Saturday, June 29, 2013

Gennady Golovkin vs Matthew Macklin… Bombs Away!


By Peter Silkov

Hard-punching star in the making, Gennady Golovkin 26-(23kos)-0, faces his biggest challenge yet this Saturday, when he defends his WBA world middleweight title against the battle-hardened Matthew Macklin 29-(20 kos)-4. Golovkin takes on the tough, Anglo-Irishman Macklin, at the MGM Grand, at Foxwoods Resort, Connecticut, USA, in what promises to be a career defining fight for both men. For Golovkin, this looks to be the toughest fight so far of his professional career, which has taken him to the edge of elite stardom, while Macklin on the other hand, is aiming to make it third time lucky, in this, his third attempt at winning a world title. The stakes are high for each man, with defeat a career-derailing prospect.

In an era where some ’elite’ boxers seem to be able to trash talk better than they can fight, this match-up has been a breath of fresh air, with both Golovkin and Macklin showing each other a lot of respect in the build-up to their clash, while at the same time promising fireworks when they get into the ring. These are two fighters who prefer to do their talking in the ring, and seldom disappoint when they do so.
After the trash talk fest of last week between Adrien Broner and Paulie Malignaggi, which showed so much of what is wrong with modern professional boxing, we have the antidote in Golovkin vs. Macklin; two fighters who are warriors inside the ring and not prima donnas outside of it.

The steady rise in popularity of Golovkin is an example of what many boxing fans want from their champions; action and excitement in the ring, but also, professionalism and respect outside of it. The Kazakhstan born Golovkin is an interesting contrast, polite and softly spoken outside of the ring, and a fearsome knockout artist inside it.
Golovkin has built up a growing reputation with a string of exciting defenses of his WBC middleweight title, disposing of challengers with a brutal efficiency, and fighting with an eye-pleasing blend of technique and raw power.

Boxing at the moment is in a state of flux with many of its elite champions reaching the latter part of their careers. Juan Manuel Marquez is 40 years old and has spoken of retiring soon, Manny Pacquiao’s future in the sport is uncertain following his loss to Marquez, many see Miguel Cotto as a spent force, and Floyd Mayweather, despite his recent victory and continued dominance of the sport, is obviously nearer the end. Sergio Martinez, the WBC middleweight title holder, is looking increasingly injury prone and vulnerable at 38 years of age. With all these elite fighters in the twilight of their careers, the sport is desperate to find some new stars. So far, Golovkin has shown that he may well have what it takes to fill in some of the void. With Adrien Broner looking less and less like boxing’s next big thing, Golovkin is in a prime position in his career right now to step up and make a statement against Macklin that will mark him out as an elite star in the making.

Golovkin and his management have made it clear, in the run up to the Macklin showdown, that they are ready for all challenges. They are open to taking on big name opponents, ranging from Light-middleweight to super-middleweight. It is an unusual fact that Golovkin is still able to make 154 pounds if he wishes too and this, aligned with his willingness to also move up to 168 pounds, opens the possibility of fights with the likes of Canelo and Mayweather at light-middle, and Ward and Froch at super-middleweight.

There are also a number of exciting possible encounters at 160 pounds for Gennady, especially if he is able to go ahead with his aim of attempting to unify the titles. Although the politics of unification would probably be more daunting than the actual physical opponents, he would need to beat in the ring.

The middleweight division at the moment is one of the most talented in boxing, but it also suffers from the curse of the multi ‘world’ titles. The other ’world champions’ at 160 are WBO title holder Peter Quillan, IBF champion Daniel Geale, and WBC champion Sergio Martinez, who is considered by most to be the true ’world champion,’ and one of the best boxers pound-for-pound in the world. However, Martinez’s stock has dropped a little of late, due to his increasing age, vulnerability in recent fights, and there are an increasing number of people who believe that Gennady Golovkin is now the best 160-pounder in the world. It is certain that a fight between Golovkin and Martinez would be one of the most highly anticipated 160 pound fights for decades.

The fact that Golovkin’s management has broached the prospect of him taking on opponents ranging from 154 to 168 pounds is a testament to their growing confidence in Gennady, and the feeling that now is the time for him to make his move onto the next level.

Perhaps one of the biggest dangers for Golovkin at this point, is if he or his team falls into the trap of looking too far ahead, because Matthew Macklin is not a fighter to overlook. The Anglo-Irishman has built up a reputation as a no-nonsense, aggressive box-fighter, who is unafraid of fighting the best opposition in their own backyards. Macklin’s first shot at a world title came in 2011, when he challenged Felix Sturm for the WBA middleweight title in Germany(at this point Sturm was the WBA’s ’super’ champion, while Golovkin was the ’Regular’ champion). Macklin gave a great performance of pressure fighting against Sturm, and was judged my most to be hard done by, when he lost via a split decision. In his second attempt at annexing a world’s championship, Macklin took on Sergio Martinez in March 2012, (for Martinez’s WBC Diamond belt, another WBC trinket) and gave the highly regarded Martinez a very tough fight, before being stopped after the 11th round.

The messy, often bizarre politics of the various 160 pound world titles aside, Saturday sees two truly world class fighters come together in a fight which is almost sure to entertain in all the right ways.
Despite his reputation as an aggressive come forward fighter, Macklin has shown in his fights against both Sturm and Martinez that he has underrated boxing skills, and is not simply a one dimensional slugger. One of the intriguing questions about Macklin’s clash with Golovkin is what approach each man will take against the other. Golovkin is also a better boxer technically than he is generally given credit for, and it is possible that we could see more boxing in this fight than is expected, certainly in the beginning, as both men respect each other’s strength and power, and may try to box for points early, while biding their time. However, it is unlikely that it will be long before a proper ’fight’ breaks out in this contest as both men seem to relish toe-to- toe confrontations.

Macklin’s main chance of victory lies in the hope that he can out work Golovkin and perhaps dent the Kazakhstan’s so far, fairly untested chin. This is certainly a fight in which we are likely to find out whether Gennady can take it as well as give it out. For all his talent, Golovkin is not the most elusive of targets, with his main defense being his offense. Indeed, Gennady may well have to tighten up his technique in this fight and not attempt to simply walk through Macklin like he has with so many of his past opponents.
If Golovkin really is as good as he has looked in recent fights, he will simply have too much strength and technique for his latest challenger. This is probably the fight in which we will see Gennady significantly stretched for the first time as a professional, and it should bring out the best in the Kazakhstan man.
These two fighters are about to make a whole lot of noise with their fists come Saturday night, with Gennady Golovkin taking another step towards becoming one of boxing’s elite champions, probably by a late rounds stoppage, after a fight that is liable to be dramatic, brutal, and beautiful all in one.

Originally published at The Boxing Tribune 6-28-2013
http://theboxingtribune.com/2013/06/gennady-golovkin-vs-matthew-macklin-bombs-away/
Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com and www.theboxingtribune.com

Friday, June 21, 2013

Lopez Vs. Ayala




24 years ago one of the greatest ever world featherweight title fights took place between defending champion Danny Lopez and challenger Mike Ayala in San Antonio Texas... in a real old fashioned shootout between a slugger and a counter puncher.... this fight has everything... twists and turns of fortune.... controversy.... skills... (watch Ayalas brilliant counterpunching off the ropes!) ...and lots of toe to toe no nonsense slugging.... its no accident that this was the fight of the year for 1979.... and '79 was a good year for great fights... enjoy!


Gatti Vs. Rodriguez

Here is some classic Arturo 'Thunder' Gatti..... Gatti is today inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and here is one of the reasons why!.... He was in a slew of classic fights in which he came from behind to win.... One of the sports greatest warriors.....

Roberto Duran vs Sugar Ray Leonard I

Roberto Duran's epic 15 round points win over Sugar Ray Leonard in one of the greatest fights of the 80s or any other era.... this is the might when 'hands of stone' would become the only man to ever beat a 'peak' Sugar Ray.....

Myung Woo Yuh Vs. Tomohiro Kiyuna

Myung Woo Yuh is today being inducted into the International Boxing hall of fame in NewYork... here he is making his 2nd defence of his world light flyweight title against the brave Tomohiro Kiyuna.... typical windmill all action performance from Yuh.....

Paul Malignaggi vs Adrien Broner… Time To Let The Fists Do The Talking…

On Saturday 22 June, the world of boxing will breathe a collective sigh of relief when Paulie Malignaggi (32-4, 7kos) and Adrien Broner (26-0, 22kos) finally put aside months of verbal sparring, and settle hostilities in a ring, with their gloves on. When Malignaggi defends his WBA world welterweight championship against Broner, at the Barclays Centre Brooklyn, New York, it will be the culmination of one of the most ill tempered build-ups to a fight for many a year. This fight has been built upon a cascade of venom and insults from both sides, which has taken the usual pre-fight trash talk down to new depths.
Behind the rather distasteful trash-talk, that in reality, has not endeared either fighter to the fans, this match represents the first real ‘test’ for Broner, in his efforts to reach the next level as an elite boxer. The pressure is on Broner not just to win, but also to look special in this fight. A hard won, or closely contested victory would not fit easily into his often-projected profile of a pound-for-pound king in waiting.

There is no doubt that Broner is talented, the question is whether that talent is enough to make him the heir apparent to Floyd Mayweather. Additionally, there is also the question; whether Broner is handling his talents in the right way or has he already allowed himself to become consumed within his own hype?
In his efforts to mimic Floyd Mayweather, both in and out of the ring, Broner has, in recent months, become increasingly outrageous and controversial. His recent “out of the ring” adventures include being arrested after an early morning brawl at a Miami hotel, in which he allegedly bit a security guard. This was closely followed by ’The Problem’ photographing himself flushing $50 dollar bills down a toilet, and then just in case he hadn’t made his point with these classy incidents, Broner was videoed at a nightclub, stimulating sex with a stripper and throwing handfuls of money at his fellow clubbers. One hopes, that one day Broner does not have cause to look back and regret he didn’t save the money, which he so profligately threw away in these incidences. Unfortunately, boxing history tells us that he may well live to rue being so adventurous with his hard earned dollars.

