Monday, August 25, 2014

Trout Overcomes Adversity To Defeat Dawson

The sport of Boxing certainly has more than it’s share of interesting stories. Whether it be a fighter working his way up through the ranks in hopes of eventually challenging for a world title, a former world champion on the comeback trail looking to regain past glory, or a fighter who is considered an underdog simply looking to prove themselves against established favorites. One story that can happen in Boxing is a fighter going through both highs and lows.

For Jr. Middleweight contender Austin Trout he has experienced both highs and lows in the last two years of his career. After compiling a record of 25-0, with 14 Knockouts as well as earning interim/regular champion status in the WBA’s Jr. Middleweight ratings, Trout had his most significant win in the eyes of many when he defeated former multi-division world champion Miguel Cotto in December 2012 in Madison Square Garden. Cotto, who has a sizable following and has headlined The Garden on several occasions was favored to win the bout. On that evening however, it was Trout who earned a hard-fought and close twelve round unanimous decision over Cotto.

In addition to defeating Cotto, Trout also broke Cotto’s New York undefeated streak becoming the only fighter to defeat him in Madison Square Garden. It was on the strength of that victory that Trout was able to secure a fight with Saul Alvarez in a fight that drew nearly forty thousand spectators in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas in April of last year.

Much like his encounter with Miguel Cotto, the fight with Alvarez was highly competitive and both fighters had their share of moments. The bout with Alvarez would result in the  first loss of Trout’s career losing a twelve round unanimous decision and also suffering the first knockdown of his career. Trout would go on to suffer another setback when he lost another twelve round unanimous decision to top contender Erislandy Lara in December of last year.

Although Trout suffered two setbacks after arguably the biggest win of his career against Miguel Cotto, Trout is still after all a highly skilled, world-class fighter who lost to two of the best fighters in a talent stacked Jr. Middleweight division. There have been many fighters throughout Boxing history who have dealt with setbacks after their biggest wins and were able to rebound and regain their standing among the sport’s elite.

The first step for Austin Trout came on August 22nd when he faced Jr. Middleweight contender and former world Kickboxing champion Daniel Dawson at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California. Trout, who entered this fight rated seventh in the world in the WBA’s Jr. Middleweight ratings faced a stern test from the fifteenth rated contender Dawson.

Dawson, who came into the fight with an impressive record of 40-3-1, with 26 Knockouts , had once challenged for a Boxing world title and was undefeated for nearly four years with a draw in his first fight with Virgil Kalakoda in 2011. Although considered an underdog leading up to the fight, Dawson clearly was not an opponent that most would consider to be a mere “tune up” for Trout in his first fight since suffering those losses to Alvarez and Lara. 

Trout made good use of his hand speed early on as he consistently got his punches off first and kept Dawson somewhat on the defensive. Dawson however, almost brought the fight to a sudden conclusion in round three as he dropped Trout with a solid counter right hand. Dawson would score a second knockdown of Trout later in the round with another counter right hand. Trout would survive the round, but Dawson had clearly made a statement to those who felt he had little chance of defeating Trout.

Although being knocked down twice in the same round may give the impression that a fighter was hurt, this was a tactical Boxing match and to his credit Trout was able to regroup and regained control of the fight. The primary difference in this fight was Trout’s ability to get his punches off first and outwork Dawson throughout. Trout would score his own knockdown of Dawson in round eight with a left hand and would go on to win a ten round unanimous decision.

Even though he was outworked by Trout throughout much this fight, Dawson did have his moments throughout and should be given credit for the effort he put forth in this fight. Although some might be tempted to say that perhaps Dawson could have finished Trout off if he had been more aggressive after scoring those two knockdowns, it is important to remember that Trout had the quicker hands.

A conundrum that can happen for fighters who are at a disadvantage in terms of hand speed is once they have hurt their opponent, if they go in for the finish recklessly there is always the possibility of being countered and caught by a punch that you may not see coming that can turn a fight around instantly. Dawson fought well in this fight and despite the loss, he proved that he was not a mere opponent for Trout.

