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My Last Word On Pacquiao-Bradley

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PacquiaoBradley Hogan 36Regardless of what happened (or maybe didn’t happen) last time out, Manny Pacquiao is still on top of the boxing world. Alongside the momentarily incarcerated Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny is either 1a or 1b depending on who you ask, and nothing three rogue judges decided June 9th in Las Vegas changed that.

Since that fateful evening, the boxing community at large has undergone a massive shift of public opinion. As the disbelief of the decision has settled in, we as a group have seemed to move on from disgust to some quasi-sane reality where fight fans should disbelieve what they saw the first time and instead focus on every conceivable avenue possible to give Bradley the benefit of the doubt in every single round.

However, if you take the tinfoil hats off for a moment, stop locking yourselves in your rooms with the shades pulled down while replays of Pac- Bradley play on a loop (both with and without sound), several things may come to light.

First, it is absolutely clear that whether we like it or not, television announcers play a vital role in how we see a fight. There are numerous examples of this, and I’m sure someone smarter than me could put together some fancy double-blind scientific test to prove it.

It’s equally clear though, that television announcers don’t tell you what you see happening. You have eyes for that. If they tell you something that’s wrong, you can disagree. Without going too much into detail, it’s borderline ludicrous to suggest that somehow HBO’s broadcast team pulled the wool over the eyes of everyone that night, even people who watched the fight live.

Boxing writer Ryan Maquiñana posted his collection of scores from boxing media members after fight night, and his numbers suggest the outcry you read about on twitter, or heard in person from your pals at ringside or at your fight party, was spot on. It wasn’t localized to one place or one person or one method of seeing the fight.

It was a bunk decision, pure and simple.

In Maquiñana’s survey, fifty of fifty-three boxing media members (many quite well known and respected) had the fight scored for Pacquiao. Of the three who had it for Bradley, two of them had Bradley winning by a mere point. Moreover, of the fifty pro-Pacquiao cards, only seven of them had Pacquiao winning by anything less than six points.

That means forty-three of the fifty-three participants (over eight-one percent!) had Pacquiao the clear winner by a seriously wide margin.That’s exactly the fight most everyone saw the first time.

Since the fight, the fallout has gone from sure-fire robbery to well-maybe-it-was-close to oh-well-what-the-heck-maybe-Bradley-won.

I’m not buying it.

Look, it’s all well and good to question one’s scoring on a particular night. I’ve had my fair share of questionable cards in the past, too.And I assure you, it’s possible for the best and brightest to be wrong sometimes along with the rest of us. I’ve had cards in the past where I admitted I was probably wrong in my scoring after reviewing vast amounts of data that suggested it.

Case in point, I scored Cloud over Campillo from ringside when it happened. I was probably wrong. If the overwhelming evidence suggests the grass on your lawn is green, it’s green no matter how blue you may see it.You’re just colorblind.

I don’t buy the re-watch-a-thon approach to scoring fights. If you told me Cotto beat Mayweather on May 5th, I bet I could go back and re-watch the darn thing enough times to make my eyes bleed. By then, I’d give Cotto rounds Mayweather clearly won just to be true to my already erroneous and preconceived notion of “fairness”.

It’s quite silly if you ask me.

Almost everyone who saw the fight that night, from both ringside and on television, thought Pacquiao won the fight—everyone except for two of the three judges, and a very small subset of respected media members.Everyone else had it for Pacquiao, even the WBO judges who re-watched it for what seems to me like lip-service treatment (they cannot or will not reward Pacquiao the belt back). Even they couldn’t muster one measly scorecard to give the fight to Bradley. It was five to zip for Pacquiao.

So now that we’ve established what we all saw happen the first time, what should Pacquiao do next? One obvious choice would be a rematch with Bradley, right?

Wrong!

Who wants to see that fight? Pacquiao won handily the first time on most cards, and the fight wasn’t exactly a barnburner either. It was a boring, one-sided affair I’d rather not have to witness again. After Bradley tasted Pacquiao’s power in the early rounds, he decided it best not to engage him the second half of the fight. If that’s his big plan for the rematch (and it should be since he was bogusly rewarded for it by two of the three judges at ringside) then count me out on that one. Not even HBO’s 24X7 spectacle of hype could put enough lipstick on that pig to make it worth a penny to me. Let’s put it this way: Tecate’s rebate would have to pay me enough to come out ahead in the deal, and something tells me that’s not happening.

