Thursday, July 20, 2017


We would like to let our readers know that a special edition of the regular feature Observations On Recent Events In Boxing discussing some of the events that have taken place during the month of July is currently in the works and will be released on Wednesday, July 26th. Stay tuned. "And That's The Boxing Truth."

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Mananquil Looks To Keep Streak Going In “Brawl At The Mall”

Ben Mananquil Photo Credit:Sanman Promotions
Press Release: July 19, 2017 By Sanman Promotions - The rising Ben Mananquil of the Sanman Boxing Gym will be one of the fighters to watch out for in the upcoming "Brawl at the Mall: Collision Course" slated July 23 at Robinsons Place Atrium in General Santos City.  Mananquil (13W-1L-2D, 3KOs) will be gunning for a fourth straight victory against Kim Lindog (5W-4L-1D, 4KOs) as he gears up for a bigger fight that Sanman Promotions chief executive officer (CEO) Jim Claude “JC” Manangquil is cooking up for him late this year.

       “I am planning to have him fight for the OPBF silver title on Sept. 9 versus Jhalel Payao,” said Manangquil. Payao is a stalwart of the Cebu City-based Omega Boxing Gym. Mananquil pulled off three straight wins after absorbing a split decision loss to Jing Xiang in Haikou, China last December 27, 2014.
    The match will be streamed live via Sanman Live. The Sanman Live card, which can viewed through Sanman Promotions' Facebook page, will also feature the fight of Jade Bornea against Nicong Calamba and the main event duel of Engelbert Moralde and Jestoni Makiputin.

Material and Photo Courtesy of: Sanman Promotions. Used with permission.

For more information about Sanman Promotions please visit their Facebook page

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


Monday, July 17, 2017

Duno now in U.S., Ready To Buckle Down To Work

L/R Assistant trainer Stanley Godinez, Recky Dulay, Romero Duno, Rodel Mayol.
Press Release: July 17, 2017 (Originally released July 16, 2017) By Sanman Promotions - After taking some time off, it's back to serious business for the hard-punching Romeo “Ruthless” Duno, who arrived in Los Angeles, California, USA yesterday. “Duno will start training at Wildcard Gym next week with Rodel Mayol,” said Sanman Promotions chief finance officer Dexter Tan.

    Romero (14W-1L-0D-13KOs) was signed up by Golden Boy Promotions of boxing great Oscar De La Hoya after his sensational second-round knockout win over Christian Gonzalez last March 10 at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles.  

    After his impressive win over Gonzalez, Duno saw action in a homecoming fight last June 10 that saw him knocking out Jason Tinampay in the second round in the main event of Brawl at the Mall: The Homecoming at the Robinsons Mall Atrium in General Santos City.     “I am happy to be back in the US. I will continue to work hard and will not waste the opportunity that was given to me,” said Duno.

Material and Photo Courtesy of: Sanman Promotions. Used with permission.

For more information about Sanman Promotions please visit their Facebook page at:

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

Friday, July 14, 2017

Eubank Jr.-Abraham Preview

On July 15th one of the more interesting fights in the recent history of the 168lb. Super-Middleweight division will take place when IBO Super-Middleweight world champion Chris Eubank Jr. will defend his crown against former two-division world champion and current IBO number one Super-Middleweight contender Arthur Abraham at the SSE Arena, Wembley in London, England. This match-up, which will be televised on pay-per-view here in the United States, is in some ways a crossroads fight for both fighters.

For the champion Chris Eubank Jr. this fight represents what could be the start of his campaign to become the Super-Middleweight division’s central figure. Eubank, the son of the legendary former two-division world champion Chris Eubank Sr., won the International Boxing Organization (IBO) Super-Middleweight world championship in February of this year with a tenth round stoppage of Renold Quinlan, has won twenty-four of twenty-five professional fights and will have what could be a difficult task in what will be his first title defense in the form of former world champion Arthur Abraham.

The primary question that I have going into this fight is how the thirty-seven year old Abraham will attempt to combat Eubank. Abraham is a former two-division world champion who successfully defended the IBF Middleweight world championship ten times between 2005-2009 before moving up in weight to the Super-Middleweight division. Abraham has gone on to hold the WBO Super-Middleweight championship twice, but some might argue after fifty-one professional fights that he might be a fighter on the decline.

Abraham however, has won two straight fights since losing the WBO Super-Middleweight world championship to Gilberto Ramirez in April of last year. The challenge for Abraham will be to neutralize Eubank’s movement and nullify his offense. Eubank is a fighter with a good mix of hand speed and punching power, but can throw punches from varying angles, which makes him a difficult fighter to combat.

Abraham is a fighter who uses a high and tight defensive guard to block and deflect his opponents offense as he attempts to apply pressure by coming forward and looking to gradually break an opponent down. The former champion has scored knockouts in thirty of his forty-six career wins registering a career knockout percentage of 59%. Although he has the ability to get an opponent out of there should the opportunity arise, Abraham has shown that he is also capable of outworking an opponent as a fight progresses.

