One of Two Ways: Kovalev vs. Ward

Andre Ward, Sergey Kovalev - Convention wisdom dictated that Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward could only go one of two ways, either a Kovalev KO or a Ward decision.  As a nearly 2 to 1 favorite, most people assumed that a Ward decision was the most likely scenario.  Early in the fight it looked as if Kovalev was well on his way to the upset, punctuated by a  fierce knockdown of Ward in the second round.  The tide gradually turned and by the fifth round they were fighting on even terms, with Ward appearing to take the majority of the middle rounds. The championship rounds looked to be split, depending on your preference for Kovalev’s more powerful punches, or Ward’s pinpoint ones.

Convention wisdom dictated that Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward could only go one of two ways, either a Kovalev KO or a Ward decision. As a nearly 2 to 1 favorite, most people assumed that a Ward decision was the most likely scenario. Early in the fight it looked as if Kovalev was well on his way to the upset, punctuated by a fierce knockdown of Ward in the second round. The tide gradually turned and by the fifth round they were fighting on even terms, with Ward appearing to take the majority of the middle rounds. The championship rounds looked to be split, depending on your preference for Kovalev’s more powerful punches, or Ward’s pinpoint ones.

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Canelo vs. GGG can wait

Gennady Golovkin, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez - Welcome to another edition of Boxing's Devil's Advocate.  Today we examine the case of Saul "Canelo" Alvarez vs Genady "GGG" Golovkin, and consider the reasons why there really should be no rush to stage this contest.  Firstly, I acknowledge that Golden Boy productions, promoter of Saul Alvarez, and K2 productions, promoter of GGG, have a tacit agreement in place to have their respective fighters face off in the fall.  That, however, was originally based on a WBC mandatory, a blatant cash grab from a notoriously corrupt sanctioning body who threatened to strip Alvarez of a title he really shouldn't have, should he not face GGG.

Welcome to another edition of Boxing’s Devil’s Advocate. Today we examine the case of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs Genady “GGG” Golovkin, and consider the reasons why there really should be no rush to stage this contest. Firstly, I acknowledge that Golden Boy productions, promoter of Saul Alvarez, and K2 productions, promoter of GGG, have a tacit agreement in place to have their respective fighters face off in the fall. That, however, was originally based on a WBC mandatory, a blatant cash grab from a notoriously corrupt sanctioning body who threatened to strip Alvarez of a title he really shouldn’t have, should he not face GGG.

After all, the WBC middleweight title has recently changed hands twice in fights that were not even contested at middleweight. This brings me to the crux of my argument; the main reason Canelo vs GGG can wait is because Saul Alvarez is not yet a middleweight.

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The Case for a Draw in Jack vs Bute

Badou Jack, Lucian Bute - By Boxing's Devil's Advocate, Daniel M Webster - Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, today I intend to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the majority draw decision in the Badou Jack vs Lucian Bute fight is a perfectly acceptable outcome. It is true that the decision was initially met with shock, dismay and outrage.  After what appeared to be 12 dominating rounds, Badou Jack found himself having to settle for a draw against former champion Lucian Bute.  "How could such a thing have happened?", you might ask yourself.  Surely this is a sign of  incompetent judging, as Teddy Atlas so often professes; the kind of thing that is killing this great sport of ours.  I am sorry to shatter the illusions of conspiracy and corruption, but this was neither the result of unscrupulous promoters, greased palms, or underworld influence.  Lucian Bute received a draw in this fight simply because two of the three judges objectively believed he won 6 of the 12 contested rounds.

By Boxing’s Devil’s Advocate, Daniel M Webster – Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, today I intend to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the majority draw decision in the Badou Jack vs Lucian Bute fight is a perfectly acceptable outcome. It is true that the decision was initially met with shock, dismay and outrage. After what appeared to be 12 dominating rounds, Badou Jack found himself having to settle for a draw against former champion Lucian Bute. “How could such a thing have happened?”, you might ask yourself. Surely this is a sign of incompetent judging, as Teddy Atlas so often professes; the kind of thing that is killing this great sport of ours. I am sorry to shatter the illusions of conspiracy and corruption, but this was neither the result of unscrupulous promoters, greased palms, or underworld influence. Lucian Bute received a draw in this fight simply because two of the three judges objectively believed he won 6 of the 12 contested rounds.