It is certainly possible that Daniel Dawson will get another opportunity against another marquee opponent in the Jr. Middleweight division. Dawson has added his name to a division that is deep with talent and should be considered a threat to anyone in the division. As for Austin Trout, this fight did get him back in the win column even though it may not have been as easy as some may have believed it would be prior to the fight. Despite suffering those two knockdowns, Trout was impressive in showing his ability to regroup and overall gave a good account of himself.

As for potential future opponents, there are several fighters out there that might be possible options for both fighters. Names such as Joshua Clottey, Cornelius Brundage, Vanes Martirosyan, Jermell Charlo, Ishe Smith, and WBO champion Demetrius Andrade just to name a few each pose an interesting challenge for both fighters. 

In regard to Austin Trout, there is also of course the possibility that he may be able to get a rematch with either Saul Alvarez or Erislandy Lara at some point in the future. With the current unified WBC/WBA Jr. Middleweight world champion Floyd Mayweather preparing to defend his unified WBC/WBA Welterweight world championship in a rematch against former WBA champion Marcos Maidana next month, the landscape of the Jr. Middleweight division is very much open. It is quite possible that if Mayweather were to either relinquish or be stripped of his unified Jr. Middleweight championship that Austin Trout could find himself right back in the world championship picture.

Although he has experienced some setbacks in recent times, Austin Trout is still very much a factor in the division.  It will be interesting to see where both Austin Trout and Daniel Dawson go from here.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Rubio To Challenge Golovkin For Unified World Championship October 18th

It has been announced that longtime Middleweight contender and former world title challenger Marco Antonio Rubio will challenge undefeated WBA/IBO Middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin on October 18th in Carson, California. The fight, which will take place at the StubHub Center will be Golovkin’s twelfth title defense.

In his last fight on July 26th Golovkin scored a third round knockout over former two-time Middleweight world champion Daniel Geale in Madison Square Garden.  Along with eleven successful defenses of his world title, Golovkin also has knocked out his last seventeen opponents registering a career knockout percentage of 90%, stopping twenty-seven of his thirty opponents.

Golovkin will face a dangerous opponent when he faces longtime contender Marco Antonio Rubio.  Rubio, who has twice fought for a world title in the Middleweight division will enter into this fight having won his last six fights with five of those six wins coming inside the distance.  In his career Rubio has fifty-nine wins in sixty-six professional fights with fifty-one of his fifty-nine wins coming by knockout registering a near 78% career knockout percentage. 

Rubio last fought in April of this year, scoring a tenth round knockout over Domenico Spada in a fight for interim status in the World Boxing Council’s (WBC) ratings.  What makes the fight between Golovkin and Rubio so interesting beyond it being a fight matching two dangerous knockout artists against one another is what may be available to the winner.   The current WBC champion in the Middleweight division is Miguel Cotto.  Given that Rubio is challenging Golovkin for his title it will open up a vacancy in the WBC ratings as to who holds interim status or more simply who is the number one contender.

As I stated following Golovkin’s knockout over Daniel Geale last month that a potential fight between Cotto and Golovkin would be a significant draw and would also be a popular pay-per-view attraction.  This fight could theoretically be viewed as Golovkin’s last significant obstacle prior to facing a marquee star of the sport such as Miguel Cotto.  Marco Antonio Rubio certainly is not a fighter to overlook and should be viewed as an extremely dangerous opponent.   Although I look forward to providing further thoughts and analysis as this fight approaches, given both fighters respective styles, punching power, and a potential fight with Miguel Cotto awaiting the winner this could be a memorable encounter.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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Monday, August 18, 2014

BKB 3: “From Bare-Knuckle To Big Knockout”

On August 16th the concept/sport known as BKB: “Big Knockout Boxing” emerged on one of Boxing’s marquee stages as it presented BKB 3 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Since BKB 2 last December the concept underwent a slight revamp that accompanied a name change from a modern form of bare-knuckle Boxing. The specially designed bare-knuckle Boxing gloves that were implemented in the first two cards in the brief history of BKB were replaced by traditional Boxing gloves that weighed between eight and ten ounces depending on the weight class in which a fight is taking place.

