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If Pacquiao Really Won Why Bother Writing What He Needs To Do This Time?

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This coming April 12th, WBO welterweight title-holder Timothy Bradley 31-0 (12) will defend his title in a rematch against the man he won it from 22 months ago, Manny Pacquiao 55-5-2 (38). The controversial split decision in favor of Bradley has been the topic of debate since the decision was announced. In a ringside poll after the fight, 48 out of 51 observers who cover boxing saw Pacquiao as the winner by an overwhelming majority. Harold Lederman, HBO’s unofficial judge, scored the fight 119-109 for Pacquiao as did ESPN.com. On June 21st 2012, five WBO championship committee judges scored the fight 117-111, 117-111, 118-110, 116-112 and 115-113 all in favor of Pacquiao and basically said if they had the power, which they do not, they would’ve overturned the result.

Yes, I’m the same person who emphatically insists that if you don’t score the fight live and in the moment, your score doesn’t count after you go back and score the replay after knowing the result. So let’s throw out the WBO committee’s scores because they watched the tape of the fight a week after it took place. I just mentioned them because they were another faction who like everyone else saw Pacquiao as the winner. Instead, let’s go by those who scored the fight live and were polled immediately after the fight along with Lederman and ESPN.com. That makes it 50-3 in favor of Pacquiao. In addition to that, I haven’t encountered one fan who said they had Bradley as the winner. I could care less how any fan, writer or official scored Pacquiao-Bradley or any other fight regardless whether or not they agree or disagree with me. It just doesn’t effect me because I know what I saw and heard. During the fight the commentators didn’t focus on Pacquiao’s lack of killer instinct or aggression, aside from mentioning that he hasn’t won by stoppage since 2009. And after the fight boxing writers and fans weren’t focused on Manny’s civilized demeanor either. The talk was centered on one topic, and that was how convincingly Pacquiao, 35, won the fight and how the decision was an out-right robbery. Nobody was talking about Pacquiao’s complacency or lost desire. However, somewhere along the line that changed and the debate now is more pointed to what Manny must do to win and how he needs to find his mean streak again, as if that’s what cost him the decision last time.

Excuse me, if I go by what everyone has said regarding how the last fight went and who won, wouldn’t Bradley, 30, be the fighter who has to change and be better this time since 50 out of 53 supposedly knowledgeable observers saw Pacquiao winning it going away back in June of 2012? If I am to be led by what those supposed experts concluded 22 months ago, Pacquiao did everything right but get the decision the last time.Yet there’s been a plethora of newspaper, internet and blog articles and posts specifically pointing out how Pacquiao has to rediscover his meanness again if he really wants to win this time. Even Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach has been sucked into the conversation, but then again he always wants Manny to win by kayo. What!?? The fighter who everybody thinks won the last time and only lost two or three rounds out of twelve, he’s the one who has to reinvent himself? Maybe what they’re really trying to say is that they fear the fight might be similar to the last one and Bradley may get the decision again. But how is that possible, unless the same judges who worked the first fight work the rematch, which of course will not be the case.There’ll be a ton of articles written between now and the fight with cookbook analogies and breakdowns as to what both Pacquiao and Bradley must do strategically to win. But since everyone is insistent that Pacquiao handled Bradley the first time, why write what he has to do this time aside from making sure the same judges don’t work the fight? I think those writing and suggesting what Pacquiao needs to do on April 12 are writing more for themselves in an effort to try and showcase what they know more than anything else.

It seems that’s there’s a new template for boxing writing unfolding. And in that world A+B=C every time. There’s also a faction who try to view boxing as rocket science and view fighters as robots that can be programmed. Some believe that strategies and fight plans are rehearsed like Seal Team Six would rehearse for an overseas op. No, that’s not the case. Fighters cannot work on three or four things at one time especially during the fight, and if anyone preaches so, they’re wrong and never spent meaningful time around championship caliber fighters and trainers. Actually, good trainers try as hard as they can to keep things simple/stupid. And that’s because things happen too fast during a fight and they don’t want to bog down their fighters mind with too much info and instructions. And that applies in the gym too.

There are legitimate fight plans and good fighters and good trainers use them, but they’re subject to moment by moment change, and they are never elaborate. Sure, Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard showed the boxing world that Marvin Hagler wasn’t unbeatable if he was forced to lead and carry the fight. On paper or in the boxing laboratory that’s sounds great, “if you’re fighting Hagler, make him lead.” I saw dozens of fighters eaten alive moving away from Hagler. The problem with that cookbook analogy is, name the fighters not named Duran or Leonard who could neutralize Marvin while fighting in retreat? The cookbook formula is only as good as the fighter in the kitchen.

