December 29, 2014

KO's Ringside Boxing Notes & Quotes III

Krusher Kovalev gets the last laugh in Atlantic City
By Jeffrey Freeman, KO Digest 

Boxing fans are being sold a bill of goods but the goods they're buying aren't all that good, in fact lately they've been little more than predictably uncompetitive mismatches. Some recent examples of this trend include: Sergey Kovalev 120-106 Bernard Hopkins, Manny Pacquiao 120-102 Chris Algieri, Wladimir Klitschko KO5 Kubrat Pulev, Gennady Golovkin KO2 Marco Antonio Rubio, Terence Crawford 120-108 Ray Beltran, Keith Thurman 120-107 Leonard Bundu, Amir Khan 120-108 Devon Alexander, and Adonis "Superman" Stevenson KO5 Dmitry Sukhotskiy. Boxing should be better than glorified sparring sessions. Who's to blame for these shutouts and wipeouts? Is it matchmakers, promoters, and "advisers" or the fans who willingly sop it all up with a biscuit? Not every match-up has to be a war for legacy like Marvin Hagler KO3 Thomas Hearns or Juan Manuel Marquez KTFO6 Manny Pacquiao IV but the fight game under Al Haymon's direction is getting stale and stagnant.

Judging The Judges — In order to comprehend the subtle complexities that go into the scoring of big-time professional boxing matches by judges who get paid to do their jobs, one should think in terms of the fine-tuned calibration of casino slot machine payouts and the "social game" aspects of how players are voted off the long-running CBS TV-reality show Survivor. Understand how these two elements work together to produce "favorable" results and you can almost always tell who the judges will favor in a close fight or who they will be inclined to favor to balance the scales of "justice" for boxing's powerful paymasters and well paid power brokers.

Is Mayweather looking for Pacquiao at ringside?
The Defense Rests — Boxing's artful dance is the skilful science of hit and don't get hit. More than anything besides punching the other guy's lights out if you can, pugilism is defined by defense. The avoidance of contact. Protect yourself at all times. The true craft of the Sweet Science is the manly art of self-defense. Willie "Will o' the Wisp" Pep, Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker, and "Slapsie" Maxie Rosenbloom. These are the frustrating names conjured when considering the defensive masters of prizefighting. Floyd Mayweather is today's wonderful wizard of withstanding. It's his defining characteristic in fights and in choosing opponents. If there was a way to quantify how little impact Floyd has endured from boxing compared to the all-time greats who ducked and dodged damage before him, surely "Pretty Boy" would rate with the best of boxing's avoiders.

Will Mayweather fight Manny for the money? 
KO's Boxing INBOX"Do you believe that one of Floyd's overlooked strengths is his ability to recognize pure talent and ability, and how he might deal with it? You and I both know that boxing often comes down to more than talent, ability, conditioning and athleticism. The intangible can trump all other aspects under the right circumstances. It's not something that can be put into clear terms or on paper. Might Floyd perceive this in a way most others cannot, and if so, might there be something he sees in Pacquiao that makes him hesitant to step to it for 80 million dollars? I cannot help but wonder about a guy who claims to have had "no problem" bettering Pernell Whitaker, time and again, in the gym, as an amateur (among a host of other celebrated names) yet won't clear up this outstanding business. In the purest sense, Pac is Frazier to Floyd's Ali. Can you imagine Ray Leonard opting to hand Larry Bonds a rematch rather than facing Thomas Hearns in 1981? Floyd essentially did that last September when he should have been challenging Pac or Cotto." — Mike P.

Regarding Floyd, I do believe that his timing and defensive style inside the ring are a perfect metaphor for these same traits that he exhibits outside the ring managing his career. More than just winning fights and cashing big checks, Money Mayweather sets his own schedule and so accordingly, he is not subject to the brutal whims and unavoidable cruelties that boxing can more easily inflict on lesser influential fighters. It's still a dangerous dance and Floyd does in fact risk it all every time he steps in with men like Cotto and Maidana but he's got all the "champion's advantages" consolidated and amplified in a way that make it slighter safer for him to shake his groove thing. As for Manny, I really think Mayweather "fears" him in the same way Sugar Ray "feared" the dangerous Aaron Pryor but not because he feels inferior as a fighter but rather because he is worried that Manny (like Pryor) would do anything (or put anything in his body) to win, and so that (health) risk for $80 million is avoided when there are ways to make the same purse fighting opponents who can be more easily manipulated and controlled. Coming up from flyweight to welterweight as Pacquiao did while carrying his power and riding a wave of brutal beatdowns is not only suspicious to Mayweather, it should raise eyebrows to anyone who has ever believed in so-called sports heroes like Lance Armstrong and Alex Rodriguez. — Thanks for writing, KO.

