(Photo credit: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Roc Nations Sports) Andre Ward resurfaced after a long absence and steamrolled British super middleweight Paul Smith at the Oracle Arena in Ward’s native Oakland, Cal. Ward spent two of his best years away from the prize ring due to legal and promotional disputes. He came back as shiny as new and kept his opponent in the crossfire for 9 rounds before the bloodied Smith was bailed out by his corner.
If there was any ring rust, it was shadowed by the skill differential which gave Ward full convenience. Coming from a 19 month layoff he was not expected to choose a tough challenge although Smith was no push over. The Brit went the distance twice with Arthur Abraham in his last two fights. This probably legitimized him as an opponent for Ward who did much better than Abraham. The American was on a different level and had an indecently easy time against his tough but over-matched foe. Ward exhibited his boxing talent and his speed allowed him to do whatever he pleased in the ring. There was a catch though, the catch weight clause. Continue reading
Beterbiev fought Alexander Johnson (16-3) and scored his 9th KO in as many fights on Friday night at the UCI Pavilion in Chicago. Johnson, a southpaw with agreeable boxing skills, had a height and a reach advantage over the Russian icebreaker and lasted longer than the previous victims. The American was never really in contention but he gave it a try. Beterbiev’s total boxing made Johnson look as if he was in a different sport. The southpaw stance did not help him; in fact it facilitated Beterbiev’s lead right hands. Continue reading
Miguel Cotto stopped Daniel Geale in the 4th round to defend his WBC middleweight title last night at the Barclays center in Brooklyn, NY. This was the first defense of the belt Cotto won with an excellent performance against veteran Sergio Martinez last year. The winner grabbed the trophy and ran for a whole year before he made a “prudent” choice of bypassing the real challenges in favor of fighting a no-threat opponent. His reluctance to face his mandatory GGG has transpired unequivocally and it seems he would rather be stripped than face a middleweight proper. Apparently he and his team will sit on the title and negotiate its release rather than make a a stand for it – those “middies” hit too hard anyway.
Cotto commented: “My weight yesterday was 153.6 pounds; you think I’m a middleweight? I’m not.”
That’s as clear as it gets regarding a GGG showdown. The Puerto Rican champ stated that if people want his fight with Saul Alvarez to happen, it will happen. He must have noticed that more people appear to want him to step up to his obligation and face his WBC mandatory challenger. Continue reading
(Photo credit: Naoki Fakuda) Amir Khan (31-3) unanimously outpointed Chris Algieri (20-2) on May 29 and his performance raised more questions than it answered. He won beyond any doubt but did not really dominate the slightly bigger New Yorker and came across as a fast but fragile contender with a power shortage. In fact his lackluster outing may have increased his chances of a big payday as he is obviously not a major threat to the key players at welterweight and he appears to be a low risk opponent for them regardless of the bold hype. Boxing without hard punches is aerobics.
Chris Algieri is perhaps at the peak of his career and he may have unwittingly accepted the position of a gatekeeper/measuring stick of the division after he went the distance with Pacquiao. Continue reading
The fight will take place on May 29 at the Barclays center, a high capacity indoor arena in Brooklyn, NY. Usually boxers need excuses why they do not take a certain fight but Amir Khan (30-3) has been trying to justify his choice and has offered excuses why he should fight Christopher Algieri (20-1). The British boxer can gain credibility only from a stoppage win over this opponent even though Algieri went the distance with Pacquiao and holds a win, albeit a controversial SD, over rough and tumble Ruslan Provodnikov.