Look at how many punches Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes missed in their fights with Jimmy Young and Michael Spinks. The fact is Ali and Holmes hated to fight in the role of George Foreman, however Jimmy and Michael forced them to fight as the predator against them because that was Jimmy’s style and Michael’s style during his heavyweight days. How many other fighters would’ve had so much success forcing Muhammad or Larry to fight as the aggressor being they had two of the best jabs in heavyweight history, but Young and Spinks could and did?

Remember when it used to be said how Joe Frazier and Mike Tyson couldn’t fight if you made them go back? And that was true, neither Joe or Mike were terribly effective while going back. The problem with that was how many fighters were good enough to force them back when they were in their prime?

Since mostly everyone thinks Pacquiao won the first fight, what does he have to do different in the rematch? Manny knows how to fight and what he basically has to do is make Bradley more uncomfortable this time than he did last time with volume punching coming in waves and hopefully the judges won’t be wearing blindfolds. Since Manny doesn’t fear being knocked out by Bradley, he and Roach can roll the dice and take the risk and try to go for a knockout this time. And if that’s the case, what are Bradley’s options? If he wastes his time thinking about perfect foot positioning or glove placement, he’s sure to be a former champ the morning after the fight. The best case for Bradley is that he can give Pacquiao just enough to think about with his quick combos/boxing/movement and then get out, or try to catch him in between exchanges.

But if Manny is really aggressive, he’ll be limited in that department as well. Basically, Pacquiao wants to make it a war and Bradley needs to keep it a boxing match. When I was training at Frazier’s gym in Philadelphia as an amateur there was a period when Meldrick Taylor was training and sparring every day etc. As you know, Taylor was one of the quickest handed and best boxers you’d be likely to find. And his co-trainer, George Benton, forgot more about boxing than Freddie Roach will ever know. It was understood that Meldrick already knew to keep his hands up, his chin down and his feet placed right. What they worked on more than anything else was keeping his combinations flowing effortlessly. Nothing tricky about it. The idea is if fighters of that caliber stay in really good condition, and do all the basics right, then learn how to punch in combination, you’ll do well. Does Mikey Garcia really do any more than that?

Ray Arcel, who was a great trainer (infinitely better than anyone today, with the exception of Nacho Beristain) was once asked what advice he gave Roberto Duran. He said, “Roberto Duran already knew how to fight. I didn’t show him anything. Once in a while I’d pantomime throwing a jab, just to remind him to throw it. That was it.” To make a salient boxing point it really doesn’t have to be broken down molecule by molecule, unless you’re trying to sound smarter than everyone else. Boxing doesn’t work like that because nobody is punching at or moving away from the perfect fight plan in the boxing laboratory. Maybe to some writers and fans, boxing is so mysterious, so beyond anything they can do, that they have to attribute things to it that simply don’t exist. In a sense, they’re right: it is something that almost no one can do.

On April 12th both Pacquiao and Bradley will enter the ring with two, perhaps three things on their mind that they’ll try to execute against each other during the bout. Once the fight starts there may be a few tweeks but that’s it. No scripts or cookbooks in the corner on fight night. It isn’t rocket science, it’s boxing fundamentals and basics conveyed via the trainer to the fighter. And often times it’s more simple/stupid than what most think or want to believe it is.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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Conor Benn, a Lightning Rod for Controversy, Returns to the Ring on Saturday

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In a surprise announcement, Matchroom honcho Eddie Hearn has announced that Conor Benn will return to the ring this Saturday on the undercard of his promotion at the Caribe Royal in Orlando, Florida. Benn (21-0, 14 KOs) is matched against Mexico’s Rodolfo Orozco who is 32-3-3 (24) and has never been stopped. The match is slated for 10 rounds at 154 pounds and will mark the first test for both fighters outside their native countries.

The main event on the Matchroom card is a 12-round contest in the super lightweight division between Richardson Hitchins (16-0, 7 KOs) and Jose Zepeda (37-3, 28 KOs). Hitchins, born in Brooklyn, represented his parents’ homeland of Haiti in the 2016 Rio Olympics where he lost his opening round match to amateur nemesis Gary Antuanne Russell. Zepeda, a 34-year-old Mexican-American southpaw, is best remembered for his 2020 rumble with Ivan Baranchyk, the runaway pick for the Fight of the Year. The chief supporting bout pits England’s Sandy Ryan against Chicago’s Jessica McCaskill with the WBA, WBC, and IBF female welterweight belts on the line. The show will be live-streamed on DAZN.

