Friday, October 30, 2015

Thoughts on Jones-Maccarinelli

There is no doubt that Roy Jones is a future Hall of Famer. After winning world championships in the Middleweight, Super-Middleweight, Light-Heavyweight, and Heavyweight divisions Jones’ legacy as a great fighter is more than secure. Although Jones has suffered some setbacks in his career over the last decade, he has continued to fight on primarily fighting in the Cruiserweight division.

One of the more interesting storylines in the Cruiserweight division in recent times has been the momentum that Jones has gradually been building since suffering a knockout loss at the hands of Denis Lebedev in May 2011. Since suffering that setback, Jones has been regularly active facing opponents that range from journeyman to fringe contenders winning eight straight fights and earning the World Boxing Union (WBU) Cruiserweight world championship along the way.

As Jones has continued to build momentum a question that some might ask is when will he face a fighter that most would consider a top contender. It was announced earlier this week that Jones, who recently became a Russian citizen will return to the ring on December 12th in Moscow against former WBO Cruiserweight world champion Enzo Maccarinelli.

What was however, perhaps more interesting was the announcement that the fight would be for the vacant WBA “Super” Cruiserweight world championship. For those who may not be familiar with the designation of a “Super” champion in the World Boxing Association (WBA), it is usually reserved for fighters who hold more than one world championship in the same weight class.

In cases where there is a fighter with “Super” status that fighter is considered the official WBA world champion while one or two other fighters may hold interim/regular champion status in the same division. Although this observer has gone on record in the past saying that such a structure although well intended creates confusion primarily among fans, such a procedure has ensured that top contenders who hold interim/regular champion status do get the opportunity to fight for the WBA world championship, even though fighters who hold such status may have to wait a significant period of time before getting that opportunity.

What made the announcement of Jones-Maccarinelli being for a WBA world championship interesting however, is that the championship that Jones currently holds is not regarded by some as being a legitimate world championship and that Denis Lebedev, who currently holds interim/regular champion status was not involved in a fight to determine a new world champion in the WBA’s Cruiserweight division. Although some may have been questioning the decision of the WBA to sanction this fight as being for its world championship, this observer was not as critical.

After all, Roy Jones does hold a world title. All sanctioning organizations at one time or another have struggled for recognition among fans and media as being legitimate, but were able to gain recognition over time. A fighter of Jones’ stature in the sport can certainly bring exposure to the WBU if Jones were able to successfully unify his championship.

The WBA however, denied shortly following the announcement of the fight between Jones and Maccarinelli that it had sanctioned the bout as being for the WBA championship. Whether or not the fight will indeed be for a WBA championship remains to be seen. 

Although there is some confusion as to what will actually be at stake in this fight, perhaps the most interesting announcement of all came from the forty-six year old Jones who has stated that this fight will be his last. Whether or not the fight will indeed be Jones last also remains to be seen, but Jones has nevertheless generated interest as he has continued his resurgence and it is inspiring that a fighter who has been counted out after some setbacks by some has continued his career and has found success in winning eight straight fights.

In regard to the fight itself much like Jones, Enzo Maccarinelli has suffered some setbacks over the course of his career, but did make three successful defenses of the WBO Cruiserweight world championship before losing the title in a unification bout against David Haye in March 2008. Following the loss to Haye, Maccarinelli went on to win the European Cruiserweight championship as well as the British and Commonwealth Light-Heavyweight titles.

The thirty-five year old Maccarinelli will enter the fight with Jones having won his last two fights, most recently against Jiri Svacina earlier this month. Although one could make an argument that Maccarinelli is not the kind of opponent that most would consider a top contender at this stage of his career, the fight between him and Jones is nevertheless an interesting battle between two fighters who one might argue are at similar stages of their careers.

Although as of this moment there are more questions than answers in regard to whether or not a WBA world championship will be at stake when these two meet in December, if this will indeed be the last time Roy Jones enters the ring as a fighter it will be a historical moment. One should remember despite suffering setbacks over the last decade, Roy Jones was one of the most dominant fighters of his era in the 1990s and early 2000’s. Regardless of those setbacks or what happens when he faces Maccarinelli, Roy Jones will go down in history as a great fighter. If this will be Jones’ last fight the question will be whether he will be able to end his career with a victory.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Is Terence Crawford On A Collision Course With Manny Pacquiao?

