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Thurman Auditions For Shot At Mayweather Against Collazo Tonight

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He’s 25-0 (21), and just 26 years old.

His KO percentage is within 10% of the supposed biggest emerging star in boxing, Gennady Golovkin’s, and he’s five years younger.

There’s also a case that he’s beaten better opposition at welterweight than Golovkin has at middleweight. But in fairness to Golovkin, the mean of fighters is a faster track at welterweight than it is at middleweight. Also, Keith Thurman is a more versatile boxer/puncher than Golovkin and has scored impressive knockouts fighting as the attacker or moving away and boxing/counter-punching. Whereas Golovkin has to push the fight to be effective, and that’s a great style for a physical force like Gennady, until he crosses paths with a fighter who is capable of hurting him on the way in – or who can force him back. Right now no such fighter exists at 160, at least that I know of.

As for Thurman, he’s been getting a lot of attention recently leading up to his bout with Luis Collazo 36-6 (19) for the WBA welterweight title at the Sundome in Tampa Florida tonight. Collazo is a good fighter but he’s not elite under any standards. His best win came against Victor Ortiz in January of 2014, and like Ortiz, he usually comes up short when he ventures up in class. The good news regarding Collazo is, he has only been stopped once and that occurred during his second year fighting as a pro back in 2002. He’s gone the full route with fighters the likes of Ricky Hatton, Shane Mosley, Andre Berto and Amir Khan. It’s interesting how when you list the names of four of the six fighters who have defeated him, they all have something in common, and that is they’re all former title holders and were considered elite or border-line elite at some point during their careers.

Let’s be honest regarding the Thurman-Collazo title bout this evening. It’s not a contest to see who the better fighter is or to find the answer regarding who will win. Everyone that follows the great sport of professional boxing knows Thurman represents big money and tomorrow – whereas Collazo, 34, is yesterday’s news and his best days are in the rear-view mirror. The good thing for boxing fans is Collazo doesn’t believe that and is coming to win and take advantage of the great opportunity of fighting for Thurman’s title. Luis knows beating the undefeated Thurman is like hitting the lottery for his next fight. So he’ll bring what’s left of his A-game……but in all likelihood he will come up short.

The question going into the fight is – will Collazo be moderately competitive and go the distance or will Thurman completely overwhelm him and win by an impressive stoppage? Keith knows the pot of gold for him is to somehow fight Floyd Mayweather 48-0 (26) before he retires. He must see Floyd at 38 as being beatable and vulnerable after his symbolic win over Manny Pacquiao 57-6-2 (38) two months ago.

Thurman needs to be impressive beating Collazo and look great doing it tonight, two things he didn’t accomplish during his last outing against Robert Guerrero 33-3-1 (18) this past March. The hurdle Thurman faces against Collazo is, if he blows him away too quickly, it’ll be said after the fight that he beat a shopworn fighter who’s punch resistance is beginning to erode from the previous wars of a successful forty plus fight winning career. On the other hand, if he controls the fight like he did against Guerrero, but doesn’t really look impressive or special; his critics will openly state he’s not much of a threat to Mayweather. Yet Mayweather is praised for beating a one-armed fighter in his last bout, a fighter who was barely over .500 (3-2) in his previous five bouts going into the fight, and suffered one of the most brutal one-punch knockouts in his last defeat.

As of this writing, Keith Thurman is viewed by many boxing observers as being the most dangerous fighter and biggest threat to Mayweather in the welterweight division. It’s sort of like the position Lennox Lewis was in when he fought Vitali Klitschko. Lewis was coming off of beating his career rival in Mike Tyson in his last bout, but Vitali was perceived as Lennox’s biggest threat at the time. So in Lewis’s last fight, although he didn’t look great doing it, he left boxing beating the fighter most thought was the biggest threat to his title reign in his final bout. And they were right because Vitali never lost another bout after fighting Lewis. The same would apply to Mayweather if he beat the young, strong and hungry Thurman in his last bout. It would be the perfect ending to Mayweather’s stellar and Hall-of-Fame career.

