“If I fight Andre Ward at 168, I can go fight in his home town. Then we can have a rematch at 175 and he can come to my home town to fight. That’s what I’m proposing.”—Adonis Stevenson
Adonis “Superman” Stevenson (21-1, 18 KOs) made a huge statement when he scored an explosive first round knockout against “Bad” Chad Dawson (33-3, 17 KOs) to become the new light heavyweight king. This dazzling display of sheer strength and power catapults Stevenson into the spotlight of an already interesting 168-175 pound landscape, which includes Andre Ward, Carl Froch, and living legend Bernard Hopkins to name a few. Stevenson suddenly finds himself in a unique position where a slew of lucrative opportunities are likely to surface. I was recently afforded the opportunity to speak to Stevenson about his championship winning performance, his future in boxing, and his opinions of some of the other big names who reside in and around his weight class. Here is what the new champ had to say.
GEOFFREY CIANI: Hello boxing fans. This is Geoff Ciani from East Side Boxing, and I am joined here today by the newly crowned light heavyweight champion of the world, Adonis Stevenson. Adonis, first of all, congratulations on your outstanding victory.
ADONIS STEVENSON: Thank you very much.
Carl Froch represents everything that fans typically admire in a boxer. He can fight, he can punch, he can take a hell of shot, he can brawl, he is not afraid to let his hands go, and his fights are usually of a very entertaining variety. Additionally, he is a proven warrior who consistently challenges himself against the very best in the world. He is, quite literally, ready to fight anyone anywhere. The Cobra is also an extremely dedicated and incredibly well conditioned athlete. Most importantly perhaps, however, he always gives it absolutely everything he has. All of this was on full display when Froch defeated Mikkel Kessler by unanimous decision, reversing the outcome from their first bout three years ago when Kessler beat Froch in Group Stage 2 of the Super Six Boxing Classic. Just like last time, Kessler and Froch once again both put on an amazing show, with each combatant exhibiting good punching power, a solid chin, and tremendous courage amid heated back and forth action. Froch steadily outworked Kessler over the long haul and was able to control a lot of the activity with his effective rangy jab. Carl and Mikkel have now won one apiece, each man holding a victory on his home turf, and each man having once traveled to the other’s backyard. Continue reading
When Carl ‘The Cobra’ Froch (30-2, 22 KOs) squares off against ‘Viking Warrior’ Mikkel Kessler (46-2, 35 KOs) for the second time this Saturday, it will have been more than three years since their first grueling encounter in Group Stage 2 of the Super Six Boxing Classic. That contest unquestionably represented the most compelling and entertaining match-up in the entire super middleweight tournament, and there is good reason to believe the rematch will be an equally competitive battle that rivals, or perhaps even surpasses, the original. Froch and Kessler are still both universally recognized as two of the very best 168 pound boxers in the world, just as they were on April 24, 2010 when Kessler was awarded a hard fought unanimous decision on his home turf in Denmark. What can we expect this time from these two proven warriors? Will ‘The Cobra’ strike the Dane with a lethal bite, or will ‘The Viking’ savagely slay the serpent?
Carl Froch has fought five times since he faced Kessler, going 4-1 during that stretch, while Mikkel has won all three of his bouts. Of course the lone loss suffered by Froch was at the hands of Andre Ward, who is widely viewed as an elite pound-for-pound talent on par with Floyd Mayweather Junior. No shame there. Kessler himself was soundly beaten by Ward previously. The fact that Froch bounced back from the loss with an impressive brutal knockout against Lucian Bute holds far greater importance when searching for clues to explore that might give us some indication of what to expect on Saturday. Continue reading
“I would like to fight anyone in the top ten world rankings: Dmytro Kucher, Ola Afolabi, BJ Flores, Thabiso Mchunu, and there are others. I am willing to fight any and all of these guys.”— Olanrewaju Durodola
Nigerian-born cruiserweight Olanrewaju Durodola (15-1, 14 KOs) defeated Victor Barragan on April 20 in Saint Joseph, Missouri to capture the vacant WBC Continental Americas cruiserweight title. I was recently afforded a chance to catch up with the Kansas City resident to speak about his boxing career and future aspirations. Durodola, who goes by the ring moniker “God’s Power”, also discussed how his former profession in law enforcement and his Olympic boxing experience helped him develop as a boxer. Here is a complete transcript from the interview:
GEOFFREY CIANI: Hello Olandrewau. How is everything going today?
