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THE BREAKDOWN: Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley

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PacquiaoBradleyLAPC Blevins9THE FIGHT:

Manny Pacquiao Versus Timothy Bradley, Saturday, June 9
At the MGM Grand Garden, Las Vegas, on HBO pay per view and Primetime {UK}
12 rounds, for Pacquiao's WBO welterweight title {147 pounds}

STATISTICS:

                 Manny Pacquiao                                        Timothy Bradley
                        33                            Age                              28
              General Santos City         Hometown              Palm Springs, California
                     Filipino                   Nationality                    American
                  Jan 22, 1995               Pro debut                   Aug 20, 2004
                    54-3-2 {38}                Record                          28-0 {12}
                    5ft 6 1/2ins                 Height                           5ft 6ins
                       67ins                       Reach                             69ins
                     Southpaw                  Stance                         Orthodox
                        353                     Rounds boxed                    194
                         64%                       KO rate                           41%
                         38%                 Connect rate                        33%
                         27%           Opponent's connect rate           25%
                         +11                     Compubox +/-                  +8
                          n/a               Common opponents                 n/a

                                           Previous five opponents
  W MD 12 Juan Manuel Marquez                                 W TKO 8 Joel Casamayor
  W UD 12 Shane Mosley                                             W TD 10 Devon Alexander
  W UD 12 Antonio Margarito                                       W UD 12 Luis Carlos Abregu
  W UD 12 Joshua Clottey                                            W UD 12 Lamont Peterson
  W TKO 12 Miguel Cotto                                              NC 3 Nate Campbell
                                         
                         ***1/2      Recent opposition quality    ***
                                       
                        ****1/2     Career opposition quality     ***
 
 
 
STYLE, STRATEGY AND SHOT SELECTION:

Manny Pacquiao:
Considered by most to be boxing's premier offensive fighter — No longer the one-handed searcher of his featherweight days, has now evolved into a dynamic ring stylist–Is able to counter, stalk or employ stick and move tactics depending on the opponent at hand — Athleticism and reflexes compliment his excellent coordination and balance — His potent combination of speed, power and explosiveness may be unrivaled in the modern game — Rapier left hand remains his most sinister weapon –Counter right hook from the southpaw stance is also dangerous –Prefers to utilize the jab as more of a decoy before launching an attack — Lateral and upper-body movement along with added patience and a far less deliberate approach have made him tougher to hit — Despite the steep rise in weight, his chin remains formidable — Brilliant at feinting an opponent out of position — His uncanny ability to string five-or six punches together which are thrown in unpredictable patterns,from unconventional angles and with great speed,equates to him being one of the most effective combination punchers around — Outstanding multi-dimensional footwork that allows him to drift in and out, and around his opponent is arguably his greatest asset.

Other Issues:
Is his hunger and desire still once what it was? Will his leg cramps continue to be a problem? Are recent poor showings the result of erosion in a 33 year-old fighter who relies heavily on physical gifts?

Timothy Bradley:
Tremendously versatile,is able to fight from the outside or at close quarters –Short, stocky and muscular, he is right at home either by taking the lead and pressurizing or by laying back and countering –Solid technical skills –Often the smaller man, his exceptional timing allows him to outbox taller opponents — Makes up for lack of knockout power with volume, grit and a willingness to take risks and trade–Good combination puncher — Has an excellent overhand right — Determination and hunger are possibly second to none –Quick reflexes — Can sometimes become reckless when throwing his counter left hook — Possesses an accurate, rapid fire jab — Very good body puncher — Lack of height and tucked in chin makes for a small, difficult to hit target — Phenomenal conditioning and stamina — Recovers fast when hit — Hand and footspeed are vastly underrated — Has been accused of head butting his opponents throughout his career. <br >
Other Issues:
Will he be out of his depth facing one of boxing's consensus top two? Can he fight effectively at 147 pounds having only fought there just once before? With only 12 knockouts on his record, a win inside the distance seems unlikely….Can he secure a decision against, who is quite possibly,boxing's most marketable commodity?