Fighters who have good lateral movement and hand speed such as Andre Ward and Andre Dirrell have been able to outbox Abraham by outworking him and keeping him on the defensive. Abraham will face a similar challenge in this fight against Eubank.

The twenty-seven year old Eubank has all the theoretical advantages going into this fight. Youth, hand speed, an unorthodox style, punching power and is capable of ending a fight with either hand as evidenced by his scoring knockouts in nineteen of his twenty-four career wins registering a career knockout percentage of 76%. Although Eubank’s movement and angles have proven to be a difficult task for his opponents, he does periodically drop his hands choosing to attempt to avoid punches with strictly head and lateral movement.

Abraham is a first-class counter puncher and it will be interesting to see if Eubank shows any reluctance to drop his hands as to not leave the challenger a potential opening. When Eubank lets his hands go he is capable of varying his attack and keeping an opponent on the defensive. Given Abraham’s style of coming forward and working behind a tight defensive guard, one could expect that the champion will look to swarm the challenger with offense in spurts with the intent of keeping Abraham from being able to get off with his offense and using his movement to prevent him from closing the distance where he could get on the inside.

What is at stake in this fight beyond a world championship and a position atop the Super-Middleweight division is a slot in the upcoming World Boxing Super Series eight-man single-elimination Super-Middleweight tournament that is scheduled to begin in September. With the 168lb. Suoer-Middleweight division featuring several top fighters and world champions all vying to become the number one fighter/central figure of the division, we will see if Chris Eubank  Jr. or Arthur Abraham will be able to make a strong argument as being the number one fighter in the division and earn a spot in the upcoming Super Series tournament which will likely determine  the Super-Middleweight division’s next central figure.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

Eubank Jr. vs. Abraham takes place tomorrow night (Saturday, July 15th) at the SSE Arena, Wembley in London, England. In the United States the fight as well as undercard can be seen on Integrated Sports Pay-Per-View for $29.95 on cable/satellite and the Fite TV app beginning at 2:30PM ET/11:30AM PT. Contact your cable/satellite provider to order. The Fite TV app is available on Apple app store and Android. For ordering information and more information about the Fite TV app as well as instructions on how to cast content from your phone or tablet to your television please visit: For more information on Integrated Sports Media please visit:

 In Canada, the card can be seen on Super Channel beginning at 2:30PM ET/11:30AM PT. For more information on Super Channel please visit: In the United Kingdom, the card can be seen on ITV Box Office for €19.95 HD/€16.95 Standard Definition. For more information about ITV Box Office as well as a listing of cable/satellite providers where ITV Box Office is available please visit: Check your listings internationally.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Brief Update

We would like to let our readers know that new material will be released on Friday, July 14th. 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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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Pacquiao-Horn: A Great Fight With A Shadow Of Controversy

Anyone who has followed this observer's work both online and in print over the past two decades are probably familiar with my saying “Like Peanut Butter And Jelly, Boxing And Controversy Just Go Together.” A simple saying that has unfortunately gotten more use by yours truly through the years than I hoped would be the case when I first uttered those words many years ago. Of course, there is an appropriate time, place, and way to use such a saying, but some might wonder when is the appropriate time?

Obviously, if one either covers or follows combat sports closely you will find no shortage of people expressing their opinions whether it be joy, disappointment, anger, and/or outrage after a combat sports event. Among the things one is likely to hear at least once if not more following an event is the view of those who think an outcome was “Controversial” or offer what could be described by some as conspiracy theories as possible motivations of a controversial outcome. Although this could easily apply to all combat sports, in Boxing, what  distinguishes a theory of controversy from a legitimate controversy?

Speaking from personal experience there are two common scenarios. Either a referee stopping a fight too early in the eyes of fans or the most common scenario in my eyes, a fight that is seen one way by those who view a fight either in a crowd or on television, but is seen a completely different way by those who are tasked with scoring a fight should it go the distance, the three official judges. Without going into a long and thorough journey through Boxing history on some of the encounters labeled controversial as that would be a full column in of itself, Boxing's latest “Controversy” is one that has certainly  stirred debate.

On July 1st, future Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao made the first defense of the WBO Welterweight world championship, a championship he had regained in November of last year by defeating Jessie Vargas, against undefeated WBO number one Welterweight contender Jeff Horn at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia. An encounter called “The Battle Of Brisbane.”

Despite being unbeaten in seventeen professional fights prior to challenging Pacquiao, Horn came into the fight as a significant underdog. Horn however, had scored three straight knockouts coming into the fight including impressive victories over former Welterweight world champions Randall Bailey and Ali Funeka. Although Horn had an impressive, but limited resume going into the fight with Pacquiao, one may have been justified in wondering if Horn was ready for a significant step up in the caliber of his opposition by facing a fighter who had spent much of the last decade at or near the top of most Boxing experts respective pound for pound rankings.

