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HOW HE DID IT: Mikey Garcia Is a MASTER of the Basics

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Mikey Garcia somewhat redeemed himself for failing to make the featherweight limit by demolishing Juan Manuel Lopez inside four rounds on Saturday night. After a reasonably competitive opening frame in which Juanma managed to sneak in a couple of noteworthy left hands, Garcia found his rhythm and proceeded to systematically deconstruct his overmatched opponent in each of the remaining three rounds, knocking him down in the second and again for good in the fourth.

In this analysis, I’d like to examine how Mikey Garcia was able to take Lopez apart so efficiently by looking at his technical prowess and understated footwork.

The jab leads the way

When you have an orthodox vs. southpaw encounter, the advantage usually lies with the boxer who can work their lead foot to the outside of their opponent’s. Because of this, the rear straight, rather than the jab, often becomes the offensive weapon of choice.

Here’s Manny Pacquiao demonstrating the importance of securing the outside position with the lead foot and utilizing the rear straight during a mixed lead clash.

Mikey Garcia vs Juanma Lopez 2013-06-18 at 4.26.47 PM

Pacquiao (southpaw) lands a rear straight against Miguel Cotto (orthodox).

Notice how by working the lead foot to the outside of an opponent’s, the rear straight becomes more readily available. Not only that, but because the body rotation of a rear straight is almost identical to that of an outside slip (the head is taken off line and placed over the lead foot), the rear straight also has built-in defense. Thus, in a mixed lead encounter, if both fighters are throwing simultaneously (as was the case with Pacquiao and Cotto in the above image) the fighter who is throwing the rear straight will often find the mark and force their opponent’s jab to sail across their rear shoulder.

With this in mind, then, imagine my surprise upon seeing Mikey Garcia ignore the golden rule of orthodox vs. southpaw strategy as he continually placed his lead foot inside of Juanma’s lead foot to land his jab.

Mikey Garcia vs Juanma Lopez 2013-06-18 at 4.32.57 PM

Garcia steps inside of Lopez’ lead foot and lands a jab.

I’ve spoken an awful a lot recently about the use of “blinding” or probing jabs to gauge one’s distance and to ascertain an opponent’s reactions (think of Floyd Mayweather and Guillermo Rigondeaux recently). A million miles away from this type of non-committal, low contact jab is the kind that Garcia used to disrupt Juanma’s rhythm and snap his head back with repeatedly. Just as Juanma was preparing to launch an attack, Garcia would get off first by stepping in behind a stiff jab.

It was astonishing to see how little regard Garcia had for Juanma’s rear hand as he continued to line himself up with it every time he stepped forward to land the jab. While there was very little telegraphic motion to spot as Garcia released his jab, Juanma really should have been doing proactively to prevent it from landing or to deter Garcia from even throwing it. Missing were any kind of evasion, deflection or blocking skills such as pre-emptive footwork (circling away), head movement (slipping, weaving) or parrying (lead hand against the jab in an opposite lead). Instead, Juanma continued to catch the jab flush on his face.

After establishing the jab, Garcia changed up his attack.

Mikey Garcia vs Juanma Lopez 2013-06-18 at 4.34.34 PM

Garcia feints a jab and hooks around Lopez’ guard.

Having conditioned Juanma with the jab, Garcia began varying his attack by mixing in some feints, left hooks and right hands. The left hook in particular worked a treat for Garcia as he would first feint with the left (along the same path as the jab would be travelling) to draw out or narrow Juanma’s hands before shifting to a lead hook toward the exposed side of Juanma’s head (above image).

Although he seldom threw his right hand as a lead (as is the usual modus operandi for an orthodox fighter against a southpaw) Garcia had no trouble threading it through behind his jab in combination.

Mikey Garcia vs Juanma Lopez at 4.35.36 PM

Garcia connects with a stiff one-two (jab-right cross), sending Lopez to the canvas.

Footwork

Undoubtedly, Garcia’s precision punching will have caught the public’s eye more than just about any other aspect. Nevertheless, I believe that Garcia’s footwork is his greatest (and probably most underrated) asset.

Footwork plays a pivotal role in boxing–not only in moving a fighter into range where they can land an attack, but also in moving them off line where they can avoid an opponent’s attack. Therefore, an intelligent boxer will always look to place himself at an angle, leaving him in a position to counter and his opponent off balance.

Mikey Garcia vs Juanma Lopez 2013-06-18 at 4.37.42 PM

Garcia circles behind his jab, forcing Lopez to turn and face him or risk being hit from a dominant angle. Off balance, Lopez falls short with a retaliatory left cross. Lateral movement in conjunction with the jab (stick and move) is an excellent strategy against come-forward fighters.

