Friday, May 19, 2017

Crawford-Diaz Preview

The 140lb. Jr. Welterweight division was largely put on the main stage of the sport of Boxing in this observer's eyes by the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., who served as the division's central figure from the late 1980’s through most of the 1990’s. Since Chavez began periodically competing as a 147lb. Welterweight on through his eventual retirement in 2005 after an incredible career of one hundred fifteen professional fights and having won world championships in three weight divisions, I have periodically wondered who could be the next fighter that may be able to dominate the Jr. Welterweight division, the weight class Chavez competed in the longest throughout his illustrious career.

Of course, many great fighters have competed in the Jr. Welterweight division and had successful reigns at the top of the weight class. Opinion however, can be split as to which was truly dominant due to often a fighter setting his sights on more lucrative opportunities in the Welterweight division and beyond. Some could make an argument that a fighter who could hold claim to being a dominant Jr. Welterweight champion would be former kingpin Kostya Tszyu, who had two reigns as world champion in the division from the mid-1990s through June of 2005.  A fighter who could in time also belong in the discussion of the truly dominant Jr. Welterweights along with fighters such as Chavez and Tszyu is undefeated current WBO/WBC world champion Terence Crawford.

Crawford, a native of Omaha, NE is a two-division world champion who won the WBO Jr. Welterweight world championship in April 2015 with a sixth round stoppage of Thomas Dulorme, has in two short years become the division's central figure compiling four successful title defenses and successfully unifying the WBO and WBC Jr. Welterweight crowns along the way. After a successful title defense in December of last year over John Molina, the twenty-nine year old Crawford now prepares to for his fifth title defense as he will square off against top contender Felix Diaz on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY.

Diaz, who is currently rated number three in the world by the World Boxing Council (WBC) and number ten in the world by the World Boxing Organization (WBO), has won nineteen of his twenty professional fights and will be making his first attempt at a world championship. Although some might feel Diaz is an underdog going into this fight, what should not be overlooked is Diaz’ pedigree as he became an Olympic Gold medalist in 2008 as a Jr. Welterweight. In his lone professional loss, Diaz lost a razor thin twelve round majority decision to former unified Jr. Welterweight world champion Lamont Peterson in October 2015.

Since the loss to Peterson, Diaz has won two straight fights including an impressive performance in scoring a ten round unanimous decision over previously undefeated prospect Sammy Vasquez in July of last year. Despite Diaz’ credentials and his standing as a top ten contender, some may view this fight as a “Tune Up” for Crawford, who has been a potential opponent in recent times for current WBO Welterweight world champion Manny Pacquiao.

A possible scenario that might exist for Crawford providing he is successful in this fight against Diaz could be for him to face the winner of the July 2nd fight between Pacquiao and undefeated contender Jeff Horn in a fight where Pacquiao’s world championship will be at stake. Based on this possible scenario one might question if Crawford might be looking past Diaz and toward a lucrative opportunity in a potential move up to Welterweight.

Diaz has shown however, that he is a fighter one should not overlook as the previous two times he was cast in the role of an underdog opponent against a former world champion and a highly touted prospect, he surprised not only the fighters he faced, but also Boxing fans who may have also underestimated him. One could also make a case given how close his battle with Lemont Peterson was that Diaz could have walked into this fight with Crawford as an undefeated challenger.

The challenge for Diaz in this observer's eyes will be to find a way to negate Crawford’s hand speed. Crawford is a fighter who has demonstrated devastating power throughout his career, but what sets up that power is his timing, his ability to execute his offense in combination, and finally his counter punching ability. Several world class fighters such as Dierry Jean, John Molina, and Victor Postol all had problems with Crawford because of these attributes and it will be interesting to see how Diaz will attempt to combat the champion.

In his fight with Lamont Peterson, Diaz was able to have success when he was able to keep the fight on the inside where he did some effective work to Peterson’s body as well as success in landing short combinations. Where I felt Diaz gave ground to Peterson in that fight was when he would either allow Peterson to push him back to the ropes or when Diaz himself would go on the ropes and it was this that gave cause for Peterson to get the nod in what was a fight that could have gone either way.

Diaz was more effective in that fight when he was able to keep the combat in close, but doing so away from the ropes and I am curious to see if he will look to implement a similar approach in this fight against Crawford. For the champion meanwhile, it could be to his advantage to allow Diaz to take the initiative by coming forward and thus allow the champion to create opportunities to counter and move before Diaz can get into position to throw punches on the inside.

Although Crawford seems to be approaching a likely move up in weight to the Welterweight division, this observer feels that the definition of a champion is one that takes on all comers, fulfills their obligations in regard to facing number one contenders, but most importantly whether that champion can remain consistent both in terms of being active in competition as well as in regard to their performance in the ring. Crawford has shown thus far that he is certainly a fighting champion and to his credit has faced and defeated whomever has been put in front of him, but with a potential lucrative payday possibly ahead outside of the Jr. Welterweight division it may be all too tempting to regard this title defense against Felix Diaz as a mere formality.

Boxing fans may indeed regard this as a “Tune Up” fight for Crawford, but if Crawford can remain consistent, his name may very well be added to the list of truly dominant Jr. Welterweights of all-time even if Crawford's ultimate destiny is in the Welterweight division or beyond. We will see what happens on Saturday night.

“And That's The Boxing Truth.”

Crawford vs. Diaz takes place Saturday, May 20th at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY. The bout can be seen in the United States on HBO Sports beginning at 10:15 PM ET/PT. Check your cable or satellite provider for time and channel in your area. For more information about HBO, HBO Sports, and HBO Boxing please visit: In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the bout can be seen on BoxNation beginning at 2AM (Sunday, May 21st Local UK Time.) For more information about BoxNation please visit: Check your listings internationally.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Brief Update

We would like to let our readers know that a preview for Saturday’s world Jr. Welterweight championship clash between undefeated unified WBO/WBC world champion Terence Crawford and top contender Felix Diaz is in the works and will be released on Friday, May 19th during the evening hours. Stay tuned. “And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

The Boxing Truth® is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Alvarez-Chavez: A Silver Lining?

