Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Brief Update


We would like to let our readers know that new material discussing the Ward-Kovalev rematch controversy will be released on Saturday, June 24th. 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: www.twitter.com/Beau_Denison

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Ward-Kovalev II Weights


The official weigh-in for Saturday’s rematch between undefeated unified WBO/WBA/IBF Light-Heavyweight world champion Andre Ward and former champion Sergey Kovalev took place on Friday in Las Vegas, NV. The official weights for the entire card are as follows.

Main Event: WBO/WBA/IBF Light-Heavyweight world championship – 12Rds.

Andre Ward (Champion) 175lbs. vs. Sergey Kovalev (Challenger) 175lbs.

United States Boxing Association (USBA) Middleweight championship – 10Rds.

Luis Arias (Champion) 160lbs. vs. Arif Magomedov 159 3/4lbs.

WBA/IBO Jr. Featherweight world championship Unification Bout – 12Rds.

Guillermo Rigondeaux (WBA champion) 122lbs. vs. Moises Flores (IBO champion) 122lbs.

Light-Heavyweight – 10Rds.

Cedric Agnew 174 1/2lbs. vs. Dmitry Bivol 175lbs.

Featherweight – 8Rds.

Tramaine Williams 124 1/2lbs. vs. Chris Martin 125 3/4lbs.

Welterweight – 4Rds.

John Bauza 143lbs. vs. Brandon Sanudo 144lbs.

Middleweight – 6Rds.

Bakhram Murtazaliev 159 1/2lbs. vs. Alex Duarte 159lbs.

Welterweight – 6Rds.

Jonathan Steele 146lbs. vs. Enriko Gogokhia 146 1/2lbs.

Super-Middleweight – 8Rds.

Fabiano Pena 166lbs. vs. Vaughn Alexander 161lbs.

Light-Heavyweight 6Rds.

Zoltan Sera 170 1/2lbs. vs. Junior Younan 170 1/2lbs.

Ward vs. Kovalev II takes place Tonight (Saturday, June 17th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV. The fight can be seen in the United States and Canada on a pay-per-view basis on HBO Pay-Per-View for $64.95 HD/$54.95 Standard Definition beginning at 9PM ET/ 6PM PT. Contact your local cable or satellite provider for ordering information. For more information about HBO Sports, HBO Pay-Per-View, and HBO Boxing please visit: www.hbo.com/boxing. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the fight, as well as the undercard can be seen on Sky Sports 1 beginning at 2AM (Sunday, June 18th Local U.K. Time.) Check your local listings for time and channel in your area. For more information about Sky Sports please visit: www.skysports.com.

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

Follow Beau Denison on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Beau_Denison

Friday, June 16, 2017

Ward-Kovalev II: Will The Sequel Outdo The Original?


In November of last year the Boxing world was treated to a highly anticipated battle for the unified WBO/IBF/WBA Light-Heavyweight world championship as undefeated champion and “Knockout Artist” Sergey Kovalev defended his crown against undefeated former Super-Middleweight world champion Andre Ward at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. It was a rare time in the recent history of the sport  that a bout  described as a “Big” or “Super” fight among both Boxing fans and experts lived up to the hype that preceded it.

An argument could be made that it is somewhat of a rarity in today's sport to see an encounter between two top stars that did not have a long period of time where Boxing fans had to wait to see it come to fruition while those two stars faced other opposition. It is equally rare even when the element of rematch clauses are involved to see a rematch of a fight that was regarded by many as a Fight of the Year candidate between two stars take place so soon after the original showdown. The rivalry between these two men is a rare exception.

The first encounter between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev saw plenty of action where both fighters had periods of effectiveness. As this rematch approaches, it is crucial in my eyes that both fighters look to duplicate those moments while trying to limit their opponent from having opportunities. Readers may recall this observer’s coverage of the first encounter, where I felt Sergey Kovalev was particularly effective in the first half of the fight as he was able to apply significant pressure on Ward and limit the challenger’s lateral movement and hand speed.

Kovalev was able to win the first four rounds on my scorecard, highlighted by a knockdown of Ward in the second round with a flush right hand, due largely to how effective he was in pressuring the challenger as well as landing the cleaner and more effective punches. As the bout progressed however, Ward was able to shift the momentum in his favor by using his movement to offset Kovalev’s pressure as well as making going to the champion’s body a focal point of his offense. Ward was able to win rounds five through nine on my scorecard with this approach and with the two fighters trading momentum in the final three rounds of the twelve round championship bout, Boxing fans were left with the very definition of a “Close Fight.”

