The pen is mightier than the sordid

Boxing, like every sporting undertaking, has developed a glossary of terms that for many seem like a foreign language. Evolving through a century and half of the gloved era, the words can feel like a device for exclusion to those wishing to penetrate the niche. Some of the vernacular used by those of us confined to boxing’s obtuse sanatorium are timeless, worn like old slippers, others are necessary and pertinent, a few newly minted and, unfortunately, there is a stocked quiver of the entirely disingenuous.

By way of example, even boxing’s simplest premise is layered with nuance; a jab, isn’t always a jab. Sometimes a jab is a heavy jab, a straight jab, a lead hand, a pitter-patter jab, a range finder, piston-like or ram rod? Away from the technicalities that help fight fans discriminate between the merits of Larry and Audley, within the linguistically creative departments of promotion and regulation, the use of language becomes ever more political in style. Designed to distract the audience, the questioner and cloak the issue in hand beneath a cavalcade of obfuscation.

This week’s revelation that Dillian Whyte had failed a pre-fight test for Performance Enhancing Drugs brought the importance of words, and their use in the deception and distraction of the unwitting, into sharper focus. An outcome not without irony given Whyte’s fight with Oscar Rivas, which took place three days after the first notification of his failed test, was for an Interim belt to secure a mandatory shot against a fighter likely to be installed as a Franchise champion and, therefore, be relieved of the obligation to fight Whyte.

Are you keeping up? Scream if you want to go faster.
Continue reading “The pen is mightier than the sordid”

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Boxing, the precipice few dare to gaze over

Boxing is an arduous and often merciless undertaking. It rescues souls, the broken, the lost and plucks the willing from chaos and poverty. This is the romantic trope we swaddle the sport in. The fable those vested in the sport’s continuation dispense in response to difficult questions in the aftermath of a boxer’s death. Like many mantras or acts of faith, repeated enough, the conviction in it’s validity can grow. Manipulating the meaning of events, seeking out evidence to fit the convenience of the narrative and in the doing so, soothe the twitching needle of our collective moral compass.

There is truth within the fables of course. Pugilistic folk lore is laden with examples of those who found a pathway to self-respect, control and, occasionally, financial security but even their stories barely conceal the reality of the long term damage fighters accrue. Boxing, the sport, the game, the occupation, is, at its core, a transaction. Give and take. An inescapable yin and yang. Success for x, means pain for y.

The deaths of Maxim Dadeshev, 28, and Hugo Santillan, 23, following punishing contests last weekend brought the eyes of the world and a tsunami of familiar disdain to boxing’s door. Visitors to our peculiar eco-system should be embraced, not eluded or dismissed, for their potential for objective perspective could be cathartic for a sport betrothed to ‘snake-oil’ salesman and spivs. Continue reading “Boxing, the precipice few dare to gaze over”

All that glitters is not coal; Doncaster heavyweight Dave Allen and a century of struggle

By David Payne

When popular British heavyweight Dave Allen ambles to the ring on Saturday as the unofficial headline act in a show far removed from his Doncaster home, he will, as all of us do in some shape or form, seek to step in to the spotlight and beyond the shadow cast by his forefathers and the whisper of self-doubt amplified by their deeds.

Across the ring will stand the Liverpudlian giant, David Price. A man who denies the presence of such demons, with fighting pedigree the Yorkshireman can not yet requite and tangible advantages of height, reach and experience too. The O2 Arena in London plays host to this battle of could, would and should. A venue repurposed from inauspicious and self-conscious beginnings as the Millennium Dome and therefore an apt stage for the pair to find out a little more about each other, themselves and the realism of their respective ambitions.