On May 6th the Boxing world converged on the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV to see Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, one of the sport's biggest stars do battle against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in a highly anticipated encounter of two of Mexico’s top fighters. Alvarez, a two-division world champion who is quickly making a push to establish himself as Boxing's top pay-per-view draw facing a former WBC Middleweight world champion in Chavez Jr., who for years was pushed as a pay-per-view attraction as “The Son Of The Legend” following in the footsteps of his father Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. the man regarded by many as the greatest Mexican fighter of all-time.

Some would argue that despite being victorious in fifty of his fifty-four professional fights and winning a world championship along the way prior to facing Alvarez, that Chavez Jr. has not fulfilled his full potential perhaps in part due to the impossible task of following his father and trying to establish his own legacy. Chavez had also seen his career marred by inconsistencies in the ring in regard to both problems making weight and his performances as well as personal problems outside the ring. Although Chavez came into the fight having won his previous two bouts after suffering a knockout loss at the hands of Andrzej Fonfara at the Light-Heavyweight limit of 175lbs. in April 2015, this observer did question how Chavez would look in this bout against Alvarez given that the fight took place at a catchweight of 164lbs. four pounds above the 160lb. Middleweight limit and a weight that Chavez had not fought near in nearly five years since losing his Middleweight championship to Sergio Martinez in September 2012. A question that only seemed more valid following the weigh-in when Chavez, who was able to make the contracted limit of 164lbs. looked utterly gaunt.  It was understandable how some including this observer could question whether the process of trying to make weight would have an effect on Chavez in the fight.

Even though this fight had the ingredients of a special occasion for the sport including the passionate fan followings of both fighters, a sell out crowd in attendance, and the festive atmosphere surrounding Cinco de Mayo weekend, this would not be a classic encounter deserving of a label of a “Super Fight” known for a thrilling give and take battle, but rather an occasion that was more about the event than what took place in the ring. For twelve rounds, Alvarez battered Chavez from pillar to post to such a degree that it resembled more of a sparring session rather than an actual fight.

Rather than giving an analysis of a fight that was frankly one-sided in favor of Alvarez, who won all twelve rounds for a unanimous decision victory, the focus should be on what will follow this fight as it was announced immediately in the ring after Alvarez’ victory over Chavez. On September 16th, Alvarez will face undefeated unified WBA/IBO/IBF/WBC Middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin for Golovkin’s Middleweight crown.

This is a fight that has been one that Boxing fans and experts alike have been anticipating as the sport’s next legitimate “Super Fight.” Although this is a fight that needs to happen, in my opinion, there has also been an element of controversy that has surrounded the announcement of the fight being signed in that some have questioned whether the Alvarez-Chavez bout was  “A Fix.” The basis of this theory is rooted not only in how the fight was announced with Golovkin making an entrance following Alvarez’ victory over Chavez in a fashion similar to how some Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) bouts have been announced, but also Chavez’ overall lack of offense throughout the twelve round bout.

This observer has talked with several Boxing fans in the days since the Alvarez-Chavez bout took place who all shared the opinion that they felt the fight was a done deal before it got in the ring last weekend. Even though it is understandable how those who paid $69.95 for this fight and it’s accompanying undercard on a pay-per-view basis may feel disappointed due to the lack of action that took place in this bout, it is worth noting that both due to the gradual increase in prices of pay-per-view Boxing cards over the years as well as at times only getting access to between three to five fights on a card for the price rather than the full card that when a main event fails to live up to expectations it may be all too tempting to call a foul on the sport and by extension it’s fans.

Speaking only for myself, I do not feel that the Alvarez-Chavez fight was not on the level. Prior to this bout, some across various social media platforms asked me for my opinion as to whether or not I felt Chavez had a chance in this fight due in large part to how he looked at the weigh-in. I responded to this question by stating that any fighter who gets in the ring has a chance because after all, all it takes is one punch. I also explained that it was my view that it would depend on whether or not the task of coming down to make weight took too much out of Chavez.

Although I do not feel that a thorough analysis is warranted in this case Chavez, a fighter who has almost always had a height and reach advantage over most of his opponents has always used a come forward pressure style that has one goal, to gradually break an opponent down. As some readers who have followed this observer’s coverage of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s career over the years both in magazines as well as various online outlets may recall, I have always been of the opinion that Chavez did not make use of his physical advantages by using his height and reach to keep an opponent at distance. He has always fought in a style that I have stated in the past was perfectly suited for his father who stands 5’7 ½ with a 66” reach who began his career at or around the 126lb. Featherweight division and never fought above the 147lb. Welterweight division in his career whereas Chavez Jr., who stands 6’1 with a 73” reach who began his career as a 130lb. Jr. Lightweight and quickly progressed up the scale to the 154lb. Jr. Middleweight division, 160lb. Middleweight division, and had fought his last four fights prior to the encounter with Alvarez in either the 168lb. Super-Middleweight division or the 175lb. Light-Heavyweight division is a naturally bigger man as compared to his father.

Despite never fighting in a style that would make use of his height and reach, Chavez elected to attempt to box Alvarez from a distance that would theoretically allow him to use his natural size and reach. It was clear after four rounds however, that the strategy Chavez and his new trainer Ignacio Beristain had developed was not working and Chavez simply could not adapt and revert to the pressure style he had used for most of his career. Even though it is commendable that Chavez would look to improve/change his Boxing style after fifty-four professional fights, this was not the time where he should have adapted to a different style and perhaps this in addition to not being able to consistently put himself in a position where he could throw and land punches was the story of the fight.

