Friday, July 31, 2015

Jacobs-Mora, Garcia-Malignaggi Preview

An intriguing doubleheader will take place on Saturday night as part of the latest Premier Boxing Champions card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The card, which will be broadcast by ESPN in the United States, could have an impact on both the Middleweight and Welterweight divisions. The first half of this doubleheader will feature a bout to determine interim/regular champion status in the World Boxing Association’s (WBA) Middleweight ratings as the WBA’s top Middleweight contender Daniel Jacobs will take on former WBC Jr. Middleweight world champion Sergio Mora in a bout scheduled for twelve rounds.

Jacobs, who will enter the fight with a record of 29-1, with 26 Knockouts is coming off of a twelfth round stoppage over top contender Caleb Truax in April of this year. In that fight Jacobs had some difficulty for a time in the early rounds, but as the fight went on he was able to gradually break Truax down to earn a stoppage in the final round. Jacobs, a fighter with a career knockout percentage of 87% is known for his punching power and has knocked out his last nine opponents.

Jacobs will face a potential difficult opponent in former WBC Jr. Middleweight world champion Sergio Mora. Mora, who will enter the fight with a record of 28-3-2, with 9 Knockouts is riding a five fight win streak entering this fight. Mora was to have challenged for the IBF Middleweight world championship in his last fight in February of this year, but ended up being a victim of bad circumstances as then champion Jermain Taylor’s legal troubles as well as an injury he suffered in training led to the cancellation of that fight and the eventual stripping of Taylor’s world championship by the International Boxing Federation (IBF).

Despite the cancellation of that fight, Mora fought on and scored a twelve round split decision over Abraham Han. In what was a competitive fight Mora was able to execute his offense in spurts and was able to make an aggressive Han miss frequently with his offense. Although Mora on this fight convincingly in the eyes of this observer to win the vacated United States Boxing Association (USBA) Middleweight championship, he did suffer a knockdown in the tenth round and fought an opponent in Han who was aggressive from start to finish.

The story of this fight in my eyes is a battle between Jacobs’ punching power and ability to get an opponent out of there at any point during a fight versus Mora’s ability to execute his offense in spurts, but also nullify his opponent’s offensive rhythm with his ability to be elusive and counter punch. The key to this fight in my eyes will be whether or not Mora will be able to avoid Jacobs’ power for the full twelve rounds.

It is logical to assume that Mora will look to out box Jacobs and win the fight on points. The Brooklyn born and based Jacobs however, will have the support of the hometown crowd and it will be interesting to see if Mora will be able to take the crowd out of the fight as it progresses. Although Jacobs has a clear power advantage over Mora, who has only scored nine knockouts in his twenty-eight career wins, Mora is the kind of fighter that has the ability to make an opponent look bad even if Mora is not at his best. It is also important to remember that Mora has never been stopped in his career.

It will be interesting to see whether Jacobs will look to score a knockout early in this fight or if he will attempt to wear down Mora and look to stop him in the later rounds. For Mora to be successful in this fight he must find a way to nullify Jacobs’ power, controlled the tempo of the fight, and win rounds convincingly. Jacobs meanwhile needs to find a way to nullify Mora’s movement and cut the ring off from the outset. This fight has the classic makings of a boxer versus a puncher.

It will be interesting to see where the winner of this fight will factor in, in a talent deep Middleweight division. It may be logical to assume that the winner of this fight could find himself in position to challenge the winner of the upcoming Middleweight unification clash between undefeated WBA/IBO champion Gennady Golovkin and recently crowned IBF world champion David Lemieux, which will take place on October 17th.

The second half of this doubleheader will be a twelve round Welterweight bout between undefeated WBA Jr. Welterweight world champion Danny Garcia and former two-division world champion Paul Malignaggi. Garcia, who previously held both the WBC and WBA world titles in the Jr. Welterweight division is moving up in weight officially to the 147lb. Welterweight division after fighting his previous two fights at catch weights above the 140lb. Jr. Welterweight division.

