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Destiny Played Role Reversal With the Careers of David Reid & Floyd Mayweather Jr.

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There is a scene in “Rocky II” in which Rocky Balboa’s crusty old trainer, Mickey, tries to talk the retired heavyweight from Philadelphia out of attempting a comeback in a rematch against champion Apollo Creed. Demonstrating that Rocky’s left eye is too badly damaged for him to consider entering the ring against such a dangerous opponent, which could only end with Creed completing the demolition project he had so advanced in their previous slugfest, Mickey lands a couple of open-hand slaps to the left side of the plucky journeyman’s face.

“If I can do that, what do you think Creed would do to ya?” Mickey asks.

“I don’t know, hurt me bad, I guess,” Rocky mumbles.

“No,” Mickey says. “He’d hurt you permanent.

By the time the closing credits rolled, of course, Rocky had upset Creed, swinging open the celluloid door for four more sequels in which “The Italian Stallion’s” bad eye never again was a hindrance to his performance, or even mentioned. Boxing’s longest-enduring movie hero will be onscreen again in the near future as “Creed,” the seventh installment in the movie series that not only goes the distance, but keeps extending it, is currently filming in Philly. In this one, Rocky is the trainer of Apollo Creed’s grandson, who hopes to step into his late Pop-Pop’s large shoes.

I can’t help but think of another Philadelphia fighter, 1996 Olympic gold medalist and former WBA super welterweight champion David Reid, whenever that I watch the aforementioned scene. I also think about an unscripted but indisputably accurate quote from still another Philly fighter, former middleweight and light heavyweight Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins, who made this astute observation after Reid had defended his newly won 154-pound title on a tougher-than-expected unanimous decision over Australia’s Kevin Kelly on July 16, 1999, in Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall. Kelly, a 30-1 underdog, kept circling to his right and scoring with overhand rights to Reid’s perpetually drooping left eyelid, which had already been operated on three times in unsuccessful attempts to fix a problem that would plague Reid throughout the remainder of his career, and beyond.

“If I was fighting David Reid next week or next month, what do you think I’m going to go for?” Hopkins asked, saying out loud what was already becoming common knowledge. “I think everybody he fights between now and the time he retires will go for a target that is so, so obvious.

“There’s two things you must have in this game: legs and headlights. You have to see what’s coming, and David Reid has problems seeing.”

But each of us sees what we want to see and hears what we want to see, at least occasionally, which explains in part why avoidable accidents continue to happen. In no sport is capricious misfortune more prevalent than in boxing, which is frequently described as a “hurt business.” Although no one can predict when a blossoming career takes a dramatic and sudden turn for the worse, there sometimes are telltale signs of slippage that those who should know better, if you’ll pardon the expression, turn a blind eye to. One fight, one round or even one punch can bring a prodigious talent suddenly to ruin. Even a seemingly minor injury, one that would not affect individuals in 95 percent of all other occupations, can be devastating if it impairs or restricts a fighter’s field of vision. Inside the ropes, a drooping eyelid can be tantamount to a career-killer.

He’ll hurt you permanent.

March 3 marks the 15th anniversary of the day that Felix Trinidad mortally wounded David Reid’s professional hopes and dreams with a one-sided, title-lifting unanimous decision at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, a brutal beatdown in which the Puerto Rican superstar overcame a third-round knockdown to register four of his own, including three in the 11th round. Although the ventilator to which Reid’s once-towering aspirations were attached continued to function for four more bouts, he was, in effect, fighting with a pirate’s eye patch covering that left orb forever set at half-mast. Thus the young man whom some considered a brighter prospect than Floyd Mayweather Jr. coming out of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics quickly faded from view into a darker, more disturbing world mostly inhabited only by himself.

So here we are, 18½ years after Reid had vaulted to global prominence with a lightning-bolt right hand that put Cuba’s Alfredo Duvergel down and out in the final round of the light middleweight gold-medal bout. Under Olympic rules then in effect, scoring was done by computer, with judges at ringside pressing buttons to register legal punches landed within a specified time frame. Reid was 10 points behind entering that last round, and he was still insurmountably behind, 15-5, when he came in over the top with a parabola that landed with the concussive force of a runaway locomotive.