It does nothing however, to take away from the performance of Saul Alvarez. While it was by no means an exciting fight to watch, Alvarez did what he had to do and looked impressive in doing so against a naturally bigger fighter whom may have been compromised by the drop in weight, but more importantly was compromised by being the lesser fighter in terms of skill.

This brings us back to the story that came out of this fight, the upcoming showdown between Gennady Golovkin and Alvarez which is scheduled for September 16th at a site to be named. If there is a silver lining to a fight that did not live up to expectations or the price that consumers were asked to pay to see it, it is that a legitimate “Big” or “Super” fight is on the horizon.

Although some will no doubt say that this fight could and should have already occurred, it should be noted that this encounter will take place in a considerably quicker time frame as compared to other would be “Big” or “Super” fights that have taken place in years past. One concern however, that those who are behind this fight should keep in mind is the backlash that took place after Boxing's last big “Mega” event when a fight Boxing fans waited nearly a decade for the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao encounter in 2015 turned out to be a major disappointment in the eyes of many as much like the Alvarez-Chavez bout, it failed to live up to expectations. When you factor in that the Mayweather-Pacquiao event was the most expensive pay-per-view attraction in history priced at nearly $100 and the general increase of pay-per-view prices outside of the “Big”, “Super”, or “Mega” event one may question whether Boxing fans will be as quick to spend their money regardless of what the main event of such an event might be. A valid question as more and more consumers are choosing to move away from traditional cable/satellite television and move toward Over The Top (OTT) digital distribution and thus do not have legal access to events carried exclusively on cable/satellite pay-per-view.

As is the case with most “Big” or “Super” fights this observer has no doubt that the event of Golovkin-Alvarez in of itself will be it's own story. It is my hope however, as the event nears, anticipation increases, and the Boxing world focuses its attention on Boxing's next showdown that when all is said and done Boxing fans and those of us in the media are not talking about another underwhelming moment for the sport that will be more known for the “Spectacle” of the event than what takes place in the ring where no matter the outcome the ultimate authority, the Boxing fan feels once again to be the victim of injustice due to paying an expensive price for something that failed to deliver on expectations.

Boxing as a sport is truly given a boost when a “Mega” event is remembered for the right reasons. One only needs to look at the recent encounter between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko to see that when a fight exceeds the atmosphere of the event as well as expectations, the Boxing fan does not complain about being “Cheated” or “Let Down” afterwards, does not offer suggestions of a possible “Fix” and/or questions the integrity of a referee or the judges scoring a bout, but rather talks about the “Great Fight” they saw and what they anticipate may be in store for both fighters next which can only encourage increased interest in the sport particularly among casual fans. Such enthusiasm is even better when the Boxing fan is not charged such a high price in order to witness such an occasion. After an occasion where 90,000 people packed the legendary Wembley Stadium in London, England, over a million more ordered Joshua-Klitschko on pay-per-view in the United Kingdom for a far more reasonable price of €24.95 for the HD broadcast of the event with even millions more tuning in to see what became an all-time classic around the world, Gennady Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez sure have a tough act to follow.

“And That's The Boxing Truth.”

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Why Joshua-Klitschko Was A Win For Boxing

If one were to take a poll of Boxing fans who ranged from the casual fan to the die hard enthusiast on what is one aspect about the sport of Boxing that most can universally agree on, you would probably get varying answers because of course, the question in itself is general in nature and does not center around a specific subject regarding the sport. One topic however, that usually draws the interest of both the enthusiast as well as the casual fan is when a special occasion is on the horizon. The type of occasion that epitomizes the “Big Fight” atmosphere. Of all the “Big Fights” that take place in Boxing, one thing most folks would say whether casual fan or enthusiast is there is nothing quite like the anticipation that precedes a World Heavyweight championship fight.

A discussion regarding two hard-hitting Heavyweights each with knockout power entering the ring to do battle alone is enough to draw varying opinions as to what may or may not happen when the two fighters square off. When the storyline of the encounter centers on a former longtime champion, who lost his crown returning to the ring after a lengthy absence to attempt to regain the championship as well as his standing in the sport against a young unbeaten “Knockout Artist”, it is certainly understandable how anticipation can only increase as the days, weeks, and at times months prior to a showdown go on. When a fight not only draws interest among each fighter’s respective fanbase, but interest on a true global scale the ingredients of a special occasion are present that more often than not turns a highly anticipated fight into an event. When those ingredients include a legendary venue and a massive crowd of spectators to witness the encounter, you have the very definition of the “Big Fight” atmosphere.

On April 29th, over 90,000 people packed the legendary Wembley Stadium in London, England to witness such an event as undefeated “Knockout Artist” Anthony Joshua made the third defense of his International Boxing Federation (IBF) Heavyweight world championship against former longtime champion Wladimir Klitschko. Prior to this encounter, this observer stated that this was a classic scenario of youth versus experience. Although there were questions that surrounded both fighters, I felt the focus would be on the former champion Klitschko due in large part to his lackluster performance in losing his championship to Tyson Fury in 2015 as well as his being inactive since that loss.

Of course, some could make an argument that for a fighter who was as active as Klitschko was at the height of his dominance over the Heavyweight division that perhaps an extended hiatus would be appropriate to allow the fighter’s body adequate time to recuperate from the riggers of training and other injuries that can occur over the course of a long career. The counter argument however, which has just as much validity is that as a fighter gets older, extended time out of competition can actually do more harm than good due to the effects age can have on one’s reflexes as well as reaction time, which are crucial in all of sports, but especially with regard to combat sports.