Footwork can also be used to open up the distance so that an opponent’s attack falls short.

Mikey Garcia vs Juanma Lopez 2013-06-18 at 4.39.16 PM

Lopez overcommits and falls short with a left cross. Garcia makes him pay with a left hook.

As Juanma grew increasingly frustrated due to the fact that he wasn’t able to land much, he became more and more reckless in his pursuit. As a result, Garcia lured him in and onto hard counters almost every time he advanced.

Mikey Garcia vs Juanma Lopez 2013-06-18 at 4.40.46 PM

Lopez overcommits with a one-two, sending him off balance. As Lopez is over extended, Garcia counters with a left hook and pivots off the attack line, forcing Juanma to turn and face him.

Using progressively shorter steps each time he took a step back, Garcia instilled Juanma with a false sense of distance. Believing Garcia was well within range, Juanma would launch an attack only for Garcia to take a deeper step back and counter Juanma as he was off balance and falling short.

He who controls the distance, usually controls (and wins) the fight.

Mikey Garcia vs Juanma Lopez 2013-06-18 at 4.43.55 PM

Mikey Garcia vs Juanma Lopez 2013-06-18 at 4.45.52 PM

Garcia’s jab draws a lead from Lopez. With Juanma baited into overcommitting with his left, Garcia steps back and counters with his right before securing a dominant angle off a (missed) straight right hand and finishing Lopez with a left hook. Notice how instead of getting too enthused after hurting Juanma with the initial right hand, Garcia takes a step back to assess the situation and give himself more punching room. This is the mark of a real craftsman –Juan Manuel Marquez did something very similar while finishing Juan Diaz in their first meeting.

Two things that stood out for me as I was watching the fight: 1) Mikey Garcia didn’t look at all like a fighter who had just struggled to make weight. His timing, rhythm, reflexes, coordination, balance, you name it, were all there for him. Quite frankly, I don’t recall him ever looking better. 2) Juan Manuel Lopez looks a far cry from the fighter who, without exaggeration, was once seen as the future of our sport. Watching Juanma now, I think he’s been the victim of a severe underdevelopment as far as learning the basics of defense are concerned –unless you’ve got the athletic qualities and other worldly reflexes of a prime Muhammad Ali, you’re going to get hit often.

However, the same cannot be said of Mikey Garcia, who, despite his tender age, already has the appearance of one of the finest ring mechanics in boxing. Garcia may not be blessed with exceptionally fast hands or feet, and if I’m being perfectly honest, I don’t think he is as hard a puncher as his knockout ratio suggests he is.

What I do believe, though, is that Mikey Garcia is a tremendously accurate puncher with a fine appreciation of timing and control of distance who knows how to manipulate his opponents into certain positions by using his footwork (angulation and lateral movement) and punch variety (targeting different lines to create further openings).

Simply put, when I look at a technician like Mikey Garcia, I see a fighter who has been taught the fundamentals of boxing and has been taught them well.

 

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Tony Yoka Makes Quick Work of Duhaupas; Yoka’s Wife Wins Too

Arne K. Lang

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An indoor rugby stadium in Nanterre, a township in an inner suburb of Paris, was the site today of a five-fight boxing show featuring Tony Yoka and his wife Estelle Mossely in separate bouts (when they fight each other, they do it in the privacy of their home). Attendance was limited to 5,000 with social distancing protocols in place.

Yoka and Mossely, the parents of two young children, the youngest a boy born in May, were each gold medal winners in boxing at the 2016 Rio games. The six-foot-seven Yoka defeated Filip Hrgovic in the semis and Joe Joyce in the gold medal round.

Today Yoka, in his first scheduled 12-rounder, was matched against 39-year-old French warhorse Johan Duhaupas who was 38-5 (25) heading in. Duhaupas went 12 rounds with Jarrell Miller, extended Deontay Wilder into the 11th frame, and knocked out Robert Helenius, the conqueror of Adam Kownacki. Despite his advanced age, he represented a step up in class for Yoka, 28, whose pro career was disrupted by a one-year suspension from the French Boxing Federation for being a no-show at three PED tests. At the very least, Duhaupas was expected to give Yoka some rounds.

But Yoka had other ideas. He needed only 121 seconds to dismantle his countryman and show that he belongs in the conversation with Daniel Dubois, Jared Anderson, the aforementioned Hrgovic and others when talking about the next generation of heavyweight stars.

Yoka (8-0, 7 KOs) dropped Duhaupas midway through the opening round with an overhand right. Duhaupas didn’t appear to be badly hurt, but he had no antidote for the barrage that followed. The coup-de-gras was a big right uppercut that sent him flying backward against the ropes. The referee stepped in immediately.

