Monday, August 21, 2017
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Tags Posts tagged with "boxing"


by James Oddy (Boxing Correspondent)

Las Vegas – Boxing is a truly unique sport. Aside from its very nature, two men or women attempting to knock each other out before they get knocked out, the way it works is baffling.

Mayweather3So when the ‘Fight of the Century’ takes place this month, Mayweather vs Pacquiao, it’s unlikely almost anyone inside the 16,000-seater stadium is an average joe. At the time of writing, tickets, allegedly starting at over $3000 for the very worst view, haven’t even been printed, let alone sold to members of the public.

Inside, ringside and elsewhere, the stadium is likely to be made up of celebrities, dignitaries, VIP’s, high rollers, and gargantuan entourages from both sides. But despite the ridiculousness of the situation, Mayweather vs Pacquiao is arguably the biggest sporting event in a generation, and should be cherished by fight fans and casuals alike.

Big fights stick in the memory like no other sporting occasion – people still talk about the likes of Louis/Schmeling, Ali/Frazier and Hagler/Hearns.

nota_3_1Whilst the occasion should be great, the fight could go either way. Pacquiao is no longer the buzz-saw of a few years ago, when he cut through the likes of Hatton, Cotto and Margerito with stunning speed, angles and power. Mayweather also isn’t the fighter who KO’d Hatton and gave Manuel Marquez the run around, although he still retains the unbelievable ring IQ that has carried him to the top of the sport.

Many believe the mauling that Maidiana gave Mayweather in the open rounds of their first fight was indicative of slipping skills, but Maidiana is an awkward customer who is hard for anyone to look good against.

My prediction is a disputed Mayweather win, and a rematch later in the year. I believe Pacquiao will roll back the years and be going for a knockout, but the naturally bigger size and defensive prowess of Mayweather will prevail.

Whilst there is excitement and relief that Pacquiao and Mayweather will meet, it is undoubtedly the start of their era coming to an end. For somebody like myself, in my early 20’s, who grew up with the likes of Barerra, Morales, Hamed, Benn, Eubank, Corralles, Gatti, Ward etc, there is a sense of sadness.

Where boxing goes after these two box officer magnets is anyone’s guess. Gennady Golovkin, Deontay Wilder, Saul Alverez, Keith Thurman, perhaps even our own Amir Khan and Kell Brook, are all staking a claim to be the next big thing in the sport.

But boxing always finds a way to survive. Earlier this month, Ruslan Provodnikov and Lucas Matthysse, two of the biggest hitters at light-welterweight, met in upstate New York. There was no title on the line, just two tough, competitive fighting machines who wanted to know who was better. Provodnikov ended up cut badly on the forehead, and took some serious punishment from the ultimately classier Matthysse, yet the two embraced when the final bell sounded. With practitioners like those two, the sport will always attract spectators wanting to see bravery, aggression and above all respect between athletes.


by James Oddy

It’s often felt that the health of boxing is measured by the health of its heavy weight division. Johnson, Dempsey, Louis, Marciano, Ali, Frazier, Tyson and Lewis were all household names during their peak. They broke box office records and transcended the sport.

The Klitchko brothers, Wladamir and Vitali, have made the division their own in recent years. Perhaps they’ve alienated American and British audiences, but they’ve become icons in Germany and the Ukraine.

However, Vitali has retired, and one quarter of the ‘richest prize in sport’ is now in the heavy hands of American Deontay Wilder, the undefeated Olympian with outrageous power.

C_71_article_1597088_image_list_image_list_item_0_imageBut the future of the division could well be in the UK. At the forefront of this is Tyson Fury.

A towering presence, both physically and psychologically, Fury has exhibited deftness both in and put of the ring. His occasionally abrasive style with the press has attracted as many as it has repulsed, but his honesty about his talents, limitations and desires is always interesting. His interactions with his opponents can be respectful, funny, foul mouthed and intimidating, and more often than not a mixture of all of the above.