Ironically, the biggest problem for ’The problem’ may turn out to be himself, as in his attempts to out-do Mayweather in controversy and notoriety, Broner is skating closer and closer to the edge of a self-made abyss. ’The Problem’ already has a 14 month stint in jail in his past, and there remains the danger that he will one day take a step over the edge and derail his career, and forever curtail any aspirations he holds of succeeding Floyd Mayweather as the world number one boxing star.
However, there is little doubt that in the contradictory and often hypocritical world of present day boxing, that Broner’s increasing notoriety is as much responsible for attracting his growing fan base, as his boxing skills.

Against Malignaggi, ‘The Problem’ faces a vastly experienced boxer, who has a slick style but little power. Beneath the layers of hype and insults which have so dominated the build up to this fight, lays the almost unspoken belief that this could be a one-sided fight, that will struggle to live up to its pre-fight fireworks.

In many ways, Malignaggi should be applauded for being in this position at all, in this stage of his career. After being written off as a world-class fighter several times following high profile defeats, he has come back to win a second title and prove that behind the chatter and the crooked cap, is a shrewd and tough man.

Malignaggi is a street smart, fast talking veteran, who has been mixing with world class competition for the best part of the last decade, but has been beaten every time he’s stepped up to the elite level. Of his four career defeats, aside from a controversial point’s loss to Juan Diaz, Malignaggi was beaten conclusively by Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton and Amir Khan. Although there is certainly no shame in losing to any of these fighters, these defeats serve to highlight a level where Malignaggi’s jab and move style fails to carry the Brooklyner to victory. Malignaggi just has too little power, and neither his speed nor his skills, are enough to carry him past boxers at the highest level. In ’The Problem,’ Malignaggi is facing yet another elite level boxer, who should be superior to him in every department. Broner is known for his fast hands and flashy yet effective defense, but he is also very strong physically, and although he is moving up in weight for this fight. It is unlikely that Malignaggi will enjoy much of an advantage (if any) in the strength department. Indeed, with the added weight, Broner may well be even stronger physically than he was at 135 pounds.
Paulie’s best, and possibly only chance of winning this fight, is to utilize his mobility and his jab. If Broner has a flaw in his style, it is in his tendency to be flatfooted. This helps him put power into all of his punches, but it also limits his mobility, and makes him vulnerable to a boxer who can hit and move and use the whole of the ring. If Malignaggi can get his jab going against Broner, and utilize his movement, then he might have a chance to frustrate and even perhaps out-box ‘The Problem.’

However, this is easier said than done, especially against a boxer with the mix of speed and strength of Broner. Furthermore, Paulie was less than impressive in his last fight, when he was cut and floored and struggled to retain his title on a controversial split point’s decision, against the tough, but unremarkable Pablo Cesar Cano. The same Cano, who recently lost a decision to a faded 41-year-old Sugar Shane Mosley.

This is a fight that Broner needs, not only to win, but also to win impressively. One of the digs against Broner at the moment is that he is more style over substance. While on one hand, we are told of the challenge he faces in moving up two divisions in one go, it should also be noted that by jumping over the 140 pound light-welterweights, Broner has also jumped over one of the most talented and dangerous divisions in boxing. Despite his guile, his heart, and his sneaky jab, Paulie Malignaggi is also the weakest link of all the belt holders at either 140 or 147 pounds. Anything less than a spectacular victory for Broner will put a question mark against his eligibility to succeed his idol Floyd Mayweather Jr. to the title of the best pound-for-pound fighter of his era. In many ways, a point’s victory for Broner would be a moral triumph for Paulie.

The chances are that Broner will wear down Malignaggi for a late-rounds stoppage or knockout victory, which will be workmanlike rather than spectacular. At 23 years of age, Broner still has some work to do to make his ring skills live up to the out of the ring hype. Until he does that, or faces some genuinely dangerous opposition ’The Problem’ will be in danger of drowning his talent in notoriety and hype, rather than exercising it to its fullest potential, and becoming best known for what he does inside the ring, rather than outside of it.

 Originally published at The Boxing Tribune 6-20-2013
http://theboxingtribune.com/2013/06/paul-malignaggi-vs-adrien-broner-time-to-let-the-fists-do-the-talking/
Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com and www.theboxingtribune.com

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Mikey Garcia vs Juan Manuel Lopez… Duel in Dallas…

