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By Ron John Rinaldi
July 21 – Las Vegas, Nevada. Boxing has a strange and twisted history when an old legendary fighter comes up against some young gunslinger. First, the younger fighter wants to knock the older fighter’s block off so he can carry the torch and force the older fighter into the bastions of yesterday and retirement. Second, the younger one feels that “today” is his time and that the older champion is a member of the old guard soon to be replaced by the new guard, namely him.
Great fighters like Davey Moore and later Iran Barkley once thought that about Roberto Duran in the 1980’s and Duran proved them both sadly wrong.
The undefeated 30 year old champion Keith Thurman felt the same here, and in the pre-fight press conferences kept declaring that he, and not Pacquiao, was the best welterweight out there and that the 40 years old ring great no longer deserved to be at the top of the welterweights. “I want to show the world that I deserve to be at the top,” exclaimed Thurman. So much so that Thurman made three bets to not only win, but to knock out Pacquiao in rounds 1, 2, or 7.
The famed gunfighter Wyatt Earp once famously said that “When you have to choose between fact and legend print the legend.” But that underlies the fact that their legend actually derives from iconic morsels of pure fact. The same goes for the legendary fighter and modern day gunslinger Manny Pacquiao.
Like Davey Moore and Iran Barkley before him, Thurman painfully learned that sometimes it is easier to can a live alligator than it is to beat a legend. This is especially true for that young great fighter when he squares off against a legend who happens to strike lightning one more time again, and returns to his once lethal greatness.
Well, that happened here before a sellout crowd of over 14,000 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao, 146 1/2, beat previously undefeated WBA Welterweight Champion Keith “One-time” Thurman via split decision to capture his title.
Going into the bout, Manny was the favorite at -150, while Thurman was the underdog at +125. Meanwhile unlike Thurman, Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach wisely bet $5,000 on his man.
In an exciting give and take affair, that saw action throughout its twelve full rounds, both fights firmly acquitted themselves well and gave the fans their money’s worth.
At the start of the fight Thurman, 146 1/2, came out fast in round one scoring with straight rights to Pacquiao’s head and lefts to the body. Then with a 28 seconds remaining in the round, Manny raced after a retreating Thurman and landed a quick three punch combinations of right-left-right to the jaw that dropped Keith swiftly to the ring floor. Though it was a flash knockdown, it soon set the tone off the fight, which was that the 8 Division World Champion Pacquiao at age 40 was still a dreaded adversary to face within the ring ropes. It also gave the Filipino a 10-8 round, which would be a telling factor later when the time came for the tallying of the scores.
Pacquiao still had the speed, both hand and foot, that he had since his younger days and even carried the punch with him as well. Like the song he came into the ring with, Survivor’s Eye of The Tiger, Manny never stopped punching during the bout, eventually bloodying Thurman’s nose and causing a swelling under his eyes.
To his credit, Thurman fought like the champion he is and scored well and often with straight rights, right uppercuts and lefts hooks that landed with power on his aggressive foe. For instance he stunned Manny several times in round 7, catching the Filipino legend with jarring blows to the chin and ribs, a couple of which stunned him.
It was just that Pacquiao threw the greater number of blows 696 to Thurman’s 571, though Thurman landed 210 to Manny’s 195. Regardless, Thurman could never catch up, though he gave it his all throughout. But his “all” on this night did not come up to be enough.
The judges scored it a close split decision with Manny winning by two judges’ scores of 115-112, while one judge gave it to Thurman by a score of 114-113. The USA Boxing News also scored it for Pacquiao by a score of 115-112.
Manny whose record upped to 62-7-2 (39 KO’s) pocketed a guaranteed $10 million plus a percentage of sales, which should bring his take up to around $20 million, said after the bout, “He [Keith Thurman] did his best, and I did my best, and i think the two of us gave the fans their money’s worth.”
Meanwhile Thurman whose record fell to a still impressive 29-1 (23 KO’s) also brought home a large guaranteed purse of $2.5 million plus a percentage of receipts, which should bring his final tally to about $8 million, was gratuitous in defeat, and said, “This was a beautiful night of boxing. Manny got the victory over me. I wish I had more output. I would love a rematch.”
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Andy Ruiz changes heavyweight history after his stunning knockout of Anthony Joshua to win the heavyweight championship
By Alex and John Rinaldi
With British flags flying throughout Madison Square Garden draping the Mecca of Boxing in the symbols and colors of the Union Jack, it appeared as if the British monarchy was staging a Royal reception on American soil.
Considering that fifty-five years ago the Beatles were barnstorming America in the second British invasion since the Revolutionary War, it now seemed again that the English were staging another form of a British Boxing invasion. This time, its king Anthony Joshua was charging into battle against the colonists, being led on this particular Saturday by a relatively unknown Andy Ruiz.
If the British thought they could have easily outgunned the Americans in 1775 to defeat; with Joshua as the helm, the thousands of his countryman who trekked in from the United Kingdom, now ashore in New York City, thought that their man’s win was a foregone conclusion and his success as secured as a Royal seal.
Well, the night’s fight did actually come to resemble a royal event. In fact, it turned out to be a coronation of a new King when Andy Ruiz shockingly knocked out Joshua in seven rounds to capture three of the top four heavyweight championship belts and with it the specter as the King of the Heavyweights.
More interestingly, for the first time in years all heavyweight title belts now rest around the waists of two Americans.
Before a sellout crowd of 20,201, Anthony Joshua (22-1, 22 KO’s) and Andy Ruiz (22-0, 21 KOs) stunned the crowd and certainly gave them their money’s worth for the course of seven near electrifying rounds.
Announcer Michael Buffer who, in his trademark bellow declaration, always beckons the audience and the fighters to “Let’s get ready to rumble,” could not have been any closer to the truth, as he came off like a gypsy oracle when his hope for a big, mean, street fight came off as a reality.
Unfortunately for the three belt unified heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua, Buffer’s comments may have affected him more like a gypsy curse, for he ended up touching the canvas more times than Michelangelo, the last one, actually the fourth one, eventually prompting the referee to stop the fight and end the reign of the British heavyweight sensation.
Though Andy Ruiz, with his underdog win, has become the 21st century’s version of Rocky Balboa, albeit a Mexican one, he is far from a fluke fighter. While he may be built like someone who just rolled out from under a food truck, he has had over 100 amateur wins and his only professional loss was to the eventual WBO heavyweight title holder Joseph Parker on December 10, 2016, in the Parker’s home country of New Zealand. That fight came about by Ruiz being one of the two top ranked contenders willing to fight for the vacant WBO title. After twelve close rounds, Ruiz lost on a majority decision by scores of 114-114 and 115-113 (twice). Many thought that Ruiz won the fight or at least should have been awarded a draw. “I think I got the win or at least a draw,” said Ruiz. “I think I set the pace with my jab.” Ruiz also stated he wanted to have a rematch with Parker in the future.
Two and half years later, Joshua was standing across the ring from him, holding what was once Parker’s belt, and Ruiz was there again hoping to capture a world heavyweight title. This time the venue was not in some god forsaken part of New Zealand. This time the fight was taking place in the most famous boxing arena of them all – New York’s Madison Square Garden – the Pinnacle Palace of boxing.
Going into the bout, Sportsbooks listed Joshua as a -2500 favorite (risk $2,500 to win $100), with Ruiz getting +1100 (risk $100 to win $1100) as the underdog.
