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No Fighter Brings Out The Cookbook Analysts Like Mayweather

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With the welterweight bout between title holders Floyd Mayweather 45-0 (26) and Marcos Maidana 35-3 (31) culminating this Saturday night, a lot of attention has been focused on Mayweather’s boxing style and dominance. And with that the cookbook analysts are drawing up battle plans and fight strategies; you know, the writers and analysts who basically suggest A + B = C. And when I hear those types belabor their points of what and what-nots Mayweather’s opponents must do in order to beat him, it illustrates how little they know regarding fighting applications and how they apply in actual ring combat. What they don’t understand, or in some cases refuse to, is that physicality will beat the cookbook recipe every time.

I recently read an article in the Macomb Daily in which boxing writer Marvin Goodwin stated that Maidana won’t beat Mayweather because….”He’ll follow the same pattern as Floyd’s other victims. They start the fight tentatively, star-gazing at the Mayweather aura while Mayweather dictates the pace of the fight, breaks his opponent down piece by piece and ultimately wins.” This cookbook analyst thinks that Mayweather’s opponents are “star gazing at the Mayweather aura.” The fact is, his opponents do their best work in the 1st round, as Floyd scopes them out. They become intimidated more and more as the fight goes on (the way that Canelo Alvarez did).

I’ve seen everyone of Mayweather’s fights since he’s become a superstar, beginning around 2008, which is when the Mayweather aura began to evolve into what it is today, and that’s not what I’ve seen. What I’ve seen is championship caliber fighters start the first round with a plan and thought as to what they want to do – only to find that Floyd is bigger, stronger, harder and better than what they thought. They aren’t standing there like a mummy gazing in awe. Here’s another stellar capsule of advice from Mr. Goodwin.

“Mayweather opponents, it’s time to rip that script to shreds and take a risk. The ultimate plan should be to get Mayweather out of his comfort zone. Don’t make it a boxing match, make it a fight, a knock-down, drag out, alley brawl with violent intentions, because that’s what fighting is. Don’t tiptoe around, start immediately from the opening bell and make Mayweather defend himself from a fusillade of angry punches. Make him react from a position he’s rarely faced. He’ll either back away from the surprise attack, assess the unpredictable situation and and try to regain his bearings, or he’ll stand his ground and fight. Either way, he’s out of his comfort zone, and perhaps more vulnerable to defeat.”

Yeah, like there’s a fighter around who could surprise Mayweather. The idea is idiotic, Floyd has seen it all. The above statement illustrates the cookbook perfectly. On paper, it makes perfect sense and if there’s a fighter out there fighting between 147-154 who could physically apply the above plan, he’d stand a great chance to be successful and maybe even beat Mayweather.

I love how these guys suggest, get Floyd out of his comfort zone, make it a fight and alley brawl with violent intentions because that’s what fighting is. Yes, that’s what fighting is but these geniuses must not realize that Mayweather punches back, and it doesn’t tickle. Getting busted in the face with a real sharp jab, the kind that Floyd throws, hurts, disrupts a fighter’s aggression, and blinds him for a second to the point where Floyd can send a direct right hand behind it that is going to land flush. Then he re-adjusts his body and is either in a better position to hit you again or he’s gone and the counter coming back is going to miss him. What so many guys who say Floyd can’t punch don’t realize is that he punches hard enough to keep his opponents off of him and prevents them from taking their liberties with him.

The cookbook might suggest that he’s not Thomas Hearns when it comes to punching power, but the reality of touching hands with him convinces many of the opponents who fight him that they just can’t walk through him as if he’s handcuffed. Because if they could, someone would’ve done it by now. (Jose Luis Castillo came the closest in their first fight). As I’ve often said, boxers just don’t shut it down and stop letting their hands go for no reason. The only thing that causes that, unless they’re injured, is the guy standing in front of them punching back at him.

Sure, there have been fighters of the past who could’ve gone to Mayweather and forced him to fight them off, but there’s no one fighting today between 147-154 who can do it, including Marcos Maidana. When Maidana is in the ring with Mayweather this coming Saturday night, he better have a big enough punch to make Floyd do things that he doesn’t want to in order for him to survive the fight.

Also, he must have the means to deliver that punch without getting tattooed, beaten up and peppered in the process. If he can’t execute the above he has no shot, none whatsoever, to even keep the fight close let alone score the upset. Some may suggest that if you parry Floyd’s jab and force him to his right, he’s vulnerable.

I could go on and on highlighting strategies that might get him off his game and make him more susceptible to defeat. But if the fighter following the recipe isn’t physically skilled and strong enough to execute the plan, the plan is moot and the boxing laboratory wasted a lot of time cooking it up. When in doubt refer back to the two title bouts Marvin Hagler had against Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard in 1983 and 1987. The cookbook said Hagler was least effective fighting as the attacker and was his most effective fighting as the counter-puncher as his opponents pursued him. Yet, Marvin decimated a lot of fighters as a contender and champion who tried to counter him as he was carrying the fight to them.

