Friday, January 29, 2016

Kovalev-Pascal 2 Preview

On March 14th of last year undefeated unified WBO/IBF/WBA Light-Heavyweight world champion Sergey Kovalev entered the ring to defend his title against former WBC Light-Heavyweight world champion Jean Pascal at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. Kovalev, who had established himself as one of the sport’s feared knockout artists had gone through virtually every opponent that had been placed before him without much resistance since emerging on the world-class level in the Light-Heavyweight division. Since winning the WBO world championship with a fourth round stoppage of Nathan Cleverly in August 2013, Kovalev had successfully defended his title four times and scored knockouts in three of those four championship defenses. Only the legendary Bernard Hopkins was able to go a full twelve rounds against Kovalev in their unification bout in November 2014.

Although Hopkins was able to go the distance with Kovalev and put an end to Kovalev’s streak of nine consecutive knockouts, he was not able to provide any significant resistance as Kovalev dominated the fight from start to finish. Despite suffering the loss to Kovalev and losing the WBA and IBF Light-Heavyweight world championships, Hopkins also became the first fighter to take Kovalev a full twelve rounds in Kovalev’s career.

Following what was an impressive performance against Hopkins Kovalev would defend his title for the fifth time when he faced Pascal, a fighter who fought Hopkins twice earning a draw and suffering a loss to Hopkins in those two encounters. The question that was asked of Pascal prior to the fight was the same as virtually every previous Kovalev opponent. Would Jean Pascal be able to provide a significant test for the champion?

In previewing the first fight, this observer stated that I felt Pascal needed to establish himself as an elusive target and look to play the role of counter puncher. Pascal, a fighter who uses an unorthodox style that combines hand speed, power, and the ability to execute his offense in spurts was able to have success against Kovalev particularly when he was able to land counter punches and land offense when Kovalev was not on the offensive.

As has been the case for many Kovalev opponents however, Pascal did have trouble dealing with the champion’s near constant pressure as Kovalev was able to consistently get his offense off first throughout the fight. One aspect that I felt worked against Pascal in the first fight with Kovalev was his inability to land punches in combination. This was attributed to Kovalev’s ability to control the distance of the fight with his jab, make Pascal miss, and return offense whenever Pascal had success landing counter punches.

Of course, many remember how Pascal was able to come back after being sent partially through the ropes in the third round of the first fight. Despite appearing as though he was out on his feet, Pascal was able to survive the round, withstand the barrage of punches Kovalev put forth in the fourth round, and counter effectively.

This represented the first time an opponent of Sergey Kovalev had taken his power punches, got up from a knockdown, and kept fighting. Pascal not only kept fighting, but would have continued success landing counter right hands and success landing punches to the body of the champion. Pascal also became the first fighter to test Kovalev’s chin by landing flush counter right hands throughout the fight. What had become a spirited battle between the two ended in the eighth round when after accidentally tripping following stunning Pascal with a left hook followed by a barrage that sent the challenger into Kovalev’s corner, the champion was able to land two flush right hands on the challenger who was suffering the effects of the previous barrage to force a stoppage of the fight.

As this observer stated following the first encounter between Kovalev and Pascal, both fighters turned in impressive performances in the fight. Kovalev was able to show not only the ability to take a punch, but was also able to respond well to a fighter who showed significant resistance after nearly being knocked out. Pascal meanwhile was not only “Game”, not only showed resistance, but was able to hold his own and have his moments against a knockout artist.

Both fighters returned to the ring in July of last year on the same card as Pascal scored a ten round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Yunieski Gonzalez and Kovalev successfully defended his title for the sixth time with a third round knockout over Nadjib Mohammedi. Following those victories, Kovalev and Pascal now turn their attention once again to each other as they will meet once more at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Saturday night for Kovalev’s unified world championship in what will be the champion’s seventh title defense.

Much as was the case the first time around the focus will largely be on Pascal and in order for the challenger to be successful in this fight in my eyes he needs to establish himself as an elusive target and play the role of counter puncher. One thing that was largely absent from Pascal’s offense in the first fight was his jab. Although he was able to have significant success in landing his right hand and body punches throughout the fight, he did not throw his jab consistently and was inconsistent in throwing combinations.

