressure. The reason for this, I believe, is because of the late Joe Frazier's life and death duels with the great Muhammad Ali. Here's the problem. Ali was a mover, not a counterpuncher. At his apex, Ali would move around the ring and pick his opponents apart using his length, demon speed and lightning quick jab. Ali's style was not designed to be best against a pressurizing inside swarmer. That's why Ali fought Frazier differently, he stood his ground more, and put more weight behind his punches. Ali eventually learned how to tie fighters up on the inside, but never once was it his intention to invite opponents into that range, so that he could counter them -which is precisely what Floyd Mayweather does.

Contrary to perception, Mayweather is right at home when a fighter is right up on him, trying to pound away with hook after hook. Look again at what Ricky Hatton said -he would throw seven or eight punches, for only one or two to land. What makes you bad, makes you better. Do you really think Mayweather became the counterpuncher he is today by spending hours in the gym, refining his defensive skills by facing fleet footed fighters like Willie Pep? Of course he didn't. Mayweather's defensive virtuosity is more likely a direct result of him spending hours at a time with his back against the ropes, allowing fighters as large as light-heavyweight to pound away on him. Think of some of the greatest counterpunching performances of all time, fights like James Toney-Iran Barkley and Pernell Whitaker-Jose Luis Ramirez. The fighter on the wrong end of these performances did nothing but oblige their opponents by giving them angles and range with which to work from. The truth is, Floyd Mayweather is probably at his most comfortable in this position. By pressuring him, the opponent is providing Mayweather with familiarity.

Let's think about Mayweather with his back against the ropes -a defensive structure formed out of his left shoulder, a tucked chin behind it, a high right glove and a left arm across that barricades the whole construct. Now think of his opponent failing miserably in trying to land on him. Many have put this down to Mayweather's “Jedi-like reflexes”. Let's be real here -Jedi reflexes don't exist, anticipation through knowledge does, however.

I'm of the opinion that Mayweather has become an expert in realising punch patterns. Going one step further, I believe Mayweather knows exactly what punch is coming next, through probability.Imagine you are at a set of traffic lights and the light is on red. Through your own experience, you know the sequence that follows. Once amber is lit, you are given a heads up.Your reaction time to accelerate away is enhanced, and you can pull off within a heartbeat of the light changing to green.Now, imagine if suddenly there was no amber light, and the signal went straight from red to green.Do you think you could accelerate away at the same rate as before? The point is, at close quarters, Mayweather already knows the likely punching angles. If an opponent's chest is pressed against Mayweather's left shoulder, he is aware that nothing but a hook will be thrown, by looking at an opponent's body alignment, he can then narrow it down to which side the punch will be thrown. If an opponent throws a left hook, the next punch that follows will likely be a right hook, remembering that Mayweather's left shoulder has limited your punching options. In the same position, Jose Luis Castillo had some success because he was patient, varied his shot selection and didn't get in the way of his own work. Rather than make the mistake Philip N'dou made when he had Mayweather on the ropes, throwing a right hook, left hook, right hook combination {that Mayweather is familiar with when defending} Castillo instead showed a lot of discipline in this position, even taking a step back, leading with left straights, pausing then throwing another, followed by a right. Castillo alternated his attack pattern at this range. I can see how tempting it must be -Mayweather is so elusive in centre ring, that the proposition of having him right in front of you, with his back to the ropes,would look too good to resist. But remember, this is where most of Mayweather's seemingly endless stamina is salvaged, and his opponent's is sapped. Which leads into my next point.