Regardless of the odds, Ruiz undeniably battered and beat Joshua and deserved the biggest win of his career along with a solid place on the Mount Rushmore of underdogs. By shockingly defeating British boxing sensation Anthony Joshua via a seventh-round TKO to become the IBF, WBA, and WBO heavyweight champion of the world, his countenance should now stand right alongside the likes of Buster Douglas, Hasim Rahman, and James J. Braddock.
After two slow opening rounds that saw Joshua smartly jab his way around the ring moving to his left, while Ruiz countered with right-left combinations, few, if any would have contemplated that in the very next round – round three – all hell would break loose and the dominance of the heavyweight division would dangle on the balance.
Early in the third round, Joshua landed a hard right to Ruiz’s jaw that jarred him for a moment. Still confident, the challenger tried to mix things up with a couple of quick flurries. Then, with only 40 seconds ticked off in the round, Joshua exploded with a right cross followed by a left hook to the jaw that dropped Ruiz swiftly to the canvas. Up at “five” with the New York crowd on their feet, Ruiz absorbed a few more thudding shots from the champion. Those who came to see Joshua, which was about 20,000 out of the 20,201 in attendance, were already moving ahead to Joshua’s next bout for the undisputed heavyweight championship against Deontay Wilder.
Unfortunately, by looking ahead they forgot to look to what was left in the round, which was over two minutes. As Joshua appeared to be going in for the kill with harsh combinations, Ruiz bravely fought back. First it appeared to be strictly to defend himself, and then it switched to him getting on the offensive. Within seconds, swinging madly, but quickly with punches, Ruiz caught Joshua with a short left hook to the chin and a right hand chop to the top of the champion’s head that dropped the Brit like a bale of English tea.
The crowd was mortified and hoped it was nothing more than a flash knockdown. When Joshua rose at “seven” on unsteady legs, their cheers turned to fear and they hoped that the seconds would sprint through the time dial like a tornado through the heartland. To his credit, Joshua tried valiantly to hang in there and it almost worked until a few seconds left in the round, when Ruiz cornered the champ against the ropes and hammered away at him with a barrel full of leather that dropped Joshua again for the second time in the round. Luckily for him he rose at the count of “seven” and the round mercifully ended.
The fight now took on the bright light of excitement, though the Joshua contingency prayed that their man would come back as he did against Wladimir Klitschko, and score another big knockout after reaching the lower depths of adversity.
It looked to be that way at first as Joshua fought back in rounds four, five, and six, to almost change the momentum of the fight in his favor.
Then came round seven.
The round started off well for Joshua, whose jab became more spear-like and his head seemed as clear as a crystal decanter. Within seconds into the round Joshua stunned Ruiz with a powerful right to the head that stunned him and stopped him in his tracks. Somehow, instead of covering up or retreating to safety, Ruiz stormed into Joshua like a madman intent on destruction. Throwing punches in bunches, Ruiz, in apparent desperation, and with the intent of a human buzz saw, threw all he had at Joshua who was not expecting this type of aggression. Eleven unanswered punches later, that culminated with another clubbing right to the top of the head, Joshua landed on the canvas for the third time in the bout. Up at “four” and bleeding from the nose, Joshua tried valiantly to defend himself and save his laurels. Seeing blood, actually real blood, Ruiz, like a man on a mission, was not about to let Joshua off the hook and slammed him with a short left hook to the jaw that dropped the champion down for the second time in the round. Once again Joshua rose, but this time he appeared dazed and confused prompting the referee to call a halt to the fight.
The crowd murmured in shock as if they witnessed the death of a loved one.
The loss damaged the immediate future of the heavyweight division, which expected the popular Joshua to leap his way to a big money match with either Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder.
Because of this upset, boxing fans will now have to wait before seeing the long-awaited heavyweight bouts with Joshua against Wilder or Fury because of a rematch clause which will usher in a Joshua-Ruiz II bout in the fall in England.
For now all the praise goes to Ruiz. Unlike so many men who fought for the heavyweight tile and never make a challenge of it, Ruiz went for the gold ring and let it all hang out. He cared little for his safety and showed virtually no fear at all for Joshua. Instead, he came forward like a fearless warrior and deservedly scored the biggest knockout win of his life. A life that would never be the same again.
If Joshua made $25 million of this bout, Ruiz is sure to make eight figures for himself in the rematch.
“Mom, I love you,” the new champ Ruiz said at his news conference. “Our lives are going to change; we don’t have to struggle no more.”
On the win, Ruiz remarked, “We’ve been working really hard, man, really hard. I wanted to prove everybody wrong, all the doubters thinking I was going to lose in the third round, first round. I was looking at comments, as well. But what do you know, man? I’m the first Mexican heavyweight champion of the world. It’s a blessing. … I’m still pinching myself to see if this is real, man! Wow. It’s amazing.”
On being knocked down in the third round, the new champ admitted, “That was crazy that that happened, right? That was my first time on the canvas. When I was on the canvas I was, like, ‘Whoa, what the hell just happened?’ But I had to get him back. I had to get him back. I think that’s when the Mexican blood in me, the Mexican warrior that I have, I had to return the favor…When I was on the canvas I was, like, ‘Whoa, what the hell just happened?’ But I had to get him back. I think that’s the Mexican blood in me, the Mexican warrior that I have, I had to return the favor.”
Ruiz also agreed with the stoppage, “That’s the referee’s job. The referee knows what he’s doing. If he would’ve just let it go, I think I would’ve stopped the fight in more dramatic fashion, but he did what he had to do. The job was for him…I was waiting for him [Joshua] to open up. I wanted to break him down a little bit more, work the body. He hits really hard, man. He hits pretty hard. I just needed to be smart in there. I thought he opened up too much to where I could counter him. The speed, I think, got to him, and we got this victory.”
As for Joshua, he said truthfully, “I took my first (professional) loss. How to explain that feeling? It has happened to me before but I feel like those times I lost years back have made me a stronger person, It hasn’t really changed me, my work ethic, my mindset, what I stand for, the people I’m still loyal to – my trainer Rob McCracken, my amateur coach at Finchley ABC. I’m still going to work with these guys; they’ll teach me everything I need to know. They’ve done a great job for me not only inside the boxing ring but mainly as a human. They’ve really developed me as a person which is really important. These guys have been with me for years.”
Joshua also refused to make any excuses for his defeat and has vowed to win back the IBO, IBF, WBO and WBA (super) heavyweight titles he lost to the American in New York. “There was no contaminated food. I know there are a lot of accusations or worries about what was wrong with me,” Joshua added. “But I want to tell you this – I’m a soldier and I have to take my ups and my downs. And on Saturday I took a loss and I have to take it like a man. I have to take my loss like a man, no blaming anyone or anything. I’m the one who went in there to perform and my performance didn’t go to plan. I’m the one who has to adjust, analyze and do my best to correct it and get the job done in the rematch.”
As for his future, Joshua advised, “Boxing is a part of my life and I’m a champion at heart. Congratulations to Andy Ruiz, he has six months or so to be champion because the belts go in the air and he has to defend them against myself.”
In its opening line for the potential rematch, BetOnline made Joshua a -350 favorite, meaning you’d have to bet $350 to win $100. Ruiz, meanwhile, is a +275 underdog. That means you’d win $275 for a $100 wager. It’s not nearly as wide as Ruiz being a +1400 underdog, but it’s an interesting look at how the sports book thinks the public will bet on the rematch.