Garcia, who will enter this fight with a record of 30-0, with 17 Knockouts is coming off a twelve round majority decision over former IBF Jr. Welterweight world champion Lamont Peterson in April of this year. Although Garcia is undefeated he has had some difficulty in fights in the past, most notably against top Jr. Welterweight contender Mauricio Herrera in March of last year. Many observers felt that Herrera deserved the decision. Garcia also had difficulty in his last fight against Lamont Peterson, but was able to win that fight more convincingly in this observer’s eyes based on his ability to dictate how the fight was fought and outwork Peterson over the course of the fight.

Garcia is a boxer/puncher who is capable of out boxing an opponent and also capable of scoring devastating knockouts most notably in his fight against Amir Khan and in his rematch with future Hall of Famer Erik Morales. It will be interesting to see how Garcia will look as a full-fledged Welterweight. Although Garcia is still the WBA world champion in the Jr. Welterweight division as of this writing, it is logical to assume that if he is successful in his first official fight as a Welterweight that this move up in weight could be permanent.

Garcia faces what could be a difficult test in the form of former two division world champion Paul Malignaggi. Malignaggi, who will enter this fight with a record of 33-6, with 7 Knockouts has fought many of the best fighters of his era. An argument can be made however, that despite being a former two division world champion, Malignaggi has come up short in some of his biggest fights against the likes of current WBC Middleweight world champion Miguel Cotto, former multi-division world champion Adrien Broner, and former Jr. Welterweight world champion Amir Khan.

In his last fight, Malignaggi was stopped in four rounds by former IBF Welterweight world champion Shawn Porter in April of last year. An argument could be made that Malignaggi could be fighting for his career in this fight against Danny Garcia. Malignaggi has earned recognition in his second career for his work as a Boxing broadcaster and one may wonder what he has left to give as a fighter after a fine career.

The question going into this fight in my eyes will center on what versions of the fighters show up. In one corner will stand Danny Garcia, a fighter who has at times looked spectacular, but a fighter who has also had difficulty in recent fights that has led to some criticism from fans and experts alike. Standing across the ring from Garcia will be Paul Malignaggi, a fighter who at his best can befuddle opponents with his ability to use angles, his elusiveness, and combination punching. It will be interesting however, to see what kind of effect the knockout at the hands of Shawn Porter has had on Malignaggi. In that fight Porter’s power and physical style overwhelmed Malignaggi. On that night Malignaggi simply had no answer to deal with Porter and after suffering two knockdowns in the fourth round, the fight was stopped.

It will be interesting to see whether or not Garcia attempts to test Malignaggi from the outset by looking to land power punches. The key to this fight will be whether or not Malignaggi will be able to execute his offense in spurts and use his elusiveness and angles to avoid Garcia’s offense. If Garcia however, can neutralize Malignaggi’s movement and outwork Malignaggi it will be to Garcia’s advantage. 

Although much like Daniel Jacobs, crowd support will likely be in favor of the Brooklyn born and based Malignaggi, Malignaggi has come up short in a previous outing at the Barclays Center when he lost a very close twelve round split decision and the WBA Welterweight world championship to Adrien Broner in June 2013. It will be interesting to see if Garcia can take the crowd out of the fight early on. If Malignaggi however, can find a way to execute his offense and be effective, it would not surprise this observer to see this fight end in a close decision.

Since the Premier Boxing Champions series debuted earlier this year, the Boxing world has been treated to several well-matched competitive fights across several different networks on both broadcast and cable television. This card will likely continue that tradition as this doubleheader features two well-matched bouts with some interesting storylines. No matter the outcome of these two fights, this observer believes that it will be an entertaining evening of Boxing. Who will emerge victorious? We will find out on Saturday, August 1st.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Brief Update:

We want to let our readers know that a preview of the August 1st ESPN Premier Boxing Champions card is currently in the works and will be released tomorrow (Friday July 31st).  Stay tuned.  

