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Masterful Manny: Pacquiao Wows Crowd in Macau, Beats Rios Via UD

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The Philippines, post typhoon, deserves some good tidings, and Manny Pacquiao did what he could to provide that in the main event at the CotaiArena in Macao, on a Top Rank card shown on HBO pay per view on Sunday morning, Saturday night in the US. Pacquiao had his way with Brandon Rios, fighting a sharp, smart, disciplined fight against Rios, who was two steps slow and severely lacking in the hand speed department against a rock-solid Pacman. Manny had said we’d see “the old Manny,” and not an old Manny, and did he deliver. His mobility gave Rios fits, and not even the most cynical of us worried as we went to the cards. The scores were 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110 for the Congressman.

“This fight is for you,” Manny said, to the people affected by the typhoon.

Manny went 281-790 to 138-502 for the loser.

After, Pacquiao (seen having his way with overmatched Rios in Chris Farina-Top Rank photo) said to Max Kellerman he is all the way back from his back to back losses, to Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez. He wanted a KO, but said Rios was “very tough.” Manny said he did get hurt at one point, maybe the fifth. He referenced going to pay respects to the Rios corner after. He said he has a job to do in the ring but we are all brothers and sisters after that. Did he re-establish himself, and who does he want next? His time is not over yet, he said, and next? It’s up to Bob Arum, “I don’t know yet.”

Rios after said that Manny had speed, but his power wasn’t much. He got snippy with Max, asking him to assess his performance, after Max asked him if he thought he proved something. “Do you think I’m a punching bag?” he barked at Max, who stood his ground nicely. “I don’t think you’re a punching bag, I think you’re incredibly determined,” the announcer said, and moved on. Rios called Manny “one of the greatest boxers in the world besides Mayweather” but reiterated that Manny’s speed was too much.

Congressman Pacquiao, who turns 35 on Dec. 17, weighed 145 (150 on fight night) at the weigh-in while the 27-year-old Rios was 146 1/2 (159 on fight night).

13,101 people were in the arena watching.

Pacman was 54-5-2 entering the ring at the largest casino in the world. Rios, born in Texas, who grew up in Kansas, living in CA, was 31-1-1. The WBO international welter crown was up for grabs.

In the first, the lefty Pacman, an eight-time world champ, worked the left to the body. Rios went down, a slip, at :51. Rios worked his free right in a clinch late. A left lead to the head for Manny got in clean and hard. The hand speed differential was obvious.

In the second, Rios had better luck. He came forward, but not foolishly. Then Manny flurried to the body at the minute mark. A right sent Manny back, and then Manny poured it on late in a tight round. “Don’t get in a fight, keep boxing this guy,” Freddie Roach said after.

In the third, Manny stuck and moved, to good effect. The movement was winning this round for Manny. Robert Garcia said to be aggressive but smart, and he asked for uppercut, and not to chase Manny.

In the fourth, Manny worked with the right, and the jab set the table some too. Right hooks worked for Manny. He kept his movement up and Rios didn’t follow willy nilly, but he wasn’t busy enough to score the round. In the fifth, a straight left landed hard and Rios grinned, but man did it score. An underneath right scored clean then, and lefts to the body impressed the crowd, heavily pro Manny. Manny mostly moved to his right, away from Rios’ right hand, all night. Garcia asked Rios to remember the gym work and the plan.

In the sixth, Manny kept on fighting smart, sticking, then moving. His body work, with both hands, was obvious. Manny started ripping after complaining Rios went low. We saw blood then on Rios’ left eye.

In the seventh, Manny kept on whacking away, looking strong and disciplined. His right eye was swelling by this time and Rios needed to ramp it up, get rumbling. Manny shook his head after Rios flurried, telling him he had nothing.

In the eighth, Manny let Rios come to him, and then launched and jetted. Rinse and repeat. A left hook landed clean on Manny, at 1:05 but he didn’t blink twice. Manny again won the round with effective aggression. “Let’s go Brandon,” said Garcia, in Spanish. “You got to stay close to him,” he said. Roach said the hook-left hand, under and out was the working plan.

In the ninth, a seven punch combo wowed the crowd, for Manny. The ref warned Rios for being chippy at 1:15; he needed to do something different. He didn’t, not enough. Garcia asked Rios to stay in closer, and “throw more punches, don’t throw from far away.” In the tenth, Manny looked energized, and stayed smart. The Rios face didn’t look all that healthy. In the 11th, Rios had much better luck. Manny seemed a bit tired, and Rios landed scoring shots. But Manny still outlanded him. In the 12th, Manny again popped and then ducked under, to his right, not risking getting caught retreating straight back. Blood seeped from Rios’ left eye as he peered through his gloves. We went to the cards..

Manny went to Rios’ corner to pay respects after the round, and that included ex pal and strength coach Alez Ariza, who kicked his trainer Roach in the chest a few days before, and mocked his Parkinson’s Syndrome.

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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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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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