 By Peter Silkov

 Mikey Garcia (33-2, 30kos) makes the first defense of his WBO world featherweight championship this Saturday against former champion Juan Manuel Lopez, in what could be a very interesting encounter, at the American Airlines Centre, Dallas, Texas. In many ways, this is a throwback fight, pitting the young champion just starting out on his title reign, against a war torn ex champion, attempting to regain his former glories. One of the things that make this contest intriguing is that we are yet unsure just how good Mikey Garcia is, and at the same time, we don’t know how good Juan Lopez remains.
Although, only four years in age separates Garcia and Lopez, (and indeed only four fights), the difference could easily be many more years and fights, if we are to measure the true fistic mileage that both men have travelled. While Garcia has been brought along steadily, developing with each fight and not having many wars along the way, Lopez has had a firecracker of a career that has seen him fighting at world level for the past six years, and engaging in a long trail of exciting, but physically draining battles.
One thing, which both men have in common, is Orlando Salido, with Lopez losing his WBO title to Salido, and Garcia then beating Salido for the title earlier this year. It is these contrasting results against Salido, which may well mark the crucial difference between Garcia and Lopez, and indicate how one man is developing, while the other deteriorating.
It was a huge upset when Juan Lopez lost his WBO title to the rugged veteran Orlando Salido in April 2011, with Lopez being stopped controversially in the 8th round, while still fighting back, after what had been a brutal toe-to-toe encounter. The defeat was Lopez’s first as a professional, and dented plans for him to go on to bigger things. Despite the loss, many felt that Lopez would regain his title when the two men met again eleven months later. However, this time, although the fight was another war, Salido seemed to hold the edge throughout, as he out-worked and out-punched a brave but sluggish looking Lopez.
When the referee stopped the action in the 10th round, there seemed to be little cause for argument this time, as Lopez had taken a fearful amount of punishment, and looked to be out on his feet upon the ropes. But following the stoppage, there was more controversy. During the post fight interview, Lopez bitterly protested the stoppage, and alleged that referee Robert Ramirez Sr. had ended the fight due to his involvement with a gambling ring.
In the ensuring furore, Lopez found himself suspended by the Puerto Rican boxing commission, with the general consensus being that he had made his allegations while not thinking clearly after taking such heavy punishment. Ironically, the referee was the father of Robert Ramirez Jr., who had refereed Lopez’s first fight with Salido, and had been criticized for stopping that fight too early.
If anything, the suspension Lopez was handed, and the consequent year away from ring action, may well have done him some good, he says himself that he feels refreshed and that his body has healed from all the battles it has been through. How far this new found freshness can take Lopez when he squares up to Garcia is a big question.
It is possible that once Garcia starts landing his big punches upon Lopez, then the former champion’s decline will once more become evident. Garcia is a sharp boxer-puncher, who has underrated power. In winning the WBO title from Salido last January, Garcia had the very durable Salido on the canvas twice in the first round, before going on to dominate the fight, until its rather controversial ending, when an accidental head-butt broke Garcia’s nose. This caused the fight to be stopped in the eighth round, giving Garcia the title via a technical decision.
Style-wise, these two men should match up nicely, with the champion Garcia, being a boxer-puncher, and the southpaw challenger Lopez more an outright brawler, with a big punch.
If there is any visible chink in the armour of the young champion, which may give Juan Lopez some hope, it is the controversial ending to Garcia’s match with Salido. Some criticised Garcia for deciding to take a technical decision, rather than opt to carry on fighting until the match reached a conventional conclusion. Adding to the controversy, was the feeling of some, that Salido was having his best moments of the fight prior to its conclusion, and that Garcia had been showing some indications of tiring.
Lopez has a chance to regain his WBO world featherweight title if he is able to drag Garcia into a back alley brawl, and ask Garcia questions of himself, that he has not yet been asked previously in the ring. The big question about Lopez is whether he still has the resources to drag Garcia into just such a fight or were his two defeats to Orlando Salido indications that the resilience, that took him to victories over fighters, such as Rafael Marquez, Daniel Ponce Delon, and Gerry Penalosa, has been permanently eroded.
Looking back over Lopez’s action-packed title reigns, at super-bantamweight and featherwight, and the wars in which he took part in during those reigns, it becomes clear why the Puerto Rican may be a worn out fighter. Such wars as the Rogers Mtagwa classic, a fight in which both men exchanged leather bombs for 12 brutal rounds, leaving Lopez out on his feet in an extraordinary final round, with only his heart taking him the distance for a point’s victory.
This is a hugely important fight for Lopez, after taking two warm up bouts earlier this year, he now has the chance to regain his former crown, and with it, his position within the boxing world. Victory would put Juan back at the top, and in the mix for a number of possible big fights. Defeat could well mean the end of the road for Lopez, certainly at the top. It is quite simply, make or break for Lopez.
For Garcia, this first defense of his WBO title is his first opportunity to show how good a champion he can be, and whether he can make that step from simply being one of today’s many faceless titleholders, or else develop into one of the elite champions, and have a substantial reign at the top.
Juan Manuel Lopez has never been in a dull fight, but while this has endeared him to many boxing fans, and taken him to two world titles at two different weights, his all-action style of fighting tends to lead to a short career. The chances are that Mikey Garcia will be too young and too strong, for Juan Manuel Lopez this Saturday, and will out-box and eventually out-punch the ex-champion for an inside the distance victory.
Mikey Garcia (33-2, 30kos) makes the first defense of his WBO world featherweight championship this Saturday against former champion Juan Manuel Lopez, in what could be a very interesting encounter, at the American Airlines Centre, Dallas, Texas. In many ways, this is a throwback fight, pitting the young champion just starting out on his title reign, against a war torn ex champion, attempting to regain his former glories. One of the things that make this contest intriguing is that we are yet unsure just how good Mikey Garcia is, and at the same time, we don’t know how good Juan Lopez remains.
Although, only four years in age separates Garcia and Lopez, (and indeed only four fights), the difference could easily be many more years and fights, if we are to measure the true fistic mileage that both men have travelled. While Garcia has been brought along steadily, developing with each fight and not having many wars along the way, Lopez has had a firecracker of a career that has seen him fighting at world level for the past six years, and engaging in a long trail of exciting, but physically draining battles.
One thing, which both men have in common, is Orlando Salido, with Lopez losing his WBO title to Salido, and Garcia then beating Salido for the title earlier this year. It is these contrasting results against Salido, which may well mark the crucial difference between Garcia and Lopez, and indicate how one man is developing, while the other deteriorating.
It was a huge upset when Juan Lopez lost his WBO title to the rugged veteran Orlando Salido in April 2011, with Lopez being stopped controversially in the 8th round, while still fighting back, after what had been a brutal toe-to-toe encounter. The defeat was Lopez’s first as a professional, and dented plans for him to go on to bigger things. Despite the loss, many felt that Lopez would regain his title when the two men met again eleven months later. However, this time, although the fight was another war, Salido seemed to hold the edge throughout, as he out-worked and out-punched a brave but sluggish looking Lopez.
When the referee stopped the action in the 10th round, there seemed to be little cause for argument this time, as Lopez had taken a fearful amount of punishment, and looked to be out on his feet upon the ropes. But following the stoppage, there was more controversy. During the post fight interview, Lopez bitterly protested the stoppage, and alleged that referee Robert Ramirez Sr. had ended the fight due to his involvement with a gambling ring.
In the ensuring furore, Lopez found himself suspended by the Puerto Rican boxing commission, with the general consensus being that he had made his allegations while not thinking clearly after taking such heavy punishment. Ironically, the referee was the father of Robert Ramirez Jr., who had refereed Lopez’s first fight with Salido, and had been criticized for stopping that fight too early.
If anything, the suspension Lopez was handed, and the consequent year away from ring action, may well have done him some good, he says himself that he feels refreshed and that his body has healed from all the battles it has been through. How far this new found freshness can take Lopez when he squares up to Garcia is a big question.
It is possible that once Garcia starts landing his big punches upon Lopez, then the former champion’s decline will once more become evident. Garcia is a sharp boxer-puncher, who has underrated power. In winning the WBO title from Salido last January, Garcia had the very durable Salido on the canvas twice in the first round, before going on to dominate the fight, until its rather controversial ending, when an accidental head-butt broke Garcia’s nose. This caused the fight to be stopped in the eighth round, giving Garcia the title via a technical decision.
Style-wise, these two men should match up nicely, with the champion Garcia, being a boxer-puncher, and the southpaw challenger Lopez more an outright brawler, with a big punch.
If there is any visible chink in the armour of the young champion, which may give Juan Lopez some hope, it is the controversial ending to Garcia’s match with Salido. Some criticised Garcia for deciding to take a technical decision, rather than opt to carry on fighting until the match reached a conventional conclusion. Adding to the controversy, was the feeling of some, that Salido was having his best moments of the fight prior to its conclusion, and that Garcia had been showing some indications of tiring.
Lopez has a chance to regain his WBO world featherweight title if he is able to drag Garcia into a back alley brawl, and ask Garcia questions of himself, that he has not yet been asked previously in the ring. The big question about Lopez is whether he still has the resources to drag Garcia into just such a fight or were his two defeats to Orlando Salido indications that the resilience, that took him to victories over fighters, such as Rafael Marquez, Daniel Ponce Delon, and Gerry Penalosa, has been permanently eroded.
Looking back over Lopez’s action-packed title reigns, at super-bantamweight and featherwight, and the wars in which he took part in during those reigns, it becomes clear why the Puerto Rican may be a worn out fighter. Such wars as the Rogers Mtagwa classic, a fight in which both men exchanged leather bombs for 12 brutal rounds, leaving Lopez out on his feet in an extraordinary final round, with only his heart taking him the distance for a point’s victory.
This is a hugely important fight for Lopez, after taking two warm up bouts earlier this year, he now has the chance to regain his former crown, and with it, his position within the boxing world. Victory would put Juan back at the top, and in the mix for a number of possible big fights. Defeat could well mean the end of the road for Lopez, certainly at the top. It is quite simply, make or break for Lopez.
For Garcia, this first defense of his WBO title is his first opportunity to show how good a champion he can be, and whether he can make that step from simply being one of today’s many faceless titleholders, or else develop into one of the elite champions, and have a substantial reign at the top.
Juan Manuel Lopez has never been in a dull fight, but while this has endeared him to many boxing fans, and taken him to two world titles at two different weights, his all-action style of fighting tends to lead to a short career. The chances are that Mikey Garcia will be too young and too strong, for Juan Manuel Lopez this Saturday, and will out-box and eventually out-punch the ex-champion for an inside the distance victory.

Originally published at The Boxing Tribune 6-12-2013
http://theboxingtribune.com/2013/06/mikey-garcia-vs-juan-manuel-lopez-duel-in-dallas/
Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com and www.theboxingtribune.com

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Saturday Night Fights!!!!


Silkov's Predictions
June 8, 2013

Tonight there are some interesting fights taking place, I’m going to take a little look at my pick of the bunch, and give a prediction as to what kind of results we might see….


Chad Dawson 31(17 koes) -2 vs. Adonis Stevenson 20(17koes) -1… WBC World Light-Heavyweight Title… Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada…

This is an interesting match up… Dawson is coming off a demoralizing defeat at the hands of Andre Ward, after stepping down to 168 to challenge the hugely talented Ward. It was a brave decision for Dawson to step down in weight, but backfired badly, as he was floored 3 times and outclassed by Ward. How much, if anything, the Ward loss has taken out of Dawson, we will be able to see when he takes on the big punching Stevenson. If he is on form, Dawson should be able to outbox Adonis, in what will be a tough fight for sure. I’m going for a Dawson win on points here, after weathering some awkward moments.

On the undercard of Dawson vs. Stevenson, Yuriorkis Gamboa 22(16koes) -0 takes on Darleys Perez 28(19 koes)-0... 

This is Cuban born Gamboa’s first go at the 135 division and is for something called the Interim WBA Lightweight title… like there isn’t enough titles around already. Gamboa is highly talented, but has been very inactive lately and is in danger of becoming one of Boxings wasted talents. Gamboa should win this fight, probably on points, but moving up in weight can be a dangerous game and the Cuban needs to look better than he did in his last fight against Michael Ferenas.

Marco Huck 35(25koes)-2-1 vs. Ola Afolabi 19(9koes)-2-4.… WBO World Cruiserweight Championship… Max Schmeling Hall, Berlin, Germany…

This fight has all the makings of a good scrap, both men have met twice before, which should spice things up nicely. Both of their previous fights have been closely contested and controversial, with Huck winning a 12 round decision in their first clash in 2009 and then both men having to be content with a draw in their second fight last year. Their fight last year was a gruelling struggle, with some great toe-to-toe exchanges and tonight’s fight promises to be a similar affair.  These two boxers are evenly matched, with different styles, which gel together well, perhaps the biggest advantage is held by Huck as they will be fighting in front of his adoring German fans, and as the saying goes, Afolabi may need a knockout to get a draw.
I think this will be another closely fought match with Huck edging out a close and probably controversial points winner.

Marcos Rene Maidana 33(30 koes)-3 vs. Josesito Lopez 30(18koes)-5... WBA Intercontinental Welterweight Championship… Home Depot Centre, Carson, California…

Another good match-up here, say what you like about boxing, but this year we are certainly seeing some good fights and good match-ups. It’s a shame we can’t get rid of most of the tinsel titles and kick the manipulative world boxing bodies into touch. Good fights don’t need fake world championship titles, unfortunately, certain people need their pockets lined with moolah, and most fighters feel they need a title, often any title, in order to get decent paydays, so the title charade goes on.

Back to this fight, it’s for an ’intercontinental’ belt, but it’s a match-up that doesn’t need a fake title. Both men are big hitters with a reputation of going to war in fights, and this could be a fight of the year candidate if both men come in on top form.  Maidana has the better resume, having fought the likes of Amir Khan, Devon Alexander, Erik Morales and Victor Ortiz.  Joseito Lopez has less experience at the top and really came into contendership from nowhere, when he forced Victor Ortiz to pull out of their fight last year with a broken jaw.  Ironically, it was a TKO win over Ortiz some years ago which proved to be the break out win for Maidana. Putting these two together, Maidana looks to be the bigger puncher, while Lopez seems to have an edge in boxing skills. One of the big questions hanging over this fight is whether Lopez’s last fight, an ill advised jump to Light-Middle that saw him stopped in 5 rounds by Saul Alvarez, will have had any permanent physical or mental affects upon Lopez. If so, then this could be bad news for Lopez when coming up against someone like Maidana.

I actually see Maidana being too strong for Lopez in this match and think he will grind out a late stoppage win which might be more one-sided than people are predicting.