Garcia likes good media and bad media
Light Welterweight Champion Danny "Swift" Garcia talks to KO Digest before facing Rod Salka last August: "Ratings, rankings and what people think doesn't matter. Good media is good media and bad media is still good media. As long as people are paying attention, it makes me relevant. My fans back me up no matter what. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be a world champion, face tough fighters and beat them. If you don't like it you still have to respect it."

KO's Boxing INBOX II "Wladimir Klitschko. I am formulating him into my perception of the top all-time heavyweight kings, and he fits right in there. Head to head is always a different matter that few seem able to comprehend (versus historical significance). How do you see Klitschko (the Wlad of last month versus Kubrat Pulev) doing with prime Ali (1967), Holmes (1979) Tyson (1988) Lewis (2000) Bowe (1992) Frazier (1971) Louis (1938-1941-ish) and Marciano (title reign version) and Holyfield (1996)?" — Mike P.

Klitschko entertains with a KO of Pulev
The Wlad who destroyed Pulev in 5 is a problem for any of those heavyweights and his size has a lot to do with that but also because he has mastered the art of protecting himself, of not losing fights, and of defending the heavyweight title. Klitschko, 38, turns the idea of a "prime" on its ear. He shows that boxing is about evolving (past your novice defeats) to the point of "unbeatable" greatness if you can achieve it. Those great champions you listed all liked to fight. Wlad is a different animal. He likes to defend himself and his title. He is a chess player. Avoidance of checkmate is primary.

If Wlad defeats a few more top heavyweights and retires as champion, he's demonstrably top ten, maybe even top five, hell maybe even #1but try telling that to biased American boxing fans (and media) who can't accept we lost the Cold War, that Rocky 4 was BS (but only because Rocky won in Russia), and that heavyweight boxing is "alive and well" and doing much better globally than it was ever doing in just America during the 70's, 80's, and 90's we all cling to as the gold standard. When Muhammad Ali fought Ken Norton at Yankee Stadium in New York City, know what they had there? Empty seats. They don't have those when Wladimir fights "bums" in Europe. Wlad K is indeed an all-time great, heavyweight boxing is doing better than ever, and it's America that's in decline and slipping in relevance, not the heavyweight championship of the world, that's for sure. — Thanks for writing, KO.

Chavez was vicious
Shannon "The Cannon" Briggs Fires on KO Digest Interview — "I'm active, pumped up, and fired up now more than ever. Everything happens for a reason, and you know what? I’m the Black Cinderella Man. I’m going to shock the world and get a fight with this bum Klitschko and knock his face off."

Comebacking Victor Ortiz appears to have lost his mind, declaring to the boxing media — "I want to be the pound for pound king. I know what it takes to get there. I will be one of the greats like Mayweather or Julio Cesar Chavez, I just don’t know when. I have been told by a lot of people to hang it up, but I make my own decisions and I am going to keep boxing. It's what I love to do. I never lost any confidence in myself."

Believe it when you see it
Money Mayweather Talks — "I would love to fight Manny Pacquiao. The fans and the people have been fooled. Bob Arum is the one stopping the fight. We want the fight. Let's make it happen. May 2nd. Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao, let's do it. He's not on my level. I wanna go out with a bang. Pacquiao, Arum, you guys have been ducking us for years. We're tired of you fooling the public and critics. Cinco de Mayweather!"

Undefeated American heavyweight contender Deontay Wilder addresses the notion on media conference call that his entire boxing career (32-0, 32 KO's) has been carefully choreographed — "The things I do, it makes the eyes don't believe and the mind definitely plays tricks on you. On the outside of the ring, you see one thing but on the inside of the ring it's a whole different thing, it's almost like a magic trick. It's unbelievable that how in the world does it happen like that? On January 17th, we'll see what's choreographed for sure."

WBC heavyweight champ Bermane Stiverne warns Deontay Wilder to beware of B. Ware — "I'm not an entertainer or a promoter like my opponent. It's going to be a short painful night."