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”

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Boxing, is it still a young man’s game?

I wrote earlier this week about the questions posed to boxing fans by Manny Pacquiao’s continued career. Pacquiao ploughs on at an age when the leading lights of every preceding generation were long retired, whether in good health or bad, destitute or comfortable. Where once fighters were considered ‘shop-worn’ or ripe for the plucking, we now find the perennially untested, underachievers and those still punching to prove themselves.

The volume of shows, the quantity of fighters and the plethora of platforms fans can now access to consume boxing creates a script in which the characters, and the weeks and months, are dragged across the stage with increasing speed.

In the thrall of this often breathless narrative and the surge of popularity fuelling it, certainly in the UK, themes and large scale ‘set-changes’ can be harder to notice. Pacquiao’s 40th birthday provided this observer with the necessary illumination to the shift in fighter demographics that has occurred in the past twenty years.

Fighters appear to believe their prime is an infinite or elastic resource and, as a state of mind, it can’t help to bring the best available together.  After all, ‘there is always next year’.
Continue reading “Boxing, is it still a young man’s game?”

The extraordinary and ancient Pacquiao makes accomplices of all of us

It is the way of things that the fresh-faced heroes of our youth, who once charged the ramparts of boxing’s established names in our stead, now find themselves clinging to the last castles of their own generation. A month ago, notification Manny Pacquiao’s December birthday cake now required 40 candles spilled in to my consciousness and caused momentary pause in the day’s proceedings.

For so long, Pacquiao’s dancing feet, blurring fists and relentless aggression represented the new, the urgent, the usurper of the established. Overcoming and occasionally wrecking totems of pay-per-view, Pacquiao swatted aside the Mexicans Featherweights (more often than not) and a series of champions presumed to be too big or too strong for the diminutive Philippine.

This success vaulted him beyond the vanquished, planted him in the Hall of Fame and encouraged us to overlook the fact the one time Flyweight was now into his thirties and far beyond his beginnings. [3min read] Continue reading “The extraordinary and ancient Pacquiao makes accomplices of all of us”

Pacquiao to prevail; Broner can’t be trusted

First appeared on freebets.net on 14/01/19

On Saturday night, at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Manny Pacquiao seeks to extend an astonishing career, already longer in years and bouts than those of any of his contemporaries, by beating the enigmatic contender Adrien Broner for the WBA’s Welterweight title.

It is an intriguing contest in prospect for fight fans, in part because of the contrast of the career journeys to date and in the potential for their styles to blend well as a spectacle.

Beyond Saturday, their fight also represents the ‘starting gun’ for a sequence of clashes among a generation of Welterweights within which greatness could yet be achieved.

As you would expect, their respective profiles ensure all the leading bookmakers are offering markets on the fight. Pacquiao is 2/5 with Paddy Power for the outright win and also offer a competitive 21/10 on a Broner win by any means. Continue reading “Pacquiao to prevail; Broner can’t be trusted”

Mayweather piques my disinterest still further

“Your love made a slave of me,
But the love you gave you took away from me.”

Why When The Love Has Gone,
Isley Brothers 1967

Floyd Mayweather will be 42 in February. Full on middle age. Irrespective of what he does in the squared circle from this point on he will forever remain one of the finest prize fighters to ever lace ’em up. Fast, elusive and a diligent and instinctive reader of opponent’s weaknesses and ‘tells’, Mayweather’s mastery of the conventional was so complete, so absolute, he could bend and manipulate the old standard tunes with frills and trills in the way Whitney might when faced with a number from the American Songbook. And yet. And yet. And yet.

He still leaves me cold. It is ironic, given his desire to chastise those who follow in his financial wake, that he remains entwined with the sport, however spuriously, in the pursuit of spotlight, of easy money, despite retirement and record breaking earnings. Continue reading “Mayweather piques my disinterest still further”

Glory days. Can boxing reclaim the flagship American market?

By Hector T. Morgan

Dedicated boxing fans who have stayed attentive to the sport may resent the notion that it needs restoring to its former glory, and where do we pitch these romaticised glory days in the landscape of our memories anyway? Perhaps, The Four Kings of the 1980s, Ali and his great rivals in the 1970s or perhaps the era when Boxing was America’s premier sport along side Horse Racing and Baseball? All, in truth, with flaws of their own.

Mass popularity ebbs and flows after all, but there’s still something pure about boxing that loyalists remain appreciative of regardless of ebbing TV ratings, which led HBO, for so long the ‘King’ of boxing in America to abdicate its throne. Despite the passion of it’s most ardent followers, the complexities of the sport; multiple sanctioning bodies with their myriad champions has disenfranchised the casual fan. Boxing in America lost it’s way.

