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Quotes from the Hopkins-Dawson Press Tour



408Here is a collection of quotes from Bernard Hopkins, Chad Dawson and others taking part in the Oct. 15 promotion which will unfold at the Staples Center in LA. The fighters were present at press conferences in California and New York this week.

BERNARD HOPKINS, WBC & Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight World Champion

“When you get tired of making history or tired of competing, you will get exposed.

“In basketball you can call time out. In football you can call timeout. In boxing either you fight or you quit.

“In my career I have gone 12-1 against southpaws. The only loss was to Joe Calzaghe, a fight which most people say I won. It was what it was. I love fighting southpaws because I am very unorthodox. I don’t do things regularly and I am not a regular fighter.

“When you look at my resume and then you look at Chad’s resume, it is like looking at Harvard and community college. No disrespect to community college.

“Age and wisdom cannot be compromised. I have a PhD in what I do. It says that I am 46 years old on my birth certificate. It can be argued that I m 10 years younger than I actually am.

“Me and Father Time are always debating whether it is time or not. I get cramps. I get aches. I am human and I am willing to take that chance. I am willing to walk that tight rope without a safety net. That is what fighting means to me. To be daring or to be dangerous takes courage.

“The light heavyweight division is alive right now. It isn’t because of my seven or eight pushups. It is because of the activity of my last two fights.

“I don’t want Chad to be the laid back Chad. I don’t need him laid back. To be laid back on an old man is not good; you are doing me a favor. I want you to give me something to work against so I can be better. I am a good dancer, if my partner is just okay, it makes me look bad.

[To Dawson] “Lets work together to see who whoops whose ass worse.

“Chumps do exist in boxing. This sport separates the chumps from champs.

“Chad Dawson has to prove that he belongs here and I have to prove that I’m special over and over again. I’m okay with that.

“I am looking forward to eventually breaking Archie Moore’s record of defending a title at the age of 47 or 48. I want that title. I want that record. I want that history.

“I didn’t expect Naazim to give me this money back [Richardson returned his compensation to Hopkins from the Pascal fight]. We can donate this money to a charity that Naazim feels should be supported. We can take this money and do something good. From you to me or me to you we will take this money and put it in a place where it can be productive for a worthy charity.”

“October 15 it is going down at STAPLES Center. History is going to be made again!

CHAD DAWSON, Former Light Heavyweight World Champion

“I want to thank Bernard for finally taking the fight. I want to thank Gary Shaw for believing in me even though I had a bad loss to Jean Pascal.

“I’m excited about my first pay-per-view fight. I have always wanted this fight. I have been chasing this fight for three years.

“A lot of people think I can’t punch. October 15, I am not going for a decision, I am going for a knockout.

“I don’t see any way Bernard can beat me. I have thought that for the last three years and I still think that now.

“Bernard better be on his A-game that night because I am going to be on mine.

“I am excited to be here. I feel better than ever. I’m problem free and stress free. I’m a new Chad.

“This is my ultimate dream. I’m excited.

“He can talk smack as much as he wants. Trash talking sells pay-per-view. I can trash talk, but I just don’t.

“I’m not concerned with what they say on the other side of the table. I’m concerned about them putting the belts around my waist on October 15.

“For me it’s all or nothing. I’m going to give it all or die trying.”

ANTONIO DEMARCO, WBC #1 Rated Lightweight Contender

“I want to work to be world champion. I want to be one of the best.”

JORGE LINARES, Former Two-Division World Champion & WBC #2 Rated Lightweight Contender

“It’s an honor to be fighting on a card with Bernard Hopkins. It’s going to be a great night and a great fight for me.

“It’s like a dream to be here today and have this opportunity to fight here in the U.S.”

KENDALL HOLT, Former World Champion

“I am happy to be here. Not only because I am fighting, but because I am sharing the stage with two great champions.

“I am happy Danny Garcia took this fight. In order to become the best you have to beat the best and I am one of the best.

“I looked at Garcia when he was coming up and I said this kid has a lot of potential. I can’t wait to see this kid in the future. Golden Boy Promotions has done a good job with him. They have gotten him the right fights…up until now.

