Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ward Claims Kessler's Belt

I hate it when I am wrong. But there is nothing worse than proven wrong. Former American Olympian Andre “S.O.G” Ward did just that when he outboxed and outpaced Mikkel “Viking Warrior” Kessler of Denmark en route to a victory last Saturday. Extending his run to 21 straight wins and no losses, Ward also became the WBA Super Middleweight champion.

I have a told in a previous article why Kessler will beat Ward. I made the Danish ex-champion a good case and he did show how tough he was inside the ring. However, it was clear from the opening bell that the young American pugilist was superior in technique and style, speed, and skills.

Kessler complained to the referee about Ward’s holding tactics. Though the Dane had a point, his stand-up European boxing style could not cope with Ward’s extreme mobility inside the ring. The later rounds saw Kessler flailing wildly in a desperate attempt to land a big one.

At the end of the bout, Kessler is faced with questions. Being the tournament’s favorite, does he have what it takes to make it through after losing in such fashion in his first fight? Is he washed-up as some of his critics say? Hard to answer for sure, but the responses will be made clear when he faces champion Carl Froch next year.

Although there were some occasional head butts and excessive holding, Ward deserved such victory. Kessler drops to 42-2, 30 knockouts while Ward elevates 21-0.

The fight concludes the first stage of the Super Six Tournament. Here’s a quick recap of the scores:
Arthur Abraham – 2 points

Andre Ward – 2 points

Carl Froch – 1 point

Andre Dirrell, Mikkel Kessler, and Jermain Taylor – 0 points each

Friday, November 20, 2009

Shane Langford: In His Own Words

People live with the cards fate dealt them with. Others may have the odds favoring their lives, while some have to keep on living with everything stacked against them. For Shane Langford, boxing was supposed to be his ticket to boxing grandeur.

But glory inside the ring will never be his. Despite his impressive amateur career in his native Canada, the 32-year old 1999 Canadian National Amateur Boxing Tournament bronze medalist was, according to him, mishandled by the people who were supposed to look out for him.

When he turned professional in 2000 at super bantamweight, Langford’s first two bouts were against a very seasoned veteran in Steve Molitor, who had 30 victories in 31 bouts at the time. Needless to say, Langford’s lack of experience in professional prizefighting, plus the fact that his first opponent was a highly-skilled boxer delivered Langford his first two losses.

He will taste his only victory in his third fight opposite a fellow Canadian boxer Sheldon Wile who was then 2-0. All succeeding fights ended in a loss, except one bout which resulted in a draw. After his fifth professional bout, Langford, now a homeless boxer living off in the streets of Los Angeles, met Pepper Roach, Freddie Roach’s brother, and he was taken under the care of the famed boxing trainers /siblings.

The Roaches tried to reignite Langford’s career, but despite it all, Langford’s dreams of becoming a world champion seemed to have never been etched in stone.

The final blow came from Jorge Espinoza when Langford faced him in April 1, 2005. Langford suffered his final loss via a tremendous beating at the expense of his left eye. The punishment he took closed his left eye forever.

The cards dealt to Langford are cruel to say the least. Losing a career in general and an eye in particular is a double whammy indeed. Langford’s professional boxing career ended with the record 1-7-1.

But fate may have other things planned for the former brawler from Canada. After recovering from his last bout, Roach offered him a job as custodian of the world-renowned Wild Card Boxing Club.

Under Freddie Roach’s tutelage, Langford immersed himself with knowledge of the Sweet Science the boxing guru has to teach him. Eventually, Roach allowed him to train his own fighters and have Langford assist him when Roach is working with top-class boxers.

Prominence and popularity also came to Langford when he was featured in the award-winning series 24/7 Pacquiao-Hatton. Today, Langford has his own droves of fans and a short list of clients, mostly amateur boxers.

Questions in bold. Answers in italics.

How did you get started in boxing?

I started learning how to box when I was 15 to fight the bigger kids in school.

You were a medalist during your amateur days in Canada. Does that say you got a great amateur experience?