Pascal needs to find a way to control the tempo of the fight and not allow the champion to fight at a distance where he is comfortable and able to control how the fight is fought. Although Pascal will need to be effective in landing counter punches as he was able to do in the first fight, he needs to throw more than one punch at a time and find a way to nullify Kovalev’s offensive output.

Even though Pascal is known as a fighter who does not execute his offense in volume I feel he needs to throw more and not allow himself to be put into a position where Kovalev can immediately return offense in order to be successful. One of the ways Pascal may be able to have success could be to use more lateral movement, angles, and work the clock during a round.

If Pascal can find a way to make Kovalev work in order to put himself in a position to land his offense by moving laterally and thus nullify Kovalev’s offensive output for the majority of a round he may be able to win rounds by landing punches in spurts. It is crucial however, that whenever Pascal throws his punches in this fight he needs to throw them in combination. As much success as he had against Kovalev in the first fight landing counter right hands, he needs to give Kovalev something else to think about besides being on the lookout for the right hand. Whether or not the jab will be a consistent part of Pascal’s offensive arsenal remains to be seen.

Kovalev meanwhile will likely look to apply consistent pressure much as he did in the first fight and cut the ring off from Pascal. It will be interesting to see however, if the champion will be able to avoid Pascal’s right hand. Although Kovalev was the more active of the two fighters in the first fight and was ultimately able to stop Pascal, he must not be complacent and rely on his power alone to lead him to victory.

Kovalev is known as a seek and destroy fighter, but what often gets overlooked is the tactical way in which he sets up his offense. He must be tactical in his approach in this rematch against Pascal and must find a way to nullify Pascal’s movement and his ability to land counter punches. If Kovalev can apply pressure, control distance, and avoid Pascal’s counter punches the advantage will likely be in his favor.

As was the case prior to the first fight, the Boxing world continues to anticipate a battle between Sergey Kovalev and WBC world champion Adonis Stevenson in a unification bout. Jean Pascal is once again cast in the role of spoiler to any potential plans there might be for an eventual Kovalev-Stevenson showdown.

The first encounter between the two produced a spirited battle that also provided some answers to questions that have been asked about Sergey Kovalev. Whether or not Jean Pascal can produce an equally spirited effort in the rematch remains to be seen. We will see what happens when Kovalev and Pascal square off again in Montreal on Saturday night.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

Kovaelv vs. Pascal 2 takes place Saturday, January 30th at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. In Canada, the fight will be televised on Pay-Per-View for $59.99 SD/$64.99 HD. Contact your pay-per-view provider for ordering information. In the United States, the fight will be televised by HBO Sports. The HBO Sports telecast will begin at 9:45PM EST/PST. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the fight can be seen on BoxNation at 2AM (Sunday, January 31st) Local UK Time. Check your local listings internationally.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Thoughts On Garcia-Guerrero And Boxing’s Return To Fox Primetime

Over the course of last year, the Premier Boxing Champions series has done several things that should be viewed as extremely beneficial not only for the sport of Boxing, but more importantly its fans. Of course, there have been several entertaining cards put on by the series featuring a healthy mix of world championship fights, former world champions looking to get back into title contention, and prospects on the rise. One of the most important things the series has accomplished however, has been bringing the sport back to networks that have largely been absent from carrying Boxing programming for several years along with bringing new networks that have not previously televised the sport into the fold.

Along with networks such as NBC, CBS, Spike TV, ESPN, and Bounce TV, the series has also established a home on Fox Sports 1 as part of the network’s “Toe To Toe Tuesdays.” The success of the series across the board along with its increasing popularity among Boxing fans has seen Fox increase its involvement in the series by bringing the sport back to the national Fox network for the first time in over twenty years.

Some may remember back on December 16, 1995 former Heavyweight world champion Mike Tyson squared off against Heavyweight contender Buster Mathis Jr. at the Philadelphia Spectrum in Philadelphia, PA. Tyson, who had recently returned to the ring following his release from prison, had resumed his position as one of the sport’s top pay-per-view draws.

After stopping Peter McNeely in August 1995, Tyson was scheduled to face Mathis in November of that year. What made the time interesting however, was that it was scheduled to go head-to-head against the third encounter between Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield, which was scheduled to be televised via pay-per-view. A concept of two Boxing events going head to head at the same time on television was something that was new at the time. Tyson-Mathis was scheduled to be televised from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas by Fox against the Holyfield-Bowe III, pay-per-view telecast, which took place at nearby Caesar’s Palace on November 4, 1995.

