Connect with us

Featured Articles

The Marksman Q n A Special: Kenny Bayless

Avatar

Published

on

Even though he is one of the more respected referees in the game of boxing, Kenny Bayless is the first to admit that he has made some mistakes in the ring.

Bayless attends at least six referee seminars a year and loves to educate boxing fans about the sweet science.

But do not expect Bayless to apologize for his performance on Saturday night during the rematch between Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana.

Bayless gives himself an “A plus” for that effort, he informed me during a recent chat. It was, I think we can agree, one of the more difficult fights to officiate for any referee in recent memory.

In our discussion, Bayless gives us a breakdown of why he did what he did on the night Mayweather was victorious. Some fans think Bayless played a major role in Mayweather winning a unanimous decision.

Bayless says he was just doing his job, which was controlling the fight.

Bayless also had some choice words for some of the boxing media. Bayless says many in the media “do not engulf themselves in the sport.”

Bayless continues by explaining why we have a problem in boxing when a commentator with an untrained eye has so much influence on the public, and so much more.

RM: Let’s jump into the big fight between Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana this past Saturday. Tell me about your preparation… Did you prepare any differently for this fight?

KB: Well, as far as physical preparation, I trained for it the same way. I have a treadmill at my house. I get on it on a regular basis to keep my cardio up, I also workout with elastic bands. I just do enough to stay in shape on a regular basis. Now, I probably prepared more mentally as opposed to physically. The main thing for me or any other referee is not losing control of (any) fight. After watching the first fight and seeing how physical it was, I needed to make sure the fight didn’t get out of hand. I needed to make sure I didn’t lose control.

RM: OK. So, what were things that you did to make sure the fight did not get out of control?

KB: One of the things I picked up on from the first fight was whenever Mayweather went to the ropes, which made it easier for Maidana to score, a lot of the punches thrown by Maidana were roundhouse punches and several of the punches were rabbit punches. They were hitting Mayweather on the back of the head. Another thing was that Maidana has an aggressive style and he tends to lead with his head. And if you noticed in the first fight, there was an accidental head-butt. Mayweather was on the receiving end of that head-butt. And also some of the punches went a little low. All these things were happening in the first fight. It was my job to correct that. I wanted to make sure it didn’t happen in the second fight because tempers can flare. I always say, in the heat of the moment, a fighter can do anything. There might be fouls that are intentional or unintentional. My job is to keep the fight even, safe, and fair on both sides.

RM: When you referee a rematch do you think of it as a rematch or try to separate the two fights?

KB: Well, I do look at the first fight and critique it, then decide what I have to do to make (the rematch) a better fight. And what a lot of fans don’t understand is that sometimes referees have to take a difficult fight, or an uneventful fight and turn around and make it an enjoyable fight for the fans to watch.

RM: But why is it your job to make the fight enjoyable?

KB: I’ll give you an example. I happened to referee a fight couple of years ago, which was a rematch, just like Saturday night. It was between Sugar Shane Mosley and Fernando Vargas. In the first fight there was an accidental head-butt. Mosley’s camp said it was accidental. Vargas’ camp said it was intentional. And I don’t know if you remember, but Fernando Vargas… the side of his head started to swell up and ultimately the fight had to be stopped. Well, I did the rematch for that fight. And I had to study the first fight well. The main thing for me was to hopefully not allow that (another head-butt) to happen. Both sides had their issues about the heads and other issues that I had to address. Again, the main thing for me is to make sure the fight is clean on both sides.

RM: I see. So, what types of things were said in the dressing room when you were talking to Mayweather and Maidana before the fight?

KB: Well there wasn’t a lot said. First I went to Maidana’s dressing room. The first thing I said was that I want both fighters and the camps to be professionals. I told them that my job is to keep a level playing field. And then I went into the rules. And then I told them to hold all of their questions until after I went over the rules because a lot of times I answer the questions while I am stating the rules. When I was done, there weren’t many questions asked. I believe Mr. Garcia Sr. asked a question. But it was pretty much standard. Then I went to Mayweather’s room. I started out the same way about being professional. Floyd Sr. was not in the dressing room at the time because he had a fighter at ringside. Roger Mayweather was there. I went over all the rules. Floyd didn’t have any questions. I said good luck to Floyd Mayweather just like I said good luck to Marcos Maidana. And the next time I saw them was in the ring.

RM: Now take me through the fight. Was the fight just as physical as you expected?

KB: Yes, Basically I wanted to be in control initially. I wanted to keep control so it didn’t get out of hand. And believe it or not, fouls will occur when fighters are in a clinch. And before the fight I told both fighters, I will give you an opportunity to fight out of a clinch. But if you don’t fight out of the clinch I am I going to stop the action. That’s when the fouls start, the rabbit punches and the possible low blows. So when they got into a clinch and I didn’t see hardly any action, I stopped it immediately. I separated them and let the fight continue.

RM: I noticed Maidana complaining about having a free hand during the clinch. Even the Showtime broadcast team said something about it. What did you think?

KB: Well, he might have had a free hand but you have to fight out of the clinch. I have to determine if it is a hard clinch or a soft clinch. Usually if it is a soft clinch or soft hold then I will let them fight out. But if it is a hard clinch or a hard hold then I have to step in and separate the fighters.