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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

Follow Beau Denison on Twitter:

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Why Golovkin-Lemieux Belongs On Pay-Per-View

In the sport of Boxing it is not uncommon to see a formula applied when it comes to the rise of a fighter to the level of being recognized as a star in the sport. A scenario where a prospect or contender is given valuable television exposure and on the strength of that prospect’s initial performance more television time and exposure could be given while that fighter builds a following.

In the case of undefeated unified WBA/IBO Middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin, his rise to star status in the sport did not begin until he was already a world champion. In September 2012 the Kazakstan-born Golovkin came to the United States to defend his unified world title against Grzegorz Proska. This was not only Golovkin’s first fight in the United States, but also the first time he was seen on U.S. television on HBO Sports.

Prior to this fight, Golovkin had scored victories over notables such as former world title challenger Lajuan Simon and former Jr. Middleweight world champion Kassim Ouma. Along with those wins and his unified world championship, Golovkin also entered his fight with Proska riding a ten fight knockout streak. Golovkin would establish himself as a rising star by dominating the durable Proska and stopping him in five rounds.

Since that fight Golovkin’s star has continued to rise as he has continued to score knockouts. After twenty consecutive knockouts and fourteen successful title defenses, there is no doubt that Gennady Golovkin has become a star in the sport as he has carved out what this observer has often referred to as a path of destruction through the Middleweight division.

As Golovkin has continued to score knockouts and could be in a position to challenge future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins’ record of twenty consecutive Middleweight championship defenses, the most in the division’s history, the question has remained as to who may be able to provide him with a significant test. It has become common after each Golovkin title defense for readers to hear me express my stance in expressing my opinion that I believe it is time for Golovkin to get an opportunity to face fighters who are considered stars of the sport. This observer has also pointed out the similarities between Golovkin and fighters like Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Bernard Hopkins. Fighters who each dominated the Middleweight division for significant periods of time during the respective reigns before finally getting an opportunity to face fighters who were considered stars of the sport.

Although Golovkin has yet to face a marquee star of the sport, one might argue that he could be approaching that opportunity as it was recently announced that Golovkin will make the fifteenth defense of his unified world championship as he attempts to further unify the Middleweight division as he will take on newly crowned IBF world champion David Lemieux on October 17th at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.

An indication of Golovkin’s star status in the sport is that this fight will be televised by HBO Pay-Per-View. Although Golovkin has previously headlined a pay-per-view card when he scored a devastating third round knockout over Nobuhiro Ishida in Monte Carlo, Monaco in March 2013, this will be the first major pay-per-view main event in Golovkin’s career.

Golovkin will face what could be a difficult opponent in David Lemieux. Lemieux, who won the vacated IBF world championship with a twelve round unanimous decision over former WBO Middleweight world champion Hassan N’Dam on June 20th has a career knockout percentage of nearly 87% and has a significant following in his native Canada.

It is important to the sport of Boxing that managers, promoters, and networks attempt to create new stars of the sport. Even though the two biggest pay-per-view draws in the sport over the last decade have been Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, one might argue that it will be a challenge for fighters to reach the kind of status that Mayweather and Pacquiao have enjoyed as the sport’s top draws over the last several years.

One reason for that has been a general decline in pay-per-view buys for fight cards in recent years. Some may attribute this decline to the steady increase in pay-per-view prices over the years as compared to previous years. Others may say that it has more to do with the rise of new technologies as well as an overall value and quality of pay-per-view Boxing cards that has led to such a decline.

The recent Mayweather-Pacquiao fight broke all existing pay-per-view records generating more than 4.4 million pay-per-view buys in the United States and over $400 million in domestic pay-per-view revenue. The pay-per-view event, which was priced at nearly $90 for the HD broadcast of the fight card will certainly prove to be one of the landmark moments in Boxing history. An argument can be made however, that it will be difficult for networks and promoters to attempt to exceed what was accomplished by those who made the much-anticipated Mayweather-Pacquiao fight a reality.

