Connect with us

Feature Articles

THRU HOCH'S EYES: On Manny-Bradley, Rigo, Bailey-Jones

Published

on

Bradley Pacquiao 120609 005aThe hurt feet are a solid mitigator, but Hoch still didn't think Bradley did CLOSE enough to even eke out a draw. (Chris Farina-Top Rank photo)

Caveat: I watched this card at a bar so I didn’t have the liberty to see any of these fights a second time or truly break down any of the fights. These are all relatively real-time opinions.

Caveat Two: I won’t even discuss the ridiculous decision of the Pacquiao-Bradley fight in this column as it deserves its own write-up and I’d rather talk boxing than conspiracy theories. Needless to say, it’s not good for boxing. We frequently hear that putrid decisions like this are ‘black eyes’ for the sport. While this is true, the sport goes on. Very little (other than the poor guys on the wrong end of bad decisions like a Carlos Molina) is actually affected. This is a unique case. This decision was so egregious and it literally sets the sport back years. While the UFC is gaining momentum and boxing is struggling to remain mainstream, we need fights like Pacquiao-Floyd or Pacquiao-Marquez 4 to retain the average fan’s attention. This fight literally sets the sport back as Bradley and Pacquiao will likely have a rematch to settle this. Manny doesn’t have an infinite amount of fights left, and this could really be a tragic waste of energy (see: brain cells) at the very end of Manny’s prime. I guess I did discuss it, but I’ll leave it at that.

Guillermo Rigondeaux-Teon Kennedy notes:

* For my sanity’s sake, let’s just call him Rigo. Rigo is incredible. For lack of a better term, Rigo was perfect in dissecting and destroying Teon Kennedy (who is not exactly a pushover). Rigo saw every punch that Kennedy threw coming and tactfully moved out of harm’s way in what was truly a defensive masterpiece. It was a lesson for young fighters in the art of hitting without getting hit. Not exaggerating, I can’t confirm that Rigo took a single clean punch.This fight was over before it started, and it looked so one-sided and displayed such a talent discrepancy that it looked like an amateur against a professional in a sparring session. This fight was not just lopsided, it was a total mismatch. Even in such a dominant KO victory, Rigo did not look as much electrifying as he did wildly effective. His machine-like efficiency is a terrifying prospect for the division.

* Rigo looks like Floyd the way he fights. His accuracy, efficiency, and ability to technically dominate his opponent with such ease are simply not seen elsewhere.

* Bring on Broner. Let’s not wait for a build-up like Arum tried with Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamoba… let’s just make the fight.The longer fights are left to marinate, the more they have the opportunity to lose their respective luster like the aforementioned Lopez-Gamboa fight. For that matter, I’d love to see Gamboa-Rigo, too. Maybe it’s a chance for Orlando Salido to pull another upset? Either way, if Rigo can fight at 130, there’s no shortage of great fights for him. Filipino flash? Count me in for that matchup! Rigo has a big future, and at 31, the time is now to make these fights.

* This display of skills really makes you wonder- where would his career be if he wasn’t an amateur in Cuba so long? PPV King? Doubtful due to his style/size, but I don’t think it’s that far off.

Randall Bailey-Mike Jones notes:

* This fight went just as I expected… Mike Jones looked fairly dominant against an older, slower fighter in Randall Bailey (despite not looking all that great in general), but Bailey’s right hand would eventually have its say in the fight. They say power is the last thing to go in a fighter, and Randall Bailey’s right hand has long been one of the hardest punches in the entire sport. Story checks out on that.

* Mike Jones’ prospect label has fizzled the last few years and even if he won this fight that he was clearly leading thru 10, he wouldn’t have done much to up his stock. He backs up too much, doesn’t really let his hands go, and doesn’t have the natural flow between defense and offense that is integral to beating great opponents. He’s either covering up playing defense or firing off pre-conceived combinations that lack creativity. The flow between the two is simply not there. Jones is mildly explosive, but he doesn’t ever make me feel that a great trainer could make him a killer. I mean really, what title holder would you expect/pick him to beat? Still thinking…?