“We’d been through this plenty of times,” said U.S. Olympic coach Al Mitchell, who, ironically, had developed a father-son relationship with Reid since first working with him as an 11-year-old at a North Philadelphia recreation center, and would serve as his manager-trainer in the pros. “I told Dave, `Just go for the knockout. You can’t go any other way.’”

Said Reid: “I was going for the home run. I was down by 10 points. It’s hard to score 10 points in a round.”

The suddenness of his victory, so fraught with drama, was so … so … Rocky. Reid leaped in exultation, tears of joy forming at the corner of his eyes, and shortly after the he mounted the victory stand and the national anthem played, he was introduced to none other than the great Muhammad Ali.

“He told me, `You’re a bad boy,’” Reid said at the time, beaming a wide smile.

Just like that, the ghetto kid who had grown up with nothing appeared to be on the verge of having everything. Big-time promoters lined up to make lucrative offers, which in one instance included a veiled promise that his image would soon appear on boxes for Wheaties, the “Breakfast of Champions.”

“David is a national hero,” said Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, whose company initially seemed the favorite to land the man of the moment. Toward that end, Arum brought along one of his big guns, Oscar De La Hoya, to a meeting with Reid in New York a few days after Reid toppled Duvergel. De La Hoya had won the only American gold medal in boxing at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and the carrot dangling at the end of the Top Rank stick was the possibility of a megabucks Oscar-Reid match somewhere down the road.

“It’s going to happen,” De La Hoya told reporters after he had met and posed for photos with Reid. “I really believe that Bob Arum can see the big picture. I see the big picture, too. David Reid and I will fight someday. The only gold medalist from ’92 vs. the only gold medalist from ’96. Man, wouldn’t that be something? It won’t happen soon, but it will happen.”

Perhaps it would have, had Reid, then 22, gone with Top Rank. He instead chose to accept a larger deal from a newly formed promotional company, America Presents, that included a $1.5 million signing bonus and a reported $14.4 million over the five-year life of the contract.

America Presents president Dan Goossen predicted that Reid would make “at least $50 million” in the first five years of his pro career, which began on March 21, 1997, with an HBO-televised four-round, unanimous decision over Sam Calderon at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. Now dubbed “The American Dream,” Reid was, most agreed, on the fast track to superstardom, even if his left eyelid was already beginning its slow descent into the danger zone.

Top Rank’s consolation prize for missing out on Reid, however, turned out to be better than gold. Floyd Mayweather Jr., the bronze medalist in the featherweight division, had dropped a disputed 10-9 decision to reigning world amateur champion Serafim Todorov of Bulgaria in the semifinals, an outcome so odious that USA Boxing officials filed a formal protest to have it overturned (it wasn’t). And in the Olympics, gold always trumps bronze insofar as initial attractiveness to the pros is concerned.

“Mayweather got the shaft. I still can’t believe they screwed him like they did,” fumed U.S. coach Al Mitchell, who had deemed the Grand Rapids, Mich., native as the “best defensive fighter” on the American squad.

In retrospect, you have to wonder how things would have turned out for Reid and for Mayweather had Floyd won the gold he probably deserved and Reid not landed the thunderous shot some called the luckiest of lucky punches, and thus had to settle for the silver. In all likelihood, the vastly talented Mayweather would have gone on to the same incredible professional career he has achieved in posting a 47-0 record with 26 knockouts. At last look, he had a net worth of $280 million, which figures to be considerably boosted after his May 2 welterweight unification showdown with Manny Pacquiao, which could gross him upwards of $120 million. He is a surefire first-ballot inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and, to hear him tell it, the best fighter ever to lace up a pair of padded gloves.

Reid’s high profile as an Olympic gold medalist no doubt contributed to his fighting for a world title in just his 12th pro outing, in which he outpointed WBA super welterweight champ Laurent Boudouani on March 4, 1989, in Boardwalk Hall. To all outward appearances, this was the same ebullient, chatty Reid as always as he yapped throughout the bout to a Frenchman who probably didn’t understand a world he was saying.

“I think it’s my confidence coming out,” Reid said of his in-fight verbosity. “Sometimes it’s good to talk trash. It shows I’m having fun doing what I do.”