The whole notion of Mayweather being at his most vulnerable with his back against the ropes came about because of Castillo's success against him {many believe he beat Mayweather in their first match-up}. While Castillo has came closer than anyone else in scarring Mayweather's perfection, you have to remember a few important points. Firstly, this was Mayweather's first fight at lightweight and on fight night, Castillo enjoyed a nine pound advantage over Mayweather, which is an awful lot to concede considering this was Mayweather's first venture at this weight. Secondly, Mayweather apparently suffered a rib injury prior to the fight,as well as a hand injury during the fight. And finally, Mayweather actually defeated Castillo comprehensively the second time around, nailing that demon in a bullet-proof coffin by standing his ground more,keeping Castillo in front of him and using the jab. Simply put, because of Castillo's relative success -like most of the heavyweights that followed Ali in the late 70s thought they had to be on their toes and move in order to box -most Mayweather opponents share the concept; they have to avoid centre ring and bully him to the ropes in order to have success.

Mayweather, The Attacker:

We have now heard the same statement over and over again. You can't win a fight with Floyd Mayweather by boxing him in the middle of the ring. This, I believe, is yet another misconception that places unnecessary doubt in a fighter's mind.I agree, Mayweather does seem to be at his most dazzling in the middle of the ring, when outboxing and outfoxing his opponent. However, I actually believe, Mayweather could also be at his most vulnerable at this range. It's just a case of dispelling the myths. Mayweather's understanding of punch patterns has lead to him being perceived as untouchable away from the ropes. What doesn't help is the common belief that to have success, you must pump the jab at him. I disagree with this theory entirely. The jab is the most common punch in boxing. Notice how I highlighted the word common. If you provide Mayweather with familiarity, you are providing him with a plan. {Remember, every action will evoke a reaction}. By sticking the jab at him, over and over, you are giving him something to key off of. Mayweather can be beat in the centre of the ring, but you have to have the right strategy to do it, a strategy that doesn't involve being overly offensive. Take a look at the Amir Khan-Paulie Malignaggi fight. I consider Malignaggi to be one of the better pure boxers in the sport. {Don't believe me? Have a look at his recent performance away from home against Vyacheslav Senchenko}. During the contest, HBO's Max Kellerman stated that nobody had ever outboxed Malignaggi in the centre of the ring, the way Amir Khan was doing on that night. I disagree with Max. I don't think Khan outboxed him, I just believe he out-thought him. Malignaggi, like Mayweather, thrives on an opponent feeding him with textbook angles with which to work from at a range that he is familiar with. Amir Khan did not oblige him. Khan was out of range, using his length, and then exploded in with power shots. Every time Khan came in, Malignaggi froze. His immediate response, being a defensive based fighter, was to defend. What we had was Malignaggi defending while Khan was attacking. But the key was Khan did not fight an offensive fight. Khan fought a defensive fight against a defensive fighter- a fighter who thrives on predictable offense, offense that has been embedded into him, when he was perfecting his craft. Khan's unpredictability won the fight. Not his boxing skills. Had Khan stood in front of Malignaggi, throwing conventional punch sequences,he would have been outboxed.

Mayweather, like Malignaggi,also thrives in the middle of the ring, because of his understanding of probability. If Mayweather is out of range, he knows that in order for an opponent to take the fight to him {the only way to defeat him, or so we've been told} and touch him,the likely punch will be an opponent's longest weapon, the jab. This is why Mayweather's opponents appear to give up early in fights. Because Mayweather has such an astute understanding of distance, and knows that the only way to reach him is through a jab, he is ready to release his right hand counter over the top. Again, we have been lead to believe that Mayweather's otherworldly reflexes are the reason behind his success in countering opponents in the centre of the ring, when in fact, it's sheer knowledge. Mayweather manipulates his opponent into releasing a jab.Again, it's not Jedi-like reflexes, it's just an old school technique that is taught called drawing the lead. Mayweather's anticipation is a direct result of an opponent throwing the punch that he knows they will throw.