RM: Floyd was holding pretty hard and that’s why you broke them up, right?

KB: Yes. But it is neutral in a sense. When both fighters have a glove under the arm and I see they are trying to work out of it, then I will step back. As a matter of fact, there were a couple of times they did work out. Couple of times I was so close one of the fighters, I think it was Maidana, almost backed into me. But the key thing is to determine the difference between the hard hold versus the soft hold. I had to make my decision on the spot. Right then and right now. And knowing what happened in the first fight, as far as rabbit punches, accidental head-butts, and low blows. My intent was to not get a repeat of that. So I got in as quick as I could to prevent any fouls from happening.

RM: So, how do you respond to the criticism afterwards? I’m sure you heard some of the comments made all over the boxing world.

KB: Well, I’ve had some calls from friends that told me some of the comments the sports announcers said about me getting involved, and not allowing Maidana to fight out. Apparently in the first fight he was able to score mostly on the ropes. The announcers said I wasn’t allowing him to score or fight because I was getting in there too fast. Their comments aren’t accurate. I had to keep the fight under control. Between the executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Bob Bennett and the commissioners and my colleagues, the officials and judges, they said I did a great job in refereeing a tough fight. So the comments I hear don’t bother me at all. I have been refereeing for over 23 years. I wouldn’t be in the position I am in now if it wasn’t for the fact that I do a clean job. I am unbiased. If I don’t perform well, we have the executive director and commission sitting at ringside; they will without question let me know that I wasn’t on my A game. So, I have to bring my A game for every assignment. Whether it’s a four round fight or six round fight or a championship fight because we get critiqued after every fight card.

RM: What would you grade yourself for Saturday?

KB: I would give myself an A+.

RM: Why?

KB: It is because of my ability to move around the ring. I had to stay consistent to see everything that happened. That’s another thing that fight fans and people don’t understand. You have to be in great shape to move around in that ring. You have to be in position at all times to see what happens. We have to be in position to make the right call. You know, I’ll tell you Ray, our work is not easy. It is very difficult. Saturday night was no walk through the park.

RM: Was it because of all the movement?

KB: The movement. Exactly.

RM: What exactly happened during the bite incident?

KB: Well, Maidana’s head was down. Every once in a while, you will get that type of hold. It usually happens when a fighter comes in and misses a punch. As I separated the two fighters, Floyd stepped back and indicated that he got bit.

RM: Right.

KB: And he just said, “He bit me. He bit me.” I called timeout, told Maidana to go to a neutral corner. I looked at Floyd’s glove and I didn’t see anything. But Floyd kept indicating that he got bit. This was a situation where I had to make some decisions. And, Floyd Sr. gets up on the ring apron. And he is upset and mad. He is talking about what he wants to do… Now, I have to defuse the situation. It can get out of hand.

RM: Right.

KB: I got Floyd Sr. to go back down the stairs and I asked the doctor to come up. I specifically asked for the doctor to come up to give some time for things to settle down.

RM: OK.

KB: I knew the doctor was going to see what I did. Whatever happened was on the inside of the glove. It wasn’t like his glove was bleeding or anything. There was nothing. The doctor came up, he saw what I saw, and he didn’t see anything. So, I sent the doctor back down. Again, I was just buying time to defuse the situation. Then at that point, I told Floyd there is nothing that I could see. The fight has to continue.

RM: Interesting. So, you were just buying time?

KB: Yeah. I was buying time to calm things down. Usually when a fighter gets fouled and nothing is done about it, he has a reason to retaliate. I’m not saying Floyd was going to foul him back. But I addressed the incident and hoped that he wouldn’t retaliate. And he didn’t retaliate.

RM: Why did you take a point away from Maidana in the fight?

KB: I told both fighters in the dressing room, two wrongs don’t make a right. If you deliberately commit a foul, I can take up to two points from your score. Maidana threw a forearm in Floyd’s face then he threw him to the ground. How deliberate is that? And this comes after the possibility that he bit him? I couldn’t tell if he bit him then he comes back two rounds later and throws him to the ground?

RM: Yeah.

KB: For me, remember, taking control of the fight is the main thing. I felt it was appropriate at that time to take a point, to slow Maidana down because Floyd Mayweather has a way of frustrating his opponents simply because they can’t hit him. I refereed the Mayweather/Canelo Alvarez fight. Canelo Alvarez couldn’t hit him and he (Canelo) did some stuff that I had to give him some very hard warnings about. I was very close to taking points from him. Fighters get frustrated because they can’t hit Floyd. Maidana hit Mayweather with a great shot. I believe it was at the end of the third round, right at the bell. That was his best punch of the fight. But he was not able to follow up. So that is something I have to be alert to. I have to know where the fight is going as far as Fighter A and Fighter B.

RM: You have to be in tuned with the fight?

KB: Yep. I have to be in tuned with all that is happening. We get a forearm to the face and a throw down. So I took a point. And there was no argument when the round ended. And I went over to the Maidana corner to warn him to keep the fight clean. Robert Garcia said that he didn’t see the foul. But that’s OK. I don’t know how he didn’t see it. When fans or trainers see their fighter do something wrong it’s ok with them because they want to win the fight. In the following round Floyd hit Maidana with a low blow. I believe it was unintentional. I gave Maidana time to recover. But it was low. That was just simple mechanics.

