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Pacquiao Will Not Be Glove Shy Against Rios, That’s A Sure Bet



Ever since welterweight and former eight division title holder Manny Pacquiao 54-5-2 (38) was knocked out face-first in his fourth bout versus Juan Manuel Marquez last December in the sixth round, there’s been a plethora of questions regarding what Pacquiao has left as a fighter both physically and psychologically. Most of the doubts cast over Manny regarding his upcoming bout against the tough and talented but pretty wild and undisciplined Brandon Rios 31-1-1 (23) ask the following: A) is Pacquiao (looking calm and ready to rock in Chris Farina-Top Rank photo) still hungry and focused enough to compete with today’s elite welterweights; B) has he eroded physically and is he on a rapid decline as a fighter and: C) how much, if at all, will he be scarred and damaged by the devastating defeat he suffered at the hands of Marquez in his last fight almost a year ago?

The answer to A). In regards to Manny’s hunger and focus it is pretty easy to deduce. Brandon Rios will go after him like no other fighter he’s ever faced. Rios will carry the fight and be looking to get Pacquiao out of there with everything he launches at him. Having seen Pacquiao on the canvas face first and being counted out the last time he was in the ring no doubt escalates Brandon’s confidence and belief that he can put him in the same predicament as Marquez did. On top of that Rios throws more punches than Marquez and hits harder. Pacquiao knows that however long he is in the ring with Rios, it’ll be a very hard fight physically, and he’ll need to be laser focused and in supreme shape. I’m willing to bet that Pacquiao shows up in great condition and is desperate to get a win and once again be thought of as one of the elite fighters in professional boxing. If two consecutive losses hasn’t ignited his hunger for this fight, it’s all over but the shouting for him.

In order to glean the answer to B),as to whether or not Pacquiao still posses the physical tools to dominate at the championship level,one only has to go back and watch him against Marquez in his last fight. Manny came out fast throwing some buzzing left hands and exhibited a little more head and upper body movement and feints than he had in their previous fight. For the first two rounds he had Marquez fighting in retreat as Juan was trying to figure out how to stabilize Pacquiao’s early momentum. A fighter must be in great condition to apply constant head movement and feints as they’re pushing the fight, and Pacquiao was doing that beautifully when he got caught and knocked down with a terrific right hand high on the head by Marquez in the third round. Pacquiao recovered quickly from the knockdown both physically and psychologically.

In round five Manny dropped Marquez with a straight left and by the end of the round Marquez was hurt and looked like a beaten fighter. By the end of the sixth Pacquiao was in complete control and was freezing Marquez in his tracks with his head feints before getting caught and knocked out by Marquez’s desperation right hand seconds before the bell rang to end the round. The reason he got knocked out by a punch he didn’t see was that he was so committed to finally getting the emphatic knockout win over Marquez that would erase the question of who was the better fighter that he got careless. Nine times out of 10 that would never happen with Pacquiao. Maybe 99 times out of 100 it wouldn’t. It was the warrior in him that got him knocked out that way.

Other than getting hit with two big right hands over the course of six rounds, Pacquiao did not look like a fighter on the decline. He just got caught, it’s boxing and that happens. Had time stopped half way into the sixth round, there isn’t a single person who was watching the fight who would’ve taken Marquez to pull it out even if you gave them 10-1 odds. That’s how convincingly Manny was in control. So the answer as to whether or not Pacquiao still has it as a fighter physically is yes. Granted, he may have eroded during the past year but that’s something no one can say with certainty until after the fight. Heading into the bout with Rios this Saturday night, it’s safe to assume Pacquiao lost because he got caught with a punch he didn’t see, more so than him being finished as a fighter.

Lastly, in part C),will Pacquiao be glove shy versus Rios this Saturday night? Will he fight more measured and cautious than he would’ve had he stopped Marquez in the sixth round instead of the opposite last December? The answer to this is an emphatic no! Pacquiao will go after Rios with the same intensity, vigor and confidence that he would as if he was coming off his stoppage win over Miguel Cotto. I think Pacquiao is fearless and believe he never doubts that he’ll win any fight he’s in. I’d be willing to bet that Pacquiao will be affected just as Roberto Duran was by being knocked out by Thomas Hearns, in other words he wasn’t and was the same tenacious fighter he’d always been in his subsequent bouts.

Recently Pacquiao was asked if he was under extra pressure to win coming off consecutive losses in high profile fights. He said there was “no added pressure on him because if you don’t wanna lose, don’t fight!” That tells me he’s fine psychologically and will harbor no trepidation once the bout with Rios starts.

His statement “if you don’t wanna lose, don’t fight” may seem innocuous to some but it’s telling to me. That’s because losing destroys some fighters mentally, so much so that they become paralyzed by the thought of getting beat. There are fighters who run and train everyday that you’ll see in the gym sparring but they never fight. They’ll always have an excuse like they hurt their ankle or they’re just getting over a cold and couldn’t run. And the best is the one where they say their opponent pulled out so they are not fighting. Those guys want to fight and say that they are a fighter but the thought of losing or having to tell their friends or girlfriend that they lost causes them to become a deer in front of headlights when it comes time to step up and actually fight. Manny Pacquiao got over the fear of losing a long time ago. He’s mature and self confident in who he is, so that winning or losing doesn’t really define him.

To anyone who is the least bit concerned about whether Pacquiao will show up as a damaged fighter when he confronts Brandon Rios, rest assured, that will not be the case. If Manny was concerned about how he’ll react under fire during the heat of battle, he wouldn’t have agreed to take on perhaps the roughest and toughest fighter out there weighing between 140 and 147 pounds. Rios will be on top of Manny like a wet t-shirt from the moment the fight starts. Pacquiao will have a fighter in front of him that will make him answer to himself inside if he really wants to fight, if he minds getting hit and if he’s willing to walk through hell in a gasoline suit in order to win. Manny knows this and more than that, he asked for this kind of a fight being that he could’ve signed to fight any marquee fighter in the world between 140 and 147 not named Mayweather.

Manny Pacquiao will fight and rumble with Brandon Rios as if he were coming off the best and most impressive showing of his stellar career. If he loses to Rios, it’s not because he’s psychologically damaged and harbors trepidation as a fighter because he was knocked out in a devastating fashion in his last fight, it’ll be more so because he doesn’t have it anymore as a world class fighter at almost 35 years old after 20 plus years fighting as a pro.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at


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



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.



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



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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