What would have been a unique and historic evening for Boxing was changed when Tyson was forced to postpone his bout with Mathis three days before it was scheduled to take place due to suffering an injured thumb in training. Some speculated that the postponement was done to ensure that Tyson-Mathis would be televised at a later date unopposed on pay-per-view. The bout however, would take place over a month later at the Philadelphia Spectrum with Fox televising the bout in primetime.

Tyson would knock out Mathis in the third round and would go on to regain a portion of the World Heavyweight championship in March 1996 by stopping WBC world champion Frank Bruno in their second encounter. Although Tyson-Mathis was not a historical encounter in terms of what took place in the ring, it did produce massive ratings as over forty-three million people tuned in to see the fight.

Even though Fox’s Boxing coverage would continue under the banner of Fox Saturday Night Fights in February 1996, it was not in a primetime timeslot and Fox’s coverage of the sport on the national Fox network would not last. The sport however, would continue to be a mainstay on Fox’s various sports networks over the years. The absence of Boxing on the national Fox network however, would come to an end on January 23rd as the Premier Boxing Champions Series would make its debut with a card at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA headlined by a battle for the vacant WBC Welterweight world championship between former world champions Danny Garcia and Robert Guerrero.

This was a fight that had action written all over and was an ideal choice for the main event of a card that would return Boxing back to the national Fox network. Garcia and Guerrero would not disappoint. The early rounds in this fight were dictated in my eyes by Guerrero’s ability to apply consistent pressure on Garcia who was forced to use more lateral movement than he had in most of his fights. Guerrero was very effective in his aggression and being able to land to the body and head of Garcia in the early rounds. Garcia however, would play the role of counter puncher as he looked to catch Guerrero with offense as he pressed forward.

As the fight progressed into the middle and late rounds Garcia was able to use his lateral movement and hand speed to gradually take control of the fight by getting his punches off first and offsetting the aggressive Guerrero as he came forward. Although Guerrero remained aggressive throughout the entire fight, as the fight went on he became less effective in being able to back Garcia up and land consistently with his offense. Garcia meanwhile was increasingly able to not only land counter punches, but generally get the better of the action and make Guerrero miss with his offense. This allowed the unbeaten Garcia to box his way to a twelve round unanimous decision to win his second world title in as many weight classes.

Even though the fight ended up being a clear unanimous decision by a margin of 116-112 or eight rounds to four in favor of Garcia, it was an entertaining fight from start to finish that lived up to what was expected by Boxing fans and experts alike. A fight that capped off an overall solid evening of Boxing, which included a Heavyweight bout as undefeated contender Dominic Breazeale stopped Amir Mansour in five rounds and a Welterweight bout where undefeated contender Sammy Vasquez stopped Aron Martinez in six rounds.

Although ratings for this card were not comparable to the massive numbers of Tyson-Mathis over twenty years ago, ratings for the debut of the Premier Boxing Champions series on the national Fox network were solid as over 2.2 million viewers tuned in to see the card. As for what is next for Danny Garcia and Robert Guerrero, all eyes will be focused on the upcoming bout between undefeated Keith Thurman and former Welterweight world champion Shawn Porter on March 12th in a bout that will be televised as part of the Premier Boxing Champions series by CBS.

In terms of what this means for the Welterweight division, both the World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Association (WBA) world championships were vacated by the recent retirement of Floyd Mayweather, who was the unified WBC/WBA world champion in both the Welterweight and Jr. Middleweight divisions. Thurman, who held interim/regular champion status in the WBA’s ratings prior to Mayweather’s retirement is now WBA world champion.

It is logical to assume no matter who emerges victorious in the fight between Thurman and Porter that the winner could face Danny Garcia to determine a unified Welterweight world champion. An interesting option that might be available to Robert Guerrero coming off of a hard-fought decision loss to Garcia just might be an encounter with the unbeaten Sammy Vasquez.