It is a heavyweight contest with much to endear it to the boxing fraternity, the thousands promoters Matchroom Sports will urge to make the pilgrimage to the gate and the wider public too. Fighters like Allen and Price, flawed, with the bruises of life’s slings and arrows evident but not ruinous, with opportunity or obscurity waiting for the victor and the vanquished, often provide more entertainment and are more relatable heroes than those garrulous fellows of untainted preserve. We can admire Floyd, but we love Arturo. Continue reading “All that glitters is not coal; Doncaster heavyweight Dave Allen and a century of struggle”

Pacquiao, trapped in a boxing Jumanji, leads a trio of great match ups

2019, sometimes I say the numbers aloud, pausing in thought, marvelling at just how futuristic the words still sound. Perhaps, there is part of each of us that remains trapped in the sounds and deeds of our formative years, an area of preserved nostalgia from which all subsequent events are perceived. In those years before the millennium, when Prince sang about 1999, as a distant party we would all attend, Sarah Connor met a cyborg from 2029, and Harrison Ford wrestled with Rutger Hauer in a dystopian Los Angeles, two thousand and nineteen was a year drawn back from a projected future too far away to recognise. One mathematics could presume we’d live in, but one sufficiently distant to make the visions Ridley Scott and James Cameron shared with us entertaining rather than terrifying.

Yet, here we all are. Prince not withstanding, in mid-2019, long since detached from those analogue decades of the seventies, eighties and much of the nineties.

Hard to fathom therefore, that one of our middle-life contemporaries, who debuted in 1995, the year of Robin Williams’ Jumanji, the story of an inquisitive boy trapped by a super-natural game, could still be central to how we will one day look back on the boxing year of 2019. But with the year half through, and with many of the matchups the sport promised failing to materialise, Manny Pacquiao is part of a trio of bouts that could arrest the disappointment fans have felt so far and restore some much need momentum, particularly in the would-be golden Welterweight division he now inhabits.
Continue reading “Pacquiao, trapped in a boxing Jumanji, leads a trio of great match ups”

Tyson Fury returns for carnival in Vegas – Preview and Tips

Article first appeared on Freebets.net

The earthquake caused by Andy Ruiz and inflicted on the heavyweight landscape continues to reverberate more than a week on from his astonishing triumph. Contenders are renewed and emboldened by Ruiz’s exploits. For a while, there will be a swirl of belief, of daring do to enflame those endowed with a shot at the sport’s leading lights in the months ahead.

Such was the completeness of Anthony Joshua’s denouement to the speed, guile and gumption of Ruiz that practically anything now appears possible.

Could an aftershock unseat another of the would-be trio of Kings? This weekend unheralded German Tom Schwarz will be the first to try as he attempts to fell the towering Tyson Fury at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Boxing bookmakers offer some attractive odds for those willing to dream the impossible dream. Continue reading “Tyson Fury returns for carnival in Vegas – Preview and Tips”

Joshua v Ruiz Junior – Preview and Tips

Article first appeared at Gambling.com on 31st May 2019.

This Saturday, at one of sport’s greatest venues, Madison Square Garden, Britain’s Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 knockouts) bids to win the support and engagement of the lucrative American market – and pick up the baton of popularity from Deontay Wilder following the latter’s knockout victory on May 18.

Joshua’s American debut is the latest step in a long-standing business plan compiled by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sport, accelerated by Joshua capturing the IBF belt in 2016, and has been executed with Hearn’s assured touch. Jarrell Miller withdrew from this fight against Joshua after failing drug tests for three separate banned substances.

But even after a protracted search for a replacement, the Garden is expected to be full by the time Joshua strides to the ring to defend his WBA Super, IBF and WBO championships.

Commercially, it remains to be seen whether a fight with Andy Ruiz Jr. encourages new subscriptions to DAZN in the US, but there are certainly a wide range of UK boxing betting markets available for you to glean a little commercial return of your own. Continue reading “Joshua v Ruiz Junior – Preview and Tips”

Moving on up. Ali, Mayfield and Joshua’s all too familiar crossroads

“We planned and worked hard, from the very start
Tried to make him better, than all the rest
But the brother proved to be so much less.”

‘Eddie Should Know Better’ by Curtis Mayfield (1972)

Curtis Mayfield would’ve been 77 today, like his friend Muhammad Ali he was born in 1942, and the “gentle genius”, as he was often referred, passed away on Boxing Day in 1999. His legend, as one of the greatest musicians, songwriters and innovators of the century, was secured long before being struck by falling rigging while performing in Brooklyn in 1990. An accident that would paralyse him from the neck down.