Tonight, WBA welterweight title holder Keith Thurman must overwhelm and destroy Luis Collazo so maybe he can be the topic of conversation in all boxing circles tomorrow. Everyone knows Thurman could never out-box or out think Mayweather. Thurman’s record and body of work indicate that he’s strong and can really punch. It’s also been a while since Floyd, if ever, fought a legitimate welterweight who was young and strong that was approaching his prime and could also really punch. If Thurman were to defeat Mayweather, it would most definitely be due to his power and because he was able to force Floyd to fight and didn’t afford him the luxury of controlling the action with his brains and boxing ability.

If Thurman wants to join the “who will Mayweather’s next opponent be” sweepstakes, he must convince the boxing world that he not only has the power to knock Mayweather off of his game, but he also has the necessary means to deliver it and apply it with Mayweather in front of him. Yes, it’s a tough sell, but not an impossible one. Manny Pacquiao built up the demand for a Mayweather fight with one sensational knockout over Ricky Hatton, and it resonated for six years.

Thurman recently said, “As soon as that man nicknamed himself ‘Money’ it’s apparent what his interest is. It’s money. Not legacy, not anything else man. He’s all about the money. He wants to throw out a name like Karim Mayfield man? Like you know what I’m saying? Look at his record, look what he’s done. And you want to say Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman isn’t ready?”

If Thurman is convincing enough against Collazo, the public demand and the money may be there for him to get a shot at the fighter who calls himself “Money.” The pressure is on Thurman to get the public to put the pressure on Mayweather to fight him.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

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ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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Charr-Oquendo Scuttled When Charr Tests Positive; the Odious WBA Saves Face

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Manuel Charr

Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo were scheduled to fight in Cologne, Germany, later this month (Sept. 29). Charr would be defending his WBA world heavyweight title, the “regular” version of it, not the “super” version which rests in the hands of Anthony Joshua.

The bout was quickly cancelled when it was revealed that Charr had tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids. The test was performed by VADA, the anti-doping agency identified with Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman.

The 33-year-old Charr, born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany since the age of three, won the belt in his last start with a unanimous decision over 281-pound Russian behemoth Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany. The title was vacant. Charr won the right to fight for it with a 10-round decision over Albanian slug Sefer Seferi. The victory over Ustinov elevated his record to 31-4. He has been stopped three times, by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Mairis Briedis.

If it wasn’t for bad luck, as the old saying goes, Fres Oquendo wouldn’t have any luck at all. For various reasons, his fights keep falling out. Before long he’ll be drawing social security. Well, not exactly, but he turned 45 in April and hasn’t fought in more than four years.

Oquendo has competed for this belt before. In his last ring appearance in July of 2014, he lost a majority decision to Russia’s Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. As a concession for taking the fight on short notice, Team Oquendo negotiated a rematch clause in the contract, but a shoulder injury prevented Fres from activating it. When the injury healed, he had to go to court to compel Chagaev to fulfill his obligation. But then the Russian retired, muddling the water.

The WBA was legally bound to find Oquendo a title fight and in desperation turned to ancient Shannon Briggs. But the Oquendo-Briggs fight, scheduled for June 3 of last year in Hollywood, Florida, fell out when Briggs’ urine specimen showed an abnormally high level of testosterone.

Fres Oquendo was dogged by bad luck even before these recent developments. His professional record, 37-8, is somewhat misleading as six of his eight defeats were razor-thin including his 2003 setback to Chris Byrd and his 2006 setback to Evander Holyfield. However, Oquendo, something of a cutie, was never a crowd-pleaser and in none of his narrow defeats was there a public clamor for a rematch.

The cancellation of Charr-Oquendo cuts the World Boxing Association out of a sanctioning fee, but one would think that the WBA honchos are actually rather pleased by this turn of events. The fight, more precisely the WBA’s world title imprimatur, would have brought more unwanted publicity to the Panama-based organization.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who has the largest platform of any boxing writer, has been a persistent critic of the organization which once recognized 41 “champions” in 17 weight classes. In 2009, Rafael wrote, “(The WBA) has become such an absolute farce that even somebody like me, who follows boxing closely, sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the nonsensical so-called world title belts the WBA has been doling out at an alarming rate. It almost reminds me of the ladies at Costco who hand out various samples on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

