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Pacquiao Says One More, Let’s Hope So

Frank Lotierzo

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Currently, he is on the mend from having rotator cuff surgery. The last time we saw Philippine boxing icon Manny Pacquiao 57-6-2 (38) he was sharing a ring with Floyd Mayweather in the richest fight in boxing history.

Last week Pacquiao announced he would likely retire next year after one last fight to focus on a career in politics, hopefully as a senator.

“I think I’m ready (to retire). I’ve been in boxing for more than 20 years,” Pacquiao, 36, said in an interview on local ABS-CBN television network.

A congressman since 2010, he’s looking to bid for a Senate seat in the national elections in May of next year.

Manny Pacquiao turned pro when he was 16 years old and will turn 37 in two months. It can be said with impunity that he’s had a stellar career and is no doubt a first ballot hall of famer the moment the bell rings ending the last round of his final career bout.

Yes, he lost the biggest and highest profile bout of his career to Mayweather, but so did Muhammad Ali to “Smokin” Joe Frazier, and it didn’t hurt Ali’s legacy one iota. The difference there being Ali got two more shots at Joe and beat him both times. Manny won’t get two more shots at Floyd, however I think it’s possible he may get one more. Although in fairness, it’s probably better that Manny never fights Mayweather in a rematch because he’ll lose again. It may be a little closer, but the reality is, Floyd owns the style match-up. He’s too big and he also has retained his physical skill set better. In other words, Floyd has more left in the tank than Manny does physically in spite of the fact that he’s nearly two years older.

Because of their six year rivalry, Pacquiao and Mayweather seemed to be joined at the hip, but they’re really not. Remember, Mayweather needed to meet and beat Pacquiao to solidify his legacy much more than the reverse. Regardless of what Mayweather’s posse and fanboys may try and push, Floyd is still thought of as a guy who gamed the system and chose most of his high profile opponents when the timing best suited him. That cannot be said about Pacquiao. Floyd’s legacy is beating a fighter who won his first title as a flyweight, thus fighting him as a welterweight.

Pacquiao’s legacy was carved out in beating great HOF’ers the likes of Marco Antonio Barrera 2 out of 2, Erik Morales 2 out of 3 and Juan Manuel Marquez 2 out of 3 after fighting him to a draw the first time they met. Those three warriors were his career rivals between 126 and 130, with the exception of the final two bouts against Marquez that were contested at welterweight. Manny’s legacy is also winning a world title in eight different weight divisions. No other fighter has done that.

Of course some of those titles were manufactured and catch weight bouts, but he still beat some very good welterweights (Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito, Timothy Bradley and Brandon Rios) during the last five years of his career after making his debut as a flyweight. Prior to fighting as a welterweight, Pacquiao defeated David Diaz, undefeated Ricky Hatton, in addition to beating past their prime versions of Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley at 147. On the down side he did lose a disputed decision to Timothy Bradley and was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in their final fight, along with being stopped twice before fighting at 112 and 113.

Manny’s had a tremendous run. Actually, his resume is more impressive than Mayweather’s and so are his accomplishments. And if you take four of his five marquee opponents who fought Mayweather, Marquez, Hatton, De La Hoya, Cotto and Mosley, Pacquiao was much more impressive beating them. No, he’s not undefeated, but how many are who have compiled a resume as deep as his?

Manny carried most of his power with him up to junior welterweight and it didn’t level off until he got to welterweight. He was scary good on the nights that he stopped Hatton and Cotto. But that was a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away. Pacquiao has been on the decline since 2012. Starting then he lost a lot of his explosiveness and became very easy to hit. The work-rate also decreased and the non-stop all-out attack has diminished, as was evidenced against Chris Algieri and Mayweather in his last two bouts. Now he’s in the midst of recuperating from a serious shoulder operation. Is it even plausible to think that he can be much better than he was against Mayweather? I don’t think so. And let us not forget the devastating one-punch knockout he suffered against Marquez when they last fought. In reality Pacquiao is teetering on being damaged goods, and nobody understood that more than Mayweather did……that’s why they fought in 2015 instead of 2010.