He and Ali were both powerful social commentators, transcending their area of excellence in lives in the public eye that ran in parallel and through some of the most turbulent episodes in modern American history. In 1958 a 15 year-old Mayfield joined The Impressions a short two years before the then Cassius Clay flew off to the Rome Olympics, the musical pioneer’s passing came just three years after Ali’s iconic opening of the 1996 Atlanta games. An event that marked the beginning of the end for the century’s most famous face, for one last time he was able to demonstrate his courage and defiance, fighting, inch by inch, the symptoms of Parkinsons to deliver the Olympic flame.
Continue reading “Moving on up. Ali, Mayfield and Joshua’s all too familiar crossroads”

Joshua and the pursuit of undisputed

“The struggle is my life.” 

Nelson Mandela (written in 1961)

Accepted wisdom proposes that heavyweight boxing is in rude health.  The simultaneous primes of Deontay Wilder, the WBC’S champion, Anthony Joshua, recognised by the WBO, IBF and WBA and Tyson Fury, the somewhat contested custodian of the lineal championship offer the promise of a new golden age.

Were there a PowerPoint presentation to pitch this notion to investors, it would suggest, repeatedly, that Heavyweight boxing is stronger now than it has been at any other point in the past 20 years.

Graphs, pie charts and slick video clips of vast crowds and packed football stadiums  would be used to convince the doubting audience. And boxing wouldn’t be short of salesman capable of taking up this thread, but as a summary of the sport’s blue ribbon division, it does host an obvious omission. Continue reading “Joshua and the pursuit of undisputed”

You don’t ‘play’ boxing

There is much in the language and fundament of boxing that reverberates through the game of poker and much in the apparent simplicity of the two that deceives the ill-informed. Those who don’t linger, often dismiss, or fail to recognise, the skill and whit required to succeed. For fans and participants more in tune with the nuances and layers present in both, they recognise the guile required to lure an opponent in, to bluff, the psychology of what to do when faced with a stronger hand, when to cut and run, or go all-in. Continue reading “You don’t ‘play’ boxing”

Less is more. Wilder glorious. Inoue imperious.

German-born American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, or Mies as he was widely known, gilded the phrase ‘Less is more’ while writing in the New York Herald Tribune in 1959. A phrase that informs much of the modernist movement of which Mies was a pioneer in his works in Germany, Spain and the United States and may predate his seminal use in his essay on Restraint in Design. Robert Browning, the great poet and playwright, may also contest the origin, but it was Mies who substantiated the philosophy in bricks, mortar and steel.

Mies celebrated the beauty of the necessary and the restraint required to resist all but that which is essential for the building to function. Every single structure he was commissioned to design in America remains in place and in use.

In the present era, in which boxing’s beauty is obscured and disfigured by the posturing and politicking of promoters and champions, with the rampant virility of sanctioning bodies’ influence tugging and displacing the sport’s very foundations, there was a refreshing simplicity to Saturday night’s action. In the contrasting displays of Wilder and Inoue, much that is great in boxing, that which enthrals us, entwines itself about our spirit and soul was available to see.

More was taken from less. More enjoyment. More progress. More clarity.
Continue reading “Less is more. Wilder glorious. Inoue imperious.”

Wilder v Breazeale Betting Odds

Article first appeared at Gambling.com

Fans of boxing betting turn their gaze to the blue ribbon heavyweight division, and the Barclays Center, Brooklyn, this weekend to witness unbeaten American Deontay Wilder’s ninth defence of the WBC world title belt he won in 2015. 