Not really but I had about 30 fights. I fought in the nationals twice and I beat the then Canadian national Champ Ernesto Moraino. I fought a few good guys and beat some of them and lost to some.

When you turned pro and found out that your first opponent was a seasoned veteran, what were the thoughts that raced through your mind that night?

I thought I could win and I put a lot of pressure on him but never really made him work that hard. He won easily the next time I fought him but I did a lot better but lost a majority decision. I didn't really train that hard for that because they called me on a short notice. But it was only a four rounder and Steve (Molitor) wasn’t a good puncher yet.

You only have one victory as a pro and it was your third fight. How did you celebrate it?

I don’t remember really. I thought I would have more in the future but it didn’t work out.

You went from a pro boxer to a homeless person in LA. How did you survive a life on the streets?

Being a good fighter helped. I’ll not lie; I think I had close to one hundred fights on the street those first couple years and a bunch more since. Yesterday I had one in the Mobile gas station before that it was a few weeks on the vine by the Bliss Café and before that I had way more than that. The list goes on and on.

The thing is in L.A there are not many hungry people as there are so many people giving out food by the beach or in a church or in the street. You see them almost anywhere and they give u doughnuts and patisseries and cake and whatever is cheap.

It’s still good they got places for you to sleep if you’re not in good condition for the streets. Shelters and stuff the Glendale armory, they’ll let u sleep there. For showers, I went to the Wild Card boxing gym. They let me in for free because Freddie told them to. I then found a job at Burners, a bar on Hollywood and Cherokee as a dishwasher.

I lived well then! I got fired for fighting so I tried making money by fighting professionally. After what happened to my eye, I called it quits.

How did you meet the Roach brothers?

I met the Roaches when I was training in their gym. They knew I used to fight and let me train for free. I’d always show up with bruises from the street then they said that I could fight for real and make money so I did and lost to some Spanish guy. I then fought a bunch of other guys then I retired because of my eye.

They let me stay in the gym and clean it for a job. Being in the gym all the time, I started watching Freddie train guys and id copy his moves. In those days nobody did that. Now everyone does so that changed and it was good.

As a fighter, Freddie trained you. As a trainer that you are now, did Freddie Roach teach you everything you know or did you observed his training methods?

Freddie taught me all I know about training but he didn’t just give it to me he made me watch and observe. I took notes. The other coaches did not like it and I often got into fights with them.

Among the boxing legends that trains at Wild Card, who is the closest to you?

Pacquiao is always very nice and cool that I like him from the first day. Israel Vasquez is a real cool guy also. I am a huge fan of Michael Moorer who was fair and cool. Then there’s Ricky Keyless who is super good. I hang out with Craig McQuinn and Dean Byrne the Irishman.

Brian Villoria is a good friend and I sparred with him for a while and made $60 a day from him. I would have sparred with him for free but he really insists on paying me, which is cool since he really punches hard. I remember I got dropped by a bodyshot and it hurt for like a week.

Wayne Mchough is also nice and I sparred with him a few times. I liked Martin Cordova. Me, him, and Dean Byrne broke into this New Year’s party one time by climbing the fence because I had no ID. There are more guys like Markus Harvey and Troy Bodean and Pepper Roach but it would take too long.

Any regrets in choosing boxing as a profession? Would you change things in the past if given the chance?

Never regretted anything I’ve ever done. Only what I didn’t do.

Last question. How is life at Wild Card Gym after you got featured in Pacquiao-Hatton 24/7?

The clients realize that I’m teaching Freddie’s methods since the show aired and that I’m a good guy but all the fights I’ve been in gave me a bad name. I guess fighting will always be a part of me but after the show, people seem to understand better.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pacquiao Decimates Cotto, Becomes 7-Division Champion

My apologies for not updating this blog these past few days. A friend during my college days came over and I had no choice but to do my moral obligation to such person – show him around and make sure he (by that I mean we) had a good time.