Rafael took note when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza promised to cull the herd by eliminating “regular” titles, and then became more caustic when Mendoza didn’t follow through. Recently, in one short, punchy diatribe, Rafael blistered the WBA as wretched, vile, and rancid.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Fres Oquendo who keeps getting stranded at the altar. No, he’s not fun to watch and a man of his age shouldn’t be taking any more punches, but he has always been an honest workman and by all accounts he’s a very decent man. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Chicago, Oquendo pitched right in when the island nation of his birth was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. He was personally responsible for relocating Puerto Rican boxing legend Wilfred Benitez and Benitez’s sister, his caregiver, to Chicago where their lives wouldn’t be as hard.

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Bob Arum Hails Terence Crawford (not Lomachenko) as Boxing’s Next Superstar

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Arum says Terence

Top Rank’s Bob Arum says Terence Crawford will become this generation’s Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao–elite boxers who became worldwide celebrity sensations. Arum, who promoted both Mayweather and Pacquiao on the way to their historic crossover statuses expects big things from the undefeated Crawford over the next few years.

“He’s the best fighter in the United States, and he’s so charismatic,” said Arum. “He comes from middle America, and In the next year or so, he will be huge.”

Arum’s assertion is noteworthy for two reasons. First, Arum is also the promoter for Vasyl Lomachenko. Lomachenko is ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. More importantly, Lomachenko seems to have a groundswell of support behind him both in the media and among fight fans.

Lomachenko has also been heavily featured through Top Rank’s television partnership with ESPN. While Crawford has achieved more in his career than Lomachenko (at least in my eyes) and, as noted by Arum, is a homegrown American talent, Lomachenko seems to be considered the more marketable commodity to that network judging by the amount of promotional materials ESPN has pumped out about the fighter over the last year.

The other reason Arum’s claim about Crawford is interesting is the performance of Canelo Alvarez over the weekend in his majority decision rematch win over Gennady Golovkin. Besides Mayweather and Pacquiao, Alvarez is the clear PPV leader among all of boxing’s current commodities, and his status as boxing’s new money fighter should only grow stronger after the best win of his career.

Still, Crawford is one of the few very elite fighters in all of boxing. He’s ranked No. 2 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.

While Lomachenko and Alvarez are also candidates to become boxing’s next big thing, there’s no doubt Crawford is also one of the few boxers in the sport right now with the right things in place to become the next Mayweather or Pacquiao.

Omaha’s Crawford is in the midst of an historic run. When he stopped Jeff Horn in round 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in June, Crawford captured a world title in his third different weight class, welterweight. This after Crawford had already captured two lineal boxing championships, as well as multiple alphabet titles, in both the lightweight and junior welterweight divisions.

By any measure, Crawford is truly one of the best boxers in the sport. Not only does he look the part in the ring on fight night (something more and more writers seem to value most when voting for pound-for-pound lists), but the fighter has already accomplished so much in his career that it seems Arum is doing more than the fiduciary duty of promoting his fighter when he ascribes to Crawford such lofty praise.

Crawford, still just 30 years old, is already halfway to matching Mayweather and Pacquiao’s shared record of most lineal championships. Over the course of his career, Mayweather captured lineal championships at junior lightweight, lightweight, welterweight, and junior middleweight. Pacquiao won his as a flyweight, featherweight, junior lightweight, and junior welterweight.

In order for Crawford to grab lineal championship No. 3, most believe he’ll have to go through welterweight phenom Errol Spence. While promotional entanglements might keep this superfight on the shelf for a while, Arum said he had no problem pitting Crawford against Spence in what would be one of the best matchups in recent memory.

“Absolutely,” said Arum when asked about working with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, who represents Spence, to make the fight. Could any response from him be more exciting? Crawford vs. Spence might be the next superfight in boxing. Both fighters are among the very elite, and unlike what ultimately happened with Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, who fought each other well past their peak years, both would be in the prime of their careers.

Winning that fight would certainly go a long way to making Arum’s vision of Crawford’s future come true. And who knows? Maybe Crawford really is the next Mayweather or Pacquiao. Heck, for all we know, he could even be on his way to doing something more.

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