Another statement that pollutes fighters' minds is be unpredictable, never throw the same punch twice. This is where Mayweather has pulled the curtain over alot of peoples' eyes. Floyd Mayweather, despite regularly limiting his offense to a jab or a right hand, is actually the most unpredictable offensive fighter in boxing. Now I know this sounds controversial, with fighters like Pacquiao throwing multiple punches from odd angles, but hear me out. Think back to the recent Mayweather-Cotto fight. During one of the middle rounds, Floyd Mayweather threw five consecutive overhand rights, and every one of them landed. How was Mayweather able to land the same punch five times in a row? Unpredictability. Imagine you're Miguel Cotto, you've been nailed by two of them, which is feasible. In your mind, you must be thinking that's twice now, another punch must be coming, I'm going to set my defense for a left hook… boom, another right hand. Ok, that's the third, there's no wa….boom, a fourth. Right that's it, time to mount some o….boom, a fifth. Do you see what I mean? There will have been no point in Cotto's life, either in sparring or for real, where any fighter dared to throw five consecutive right hands against him. This is Mayweather's most undervalued asset. Because Mayweather has mastered boxing, he understands that punch probability is arguably the most important part of boxing. He knows what to expect on defense, and what his opponents least expect, when he is on offense.

Think of Juan Manuel Marquez, a case can be made that he is one of the greatest combination punchers of all time. The problem with combination punching in rapid fire is it has a certain beat to it. Most combinations -like a jab, right hand, left to the body -are taught and are predictable. Take a look at Marquez against Mayweather. In the centre of the ring, Marquez unleashes his combinations in quick succession. Mayweather, in his defensive posture, picks them all off. Don't be fooled, there is no way any fighter can react that quick without knowing what is being thrown. Mayweather, like Marquez, has been taught the very same combinations,but only for defensive purposes. On offense, Mayweather throws intermitting shots. Altering the pace, altering the tempo. Making them almost impossible to predict or time. As a thought experiment, the next time you listen to a song on the radio, or in a supermarket, listen to the beat. By the time the song is finished, I guarantee, you will have learned the beat, even knowing the exact tempo once the song has finished. Now try the same experiment with some of Miles Davis jazz. His work is full of unpredictable rhythm riffs, making it all but impossible to memorize. Mayweather's punching is akin to a complicated jazz piece. He throws his shots sporadically, with no rhythm to them, making it nigh on impossible to time.

As you can see, I believe Mayweather's gifts are not really gifts, but rewards,as a result of his self expressed hard work and dedication. Don't get me wrong, Mayweather is also an athletic specimen. His hand and foot speed are better than good, and his power is also underappreciated. Nevertheless, there have been faster fighters than Mayweather throughout history-Hector Camacho, Meldrick Taylor, Terry Norris and even Howard Davis were possibly faster than Mayweather. Heck, with Gary Russell Jr, Amir Khan and Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather may not even be the fastest fighter competing today. One thing I'm certain of though, is Mayweather is the most schooled fighter currently active in boxing. His counterpunching ability, anticipation, reflexes, defense and offense are not a gift from the gods. They are a reflection of plain old tuition. And just as Mayweather has developed a way of fighting that caters for one and all,with the number forty three embroidered on it,there will no doubt be a strategy devised at some point in the future, that will have the number one attached to it. Someone somewhere, will have it.

Beyond Mayweather's Science: The Strategy.

As mentioned here earlier, I have spent alot of time lately trying to dissect what Mayweather does in the ring, and in particular, his behavioural patterns and reactions to certain things. Upon watching Mayweather's fights, I was amazed at the lack of strategical variation in Mayweather's opponents. You have to ask yourself, is this down to clever match making? Or Mayweather genius? I believe it's more Mayweather genius, with a sprinkle of clever match making.

In all honesty, if Floyd Mayweather managed to retire undefeated, while still facing top competition, I'd be amazed. No doubt, he will take some beating, but with the right type of fighter and the right type of strategy,I believe Mayweather, boxing's most complicated puzzle, can be solved.

The following is a type of gameplan I constructed when watching numerous Floyd Mayweather fights, as well as other fights involving different fighters. A list of them will be at the bottom of this article.