At the end of the bout I had arrived with a scorecard of 114-113 in favor of Kovalev, but having scored six rounds a piece in rounds. It was no surprise to see a difference of opinion as the three official judges scored the fight in favor of Ward by the same score. This was a fight that was open to interpretation as to who got the upper hand. Even though I personally felt Kovalev got the upper hand in the first half of the fight, the combat was fought at such a measured and tactical pace that there were rounds that could have gone either way depending on one's perspective as to who got the better of the action.

As is the case with practically every “Close Fight”, there were some who described the outcome as “Controversial” and/or brought into question the subject of potential corruption that in their minds may have played a role in the decision. This observer was not one of those who felt there was a “Controversy “, but rather focused on the benefit this fight gave to the sport in saying that in an era where Boxing fans are asked to pay ever-increasing pay-per-view prices to see the sport's top/elite stars compete where more often than not the fights do not live up to the hype that preceded it, much less the price to see it, this was one that lived up to expectations as well as hype.

With the rematch between Ward and Kovalev drawing near, what does each fighter need to do in order to be successful? How can each duplicate their success from the first encounter?

For the former champion Sergey Kovalev, who will be attempting to both regain his unified world championship as well as avenge his only professional loss, it is crucial that he pressure Ward from the outset as he did in the first fight. Although he was successful for most of the first half of that fight, I felt that Kovalev made two tactical errors that ultimately worked against him.

Although he was successful in pressuring Ward, Kovalev did not apply the type of pressure that pushed Ward backward toward the ropes. This along with Kovalev's inability to cut the ring off from Ward where it would have theoretically limited his movement became a disadvantage for Kovalev as the fight progressed. Despite the success he had particularly in being able to dictate a tactical pace in the first half of the first encounter, I feel Kovalev needs to show the instinct that has made his career. The instinct of a seek and destroy “Knockout Artist.” Kovalev must turn this rematch into a fight early and must cut off the ring from Ward consistently in order to be successful.

In contrast to the former champion, Ward must attempt to duplicate his performance over the second half of the first fight. What worked so well for Ward after he recovered from the knockdown Kovalev was able to score in the first encounter was how he utilized his movement and timing to outbox Kovalev. Ward executed an attack to Kovalev's body in that fight that was not necessarily eye-catching, but it was able to offset Kovalev as he came forward, allowing Ward to move and avoid getting caught on the inside, but most importantly this approach allowed Ward to gradually get himself back into the fight on the scorecards after being at a deficit in the first half of the bout.

Those who are fans of movies as yours truly is are probably familiar with the cliché that films that are sequels very seldom are as good or even outdo the movie that preceded it. The same holds true in regard to the sport of Boxing as there always seems to be a segment of fans who will feel disappointed as regardless of who comes out on top and regardless of what the circumstances of the outcome might be, rarely does a rematch live up to the anticipation that precedes it or the action of a first encounter.

Rather than go into a long detailed point of view of the exceptions that do exist throughout the history of the sport where a second encounter lived up to the hype and in some cases led to a third or even more encounters, I will say that as the first fight was a classic scenario of a fighter known for his punching power against a pure boxer, this second encounter presents the classic scenario of circumstances, which warrant a rematch. A battle between two of Boxing’s top stars that evolved into a great fight. An encounter which produced varying opinions as to who won, and one where some pointed to an element of what they saw as a controversial decision. Two fighters, who each have something to prove.


For Andre Ward, an argument can be made that he wants to avenge a victory by producing a clear a decisive win in the rematch and to hopefully in the process win over those who felt he lost the first fight. For the former champion Sergey Kovalev, the motivation is obvious. This fight represents an opportunity to not only regain his unified crown, but to also avenge the lone loss of his career and one might argue average what was seen as an injustice in the eyes of some.

Whether or not the sequel to the first encounter between these two men does outdo it's predecessor remains to be seen. It is refreshing in this observer's eyes however, to see an immediate rematch to a fight that I simply said following the first encounter “Great Fight, Close Fight, Rematch Warranted.” In an era where the best interests of both the Boxing fan as well as the sport as a whole aren't always taken into consideration, this rematch should be viewed as a win prior to the two fighters doing battle for the second time.

