Sunday, July 13, 2014

Canelo Alvarez Survives A Marathon: But Let Us Look At the Bigger Picture

When we were waiting for Levi Martinez's scorecard to be read last night, the deciding scorecard, I was a bit worried.  I was hoping he scored the right fight. The two "deans" of judging, Dave Moretti & Jerry Roth, split the difference calling 115-113 for Canelo Alvarez & Erislandy Lara respectively.

This is often the case in close contests, then you get the deciding vote, which is often a zinger.  At first announcement Levi Martinez's 117-11 victory for Canelo sounds a tad ridiculous. Now I thought Canelo won, running is not boxing and boxing is not running. After round four Lara was doing more running than boxing.

I thought Lara did well going into round five, but it was clear his game plan became more geared towards not wanting anything to do with Canelo and getting hit, than it did with him following an offensive game plan off of lateral movement. With the exception of a round or two.

Having said that, even I, a Canelo fan, and a fellow who hates the type of style Lara executed, felt the slick Cuban won more than three rounds. However, I still felt Canelo deserved the fight and won more rounds in the fight, hands down.  

So I began to wonder, how band was old Levi's 117 111 scorecard anyhow?

Being the deep thinker that I am and the type of guy who does not forget what people say, I latched on to a moniker often regurgitated after fights that are debated ; "wasn't the worst scorecard I ever saw".  Remember hearing that? Ever recall me saying that type of thinking is going to hurt the sport and justify more bad scorecards?

Martinez's scorecard is by far not one of the worst scorecards I ever saw, I can name twenty without even having to think. However, it is a lot easier than even that. It was not even the worst scorecard of the weekend.

That distinction would go to Glen Hamda's 96-94 victory for Art Hovhannisyn over Johnathan Maicelo. I will even go on record to say 117 111 was not even the worst scorecard handed in at the MGM Grand Saturday night. that honor belongs to the 114 114 scorecard in the Mauricio Herrera vs. Johan Perez fight. The owner of that beauty is Max DeLuca.  

There was no debate that Herrera & Maicelo won their fights by clear margins, yet two cards did not go their way. All this tells me is that there is an epidemic of bad scorecards out there and boxing and the athletic commissions, who are in charge of these judges, are not doing very much to solve the issue.

Why is this and what actually can be done? More on that to come.

As for the fight. Canelo did not stop Lara and dominate him as I felt he would. This was not because Lara schooled him, which is what I kept hearing was going to happen on the other side, so your guy did not do what you felt either, nanana nanana :-)

Canelo could not do it because Lara could not deal with the power of Canelo, and he used all of his boxing skills to avoid a fight. While this was a close contest on the scorecards it was not a close fight at all.

Now boxing fans all look for different things, however, I am consistent, when I tune into a boxing match I want to see a fight and only one man in this main event was interested in a fight. I am so happy he got his hand raised as a result.

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Canelo Alvarez Fights For Respect; Will He Get it?

When Saul Canelo Alvarez steps into the ring tonight against Erislandy Lara tonight there is a lot on the line. Respect being on the top of the ticket. Both men have been in tough and have been tested. However, no body can claim this is the best fighter Canlo has fought, while it holds true for Lara. Having said that, Canelo is still very disrespected across the boxing circuit.

Canelo is a fighter that was supposed to have it all figured out at the tender age of 21, yes folks he is only 23 years old today. The fact that he has had some rough patches has lead to a lot of ridicule. Keep in mind the top two fighters of this era, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao had nothing close to the microscope Canelo has had on him early in his career.

Mayweather did not get his worldwide status and attention until he was deep into his undefeated career. Prior to that he was a terrible draw and just another very good fighter. Pacquiao, who suffered losses, via the TKO, early on in his career, has earned the status of being one of the best fighters of all time. The late Bill Gallo ranked him third only behind Sugar Ray Robinson and Willie Pep.  

I am going out on the limb here and saying that Canelo Alvarez will never be given this status by the majority of the boxing community regardless of what he does in the ring. Why is this?

While I do not pretend to be smart enough to know the answer I can give you reasons why I think Canello will be better than both Floyd and Manny when it is all said and done and will never get the credit.

Number one, Canelo is much better than Floyd and Manny were at this point in his career. He is twenty three years old and has 43 fights, Floyd has 46 fights and Manny 63, both of those fighters are at the tail end of their careers.

 Now, before you go on a tirade and tell me about the soft touches Canelo has had, I will counter by saying at this stage in his career he has been in very tough.

If you actually look at Canelo's record you will see cagey veterans, brawlers, and all time greats on his resume, even the best ever!!! Right? So can that nonsense right now.