The fight between undefeated two-division world champion Terence Crawford and top contender Dierry Jean had what appeared to have what this observer said were the makings of a hell of a fight. Two fighters with similar styles each possessing the type of hand speed and punching power that gave the impression of a bout that would be a competitive fight between two highly skilled world-class boxers.

No matter how a fight might look on paper however, it does not always translate into what one might think will happen once that fight actually takes place in the ring. When Crawford and Jean met on October 24th at the Centurylink Center in Omaha, NE for Crawford’s WBO Jr. Welterweight world championship what took place was a showcase of an undefeated world champion’s skill as he continued his march towards stardom against a “Game” fighter in Dierry Jean who on that evening was over matched.

Although it appeared that the fight would develop into a competitive tactical battle early on, Crawford was able to take control. In what was a competitive first round where Dierry Jean was able to have some success, Crawford made a tactical adjustment late in the round by switching from an orthodox to a southpaw stance.

Crawford would score a knockdown of Jean seconds later with a right hand at the end of round one. It was at this point in the fight where Crawford began to administer a gradual beating to the challenger. Although there was not always a lot of activity in terms of punches landed in several of the rounds in this fight, Crawford’s effective aggression and ability to dictate how the fight was fought was the story.

Crawford had particular success fighting out of the southpaw stance in being able to land his right hand and mixing in combinations as well. Jean simply did not have an answer to combat the southpaw stance of Crawford or Crawford’s ability to be effective in his aggression, get his punches off first the majority of the time, and ability to deflect much of Jean’s offense.

As the fight progressed, Crawford’s dominance continued. The champion would score a second knockdown of Jean in the closing seconds of round nine with a left hand. It would be in a tenth round that Crawford would close the show.

A barrage of punches highlighted by a right hook brought the fight to its conclusion late in round ten as Jean was knocked almost through the ropes and was prevented from going down as the fight was stopped. For Terence Crawford it was a near perfect performance against a very difficult fighter who had never been stopped previously in his career. 

The biggest story coming out of this fight however, is the potential that Crawford could face former multi-division world champion Manny Pacquiao in April of next year in what could be Pacquiao’s final fight. Off of what was an impressive performance, Crawford made as good an argument as a fighter could make if he is indeed being considered as a potential opponent for Pacquiao.

Crawford is a young and unbeaten two-division world champion that stylistically could pose a difficult test for Pacquiao in what would be his first fight since losing to Floyd Mayweather. Although much of the discussion prior to Pacquiao’s return to the ring no matter who the opponent will be, will center on the condition of his right shoulder after suffering a torn rotator cuff prior to his bout with Mayweather, if it will indeed be Crawford who will be standing across the ring from Pacquiao, Pacquiao should be given credit for opting to face not only a fighter on the verge of stardom, but arguably one of the most difficult fighters to fight in either the Jr. Welterweight or Welterweight divisions.

Even though nothing has been announced as to who Pacquiao will fight in his next fight, this observer believes that Terence Crawford is definitely a fighter that should be considered a front-runner in regard to potential opponents. It will be up to fighters in both the Welterweight and Jr. Welterweight divisions to make their case for being a potential opponent for Pacquiao between now and April 2016. Regardless of Manny Pacquiao’s recent loss to Floyd Mayweather he is still a superstar of the sport and a consistent top pay-per-view draw regardless of who he fights.

 Whether or not Pacquiao’s next fight will be his last is a subject that will likely be debated. In this observer’s eyes a potential fight between Pacquiao and Crawford would be an interesting battle and any questions as to what Pacquiao has left to give as a fighter will likely be answered.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Brief Update:

We would like to let our readers know that new material will be released tomorrow (Monday, October 26th). 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, October 24, 2015

ShoBox 10/23/2015 Results

Undefeated rising Middleweight prospect Rob Brant captured the vacant WBC Continental America’s Middleweight championship with a hard-fought ten round majority decision over Louis Rose on Friday night at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix, AZ. The first half of this fight was dictated by Brant’s ability to land a consistent jab and landing the cleaner more effective punches overall.