Of course, we did get to watch the much anticipated Pacquiao-Cotto fight at a restaurant in the city and like the rabid Manny Pacquiao fans that we are, cheered wildly as the Filipino champ obliterated a tough Miguel Cotto with a TKO victory in the final round. Just two rounds past my prediction.

The fight (or the half of it) lived up to its title, with both men showcasing their skills and trading bombs from the get go. Cotto was doing well in the first couple of rounds, using his left jab extensively to upset any combinations Pacquiao was trying to concoct.

Pacquiao,on the other hand, did something rather foolish – stay still. Cotto had a field day landing powerful blows to the Filipino slugger’s body. Surprisingly, Pacquiao was able to handle what Cotto can dish out. Bad news for Cotto.

Third round started to spell good for Pacquiao as he downed the Caguas native with a short right. In the next round, Cotto was again decked to the canvas on all fours; this time leaving everybody with no doubt that Pacquiao can really fight and bring down a true welterweight.

By the middle of the seventh round, Cotto, whose disfigured face has been the recipient of many combinations and flurries, starts to ride on his bicycle while fending the stalking Filipino with his jabs and occasional power shots.

The thing was every punch Cotto lands has no more pop. He was obviously drained of his energy and was clearly bent on finishing the fight and not end up as Pacquiao’s KO #38.

Pacquiao was obviously frustrated at times when Cotto would rather dance away instead of engaging him. But with patience, Pacquiao occasionally staggered Cotto with flush combinations, adding more damage to the already beaten and battered face of the Puerto Rican fighter.

Cotto’s father Miguel Sr. pleaded him to quit, but Cotto would have none of it. A true warrior, Cotto chose to finish the fight or fall trying.

55 seconds into the last round, Pacquiao landed another powerful left and trapped Cotto against the ropes. Referee Kenny Bayless saw enough and saved Cotto from another Pacquiao onslaught and called a halt to the bout.

After dethroning Cotto, Pacquiao, in the process, became the only boxer in history to capture seven titles in seven weight categories. Revered boxing historian Bert Sugar has already named Pacquiao as the Greatest Asian Fighter of All Time and the Greatest Left-Handed Boxer of All Time.

Great respect to both fighters for giving us a good fight. This one will surely go down as a classic.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mia Eteläpelto: In Her Own Words

If there is anything that can take off a boxing fan’s attention from a good boxing match, that would be a fine babe. And fine babes can top a good brawl any time of the day. So perhaps it is a consensus desire for every man that the two and two would fit and mesh.

Enter Mia Eteläpelto.

Miss Eteläpelto parades a fine female physique that boasts of a towering 5’11” frame, a slender body, and a face that could easily land on a beauty magazine’s cover page and put other models to shame. A native of Finland, the 31-year old Mia did not conceive of any plans of scorching the catwalk and get involved in cat fights. But get this, she loves to fight.

Instead of easily dominating the modeling world, Mia opted to dominate a sport that cashes in on brutality, and she is fast becoming very good at it. It is pretty hard to imagine how someone as lovely as Mia got involved in the sport of boxing. After seeing her fight resume, a person would certainly be impressed and more perplexed at the same time.

Mia’s accomplishments, which comprised of amateur championships in 2003, 2004, and 2006, are extraordinary to say the least. But she aims for higher heights and has enlisted the help of Freddie Roach’s prodigy Shane Langford (yes, the one-eyed guy featured in Pacquiao-Hatton 24/7) to train her for the pros.

In June 6, 2009, Mia debuted with flying colors as she easily scored a unanimous decision over fellow pro starter Mia Henderson at the Marriott Hotel in Irvine, California. As for the moment, nobody is filling the position for opponent #2.

Questions in bold. Answers in italics.

Why boxing? You know you could have been in a safer, more glamorous, and less brutal profession.

Well, some of those glamorous professions can be pretty brutal. With boxing at least I see most of the punches coming. Seriously though, I have a degree in civil engineering and I had a great job in Finland, but I listened to my heart and decided to focus on fighting.

What is your biggest motivation every time you step inside the ring?

