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Mayweather Wouldn’t Get Props For Beating Algieri Like Pacquiao Did

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I’ve heard it said that he’s never looked better or been more confident. I’ve read that he has the ideal style to beat Floyd Mayweather 47-0 (26). Some have implied and inferred that Mayweather hasn’t agreed to fight him because he fears being knocked out by him. Despite the inconvenient fact that he couldn’t put away a beginner like Chris Algieri in his last bout after having him down six times and he hasn’t won by stoppage in five years. Yes, I’m talking about WBO welterweight title holder Manny Pacquiao 57-5-2 (38).

It’s over three weeks since Pacquiao fought Chris Algieri in a 144 pound catch-weight bout. The fight was no contest; Manny won every round and did whatever he wanted to during the fight. His speed and accuracy were there, so was some of the old explosiveness and obviously his power. He did put Algieri down six times and Chris certainly wasn’t hitting himself. What’s shocking is how after dominating Algieri, who would probably lose to half a dozen other fighters between 140/147, Pacquiao is once again seen in many eyes as the supernova he was back in 2009, when he stopped Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto.

Floyd Mayweather has been excoriated for fighting hand-picked opponents and being too risk averse in the last five years, especially in this space. And Mayweather has been dominant in most of those bouts where you/me/we belabored him for fighting opponents who would make him look sensational. Yet, Manny Pacquiao can fight Chris Algieri, who I questioned before the fight as being PPV worthy, something the terrible buy numbers supported, and he gets major props for winning every round against him?

At first I thought Pacquiao beating Algieri didn’t fool anybody, but I think I was wrong. You’d think that the lousy PPV numbers would suggest that the public knew it wasn’t much of a fight. And that winning a decision, when he really needed a knockout, and didn’t get it over a novice wouldn’t restore the public’s sense that Pacquiao is now a killer again. But apparently it has?

I tried to explain before the bout how Pacquiao-Algieri was specifically made to create the illusion that Manny is back now and is as good as and smarter than ever. And you know what? Based on what’s scoured in the sports section of many newspapers and on the Internet, they were more successful than I thought they’d be. Because it seems Manny went from being the prohibitive underdog when matched up with Mayweather after being knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez two years ago, to now being almost even money based on him taking Chris Algieri to boxing school last month.

Based on the consensus, Pacquiao gets some breaks that Mayweather would never get in the eyes of the boxing public. And since 2009 I’ve maintained and have been consistent that Mayweather-Pacquiao hasn’t happened because of Mayweather’s reluctance more so than Pacquiao’s. Ever since the talk of them fighting each other became a hot topic, it’s been mostly because of Floyd why it didn’t happen. And I still stand by that.

But what’s fair is fair… I wonder how well Mayweather would’ve been received if he signed to fight Algieri and beat him as handily as Pacquiao did?

For starters, Floyd would’ve been excoriated by both boxing fans and the media for fighting a no hope opponent like Chris Algieri. Leading up to the fight we would’ve read about how Algieri barely beat Ruslan Provodnikov and the fight is just another hoax by Mayweather to pocket $30 million and avoid fighting Pacquiao.

Let us suppose that it was Mayweather who peppered Algieri for 36 uninterrupted minutes on November 23rd instead of Pacquiao, which of course isn’t much of reach. What would the post-fight chatter be? I can only speculate, but I’d be willing to bet that the loudest voices wouldn’t be declaring that Floyd is back and is as sharp as ever. Nor would the talk be centered on how quick and accurate he is and how impossible it is to lay a glove on, and you know I’m right. I think it would be more on the lines of, “Mayweather fought Algieri because he knew he couldn’t lose and how it says nothing as to how great he still is because he handled a beginner like Algieri.” And then every name fighter campaigning between 140-147 who was more deserving and dangerous than Algieri would be named and suggested as that’s who Floyd should’ve fought instead. And if that were the case, they’d be correct.

So why does Pacquiao get a pass?