Conor Benn last fought in April of last year when he TKOed South African veteran Chris Van Heerden in the second round. He was slated to return to the ring on Oct. 8, 2022 against Chris Eubank Jr, but — as is common knowledge – that bout fell to pieces when it came out that Benn had tested positive for a banned substance identified as Clomifene, a fertility drug in women that boosts testosterone in men. Making things worse for Benn, it came out that he had tested positive on VADA-administered tests on two separate occasions spaced several weeks apart. Try as they may, promoter Eddie Hearn and his partner Kelle Sauerland were unable to sway the British Boxing Board of Control into backing off on their edict that prevented the fight from going forward; the authorities wouldn’t budge.

As noted in a story that ran on this website, the Benn-Eubank Jr implosion was a particularly infernal shipwreck. The plug wasn’t pulled until two days before the fight, by which time all 20,000 seats at London’s O2 Arena had reportedly been sold.

Conor Benn predictably insisted that he was innocent, calling it a witch-hunt. The World Boxing Council subsequently lifted its suspension of Benn, citing a report in a medical journal that showed that Clomifene could appear in one’s system via an excessive consumption of eggs. With his father Nigel, a former two-division world champion at his side, Conor argued his case on a popular British TV talk show and persuaded many to see him as a sympathetic figure, the victim of a flawed testing process.

Interest in a Benn-Eubank Jr fight dissipated when Eubank was knocked out by Liam Smith, but was then rekindled when Eubank won the rematch in a dominant fashion. Various news reports say that Hearn has begun preliminary negotiations to resurrect the fight with his eye on a date in December.

As noted by several prominent fight writers, notably Dan Rafael, Conor Benn hasn’t yet been cleared to resume his career in the UK. An independent National Anti-Doping Panel gave him the green light, but the BBBofC is appealing that decision. Promoter Frank Warren, Eddie Hearn’s chief rival, has ventured the opinion that Team Benn is disrespecting the sport by returning to the ring before the process has run its course. In rebuttal, Eddie Hearn says the Benn-Orozco fight has the blessing of the (USA) Association of Boxing Commissioners which made this determination after consulting with the BBBofC.

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International Brotherhood of Prizefighters Rankings: Week of September 17, 2023

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International Brotherhood of Prizefighters Rankings: Week of September 17, 2023

Here’s to guessing that the days of the best willing to fight the best on a regular basis is now forever but a distant memory.

105lbs

Vacant

1            Thammanoon Niyomtrong (Knockout CP Freshmart) (Thailand)

2            Panya Pradabsri (Petchmanee CP Freshmart) (Thailand)

3            Oscar Collazo (USA)

4            Ginjiro Shigeoka (Japan)

5            Daniel Valladares (Mexico)

6            Yudai Shigeoka (Japan)

7            Melvin Jerusalem (Philippines)

8            Masataka Taniguchi (Japan)

9            Rene Mark Cuarto (Philippines)

10          Yudai Shigeoka (Philippines)

 

108lbs

Kenshiro Teraji (Japan)

1            Jonathan Gonzalez (Puerto Rico)

2            Masamichi Yabuki (Japan)

3            Sivenathi Nontshinga (South Africa)

4            Hekkie Budler (South Africa)

5            Elwin Soto (Mexico)

6            Regie Suganob (Philippines)

7            Shokichi Iwata (Japan)

8            Carlos Canizales (Venezuela)

9            Daniel Matellon (Panama)

10          Miel Fajardo (Philippines)

 

112lbs

Vacant

1            Sunny Edwards (England)

2            Artem Dalakian (Ukraine)

3            Julio Cesar Martinez (Mexico)

4            Angel Ayala Lardizabal (Mexico)

5            David Jimenez (Costa Rica)

6            Jesse Rodriguez (USA)

7            Ricardo Sandoval (USA)

8            Felix Alvarado (Nicaragua)

9            Seigo Yuri Akui (Japan)

10          Taku Kuwahara (Japan)

 

115lbs

Juan Francisco Estrada (Mexico)

1            Roman Gonzalez (Nicaragua)

2            Kazuto Ioka (Japan)

3            Fernando Martinez (Argentina)

4            Junto Nakatani (Japan)

5            Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (Thailand)

6            Kosei Tanaka (Japan)

7            Andrew Moloney (Australia)

8            Francisco Rodriguez Jr. (Mexico)

9            Pedro Guevara (Mexico)

10         Donnie Nietes (Philippines)

 

