Tis but a blink since I wrote on the fairytales we whisper to ourselves on entering our forties. The type former champion Sergio Martinez has, alas, succumbed to, adding Instagram filters to the truth of his middle age. In actuality, several months passed before the 45 year old ducked between the ropes for a thankfully tame encounter with Joes Miguel Fandino. Continue reading “Martinez running toward a mirage”
Every Friday, however unpleasant the weather that greats me as I step through my front door, clad in an assortment of frayed and tattered kit, I head toward the lights on the hill for an hour of six-a-side football. Outdoors, albeit on artificial grass, it is, nevertheless, a sufficiently accurate facsimile of the twenty years I spent playing local league football to connect me, through the worn sensory pathways and the yearning of nostalgia, to the mediocrity of my pomp.
It is a trope echoed all too frequently in the middle age of our heroes too. Success, wealth, damage, offer little protection against the pull of those lights. Continue reading “Sergio Martinez and the fairytales of our forties”
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”
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”
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”
This weekend, Rocky Fielding, the WBA Super Middleweight title holder, faces the boxing’s premier attraction, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in a bout rich with opportunity for the 31-year-old Liverpudlian.
Should Fielding (8/1) emerge victorious from the encounter at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night it would represent arguably the greatest upset achieved by a British fighter in modern times.
Their bout is loaded with commercial expectation too, this will be Alvarez’s first bout on the digital streaming platform, DAZN, since signing his 10-fight deal with the embryonic organisation following his contentious victory over Gennady Golovkin in September.
There are a lot of parties vested in that relationship; stakeholders who anticipate a regulation victory for the Mexican hero, a 1/16 heavy favourite.
Despite the yawning chasm in pedigree and big-fight experience between the pair, there remain a host of betting opportunities with the best boxing bookmakers. Continue reading “Fielding fights against the odds”
Demetrius Andrade‘s career is, thus far, defined by it’s gaps as much as it’s substance. Four years ago, aged 26, with the WBO Super-Welterweight title slung over his shoulder, following a successful defence against the over-matched Brit Brian Rose in 2014, he was standing at the gateway to the gold and glory of his physical prime. Alas, a 16-month period of inactivity stole this momentum, and forced the return of his belt to the youngest of boxing’s four main sanctioning bodies.
On his return, in late 2015, Andrade secured the vacant International version of the same title, a pungent confirmation of the ‘two steps back’ he’d taken following the ‘one step forward’. The vacancy of the original WBO belt, the similar status of the WBA version won in 2017 belt, and the vacancy of the WBO Middleweight strap he won on Saturday against Walter Kautondokwa, undermines their value in any fighter’s quest to legitimise his standing.
And, while it is pedantry to point to it now, in light of Andrade’s performance for much of Saturday night, it is nevertheless true. Continue reading “Andrade and the vacant possession”
First published at gambling.com
On Saturday night Demetrius Andrade, the middleweight from Rhode Island, will face the unheralded Namibian, Walter Kautondokwa for the World Boxing Organisation’s vacant middleweight title.
It wasn’t meant to be this way; Andrade was scheduled to fight Billy Joe Saunders in a contest designed, unofficially at least, to serve as a qualifier for a match with the winner of Saul Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin’s rematch.
Unfortunately, the British fighter was found to have a banned substance in his system. Despite the change, the leading bookmakers are still offering a range of odds on the contest. Continue reading “Andrade v Kautondokwa betting preview”
There is a lot more waiting involved in boxing these days. A lot more empty hollering. Much more theorising. Greater noise. Less fighting. Fighters have become business men at the expense of their supposed vocation. Many are more familiar to us in tweed tailoring, discussing percentages and the narcissism of their legacy than the blood soaked satin of their trade.
For a sport in such apparent rude health, with many tens of thousands pouring through turnstiles to glimpse heroes in illuminated Lowry dimension, there doesn’t seem to be as much actual fighting. Particularly, by the era’s most exceptional talents.