Canelo has been active, in tough, and has learned every step of the way. Why a lot of boxing fans refuse to see this is a mystery.

The hate machine for Canelo is pretty strong. At this stage of their careers neither Floyd or Manny had this much venom thrown their way. Their haters did not really pick up steam until they earned their top P4P status and a dream match up for supreme reign over the pugilistic world has been more illusive than a Sandy Koufax curve ball.

The hate machine was in full circle for Canelo when he was at the tender age of 20. Why?

Now, I admit I am a hater of both Floyd and Manny, however, when they step up and do something special, or fight a tough fight, I give them their due.

I gave Floyd a lot of credit for fighting Canelo and Maidana, and  now Maidana in the rematch. Bravo! Floyd has had many brilliant performances as well (Corrales, Hernandez, N'Dou, Gatti Hatton) and is one of the best conditioned fighters of all time. Nobody is going into the ring in better shape than Floyd Mayweather Jr.

It has been a lot harder to give Manny credit for anything lately but at one time he was a killer offensive machine and I enjoyed his fights a lot.

The Canelo haters? They would chop off a limb before giving this man credit for anything. Why?

Some examples of this, when Saul got the Mayweather fight haters were refusing to finally stop saying he hasn't fought anyone. Why? Because he did not deserve the fight? Really? Cannot make that up.

Canelo would not have gotten the fight if Mayweather did not want to fight him. Never has a fighter had so much control over their own career as "TBE" has. So to kill Canelo for getting a fight he did not deserve, yet still worship the ground the guy who made the fight walks on? A little skewed if you ask me.

While Canelo did not perform well against Mayweather, he was not beaten up and hung in their tough every round. He did a lot better against Floyd than what Floyd did against Jose Louis Castillo in their first fight. That is for sure.

After the Mayweather fight. Canelo took on respected brawler Alfredo Angulo. Angulo had a reputation as a guy who can bang, and, while easy to hit, was not an easy out.

After Canelo wrecked him, Angulo was now a dog, pun intended, who was in the bag and was not trying against Canelo.  I am sure these are the same people who go berserk and wail "you don't know shit about boxing" when you say Floyd has ducked Manny, or Manny has ducked Floyd.  

No fighter is afraid to get into the ring with another fighter. Right? If you are naive enough to suggest so, well then you know nothing about the sport. Right? Then why is it just to suggest a fighter has packed it in in the ring? Some folks will stop at nothing to discredit Canelo.

Some people just resorted to saying Angulo was washed up. I counter this by saying there were not too many fighters who could have banged in the pocket with Angulo all night and left the ring without a scratch. That is just me. I am funny this way.

Tonight, the disrespected Alvarez takes on the well respected Lara. At the very least, I hope this fight forever puts an end to the notion Canelo has not fought anybody. Amazingly that moniker still holds true for a lot of haters.

However, I ask, is there anything Canelo can do tonight that will make him earn some points with the haters?

I see it now, if Lara wins in any type of easy fashion, the haters will relish. If Canelo wins a close fight, the excuses will chime in, Lara was robbed, he was not impressive, blah blah blah.

Even if Canelo wins big, which I think he will, there will be something, something to be said about it. Some haters will even goes as far to say Lara was shot. I promise it.  

The good news is we will find out tonight. If Canelo shits the bed I will have no problem saying I was wrong. When my guy looks bad I do not make excuses, and I will never say he chose to fight that way.
However, if I am right, and Canelo explodes, will he get any credit? Will he? Maybe just a little? I doubt it.

Twitter @zutesfighttalk
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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Juan Manuel Marquez Is a Boxing Gift

Juan Manuel Marquez is a rarity in boxing, he is actually a lot better than what he gets credit for. In an era where the word great, and the best ever, is thrown around for athletes, especially boxers, way too often, it has eluded Marquez in many boxing circles.

While Marquez is well respected, I do not think he gets enough credit for how special he has been.

One of the main criteria I look for when analyzing a fighter as being great, I think about can they hang in any era. That is a very objective view, and can be open for critics to slander, but I am confident in my evaluations.

While many fighters of this era could not fight 15 rounders, or even more, I am confident Marquez could have.
While many fighters would have had trouble weighing in the day of the fight, some have trouble the day before, I am confident Marquez could have,

While many fighters of this era would not be able to deal with the fierce combination punchers, and better overall trained fighters of different eras, I am confident Marquez could have. (Imagine him under the tutelage of Fucth, D'Mato or Arcel?)

While many fighters of this era would not be able to keep up with the normal pace of fighting 5 or more times a year on the championship level. I am confident Marquez could have.

