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MACAU MAYHEM Freddie Roach Scuffles With Alex Ariza, Who Kicks Roach



UPDATE 3 Wednesday 1:45 ET: In fact, this video clip, at about the 2:55 mark, makes it sound like Roach uses the words “effing Jew emeffer,” which is a more heated version of what he recalled to Osuna.

So, there is much debate raging on social media about what slurs are OK to say, and what aren’t. I think it’s fair to say that referring to someone as a “Mexican” or “Jew” in polite conversation is not impolitic. But when you refer to someone as a “Mexican” or “Jew” during a heated verbal altercation, the context changes, and the intent of the deliverer can be construed differently, and the ability of the tag to hurt becomes potentially pronounced. Using the word “f—-t,” as Ariza seemed to, that word gets slung around carelessly, and often without the user understanding how that usually cutting description of a homosexual person can be interpreted by someone quite negatively, and rightly so. That word-said-aloud doesn’t have much if any place in most or any vocabularies, I dare say, if one doesn’t want to risk offending someone.

A couple other points to maybe be considered. Many get into a tizzy when a public figure uses a verboten or out to be more verboten word in a fit of pique. Conternation ensues, accusations are raised, self righteous outcries result. What if that same heated reaction were to be summoned at societal ills that go far beyond mere hurting with words?  Instances of genocide and fomenting genocide like this occur daily and many if not most, including myself, usually turn a bling eye. And how many of us getting all self righteously bent out of shape use the odd slur every now and again. Let ye without sin…Hey, I’m not calling for anyone to be let off the hook, but maybe speaking to perspective here. I think we can at least add this point of view into the conversation, which, by the way, is a useful one to have. Thank the heavens for the Twitter and YouTube; how else are the masses going to be introduced to the semi-destructive power of language used flippantly?

UPDATE 2 Wednesday 12 noon ET: I hadn’t heard anyone referring to anyone as a “Jew” or making any sort of remark that could be construed as anti-Semitic, as has been alleged, so I put it out to Twitter. Thanks to Twitter Follower “Marc” I was pointed to an interview of Freddie Roach, post-fracas, by ESPN’s Bernard Osuna. Roach gives his account of the gym scrap, which he says started because Team Rios overstayed their time in the gym, and, in fact, cops to referring to videographer Elie Seckback, who has a website and is a virtually continuous presence in Brandon Rios’ trainer Robert Garcia’s CA gym by his faith, the Jewish faith.

“I said something about ‘the Jewish kid’ because that’s all I know him as,” Roach explained, saying that Seckbach had previously been to his Wild Card Gym, and had talked about his faith. “I don’t know your name, I just know you as ‘the Jewish kid,’ Roach said he told Seckbach,  when recounting what he said after Seckbach called him out for being “racist.” In fact, this video clip, at about the 2:55 mark, makes it sound like Roach uses the words “effing Jew emeffer,” which is a more heated version of what he recalled to Osuna.

(And by the way, there is much debate raging on social media about what slurs are OK to say, and what aren’t. I think it’s fair to say that referring to someone as a “Mexican” or “Jew” in polite conversation is not impolitic. But when you refer to someone as a “Mexican” or “Jew” during a heated verbal altercation, the context changes, and the intent of the deliverer can be construed differently, and the ability of the tag to hurt becomes potentially pronounced. Using the word “f—-t,” as Ariza seemed to, that word gets slung around carelessly, and often without the user understanding how that cutting description of a homosexual person can be interpreted by someone quite negatively, and rightly so. That word-said-aloud doesn’t have much if any place in most or any vocabularies, I dare say, if one doesn’t want to risk offending someone.)

Roach became visibly emotional when telling Osuna that that he talked to his girlfriend after the fracas, and she was upset. “There’s chaos, I don’t need Manny coming into it,” he said. “But everything’s fine, I can’t wait to get this fight going, they’re digging a hole, but that’s OK.”