Yoka’s U.S. promoter is Top Rank which is seeminly out to corner the market on bright young heavyweight prospects. When Yoka turned pro it was under the tutelage of Virgil Hunter, the trainer of Andre Ward. Yoka has spent considerable time in Las Vegas while serving as the chief sparring partner for Joseph Parker.

estelle

Estelle Mossely kept pace with her hubby. Mossely, 28, advanced her record to 7-0 (1) with an 8-round unanimous decision over countrywoman Aurelie Froment. The scores were 80-72 across the board.

This was an assignment designed to shed the rust. Froment, 33, entered the fight with a 3-0-1 record, but hadn’t previously met an opponent with a winning record. In fact, none of Froment’s previous opponents had ever won a fight. In the aggregate, the foursome was 0-32-5 at the time that she fought them. Even the world sanctioning bodies steered clear of this affair, refusing to cloak the fight in some sort of title.

That observation aside, it was a nice win for Mossely coming so soon after giving birth. Born in France of Congolese and Ukrainian descent, she is rated the world’s best active female lightweight by BoxRec.

Hot prospect Souleymane Cissikho was originally scheduled to be on the card, but pulled out for an undisclosed reason. An Olympic teammate of Tony Yoka, Cissikho is a  special talent.

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

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Season 2 of the World Boxing Super Series Concludes on Saturday in Munich

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PRESS RELEASE: The hotly-anticipated World Boxing Super Series Season II Cruiserweight Final between Mairis Briedis and Yuniel Dorticos takes place behind-closed-doors in a film studio at Plazamedia Broadcasting Center in Munich, Germany on Saturday, 26 September. On the line: The Muhammad Ali Trophy, IBF World Title, and vacant Ring Magazine 200 lbs belt.

The final will be shown live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports in the UK.

“A final for the Muhammad Ali Trophy has proved to be something extraordinary. We have seen that it brings out the best in boxers which reflects the DNA of our tournament as to deliver and continue to deliver boxing at its very best to fans of the sport,” said Andreas Benz, CEO of Comosa, the event organizer.

“Plazamedia is a phenomenal solution, the studios are providing a controlled environment which is of huge benefit to us and the production team to keep everyone safe while also putting on a great show.

“At the same time, we have done everything to secure fair conditions for both teams, and to ensure they remain healthy and isolated until the action starts.”

Mairis Briedis, tournament No. 1 seed, qualified for the final through wins over Noel Mikaelian (UD) and Krzysztof Glowacki (TKO3), while Dorticos, No. 2 seed conquered Mateusz Masternak (UD) and Andrew Tabiti (KO10) to enter the 200 lbs decider.

“We are very happy about the announcement of the final,” said Latvia’s Mairis Briedis. “I love the fact that it will be in Munich as it reminds me of every time I went to train with the Klitschko brothers in Germany and the flights were always via Munich. Those are some great memories of the time spent with them there.”

Said Miami-based Cuban, Yuniel ‘The KO Doctor’ Dorticos, IBF World Cruiserweight Champion: “To all my fans worldwide, In Europe and especially in Munich, Germany: I am super happy the World Boxing Super Series final will take place in Munich, Germany, and I will see you all on Saturday, September 26th. The KO Doctor is back and ready to prescribe another dose of pain and take the Muhammad Ali Trophy back to Miami.”

Kalle Sauerland, Chief Boxing Officer of the WBSS, said: “On 26 September we will not only crown the best cruiserweight on the planet but also send a sign to the world that boxing is back with the first major transatlantic championship bout between the undisputed number one and two in their division.

The final is not only about honour and glory, but cementing a legacy. The winner will become a member of an exclusive ‘Ali Trophy Winner Club’ that includes Oleksandr Usyk, Callum Smith, Naoya Inoue and Josh Taylor. It doesn’t get much bigger in boxing, and we expect Briedis and Dorticos to have an absolute barnstormer!”

The Muhammad Ali Trophy was created by the late world-renowned artist Silvio Gazzaniga who also designed the iconic FIFA World Cup Trophy.

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 106: Return of LA Boxing, Josh Taylor, Charlos and More

David A. Avila

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 106: Return of LA Boxing, Josh Taylor, Charlos and More

Let’s call this week the Big Build Up.

Back in the 1920s to the 1950s the City of Angels was known as the place where Humphrey Bogart lived and played characters out of Raymond Chandler’s novels. Books like the “Big Sleep” and “Lady in a Lake” were made into movies based in Los Angeles.

Well, here we are back where boxing thrives, people or not.