RM: One big misconception for the fans or even some of the media is that we don’t get to hear the stuff you say to the fighters in the dressing room. You said that you deducted the point from Maidana because you warned him about infractions before the fight… You said that you warned both fighters about breaking the rules. Maybe fans get upset because we don’t see you tell the fighters these rules.

KB: Well I was surprised Ray. Usually Showtime or HBO will come in the dressing room and film my instructions. They usually give the fans every aspect. The reason why I don’t have a problem taking the interview with you is because I like to educate the fans. The fans are the least educated as far as what referees do when we are in the ring. It is difficult for fans because when I step in the ring, I have to be unbiased. When fans step in the arena they already know in their mind who they want to win.

RM: That’s a good point.

KB: Look Ray, if I had a criticism about the sports announcers and the boxing media making the comments like they do – A lot of these commentators don’t engulf themselves into the sport. They don’t go to referee seminars. They don’t learn how we are thinking. They don’t know what we are doing in the ring. I have been to four seminars this year. And I will go to two more seminars before this year is out. Sometimes I will host the seminars. I continue to critique my status as an official. I work hard for the fighters’ fans and for myself. These sportswriters and sports fans, they don’t go to any of the seminars to see how we work on our craft. They can just make comments about us and the fans can just engulf what they say. And that’s the sad part. If one commentator says, “Why doesn’t Kenny do this or that?” that’s enough for at least 10,000 fans watching at home on PPV to think I am favoring Mayweather. But I am just doing my job. I call it the way I see it. I can’t call it the way the fans see it, or the way the sports announcers see it. I have to call it the way I see it.

RM: So is there a misconception because many of the sports writers and commentators are uneducated?

KB: Well, a lot of them have been around the business for many years. I am not saying they are uneducated. But I know of only one sports announcer that has attended seminars. His name is Colonel Bob Sheridan. Him and me have talked about it. He always says, “I don’t know why these other sports announcers don’t attend these seminars.” They should attend the seminars. So they can at least have a vision of what the referee is looking at. The fight isn’t about what they are looking at. I officiate based on what I am looking at. If anyone cannot see that control was my main objective, then they need to start attending some seminars. They need to start educating themselves. There is more in boxing than what they think they know. There is so much more a referee has to deal during a fight. Like I said earlier, one of the calls I got was about one of the sports announcers at ringside. He (the announcer) was hitting me hard about how fast I was breaking the fighters. And another one of the commentators corrected him. I think it was Paulie Malignaggi but I don’t know for certain. I think it was Paulie that said, ‘Kenny has to break them fast because if he doesn’t then the fouls occur.’ Paulie would know being a fighter. He would know. He sees what I was doing. A lot of these commentators don’t know. They don’t engulf themselves in the sport. They don’t learn what we do in the ring.

RM: I think what you are pointing out here is the accountability factor. Commentators, media, I mean, I am probably guilty of it as well, we can say some things about the professional referees and fighters and people will accept it because there is a platform.

KB: That’s exactly right, Ray. People are very opinionated in this country.

RM: That’s true.

KB: The Twitters and the Facebooks. Everybody’s got a comment about something.

RM: Globalized media. We all have a voice.

KB: People that are making comments are not even educated in the sport. They have a platform to voice their opinion. But as I said in the HBO piece, (HBO Cornered) we referees have to train our mind to call what we see right then and right now. And I will be the first one to tell you Ray I have made mistakes in the ring. We are not perfect. But we try to be as close to perfect as we can. We know the opinionated sports writers and sports announcers are going to be very critical if we make mistakes. I gave myself an A+, Ray, because with the bite and all of the movement, and the fouls, etc. etc. I have a very high standard for myself. I don’t care if it’s a four round fight or a ten round fight. I gave myself the highest grade, Ray. It’s easy to get in there and the fighters are listening to everything you are saying. I could give a verbal break and they’ll break. If I use voice command and everything goes well. That’s like a dream fight for a referee. As opposed to moving, getting in position, physically breaking them, making sure they hear your voice commands over the loudness of the crowd.

RM: Man, there was a lot of movement in that fight.

KB: There was a lot of movement.

RM: OK. Do you want to discuss anything else about the fight?

KB: Well, a lot of people don’t know this but the last time I refereed Marcos Maidana, he fought a kid by the name of Soto Karass. In that fight, I took away two points from Marcos Maidana. I took away points because of the illegal stuff he was doing. I also took one point away from his opponent. That’s where control becomes an issue. In my entire career I have never taken a point from both fighters at the same time until I did it in that fight between, Soto Karass and Marcos Maidana. I took points for all the roughhousing and not listening to my commands. And then about a round or two later I took another point from Maidana for hitting on the break.

RM: I see.

KB: So, am I supposed to forget that? No. I will keep it in the back of my head. I didn’t go in the dressing room and say, “You know Marcos, I have taken two points from you before.” I didn’t say that. I didn’t even mention it. Even after Mayweather was saying all those things before the fight about him (Maidana) being dirty, I remembered I took two points from him in a previous fight, but I still said nothing. Then Saturday night, first there was the bite, then the forearm and the throw down. So you have to look at the full picture.

