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In A Ward-Golovkin Bout, Who Is The A-Side?



Two of the best and most formidable fighters in boxing, Andre Ward 28-0 (15), the alpha fighter at super middleweight, and Gennady Golovkin 33-0 (30), the alpha fighter at middleweight, have been trading barbs for the last few months via the media.

This week the spit-fight between them continued, since both grasp that a fight between them next year would be huge. However, Golovkin says for that to happen Ward has to come down to 164–and Ward hasn’t been below 166 in nine years–in order for the fight to become a reality. This is kind of interesting since Golovkin was willing to meet Carl Froch and/or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at the super-middleweight limit of 168 not too long ago.

Also, one must ask why Golovkin would allow Froch and Chavez to face him as a fully flowered super middleweight but in the case of Ward, he has to drop down to 164? Then again there’s no need to contemplate why for long. As most boxing fans know Ward has already taken Froch apart and would be an overwhelming betting favorite over Chavez at any weight.

A Ward-Golovkin bout would be very hard to handicap. Ward, as a technician/boxer, aside from Floyd Mayweather, has no equal when it comes to being a complete and versatile fighter. On the other hand, Golovkin is considered the biggest single-shot puncher in boxing at 168 and below. What a style contrast it would be to watch them match their skills against each other – since Ward has never faced a puncher like Gennady and Golovkin has never been near, let alone confronted a fighter who brings everything to the ring that Ward does.

Yes, it’s great to ponder a match between them and it would be great for boxing, but it’s not going to happen for a good while down the road, for three reasons…starting with Golovkin. Right now Golovkin is the slightly higher profile fighter because he’s been active during the same time frame in which Ward has been inactive. And Golovkin also has at least one big dollar fight waiting for him at middleweight, and that’s the winner of the upcoming lineal middleweight clash in November between champ Miguel Cotto and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Regardless of who wins between Cotto and Alvarez, Golovkin will be a huge favorite against either one. So much so that the odds will make it a difficult betting proposition. And if you’re Gennady, you’re probably better off if Alvarez wins because as impressive as his record is, Golovkin’s resume isn’t loaded with a who’s-who list of upper-tier opponents. Alvarez is young and strong and will not look like a welterweight next to Golovkin the way that the 34 year old Cotto would, mainly because Miguel turned pro as a junior welterweight. So Golovkin would get much more credit and props beating Alvarez than he would Cotto.

Golovkin having at least one big fight for him at middleweight is a great reason for him to try and push a fight with Ward down the road. But that won’t settle the weight issue. I’m so sick of catch-weight bouts between elite fighters it’s nauseating. How many of these charades will it take for fans to grasp that the fighter coming down in weight usually loses?

For Golovkin to insist on a fight with Ward at 164 is a joke. Why doesn’t he just say, I need to weaken him to feel as though I can beat him? If Ward is too big for Gennady, then don’t look his way or mention fighting him.

Floyd Mayweather, it would seem, felt that Golovkin was too big for him and rightly never asked to fight him. What would it prove if Golovkin beat a drained and depleted Ward? It’s not like he would’ve faced the same fighter that Edison Miranda, Mikkel Kessler, Sakio Bika, Arthur Abraham, Carl Froch and Chad Dawson had to contend with. Speaking of Dawson, how strong did he look against Ward fighting seven pounds below his natural weight?

It’s a farce for Golovkin to ask for Ward to fight him at 164, just as it would be for Mayweather to fight Golovkin at 154. If Ward could’ve been effective fighting near middleweight, he would’ve been a middleweight. And the same holds true for Golovkin – if he was strong at 154, he would’ve fought as a junior middleweight. Sure, Ward could make 164 and Golovkin could make 154, but they’d be skeletons resembling an empty package in the ring on fight night.

This leads us to the final stumbling block…and that is, who would be the A-side in a Ward-Golovkin bout?

It seems based on the way the Golovkin faction has projected themselves, they feel quite certain that Golovkin deserves top billing. This is something I couldn’t disagree with more. Think about it, a short time ago Carl Froch was mentioned as a future opponent for Golovkin and everybody got excited. And that’s because Froch would’ve represented the most recognizable name on Golovkin’s resume. Well, Ward dismantled a more relevant version of Froch almost four years ago.

Yes, Gennady gets the attention because he’s a perceived destroyer via his punching power. However, Ward has a way better body of work and must be the A-side if he and Golovkin fight. Neither fighter has ever been the main event on a PPV card. In that regard they need each other. But based on who has accomplished more at the highest level in boxing, it’s clearly Ward. And for the fight to be legit, it must be contested at 168. That’s the challenge for Golovkin. Can he beat a really sensational, slightly bigger fighter? And if Ward is too big for him then stay away from him and clean out the middleweight division. In addition to that, Ward has never said that he wants to be the middleweight champ.

Again, it’s great to ponder a Ward-Golovkin match and it would be so great for boxing, but it’s not going to happen for a long spell, which is too often the case in the sport today, sadly.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at


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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.



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



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



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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