* As the 11thround was starting, I had written in my notes that Mike Jones has proved he’s better than Randall Bailey, but so what? What does proving to be better than a 37-year old gate keeper do to your career if you don’t look exceptional? I had also written that Bailey wasted an opportunity or two when he had Jones hurt by not throwing more punches. And then Bailey dropped the hammer! Boom went the dynamite.

* Bailey’s KO was vicious. Jones was not just knocked down, but literally knocked backwards by the thunderous right hand. It’s extremely rare that you see a fighter actually knocked down and backwards by a punch’s power alone. This comeback KO is what makes boxing the most exciting sport in the world (won’t even get into the suspense of judges’ scorecards). There are no 5-run HR’s in baseball, and there are no 5-point plays in basketball. However, when being blown out for every second of a fight, the omnipresent plausibility of a knockout that can come at any time keeps fight fans engaged until the final bell. Props to Bailey for staying composed and continuing to swing for the fences while losing a fight handily. None of this makes up for Bailey’s pre-fight attire.

Jorge Arce notes

* For all that Jorge Arce is and is not, I just love watching him fight. You know you’re in for a fun fight when he’s involved, so the awkward end to his match was really unfortunate. You could tell just a few minutes into the fight that we were in for a hell of a scrap as both fighters were fighting in tight and landing with authority. I didn’t hear the post-fight interview, but I hope Arce is okay and that both fighters want a rematch. Sign me up as interested in watching it.

Main Event: Pacquiao v. Bradley notes:

* As previously stated, I will not be diving into the absurdity that was this fight’s official decision since the entire boxing world saw that Manny won the fight. For the record, I scored the fight 11-1 for Manny with 2 rounds that could have conceivably been scored for Bradley. Anything more than 4 rounds for Bradley is laughable.

* It was interesting to see that neither guy really cut weight for this 147-lb contest. Neither fighter put on more than 3 lbs after the weigh-in. I’ve always said that weigh-ins should be the day of the fight because a fighter shouldn’t have a competitive advantage in a prize fight because they’re better at cutting weight (I also think cutting weight is dangerous).

* One thing I found interesting watching this fight in a bar by my home in Chicago was that the same bar is usually 10x more packed for UFC PPV events which happen far more frequently. Given the Heat-Celtics game 7 was right before, I expected the bar to be very crowded. It could have been a one-time thing, and it could be a regional thing (maybe Chicago is a big UFC town), but I just found it noteworthy. I digress.

* As far as the actual fight, I thought it went as most expected. What stood out to me was that Manny was faster. His left hand was getting through and Bradley’s right hands were simply not as fast.Manny looked to be in fine form and I still think he beats Floyd Mayweather due to the way their styles match up. While I think Manny definitely missed some punches he usually lands, he still looked a class above an undefeated fighter in Timothy Bradley. Take nothing away from Bradley as he fought through a rolled ankle (and apparently a broken foot) and withstood some very heavy shots from Pacquiao. He continued to try to win the fight until the final bell, but he was simply outgunned as he could not quite match the accuracy, sublime movement, speed and power to keep up with Manny.

* The exchanges were the determining factor of the fight as Bradley instinctually obliged Manny in power-punching exchanges even though he did not once get the better end of them. I figured this would be why Manny would win since Bradley tends to throw loopy punches when firing combinations, but I was impressed with Bradley’s determination.

* The fight did not have too many ebbs and flows as Bradley couldn’t really cut off the ring (broken foot is a fair excuse, I suppose) or take away Manny’s left hand. It was clear to me thru just two rounds that Manny would be controlling the fight if Bradley didn’t drastically alter his approach. He did not. The fight carried on with consistency as Manny out-landed Bradley and also landed the harder punches throughout.

* Jim Lampley, as he always does (because he’s by far the best in the business), said it best: Manny’s punches were moving Timothy Bradley. Whenever Manny landed big shots, Bradley was literally moved backwards or sideways from the punches’ impact. Lampley really doesn’t get enough credit for all of the incredibly astute observations he makes in real-time. He often doesn’t have the liberty to let his thoughts marinate before spitting out incredibly poignant insights with historical context.