It surprised me to see Klitschko begin this fight coming forward working behind his jab. Although this had not been uncommon for Klitschko throughout his career, I felt strongly prior to this fight that he would elect to allow Joshua to come forward and look to counter his normal aggression as the champion looked to apply pressure. It was nevertheless an interesting tactic implemented by the challenger from the outset. One thing that the champion did early on that I felt was an effective strategy was Joshua focused part of his offense on Klitschko's body, which has been something that some previous Klitschko opponents have been unable to have consistent success in attempting against him due to Klitschko usually having a height and reach advantage as well as his ability to control distance with his jab and straight right hand. Even though the two fighters were equal in height, it was an element of offense that was executed well by the champion. What was also evident was that Joshua was not awed by the occasion of fighting in a legendary venue such as Wembley Stadium and did not appear pressured by the support of the massive crowd in attendance.

Although both fighters were able to have their share of moments early on, it appeared as though the champion had a slight edge due to landing the harder punches of the two. Joshua was also able to withstand the Klitschko jab/right hand combination, a focal point of Wladimir Klitschko's offense for many years in the early rounds. Despite showing more aggression and more of a willingness to engage than he had against Tyson Fury, Klitschko seemed to have some difficulty landing power punches early due to Joshua choosing to box and not look for a quick knockout.

What was an exciting yet tactical battle in the early rounds however, would change as the bout progressed. At the beginning of the fifth round, Joshua was able to stun the former champion with a left hook to the jaw setting off a barrage of offense, which opened a cut over Klitschko's left eye and resulted in him going down on his knees to the canvas. Upon scoring the knockdown, an energetic Joshua pressed forward looking for the stoppage, but under circumstances where previous Joshua opponents were unable to recover and ultimately crumbled under the power of the twenty-seven year old “Knockout Artist” Joshua, Klitschko withstood the assault and by the end of the fifth round appeared to turn the tide as Joshua looked to have punched himself out. Despite suffering some knockout losses early in his career where some including this observer questioned his ability to take a punch, Klitschko deserves much credit for his ability to recover under such circumstances and it would be the challenger who would have his say in round six.

It would be at this stage in the fight where Klitschko would force Joshua to answer a question that inevitably follows all fighters who are labeled “Knockout Artists.” What happens to the fighter once they are hit flush and more specifically, how will that fighter respond after being sent to the canvas? Despite being the victim of a knockdown in the previous round and in serious trouble for half of that round, Klitschko was able to take advantage of the momentum he was able to build late in round five by dropping Joshua for the first time in his career with a flush straight right hand to the jaw behind a jab.

The unbeaten champion was able to show that he was not only capable of getting up from a knockdown, but also proved that he could withstand punishment as Klitschko pressed forward and continued to find success in landing his right hand. This fight clearly was one where some long sought answers to questions surrounding both fighters were answered. Following his knockdown of the champion in round six, Klitschko was able to dictate the combat by controlling distance and generally seemed to get his punches off first and land more effectively than Joshua in the second half of the fight and after ten rounds this observer had the fight even on my scorecard.

In round eleven however, the fight would come to a sudden and dramatic conclusion in a fashion  that most think of when they think of the Heavyweight division at it’s best. As was the case in round five, Joshua staggered Klitschko at the beginning of the round, but did not pressure Klitschko as aggressively as he did in the fifth round likely due to not wanting to risk being badly compromised by putting himself in a position where he punched himself out and thus allowing his hurt challenger the opportunity to recover. The champion instead took a more calculated approach and staggered Klitschko badly with a devastating right uppercut to the chin setting off a barrage of punches that sent the former champion down to the canvas. Klitschko, showing his mettle arose from the knockdown only to be dropped for a second time by a follow up barrage from Joshua. Klitschko again was able to get up from the knockdown, but it was academic as Joshua pressed forward and after landing a few more solid blows the bout was stopped.

It was a thrilling encounter where both men proved something to their critics. For Anthony Joshua, the third defense of his world championship also earned him the World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Organization (IBO) Heavyweight world championships that were previously vacated by Tyson Fury following his scheduled rematch with Klitschko never becoming a reality, but more important in this eyes of this observer and any critic of Joshua before this bout took place, he proved he belonged in the ring with a fighter who for over a decade ruled over the Heavyweight division as it’s unified world champion. Despite only having nineteen professional fights, Joshua showed not only the ability to overcome adversity to win a fight and retain his championship, but he did so by knocking out his opponent and proved he belongs at the top of the division as one of three fighters who currently hold a claim to the World Heavyweight championship along with the World Boxing Council (WBC) world champion Deontay Wilder and the World Boxing Organization (WBO) world champion Joseph Parker.

Although he came out of this fight having suffered his second consecutive loss, an argument can be made that Klitschko in this defeat may have finally earned his just due from Boxing fans who simply did not appreciate his dominance and/or Boxing style during his second reign as a Heavyweight world champion, much in the same way as other dominant champions such as Larry Holmes and Evander Holyfield received overdue recognition only after they lost their championships and are now rightfully regarded as two of the greatest Heavyweights of all-time. Klitschko was also able to show despite some setbacks early in his career where he suffered knockouts where he was knocked down and was unable to recover, that he could fight on and nearly was able to come back after the first of what became three knockdowns to nearly end the fight himself by knockout. The former champion also deserves praise, in my opinion for being able to get up from an uppercut that would have ended the night for most Heavyweights and valiantly try to fight on, Even though there were punches that followed the crushing right uppercut from Joshua, there is no disputing that it was that blow that led to Klitschko going down in the eleventh round in the second of what became three overall knockdowns he suffered over the course of the fight.

In the near two weeks since Joshua-Klitschko took place I have had one question running through my mind. How long will it be before there is a second encounter between Joshua and Klitschko? It is after all a fair and logical question to ask not only given the exciting combat these two fighters produced, but also the overall success the fight generated in producing over one million pay-per-view buys in the United Kingdom as well as over ten million viewers on German television network RTL in addition to producing over a million combined viewers here in the United States on both Showtime and HBO, who each produced separate broadcasts of the event for the first time in history.