Regardless of who comes out on top this time around, it is my hope that when all is said and done that the sport, Boxing fans, and those of us who cover the sport and/or are involved with Boxing in varying capacities, who all serve as advocates for the sport as well as the fighters who compete in it, will truly be able to celebrate this win. Boxing and by extension all of combat sports are after all truly elevated and given a boost when the best interests of the fans who tirelessly support the sports both with their passion and their hard earned money as well as the best interests of the long-term benefits of the sports themselves as a whole are considered. We will see what is in store in Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev: Chapter 2 on Saturday night.

“And That's The Boxing Truth.”

Ward vs. Kovalev II takes place tomorrow night (Saturday, June 17th) at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV. The fight can be seen in the United States and Canada on a pay-per-view basis on HBO Pay-Per-View for $64.95 HD/$54.95 Standard Definition beginning at 9PM ET/6PM PT Contact your local cable or satellite provider for ordering information. For more information about HBO Sports, HBO Pay-Per-View, and HBO Boxing please visit: www.hbo.com/boxing. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the fight, as well as the undercard can be seen on Sky Sports 1 beginning at 2AM (Sunday, June 18th Local U.K. Time.) Check your local listings for time and channel in your area. For more information about Sky Sports please visit: www.skysports.com.

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

Follow Beau Denison on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Beau_Denison





Monday, June 12, 2017

Schedule Update


We would like to let our readers know that a preview for the upcoming World Light-Heavyweight championship rematch between undefeated champion Andre Ward and former champion Sergey Kovalev is in the works and will be released on Friday, June 16th. 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: www.twitter.com/Beau_Denison



Friday, June 9, 2017

CES Boxing 6/9/2017 Weights


The official weigh-in for Friday night’s Boxing card promoted by Jimmy Burchfield’s CES Boxing at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, RI took place on Thursday. The official weights for the entire card are as follows.

Main Event: New England Jr. Middleweight championship – 8Rds.*

Greg Vendetti 152lbs. vs. Khiary Gray 154lbs.

(*Vendetti currently holds the New England Jr. Middleweight championship. Title will be on the line in this bout.)

Jr. Middleweight – 8Rds.

Mark DeLuca 154lbs. vs. Chris Chatman 156lbs.

Middleweight – 6Rds.

Kendrick Ball 163lbs. vs. Godson Noel 162lbs.

Heavyweight – 6Rds.

Dan Biddle 224lbs. vs. Juiseppe Cusumano 235lbs.

Lightweight – 6Rds.

Abraham Torres 135lbs. vs. Anthony Marsalla 135lbs.

Lightweight – 4Rds.

Matt Doherty 138lbs. vs. Placido Hoff 136lbs.

Lightweight – 4Rds.*

Michael Valentin 137lbs. vs. Kevin De Freitas 137lbs.

(*Both fighters will be making their pro debuts on this card.)

Featherweight – 4Rds.

Malcolm Simms 124lbs. vs, Rick Delossantos 126lbs.

CES Boxing: Vendetti vs. Gray takes place Tonight (Friday, June 9th) at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, RI. The card can be seen on the Fite TV app and website on a pay-per-view basis for $14.99 and will be available for viewing worldwide. The Fite TV app is available on the Google Play Store as well as the Apple App Store. For more information about Fite TV and how to cast content to your TV please visit: www.fite.tv.

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

Follow Beau Denison on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Beau_Denison




Brief Thoughts On Stevenson-Fonfara II


On June 3rd WBC World Light-Heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson climbed back into the ring with top Light-Heavyweight contender Andrzej Fonfara in a rematch of their May 2014 battle for Stevenson's Light-Heavyweight crown. The rematch between the two took place in the same venue as their first encounter the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.

Prior to this second encounter between the two, this observer stated that it was my view that the main story of this fight would be what Andrzej Fonfara would have to offer. Although Fonfara, who lost a hard fought decision to Stevenson in their first encounter, was largely able to establish himself as a player in the division in defeat; he had suffered a brutal first round knockout loss to undefeated top contender Joe Smith Jr. two fights before his rematch with Stevenson. Despite being able to bounce back to stop former Light-Heavyweight world champion Chad Dawson earlier this year, one might argue that Dawson, who has been a cornerstone of the Light-Heavyweight division for much of the last decade, is now a fighter who's best days could well be behind him. On this basis, it was fair to ask the question of whether or not Fonfara's knockout loss at the hands of Smith was a case of a fighter having a bad night at the office or a sign of a fighter on the decline.