News Billy Joe Saunders has been stripped of his World Boxing Organisation Middleweight belt, after the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission refused to sanction him to fight in their state in a mandatory defence against Demetrius Andrade due to a failed, if contested, drugs test, once again brought the issue of inactivity back to the fore. Continue reading “A little less conversation a little more action please. Saunders stalls again.”
I thought Gennady Golovkin won the first fight with Saul Alvarez. People, hipsters usually, partially convinced me there was a case for the draw that the three key observers conjured between them in September 2017. I also thought Gennady Golovkin won on Saturday night in the rematch. Again, I was willing to indulge those who felt it a draw too and more readily than I was the first time around.
However, in twenty four rounds, I’ve awarded Saul Alvarez a total of 7, with 1 even round, a possibility more readily accepted in British rings than for fights occurring in Las Vegas I concede, but nevertheless one which I couldn’t argue were it ticked for the 28-year old ‘Canelo’ as opposed to Golovkin. Still only makes 8 rounds from 24. Continue reading “Despite the sadness, Golovkin knew the score”
Article first appeared at Gambling.com on 31st August.
Death, taxes. Few things in life are certain. Never more true than in the unnecessarily complex world of professional boxing. A humble concept, boxing has become increasingly obscured by a parade of oxymoronic titles conjured by the various bodies charged with her stewardship.
Occasionally, boxing, the brave old show girl that she is, wrestles free from this lecherous embrace to remind fans just how simple it all ought to be.
The middleweight clash between contenders David Lemieux and Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan on Saturday 15th September 2018 is one such example and there are a host of bookmakers eager to offer boxing betting markets on a fight almost guaranteed to be a classic. Continue reading “Spike O’Sullivan offers value for money to fight fans”
I wonder where it is all going to end don’t you? You, we, I sit and watch from the sidelines as the events of the day unfold, beyond our control, beyond, at times, our understanding. The sense of helplessness, the difficulty of arriving at a balanced opinion without wondering whether you are merely adopting a promotional message from one side of the argument or the other, is hard to elude.
In the shadow of larger issues like Syria, the friction and/or collusion between military super powers and people dying in hospital corridors or in the street, the reporting and regulation of PEDs in boxing can appear a trivial point on which to muse. Nevertheless, the pursuit of justice, sanction and clarity suffers the same distortion of facts and an ensuing disengagement which is as dangerous as the problem itself. Continue reading “Boxing, drugs and the complicity of the apathetic”
Photo credit: Jeremy Phillips
In the breathless still before his final defeat, when the surge of the crowd left his ears and the noise of his own pulse flooded in, Bernard Hopkins must have known, as all wise men at the end know, darkness was coming and the cruel affirmation of “Special-Common” had failed to fork lightening. The two-years inactive, close to 52 years old, gnarled veteran had refused to go gently into the night. Instead, he had to be punched from it, through it and knocked into, not tomorrow, but yesterday by boxing’s truest maxim; nobody gets out on their own terms. Not even you Bernard. Continue reading “Archive: Bernard, do not go gently into that good night”
“To me judges seem the well paid watch-dogs of Capitalism, making things safe and easy for the devil Mammon.”
Maud Gonne, Irish philanthropist (1865-1953)
Sunday was a long day. Tired from the all-nighter that stretched between my back row seat at the CopperBox Arena in London, where I saw Billy Joe Saunders retain his WBO bauble in a soporific engagement with a subdued, and at times motionless, Willie Monroe Jr., through to 5am back on the sofa for a thudding, if not exhilarating, bout between Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez for the real Middleweight title.
I’d risen after three hours sleep, sought comfort in tea and the balm of contemplating Adalaide Byrd opening her eyes, and blinking her way in to a morning of regret. Perhaps permitting herself the hint of a smile at the word play of her husband Robert, a decorated boxing referee, asking if she wanted him to draw the curtains. Continue reading “Canelo, Golovkin and the luck of the draw”
Billy Joe Saunders confirmed his status as a leading contender in the middleweight division tonight with a unanimous decision victory over Willie Monroe Junior at the Copperbox Arena, London.