For more than a decade critics and fans have ripped Mayweather up and down, and rightfully so, for being too judicious and fighting no hope opponents who resembled Algieri. Or to put it another way, for fighting and defending his titles against opponents who didn’t have tool-one to beat him with. The opponents he fought were either too old or too green (like Algieri), or they just didn’t have the skill or power (like Algieri) to concern Mayweather in the least.

I can’t envision a case being made on Mayweather’s behalf suggesting or reinforcing that he could beat Pacquiao based on how Floyd performed against Algieri had they fought. All that would be repeated over and over to rebuke that is, Algieri is inexperienced and Mayweather only did what he should’ve done against a limited opponent at the most elite level in professional boxing. And that’s all that Pacquiao did! And actually, Manny underperformed because he didn’t get the stoppage or come close to the first round kayo that his trainer Freddie Roach predicted he would score.

The overreaction to Pacquiao’s showing against Algieri is ridiculous. Maybe you are one who believes that Pacquiao will beat Mayweather when they eventually fight… fine. I happen to think Floyd will beat Manny and control the fight most of the way for reasons I’ll go into at a later time when the bout is closer to becoming a reality. That said, I fully get that there is a strong case to be made supporting why Pacquiao will come out on top. Again, I get it.

However, if you believe Pacquiao is the superior fighter to Mayweather and will be victorious when they fight, great. Just don’t base it on how Manny looked for 12 rounds against Chris Algieri. Because that was an illusion with the purpose of making you believe that Manny is as good as ever in case you were starting to wane in that belief. Algieri is nothing close to Mayweather and is a completely different animal. What afforded Pacquiao to look great against Algieri won’t apply to Mayweather. And the same holds true regarding Mayweather and how he looked against Marcos Maidana. Pacquiao is nothing like Maidana.

And to those who are basing everything off of how Mayweather looked against Maidana as to why Pacquiao will beat him, especially during their first meeting, remember, Maidana came in for that fight weighing over 160 pounds. That was Floyd’s biggest mistake. Pacquiao has to bulk up to weigh 145. And Maidana is much more aggressive than Pacquiao, and his aggression disrupted Floyd stylistically. Pacquiao attacks more in spurts so Mayweather’s legs, if they’re starting to go, won’t be nearly as important against Pacquiao because Manny isn’t as aggressive and he’ll be easier to time and counter than Maidana was.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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A Conversation with Legendary Phoenix Boxing Writer Norm Frauenheim

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It seems all along that Norm Frauenheim was destined to become a boxing writer.

Two critical elements were at play that led the 75-year-old scribe to that profession.

“I was always interested in boxing, even as a kid,” said Frauenheim who spent 31 years with the Arizona Republic beginning in 1977. “I’m an Army brat. I was born in January 1949 on a base, Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, a city I didn’t really see until I hit the NBA road covering the [Phoenix] Suns for more than a decade starting in 1979-80.”

Frauenheim, a longtime correspondent for The Ring magazine who writes for various boxing sites such as boxingscene.com and 15rounds.com, added more background: “One of the many places I lived was Schofield Barracks on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu from 1962 to 1966,” he continued. “I delivered The Stars & Stripes to troops with the 25th Infantry Division, which was headed to Vietnam, along with my dad.

“Anyway, boxing and Schofield have long been linked, mostly because of a novel and film, ‘From Here to Eternity’ (the James Jones novel starring Frank Sinatra on the big screen). The troops were still boxing, outdoors, at the barracks along my newspaper route. I was 13 to 17 years old. I’d stop, watch and get interested. I’ve been interested ever since.”

Frauenheim added: “From there, my father and family shipped to Fort Sheridan, then a base north of Chicago where I spent one year and graduated from high school. Then my dad went back to Vietnam and I went to Vanderbilt University in Nashville (1967 through 1971) and graduated with a major in history. I was also a competitive swimmer, pre-Title IX.

“Competitive swimming is also at the roots of my sportswriting career. I was frustrated that Vanderbilt’s student newspaper didn’t cover us. I offered to do it. The newspaper agreed. I don’t swim as well as I used to. I look at a surfboard and look at the waves I used to take on and wondered what in the hell I was doing. It’s a lot safer to be at ringside.”