Los Angeles kicks off the big boxing week starting with a televised fight card that features home grown featherweight Vic Pasillas at the Microsoft Theater in the downtown area. Fox Sports 1 will televise the Premier Boxing Championship card on Wednesday, Sept. 23.

Pasillas (15-0,8 KOs) faces Dominican fighter Ranfis Encarnacion (17-0, 13 KOs) in the co-main event at a fan-less event that begins a crowded week of boxing as we near the end of 2020.

“Coming out on top against Encarnación is going to catapult me into some big fights at featherweight. The division is wide open and I know with hard work I can take it over,” said Pasillas who is originally from Los Angeles. “This is by far the most important fight of my career. I’m coming with everything I got, because I know this is the turning point that will lead to bigger and better fights. I am ready to bring an exciting fight to the fans and get my hand raised in victory.”

Both Pasillas and Encarnacion are undefeated and unknown to most of the boxing world. A win changes everything especially when it’s difficult to even stage a boxing card.

Promoters are anxious to get their fighters in the ring by any means necessary.

On Thursday in Biloxi, Mississippi, super lightweight Michael Williams Jr. meets Thomas Miller in the headline attraction of a boxing card that will be streamed by UFC Fight Pass.

On Friday in southern Mexico, Serhii Bohachuk (17-0, 17 KOs) meets Alejandro Davila (21-1-2, 8 KOs) in Merida, Yucatan. No word if it will be streamed. The super welterweight from Ukraine has a 17-fight knockout streak and has become a main attraction in Hollywood, California for 360 Promotions.

“Serhii has become one of the most talked about rising stars in boxing,” said Tom Loeffler, promoter of 360 Promotions. “Boxing fans are excited to see if he can continue his knockout streak against Alejandro Davila, the toughest opponent he’s faced. He’s been training very hard with Manny Robles for this fight and if victorious, we’re certain there will be bigger opportunities for him in the near future.”

These are all tasty appetizers for the big buffet coming on Saturday.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Saturday morning, especially if you live in the California area, ESPN+ will showcase the IBF, WBA super lightweight world title fight between champion Josh Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) and Apinun Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs) in London. It will be streamed live on Sept. 26, Saturday morning, starting at 11 a.m PST.

This is an important match for Taylor (pictured on the left) who needs a win to nail down a unification clash with Jose Carlos Ramirez the WBC and WBO titlist. If Scotland’s Taylor emerges victorious the super lightweight clash will be one of the top fights of the year.

And if that fight happens to take place, then that winner more than likely meets WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford.

But first things first. Taylor needs to defeat Thailand’s Khongsong on Saturday.

“I didn’t want a warm-up fight, so getting straight back in there against my mandatory challenger is great, as it’s kept me fully focused. I want big fights in my career, so this is an important fight with my belts on the line,” said Taylor.

Charlos Pay-per-view

The Charlos brothers asked for it and they got it.

Long have the brothers from Houston, Texas asked for a pay-per-view fight card and it never seemed possible until now. The Charlos will headline a pay-per-view double-header on Saturday via Showtime.

Beginning at 4 p.m PT/ 7 p.m. ET the Showtime pay-per-view card begins with three top notch bouts:

WBO bantamweight titlist John Riel Casimero (29-4) vs Ghana’s Duke Micah (24-0, 19 KOs).

WBA super bantamweight titlist Brandon Figueroa (20-0-1, 15 KOs) vs Damien Vazquez (15-1-1, 8 KOs).

WBC middleweight titlist Jermall Charlo (30-0, 22 KOs) v Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KOs).

Charlo was not impressed with Derevyanchenko’s performances against Daniel Jacobs and Gennady Golovkin because both were losses. He expects to dominate.

Derevyanchenko says he’s ready for Charlo.

“Golovkin is a very different fighter than Charlo, but Jacobs is similar stylistically, so that’s something I’ll be used to,” said Derevyanchenko. “This training camp has been very similar to camps for my previous fights though. We just brought in different sparring partners for this one. We’re using fighters who can show us what Charlo will bring to the ring.”

After a 30-minute intermission the second half of the boxing card begins.

Former bantamweight world champion Luis Nery (30-0, 24 KOs) moves up in weight to face Aaron Alameda (25-0, 13 KOs) for the vacant WBC super bantamweight world title. Both fighters are from Mexico.

Former super bantamweight titlists Danny Roman (27-3-1) and Juan Carlos Payano (21-3) meet in a 12-round bout.

In the grand finale WBC super welterweight titlist Jermell Charlo (33-1, 17 KOs) challenges IBF and WBA super welterweight titlist Jeison Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KOs) in a fight for all three belts.

“We lions,” said Charlo.

It’s a very big week for boxing that begins on Wednesday and ends Saturday.

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

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