There was also another slight change from the original concept for BKB 3 in that the use of open scoring was not used during this card. Prior to BKB 3 I discussed how the benefits that the slight revamp of the original concept will probably benefit BKB going forward. Although I was not aware prior to this card that open scoring would not be used, I did not find it surprising.

In traditional Boxing after all the concept of open scoring is not universally used and along with the potential for BKB to be licensed in more states due to adapting the use of traditional Boxing gloves, something that will also possibly benefit BKB is adapting to a non-open scoring format. Although it has undergone a revamp, it did not change the concept or the intention behind BKB. That is to provide entertaining, action-packed bouts.

Nine fights were presented on this card ranging from Jr. Welterweight division to the Heavyweight division. As was the case in the first two BKB cards, the fights taking place inside of the BKB pit instead of a traditional 20 x 20 Boxing ring and two minute rounds ensured for a quick pace for all of the bouts that took place. As I have stated in my previous coverage of the first two cards under the BKB format, the pit, which measures seventeen feet in diameter and 227 square feet is tailor-made for fighters who like to fight on the inside. Even though the pit does ensure a quick pace and less of a feeling out process, there is certainly Boxing skill involved and this format does not necessarily strictly benefit fighters who are brawlers.

The night’s action got underway with a Heavyweight bout between Julian Pollard and Boban Simic. Pollard’s longer reach, jab, and combination punching were the story of this fight as he was able to keep Simic, who was unable to get on the inside at distance. The accumulation of punishment gradually broke down Simic and forced a stoppage of the fight in round three. This fight was a great example of how Boxing skill is still needed in a unique format such as BKB.

In an exciting Middleweight bout where both fighters suffered knockdowns Lekan Byfield scored a five round unanimous decision over Don Mouton. Byfield’s ability to be first with his punches and outbox Mouton led him to victory. Mouton however, did have his moments throughout and it would not surprise me to see the two meet again at a future BKB card.
In the Jr. Welterweight division a rematch of a fight that took place in April of this year in a traditional Boxing ring, Herbert Acevedo avenged his six round split decision loss to Raul Tovar. Acevedo dropped Tovar twice in the second round and finished him off with a right hook to the body in round three. Also, in the Jr. Welterweight division, Gabe Deluc overcame a knockdown where his glove touched the floor in round four to score a five round majority decision over Kendo Castaneda.  Excluding the knockdown in the fourth round, I felt Deluc outworked Castaneda throughout much of this fight and won the fight convincingly. Castaneda however, was quite “Game” and nearly got himself back into position to win the fight by scoring the knockdown.

In a Jr. Middleweight bout, Khurshid Abdullaev implemented a steady attack to the body and head of Ricardo Pinell to score a five round unanimous decision. Pinell was knocked down in the fifth round from accumulated punishment, but did survive the round.

In the first rematch in BKB history David Estrada won a hard-fought seven round unanimous decision over Eddie Caminero to win the BKB Jr. Middleweight championship. Much like the first encounter at BKB 2 last December, Estrada and Caminero engaged in a toe to toe battle. Unlike the first fight however, it was Estrada who was victorious in the rematch dropping Caminero in round six and scoring two knockdowns of Caminero in round seven to secure the win.

Much as I felt following BKB 2, the fight between Estrada and Caminero was the fight of the night. It was a grueling back and forth battle between two extremely “Game” fighters that was close for a good majority of the fight. Following BKB 3 I commented on Twitter that I would not be shocked to see a third fight between the two at BKB 4 coming up in the fall. With each fighter holding a victory over the other in this format and with the excitement and competitiveness that took place in those two fights, a third fight seems logical. It would also not shock me if a third bout between the two were to headline the next BKB card if the fight can be made.

In a fight for the BKB Welterweight championship Javier Garcia overcame a bad cut he suffered as a result of an accidental clash of heads in round three to knockout Darnell Jiles in round five. Despite suffering the cut, Garcia was the aggressor during this fight and brought the fight to Jiles.  The end came when Garcia dropped Jiles with a straight left hand. Although he got up from the knockdown, the fight was stopped as Jiles was not able to continue.