“Considering Ruiz was a 14/1 underdog this past weekend, it would be hard to justify him being another huge underdog,” Dave Mason, the sports book brand manager for BetOnline, told Forbes. “However, we expect the smart money to come in on Joshua closer to the fight while the public will probably back Ruiz again.”
As for the British, they have always showed guts and tenacity, Dunkirk and the famous brave air fight in the Battle of Britain, proved that; and it cemented their do or die attitude. Joshua can certainly come back. He has showed that type of mettle. The only thing left is whether he has that true grit to make the comeback and restore his place on the cliff of the heavyweight hierarchy.
As for Ruiz, he has the skills to remain the champion. Still whatever lies in his future, for one monumental, historic evening in the ring of rings in Madison Square Garden, Ruiz fought like a warrior and emerged the victor in one of boxing’s greatest ring battles. He came, he fought hard, and he conquered. It is the story line of myths and one of the backdrops of glory. Ruiz succeeded in both. For now there is a new King, for whatever will be his reign, he has achieved immortality and riches well beyond his wildest dreams. Cheers go out to him.
Heavyweight boxing is back big. Long live the heavyweight division.
By Kirk Lang
Wilder knocks Breazeale out in round 1
By Bernie Campbell
OVERSEAS BOXING MATCHES
By Per-Ake Persson
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Terence Crawford successfully defends WBO welterweight title after Amur Khan surrenders after low blow
STORY BY JOHN RINALDI
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALEXANDER RINALDI
April 20 – New York City, NY. Top Rank, Inc. led by Bob Arum, demonstrated once more that after over half a century of promoting, they are still a dominating force in pugilism. On Easter Weekend in New York City, an impressive crowd of 14,091 fans turned out to see a Nebraska fighter take on an English adversary.
WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford, of Omaha, Nebraska, appears to be heading up the steps of super stardom. He first arrived on the big stage when he outpointed the popular Ricky Burns on March 1, 2014 for the WBO World Lightweight Championship. After two successful title defenses, Crawford bludgeoned Thomas Dulcimer on April 18, 2015 to win the vacant WBO World Super Lightweight crown. Terence then defended his laurels six more times, also scooping up the WBC Super Lightweight title belt in the process, before he moved up to TKO the conqueror of Manny Pacquiao, Jeff Horn, on June 9, 2018 to capture the WBO World Welterweight Championship.
Crawford is a busy fighter and four months later he stopped Jose Bedridden Jr. in a barn burner on October 13 to retain his 147-pound belt for the first time.
The problem Crawford has faced, however, is that he had not beaten many household names to enhance his reputation. He needed a known opponent to take him up another rung of the ladder. That unlikely foe turned out to be Amur “King Khan” Khan, the former super lightweight king.
At one time, Khan, of Bolton, Lancashire, UK, was a hero in Great Britain. He defeated the great Marco Antonio Barrera on a technical decision (due to a clash of heads) on March 14, 2009, and four months later outpointed Andriy Kotelnik to win the WBA Super Lightweight Championship. Over the next three years he defended his belt five times against tough characters as Dmitiy Salita (TKO-1), Paulie Malignaggi (TKO-11), Marco Maidana (W-12), Paul McCloskey (TD-6) and Zab Judah (KO-5 and also capturing the IBF World Super Lightweight Crown) before being dethroned by Lamont Peterson on a 12-round split decision on December 10, 2011.
The loss to Peterson was a disputed one, but when he was destroyed in four rounds by Danny Garcia in his next outing on July 14, 2012, it appeared to be the end of Khan’s rising boxing star.
After two points wins over Luis Collazo (wining the WBA Int’l Welterweight Title and vacant WBC Silver Welterweight Belt) and Devon Alexander in 2014, Khan inexplicably moved all the way up to the middleweight division to take on the power punching WBC World Middleweight king Saul Alvarez, where he was punished and KO’d in the sixth round.
Once more Khan tried to rise from the ashes and captured a pair of wins over Phil Lo Greco and Samuel Vargas in 2018 to place himself in the #2 position in the WBO World Welterweight Rankings.
Although most believed that Khan was in way over his head against the likes of Crawford, there were still some believers out there (mostly in Great Britain) that Khan’s once vaulted punching power could pull off a miracle. Sadly miracles are in short supply in New York City boxing rings.
The two fighters entered the ring in Madison Square Garden in top shape, but right from the outset, the difference in the two fighters’ power was obvious. Crawford, 146.4, appeared to hurt the challenger with every punch he landed. Khan fought cautiously, while Crawford pounded away with both fists. Suddenly in the opening frame, the champion smashed a mighty right to the head of Khan that froze him for a brief millisecond before a left hook to the face send him toppling to the canvas.
Bravely rising, Khan appeared okay as he moved away from the walloping shots of Crawford. Amir tried to land a few lefts and rights to hold off the champion, but was tagged at the end of the frame with a crunching right hand that staggered him.
After the beating in the opening round, Khan appeared to have removed the cobwebs from his rattled brain and attacked with jolting combinations. Crawford, however, would then retaliate with a barrage of leather with punches coming from all angles possible, battering away at the Brit’s arms, body and head. Khan, 146.6, kept his composure and managed to score with some telling shots. Near the end of the session, Amir rocked Crawford with a vicious right hand that knocked the champion into the ropes. The right hand wallop was the best punch of Round 2 and won the round for the Brit on one of the judges’ scorecards.
The third round was another close frame as it appeared the champion was biding his time and content to counter off the Brit’s crackling combinations. Khan was still quite cautious, but scored well with some solid blows. This was another frame where one judge awarded the stanza to the challenger.
Rounds four and five saw Crawford land effectively with his southpaw right jab and hammered away at the challenger’s ribs and head. Khan would lunge in with a three-punch combination, but then the champion would open with both fist flailing and drive Khan across the ring.
Going into the sixth round the scorecards had Crawford ahead by tallies of 49-45 (twice) and 50-44. Early in Round 6, Crawford swung for the fences with a mighty left hook. Unfortunately his blow landed too far south and crashed into the groin of Khan, which sent the Englishman collapsing to the canvas. Amir then managed to make it to his feet, wearing of mask of pain on his face.
As referee David Fields questioned Khan and offered to give him time to recover, the challenger first adjusted his protective cup, and then made a comment that he was unable to fight. Because Khan refused a respite to recover, and instead decided he could not longer continue, Fields had no choice but to declare Crawford the winner by a 6th-round TKO at the 0:47 mark.
The Garden erupted in boos with the apparent surrender by Khan. Up until the low blow, Crawford may have been in control, but it was a rather enjoyable scrap.
“I feel like I was touching him [Khan] more and I was picking up the intensity,” said Crawford (35-0, 26 KO’s). He was looking for a way out. I hit him on top of the leg and he got his way out and his coach stopped the fight.”
Khan (33-5, 20 KO’s) remarked, “I want to apologize to all of the fans. The fight was just getting interesting. I could feel the pain in my stomach and legs, and said, ‘I can’t move’ to the referee and my corner. There was no point taking five minutes out, I could not continue. I am not one to give up. I was hit by a hard shot below the belt. I couldn’t continue as the pain was too much.”
At the press conference, Crawford clearly thought that Khan had quit. When the following exchange took place:
Crawford – “You didn’t quit? Tell everything – the truth!”