RM: So, you studied the previous fights you refereed with both fighters and used it as a reference?

KB: Yeah. But every fight is different. But is Marcos Maidana capable of infraction? Well, I refereed him two times now. And in two fights have taken three points away from him.

RM: How did you get selected to referee this fight? Is there a selection process?

KB: Yes. There is a selection process. The executive director makes his recommendations to the commissioners, and the commissioners will vote on it. The executive director has us on rotation. The rotation dictates the order you come up. Sometimes the commission gives the camps an opportunity to express how they feel about the referee that is doing the fight. And when my name was mentioned to Marcos Maidana’s camp they had no problem with me refereeing this fight. We got the same thing from the Mayweather camp. I accepted the assignment, knowing I had to be in tiptop shape. I did what I had to do to prepare and keep the fight clean and fair.

RM: Hey, what did you think of the HBO show – Cornered?

KB: Well, I thought it went very well. Believe it or not, the show was shot back in 2012. We shot it right around the time it was announced that I was going to work the fourth fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. It was originally supposed to air in February but apparently HBO had different plans. They just finally aired it last week. It’s still all good because I thought it was an excellent piece.

RM: I’m sure you were eager to see it after almost two years.

KB: Yeah. I just had a lot of people eager to see it. But other than that everything went well.

RM: Great. Can you tell me about the WBC Cares program that you will attend next month?

KB: Yes. WBC Cares program is ran by a lady named Jill Diamond. She reaches out to the community and works with the individuals in bringing fighters to the local Boys and Girls clubs. The last convention was in Las Vegas about two or three years ago. We went to the local Boys and Girls club and got about three hundred kids. Some of the kids were from Richard Steele’s boxing gym. Fighters like Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, and Larry Holmes were there giving autographs to the kids. I am going to Stockton to reach out to the community and work with some trainers that have been in the sport for many years. The WBC wants to recognize them. So personally I will fly to the Bay Area and be a part of that event. It is just something that is really great. It is well worth the time and effort that we put into it.

You can email Ray at Raymond.Markarian@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: @raymarkarian

WATCH RELATED VIDEOS ON BOXINGCHANNEL.TV

Featured Articles

Usyk vs. Chisora Sets the Table for a Strong Night of Boxing

Arne K. Lang

Published

on

Usyk-vs-Chisora-Sets-the-Table-for-a-Strong-Night-of-Boxing

It’s been largely lost in the ragout, at least on this side of the pond, but Saturday’s busy fight docket includes the return of Oleksandr Usyk, the former Olympic gold medalist who left the cruiserweight ranks as a legitimate four-belt champion. The 33-year-old Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs), opposes tough but erratic Dereck Chisora, a 36-year old Londoner by way of Zimbabwe. Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs), has won five of his last six, the setback occurring in his second encounter with arch-rival Dillian Whyte.

Usyk vs. Chisora, a Matchroom promotion, will play out at Wembley Arena with no fans in attendance. The Ukrainian southpaw is ranked among the top three heavyweight contenders by all four major sanctioning bodies although he has fought only once as a heavyweight, turning away under-trained late sub Chazz Witherspoon who was all in after seven frames. Usyk weighed 215 for that contest and is expected to come in about 230 for Chisora.

Usyk, who has anglicized his first name to Alexander on his English-language twitter feed, is a big favorite, but this is a tricky fight for him. The consensus 2018 Fighter of the Year, Usyk has fought only twice since unifying the cruiserweight title with a lopsided decision over Murat Gassiev in July of that year and 55 weeks have elapsed since his last start. If he needs the early rounds to shake off ring rust, he could find himself clawing out of a hole, and sometimes the hole is too deep as Usyk’s stablemate Vasiliy Lomachenko can attest. Moreover, Usyk has yet to face a naturally bigger man who can bang as hard as “Del Boy.”

The Usyk-Chisora card will air in North America on DAZN with the main event ring walks anticipated about 6 pm ET.

The tiff is hitched to an interesting undercard. Once-beaten Welshman Lee Selby, briefly the IBF featherweight champion, tangles with Australia’s undefeated (18-0) George Kambosos Jr. Savannah Marshall, who saddled Claressa Shields with her only amateur loss, meets former Shields opponent Hannah Rankin with a vacant world middleweight title at stake, Belfast’s Tommy McCarthy opposes Belgium’s Bilal Laggoune for a domestic cruiserweight title, and then there’s the heavyweight fight attracting buzz between popular Yorkshireman David Allen and Christopher Lovejoy.

The buzz surrounds the mysterious 36-year-old Lovejoy who is 19-0 as a pro with all but two of those KOs coming in the opening round.

All of Lovejoy’s fights were staged in Tijuana. Only one of his opponents brought a winning record. For a certain stripe of fighter, Tijuana is the equivalent of a feed lot, a place where livestock go to get fattened up before they are sent off to the slaughterhouse. David Allen is limited, but the most likely scenario in this fight is that it ends with Lovejoy sitting on his stool.