In the ring, his defeat of Derek Chisora, a good quality operator, at the back end of the year was startling. He dominated the Londoner from the opening round, switching stances for long periods, looking relaxed and sharp. Many claimed following the fights conclusion that Chisora was ‘shot’, but the Londoner gave the likes of Vitali Klitchko and David Haye all sorts of problems in the past, and was in superb shape. Yet he barely troubled Fury, who punished him with his excellent jab.

His knockout of Christian Hammer was expected but Fury again showed his versatility and high ring IQ, minimizing Hammer’s limited yet still dangerous skills.

As the number one contender to a portion of Wladamir’s belt, it’s hoped Fury could earn that shot at some stage this year. In doing so, he would become the first boxer from a travelling background to win a world title.

article-2705995-1EB048C200000578-876_964x563Aside from the historical significance, Fury could ignite a domestic scene already bubbling under were he to become a world champion. Anthony Joshua, the Olympian with Sky sports hype machine behind him, is already exciting even the most casual of fans with his athleticism and knock out power. David Price and Fury have history, and the Liverpudlian regarded by some to be the biggest hitter in UK boxing. Boxing fans have already seen a fight between the mercurial David Haye and Fury fall through twice, but it still has all the elements of an explosive and lucrative occasion. Chuck in the likes of Lucas Browne, comeback kid Dillian Whyte, a still game Chisroa and Fury’s nephew, Hugie, and the possibilities are endless within the domestic heavyweight scene.

There seems to be something of a sea change in boxing match makers thinking, Heralded by the Mayweather Pacquaio announcement. Fans want to see the best fight the absolute best- and over the coming years perhaps the UK will have the best of the best when it comes to heavyweights.


By James Oddy, Urban Echo boxing reporter

Boxing isn’t a straightforward sport. Myriad world champions, governing bodies and rules have led to a waning interest in the sport from the casual fan.

This week however changed all that. The announcement that Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, after five or so years of on and off negotiations, has brought the sport kicking and screaming back into the mainstream.

003-Golovkin-IMG_5093Yet, like everything in boxing, nothing is straightforward. The suggestion that the American and the Filipino are the pound for pound top two fighters in the world, for so long indisputable, is now severely under threat. Partial due to the inevitable decline of an aging sportsman (Mayweather 37 and Pacquiao 36), and the other the inevitable rise of younger, hungrier rivals.

One of the contenders for that spot is Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin, the thirty two year old Kazakhstan middleweight. He appeared on channel 5, in February, as part of the channels newfound passion for the sweet science.

Golovkin came up against the ultra tough, ultra game St Helens born and based Martin Murray. In a fair world, Murray would be a bigger star; a tearaway youth who knuckled down and became one of the top middleweights in word boxing. Unlucky in his previous world title bouts, traveling to places like Argentina and Germany in front of hostile crowds, against Golovkin he had a sizable contingent of his fan base in Monte Carlo.

ggg-murrayBut despite connecting with some solid shots, Murray simply couldn’t halt the monstrous Golovkin. ‘GGG’ combines a seemingly granite chin with devastating power in both hands. His shot selection is inventive, varied and accurate. His punches seem to have the duel effect of both immediate knock out power and also to wear his opponent down. Murray, renowned for his fitness and defensive abilities, looked tired and was bloodied around the face mid way into the fight.

Murray, despite attempts to hold the centre of the ring, found him self backed up against the ropes, walked down by the psychically smaller man from the former soviet block. Murray was down three times, twice in the fourth from body shots and once in the tenth from a chopping hook before the ref stepped in during the eleventh round.

Golovkin now has the highest knockout percentage of any middleweight in history, his humble and polite interactions with both media and fans hiding his steely determination.

Were he to secure a fight with Puerto Rican ledged Miguel Cotto, the ‘lineal’ champion at middleweight, Golovkin would be the overwhelming favourite.

Perhaps, as Mayweather Pacquiao get ready to bring down the curtain on their illustrious careers with the richest event in sports history, their heir apparent has emerged.