Stylistically, Horn did have an exciting offensive-minded style that had an emphasis on combination punching as well as how effective he could be with his right hand as a focal point of his offense. As this fight approached I wondered how Horn would deal with Pacquiao's hand speed and angles, components of Pacquiao's offense that have bedeviled many an opponent over the years. This was of particular interest to this observer due to Horn suffering knockdowns in his fights with both Randall Bailey and Ali Funeka.

What always interests me whenever there is a scenario where a heavy favorite faces a fighter who is not given much of a chance is to see if the underdog can get the respect of that fighter. To his credit, Horn attempted to do just that from the opening bell by coming out aggressively and bringing the fight to Pacquiao.

What impressed me early on from Horn was how he was able to disrupt Pacquiao's rhythm and establish his right hand. I felt that Horn won the first round clearly due to how effective he was landing the right hand as well as some effective work he was able to do to Pacquiao's body. Pacquiao however, was able to land some solid counter punches early and I felt that Pacquiao's ability to counter his opponent would become an increasing issue for the challenger as the fight progressed.

Although Horn was the consistent aggressor throughout much of this fight, I felt Pacquiao was more effective with his offense by landing the cleaner punches of the two. Through the first four rounds, I had Pacquiao winning three rounds to one on my unofficial scorecard. This was due largely to Pacquiao's ability to use his hand speed to catch Horn with offense as the challenger came forward. It should not be overlooked that there was a lot of fighting on the inside throughout this fight and on that basis some of the rounds could have been called “Swing Rounds” that could have gone either way depending on one's perspective and interpretation as to who got the upper hand.

From this observer's perspective, Pacquiao's landing the cleaner shots as well as out landing Horn to the appearance of one's eyes is what I based my scoring on as well as his defense as he was able to make Horn miss and catch him in between exchanges with offense. Horn meanwhile was most effective in my eyes in rounds one, six, eight, and ten. It was in these rounds that I felt the challenger was able to control the tempo, land the harder shots, and keep Pacquiao on the defensive.  What should also not be overlooked is this was a grueling encounter where both fighters suffered cuts due to both punches and clashes of heads.

It appeared during the second half of the fight that Pacquiao was getting the better of the action and that rounds were in his favor due to landing the more effective blows as Horn came forward as well as his limiting what the challenger could do when he was able to get on the inside. Horn however, was still able to find a home for his right hand and was able to mix in some work to Pacquiao’s body in spots.

The central moment in this fight in the eyes of many, including this observer came in round nine where the champion Pacquiao battered the “Game” Horn around the ring with punches with both hands. It appeared as though if Pacquiao could have pressed the action a bit more that he may have been able to get a stoppage, but to the challenger’s credit he was able to survive the surge of offense from the champion and get out of the round. Despite making it out of round nine, Referee Mark Nelson went to Horn’s corner after the round ended and informed the battered challenger that he was there to protect him and thought Horn had, had enough. After some pleading from Horn and his corner, Nelson informed the Brisbane native that he needed to show him something in round ten or he was going to stop the fight.

To Horn’s credit round ten ended up being one of his better rounds of the fight in my eyes as he landed the more effective shots and was able to make Pacquiao miss. Although I felt Pacquiao was generally the more effective of the two fighters over the second half of this fight, there was no disputing that after such a hard effort in round nine in an attempt to get Horn out of there, Pacquiao was fighting fatigue in the last three rounds of what was a grueling fight.

At the end of the twelve round world championship bout, I had Pacquiao winning eight rounds to four or 116-112 in points. Although Horn was extremely “Game”, I felt Pacquiao did enough over the second half of the fight to retain his title.  Despite the opinion of yours truly as well as many others, the three official judges scored the fight in favor of Horn by scores of 117-111 (Nine rounds to three) and 115-113 (Seven rounds to five) on two scorecards making Horn the winner and new WBO Welterweight world champion as the crowd of 51, 052 erupted in excitement.

Even though I felt Pacquiao won this fight and outworked Horn as shown in statistics provided by CompuBox as Pacquiao landed 182 of 573 total punches to Horn’s 92 of 625 total punches, Horn was consistently aggressive throughout this fight and was able to back Pacquiao up more than occasionally.  It is important to remember however, that punch statistics are not a part of the criteria in which fights are scored.

A challenge that can be present when it comes to fights like this for judges scoring a fight is to distinguish between what is aggression and what is effective aggression. As is the case with most decisions deemed “Controversial” by Boxing fans and experts, the three judges who scored this bout Waleska Roldan, Ramon Cerdan, and Chris Flores have been heavily criticized for their scoring. 