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

To comment on this post in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Diego Magdaleno is Locked and Loaded for Saturday’s Fray in San Antonio

Arne K. Lang

Published

on

Diego-Magdaleno-is-Locked-and-Loaded-for-Saturday's-fray-in-San-Antonio

Diego Armando Magdaleno, the son of a former semi-pro soccer player, was named for Argentine soccer star Diego Armando Maradona. But Diego’s father Jesus is hardly disappointed that his son devoted his energies to a different sport than soccer as Diego, the oldest of Jesus’s three boys, has carved out a nice career as a boxer. On Saturday, he faces Isaac Cruz at the San Antonio Alamodome and a win could thrust him into a third crack at a world lightweight title. Magdaleno vs. Cruz will be televised as part of a SHOWTIME PPV event anchored by a battle between title-holders Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Leo Santa Cruz.

The bookies don’t know what to do with the Magdaleno-Cruz matchup. One can find odds on fights of lesser importance, but with the fight only four days away the pricemakers were in quandary. Team Magdaleno, however, is approaching the fight as if they are the “B” side. Mexico City’s Isaac Cruz, who boasts a 19-1-1 record and is undefeated in his last 15 starts, has a fan-friendly style and is only 22 years old. In theory, he has more value to the promoter going forward than Magdaleno (32-3, 13 KOs) who turns 34 this week.

Magdaleno relishes the underdog role. He was the “B” side in his most recent fight when he opposed Austin Dulay in Dulay’s hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, and he carved out a clear-cut 10-round decision. Dulay, the younger man by nine years and less experienced at the pro level, was in over his head. Their fight was nationally televised on FOX.

Diego Magdaleno was born in Beverly Hills, California, but unlike many folks born there wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. “We were more like the Beverly Hillbillies,” says Diego, a reference to the popular sitcom that ran on CBS from 1962 to 1971.

For many years, Diego’s father, an immigrant from Sahuayo in the Mexican state of Michoacan, worked at the flagship West LA branch of an iconic Greater Los Angeles hamburger chain. Diego’s parents now manage a 7-11 in Las Vegas.

When Magdaleno first laced on the gloves it was at the Brooklyn Avenue boxing gym in the gritty Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles, the same gym where Oscar De La Hoya trained for the Olympic Trials. He continued with the sport after his family – he has three older sisters – moved to Las Vegas.

Diego influenced both of his younger brothers to become boxers. Jessie Magdaleno surpassed him in name recognition when he upset Nonito Nonaire in November of 2016, earning him the WBO world super bantamweight title. Jessie lost the belt in his second defense, succumbing to Isaac Dogboe, but has won three straight since that mishap, advancing his record to 28-1. The youngest Magdaleno brother, Marco, was 4-0 as a pro when he abandoned the sport, having secured a job with good pay and benefits in the construction field.

Diego has applied some of his ring earnings toward a real estate investment in Scipio, Utah, where he owns a parcel of land adjacent to a pioneer home. Scipio is a four-hour drive from Las Vegas and figuratively a million miles away. What does one do for fun in Scipio, pop. 288? The first thing that popped up in our internet search was to go grab a sandwich at the Burger Barn.

There’s a back story there. The pioneer home, built in 1886, was recently purchased by Diego’s fiancée Shannon Torres, a descendent of one of Scipio’s founding families. She and Diego are restoring it. Diego professes to be amazed at the craftsmanship. “When we pulled up the carpets,” he said, “the original hardwood floors were still in great condition.”

Shannon Torres has a boxing background, having fought as an amateur and having sparred with the likes of Mia St. John. She is also a nutritionist. Diego confesses to having a sweet tooth, being fond of cheesecake and anything with peanut butter. “She knows how to make those things for me so they are not as unhealthy,” he says.

Magdaleno’s first loss came in April of 2013 when he lost a split decision to Ramon Martinez in Macao. Diego thought he won the fight, but only one of the judges concurred. At stake was Martinez’s WBO 130-pound world title. His second world title opportunity came against WBO lightweight champ Terry Flanagan on Flanagan’s turf in Manchester, England. That didn’t go well.

“When I got in the ring, it felt like there was sand under my shoes,” said Diego. “My right foot was sliding underneath me. I overcompensated and that caused me trouble.” Magdaleno loaded up on his punches, a fatal mistake, and was knocked out in the second round.

Top Rank dropped Magdaleno after that fight but would eventually bring him back to fight their rising star Teofimo Lopez. His fight with Austin Dulay was his first fight back after his loss to Lopez (TKO by 7) and his first with new trainer Bones Adams (pictured on the left) in his corner.

Mag

Isaac Cruz poses a different threat than Dulay partly because Cruz, who stands only 5’4 ½”, is a lot shorter. But Magdaleno is confident the result will be the same.

“His style is attack, attack, attack; it’s one-dimensional,” says Diego. “I have been in there and done things that this kid has never seen. I am a big step up for him.”

Unlike many prizefighters, Diego Magdaleno knows where he is heading after his career is finished; he is already a licensed real estate salesman with one listing to his credit. He’s bi-lingual despite having spent only three months living in Mexico, that as a first-grader, and his linguistic versatility will come in handy in his second career. “I know just enough Spanish to get by,” he says, but having heard him speak in his parents’ native tongue we can attest that he’s being much too modest.

For the time being, however, Diego isn’t looking past Saturday night. Magdaleno vs. Cruz is expected to go first on the four-fight PPV portion of the card which kicks off at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.