“When people ask me what my game plan is, I say ‘I am planning on hitting him a lot more times than he hits me.’

“Chad is one of my favorite fighters. Bernard Hopkins, you mean a lot to the sport. I have always admired you. It is going to sadden my heart a little bit to see Chad walk away with that belt.

“Danny, you will be a great champion, but it won’t be on October 15.”

DANNY GARCIA, Undefeated Top Junior Welterweight Prospect

“At 10 years old, I started boxing. I have been boxing for 13 years. This has been one of my dreams to fight at this level, to fight on pay-per-view.

“Brother Naazim Richardson told me when I was very young that everybody gets their chance to eat at the table, not everyone gets to eat at once. He told me that one day you will get that chance, and I think this is my time to eat.

“I have come too far. I sacrificed my childhood and sacrificed what I had to get to this point. After how far I have come, losing is not an option.

“October 15 is my time and I want to be seen as one of the best junior welterweights out there and do it on HBO Pay-Per-View.”


“Chad Dawson is a great young fighter. I watched most of the kids grow up. I watched Kendall Holt, I watched Danny Garcia.

“This undercard is going to be awesome. I can’t wait for that.

“You cannot speak about this man [Bernard Hopkins] with anything other than respect.

“To say you don’t like Bernard Hopkins means you don’t like boxing.

“These kids grew up admiring Bernard Hopkins and learning from Bernard Hopkins.

“I have known Bernard for years. It has been an honor for me and the team to work with him. Seeing him in the ring and being a part of history was an honor. Bernard handed me my payment for the Pascal fight, but he was so outstanding and that was enough for me. [Richardson returns his payment to Hopkins].

“I believe in Chad. I believe he is a young light heavyweight. He might be the one of the most technically sound fighters Bernard has fought. Pascal was definitely the most dangerous.

“You cannot underestimate this man [Hopkins]. This is a living legend. This is a great athlete.”

ALEX ARIZA, Linares Strength and Conditioning Trainer

“We’re definitely not taking DeMarco lightly. We never do, but Jorge Linares will be ready.

“We haven’t seen a fighter like Jorge Linares in a long time with that speed power and boxing technique.”

ANGEL GARCIA, Danny Garcia’s Father & Trainer

“It has been a pleasure to see Danny grow up and to be a part of his career. This is the time for Danny ‘Swift’ to make a difference.

“When Danny was born, I knew he was going to be a champion. I knew he was going to be a fighter. He is going to be one fine champion which is what he was meant to be.

“He will become one of the top junior welterweights. We are not taking Kendall Holt lightly, but I hope he isn’t going to take Danny lightly either.

“These are American fighters. These are the ones you [to media] have to make relevant. They are the ones who wear the red, white and blue and represent our country.

“Danny is going to be the junior welterweight champion of the world. As long as I am breathing, that is going to happen.”

RICHARD SCHAEFER, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions

“This is a fight that has been in the making for quite a while. We are happy for the light heavyweight division. We are happy for the sport.

“We have done many fights at Golden Boy Promotions. I think we have come up with many good fight names. There was ‘The World Awaits’ and ‘Lightweight Lightning.’ I really think we really came up with the perfect title for this fight. ‘Believe It Or Not!’??
“Ripley’s Believe It Or Not is a global organization. I encourage those of you who have not been there to visit one of their museums around the country. They are going to promote this fight in their museums and we are very happy to have a real American brand involved in this fight with real American fighters.

“Bernard made believers out of all of us when he beat Kelly Pavlik. Believe me, everyone watching the fight will be believers come October 15.

“I get chills every time I introduce Bernard Hopkins. He is truly a legend.

“Some people don’t realize they’re witnessing history until after the fact. Bernard Hopkins is making history.

“‘Believe It Or Not!’ I think Bernard Hopkins has made believers out of all of us throughout his career.”

GARY SHAW, President & CEO of Gary Shaw Productions

“What Richard and I wanted to do more than anything was to give the fans a great pay-per-view undercard in addition to a great main event. Linares and DeMarco is a great fight. Holt vs. Garcia is a great fight and of then you have the main event.