OLANREWAJU DURODOLA: Oh! Everything is going fine, thank you.
CIANI: Great! Now you’re coming off of a fourth round stoppage against Victor Barragan last month. How would you evaluate your performance? Continue reading
“This dude Dierry Jean don’t even know what he got himself into, man. When they signed that contract, they signed that contract because they thought that this was going to be an easy contest. This is not a contest. This is a fight!”—Cleotis Pendarvis
This Friday night on SHOBOX: The New Generation, a clash between junior welterweight contenders Cleotis Pendarvis (17-3, 6 KOs) and Dierry Jean (24-0, 16 KOs) will take place in order to determine the new IBF mandatory challenger. Last night I was afforded the opportunity to speak with Pendarvis, and the 26 year old Los Angeles southpaw shared his views on his upcoming opportunity. He also discussed a number of other topics, which included his boxing philosophy, working with Sugar Shane Mosley as his chief sparring partner for Friday’s match, future aspirations, Floyd Mayweather’s dominant victory over Robert Guerrero, the showdown between Lucas Matthysse and Lamont Peterson, and more. Here is a complete transcript from that interview:
GEOFFREY CIANI: Hello boxing fans. This is Geoff Ciani from East Side Boxing, and I am here today with junior welterweight contender Cleotis Pendarvis. How’s everything going today, Cleotis?
CLEOTIS PENDARVIS: Oh, it’s going on man. It’s going fine. It’s going well. You know I’m just toning it down. Camp went well. I’m basically ready.
CIANI: Great! Now your big fight coming up this weekend against Dierry Jean is an IBF eliminator bout that will be televised on Showtime. You said camp went well and that you’re basically ready. Can you tell us a little bit more about your training and preparations?
PENDARVIS: You know just in and out on a daily basis putting the miles in, the sparring in. One of the chief sparring partners was Shane Mosley and I brought in some young talent, which is around the same age as myself, very strong and powerful guys just to prepare me for the best Dierry Jean come May 10. I put in the work and did everything that I felt like I needed to do, and now camp is toning down. I’m ready to fly out and go out there and put on a performance for the world. Continue reading
The highly anticipated junior middleweight unification showdown between WBC champion Saul Alvarez and WBA titlist Austin ‘No Doubt’ Trout started on a dramatic note before the action even got underway. The atmosphere at the Alamodome was simply electrifying. The high energy and intensity that exuded during the build-up to the opening bell was so powerful that it could even be felt by the television viewing audience, and it was contagious. Although this was not a hugely publicized contest that created massive appeal among casual fans, the entire event still possessed a magical mainstream vibe that almost helped make it seem far larger in its actual scope. The stage seemed set for something special.
The fight itself was a pretty good one, too. It was a classic competitive clash of contrasting styles, making close rounds very difficult to score. Trout was looking to work behind an active jab and keep Canelo at the end of it to maintain optimal range. Alvarez sought to avoid incoming fire and quietly sneak his way in to a more favorable distance where his explosive punching power could be better utilized. Both boxers had success at various points, with the nature of their styles dictating that Trout would control the action for longer stretches, but Alvarez’s superior pop made his moments more memorable. It was a close fight that became a chess match of sorts, with tactical maneuvering, several momentum shifts, adjustments and counter adjustments, a knockdown (scored by Alvarez in the seventh), and a fine overall display of skills and natural talent. Continue reading
“I want more Chinese to pay attention to boxing and like boxing because of me”—Ik Yang
Slowly but surely, China is beginning to have an impact on the global scene of professional boxing. Two recent examples over the last five months help clearly illustrate this point. The first happened November 24 of last year when Xiong Zhao Zhong made history as he defeated Javier Martinez Resendiz by unanimous decision to claim the vacant WBC Minimumweight Championship, giving him the unique distinction of becoming the first Chinese boxer to ever win a major world title. The other occurred just over a week ago when two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner Zou Shiming reportedly earned an astounding $300,000 for his professional debut, a victorious four round contest that was broadcast virtually everywhere in China. The fact that these two success stories unfolded at a time when boxing was already experiencing growing popularity in China is surely no coincidence. Quite the contrary, when considering the noticeable momentum Chinese boxing has gathered since competing in its first Olympic Games in 1992, it is reasonable to believe that this trend will continue and we will inevitably see more and more Chinese talent (and champions) surface in the foreseeable future.