Magdaleno/Dulay photo credit: Stephanie Trapp

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Will Leo Santa Cruz’s High Volume Punching Stymie Big Hitter ‘Tank’ Davis?

Bernard Fernandez

Published

on

Will-Leo-Santa-Cruz's-High-Volume-Punching-Stymie-Big-Hitter-Tank-Davis?

WBA “super” 130-pound champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis, short (5’5½”), short-armed (a 67½-inch reach) and powerful, has been described by some as a miniature Mike Tyson, which seems reasonable for an undefeated fighter who has won all but one of his 23 professional bouts inside the distance, more than a few of those knockouts of the spectacular variety. And if Davis’ comparisons to “Iron Mike” weren’t enough to stamp him as an emerging superstar, there is also the fact that he is a protégé of Floyd Mayweather Jr., the vainglorious owner of a 50-0 record and distinction as the richest prizefighter ever to lace up a pair of padded gloves. “Money” bills himself as TBE, “The Best Ever,” and he goes so far as to suggest that the big-hitting southpaw from Baltimore for whom he has such high hopes might someday approach his status as a cash-cow and true icon of the ring.

“The ultimate goal is to get him to surpass me,” the 43-year-old and ostensibly retired Mayweather said of the financial and fistic potential of Davis, who turns 26 on Nov. 7 and arguably is in the early stages of his prime. “I’ve been his age. Where he’s trying to go to, and what he’s trying to accomplish, I’ve already accomplished.”

Although Davis has appeared on the undercard of two Pay-Per-View shows headlined by his famous and fabulously wealthy mentor, both he and Mayweather consider his watershed Halloween night confrontation with WBA “super” featherweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs), in San Antonio’s Alamodome, as Tank’s real coming-out party. It is, after all, Davis’ first time atop his own Showtime PPV event, perhaps the first of several such marquee appearances if the level of public interest in him continues to spike. Ascending to PPV status is a rite of passage both men consider to be a significant key to all the boxing kingdom has to offer, an exclusive club to which many aspire but only a chosen few are allowed to join. The tariff to boxing fans is a $74.95 subscription fee.

“I said, `Tank, you under Mayweather Promotions. So, it’s May-Per-View,” Mayweather told the kid who would be he during the first episode of Showtime’s “All-Access,” the infomercial whose purpose is to help convince pandemic-strapped fight fans to open their wallets.

“I’m grateful for what Floyd did for me, as far as opening doors,” said Davis, who signed with Mayweather Promotions in 2015. “If it wasn’t for Floyd, I wouldn’t have been a champion at 22. He gave me a chance to fight on his Pay-Per-View card. Now I’m here, on my own Pay-Per-View.”

To hear Mayweather and Davis tell it, it is Tank’s singular, reputation-boosting turn in the spotlight, with Santa Cruz more or less along for the ride. The Vegas sports books seemingly are complicit in that perception, with Tank anywhere from a -$350 to a whopping -$710 favorite, odds which could fluctuate throughout the rest of the week as more and larger wagers are placed. Despite his being a four-division world champion, Santa Cruz, the 32-year-old, Mexican-born resident of Rosemead, Calif., whose current title is that of WBA “super” super feather ruler, also considers this particular bout to be historic as it is also his first PPV appearance. And, no, he isn’t bothered by the long odds against him (which range from +260 to +475) or Davis’ reputation as a compact instrument of pugilistic destruction.

“Nobody believes in me,” he said, almost reveling in his rare role as an underdog. “They think I’m this other guy. But I asked for this fight for a reason ’cause I want to prove myself. I’m going to compete and give my all. I’m not scared.

“Gervonta Davis is a great fighter with great skills, great power. I think he’s the most dangerous fighter in the division. Why not go after him? To prove to the people that I’m not scared of nobody.”

Santa Cruz might not pack as much power as Davis, but his forte is high-volume punching. When he defeated Vusi Malinga via 12-round unanimous decision for the vacant IBF bantamweight strap on June 2, 2012, in Carson, Calif., CompuBox statistics revealed he had unfurled a remarkable 1,350 punches, an average of just under 113 per round. Nor were those numbers an aberration for the human perpetual motion machine; in his two confrontations with Abner Mares, both of which were won on points by Santa Cruz, the read-out showed Leo connecting on a combined 730 of 2,115. Many opponents scarcely have time to think, much less react, when Santa Cruz is firing shots with machine-gun rapidity. No wonder he dares to believe Davis will be similarly flustered.

“I think so,” Santa Cruz said when asked if the quantity of his fusillade will more than offset Davis’ superior quality in terms of power. “When you have a fighter on top of you, throwing punches, he’s not letting you think; he’s frustrating you. He’s not letting you do nothing.

“If I do that, it could be dangerous ’cause he’ll be waiting to counterpunch me, to land those big shots, the uppercuts and hooks. So, I got to do a very smart fight, a perfect fight, to beat him.”

For TV purposes, the storyline outside the ropes sometimes is nearly as important in selling the product as what takes place inside them. In that regard Davis and Santa Cruz, so seemingly different in some regards, are strikingly similar in that they were children of poverty, hardly unusual for a sport where years of deprivation can stoke a burning desire to succeed. Santa Cruz’s motivation might even be hiked a bit higher because of the ongoing medical circumstances of his trainer-father, Jose Santa Cruz Sr.