Although some of those critics questioned each respective judge’s credentials and qualifications, this observer has researched each respective judge’s record in an effort to answer some of the criticism and counting the Pacquiao-Horn fight the three judges Roldan, Cerdan, and Flores have scored a combined total of 1, 535  professional fights, many of which have been for world championships.  Even though this observer stands by his score of eight rounds to four in favor of Pacquiao, Horn did back Pacquiao up throughout the fight bring the fight to him for much of the bout and that can leave an impression on judges even if a fighter does not always land clean with their offense.

Despite the temptation that some might have following a “Controversial” decision to voice their respective point of view, which in my experience can come in the form of great passion and anger, this observer instead took some time before voicing his own view in the aftermath of Pacquiao-Horn beyond sharing my score publicly and uttering those all too familiar words “Like Peanut Butter And Jelly, Boxing and Controversy Just Go Together” in the moments after the decision was announced. In the one week since the bout took place there have been inevitable calls for investigations to take place, for the decision to be reversed, and for the three judges to be reprimanded for what has been seen as either “Unjust” or “Incompetent” scoring by some. 

Although Judges Roldan, Cerdan, and Flores are the only ones who can speak as to what they saw and what they based their scoring on and even though a scorecard of eight rounds to four from this observer might give the appearance of a lopsided fight, there were some rounds particularly in the first half of the fight that could have been scored either way. As this observer has often said over the years when it comes close fights, it will often boil down to what a judge prefers in their own individual criteria in how they score based on clean punching, effective aggressiveness, ring generalship, and defense. A practice where interpretation is also part of the equation.  

Following the fight, this observer polled his followers on Twitter as to who they felt won the fight and 69% of voters voted in favor of Pacquiao while 29% voted in favor of Horn. 2% of those who participated in this poll felt the fight was a draw. An illustration of how interpretation can vary among spectators even though Pacquiao received the majority of the vote.

With much of the Boxing world sharing their point of view as to how they saw this fight and with those involved in it sharing their own thoughts, the question is was this a legitimate controversy? The sanctioning organization who’s world championship was on the line, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) announced earlier this week that they will review the fight with five anonymous judges from different countries to watch the bout and offer their own scores. The organization however, has stated that this review will not result in a reverse of the decision, but rather to offer the Boxing fans certainty as to who won the fight. While the organization has no authority to reverse the decision based on  judges discretion, they do have a rematch clause in the contract and one would have to assume that a rematch will be ordered.

In thinking of how this “Controversy” has played out in the days since the fight, I have thought about Manny Pacquiao’s controversial loss in his first fight against Timothy Bradley in June 2012 as a fight that had a similar fallout and circumstances. Much as was the case with Pacquiao’s latest loss to Jeff Horn, many including this observer felt that Pacquiao won the fight against Bradley in the first of what became three fights. As some readers might recall, I scored every round of that first encounter in favor of Pacquiao, but I did state although I stood by my score that there were a few rounds throughout the fight that after further review of could have been scored in favor of Bradley depending on one’s perspective.

Although there was not an immediate rematch between Pacquiao and Bradley, Pacquiao eventually rebounded to win two out of three fights in the trilogy. Given that there is a rematch clause for Pacquiao-Horn and seeing as Horn was the number one contender/mandatory challenger as recognized by the WBO that the best case scenario is for an immediate rematch to take place possibly before the end of 2017.

What has been overshadowed in this “Controversy” was that this was a great fight between a legend of the sport against a “Game” undefeated challenger. In terms of success, the fight, which was broadcast by ESPN in the United States drew 4.4 million viewers. A sign of the changing environment of the sport as well as television consumption as a good sign of the benefit of moving away from a “Pay-Per-View” mindset in regard to allowing Boxing fans to see the upper echelon of the sport compete without having to pay what has become an ever increasing price over the last decade.

Although some might suggest that what is seen as a “Controversial” outcome might discourage networks from continuing to invest in the sport in an effort to bring Boxing to the biggest audience possible, this observer does not believe that will be the case. While there is a difference of opinion as to who won Pacquiao-Horn, Boxing fans should celebrate the fact that not only were they treated to a great fight, but they were not asked to pay an inflated fee to see it.

Is there a legitimate “Controversy” in regard to this fight? Of course, there will be varying answers to that question based on one’s perspective. Although I feel Pacquiao won the fight, this observer has seen worse decisions and “Controversies” over the years. The beauty about Boxing however, is there is always a remedy for a “Controversy”, “A Rematch.”

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

To read more about the World Boxing Organization’s letter announcing a review of the Pacquiao-Horn fight please visit:

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Schedule Update

We would like to let our readers know that material discussing the July 1st WBO World Welterweight Championship fight between Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn is in the works and will be released on Saturday, July 8th. 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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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Pacquiao-Horn Weights

The official weigh-in for Saturday’s WBO Welterweight world championship fight between champion Manny Pacquiao and undefeated WBO number one contender Jeff Horn took place on Friday in Brisbane, Australia. The official weights for the entire card are as follows.