Fight a defensive fight, give the counter-puncher nothing to counter. Mayweather likes nothing better than to dictate the range and pace, not concede it. Be out of range -the counterpuncher's range. Use the whole ring -don't be afraid of its centre.Allow Mayweather to go to the ropes, don't oblige him, stay disciplined, he wants you there. Feint, feint, feint again-Mayweather's instinct is to defend or intercept an attack, put him in his defensive construct, he is predictable in it, he can't win a fight by staying in it. Don't throw combinations, lead with power shots from the outside, he won't expect it. Use the jab, but sparingly -remember, he wants you to throw it, so oblige him, feint before you throw it, stick it in his gut, stick it in his chest, avoid his head, he won't expect that. Remember, he's a counterpuncher by nature; never pressure him,leap in, then back out. Single shots, he won't expect it -he knows combination sequences, avoid them. Turn him, move off to the sides. He's a technician, he's been taught conventional attack patterns, lead with a hook, an uppercut. But he's a defensive wizard, he will easily counter? No, he's a defensive wizard who counters textbook punches. Throw away the text book. Make sure HE is the aggressor, make him chase YOU around the ring. Mayweather doesn't throw while he is advancing -leap in, surprise him, he will fall back into that defensive posture, keep defense on his mind. Keep things awkward for him, he loves to be in control of things, keep the distance, fight a defensive fight, give him nothing to counter. He sets his feet before the right hand, don't try and counter it, you know it's coming, get out of range. The crowd is hissing, there's not much action? That's good, he wants you right in front of him, stay out of range. He's never fought this fight before. He looks puzzled. Mayweather has mastered boxing, but this isn't boxing in his mind. If you hurt him, and he goes to the ropes, follow him, but think of Castillo. Don't get wild, stay composed. Throw intermitting shots, you're in his range now. He's tough to hit, he's bending at the waist and dipping. Feint him, throw your next punch where you think his head will be next, not where it's at now. Go to the body, take a step back, see everything,stay disciplined. He wants you to engage, disengage him….the crowd is booing louder, shall I press him? No, that's what he wants, he hasn't been able to counter anything all night, you've given him nothing to counter.

Like I mentioned before these notes, this should be seen as a best case scenario for a Mayweather opponent.

Consequently, my opinion is far different from what most believe to be the correct way to fight Floyd Mayweather. The general perception is aggression, pressure, volume, avoid the centre of the ring, force him to the ropes and look for a big shot as he can't be outboxed. My belief is almost the polar opposite. I don't think Mayweather has faced an opponent who has brought this type of strategy to him. If I were to pick an opponent competing today around Mayweather's weight class, that could pull this off, I would have to choose between Sergio Martinez, Manny Pacquiao or Amir Khan. Each would have their own little advantage, that they could utilize to their benefit against Mayweather. Pacquiao's explosiveness, southpaw angles, lack of jab {Mayweather won't key off it}and power. Martinez' understanding of range, his ability to fight backing up, speed and power along with his generalship would prove problematic, as would Khan's in and out style, length and speed. If weights were aligned, then Yuriorkis Gamboa would be my top choice, as the type of opponent who could inflict the first defeat on Mayweather. I cannot stress enough, that I believe Floyd Mayweather is the finest boxer on the planet, but, as I've mentioned here before, styles do indeed make fights, and even Ray Robinson tasted defeat at some point. It's not inconceivable to think Mayweather could adjust and adapt to this type of strategy, but having viewed Mayweather's post hiatus fights on numerous occasions {Marquez onwards, it is evident that his Diego Corrales days are long gone. Mayweather, like all defensive movers as they get older, is a lot more static these days. That's why he now prefers to press the attack as opposed to using his legs to motor around the ring like the Mayweather of old.

Some may have came as close, but there has never been a perfect fighter in boxing.Mayweather is not a perfect fighter, yet he has a perfect record. That will likely remain perfect until someone constructs the perfect plan. Easier said, of course, than done.