Khan – “No, I didn’t.”
Crawford – “Then what happened?”
Khan – “I was hit with a low blow.”
Crawford – “Your leg?”
Khan – “In the leg? It was in the balls! I’ve not seen the video of it, but it was a low blow.”
Crawford – “It was low.”
Khan – “If you guys think I quit, no problem. I never quit from a fight. It was a great fight and Crawford beat me.”
The challenger’s trainer Virgil Hunter explained, “The crowd will always be bloodthirsty and want to see a dramatic ending, but you have to look out for the safety of the fighter. He’s not the kind of fighter to make things up. I believe he was incapacitated.”
The problem is that Hunter was not one of those fans in attendance who paid from $56 to $606 to view the fight. Khan refused to take advantage of a five-minute rest in an effort to recover from the low punch. Instead, he waved the white flag and that was it for the evening.
Regardless, the crowd witnessed an impressive performance from Crawford who thrilled the fans with a great first-round knockdown, along with incredible power shots throughout the battle. Khan, 32, may be through with his time in the big-time spotlight, while Crawford, 31, has many exciting challenges ahead.
Crawford expressed a desire to take on IBF World Welterweight King Errol Spence Jr. in the near future.
The undercard featured the following:
Bantamweight Lawrence Newton (12-0, 7 KO’s), of Deerfield, FL, oupointed Jonathan Garza (7-3, 2 KO’s), of Eagle Pass, TX, over six rounds.
Super Welterweight Vikas Krishan (2-0, 1 KO), of Haryana, IND, won a unanimous 6-round decision over Noah Kidd (3-2-1, 2 KO’s), of Jefferson City, MO.
Super Lightweight Larry Fryers (10-1, 3 KO’s), of Clones, IRL, decisioned Dakota Polley (5-3, 2 KO’s), of St. Joseph, MO.
Power punching, undefeated middleweight Edgar Berlanga (10-0, 10 KO’s), of New York City, NY, made short work of veteran Samir Barbosa (37-16-3, 26 KO’s), of Rio Grande, BRA, with a first-round TKO at the 0:46 mark.
In a battle for the vacant NABF/NABO Super Welterweight Title, Carlos Adames (17-0, 14 KO’s) bludgeoned Frank Galarza (20-3-2, 12 KO’s), of Brooklyn, NY, in four rounds after dropping Galarza with a whipping left hook.
Lightweight Felix Verdejo (25-1, 16 KO’s), of San Juan, PR, defeated Bryan Vasquez (37-4, 20 KO’s) over ten rounds.
Former Olympic Silver medalist Shakur Stevenson (11-0, 6 KO’s), of Newark, NJ, easily outboxed Christoper Diaz (24-2, 16 KO’s), of Barranquitas, PR, to win the IBF Intercontinental and NABO Featherweight Title Belts by scores of 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92. The southpaw Stevenson a a crafty, cocky and slick fighter that surely has a bright future. “I want to fight all the champions,” said Stevenson. “I’m the smartest boxer in boxing today.”
The popular NABF lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez (13-0, 11 KO’s), of Brooklyn, NY, KO’d former two-time EBU European Union Lightweight king Edis Tatli (31-3, 10 KO’s), of Helsinki, FIN, with a wicked left hook to the ribs that sent the challenger down and out in the fifth round.
All in all, Top Rank put on a fun night of boxing by having girls shoot t-shirts to the fans with air guns, provide games where audience members adorned with boxing gloves had to put on a Top Rank shirt the fastest to win, and also trivia contests given to some fans with Top Rank t-shirt prizes.
Statement Made: Crawford Dominates Khan
Teofimo Lopez knocks out Edis Tatli
Shakur Stevenson befuddles, outboxes Christopher Diaz
NEW YORK CITY (April 20, 2019) — The pound-for-pound king, Terence “Bud” Crawford, will not need to relinquish his throne. Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs) scored an unusual sixth-round TKO over Amir “King” Khan in front of 14,091 fans at Madison Square Garden to defend his WBO welterweight title for the second time.
Crawford landed an accidental low blow and was ruled the victor after Khan said he was unable to continue.
Khan, a 2004 Olympic silver medalist and former unified super lightweight world champion, suffered his first defeat as a welterweight.
On the inaugural Top Rank on ESPN Pay-Per-View broadcast, Crawford proved, once again, to be without peer. Now that Khan is out of the way, Crawford is set to prove himself against the world’s best.
“The fight I want next is Errol Spence,” Crawford said. “Whenever he is ready he can come and get it.”
Said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum: “We want to fight Errol Spence. Everyone wants the fight. There is one guy stopping it, and that is Al Haymon.”
Crawford nearly knocked out Khan (33-5, 20 KOs) out in the opening, knocking him down with a crisp overhand right that was followed by a left hook.
Khan regained his composure but was never in the fight, as Crawford switched from orthodox to southpaw.
Then, the low blow happened, and it was over.
“I now know why Terence is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world,” Khan said.
Teofimo Lopez KOs Tatli
Teofimo Lopez (13-0, 11 KOs) did what nobody else has come close to doing, knocking out former two-time European champion Edis Tatli (31-3, 10 KOs) with a right hand to the body in the fifth round to defend his NABF lightweight belt.
Lopez, the consensus 2018 Prospect of the Year, is a contender now and is angling for a world title opportunity.
“I didn’t have the best camp, but I did what I needed to do and came out victorious,” Lopez said. “I knew I was going to get him with a body shot. I softened him up and finished him.
“I want a world title shot next. That’s what I want. We promised to take over the show, and once again, I took it over.”
Stevenson Cruises Past Diaz
Featherweight Shakur Stevenson put forth the best performance of his young career, befuddling and outboxing former world title challenger Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz over 10 one-sided rounds (100-90, 99-91 and 98-92).
Stevenson, a 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist, saw his two-fight knockout streak come to an end, but Diaz (24-2, 16 KOs) represented the toughest test of his career.
At no point did Diaz threaten Stevenson (11-0, 6 KOs), whose southpaw movement was too much for the Puerto Rican pressure fighter.
“I take nothing away from Christopher Diaz,” Stevenson said. “He’s a great fighter, but I came in there to outbox him, and that’s exactly what I did.”
In other action:
Felix Verdejo (25-1, 16 KOs), the one-time top prospect, moved closer to lightweight contender status with a 10-round unanimous decision over Bryan Vasquez (37-4, 20 KOs) on the opening bout of the pay-per-view telecast.
Verdejo has now won two in a row since a shocking knockout loss last March at the hands of Antonio Lozada Jr.
Verdejo controlled the fight with his jab, as Vasquez attempted to bully the taller man on the inside. But in the end, it was Verdejo who prevailed by scores of 97-93 2X and 98-92.
“It was an honor for me to get a big victory in front of my fans at Madison Square Garden. I defeated a great fighter in Vasquez. I worked hard for this fight. The jab and body punches were key.”
Carlos Adames (17-0, 14 KOs) moved one step closer to a 154-pound world title shot, stopping Frank “Notorious” Galarza (20-3-2, 12 KOs) in the fourth round of a scheduled 10-rounder. Adames floored Galarza with a left hook early in the fourth and unloaded on him until Benjy Esteves stepped in to halt the carnage.
“This was a message to all of the 154-pounders,” Adames said. “I want to face all the best. I’m coming hungry, and I’m determined to fight for a world title by the end of the year. I don’t care who has a title. I want it.”