Main Event: WBO World Welterweight championship – 12Rds.

Manny Pacquiao (Champion) 145 3/4lbs. vs. Jeff Horn 146 1/4lbs.

Light- Heavyweight – 10Rds.

Damien Hooper 174 1/2lbs. vs. Umar Salamov 174 3/4lbs.

Middleweight – 8Rds.

Shane Mosley Jr. 159 1/4lbs. vs. David Toussaint 159 1/2lbs.

IBF World Jr. Bantamweight championship – 12Rds.

Jerwin Ancajas 114lbs. vs. Teiru Kinoshita 114 3/4lbs.

Featherweight – 6Rds.

Michael Conlan 125 1/4lbs. vs. Jarrett Owen 125 3/4lbs.

Bantamweight – 6Rds.

Brock Jarvis 117 1/2lbs. vs. Rasmanudin 117lbs.

Jr. Welterweight – 6Rds.

Jonel Dapidran 140lbs. vs. Brent Dames 139 1/4lbs.

Pacquiao vs. Horn takes place Tonight (Saturday, July 1st) at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia. The card can be seen in the United States on ESPN beginning at 9PM ET/6PM PT and will also be available on the ESPN and Watch ESPN apps. For more information please visit:  In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the card can be seen on BoxNation beginning at 1AM (Sunday, July 2nd Local UK Time.) For more information please visit: Check your listings internationally.

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

FBHOF 2017 Amateur Fight Night Recap And Thoughts

One of the biggest weekends in the state of Florida’s Boxing scene occurred between June 23rd-25th as the 2017 Florida Boxing Hall Of Fame weekend took place at the beautiful Westshore Grand Hotel in Tampa, FL. Among the various events that compromised the weekend was the annual FBHOF Amateur Fight Night on June 23rd, which featured a seventeen bout card comprised of amateurs of various levels from across the state as well as a meet and greet with some of the inductees that made up the 2017 class. This observer was honored to be in attendance at this event and was at ringside for the card.  Here are some of the highlights of what took place on this card.

  In JO division bouts: Jomar Blasin representing Gladiator Boxing Tampa Bay scored a third round TKO of Rodney Morris representing Belle Glade P.A.L.  All of the bouts on this card were scheduled for three two-minute rounds and that meant the action inside the ring started quickly as fighters looked to gain an upper hand on their opposition. In this fight, Blasin was able to withstand the aggression of Morris to force a standing eight count in the first round. A left hook to the head of Morris late in the second round forced a second standing eight count. In round three, a right, left combination to the head of Morris by Blasin forced a third standing eight count and forced a stoppage of the fight by Referee Bob  Nicholson.

Although Morris was aggressive early in this bout, he seemed too intent on trying to end the fight in the first round and perhaps due to the two minute round length, did not pace himself allowing Blasin to get the better of the action particularly in exchanges by landing the cleaner punches.  

Albert Jenkins representing Belle Glade P.A.L scored a three round split decision over Alberto Blanco. Unofficially, I scored in favor of Jenkins two rounds to one or 29-28 in points.  

Landon Minus representing Belle Glade P.A.L scored a three round split decision over Alberto Zumaeta representing Elite Boxing.  Zumaeta started the fight landing a combination to the head of Minus. Minus however, finished the first round strong landing punches on the inside of Zumaeta making the round a close one. Minus was able to outwork Zumaeta in the second round, but it was Zumaeta, got the upper hand in the third and final round, in my opinion and I scored the bout two rounds to one or 29-28 in his favor. Although I thought Zumaeta won the fight, I believe Minus got the nod from the judges based on how effective he was when he was able to get on the inside of Zumaeta as well as his overall aggression.

Albert Jenkins representing Belle Glade P.A.L scored a three round split decision over Alberto Blanco. This was another close and competitive fight where both fighters had their moments. Jenkins was able to be more active and effective in my view as I scored all three rounds in his favor or 30-27 in points. 

In an Open Class bout: Malik Roberts representing Double V. Boxing Club scored a three round split decision over Terrence Gipson representing Main Event Boxing Club. This was one of the more difficult fights to score on this card, in my opinion as I thought Gipson won two out of three rounds or 29-28 in points and scored the fight unofficially in his favor. I can easily see how some may have seen the fight going in favor of Roberts.

In Novice division bouts:

 Shamara Woods representing Elite Boxing scored a three round unanimous decision over Jhnealle Gilman, who was not representing a Boxing team or club on this card.  Woods consistently pressed the action throwing hooks with both hands and pushing Gilman back.  Despite having a reach advantage over Woods, Gilman was unable to control the tempo of the combat and could not control distance to keep Woods from coming forward and that was what allowed Woods to earn the unanimous decision, in my opinion. Unofficially, I scored all three rounds of this bout for Woods or 30-27 in points. Woods’ overall aggression and ability to land the more effective punches was the story of this fight.

