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COMMISSIONER’S CORNER: Talking Broner, HBO Bouts, P4P List, More

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The Sweet Science (not the sport, but TSS.com) has been ablaze with talk/chatter/comments about Adrien “The Problem” Broner. It is 100% agreed upon that he takes his pre-fight and post-fight antics way too far. Even the most liberal of us cannot sit there, either by ourselves or with family and/or friends and say, after watching him grab himself more than Miley Cyrus and throw F-bombs around more than “Kid Chocolate” throws chocolate kisses to the crowd after a victory, “I really like this guy. He’s a class act.”

He hasn’t done anything, er, Problematic lately. It’s just that a recent thread on TSS, started by Skibbz on June 19, entitled, “Re: Adrien Broner-A Problem?” has already garnered dozens of responses covering eight pages—and still coming–as of this writing. Apparently, fans love speculating about Floyd Mayweather; discussing Manny Pacquiao; showing new love for Vasyl Lomachenko; and bashing Adrien Broner.

If Broner were in the WWE, he would unquestionably be a “heel”—a bad guy. However, in the WWE, it’s all an act (sorry if I just burst a few bubbles). With bad-guy Broner, it’s no act. What you see and what you get is what he is: a man-child who is 24 going on 14.

Broner thinks he’s funny.

Broner thinks he’s tough.

Broner thinks he’s entertaining.

He’s none of the above. If anything, he’s crude, a punk and repulsive. He’s been a champ in the ring and a top-rated chump outside of it.

I think it’s safe to say (or write) that most of us would like to see Adrien Broner fight again very soon. The tougher and more-skilled the opponent, the more we’ll like it. I think it’s also safe to say (or write) that most of us have no desire—NONE!—of hearing Broner in his pre-fight and post-fight drivvle (that’s a lot of words, a lot of nonsense and little substance.

So, what I am going to do, is send an open letter to the head of Showtime Sports, Steve Espinoza, before Broner’s next fight. The letter will ask, very politely, to only show Broner’s fight, but nothing more. I will ask him to refrain from doing pre-fight interviews, post-fight interviews and keeping the microphone away from Broner’s mouth. We don’t want to hear his potty-mouth, we don’t want to hear him telling us he is going to be known as the best fighter in history and we don’t need to hear him telling some groupie bimbette to “brush my hair.”

Steve Espinoza should let us watch Adrien Broner fight.

We should not have to endure anything else from him until he grows up.

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QUICK JABS: Next Saturday, young, gifted WBO Lightweight Champion Terence Crawford puts his title on the line against veteran Yuri Gamboa on HBO. It’s the fourth straight weekend of world-class boxing action on television. This past Saturday was the Showtime card featuring Robert Guerrero v Yoshihiro Kamegai and V-Lo against Gary Russell. The week before was Chris Algieri v Ruslan Provodnikov. The week before that was Miguel Cotto v Sergio Martinez at Madison Square Garden. In case you haven’t noticed, our sport is hot!

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POUND-FOR-POUND: Just what does Pound-for-Pound mean? What is it? Pound-for-Pound is either a consensus list or our own personal list of who we think the best fighter in the world is if everybody were the same size and weight. Could Manny Pacquiao beat Wladimir Klitschko? Could Mikey Garcia beat Andre Ward? With that, here’s my updated, fictitional list of the best Top-10 fighters in the world, starting with #10 and working up to #1:

10. Leo Santa Cruz

9. Miguel Cotto

8. Vasyl Lomachenko

7. Sergey Kovalev

6. Mikey Garcia

5. Gennady Golovkin

4. Wladimir Klitschko

3. Manny Pacquiao

2. Andre Ward

1. Floyd Mayweather

Whether or not you agree with the list doesn’t matter. V-Lo at #8. Hey, it’s my list. MINE! You have your lists. I have mine.

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SANCTIONING FEE RUBLES: Ahh, leave it to the sanctioning bodies to find ways for promoters to make deposits into the sanctioning body’s account. Only July 6, in Grozny, Russia, Ruslan Chagaev will face perennial contender Fres Oquendo. We use the term “perennial contender” for a guy who’s been around a long time and who usually loses his big fights. Well, Chagaev will face Oquendo for what the WBA is calling a championship bout. In case you’re keeping score, the bout is for the WBA’s vacant “regular” heavyweight title. What is the “regular” heavyweight title? Is that like vanilla ice cream and vanilla “lite.” And low-fat vanilla. And sugar-free vanilla? What is the the “regular” heavyweight champion? The “regular” heavyweight champion is a title for sale by a sanctioning body. It’s money, in this case rubles. Lots of them. FYI. The WBA Heavyweight Champion, just the plain ‘ol heavyweight champion, is a guy named Wladimir Klitschko. In June, 2009, Klitschko and Chagaev fought. Klitschko dominated, cut, dropped and battered Chagaev on the way to winning on a ninth-round TKO. So much for holding a WBA Heavyweight Title belt (should Chagaev beat Oquendo) while Klitschko is the real title holder. Titles for sale, anyone?