* By the time the seventh round ended, the fight was all but over. Bradley was losing wherever the fight was going and he couldn’t mount any significant offense. Manny was simply on cruise control. Bradley’s only hope (it appeared) would be a knockout, or at least a knockdown, but the one knock on Timothy Bradley is that he doesn’t have much power. Bradley is no Randall Bailey in the power department. Factor in Manny’s historically strong chin, and Bradley was just about out of options.

* As the 12thround ended, I closed my tab at the bar and was stumbling to bathroom when I heard the first scorecard read as 115-113 Pacquiao. I stopped dead in my tracks. For one, I couldn’t believe an OFFICIAL judge has the ineptitude to score the fight so close, but I also knew that they only announce cards with a winner’s name in a split decision. I was stunned. Hearing that Bradley won the fight left me (and the entire bar) in genuine shock.I still can’t believe it.

* Not to sound like a broken record, but the fight between Manny and Floyd has to happen now. Like right now. The Bradley rematch should be put on ice, and (God willing) Manny should do whatever needs to be done at the negotiation table to make the fight while he can still win it. Neither guy is truly in their prime anymore, but they’re both close enough to their respective primes that we’d still be seeing who the better man is. We’d see an exciting, fan-friendly fight. Lastly, we’d see it while it still matters.

Comment on this article

Feature Articles

AJ Needs to Look Good Against Povetkin, but the Russian Won’t be a Free Ride

Published

on

During the Canelo-Golovkin broadcast last weekend, it was mentioned that the two biggest star fighters in boxing were Canelo Alvarez and WBA/IBF/WBO heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua. Canelo, the newly crowned middleweight champion, was in need of a signature win over a marque opponent to strengthen his claim and Joshua is in the same position heading into his title defense against former WBA title holder Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium Saturday night.

This time last year, being roughly two months out from his title defense against Carlos Takam, Joshua, 28, was the perceived alpha fighter in the heavyweight division. AJ had won all his fights by knockout and, other than a Wladimir Klitschko right hand that dropped him in the sixth round, looked as if he were a sure thing to be the future of the division. But then he looked average stopping Takam, a late replacement for Kubrat Pulev. Joshua cut Takam, dropped him in the fourth round and stopped him in the 10th, but the stoppage was a little bit of a quick hook in the eyes of most observers and it dulled the win.

Five months later Joshua fought undefeated WBO titlist Joseph Parker. Three weeks prior to this fight, Joshua rival and WBC title-holder Deontay Wilder, after nearly being stopped in the seventh round, knocked out the most avoided fighter in the division in Luis Ortiz to score the signature win of his career. So the pressure was on Joshua to win impressively.

Unknown to anyone, Parker showed up only interested in becoming the first fighter Joshua couldn’t stop. And AJ didn’t endear himself to any newly conformed fans when he fought with little urgency, content to win a lopsided decision. Relying almost exclusively on his jab, he made no real attempt to get Parker out of there. Compounding the shrinking perception of AJ, Takam, in his next bout, was beaten more definitively by Dereck Chisora than he was by Joshua.

When you take into account that Wilder scored an impressive KO in his last fight over the most formidable opponent he’s fought and Joshua only scored one knockdown in his last two fights combined, it’s easy to glean why Wilder has narrowed the gap regarding the public perception of them. What’s been missed about Joshua’s last two bouts, however, is that he was utterly dominant. It’s hard to find three rounds he lost of the 22 he was in the ring. But yet, the thing that is most remembered is that AJ didn’t look like the doctor of destruction that his physicality and ring record projected him as being.

When an elite fighter like Anthony Joshua is seen as being a knockout artist and then goes a few fights in a row without delivering a memorable KO, critics and fans begin to find things about their game that are suddenly alarming. And that’s why it’s imperative for Joshua not just to beat Povetkin; he must become the first fighter to stop him. That will get the attention of the right people and at the same time gain back some of the cachet he ceded to Wilder since March of this year.