As the fight progressed however, Rose was able to pick up his pace and gain ground on the scorecards due to being the more active of the two fighters. At the conclusion of what was a very competitive bout throughout the official scoring was as follows. Judge Gonzalo Valenzuela scored the fight 95-95 a draw. This was overruled by Judges Craig Harmon and Derek Zazuetta who each scored the fight 96-94 in favor of Brant. 

Unofficially, I scored this fight the same as Judge Gonzalo Valenzuela 95-95. This was a fight where you could make a justifiable argument that each fighter was able to win half of the contest. Brant winning the first half by landing the cleaner punches, Rose winning the second half by being the more active of the two fighters. 

It can be an interesting conundrum when fights are fought like this one was to determine which fighter has an edge. In this case two of three official judges scored the fight by a margin of 6-4 in rounds for Brant, likely based on how effective he was in dictating the fight early on and generally landing the cleaner punches. There was no doubt however, that Rose was able to narrow the gap in the middle and late rounds.

Rob Brant advances to 18-0, with 11 Knockouts. Louis Rose falls to 13-3-1, with 5 Knockouts.

Also on this card, undefeated Heavyweight prospect Jarrell Miller scored a third round knockout over Akhror Muralimov. Muralimov was able to have success in landing to the body of Miller and was also successful in landing as the constantly pressuring Miller came forward. Miller however, would bring the fight to a conclusion by landing a flush straight right hand to the head of Muralimov that sent him down for the full count of ten. Official time of the stoppage was 1:03 of round three.

Jarrell Miller advances to 15-0-1, with 13 Knockouts. Akhror Muralimov falls to 16-2, with 13 Knockouts.

In the Light-Heavyweight division Samuel Clarkson scored a devastating second round knockout over Lavarn Harvell. Clarkson was able to score two knockdowns of Harvell in the first round both as a result of right hands. Harvell was able to survive the round, but Clarkson would bring an end to the contest early in the second round with a barrage of punches along the ropes. Although Harvell was able to beat the count on unsteady legs, the fight was stopped. Official time of stoppage was :48 of round two.

Samuel Clarkson advances to 17-3, with 11 Knockouts. Lavarn Harvell falls to 15-2, with 8 Knockouts.

This card was in many ways what Boxing fans have come to expect from Showtime Sports’ long-running ShoBox series. This series continues to feature fighters that range from prospects to contenders and showcases fighters at various stages in their development.

On this card fans were treated to two knockouts and an extremely competitive Middleweight contest where two fighters Rob Brant and Louis Rose may find themselves pitted against each other again at some point down the line. Regardless of the outcome of that fight, both fighters are likely to benefit in terms of the experience they gained which will likely benefit them going forward.

As for Jarrell Miller with now four straight knockout victories and being unbeaten in fifteen professional fights it will be interesting to see how he progresses in the Heavyweight division. Although it may be tempting to see Miller put in against a top twenty contender, it can be a conundrum for those handling a fighter to decide when the time is right to step up in class of opposition.

There have been fighters who were able to step up successfully with as many or fewer fights than what Miller has currently. It is important to remember however, that not every fighter who has a similar record as Miller has been able to step up against fringe or legitimate contenders. We will see how Miller continues to progress as a year 2016 approaches.

For Light-Heavyweight Samuel Clarkson he has seen his career gain traction after suffering some setbacks early in his career. Clarkson’s victory over Lavarn Harvell earned him his seventh straight win and his fourth consecutive knockout. Clarkson is a fighter that if he continues to win will certainly generate buzz and if he can continue to build momentum he could become a player in the Light-Heavyweight division.