Paradoxically, it remains capable of creating huge piques from the valleys of apathy inhabited by most general sports fans. The right narrative, the right mix of characters and skills and boxing still appeals more widely than almost all of its contemporaries. Continue reading “Glory days. Can boxing reclaim the flagship American market?”

Golovkin v Alvarez: Boxing returns to its Middleweight touchstone

“Every man’s got to figure to get beat some time.”

Joe Louis –  (1914-1981)

The weekend super-fight between Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez from the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas returns the sport of boxing to the bosom of those who embrace it through the good times and the bad. The type of ardent disciple who nods and purses lips at the mention of James Toney or smiles and rub his or her hands together at the memory of Smokin’ Bert Cooper or Paul ‘Scrap Iron’ Ryan*.

*Other ‘win some, lose some’ brawlers are available. Continue reading “Golovkin v Alvarez: Boxing returns to its Middleweight touchstone”

Boxing: A golden time – it wasn’t always so good.

We have no time to stand and stare. And stare as long as sheep or cows. No time to see, when woods we pass, Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

W.H. Davies, ‘Leisure’ c1911

Parking had been difficult, as was finding the venue itself, and I was late for the show. It was long since dark and the city still intimidated me a little despite my projection of belonging. I broke into a jog between the pools of street light on my way to the Elephant and Castle Leisure Centre, London. It was late March, 2002. Continue reading “Boxing: A golden time – it wasn’t always so good.”

Guest Blog: Mayweather v McGregor – Who’s next?

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While it may seem rather silly to overlook the potentially explosive meeting between Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather and Connor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor either result will throw up more questions than answers. The biggest questions will undoubtedly be who each man intends to fight next and should McGregor upset the pundits and the Mayweather McGregor odds and come away with victory there will more than likely be a rematch. Continue reading “Guest Blog: Mayweather v McGregor – Who’s next?”

Boxing: DeMarcus gets the Corley never expected; disappointing for McCloskey

Criticising boxing promoters is a popular business. Both historically and in matters topical. A fighter’s promoter, who can be his manager too, despite the conflict of interest inherent in that scenario,  is often lumbered with blame for all manner of peaks and troughs in a fighter’s career. As uninformed bystanders, it is easy to point the finger of blame at those who determine the trajectory and strategy of a fighter’s career. Beyond the knowledge of the ‘man in street’ are the unknown variables; from a fighter’s form and focus to the sensibilities, pliable and otherwise, of the regulatory bodies and television networks who fund and benchmark the process. To date, Matchroom Sports has proved a reinvigorating presence in the stagnant waters of British Boxing and thus far remain untouched by criticism. DeMarcus Corley as an opponent for Paul McCloskey on May 5th, even as a late replacement, should provide dénouement to that honeymoon period.

Continue reading “Boxing: DeMarcus gets the Corley never expected; disappointing for McCloskey”

Boxing: Judah back to Brooklyn; but a ring is a ring is a ring

I read today Light Welterweight contender Zab Judah is promoting his next fight on the notion it represents his debut in his native Brooklyn and is therefore, publicity implies, likely to evoke a return to the glories of his past. Like many 34-year-old pugilists before him, Judah is attempting to invert the natural course all fight-careers take; decline, by reaching for the placebo effect fleetingly afforded by trainer change, managerial move or in this case a fight in his home town.  Continue reading “Boxing: Judah back to Brooklyn; but a ring is a ring is a ring”

Boxing: Mayweather, the showmen who leaves them wanting more

Presently, there is no hotter commodity in boxing than Floyd Mayweather. Fresh off a crushing victory over Shane Mosley I can no longer summon an obstacle which bears scrutiny to the now overwhelming argument that Floyd Mayweather deserves to take a place among the sport’s all time greats. Mayweather’s name can sit snugly among the Ali, Armstrong and Leonard’s as one of the finest prizefighters ever seen. In fact, the only thing which could be more commercially desirable than the Pretty Boy right now…is a retired Pretty Boy. Continue reading “Boxing: Mayweather, the showmen who leaves them wanting more”

Ricky Hatton, Danny Williams and the search for common sense

Contrasting stories surround two of British boxing’s favourite sons this week. Firstly, and most satisfactorily, is Ian McNeily’s piece at BoxRec News dutifully reporting Ricky Hatton difficulty in summoning the will to commence training while the same site also records a summer fixture for Danny Williams on the other side of the world. News of this proposed clash comes just days after the genial Londoner promised retirement in the aftermath of his capitulation to Derek Chisora.   Continue reading “Ricky Hatton, Danny Williams and the search for common sense”

Manny from Heaven set for fair-weather Floyd

So the scene is set. Boxing has risen from the canvas to offer the viewing public a fight of such dramatic potential it already draws comparison with the magnetic contests boxing was once able to supply from a position of long forgotten significance on an annual basis.

Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino with the smile and an entire people in his corner, neutralised Miguel Cotto with such aplomb last weekend he is now widely projected as the sport’s pound for pound number one. That most unhelpful of yardsticks. And in Floyd Mayweather, he has an opponent of equal brilliance and renown against whom to push his abilities to their limit and in doing so, just maybe, entice and ignite a whole new generation of prize fight followers.

Continue reading “Manny from Heaven set for fair-weather Floyd”

Wrestling with fog, Golden Boy seeks to tame Guzman

guzmanNow aged 33, the career of Joan Guzman is a curious one. An unfulfilled one. Despite being a decorated Amateur and world-championship belts in two divisions, the Dominican has failed to deliver on his unquestionable talent and has frozen himself out of the title pictures from 126 to 140 pounds. Oscar De La Hoya will need every ounce of his wealth and charisma to play Midas to ‘Lil Tyson’s’ stuttering career. Continue reading “Wrestling with fog, Golden Boy seeks to tame Guzman”

Run Yasmine, run; how boxing would love an 80’s remake.

yasmine-bleeth-51595Nostalgia is a big seller. And its vendors seem to know just when to pique our interest in some bygone phenomenon. Whether it be the Mamma Mia film reaching out to women over 35 to relive their days as Dancing Queens – and some men come to think of it – or other film franchises like Charlie’s Angels or boxing’s own Rocky series. Today’s wander down memory lane was the tabloid suggestion David Hasslehoff is bidding to relaunch Baywatch, with media-shy, wholesome mother of three Katie Price (aka Jordan) donning the red bikini made famous by Pamela Anderson – though it was always Yasmine Bleeth for me. Continue reading “Run Yasmine, run; how boxing would love an 80’s remake.”

The life of the Human Highlight Reel, Arturo Gatti, ends in tragedy

gatti
Photo by Robert Ecksel

Thousands of words have already been written about the demise of Arturo Gatti and still more about the life in boxing that preceded it. News of his death, aged just 37, has shocked a legion of fans for whom Gatti is synonymous with courage, exhilaration and entertainment. Recently betrothed, Arturo Gatti leaves behind a young son and wife, Amanda Rodrigues Gatti – to whom responsibility for Gatti’s death is expected to be attributed following her arrest today. Continue reading “The life of the Human Highlight Reel, Arturo Gatti, ends in tragedy”

Most avoided fighter of the past 10 years? Poll

diversion-aheadThe forthcoming middleweight clash between veteran southpaw Winky Wright and Paul Williams, the former Welterweight champion stirred me to contemplate which fighter of the past decade had been the most avoided. Winky Wright makes a strong claim for this unwanted acknowledgement, particularly given his recent enforced inactivity, but ultimately he has secured bouts with Shane Mosley and Bernard Hopkins to name but two. His advocates would remind me he had to chase Hopkins all the way up to Light-Heavyweight when they spent years side by side in the Middleweight division, both in desperate need of a big payday. Williams too, wouldn’t be without his supporters, but now he has Wright, following victory over Margarito, himself a contender for the tag. Continue reading “Most avoided fighter of the past 10 years? Poll”

Inevitable Mayweather comeback growing closer; July 11th or sooner

floyd3Still too early to suggest Joe Calzaghe will stay retired but instinctively I believe he will, but contemporary Floyd Mayweather Jnr was never likely to remain retired irrespective of the wealth he has accumulated, throwing hundred dollar bills from nightclub balconies has a way of dwindling the coffers. It has to be enforced doesn’t it? After all, the mooted Oscar DeLaHoya match up of last year would have earned him another multi-million purse and a thick wedge of associated earnings.  He retired not needing that pay day. Something changed. Continue reading “Inevitable Mayweather comeback growing closer; July 11th or sooner”

Not to be or not to be, Jennings falls to Cotto in 5.

cottowallIt is a while since I’ve perched on the end of the sofa to watch a fight, a while since I’ve felt the rush of a heart-felt connection to a fighter but on Saturday night, as 31-year-old Michael Jennings strode to the ring, that familiar surge of anxiety raced through me. I recall this was a feeling I had when Frank Bruno retreated toward the ring for his rematch with Tyson and I felt it when Dennis Andries kept rising from the canvas against Thomas Hearns. When Brian Hughes asked between the 4th and 5th rounds if the twice floored Jennings was okay, Mick’s response of “Sound, yeh” it just warmed this fan’s heart a little more. Continue reading “Not to be or not to be, Jennings falls to Cotto in 5.”