 In other action, Jibir Pough representing H&G Boxing scored a second round stoppage of Marguis Newwell representing Team China Smith. Roberto Beltran representing Marco Island Boxing Club scored a three round unanimous decision over Jaime Perez representing SJC Boxing Team. Perez went down shortly after the beginning of the fight from what appeared to this observer to be a slip, but was ruled a knockdown by Referee Michael De Jesus. Beltran was able to control this fight with his movement, jab, and combination punching as he was an elusive target that Perez had trouble finding consistently. Unofficially, I scored all three rounds in favor of Perez or 30-26 in points.

Aimable Marckens representing Young Guns Boxing Club scored a three round split decision over Kelly Marlon. Although all of the rounds in this fight were close, I felt Marckens won all three rounds or 30-27 in points based on landing the cleaner punches.

Isreal Bencivenga representing Elite Boxing scored a three round unanimous decision over Jorge Hernandez, who was not representing a Boxing team or club on this card. Unofficially, I scored all three rounds in favor of Benchvenga or 30-27 in points.

 Douglas Ruiz representing Beast Mode Boxing scored a second round stoppage of Jerry Moore representing SJC Boxing Team. Ruiz landed some flush right hands in the opening round, had success catching Moore in exchanges with both hands, and forced a standing eight count by Referee Michael De Jesus. In round two, Ruiz forced a second standing eight count after landing a flush combination to the head of Moore as he had Moore against the ropes and would get the stoppage of Moore later in the round.

In what may have been the fight of the night in the eyes of some, James Walker, who was not representing a Boxing team or club on this card, scored a devastating third round knockout of Antonius Grable representing SJC Boxing Team. After two relatively even rounds where both fighters had their moments, Walker brought a sudden conclusion to the fight with a flush left hook to the head of Grable knocking him down and out. Despite the brutal nature of the knockout, Grable was able to get up and left the ring under his own power.  This was frankly a scary knockout to watch especially when one considers that this was a bout between two novice amateur boxers. It should however, remind any fan that Boxing just like all combat sports is a one where the participants take a risk on both the amateur and professional level and that what makes the sport so great is that anything can happen at any given time. Prior to the knockout, I had the fight even at one round a piece, Given the dramatic ending to this bout and how competitive it was prior to it, it would not surprise me to see Walker and Grable’s paths cross again at some point.

 Richard Graham representing St. Pete Boxing scored a three round unanimous decision over Dejon Bendezu representing SJC Boxing Team. Graham attacked Bendezu with both hands from the opening bell and was able to force a standing eight count in round one due to Bendezu not throwing much offense in return. The second round was close due to the pace of the fight slowing slightly, but in my eyes Graham was the more active of the two fighters and was the one forcing the action. Graham continued to control the tempo in round three and landed some solid right hands on Bendezu as well as outworked him on the inside to earn the unanimous decision. Unofficially, I scored all three rounds in favor of Graham or 30-26 in points. Graham’s cleaner offense and greater activity made this a convincing victory for him.

 Lecorey Fields representing Team China Smith scored a three round unanimous decision over Justin Crimmis representing SJC Boxing Team. Fields started this fight well working behind his jab and looking to mix in combinations, but as the first round progressed, Crimmis was able to use his strength to land some shots of his own in what ended up being a close round in my view. What made this fight difficult to score was Fields was most effective during periods where he was able to keep the combat at a distance where it allowed him to control the tempo with his jab. Crimmis meanwhile was most effective when he was able to use his size to push Fields back and get on the inside where he was able to land some effective body punches on Fields. A small combination to the head of Crimmis late in the second round however, led to a standing eight count and turned what was an otherwise narrow and close fight in Fields’ favor. The third round saw Fields being more aggressive being the more active fighter and landed some combinations. Fields would go on to earn the unanimous decision victory. Unofficially, I scored this fight in favor of Fields giving him all three rounds or 30-26 in points. Although a shut out score may not indicate a close competitive fight in the eyes of some, the second round was dictated largely by Crimmis in my view and had it not been for the combination that led to the standing eight count against him, the fight would have been even on my card. This was one of the more competitive fights of the evening, in my opinion.

 Colby Shaw representing Young Guns Boxing Team scored a first round stoppage of Roy Jones representing Team China Smith. A combination to the head by Shaw sent Jones down to the canvas in a neutral corner. Although he was able to beat the count, Jones was unable to continue and the bout was stopped by Referee Raymond Ortiz. Shaw was simply too strong for Jones and once he saw his opportunity he took advantage of it.

Miguel Garcia, who was not representing a Boxing team or club on this card, scored a three round unanimous decision over Ollen Galdames Garia representing Jupter Boxing. Much as was the case with some of the other bouts on this card, Garcia was simply the more effective fighter over three rounds and forced the action. Unofficially, I scored all three rounds for Garcia or 30-27 in points.