There are two good fights on the undercard of  Maidana vs. Lopez…

Erislandy Lara 17(11 koes)-1-2  vs. Alfredo Angulo 22(18koes)-2.….  This bout pits the slick and tricky Lara against the big punching Angulo… this could be a classic boxer vs. puncher confrontation… Angulo though seems to lack those higher gears and his predictable style is in many ways made for Lara.  Providing he doesn’t get careless and allow himself to get tagged, I think Lara will out-box Angulo here for a comfortable decision win.  Angulo will have a puncher’s chance right until the end and will be especially dangerous early.
Oh and this fight is for the Interim WBA Light-Middleweight title, for anyone who cares.


Sakio Bika 31(21 koes)-5-2 vs. Marco Antonio Periban 20(13koes)-0

This fight is what could be called a WBC special… basically Jose Sulaiman, in his infinite wisdom, chose to strip Andre Ward of his Championship belt due to Ward being out of action though injury for the past 9 months. Sulaiman, being the saint that he is, did offer Ward the honour of being ‘Champion in recess,’ but Ward turned down this little gift of Jose’s and chose instead to vacate the WBC title completely.  Very admirable of Ward, one just hopes he is not left out in the cold due to his attack of principles. So, here we end up with the rugged Bika whose been around the block a number of times, (and was well-beaten by Ward a few years back) taking on the unbeaten, but largely untested Periban, for the ‘Vacant’ WBC World Super-Middleweight championship.  It’s ironic and a little sad that a boxing bill like this, which shows on one hand the best of boxing, (two exciting fighters coming together against one another) is also showing us boxing at its worst in this stage managed ‘world title’ fight. The match itself seems to be an even one with Bika, the much more experienced and battle hardened, while we don’t really know yet how good Periban is, but so far he really doesn’t seem to be anything special at all.  I see this being a close fight with Periban taking a close and probably controversial points decision.  Whoever does win, this ‘title’ will most like find themselves spoon fed to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. within the next 6 months, when little Julio decides that absolutely nothing at all can help him get down to 160 pounds anymore.  Don’t worry Junior; Jose is looking out for you.

Not to forget also…

Lenny Daws 25(10koes)-2-2 vs. Michele Dirocco 34(15 koes)-1-1  European Light-Welterweight Championship, Palasport, Puglia, Italy…

After a number of cancellations and postponements, Lenny Daws is finally getting his shot against Dirocco for the European Championship. With all the titles being handed out these days, the European title still hold some prestige and history and this fight is a great opportunity for the veteran Daws, who has twice held the British Light-Welterweight title in the past. Winning titles in Italy is no easy thing and Lenny may need an inside-the-distance victory here, as if the fight is anywhere near, close then Dirocco will most likely reap the benefits of home advantage.

Daws is a very fit and hardworking battler and looks like he will need to have all his fitness and strength here in order to force a high pace and perhaps a late stoppage victory.  If this fight goes the distance then I can only see Dirocco getting the verdict… albeit probably controversially. 


Let’s not forget the bill at The Glow, Bluewater, Kent, England….The main bout that I wrote about earlier in the week, featuring James Degale 15(10)-1 vs. Stjepan Bozic 26(17koes)-6 for Degales Silver Super-Middleweight title. Degale should win this fight with little trouble and to be honest, anything less than an inside the distance win, will be a poor performance from ‘Chunky’.  I see Degale winning this in about 5 or 6 rounds.

Some of the other fighters featured on this bill are…

Chris Eubank jr 9(4koes)-0 vs. Tyan Booth 11(2koes)-9-2...Super-Middleweight… Eubank jr takes on the tough Booth…. Eubank Jr. is coming on quite nicely at this stage of his career, and while its too early to say whether he can reach the fistic heights that his father reached, he certainly looks good enough to get into British and European Championship class at the moment.  This looks like a late stoppage victory for Eubank Jr.

Kid Galahad 13(6koes)-0 vs. Isaac Nettey 21(11koes)-8-1.…Super-Bantamweight… Kid Galahad is a fast rising boxer with a catchy name, and is mixing in pretty good domestic class already.  Nettey is a tough journeyman who lost a Commonwealth title fight to Rendall Munroe a few years back, Galahad should get a comfortable win but it will be interesting to see if Galahad can become the first to beat Netty inside the distance.  I have a feeling he will.

Hughie Fury 4(3koes)-0 vs. Ladislav Kovarik 10(5koes)-14-0.…. Heavyweight… Yes yet another Fury is loose within the pugilistic world!

Hughie is the cousin of world ranked Tyson Fury, but at just 18 years of age, has some way to go before he is anywhere near the sort of level that his older cousin has reached. This is another fight for Fury to pad out his record and gain a few more professional rounds.  Kovarik is fairly durable, so a quick win for Hughie would be impressive, although learning wise he might be better off going a few rounds.  I see this as a Fury win in 3 rounds.

Ok so there they are, let’s break out the beers or orange juice, (or rather tea in my case!) and settle down to some decent action tonight….    

Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com and www.theboxingtribune.com

James Degale Still Trying To Strike Gold In His Professional Career

 envisaged, when he turned pro as England’s Golden boy in after winning Olympic Gold at the 2008 Beijing Games. Although Degale has already held the British and European Super-Middleweight titles, along with some other less traditional baubles, there is a lingering sense of underachievement drifting around his professional career.
Since turning pro four years ago, Degale has had just one defeat, so far, a close points loss to bitter domestic rival George Groves, but it was a reverse that has had a defining effect upon his career to date. While the fight was close and indeed, in many people’s eyes, could have gone either way, Degale suffered a backlash after a build up in which he had made some unsavoury remarks about Groves and what he would do to him. The former golden boy was not the first boxer to find out the consequences of failing to back up his pre-fight boasts and insults. Boxing fans tend to be forgiving, about even the most ludicrous pre-flight talk, providing you show that you can walk the walk, in the ring.
It is telling that ’Chunky’ is defending his Silver title at The Glow, in Kent, which is to be quite honest, hardly a boxing hot bed, rather than in a London venue. In fact, Degale has not fought in London since his defeat to Groves, while Groves himself has fought on four high profile London bills since his victory over ’Chunky’.
Ever since he turned professional, Degale has had a mixed relationship with the boxing public, with his self-assured nature, striking many as arrogant. This perception of Degale‘s personality, along with his counterpunching southpaw style, perceived by some as unexciting, has led to him having a fractious relationship with the fans.
As a result, Degale has found himself very much on the outside, looking in from the cold. Recently, when Carl Froch unified the IBF and WBA World Super-Middleweight titles, there was much talk about Froch’s next opponent in the aftermath, with the names of George Groves, Nathan Cleverly and Bernard Hopkins heavily mentioned, little, if any discussion regarding Degale meeting Froch in a big domestic showdown. In fact, the only person who seemed to be talking about Degale fighting Froch was Degale himself. Despite this apathy, surrounding him ‘Chunky’ has worked his way steadily up the rankings since his loss to Groves, winning and then vacating the European title, and now concentrating on the WBC Silver Super-Middleweight title. Although the Silver title itself is yet another rather spurious belt, in an age which has seen the rise of various International, Silver, Bronze, Junior and Interim titles of bewildering numbers and importance, the belt basically means that Degale has a guaranteed high world ranking, providing he can hold onto it.
Saturday’s defense against Bozic will be ‘Chunkys’ second fight in just three weeks, in a burst of activity which is aimed at keeping Degale in the spotlight, with the hope that this may help gain him a shot at the world title in the not so distant future to come.
In his last fight, Degale travelled to The Hilton Lac Leamy, in Quebec, Canada, where he dispatched Sebastian Demers in 2 rounds. Saturday’s fight with Bozic is expected to be a tougher assignment for ’Chunky’ but, he is still an overwhelming favourite to win, and retain his Silver belt and his all important world ranking.
Bozic is the kind of fighter whom Degale will want to look good against in victory, with defeat an unthinkable improbability that would spell disaster. Bozic is a decent European class boxer, who has fallen short every time he has stepped up to world level. The biggest fight of his career came in late 2009 when he fought Dimitri Sartison for the vacant WBA World Super-Middleweight Championship, a fight that he lost when he was stopped in the 6th round, due to a shut left eye. Bozic’s next flirtation with world class came in 2011 when he tangled with the formidable Arthur Abraham, a former World Champion at both Middleweight and Super-Middleweight, and had to retire after 2 rounds with a damaged left hand.
Degale finds himself in danger of a no-win situation against Bozic, needing to win impressively in order to build up the momentum he needs at what is a crucial point of his boxing career. There is little doubt that ’Chunky’ is a talented boxer, with good technical skills and a underrated punch, and indeed, if he has a glaring flaw at the moment, it is a tendency to neglect his boxing skills and trade punches, rather than be over cautious, as he was accused of being earlier his career. Yet, Degale still struggles to provoke much interest amongst the average boxing fans. It seems almost cruelly ironic that ‘Chunky’ is defending his ‘Silver’ WBC Belt on Saturday, as his professional career so far has fallen short of the golden success which it promised at the beginning. Part of the problem maybe that we expect too much too soon from boxers who have won Gold at the Olympic Games. The inevitable fanfare and deluge of money, which accompanies their turning professional often, gives way to a wicked backlash when they fail to perform as perfectly as hoped from the beginning.
The chances are that Degale will only find the sort of acceptance and respect that he craves, when and if, he becomes successful at world title level. That being the case, this weekend’s fight against Stjepan Bozic will simply be a marking time fight for ‘Chunky’ and keep him busy for a little while as he waits his chance to prove himself in a much bigger fight in the future.
However, at the moment, Degale is trapped in the boxing equivalent of the catch-22; Carl Froch and George Groves (who has shown little interest in a rematch with Degale) see him as a high risk and low reward opponent. The truth is that he will probably have to rely on the world boxing bodies to force him through to a World title shot with their rankings, rather than being given a shot voluntarily. Until then, Degale must keep winning and trying to impress, defending silver when he would much rather it was gold.