It would not take long for that question to be answered as unlike the first encounter where despite being dominated early in the fight the challenger was able to rally late in the bout, the rematch would not see such a spirited battle. Instead, this fight would be a clear demonstration of one fighter's superiority over the other in devastating fashion.

In previewing this bout, I stated that the biggest challenge for Fonfara in addition to answering the question of what he would have to offer and in the process answer those who were skeptical of his getting another opportunity to fight for a world championship a year after suffering a knockout loss would be if he could avoid the tactics that the champion Stevenson was able to implement successfully in the first fight, specifically the champion’s lateral movement and hand speed. The challenge was simply too much for Fonfara to overcome as Stevenson would quickly find a home for his left hand and score a knockdown of the challenger midway through the first round.

Even though Fonfara was able to get up after being dropped as was the case in the first fight, he simply had no answer to avoid Stevenson's left hand as the combat quickly became target practice for the champion. Stevenson battered Fonfara and had the challenger in serious trouble on the ropes at the end of the first round. At this point in the fight, I was frankly surprised to see Fonfara make it out of the first round as he was unable to provide any resistance to whatever Stevenson threw at him.

Sensing he had his opponent in trouble, the champion quickly picked up where he had left off at the end of round one, battering Fonfara with flush left hands to the head before the bout was promptly stopped by Fonfara's trainer Virgil Hunter early in the second round. Simply put there was not much to say about this fight. A world champion seeing his opening and taking full advantage of that opening was the story.

An interesting question is what will be next for the champion Adonis Stevenson. We will likely not get the answer to that question until the outcome of the upcoming rematch between undefeated unified WBO/IBF/WBA Light-Heavyweight world champion Andre Ward and former champion Sergey Kovalev, which will take place on June 17th in Las Vegas. As readers might recall prior to the Stevenson-Fonfara rematch, I offered a brief explanation as to why Fonfara, who was rated number six in the world in the World Boxing Council (WBC) Light-Heavyweight ratings was in position to challenge for a world championship, despite his recent loss to Joe Smith Jr. in explaining how world champions are granted what are referred to as “Elective Defenses” of their championship in between making annual mandatory title defenses against a sanctioning organization's top/number one contender.

Although I suggested that the possibility exists that the winner of the Stevenson-Fonfara rematch could request an extension from the WBC, which would theoretically allow that winner to seek an opportunity to further unify the World Light-Heavyweight championship against the winner of the Ward-Kovalev rematch, I believe regardless of who wins that fight that a unification bout between the two champions might not take place until sometime in 2018. This is primarily due to both the negotiating process that would be required to sign such a bout as well as the potential of injuries that might occur, which might make a fight toward the end of 2017 less likely.

If one also takes into account that most fighters at the top/elite level of the sport typically average between one to two fights per year, this observer believes it may be more likely to see Stevenson make a mandatory title defense before a unification clash with the Ward-Kovalev winner can be made. Current WBC number one Light-Heavyweight contender Eleider Alvarez fresh off of a convincing victory over former WBC Light-Heavyweight world champion Jean Pascal on the undercard of the Stevenson-Fonfara rematch has built significant momentum including also scoring a knockout win over former IBF Super-Middleweight world champion Lucian Bute earlier this year appears to be ready for the opportunity to fight for the WBC Light-Heavyweight world championship that he has earned.

A fight between Stevenson and Alvarez seems to be an ideal option for Stevenson should the champion want to compete once more before settling his sights on a unification clash with the winner of the Ward-Kovalev winner. Given that both Stevenson and Alvarez are both fighters with significant fan followings and have each drawn huge crowds in Canada, where both fighters reside, it would not surprise me to see a potential encounter between the two also take place in Montreal’s Bell Centre, one of the sport's more popular venues. Boxing fans and experts alike will first turn their attention to the June 17th battle between Ward and Kovalev to see how the outcome of that fight will impact not only the landscape of the division, but more specifically what impact it will have on Stevenson’s plans before any potential fights could be made.