—Follow Wylie on Twitter here.

—Compubox punchstats taken from espn.com

—Fights used constructing strategy: Mayweather-Corrales, Mayweather-Castillo 1+2, Mayweather-N'dou, Mayweather-Judah, Mayweather-Mosley,Mayweather-Cotto, Mayweather-Marquez, Pascal-Dawson, Khan-Malinaggi, Whitaker-Hurtado, Mayorga-Forrest, Young-Ali, Gamboa-Solis and Martinez-Dzinziruk.

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Charr-Oquendo Scuttled When Charr Tests Positive; the Odious WBA Saves Face

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Manuel Charr

Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo were scheduled to fight in Cologne, Germany, later this month (Sept. 29). Charr would be defending his WBA world heavyweight title, the “regular” version of it, not the “super” version which rests in the hands of Anthony Joshua.

The bout was quickly cancelled when it was revealed that Charr had tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids. The test was performed by VADA, the anti-doping agency identified with Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman.

The 33-year-old Charr, born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany since the age of three, won the belt in his last start with a unanimous decision over 281-pound Russian behemoth Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany. The title was vacant. Charr won the right to fight for it with a 10-round decision over Albanian slug Sefer Seferi. The victory over Ustinov elevated his record to 31-4. He has been stopped three times, by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Mairis Briedis.

If it wasn’t for bad luck, as the old saying goes, Fres Oquendo wouldn’t have any luck at all. For various reasons, his fights keep falling out. Before long he’ll be drawing social security. Well, not exactly, but he turned 45 in April and hasn’t fought in more than four years.

Oquendo has competed for this belt before. In his last ring appearance in July of 2014, he lost a majority decision to Russia’s Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. As a concession for taking the fight on short notice, Team Oquendo negotiated a rematch clause in the contract, but a shoulder injury prevented Fres from activating it. When the injury healed, he had to go to court to compel Chagaev to fulfill his obligation. But then the Russian retired, muddling the water.

The WBA was legally bound to find Oquendo a title fight and in desperation turned to ancient Shannon Briggs. But the Oquendo-Briggs fight, scheduled for June 3 of last year in Hollywood, Florida, fell out when Briggs’ urine specimen showed an abnormally high level of testosterone.

Fres Oquendo was dogged by bad luck even before these recent developments. His professional record, 37-8, is somewhat misleading as six of his eight defeats were razor-thin including his 2003 setback to Chris Byrd and his 2006 setback to Evander Holyfield. However, Oquendo, something of a cutie, was never a crowd-pleaser and in none of his narrow defeats was there a public clamor for a rematch.

The cancellation of Charr-Oquendo cuts the World Boxing Association out of a sanctioning fee, but one would think that the WBA honchos are actually rather pleased by this turn of events. The fight, more precisely the WBA’s world title imprimatur, would have brought more unwanted publicity to the Panama-based organization.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who has the largest platform of any boxing writer, has been a persistent critic of the organization which once recognized 41 “champions” in 17 weight classes. In 2009, Rafael wrote, “(The WBA) has become such an absolute farce that even somebody like me, who follows boxing closely, sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the nonsensical so-called world title belts the WBA has been doling out at an alarming rate. It almost reminds me of the ladies at Costco who hand out various samples on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

Rafael took note when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza promised to cull the herd by eliminating “regular” titles, and then became more caustic when Mendoza didn’t follow through. Recently, in one short, punchy diatribe, Rafael blistered the WBA as wretched, vile, and rancid.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Fres Oquendo who keeps getting stranded at the altar. No, he’s not fun to watch and a man of his age shouldn’t be taking any more punches, but he has always been an honest workman and by all accounts he’s a very decent man. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Chicago, Oquendo pitched right in when the island nation of his birth was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. He was personally responsible for relocating Puerto Rican boxing legend Wilfred Benitez and Benitez’s sister, his caregiver, to Chicago where their lives wouldn’t be as hard.

