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Three Punch Combo: A Look at Some Lead-in Fights to Canelo-Jacobs and More

Matt Andrzejewski

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Yamaguchi Falcao (16-0, 7 KO’s)

THREE PUNCH COMBO — It is Canelo-Jacobs fight week and most of the attention of the boxing world will be fixated on this fight. But there is other action that deserves our attention this week. This includes a very intriguing middleweight crossroads fight between two former amateur standouts.

On Thursday, Golden Boy will present a card from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas that will be streamed live on Facebook Watch. The event is headlined by middleweights Yamaguchi Falcao (16-0, 7 KO’s) and Christopher Pearson (16-2, 12 KO’s). This is actually a rematch of their 2011 encounter in the World Series of Boxing. Pearson, representing  the LA Matadors, won that fight by split decision.

Falcao (pictured) had a very successful amateur career that included winning a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics. He turned pro in 2014 and began his career as a fairly active fighter with 13 fights in his first three years. However, since then he has had only four fights. Moreover, he has yet to really step up his level of competition. At 31, time is becoming a factor.

Like Falcao, Pearson also had a very successful amateur career and entered the pro game with plenty of hype. And also like Falcao, Pearson has yet to tap into much of that potential as a pro. Pearson’s issue has been a questionable set of whiskers and there have also been questions about his dedication to the sport. The talent is there and at 28 Pearson still has time to turn things around but his window is also closing.

On paper, Falcao-Pearson is a very evenly matched fight. Both are southpaws though stylistically they differ in how they fight behind that stance. Falcao is aggressive and likes to press forward looking to work combinations behind the right jab. He also frequently looks to counter with the straight left and will sit back in spots waiting for his opponent to throw to create counter opportunities.

Pearson is a boxer-puncher who will look to use his legs and use the entire ring. He is athletic with good speed and possesses very fast hands. Pearson is going to look to box behind the right jab and land quick combinations behind that punch as Falcao attempts to close the distance.

Will Falcao’s pressure and counterpunching ability neutralize the speed and athleticism of Pearson? This is a very fascinating matchup in what is frankly a toss-up fight. I am looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

About The Canelo-Jacobs Undercard

The undercard for Canelo-Jacobs has certainly been ravaged by some bad luck. First, the original proposed co-feature between David Lemieux (40-4, 34 KO’s) and John Ryder (27-4, 15 KO’s) was postponed when Lemieux came down with a right hand injury. And then a fight that was certain to be all action between Pablo Cesar Cano (32-7-1, 22 KO’s) and Michael Perez (25-3-2, 11 KO’s) was also postponed when Cano suffered a hand injury. So what are we left with? Well, to be honest, mostly showcase bouts for the “A” sides.

The new co-feature showcases sizzling 140-pound prospect Vergil Ortiz Jr. (12-0, 12 KO’s) taking a step up in class against veteran Mauricio Herrera (24-8, 7 KO’s). Ortiz, 21, looks like the real deal. He has dynamic speed and blistering power. To say the sky is the limit for him would be an understatement.

Herrera, 38, has seen his better days. He is just 2-3 in his last five fights and frankly is looking shopworn. In his prime, he was a slick boxer-puncher with excellent movement inside the ring. But in his recent fights he has been more of a stationary target and much easier to hit.

While Herrera has never been knocked out, this is a fight where Ortiz not only needs to score a knockout but do so early. Ortiz has nothing to fear in regards to Herrera’s power and Herrera will be standing right in front of him all night long. It should be easy work for Ortiz and he needs to make the appropriate statement given his status on this event.

Joseph Diaz (28-1, 14 KO’s) is coming off a tough 2018. First, he dropped a twelve round decision to WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. Then, accorded a second shot at a world featherweight title, he was unable to make weight. He out-pointed WBA title-holder Jesus Rojas, but could not claim the coveted title belt and made a bad impression by missing weight in such a critical fight.

Diaz now fights at 130. He scored a solid win against Charles Huerta in February and now faces Freddy Fonseca on a bigger stage. Fonseca has a nice record of 26-2-1 with 17 KO’s but has fought very limited opposition. This is a spot where Diaz should shine and put on a dominant performance. Anything less would be unacceptable and drop his stock at a time when he can ill afford to do so.

Speaking of Canelo-Jacobs…

I am not going to give my prediction at this time. It will come later in the week when the other TSS writers have their say. But I want to point out a few subtle factors that will go a long way in determining the winner.