A difficult task not only due to the steady decline in pay-per-view buys prior to the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, but also in finding a fighter or fighters who will generate public support where consumers will buy a pay-per-view Boxing card regardless of what the price of an event might be. Although the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight will go down as likely the most lucrative fight in the sport’s history, it was also a fight that suffered a bit of backlash following it from Boxing fans who may have anticipated more of an action fight given what was at stake between the two best pound for pound fighters of their era as well as the expensive price tags that consumers were asked to pay both for those who attended the fight in person as well as those who paid to see the fight via pay-per-view.

One should also consider the recent resurgence of the sport on over the air broadcast television here in the United States as both NBC and CBS have garnered significant ratings as part of the popular Premier Boxing Champions series, which airs on several networks on both broadcast and cable television and has put on several quality fight cards. As more networks become involved in the sport either through the Premier Boxing Champions series or by producing other series focused on televising the best fight cards possible, it may not be difficult to envision a time in the future where Boxing is less pay-per-view centric in a way that is not unlike the eras of years gone by where the sport’s central figures fought on free television.

Despite what could be a difficult task in developing the next big marquee pay-per-view star in the sport, this observer believes the fight between Golovkin and Lemieux is definitely pay-per-view worthy. A battle between two knockout artists, one fighter an undefeated unified world champion who has knocked out his last twenty opponents going against a dangerous fighter who recently won a world title and who has scored thirty-one knockouts in his thirty-four career wins. It is a fight that has “Shootout” written all over it.

Although the sport as a whole may be approaching a different era where the concept of pay-per-view may eventually phase out as we currently know it, this observer believes that the Golovkin-Lemieux fight is one that could produce solid returns in terms of pay-per-view buys. If the actual fight turns out to resemble the “Shootout” that it figures to be on paper consumers will likely be satisfied by what could be a memorable night of Boxing in Madison Square Garden. If that happens, the ultimate winners will not only be Boxing fans, but the sport overall. 

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Kovalev Destroys Mohammedi In 3 To Retain Unified Light-Heavyweight World Championship

Undefeated unified WBO/WBA/IBF Light-Heavyweight world champion Sergey Kovalev successfully defended his world championship for the sixth time in scoring a dominant third round knockout over IBF number one contender Nadjib Mohammedi Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The heavily favored Kovalev began the bout working behind a consistent jab.

Although Mohammedi, a fighter known for having an awkward style and an ability to execute his offense in spurts attempted to frustrate the champion with lateral movement and also attempted to pick his spots offensively, he was unable to disrupt the champion’s offensive rhythm. Kovalev was sent to the canvas in what was ruled a slip early in the second round as a result of Mohammedi stepping on his foot. The champion however, was not fazed by the brief trip the canvas and would respond by dropping the challenger with a series of right hands later in the round.

Mohammedi was able to beat the count, but did not have his legs and was sent down twice more as a result slips. Despite having trouble maintaining his balance, Mohammedi was able to survive the round. The champion would close the show in round three with a right hand, left hand combination that sent Mohammedi down to the canvas. The challenger appearing as though he may have suffered a broken nose attempted to get to his feet, but was counted out by Referee Kenny Bayless at 2:38 of the third round.

Sergey Kovalev advances to 28-0-1, with 25 Knockouts. Nadjib Mohammedi falls to 37-4, with 23 Knockouts. 

As this observer stated prior to this fight what makes Sergey Kovalev such a difficult fighter to combat is not only his reputation as a power puncher, but the ability to be tactical in his approach in attacking his opponents. In this fight despite facing a fighter who had the ability to be awkward and to potentially cause him difficulty, Kovalev remained calm and was in command from start to finish. Although Nadjib Mohammedi had won thirteen straight fights prior to this encounter with Kovalev and was ranked in the top five of the International Boxing Federation (IBF), the World Boxing Association (WBA), and the World Boxing Organization (WBO) respectively he was simply unable to deal with the champion’s technique and punching power.