What has hurt JMM over the years has been his ordinary persona. He pales in comparison to the star power of DeLehoya, Pacquiao, Gatti, And Mayweather Jr.  Those fighters all have  more zest for the quest if you will.

These are the types of fighters that would have their names above the credits in a motion picture. Marquez would have always been a supporting role.

The misconception is that star power equates to being the best at your craft. Mandy Patinkin is a much better actor than Ben Afflleck or George Clooney, but he will never receive star billing over them.

With the exception of Floyd Mayweather, JMM is a much better fighter than those who were bigger stars than he in his era.

He has been such a treat to watch, and win or lose Saturday night against Mikey Alvarado, he needs to be better appreciated by the boxing community.

The buzz is the winner of this fight gets a fight with Manny Pacquiao, a fighter JMM has already won a ton of rounds against and has already knocked out. Having said that, JMM will have a hard time surpassing Pac Man on most "experts" lists of great fighters. Such a shame.

I will be pulling for Juan Manuel Marquez in his fight with Alvarado, he has been a master at his craft and it would be great to see such a professional go out on top.  

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Floyd Mayweather Remains Undefeated: Wink Wink

I will admit I am no expert. Not in boxing, not in life, not in anything. And I have a lot of probelms, for sure. However, I know what I know. And I know Floyd Mayweather did not beat Marcos Maidana last night. It is as simple as that.

Since I was one of the few people who felt Floyd was going to have his hands full last night, and not just because Maidana had a punchers chance. I am feeling a little smart, a little special. In fact, I am in such a good mood, despite the sour decision, allow me to guarantee you some things.

I guarantee you the look you saw on Mayweather's face, just prior to Jimmy Lennon Jr. announcing him as the winner, was the look of someone who knows he lost.

I guarantee you that you never saw that look on Floyd's face prior to a decision being read, not even in the first Jose Louis Castillo fight, the only other fight Floyd lost.

I guarantee you that the people who are using comp u box as their defense to say Floyd won this fight, did not feel the same way in that first Castillo fight, where comp u box had Castillo landing more punches in that fight.

I guarantee you comp u box is nonsense and the worst thing that ever happened in boxing.

I guarantee you Maidana went home last night and did 300 push ups, and Floyd is still in bed.

I think that is all.

So allow me know to further elaborate on the sham that is comp u box.

Or punch stats, or shostats, or whatever else you like to call it.

When did the people who cover boxing and the fans who follow it become so fixated on such a meaningless stat such as comp u box?

Give yourselves more credit than that boxing fans. You are already ahead of the game because you are a fan of the greatest sport ever. Do not cheat yourself into caring about statistics that are manufactured by someone who presses a key on a computer. You are better than that.

I am not sure why the American networks are so dependent to these statistics, if you watch boxing coverage overseas you rarely hear of these punch stat numbers during the course of the fight.

My guess, and remember I am no expert, is it has something to do with money, some how some way.

But I am here to declare comp u box public enemy number one of boxing, and there are many candidates for this title.    

The reason for this is comp u box has this throw your hands up in the air persona about their product.

What I mean by this is, comp u box wants you to believe their instrument is not a measure to determine who wins a boxing match, it is not suppose to have influence on the outcome on the fight in any way. The ol you know "I just created this for such and such reason and it is not suppose to be used for...." Wink wink.

If comp u box was really honest about this, then they would not allow their product to dominate the discussion of a fight and be such a titanic part of a boxing broadcast. However, they do, money money money!!!!  

All the other things that are wrong about boxing are not as sheepish about what they do.

Not to mention the fact the product stinks. I always refer to the Randall Bailey vs. Mike Jones fight for this point. Here was a fight that showcased such little offense, neither guy was throwing any punches at all, yet comp u box was spitting out numbers that even made the HBO broadcast teams scratch their heads. And they are the sharpest tools since Leatherface's chainsaw.

This was the worst presentation of a product since Ralph Kramden's vacuum test.

Now if they are going to do such heinous job in such a low action fight, how are the numbers going to mean anything in a fight were there was so much activity?

Oh and did I mention, these stats have no bearing on how to score a fight? Did I mention that?

If you score this fight round by round, um the way fights are scored, there is no way Floyd won nine rounds or eight rounds of this fight. No way. If you want to be charitable to Mayweather this fight could be called a draw.

Maidana did more damage, and controlled the fight for the majority of the fight and the rounds.  It cannot be made any simpler than that. 7 to 5 Maidana is the right scorecard, I could even argue 8 to 4.
Floyd made it a closer fight in the second half, because he is so great. Maidana fought anyone else last night and he puts them in a box. He was that fantastic.