Edgar Berlanga (10-0, 10 KOs) still hasn’t seen the second round as a pro, knocking out
Samir dos Santos at 46 seconds of the opening round. The Brooklyn-born Berlanga pinned Dos Santos (37-16-3, 26 KOs) and unloaded until the referee stopped the fight. Berlanga is scheduled to return May 25 in Kissimmee, Florida.
“I know this will open up a lot of opportunities for me,” Berlanga said. “I want to make my people from Brooklyn and Puerto Rico proud.”
Two-time Olympian Vikas “The Indian Tank” Krishan (2-0, 1 KO) overcame a stiff challenge from Noah Kidd (3-2-1, 2 KOs) to win a six-round unanimous decision (60-54 2X, 59-55) in a super welterweight contest.
“Lethal” Larry Fryers (10-1 3KOs) cruised to a shutout unanimous decision over Dakota Polley (5-3, 2 KOs) in a six-round super lightweight fight.
Bantamweight prospect Lawrence “BT” Newton (12-0, 7 KOs) got the card started with a six-round unanimous decision over the game Jonathan Garza (7-3, 2 KOs) by scores of 60-54 and 59-55 2X.
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Eusebio Pedroza, who fought Barry McGuigan on a famous Irish sporting night, dies aged 62
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“I enjoy rugged sports. I’m not knocking people who like golf and tennis and other things. But I like rugged sports such as boxing, football, karate and things like that.” – Elvis Presley
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Crawford to defend WBO welterweight world title, April 20 on ESPN PPV broadcast
JAIME MUNGUIA RETAINS WBO JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHT WORLD TITLE WITH UNANIMOUS DECISION VICTORY AGAINST TAKESHI INOUE
XU CAN UPSETS JESUS ROJAS TO CAPTURE
WBA FEATHERWEIGHT WORLD CROWN
[c Mexican warrior Jaime Munguia (32-0, 26 KOs) smashes the challenger with a hard left hook as he successfully defended his WBO Junior Middleweight World Title by defeating Japanese contender Takeshi Inoue
HOUSTON (Jan. 26, 2019): Mexican warrior Jaime Munguia (32-0, 26 KOs) successfully defended his WBO Junior Middleweight World Title by defeating Japanese contender Takeshi Inoue (13-1-1, 7 KOs) via 12-round unanimous decision at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. After a tough battle, Munguia won with scores of 120-108, 120-108 and 119-109. The action was streamed live on DAZN – which is just $9.99 per month after a one-month free trial.
“It was a great fight. He was a great warrior,” said Jaime Munguia. “It was a great battle for me. I was surprised by his ability to take punches. He took a lot of punches to the head and to the body. He took punches that would have dropped anyone else. I feel I got a lot of experience from this fight. I will keep working on using my distance. There were times where he was able to cut the distance, and I want to work on that.”
“With 31 wins and no losses, Munguia was not just a power puncher but a great boxer,” said Takeshi Inoue. “We both had the skill to kill the other’s boxing style. He was the better fighter tonight. I hope to get better and come back to the United States to fight again.”
In the co-main event, Xu Can (16-2, 2 KOs) of Kumming, China became the new WBA Featherweight Champion by defeating Jesus Rojas (26-3-2, 19 KOs) of Caguas, Puerto Rico via unanimous decision in an action-packed battle. Can won with scores of 118-110, 117-111, and 116-112.
“This is my second time coming to the USA to fight,” said Xu Can. “Before I came here, I knew it was going to be a very hard fight. So I got ready for this fight. I did a lot of work for this. So, thank you to everyone. I respect my opponent, Rojas, my friend; he’s very tough. But I knew I can win. I can! I can! I knew I can defeat this fighter. I knew I can defend his punch, even though his punch is very strong, but I had confidence in my defense. I just punched, defend, punched, defend, punched, defend.”
“I don’t feel the decision was correct,” said Jesus Rojas. “I don’t know what to say. I’m surprised. I spoke to Golden Boy Promotions, and I want the rematch. I think we worked well. I used my jab and I want the fight. Of course, I want the rematch.
Vergil Ortiz (12-0, 12 KOs) of Dallas, Texas stopped Jesus Valdez (23-5-1, 12 KOs) of Huatabampo, Mexico via TKO in the fifth round due to a severe cut on Valdez’s left eye in a super lightweight fight originally scheduled for ten rounds.
“Fighting a southpaw for the first time as a pro is the same for me, but the range is different,” said Vergil Ortiz. “I just had to make and execute a game plan. I thought it would go longer, but I’m grateful for the good will he had in the ring. I’m so happy to have fought in Texas!”
Alex Rincon (6-0, 5 KOs) of Dallas, Texas defeated Jeremy Ramos (10-6, 4 KOs) of Bayamon, Puerto Rico via unanimous decision in a six-round super welterweight battle. Rincon won with scores of 60-54, 59-55, and 58-56.
“I felt real good in there,” said Alex Rincon. “I brought the fans from back home, and we have a lot of family here. Now everyone knows who the Rincon brothers are. Ramos was very awkward. When you catch him with hard shots, he comes back harder. We stuck to the game plan, and that’s why we won.”
Alberto Melian (4-0, 3 KOs) of Buenos Aires, Argentina became the new NABA Super Bantamweight Champion by defeating Edgar Ortega (10-2-2, 5 KOs) of Mexicali, Mexico via TKO in the final round of a 10-round battle. The fight was stopped at 1:33 of the aforementioned round.
“I was working the distance,” said Alberto Melian. “I knew he [Ortega] was strong. When I found my distance, then I imposed myself more. That’s how I got the knockout at the end. This is about patient work, so if the knockout comes, then it comes. We had great preparation at Churchill Boxing in Santa Monica.”
George Rincon (6-0, 3 KOs) of Dallas, Texas defeated Emmanuel Valadez (5-7, 4 KOs) of Agua Prieta, Mexico via TKO in the first round of a super lightweight bout originally scheduled for six rounds. Rincon won with time a of 1:36 of the aforementioned round.
“I feel good,” said George Rincon. “I went in there trying not to rush. There’s never an opponent who is not dangerous because we are all out here fighting to provide for those we love and entertain those we don’t. He [Valadez] didn’t make it out of the first round, so I’m happy with that.”
Munguia vs. Inoue was a 12-round fight for the WBO Junior Middleweight World Title presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Zanfer Promotions and Teiken Promotions. Rojas vs. Can was a 12-round fight for the WBA Featherweight World Title presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Universal Promotions. The event was sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING,” and Hennessy “Never Stop. Never Settle.” The event took place Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas and was streamed live on DAZN.
Rivas KOs Jennings in 12th Round
Shakur Stevenson Knocks out Rosales in 4
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A Holiday Memory
Roberto Duran and our Father
By John and Alex Rinaldi
Going into Christmas, we cannot thank our readers enough for their continued support of our website and our boxing publication for over 36 years.
In an almost magical and mythical way, the sport of boxing and its fans have since the days of the bare knucklers, established a special, lasting bond that somehow connects the viewer to the participants in the ring. It is also the type of sport that can lift one’s spirits when life’s misfortunes and personal tragedies tend to swirl around like a deadly tempest raining down on everything and everyone until all that’s left is despair and sadness.
No one is ever immune to this and even the warmest of holidays often play a part in the the overall melancholy of the time.