“It is going to be one hell of a great card. For those going to STAPLES Center and for those of you who will watch it on pay-per-view, you are going to get your money’s worth. We guarantee it.

“We have been chasing Hopkins around the world for three years now. We are glad the cat caught the mouse.

“They [pointing at Golden Boy Promotions’ fighters] are the ‘believers’ and we are the ‘nots.’ This is going to be a big night for Gary Shaw Productions at STAPLES Center and you are going to find out why the believers don’t come true.

“Bernard has done a lot for this sport, but he might not get his due for all that he has done and I mean that.

“Chad is younger. Chad is faster and he is going to be working his jab. His jabs are going to be going up and down faster than Bernard can see them.

“Bernard, with all due respect, you aren’t getting in Chad’s head. It ain’t happening. When the bell rings, Chad is going to jump you’re ass right from the opening bell. You know that and your trainer knows that.”

ANDREA SILVERMAN, General Manager of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Hollywood Attraction

“Ripley’s is honored to be a part of Bernard’s journey as he is a true ‘Believe It Or Not!’

“Amongst Bernard’s endless list of achievements, at age 46, he is the world’s oldest champion in boxing history.

“In 1918, Robert Ripley, an illustrator for a small newspaper, published his first cartoon: Champs or Chumps? Now almost a hundred years later we’re going to find out who is the champ and who is the chump!

MICHAEL HIRSCH, General Manager of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium Times Square

“Bernard Hopkins’ career is a living breathing Believe It Or Not! including being the oldest person to win a world title. He fits all of the Believe It Or Not! characteristics.

“We are going to have Bernard immortalized in our museums across the world.

“We are really thrilled to be a part of this event. It is our first endeavor being a part of something like this.”


“Believe It or Not!: Hopkins vs. Dawson” is a 12-round bout for Hopkins’ WBC and Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight World Championship Titles. The event is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions and sponsored by Cerveza Tecate, AT&T and Ripley’s Believe It or Not, a new sponsor to the fight game who forged a relationship with Hopkins earlier this year when they made a wax figure of the future Hall of Famer, which will be unveiled during fight week in Los Angeles and displayed at a Ripley’s Odditorium in the future. DeMarco vs. Linares is presented in association with Teiken Promotions.

Tickets for Hopkins vs. Dawson, priced at $300, $150, $75 and $25, are on sale now and are available for purchase online at, or via Ticketmaster charge-by-phone lines at (800)745-3000.

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Three Punch Combo: A Bouquet for “ShoBox” and More



new television

THREE PUNCH COMBO — We are embarking into a new age in boxing. There are new television contracts and digital platforms available that are making the sport more visible than ever before to the masses. But with all these new deals and platforms, it is important not to forget some of the consistent programming that has been around for some time. There is no better example of this than the ShoBox series on Showtime.

ShoBox, more formally ShoBox: The New Generation, began with a simple premise of matching young prospects in with tough opposition. To get their fighters on this series, promoters would have to find credible opponents who could potentially test and maybe even upset their prized prospect. This premise has led to consistently competitive and entertaining fights in the more than 200 broadcasts since the inception of the series in 2001.

This past Friday, we saw just how this premise works once again. There was a four fight card that featured competitive fights on paper in all the matches. However, in two of those matches there did seem to be clear favorites though each of the respective fighters was being matched with their toughest foe to date.

James Wilkins and Misael Lopez opened the telecast in a 130-pound contest. Wilkins was featured in a documentary that aired on Showtime just prior to the card and was expected to make a smashing television debut. He was a knockout artist and the thought was that he would put on a show to open the telecast. But instead, Wilkins got a boxing lesson from Lopez who was busier from the outside and managed to mostly avoid the power of Wilkins throughout the contest in winning an eight round unanimous decision.

The main event featured Jon Fernandez facing O’Shaquie Foster in another 130-pound contest. Fernandez had been getting a lot of buzz and many in the sport considered the Spaniard a future star. This was supposed to be a test for Fernandez as Foster (pictured on the right) represented a step up in class, but nonetheless many expected Fernandez to pass the test with flying colors. Instead, the power punching Fernandez was clearly out-boxed by Foster for ten rounds in an entertaining fight.