However, when he fought Duran and Leonard, he looked very ordinary coming forward as he was getting hit with jabs and right hands as they were moving away and kept him turning. And that happened because both Roberto and Ray were physically gifted fighters who could be effective fighting in retreat. It’s not a coincidence that they were the only two fighters who went the distance with Hagler during his seven year reign as middleweight champ.

There aren’t many things Mayweather says that I agree with. But the one thing he has said repeatedly over the last few years is “there’s no plan to beat me.” And he’s right, he’s very versatile and capable of adjusting to different tactics and strategies. The part that no one ever picks up on is, there have been fighters in the recent past who by just being who they were as a fighter would’ve either been a living nightmare for him or would’ve taken him apart. And that’s because they had the skill-set and physicality to disrupt him and force him to go places and do things in the ring that he wouldn’t want to do.

Roberto Duran: He would’ve pressured and mauled Floyd all over the ring fighting between 135-154. Duran wouldn’t have been slowed, disrupted, neutralized or bothered by Floyd’s offense or punch, he would’ve physically overwhelmed Mayweather both physically and stylistically.

Actually, his pressure and elusiveness would’ve forced Mayweather to rush his offense and made him vulnerable to Roberto’s array of hooks and right hands to the head and body. In much the same way Jose Luis Castillo did during their first bout, only ten fold.

Sugar Ray Leonard: He would’ve made one adjustment had he fought Mayweather, and he’s even stated it in the past. And that is he wouldn’t head hunt against him, he would’ve gone to the body more, and Leonard was a debilitating body puncher. Leonard had the skill, speed, punch and fighting aptitude to better Mayweather at anything he tried. Other than saying Floyd was a better defensive fighter, mainly because he’s not as offensive minded, what advantage would Mayweather have?

Leonard was faster, better offensively, punched much harder, was every bit as versatile and if toughness is a debate I’ll go with Leonard based on his level of opposition and who he defeated during his career. Leonard wouldn’t beat Mayweather because of a brilliant fight plan or strategy, he would beat him because he’s even more gifted and skilled and had the physicality to better him at every turn.

Thomas Hearns: He would’ve been Mayweather’s biggest nightmare. Hearns had such an abundance of reach and power that Floyd could’ve never countered him effectively without reaching for Thomas. Hearns could’ve stayed on the outside and pot-shotted him without ever being touched even if he missed. If a shot Oscar De La Hoya stymied Mayweather with his jab, Hearns would’ve punished him.

Against Hearns, Mayweather would’ve had to take some chances and go on the attack. However, walking into Hearns’ power would’ve been suicide for him. Mayweather wanted no part of Paul Williams and smartly retired to avoid fighting him before Williams could really make a scene challenging him. And Williams was barely a poor man’s Hearns. And just as it would be the case with Duran and Leonard, Hearns had the physicality and skill set to better Mayweather. No cookbook strategy or fight plan needed. Just being himself as a fighter would’ve got the job done. Even the three greats above couldn’t surprise Mayweather as suggested by Marvin Goodwin, they were just monsters.

When all is said and done, unless Maidana catches Mayweather on the chin with a lottery punch Saturday night, he has no chance to beat him. Mayweather has already defeated two bigger and stronger fighters (Miguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez) than Maidana in recent fights who tried to bring the heat and overwhelm him. Cotto won four rounds against Mayweather and giving Alvarez every benefit of the doubt, maybe he won one round.

No doubt Maidana will try to overwhelm Mayweather and rock him with looping left-hooks and over-hand rights like he did against Adrien Broner in his last bout. But the difference will be he’ll never get as close to him and will be peppered and tattooed much more on the way in. Once that happens and Maidana realizes that it’s not by accident, his aggression will be impeded some and then Mayweather will be in a position to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants as often as he wants and then the route will be on.

Marcos Maidana will lose to Floyd Mayweather this weekend not because he didn’t fight his fight or the right fight. No, it’ll be because he wasn’t good enough or physically strong and gifted enough to execute his perfectly laid out battle plan. Once again it will be shown for all the cookbook analyst that the plan is only as good as the fighter given the task to execute it. As Barry Tompkins once said on HBO, “I know how to dunk a basketball, but until they lower the rim, I can’t do it.”

A lot of fighters today may know the recipe as stated in the cookbook to beat Floyd Mayweather. Their only problem is they are not physically gifted enough, strong enough or skilled enough to pull it off. The only way a less talented fighter beats a superior fighter is if he gets incredibly lucky (seldom happens) or that the better fighter isn’t in shape or takes the guy lightly (those things never happen with Mayweather).

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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Tanaka vs. Kimora: A Monday Morning Treat For Serious Fight Fans

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Kosei Tanaka was just 4-0 the first time he was appraised on The Sweet Science back in 2015; the question then was, is Tanaka the world’s brightest boxing prospect? The question now is whether or not Tanaka is about to add a strap at a third weight to an already glittering career that has seen him annex belts at 105 and 108lbs in just his first eight fights.

Now 11-0 with seven knockouts he prepares, this coming Monday, to duel Sho Kimura in Nagoya, Japan and with a lot more than just the WBO trinket on the line.