Some may also question what is next for Andrzej Fonfara coming off another devastating setback. At the end of the day, this bout had a similar look and outcome as Fonfara’s loss in June of last year to Joe Smith Jr. Although some fighters have been able to bounce back from such defeats as Fonfara has shown in the past, it was clear to this observer that perhaps Fonfara was compromised by the effects of the punishment he suffered at the hands of Smith in that he did not seem to have good reaction time once he was hit by Stevenson in this rematch. Whether or not Andrzej Fonfara will go on with his career is anyone’s guess, but when one considers the ongoing research that has taken place with regard to the effects of concussions on athletes throughout all of sports, one should wonder how many knockout losses and overall punishment a fighter can or should take as the risk of long-term damage is always present. Fonfara has always been a valiant warrior who has given it everything he has every time he’s stepped inside the ring. Whether or not this latest loss to Stevenson will signal the end of his career, Andrzej Fonfara should hold his head high because he has nothing to be ashamed of.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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

Follow Beau Denison on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Beau_Denison



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Update


We would like to let our readers know that new material will be released on Friday, June 9th. 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: www.twitter.com/Beau_Denison

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Stevenson-Fonfara II Weights



The official weigh-in for Saturday’s WBC Light-Heavyweight world championship rematch between champion Adonis Stevenson and longtime contender Andrzej Fonfara took place earlier today in Montreal, Canada. The official weights for the entire card are as follows.

Main Event: WBC Light-Heavyweight world championship – 12Rds.

Adonis Stevenson (Champion) 173 1/2lbs. vs. Andrzej Fonfara 174 1/2lbs.

 Light-Heavyweight – 12Rds.*

Eleider Alvarez 174 1/2lbs. vs. Jean Pascal 174 1/2lbs.

(* The WBC Silver championship in the Light-Heavyweight division currently held by Alvarez will be at stake.)

Jr. Middleweight – 8Rds.

Mikael Zewski 150 3/4lbs. vs. Fernando Silva 151lbs.

Super-Middleweight – 8Rds.

Dario Bredicean 167 1/4lbs. vs. Manuel Garcia 165 3/4lbs.

Middleweight – 4Rds.*

Christian Mbilli vs. Cesar Ugarte

(Weights for the Mbilli-Ugarte bout are unavailable as of this writing, bout still scheduled to take place as of this writing. A ten round Welterweight bout featuring undefeated prospect Custio Clayton is also scheduled to take place on this card however, no opponent has been named as of this writing.)

Stevenson vs. Fonfara II takes place Tonight (Saturday, June 3rd) at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. The fight is being televised in Canada on a pay-per-view basis for $69.99 HD/ $64.99 Standard definition. Contact your pay-per-view provider or visit: http://www.canalindigo.com/en/event/event-sheet/284/Stevenson-vs-Fonfara-2-and-Alvarez-vs-Pascal-LIVE for ordering information. In the United States, the fight can be seen on Showtime beginning at 9PM ET/PT and will also be available on the Showtime and Showtime Anytime apps. For more information about Showtime, Showtime Sports, and the Showtime and Showtime Anytime apps please visit:www.sho.com.

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

Follow Beau Denison on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Beau_Denison


Friday, June 2, 2017

Stevenson-Fonfara II Preview


In May of 2014 WBC Light-Heavyweight world champion Adonis Stevenson entered the ring to defend his portion of the Word Light-Heavyweight championship against top contender Andrzej Fonfara at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. A fight that was in some ways overshadowed by the biggest story that centered around the division, an anticipated encounter between Stevenson and then undefeated unified WBO/IBF world champion Sergey Kovalev.

The fight between Stevenson and Fonfara saw the champion face a more difficult than expected test as both fighters suffered knockdowns before Stevenson retained his championship and standing in the Light-Heavyweight division with a hard fought  twelve round unanimous decision. In the three years since Stevenson’s victory over Fonfara, the main storyline in the division has largely been the potential encounter between Stevenson and Kovalev as both world champions continued doing circles around each other while facing and defeating other opposition.

This of course was changed by Kovalev suffering the first loss of his career last November when he lost his unified world championship to undefeated former Super-Middleweight world champion Andre Ward via a razor thin twelve round unanimous decision. Ward’s victory over Kovalev that has been disputed by some has obviously caused a wrinkle in any potential plans for a Stevenson-Kovalev showdown. The outcome of that fight also left Stevenson as the longest reigning world champion in the division.