The WBC made this a mandatory fight to the consternation of many, particularly Britain’s Dillian Whyte. Still, Wilder emerges from the rubble of a failed negotiation with Tyson Fury to tackle fellow American Dominic Breazeale. Wilder is available at 1/6 with BetVictor for the outright win.  Continue reading “Wilder v Breazeale Betting Odds”

Greatness to visit, and be confirmed in Glasgow. Inoue and Taylor in action

First published at Gambling.com

The World Boxing Super Series has been a timely entrant into the boxing landscape simplifying the all too complicated world of boxing politics with a tournament format everyone understands. Crucially, the wealthy backers of the concept have ensured the program is filled with outstanding fighters too.

On Saturday night, the SSE Hydro in Glasgow is the venue for a pair of semi-finals that will enthral boxing’s most ardent observers and should excite the casual follower too. Investors have the potential to make returns from mouthwatering fights between Josh Taylor and Ivan Baranchyk and Manny Rodriguez and Naoya Inoue, with the best boxing betting sites offering up numerous markets.

In the Super-Lightweight class Josh Taylor continues his journey in the footsteps of Scottish greats Benny Lynch, Jim Watt and Ken Buchanan, as he bids to capture Ivan Baranchyk’s IBF title and progress to a final against American powerhouse Regis Prograis. The financial rewards are high, and the kudos accrued equally so, if the ‘Tartan Tornado’ can succeed. Continue reading “Greatness to visit, and be confirmed in Glasgow. Inoue and Taylor in action”

He fat, Shefat, Billy Joe Saunders seeking momentum

First published on Freebets.net

This Saturday night, in the inauspicious surroundings of Stevenage Football Club, Billy Joe Saunders seeks to inject much-needed momentum into a boxing career that has wandered, sometimes aimlessly, from the path to riches and renown it once promised. His opponent, a curated choice from the gallery of obscurity the WBO specialises in, is the unheralded German, by way of Serbia, Shefat Isufi.

A prohibitive underdog with most leading bookmakers, 18/1 with Bet365 the widest, Isufi offers precious little hope or opportunity for investors. Continue reading “He fat, Shefat, Billy Joe Saunders seeking momentum”

Age isn’t just a number. It remains a deadline.

“I am a shadow of my former shadow. My day was decades ago.”

Ian Holm as Gilliam, Snowpiercer 2013.

The competitive chasm that yawns between the trio of heavyweight champions; Fury, Wilder and Joshua, and their respective guests in the next few weeks has served to anithetise fans previously stirred by Fury and Wilder’s fight back in December.

Back then optimism flowed freely. Fury’s boldness had holed the dam of pragmatism risk averse advisors use to contain the adrenalin and fervour good fights create and suppress the inherent courage of their fighters. Continue reading “Age isn’t just a number. It remains a deadline.”

A muddy fight clears the Middleweight waters

Monday 6th May 2019 and boxing is a little closer to ‘home’ than it was before Saturday night. Saul Alvarez allowed Daniel Jacobs to hand over his IBF belt with out forcing the Miracle Man to delve too deeply into the reserves of energy his gigantic rehydration had presumed to afford him. The fight was a disappointment in the sense of the entertainment the two afforded those gathered at ringside or perched, as I was, on the sofa with the sparrows and starlings stirring in the background.

It shouldn’t detract from the significance of the unification Mexico’s favourite son accomplished on Saturday, placing the three most historic belts above one mantlepiece is progress after all. And in the absence of perfection, 17 weight divisions, 17 champions – for that particular status quo wouldn’t prove the hierarchical utopia fans presume it to be – progress should be boxing’s only objective. Continue reading “A muddy fight clears the Middleweight waters”

Canelo and Jacobs step into the spotlight of future history

Before the advent of the internet, specifically the explosion of available answers to every conceivable question, and the need to finesse the ensuing search results to more manageable quantities, filters, in common parlance, would only be found in conversations about car engines, or perhaps a fish tank sufficiently grand to require a pump. Not the bowling ball sized hell my own goldfish endured for a year or two but one of those with an apologetic piece of plastic seaweed or perhaps an ornamental bridge or lost ship wreck. You know, fancy ones. The type of thing people with a caravan had in their hall, those who drank coffee not tea, used sunflower spread not butter back in the seventies. Holidayed in France. You know the type.