However, once rounds are deposited in the bank, you do not lose them.

Even if Floyd landed a lot more punches than Marcos did in round nine, his best of the fight, and the most one sided round of the fight, by either fighter. That does not erase the many rounds Maidana won up until that point. We do know this do we not boxing fans?

Another thing that is so misleading about comp u box.

Oh, I have one more guarantee, if comp u box did not exist, nobody, and I mean nobody, would be regurgitating that Floyd won this fight because he landed more punches and was more accurate. Absolutely nobody.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fabricio Werdum Gets To The Mountain Top

After Fabricio Werdum dismantled Travis Browne few thoughts conjured up in my head, which is often a dangerous place to be. One word dominated the cognition: SURPRISE. Now this can be taken in many ways, so I will clarify.

Surprise, Fabricio Werdum is good. Surprise, Travis Browne is one dimensional. Surprise Fabricio Werdum is not only the best ground guy in the heavyweight division, he can strike with the best strikers in the game.

If you were not aware of these obvious facts before last night, you are well aware of them now. Werdum is the epitome of what a mixed martial artist should. Once known to be great at one discipline, in this case BJJ, who has incorporated other elements of fighting to his overall game.

Has anyone done it better than Werdum? There a bunch of guys you can say has done it just as good as Werdum, but I do not think you can say anyone has done it better.

What separates Werdum from the bunch of names you just rattled off in your head is people are still surprised at what Werdum can do. To listen to how surprised Joe Rogan was at the striking ability of Werdum was comical. Did Joe forget Werdum's performance against Roy Nelson? Is there a major difference between Roy and Browne? Things that make you go hmmm.

The writing was on the wall for us all to see and yet the majority were still surprised about Werdum's dominance.

What was the story going in? Browne. How many times did we hear that Browne has not be taken down in the UFC? How well did that work out for him?

Werdum erased that meaningless stat(as all stats in combat sports are meaningless, save wins, losses and stoppages) faster than you can sign up for Obamacare, sign up already!

With this win Werdum enjoyed the finest moment of his MMA career and received accolades of the MMA world.

The rewards were not all intangibles with his win either.

Werdum has earned a shot at Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez. A fight I am sure most of the MMA world feels he is not good enough to win.

As a species, we are slow learners.

Twitter @zute1971
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Manny Pacquiao is in a Statement Fight

While I have never been a huge fan of the fighter they call Pac Man, I can understand why the boxing public has fell in love with him. The Philippine born boxer was being noticed, by hard core boxing fans,  in 2003, he went mainstream in November of that year when he demolished beloved fighter, and premium cable star, Marco Antonio Barrera.

Pacquiao destroyed MAB that night with a vicious, yet controlled attack from the southpaw stance. The performance was star making, and Manny, despite set backs in the ring has not looked backed since. Manny has been a crowd pleasing fighter and win, lose or draw, he has become one of the top paid fighters of all time with one of the biggest fan bases.

Manny has mostly won, and won impressively. He avenged a loss he had to Eric Morales with a savage third round stoppage, and beat up big names, and rugged fighters, like Oscar DeLaHoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto. The only thing left for Manny to do was to match his skills against the other big superstar of his day in the fight of the century.

I will not waste anymore time discussing the reason's why Manny and Floyd Mayweather Jr. never fought. That is for another time. However, I will say something fascinating has happened to Manny during the time fans salivated over this fight, Like I do for a banana split just about every moment of the day. Manny became an ordinary fighter.

Ordinary in the sense that the viscous edge he bought into the ring appeared to shine off around 2010. Prior to that his mean streak took a back side to no one this side of Roberto Duran. What was impressive about Pacquiao during this time was, while he was relentless and mean, he was not a dirty fighter, unlike most guys with his reputation.

Something changed in Manny in 2010, I noticed it after his fight with Antonio Margarito, he just seemed content with gong the distance with his opponents.  Even in his last fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, I did not see that viscous Manny, I think he was landing big shots because of the relentless pressure Marquez fought with. Marquez fought different in that fight not Manny. Manny was taking advantage of a guy who was easier to hit, but he was not fighting with that fire that made him famous. If he was, he would not have been caught.

In the Bradley fight, Manny only fought in spurts and was one punch at a time, perhaps he was auditioning for Floyd. He fought this was against a guy in Bradley who was clearly restricted with his movement and not a big puncher to begin with. The Manny Pacquiao circa 2003-2009 demolishes a guy like Bradley in that condition, and there would have been no need to cry robbery.