After an encounter that exceeded every possible expectation both as an event as well as what took place inside the ring in addition to the fact that there was a rematch clause in the contract for this fight, it seems logical that a rematch between the two take place. Given the interest that preceded what became a classic encounter, this observer has no doubts that interest would be as high or maybe greater in a potential rematch. Joshua-Klitschko was after all a “Big” or “Super Fight” that did deliver. In an era where many of the sport’s “Big Fights” have failed to live up to expectations leaving the ultimate authority, the Boxing fan feeling at minimum disappointed and at worst cheated, why not give Boxing fans an encore of what was a legitimate “Big Fight?”

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Alvarez-Chavez Weights

The official weigh-in for Saturday’s pay-per-view clash between two-division world champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and former WBC Middleweight world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., which will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV took place earlier today. The official weights for the entire card are as follows.

Main Event: Super-Middleweight – 12Rds.*

Saul Alvarez 164lbs. vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. 164lbs.

(Bout fought at a contracted catchweight of 165 1/2lbs. Classified as a bout in the 168lb. Super-Middleweight division due to both fighters fighting above the 160lb. Middleweight limit.)

North American Boxing Federation (NABF) Featherweight championship – 10Rds.

Joseph Diaz (Champion 125 1/2lbs. vs. Manuel Avila 125 lbs.

Super-Middleweight – 10Rds.

David Lemieux 163lbs. vs. Marcos Reyes 163lbs.

Jr. Featherweight – 10Rds.

Ronny Rios 122lbs. vs. Daniel Noriega 122lbs.

Welterweight – 10Rds.

Emmanuel Taylor 147lbs. vs. Lucas Matthysse 147lbs.

Women’s Flyweight – 4Rds.

Samantha Salazar 111lbs. vs. Marlen Esparza 110 1/2lbs.

Lightweight – 6Rds.

Joseph Aguirre 135lbs. vs. Angel Aispuro 134lbs.

Lightweight – 6Rds.

Ryan Garcia 131 3/4lbs. vs. Tyrone Luckey 131 1/2lbs.

Alvarez vs. Chavez takes place tomorrow night (Saturday, May 6th) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The card can be seen in the United States and Canada on cable and satellite providers on HBO Pay-Per-View as well as www.Fite.TV and for $69.95 (HD and Standard Definition.) The pay-per-view broadcast will begin at 9PM ET/6PM PT. Contact your cable or satellite provider or visit www.Fite.TV or for ordering information.  In the United Kingdom and Ireland the card can be seen on Boxnation beginning at 2AM (Sunday, May 7th Local UK Time.) For more information please visit: Check your listings internationally.

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Thursday, May 4, 2017


We would like to let our readers know that weigh-in information for Saturday’s bout between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will be released on Friday, May 4th. Following this, we will resume our regular schedule with a double feature including Alvarez-Chavez post-fight material as well as material discussing the recent World Heavyweight championship fight between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko on Friday, May 12th. Stay tuned. “And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

The Boxing Truth® is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.

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Friday, April 28, 2017

Joshua-Klitschko Weigh-In Results

The official weigh-in for Saturday’s unified IBF/WBA/IBO Heavyweight world championship fight between undefeated IBF world champion Anthony Joshua and former two-time Heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko took place earlier today in London, England. The official weights for the entire card are as follows.

Main Event: IBF/WBA/IBO Heavyweight world championship * - 12Rds.

Anthony Joshua (IBF champion) 250lbs. vs. Wladimir Klitschko (Challenger) 240 1/4lbs.

(*The vacant World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Organization (IBO) Heavyweight world championships will also be on the line in this bout in addition to Joshua’s International Boxing Federation (IBF) world championship.)

Featherweight – 12Rds.*

Scott Quigg 125 1/2lbs. vs. Viorel Simion 125 1/4lbs.

(*Fight will determine a mandatory challenger for IBF world Featherweight champion Lee Selby)

Lightweight – 12Rds.*

Darleys Perez 136 1/2lbs. vs. Luke Campbell 134 1/2lbs.

(*Bout is scheduled as an elimination bout to determine a mandatory challenger for WBA Lightweight world champion Jorge Linares. Perez weighed in a pound and a half over the 135lb. Lightweight limit at the official weigh-in, There is no word as of this writing as to whether Perez will weigh in again before the fight. Fight scheduled to take place as of this writing.)

Vacant WBA International Women’s Lightweight championship – 10Rds.

Nina Meinke 132 1/2lbs. vs. Katie Taylor 134lbs.

Cruiserweight – 4Rds.

Lawrence Okolie 200 1/4lbs. vs. Russ Henshaw 198 1/4lbs.

Welterweight – 4Rds.*

Josh Kelly vs, Faheem Khan

(*Weights for this bout are unavailable as of this writing. Bout still scheduled to take place as of this writing.)

Jr. Lightweight – 4Rds.*

Joe Cordina 134 1/4lbs. vs. Sergei Vib 130lbs.

(*Cordina four and a half pounds over the 130lb. Jr. Lightweight limit. Bout still scheduled to take place as of this writing.)

Joshua vs. Klitschko takes place tomorrow night (Saturday, April 29th) at Wembley Stadium in London, England. In the United Kingdom, the bout can be seen on a pay-per-view basis on Sky Box Office for €24.95 HD/€19.95 Standard Definition beginning at 6 PM (Local UK Time). For ordering information please visit:

In the United States, the bout can be seen live on Showtime beginning at 4:15 PM ET/1:15 PM PT and will also be available on the Showtime and Showtime Anytime apps. For more information about Showtime, Showtime Sports, the Showtime and Showtime Anytime apps and a list of compatible devices please visit: HBO will also be broadcasting the fight on a tape delay basis later that evening beginning at 11 PM ET/PT. For more information on HBO, HBO Sports, and HBO Boxing, please visit: and

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Joshua-Klitschko Preview

In the last decade, there has been one constant who sat atop Boxing's Heavyweight division as the division's central figure. Longtime Heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko. Klitschko, a two-time world champion began his second reign as a world champion in April 2006 with a knockout over longtime champion Chris Byrd in their second encounter, ruled over the division for nine years compiling eighteen successful title defenses, and successfully unifying the IBF, WBO, IBO, and WBA Heavyweight world championships along the way.