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Erislandy Lara Don’t Care

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It was a one sided fight. Not that anyone was really surprised by that, Delvin Rodriguez has had a long career and has been in more than his share of ring wars. After having been brutalized by a reinvigorated Miguel Cotto in 2013, few would have imagined him getting another shot at a title belt. Yet there he was, matched up with the slick Cuban fighter Erislandy Lara, for Lara’s WBA Super welterweight belt, in the headlining card on Spike TVs latest edition of Fright Night Lights Out. Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Championship series was ready to showcase Lara’s talents to a national audience, and they believed that Delvin was the tough, gritty type of fighter who would provide just enough of a challenge to allow their charge to shine. They just forgot one thing: Erislandy Lara don’t care.

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The Devil’s Advocate: Mayweather vs Pacquiao wasn’t all that bad!

Floyd Mayweather Jr, Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao - After re-watching Mayweather vs Pacquiao, I have to say it really wasn’t a bad fight.  It was certainly no worse than most of Mayweather's recent high profile bouts.  I found it far more watchable than Mayweather's fights against Saul Alvarez, Victor Ortiz, Robert Guerrero and the second Marcos Maidana affair.  The early rounds were filled with tension and the fight was close enough at the mid-way point that a win for either fighter was still on the table.  Technically, as Max Kellerman pointed out on Saturday night, even at the start of round 11 Pacquiao was still in a position to pull out a draw, and so it wasn’t completely one sided.  It was hardly the stinker that the media has made it out to be.  The problem seems to be a combination of unrealistic expectations along with the high price tag.  Add to that the fanciful notion that the public had that this was a pick ‘em fight and you have a recipe for disappointment.  Manny was a solid underdog coming into the fight and that’s how the fight played out.  That hardly means it was a bad fight.  The fact is that it held my interest during a second watching, and I am sure I am not alone in that.

After re-watching Mayweather vs Pacquiao, I have to say it really wasn’t a bad fight. It was certainly no worse than most of Mayweather’s recent high profile bouts. I found it far more watchable than Mayweather’s fights against Saul Alvarez, Victor Ortiz, Robert Guerrero and the second Marcos Maidana affair. The early rounds were filled with tension and the fight was close enough at the mid-way point that a win for either fighter was still on the table. Technically, as Max Kellerman pointed out on Saturday night, even at the start of round 11 Pacquiao was still in a position to pull out a draw, and so it wasn’t completely one sided. It was hardly the stinker that the media has made it out to be. The problem seems to be a combination of unrealistic expectations along with the high price tag. Add to that the fanciful notion that the public had that this was a pick ‘em fight and you have a recipe for disappointment. Manny was a solid underdog coming into the fight and that’s how the fight played out. That hardly means it was a bad fight. The fact is that it held my interest during a second watching, and I am sure I am not alone in that.

Read moreThe Devil’s Advocate: Mayweather vs Pacquiao wasn’t all that bad!

In the aftermath of Mayweather vs Pacquiao

Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao

It went exactly as feared, or hoped, depending on which side of the fence you were on. If you came in expecting action then you were at the wrong fight. If you came looking for answers and a little bit of drama, then you probably came away satisfied, although perhaps a little bit disappointed. It wasn’t until I first saw them nose to nose at the kickoff press conference that I got a real sense of the size difference between these two men. The stats can tell you a lot, but seeing the two of them face to face, Manny looking up into Floyd’s eyes, really gave a sense of the uphill battle that Manny was facing. However, the fight was not about size, it was about styles, and the common wisdom was that Manny had the style to threaten Floyd.

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Mayweather vs Pacquiao: True or False

Floyd Mayweather Jr, Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao - Good day class, today we are going to test your knowledge of, and dispel a few rumors about, the most highly anticipated fight since Jesus and Satan battled it out for dominion over the earth.  By now you have been inundated with more than enough analysis of this fight from newbies and experts alike, so lets see what you have learned by taking the official True or False exam of the fight of the century.  In order to save you any test related anxiety, the answers to all questions will be provided.

Good day class, today we are going to test your knowledge of, and dispel a few rumors about, the most highly anticipated fight since Jesus and Satan battled it out for dominion over the earth. By now you have been inundated with more than enough analysis of this fight from newbies and experts alike, so lets see what you have learned by taking the official True or False exam of the fight of the century. In order to save you any test related anxiety, the answers to all questions will be provided.