There is nobody in boxing today who commits to going to the body with as much ferocity as well as consistency as Canelo Alvarez. He will beat his opponent’s ribcage from the first round until the end of the fight. This calculated attack often wears down and softens up his opposition as the fight progresses.

It is not inconceivable that this fight could be very close after six rounds. And this is where the body assault for Canelo could come into play down the stretch. Jacobs has never faced an opponent who goes to the body as well as Canelo and how he responds will be critical.

Will the cumulative effect of the body punches impact Jacobs’ movement? Will it take a lot of zap from his punches? If Jacobs becomes more of a stationary target and can’t get Canelo’s respect, the second half of the fight could be all one-way traffic for Canelo.

Canelo’s commitment to going to his opponent’s body, particularly with the left hook, is one of his strengths, but it also can create plenty of countering opportunities for his opponent. This especially came to light when Canelo fought Mayweather and Golovkin.

The openings will be there for Jacobs to land the counter right when Canelo dips down to throw the left hook to the body. Often times when fighters face Canelo, they become too defensive and focused on blocking the body shots without looking towards their own offense. What will Jacobs do? He does have an excellent quick right hand and if he is willing to stand in there he can certainly land that punch flush. Particularly early when he is fresh, Jacobs could be very dangerous with this punch.

Finally, with a big third fight with Golovkin looming ahead, a massive big money legacy fight, one must ask if Canelo will be fully focused. There is no doubt that he is training hard and preparing for a tough fight, but with something so big on the horizon it’s only human nature to glance ahead. And sometimes in boxing, as well as sports in general, when a not-100% focused fighter or team fails to bring their “A” game it is ripe to be upset.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

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Boxing Odds and Ends: Ramirez-Postol, Taylor-Serrano and More

Arne K. Lang

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Boxing-Odds-and-Ends-Ramirez-Postol-Taylor-Serrano-and-More

It takes a strong constitution to be a boxing promoter because things always go wrong. The only law that governs boxing is Murphy’s Law.

Carl Frampton’s first fight under the Top Rank banner was slated for Aug. 10 of last year in Philadelphia. With the fight five days away, Frampton suffered a freak injury while sitting in a hotel lobby. A boy playing behind a curtain knocked over a seven-foot pillar which fell on Frampton’s left hand, fracturing it.

This was the second time that a Frampton fight was knocked out by a freak injury. Two years earlier, a homecoming fight in Belfast had to be scrapped when Frampton’s opponent, Andres Gutierrez, slipped in the shower in his hotel on the eve of the battle and suffered severe facial injuries.

The latest bout to fall out because of an odd development is Jose Ramirez’s Feb. 2 WBC/WBO lightweight title defense against Viktor Postol at a Chinese golf resort south of Hong Kong. The event fell victim to the coronavirus, more exactly the fear it has instilled.

The virus, which produces flu-like symptoms that are resistant to conventional antibiotics, apparently originated at an outdoor food market in the city of Wuhan where live animals are sold. The numbers vary with each new story, but according to one account there have been 444 confirmed cases in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital city, and 653 cases worldwide including two in the United States, a man in his 30’s living near Seattle and a Chicago woman in her 60’s.

The fear of a pandemic (an epidemic becomes a pandemic when it spreads across multiple geographic regions of the world) has led to some drastic measures. The Chinese government has reportedly put 12 cities on lockdown, blocking traffic in and out. At many airports, visitors arriving from China are being screened. There are now thermal cameras than can record a person’s body temperature remotely.

Jose Ramirez (pictured with his promoter Bob Arum) was scheduled to leave for China yesterday (Jan. 23) but was intercepted. Viktor Postol is already there and apparently stranded until an outgoing flight can be arranged.

The Ramirez-Postol fight was to air on ESPN. No make-up date has been set.

– – –

British promoter Eddie Hearn says he’s close to finalizing a fight between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano. Hearn says the fight will take place in the U.S. in April. It figures that Madison Square Garden is the frontrunner.

If the fight comes off on schedule, this will be the biggest women’s fight in history!

That’s because the odds attached to the fight figure to be in the “pick-‘em” range and that guarantees that boxing writers and others in the boxing community will be surveyed to get their picks – about which there figures to be considerable disagreement – and that will greatly enhance the pre-fight buzz.