By keeping his unbeaten record and custody of the World Boxing Organisation’s version of the 160 pound division title, Saunders maintains his leverage in the race to face the winner of tonight’s Golovkin v Alvarez super-fight in Las Vegas. Continue reading “Saunders remains unbeaten. No more, no less.”
In the immediate aftermath of his win over fellow Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and to the delight of the 20,000 fans in attendance, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez announced his next bout would be against the undefeated Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin on September 16th. Continue reading “One hundred percent. How do fighters hit their peak?”
“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”
I never tire of hearing the opinions of boxing’s grandmasters and the ‘Raging Bull’ is one of the last remaining voices from the era in which he excelled. Tim Gaynor of the Scotsman has taken the time to ask Jake his opinions on the current state of boxing, his view on the rise of UFC and his own motivations and methods as a fighter. Of course, for fervant boxing fans some of the content is familiar ground and the famous ‘diabetes’ line he enjoys reciting to summarise the frequency with which he met nemesis Sugar Ray Robinson has another airing, but his opinion remains relevant and interesting. Click on the image above to read Tim’s interview.
The BoxingWriter.co.uk Fighter of Month award has now developed such prestige I’ve been asked if I can make an award more than twelve times a year. I’ve tried to explain how this plan has a numerical flaw but several fight figures assure me they’re 150% sure nobody will care, “look at the 17 sanctioning bodies, they’ll never notice, the fans are daft”. I’ve refused, neither of my readers are daft I protested, so for now I remain committed to a single award per month. Hiatus for July and August, so September’s winner is… Continue reading “Fighter of the Month: September”
Nostalgia 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.”
It doesn’t matter where you sit. It doesn’t matter from where you viewed Saturday’s spectacle, Bernard Hopkins victory over Kelly Pavlik is arguably one of the most complete boxing clinics since, Barrera schooled Naseem Hamed perhaps? Andrew Mullinder captures the major emerging points from the fight in his regular summary from the chilly confines of his Russian residency.
Continue reading “A Muscovite’s view of the Executioner’s song”
James Degale’s success in the Beijing Olympics has left the young Londoner with a difficult decision to make about his fistic future. Capitalise on his gold medal and accept one of the presumably numerous offers from promoters trying to tempt him into the professional sport, or hold on until 2012 to try and repeat the triumph in his hometown. Continue reading “Chunky Gold Medina; Degale to go pro?”
An interview with then British title challenger Wayne Elcock proved of sufficient interest to feature in the venerable British publication, Boxing News a fortnight ago. It was a moment of great personal satisfaction to appear on the pages graced by the great and the good over the past 98 years. Should it prove the most read piece I ever pen, it will represent a satisfactory pinnacle. Of course, I hope it will not , but in years to come the words committed to the page will remain in tact long beyond features I’ve written for the web. In an act of self-indulgence the unedited interview is included below. Continue reading “Dreaming, Believing and Achieving with Wayne Elcock”
Kiko Martinez’s stunning knockout defeat of the touted Bernard Dunne placed an unwelcome comma in the previously fluent progression of the popular super-Bantamweight and reminded his more eager supporters of the two dictums by which all careers should be governed. Firstly, hype is no substitute for hard rounds and secondly, one punch is all ‘it’ takes. Continue reading “For the love of the green stuff: Duddy’s Next Step”
Boxing needs personalities. And never more so than in the beleaguered heavyweight division. Yesterday’s announcement, and the worst kept secret in boxing, that former middleweight great and presently consensus Light-Heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins plans to return in the blue ribbon weight class didn’t cause the gasps of disbelief the ‘Executioner’ appears to crave. Continue reading “Hopkins Returns. Did he ever leave?”