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AVILA’S POUND FOR POUND LIST, UPDATED

David A. Avila

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Let’s cut to the root. Floyd Mayweather is the best boxer out there pound-for-pound. Before meeting fellow pound-for-pound fighter Robert Guerrero, this writer felt “Money” had lost his legs. Apparently that is not the case.

Some other changes in the list have taken place but nothing drastic. Some have dropped down since the last pound for pound posting.

Here’s the list for May 2013:

1.) Floyd Mayweather (44-0, 26 Kos) – After showing signs of slowing down in his previous fight against Miguel Cotto over a year ago, Mayweather had his father prepare him for Robert Guerrero. Suddenly, the legs returned and the more mobile and harder-to-hit Mayweather appeared. Had he fought Guerrero the way he fought Cotto there would have been a different outcome. Instead, it was Mayweather in May.

2.) Juan Manuel Marquez (55-6-1, 40 Kos) – Mexico’s master boxer ignored offers to fight Manny Pacquiao in Macao. But now we get to see Marquez fight another pound for pound fighter in Palm Springs boxer Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley. It should be an interesting matchup. Can the Mexican maestro contend with Bradley’s speed? Can Bradley match skills with the man who vanquished Pacman?

3.) Timothy Bradley (30-0, 12 Kos) – The Palm Springs prizefighter showed another side of his talent that only fans in Southern California had seen; he will fight toe-to-toe just to prove a point. Bradley didn’t have to stand in front of Ruslan Provodnikov and allow the powerful Russian opportunities to hit him, but he did. It could have been a relatively easy fight but “The Desert Storm” wanted to prove to the fans and especially HBO that he indeed is an exciting fighter. Now he gets Marquez. Watch out.

4.) Sergio Martinez (51-2-2, 28 Kos) – Argentina’s “Maravilla” Martinez may not have fought at his best several weeks ago, but still the middleweight world champion showed why he belongs on this list. Despite breaking his hand Martinez managed to defeat United Kingdom’s Martin Murray by decision and give him his first loss as a pro. Martinez, 38, seems to be breaking down physically but does have a fight or two left. Will he ever fight Gennady Golovkin? A world wants to know.

5.) Andre Ward (26-0, 14 Kos) – Oakland’s Ward, 29, can no longer be defined as a speedy boxer with good power. He’s the complete package and a card carrying member of the hard-nosed prizefighter club. If you don’t believe it just ask Chad Dawson. Ward can fight inside or outside and has cleaned out a talent-heavy super middleweight division. The only thing remaining for Ward is to move up to the light heavyweight division and pick on them. Suddenly Ward is on the avoid-at-all-cost list.

6.) Wladimir Klitschko (60-3, 51 Kos) – Ukraine’s Klitschko has been dominating so long that despite his size he gets overlooked. Another reason he gets overlooked is that he primarily fights in Europe. Two weeks ago his knockout win over Francesco Planeta seemed ho hum. A quick three-punch combination by the six-foot, six-inch Klitschko ended the fight swiftly. Klitschko is a huge success in Europe but relatively unknown to American audiences. Maybe one day he’ll return to show fans in the U.S. just how good he really is.

7.) Robert Guerrero (31-2-1, 18 Kos) – After fighting 12 rounds with Floyd Mayweather “the Ghost” looked relatively unmarked compared to his fight with Andre Berto last year. The southpaw from Gilroy, Calif. was hoping to engage more with Mayweather but encountered the fleet-footed Floyd, not the shoulder roll defense guy that Cotto engaged a year ago. Still, it’s going to be very interesting to see who Guerrero fights next in the welterweight division. Winning three or four rounds against Mayweather is not something you see every day. Guerrero has the tools to be a force in the welterweight division.