 Marques McBride, who was not representing a Boxing team or club on this card, scored a third round stoppage over Bilal Quintyne representing Main Event Boxing Club. Despite being at a height disadvantage, McBride was able to force the action in round one and was able to land the more effective punches. In the second round McBride continued to press forward forcing Quintyne back and throwing combinations. In round three a barrage of punches by McBride forced a standing eight count of Quintyne and led to Referee Bob Nicholson stopping the fight. McBride simply did what he had to do against a fighter in Quintyne, who was not able to offer much resistance as the fight progressed.

 Inu Matelau representing Young Guns Boxing Team was declared the winner by disqualification in the third round in his bout with Tyler Yavarar representing St. Pete Boxing. The first round of this fight was close and I thought Yavarar had a slight edge due to landing the cleaner punches. Yavarar was penalized a point for holding in round two and in round three was disqualified by Referee Bob Nicholson.

There was a lot of holding in this fight and that could be due to perhaps a bad meshing of styles between the two fighters, similar to what happens from time to time in Professional Boxing. Although this observer did not see the foul which led to the disqualification from my position at ringside, it was a judgment call by the referee. The decision however, was not a popular one with the crowd in attendance, who responded by booing the call.

Closing Thoughts: Longtime readers who have followed this observer’s work in both online and in print over the years should be familiar with one of my most consistent themes. To focus on what is good and will benefit the sport of Boxing long-term.

It goes without saying that one of the things someone who writes about and covers sports will deal with from time to time is the opinions of those who choose to focus on the negative aspects of sports. Boxing is one such sport where there is no shortage of fans voicing their outrage on a regular basis. Although it is understandable to a degree when such outrage is expressed depending on the situation, I have at times been accused of perhaps being too optimistic and for seeing the good in Boxing when no one else seems to.

During my time at this event, I had the opportunity to speak with some of those who were inducted on June 25th into the Florida Boxing Hall Of Fame as well as others who were also in attendance and one of the pleasures of the evening was simply to sit and listen to the various stories that they shared whether it involved a particular fight or event that they were involved in or listening to how they became involved in the sport. As I listened, I was reminded of a guest column that I wrote for Chuck Horton Boxing in May 2015 entitled What Is It Like To Be A Boxing Writer?, where I shared my own story of what drew me to Boxing and addressed the question that I have been asked on more than one occasion of why would I want to cover and write about a sport that is subject to consistent ridicule as well as subject to questions of potential corruption? I stated that it was true that Boxing has had more than it’s share of black eyes over the years and it can be at times all too tempting for fans to throw up their hands and voice their dissatisfaction with the sport.

Events like the Florida Boxing Hall Of Fame weekend are a perfect example of the good in Boxing. Not only do those who have contributed in various capacities to the sport have an opportunity to receive the recognition they deserve, but events like this also present a look into what could be the future of the sport by showcasing some of the up-and-coming amateur talent the sport has to offer. Although there will be those who will continue to focus on and criticize Boxing for its flaws and imperfections, it is a shame that some of those detractors could not be in attendance at any of the festivities that comprised the 2017 Florida Boxing Hall Of Fame weekend. Perhaps those who choose to focus on the negative aspects of the sport would have been given a fresh perspective on the good Boxing has to offer. Congratulations to all of the inductees in the class of 2017 Florida Boxing Hall of Fame.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Belated Thoughts On Ward-Kovalev II

The first encounter between undefeated two-division world champion Andre Ward and longtime Light-Heavyweight world champion Sergey Kovalev in November of last year had all the elements that make a great fight. Two elite level world class fighters meeting for Kovalev's unified Light-Heavyweight world championship. By now, most Boring fans know that Ward overcame a second round knockdown at the hands of Kovalev to earn a razor thin twelve round unanimous decision to hand the previously unbeaten “Knockout Artist” Kovalev his first loss as a professional to earn his second world championship in as many weight classes.

The competitive nature of that fight along with what some felt was a controversial decision in Ward’s favor fueled demand for a rematch. On June 17th, the two fighters squared off for the second time in one of the sport's most anticipated fights of 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV. In previewing the rematch this observer mentioned that much as is the case with movies that very seldom are rematches as good or even outdo the original encounter. There are times however, where much like a good movie or series of films, where the outcome of a rematch leaves more questions than answers and/or a conclusion that could best be described as a “Cliffhanger “ where there is not only debate as to what had taken place, but also what will happen next.

Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev: part 2 offered such a “Cliffhanger.” Much as was the case in the first fight, the rematch was fought at a measured and tactical pace where both fighters were able to have periods of effectiveness. Through the first three rounds, this observer found the fight to be difficult to score due largely to the pace, but I felt that the former champion Kovalev had a narrow edge due to his being able to outwork Ward and landing the more effective punches similar to the first encounter as I had him winning two of the first three rounds.