After a more than five-decade stint covering boxing, Frauenheim is glad that the manly sport is still around but with more outside competition.

“It’s surely not the [Muhammad] Ali era. It’s not the Golden 80s, either. It’s a fractured business in a world with more and more options for sports fans. MMA is just one example,” he said. “Boxing is not dying. It has been declared dead, ad nauseam. I read the inevitable obits and think of an old line: Boxing has climbed out of more coffins than Count Dracula.

“Still, the sport has been pushed to the fringe of public interest. But it’s been there before. Resiliency is one of its strongest qualities. It’ll be around, always reinventing itself.”

In some respects, boxing, like the other sports, has always been dependent on rivalries like the NBA’s Celtics versus Lakers, which drives the public’s interest and storylines.

“[Larry] Bird-Magic [Johnson] was basketball’s Ali-[Joe] Frazier,” Frauenheim says. “It transformed the league, setting the stage for Michael Jordan. It can happen again, in boxing or any other sport.”

Boxing is still the same but with tweaks here and there.

“When I started, championship bouts were 15 rounds instead of 12,” said Frauenheim who began his journalism career in 1970 at the Tallahassee Democrat and worked at the Jacksonville Journal before being lured in Phoenix. “There were morning weigh-ins instead of the day-before promotional show. There was also a lot more media. A big fight in Vegas meant all of the big media people were there. The last time that happened was Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015, a fight that failed to meet expectations and I think eroded much of the big media’s appetite for more,” continued Frauenheim whose byline has appeared in USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times.

Mexican legend Saul Alvarez is still a major draw, but there are others on the horizon who are ready to step in and take over like the undefeated super middleweight David Benavidez.

“The clock is ticking on Canelo’s career, and I think he knows it. At this point, it’s about risk-reward. The 27-year-old Benavidez is too big a risk. Canelo, I think, looks at Benavidez and thinks he’ll beat him. I don’t think he would,” Frauenheim noted. “Benavidez is too big, has a mean streak and possesses a rare extra gear. He gets stronger in the late rounds.

“Even if Canelo wins, there’s a pretty good chance that Benavidez hurts him. There’s still a chance Canelo-Benavidez happens. But I think it’ll take some Saudi [Arabian] money.”

Boxers stand alone in the ring, literally and figuratively, but have a small supporting crew.

This makes them unique compared to baseball, football, basketball and hockey.

“Boxers are different from any other athlete I’ve ever covered. It’s why, I guess, boxing has been called a writer’s sport. There are plenty of NFL and NBA players who have grown up on the so-called mean streets,” Frauenheim said. “But they have teammates. They don’t make that long, lonely walk from the dressing room to the ring.”

Stripped naked, boxers are an open book, according to Frauenheim.

“They can be hard to deal with while training and cutting weight. But after a fight, no athlete in my experience is more forthcoming,” he said. “Win or lose, they just walked through harm’s way in front of people. In my experience, that’s when they want to talk.”

Selecting a career highlight or highlights isn’t easy for Frauenheim, but he tried.

“There are so many. I was there for the great Sugar Ray Leonard victory over Thomas Hearns [1981], a welterweight classic,” he recalled. “A personal favorite was Michael Carbajal’s comeback from two knockdowns for a KO of Humberto Gonzalez in 1993, perhaps the best fight in the history of the lightest weight class. I was also there for the crazy, including Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield’s “Bite Fight” and the “Fan Man” landing in the ring like the 82nd Airborne Division midway through a Riddick Bowe-Holyfield fight behind Vegas’ Caesars Palace.”

Three boxers set the tone and backdrop for Frauenheim’s illustrious tenure as a writer.

“Roberto Duran is the greatest lightweight ever. His lifestyle sometimes got the best of him. That was evident in his infamous ‘No Mas’ welterweight loss to Sugar Ray Leonard in New Orleans,” he said of that November 1980 bout. “He told me that he took the rematch, on short notice, because of the money. “Women-women-women, eating-eating-eating, drinking-drinking-drinking,” he told me in an interview of what he had been doing before Leonard’s people approached him for an immediate rematch of his Montreal victory. But take a look at Duran’s victory in Montreal [June 1980]. Watch it again. On that night, there’s never been a better fighter than Duran.”