Jose Sr. could be the star of his own medical reality series, the most recent episode being his near-death brush with COVID-19. But the patriarch of a boxing family (brothers Jose Jr., Antonio and Roberto are also involved in Leo’s career) had previously survived a bout with sepsis, a potentially life-threatening infection, and, in 2016, the diagnosis of Stage 3 myeloma, a blood cancer, that invaded his bones. The father had to undergo weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, and although he pulled through Leo cited concerns for his dad’s health as a contributing factor in his sole pro defeat, in which he relinquished his WBA super featherweight title, by 12-round majority decision, to England’s Carl Frampton on July 30, 2016. Santa Cruz avenged that setback, also by majority decision, six months later.

Jose Sr. continues to serve as Leo’s trainer, but so many medical crises have been met and overcome by the father that the son has learned, as best he can, to cope.

And the COVID-19 which again could have brought Jose Sr. the eternal 10-count?

“When he went (into the hospital), they gave us little hope,” Leo said of his dad’s most recent downward plunge on an emotional roller-coaster on which the entire family has been obliged to have seats. “They said he was going to pass away, that he wasn’t going to last the night. We were all depressed and crying. His lungs were failing, his heart was failing. He coded two times; he died and they brought him back to life.

“I had memories of when he used to go on the bus with me, pushing me in the gym, telling me what to do. All those memories were playing in my mind. I really didn’t think he was going to make it. I thought they were going to call us and say, `Hey, your dad passed away.’ But we prayed, we had hope. Thank God, the next day we were told our dad was still in critical condition, but he was doing a little bit better. Day by day he improved. God listened. He made a miracle. My dad survived. Even the doctors were saying that they didn’t know how that happened.”

As was the case with Santa Cruz, who recalls the occasions when the family’s electricity was shut off because of unpaid bills, Davis’ childhood also was hardly a real-life version of Leave It To Beaver. In 1999, while his father was in prison and his mom was battling drug addition, he was placed into child protective services at the age of five. For the next several years he shuttled between foster homes and shelters. But then, at seven, he found his way into the boxing gym run by Calvin Grove, who knew the pitfalls of life on the streets (he had served 10 years behind bars on drug offenses) as well as the need throw-away children such as Gervonta Davis had to finding someone and something to believe in. Ford, now 56, is so much more than Tank’s trainer now; he also is his father-figure and inspiration not to become another faceless, nameless crime statistic.

“Boxing, I would say, saved my life,” Davis said. “All the guys I came up with that were older than me, they got killed. If you got one foot in the street and one foot in the gym, it’s not going to work. You got to be all the way committed with something.

“When I came to the gym, I felt the love that I needed as a child. Calvin basically raised me. What I been through and what I seen coming up, I knew I don’t want to go backwards in life. I know what that brings.”

In addition to Davis-Santa Cruz, the PPV portion of the undercard features the return, after a layoff of 13 months, of former WBA and WBC Diamond super lightweight champion Regis “Rougaroo” Prograis (24-1, 20 KOs), in a 10-rounder against Juan Heraldez (16-0-1, 10 KOs); the WBA junior welterweight title matchup of San Antonio’s Mario Barrios (25-0, 16 KOs) vs. Ryan Karl (18-2, 12 KOs), and a lightweight scrap pitting Diego Magdaleno (32-3, 13 KOs) against Isaac Cruz Gonzalez (19-1-1, 14 KOs).

Photo credit: Esther Lin / Mayweather Promotions

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading
Advertisement
In-Defense-of-Julie-Lederman
Featured Articles1 week ago

In Defense of Julie Lederman

-C'mon
Featured Articles1 week ago

“—C’mon!” (from the pen of Springs Toledo)

RIP-Ricardo-Jimenez-One-of-Boxing's-Most-Beloved
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

RIP Ricardo Jimenez: One of Boxing’s Most Beloved

loma
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The Official TSS Lomachenko-Lopez Prediction Page

Will-The_Pandemic-Hurt-Boxing-in-the-Long-Term-A-Blockbuster-TSS-Survey
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Will The Pandemic Hurt Boxing in the Long Term?: A Blockbuster TSS Survey

Jose-Zepeda-Wins-Knockdown-Battle-with-Ivan-Baranchyk-at-the-MGM-Bubble
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Jose Zepeda Wins Knockdown Battle with Ivan Baranchyk at the MGM Bubble

Avila-Perspective-Chap-107-El-Flaco-the-Charlo-Twins-and-More
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Avila Perspective. Chap. 107: El Flaco, the Charlo twins and More

Johnny-Bos-Large-in-Life-A-Cult-Figure-in-Death-A-TSS-Classic-by-Randy-Gordon
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Johnny Bos: Large in Life, A Cult Figure in Death (A TSS Classic by Randy Gordon)

Teofimo-Takes-Over-Upsets-Lomachenko
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

 Teofimo Takes Over: Upsets Lomachenko

Conor-McGregor-vs-Pac-Man-The-Circus-is-Back-in-Town
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Conor McGregor vs. Pac-Man: The Circus is Back in Town

Does-Lomachenko-Still-Have-Enough-Blue-Book-Value-to-Motor-Past-Lopez?
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Does Lomachenko Still Have Enough Blue-Book Value to Motor Past Lopez?