I’m very hard on myself. My biggest motivation is not letting myself or my trainers down. It’s important to me to do my best and I always want to get better.

You train at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. Do you get starstrucked when you see legends training there as well? Are they nice to you?

Wild Card is a great place to train. We’re like a big family and we get along well. Most of the time  Of course it’s nice to see how legends are training, and get some additional ideas what kind of trainings I should do.

Who inspired you to fight?

Nobody really inspired to fight. I started training kung fu when I was 19 and later I changed to thai boxing (muay thai). After my first fight, I knew this is what I wanted to do and after each fight I began setting my goals higher.

Freddie Roach is a master of your trade. Does he offer you tips on how to become better or does Shane do all the training stuff with you?

Freddie is a master and he’s always helpful. Shane has taught me so much, but Pepper has been in my corner since Day 1 and recently I’ve been training more with Pepper. I’ve also hired Lucia Rijker for more specialized training techniques.

Does Freddie’s brother, Pepper Roach, attempts any hits on you?

No no no. Pepper is like a father to me.

You got long arms and legs, which gives you height and reach advantage. Logically, you are better off as a classic/distance fighter. But do you have any tendencies to become the aggressor and bring the fight to your opponent?

When I started fighting years ago, it was natural to me to be aggressive but since I’ve been training in Wild Card I’ve become much more well-rounded.

You already sparred with Chika Nakamura. If you were to fight Chika in a professional match, who would win and why?
Chika’s my sparring partner and we learn a lot from each other. However, we’ll never fight against each other because we’re in totally different weight classes.

Do you have a dream match against anyone?

Not specifically. It’s important to me to fight the best fighters in my weight class. I know if I continue to train hard and remain disciplined, eventually, I’ll hold the belt.

Are you married? Engaged? Dating?
Yes, I’m engaged and very happy.

Last question, do you have a sister who is as hot as you?

I have a beautiful younger sister… but she’s engaged too. Haha, sorry!

Writer's note: At the time of publication, Mia and Shane are no longer working together.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pacquiao-Cotto Corner Preview

While it will be a slugfest between the Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto, another battle will be fought and this is one does not need any punching power and blazing hand speed to seal the victory. Each boxer’s corner will be crucial to their victories. But who will prevail in this war of encouragement?

Both fighters will get 1-minute rest period in between rounds, where the fighter get a new set of instructions, a bag of heartening words, or a heed of warning. And the one with best people on the corner has the huge advantage to rake a win.

Manny Pacquiao has Freddie Roach, Buboy Fernandez, and Alex Ariza on his side. Miguel Cotto, will have Joe Santiago, Philip Landman, and Joe Chavez. So who has the best team come fight night?

Experience wise, Team Pacquiao has the advantage with Freddie Roach parading above the rest. The 49-year old boxing trainer was a former contender himself. He has produced several champions and will probably manufacture a lot more. He has gathered a lot of accolades, including a Hall of Fame nod and the Trainer of The Year thrice.

Opposite Freddie Roach is Joe Santiago. A nutritionist who got promoted to chief trainer, Santiago never fought in the ring and his first fight as a chief trainer was the Joshua Clottey bout. But what Santiago lacks for experience, he makes up for the strong bond he shares with his fighter. Then again, Roach and Pacquiao also has this mystical connection that transcends the usual boxer-trainer relationship.

Camaraderie goes to the Cotto camp. Everybody is at ease with everybody. No issues or signs of discord whatsoever. Team Pacquiao, on the other hand, has a rising dissent in within their ranks where an adviser to Pacman wants to take charge of the boxer’s affairs and running over the other members of the team in the process.

Buboy Fernandez, Pacquiao's assistant trainer, also happens to be the boxer's best friend. If there is someone who know Pacquiao better than Roach, it's Buboy. And that knowledge will really come into play, whether Pacquiao needs some word of encouragement or a wake-up call.

Joe Chavez, a veteran cutman, is perhaps the most experienced individual in the Cotto corner. If there is someone who can tell Cotto what are the best things to do when the fight comes, Joe is certainly the man. But then, that is Joe Santiago's job.