According to The Ring magazine’s latest ratings…the top six heavyweights, in order, are Joshua, Wilder, Povetkin, Ortiz, Whyte and Parker. So of those ranked 3-6, Povetkin is the only one who hasn’t yet faced Joshua or Wilder. Many well-known observers who cover boxing also see Povetkin 34-1 (24) as the third best fighter in the division. In fact, the new narrative regarding this fight is that Povetkin is really dangerous. With his power, extensive experience and toughness, he’s not an automatic win or free ride for AJ this weekend.

Yes, that’s what they’re saying before they get into the ring – so let’s remember that after the bout, because if Joshua 21-0 (20) looks impressive and stops Povetkin, we’ll more than likely hear how Povetkin was washed up, having turned 39 earlier this month and having lost to the best fighter he ever touched gloves with in Wladimir Klitschko. In one night, Povetkin will go from being a real test for Joshua to an old man who couldn’t beat anybody in the top 10. Conversely, if Povetkin goes the distance and is competitive with Joshua, then, in a knee-jerk reaction and overstatement, many will label AJ a fraud and a sure loser when he faces Wilder.

The reality is a stoppage win by Joshua will be impressive because Povetkin has never been close to being stopped. Even after going down four times against Klitschko he never looked as if he wanted out and Wladimir was a single shot bigger banger than Joshua is with either hand (with the difference being Joshua gets off more freely and puts his punches together in combination, opposed to Klitschko who force-fed his opponents one-twos. Also, Joshua is quicker handed than Klitschko and that should enable him to land some big shots in succession on the presumably attacking Povetkin).

Povetkin most likely needs to be inside against Joshua. There’s only two ways to do it, either by pressing AJ or moving away and timing him, and the method he chooses will illustrate just how much AJ’s power is or isn’t too much for him to chance moving in on. If Povetkin pulls a Parker and the fight goes the distance, Joshua shouldn’t be excoriated because it’s hard to stop a fighter who is only looking to survive. At the same time Joshua will have to let his hands go and fight with more urgency and passion than he showed against Parker, because if he doesn’t that will raise my red flag.

When Joshua crashed the top-10 heavyweight rankings I thought, having watched him closely, that he had the potential of former champ Lennox Lewis. That hasn’t changed, but I’m beginning to see Lewis as being more of a natural fighter and AJ as the better athlete. On paper it’s close when comparing them, but Lewis, especially under the late Emanuel Steward, kept improving whereas Joshua, after looking so good and well-rounded stopping Klitschko, seems to have plateaued.

Alexander Povetkin is AJ’s twenty-second bout. In Lennox Lewis’s twenty-second bout, he fought Donovan “Razor” Ruddock.

Ruddock (27-3-1) was a 6’3”, 231-pound, well-built fighter with power in his left hand but limited skills. Povetkin is 6’2” and weighed in at 229 for his last bout. Ruddock’s left-hook/uppercut was probably a bigger single shot than anything in Povetkin’s arsenal but that’s about the only check Razor gets in his column over Povetkin. The Russian fighter has a much higher boxing IQ than Ruddock and is the more technically sound fighter with better structure and form.

Lewis destroyed Ruddock in two rounds in what was the signature performance of his career at the time. Joshua has already delivered a signature performance, his stoppage of Klitschko after knocking him down three times, but critics and fans have short memories so Joshua needs to deliver another eye opening performance. As was the case for Ruddock when he fought Lewis, Povetkin looks made to order for AJ to look good against. However, Povetkin, unlike Ruddock before he confronted Lewis, has never been stopped and is known for his durability and ruggedness.

Joshua says he is motivated for Povetkin and isn’t looking past him. He says he fears losing, and I don’t need him to confirm he has a gigantic ego and cannot be happy about some of the pageantry and attention that Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury have stolen from him. As for Povetkin, this is no doubt his last title shot and he certainly knows this is the fight he needs to put everything together…which should translate into him coming to win which means he’s going to fight instead of hoping for pats on the back for showing up. And if Povetkin comes to fight, Joshua should get some great opportunities to shine and post another signature win.

This is the ideal fight and opponent for AJ to show just what he has and to stay on the same trajectory that Lennox Lewis did after stopping Razor Ruddock.