Both applications remain relevant today of course, though you may need a safe cracker, with a sideline as a contortionist to find and replace a filter on a modern combustion engine, even a car has to ask Alexa to diagnose a fault these days. Fish in captivity do still need something to keep the flotsam and jetsam at bay too, not as much as their free swimming cousins a ‘green’ wag might suppose, but I digress. Continue reading “Canelo and Jacobs step into the spotlight of future history”

Lomachenko and Crolla depart, destinations undefined

As Anthony Crolla pawed for consciousness, his right cheek stuck to the floor like a kid looking beneath the sofa for a lost Lego piece, those who scoffed at the legitimacy of his challenge to Vasily Lomachenko unholstered their weapons and got to work.

I’m sure, as the smiling Mancunian drew himself back up from the dark seabed the dazzling Ukrainian’s final temple shot had plunged him too, his first thought wasn’t about the men who should’ve been in his corner. In to who’s stead he had stepped. Continue reading “Lomachenko and Crolla depart, destinations undefined”

Jacobs must beat Alvarez, money and the Golovkin trilogy storyline

Occasionally boxing gets it right. The mist is blown aside, the knots untangled and a bread crumb trail through boxing’s unnecessary maze, the one too many important fights have been lost in, is scattered sufficiently to force even reluctant matchmakers to follow.

On Saturday 4th May, just such a rarity occurs. Saul Alvarez, the Mexican with the Lion King locks, contests the Middleweight title with Daniel Jacobs. Between them they will amalgamate three of the important belts available, if the oxymoron of multiple ‘world’ title belts is to be accepted. Boxing fans, impoverished by the relative inactivity of their heroes and the reluctance of their hero’s advisors to contemplate risk, will hungrily devour the competitive fare the two promise to provide. Continue reading “Jacobs must beat Alvarez, money and the Golovkin trilogy storyline”

Steve Forbes and a tale as old as time

In 2004, in the illuminating The Seven Basic Plots, Christopher Booker proposed there were only seven scenarios on which the incalculable number of books we read are based. Most of the seven, with perhaps the exception of comedy, unless pith and sarcasm make you smile, are told and retold in the pages of boxing history.

From the bare knuckle savagery and steam boats of the 1800s, to the sepia, black and white and technicolour of the 20th century and on to to the high definition and pay per view of the modern day, those half a dozen narratives have echoed through the ages. A constant set of storylines in an endeavour dripping with the fool’s gold of nostalgia and more deeply entwined with the human stories of it’s protaganists than many contemporary pursuits. More is risked, more is lost, more is gained.

The news Steve Forbes, one of the sport’s nice guys, is making a comeback offers further evidence that fighters, no matter how well told the story of failed returns has been, always believe they will find a new ending, a plot twist, success where others perished.

Despite their will, they’re invariably wrong. Continue reading “Steve Forbes and a tale as old as time”

Boxing fans must guard the gate to heavyweight history

“Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a man of some sense to know how to lie well.”

Samuel Butler, Novelist – 1835-1902

The vacuous melange of bullshit, fabrication and bluff boxing fans endure grows more tiresome by the day, the month, the year. However ‘casual’ or ‘steady’ you define your own relationship with the old show girl, ‘it’s complicated’ is likely the most apt summary of the connection.

Where certainty should be available, in the places most sport’s host facts and truth, black and white, boxing has only grey, caveats, asterisk. It is a tired rumination. A frayed thread tugged on by good writers and bad ones. Despite the magnatism of the ‘modern problem’ narrative to this unwelcome reality, boxing has always been a cocktail of the bewitching and bewildering. In 135 years of the gloved era, since John L Sullivan fought Dominick McCafferty, a fight the ‘Boston Strong Boy’ won in the seventh round of a six round fight, and that isn’t a typing error, sport’s ultimate prize has rarely existed in the nirvana our nostalgia insists it did. Continue reading “Boxing fans must guard the gate to heavyweight history”

Garcia the loser, but Spence still lost in the Welterweight maze

Let not the hindsight of the ensuing days beguile you and lead you toward the cowardice of cynicism. For those who held the required insight to recognise the inevitability of Spence’s victory, don’t belittle your wisdom with memes today. Garcia came, tried, lost and whilst he may have sacrificed the Autumn of his career in one bout, only time can try to prove that conclusion, he did at least distinguish his character in the process.