So who has the best corner? Too early to say for certain. But it would be interesting to see who prevails come fight night.

Log on to this blog for live updates on the Pacquiao-Cotto mega bout on the day of the fight.

Lucia Rijker Cements Her Boxing Legacy

Last October 24 2009, Lucia Rijker made history as she became the first female boxer to be inducted to the World Boxing Hall of Fame. Largely unknown to people outside the boxing circuits, Lucia became popular when she played the role of Billie “The Blue Bear” opposite Maggie Fitzgerald, played by Hillary Swank, in the Clint Eastwood’s 2005 hit tragedy Million Dollar Baby.

As a child, Lucia Rijker has shown great potential for athleticism. She trained in judo at the age of six; became a member of the Dutch National Softball Team; and by 14, Rijker became the Netherlands Junior Champion in the sport of fencing.

But it was a glimpse of the fight between legendary boxers Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier that got her on the road towards boxing glory. Watching the fight at the age of seven, she made a promise to her mother that she will become a boxer, but little did she know that she will become an icon of the sport.

Lucia’s first professional bout was held in Amsterdam on June 19, 1988, where she knocked out Vivien Gonzalez of the USA in the third round of a scheduled 12-round boxing match. She then steamrolled and gathered 17 wins with no defeats, capturing the WIBF European Championship, WIBF Super Lightweight title, IBO Women's (WIBO) Junior Welterweight title, and the IFBA welterweight championship in the process.

Lucia retired undefeated, stating that there is no one good enough to give her a competitive fight. She did say that she considers one more bout - a clash with the equally talented and charismatic Laila Ali.

She now works as an actress, a boxing trainer, and a speaker and proponent for women empowerment.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Former Welterweight Champ Resurrects Pacquiao Steroids Issue

In an interview with legendary radio boxing commentator Pedro Fernandez, Kermit Cintron seconded a previous accusation made by the Mayweather boxing clan and said current pound-for-pound king and IBO light welterweight titlist Manny Pacquiao is taking something to maintain his peak physical condition.

“The guy started at 107 pounds,“ Cintron remarked. “Boxers who come up in weight like that gain water weight.”

“I don’t know how a boxer can get a body ripped like that without taking something. He’s taking something, that’s for sure,” Cintron added.

Perez incidentally echoed Cintron’s sentiments. But Perez was a bit neutral and really didn’t attack Pacquiao with the steroids accusation.

Kermit Cintron sports an impressive record of 32-1-1, 28 wins by knockouts. His last defeat, which was delivered by the hands of Antonio Margarito, is now in question after the discovery of Margarito’s team attempting to load his hand wraps with Plaster of Paris in his bout against Shane Mosley.

Whether it’s a true assessment or a publicity stunt to get himself in the limelight again, throwing accusations can be bad, especially if you do not have any proof to back what you said.

It’s one thing to be opinionated about something, but saying that you “know” is another. Cintron claims to “know” Pacquiao is taking something, though he is not keen as to what it is.

Both Cintron and Fernandez are rooting for Miguel Cotto in his upcoming fight against Pacquiao. Cintron is Puerto Rican.

Click here to download the radio interview.

Note: The Kermit Cintron interview starts at 40:00.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

WBC Diamond Belt Will Go To Pacquiao-Cotto Winner

Aside from the WBO welterweight title, Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto will also battle it out for the recently unveiled WBC Diamond Belt this November 14th. The belt has been described by boxing analysts and enthusiasts as a rubbish item designed to collect more funds from boxers who are involved in super-fights.

Regardless of the commotion it made during its planning phase, WBC pushed through with its plans and produced the Diamond Belt, no matter how worthless it may seem. Unveiled in front of a full house at the Corona auditorium in Mexico City, WBC will award the Diamond Belt to its first holder, the winner of Pacquiao-Cotto.