8.) Roman Gonzalez (33-0, 28 Kos) – Known as “Chocolatito,” the Nicaraguan mighty mite has shown he can box or exchange bombs with most anyone. The junior flyweight has a fight set against Mexico’s Gerardo Verde on May 25. It’s difficult to remain among the top in the smaller weight divisions. They all have speed. Gonzalez has speed and strength. Chocolatito has amassed a strong following in the Southern California area and needs more television exposure.

9.) Danny Garcia (26-0, 16 Kos) – If his chin holds up the Philadelphia junior welterweight could eventually move into the welterweight division. But there are plenty of scraps left in the junior welterweight bar room crowd with the likes of Lamont Peterson, Lucas Matthysse and others waiting to be tested. He’s only 25 but Garcia seems to be in the kind of wars that can end a career quickly. A recent win over veteran Zab Judah showed that Garcia can box, bang or beat you in a variety of ways.

10.) Abner Mares (26-0-1, 14 Kos) – Mares captured a third world title in a third weight division by knocking out two-time world champion Daniel Ponce de Leon. Two incredible feats that have suddenly placed him on this list. When he first signed a pro contract after performing in the Olympics for Mexico, not many noticed his steady rise from bantamweight to the current featherweight division. He’s been tutored by various trainers who all left their imprints on his fighting style. There was Floyd Mayweather Sr., Joel Diaz, Nacho Beristain and a few others. Now Mares has Clemente Medina in his corner and has proven with wins over Vic Darchinyan, Joseph Agbeko and others that he’s among the best.

11.) Nonito Donaire (30-2, 19 Kos) – The Filipino Flash had a very bad night against the talented Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba. But one loss doesn’t mean Donaire should be dropped entirely from the list. He still packs big time wallop and dazzling speed that can enable a return to the win column in a hurry. A rematch against Rigondeaux is in order and makes sense for Donaire. It could be bigger money for both fighters. If Donaire wins, then it’s a trilogy a la Rafael Marquez and Israel Vazquez. Don’t count out Donaire.

12.) Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 Kos) – After losing back-to-back fights Pacman has taken a little time off. The loss to rival Juan Manuel Marquez was crushing and could mean the beginning of the end for the Filipino superstar. We shall see. Pacquiao will be fighting in Asia and it looks like Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios gets the call. We said last year that these two would be colliding and it’s finally going to happen. Rios will test Pacquiao’s chin and resolve.

Honorable mention:

Guillermo Rigondeaux, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Carl Froch, Gennady Golovkin, Bernard Hopkins, Vitali Klitschko, Amir Khan, Brandon Rios, Yuri Gamboa, Takashi Uchiyama.

 

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 105: Angry Welterweights and More

David A. Avila

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Those welterweights don’t play.

One welterweight just got out of jail and wants to take out his angry frustrations in the boxing ring.

“One of us is getting knocked out. If it gets to where I’m behind on points, I’m just going to come forward and try to take him out, even if I end up getting knocked out,” said Juan Carlos Abreu. ““If he stands and fights, it’s better for me. That’s what I want.”

Standing in front of Abreu (23-5-1) will be one of the top welterweights in America, Philadelphia’s Jaron Ennis (25-0, 23 KOs). This is could be Ennis’ first true test against an experienced foe on Saturday Sept. 19, at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn. Showtime will televise the Premier Boxing Champions card.

Ennis, 23, has been breezing easily since first jumping in the prize ring in April 2016. So far, the competition has been unable to cope with the athleticism he possesses. Will Abreu be the first to pose a problem?

“Whatever he brings, we are going to be ready. I’m going to go out there, do my thing, be smart, have my fun, and get that stoppage at the end of the night,” said Ennis, whose last opponent Bakhtiyar Eyubov was eliminated in four rounds in January. “You can’t just go in there and go for the knockout. That’s how you get tired and lose your cool or even get hit with punches that you shouldn’t be getting hit with.”

Abreu hopes he loses his cool.

“If he stands and fights, it’s better for me. That’s what I want. I really want one of us to get knocked out,” says Abreu of the Dominican Republic who was purportedly jailed for street fighting.