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BOOKS & DOCS: There are so many boxing books and videos on the market now I am in boxing heaven. Here are a few I highly recommend:

“El Boxeo”—this one is a documentary on the legends of Hispanic boxing. Directed by veteran filmmaker Alan Swyer, this is a fight fans’ collectible: From Alexis Arguello to Fernando Vargas, Swyer leaves nothing out. Roberto Duran, Wilfred Benitez, Julio Cesar Chavez, Ruben Olivares, Miguel Cotto, Carlos Palomino, Bobby Chacon, Canelo Alvarez and Oscar de la Hoya are just a few of the personalities and talent Swyer brings to your screen. Check it out online at elboxeothemovie.com.

“Typhoon Technique” is a book with both explanations and photos of training tips and boxing basics, written in masterful style by Vinny Furlani, along with former world champion Tracy Harris Patterson. It’s a fun book to have, especially when you might be thinking of expanding your boxing horizons from the couch to the gym.

Then there’s Steve Canton’s “Tributes, Memories & Observations of the Sweet Science,” with a foreword by Al Bernstein.This is a plethora of boxing stories and bios, put together by a lifelong boxing fan. It has 38 chapters and 358 pages of boxing info to sink your teeth into. I just got the book, and every morning, before leaving for the gym, I read another chapter. I can’t put this book down. You’ll see what I mean.

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HERE & THERE, THIS & THAT: I keep hearing talk of two opponents being thrown in the direction of Manny Pacquiao. One is Robert Guerrero. The other is Chris Algieri. With Al Haymon advising Guerrero, is there any real possibility of matching “The Ghost” with Bob Arum-promoted Pacquiao? I’d say little chance. The better chance is Chris Algieri, the unbeaten slickster from Long Island, N.Y. Algieri is promoted by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, and DeGuardia/Top Rank have no problem working together. Between the two fights, Guerrero would provide more fireworks, but most of the time those fireworks would be blowing up on his face. While there would be little fireworks with Algieri, there would be drama. That’s because Algieri would keep the fight close and take it into the late rounds. His reach and speed may be a huge problem for Pacquiao, which will also be a huge problem for Arum. The safe fight would be Guerrero. The most logical and realistic fight will be Algieri. We’ll have the answer soon…Comebacking Shannon Briggs, 42, looks to make it four straight KO’s on his comeback when he takes on Raphael Zumbano Love in Oklahoma this weekend. Since launching his comeback last April, Briggs has knocked out all three opponents in the first round. Will another first-round ending come on Saturday? The 33-year-old Love is 34-7…The U.K.’s David Haye, recovering from shoulder surgery, is planning a comeback. Haye v Briggs would be a fun fight…Daniel Geale, who will face GGG in MSG on July 28, is talking tough. “Golovkin can be hit,” says Geale. “I am going to hit him hard and I am going to hit him often.” To that, GGG just replies, “Let him try!”…Might it be time for unbeaten Heather Hardy and Roberto Guerrero to get new trainers? Neither know the meaning of the word “Defense.”

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THIS DAY IN BOXING: This morning, I sat down and watched the first Joe Frazier-Jerry Quarry match with my wife, Roni. The bout was held on June 23, 1969, in Madison Square Garden.

I was there that day as a college kid, not yet in possession of either a press pass and still 19 years away from being handed my Commissioner’s badge. I bought two $50 seats ($100 was a lot for a college kid back then!!!) to watch my favorite fighter, Joe Frazier, defend his share of the heavyweight title against “Irish” Jerry Quarry. I gave the usher $10 and he moved me and my first-time date down to ringside. I had wanted to take my girlfriend, but she had just broken up with me, so I took another girl instead. Well, what a fight it was, especially that first round. It’s on Youtube. Watch it. You’ll probably watch it a few times. It was kind of like a heavyweight version of Marvelous Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns. Nobody except Frazier could have kept up that pace, and he stopped Quarry in the seventh round. As for my date, she hated the fights. I never saw her again. My ex-girlfriend? Her name is Roni. She came back to me. She loves the fights. She married me. Goes to nearly every one with me. She sits in-studio while I do my show on SiriusXM. So, this morning, on the 45th anniversary of the Frazier-Quarry fight, which was Ring Magazine’s “Fight of the Year,” we watched the fight in its entirety.

“I can’t believe I missed this fight,” she said.

“Yeh, but you got to watch a lot more,” I said, “and you got to become friends with both Frazier and Quarry.

“Sorry for breaking up with you,” she said.

“Thanks for coming back,” I replied.

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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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