Frauenheim added another titan to that short list: “Leonard, who is the last real Sugar,” he said, and ended with the only eight-weight division king. “Manny Pacquiao, an amazing story about a starving kid off impoverished Filipino streets. He was a terrific fighter, blessed with speed, power and instinct. Add to that a shy personality unchanged by all the money and celebrity. He is an example of what can still happen in boxing. He’s the face of the game’s resiliency.”

That’s quite a trio, and they’re the best of the best that Frauenheim’s seen and covered from ringside.

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Aaron McKenna and Kieron Conway Victorious in Osaka

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Aaron McKenna scored a 10th-round stoppage of Jeovanny Estela today (Monday, July 15) in Osaka, Japan. The bout was one of four scheduled 10-rounders in the middleweight division in a revamped Prizefighter Tournament with a $1,000,000 prize at stake for the winner.

One of two fighting brothers from the little town of Smithborough in County Monaghan, Ireland, the undefeated (19-0, 10 KOs) McKenna (pictured) was well ahead on the scorecards when the referee stepped in and halted the match at the 2:02 mark of the final round. He entered the ring a 4/1 favorite over Estela (14-1), a 23-year-old Floridian of Puerto Rican descent who began his pro career at 147.

McKenna’s opponent in the next round (at a date and place to be determined) will be England’s Kieron Conway (21-3-1, 6 KOs) who scored a seventh-round stoppage over China’s obscure Ainiwaer Yilixati (19-2). All three of Conway’s losses were to opponents who were undefeated when he fought them with two of those setbacks occurring on Canelo Alvarez undercards.

Two Japanese fighters – Riku Kunimoto and Kazuto Takesako – were victorious in the other bouts and will meet in the semifinals.

Local fan favorite Kunimoto, recognized as the middleweight champion of Japan, advanced to 12-1 (6 KOs) with a fifth-round stoppage of countryman Eiki Kani (8-5-3). This was a rematch. The two fought earlier this year in Nagoya with Kunimoto registering a fifth-round TKO.

Takesako (17-2-1, 15 KOs) registered the lone upset on the card with a hard-earned decision over England’s Mark Dickinson. It was the first pro loss for Dickinson who had only six pro fights under his belt but was a highly decorated amateur. The scores were 98-92, 97-93, and 95-94.

The next fight for Kunimoto will be another rematch. Takesako saddled him with his lone defeat, knocking him out in the first round at Tokyo’s venerable Korakuen Hall in May of 2021.

The tournament, co-sponsored by Matchroom and televised on DAZN, offers an aggregate $100,000 per event for knockouts. McKenna, Conway, and Kunimoto scooped up $25,000 apiece.

Aaron McKenna, his brother Stephen, and their father/trainer Feargal McKenna were the subjects of a story that ran on these pages. Stephen McKenna (14-0, 13 KOs) returns to the ring next month against 14-2 Joe Laws on a BOXXER promotion that will air on Sky Sports in the UK.

Aaron McKenna entered the Prizefighter Tourney as the pre-fight favorite and Matchroom honcho Eddie Hearn has indicated that he will be in line for a world title shot if he wins his next two matches.

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Results and Recaps from Philly where ‘Boots’ Ennis Stomped Out David Avanesyan

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PHILADELPHIA, PA — On what Matchroom Boxing Promotions called the most important night in Philadelphia boxing in over 40 years, Jaron “Boots” Ennis (32-0, 29 KOs), the current IBF welterweight champion from the city of Brotherly Love, attracted a larger-than-expected crowd of 14,119 to the Wells Fargo Center where he stopped David Avanesyan who was pulled out after five rounds. In Avanesyan (30-5-1, 18 KOs), Ennis looked to impress on two fronts, both commercially and critically.