But although not the first to follow what proved to be a familiar script, Boudouani added details to the plan as to how to fight Reid as he, too, kept stepping to his right to try to find a fuzzy or blind spot in the celebrated Olympic star’s questionable field of vision. The steady stream of wide rights that found the mark wiped the grin off Reid’s face soon enough, and convinced Mitchell that his guy’s coming-out party would include its share of popped balloons and limp streamers.

There also was continuing friction between Reid and Hopkins, who had appeared in separate bouts of an “HBO Boxing After Dark” show at the Taj Mahal on Jan. 31, 1998. Asked a few days beforehand if Reid might soon be ready to fight him, Hopkins, then the IBF middleweight champion and an America Presents stablemate of Reid’s, had offered his opinion that the 24-year-old was “on Similac” and needed to “get on whole milk” before he should even consider stepping up to fight him.

After Hopkins had stopped former world champion Simon Brown in six rounds and Reid had scored an eight-round unanimous decision over Robert Frazier, Reid, no longer smiling, vented his anger toward his fellow Philadelphian.

“Simon Brown is a bum,” Reid said. “Bernard beat up a bum. Every second of that fight, I could beat (Hopkins). He makes too many mistakes. It looks like when he swings, he closes his eyes and he’s scared. The man’s got no heart. He can’t fight. They say he’s the best middleweight, but, to me, he can’t fight.

“He said I was a little baby. This little baby would beat the drawers off him.”

A few days later, Hopkins tried to defuse the situation, at least a little.

“You want to know how I feel about David Reid?” he asked. “I think he’s a great-looking prospect, a future world champion. He has speed and power and he can go as far as he wants to in this game. David Reid is the future, but I am the present. This is my time; his time is coming. When I said he was a baby, all I meant is that he’s young and has to grow up in this sport a little. I didn’t mean nothing derogatory. It was all meant in good fun. If he took it wrong, what can I say?”

The “great-looking prospect” did win a world title, and defended it twice with points nods over Kelly and Keith Mullings before his management team decided it was time to roll the dice and put Reid in with an unbeaten and highly bankable fighter, Felix Trinidad, who was moving up from welterweight.

Prior to the welterweight unification matchup of Trinidad and De La Hoya, Goossen, in a bold mood, took out print ads that had Reid basically calling out both men.

“It had one of those surgeon general warnings: `Gaining weight will be hazardous to your health,’” Goossen said of the layout, in which a menacing Reid was flanked by smaller images of Trinidad and De La Hoya.

Were Goossen and Mitchell that confident that Reid – with just 14 pro bouts – was ready for an experienced champion like Trinidad, who at the time was 36-0 with 30 KOs? Or were they just going for a major financial score for their guy while the going was good? Reid was to receive a career-high $3 million for testing himself against Trinidad, a quantum leap up from his previous high of $450,000?

“In a year or two, if Dave does what I think he can, he’ll be ready for delivery to the (International Boxing) Hall of Fame,” Mitchell predicted. “He could walk away from this game at 30 financially secure for life and with no regrets. He’ll have fought everybody and done everything he possibly could.”

But Mitchell said something else before Reid defended his title against Trinidad, something more troubling, a tale of a 44-year-old grandmother from Philadelphia who had just lost the seventh member of her family – all under the age of 20 – to street violence. It was another reminder of the netherworld with which he and Reid were more than familiar.

“So many sad stories,” Mitchell said. “The same thing happens over and over, and you keep asking yourself why. I don’t know how to end crime and poverty and desperation. I wish I had that answer.”

Reid had his moments against Trinidad, the foremost of which was when he floored “Tito” with an overhand right in the third round, the kind of punch that had put away Duvergel. But Trinidad, who had been dropped six times previously as a pro but always come back to win, beat the count. And what followed for Team Reid was not pretty. Reid was all but gone in the 11th round, floored three times, with a grotesquely swollen right eye matching his constantly drooping left eyelid. But Reid attempted to fight back just enough that he was granted a chance to finish on his feet, which he did.

“As a man, as a fighter, the referee saw I could continue,” said Reid, both eyes nearly hammered shut, with the cut above his right eye requiring 10 stitches to close. “I wasn’t going to quit.”