This welterweight matchup is the precursor to the WBC super welterweight eliminator between Terrell Gausha (21-1-1, 10 KOs) and Erickson Lubin (22-1, 16 KOs).

Gausha and Lubin both have lost once in their pro careers and need a win to get another crack at a world title.

Gausha lost a decision to Erislandy Lara three years ago. Lubin was stopped in one round by Jermell Charlo three years ago. Both realize the nature of the beast.

“I think Gausha has some problems with southpaws, but I’m not focused on that. I’m focused on my game plan and coming out victorious Saturday night,” said Lubin, 24, a southpaw called “the Hammer” for a reason.

Gausha is originally from Cleveland, Ohio but trains in Southern California and has fought four elite southpaws in his career. He believes one more is not a problem.

“This will be my fourth southpaw in a row. So, I’m more comfortable and familiar this time around,” said Gausha, 33, a former US Olympian who trains with Manny Robles Jr. “The guys before me, they all fought each other. Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran. They all fought each other. To be the best, you have to beat the best. And you can see that the fights I take, even after a long layoff, they are tough fights.”

Top Rank

Also, on Saturday Sept. 19, heavyweights and super lightweights lead a Top Rank card featuring some interesting bouts that will be shown on ESPN+.

Newly acquired Efe Ajagba (13-0,11 KOs) meets Jonnie Rice (13-5-1) in a 10-round heavyweight clash. It’s Nigeria’s Ajagba’s second fight this year. Though still a little raw he shows immense potential and great natural strength.

Rice fights out of Bones Adams’ Gym in Las Vegas and has some power. He built up his record on heavyweights in Tijuana boxing rings but has some pop. He’s a sizeable heavyweight and good measuring stick for Ajagba.

The main event is a doozy.

Puerto Rico’s Jose “The Sniper” Pedraza (27-3, 13 KOs) meets Southern California’s Javier Molina (22-2, 9 KOs) in a 10-round super lightweight bout at the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas.

This should be good.

Pedraza, 31, is a former WBO lightweight world titlist who lost in his first defense to Vasyl Lomachenko. Nothing bad about that. He defeated Mexico’s Raymundo Beltran for the belt and has shown a penchant for showing up big when you least expect it.

Molina, 30, is a 2008 US Olympian and a member of the fighting Molina family. His brother Oscar was a member of Mexico’s 2012 Olympic team. His other brother Carlos fought for the world title against Amir Khan. Though Javier Molina has never shown great power, he can truly fight.  His last win came against Amir Imam this past February.

Pending Lightweight Clash

Speaking of the lightweight division, is anyone else as excited as me about the looming showdown between the remarkable Vasyl Lomachenko and impressive Teofimo Lopez coming in less than a month?

Lomachenko, 32, the Ukrainian stylist known as “Hi Tech,” has that incredible footwork and ability to control distance. He’s a master of frustrating opponents and imposing his style of darting in and out of danger. But as good as he is, he can’t sell tickets. Only hardcore fans appreciate his peerless boxing skills.

Lopez, 23, hails from Brooklyn and has that ex-factor you can’t teach. He’s pizzazz and panache with a punch. That combination of flair and power excites fans and seemingly makes him a natural gate attraction. But in spite of his electric abilities, he’s facing a master boxer. Is he ready?

Top Rank is known for having a team of matchmakers headed by boxing wizard Bruce Trampler. It makes me wonder why they are pitting these two against each other?

The probable answer: neither sells out an arena alone. May the best man win.

A friend of mine from East L.A., who formerly boxed and comes from a boxing family, shared his knowledge and opinion on the matchup. He has an interesting take.

“His footwork is incredible,” said George Rodriguez about Lomachenko. “Don’t get me wrong, Teofimo is an incredible talent, but Lomachenko has that footwork.”

Any way you look at it, the winner of this clash clearly bumps up his own image.

Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) versus Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) at the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas on October 17. Mark down that date. It will be televised on ESPN.

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Boxing Odds and Ends: The Sept. 26 Horn of Plenty and Other Notes

Arne K. Lang

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Considering the constraints, the month of September has been a pretty good month for professional boxing. And the month will close with a flourish. Eight world title-holders will be in action on the 26th, the last Saturday of the month.

Five of the belt-holders will appear on the SHOWTIME PPV doubleheader featuring the Charlo twins. The most intriguing fight on that card finds Jermall Charlo risking his belt and his undefeated record against rugged Sergiy Deveryanchenko. At last glance, Jermall was a consensus 17/10 (minus-170) favorite. In baseball, a 17/10 favorite is a heavy favorite. In boxing, not so. A serious handicapper who wouldn’t think of laying 17/10 in a baseball game would have no hesitation about laying these odds in a boxing match.

When Deveryanchenko steps into the ring, 51 weeks will have elapsed since his last fight, his bruising tiff with Gennadiy Golovkin. Jermall Charlo hasn’t been on the shelf for quite that long, having last fought in December.

A more interesting match on this particular Saturday, at least in the eyes of this reporter, will unfold earlier that day in Munich when the curtain finally comes down on Season 2 of the long-drawn-out World Boxing Super Series. Two titles will be on the line when Mairis Briedis (26-1, 19 KOs) meets Yuniel Dorticos (24-1, 22 KOs).

Briedis’ lone defeat came at the hands of Oleksandr Usyk in a very competitive fight. Briedis won five rounds on two of the cards and won six rounds on the other. Dorticos’ lone defeat came on enemy turf in Sochi, Russia when he was stopped with eight seconds remaining in a doozy of a fight with Murat Gassiev.

Forget the titles; titles are a dime a dozen. These two guys are plainly the two best cruiserweights on the planet.

“The tickets are flying out the door and we expect to sell out within hours, if not days,” said co-promoter Kalle Sauerland at a pre-fight press conference.

That assertion was made way back on January 22 when the fight, originally targeted for late December of last year, was headed to Riga, Latvia, on March 21. That date didn’t work, nor did the re-scheduled date of May 16, and ultimately Riga didn’t work either.

Whatever tickets were sold, had to be refunded. There will be no fans in attendance when Briedis and Dorticos finally lock horns on Sept. 26 at a TV studio in Munich. The fight will air on DAZN in the U.S.

“Rest makes rust” was an often-heard caution when big gamblers of yesteryear dissected a boxing match. The late, great pricemaker Herb Lambeck reflexively shied away from boxers that had been inactive for a considerable period of time. For him, the Briedis-Dorticos match would likely be a head-scratcher. Both combatants have been inactive since June 15 of last year when they appeared in separate bouts on the same card in Riga, Briedis’s hometown. And they aren’t getting any younger. Briedis is 34 and Dorticos is 35.

The odds got nicked down somewhat when the site shifted from Riga with fans to Munich without, predictably so as Briedis, the first fighter from Latvia to win a world title, has an avid local following.

Briedis, the superior boxer, is a consensus 9/5 favorite. That seems a shade high as he won’t be able to feed off the crowd – there won’t be a crowd – and Dorticos, the Cuban KO Doctor, has a better chance of ending the fight with one punch. It wouldn’t be shocking if the fight followed a similar tack as the recent fight between Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin.

In case you missed it, Whyte was dominating his Russian adversary when things changed in a flash in the fifth round. Out of nowhere, Povetkin, the underdog, unleashed a picture-perfect uppercut that left Whyte flat on his back, unconscious before he hit the canvas. There have been other smashing one-punch knockouts this year – Ryan Garcia’s demolition of Francisco Fonseca comes quickly to mind – and there may be a few more, but it’s hard to visualize anyone topping Povetkin in the voting for Knockout of the Year.