What made Klitschko’s second reign as a world champion so dominant was few opponents were able to put up a significant challenge to Klitschko, who would win the majority of his fights with a basic, but effective weapon, the left jab followed by a straight right hand. With the one-two combination combined with his 6’6 frame and technical Boxing style, the question that was often asked prior to a Wladimir Klitschko title defense usually centered on whether the challenger would be able to negate Klitschko's height, reach, and his ability to dominate a fight with the one-two combination.

Although Wladimir as well as his brother Vitali, who himself had three separate and successful reigns as a Heavyweight world champion in his own right, have been labeled as “Boring” to watch by some due to their technical styles, both fighters will go down as two of the most dominant fighters in the history of not just the Heavyweight division, but of the entire sport. Wladimir’s second reign as champion was also the third longest championship reign in Heavyweight history in terms of successful title defenses behind Larry Holmes and Joe Louis. The reign, which as time went on was called a march towards history by this observer came to an end when Klitschko lost his unified crown to undefeated number one contender Tyson Fury in November 2015. In what was an extremely tactical fight that was fought at a slow pace Fury, a fighter who had a height and reach advantage, a rarity for most Klitschko opponents, was consistently able to force the combat and simply out landed Klitschko to earn a twelve round unanimous decision to take the crown from Klitschko.

Following the loss of his championship, Klitschko invoked his right to an immediate rematch with Fury. Due to a plethora of circumstances however, the anticipated rematch between the two did not take place. It was due to those circumstances that ultimately resulted in Fury opting to relinquish the unified Heavyweight world championship and in the process send the Heavyweight division into a state of limbo with several of the championships that comprised of the unified crown being vacated and in some circumstances, new champions determined between each respective organization’s top contenders.  

After undefeated contender Charles Martin won the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) crown in January 2016 with a stoppage of Vyacheslav Glazkov, Martin defended his newly won world championship against undefeated “Knockout Artist “ Anthony Joshua in April of last year. Joshua would score a convincing second round knockout of Martin to win the championship.

Joshua, the 2012 Olympic Super-Heavyweight gold medalist entered that fight unbeaten as a professional with all fifteen of his wins coming by way of knockout. Although the subject of at what stage in a fighter’s career will that fighter be ready to challenge for a world championship is one that will likely stir some debate, Joshua has shown following his knockout of Martin in two defenses of the IBF world championship that he was not only ready for the challenge, but after two dominant knockout wins over challengers Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina that he is a player in the discussion as to who is the best Heavyweight in the division currently.

Joshua’s win over Molina in December of last year, set up a collision with the former longtime kingpin of the division Wladimir Klitschko in an encounter that will take place on Saturday night at Wembley Stadium in London, England. In addition to Joshua’s IBF world championship, the vacant World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Organization (IBO) world championships will also be at stake per Klitschko being owed a mandatory challenge of both championships from his contractually obligated rematch with Tyson Fury, which never occurred.

The political elements of the sport aside, this fight is a classic battle of youth versus experience. A young world champion whom some feel has not been tested thus far in his career against a former longtime champion looking to become part of only a handful of fighters to have won a version of the World Heavyweight championship on three separate occasions.

The questions that I have as this fight approaches all center around the former champion Wladimir Klitschko. Although there is no disputing his dominance prior to losing his championship to Tyson Fury, it is important to remember that a casualty of the rematch with Fury falling through in addition to throwing the division into a state of limbo for a period of time is that Klitschko has also been inactive since he lost his championship to Fury in November 2015.

It is certainly understandable how one could  question if potential ring rust might be an issue for Klitschko given not only the length of time he has been out of the ring, but also given that Klitschko is forty-one years old. In addition to the subject of ring rust, Klitschko must also answer the question of whether his performance against Tyson Fury, where he was never really able to get into a consistent offensive rhythm was a case of having a bad night at the office under circumstances where he was facing a fighter who was taller than himself and was also at a disadvantage in terms of reach for a rare time in his career, or if his sporadic offense was a sign of possible decline.

It is logical to assume both given Klitschko's inactivity and the champion’s reputation for scoring quick knockouts as he has only been stretched as far as seven rounds twice in his career thus far that Joshua will look to test Klitschko early in the fight. An element to also consider is that both fighters will be equal in height at 6’6 and nearly equal in terms of reach as the champion will only have a one inch advantage at 82” to Klitschko's 81”.

The approach that I envision Klitschko taking in this fight is one where he might look use his experience to extend Joshua into the middle and late rounds while gradually stepping up his offense as the bout progresses. Klitschko is known for having a tactical Boxing style, but he is also a fighter whom in his sixty-eight fight professional career, has scored knockouts of fifty-three of his opponents registering a career knockout percentage of 78%. It would also be logical to see the challenger look to use the twenty-seven year old Joshua’s aggression against him by looking to make him miss and counter the champion as he comes forward in an attempt to set up a possible knockout as the fight progresses.

One element that surrounds this fight to also consider is it will take place in the legendary Wembley Stadium where an estimated crowd of 90,000 spectators are expected to be on hand. Although sometimes estimated attendance figures do not match or exceed expectations prior to a marquee Boxing event, the crowd that will be in attendance will be massive and one might question how the young champion will respond to what is the definition of “The Big Fight” atmosphere. Klitschko, who has regularly fought in front of sold out arenas and stadiums throughout his career will likely not be awed by the occasion, but for Joshua, who has fought in front of sold out arenas, the question of whether he could freeze in front of a crowd of the size expected at Wembley Stadium for this fight is a fair one to ask and one that will likely be answered early in the fight.