These two fights showed once again that when young fighters are matched tough we often get better than expected fights that can sometimes deliver surprises. This coming Friday, the series returns with highly touted lightweight prospect Devin Haney (19-0, 13 KO’s) in the main event taking on former world title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos (33-2-2, 21 KO’s). This is a fight in which Haney is favored but one in which he is facing the toughest challenge of his young career. At the very least, this should be a test for the highly touted 19-year-old Haney and I am certain we get a compelling fight.

ShoBox is boxing’s most consistent series and one that just continues to provide fight fans with high caliber, competitive fights.

10 Percent or 10 Pounds – How To Combat Fighters Who Blow Up In Weight

It is time to address the issue of fighters gaining an absurd amount of weight following the weigh-in. There is a reason why we have weight classes in boxing. If one fighter enters the ring weighing significantly more than his opponent, it gives the bigger fighter a big advantage. This can make for not only non-competitive fights but potentially dangerous situations. I have a simple solution that I think can combat this problem.

In past articles, I have touched on the issue of fighters who miss the contracted weight. My argument has always been to implement a system with stiff financial penalties. So in a similar aspect, I think stiff financial penalties can combat the continued problem of fighters blowing up in weight after the official weigh-in.

What I propose is second day weigh-ins where fighters would not be permitted to put on more than ten pounds or 10 percent (whichever is more) of the contracted weight limit. If they are over, the fight still goes on but the fighter who misses the second day weight limit pays a substantial fine. This simple adjunct can be easily administered by the various state commissions in the United States (or any other commissions worldwide).

Here is an example:  Let’s say we have a fight contracted at 130 pounds and each fighter weighs in at 129 pounds. The second day limit would be 10 percent of 130 pounds which was the contracted weight. So each fighter could come in at a maximum of 143 pounds. Now let’s say one fighter comes in at 146 pounds. The penalty I propose would be 20 percent of that fighter’s purse per pound over the weight. And this money goes directly to their opponent. Under this example, the fighter over weight would lose 60 percent of his purse.

Zero Shouldn’t Mean That Much

We are in an era, largely due to The Floyd Mayweather Jr. Factor, where fighters are often overly protected to keep that precious zero in the loss column. But to do so, they are frequently matched with soft opposition and learn little from dismantling their overmatched foes. There is little to no growth in their career during this period and though the record may get glossy, the development of the fighter may be stunted.

Setbacks can humble fighters and make them see what needs to be done so as not to experience that feeling again. They become better overall fighters and put themselves in a better long term position in their career.

This past weekend, we saw two once promising prospects bounce back with career defining wins after suffering an early unexpected defeat. They are both now in prime position to have their respective careers blossom which may not have otherwise been the case.

Earlier I mentioned O’Shaquie Foster’s upset win against Jon Fernandez. Three years ago, Foster was a highly touted prospect. He had a good amateur background and was blessed athletically with dynamic speed. After building up an 8-0 record against less than formidable opposition, he lost in a dreadful performance to Samuel Teah. Another loss would follow several months later to Rolando Chinea. But Foster clearly learned from his mistakes in these fights and bounced back, layering his natural athletic ability with much improved skills in frankly outclassing Fernandez. Foster’s losses made him take a step back and re-evaluate what needed to be done inside the ring. He is now in prime position to become a contender in the 130-pound weight division.

Luke Campbell was a 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist and considered a can’t-miss future star in boxing. But in his 13th pro fight, in a rather shocking development, he was put on the canvas and lost a split decision to veteran Yvan Mendy. Another loss followed two years later against Jorge Linares but Campbell performed well while losing a split decision and flashed signs of improvement from the Mendy setback.

The rematch with Mendy for Campbell took place this past weekend and Campbell did what many expected him to do in their first encounter. He boxed effectively from the outside and mixed in precision combination punching to easily avenge the defeat. It was a dynamic performance by Campbell and put him in line for a big fight at lightweight.