Taylor, 33, last fought in November in Manchester, England, advancing her record to 15-0 (6 KOs) with a unanimous decision over Christina Linardatou, a fighter from Greece via the Dominican Republic. It was Taylor’s first fight at 140 after previously unifying the lightweight title with a hard-fought decision over Belgium’s Delfine Persoon.

Amanda Serrano, a 31-year-old southpaw, born in Puerto Rico and raised in Brooklyn, has won titles in five weight divisions. She last fought as a featherweight, turning away gritty Heather Hardy, but has competed as high as 140. Boasting a 37-1-1 record, she’s won 23 straight, 18 by stoppage, 10 in the opening round

What sets women boxers apart from their male counterparts is that the women have a significantly lower knockout ratio. Amanda Serrano is the glaring exception.

Despite a less eye-catching record, Taylor has arguably fought the stiffer competition considering her extensive amateur background. As a pro, her victims include Cindy Serrano, Amanda’s older sister by six years. Taylor whitewashed her in a match at Boston Garden, prompting the elder Serrano sister to call it a career.

– – –

The most bizarre (non)story to appear in a boxing web site this week involved former unified heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe. A man representing Bowe, identified as Eli Karabell, was frustrated because Eddie Hearn wasn’t returning his calls. Karabell had offered Hearn the right of first refusal on Bowe’s next fight.

Bowe, now 51 years old, last fought in a boxing ring in 2008 when he returned to the sport after a three-and-half year absence for an 8-round bout in Germany. In 2013, he appeared in a kickboxing fight in Thailand where he was stopped in the second round after being knocked down five times by leg kicks.

“Will there be another chapter to write for Bowe?” concluded the author of this piece.

Egads, let’s hope not.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

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Boxing Odds and Ends: Crawford, Canelo, Caleb Plant and More

Arne K. Lang

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Boxing-Odds-and-Ends-Crawford-Canelo-Caleb-Plant-and-More

Boxing Odds and Ends: Crawford, Canelo, Caleb Plant and More

Although a lot of disinformation comes out of the mouths of boxing promoters, Bob Arum was apparently serious when he broached the idea of a two-fight series between Terence Crawford and Conor McGregor, the first fight to be conducted under MMA rules and the second under boxing rules.

Crawford is amenable. “I just have to have the proper time to prepare myself,” he told ESPN’s Dan Rafael. “…I haven’t been in that (wrestling) environment in a long time, but most definitely I feel I can compete with anyone given the proper time to train on the MMA side, being that I have a wrestling background.”

Crawford, 32, last wrestled in middle school so he would certainly need a refresher course. However, he would have a better chance of defeating Conor McGregor in an MMA match than McGregor would have of defeating him in a boxing match. So, if Arum’s proposed two-fight series ever comes off, the tailpiece may be unnecessary.

– – –

As first reported by ESPN’s Steve Kim, Andy Ruiz Jr. has dumped trainer Manny Robles. According to Kim’s report, Ruiz’s father informed Robles of the decision and said it was Al Haymon’s idea.

Andy Ruiz appears to be one of those people that can gain weight just looking at food. He weighed 297 ½ pounds for his pro debut at age 19, carried 268 pounds for his first meeting with Anthony Joshua, and ballooned up to 283 ½ for the rematch after leading reporters to believe that he had actually slimmed down for the sequel.

Ruiz, noted Kim, went from a feel-good story to a cautionary tale in just six months.

– – –

Who ya’ gonna believe?

A certain disreputable web site, bragging that it had an exclusive, told its readers that Canelo Alvarez had settled on Billy Joe Saunders as his next opponent and that they would meet on Cinco de Mayo in Las Vegas. The next day, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, a far more trustworthy source, reported that Ryota Murata had emerged as the frontrunner and that negotiations were underway to stage the fight in Japan.

Perhaps it makes sense for Canelo to promote his brand in a new market. However, if he fights Murata, who holds a WBA belt, he would reportedly be dropping back to 160 and at age 29 he appears to have outgrown the weight class.

Stay tuned.

– – –

If Caleb Plant were an NBA player, his name would be Kevin Love. Plant, who recently married FOX/PBC reporter Jordan Hardy, is the only U.S.-born, non-Hispanic white person among the various champions in the 17 weight divisions.

Plant, who hails from tiny Ashland City, Tenn. (23 miles from Nashville) defends his IBF super middleweight title on Feb. 15 at Nashville’s 20,000-seat Bridgestone Arena. In the opposite corner will be Germany’s Vincent Feigenbutz who will be making his U.S. debut.