Manny said he wants one more fight, perhaps against Amir Khan, and then he’s done. I doubt he even realizes at this time he’s no better than 50/50 against today’s elite welterweights. I’m hopeful that he picks the right opponent in his next bout and then hangs ’em up for good because there’s nothing left for him to prove. He’s done it all, and did so with class, style and excitement. No one wants to see him get beat up or punched around the ring to close out a once in a generation career. Certainly not when he can retire with his health, wealth and respect.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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Pico Rivera Summer Fights See Cruz, Vega and Flores Win

David A. Avila

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Pico-Rivera-Summer-Fights-See-Cruz-Vega-and-Flores Win

PICO RIVERA, Ca.-Along the San Gabriel River on a soft summer evening, Red Boxing Promotions brought another slew of hot local prospects to the forefront on Saturday.

Chino’s Daniel “Cuetito” Cruz (3-0) burst into the fight like an energy bomb and simply overwhelmed southpaw Phillip Bounds (0-4) with lightning combinations to win by unanimous decision. More than 700 fans saw the Red Boxing fight card.

Though it was only his third pro fight, the high intensity prizefighter Cruz (pictured on the left) exhibited a level of confidence that allowed him to attack with impunity for the first two rounds.

Cruz switched to southpaw and had even more success against the lefty Bounds. The speed of Cruz proved too much to overcome for Bounds who tried different approaches but couldn’t find an antidote for Cruz who won by unanimous decision 40-36 on all three cards in the super lightweight match.

“I’m excited, I wanted to put on a good show,” said Cruz, 20. “I’m coming for all of the big names. Cuetito is here.”

Andre Marquez (2-1) overwhelmed the much taller Alvin Brown (0-8) from Louisiana with a whirlwind style that ended in a knockout in the fourth and final round of their super featherweight match. A left hook caught Brown flush and Marquez followed up with four more blows, forcing Brown to take a knee at 1:41 of the fourth round. Marquez was ruled the winner by knockout by referee Sharon Sands.

“My plan was to work his body,” said Marquez. “It worked out perfectly.”

Welterweights Bradley Pena (0-0-1) and Ed Nunez (0-0-1) blasted each other for four rounds, with Pena starting fast and Nunez ending strong. No knockdowns were scored in the fight that started the night and ended in a draw.

Main Bouts

A light flyweight clash saw Axel Vega (13-2-1, 8 KOs) of Ensenada, Mexico knock out Tijuana’s Giovanni Noriega (2-5-2) with a triple left hook in the second round. Vega, 19, trained out of Compton for this fight.

Welterweight prospect Steven Rodriguez (8-0) suffered a cut on his forehead due to a clash of heads but still managed to out-perform Las Vegas fighter Ryan Picou (3-12-1) after four rounds. All three judges scored the fight 40-36 in favor of Rodriguez. But Picou gave a stubborn defense against the constant rushes of Rodriguez and was able to score on occasion.

Santa Barbara’s Angel Flores (6-0, 4 KOs) defeated Mexico’s Roberto Almazan (9-12) by unanimous decision after six rounds in a super lightweight contest. Flores knocked down Almazan twice in the last round to clinch the win and get the victory by a landslide.

In the audience was former world champion Arturo Frias of East Los Angeles who won the WBA world lightweight title in 1982 and fought numerous times at LA’s  fabled Olympic Auditorium. Also in attendance was current super flyweight contender Adelaida “La Cobra” Ruiz of Los Angeles who is scheduled to fight on October 12 at the same Pico Rivera Sports Arena. Red Boxing Promotions will be staging the event.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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Fast Results from Russia: Kovalev KOs Yarde in the 11th

Arne K. Lang

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Fast-Results-from-Russia-Kovalev-KOs-Yarde-in-the-11th

The consensus of opinion regarding tonight’s fight at Chelyabinsk between Sergey Kovalev and Anthony Yarde was that….well, there was no consensus, save that it would not bode well for Yarde if both fighters were still standing at the final bell. Fighting in his hometown, and with a monster payday reportedly looming against Canelo Alvarez should he win, “Krusher” was unlikely to get the worst of it if the fight went to the scorecards. But there would be no controversial decision. In a fight that started slowly and then shifted Yarde’s way, Kovalev stemmed the momentum, took charge in the 10th, and then closed the show in the next round with a scorching left hand that left Yarde flat on his back, gasping for air.

In handicapping the fight, Kovalev certainly had more check marks in the plus column. A former three belt champion and the reigning WBO 175-pound title-holder, Kovalev would be appearing in his 16th world title fight, his second with Hall of Fame trainer Buddy McGirt, with whom he had great rapport. By contrast, Yarde, although undefeated (18-0), had answered the bell for only 51 rounds and had defeated only nine fighters with winning records. Moreover, the Englishman had fought only 12 amateur fights before turning pro.