Matchroom-Fight-Results-Buatsi-TKOs-Calic-Chantelle-Cameron-Wins-a-World-Title
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Matchroom Fight Results: Buatsi TKOs Calic; Chantelle Cameron Wins a World Title

A-Fistful-of-Murder-The-Fights0and-Crimes-of-Carlos-Monzon
Featured Articles4 days ago

A Fistful of Murder: The Fights and Crimes of Carlos Monzon

The-Top-Ten-Super-Flyweights-of-the-Decade-2010-2019
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

The Top Ten Superflyweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

The-Top-Ten-Flyweights-of-the-Decade-2010-2019
Featured Articles1 week ago

The Top Ten Flyweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

Las-Vegas-Trainer-Bones-Adams-Talks-About-Life-on-the-Bubble-Circuit
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Las Vegas Trainer Bones Adams Talks About Life on the Bubble Circuit

Navarette-Powers-Way-to-WBO-Featherweight-Title
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Navarrete Powers Way to WBO Featherweight Title

Kelsey-McCarson's-Hits-and-Misses-Takeover-Edition
Featured Articles1 week ago

Kelsey McCarson’s HITS and MISSES: Takeover Edition

Avila-Perspective,-Chap.-109:-Teofimo-vs.-Loma-and-More.jpg
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 109: Lopez vs. Loma and More

The-WBCs-Franchise-Sticker-and-More-Judges-Add-to-Boxing's-Numbers-Glut
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The WBC’s ‘Franchise’ Sticker and More Judges Add to Boxing’s Numbers Glut

Usyk-vs-Chisora-Sets-the-Table-for-a-Strong-Night-of-Boxing
Featured Articles9 hours ago

Usyk vs. Chisora Sets the Table for a Strong Night of Boxing

Diego-Magdaleno-is-Locked-and-Loaded-for-Saturday's-fray-in-San-Antonio
Featured Articles1 day ago

Diego Magdaleno is Locked and Loaded for Saturday’s Fray in San Antonio

Will-Leo-Santa-Cruz's-High-Volume-Punching-Stymie-Big-Hitter-Tank-Davis?
Featured Articles2 days ago

Will Leo Santa Cruz’s High Volume Punching Stymie Big Hitter ‘Tank’ Davis?

HITS-and-MISSES-from-Another-Weekend-on-the-Boxing-Beat
Featured Articles2 days ago

HITS and MISSES from Another Weekend on the Boxing Beat

A-Fistful-of-Murder-The-Fights0and-Crimes-of-Carlos-Monzon
Featured Articles4 days ago

A Fistful of Murder: The Fights and Crimes of Carlos Monzon

Lipinets-and-Clayton-Battle-to-a0Draw-at-the-Mohegan-Sun
Featured Articles4 days ago

Lipinets and Clayton Battle to a Draw at the Mohegan Sun

Juan-Francisco-Estrada-KOs-Carlos-Cuadras-Chocolatito-Wins-Too
Featured Articles5 days ago

Juan Francisco Estrada KOs Carlos Cuadras; Chocolatito Wins Too

Boxing-Odds-and-Ends-Fury's-Next-Opponent-Lomachencko-Redux-and-More
Featured Articles5 days ago

Boxing Odds and Ends: Fury’s Next Opponent, Lomachenko Redux and More

Avila-Perspective-Chap-110-Chocolatito,Lipinets and More
Featured Articles7 days ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 110: Chocolatito, Lipinets and More

The-Top-Ten-Flyweights-of-the-Decade-2010-2019
Featured Articles1 week ago

The Top Ten Flyweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

In-Defense-of-Julie-Lederman
Featured Articles1 week ago

In Defense of Julie Lederman

-C'mon
Featured Articles1 week ago

“—C’mon!” (from the pen of Springs Toledo)

Kelsey-McCarson's-Hits-and-Misses-Takeover-Edition
Featured Articles1 week ago

Kelsey McCarson’s HITS and MISSES: Takeover Edition

Teofimo-Takes-Over-Upsets-Lomachenko
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

 Teofimo Takes Over: Upsets Lomachenko

Lewis-Ritson-Nips-Hard-Luck-Miguel-Vazquez-Plus-Undercard-Results
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Lewis Ritson Nips Hard-Luck Miguel Vazquez Plus Undercard Results

Avila-Perspective,-Chap.-109:-Teofimo-vs.-Loma-and-More.jpg
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 109: Lopez vs. Loma and More

loma
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The Official TSS Lomachenko-Lopez Prediction Page

Does-Lomachenko-Still-Have-Enough-Blue-Book-Value-to-Motor-Past-Lopez?
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Does Lomachenko Still Have Enough Blue-Book Value to Motor Past Lopez?

RIP-Ricardo-Jimenez-One-of-Boxing's-Most-Beloved
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

RIP Ricardo Jimenez: One of Boxing’s Most Beloved

The-WBCs-Franchise-Sticker-and-More-Judges-Add-to-Boxing's-Numbers-Glut
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The WBC’s ‘Franchise’ Sticker and More Judges Add to Boxing’s Numbers Glut

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Advertisement