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THE PREDICTION PAGE: TEAM TSS Sizes Up Mayweather-Maidana 2

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Everyone seems to think “Money” flashes more brilliance, fights smarter and not harder tonight in Vegas, and beats Chino by UD12, sans controversy or aberrant scorecard. Thought: wouldn’t it be something if he lost? Wouldn’t that be great? No, not because there’s enmity there. For the drama. For the change in dynamic. For the anticipation of seeing how such a confident soul reacts when the O goes. If that vaunted undefeated record weren’t there to brag about, if Mayweather got beat with no wiggle room for debate or equivocation, I think that would be great for the sport, for Showtime, who’d get a third Maidana-Mayweather fight, and maybe, maybe for the man himself. He sometimes seem like he could use some grounding.

Let’s see what other TSS keyboard tappers are thinking, and if anyone thinks Chino can be the busier guy in the ring, and do the unthinkable: force Floyd to sip from the bitter chalice of defeat.

DAVID A. AVILA The rematch between Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana will be different for two reasons: 1) Floyd has figured out Maidana’s brawling style and will keep the fight at a distance. 2) Kenny Bayless is the referee and prefers that boxers keep a distance. He disdains inside fighting and hates body shots. There will not be a brawl this time. Bayless will separate them when they even get close to a clinch. Mayweather by decision.

BLAKE HOCHBERGER Mayweather via very tight decision like the last fight. He’s declining fast and losing his legs/ability to evade all opponents’ offense. That said, Maidana isn’t the guy to crack the code.

FRANK LOTIERZO Unless Floyd Mayweather has aged dramatically over the last four months, which I wouldn’t bet on, he’ll win a conclusive decision over Marcos Maidana when they meet for the second time tonight. Maidana was in the last fight but didn’t really come close to actually winning it. He didn’t show me anything over the 12 rounds that the first fight went that he has the needed tools to beat Mayweather. Compete with him, yes, but not defeat him. If Maidana is one of the rare attackers/swarmers who can reinvent himself stylistically and defeat the better skilled boxer/technician in the rematch after losing the first fight, he’ll add his name to a very short list.

AARON LOWINGER Even as one of sport’s most finely-tuned body ages, Floyd Mayweather’s strongest attribute remains his ring acumen. He’s a great defensive fighter, and is able to borrow from his 30 years of experience to make adjustments on the fly. In the first fight, even when Chino was able to pin the master against the ropes, he was rarely able to land anything clean. For Maidana to have a shot, he’ll have to find a way to unnerve Floyd and beat him at his own mental game. It’s counter-intuitive for the Argentine slugger to do anything but brawl, but if he’s smart, he’ll save some power for the late rounds. I don’t think he’s savvy enough to pull it off. Mayweather solved him by round 6 the first time out, I don’t see the second go-round ending any different. Mayweather UD-12

RAYMOND MARKARIAN Will never bet against Floyd until he pulls a Roy Jones one-hitter quitter. Floyd beats Maidana by unanimous decision and moves on to the next.

KELSEY McCARSON Mayweather by UD. I think we see something similar to the same fight this time around, except that we see Maidana a little less successful and Mayweather a little more accurate. It will be entertaining but pretty easy to score. Mayweather is probably the best second-half fighter in the sport. Once he has you figured out, you’re toast. Having gone 12 rounds with Maidana in May, Mayweather will look a lot better early in the fight than he did last time (though Maidana will still have his moments).

JOEL STERN The Mayweather-Maidana II promotion may not have generated much excitement, but Mayweather and Maidana will generate exciting rounds when they step in the ring though not enough for Maidana to earn the victory. Maidana’s jab, timing, ability to see punches coming, unconventional combinations and ability to close distance will continue to trouble Floyd regardless that Floyd has had 12 prior rounds to study Maidana. Floyd will be land the cleaner shots and at times dominate Maidana from the outside and the inside like he did for much of the later half of first fight. I expect Floyd will not be taking multiple steps straight back in this fight and will be turning off much sooner to keep the fight in the center of ring. The open question is can Maidana keep up a maniacal pace for enough rounds to earn a victory. When Maidana is fighting all out, he can still steal the advantage. The other wildcard is Kenny Bayless. Can he keep the fight clean while still allowing Maidana to work when he has Floyd against the ropes? I expect the fight to play out much like the first. With Maidana fading enough for Floyd to dissect him for much of the later half of the fight. 116-112 for Mayweather

AARON TALLENT Maidana seems to be the only person who thinks he won their first matchup. He’ll charge Mayweather again, but be will still be frustrated when the fight ends. Mayweather by unanimous decision.

SPRINGS TOLEDO Maidana looked like something Mayweather can out-speed and counter to death, but looks can be deceiving. Maidana was surprisingly effective last time because he compensates for his slower hand speed by punching with his opponent and getting chest-to-chest and throwing blind shots. His pressure is disruptive and his awkward shots from odd angles are hard to anticipate. Mayweather may claim that he doesn’t watch film, but don’t believe it. He’ll see Maidana’s susceptibility to pull-counters and he’ll feint his way in to invite a Maidana attack, then step back, throw hard ones, and circle out under Maidana’s big hooks. He better stay off the ropes and he better hope that his legs haven’t stiffened with time. I see him using space better, punching harder, and as Maidana fades late, stopping him this time.

MICHAEL WOODS I hope Mayweather loses. For the drama, for the buzz, maybe for the better of him. It seems like his ego is still so thick, that he’s so insulated from reality, that his jail stint didn’t pierce it. Maybe a loss to Maidana would. But unless he overtrained, in taking Chino properly seriously this time, if he didn’t before, and Father Time’s poisonous talons sunk in a millimeter more, we see a UD for Floyd.

PHIL WOOLEVER Have to go with the law of Vegas averages this time. Same fight as before, but easier for Mayweather as Maidana is less effective with his rushes. Mayweather unanimous decision, almost a shutout. Biggest shock could be a flash knockdown by either man. Odds of either guy stepping way up from their performance in the first fight : Mayweather 50% chance, Maidana 10% chance.

Photo credits:Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

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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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