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Bob Arum Hails Terence Crawford (not Lomachenko) as Boxing’s Next Superstar

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Arum says Terence

Top Rank’s Bob Arum says Terence Crawford will become this generation’s Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao–elite boxers who became worldwide celebrity sensations. Arum, who promoted both Mayweather and Pacquiao on the way to their historic crossover statuses expects big things from the undefeated Crawford over the next few years.

“He’s the best fighter in the United States, and he’s so charismatic,” said Arum. “He comes from middle America, and In the next year or so, he will be huge.”

Arum’s assertion is noteworthy for two reasons. First, Arum is also the promoter for Vasyl Lomachenko. Lomachenko is ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. More importantly, Lomachenko seems to have a groundswell of support behind him both in the media and among fight fans.

Lomachenko has also been heavily featured through Top Rank’s television partnership with ESPN. While Crawford has achieved more in his career than Lomachenko (at least in my eyes) and, as noted by Arum, is a homegrown American talent, Lomachenko seems to be considered the more marketable commodity to that network judging by the amount of promotional materials ESPN has pumped out about the fighter over the last year.

The other reason Arum’s claim about Crawford is interesting is the performance of Canelo Alvarez over the weekend in his majority decision rematch win over Gennady Golovkin. Besides Mayweather and Pacquiao, Alvarez is the clear PPV leader among all of boxing’s current commodities, and his status as boxing’s new money fighter should only grow stronger after the best win of his career.

Still, Crawford is one of the few very elite fighters in all of boxing. He’s ranked No. 2 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.

While Lomachenko and Alvarez are also candidates to become boxing’s next big thing, there’s no doubt Crawford is also one of the few boxers in the sport right now with the right things in place to become the next Mayweather or Pacquiao.

Omaha’s Crawford is in the midst of an historic run. When he stopped Jeff Horn in round 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in June, Crawford captured a world title in his third different weight class, welterweight. This after Crawford had already captured two lineal boxing championships, as well as multiple alphabet titles, in both the lightweight and junior welterweight divisions.

By any measure, Crawford is truly one of the best boxers in the sport. Not only does he look the part in the ring on fight night (something more and more writers seem to value most when voting for pound-for-pound lists), but the fighter has already accomplished so much in his career that it seems Arum is doing more than the fiduciary duty of promoting his fighter when he ascribes to Crawford such lofty praise.

Crawford, still just 30 years old, is already halfway to matching Mayweather and Pacquiao’s shared record of most lineal championships. Over the course of his career, Mayweather captured lineal championships at junior lightweight, lightweight, welterweight, and junior middleweight. Pacquiao won his as a flyweight, featherweight, junior lightweight, and junior welterweight.

In order for Crawford to grab lineal championship No. 3, most believe he’ll have to go through welterweight phenom Errol Spence. While promotional entanglements might keep this superfight on the shelf for a while, Arum said he had no problem pitting Crawford against Spence in what would be one of the best matchups in recent memory.

“Absolutely,” said Arum when asked about working with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, who represents Spence, to make the fight. Could any response from him be more exciting? Crawford vs. Spence might be the next superfight in boxing. Both fighters are among the very elite, and unlike what ultimately happened with Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, who fought each other well past their peak years, both would be in the prime of their careers.

Winning that fight would certainly go a long way to making Arum’s vision of Crawford’s future come true. And who knows? Maybe Crawford really is the next Mayweather or Pacquiao. Heck, for all we know, he could even be on his way to doing something more.

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A Kaleidoscope of Boxers Guaranteed to Provide Action: Past and Present

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Marvelous Marvin

To set the tone for this article, one needs only to watch the way in which Thomas Hearns came out in the first round against Marvelous Marvin Hagler. He was ready to rock and roll as was his fearsome looking opponent. The ensuing unmitigated savagery was the quintessential illustration of full-tilt boogie.