As the name implies, the WBC Diamond Belt is decked with precious stones. The belt is fashioned with 18 karat gold and fused with 861 diamonds, 6 rubies, 221 emeralds and 180 Swarovski glass stones all mounted on beautiful Italian Ferrari leather and features the pictures and the flags of the 2 boxing heroes that will battle on November 14.

The Diamond Belt may not be a legitimate title strap, but it will surely augment the prestige and the glory of boxing.

And on fight night, tune in on this blog and feel the excitement as I deliver you a blow-by blow account of the Pacquiao-Cotto fight.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

David Haye Too Fast, Too Good For Valuev

In the world of boxing, nobody wants to be wrong. And I certainly did not want to be wrong when I made my prediction that David Haye will win via decision against 7-footer Nikolai Valuev. And Haye really made me look good, not only because the Haymaker won, but the manner of which he bested the Russian giant in his own backyard.

Check my Valuev-Haye preview and prediction for more history on the matter.

I stated in a previous article that Haye will use his superior skills and quick reflexes to his advantage, effectively outworking and outpacing Valuev all throughout the fight. Haye’s efficient footwork allows him to get in close and rain his punches then retreat while firing a shot or two.

Valuev’s size and height advantage may have been glaring at Haye’s diminutive figure, but speed and technique ruled the night for the former undisputed cruiserweight champion of the world.

Haye almost made good his promise of a knockout victory in the final round when he unleashed a three-punch volley that sent Valuev staggering against the ropes, clearly dazed from the punishment he took against the smaller Briton.

Drawing upon Haye's performance against Valuev, I can clearly say that Haye is today's fastest heavyweight in terms of hand speed, reflexes, and foot speed. He can even rival boxing legend Muhammad Ali in that department.

With the win, Haye cements his spot among the top 10 heavyweight contenders and perhaps gained him a ticket to fight either one of the Klitschko brothers.

Of course, he won by majority decision, instead of a unanimous victory I earlier predicted. But still, a win is a win.

Check out the last two rounds of the fight here.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pacquaio-Cotto: My Prediction

Me being a boxing fan always supercedes me being a boxing scribe and this coming November 15, I will be rooting for Manny Pacquiao in his epic bout against Puerto Rico native and current WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto. That said, I do not disregard any possibility of a Cotto victory. The no. 8 pound-for-pound best is no pushover and regarded as among the most feared welterweight boxers today.

Now that I have my lain where my loyalties lie, here is what’s going to happen come fight night.

Pacquiao will go for an early knockout. As Roach said, Cotto is a slow starter and that is one flaw Pacquiao will extensively capitalize on. Fans should expect Pacquiao to bring in the rain from rounds 1 to 3 and attempt to end the fight before it reaches round 4.

Here’s the logic of the plan. Cotto takes time in sizing up his opponents and a quick, heavy assault from the opening bell might distract his rhythm and eventually confuse him totally for the first three rounds. The first three rounds is where Pacquiao should try to knock Cotto out earnestly.

Should Cotto survive an early onslaught, expect a great shift in momentum favoring the Puerto Rican champion. Cotto is at his element in the middle rounds. Cotto will certainly go after Pacquiao to retaliate, but with more superior footwork and speedy reflexes, Pacquiao will try to coast all throughout rounds 4 to 9.

That said, do anticipate Cotto pinning Pacquiao to the corner and against the ropes on numerous occasions and throw some power blows to the body. Pacquiao, in turn, will try to evade any traps or retreat with sheer volume punching from all directions.

The remaining rounds will be crucial to both men. Cotto is shown to slow down by the 10th round while Pacquiao, if not seriously hurt, has the stamina and strength to go on for 15 rounds. If Cotto is unable to finish Pacquiao before the 10th round, odds will slowly turn in favor of the Filipino superstar.

This is where Pacquiao will be able to deliver a finishing punch and win his seventh belt in seven divisions. I do not see it going the distance.

My bold prediction? Pacquiao wins via stoppage within 10 rounds.

By the way, if ever you bet on Pacquiao with my prediction in mind and win, please do share your winnings.

