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LOTIERZO'S LOWDOWN Unjust Decision Hiding Pacquiao's Obvious Erosion

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PacquiaoBradley Hogan 30When judge Jerry Roth told HBO's Jim Lampley that he judged Manny Pacquiao's performance versus Timothy Bradley against what vintage Pacquiao might have done to Bradley as the reason why he scored the fight so closely in Manny's favor, every fan with a scintilla of common sense admonished him. And rightly so. But if nothing else, Ford highlighted one thing that's been lost in the controversy, and that is Pacquiao has declined dramatically as a fighter. In his last two fights he was out-boxed and should've lost the decision against Juan Manuel Marquez. And according to two of the only three people that count, he lost to Bradley.

To think that Pacquiao could win a decision against Floyd Mayweather who recently beat Miguel Cotto convincingly in his last fight is almost in-comprehensible. Manny is not the same fighter he was when he fought Miguel Cotto in 2009. Mayweather has said repeatedly that Pacquiao can be out-boxed and nullified by fighters who give him different looks and a little foot movement, something both Marquez and Bradley fed Pacquiao. Notice that not only did Marquez and Bradley go the distance, they were never down or on the verge of going down against Pacquiao. In fact, neither were ever in trouble during the fight.

Floyd out lasted Manny in the sense that when they finally meet, he'll hold every advantage in and out of the ring. He knew the fight would be there for him whenever he wanted it. The horrific decision that went against Pacquiao in his last fight won't hurt the gate for a Mayweather-Pacquiao bout in 2013. The fact that the boxing media has pushed a fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao as if it's the only fight that matters insures it will be a monster gate and attraction when it does happen as long as Pacquiao wins the next time out. Yes, the fight will happen well past it's sell by date, but it won't matter.

Have even the keenest boxing observers noticed how much Pacquiao has eroded? And whether it was against Mosley, Marquez or Bradley, Manny can't fight all out for three minutes a round anymore. And now when punches are coming at him with a little movement mixed in, he's no longer the instinctive attacker he used to be. Marquez forced Manny to think his way in, which helped stymie his runs and Bradley didn't change up much, other than he grew more confident once he weathered Manny's best between rounds three and nine. What's the common link? Pacquiao's aggression was blunted and re-directed by both fighters. Marquez isn't nearly as big or strong as Mayweather and Bradley isn't nearly as good. In fact, I don't think that Pacquiao was stronger than Marquez in their most recent fight, which came as a shock to everyone involved. I've actually heard Manny say that he was surprised to find that Marquez was stronger than he was.

Even at his best, Manny would've been life and death to beat Mayweather because of the style clash and Floyd's advantage in size and strength. Once you factor in the size and strength difference (which, in this instance actually is a factor) and it spells disaster for Pacquiao. To hear some mention how Pacquiao attacks in angles sounds great in conversation and looks good in print. However, what is overlooked is that Manny is much more stationary and predictable once he gets cracked a few times. And when he's more upright, you can see him trying to think his way through the fight instead of being the ferocious attacker he once was. Mayweather no doubt sees this and realizes that once he straightens Pacquiao up with a few direct lefts and rights, he'll start thinking his way in opposed to moving in reactive and instinctively. And once Floyd reduces him to that, game over.

Make no mistake, I think that Manny would leave nothing of himself in the ring that night, and he'd fight beyond his current capabilities. But that's not enough to win him the fight, or even put him close. Granted, he didn't bring his A-game for Bradley, but he tried to against Marquez. Freddie Roach beat that to death in the run up to the fight, yet Manny was clearly out-fought and should've lost the fight. No doubt, Pacquiao will do better against Mayweather than Marquez did, which in all likelihood will equate to him winning two rounds, three at the most.

The unjust decision that went against Pacquiao in the Bradley fight has quelled the stench of just how bad Pacquiao has looked in his last two bouts. The interest in a proposed fight with with Mayweather is no longer compelling. How can it be when there's little doubt as to who the winner will be? Floyd is too big, too strong and too versatile. It's doubtful that Mayweather's three month jail sentence will ruin him. Notice how all of the sudden he's quiet and just doing his time. He will probably be a little more humbled when he gets out, something that will likely make him an even more focused fighter.

In summation, Manny Pacquiao beat Timothy Bradley and was hosed out of the decision. However, the outrage over the decision has driven the conversation towards the scoring of fights and corruption. It's totally taken the light off of just how so-so Pacquiao has looked in his last two fights. He's no longer the Super-nova of 2008-2010 and that version of him is gone forever. Add to that his confidence isn't what it was, something that Mayweather has no doubt picked up on, and his chances of beating Floyd are slim.

If you're a big Pacquiao fan, relish how much fun he's been to watch over the last eight years. He's no doubt one of the best pound-for-pound fighters of the last 25 years and is a certain all-time great. But he will not be the fighter to finally knock Floyd Mayweather off his high perch.

For two years it's been said in this space that Manny Pacquiao can't and won't beat Floyd Mayweather if and when they fight. Nothing has changed and I further endorse that opinion.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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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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