By the way, if he wins it, Povetkin, 41, would be the second-oldest boxer to score the Knockout of the Year. George Foreman was 45 when he knocked out Michael Moorer in 1994. The source is The Ring magazine which has been issuing this award since 1989.

And if you happen to know the youngest fighter to score The Ring Knockout of the Year, then you’re pretty sharp. No, it’s not baby-faced Naoya Inoue, who is older (27) than he looks. The honor goes to the long-forgotten African-American/Filipino southpaw Morris East who was 19 when he knocked out defending WBA 140-pound champion Akinobu Hironaka in 1992.

In a rarity, it didn’t take long for Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte to agree on a rematch. They will meet again on Nov. 21. The venue is undecided, but Eddie Hearn is hopeful that he can pot the fight somewhere outside his backyard “fight camp” with fans in attendance. The first lines on the fight show Whyte the favorite in the vicinity of 13/5. Povetkin-Whyte II will be a nice appetizer for the Errol Spence vs. Danny Garcia match that goes off later that day.

In an unrelated development, Fury-Wilder III is purportedly going to Allegiant Stadium, the new home of the Las Vegas Raiders, in late December. Bob Arum anticipates a crowd of 10,000-15,000 with social distancing protocols in place.

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Meekins vs. Kawoya: File It Under Bizarre

Ted Sares

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 It was August 8, 1988. The location was Resorts International in Atlantic City. The main event featured New Yorker John Wesley Meekins (18-1-2) vs another New Yorker (via Uganda and Denmark) Mohammed Kawoya (11-3).

The rangy and skilled Meekins with a stellar amateur career was a clear favorite over the lesser known Kawoya who had fought only once in the US, losing to Jorge Maysonet on cuts at the Felt Forum. Meekins was expected to move on to a world title fight after dispatching Kawoya.

Meekins enjoyed a successful career between 1984 and 1994, fighting the likes of Davey Montana, Mike Mungin, Harold Brazier, Saoul Mamby, Santos Cardona, Darrin Morris (who won his last 16 fights in a row), and Terence Alli. He would lose to a prime Meldrick Taylor (20-0-1) in 1989 with the IBF World Super Lightweight title at stake.

On June 15, 1990, Meekins beat Santos Cardona over 12 rounds to win the NABF light-welterweight championship, but would lose it to Terence Alli some seven months later. It was downhill after that and he retired in November 1994 with a record of 24-5-2 after being stopped by so-so Darryl Lattimore.

Back to Meekins vs. Kawoya

 This one did not go as expected. After being decked in round 2, Kawoya dropped Meekins in the opening seconds of round 3. An exciting fight with multiple knockdowns and furious exchanges was in progress and the fans loved it.

An aroused Meekins then went after the Ugandan with a vengeance and set up one of the most bizarre endings that few boxing fans have ever heard about, much less witnessed, as he again dropped Kawoya this time with a fast left hook. He then went for the kill. Referee Paul Venti sensed it and moved in—perhaps prematurely– as Meekins unleashed what he hoped would be a fight-ending volley of hard shots.

 As soon as Venti stepped in to stop the fight, Kawoya landed a right that dropped Meekins and had him crawling on the canvas and holding on to the ropes devoid of his senses for at least ten seconds. The punch was thrown at the exact moment that Venti ended matters and Venti didn’t realize what had occurred.

 While Kawoya thought he has scored a clean KO and celebrated wildly, the fact was that Venti had ended the fight a fraction of a second before and his decision would stand.

The fans not only enjoyed a great fight, they witnessed something truly memorable—something that had to be seen to be believed; namely, a winner struggling to get up and a loser celebrating what he thought was a knockout.

Kawoya pulled out of the rematch because of a throat infection and Saoul Mamby took his place as a late sub. The Ugandan never fought again, while Meekins never got the title shot that a more impressive effort might have gotten him.

Ted Sares can be reached at tedsares@roadrunner.com or on Facebook and welcomes comments.

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

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