Pipino Cuevas (R) in 1983
Christmas was such a time 36 years ago, and it remains to this day a bittersweet holiday for us.
Growing up we had wonderful Christmas days and we still do to this day. There was, however, a Christmas where our world simply fell apart.
On Christmas Eve in 1982, our Father, and the founder of this publication, Joseph Rinaldi, was diagnosed with terminal liver and colon cancer and was given only three months to live. For a few months before the diagnosis, he was suffering from intestinal pains and was losing weight. He actually thought at the worse that he had an ulcer. Sadly, he found out that at the age of 46, his days, like a prisoner on death row, were mortally numbered.
against Pipino Cuevas (R) in 1983
There is a famous quote by the legendary Confederate General Robert E. Lee where he says, “I would rather die a thousand deaths than surrender.” Our Father had what can only be termed as “true grit” as he fought bravely on, challenging the cancer along with the naysayers and charlatans so prevalent in the medical community. Though death greeted him at his doorstop every day for nine long months, he still kept punching back until he eventually succumbed to the cancer on September 23, 1983.
When you watch a person that you admire suffer so badly, who is not just a father, but a mentor and a hero, it is hard to bear and the world goes black.
But sometimes were there is nothing but black and bleakness, miracles and heroes seem to emerge through the darkness, and for a brief time a short reprieve is granted to the forlorn.
This is what happened to us. A savior arrived in the form of Roberto Duran and boxing gave us the only streaks of light, as the sun slowly shone through the cracks caused by the mighty fists of the man with the Hands of Stone.
Roberto Duran was always our family’s favorite fighter. From the time he became a world champion, we marveled at his skill, charisma and punching power.
Though he reached the highest heights and peaks of boxing, by 1983, the once great pugilist was considered washed up. In 1982, he went 0-2 when he lost a title bid against WBC super welterweight king Wilfred Benitez on a close decision on January 20, 1982, and then was robbed in a split-decision loss to Kirland Laing on September 4, 1982.
It was during his training for Laing at Larry Holmes’ training quarters in Easton, Pennsylvania, where the Rinaldi Brothers and our dad would go to visit. Before long we became very friendly with the fistic legend.
After the Laing fight, and nearing the end of 1982, it appeared that there was little hope in the future of the career of Roberto Duran. Nevertheless, while others urged Duran to retire, we and The USA Boxing News felt that he was far from washed up. As luck would have it, so did promoter Bob Arum.
Arum’s Top Rank, Inc. smartly took on Duran and matched him against the power punching former WBA welterweight king Pipino Cuevas on January 29, 1983 at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, CA. While the Super Bowl was playing nearby the same week, the hottest ticket in town was for the Duran-Cuevas fight. So much so that a capacity crowd of 16,824 turned out for the fight and produced a live gate of $408,000. Both fighters were each guaranteed $50,000, plus a share of the closed circuit revenue.
In one of the most thrilling slugfests in boxing history, Duran, 152, brutally stopped Cuevas, 149, at 2:26 of fourth round of the scheduled 12-rounder.
With the illness of our Father, we were unable to go to the fight live, but instead viewed the fight on closed-circuit at the Felt Forum in New York’s Madison Square Garden. Duran’s performance was so exhilarating that on this night our Father was able to forget about his pain and his dreaded outlook and immersed himself in the exciting ring action.
While our Father courageously battled on, Duran was set to give our Dad one more respite from his impending doom.
With the win over Cuevas, Arum decided that Duran would make a good opponent for the undefeated WBA junior middleweight king Davey Moore. The match was then set for June 16, 1983 at Madison Square Garden.
of a packed house in Madison Square Garden.
Going into the battle, this publication was the only one who gave Duran a chance to win. With a sell-out crowd of 20,191 on hand, producing an incredible live gate of $964,305 (this was at a time when the ringside seats were only $100) Duran entered the ring a 5-2 underdog.
On this night, our Father was too ill to attend and was slipping away at a rapid pace. We went in his place and were at ringside to see Duran, 152 ½, give the performance of a lifetime as he tore into Moore, 154, and ferociously pummeled him from pillar to post.
As the crowd cheered, Duran scored an incredible knockdown in the seventh round and in the next round, finished off Moore at 2:02 of Round 8.
The fight was rebroadcast on CBS on June 19, 1983 and although he was racked with pain that no medicine could subside, our Father was laying down on our living room couch and once again, his thoughts were detoured from death to watching Duran pull off the upset win. That was the last time that the pain would ever temporarily leave our Father again.
Things would go downhill from there. Our Father was such gallant battler, that we never thought he would die. It was as if Rocky Marciano could ever lose a fight. We thought our Dad would make a comeback. He did outlast all of his physicians’ predictions and held out for nine months, while the prognostications said he would be dead in 90 days. Roberto Duran training for his fight with Davey Moore in 1983 (Photo by Alex Rinaldi)
The comeback never came and three months after Duran defeated Moore, the ten-count was tolled for our father. Thankfully, because of the many who read this worldwide publication and website, his memory still lives on.
Because this publication lives on and thrives to this day, our Father and Roberto Duran are both almost like the Jimmy Stewart character in It’s a Wonderful Life, where Stewart realizes what an impact he had on so many people just by living his life and doing good to others.
This may be an odd Christmas story because it ends in the death of an extraordinary man. But it shows that boxing and a great fighter like Roberto Duran can take away the pain of a dying man and give him a few happy moments in such bleak times, as well as offer a brief intermission from despair to his loved ones and, provide in its place, thrills and happiness during a family’s darkest hours.
“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.” ― Bob Hope.
We think of our father every Christmas Eve. Although he is gone, he is never forgotten by us and is always in our thoughts, and it is every time we think of Roberto Duran, we think about the smiles he gave to a man whose life, like a broken clock, was running out of time.
That is what makes boxing the special sport it is.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the both of us to all of our readers.
Dimitry Bivol pounds out 12-round unanimous decision over former champ Jean Pascal to retain WBA light heavyweigtht title
By Joe Catena
What’s up next for these two Big Men!!
Vasiliy Lomachenko and Jose Pedraza ready to square off in New York City for the unified Lightweight title
By Alexander R. Rinaldi
On Saturday, December 8th, in the heart of the Christmas Season, all eleven floors at Macy’s Department Store located at Herald Square in New York City, will be adorned with a variety of gifts, colorful tapestries, and bright decorations. Merriment, shopping, and jolly good cheer will abound in the city as if capsulized in a holiday snow globe.
While this is going on, about a block away at the Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden, there will be no jollies, there will be no shopping, and there will be no presents. Instead, in its place will be volleys of swift jabs, right crosses, and left hooks, with the only good cheer coming from the enthusiastic crowd assembled to watch one of the biggest lightweight battles in years. For on this date, at this time, in the midst of thousands of toasts to one’s good health, two of boxing best, Vasiliy Lomachenko and Jose Pedraza, will bravely engage in an anxiously awaited unification bout for the 135 pound title.
Following the Heisman Trophy presentation on ESPN, the Top Rank fight card is all set to capture not only the preceding sports audience, but also the imagination and viewership of boxing fans around the globe.
Already a household name, Vasiliy Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KO’s), who hails from the Ukraine, but now resides in Oxnard, California, is a former two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time world boxing champion, who currently holds the WBA lightweight title. Although he will be squaring off against the tough WBO lightweight king Jose Pedraza, he, nevertheless, looks to expand his trophy cabinet by adding Pedraza’s WBO belt to one of the shelves.