Between 1977 and 1982, Frank Lotierzo had over 50 fights in the middleweight division. He trained at Joe Frazier’s gym in Philadelphia under the tutelage of the legendary George Benton. Before joining The Sweet Science his work appeared in several prominent newsstand and digital boxing magazines and he hosted “Toe-to-Toe” on ESPN Radio. Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@gmail.com

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

 

Continue Reading

Feature Articles

Avila Perspective, Chapter 15: Las Vegas Boxing Journal

Usually the world of boxing has two massive fight weekends, but this year it was down to one. All of that pent-up energy had to be released

Published

on

Usually the world of boxing has two massive fight weekends, but this year it was down to one. All of that pent-up energy had to be released and this past weekend, for Mexican Independence Day, it all came pouring out.

Las Vegas was my destination once again.

In the last four years the Nevada gambling capital has seen fewer and fewer boxing cards as other destinations like New York, Texas and California have gobbled up fight dates. What used to be almost a monthly journey has been whittled down to twice a year.

When it comes to staging a mega event, you just can’t beat Las Vegas. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez meeting Gennady “GGG” Golovkin for the second time definitely qualifies.

I was supposed to drive up Thursday morning with photographer Al Applerose but we could not coordinate our schedules. It was important to leave early to reach the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino where the Golden Boy Promotions card featuring Maricela Cornejo versus Franchon Crews for a world title was being held. Starting time for the fight card was 2 p.m. because of ESPN.

By the time I checked into my hotel and drove over to the Hard Rock, it was already 3 p.m. Surprisingly, a decent crowd was there mostly to see Cornejo vs. Crews. ESPN televised the event and despite the early start time fans and celebrities were in the house.

It had been 14 years since that network had televised a female world championship bout. I remember because I saw that fight in 2004 and it was a doozy.

Finally, another female world title fight and it was great to see two female warriors finally get their day under the spotlight. After 10 rounds Crews won by majority decision and the green WBC belt was wrapped around her waist. Watching the joy on her face was priceless.

If you have followed me as a reader then you know female boxing has been a favorite passion. I truly believe it will rival male prizefighting one day, maybe soon. The world of MMA has proven it can be done as Ronda Rousey so emphatically showed.

Women prizefighters will get their day.

After the fight we headed to the Pink Taco mainly because they serve decent margaritas. I’m kind of a connoisseur of the drink. The first one I received was passable, but that second one was pretty good. Our group consisted of two reporters from Japan and Applerose, the photographer. Tacos and margaritas for everyone.

Friday

No fights were scheduled for Friday but the weigh-ins and press conferences were stacked together. I moved from my hotel and drove to Summerlin where a friend of mine has a place. He had invited me to stay and was insistent.

My friend is known as “Mr. Las Vegas.” It’s a name given to him the great Fernando “El Feroz” Vargas who now lives in Vegas. He gave him this nickname because no one knows Las Vegas like this guy (that I won’t name unless he gives approval). This 40-something year old gentleman was born and raised in the casino city and has been involved in boxing, MMA and personally knows the high rollers and political powers of the city and state.

Mr. Las Vegas invited me months ago but he’s always on the go and sometimes it slips his mind so I booked a room just in case. But, he was adamant about me staying with him and we go back a ways.

He’s also a big proponent of women’s boxing.

I headed back to the Strip to the MGM media center where a press conference for Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell was taking place. The media was in force. Easily 200 were already in the David Copperfield Theater at 10 a.m.

Maybe it was the free breakfast that enticed reporters and photographers to get up early. It was amazing to see so many media members on a Friday morning. It was a mad scramble.

The theater is fairly large and from a distance I could spot many friends and colleagues. During the face-off Liddell and Ortiz squared off and Oscar De La Hoya looked like a midget between the two. They will be fighting at the Inglewood Forum on Nov. 24. Golden Boy Promotions is the promoter for the pay-per-view event. It will be the third time the MMA stars clash.

So while Dana White delves into boxing, De La Hoya delves into MMA. Strange happenings.

Later that Friday a press conference for Yuri Gamboa was staged by the Cuban fighter himself at Gonzalez Gonzalez restaurant in the New York, New York Hotel and Casino.