If those fights were to take place on the same card as part of the Premier Boxing Champions series, this observer believes it would be a good attraction for Fox to showcase in primetime on the national Fox network. Whether or not that is indeed in the works remains to be seen, but there is definitely momentum to build off of what was a successful debut for the Premier Boxing Champions series on Fox and the long overdue return of the sport to the national Fox network.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Heavyweight Landscape In 2016

The biggest story as the year 2015 came to a close in Boxing’s Heavyweight division was Tyson Fury’s twelve round unanimous decision victory in November over long-reigning unified IBF/WBO/WBA/IBO Heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko. Klitschko, who had reigned over the division since regaining a portion of the World Heavyweight championship in 2006 had not only successfully unified four of five world championships in the division, but also compiled eighteen successful title defenses in his second reign as a Heavyweight world champion.

Fury had not only defeated the most dominant Heavyweight of the last decade, but he also put an end to what seemed to potentially be a historic reign as Klitschko was nearing challenging the feats of former Heavyweight world champions Joe Louis and Larry Holmes. Louis holds the all-time record for successful world championship title defenses for any weight division in the history of Boxing of twenty-five. Holmes meanwhile, had successfully defended his Heavyweight world championship twenty times during his reign atop the division. There is no doubt as one of three of the most dominant champions in Heavyweight history that Wladimir Klitschko had put himself in elite company.

Although Fury and Klitschko will meet in a rematch at some point in 2016, Fury’s victory also created an interesting scenario for the division. Although the International Boxing Federation’s (IBF) Heavyweight world championship was at stake when Fury defeated Klitschko, it will not be at stake in the rematch, despite Klitschko invoking his right for an immediate rematch. This was due to IBF number one contender Vyacheslav Glazkov having previously stepped aside to allow Klitschko and Fury to face each other. This created a scenario where the winner was obligated within ten days following the fight to agree to face Glazkov in their next fight.

Of course, with Klitschko invoking his rematch clause that meant Glazkov would either have to step aside again or the IBF could strip Fury of its world championship and allow Glazkov to fight for the vacant championship against the next available highest rated contender. This is essentially what happened and the IBF world championship was decided on January 16th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY as Glazkov met IBF number three rated contender Charles Martin.

The bout between Glazkov and Martin can be described by one word “Inconclusive.” After two rounds where both fighters engaged in a feeling out process, Glazkov would slip and go down to the canvas in the third round suffering what was later revealed to be a torn ACL during the slip and could not continue giving Martin the victory and becoming the second American to hold a Heavyweight world championship in the division currently.

What makes that noteworthy is the other American, WBC world champion Deontay Wilder also fought on this card in defense of his championship against WBC number six rated contender Artur Szpilka. Wilder, who won the WBC world championship with a twelve round unanimous decision over Bermane Stiverne in January of last year went on to have a successful 2015 by successfully defending the championship twice against contenders Eric Molina and Johann Duhaupas.

Wilder looked to continue that success when he took on Szpilka. What interested me about this fight was to see whether or not Szpilka, a fighter who entered his first world championship fight having won twenty of twenty-one professional fights and scoring fifteen knockouts in those twenty wins could find a way to get to Wilder, who with the exception of his fight against Bermane Stiverne had knocked out every other opponent he had faced as a professional.

Even though there is no doubt that Deontay Wilder has established himself as one of the feared “Knockout Artists” in the sport, this was a fight where an argument should be made that Artur Szpilka was able to provide the champion with a significant test. What impressed me about Szpilka’s performance as I watched this fight was how effective he was in using lateral movement, which not only made Wilder miss frequently with his offense, but also made it difficult for the champion to fight at a distance where he could dictate how the bout was fought. It was clearly one of the most competitive fights of Wilder’s career in the eyes of this observer.

A fight that was fought at a sporadic pace where both fighters looked for opportunities to counter the other. Although many of the rounds in this fight were close, the difference in my eyes centered on how well Szpilka was able to move laterally and establish himself as an elusive target. It should also not be overlooked that despite his consistent lateral movement throughout the bout, Szpilka also succeeded in periodically backing the champion up and landing short spurts of offense without taking much punishment in return.

Deontay Wilder was also able to have his share of moments throughout particularly when he connected with flush right hands on the challenger. For a fighter who has had to deal with his share of criticism regarding the level of opposition he has faced throughout his career, Deontay Wilder showed in this fight, despite the difficulty Szpilka had given him that he is a fighter that can deal with different styles and one who can adjust as a fight progresses. Wilder was also able to catch up with the elusive Szpilka to end the fight in dramatic fashion in the ninth round.