Some other mountain; Oscar continues his PPV voyage

Amidst a global credit crunch it could prove harder than ever to defend the choices of a multi-millionaire like Oscar DeLaHoya and harder still if he is to assume the role of the big guy in his David and Goliath showdown with Manny Pacquiao. However, for all the criticism his selection of the Filipino piranha, instead of the entirely more imposing challenges of Paul Williams and Antonio Margarito, drew, I for one believe it is a sensible match-up for a fighter who operates outside boxing’s accepted parameters. Continue reading “Some other mountain; Oscar continues his PPV voyage”

Blah, blah, etc, etc, Hatton talks Oscar, trainers, ageing and the future

More astute judges than I have pointed to Ricky Hatton’s ebbing level of performance, greater students of fighters and their techniques have dissected his growing faults and weaknesses and plenty of wiser minds than mine claim his out of “monastery” habits will shorten his elite career drastically. I couldn’t agree more but most of that is tired ground. Continue reading “Blah, blah, etc, etc, Hatton talks Oscar, trainers, ageing and the future”

Quo Vadis Floyd Mayweather?

Regular contributor Andrew Mullinder, from the sanctuary of the Russian front, cast his eye across the tabloid reports of Floyd Mayweather’s fiscal misfortunes. From stolen jewels to counterfeit Lincoln’s the retired superstar could be finding the chill wind of recession blows a little colder without twice-yearly deposits from HBO. Mullinder wonders whether his retirement may yet prove short-lived, a concept sure to be well received by mess’s Hatton, Pacquiao and DeLaHoya. Continue reading “Quo Vadis Floyd Mayweather?”

Paul Williams covers every base to land big shot

“Starvin’ Marvin”, as one or two insensitive souls have dubbed Paul “The Punisher” Williams, today featured in a new press release from Aceves PR, one of the busiest promotional houses around in the boxing business. For those who love stats, this was the 62nd I’ve received since October. So if you’re an aspiring promoter or fighter, consider Aceves, they’re busy on your behalf. Someone once asked me, where I was when JFK was shot, I said I wasn’t sure but I bet I was reading a release by Aceves.

Continue reading “Paul Williams covers every base to land big shot”

Is Mayweather Snr. the right trainer for Hatton or HBO?

I doubt I’m alone in being mystified by the appointment of Floyd Mayweather Snr. to training duties for Ricky Hatton’s Light-Welterweight outing against feather-fisted Paulie Malignaggi in November. He is far removed stylistically and geographically from the Mancunian ticket-seller and quite how his bombastic personality will fit with Hatton’s fiercely preserved ‘man of the people’ demeanour is equally hard to contemplate.

Continue reading “Is Mayweather Snr. the right trainer for Hatton or HBO?”

Pitt and Aniston, Charles and Diana, now Hatton and Graham…it happens to ’em all in the end

Avert your gaze from boxing for too long and the constants, the equilibrium on which your perspective of the sport was founded can quickly be disconnected and deconstructed. The notion that the gnarled, sinewy frame of gravel-voiced trainer Billy Graham will no longer be strapped into the renown body belt (pictured left) for 15 rounds of torment from Ricky Hatton is hard to believe. OK, Graham and Hatton were never Morecombe and Wise, but together they’ve moulded and tuned Hatton’s natural physical prowess and thirst for combat to make both wealthy and respected. Curious timing?  Perhaps. Continue reading “Pitt and Aniston, Charles and Diana, now Hatton and Graham…it happens to ’em all in the end”

Mayweather, Lennox, Hamed, Hopkins; you can never win.

A few disparate references got me thinking this week. First it was the retirement of Floyd Mayweather, brought into sharper focus by this weekend’s Welterweight face off between Cotto and Margarito, then it was a YouTube compilation of Prince Naseem getting battered from pillar to post with super slow-mo’s to make the former Featherweight king look like a clown. And finally, it was the news Bernard Hopkins, the veteran determined not to fight beyond 40 to keep a promise to his mother, apparently signing to fight Kelly Pavlik just shy of his 45th birthday. Too early, too late, boxing fans will crucify you either way.

Continue reading “Mayweather, Lennox, Hamed, Hopkins; you can never win.”

“No, no, just say no” Hatton, PPV and the power of one.

As fan and as a writer, purchasing pay-per-view boxing is a prerequisite these days. I’ve done them all, from Bruno v Tyson, Hamed, Lewis through to Hatton v Tszyu and everything in between. So strong is my thirst to see the stars of the fistic world that I even succumbed to the very shallow temptation of Eastman v Hopkins. A fight never likely to distract the annual visitors to the Dulux sponsored, Watch Paint Dry Championships. Continue reading ““No, no, just say no” Hatton, PPV and the power of one.”

Hatton v Witter, goes down the ……

It was painful to view. And my scorecard reflected my desire to prolong the feint hope of Junior Witter finally securing the chance to face arch-rival Ricky Hatton before both got too old or too fat for anyone to care. Placing the credit for the victory at the door of Ricky Hatton, given it was young Timothy Bradley in the ring throwing punches, would be ungracious and unfair but there was certainly a shadow of the wealthy Hitman over the split decision triumph for the American. Continue reading “Hatton v Witter, goes down the ……”

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