Chris Algieri is a little taller and his reach is a little longer but he lacks in experience and skill compared to Khan. In fact he lacks in experience compared to any high-level boxer. Khan is an Olympic silver medalist and his transition to the paid ranks was not seamless but he has more fights than Algieri, a journeyman with little if any amateur experience. The American has been floored 8 times in his last two fights and it would take a stretch of imagination to conjure up a winning path for him in this fight. Continue reading
The Russian invasion of the cruiserweight division continued on Friday night at the Luzhniki arena in Moscow. All three Russian cruiser weights, Grigory Drozd, Rakhim Chakhkiev and Dmitri Kudryashov who fought on the under-card of Povetkin/Perez stopped their opponents and established Russian as the official language of the division. Oleksandr Usyk of the Ukraine must be mentioned as a potential game-changer in the division and he speaks fluent Russian as well. Marco Huck (Muamer Hukic) has studied Russian at school in his native Serbia as a boy but it will hardly help him come to terms with the advancing troops. Huck had an extremely hard time with Dennis Lebedev and the new guard seems tougher. Continue reading
The main event of the action-packed card at the Luzhniki arena in Moscow last night was the shortest fight of the night. Alexander Povetkin (29-1) sandbagged highly regarded Mike Perez (21-2-1) for half a round and cemented his mandatory WBC spot by winning the WBC Silver heavyweight title. He was already number 1 in the rankings prior to the fight.
Both competitors had notable amateur background. Alexander Povetkin won Olympic gold in Athens and Perez was a successful amateur for the Cuban national team winning the World Junior Championship in 2004. He later grew up to cruiser weight but failed to secure a spot in the national team having mixed success against the top dogs. Irish boxing promoter Gary Hyde spotted him at a tournament and lured Perez into defecting from Cuba. He arranged the prospect’s escape from the Island of Freedom using the services of a Mexican cartel. Perez was required to swim offshore from Cuba and board a cartel vessel in neutral waters and he ended up being hostage for 9 days until Hyde was able to pay what the cartel demanded for Perez’s release. Continue reading
The 20th consecutive KO (TKO) win for Golovkin was less eventful than “the big drama show’ catch phrase suggested. The fight took place on May 16 and the venue was the Forum in Inglewood, Cal. The challenger Willie Monroe Jr. (19-2, 6 KOs), a US southpaw with Cuban roots, was known for his speed but not his power and he was not expected to rock and test the Kazakh with concussive leather. Monroe comes from a boxing family – his uncle Willie “The Worm” Monroe once outpointed Marvin Hagler of all middleweights handing him his 2nd pro loss – and when you add the Cuban connection the bar goes up a notch as well. Willie was a Boxino tournament champ and his only loss had been a UD to Darnell Boone, an under-appreciated but notoriously awkward customer who KOed Adonis Stevenson and has scored knock downs over Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward. The undefeated Golovkin looked forward to fighting a slick southpaw and they were of equal size with a reach advantage in favor of the American. Here is a round by round recap of the bout: Continue reading
The fans may have had too much of Mayweather and Pacquiao for the last several months but the saga continues. Mayweather has stated, or rather texted his wish to have another go with Manny Pacquiao. He sent a text message to Stephen A. Smith from ESPN expressing his interest in a sequel. Pacman cried rematch right after the final bell and the fighters seem unanimous in their decision to finalize their careers with forging a rivalry. The rivalry used to be intriguing before it materialized into “the fight of the century” which failed to meet even the most conservative expectations of aficionados while it satisfied most of the naysayers’ warnings. The numbers have not been released yet but it looks like the fight may have met at least one high expectation that the fans care little about – a grossing pay-per-view record.
Pacquiao announced a shoulder injury after the fight which got him into several kinds of trouble. He did not need an excuse as he did well and even his opponent complimented him, saying “I take my hat off to him”. Team Pacquiao behaved erratically after the fight, they were in denial and showed little class in reconciling with the verdict, fair or not and maintaining dignity. Continue reading
The triumph of politics and hype over the sport of boxing is unanimous, professional boxing exists as a sport only nominally and has turned into a financial instrument. Show business likes scripts and scenarios and everything was under control last night, judging/scoring and even punch stats calculations occurred independently and irrespectively of the action in the ring or of the actual number of landed shots. The fight definitely did not live up to the hype except perhaps financially – the alleged fight of the century will hardly qualify for a fight of the year candidate. Continue reading