No, there is only one real fight out there right now for Pacquiao.With Mayweather in the pokey and Cotto coming off a loss and needing to rebound, only arch nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez stands any real test of reason.

Before their last fight, I took a lot of heat for telling anyone and everyone who would listen to me to just say NO to Pacquiao vs. Marquez 3.After all, Manny had moved up in weight so easily and effectively, and Marquez had struggled to win a round against Mayweather in his move up past 140. It was a total mismatch, I thought.

Boy was I wrong.

These two guys make beautiful music together no matter how you slice it. After seeing that one, they could fatten up to heavyweight, and I’d watch.They could sell me a ticket to Pacquiao vs. Marquez 10 live from Shady Grove retirement home, and I’d be there. I’d watch these guys fight on the moon if I had to.

And who knows, for all the cries of robbery against Bradley, Marquez fans might finally feel like their guy would get his due respect scoring wise.Every fight has been close. Maybe this time fight fans would finally see a definitive win for one of the competitors. While Pacquiao has won twice, and earned a draw once, in reality every fight has been razor thin no matter how you slice it, and Marquez has likely earned at least one win on his ledger if not more.

It’s Pacquiao vs. Marquez 4 or bust for me, and anything else would be almost as much of a waste as rescoring Pac-Bradley again to convince myself I’m wrong.

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Fast Results From London: Joshua Takes Out Povetkin in the 7th

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UK sporting

It was a very wet night at Wembley Stadium, but the dampness didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the crowd which welcomed UK sporting hero Anthony Joshua into the ring with a thunderous ovation. And Joshua didn’t disappoint. After six relatively even rounds, he found his range in the seventh and became the first man to stop Alexander Povetkin. A three punch combo that began with an overhand right sent Povetkin sprawling into the ropes. The Russian beat the count, but Joshua smelled blood and as soon as the ref allowed the proceedings to continue he moved in for the kill. The official time was 1:59.

Povetkin started fast and in the eyes of many observers won the first three rounds. A sharp right hand in the waning seconds of round one reddened Joshua’s nose which leaked blood in the next round. The tide began to turn in round four when Povetkin suffered a cut above his left eye.

Povetkin (now 34-2), was the lighter man by 23 pounds. Joshua had a four inch height advantage and a seven inch reach advantage. And it mattered greatly that AJ was the younger man by 10-plus years. Povetkin wasn’t intimidated by Joshua and had several good moments but, at age 39, his reflexes betrayed him once the fight had crossed the midpoint.

Joshua, who owns three of the four meaningful heavyweight title belts, improved to 22-0 with his 21st stoppage. His next fight is penciled in for April 13 of next year against an opponent to be determined. His promoter Eddie Hearn has reserved that date at Wembley Stadium.

Other Bouts

In a 12-round lightweight bout, Joshua’s Olympic Games teammate and fellow gold medalist Luke Campbell (19-2) avenged the first loss of his career with a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-111,116-112) over France’s Yvan Mendy (40-5-1). This was Campbell’s second start since coming up short in a bid for Jorge Linares’s lightweight title and his first fight under his new trainer Shane McGuigan.

In their first meeting in December of 2015 at London’s O2 Arena, Mendy won a split decision that should have been unanimous. Campbell insisted that he had improved greatly in the interim and tonight’s fight bore witness. However, he needs to develop a harder punch to rank among the top lightweights in the world, a list headed by Mikey Garcia. As this fight was framed as a WBC title eliminator, Campbell is next in line to meet Garcia, but Mikey has indicated that he will pursue bigger game.

Lawrence Okolie, a 2016 Olympian who trains with Anthony Joshua, won a Lonsdale belt in only his 10th pro start with a 12-round decision over defending BBBofC cruiserweight champion Matty Askin in a messy fight. The undefeated Okolie had a point deducted in round five for leading with his head and had two more points deducted for holding, but banked enough rounds to get the nod on all three cards: 116-110, 114-112, and 114-113. Askin, who declined to 23-4-1, had won five straight heading in.

A 10-round heavyweight match between Sergey Kuzmin (13-0, 1 NC) and David Price (22-6) ended suddenly when Price retired on his stool after four relatively even rounds. The six-foot-eight, china-chinned Price claimed to have aggravated a biceps tear.

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in 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.

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Michael Dutchover

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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