Pedraza, of Puerto Rico, He is far from an easy mark. Besides being the present WBO lightweight champ, he was also a former IBF junior lightweight champ, and sports an impressive ledger of 25-1 (12 KO’s). Pedraza won the WBO title by decisioning Raymundo Beltran this past August where he knocked the champion Beltran down in the eleventh round to seal the deal.
As their records indicate, both fighters are knockout punchers who make no bones about the fact they each possess dynamite in their fists.
“I am ready to fight an excellent opponent like Jose Pedraza,” said Lomachenko. My goal has always been to unify the titles, and Pedraza is standing in my way.”
This bout also represents Lomachenko’s fourth time fighting in either the big room in Madison Square Garden or at its Hulu Theatre. “There is something special about fighting in New York City and Madison Square Garden,” revealed Lomachenko who is also arguably considered the most talented amateur boxing in history with a posted record of 396-1. “The fans in New York City are true boxing fans, and I can’t wait to put on another spectacular performance for them.”
With a reach advantage of 5 ½ inches, Pedraza is just as confident as Lomachenko is. “I am grateful to have this opportunity since I didn’t get a chance to unify titles when I was champion in the junior lightweight division,” said Pedraza. “In this division, I will achieve my goal, and I will do it against one of the best boxers in the world. There will be a surprise on December 8th.”
The winner of this bout will have two of the four major boxing titles in the lightweight division, with Mikey Garcia holding the two other belts, namely the WBC and IBF titles. There has already been great interest in Lomachenko fighting Garcia, but first the Ukraine superstar has to first get past Pedraza who has no intention of leaving the bout a loser.
On the undercard will be WBO super-bantamweight champion Isaac Dogbane (20-0, 14 KO’s) defending his crown and lightweight prospect Teatime Lopez (10-0, 8 KO’s) going for his eleventh straight win.
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President Donald Trump granting a posthumous pardon to boxer Jack Johnson on the advice of actor Sylvester Stallone
|Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)|
Sylvester Stallone called me with the story of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial. Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!
Jack Johnson, the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion, was wrongly convicted in 1913 under the Mann Act for taking his white girlfriend across state lines for “immoral” purposes. The Mann Act purported to prevent human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution, but critics have argued it was applied inconsistently to criminalize African Americans and those with dissenting political views.
“While it is unfortunate that this unjust conviction was not corrected during the boxer’s lifetime, a posthumous pardon today represents the opportunity to reaffirm Jack Johnson’s substantial contributions to our society and right this historical wrong,” the letter said.
Jack Johnson died in 1946. His great-great niece has pressed Trump for a posthumous pardon, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have been pushing Johnson’s case for years.
McCain previously told The Associated Press that Johnson “was a boxing legend and pioneer whose career and reputation were ruined by a racially charged conviction more than a century ago.”
“Johnson’s imprisonment forced him into the shadows of bigotry and prejudice, and continues to stand as a stain on our national honor,” said McCain.
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Mayweather – McGregor fight is the second biggest Pay-Per-View event of all time
Mayweather-McGregor numbers finally releasedShowtime Sports confirmed today that the SHOWTIME PPV presentation of Mayweather vs. McGregor on August 26, 2017 generated 4.3 million pay-per-view buys in North America. This includes traditional television distribution and online portals such as the new SHOWTIME PPV app and SHOWTIMEPPV.com as well as UFC.TV in U.S. and Canada.Mayweather vs. McGregor, a four-fight SHOWTIME PPV boxing event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, officially stands as the second largest pay-per-view event of all time behind Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, which set the North American pay-per-view mark at 4.6 million buys in 2015. The SHOWTIME PPV totals for Mayweather vs. McGregor far exceed the now third best event in historynearly doubling the 2.48 million buys for Oscar De La Hoya vs. Mayweather in 2007.The total global revenue from the event including ticket sales, sponsorship and international distribution exceeds $600 million, whichalong with Mayweather vs. Pacquiao is among the largest for a single-day sporting event of all time. Mayweather and SHOWTIME PPV now account for the three highest grossing pay-per-view events in television history with the third-ranked event Mayweather vs. Canelo from 2013.
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Floyd Mayweather batters Conor McGregor into submission in 10
As the circus tent was being dismantled at the T-Mobil Arena, there were some people actually trying to convince themselves that the hype of the “fight” between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor was justified. The answer was that is certainly was not. If there was ever a big match up that was surely predicable – this one was it.
In the 20,000-seat arena, a reported crowd of 14,623 showed up. Let us not be mislead that those in attendance were average boxing fans dropping a few weeks of their paychecks to see this extravaganza. No, it appeared to us that many of them were comped out by the casinos, who were more than happy to see the crowd of high rollers and celebrities filter back into the casinos afterwards. Since a large number of fans bet on the long shot McGregor, there turned out to be very few bettors at the Sports Book counters collecting any winnings. The smart money bet turned out to be which round the bout would come to an end. We bet a few bucks that Mayweather would stop the Irishman from Rounds 6 to 10, so we wound up with some decent winnings at 15-1 odds.
Floyd earlier remarked that he wanted to give the fans a show, and he did just that as he appeared to carry McGregor for the first five rounds, doing as little as he can to shake up his woeful opponent. Floyd even made it easier for McGregor to score by doing away with his famous lateral movement and shoulder rolls and, instead, deciding to move straight ahead against his UFC counterpart.
What many people forgot was that the maximum time a UFC bout goes is 25 minutes, and McGregor usually ended his bouts early with his street-fighting tactics. Against someone as skilled as Mayweather, who can do over 25 minutes standing on his head, Conor’s punching to the back of his head was the only time the Irishman seemed in his element.
Mayweather carried his opponent as if he was lugging around a clown suitcase for the first five rounds in order to give those at home, who plunked down an exorbitant $99.99 for the Pay-Per-View telecast, their money’s worth.
Unlike in his previous 49 bouts, Floyd began this bout by lethargically coming out and allowing McGregor to unload with his scrawny arm punches that could not have dented an overripe peach. Floyd patiently took the shots, covered up or ducked little, and occasionally retaliated with a punch or two of his own.
All the while, the hapless McGregor began scoring some points, though they landed with the impact of codling moth or a soft wind.
In fact, with the exception of one uppercut that Conor landed, there was never any time where McGregor’s blows appeared to be any more bothersome than that of an annoying mosquito or a chilly draft. By Round 3, McGregor was already breathing heavy and the steam of his punches was as hot as an iceburg. In the fourth and fifth frames, the Irishman’s punches had as much snap as a rusty spring.
After five rounds, McGregor went from being the “It” clown to a sad Emmett Kelly type one as he began to get battered with blistering punches, the power of which he never experienced in the octagon ring from the former barroom brawlers now fighting as MMA stars.
The ringmaster Mayweather should have grabbed the microphone at the end of Round 5 and announce to the audience that the drama is now going to start as drum rolls played far off in the distance, like an Indian battle call. But since this was a circus masquerading as a fight, Floyd probably did not want to appear too obvious that he may have been pulling off the biggest con job of all time.
In the sixth, Floyd started opening up with his fists and letting his opponent know that this was indeed a boxing match against a true and tried professional and not one of those UFC farces fighting the likes of moonlighting firemen and part time cab drivers.