Originally published at The Boxing Tribune 6-6-2013
http://theboxingtribune.com/2013/06/james-degale-still-trying-to-strike-gold-in-his-professional-career/
Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com and www.theboxingtribune.com

Thursday, June 6, 2013

What’s Wrong With Boxing, And Can It Be Put Right?

 By Peter Silkov

Photo source http://ring-side.webs.com/




2013 has been a good year for boxing so far due to the fact, that in the first few months of the year, we have already been treated to some glimpses of what boxing can produce on a good night. We have seen Rios vs. Alvarez 2 and Bradley vs. Provodnikov… two all action fights, which served to remind us of how exciting boxing can be at its best. We also had Rigondeaux vs. Donaire and Trout vs. Canelo… two fights which mixed good action with skills and were both also that rare and precious thing, World title unification fights! We have been treated to the return of the pound for pound king, Floyd ’Money’ Mayweather, in his ’comeback’ fight with Robert Guerrero, a fight in which Mayweather showed that he still had the skills which hark back to the days when boxing was seen by many as a sweet science, an art.

Looking at these fights it would seem that boxing is pretty healthy. We have exciting fights, skilful champions, and a pound-for-pound king who would have fitted in well with any era. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that. Boxing is regularly described today as a dying sport, it has been buried more times than Dracula, and though it keeps coming back from the dead there are definitely some serious problems within the sport that should not be ignored. Boxing is at the point now where it can still reach back and reclaim some of the credibility and lustre of its past, if it is allowed to, by those that are running it. Alternatively, if things are not changed and the sport is allowed to carry on in the general direction that it is currently headed, then its glory days of the past, will become just a mere memory of a promised land that the sport will be no longer able to reach.

Here is a look at the main issues I feel are detracting and diminishing the sport today:

1. Multiple World Titles at every weight.
For the best part of the last 30 years boxing has been infected by a multitude of world boxing organizations that each claim to have the best interests of the sport at heart and each has their own ‘world champion’ at every weight. What started as a slight infection in the 70s has become an all out disease of multiplicity. First, there was the WBC and WBA in the 1970’s, then the 1980’s saw the rise of the IBF, and the 90’s saw the emergence of the WBO. There are some otherworld bodies too, such as the WBU and IBO, just to name but two, thankfully, these and other organizations have failed to find a regular foothold on the sports world stage. This, perhaps more than anything else, gives some hope for the future. At least there seems to be some kind of limit, after all, to how many different ‘World Champions’ the public will take. Having said that, the list of ‘World Champions’ is still ever-growing; thanks to the greed of the established world boxing organisations. If there was any doubt that these organisations are primarily concerned with lining their own pockets, rather than the health and integrity of the sport itself, then perhaps the answer lies in the relatively recent emergence of multiple ‘Champions’ within these single bodies. Now we are treated to interim Champions, Champions in recess, silver champions, super champions, and of course, regular Champions! Indeed, it is a situation, which leaves most fans confused or at best flies over their heads, but for the organizations involved, each extra ‘champion’ brings in a little more money for their coffers. One of the worst culprits of this activity is the WBC, who have never been afraid of raising a few dollars for themselves over the years. The way that the WBC recently basically took away Middleweight Champion Sergio Martinez’s title, awarding him something called ’the Diamond Championship’ and installing Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. as its ’regular’ World Champion, illustrated all that is wrong with present day boxing and just how much integrity the organizations that run the sport truly possess. Today, is it any wonder that even the most dedicated boxing follower will struggle to name every ’World Champion,’ at every weight, without resorting to the internet? Small wonder too, that the average person will struggle to name even a handful of today’s champions. The various organisations seem to be intent on making the whole idea of ’World Champions’ as impressive as those in the WWE wrestling world, indeed boxing is certainly catching up with wrestling, in terms of world champions.

As if, just for good measure, the WBC have come up with the idea of introducing open scoring to their fights; meaning that during the fight the house MC will announce the judge’s scores after the 4th and 8th rounds. This idea is not new as it was originally tried out in the 70s and used during the 1977 Ali vs. Shavers World Heavyweight title fight. The fact that the concept was so unpopular in the 70s that it was dropped, says it all for the WBC’s attempts to reintroduce it today. One of the innate attractions of boxing is the ‘not knowing’ who is truly winning a fight until one of the fighters is stopped or declared the winner. This is one of the main attractions of a good close fight. To give the scores of the fight during the action is basically blasphemous and completely sullies one of the most integral aspects of the sport. It is not hard to see how this ruling can also give an unfair advantage to one of the principle boxers on the night, with a fighter who knows he has a good or unassailable lead being able to fight accordingly. Therefore, making it even harder for his opponent to compete, while also ruining the fight as a competitive event. Once again, the very essence of the sport is under attack from one of its ruling bodies.

2. Making the weight.
Since fighters have been allowed to make the weight the day before fights, rather than on fight day itself, there has been a steady increase in fighters putting on huge amounts of weight by the time of fight night. Many fighters regularly put on between seven and ten pounds by the time of the fight. Some, however, have been known to put on twenty or more pounds as they re-hydrate, a huge amount, which not only renders the whole weight division issue a farce, but it also gives an unfair advantage to boxers who will enter the ring on fight night far heavier than their opponent. There are some fighters who seem to specialize in being able to regain a huge amount of weight between the weigh-in and fight night. One such fighter has been Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., whom despite fighting officially as a Middleweight, has been known to put on over 20 pounds by fight night, making him in reality a Cruiserweight, and giving him a huge advantage over opponents who enter the ring against him far lighter. Chavez is far from being the only boxer to benefit from this curious ability to lose and gain so much weight in such a short space of time, yet he is probably one of the most well-known cases because his size advantage over his opponents is so obvious and telling. For example, having fighters billed as Middleweights, yet weighing as high as Cruiserweight makes a mockery of the weight divisions, as is having lightweights weighing as much as Welterweights.
The result is that the whole idea of the weight divisions has become devalued.

3. Boxer’s Inactivity.
Too many fighters today, especially top contenders and ’World Champions’ only fight once or twice a year, so take this activity, or rather lack of it, in addition to the multiple titles on offer, then it becomes clear why so many of the top fighters and ’Champions’ never fight each other. Indeed, looking at the multiple mess that is boxing’s world titles, it is surprising that we get as many good match-ups that we actually do. The main reason for this, is that many fighters still actually want to fight their top rivals and find out who is the best, even though it goes against the general set up of the modern game. Having said this, there are still not enough big fights in boxing, due to the reasons stated earlier. We seem to get overly excited these days when two top class boxers fight each other, even though this is what boxing is supposed to be about. When a ’Champion’ meets a highly rated contender these days, it is often hyped as a ’superfight’ but, twenty or thirty years ago these were the fights that the boxing fan expected to see. Now such fights are the rarities, even though they are the lifeblood of the sport. Unfortunately, it is often in the promoters interests to keep their house ’champions’ matched up against second tier contenders, allowing them to build long runs of defenses against mediocre opposition, until the promoter sees fit to match his Champion with a genuinely risky challenger. While such shenanigans have always been part of the sport throughout its history, never has it been more prevalent than today, as the multitude of multiple world titles allows the top fighters to avoid each other with an ease which never existed previously in boxing.

4. The coverage of Boxing.
Limiting boxing to pay-per-view, with very little, if any, free coverage in either America or England, severely restricts the growth of popularity amongst fans and leaves boxers struggling to gain recognition outside the core of genuinely dedicated and knowledgeable fans. Today, unless you are a Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao, you can be world champion and still largely anonymous and unknown, even amongst regular boxing fans, let alone those whom flick in and out of the sport when the mood takes them. With ever more ’World Champions’ and a dwindling number of real ’stars’ within the sport, boxing is in danger of finding itself drowning in a flood of mediocrity and anonymity. While the internet has helped in some ways to promote the profiles of some fighters who otherwise may not have gained any exposure, it is only a thin bandage over a deepening wound. Most of today’s most dedicated boxing fans grew up watching the sport when it was free. Pay-per-view is no match for the coverage offered in the past when it was free to view and so much more accessible, especially for younger viewers. The chances are that anyone paying to watch boxing on their TV is already a follower of the sport to some degree; the problem with this is that there is less chance of someone being exposed to the sport that is not already familiar with it. In this way, pay-per-view limit’s the access to a new audience that free TV used to achieve. Unfortunately, some promoters make huge amounts of money with pay-per-view coverage of boxing and do not worry that the depth of the sport’s audience is thinning.

5. Performance Enhancing Drugs.
The use of drugs in boxing is a very controversial subject. Recently a spate of boxers have been found using a variety of PED’s (performance enhancing drugs.) Worryingly, there have been inconsistent punishments and some of their drug results swept under the carpet. Some have received six month suspensions, a few have received bans for a number of years, while others have seemingly walked away unpunished. The sport’s treatment of those who try to cheat seems to be muddled at best and the subject of PEDs in boxing is still rather taboo, with some insisting that it is not a problem. While I won’t pretend to be an expert on this side of boxing, I do think I know enough about the sport and the human body to say that it is increasingly suspicious when so any boxers are able to climb multiple weight divisions with ease, and others regain huge amounts of weight between the weigh in and fight night. You do not have to be an expert in the human body to know that some of these ‘feats’ are highly dubious.

So what can be done about the various issues I have raised here? Are there any quick fix answers to the sports most pressing problems? Here are some solutions that I have come up with, and no, it’s not rocket science!