The 24-year-old Feigenbutz, who turned pro at age 16, has won 10 straight and 30 of his last 31. He represents a big step up in class from Plant’s last opponent, Mike Lee, who was in way over his head.

– – –

A sad note from South Africa: Five days after the death of trailblazer Peter Mathebula, his widow, Emma Gabaitsiwe Mathebula, died suddenly of an apparent heart attack. Peter Mathebula’s funeral, originally set for Saturday, has been pushed back until Tuesday and will now be a joint funeral.

Mathebula, who won the WBA world flyweight title in 1980, basically died a pauper, having sold all of  his boxing memorabilia to keep his head above water. His heirs had reached out to the government for assistance in defraying the costs of his burial.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 82: Jason Quigley Returns to SoCal and More

David A. Avila

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Avila-Perspective-Chap-82-Jason-Quigley-Returns-to-SoCal-and-More

Southern California prizefighting heats up with Jason Quigley headlining a fight card in Orange County and then, two days later, another fight card takes place in the heart of Los Angeles.

Ireland’s Quigley (17-1, 13 KOs) faces Mexico’s Fernando Marin (16-4-3, 12 KOs) on Thursday Jan. 23, at the OC Hangar in Costa Mesa, Calif. DAZN will stream the Golden Boy Promotions fight card live.

Quigley, 28, seeks to reclaim territory lost when he suffered a defeat last July against Tureano Johnson. Ironically, Marin would lose 10 days later in Hollywood to super welterweight contender Serhii Bohachuk.

For several years Quigley had trained in Southern California but decided to change trainers and location. He moved to Great Britain and still prepares near his native country but primarily fights in the U.S.

At one time Quigley clamored for a match against Gennady “GGG” Golovkin or Saul “Canelo” Alvarez but now finds himself trying to prove he belongs in the upper tier of the middleweight division. It’s loaded with talent.

Also on the same fight card will be popular North Hollywood super welterweight Ferdinand Kerobyan who was headed to contender status when he ran into Blair “the Flair” Cobbs. At the time Cobbs was an unknown quantity but no longer.

Kerobyan (13-1, 8 KOs) meets Azael Cosio (21-8-2) in an eight-round clash in the semi-main event at OC Hangar. Doors open at 5 p.m.

Red Boxing International

On Saturday Jan. 27, Red Boxing International hosts its first boxing card of the year at Leonardo’s Night Club located at 6617 Wilson Ave. L.A. 90001. Doors open at 5 p.m.

Super welterweight Bryan Flores (13-1, 6 KOs) meets Brandon Baue (15-17) in the main event  in the first event of the year for the ambitious promotion company. For the past two years Flores fought primarily in Tijuana, Mexico where he racked up six wins. Now he’s back on Southern California soil.

Another match features lightweights Angel Israel Rodriguez (5-0) facing off against Braulio Avila (3-6) in a six-round fight.

Rodriguez fights out of Pico Rivera, Calif. but recently fought in Costa Rica where he won by first round knockout in November. He will be fighting Avila who just fought two weeks ago at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, Calif.

It’s a long fight card with 11 bouts on the schedule.

JRock and Rosario

Boxing fans received another lesson on never underestimating a ranked contender regardless of the name recognition.

Jeison Rosario knocked out Julian “J Rock” Williams who was making the first defense of the WBA and IBF super welterweight world titles he won last year in my selection as “Fight of the Year.”

Rosario walked in with little recognition and was thought to be a soggy piece of bread for Williams. The long armed Dominican fighter walloped Williams in front of his hometown fans in Philadelphia. It was yet another warning for fans to understand that anyone who steps in the boxing ring ranked as a contender can do the unthinkable. In this case Rosario knocked out the champion in five rounds.

Many felt Williams was far too skilled, especially on the inside where he showcased those skills last May against former titlist Jarret Hurd. It was a remarkable display of the art of inside fighting. But against Rosario, he never got a chance to exhibit those skills.

The loaded super welterweight division has another dangerous champion in Rosario.

Fights to Watch

Thurs. 6 p.m. DAZN – Jason Quigley (17-1) vs Fernando Marin (16-4-3).

Sat. 6 p.m. Showtime – Danny Garcia (35-2) vs Ivan Redkach (23-4-1).

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in The Fight Forum CLICK HERE

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