Hearts and minds, as always, translate into dollars and yen. The winner of this all-Japanese contest will find himself buoyed in fame, glory and gold in his home country, which also happens to be one of the few places on the planet where a boxer can collect a small fortune without ever leaving his native shores. Should the winner dare to dream a wider dream, then that too can be facilitated by the win.  Even fistic denizens of boxing strongholds in Japan and Britain feel a shiver run down their spines when the words “Las Vegas headliner” are whispered into their ear.

The favored man among the hardcore in the west is Tanaka. He is still very young at just twenty-three years old and is slick and quick, what the west expects of a Japanese force. Interestingly enough, however, the Japanese seem to be leaning towards Kimura: older, at twenty-nine, armed with a superb work-rate, good power, limited technique but the conqueror of Chinese superstar Shiming Zou who he stopped in the summer of 2017. Zou may have had his bubble burst by the Thai brawler Amnat Ruenroeng in 2015, but it was Kimura who sent him stumbling into retirement and at a time when the talk was of China stealing Japan’s thunder as boxing’s home in the east.

Kimura was indeed impressive that night in Shanghai. He maintained pressure with wonderful variety, eschewing the jab, perhaps, for spells, but filling those gaps with an assortment of wonderful punches, most of all his body attack, which was persistent, withering, and apparently went unscored by two of the three judges who somehow had the Chinese ahead at the time of the eleventh round stoppage. Zou had shown a skill for flurrying while fleeing and Kimura had shown him how to fight.

Now a strapholder at 112lbs, Kimura staged two defenses in the following twelve months. The first was against Toshiyuki Igarashi, the man who beat Sonny Boy Jaro, the man who had beaten the superb champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam before a softer fight against Froilan Saludar. He won both by stoppage.

Kimura, then, rather came from nowhere but made the most of his arrival. What he displayed in all three of these fights was a determination to offer pressure and footwork educated enough to do it while taking many fewer steps than his harried opponent. A tad overrated as a puncher, I suspect, he places himself in hitting position often enough that his default fight plan – chase, harass, throw – makes him capable of hurting his opponents by way of persistence and pressure.

He left Zou, Igarashi and Saludar, broken in his wake.

In short, he is the type of opponent Kosei Tanaka has been waiting for.

There have been calls for Tanaka to be considered a pound-for-pound talent should he overcome Kimura this Monday. I understand the impulse. Tanaka, were he to triumph, would become a three-weight world champion and he hails from a boxing territory which has little direct control over the meaningful pound-for-pound lists, if such a statement is not a contradiction in terms.

In short, it is felt he would be undervalued.

Tempering these calls is the fact that he has never beaten a divisional number one and that Kimura would be, by far, the best opponent he would have bested, and the most proven. Some Tanaka opponents have come good after he defeated them, some were ranked in the lower reaches of their respective divisional top tens when he matched them, but none are scalps as impressive as those dangled by the likes of Errol Spence or Anthony Joshua, who populate the nine, ten and eleven spots in reputable lists.

But this is neither here nor there; the key is not what Kimura does not represent, it is what he does represent. He is the best that Tanaka has met and, I would argue, the first truly elite fighter that Tanaka has met. He is the litmus test and he is one with a stylistic advantage.

Tanaka can punch. Here we will find out whether or not he punches hard enough to keep Kimura off him. Personally, I doubt it and that means that Kimura is going to hand him a serious gut check.

Interestingly, it will not be Tanaka’s first. The first time I wrote about him I stressed that his chin was essentially untested. That is no longer true. Tanaka, who is reasonably sound defensively, can be lazy in minding himself and foolish in pursuing the attack.

Thai puncher Rangsan Chayanram checked him in 2017, delivering a serious eye injury among other ignominies before succumbing in nine; puncher Angel Acosta, a ranked fighter if not a great one, hit and hurt Tanaka repeatedly late in their 2017 contest. If Tanaka has been learning these lessons, expectations concerning his potential may be realized. If he is not, he will fall short. Kimura is the man to test him.

Kimura’s experience and seemingly limitless twelve-round stamina are to be pitted against Tanaka’s skill, proven heart and taut footwork. It sees a superior technician – Tanaka – who has shown a propensity for being drawn into a cruder fighter’s wheelhouse matching an aggressive stalker – Kimura – who specializes in drawing technically superior foes into knockdown-drag-out scraps.

It is framed both as a fight that is likely to finish a future pound-for-pounder’s education and a fight where a young pretender is found out by a grizzled veteran.

Best of all, it is a fight that fight fans can watch for free, simply by clicking here.  The Asian Boxing website has secured exclusive international rights to the fight and will broadcasting it, free of charge, to anyone with an internet connection. As can be seen here, the fight is due to start at 4pm Japanese time.

All the reader has to do is find out what that means for timing in their own corner of the globe and a potential fight of the year will unfold before his or her eyes free of charge.

World class boxing being broadcast for free and including two of the best below 115lbs; a stylistic crossroads contest that opens up the on-ramp to pound-for-pound recognition for at least one of the combatants – on a Monday.  All facts worth keeping in mind the next time that someone tells you boxing’s prime was any number of decades ago.

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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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