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Roach Fires First Shot At Bradley/Atlas

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Now that the rubber match between Manny Pacquiao 57-6-2 (38) and Timothy Bradley 33-1-1 (13) is set for April 9th, the cookbook analyst and experts are out voicing their opinions on how the fight will unfold. And the leader of the pack with the most to say is Freddie Roach trainer of Manny Pacquiao. As most know, and if you don’t you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years….Roach always overrates his fighters. I think Freddie predicted a Pacquiao knockout in Manny’s last five bouts and not one prediction came to fruition.

According to Gerry Ramos of Spin.ph 01/04/16 in an article titled “Fat Brandon Rios made Timothy Bradley look good in his last fight” Roach said “it was obvious the 29-year-old Rios was not in the best of shape for the 12-round match. ‘With all that fat on Rios, I had never seen him look like that before, so I don’t think Bradley had that much in front of him.”

“Bradley looked good, but…,” added the 55-year-old Roach in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. Bradley did what he had to do,” said Roach, a five-time Trainer of the Year. “Teddy Atlas is a good motivator, and Bradley fought a good fight. I don’t think you can give Atlas credit yet.”

Isn’t it great Roach taking shots at Atlas, knowing that as the fight gets closer Teddy will surely respond back in kind. It should be fun to observe because Roach and Atlas are the two biggest “See Me Out There Trainers” in boxing. However, in the Pacquiao-Bradley match up, I think one of two things is in play between the trainers. For starters, Roach either doesn’t see it or won’t admit that the two opponents Pacquiao has looked the most ordinary against in recent years were Timothy Bradley and Floyd Mayweather. Coincidentally both Floyd and Timothy are quick handed, have quick feet and when Bradley is of the right mindset, as it seems to be the case under the tutelage of Atlas, he’s willing to use them. On the other hand, I believe Atlas is fully aware that Manny is his least effective going against fighters who move and box. In addition to that, Teddy knows that Pacquiao never applied bell-to-bell pressure and is not good at cutting off the ring. And that was paramount as to why he couldn’t deal with Mayweather last May and also why he didn’t blow Bradley away in either fight.

On December 8th I wrote…”For the record I’d rate Bradley the most dangerous opponent from a style perspective for Pacquiao and here’s why. Yes, Pacquiao is viewed by many as having won the first fight between them despite two of three judges scoring it in favor of Bradley. But let’s be honest, Manny didn’t look all world against Bradley the first time they met. In the rematch Pacquiao got off better and didn’t wait for the perfect shot and ultimately out-worked Bradley earning a unanimous decision. But Pacquiao didn’t look great or unbeatable against Bradley during their rematch either. I’m not sure after getting thoroughly out-boxed by Mayweather that fighting another guy who is going to move is such a great idea. Manny hasn’t looked great in years and he’s lost a step which makes him much more vulnerable to being out boxed by a fighter with speed who uses it.”

Using his speed and not engaging is paramount for Bradley when he fights Pacquiao in their upcoming rubber match. If you break the styles down, Roach is going to advise Manny to be aggressive and to let his hands go, and that’s great because he knows Bradley and Atlas don’t want to get into a firefight. The problem is Manny is no longer the non-stop punching dynamo he once was and needs to be set with basically a stationary opponent in front of him in order to get off good. He was never great at cutting off the ring and he’ll surely need to do that against Bradley if he wants to win and look impressive. In the last three or four years, it’s no secret that the current version of Pacquiao is stymied by foot speed and lateral movement. Bradley has quick hands and feet and when he cuts loose he is effective getting off with three punch combinations, which will stymie Pacquiao’s aggression as long as he doesn’t foolishly attempt to stand there and trade with him. If Bradley fights his fight and follows the fight plan that Atlas constructs, he’ll give Pacquiao a very rough night and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he won by decision.

Roach saying Bradley had nothing in front of him in Brandon Rios, should stir the pot regarding the lack of interest in the fight. But Freddie intentionally forgets that when Manny fought Rios – he hit Brandon with his Sunday punch for 12-rounds and never had him on his heels once. Bradley, not known for his punching power methodically worked Rios over to the head and body. Yes, Rios isn’t hard to find, but the way Timothy worked him over to the head and body was impressive and it wasn’t by accident. Atlas is a good corner tactician and understands styles. I highly doubt that Roach is going to lure Bradley and Atlas into the street fight that he needs Pacquiao to initiate with his verbal jabs and slings in order to guarantee victory. Bradley knows boxing Pacquiao is his only path to victory and Atlas will be in his ear imploring that for the next three months, on that you can be sure.

One gets the sense that by Roach somewhat stepping out of character and being the first to throw mud in the direction of the opponent that he is fully cognizant that the version of Bradley that Manny will confront in April will be more formidable and better prepared stylistically than the versions he fought in 2012 and 2014.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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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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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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