From then on, McGregor’s energy dissipated as Mayweather’s punch rate accelerated. Soon it was apparent that McGregor’s once rising star was falling down to earth quicker than an old satellite.
In the ninth round, Conor’s punches were a complete joke. It reminded us at times during a circus performance when a clown goes to the audience to throw a bucket of water at the crowd, only to reveal that it is simply a pail containing confetti. That was the same with the Irishman’s punches. They landed with the impact of a pail full of confetti. When he threw them they lacked any pop or power. It was as if he was waving a ostrich feather at Floyd.
Like the seasoned veteran he is, Mayweather knowing the time was ripe to bring the curtain down, quickly buckled the Irishman’s knees on more than a few occasions with jarring blows to his bearded face. McGregor must have thought he was struck by hydrogen bombs compared to the shots that are usually dished out to him in MMA.
Surprisingly, McGregor did bravely stand up to Floyd’s firepower, but the Irishman was sadly entering the beginning of his end and and waving goodbye forever the end of his beginning where he must have blindly thought he had a chance of winning the bout.
The tenth saw McGregor retreat awkwardly and weakly to the ropes, where he offered as little resistance as the French in World War II. Seeing this, Mayweather gladly waded in and punched and pounded McGregor’s face in until referee Robert Byrd came in to end the show.
“I thought it was close and I thought it was a bit of an early stoppage. I was just a little fatigued,” said the deluded McGregor who did not realize that the tent had just come crashing down on him. Hopefully, he will understand someday that he was never ever in Mayweather’s league as a fighter or a drawing card.
At the time of the bout’s end, Mayweather was ahead by scores of 87-83, 89-82 and 89-81. Even by coasting, Floyd was having little trouble winning.
Afterwards, Mayweather, who was guaranteed $100 million to McGregor’s $30 million (although after the PPV revenue comes in, Floyd will earn over $200 million and Conor would pocket over $100 million), remarked with mock sincerity, “He [McGregor] was a lot better than I thought. But I was the better man. I guaranteed everybody that this would not go the distance. Boxing’s reputation was on the line.”
The only truth to his comment was that boxing’s reputation in this fiasco WAS certainly on the line. The UFC and the other mixed martial arts organizations and fans have been tricked into thinking of the fallacy that their sport was superior to boxing. So it was important that Mayweather had to make the point that the UFC and their sort are not in the same league as the great sport of boxing. The UFC is strictly the bush and minor leagues compared the big leagues of professional boxing.
This is especially true when one considers the fact that a 40-year-old Mayweather, a fighter well past his prime, was able to easily dismantle the UFC’s best fighter in the history of their sport who happens to be presently in the prime of his career.
Though Conor McGregor was a clown and huckster, thankfully he never proved to be a magician. As a result, he could not pull any gloved rabbits out of his hat to pull off the victory.
As for Mayweather, he will add nearly a quarter billion to his already Fort Knox bank account after competing in the easiest fight of his career.
As an aside, McGregor was contemplating returning to the UFC, but maybe he should instead consider joining the cast of “Circus 1903” where he can entertain the audience as the merry-andrew and jester much the same as he did in this predictable spectacle.
For those who thought they were witnessing a real-life “Rocky” wound up being ripped off by “The Sting” instead.
- – Pre-Fight View –
SUPER-FIGHT OR SUPER-CIRCUS
After the last performance of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus was registered into the history books this past spring, it appeared that the final curtain had finally fallen down upon the legendary Circus. In fact, circuses, as a whole, seemed as dead as the television ratings for the sport of golf since the decline of Tiger Woods.
We both thought the same until we found ourselves walking down the Boulevard in Las Vegas today. To our surprise, we found that in “Sin City” the big top is actually still alive and flourishing. For instance, at the Paris Resort Hotel, “Circus 1903” is presently wowing the audience with thrilling acts of Yesteryear, mixed in with puppet elephants and other like attractions.
If that did not not leave you with the feeling of sawdust underneath your feet, in comes an even bigger circus to add to the fun – the Mayweather vs. McGregor “fight” that features Floyd Mayweather taking on the duties as Promoter, Ringmaster and Star. Just as in “Circus 1903” where puppets take the place of real elephants, Conor McGregor is the puppet here masquerading as a real boxer that has a genuine chance of winning the fight. In fact, the elephant puppets look more authentic as real elephants than McGregor does as a real fighter, much less one that has any chance of capturing a victory in the bout.
For within moments of the sound of the opening bell, McGregor, like in “Circus 1903”, will appear more like a puppet lion – one with a loud roar, but no bite. As for Floyd, he will take over the duties of a lion tamer, but instead of facing the king of the jungle in front of him, he will be handling a declawed and defanged “beast” in the squared circle, or in this case, the center ring.
McGregor wearing his fancy tailored suits and talking a lot of trash is nothing but a trumped up sideshow opponent, with the brashness of an Irish Innkeeper and the boxing acumen of a medieval marionette.
He is a paper tiger if there ever was one.
McGregor has simply no chance of winning the bout unless Floyd Mayweather turns a hundred years old when he enters the ring – covered in rust like a an old warship. This is unlikely and quite improbable.
UFC pundits claim that McGregor fists are like the Hammer of Thor, filled with powers beyond most mortals. Maybe against UFC and MMA featherweight opponents, whose sole form of defense consists of blocking blows with their chins and noses, then slamming their knees into their adversary’s midsection, McGregor looks to have dynamite in his hands. Against Mayweather these same fists with appear more like feather nets better made for catching butterflies than hurting a professional fighter and ring legend like Floyd Mayweather.
In reality, the only semblance McGregor has to Thor with his Hammer is that both are comic book characters.
McGregor may be a fine MMA fighter and a credit to his heritage and sport – but he is no boxer or a prizefighter. He would need the powers of the sorcerer Merlin along with every Gypsy curse ever known to man to survive the bout, much less compete on a competitive level.
Not surprisingly, he will be exposed like the Wizard of Oz was when the curtain unveiled him to be nothing more than a Kansas vaudevillian.
Frankly, McGregor does not deserve to be in the same ring as Floyd Mayweather. He has accomplished virtually nothing in his career to warrant this challenge or the payday attached to it. To his credit, he has sold this fight like a true promoter and generated unbelievable interest in what will turn out to be a tragic mismatch. In the end, however, history will show that McGregor was nothing more than a carnival huckster and barker reeling in the crowd to watch chickens dance in a ring, while underneath stood a candle heating up the canvas where they stood.
While chomping down on their bag of peanuts, the audience will soon notice that the circus has turned into a bullfight between a crafty matador and an inept bull with all the gore that goes with it.
Unless Mayweather shows the compassion of a Saint Augustine, the Christian Saint of Mercy, McGregor will not be around standing to hear the bell ring for round three. They will take him out on a stretcher weaved from the same cloth as his fancy suits.
The legendary promoter P.T. Barnum is credited with coining the term, “There is a sucker born every minute!” Come tonight, the two of us will be watching the birth of a lot of suckers as Mayweather pockets over $200-$300 million by fighting a rank amateur. McGregor, on the other hand, is playing the part of Bailey to Floyd’s Barnum, as he is set to earn approximately $100 million for the spectacle, which is about a hundred times more than his last paycheck in the overrated UFC.
Tonight, the real P.T. Barnum will chuckling in his grave as Floyd pulls off the biggest Superfight of all time!
“Let the buyer beware!”
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