This time around Pac Man will be facing a better Timothy Bradley, this version of Timothy is more confident and going into the fight with more of an edge to him. A fighter that has a little kick to him could be dangerous for any fighter. Especially one who has lost an intangible that was a major part of his success.

If Manny wants to ensure victory he must find it in himself to resurrect the guy who the boxing world fell in love with. Proud fighters did not want to answer the bell against this version of Manny and be the subject of more of his ferocity.

Does he have it in him to show us this guy again?

twitter @zute1971
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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sergey Kovalev Passes a Huge Obstacle: Has Anyone Noticed

There will be some boxing follower's out there who will try and turn Sergey Kovalev's 7th round KO over Cedric Agnew into a negative. I can hear the words of some fans of the sweet science as I write "exposed" "one dimensional" "hasn't fought anybody".

We all want to be the person who thinks they have discovered something, do we not? In the case of Sergey Kovalev, you would be wrong on all counts of negativity. Saturday night was a big positive for Team Kovalev and should not be interpreted any other way.

Every fighter runs into obstacles inside and outside of the ring. These obstacles often have a cause and effect, sometimes fighters rise to the occasion and sometimes they do not. Either way it should never be the case to define a fighter based on one fight, one loss, one bad moment in or out of the ring. To a certain degree.

The obstacle Sergey Kovalev faced Saturday night was he was in the ring with a fighter who did not want to get hit, he sacrificed offense as a result and stood behind a very well guarded defensive stance. Some people have interpreted this as a good night for Agnew. Really?

What about Sergey? He fought threw this and knocked out a guy who did everthing he could not to make a fight. He also suffered cuts from headbutts, oh, and did I mention, Agnew was a southpaw as well?

Agnew possessed ingredients that would make for a very unappetizing dish for any boxer. A dish a lot of great fighters have not digested as well as Kovalev did.

Just look at the Mike Tyson vs. James Bonecrusher Smith fight. Tyson was a killer, devastating combos, worked behind a jab, and won just about every fight before the bell even rang at that time. Smith had a decent reputation in his own right, and had a reputation for a good chin and a guy who could bang.

Bonecrusher, however, did not come to fight, and, there was nothing the baddest man on the planet could do about it. Tyson was awarded a decision but won nothing. The fight was so boring, if you ever wanted to torture someone, you could just hook up your foe to some wires, Clockwork Orange style, and play this fight for them on a continuous loop. After about three times you foe would be praying for death, Sho Kosugi style.

However, As the great Bob Dylan said, The Times Are A Changin. In 1987 Smith was hammered for his performance, he went from the Bonecrusher to the disgraced Boneclutcher, the name change was very justified.

Fast forward to 2014, Cedric Agnew is being praised. What? You get credit for not wanting to fight, and throwing very few punches? Oh, and by the way we you got beat up too. What sport is this?

Agnew getting more positive headlines for this fight is a clear indication of what boxing has become.

In 2014 you get more credit for avoiding a fight than being in one. Throwing combinations no longer matter, not as long as you can make your opponent miss. One punch at a time is all that is needed. When the top guy in the sport gets paid astronomical figures for fighting this way, it is not a surprise that this way of fighting is more familiar to the boxing observer than Kovalev's. I just do not get it.

I will say, at least Floyd Mayweather Jr. looks good when he fights this way, and is successful at it, but Agnew? I never want to disparage another man for lacing up the boxing gloves, however, at the same time, I should not be expected to have to watch this type of fighter on my premium cable channel.

The one thing boxing has to realize is, while it is a business, the fans matter. At least they should. Can you name me another business where the main goal is not serving the customer, but looking out more for your bottom line?

If a business does operate that way, they will be out of business very soon. The reason why they get away with it in boxing? Even when the customer knows they are getting jipped they show up. Canello vs. Angulo should not have even come close to getting 1000,000 PPV buys, let alone go over 350,000.

With the much better than expected numbers, Golden Boy can now serve up one or two mismatches a year for Canello and throw a 60 dollar or more PPV price on it. And they will get away with it.

Opps, I went way off topic here. I hope you are all still with me. Let's get back on track.

The only man who should get credit and benefit form Saturday's premium cable main event is Sergey Kovalev. He made the fight, he overcame an extremely hard style to look good against, and he overcame adversity when he was cut from headbutts.

Not to keep picking on Bonecrusher Smith, but we all know how he feel apart when he was cut against Larry Holmes. As have plenty of other boxers.

Instead of celebrating Sergey's victory, boxing heads are twitting and twatting about Agnew. He will get some big fights from this that we will be forced to watch. Boxing fans you cannot complain about what you enable.

Twitter @zute1971