In a fight for the BKB Cruiserweight championship Anthony Johnson scored a seven round split decision over Dimar Ortuz. Johnson was penalized a point in the first round for hitting Ortuz while he was down on the floor of the pit as a result of a slip. Johnson however, scored a knockdown of Ortuz in round three and was the effective aggressor throughout. Although I felt that Johnson won this fight clearly and did not see it as closely as the official judges did, they had the right fighter winning this fight. 

The main event of this card was a fight for the BKB Middleweight championship between top contenders Bryan Vera and Gabriel Rosado. This fight brought together two fighters who I feel are perfect from a stylistic standpoint for the BKB format. Both fighters have aggressive styles and throw punches at a high volume. This was a fight that had action written all over it when it was announced and it did not disappoint.

The fight began with both fighters being more than willing to engage each other. I felt that Vera had a slight edge in what was a close first round due to his combination punching. Rosado however, was able to come on strong at the end of the round.

Both fighters scored knockdowns of each other in round three. As the fight progressed however, Rosado began to find a home for his right hand on Vera and was able to land the right hand almost at will while Boxing effectively from the outside. Although Vera remained aggressive, he did not have an answer for Rosado’s right hand.

It would be a right hand that would end Vera’s night in round six as Rosado landed flush on the face of Vera sending him face down on the floor of the pit. Vera gamely made it to his feet, but was not steady on his feet and the fight was promptly stopped.

The Jr. Middleweight bout between Carson Jones and Said El Harrak that was scheduled to take place on this card was cancelled. Jones, who did weigh-in for the fight the day prior to the card announced his retirement prior to the card taking place.

I came away from BKB 3 feeling that the concept is indeed growing and that it should be considered a win for all involved. Although there is still some confusion as to whether or not fights that are fought under the BKB rules and format will eventually be recognized as official professional fights by Boxing record keepers or if BKB is establishing itself as a league of the sport that is a separate entity, one thing is clear.

BKB is growing and now having been presented to it’s biggest pay-per-view audience and taking center stage in Las Vegas in front of a crowd of nearly 3000 spectators at the Mandalay Bay’s Events Center, the future is looking bright. With BKB 4 being planned for sometime in the fall, I eagerly await the next chapter in this evolving concept.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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Friday, August 15, 2014

A Look At BKB 3

In 2013 the unique concept known simply as BKB made it’s inception.  The concept of BKB introduced a modernized version of Boxing in it’s original form Bare-Knuckle Boxing with the use of specially designed Boxing gloves with the knuckles being exposed inside the glove.  What also made the BKB concept truly unique was the area where all fights in BKB are fought. The fighting area known simply as the “BKB Pit.”

The BKB Pit unlike a traditional 20x20 Boxing ring has no ropes measuring seventeen feet in diameter and 227 square feet. In it’s brief history the BKB Pit has ensured for entertaining bouts. In addition to the fighting area where all fights in BKB are fought, also implemented was the use of two minute rounds.  The format of BKB from the pit, to shorter rounds than a traditional three minute round has made the concept of BKB fan friendly. In addition to rounds lasting two minutes in duration, BKB also features an open scoring format in that official scores are announced at the end of each round to the fighters and the crowd in attendance. All fights in BKB are scored using the traditional 10-point must system. In covering the first two BKB cards I expressed my opinion that the concept of BKB has the potential to grow, discussed similarities between where BKB is currently, and where the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) was when it debuted in the United States in the early 1990s.

Much as the sport of MMA evolved over a period of time from essentially no holds barred fighting to it’s current form, so too is the concept of BKB.  How is it evolving?  Beginning with the third BKB card, which will take place at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night August 16th, BKB will no longer be using the knuckle exposed gloves that were used in the first two BKB cards. Traditional Boxing gloves will be used weighing between eight and ten ounces depending on the weight class in which a fight takes place.  The change to the use of regular Boxing gloves has also resulted in a name change for this concept. Although the initials will remain the same BKB will now be known as Big Knockout Boxing.