This past Friday another Chinese boxer made headway in a groundbreaking performance when lightweight Ik Yang (12-0, 8 KOs) defeated Mexican pugilist Ivan Zavala by second round knockout. What made this victory noteworthy according to Yang’s trainer and co-manager, Chauncy Welliver, was that “he just became the first Chinese fighter to win on US soil in almost 85 years—as far as I know he is the first Chinaman to do this since Harry Soo won his last fight in 1928, and I looked pretty deep into this”. Continue reading
By the mid rounds of the super bantamweight unification showdown between Guillermo Rigondeaux and Nonito Donaire, it became abundantly clear that the Cuban fighter was in command of the action. Rigondeaux was successfully controlling the range, and not just through use of his feet. He also mixed in a varied assortment of head, shoulder, and upper body movement, all of which acted to befuddle and neutralize the uncharacteristically gun-shy Donaire. It was vintage Rigondeaux. He was slipping and sliding, moving and grooving, ducking and dodging, mesmerizing with a hypnotic pawing jab, maneuvering his foe into unfavorable positions, and when opportunity permitted, zapping the Filipino boxer with stinging sharp flush lefts. This dazzling display of finesse and skills left Donaire extremely reluctant to engage, and whenever he did let his hands go Rigondeaux was usually making him miss, sometimes wildly. Guillermo thoroughly succeeded in making an explosive specimen like Nonito look ordinary. Continue reading
“Maybe there’s an outside chance this is just a ploy to draw interest, because I think Hopkins knows that if in a year from now, if he was ever to put it together and fight Andre Ward in the last hurrah, and if he was ever to win—you know there are some very smart people that might call this guy the best fighter in history.”—Iceman John Scully
Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – Last night I was afforded the opportunity to speak with world class boxing trainer ‘Iceman’ John Scully about the current boxing landscape. Scully shared his views on Bernard Hopkins’ history making performance last weekend when he broke his own record to once again become the oldest boxer to win a major world title, this time at age 48, with his sensational victory against previously undefeated Tavoris Cloud. Iceman also provided unique insight into some highly anticipated upcoming prizefights, including Floyd Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero (May 4), the rematch between Carl ‘The Cobra’ Froch and Mikkel Kessler (May 25), and the super bantamweight showdown between Nonito Donaire and Guillermo Rigondeaux (April 13). Additionally he imparted opinions pertaining to the careers of other boxing stars such as Wladimir Klitschko, Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley, and more. Here is what Iceman had to say:
GEOFFREY CIANI: Iceman, this past weekend Bernard Hopkins at age 48 once again made boxing history breaking his own record in becoming the oldest fighter to win a major world title. What did you think of his performance? Continue reading
by Geoffrey Ciani – During the eighth round of the IBF light heavyweight title bout between reigning champion Tavoris Cloud and 48 year old challenger Bernard Hopkins, HBO commentator and boxing pound-for-pound superstar Andre Ward duly noted, “It’s not quantity for Hopkins, it’s quality—he makes every punch count”. That more or less sums up the nature of this fight. Another day at the office for Bernard Hopkins translated into another page in the history books, as he once again became the oldest boxer to ever win a major world championship—and he did so in style. It was yet another masterful performance from the Future Hall of Famer who at times made it look easy in dethroning the undefeated 31 year old Cloud via unanimous decision.
The action began slowly, but right from the start Bernard controlled the pace and the range. Hopkins was simply brilliant at maintaining optimal distance, constantly shifting and maneuvering Cloud to his liking. As a result Cloud’s activity was totally hindered. Throughout the entire encounter Cloud would have difficulty closing the gap, and he was also frequently off balance and out of position. This forced him to eat more shots and punch less, and when Cloud did throw he was usually either overextending or quickly smothered. Hopkins effectively used his feet to create angles and dictate Cloud’s movements, which enabled him to sneak in leather of his own with varying frequencies of power and volume against his befuddled foe. This all spelled disaster for Cloud, who was ultimately broken down both physically and mentally as matters progressed into the later stages. Continue reading