As the fight progressed however, Ward as he had done in the first fight, stepped up his pace using lateral movement to set up counter punches as well as making going to Kovalev's body a key focal point of his offense. Although Kovalev was able to land some body punches of his own, it was clear in this observer's eyes that by the midway point of the bout, the tempo was being dictated by the champion.

Readers may recall in previewing this fight, I stated my view that I believed that it was crucial for Kovalev turn the rematch into a fight early and needed to cut the ring off from Ward consistently in order to be successful. Kovalev was unsuccessful in doing this and the tactical errors of not being able to push Ward back as well as his inability to cut the ring off from Ward, which worked against the former champion in the first encounter remained present in the rematch. Ward’s ability to place his punches and land the more effective punches as the bout progressed became the story. Even though Kovalev threw more punches than the champion, Ward was able to frequently make him miss. Although some Boxing fans may believe that the fighter who throws more punches than their opponent should get the benefit of the doubt in narrow rounds in a close fight based on mere activity, it will more often than not boil down to who is able to land the more effective blows that will determine who will get the upper hand with regard to the scoring of a fight. In this observer's eyes, in this bout the more effective fighter was Ward.

What seemed to be a fight that was evolving into a clear outcome would instead end in a scenario of a “Cliffhanger” where there were obviously more questions than answers. In the eighth round, Ward connected with a solid right hook to the head of Kovalev that staggered the former champion. Sensing he had his opponent in trouble, Ward pressed forward looking to finish Kovalev off with a series of punches to the body and the head.

The champion eventually got Kovalev pressed against the ropes and landed a series of uppercuts to the body that caused Kovalev to sit on the middle rope and Referee Tony Weeks stepped in and stopped the fight. What appeared to be a clear technical knockout in favor of Ward however, quickly emerged as a controversy as video replays showed that the uppercuts that Ward had landed were in fact low blows.

Although the low blows did not appear to be intentional and did appear in my eyes to be borderline, there was a legitimate cause to call the stoppage of this fight “Controversial.” It should not be overlooked that Kovalev was hit low in both the second and seventh rounds, but when he was hit low in round seven there was no break in the action and no warning from Referee Tony Weeks. There was also no warning from Weeks in round eight, but rather a judgment call by him thinking that Kovalev was hurt to stop the fight rather than issue a count seeing as Kovalev did sit on the middle rope even though he did not technically go down to the canvas.

For his part, Weeks stated on Twitter the day after the fight quote “I am being criticized a lot unjustly. I have watched the replay and have to admit I was wrong I missed the low blows from Ward. I stopped the fight due to Kovalev not protecting himself, had I saw the shots were low I would not have stopped the fight. My mistake.”

It is important to remember that referees, judges, the fighters themselves, and all of us are all human and make mistakes from time to time. Tony Weeks is rightfully regarded as one of the best referees in the entire sport and his statement following this fight should be applauded by anyone and everyone who is a fan and/or has any association or involvement in the sport.

The question is will there be a third chapter in the rivalry between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev? Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva stated that she intended to file a protest of the outcome shortly after the fight with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC). Whether or not a protest will in fact change the outcome of the fight from a knockout win in favor of Ward to a no decision remains unknown over a week after the fight took place. It should not be overlooked however, that there was a fight that took place on the undercard of Ward-Kovalev II in an attempted unification of the WBA and IBO Jr. Featherweight world championships between Guillermo Rigondeaux and Moises Flores, which was originally ruled a first round knockout win in favor of WBA world champion Rigondeaux was overturned by the NSAC last week via unanimous vote due to the punch that knocked Flores down and out striking the IBO world champion after the bell had sounded ending the first round.

Whether or not the result of the Ward-Kovalev rematch will be overturned remains unknown as of this writing. It is this observer’s opinion based not only on the video replays of the uppercuts that Ward landed appearing to be below the belt of Kovalev and Tony Weeks’ own acknowledgment that he missed the low blows that the result should be changed to a no contest and a third encounter between Ward and Kovalev should be ordered by the WBO, WBA, and IBF as soon as possible. Of course, each organization does have mandatory obligations where the world champion, in this case Ward, has to defend his championship against each organization’s highest-rated contender on an annual basis. This could present an obvious obstacle that could prevent a potential third encounter between Ward and Kovalev from taking place immediately.

If the stoppage of this fight were not marred in “Controversy” and there was no such protest filed based on video evidence, this observer would be discussing potential options for Ward going forward such as potential fights with contenders Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev, if not a fight to fully unify the Light-Heavyweight world championship against longtime WBC world champion Adonis Stevenson. Given that Kovalev does have a legitimate complaint however, it is my opinion that a third fight between Ward and Kovalev is “Warranted.”

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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