Former two time world light welterweight boxing champion, Amir Khan, took time out today to bring his team from the Amir Khan Foundation to learn about the needs and challenges of clients from St George’s Crypt, the well-known charity in Leeds producing solutions for homeless and disadvantaged people from the city and beyond in West Yorkshire.

images9A4YHMK6The Amir Khan Foundation – launched in August last year – has been set up to support deprived and disadvantaged children and young people both internationally and nationally. Amir and his team asked Leeds City Council to put them in touch with a charity which is working extensively with young people who have found themselves in complex and challenging situations through adverse life chances, and the Council approached the Crypt who were delighted to welcome the Foundation today.

Amir Khan with Riz Malik

Martin Patterson – a Director of the Crypt – said, “We are delighted that Amir Khan and the team from the Foundation have been able to visit the Crypt today. We concentrate on providing effective training and engagement opportunities in order to help our clients to move in life from an increasingly complex range of challenges brought on by issues as homelessness, addiction, mental and physical health problems, poor education and family breakdown. Amir’s visit is a real inspiration for our clients and they were delighted to meet him today”.

Councillor Bill Urry, Lead member for homelessness at Leeds City Council, said “Working in partnership to support people through their toughest times is key to helping end the cycle of poverty and homelessness. Providing a hot meal or a listening ear is just the start. Organisations like St George’s Crypt and the Amir Khan Foundation work with people over time to rebuild stable lives. Leeds City Council works with its outreach partners so that homeless people do not have to spend a second night on the street, and so that they get the support they need”.

image1Riz Malik, on behalf of the Amir Khan Foundation, said “ We in the Foundation are looking for opportunities to make a real difference to people who have suffered disadvantage and poverty in their lives. St George’s Crypt – through its work with homeless people since 1930 – is an excellent example of a charity producing innovative solutions for its clients, and we hope to be able to establish a long term relationship with the Crypt in helping them to continue producing effective solutions”.

During their visit, Amir and his team served curry and rice to over 80 visitors to the Crypt and also met and chatted to the clients to learn more about the charity’s work and how it impacts on those who access the Crypt’s services.

Speaking exclusively to Urban Echo, when asked about his boxing plans and who he wants to fight next, Khan states, “For me, there is only one fight out there and that is with Floyd Mayweather. I think he is running scared because I feel that I have too much speed for him.”

If the Mayweather fight fails to materialise, who does he fight instead? “I’ve spoken to Manny [Pacquiao] and put the fight in front of him if Mayweather refuses to fight both of us. The fans would love to see me and Manny fight and hopefully we can deliver a great fight for the fans to enjoy,” he concludes.


By Qadir Hussain

Urban Echo’s boxing columnist, Qadir Hussain, takes a look at the potential fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao and asks the question… Is Mayweather running business, or simply running scared?

Floyd-Mayweather-6Any mention of the name Floyd Mayweather Jr is sure to illicit a response. There are those who consider Floyd at the very top of the all-time pound for pound list giving credence to his self proclaimed TBE (the best ever) title whilst there are others who vehemently attack his boxing legacy and reduce his status to that of a showman who has cleverly maneuvered his way to multiple boxing titles without truly putting himself in any danger.

floyd-mayweather-postersThe truth is often somewhere between the two extremes and in the case of Floyd Mayweather Jr, no objective boxing fan can possibly deny his talents and downplay his exceptional achievements. However, at a time when prime time boxing is finding itself in the shadows of popular recreations, be it football on this side of the Atlantic or basketball on the other, one has to question why the most highly anticipated fight in pugilistic history has not come to fruition? Floyd Mayweather Jr vs Manny Pacquiao was expected to be an era defining battle that was certain to cement the legacy of the victor into any conversation concerning the greatest ever.

Yet, what has ensued is a finger pointing drama that we tend not to associate with fighting men who we consider to be the modern equivalents of brave ancient warriors.

untitled (7)If historical interpretation of a ‘boxing great’ is to be assessed then one has to agree that any of the discussed consistently participated in the most dangerous fights in the most difficult of circumstances. Consider Ali vs Foreman, Ali achieved the seemingly impossible by defeating a man who at the time was considered unbeatable or the fight between Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvellous Marvin Hagler where the odds were steeply stacked against Leonard but some immeasurable quality, something beyond technical boxing ability allowed him to overcome a man who had not suffered a defeat in the previous ten years.