Gamboa briefly had a contract with Golden Boy, and had been connected to Top Rank and Fifty Cent. The slick southpaw (is there any other kind of lefty?) seeks another chance to hit a jackpot in the boxing ring.

About two dozen reporters met at the Mexican restaurant eatery. Gamboa was busy speaking to each reporter one-by-one and helped by a small group of publicists including New York sharp Ed Keenan. Food and drinks were great.

Last year Gamboa was quite busy and had four prizefights. His lone loss was against Mexico’s extremely dangerous Robinson Castellanos who stopped the Cuban at the end of the seventh round in Las Vegas.

So far this year, no fights. It’s a primary reason he’s doing it himself on a risky pay-per-view show.

“I can’t depend on anyone else,” said Gamboa. “If I want to advance. I feel I should do it myself. I have experience and knowledge in professional boxing.”

Gamboa, 36, will fight Mexico’s Miguel Beltran on Nov. 20, in Miami, Florida. He will be the main event. The co-main event will be Puerto Rico’s Juan Manuel Lopez meeting Jesse Rodriguez. If all goes well, the two former world champions will meet each other sometime next year.

“I still have goals to accomplish,” said Gamboa.

Super Lightweight Title Clash

While sitting around eating and drinking at the Mexican restaurant, the ESPN fight card featured Jose Carlos Ramirez and Antonio Orozco fighting for the WBC super lightweight world title. It was body puncher versus body puncher and that means fireworks.

Ramirez had not faced anyone who could match punch output with him until that Friday night. I expected Orozco to fire all his guns and that’s exactly what he did.

For 12 volatile rounds the two 140-pounders fought at 100 miles an hour and though Ramirez won the majority of the rounds according to the judges, each round in itself was a battle.

Orozco, 30, is a very mild-mannered gentleman outside the ropes, but inside he’s one of the most fierce body punchers in the business. He has fought for Golden Boy Promotions for a number of years and may have passed his peak two years ago.

Ramirez, 26, was making his second defense of the world title he won almost a year ago and fights under the Top Rank banner. Whenever these two promotion companies go against each other it’s like the Dodgers and the Giants. No mercy.

The titleholder Ramirez was fighting in front of the adopted hometown of Fresno and floored Orozco twice with body shots and head shots. You would have expected Orozco to wilt but every time he was dropped he came back with a ferocious attack.

It was a gripping fight to watch.

As I sat at the bar in the Mexican restaurant with photographer Applerose, we couldn’t help but admire the spirit that both fighters showed for 12 rounds. Crowds gathered around the bar to watch the final three or four rounds. A few had noticed us watching and stopped to see what had us glued to the television screen perched above the various liquors.

We had a few beers after that incredible title fight.

Ramirez won the fight and retained the world title but Orozco had won the hearts of everyone watching with his tremendous heart. Both fighters congratulated each other and showed sincere respect. If you haven’t seen it, watch the replay. You won’t be sorry.

Saturday

The schedule for Saturday started early with two press conferences staged in the morning.

WBC super featherweight titlist Miguel Berchelt and challenger Mickey Roman met with media at Wolfgang Puck at 12 noon to talk about their pending clash on HBO. It’s another meeting between a Top Rank affiliated fighter and Golden Boy affiliated fighter.

Can it match Ramirez-Orozco?

Berchelt is a heavy-hitting but skilled fighter from the Yucatan area. Roman is a hard-nosed heavy hitter from Juarez, Mexico. Its North versus South in this Mexican battle that takes place on Nov. 3 in El Paso, Texas.

This could be extremely explosive.

Immediately after the Top Rank press conference, and a few feet away, another media luncheon took place for interim WBC super lightweight titlist Regis Prograis.

Prograis, 29, is an interesting cat.

Raised in New Orleans and Houston, the extremely strong Prograis will participate in the World Boxing Super Series that begins in late October. He faces former lightweight world champion Terry Flanagan of England.

“I chose to fight Terry Flanagan because he’s a former world champion,” said Prograis whose last fight was a knockout win over Argentina’s Juan Jose Velasco in New Orleans. “I’m trying to prove I’m the best. I don’t want an easy fight. It’s a waste of time.”