Wilder connected with a sudden, but devastating counter right hand that sent Szpilka down and out cold on the canvas in what should be considered an early knockout of the year candidate. What the card in Brooklyn on January 16th also accomplished was for the first time in over a decade two fights for versions of the World Heavyweight championship took place on the same card.

What should also not be overlooked coming out of that card is the Heavyweight division now has something that has been missing from the division for over a decade. Two Americans Deontay Wilder and Charles Martin officially have a claim as Heavyweight champion of the world.

How this will affect the landscape of the division in the long-term remains to be seen. The landscape for the year ahead however, appears to be quite interesting. In regard to Deontay Wilder, he should have a mandatory title defense against current WBC number one contender Alexander Povetkin at some point in the near future. If Wilder can successfully defend his title for what would be the fourth time when he meets Povetkin, it is not out of the realm of possibility that he could face the winner of the Tyson Fury-Wladimir Klitschko rematch.

In regard to where Charles Martin goes from here, it is difficult to say. One potential option could be a rematch with Vyacheslav Glazkov once Glazkov has recovered from his injury. After all, the fight between the two ended in “Inconclusive” fashion and there might be interest among Boxing fans in seeing a second encounter between two in the hope that a more conclusive outcome is rendered.

Another possibility that may be available for Martin could be making the first defense of his world title against another top contender and perhaps a former world champion such as Bermane Stiverne. Whomever Martin faces next it will be interesting to see whether or not he can emerge as a potential opponent for either the Wilder-Povetkin winner or whomever emerges victorious in the Fury-Klitschko rematch.

One recent development that was announced earlier this week that could have an impact on the landscape of the division in 2016 was the announcement by the World Boxing Association (WBA) that it will hold what it calls a tournament involving unified WBO/WBA/IBO champion Tyson Fury, former champion Wladimir Klitschko, Luis Ortiz, Ruslan Chagaev, Lucas Browne, and Fres Oquendo in what will determine one WBA champion and eliminate the designation of interim/regular champion status in the WBA’s Heavyweight ratings.

It is no secret to those who have regularly read my work over the years that I have been calling for a revamp or an elimination of the concept of “Interim” championships in the sport. As I have said several times over the years although the structure of the WBA ratings not just in the Heavyweight division, but in all of the sport’s seventeen weight classes might be well-intentioned it has created more confusion than it has created solutions. Although it is unclear as of this writing as to whether or not this might be the beginning of the WBA revamping the concept of “Interim” designations in its organization’s ratings in every weight class, this observer hopes that further progress will be made.

As for the would be tournament concept that has been laid out by the WBA, the winner of the Fury-Klitschko rematch will be the unified world champion in the division, which includes the WBA world championship. Whether or not the winner that fight will emerge as the last man standing over the other top WBA contenders who are involved in this concept remains to be seen. If a clear number one contender emerges to take on whomever the unified Heavyweight world champion might be, it should be considered progress.

Regardless of how the WBA’s tournament concept will impact the rest of the division it is clear that the Heavyweights have reemerged as one of the sport’s more interesting weight classes not just among Boxing experts, but more importantly Boxing fans. It is something that I believe has been long overdue.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Premier Boxing Champions 1/19/2016 Recap

Undefeated Welterweight prospect Jamal James scored the nineteenth victory of his career by winning a ten round unanimous decision over Javier Molina on Tuesday night at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, CA. In what was a competitive bout, James used an effective jab to establish distance and was able to use a mix of combination punching off of the jab along with lateral movement to dictate how the fight was fought. Molina was able to have periodic success landing short combinations to the body and head of James throughout.

As the fight progressed however, James’ ability to control distance and generally get his punches off first became the difference in the fight. Although Molina was able to have his moments throughout the fight including snapping James’ head back with a flush right hand in the sixth round, he was ineffective in being able to land combinations consistently on James. This can be attributed to not only James’ ability to control distance, but also his ability to slip and evade much of Molina’s offense when Molina was able to get close.

Even though there were rounds in this fight that were close due to the combat being fought at a measured pace, James was simply able to outwork Molina and his ability to be the busier and more effective of the two fighters allowed him to win rounds and earn a convincing unanimous decision. Official scores were 99-91, 98-92, and 97-93 all in favor of Jamal James.