It is certainly clear that Brant, Rose, Miller, and Clarkson have established themselves as fighters to watch in the future. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for these four fighters.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Crawford-Jean Preview

A rising star in the sport of Boxing and really all combat sports will face similar obstacles along their way to achieving superstar status in the eyes of both fans and experts alike. As a fighter rises through the ranks more often than not they will face opponents that range from fighters that are simply over matched to those that are considered in their own right to be rising prospects, and finally fighters who are considered legit contenders, who may have either challenged for a world championship or have held a world title at one point in their careers.

In the case of undefeated two-division world champion Terence Crawford he has faced all of the above. Crawford has thus far defeated every opponent that has been placed before him as he has won all twenty-six of his professional fights and has also won world championships in both the Lightweight and Jr. Welterweight divisions in his career.

In his last fight in April of this year Crawford moved up in weight to the Jr. Welterweight division and scored a sixth round knockout over top contender Thomas Dulorme to win the vacant WBO Jr. Welterweight world championship. As Crawford’s star has continued to rise he has been tested against stern competition including Ricky Burns, who Crawford defeated for his first world title in March of last year, former Featherweight world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa, and longtime top contender Ray Beltran just to name a few.

The next test on Crawford’s road to stardom will come in the form of former world title challenger and top contender Dierry Jean on Saturday night at the Centurylink Center in Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, NE. Stylistically this fight pits two fighters with similar styles against each other.

Much like Crawford, Dierry Jean is a fighter who has a good mix of punching power and hand speed as he has scored knockouts in twenty of his twenty-nine career victories. Jean is a two-time North American Boxing Federation (NABF) champion in the Jr. Welterweight division and has only lost one fight in his professional career. Jean’s lone career setback came in his first world championship opportunity against former IBF world champion Lamont Peterson in January of last year.

Jean however, has won four straight fights since that loss winning three of those four bouts by knockout. In covering Jean’s fight with Peterson last year, this observer stated although Jean came out of that fight on the losing end of a twelve round unanimous decision, he was not disgraced in the fight and gave a good account himself. The fight in my eyes could best be summed up as simply one highly skilled boxer outworking another highly skilled boxer.

Even though Jean was competitive throughout the entire fight with Peterson, Peterson was able to take control particularly in the second half of the fight and it will be interesting to see whether Jean will be more active in his challenge of Terence Crawford’s world championship. One of the things that I feel worked against Jean in his bout with Peterson was Peterson’s ability to use defense and lateral movement to deflect most of Jean’s offense throughout most of the fight.

Although both Crawford and Jean have similarities in style, it will be interesting to see if the challenger can nullify Crawford’s offensive output during this fight. Jean has to remember that he is the challenger and perhaps more importantly he is a challenger trying to defeat an undefeated world champion in the champion’s hometown. There have been fighters throughout the history of the sport who have been able to be successful in would be enemy territory. The key for Jean however, in this observer’s eyes will be whether or not he can find a way to stand out convincingly from the champion in order to win rounds.

Crawford’s ability to be a consistent combination puncher as well as an accurate counter puncher is something that should not be overlooked and if several of the rounds in this fight are close it will be interesting to see how the judges will score rounds where neither fighter is able to stand out clearly from the other.

Although there is always the possibility that a fight can end with one punch, this observer believes it is more likely that this will be a highly competitive tactical Boxing match and it may come down to who is able to land the cleaner more effective punches and/or who is able to dictate how the fight is fought. There is also a possibility especially given Crawford’s rising star status in the sport that he might feel some pressure in wanting to look impressive not only for what will be a pro-Crawford hometown crowd, but also wanting to make the best case possible for himself for potential lucrative fights that might be in his future. It will be interesting to see if either will influence how the champion will approach this fight.

Both fighters have hand speed and punching power. Each has demonstrated throughout their careers an ability to not only hurt their opposition, but get an opponent out of there should the opportunity arise.

A storyline of an undefeated two-division world champion on the verge of stardom in the sport going against a once defeated top contender, who is getting his second opportunity at a world championship. On paper, it has the makings of a hell of a fight.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

Crawford vs. Jean takes place Saturday, October 24th at the Centurylink Center in Omaha, NE. The fight will be televised in the United States by HBO Sports at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT. In the United Kingdom and Ireland the fight will be televised by BoxNation. Check local listings.

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