Although some may choose to criticize Mohammedi’s standing as the IBF’s mandatory challenger entering this fight seeing as he was frankly outclassed by one of the hottest rising stars in the sport, it is important to remember that Kovalev is a fighter with an 86% career knockout percentage and he has dominated most of his opponents thus far in his career including future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins among others. Whether or not Nadjib Mohammedi will remain a top contender in the Light-Heavyweight division is a question that will be answered in time. 

In the eyes of this observer Mohammedi was stopped by a champion, who is simply just that good and just that dangerous a puncher that to base Mohammedi’s standing as a top contender solely off of his performance in this fight may be a bit of a disservice. It will be interesting to see how Mohammedi will respond coming out of this fight and what effect this knockout loss will have on him going forward.

As for the champion Sergey Kovalev the question remains the same as it did following previous title defenses as well as his unification bout with Bernard Hopkins. Will Kovalev and World Boxing Council (WBC) Light-Heavyweight world champion Adonis Stevenson meet to determine an Undisputed Light-Heavyweight world champion in the near future?

At the present time no one knows the answer to that question. If an undisputed championship fight against Stevenson is not in the immediate future for Kovalev, it will be interesting to see what other possible fights may be out there for him. On the undercard of Kovalev’s bout against Nadjib Mohammedi, former WBC Light-Heavyweight world champion Jean Pascal returned to the ring for the first time since losing to Kovalev earlier this year earning a hard fought and somewhat controversial ten round unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Yuniesky Gonzalez.

Gonzalez consistently brought the fight to Pascal throughout, dictating how the fight was being fought and seemingly outworking the former world champion. Although Gonzalez was the more active of the two fighters, Pascal was the more accurate of the two. Official scores were 96-94 or 6-4 in rounds on all three official scorecards for Pascal in what was an entertaining contest. Even though Pascal, who advanced to 30-3-1, with 17 Knockouts with the victory may potentially be in the running for a rematch against Kovalev at some point in the near future, an argument can be made that Gonzalez, who fell to 16-1, with 12 Knockouts may also be in the running as a potential opponent, despite suffering the first loss of his career. 

Although the three official judges had Pascal winning this fight, unofficially I had Gonzalez winning this fight 97-93 or 7-3 in rounds. Even though Gonzalez came out of this fight on the losing end, it could well be a bump in the road for a fighter that could be a potential star in the division down the line.

One should also consider that Kovalev does have two other mandatory challengers in the WBA and WBO rankings. WBA top contender Juergen Braehmer has held interim/regular champion status in the WBA’s Light-Heavyweight ratings for almost two years and is scheduled to face current number fourteen rated contender Konni Konrad on September 5th in Germany.

 If Braehmer is successful against Konrad it will be interesting to see if Kovalev will opt to make a second mandatory defense this year if a fight against Stevenson cannot be made. Undefeated current WBO number one contender Dominic Boesel must also be considered as a potential option for Kovalev if a fight with Stevenson is not made in the near future.

An obstacle however, may present itself in determining where a fight between Kovalev and either the Braehmer-Konrad winner or Boesel will take place. All three fighters are based in Germany and may have economic incentives to continue to fight there as opposed to traveling to the United States where the Russian born Kovalev is based.

In this observer’s opinion however, although fighters like Braehmer and Boesel are currently in position to challenge Kovalev for his unified world championship, the biggest fight that can be made in the Light-Heavyweight division currently is one that Boxing fans and experts alike have been calling for. A fight between Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson to determine who is the best Light-Heavyweight in the world.

Whether or not the Boxing world is any closer to seeing this highly anticipated showdown coming to fruition is anyone’s guess. In the eyes of this observer it’s time to make this fight a reality.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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

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