1. Multiple World titles.
Of all the problems in boxing, I feel this is the most severe. The sport desperately needs an end to the dilution of its world titles and in an ideal world one champion per weight division. Unfortunately, to wish for such a thing as a single world champion at each weight is almost akin to hoping for the second coming, it’s highly unlikely that it will ever happen. At the same time, it really wouldn’t be so hard to achieve if certain people were willing. The recent Super Six elimination tournament in the Super Middleweight division succeeded in raising the profile of the division and the top fighters in it. The fact that the world titles, at that weight are once again fractured, is almost incidental, as Andre Ward proved himself the best 168-pounder in the tournament. If boxing were to have a series of elimination tournaments, throughout its many divisions, it would do wonders for the sport as a whole. Even if one champion per division is hoping for too much, if the amount of champions per weight could be reduced to just two, then that would be a huge improvement on the half dozen, which we have at every weight now. Two ’Champions’ is far less confusing and distracting. People can compare two champions against each other much easier than five or six. Boxing’s world championships are the pinnacle of the sport, if that pinnacle is blurred by a multitude of anonymous peaks, and then the whole of the sport becomes blurred and reduced.

2. Making the weight.
As stated earlier, I believe the enormous fluctuations of weight of many fighters, from the weigh-in, to fight night, has made the whole concept of the weight divisions farcical. What is the point of having two men fighting for a Lightweight title if they are both weighing in at Welterweight by the time they climb into the ring? I believe that boxers should have a limit in how much weight they are allowed to put on after their final weigh-in. Is it perhaps too fanciful to wish that fighters could actually weigh within the boundaries of the weight division that they are supposed to be fighting in on the day of the fight, rather than the day before the fight? Surely, if there was enough supervision and perhaps a number of weigh-ins, culminating with a weigh-in on the day of the fight, then everything could be done safely. How healthy is it, at the moment, when boxers gain so much weight in the last 24 hours before a fight? Regulations need to be brought in to persuade boxers to operate within the weight class for which they are really built, rather than the one they can boil themselves down to.

3. Boxer’s Inactivity.
Boxers fighting less, especially the higher up they are in ranks, are deeply entrenched now, and it is a problem when boxing’s biggest names operate only once or twice a year. Perhaps the best way to turn this problem around would be the introduction of unification tournaments, which would keep the top boxers a little busier as well as providing more big fights. There is little doubt that the more big fights there are available to a fighter; then more often, he is likely to fight.

4. The coverage of boxing.
To promote the growth of new fans, the sport of boxing needs far more ’free’ coverage. This means that some promoters and TV companies need to reach agreements to allow fight cards to be either repeated or shown live for free.

The recent growing feud between HBO and Showtime in America is a great example of what boxing doesn’t need. Such a feud will encourage each side to have their own ’house’ fighters and ’Champions’ with little chance of boxers from different sides ever meeting in the same ring. Unfortunately, for most promoters and TV executives the health of the sport comes second to their own individual short-term interests.
5. Performance Enhancing Drugs.

I think the solution to this issue is really quite simple! All fighters should be given random Olympic style mandatory drug tests and a clear set of penalties should be set for those who are found to have ’cheated.’ We really have no idea how prevalent PEDs are within boxing, but I feel that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg so far.

Perhaps none of these things will ever change and boxing is doomed to become an ever more watered down mockery of itself in the decades to come. In many ways, the fact that the sport remains as popular as it does, is a testament to the abiding strength of the sport’s attraction and how it can become an overriding obsession with many fans. One can only wonder how successful boxing could be if it was run in a more positive way for the sport itself, rather than based mainly upon short term pay-per-views for a small collection of promoters and managers.

Changes for the better could be made within the sport. Nothing, which I have suggested, is particularly original, it is really just a common sense way to run boxing in a positive manner. Much has been said recently about the rise of MMA and UFC and their respective threat to overtake boxing as a major sport. While I do not for a minute believe that either MMA or UFC can ever approach boxing either aesthetically, or technically, the danger is there. If boxing continues down its present route, then there is a possibility that the new generations will be drawn towards MMA and UFC, which for all their faults are more basic and approachable sports, without the maze of politics and titles which flood the boxing world. Not to mention, the MMA and UFC seem more available to watch freely, than the overpriced pay-per-view boxing matches do.

I believe that boxing is the greatest sport in the world, a sport that is far more than simply a ’sport’ but at the moment it is a sport that is in danger of knocking itself out if it doesn’t change its attitude.

 Originally published at The Boxing Tribune 5-11-2013
http://theboxingtribune.com/2013/05/whats-wrong-with-boxing-and-can-it-be-put-right/
Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com and www.theboxingtribune.com

Young Guns Shoot It Out At London’s Camden Centre

By Peter Silkov

In the wake of Carl Froch’s recent high profile showdown with Mikkel Kessler at London’s Huge O2 Arena, it is perhaps a little too easy to over look the small hall shows dotted about the country, which act as the grassroots for boxing’s eventual stars. Froch himself started his career fighting at small hall shows at London’s legendary York Hall in Bethnal Green. These are the places to go where you will find today’s rising generation of boxers, some of whom may, in the future, break through the domestic ranks and find success upon the international stage.

Although The Camden Centre, in London’s Kings Cross, does not have the long pugilistic history of The York Hall, it has been the scene of a number of Boxing shows recently and is growing in reputation as an atmospheric venue with good value for money fights. From the outside, The Camden Centre is one of those rather anonymous looking grey buildings, which you will find throughout London that you would be tempted to walk past without a second glance. However inside, the Center is a rather plush and ornate building, with a large mail hall, and theatre stage. When it is equipped for boxing shows, with the ring set in the middle of the hall, the effect is surprisingly effective for live boxing. With room for both seating and standing, a surprisingly large number of spectators can fill the hall and this makes for a good atmosphere, which is one of the main attractions of small hall boxing.

The title of Saturday’s show was ‘Hands of Stone, Nerves of Steel’ by promoter Mickey Helliet, and saw some good action by some interesting young prospects.

Topping the bill was a Vacant British Masters Welterweight Title fight between Ahmet Patterson 9-0(2koes) and Dale Miles 13-3(10koes). In an era where titles seem to be popping up in every corner that you turn, there is a valid argument for the presence of the ’Master’ titles, as they act as a feeder for the British Championships. Fighters use the Master titles as a competitive prelude to stepping up to British title level and as such, Master title fights can often result in exciting clashes between boxers fighting to reach the next level of their careers. The main event between Ahmet Patterson and Dale Miles was just such a fight, with both men looking to move their careers forward, to British title level, in the near future. This was a step up in competition for Patterson, with Miles holding a good edge in experience, having been a pro for seven years to Ahmet’s three, and generally mixing in better competition during his career up to this point. Miles had also recently taken part in a British Light-welterweight title eliminator in late 2012, losing on points to Adil Anwar, after 12 rounds, while this was Patterson‘s first ten rounder.

This contest looked like a good match of styles from the beginning, with Ahmet being a slick boxer, and Miles a strong and aggressive come- forward puncher, who had gained notice last year with a one-punch knockout of Curtis Woodhouse. Both of the fighters started out the bout as expected, with Patterson showing good movement and a nice jab, and Miles coming forward with intent. Ahmet’s jabs started finding their target early, and Miles was stalking, but not throwing much, as he tried to find an opening that wasn’t there, as Patterson jabbed and moved away with impressive poise. In the second round, Southpaw Miles began to throw more punches, and connected with some jabs of his own, but Patterson replied with counters of his own, before neatly moving out of range. Although Patterson has only 2 stoppages on his resume, so far his shots seem to carry decent weight, especially when he stands his ground.

In the 3rd and 4th rounds, Miles seemed fully warmed up and was fighting with more urgency, coming forward, and targeting the body of Patterson. Patterson still held the upper hand in the exchanges, finding Miles regularly with his heavy jab and replying to Mile’s punches with some neat combinations. Miles had his best round of the fight so far in the 5th, at one point pinning Patterson in a corner, and letting loose with both hands to the body, but Patterson replied with some heavy hooks of his own before moving away and out of Miles reach again. The 6th round was another good round for Miles, as he pressured Patterson heavily, and laded to the body of Patterson with more regularity. Patterson still worked well off his jab, but found himself more on the defensive in this round. As if aware that he needed to regain control of the fight, the 7th found Patterson planting his feet more and throwing some good combinations, while Miles still landed some good shots to the body; he was being out-boxed, and out-punched in this stanza.

Patterson kept up his high work rate in the 8th and 9th rounds, while still jabbing and moving, he also stood his ground more and landed some good combinations to the head and body of Miles, who continued to press forward and fire shots of his own. Though some of Mile’s punches found Patterson’s body, he found the head a much more elusive target, upon which he landed only rarely. The 10th and final round found the tough Miles still coming forward doggedly, as Patterson remained elusive, and pot- shotted with jabs and right hooks. Again, although the action was close, Patterson held the edge with his higher connect rate and better boxing skills.

It was no surprise when Patterson was named the winner after the 10 close rounds. Both men gave a good account of themselves, but Patterson, after only nine professional fights, showed some ring-craft and maturity, which may well take him much higher. With his chin tucked behind his right hand and his good jab and ring movement, he is a hard target for anyone to catch. Against a dangerous puncher like Miles, he showed good maturity to keep up a tight defence while at the same time being willing to stand his ground and be aggressive himself when needed.

One of the other main attractions on the ’Hands of Stone, Nerves Of Steel’ bill was the professional debut of Flyweight Sammy Cantwell against Frenchman Norredine Dahou 3-10-1(3koes) in what turned out to be a lively four rounder. Cantwell’s father was a popular British Flyweight Champion and challenger for the World Light-Flyweight title during his own career and his popularity seems to have carried over onto his son, as the hall was at its fullest and most raucous during his bout.