In terms of the business aspects of the sport the Joshua-Klitschko bout will make history in the United States as for the first time two of the sport's major television players and longtime rivals Showtime and HBO will each produce separate broadcasts of the fight on the same day due to each network having exclusive deals with the fighters involved. Showtime, who has a deal as the U.S. Broadcaster for Anthony Joshua's fights, will broadcast the fight live, while HBO, who has a similar deal as the U.S. Broadcaster for Wladimir Klitschko’s bouts, will air their broadcast later in the same evening.

Although the networks are certainly no strangers to each other as they famously co-produced two of Boxing's biggest pay-per-view events the Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson bout in 2002 and most recently the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao bout in 2015, this particular situation is unique and it is refreshing to see that a compromise was made where both networks would be involved rather than one network stepping aside or worse both networks electing not to televise the encounter in any form, something that has been an ongoing  issue with regard to the lack of U.S. television coverage of a good majority Boxing's international scene for years. We will have to wait and see if the unique circumstances that have Showtime and HBO doing separate broadcasts of the same event is something that is a one-off or something that could lead to more of Boxing's international scene being showcased to American audiences on a regular basis. For now, this observer feels this is a step in the right direction that is long overdue.

Whether or not the actual fight lives up to the anticipation and magnitude of the event remains to be seen. Boxing history however, is full of stories of longtime champions who have lost their crowns attempting to reclaim their status against a young world champion who represents a new generation/era of a division and/or the sport. Will this fight signal a return to the top for a fighter who was considered the best Heavyweight in the world following a loss of his crown and lengthy absence, or will this encounter signal a true changing of the guard to a young unbeaten “Knockout Artist”, who may ultimately prove to be the face of a new era of the Heavyweight division? We will get the answer on Saturday night.

“And That's The Boxing Truth.”

Joshua vs. Klitschko takes place Saturday, April 29th at Wembley Stadium in London, England. In the United Kingdom, the bout can be seen on a pay-per-view basis on Sky Box Office for €24.95 HD/€19.95 Standard Definition beginning at 6 PM (Local UK Time). For ordering information please visit:

In the United States, the bout can be seen live on Showtime beginning at 4:15 PM ET/1:15 PM PT and will also be available on the Showtime and Showtime Anytime apps. For more information about Showtime, Showtime Sports, the Showtime and Showtime Anytime apps and a list of compatible devices please visit: HBO will also be broadcasting the fight on a tape delay basis later that evening beginning at 11 PM ET/PT. For more information on HBO, HBO Sports, and HBO Boxing, please visit: and

The Boxing Truth® is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Schedule Update

We would like to let our readers know that new material is in the works and will be released on Wednesday, April 26th during the evening hours. Stay tuned. “And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

Update: We would also like to inform readers that the scheduled post-fight material for the recent Andre Berto-Shawn Porter and Oscar Valdez-Miguel Marriaga bouts will be included in the April 2017 edition of the monthly feature Observations On Recent Events In Boxing which is scheduled for release during the first week of May. We apologize for the delay. Stay tuned.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Which Card Will You Be Watching: Berto-Porter Or Valdez-Marriaga?

On Saturday, April 22nd, the Boxing world will be treated to two intriguing bouts in Boxing's Welterweight and Featherweight divisions. In a battle of former world champions, former two-time Welterweight world champion Andre Berto will square off against former IBF Welterweight world champion Shawn Porter at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY in a bout that will headline the latest edition of the Premier Boxing Champions series broadcast by Showtime in the United States.

This encounter brings together two of the Welterweight division’s most exciting fighters because both have crowd-pleasing styles. In one corner will stand Andre Berto a former two-time world Welterweight champion, who at one point in his career was considered by some to be one of if not the best fighter in the Welterweight division as well as a player in the sport's pound for pound debates. Despite two reigns as world champion, an argument could be made that Berto is perhaps best known more for the fights he has lost than for the status he's earned as a former world champion. A reason one could point to when making that argument is that Berto has taken part in several Fight of the Year candidates throughout his career in bouts he did not always get a victory.

Of course, one of those fights that most remember was Berto’s thrilling first encounter with Victor Ortiz in April 2011 for the WBC Welterweight world championship. A back and forth war that saw both fighters suffer knockdowns where Ortiz earned a hard fought twelve round unanimous decision to hand Berto the first loss of his career and end his first reign as a Welterweight world champion in a fight that was named by several media outlets including Ring Magazine as the 2011 Fight of the Year.

After a brief second reign as Welterweight world champion after defeating IBF world champion Jan Zaveck in September 2011, Berto would again come out on the short end of a grueling battle against former three-division world champion Robert Guerrero in November 2012 and suffer a stoppage loss at the hands of Jesus Soto Karass in July 2013. Since the loss to Soto Karass, Berto has gone on to win three of his last four fights including a fourth round knockout of Victor Ortiz in their rematch in April of last year. The lone loss in Berto's last four fights came in a twelve round unanimous decision against future Hall of Famer Floyd Mayweather in September 2015.

After thirty-five professional bouts and engaging in some of the more grueling battles in the sport in recent years, one might question what the thirty-three year old Berto has left. Standing across the ring from Berto on Saturday night will be former IBF Welterweight world champion Shawn Porter.

Porter, a winner of twenty-six of twenty-nine professional fights will come into this fight off of a hard fought twelve round unanimous decision loss to current WBA/WBC Welterweight world champion Keith Thurman in June of last year. Much like Berto, Porter has a good mix of hand speed, punching power, and is an offensive-minded fighter. As is the case with Berto, Porter has faced adversity in his career in addition to his most recent outing against Keith Thurman.

Some might remember Porter’s title defense against Kell Brook in August 2014. In what was a close and competitive fight where both fighters suffered cuts and were each able to have periods of effectiveness throughout, Porter, who was then the IBF world champion in the Welterweight division, suffered the first loss of his career in losing the championship to Brook via twelve round majority decision. Despite that loss to Brook and his loss against Thurman, Porter remains a top contender for any world champion in the division as he looks to get back in the win column in this fight against Berto.