118lbs

Vacant

1            Emmanuel Rodriguez (Puerto Rico)

2            Alexandro Santiago (Mexico)

3            Jason Moloney (Australia)

4            Vincent Astrolabio (Philippines)

5            Gary Antonio Russell (USA)

6            Takuma Inoue (Japan)

7            Nonito Donaire (Philippines)

8            Ryosuke Nishida (Japan)

9            Keita Kurihara (Japan)

10          Paul Butler (England)

 

122lbs

Vacant

1            Naoya Inoue (Japan)

2            Marlon Tapales (Philippines)

3            Stephen Fulton (USA)

4            Luis Nery (Mexico)

5            Murodjon Akhmadaliev (Uzbekistan)

6            Sam Goodman (Australia)

7            Azat Hovhannisyan (Armenia)

8            Kevin Gonzalez (Mexico)

9            Ra’eese Aleem (USA)

10          Liam Davies (England)

 

126lbs

Vacant

1            Luis Alberto Lopez (Mexico)

2           Leigh Wood (England)

3            Brandon Figueroa (USA)

4            Rey Vargas (Mexico)

5            Mauricio Lara (Mexico)

6            Robeisy Ramirez (Cuba)

7            Mark Magsayo (Philippines)

8            Josh Warrington (England)

9            Reiya Abe (Japan)

10          Otabek Kholmatov (Uzbekistan)

 

130lbs

Vacant

1            Emanuel Navarrete (Mexico)

2            Joe Cordina (Wales)

3            Hector Garcia (Dominican Republic)

4            O’Shaquie Foster (USA)

5            Oscar Valdez (Mexico)

6            Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (Tajikistan)

7            Otar Eranosyan (Georgia)

8            Lamont Roach (USA)

9            Eduardo Ramirez (Mexico)

10          Kenichi Ogawa (Japan)

 

135lbs

Devin Haney (USA)

1            Gervonta Davis (USA)

2            Vasily Lomachenko (Ukraine)

3            Isaac Cruz (Mexico)

4            William Zepeda Segura (Mexico)

5            Frank Martin (USA)

6            Shakur Stevenson (USA)

7            Maxi Hughes (England)

8            George Kambosos Jr (Australia)

9            Keyshawn Davis (USA)

10          Raymond Muratalla (USA)

 

140lbs

Teofimo Lopez (USA)

1            Regis Prograis (USA)

2            Jose Ramirez (USA)

3            Jose Zepeda (USA)

4            Jack Catterall (England)

5            Subriel Matias (Puerto Rico)

6            Arnold Barboza Jr. (USA)

7            Gary Antuanne Russell (USA)

8            Zhankosh Turarov (Kazakhstan)

9            Elvis Rodriguez (Dominican Republic)

10          Josh Taylor (Scotland)

 

147lbs

Terence Crawford (USA)

1            Errol Spence (USA)

2            Jaron Ennis (USA)

3            David Avanesyan (Russia)

4            Cody Crowley (Canada)

5            Alexis Rocha (USA)

6            Rashidi Ellis (USA)

7            Souleymane Cissokho (Senegal)

8            Roiman Villa (Venezuela)

9            Egidijus Kavaliauskas (Lithuania)

10          Shakhram Giyasov (Uzbekistan)

 

154lbs

Jermell Charlo (USA)

1            Tim Tszyu (Australia)

2            Brian Mendoza (USA)

3            Jesus Alejandro Ramos (USA)

4            Sebastian Fundora (USA)

5            Erickson Lubin (USA)

6            Michel Soro (Ivory Coast)

7            Magomed Kurbanov (Russia)

8            Tony Harrison (USA)

9            Israil Madrimov (Uzbekistan)

10          Bakhram Murtazaliev (Russia)

 

160lbs

Vacant

1            Gennady Golovkin (Kazakhstan)

2            Carlos Adames (Dominican Republic)

3            Zhanibek Alimkhanuly (Kazakhstan)

4            Chris Eubank Jr. (England)

5            Liam Smith (England)

6            Sergiy Derevyanchenko (Ukraine)*

7            Vincenzo Gualtieri (Germany)

8            Felix Cash (England)

9            Michael Zerafa (Australia)

10          Esquiva Falcao (Brazil)

 

168lbs

Canelo Alvarez (Mexico)

1            David Benavidez (USA)

2            Caleb Plant (USA)

3            Christian Mbilli (France)

4            David Morrell (Cuba)

5            John Ryder (England)

6            Pavel Silyagin (Russia)

7            Vladimir Shishkin (Russia)

8            Carlos Gongora (Ecuador)

9            Jaime Munguia (Mexico)

10          Demetrius Andrade (USA)

 

175lbs

Artur Beterbiev (Canada)