The quitting came four fights later, when Reid was stopped in nine rounds by a moonlighting St. Louis cop named Sam Hill on Nov. 11, 2001, in that noted boxing hotbed of Elizabeth, Ind. The HBO cameras weren’t there to record the moment for posterity, Reid’s star power having dimmed to the point of darkness following his thrashing by Trinidad.

Spanish philosopher/poet George Santayana once wrote that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Reid, a cousin of noted Philadelphia fighters Jimmy Young and Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts, was 26 when Trinidad basically ended his career, an outcome very much like what had happened to Meldrick Taylor, another Philly Olympic gold medalist (in Los Angeles in 1984) and world champion who had his prime beaten out of him in a super lightweight unification bout with Julio Cesar Chavez in 1990. Reid would never fight De La Hoya, or Hopkins, or his Olympic teammate, Fernando Vargas. Nor would he receive anywhere close to the $14.4 million his contract with America Presents reportedly was worth over five years, and certainly not the $50 million that Goossen had once so optimistically predicted. As it turned out, America Presents also was kayoed, the money man behind Goossen, Mat Tinley, cut off from funds for his cash-losing operation by the executors of his late billionaire uncle Bill Daniels’ estate.

Reid’s delivery to the IBHOF was canceled, as were his prospects of financial security for life. But Mitchell was right about one thing: “The American Dream” did indeed retire by the time he was 30. Broke and prone to bouts with depression and far-ranging mood swings, he now spends most of his time in his modest two-bedroom apartment in Marquette, Mich. He no longer has much, if anything, to do with the sport that made him an important figure on the world stage.

As always, the wheel goes round and round in boxing. And, as always, where it stops, nobody knows.

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In Dismantling Povetkin, Joshua Recaptured His Swag among the Heavyweights

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experienced opponent

He was in against a very crafty and experienced opponent in former WBA titlist Alexander Povetkin 34-2 (24). And although he was troubled by the dangerous Russian fighting small as he tried to inch his way in and time him, AJ adjusted well and started to take the initiative and dropped and stopped Povetkin in the seventh round, retaining his WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight titles and thus becoming the first fighter to ever stop Povetkin, something Wladimir Klitschko failed to do.

During the fight AJ was forced back. He had to adapt to Povetkin making him punch down and that caused him to be a little tentative, especially after being bloodied from a broken nose in the first round. And early on, AJ was a little confused and busy trying to keep Povetkin occupied from outside so he couldn’t get in on him. His most effective weapon in doing such was his left jab, delivered to the head or body, although the fight really turned when he began putting his one-two together. Then after a fairly evenly-paced bout, AJ slowed some with the hope it would lure Povetkin to close in a little harder, and he did.

As Povetkin, who came to fight, became more assertive, he became more vulnerable. AJ found the openings for his big right hand and left hook. With the first really solid right hand that bounced off his chin, Povetkin buckled and instinctively went back. Joshua pursued him and then, with near Joe Louis-like accuracy, put his right hands and hooks together, along with a beautiful right to the body in the middle of the assault and finished his game opponent.

Once again it was shown that trading with AJ is almost certain suicide. Povetkin was in great shape and would’ve been a handful for any other heavyweight in the world because he no doubt brought his A-game. Sometimes it takes AJ a little while to get going, and if you don’t do anything to bother him or wake him up, he doesn’t fight with the urgency of a “Smokin” Joe Frazier. However, when you wake him up and force him to cut loose, he’s so dangerous that he doesn’t need too many clean shots to end it. And making Joshua more lethal is that he has both short and inside power in both hands.

After months of hearing how Povetkin was the most serious threat to Joshua, that’s now finished business. Prior to the bout The Ring magazine rated the top six heavyweights in the world as follows…..Joshua, Wilder, Povetkin, Ortiz, Whyte and Parker, in that order. Now Joshua is 3-0 (2) versus Povetkin, Whyte and Parker which squashes the narrative that he has fought weaker opposition than WBC title holder Deontay Wilder 40-0 (39) who has only faced Ortiz among the top six.