For most boxing fans, the anticipation of an all-out action bout gets the chills running down spines faster than anything else. But not all, as some prefer a tactical or clinical fight that someone like Mikey Garcia can orchestrate and others –but not many—enjoy a defensive gem via a Willie Pep, Nicolino Locche, or Pernell Whitaker. A few love a genuine blood fest that a Gabe Rosado-type can provide, and who doesn’t like seeing something special as in Sugar Ray Leonard, Kostya Tszyu, Terence Crawford or Vasiliy Lomachenko?

Chill-or-be-chilled types like Bob Satterfield and Tommy Morrison were super exciting. In this connection—a certain cadre of warriors, past and present, would come out charging and stalking as soon as the bell rang. Many demonstrated a marked disdain for defense and used a non-stop, no let-up pressure that discouraged their opponents, especially in the late rounds. The anticipation from the crowd was palpable because it sensed some form of destruction was on its way. The cheering would start during the instructions and sometimes did not let up until the concussive end.

This cadre included Rocky Marciano, Tony Ayala, Vicious Victor Galindez, Jeff Fenech, Roberto Duran, and Julio Cesar Chavez (who sapped the spirit of his opponents by ripping away at their mid-section). Also, Carl “The Cat”  Thompson , chill-or-be-chilled Ricardo “Pajarito” Moreno (60-12-1 with 59 KOs),  Ron Lyle, the ultra-violent Edwin Valero, the appropriately nicknamed JulianMr KO” Letterlough, James “The Outlaw” Hughes and his mindboggling ability to snatch victory from certain defeat, Thai stalking monster Khaosai Galaxy (47-1),  the first version of George Foreman (pictured with the aforementioned Lyle), Ji-Hoon “Volcano” Kim, Ruslan  Provodnikov, Orlando “Siri” Salido, Marcos Maidana, Lenny Z, Alfredo “Perro” Angulo, Mike Alvarado, Brandon Rios, and Mickey Roman (the later four are still fighting but past their primes).

Others who presently incite the anticipation of something special include (but are not limited to) Naoya “Monster” Inoue (16-0), Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr (24-0), Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (46-4-1), Alex Saucedo (27-0), and, of course, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (38-1-1) who now has become slightly more tactical like his nemesis, Canelo Alvarez (50-1-1).

These stand out as representative.

Past

A prime Mike Tyson—and the emphasis is on prime– was the epitome of a boxer who guaranteed action. One simply would not leave his or her seat when “Iron Mike” was doing his highlight reel thing, and his blowout of Michael Spinks punctuated his standing at the top of all-action type fighters, even if the action was usually non-mutual.

Joe Frazier came out smokin’ and would not let up until either he or his opponent were done. For the most part, decisions were not in Joe’s DNA and his left hook was as malicious as a hook can be. With Joe, you just sat back and enjoyed the action. Frazier, wrote boxing historian Tracy Callis,  “was a strong, ‘swarmer’ style boxer who applied great pressure on his opponent and dealt out tremendous punishment with a relentless attack of lefts and rights; His left hook was especially stiff and quick when delivered during his bob-and-weave perpetual attack; he fought three minutes per round and never seemed to tire.”

Carlos “Escopeta” (Shotgun) Monzon (87-3-9) was a powerful and rangy Argentinean killing machine, built like an iron rod. Some said he pushed his punches. Well if he did, he pushed 87 opponents to defeat. He also became only the second man to stop former three-time world champion Emile Griffith, turning the trick in the 14th round. Blessed with great and deceptive stamina and a solid chin, he seemingly was an irresistible force. He was unbeaten over the last 81 bouts of his career, a span of 13 years, and defended his title 14 times. “One would need to write a book in order to do justice to comparing a fighter of Carlos Monzon’s calibre to his fellow all-time greats,” wrote Mike Casey.