THE SCENARIO:

Make no mistake about it, this is a very tough fight for Manny Pacquiao. For the first time since his featherweight campaign, Manny will be facing an opponent in Timothy Bradley, who is young, skilled,athletic and in his prime. He is also undefeated and hungry. Simply put, unless we see a Manny Pacquiao who is firing on all cylinders on June 9th, it's a fight he could wind up losing. Ever since the fight was first announced, I've had my doubts. I believe that Top Rank -and Pacquiao for that matter- made a questionable decision in choosing Bradley as their next opponent. Tim Bradley is the stereotypical young and hungry fighter who is regularly avoided by other top fighters -I'm reminded of Clubber Lang in the movie “Rocky 3” . Men like Charley Burley, Aaron Pryor, Mike McCallum and Mark Johnson-high risk with little reward-were never granted their day in the sun against boxing's best whilst being in their primes.Bradley's wish is Pacquiao's command. It is my belief that Pacquiao's representatives view Bradley as a Ricky Hatton-type fighter -a one-dimensional reckless aggressor- who is going to allow their prized asset to get back on the knockout trail on June 9th, without posing much of a risk due to his low knockout rate. If this is indeed the case, they are sorely mistaken.

Despite Pacquiao being the clear betting favourite, I believe Bradley possesses the kind attributes and experience to pull off the upset.Bradley is five years younger than Pacquiao.Bradley will be undoubtedly, the fastest fighter -both of hand and foot- that Pacquiao has ever faced.Bradley can fight effectively in close or at range.Bradley can lead or counter. Bradley is also aware of what problems are presented when faced with a southpaw -he has faced no fewer than ten, including a switch-hitting Junior Witter, throughout his career,which is a vast percentage of his 28 fights.

A quick glance of the above illuminates the essential ingredient to Bradley's chances. Versatility. Tim Bradley,like Andre Ward, is a boxing chameleon.Look at his fights with Alexander, Abregu and Peterson, you will see a different tactical approach from Bradley in each. He is also capable of adjusting and adapting throughout a fight, something quite frankly, no Pacquiao opponent has been capable of doing other than Erik Morales back in 2005, who remains to this day, the only man to defeat Pacquiao beyond doubt on American land.

Manny Pacquiao, just like Floyd Mayweather, can be beat.

If we look at Pacquiao's welterweight opponents up until the Shane Mosley bout -De La Hoya to Antonio Margarito- they all fought Pacquiao the same way -standing right there in front of him. Pacquiao's ability to feint, step around and attack is too much for static fighters. Pacquiao's handspeed rates very high, but his mobility is the foundation of his attack. His superb footwork allows him to create punching angles on offense and enables him to evade counters on defense. Pacquiao's offense is his defense. Pacquiao's fluidity around the ring is the reason flat footed fighters, particularly larger ones, get caught up in an offensive storm. It's why all of Pacquiao's opponent's share the same downfall -they don't see his punches coming.

Against Floyd Mayweather and Sergio Mora, Shane Mosley fought flat-footed. Against Pacquiao, we saw something different. When Shane got knocked down in the third round and then got up, Pacquiao -one of the better finishers in boxing- couldn't get to him. Yes, Mosley was hesitant to exchange, but he succeeded in keeping Manny from hitting him for much of the remainder of the fight -something no other welterweight Pacquiao opponent could muster.

So how did Mosley achieve this?

Simple, he remembered that he was fighting a southpaw and, unlike Pacquiao's previous opponents, remembered to get his lead foot outside of Pacquiao's lead foot. Mosley survived the rest of the fight by moving to his left and maintaining distance using the jab. This strategy was repeated with even better results during Pacquiao's next fight against Juan Manuel Marquez. Marquez however, unlike Mosley, is a natural counterpuncher. Marquez was able to constantly keep Manny off balance by moving to his left, feinting and landing with right hands from the outside. Both Mosley and Marquez were able to make Pacquiao fall short through subtle foot adjustments, but they both lacked the speed to get back into firing range after the evasive maneuver. Pacquiao is an ultra aggressive fighter who has an easier time with opponents who are aggressive like him. Mosley and Marquez were the opposite, they used Manny's aggression against him.

Just making Manny miss however, is not enough to win a fight. This is what, I believe, cost Marquez in his last attempt at trying to better Pacman. For me, the ultimate blueprint in derailing Manny Pacquiao lies within Erik Morales' work against him in 2005. Morales, like Mosley and Marquez, also realized he was facing a left handed fighter and kept moving to his left, away from the power hand. But what Morales was able to do differently, was to be aggressive at the right times -between Pacquiao ambushes. If you go back and view the fight, you will see Morales always staying out of range of Pacquiao's left hand. Everytime Pacquiao stepped to his left -Manny is unconventional in this regard- Morales stepped to his left. We were left with a visual of two fighters constantly circling clockwise around the ring. With Manny's left hand taken away, Morales, through his astute sense of timing, was able to catch Manny with double jabs and straight right hands over the top of his right shoulder. Morales always knew when to be aggressive and when to defend.