Luke Campbell is a vastly different fighter from the one who lost to Mendy three years earlier and appears primed to potentially live up to the once high expectations. He is in a better spot today in his career due to what he learned from that first loss to Mendy.

Photo credit: Dave Mandel / SHOWTIME

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In Dismantling Povetkin, Joshua Recaptured His Swag among the Heavyweights



experienced opponent

He was in against a very crafty and experienced opponent in former WBA titlist Alexander Povetkin 34-2 (24). And although he was troubled by the dangerous Russian fighting small as he tried to inch his way in and time him, AJ adjusted well and started to take the initiative and dropped and stopped Povetkin in the seventh round, retaining his WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight titles and thus becoming the first fighter to ever stop Povetkin, something Wladimir Klitschko failed to do.

During the fight AJ was forced back. He had to adapt to Povetkin making him punch down and that caused him to be a little tentative, especially after being bloodied from a broken nose in the first round. And early on, AJ was a little confused and busy trying to keep Povetkin occupied from outside so he couldn’t get in on him. His most effective weapon in doing such was his left jab, delivered to the head or body, although the fight really turned when he began putting his one-two together. Then after a fairly evenly-paced bout, AJ slowed some with the hope it would lure Povetkin to close in a little harder, and he did.

As Povetkin, who came to fight, became more assertive, he became more vulnerable. AJ found the openings for his big right hand and left hook. With the first really solid right hand that bounced off his chin, Povetkin buckled and instinctively went back. Joshua pursued him and then, with near Joe Louis-like accuracy, put his right hands and hooks together, along with a beautiful right to the body in the middle of the assault and finished his game opponent.

Once again it was shown that trading with AJ is almost certain suicide. Povetkin was in great shape and would’ve been a handful for any other heavyweight in the world because he no doubt brought his A-game. Sometimes it takes AJ a little while to get going, and if you don’t do anything to bother him or wake him up, he doesn’t fight with the urgency of a “Smokin” Joe Frazier. However, when you wake him up and force him to cut loose, he’s so dangerous that he doesn’t need too many clean shots to end it. And making Joshua more lethal is that he has both short and inside power in both hands.

After months of hearing how Povetkin was the most serious threat to Joshua, that’s now finished business. Prior to the bout The Ring magazine rated the top six heavyweights in the world as follows…..Joshua, Wilder, Povetkin, Ortiz, Whyte and Parker, in that order. Now Joshua is 3-0 (2) versus Povetkin, Whyte and Parker which squashes the narrative that he has fought weaker opposition than WBC title holder Deontay Wilder 40-0 (39) who has only faced Ortiz among the top six.

Today, the most widely levied criticism of any elite fighter is that he didn’t fight the best man or men in his division. Fighters can’t control who their contemporaries are but they can control fighting the best of their era. Rocky Marciano’s era wasn’t stellar, but he fought every top fighter who was in line to challenge him. Floyd Mayweather fought in a stout era – the difference is an overwhelming majority of his bouts with big name opponents were strategically manipulated so that he faced them on the downside of their career – and that’s a fact, not a theory.

Forty years after his last victory in a title fight, Muhammad Ali is respected and revered as a fighter even by those who don’t claim to be a fan of his. Why? He wasn’t the most fundamental boxer in heavyweight history nor was he the biggest puncher, and not all of his fights were edge of your seat exciting. The thing that’s often cited as to why he was a marvel is that he fought the best of the best during one of the deepest eras in heavyweight history. There were a few times between 1975-77 that he held a win over every fighter ranked among The Ring magazine’s top-10. Sure he fought a few Brian London’s and Jean Pierre Coopman’s, but London was encompassed by Sonny Liston and Ernie Terrell during the 1960s and Coopman by Joe Frazier and Ken Norton during the 1970s.

Anthony Joshua hasn’t yet sniffed the greatness of Ali on many levels, but he is on the same trajectory in regards to meeting and defeating the best of his generation. By the end of this month, the WBC heavyweight title fight between Deontay Wilder and former champ Tyson Fury will likely become official with them meeting in early December. And regardless of who wins, Joshua, if he really wants to etch a great legacy, must pressure the winner to meet him in their next bout. In addition to that, he must tell his brain, aka Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, to forget about winning the purse war if it is the only stumbling block. If the winner of Wilder-Fury is impressive, he will have earned a 50-50 split.

During the faux negotiations between the Joshua and Wilder camps this past summer the purse split was the focal point. And prior to the prospect of Wilder and Fury meeting, Joshua clearly held the better hand based on his resume and owning three titles to Wilder’s single title.  But the Wilder-Fury winner will have closed the gap and Joshua needs to be next while the fighters are at or near their prime. The fact is Joshua versus the Wilder/Fury winner will be the most widely anticipated fight in the heavyweight division since Lewis-Tyson and maybe even since Tyson-Holyfield I. The onus is on the fighters to make it happen and they both have the clout to make sure it does, especially Joshua.

Interviewed in the ring after dispatching Povetkin, AJ said it didn’t matter to him who he fought next as long as it’s Wilder or Fury, but it was obvious that he preferred Wilder. A lot depends on how Wilder fares with Fury, but until then, here’s what we know…..Alexander Povetkin and Luis Ortiz are about on the same level; having never faced each other, it’s a tossup as to who’d win. Both Joshua and Wilder scored impressive stoppages over Povetkin and Ortiz respectively…AJ needed seven rounds and Deontay needed ten rounds. During his bout with Ortiz, Wilder was knocked around the ring and had to endure a few big exchanges, some of which he came out second-best. Wilder was also nearly stopped in the seventh round but battled back, summoning great courage and reserve to win a fight he was losing. Against Povetkin, Joshua was more troubled than he was beaten up. And once he found his range and pace and began putting his punches together, the fight ultimately ended when AJ got off with his best stuff. In essence, Joshua was more impressive against Povetkin and had fewer close calls than did Wilder against Ortiz.

Between now and the time Wilder fights Tyson Fury, it’ll be debated as to who was more impressive – Joshua against Povetkin or Wilder against Ortiz; the answer is clearly Joshua for the reasons stated. Moreover, when analyzing a fight, A + B doesn’t equal C. Joshua will be favored over either Wilder or Fury, but probably along the line of 7-5 and nothing will change that.

The thing that emerged from Joshua dismantling Povetkin is that AJ recaptured some of the limelight and swag he ceded to Wilder this past March. AJ is again the fighter to beat in the heavyweight division and will probably get the bigger purse split regardless of whether he faces Wilder and Fury.

That said, he better not let the fight fall through over it!

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

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Tanaka vs. Kimora: A Monday Morning Treat For Serious Fight Fans



Kosei Tanaka was just 4-0 the first time he was appraised on The Sweet Science back in 2015; the question then was, is Tanaka the world’s brightest boxing prospect? The question now is whether or not Tanaka is about to add a strap at a third weight to an already glittering career that has seen him annex belts at 105 and 108lbs in just his first eight fights.

Now 11-0 with seven knockouts he prepares, this coming Monday, to duel Sho Kimura in Nagoya, Japan and with a lot more than just the WBO trinket on the line.

Hearts and minds, as always, translate into dollars and yen. The winner of this all-Japanese contest will find himself buoyed in fame, glory and gold in his home country, which also happens to be one of the few places on the planet where a boxer can collect a small fortune without ever leaving his native shores. Should the winner dare to dream a wider dream, then that too can be facilitated by the win.  Even fistic denizens of boxing strongholds in Japan and Britain feel a shiver run down their spines when the words “Las Vegas headliner” are whispered into their ear.

The favored man among the hardcore in the west is Tanaka. He is still very young at just twenty-three years old and is slick and quick, what the west expects of a Japanese force. Interestingly enough, however, the Japanese seem to be leaning towards Kimura: older, at twenty-nine, armed with a superb work-rate, good power, limited technique but the conqueror of Chinese superstar Shiming Zou who he stopped in the summer of 2017. Zou may have had his bubble burst by the Thai brawler Amnat Ruenroeng in 2015, but it was Kimura who sent him stumbling into retirement and at a time when the talk was of China stealing Japan’s thunder as boxing’s home in the east.

Kimura was indeed impressive that night in Shanghai. He maintained pressure with wonderful variety, eschewing the jab, perhaps, for spells, but filling those gaps with an assortment of wonderful punches, most of all his body attack, which was persistent, withering, and apparently went unscored by two of the three judges who somehow had the Chinese ahead at the time of the eleventh round stoppage. Zou had shown a skill for flurrying while fleeing and Kimura had shown him how to fight.

Now a strapholder at 112lbs, Kimura staged two defenses in the following twelve months. The first was against Toshiyuki Igarashi, the man who beat Sonny Boy Jaro, the man who had beaten the superb champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam before a softer fight against Froilan Saludar. He won both by stoppage.

Kimura, then, rather came from nowhere but made the most of his arrival. What he displayed in all three of these fights was a determination to offer pressure and footwork educated enough to do it while taking many fewer steps than his harried opponent. A tad overrated as a puncher, I suspect, he places himself in hitting position often enough that his default fight plan – chase, harass, throw – makes him capable of hurting his opponents by way of persistence and pressure.

He left Zou, Igarashi and Saludar, broken in his wake.

In short, he is the type of opponent Kosei Tanaka has been waiting for.

There have been calls for Tanaka to be considered a pound-for-pound talent should he overcome Kimura this Monday. I understand the impulse. Tanaka, were he to triumph, would become a three-weight world champion and he hails from a boxing territory which has little direct control over the meaningful pound-for-pound lists, if such a statement is not a contradiction in terms.

In short, it is felt he would be undervalued.

Tempering these calls is the fact that he has never beaten a divisional number one and that Kimura would be, by far, the best opponent he would have bested, and the most proven. Some Tanaka opponents have come good after he defeated them, some were ranked in the lower reaches of their respective divisional top tens when he matched them, but none are scalps as impressive as those dangled by the likes of Errol Spence or Anthony Joshua, who populate the nine, ten and eleven spots in reputable lists.

But this is neither here nor there; the key is not what Kimura does not represent, it is what he does represent. He is the best that Tanaka has met and, I would argue, the first truly elite fighter that Tanaka has met. He is the litmus test and he is one with a stylistic advantage.

Tanaka can punch. Here we will find out whether or not he punches hard enough to keep Kimura off him. Personally, I doubt it and that means that Kimura is going to hand him a serious gut check.

Interestingly, it will not be Tanaka’s first. The first time I wrote about him I stressed that his chin was essentially untested. That is no longer true. Tanaka, who is reasonably sound defensively, can be lazy in minding himself and foolish in pursuing the attack.

Thai puncher Rangsan Chayanram checked him in 2017, delivering a serious eye injury among other ignominies before succumbing in nine; puncher Angel Acosta, a ranked fighter if not a great one, hit and hurt Tanaka repeatedly late in their 2017 contest. If Tanaka has been learning these lessons, expectations concerning his potential may be realized. If he is not, he will fall short. Kimura is the man to test him.

Kimura’s experience and seemingly limitless twelve-round stamina are to be pitted against Tanaka’s skill, proven heart and taut footwork. It sees a superior technician – Tanaka – who has shown a propensity for being drawn into a cruder fighter’s wheelhouse matching an aggressive stalker – Kimura – who specializes in drawing technically superior foes into knockdown-drag-out scraps.

It is framed both as a fight that is likely to finish a future pound-for-pounder’s education and a fight where a young pretender is found out by a grizzled veteran.

Best of all, it is a fight that fight fans can watch for free, simply by clicking here.  The Asian Boxing website has secured exclusive international rights to the fight and will broadcasting it, free of charge, to anyone with an internet connection. As can be seen here, the fight is due to start at 4pm Japanese time.

All the reader has to do is find out what that means for timing in their own corner of the globe and a potential fight of the year will unfold before his or her eyes free of charge.

World class boxing being broadcast for free and including two of the best below 115lbs; a stylistic crossroads contest that opens up the on-ramp to pound-for-pound recognition for at least one of the combatants – on a Monday.  All facts worth keeping in mind the next time that someone tells you boxing’s prime was any number of decades ago.

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