Of course he would love a match with current WBC titlist Jose Carlos Ramirez but he can wait.

“We’ll meet one day in the ring,” Prograis said.

The Rematch

After the pair of press luncheons we headed to the T-Mobile Arena for the Alvarez-Golovkin mega fight. It was an early 2 p.m. start so we missed a couple of early fights. I always try to watch every bout. It’s my duty as a reporter to cover all the fights that take place. Not just the headliners, but the afternoon press conferences held me up.

The best of the undercard saw Vergil Ortiz Jr. annihilate his former sparring partner Roberto Ortiz in two rounds.

Vergil Ortiz trains in Riverside, Calif. with Robert Garcia. He formerly was based in Indio, Calif. with Joel Diaz. Both trainers have excellent troops.

Ortiz, 20, has long limbs and fights long too. He’s buzzed through 11 straight opponents and kind of resembles late actor Jack Palance in the movie Shane. Vergil is a likeable guy who seems nothing like a feared monster in a boxing ring.

Golden Boy keeps stepping up the competition a notch and he keeps rendering them unconscious. The promoter doesn’t want to overstep the process with Ortiz so they are doing things de-li-cate-ly.

So far Ortiz has treated everyone who steps in the ring with him like fragile china. He touches them and they fall to pieces. Technically he is very sound. But the Golden Boy crew sees something very special in the kid from Dallas. He is one to watch.

Boycott?

After several fights including the main event that saw Alvarez win by majority decision, it’s important to note that the entire “ringside” media group was placed more than 50 yards away from the boxing ring. No one from the media had a sufficient view to analyze the fight that has been very disputed by fans and others.

But my question is: why did the promoters place the media a ridiculous 50 yards away?

Sadly, it’s a move that says to the media “we don’t need you.”

Maybe it’s time to organize.

Regis Prograis photo by Al Applerose

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

To comment on this article at The Fight Forum, CLICK HERE.

Continue Reading

Feature Articles

An Unofficial Judge Scored 9 Rounds for Canelo; Feel Free to Hoot and Holler

Published

on

auxiliary press

The auxiliary press section at the T-Mobile Arena is quite a distance from the boxing ring. I’ve been in auxiliary press sections before, but never one that was up so high. It was here that I found myself on Saturday night, peering down on the ring far below and like everyone else checking out the big screen between rounds for a closer look at key moments.

From this vantage point, the ring is both smaller and bigger. It’s bigger in the sense that it opens things up a bit. Your eyes see more space between the fighters and you are better able to judge which fighter is controlling the distance. Think of the picture from the overhead cam in a football game. Looking straight down, the playing field doesn’t look as congested. The holes that open for a North-South running back bursting into the secondary get wider and from this panorama you are better able to judge the work of the offensive line.

Having said that, this is really no place to adequately judge a boxing match, so I can be forgiven for scoring the fight 9-3 for Canelo. For what it’s worth, however, the fellow on my right had it the same. The fellow on my left had it somewhat tighter, but also scored it for Canelo. And for the record, neither of these guys were Hispanic so they weren’t blinded by tribal loyalty.

At the T-Mobile, when the main event ends, the scribes in the auxiliary press section are literally held hostage. They are prevented from going down to the post-fight press conference until the arena has thinned out.

This reporter couldn’t get his laptop to function properly and had no patience. I’m not comfortable working on my cellphone, so it was imperative that I get home in a jiff and be there when David Avila’s ringside report turned up in my e-mail. On a fight of this magnitude, the boss wants the bread-and-butter post-fight story up on the site in a hurry.

Aware of the hostage situation, and my own technological limitations, I had the foresight to scope out the arena for an escape route just in case I needed to get away fast. And so, before a hostage-taker could rope me in, I was off and running, scurrying down a little used staircase. I had my car parked in the right spot for a quick getaway, traffic was light, and I was home at my work desk in less than 30 minutes.