The frustration we feel at the lack of progress in the Welterweight division shouldn’t be laid on Garcia’s shoulders. He’s already wearing enough unproductive baggage without carrying the burden of a weight class luxurious in millionaires and starved of ‘he who dares’.

Continue reading “Garcia the loser, but Spence still lost in the Welterweight maze”

Garcia stands at the gateway to greatness

“History, faced with courage, need not be lived again”

Maya Angelou (1928- )
American novelist and poet

In some ways, analysis of this weekend’s Welterweight fist-fight between Errol Spence Junior and Mikey Garcia depends which end of the binoculars you want to look down. Influences abound. Those of recent memory, the annihilation of Amir Khan, the breaking of Kell Brook, to the asinine and unfathomable; the ‘side of the bed you rose from’, the craving to be heard in a gale of voices or the need to gamble an opinion in the pursuit of  distinction. All impose themselves. Continue reading “Garcia stands at the gateway to greatness”

Maurice Hooker v Mikkel LesPierre betting preview

Article first appeared on Gambling.com

Tonight at central New York’s Turning Stone Resort and Casino, Maurice Hooker defends his WBO light welterweight belt against Brooklyn’s adopted Trinidadian, Mikkel “Slick Mikk” LesPierre.

The fight is the co-main feature alongside Dmitry Bivol’s light heavyweight title fight with Joe Smith Jr., who is best known for spoiling Bernard Hopkins’ farewell night.

Hooker will contest the title for the third time in nine months, a level of activity few current champions or established contenders match. Continue reading “Maurice Hooker v Mikkel LesPierre betting preview”

Heavyweights beware, Time is Gonna Pass You By

Tobi Lark, aka Tobi Legend, once sang, ‘Time is gonna pass you by, so quickly and it waits for no man‘.

Not a theme exclusive to the songwriter, John Rhys, of course and, tangentially, it was serendipitous to learn Rhys was born in the sleepy Suffolk town of Saxmundham, a place a Sunday afternoon drive from my own adopted home, particularly given the sophistication and significance of the song. Rhys moved Stateside as a youngster and would become a distinguished music producer in Detroit and Los Angeles I discovered. Perhaps the influence of Michigan’s blue-collar ‘Motor-town’, historic home of the Ford motor company and Motown Records of course, as opposed to the coastal market town of his birth, explains the soul and beat in the tune and is why it resonated so deeply with a generation of British youngsters.

The thumping cocktail of melancholy and triumph in the Northern Soul anthem embedded Rhys and Legend’s sentiment deep into the psyche of a receptive audience in the 1970s. Tracks like ‘Time is Gonna Pass You By’ entranced a communion of working class kids; coal miners, steel workers, bakers and candlestick makers, longing to escape Lowry skylines, and the drudgery of daily life to converge, via all-night pilgrimages, to clubs and dance halls across the North of England.

Continue reading “Heavyweights beware, Time is Gonna Pass You By”

Eubank Junior succeeds and stays in the game

As Jimmy Lennon Junior’s voice filled the night air; his familiar timbre validating the announcement for British and American observers, the expression of relief that stretched across the face of Chris Eubank Junior proved contagious.

It afforded the famous father’s son, albeit fleetingly, a moment of joy he could not contain and a fleeting connection with an audience he too often keeps at the end of an adopted persona. Lifted high in to the air by Chris Eubank Senior, a man of increasingly indiscernible age but ever more telling and pointed insight, Eubank Junior soon returned to his customary brooding demeanour, but the shared moment may prove pivotal in his connection with the viewing public. Continue reading “Eubank Junior succeeds and stays in the game”

DeGale surely too wise for Eubank

Article first appeared at Freebets.net

No title. No eliminator status. The James DeGale versus Chris Eubank Junior fight this weekend is a novelty in the modern boxing era. A contest baked on the purest ingredients of style, reputation and personality.