Unofficially, I scored this fight 98-92 in favor of James. Molina had periods during this fight where he was the more aggressive of the two fighters, but was simply not effective in his aggression. Despite having sporadic success throughout this fight in being able to land offense on James, Molina was unable to change the tempo of the fight and could not discourage James from doing what he wanted to do and that along with James’ effective fight plan is what won the fight for James in this observer’s eyes.

Jamal James advances to 19-0, with 9 Knockouts. Javier Molina falls to 17-2, with 8 Knockouts.

Also on this card, undefeated Super-Middleweight prospect and knockout artist David Benavidez scored a second round stoppage over Kevin Cobbs. Benavidez was in command from the opening bell as he used a well-balanced attack to the body and head of Cobbs in the first round. In round two Benavidez landed a double left hook that staggered Cobbs along the ropes. Cobbs briefly held on, but did not have an answer for Benavidez’ follow-up barrage, which caused Referee Raul Caiz Jr. to step in and stop the fight. Official time of the stoppage was 1:08 of round two.

David Benavidez advances to 12-0, with 11 Knockouts. Kevin Cobbs falls to 10-2, with 4 Knockouts.

In the Middleweight division rising prospect Malcolm McCallister scored a third round stoppage of Tyrone Selders. McCallister scored a knockdown of Selders in the first round when a right/left combination stunned Selders causing one of his gloves to touch the canvas giving McCallister credit for a knockdown. Despite suffering a cut over right eye later in the round as a result of an accidental clash of heads, McCallister systematically broke Selders down and the one-sided bout was stopped in round three. Official time of the stoppage was 2:39 of round three.

Malcolm McCallister advances to 7-0, with 6 Knockouts. Tyrone Selders falls to 9-7-1, with 6 Knockouts.

In other bouts:

Middleweight Caleb Plant (12-0, 9 Knockouts) TKO6 over Adatar Rodriguez (11-5-2, with 7 Knockouts). Official time: 2:37 of round six.

Featherweight Thomas Velasquez (4-0, 3 with 3 Knockouts) TKO over James De Herrera (3-3, with 2 Knockouts). Official time: 2:08 of round four.

Featherweight Aaron Alameda (12-0, with 8 Knockouts) KO6 over Andre Wilson (14-11-1, with 12 Knockouts). Official time: 1:38 of round six.

Welterweight Sanjarbek Rankmanov (4-0 with 3 Knockouts) TKO4 over Jose Castro (5-7, with 3 Knockouts). Official time: 1:27 of round four.

Light-Heavyweight Ronald Mixon (6-0, with 5 Knockouts) TKO2 over Christian Solorzano (3-7, with 2 Knockouts). Official time: 1:49 of round two.

Heavyweight Con Sheehan (Pro Debut/1-0, with 0 Knockouts) UD4 over Jonathan Rice (2-1-1, with 2 Knockouts). Official scores: 40-36 (on two scorecards), and 39-37 in favor of Sheehan.

On a card that featured a good mix of rising prospects to fighters who are approaching contender status fighters such as Jamal James, David Benavidez, and Malcolm McCallister should all be regarded as fighters to watch in 2016. How quickly these fighters move up the ladder of contention in their respective weight classes remains to be seen, but all three succeeded in producing impressive victories on this card. Whomever either of them face in their next bouts, if they continue to progress it may not be hard to envision either of the three facing a fighter who is considered a contender before the end of the year.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Brief Update:

We would like to let our readers know that new material will be released on Wednesday, January 20th. 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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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2016: A Year Of Further Progress And Success For Boxing?

At the beginning of 2015 readers of The Boxing Truth® read what this observer believed might have been beneficial to the sport of Boxing during the year. The year 2015 could be described as one that was successful for the sport.

Of course, some will automatically say it was successful due in large part to the fact that the long-awaited battle between superstars Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao finally took place. It is indeed true that in terms of economics the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight proved to be the most successful event in Boxing history. The actual fight however, failed to live up to the hype that led up to it and left many Boxing fans feeling unsatisfied.