Roach was asked about pressing charges, and he said Top Rank’s Brad Jacobs advised him that could endanger the fight, and he won’t go that route, because that’s not his style anyway. He said he was miffed because Ariza “suckered” him and he wished he could have retaliated, and it is best that Ariza “ran.” He didn’t seem to care for Ariza making light of his Parkinson’s symptoms but made light of it when telling Osuna that he suggested Rios make Parkinson’s cracks instead, because he is more adept at it than Ariza is.

Also, check out this Boxing Channel video in which Roach and Pacquiao discusses the fracas. Roach in this video with Marcos Villegas said the fracas hasn’t affacted Pacquiao and, in fact, they chuckled about it. Roach also said he thinks he will see a nasty Pacman, one who craves a KO. “Manny is as good as I’ve ever seen him,” the trainer said. Manny said he’s handling all stresses well, including the fracas, and the typhoon, and advisor Michael Koncz’ health scare.

Still, Roach isn’t exiting this situation smelling all rosy. People are taking sides on this deal, and being quite vehement about it, too.

UPDATE 1 Late, Late Tuesday Night: Another version of the video, shot and posted by Elie Seckbach, is of better quality. Seckbach is a regular at Robert Garcia’s gym and is seen by most as being a virtual member of Team Rios, basically. In this version, you can see Roach saying the gym is his, and Garcia standing his ground. Roach refers to Garcia as a “piece of s–t” and Garcia says he’s not that, and holds his cool. “Throw me out, throw me out, make me leave,” yells Roach, as some of Garcia’s crew hurks insults at him and tells him to scram. You can hear someone making animalistic noises, as if perhaps they are trying to make light of Roach’s speech, compromised by his Parkinson’s. Soon after, Ariza delivers a kick at Roach, and at least two people step between him and Roach. Then, Roach addresses Rios assistant trainer Donald Leary (seen above cocking his fist, face contorted in fury, in Chris Farina-Top Rank photo) who is telling him to get out, and calls him, as I heard it, a “Mexican emeffer,” which Garcia and some others react to, declaring that Roach has made an ethnic slur. Ariza then uses a derogatory word beginning with the letter F in the direction of a Roach cohort, a version of a word which got Alec Baldwin in hot water while he was beefing with a paparazzo last week.

Garcia then says he’s always respected Roach but not now. “Now, it’s personal,” he yells at Roach, who is being hustled towards an exit. Then and chuckles Garcia smiles while Ariza continues to yell at Roach, challenges him to a fight, and mocks his speech. “Uh uh uh uh sp-sp-spit it out,” Ariza says.

In a post-beef assessment, in a SecondsOut YouTube, Ariza said Freddie’s move was “juvenile,” and that he thinks Roach wanted to “kick something off.” He said he felt Roach was being aggressive toward him. “He was going to hit Robert,” Ariza said, and cocked his fist at him, and that’s why he kicked him. He didn’t regret the kick, he said.

It appears that Rios, bless him, never lost his step while on the elliptical glider. Smartest guy in the room…


The principals aren’t supposed to face off till Sunday (Saturday in the US)  Macao, but some undercard action got cooking today, when Manny Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach and ex right-hand man Alex Ariza got into a scuffle in the gym at the hotel, during changeover time.

Word is Roach entered the gym, and wanted Garcia and Rios and company to exit, as he believed their allotted time was up. Words were exchanged. Ariza, formerly Roach’s go to guy while he was Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach, who was booted by Roach for overstepping his boundaries, yelled at Roach. Pacquiao and Rios are not in the frame at any point, for the record.

“Roach, get the eff out of here,” someone is heard to yell in this YouTube video off “This isn’t the Wild Card, b—h,”  is also hurled at Roach. “You don’t run this effin place,” Freddie is told. The then advanced toward Ariza, while insults are being hurled at him, and Ariza throws a front kick with his right leg at the 53-year-old Roach. A security guard attempts to intercede, and more jawing ensues. Ariza, with someone standing in front of him, blocking the route to Roach, is aggressive and seems to want to up the ante.

Robert Garcia is seen yapping, but basically doesn’t move from his spot, sitting on the ring apron. One can hear a voice that seems to be Roach calling for Ariza to be arrested, for assaulting him. The audio is off track, so it is hard to decipher exactly who is saying what. A reference to someone using ethnic epithets is made, but again, it is unclear where that accusation comes from.