The bout’s appeal is improved by the salty accoutrement of their long running online spat. Exchanges that took the dislike forged in their conflicting recollections of a six round spar they shared and turned it into a grudge. And grudges sell. Continue reading “DeGale surely too wise for Eubank”

Fury, Wilder and Joshua; the normality of avoiding risk

Coincidences can prove jarring, awakening us from the mundanity of our rituals, sometimes they’re not evident without the spectacles of hindsight and occasionally the happenchance of concurrent events or unexpected meetings of people, things, occurrences pass by unnoticed. Just such serendipity brought together two different eras in the heavyweight division for me today and in doing so offered a salve to my throbbing suspicion that Tyson Fury’s alignment with Top Rank and ESPN will steal away a heavyweight era barely rediscovered beneath a layer of Ukrainian dust. Continue reading “Fury, Wilder and Joshua; the normality of avoiding risk”

Santa Cruz stagnates with Rivera defence

Article first appeared on FreeBets.net

It is one of the inevitabilities of boxing, reliant as it is on the health of two singular participants, that scheduled fights are sometimes derailed by the misfortune of injury.

From the heat of this forge, where promoters and matchmakers scramble to salvage the show, because the show must always go on, opportunities for unheralded fighters can be struck.

This weekend, opportunity knocks for Rafael Rivera as he accepts a late call to replace Miguel Flores, who withdrew with an ankle injury three weeks ago, as the challenger to Leo Santa Cruz at the Microsoft Theatre, Los Angeles. Continue reading “Santa Cruz stagnates with Rivera defence”

Gervonta Davis expected to knockout Ruiz

Article first appeared at Freebets.net

Gervonta Davis, he of the thick neck, thicker jewellery and thunderous punches, returns to action on Saturday in Carson, California in what was once the StubHub Centre, but has recently be renamed the Dignity Health Sports Park. A name lacking the poetry, grit or evocative history of the York Hall or Caesers’ Palace, but an important boxing venue these days.

Davis’ defence of the WBA Super-Featherweight title, versus late-replacement Hugo Ruiz, is his first since winning the title in April of last year. Davis, his handlers and those of us who recognise his potential all hope the bout will prove an important jumping off point from which the 24-year old builds momentum and recaptures the acclaim he was initially afforded.

Soft-featured but with darkness in his eyes, Davis is a product of Baltimore’s mean streets, having fought to survive the life of chaos his parents’ drug problems inflicted on him.

Just getting to the ‘start line’ of a professional career in 2013 was achievement in itself, and it is easy to conclude in the period where he stagnated, that the initial riches and early attention he garnered were distracting for the twenty-something. Six years on, 2019 becomes a pivotal year if he is to capitalise fully on the potency of his youth and undoubted talent. Continue reading “Gervonta Davis expected to knockout Ruiz”

The home of greatness; Light Heavyweight awaits Alvarez versus Kovalev rematch

Article first appeared on Freebets.net

One seven five. 12 stone 7. Light Heavy.

Words to illicit a quickening of the pulse in a boxing fan a century ago and words that still cause an extra frisson of excitement for their modern-day counterparts too.

From Fitzsimmons to Loughran, the Fighting Marine to the Ole Mongoose, Ezzard Charles to Bob Foster, through Michael Spinks and Roy Jones, Light Heavyweight has been ‘home’ to some of boxing’s greatest.

They, alongside a legion of other warriors there isn’t space to document, distinguished themselves in the division and decorated the sport’s history books with fights and rivalries still purred over today.

On Saturday night, boxing turns her gaze back to this touchstone division and two diverse characters pursuing their own legacy with the flickering embers of their youth. Sergey Kovalev, the Russian who fights out of Florida, is hoping to win this rematch and reclaim the portion of the world title Eleider Alvarez took from him in August last year. Continue reading “The home of greatness; Light Heavyweight awaits Alvarez versus Kovalev rematch”

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