It didn’t take long for there to be some excitement after Ennis landed a clean jab that caused Avanesyan to stagger momentarily. Ennis turned southpaw and the action stopped after Ennis landed a low blow. Rounds two and three saw both fighters decide to fight on the inside. Ennis was able to land crisp upper cuts while only getting hit with a few shots in exchange. After four rounds, the evidence was clear that Avanesyan was getting hit with clean shots as his face started to get busted up. Avanesyan had a moment when he landed a right hand that got the attention of the crowd and Ennis.

In return, Ennis continued to press forward, this time behind a straight left and combinations. A huge overhand left floored Avanesyan who rose to his feet. Round five ended with Ennis landing some clean power shots that had Avanesyan looking deflated. The ringside physician called an end to the fight after the conclusion of round five.

After the fight, Ennis agreed that he would love the opportunity to fight Terence Crawford if Crawford were to win next month, this despite not having the type of performance that he would have loved to have had after having a year-long lay-off. Eddie Hearn mentioned that he would love to have Ennis return to Philadelphia sometime in October or November if the Crawford fight can’t be made in a possible unification fight.

Other Bouts

After three pedestrian rounds, what sounded like it would be a grudge match between Jahlil Hackett (9-0, 7 KOs) and Pete Dobson (16-2) finally turned into a fight in the fourth. With both fighters finally warming up, Hackett used his jab to continue to work his way inside to land power combinations. Dobson was forced to back up into the ropes and take shots after a large lump formed on his forehead above his left eye.

The action settled down after the sixth round with Hackett taking total control. He continued to work behind an educated jab that stunted any offensive attack that Dobson tried to muster. After all ten rounds, two of the judges saw the fight 97-93, while the third had it 96-94 all in favor of Jahlil Hackett.

Skye Nicolson (11-0, 1 KO), the 2020 Tokyo Olympian and current WBC featherweight champion, utilized her skills in every way to defeat Dayan Vargas (18-2, 12 KOs). All three judges scored the fight 100-90 after Nicolson completed the shutout in dominating fashion through her command of range with a sharp jab and lateral movement. Moving forward unification fights and a possible move up in weight may force Nicolson to face the type of opposition that could make for more entertaining fights in the future.

Light heavyweight action kicked off the main portion of the DAZN telecast. Jersey City native Khalil Coe (9-0-1, 7 KOs) made short work of Kwame Ritter (11-2). After an uneventful first round, Coe started to close the distance to start the second round and as a result he landed a hard straight right that hurt Ritter. A left hook dropped Ritter and he fell backwards into the ropes. When he got up, Coe was able to swarm him with hard shots and the referee called a halt to the action with just one second remaining in the second round.

Former world title challenger Christopher “Pitufu” Diaz (29-4, 19 KOs) made quick work of the game but clearly overmatched Derlyn Hernandez (12-2-1). A short-left hook hurt Hernandez and the seasoned Diaz took his time applying the follow-up pressure that forced the referee to wave off the action at the 2:36 mark of the second round. Diaz stated prior to this comeback fight that he’s looking for one more run towards a world title.

Christian Carto (23-1, 17 KO’s) looked impressive in three rounds of action against Carlos Buitrago (38-14, 22 KOs). Both fighters were happy to exchange from the opening bell. Carto took the punches he was hit with well and was able to return fire with combinations that caught and dropped Buitrago to start round three. A series of well-placed power combinations hurt Buitrago as the round came to an end, which prompted the referee to stop the bout at the end of the round.

A pair of Boots Promotions fighters kicked off the night with entertaining bouts:

It took all six rounds to decide the Ismail Muhammad (5-0, 1 KOs) Frank Brown (3-5-2) fight. Brown pressed the action early and caught the cold Muhammad in an exchange knocking him down for the first time in his career. Muhammad rose to his feet and proceeded to work the gameplan to get himself back into the fight. Muhammad scored his own knockdown in the fourth round and finished the fight strong to earn the unanimous decision victory by scores of 58-54 twice and 57-55.

Dennis Thompson (1-0) won his professional debut at bantamweight with a unanimous decision over the game Fernando Valdez (1-8).

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