Although it is understandable to an extent that some would want to base their opinion on the overall success of that event for what turned out to be a successful year for the sport, it is important to remember that there were more stories in Boxing outside of Mayweather-Pacquiao. One of the biggest stories of 2015 was the launch of the Premier Boxing Champions series, a series that spans across several different networks on both broadcast and cable television.  In its first year, the series succeeded in bringing the sport exposure that it had been lacking for years, primarily across networks such as NBC and CBS, who had sporadic involvement in the sport for several years before the Premier Boxing Champions series began. As 2016 begins the Premier Boxing Champions series will soon expand its coverage to include Fox as it will bring Boxing in prime time back to the national Fox network for the first time in nearly twenty years beginning on January 23rd with a card headlined by a Welterweight bout between former world champions Danny Garcia and Robert Guerrero.

For a series that has provided competitive fights, a platform for rising prospects, and has succeeded in bringing increased exposure for the sport, the future does look bright for the Premier Boxing Champions series and this observer has no doubt that the series will continue to progress in 2016. As much as the Premier Boxing Champions series should be applauded for its contributions to the sport, an interesting question that some might ask is what other areas in the sport could improve in 2016?

Readers may recall at the beginning of 2015 I discussed topics that I felt could have long-term benefits for the sport. One of those topics centered on the heads of Boxing’s respective sanctioning organizations including the World Boxing Council (WBC), the World Boxing Association (WBA), and the International Boxing Federation (IBF) establishing an ongoing dialogue to discuss various issues that surround the sport.

This observer remains firm in my stance that an ongoing dialogue between the sport’s respective sanctioning organizations should be viewed as a positive and encouraged particularly if such dialogue leads to things that can improve the sport overall including as I suggested last year unification of Boxing’s seventeen weight classes in order to establish one undisputed world champion per division. Although such a suggestion may appear to be wishful thinking, it should not be dismissed.

In regard to the subject of championships, readers may also recall my comments concerning my belief that the concept of interim/regular/emeritus “champions” needing to be rethought and simplified. It is my hope that not only the dialogue between Boxing’s various sanctioning organizations continues and expands to include organizations that have not been involved in such discussions, but more importantly that such dialogue will lead to a more simplified system a designating mandatory challengers for world champions.

Even though not much has changed in the past year with regard to fighters holding interim/regular champion status in a sanctioning organization’s respective ratings across several weight classes, I believe there is still much that could be done to both ensure that fighters who earn opportunities to fight for a world title get their opportunity in a timely manner and to clear up confusion among the general public as to rankings, designations, and number one contenders. As I stated last year, the concept interim/regular “champions” as well as other designated titles although well-intentioned has created more confusion than it has created solutions.

It is my hope that the dialogue between the sport’s various sanctioning organizations will lead to progress in revamping the concept of interim/regular “champions” in 2016. As much as I believe that the continued growth of the Premier Boxing Champions series as well as an ongoing dialogue between Boxing’s governing bodies will be beneficial in the long-term for the sport, one of the most important things that will continue the progress of the sport in 2016 will be if the best fighters face the best competition available to them.

As successful as 2015 was for Boxing there are still rivalries not only between fighters, but between promoters and networks that could and has prevented fights that most would consider “Big” or “Major” from happening in the past. After all, the Boxing world waited almost a decade for Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao to become a reality. Once the fight finally happened however, it left many feeling disappointed. Whether or not it would have made any difference as to how the fight was fought had Mayweather and Pacquiao fought each other earlier in their careers is a subject to debate.

In this observer’s eyes one of the biggest detriments to the sport is when Boxing fans are asked to wait a significant period of time before a fight that has significant demand finally takes place. If there is a commitment however, from promoters, television networks, and Boxing’s sanctioning organizations to seeing the best fighters square off against one another the progression and long-term success of the sport will continue well beyond 2016. This observer looks forward to seeing what is in store for Boxing in the year ahead.

“And That’s the Boxing Truth.”

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

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy 2016

As Boxing prepares for what should be an exciting 2016, we here at The Boxing Truth® look forward to continuing to provide our readers with accurate information, in-depth analysis, and objective opinions regarding the sport of Boxing as well as the participants and issues that surround it.   We would like to let our readers know that we are between rounds and will kick off our 2016 schedule on Wednesday, January 13th. We thank all our readers for your continued support and we wish you all a very Happy 2016.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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

Follow Beau Denison on Twitter: