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Povetkin Should've Fought A Klitschko When He Had The Opportunity

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povetkin-vs-huck-live-stream-boxing-300x291Watching the WBA heavyweight title bout between title-holder Alexander Povetkin 24-0 (17) and WBO cruiserweight title holder Marco Huck 34-2 (25) this past weekend, several observations stand out. Firstly, professional boxing is alive and well in Germany and England. When fans talk about boxing being dead, they're only talking about in the US. The fans are involved in these fights, it's not like how in the states only mainstream fighters draw any attention. On top of that the Porsche Arena was packed for Povetkin-Huck. By making the fights seem important (and by using great, knowledgeable announcers for Box Nation), the promoters and television people make believers out of the fans.

As for the fight itself, it was about as good as could be expected and did provide some action-packed moments, especially when you consider who the participants were. In Povetkin you have an overrated heavyweight who was given a title. He's not a big puncher and doesn't do one single thing as a fighter that stands out. The best thing that can be said about Povetkin's showing against Huck is that he's a consistent grinder that lets his hands go in three punch multiples to the head and body, enabling him to usually land the first and last punch during most exchanges, which is the exact reason he pulled out a majority decision win over Huck. I scored it 116-114 Povetkin.

In regards to Huck, you have a limited cruiserweight. The only thing Huck did that anyone will remember is he threw an unorthodox over hand right, in spurts mind you, that Povetkin couldn't get out of the way of. The problem for Marco was he didn't throw nearly enough of them and when he did, he didn't set them up or throw anything behind them because he was so off balance and out of position. Which is too bad because when he did connect, it was obvious Povetkin was bothered by the punch and even shook a few times. Yet, somehow Povetkin remained a sitting duck for the most telegraphed punch a boxer can throw.

After watching Povetkin-Huck and Klitschko-Chisora last weekend, is there any guess work involved as to why both Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko have final say over the heavyweight division? None that I can see. And is there a morsel of a chance that former cruiserweight title holder Jean-Marc Mormeck will even get Wladmir Klitschko's attention next week, let alone beat him? Obviously, Wladimir is the less durable of the two brothers, but if I was forced to bet the fight, I know which line I'd be in…That long one that wraps around the block that has the name Wladimir Klitschko at the beginning of it.

In order for one of today's top heavyweight contenders to take down one of the Klitschkos, he's going to have to bring something to the ring that concerns them enough that they must address it. No, they don't have to be great or complete fighters, but they must have at least one weapon in their holster that if they manage to draw it, Wladimir or Vitali have to acknowledge it and try to disarm it. And I just don't see that fighter in the division.

There's not one great puncher, boxer, greatly conditioned or legitimate tough guy in the top-10 to make them fight with any urgency. The closest we've seen to a fighter like that was Dereck Chisora last week when he really turned up the pressure on Vitali Klitschko and forced him to fight in retreat for major gaps of the bout.

Then again, I'm afraid to totally give Chisora all the credit he may rightfully deserve because Vitali injured his shoulder during the first third of the bout. However, at least Chisora pushed the fight once he sensed there wasn't much danger presented by Vitali on that particular night.

Having said that, based on what's around today in the heavyweight division, it's easy to see why the Klitschkos are the top of the food chain. First of all they're in great condition and take professional boxing seriously. They're first rate professionals. Both Wladimir and Vitali are big and strong and know how to use their size. In other words they can fight. Couple that with a pedestrian era of contenders, they may be around longer than we think.

Lastly, Teddy Atlas isn't the great guy genius that an intimidated boxing media by him thinks he is. Atlas is a good tactician, but he's not beyond reproach. Because he acts as if only he knows boxing, no one questions him on any decisions he makes pertaining to his fighters or his commentary on ESPN2. The only thing he's ever called on are his incorrect fight picks, which I couldn't care less about.

Remember, he stopped Povetkin from taking a fight that would have earned him millions and millions of dollars because he felt the fighter “wasn't ready” for either Klitschko. If Teddy had eyes in his head, he would have known that Povetkin would never be ready for them. Alexander turned pro with a lot of notoriety, so there was a lot of early interest in him. The more he fights, and the more obvious it becomes that he's not really improving and that he's not a special fighter, all the glitter that was attached to him in the beginning has dropped off and he's been exposed. Povetkin is 32 years old and hasn't improved that much. Actually, what you see today is who he really is as a fighter and his only shot to beat either Klitschko is to wait for them to age and be in the right place at the right time.

Based on his showing against Huck, the question isn't if he's ready for either Klitschko, it's more does anyone care enough to see them fight Povetkin? Is Povetkin closer in 2012 to being able to beat the Klitschkos than he was in 2009? Of course not. The only difference is that now everybody knows it.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

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ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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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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