Partly due to his size (or rather lack of it) and a scarcity of amateur Flyweights in this country, Sammy had only four bouts before taking his professional bow on this night with his father in his corner. Despite his inexperience, Cantwell looked well schooled from the start, coming forward busily with a sharp southpaw jab, and landing good hooks to his French opponent’s body. However, Dahou was to prove himself a tough competitor and stood his ground from the start, and throwing wild, but heavy looking punches of his own. In the second round, Dahou came forward aggressively, throwing his looping punches from awkward angles and catching Cantwell, who countered with shots of his own, but had to rely on his busy jab to edge the round. With the noisy crowd behind him, Cantwell held his boxing together more in the 3rd, as the Frenchman kept up his pressure, and provided some uncomfortable moments for the debutant, catching him at times on the ropes, but Cantwell’s jab and greater accuracy took the stanza. The final round found the stubborn Frenchman going all-out with a two-fisted attack, which had Cantwell retreating to the ropes, where he replied to the storm of leather with punches of his own, but was being outworked. After a break in the action to replace Dahou’s mouthpiece, Cantwell finished the round well with some good jabs and body shots, but it was the Frenchman’s round.

Cantwell gained the decision, but Dahou received some rousing applause himself for his plucky showing. All in all, it was a good debut for the Londoner, against a tough and willing opponent. Cantwell seems to have an easy on the eye, crowd-pleasing style, and could be one to watch in the future.
Other fights on the bill included….

Charlie Hoy 6-0(2 koes) against Valentine Marinov 4-2-1(2koes) at Flyweight. Hoy started aggressively and had the Bulgarian down in the first 30 seconds with a left to the head. Marinov got up quickly, but soon found himself under pressure again, as Hoy threw an impressive mix of left hooks, jabs and uppercuts at an opponent who seemed barely able to defend himself. Marinov was down again mid-round from a body shot, again got up quickly, and at this point, it became clear that the Bulgarian was struggling with his shoes as well as Hoy, and was having difficulty keeping a foothold on the canvas. The rest of the round saw Hoy continuing his attack and Marinov fighting to stay standing as he literally slipped and skidded about the ring in retreat. The second round opened with no one having found an answer for poor Marinov’s bad shoes and he was down again with the first punch, which Hoy connected with as his feet slipped from under him. After the Bulgarian was sent tumbling down once more, from another body attack, the referee mercifully waved the fight over. It was a good performance by Hoy, but a shame for both fighters that an ill-fitting pair of trainers had such an impact upon the fight.

At Super-featherweight, Craig Whyatt 5-0(1ko) gained the first stoppage victory of his career with an impressive show of technique and aggression against Marvin Campbell 1-3. Taking charge from the start, Whyatt jabbed well and threw some ferocious looking hooks to the body and head, as Campbell gamely tried to fight back.

Some good body shots had Campbell down near the end of the first round and he did well to get up, as he was still feeling it when he returned to his corner at the bell. Whyatt seemed intent on finishing the job at the start of the 2nd round and early on a right to the head had Campbell down again. Showing a lot of heart, Campbell regained his feet once more, but came under a furious two-fisted assault to the head, which saw him go down yet again, at which point the referee stopped the fight.

Cruiserweight JJ Ojuederie 13-8-1(2koes) gave away a lot of weight to Bulgarian Kristian Kirllov 2-4-1 (14 stone 1 pound to 15 stone 12 pounds,) but managed to outbox his aggressive, but cumbersome opponent, for a four round point’s decision. Ojuederie was having his first fight in almost three years and once held the Southern Area Light-heavyweight title. Despite his inactivity, Ojuederie boxed well and showed a useful jab at times.

At Middleweight Joe Mcdonald 2-0-1 out-pointed Didier Blanch 0-6 over 4 rounds.
After a slow start, Mcdonald produced the busier and more accurate work to take control of the fight against a slippery, but largely defensive opponent.

It was interesting to see how the volume of the crowd in the hall ebbed and flowed according to which boxer was in the ring, and it is an illustration of how important it is for boxers to be able to sell tickets to family, friends and fans alike. Overall it was a very lively evening, and the enthusiasm of the crowd indicated that boxing does indeed still has some life left in it, and that London remains a healthy ground for growing boxing talent.

 Originally published at The Boxing Tribune 6-3-2013
http://theboxingtribune.com/2013/06/young-guns-shoot-it-out-at-londons-camden-centre/
Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com and www.theboxingtribune.com

Froch Evens The Score With Kessler After An Explosive Rematch

By Peter Silkov

Photo source www.guardian.co.uk
Carl Froch (31-2, 22 KOs) last night gained a revenge, that was three years in waiting, after he out- pointed Mikkel Kessler (46-3, 35 KOs) in a fight which lived up to all the hype that had surrounded it over the past few months. ‘The Cobra’ evened the score against the man, who three years ago broke his unbeaten record and took his title away, after a classic scrap in Denmark. This time it was ‘The Viking’ who was shorn of his crown as Froch added Kessler’s WBA title belt to his own IBF belt, but the titles were almost superfluous in a rematch which reached all expectations and had the best part of a 18,000 crowd on its feet for much of the night. Some fighters seem to belong together in the ring and such is the case with these two, as it is hard to imagine them ever making a dull fight together after this rematch. One of the reasons for this, is that both men have seldom been in a bad fight between them, throughout their careers. So when they get together in the same ring, the result is the pugilistic equivalent of cheese and wine, and it can’t fail to go down well (as long as you know your wine!)

Any fears that this rematch might be a bit of a friendly dance, due to the two fighters good relationship out of the ring, seemed to be nullified by a souring of the pre-fight hype in the final days before this clash. When Froch declared that he was willing to kill Kessler in order to gain victory in their rematch, far from being offended by such uncharacteristic trash talk from ’the Cobra’, Kessler had seized upon it as evidence that the Englishman was buckling under the pressure in the final days before their fight. However, from the start of their rematch, ‘the Cobra’ seemed in total control of himself and channelled his aggression into a piston-like jab, which kept Kessler at arms length and at times, off balance. ‘The Cobra’ dominated the first three rounds with his jab, as Kessler struggled to get close enough to fire off his combinations or work his own jab. In the fourth though, Kessler began to reach Froch for the first time with some significant shots of his own and put to bed any fears that this fight might be a one-horse race.

The fifth and sixth rounds saw Froch’s jab become less effective, as Kessler began dragging him into a toe-to-toe war. ’The Viking’ started using his superior hand speed to break through ‘the Cobras’ guard, and Froch replied with his own rights and lefts, as the contest began to develop into the war everyone had envisioned. The seventh round was one of the best rounds of the fight as the action flowed one way and then the other, with Froch coming forward and trying to regain control of the action, but having to walk through a number of blistering punches from ’The Viking’ along the way. Froch stepped up his work-rate in the eighth, coming forward at Kessler and unleashing some huge shots that found Mikkel’s head and had the Dane staggering, but ultimately not buckling. If this fight proved anything, it underlined that both of these boxers have iron in their heads, such were the punches that both were able to take and stand up under at various points of the contest.
If there had been any doubts about whether Kessler still had the hunger to lay it all on the line and fight his way through the pain of another war, he answered them fully, by coming back from his shellacking in the eighth, to once more carry the fight to Froch in the ninth and tenth rounds, as ‘the Cobra’ sought to control things with his jab again.

As the fight went into the championship rounds, both men threw caution to the wind, as they summoned up their deepest reserves in an effort to close out the match strongly. Froch dominated the early part of the eleventh with his jabs and some good rights, but Kessler came back with combinations, which shook Froch badly for the first time in the fight. ‘The Cobra’ wobbled, but like Kessler in the eighth, did not fall, and by the end of the round Froch was coming back with punches of his own again.

Both boxers were tired in the final round, but it was Froch who forced his way forward, walking through Kessler’s punches of lingering defiance, and unleashing lefts and rights of his own, that had the Dane bending and wobbling, as he tried to keep his feet within the midst of the storm of leather coming down on him. As the fight reached it’s final seconds, the referee looked to be about to step in to save a ropes-bound Kessler from the punishment he was receiving, but ’the Viking’ showed his defiance yet again, to blindly fight his way off the ropes in the dying moments of the thrilling match. The fight ended with both men throwing the last vestiges of their strength at each other, having fought one another to a standstill.

The scores for the fight were 118-110, 116-112, 115-113, all in favour of ’The Cobra’. This was, if anything, an even more brutal fight than their first bout, with Froch’s extra work-rate and use of the jab, giving him a crucial edge overall.

In victory, Froch made amends for his earlier trash talk with some glowing compliments for his beaten opponent, and an offer of a third fight if the Dane wants one. Whether Kessler will wish to put himself through the mill against Froch again or else take up the retirement he has talked about previously, even he probably doesn’t know yet. However, it is likely that a man so disposed to fighting as Kessler is, will find it very hard to turn down another chance at glory, once his body has healed over the next few weeks and months. With this victory, Carl Froch has secured himself clearly as the second best 168 pounder in the world, with only the supremely gifted Andre Ward above him, due to his victory over Froch in the super six final.

Having secured his revenge over Kessler, the biggest challenge for Froch now would be to try and reverse his super six final defeat to Ward. This would be a different fight from Kessler, however, as Ward is a far more slippery and speedy opponent than the Dane, and was able to give Froch a boxing lesson for much of their fight in late 2011. In Froch’s favour, is the fact that he has definitely improved since the Ward fight, showing himself to be both more intense and more cagey, as and when events within the ropes demand.
There are other options for Froch to choose, as there seems to be a crowd of fighters clamouring for a shot at him. Domestically, George’The Saint’ Groves and Nathan Cleverly, are both looking for a match with Froch, and ironically perhaps, both angered ’The Cobra’ by sparring with Kessler in the run up to Saturday’s showdown. Groves is the Commonwealth Super-Middleweight champion and generally regarded as the premier domestic 168 pounder, after ’The Cobra’ himself. Unbeaten in 19 fights with 15 koes, Groves is a rangy box-puncher with a good jab and decent speed, but despite the needle existing between the two, Froch seems disinclined to get into the ring with ‘the Saint’. Quite simply, Groves brings too little to the table at the moment for a champion who has his eyes fixed upon big fights, rather than the sort of match that Groves would pose right now, which would be one of high risk and low reward.