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George Groves and Callum Smith Finally Meet in the WBSS Capstone




The 168-pound tournament of the inaugural World Boxing Super Series, an 8-man invitational, kicked off on Sept. 16 of last year with a match between Callum Smith and Erik Skoglund at Liverpool, England. Tournaments of this nature in boxing almost never play out as planned and this tourney was no exception. But on Friday we will finally crown a winner when Smith meets George Groves at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, of all places. At stake will be the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy and the bundle of cash that comes with it and Groves’ WBA “super” world super middleweight title.

Despite the odd location, this is a domestic affair. Groves, the top seed, and Smith, the #2 seed, are both Englishmen. And if the fight were on British soil, it would have certainly drawn well. In the UK, Groves is enormously popular. His second fight with Carl Froch attracted a crowd of 80,000 at Wembley Stadium, a British post-war record eventually broken by Joshua-Klitschko.

Groves (28-3, 20 KOs) suffered his lone defeats at the hands of Froch, who defeated him twice, and Badou Jack, and there’s no shame there. Carl Froch, in the minds of many, has a plaque waiting for him at the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Jack, a title-holder in two weight classes, is currently ranked #1 as a light heavyweight by the WBA and WBC.

Although both fights with Froch ended inside the distance, both were nip-and-tuck until Froch closed the curtain. Badou Jack defeated Groves by split decision in Las Vegas.

Groves has a high boxing IQ as he demonstrated on Feb 17 in Manchester where he scored a 12-round unanimous decision over Chris Eubank Jr. Groves, observed ringside reporter Gareth Davies, “was just a step too far, too strong and ultimately too technical and experienced in the championship rounds.” Eubank’s father and trainer Chris Eubank Sr. saluted Groves for fighting the perfect fight.

The victory was bittersweet as Groves dislocated his left shoulder in the final round. It required surgery, pushing back the finale until this Friday, a full two months after the conclusion of the other WBSS tourney, for cruiserweights, the finale of which was also pushed back from the originally scheduled date. For a time the promoters seriously considered bumping Eubank into the finals in place of the incapacitated Groves but eventually thought better of it. (Eubank will appear on the undercard in a stay-busy fight against Ireland’s J.J. McDonagh.)

Callum Smith (24-0, 18 KOs) is the youngest of four fighting brothers, each of whom captured one or more regional titles. In the family, the relationship between talent and birth order is inverse, which is to say that Paul Smith, the oldest of the foursome, wasn’t as good as his younger brother Stephen and Stephen wasn’t as good as younger brother Liam.

Liam “Beefy” Smith accomplished what his two older brothers could not, winning a world title. He won the WBO 154-pound diadem in his twenty-second fight and successfully defended the belt twice before it was sheared from him by Canelo Alvarez who knocked him out in the ninth round.

If Callum Smith wins on Friday, he will be recognized by hardcore fans as a more legitimate champion than was the case with his brother Liam. That’s because Callum, who stands six-foot-three (none of his brothers is taller than 5’11”), was touted from the very onset of his career as the most gifted of the fighting Smith brothers. He solidified that opinion in November of 2015 when he knocked out Liverpool rival Rocky Fielding in the opening round. Fielding went on to win the “regular” version of the WBA 168-pound title and that remains the only blemish on his record.

In recent bouts, however, Smith hasn’t looked that sharp. His last two opponents, the aforementioned Skoglund and Neiky Holzken, lasted the full 12 rounds. The obscure Holzken, a converted kickboxer from the Netherlands, was a late sub for Juergen Braehmer who was forced to bow out of the tournament with an illness.

George Groves was a slight underdog to Eubank. On Friday, the odds favor him, but only slightly. At last look it was 13/10 which portends a very close fight. Groves has the edge in experience and in ring savvy and has fought tougher opposition, but Smith will have a three-and-a-half inch height advantage and is judged to be the harder puncher.

Fight fans in the U.S. can access the fight on the new DAZN app. Keep in mind that Saudi Arabia is seven hours ahead of New York and other precincts in the Eastern Time Zone and adjust accordingly.

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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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