1          Dmitry Bivol (Russia)

2          Joshua Buatsi (England)

3          Callum Smith (England)

4          Joe Smith Jr. (USA)

5          Gilberto Ramirez (Mexico)

6          Anthony Yarde (England)

7          Dan Azeez (England)

8          Ali Izmailov (Russia)

9          Michael Eifert (Germany)

10        Igor Mikhalkin (Germany)

 

200lbs

Jai Opetaia (Australia)

1            Mairis Breidis (Latvia)

2            Chris Billam-Smith (England)

3            Richard Riakporhe (England)

4            Aleksei Papin (Russia)

5            Badou Jack (Sweden)

6            Arsen Goulamirian (France)

7            Lawrence Okolie (England)

8            Yuniel Dorticos (Cuba)

9            Mateusz Masternak (Poland)

10          Ilunga Makabu (So. Africa)

 

Unlimited

Oleksandr Usyk (Ukraine)

1            Tyson Fury (England)

2            Zhilei Zhang (China)

3            Deontay Wilder (USA)

4            Anthony Joshua (England)

5            Filip Hrgovic (Croatia)

6            Andy Ruiz (USA)

7            Joe Joyce (England)

8            Arslanbek Makhmudov (Russia)

9            Frank Sanchez (Cuba)

10          Luis Ortiz (USA)

 

Pound-for-Pound

01 – Terence Crawford

02 – Naoya Inoue

03 – Oleksandr Usyk

04 – Juan Francisco Estrada

05 – Dmitry Bivol

06 – Tyson Fury

07 – Canelo Alvarez

08 – Artur Beterbiev

09 – Teofimo Lopez

10 – Shakur Stevenson

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Kenshiro Teraji TKOs Hekkie Budler on a Monday Night in Tokyo

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Kenshiro Teraji, the best Japanese boxer not named Naoya Inoue, successfully defended his WBC and WBA 108-pound titles in the Koto City ward of  Tokyo tonight (before dawn in parts of the U.S.) with a ninth-round stoppage of South African veteran Hekkie Budler. Although Budler had his moments, Teraji (22-1, 14 KOs) was comfortably ahead on the cards when referee Jose Guadalupe Garcia pulled the plug at the 2:19 mark of round nine with Budler backed against the ropes and Teraji connecting with a barrage of unanswered punches.

Teraji, a second-generation prizefighter in his second reign as a 108-pound champion, is now 13-1 in world title fights. He avenged his lone defeat and did it in grand style with a third round KO of countryman Masamichi Yabuki. The 35-year-old Budler, a former two-division title-holder who has answered the bell for 341 rounds, declined to 35-5.

Nakatani-Cortes

Junto Nakatani, a two-division title-holder making the first defense of his WBO world super flyweight title, won a lopsided 12-round decision over Mexico City’s Argi Cortes. Nakatani, tall for the weight class, scored three knockdowns with body punches, two coming in round five, en route to winning by scores of 118-107 and 119-106 twice.

A massive favorite in the 18/1 range, Nakatani (26-0, 19 KOs) was coming off a dominant showing against Andrew Moloney in Las Vegas, a bout that ended with Nakatani scoring a brutal, one-punch knockout. Cortes (25-4-2) had lost only one of his previous 25 fights, that a narrow but unanimous decision rendered against him by pound-for-pound-list occupant Juan Francisco Estrada. This was his first appearance outside Mexico.

Nakatani appears to be on a collision course with 30-2-1 countryman Kazuto Ioka who holds the WBA version of this title.

Also

In a super flyweight contest slated for eight rounds, Anthony Olascuaga (6-1, 4 KOs) scored a seventh-round stoppage of Giemel Magrano who was on his feet and likely ahead on the cards when the referee halted the contest with three seconds remaining in round seven.

Olascuaga, LA-born and raised, had suffered his lone defeat in this very ring in April, succumbing in nine rounds to Kenshiro Teraji. In that contest, Olascuaga acquitted himself well in defeat considering his inexperience and the fact that he took the bout on 10 days’ notice. Magrano, a 28-year-old Filipino, declines to 28-4.

Nasukara

In a bout that directly preceded the main event, Tenshin Nasukawa pitched a shutout over Mexican import Luis Guzman, winning 80-70 on all three cards after scoring a knockdown in the opening round.

Outside Japan, Nasukawa, now 2-0 as a professional boxer, is best known for his quasi-exhibition with Floyd Mayweather in December of 2019, a match in which he suffered the indignity of being stopped in the opening round. Inside Japan, he is recognized as one of the greatest kickboxers of all time. Guzman, recognized as the bantamweight champion of Mexico, lost for the third time in 13 pro bouts.

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