Michael Jackson Would Have Been BAD Inside The Ring

I was watching This Is It, a Michael Jackson documentary when I remembered an article (a tribute really, from a boxing writer who also happened to be a big fan) elaborating on how the Prince of Pop would have been a terrific and perhaps the perfect boxer specimen.

Although the writer of the article was clearly poking fun at then recently deceased Mr. Jackson, I cannot help but agree with the writer’s points, which really hold water.

Seriously, Michael Jackson cannot last a single round with a standout amateur, but after reading the said item, one cannot help but think, “He could have reduced Pacquiao to smithereens with those moves.”

Here’s a snippet of the MJ tribute from a boxing writer:

"Sources close to Jackson in the past indicate Jackson was a great fan of the sport of boxing and had great hand technique as well as footwork. When news came out about Jackson's potential in the ring and a rumoured ring debut, several world champions were concerned because of his hand and foot speed."

If you want to read the whole thing, click here. Do shoot me with what you think.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why Mikkel Kessler Will Beat Andre Ward

There is a big reason why Mikkel Kessler of Denmark is the heavy favorite of the Super Six boxing tournament. Of all the tournament entrants, Kessler is the most experienced with 43 fights, having won 42 with 32 fights ending in knockouts. His lone loss came at the hands of one of the greats, the now-retired Joe Calzaghe of England.

Parading as the WBA super middleweight champion, Kessler will defend his title for the third time against a young American prospect, 25-year old Andre Ward, who is undefeated in 25 bouts. The fight will also be the third match of the of the Super Six contest and will be held in Oakland, California.

Several boxing pundits have claimed that Kessler is a washed-up fighter and that Ward will expose that to the world. While Kessler is five years older than Ward, the Viking Warrior is far from washed-up. Kessler is still a dangerous power-puncher who has an assortment of skills that could match or even surpass anything that Ward will bring to the ring.

There is no evidence of Kessler slowing down or eroded skills over the past five years. Though the Danish boxer had a lay-off for almost a year, he kept himself in great shape. Heck, he could box anytime and win. As Kessler enters the Super Six tournament, there is no doubt that he is in the best shape of his career.

Experience is a key element in any boxing match and that is something only Kessler can brag about. Ward may be superior in some skills, but overall ring generalship and boxing knowledge belong to Kessler.

With all that said, Ward has what it takes to beat Kessler. But his chances are slim. He may have won a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics in an impressive fashion and beat all 25 of his previous opponents, but Ward has never faced someone of the caliber of Kessler – big, strong, agile, and intelligent.

There is no doubt that Kessler will need to bring his A game to put Ward down. But it is Ward who needs to bring more than his best to seize a win and have a significant something to brag about.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

David Haye vs Nikolai Valuev: Both Men Have Hard Work Ahead

In a dramatic pitting of Size versus Skill, heavyweight contender David “The Haymaker” Haye of England will try to dethrone the 2-time and reigning WBA heavyweight champion, the 7-foot, 300-pounder Nikolai Valuev of Russia on November 2, Saturday, at the Arena Nürnberger Versicherung, Nuremberg, Bayern, Germany.

The smaller Haye, who sports a 6’3 frame, have predicted a knockout victory over the giant. While decking a man of the size of Valuev is almost impossible, a decision victory for Haye is not a farfetched reality.

Here are my points.

For starters, Valuev, despite his fearsome exterior, may have lost his touch for knocking out his opponents. While I do not discount the power generated by the Russian Giant, his last five fights went the distance. Most notable fights would be his wins over Evander Holyfield and John Ruiz and his loss to Ruslan Chagaev.

Valuev, if faced with a much skillful opponent, can be outpointed, outboxed, and outworked, as evidenced by his bouts against Chagaev and Holyfield.

Haye, who just recently moved to the heavyweight division, has more finesse than Holyfield and Chagaev, and perhaps more power too. Quite certainly, Haye has the skills required if he wants to win on points against the behemoth from Russia.