Although some may be critical of the decision of BKB to use traditional Boxing gloves, this observer applauds those behind BKB.  Whenever there is a new concept or a would be new sport put into practice there are two major things that those behind the concept/new sport will have to contend with. Beginning with the initial reaction of the public who you want to support the concept/sport and as well the necessity of regulation by state athletic commissions. 

Although BKB originally used knuckle exposed gloves and even though there were no major injuries in the first two cards with use of those gloves, the concept needed to evolve.  An obvious benefit of using traditional Boxing gloves going forward will likely be that BKB will be able to be licensed in more states by athletic commissions.  This would open the door for BKB to be able to stage more cards per year. As was the case with the sport of MMA, once changes in the format of the sport were made and state athletic commissions gradually began regulating the sport, it allowed MMA to grow into a global powerhouse.  There is no denying that MMA has not only become one of the most popular combat sports, but also throughout all of sports.

An argument can be made that by adapting the use of traditional Boxing gloves into the BKB concept that it will allow BKB to grow and not face the struggle that MMA has faced in regard to licensing and regulation in many states. Another benefit could be the potential to attract more boxers due to using the same Boxing gloves that are used in traditional Boxing rings.  The main event of BKB 3 is a good example.  Top Middleweight contender Bryan Vera will face former two-time world title challenger Gabriel Rosado in a bout for the BKB Middleweight championship. 

Both Vera and Rosado have garnered significant attention in recent times due to each of their efforts against top level opposition. Many will remember Vera for his losses against former WBC Middleweight world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Many observers, this one included felt that Vera won the first fight, but did not get the decision. Despite losing to Chavez a second time earlier this year, Vera’s aggressive style has won him the respect of both Boxing fans and experts.  

Much like Bryan Vera, Gabriel Rosado has a similar style in that he is aggressive and throws punches at a high volume. Recently while discussing the upcoming BKB card on Twitter I stated that this fight has action written all over it. When you take into account that this fight will not be held in a traditional Boxing ring, but will instead take place under the BKB format in the Pit, which is tailor-made for fighters who like to fight on the inside and due to the narrow space, the Pit does not favor fighters who like to use lateral movement.  There is no doubt in my mind given both fighters style and willingness to let their hands go that this could be the fight of the night.

Vera vs. Rosado headlines a seven bout card.  Also featured on this card is a rematch from BKB 2 for the BKB Jr. Middleweight championship between Eddie Caminero and longtime Welterweight and Jr. Middleweight contender David Estrada in what is the first rematch in BKB history.  In the first fight Caminero and Estrada engaged in a toe to toe battle where each fighter had their moments.  Caminero earned a hard fought unanimous decision.  It will be interesting to see if Estrada can reverse roles with Caminero in the rematch. 

Other fights on this card include:

Anthony Johnson vs. Dimar Ortuz for the BKB Cruiserweight championship

Javier Garcia vs. Darnell Jiles for the BKB Welterweight championship

Ricardo Pinell vs. Khurshid Abduliaev

Carson Jones vs. Said El Harrak

Kendo Castaneda vs. Gabe Duluc

An encouraging sign of the growth of BKB along with the adaptation of traditional Boxing gloves is that BKB 3 will be the first BKB card to be carried on pay-per-view in the United States by both cable and satellite providers for a price of $29.95. Previously BKB was only televised via pay-per-view exclusively to subscribers of United States television provider DirecTV.  Although BKB has done a slight revamp in adapting traditional Boxing gloves and undergoing a name change, the concept/sport has in it’s brief history thus far in it’s first two cards delivered on what it has promised. To provide entertaining, action-packed bouts. 

For those of us who have witnessed the birth of a new concept/sport we have been thoroughly entertained. It is not often that a writer and historian such as myself is given the opportunity to cover a sport from the beginning concept. This sport has great potential to grow and now will be presented to wider audience as more Boxing media outlets will be covering this event. I welcome you all with enthusiasm.  BKB 1 and 2 provided tremendous action and excitement.

I have no reason to expect anything different for BKB 3.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

For more information about BKB: Big Knockout Boxing and a list of cable and satellite providers carrying BKB 3: Vera vs. Rosado please visit: 
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