I think it would be fair to say that it’s this immeasurable and indefinable quality that would some would call courage and others call belief that allows fighters to transcend beyond the realms of their perceivable limitations and achieve ‘greatness’.

untitled (8)Much of the boxing world is now pointing the finger at Floyd Mayweather Jr. He is accused of ‘ducking’ the fight and as one fan stylistically put it “Floyd is too scared to let go of his 0”. The boxing world beyond his own circles cannot and should not consider Floyd to be an all time great until he has competed with his era defining counterparts and Manny Pacquiao is the very of best them.

imagesKV3P25I2Based on recent history, some would say that Floyd is intelligently picking his opponents only considering those younger, stronger and more predictable come-forward fighters whom he exposes using his superior technical ability and cunningly avoiding the quicker speedy counterpunchers such as Amir Khan or Keith Thurman. However, justifiably, Floyd can put forward a cogent argument and reel off a string of names from his resume which are not limited to; Oscar De La Hoya, Diego Coralles and Ricky Hatton all of whom he defeated at the prime of their careers.

Floyd maintains that he is boxing’s biggest draw, he maintains that it’s he who keeps Vegas alive and its equally true that no fight week in boxing even closely compares to a Floyd fight week. Undoubtedly, Floyd is the first fighter in history who dictates the terms of engagement and is not dictated to.

untitled (9)Whilst this is true and I have much admiration for his savvy and skillful mastery of the political complexities concerning the fight game, the title of TBE or an ‘all time great’ is not determined by politics or finances, in the end the purists will only base his legacy on his pugilistic prowess and history will only remember how he fared against the very best amongst his peers. He has to be mindful of the fact that the ‘greats’ before did not fear ‘letting go of their 0’, rather, they consistently put themselves in the most difficult of challenges and win, lose or draw they always came out fighting.

Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather extended his unbeaten record to 47-0 with an emphatic victory over old foe Marcos Maidana with a dominating performance. The current boxing star silenced his critics with an adroit display of boxing skills that left his opponent often frustrated throughout the eagerly anticipated rematch in Las Vegas on 14 September.

Though the 37-year old champion won the unanimous decision, he was far from his best and at the start of the fight looked as though he may be in for a rough ride against his rugged Argentinian opponent. Maidana, who also lost a classic affair against Bolton’s Amir Khan in 2010, slips to a 35-5 record but has in the process received two of his biggest paydays against Mayweather.

Starting off brightly often cornering the champion in the early rounds, Maidana constantly pounded Mayweather’s body and in round eight, the champion’s frustration came to surface as he claimed to have been bitten on the glove by the Argentinian.

As the alarm bells started ringing, Mayweather used all his guile and experience to take control of the later rounds and eventually got the nod from all three judges. The judges scored the 12-round bout 115-112, 116-111 and 116-111. Adding to the immense fortune he has already managed to amass over his illustrious career, the champion picked up a cool $32 million for his latest efforts and leaves the world guessing over his next opponent.

Next Opponent?

Possibilities include Amir Khan, Danny Garcia, Kell Brook and of course Filipino great Manny Pacquiao. The question is, how far and long will Mayweather dare to go? The big 50 will definitely be on his mind that would take him past the legendary Brockton Blockbuster, Rocky Marciano’s record of 49-0. But the reality is that time is running out for Mayweather. Against Maidana he looked sluggish and flat-footed at times and his speed has diminished quite considerably. Mayweather’s greatest threat is Amir Khan.

Amir Khan

As much as the world want to see the super-fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao, Khan is the only realistic possibility of dethroning the champion. As long as he keeps focused and sticks to the game plan that his trainer Virgil Hunter will meticulously inculcate, Mayweather will find it very difficult to handle the speed, footwork and power of the much younger Bolton fighter.

But the question is, what will be Mayweather’s next move? Khan and Garcia are both too dangerous for him and Pacquiao has lost his mojo after back to back defeats. In saying that, the money involved would be hard to resist for both Pacquiao and Mayweather and the champions latest statements indicate that Pacquiao may finally get his chance. Whoever Mayweather fights next, it will be one hot ticket!



If a Pacquiao fight presents itself, let’s make it happen – Floyd Mayweather