What interests me whenever there is a bout between two offense-first fighters is to see how each will approach the fight. Both fighters have the ability to get an opponent out of there should the opportunity arise and each has shown the ability to take a punch and keep fighting. Normally what I tend to look for in regard to a fight like this is to see if one fighter will choose to make a tactical adjustment by allowing their opponent to get their offense off first while looking to create openings for counter punches to set up their own offense. This fight, which is an elimination bout to determine a mandatory challenger in the World Boxing Council’s (WBC) Welterweight ratings, might come down to who takes that initiative by looking to play the role of counter puncher.

Although as longtime readers know this observer is not one who likes making predictions, I would be surprised if this bout does not turn into the entertaining fight it appears to be on paper. It is one might argue a classic crossroads scenario between two fighters who each have something to prove.

The second main event that will take place on Saturday night will feature a battle for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) Featherweight world championship as undefeated world champion Oscar Valdez will attempt to make the second defense of his crown against current WBO number one Featherweight contender Miguel Marriaga at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA. Valdez-Marriaga will headline a pay-per-view card in the United States.

This encounter much like the Berto-Porter pits two offensive-minded fighters against each other. The champion Valdez will enter the fight unbeaten in twenty-one professional fights having scored knockouts in nineteen of those bouts registering a career knockout percentage of 90%. In his last fight in November of last year, Valdez scored a dominant seventh round stoppage of Hiroshi Osawa. Valdez has only been as far as ten rounds once in his career and has scored the majority of his knockouts within seven rounds. This suggests that the champion could look to take advantage of any opening that might be available to him in this fight with the intention of ending the encounter early.

Valdez will likely find an opponent who is more than willing to engage in the form of former world title challenger Miguel Marriaga. Marriaga, a veteran of twenty-six professional fights will be making his second attempt at a world championship. The challenger has won twenty-five of those twenty-six bouts scoring knockouts in twenty-one of those fights registering a career knockout percentages of 81%. In his lone defeat, Marriaga lost a twelve round unanimous decision to former World Boxing Association (WBA) Featherweight world champion Nicholas Walters in June 2015 in his previous attempt at a world championship.

Since the loss to Walters, Marriaga has won five straight fights, scoring knockouts in three of those bouts, and also won the North American Boxing Organization (NABO) Featherweight championship along the way. It will be interesting to see whether Marriaga, who has more experience than the champion in terms of professional fights fought and a significant edge in terms of total rounds fought of 126 to 87, will look to extend the champion into the middle and late rounds of this fight where the champion has not been extended much in his career. Despite Marriaga having a high career knockout percentage, he will be best served in the eyes of this observer if he can find a way to neutralize the champion’s power and pressure and attempt to outbox Valdez.

What is also interesting about these two fights is they will be going head to head against each other on television with Berto-Porter airing on Showtime and Valdez-Marriaga airing on cable/satellite pay-per-view. Although there are several elements with regard to the “Business of Boxing “ that should be considered whenever a head to head scenario takes place, one may question the wisdom of putting a pay-per-view card against an established series that has consistently produced competitive fights as well as high ratings. When one also takes into account that Valdez-Marriaga will be available to the public for a price of $54.95 for the High Definition feed of the card as well as the fact that the Saul Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. pay-per-view card on May 6th is expected to produce solid pay-per-view returns in terms of total buys, despite being at a higher price of $69.95 for the High Definition feed one may wonder if this will prove to be a wise move by choosing to put this card on pay-per-view rather than perhaps a different network. In an era where the preferences of television consumption are heading  in the direction of Over The Top (OTT digital distribution over traditional cable or satellite television along with ever increasing pay-per-view prices, despite a consistent trend of pay-per-view Boxing events underperforming expected returns in terms of overall buys/revenue, the question of whether a card should be presented on pay-per-view over a cable/satellite network or Over The Air (OTA)  broadcast networks is one that will become an increasing issue as time goes on for promoters as well as networks throughout the entire sport on a global scale, who have yet to test the waters of OTT digital distribution, will have to consider.

This however, will not diminish what could be a candidate for Fight of the Year candidate when Valdez and Marriaga square off on Saturday night. Although both Valdez-Marriaga and Berto-Porter look to be exciting fights, it will be interesting to see if the ultimate authority, the Boxing fan will opt to watch one card over the other or if a good portion of the viewing audience will choose to watch both events. There is one thing for certain regardless of what one's opinion might be regarding the concept of head to head Boxing cards on television and/or the concept of “Pay-Per-View” as a focal point of the sport’s biggest attractions, interest in the sport of Boxing remains high and in a year that has already seen some memorable battles, this observer believes both of these encounters will soon be on the list of great fights of 2017. We'll see what happens on Saturday night.

“And That's The Boxing Truth.”

PBC: Berto vs. Porter takes place tomorrow night (Saturday, April 22nd) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. The fight can be seen in the United States on Showtime beginning at 9PM ET/6PM PT and will also be available on the Showtime and Showtime Anytime apps. Check you local listings for time and channel in your area. For more information about the Premier Boxing Champions series please visit: For more information about Showtime, Showtime Sports, and the Showtime and Showtime Anytime apps please visit: Check your listings internationally.

Valdez vs. Marriaga takes place tomorrow night (Saturday, April 22nd) at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA. The card can be seen in the United States on cable/satellite pay-per-view on Top Rank Pay-Per-View for $54.95 HD/$44.95 SD. The pay-per-view broadcast, which will also be available on a pay-per-view basis online on will begin at 9PM ET/6PM PT. contact your cable/satellite provider for ordering information. Check your listings internationally. For more information about Valdez vs. Marriaga and Top Rank Inc. please visit:

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