Nathan Cleverly is the WBO Light-heavyweight Champion, but has had problems finding himself meaningful fights, and has called out Froch on a number of occasions. Again, like Groves, Cleverly doesn’t really have anything that Froch wants, and so a match against the naturally bigger Welshman does not appeal to ‘the Cobra’.

There is also Lucian Bute, whom Froch devastated in five rounds for the IBF title last year, although there was a rematch clause between them, such was the one-sidedness of their fight, that a rematch would at this point be hard to sell and would offer little to gain for Froch.

Perhaps the most tantalizing opponent out there at the moment for Froch, aside from Andre Ward, is Philadelphia legend Bernard Hopkins, who recently became the oldest ever world champion when he won the IBF World Light-Heavyweight title from Tavoris Cloud earlier this year, at the age of 48. Hopkins has stated his intentions to come to England and face Froch, and his willingness to fight at either catch-weight or with his 175 pound title on the line. But, facing a living legend such as Hopkins would be a tricky situation for Froch. Despite his age the Philadelphia veteran is still a very slippery and wily customer, who has made a habit in recent years of dismantling aggressive boxers with similar style’s to Froch. With his counterpunching genius, Bernard Hopkins could be a stylistic nightmare for Froch, that is perhaps best left alone.

At the moment, ’The Cobra’s’ best options for his next opponent seems to be either a rematch with Andre Ward or a third match with Mikkel Kessler. An Andre Ward rematch promises to be at least more competitive than their first bout and it would be fascinating to see how the tweaked version of ’The Cobra’ would match up a second time with Wards elusive boxing skills. On the other hand, no one who saw Saturday’s rematch between Froch and Kessler would have any complaints with the pair completing a trilogy with another fight.

Carl Froch is in many ways a throwback fighter. He has come up the old fashioned traditional way, winning the British and Commonwealth titles on his way up, and facing the best fighters available to him both before and after winning his world titles. Within a strong 168 pound division, he has met all the top fighters currently active, and lost only twice, one of which is now avenged. In an era where too many fighters fight barely once a year and often avoid their top challengers, ’The Cobra’ has marked himself out as one of the genuine old school warriors of the ring, who is ready to put it all on the line, and genuinely enjoys going to war in the ring.
Although Andre Ward is still entitled to call himself the best 168 pounder on the planet, despite now holding no official title belts (following some disgraceful maneuverings by the WBC,) ‘The Cobra’ is equally entitled to call himself the most exciting 168 pounder in the world and in fact one of the most exciting fighters in boxing, pound for pound, too. There are very few fighters at any weight who can match Froch’s string of dramatic and often thrilling, world title fights, that go back to 2008 ,and his classic fight with Jean Pascal. One of the things which makes Froch a special fighter, is that all the hard fights and wars that he has had have made him a stronger and better fighter, rather than depleting him.

It remains to be seen how long it is before either the WBA or IBF start trying to manipulate their belts away from ‘The Cobra.’ None of boxing’s ‘World’ bodies favour fighters holding multiple belts. Froch however, has fought himself into such a position as a fighter, that he could even copy Ward, and dispense with the boxing bodies and their shenanigans, and the big fights would still be out there for him just the same.

Its been a long road for ‘the Cobra,’ but the success and recognition which he has sought for so long has arrived, and whatever he does in the remainder of his career, he has already assured himself a place amongst Britain’s boxing greats of the past. There were some that were faster or more skilful, or cleverer, but few who were harder or had bigger hearts in the ring. It is a difficult thing to compare the present with the past, and often unfair to both eras, but Froch deserves his place and deserves his recognition. ’The Cobra’ is a warrior.

Originally published at The Boxing Tribune 5-26-2013
http://theboxingtribune.com/2013/05/froch-evens-the-score-with-kessler-after-an-explosive-rematch/
Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com and www.theboxingtribune.com

Carl Froch vs Mikkel Kessler Rematch Promises Fireworks

By Peter Silkov

Photo Source: orareport.com
This Saturday will see the much-anticipated rematch between Carl ‘The Cobra’ Froch (30-2, 22 KOs) and Mikkel ‘The Viking Warrior’ Kessler (46-2, 35 KOs) in a unification match, which is sure to light up the 02 Arena in London. The two men previously met in the ring back in 2010, with Kessler handing Froch his first career defeat, on a close point’s decision, after one of the best fights of that year. Froch has always contested the verdict of his loss to Kessler, which took place on ‘the Viking Warriors’ home soil and cost him his WBC World Super-Middleweight title, in addition to his unbeaten record. On Saturday, ‘the Cobra’ will have his long awaited chance of revenge over Kessler, this time putting his IBF World Title on the line, while Kessler is defending his WBA title.

Since their first match over three years ago, both boxer careers have gone down different routes. Following his victory over ‘the Cobra,’ Kessler was forced to withdraw from the Super Six Tournament with an eye injury that caused him double vision. Kessler did not fight again until fourteen months after beating Froch, when he returned to win the lightly regarded WBO European Title. Since then, ‘The Viking Warrior’ has fought just twice in nearly two years and though he has won both fights over respectable opposition, Allan Green and Brian Magee, the fact that he has only done 13 rounds in the last three years may well be a crucial handicap against Froch.

On the other hand, ‘The Cobra’ has gone 44 rounds in five fights since his loss to Kessler, and in his most recent fights, has looked in the best form of his career. Froch rebounded from the first Kessler fight with impressive victories over Arthur Abraham, and Glenn Johnson, before losing in the Super Six Final to Andre Ward, who is now considered one of the best boxers pound-for-pound in the world. Since the loss to Ward, ‘The Cobra’ has bounced back to win the IBF title with a stunning destruction of Lucian Bute, and made an impressive first defence against Yusaf Mack.

One of the interesting aspects of this match is the question of how close to his peak Kessler still is after his relative inactivity. Kessler’s mindset could also be questioned as he has talked about retiring in the run up to this fight, saying that if he loses to Froch he would probably hang up his gloves. There is a line of thinking in boxing that, when a boxer is talking seriously about retirement, he has already partially retired and is no longer 100% focused. Given Kessler’s recent inactivity due to his eye injury, this talk of retirement is even more pertinent, and raises the question of how ’The Viking’ may react when he comes under heavy fire from ’The Cobra’ this Saturday.
Out of the two men, Froch certainly seems to be the fighter with that extra edge going into their rematch. Since his loss to Ward, where he was comprehensively out-boxed, Froch has become a more intense and aggressive fighter than he was previously. When facing Lucian Bute, a fighter many were picking to outbox him, ’The Cobra’ produced a stunning performance of controlled aggression to walk through everything Bute threw at him and destroy the Canadian in five extraordinary rounds. Since then, Froch has dispatched Yusaf Mack in equally emphatic fashion and at this point in his career, he seems to be not only at his physical peak, but also to have learned from his two career defeats.
Having said that, the fact remains that Kessler has the style to beat ’The Cobra’ as he proved in their first meeting, albeit controversially. ’The Viking’ is a better all-round boxer than Froch, with superior footwork, speed and defence, which he put to good use in their first encounter. Froch will try to make this a toe-to-toe encounter in order to nullify the Dane’s superior technique and make his extra physical strength tell, as the fight goes into the later rounds.

Although both Kessler and Froch are good friends outside the ring, there promises to be no love lost between them during the fight, with added spice caused by Kessler using two British fighters George Groves and Nathan Cleverly, as sparring partners, much to ’The Cobras’ annoyance.

Over the past five or six years, ‘The Cobra’ has quietly built up one of the best resumes in boxing, having faced all the top fighters at 168 pounds and only losing to Kessler and Ward. Despite this, Froch remains curiously overlooked and underappreciated in some quarters, while other fighters who have achieved less seem to gain more plaudits and attention. Perhaps the best example of this is Amir Khan, whose record at world level is patchy to say the least, but whom still seems to garner more attention than Froch. This lack of appreciation for ‘the Cobra’ is all the more puzzling, as with his aggressive boxing style, Froch is never in a bad fight and has been in some classics, including his first bout with ’The Viking’.

Both fighters have a lot riding on Saturday’s fight, with Kessler basically placing the future of his career upon it, and Froch hoping to use it as a springboard to either a be ’The Cobra’ is very conscious of his legacy, and wants to be remembered as one of Britain’s outstanding fighters, and with this in mind, knows that he cannot afford another defeat to Kessler.

Froch recently became a father for the second time, (a daughter Natalia) but, seems far too focused to let the new arrival deflect him from the task at hand on the 25th, despite some mischievous talk by Kessler suggesting otherwise. Probably the biggest question concerning Kessler is whether he still has the hunger to drive himself to the kind of limits of endurance he faced in his first bout with ’The Cobra’. Whether or not ’the Viking’ still ’wants it enough’ could play a crucial role in the eventual result of the contest.

This match has all the hallmarks of being something a little bit special. Often when fighters who know each other very well outside the ring meet, the results are either a benign expression of fistic rivalry or else, an explosive mix of rivals eager to determine whom is the superior. Certainly the first fight between Kessler and Froch was of the latter variety, with both ‘friends’ fighting viciously throughout, and there is every chance that Saturday’s fight will be of the same ilk, with the winner decided by the strength of his will, as much as anything else.

Everything for me points towards a Froch victory, either by points or a late stoppage. ‘The Cobra’ at this point seems to be the stronger and hungrier of the two men, and this will serve to overcome the superior technique and speed of ‘the Viking’.

Boxing has had a rather good run of exciting fights in recent months and this may not end up being the fight of the year, but it could well be savage and vicious while it lasts.

 Originally published at The Boxing Tribune 5-21-2013
http://theboxingtribune.com/2013/05/carl-froch-vs-mikkel-kessler-rematch-promises-fireworks/
Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com and www.theboxingtribune.com