He can slip in throw some fast combinations and laterals to either left or right and threw more punches before pulling away.

The slow and sluggish Valuev will have little time to react to any assault the Englishman will concoct come fight night. Simply put, speed and skill will be Haye’s bestfriends in this bout.

That said, I also believe that Valuev can knock Haye out. If the giant can impose his will using his sheer size and reach advantage and pin Haye to the ropes, Valuev can wear the Englishman and set him up for the finish. But with Haye’s speed and superior boxing skills, it might be a herculean task for Valuev to press Haye and make him pay.

My prediction: David Haye via UD

Boxer Profile

David Haye

Record: 22 W 1 L 0 D 21 KOs
Alias: Hayemaker
Weightclass: Heavyweight
Stance: Orthodox
Style: Boxer
Height: 6'3"
Reach: 80"
Nationality: London, England
Date of Birth: October 13th, 1980

Nikolai Valuev

Record: 50 W 1 L 0 D 34 KOS
Alias: The Russian Giant
Weightclass: Heavyweight
Stance: Orthodox
Style: Boxer
Height: 7'0"
Reach: 85"
Nationality: St.Petersburg, Russia
Date of Birth: August 21st, 1973

Mayweather Contradicting Mayweather

Smart businessman, he claims to be. That may hold true since he has been quite successful in terms of money. But claiming he is the best is a tad too far for a true boxing fan (that may not be the case for his die-hard lickers). Floyd Mayweather got himself in a heated exchange of words with the R.A. the Rugged Man in a satellite radio show.

Obviously, Floyd Mayweather was losing every issue Rugged Man throws at him, even called PBF a liar at a certain point. I for one was thoroughly enjoyed with the verbal jabs spewed by both men. But as a lover of the sport, I could not help but notice that Floyd Mayweather is contradicting himself on numerous occasions throughout the debate.

For starters, Floyd stated that Carlos Baldomir was the legitimate welterweight when Floyd fought him in 2006. Rugged Man was quick to point out that Baldomir had 11 losses then. Floyd dismisses this and implying it is not about the losses.

If you guys remember the argument between Brian Kenny and Mayweather, Kenny asked Floyd why he would not fight Shane Mosley. The answer came quick and in Floyd’s own words, the guy has five losses. So what about it Floyd? Is it or is it not about the losses?

Then comes another claim from Floyd. He said that he came from smaller weight divisions and would fight anyone on his way to the top. The contradiction came when Rugged Man asked if he would fight Paul Williams. Floyd’s quick retort – he is TOO BIG.

I have mentally listed other Floyd’s contradictions and they all intersect like that of a web of drunken spider. If you want to see how many contradictions you can find, just click the following links:

Larry Merchant calls PBF a boring Fighter

Brian Kenny vs Floyd Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather Got Ass-Kicked in a Radio Show

Monday, November 2, 2009

Perez Dethrones King Kong

In a contest for the IBF bantamweight crown last October 31, Yonnhy Perez of Colombia dethroned Joseph King Kong Agbeko with a brilliant display of raw aggressiveness fused with polished boxing skills. Both fighters staged vicious assaults and no one gave up an inch. It was never a boring fight.

Both Agbeko and Perez traded bombs right at the sound of the first bell. With so much action these fighters generated that night, no doubt their ancestors were rocked as a solid shot landed one after the other. It was action packed and fight fans really got their money’s worth that night.

While the Agbeko-Perez fight was action packed, it was Perez who was getting the most of it. Agbeko, classy fighter that he is, forgot one rule though –PROTECT YOURSELF AT ALL TIMES. A head butt occurred late in the 10th round, which caused Ghana’s Agbeko to turn his back to Perez and complained to the referee. Perez in turn gladly delivered a left hook and decked the champion to the canvas.

Referee Robert Byrd explained that he did not see the head butt, which was obvious in the replays.

The judges of the bout scored 116-110, 117-111, and 117-111 in favor of Perez, who now improves to an impressive record of 20-0, 14 KOs. Agbeko drops to 27-2, 22 KOs.

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