I didn’t wait around to hear the scores. To me it was a foregone conclusion that Canelo would have his hand raised. Heading home, I had the car radio tuned to an all-sports station. And when the scores came across the radio, I thought to myself, well, I was wrong and I was right. I thought GGG would win and I was wrong about that, but I was right, I thought to myself, that the judges would be disposed to give GGG the close rounds. In my mind, the scores (114-114 and 115-113 twice) gave GGG the best of it. Granted, several rounds were tough to score, but yet the fight wasn’t that close.

Au contraire !

To my amazement, the vast majority of those seated in the ringside press section scored the fight a draw or had it shaded toward Triple-G. In fact, according to one survey, which included those in the building and a select few watching at home or in a TV studio, only two of the 59 people that were polled had it for Canelo with 17 scoring it even. The most cantankerous of the GGG faction was ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas who apparently had it 117-112 and labeled the decision a robbery.

No I won’t defend my scoring. Let me see the fight on TV (and with the sound off, natch), and I’ll get back to you. But I’m still flabbergasted that my score was so out of whack with the consensus.

Odds and Ends

Although the fight was announced as a sellout, there were empty seats scattered around the arena. The announced attendance was 21,965, roughly 1,400 less than for the first encounter last September.

The first Canelo-GGG bout set the attendance record for an indoor fight in Nevada and came in third all-time in gate receipts, surpassed only by Mayweather-Pacquiao in 2015 and Mayweather-McGregor in August of last year. But that’s a distant third to the leader. The gross gate for Canelo-GGG I ($27,059,850) was far below Mayweather-Pacquiao which raked in an astounding $72,198,500.

Although there’s more money in circulation each year and more fat cats willing to pay an enormous sum to attend a mega-fight, I doubt the Mayweather-Pacquiao record for gate receipts will be broken any time soon.

The crowd, needless to say, was skewed heavily toward Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. And while it’s often said that members of this ethnic group are true fight fans, the reality is that when they come to Las Vegas they act just like the Anglo high rollers, which is to say that they arrive at a big fight fashionably late.

When the first of the four PPV fights started, the arena was not more than 15 percent full. When the semi-main started, the arena was perhaps one-third full, notwithstanding the fact that it was a title fight featuring a boxer from Tijuana.

The old outdoor fights at Caesars Palace were thick with celebrities who were acknowledged by the ring announcer. Saturday’s fight at the T-Mobile was something of a throwback. The roll call included movie stars Denzel Washington, Will Smith, and Mark Wahlberg, comedians Dave Chappelle and Cedric the Entertainer, and sports personalities Lebron James, Charles Barkley, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Triple H – to name just a few.

Standing in the ring as GGG and Canelo made their way from their dressing rooms was a fashionably dressed woman wearing a dress that one would associate with a Latin country. I assumed she was there to sing the Mexican National Anthem. In my younger days, the Mexican National Anthem was sung so often at big fights in Las Vegas that I could eventually mouth the words.

But no, there was no National Anthem whatsoever, neither U.S., nor Mexican, nor Kazakhstani. I was told that they did do anthems before the first of the preliminary fights. This would have been about 3:00 in the afternoon when there were not more than a few hundred people in the joint.

Was this a reaction to the brouhaha set in motion by Colin Kaepernick? That’s a fair assumption.

Not only were the anthems missing, but so also was Michael Buffer, a fixture at HBO shows for decades. I’m told that he now works exclusively for Eddie Hearn. He’ll be back on the job this coming Saturday at Wembley Stadium in London.

Joe Martinez, Buffer’s replacement, did a solid job, as did referee Benjy Estevez who was working his first big fight in Nevada. Of course, Canelo and GGG made it easy for him. No matter your opinion of the scoring, I think we can all agree that these two great warriors engaged in a very clean fight.

By all accounts, this was a very good fight for the bookies. The expectation that there would be late Canelo money in Las Vegas on Mexican Independence Day weekend wasn’t born out. At one establishment, the odds favoring GGG rose from 7/5 to 9/5 (minus-180) in the last few hours of betting. I’m told that it nicked above 2/1 at a few places offshore.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

To comment on this article at The Fight Forum, CLICK HERE.

Continue Reading

Trending