Arturo Gatti and Irish Micky Ward were the quintessential action fighters. One is gone amidst controversy, and hopefully the other will not pay a price for his many ring wars. With these two, just count up the Fights-of-the-Year and the rest is history. Suffice it to say that Gatti and Ward will be forever linked in boxing lore.

Until his fateful fight with Nigel Benn (another all-action fighter), Gerald McClellan was absolutely, positively, a stalking monster with dynamite in his gloves. It was ferocity and fury at its highest level and it was something to behold. Sadly, his fight with Benn left him permanently disabled; his story remains a dark stain on boxing. As Ian McNeilly notes, “one man’s finest hour was the end of another man’s life as he knew it.”

Michael “The Great” Katsidis’s all-action style made thrilling fights a lock. The Kat” was willing to take three to deliver one. It was blood and guts to the last drop. Whether he too exacted a heavy price for this style remains to be seen.

Lucia Rijker, AKA “The Dutch Destroyer,” lived up to her moniker and destroyed everyone in her path. Again, it wasn’t “if,” it was “when.”

Christy Martin (49-7-3) put female boxing on the map in the ‘90s and she did it by going undefeated in 36 straight encounters, running roughshod over her opponents as evidenced by her 25 wins by stoppage during this run. She also managed to steal the show from a Mike Tyson main event in 1996 during her memorable and bloody battle with Deirdre Gogarty.

Present

Deontay Wilder, aka “The Bronze Bomber,” has a record of 40-0.  With 39 wins coming by KO—many in spectacular fashion, The “Bomber” brings with him that same sense of anticipation that Tyson did. It’s not if; it’s when and “when” can occur at any time. But unlike Tyson, there is a vulnerability that Luis Ortiz exposed that makes the excitement index go even higher.

Dillian Whyte (24-1) has seldom been in a dull affair. His vulnerability combined with his mode of attack ensures thrilling action and the possibility of a stoppage at any time. Unlike Dereck “Del-Boy” Chisora, Whyte is consistently aggressive and dangerous.

Manny Pacquiao (60-7-2) has slowed down considerably but his recent stoppage win over Lucas Matthysse offers hope that he can still conjure up his exciting whirlwind style of fast in-an-out movements that allowed him to win multiple titles over several future Hall of Fame opponents between 2005 and 2011. A rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr., if rumors are true, would allow Pac Man an opportunity to accomplish a number of extraordinary things including avenging a prior defeat and ruining Mayweather’s undefeated record. Time will tell.

Though he appears to have shot his wad, a prime Antonio Margarito was the classic stalk, stun, and kill fighter. Heck, he belonged on the Discovery Channel. His two blowouts of Kermit Cintron showed the “Tijuana Tornado” at his most brutal. His come-from-behind demolition of Miguel Cotto stands out for its drama and bloodletting—and subsequent speculative controversy.

David Lemieux (39-4) always brings the heat. His fights seldom end as scheduled. With KO power in both hands and a propensity to rehydrate by 20 pounds, he is the essence of danger and attendant excitement. “With the sheer power he carries, Lemieux will always have a shot at beating any middleweight, and he is almost always involved in good action fights,” says James Slater.

Amanda Serrano (35-1-1) is the only women’s boxer to win world titles in six divisions. The “Real Deal” is unique in that she has a high KO percentage (74 percent) which is rare for female boxers. Amanda is 120 seconds of guaranteed action for each round.

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While Iron Mike Tyson is THE MAN, Matthew Saad Muhammad also warrants special billing as he embodied what this article is all about. Steve Farhood summed up the essence of Saad Muhammad with an observation that would be appropriate for his tombstone: “Eddie Gregory (Mustafa Muhammad) has a better jab, Marvin Johnson wields more power, James Scott does more sit ups. But, Muhammad’s heart is the size of a turnbuckle, and it anchors his title reign.”

Who did I leave out? Whose name or names would you add to this list?

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