1) True or False: This is a 50/50 fight.

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Klitschko vs Jennings, a view from the cheap seats…

Bryant Jennings, Klitschko vs. Jennings, Wladimir Klitschko - From Tuesday night brawls at the legendary Blue Horizon, to throw downs at the Barclays Center, I have  attended boxing matches at nearly every venue of note in the northeast.  Yet for all of the live fights I have witnessed, I had never had the privilege of attending a fight at the Mecca of boxing, Madison Square Garden.  That all changed on a whim Saturday night, when at the last minute I scored a pair of tickets to watch Bryant "by-by" Jennings challenge Wladimir Klitschko for all the marbles in the heavyweight division.  As with any last minute ticket acquisition my choices were limited, and I found myself in the 200 section surrounded by Klitscko’s faithful, who were adorned in blue and yellow, the colors of the flag of Ukraine.  Each time Wladimir's chiseled features graced the big screen over the ring, the packed house would explode, with the loudest cheers emanating from the throng occupying the upper decks, of which I was now a part.

From Tuesday night brawls at the legendary Blue Horizon, to throw downs at the Barclays Center, I have attended boxing matches at nearly every venue of note in the northeast. Yet for all of the live fights I have witnessed, I had never had the privilege of attending a fight at the Mecca of boxing, Madison Square Garden. That all changed on a whim Saturday night, when at the last minute I scored a pair of tickets to watch Bryant “by-by” Jennings challenge Wladimir Klitschko for all the marbles in the heavyweight division. As with any last minute ticket acquisition my choices were limited, and I found myself in the 200 section surrounded by Klitscko’s faithful, who were adorned in blue and yellow, the colors of the flag of Ukraine. Each time Wladimir’s chiseled features graced the big screen over the ring, the packed house would explode, with the loudest cheers emanating from the throng occupying the upper decks, of which I was now a part.

Read moreKlitschko vs Jennings, a view from the cheap seats…

The Ghost Saves Boxing

Keith Thurman, Robert Guerrero - Tonight professional boxing ended its prime time network television drought with the inaugural installment of the so called “Premier Boxing Champions” series.  The return of boxing to network television seems to have taken center stage, even to the point of eclipsing the fights and the fighters themselves.  While I am not one of those who believe that the future of boxing hinges on the success or failure of this foray into primetime, it’s clear that a lot was riding on tonight’s fight card.  To that end we have to thank Robert Guerrero, who took what was shaping up to be a pair of mismatches, and gave the crowd someone to cheer for.  In the lead in bout on the telecast, Adrien Broner used a snappy punishing jab to keep an inactive John Molina at bay, cruising to an uneventful 12 round decision.  The crowd did not appreciate the lack of action, and at first blush it is easy to cast the blame in the direction of Adrien “The Problem” Broner.  However, in light of the punishment that he sustained against Marcos Maidana, it would have been unrealistic to expect Adrien to take any greater risks than he had to in order to secure the victory.  He even said as much in his post-fight interview, which was cut short when he started into his racially insensitive “Can Man” routine (which I personally find amusing).

Tonight professional boxing ended its prime time network television drought with the inaugural installment of the so called “Premier Boxing Champions” series. The return of boxing to network television seems to have taken center stage, even to the point of eclipsing the fights and the fighters themselves. While I am not one of those who believe that the future of boxing hinges on the success or failure of this foray into primetime, it’s clear that a lot was riding on tonight’s fight card. To that end we have to thank Robert Guerrero, who took what was shaping up to be a pair of mismatches, and gave the crowd someone to cheer for. In the lead in bout on the telecast, Adrien Broner used a snappy punishing jab to keep an inactive John Molina at bay, cruising to an uneventful 12 round decision. The crowd did not appreciate the lack of action, and at first blush it is easy to cast the blame in the direction of Adrien “The Problem” Broner. However, in light of the punishment that he sustained against Marcos Maidana, it would have been unrealistic to expect Adrien to take any greater risks than he had to in order to secure the victory. He even said as much in his post-fight interview, which was cut short when he started into his racially insensitive “Can Man” routine (which I personally find amusing).

Read moreThe Ghost Saves Boxing