Many will argue that Manny is a different fighter now, that he is more complete. I agree. But he is still a southpaw, and I believe that Bradley, just like Morales and Marquez, knows how to deal with them. Going one step further, I believe if Bradley can get by the first few rounds -Pacquiao will likely land something substantial- then he could dominate the fight.

I believe Bradley is going to have the perfect strategy on June 9th, by using his defense to aid his offense. Bradley will be preparing his positioning to attack while defending. Like I mentioned earlier, I believe Top Rank are anticipating Bradley to come out like a bullet from a gun at the opening bell. Bradley is better than that.

Here is what I believe to be Timothy Bradley's strategy on June 9th:

~ Always move to the left and away from the left hand, keeping the lead foot outside of Manny's lead foot ~ As Manny falls short, fall in with a double jab, with a right hand behind it, Manny's response will be to either back up, or stand and trade, and if it's the latter, Bradley could wind up inside, where I believe Manny will be at a huge disadvantage in this fight ~ Always avoid the mid-range where Manny does his most dangerous work, stay on the outside where you can make him reach, or get right inside where you can exploit any inside weaknesses ~ Manny is a rhythm fighter, disrupt his rhythm with the jab, throw it in threes and fours to stop him countering, keep him from entering his range ~ Never charge in, wait until he's reaching, use your own footwork to step around and get inside that way, once there, work the body ~ remember the angle, circle left, jab as you rotate.

On the other hand, there are areas that Pacquiao can exploit. Bradley can sometimes get wild at the end of exchanges; if he opens up, Manny could catch him with his straight left hand down the middle. Bradley also likes to double up on his left hook -upstairs and down. When he throws it, he needs to maintain defensive responsibility as this is how Kendall Holt caught him during their bout. Bradley cannot afford to become over aggressive either. Against Ricky Hatton, Pacquiao's ability to side step the Briton's attacks and connect with an overhand left is what turned his lights out. Pacquiao also had success with his counter right hook as Hatton was steaming in. Manny Pacquiao possesses the type of explosive offense that, if an opponent is not one hundred percent focused, can end a fight early -there is the fear that Pacquiao,with his superior handspeed and power,will be able to overwhelm the smaller Bradley.

One thing we must pay attention to is Timothy Bradley's use of the head. Personally, I don't think it is his intention -as was claimed on Jim Lampley's Fight Game- to use the head in this way. Bradley is often the smaller fighter, who tucks in his chin to lower the risk of walking onto something as he advances. Pacquiao has been in this situation before. Against Agapito Sanchez in 2001, Pacquiao suffered two separate cuts from “accidental” headbutts. Both Pacquiao and Bradley dip low when they throw their power shots…let's hope this is not an issue on June 9th.

PREDICTION:

I've long said, that if Pacquiao and Mayweather ever decide to get into the ring with one another, then I would pick Pacquiao as the winner,based on his superior footspeed at this stage in their careers. Mayweather is a lot more stationary these days, relying more on his upper body movement as opposed to his legs. This is where Bradley differs from Mayweather. I actually believe that Bradley's foot speed is comparable to Manny's, which I think is key to the fight. Manny has the best A game in boxing, which is to come in with fast punches, then move off at a different angle. However,I'm not sure he can adjust during a fight if things are not going his way. For the first time since Erik Morales,I think Pacquiao is going to have to adapt to his opponent during a fight. If Bradley is able to avoid the Pacquiao mid-range and control the action at distance by keeping Manny off balance, and in close,by putting Manny on the back foot and smothering, then I think Manny will be in for one of the worst nights of his legendary career. I really do believe Bradley has everything going for him in this fight to get the job done. Youth, technique, speed, desire, determination, stamina, knowledge of fighting southpaws…you name it.

If Bradley can avoid a gun slinging contest, which I think he can by isolating Pacquiao with his feet,then use his footspeed and superior in-fighting skills to capitalize on Pacquiao falling short after reaching, then I don't think it matters that Pacquiao is the marquee fighter here. I believe Timothy Bradley could beat him beyond doubt winning a decision in what would be one of the biggest upsets of this era.

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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.

                                                         **********

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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