However, at age 36, Kovalev was getting long in the tooth and in some of his more recent fights he had stamina issues. Moreover, there was a school of thought that Yarde was a beast. In his 30 fights, amateur and pro, he had scored 28 knockouts.

Yarde’s first good round was the seventh and he followed that up with a very strong eighth in which he hurt Kovalev and had the Krusher looking tired. But the assumption that he had paced himself brilliantly proved to be a mirage. As the bout moved into the home stretch, it was the younger man that was more fatigued.

Kovalev backed Yarde against the ropes and hurt him in the 10th. The Russian repeatedly had success with his hard left jab (shades of Larry Holmes) and it was a jab that ended it. Yarde was too exhausted to make it to his feet and was counted out.

Kovalev reportedly has already agreed to meet Canelo in November or December. Tonight he may have added an extra zero to his purse.

Kovalev vs. Canelo, likely at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, will be a blockbuster. Let the hype begin.

Co-Feature

The co-feature between knockout artists Aleksei Papin and Ilunga Makabu wasn’t expected to last the distance, but it went the full 12 and was a highly entertaining affair climaxed by a great 12th round. When the smoke cleared, Ilunga, who went to post a slight favorite, improved to 26-2 (24) by dint of winning a majority decision. It was the second straight win on Russian soil for the Congolese southpaw who fights out of Johannesburg. In his previous go, he stopped Dmitry Kudryashov in the fifth round at Ekaterinburg.

Papin was 11-0 going in with 10 knockouts but the 31-year-old Russian, a former kickboxing champion, was moving up in class against Makabu, a former world title challenger. In the 12th, Makabu scored a knockdown with a straight left after buzzing Papin with a left-right combination, but Papin wasn’t badly hurt and came back to rock him in the final seconds. The knockdown seemingly spelled the difference as two judges had it 115-113 with the third scoring it even (113-113).

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Tanaka and Hatanaka Stay Undefeated in Nagoya

Arne K. Lang

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Kiyoshi Hatanaka, the former world super bantamweight champion, now runs a boxing gym and promotes fights in his hometown of Nagoya. The top fighters in his gym are 24-year-old Kosei Tanaka, who has already won world titles in three weight classes, and Kento Hatanaka, Kyoshi’s 21-year-old son. Both were in action today and both were victorious, but not without anxious moments.

Tanaka, the reigning WBO 112-pound champion, improved to 14-0 (8 KOs) with a seventh-round TKO of Jonathan Gonzalez (22-3-1) in an action-packed bout. There were five knockdowns in all, four by Tanaka, before the referee waved it off with merely a second remaining in the seventh stanza.

Gonzalez took a knee after being hurt by a body punch in round three. But he returned the favor, knocking Tanaka down with a counterpunch in the next stanza, and seemingly had the fight in hand when he dominated the fifth. But Tanaka regained the momentum and scored three knockdowns in Round 7 to close the show.

Kosei Tanaka is overshadowed as a sports personality by countryman Naoya “Monster” Inoue, but is carving out quite a legacy. At age 19, in only his fifth pro fight, he defeated WBO minimumweight (105 pound) champion Julian Yadras of Mexico. He then gathered in titles at 108 and 112, accomplishing the hat trick in only his 12th pro fight, tying Vasiliy Lomachenko’s record.

With only a few pounds separating each of the lowest weight classes, Tanaka likely isn’t done jumping up in weight. There’s already talk of a showdown with 115-pound title-holder Kazuto Ioka. But Tanaka has indicated that he wants to expand his opportunities overseas, following the example of Inoue. There are still holes in his defense, but that makes for exciting fights and a match between him and someone like “Chocolatito” Gonzalez would be worth the price of admission.

Jonathan Gonzalez, a southpaw with a good amateur pedigree, had fought his previous three fights in Kissimmee, Florida. When in his native Puerto Rico, he trains in the same gym as former super bantamweight and featherweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez. We certainly haven’t seen the last of him.

The 10-round co-feature between super flyweights Kento Hatanaka and Jaysever Abcede was also a crowd pleaser that saw both combatants score knockdowns. Hatanaka improved to 10-0 but was extended the distance for the first time in his pro career. Abcede, a noted spoiler from the Philippines, saw his winning streak end at four and fell to 19-9. The scores were 95-93, 96-93, and 96-92.

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