Today, the most widely levied criticism of any elite fighter is that he didn’t fight the best man or men in his division. Fighters can’t control who their contemporaries are but they can control fighting the best of their era. Rocky Marciano’s era wasn’t stellar, but he fought every top fighter who was in line to challenge him. Floyd Mayweather fought in a stout era – the difference is an overwhelming majority of his bouts with big name opponents were strategically manipulated so that he faced them on the downside of their career – and that’s a fact, not a theory.

Forty years after his last victory in a title fight, Muhammad Ali is respected and revered as a fighter even by those who don’t claim to be a fan of his. Why? He wasn’t the most fundamental boxer in heavyweight history nor was he the biggest puncher, and not all of his fights were edge of your seat exciting. The thing that’s often cited as to why he was a marvel is that he fought the best of the best during one of the deepest eras in heavyweight history. There were a few times between 1975-77 that he held a win over every fighter ranked among The Ring magazine’s top-10. Sure he fought a few Brian London’s and Jean Pierre Coopman’s, but London was encompassed by Sonny Liston and Ernie Terrell during the 1960s and Coopman by Joe Frazier and Ken Norton during the 1970s.

Anthony Joshua hasn’t yet sniffed the greatness of Ali on many levels, but he is on the same trajectory in regards to meeting and defeating the best of his generation. By the end of this month, the WBC heavyweight title fight between Deontay Wilder and former champ Tyson Fury will likely become official with them meeting in early December. And regardless of who wins, Joshua, if he really wants to etch a great legacy, must pressure the winner to meet him in their next bout. In addition to that, he must tell his brain, aka Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, to forget about winning the purse war if it is the only stumbling block. If the winner of Wilder-Fury is impressive, he will have earned a 50-50 split.

During the faux negotiations between the Joshua and Wilder camps this past summer the purse split was the focal point. And prior to the prospect of Wilder and Fury meeting, Joshua clearly held the better hand based on his resume and owning three titles to Wilder’s single title.  But the Wilder-Fury winner will have closed the gap and Joshua needs to be next while the fighters are at or near their prime. The fact is Joshua versus the Wilder/Fury winner will be the most widely anticipated fight in the heavyweight division since Lewis-Tyson and maybe even since Tyson-Holyfield I. The onus is on the fighters to make it happen and they both have the clout to make sure it does, especially Joshua.

Interviewed in the ring after dispatching Povetkin, AJ said it didn’t matter to him who he fought next as long as it’s Wilder or Fury, but it was obvious that he preferred Wilder. A lot depends on how Wilder fares with Fury, but until then, here’s what we know…..Alexander Povetkin and Luis Ortiz are about on the same level; having never faced each other, it’s a tossup as to who’d win. Both Joshua and Wilder scored impressive stoppages over Povetkin and Ortiz respectively…AJ needed seven rounds and Deontay needed ten rounds. During his bout with Ortiz, Wilder was knocked around the ring and had to endure a few big exchanges, some of which he came out second-best. Wilder was also nearly stopped in the seventh round but battled back, summoning great courage and reserve to win a fight he was losing. Against Povetkin, Joshua was more troubled than he was beaten up. And once he found his range and pace and began putting his punches together, the fight ultimately ended when AJ got off with his best stuff. In essence, Joshua was more impressive against Povetkin and had fewer close calls than did Wilder against Ortiz.

Between now and the time Wilder fights Tyson Fury, it’ll be debated as to who was more impressive – Joshua against Povetkin or Wilder against Ortiz; the answer is clearly Joshua for the reasons stated. Moreover, when analyzing a fight, A + B doesn’t equal C. Joshua will be favored over either Wilder or Fury, but probably along the line of 7-5 and nothing will change that.

The thing that emerged from Joshua dismantling Povetkin is that AJ recaptured some of the limelight and swag he ceded to Wilder this past March. AJ is again the fighter to beat in the heavyweight division and will probably get the bigger purse split regardless of whether he faces Wilder and Fury.

That said, he better not let the fight fall through over it!

Between 1977 and 1982, Frank Lotierzo had over 50 fights in the middleweight division. He trained at Joe Frazier’s gym in Philadelphia under the tutelage of the legendary George Benton. Before joining The Sweet Science his work appeared in several prominent newsstand and digital boxing magazines and he hosted “Toe-to-Toe” on ESPN Radio. 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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