The loss to Stevenson one might argue benefited Fonfara from the standpoint of gaining more notoriety than he had prior to that fight due largely to the “Game” effort he put forth. Fonfara was able to bounce back to win his next three fights since that setback including impressive wins over former world champions Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Nathan Cleverly. Fonfara however, suffered another setback when he was stopped in one round by rising contender Joe Smith Jr. in June of last year.

Although Fonfara was again able to bounce back to defeat former Light-Heavyweight champion Chad Dawson in March of this year, it is understandable how one might question why Smith, who was able to build off the momentum from stopping Fonfara by knocking out future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins in December of last year, is not getting the title shot against Stevenson rather than Fonfara given that Smith is currently rated number three in the World Boxing Council (WBC) Light-Heavyweight ratings compared to Fonfara’s current number six rating by the same organization. It is important to remember that world champions are granted what are referred to as “Elective defenses” of their world championship against a top contender of their choosing in between annual mandatory championship defenses against a sanctioning organization's top/number one contender.

It is certainly possible that seeing as this is an “Elective defense” for Stevenson that the winner of this fight will be mandated by the WBC to face the winner of the bout between current WBC number one contender Eleider Alvarez and former WBC Light-Heavyweight world champion Jean Pascal, which will be taking place on the undercard of the Stevenson-Fonfara rematch. It is also possible that whomever wins this rematch could ask the WBC for an extension in order to pursue a unification bout with the winner of the June 17th rematch between WBO/IBF/WBA world champion Andre Ward and former champion Sergey Kovalev.

As for the fight itself, the main story of this fight in this observer's eyes will be what Andrzej Fonfara will have to offer. Was his first round knockout loss at the hands of Joe Smith Jr. a case of a fighter having a bad night at the office or a sign of a fighter on the decline? The biggest challenge for Fonfara in addition to answering the question of what he has left and in the process answering those who might be skeptical of his getting a second opportunity at a world championship so soon after suffering that loss will be can he avoid some of the tactics that Stevenson was able to execute in the first encounter.

In the first fight between these two men Stevenson was able to largely dominate the first half of the bout with lateral movement and combination punching. The task for Fonfara in my eyes will be to find a way to nullify Stevenson's movement and hopefully limit Stevenson's hand speed. Fonfara was dropped twice during the first encounter in rounds one and five each as a result of a straight left hand. It will also be up to Fonfara to find a way to avoid Stevenson's left hand and must find a way to neutralize the champion’s power.

One key component that led to Stevenson's success against Fonfara the first time around was not only the tactics of hand speed and his ability to land his punches in combination, but more specifically how he balanced his attack to the body and head of Fonfara. The challenger must also disrupt Stevenson's offensive rhythm in order to have success in this rematch.

In contrast to Fonfara, an interesting question that surrounds the second encounter will be how Stevenson, who is coming into this fight off of a fourth round knockout win over Thomas Williams Jr. in July of last year, will approach this rematch. The thirty-nine year old world champion who will be making his eighth title defense n this fight is a fighter who has knocked out twenty-three opponents in his twenty-eight career wins registering a career knockout percentage of 79%.

Given the success his measured approach had in the first fight the question of whether the champion will look to implement a similar approach in the rematch or if after seeing how quickly Joe Smith was able to hurt and finish Fonfara last year, if Stevenson will opt to approach this fight with more aggression in the hope of trying to get a similar result as Smith is a fair one to ask. One may also wonder whether the near year of inactivity for Stevenson will have some effect on him in this fight.

Although Stevenson dominated a significant portion of the first fight, Fonfara was able to have success as the fight progressed and did score a knockdown of Stevenson in the ninth round with a straight right hand as part of a rally in the second half of the bout. Even though the champion was able to recover from the knockdown, there was little doubt as some readers might recall this observer's coverage of the first fight that Stevenson did show signs of fatigue as the bout went on. One may also question  if Fonfara can neutralize Stevenson's movement and is able to put the champion in a position where he is not as effective with his hand speed and punching power whether fatigue will become a factor as this rematch progresses.

In many ways, the rematch between Adonis Stevenson and Andrzej Fonfara will have a similar look as the first fight. Once again Stevenson will look to defend his championship against a top contender who is considered an underdog by some. Much like the first fight, a potential lucrative opportunity might be ahead for Stevenson should he be successful. A difference between the first encounter and when Stevenson and Fonfara square off again one might argue is that for the longtime Light-Heavyweight contender Andrzej Fonfara, he might view this fight as what could be his last chance to win a world championship. Despite suffering the setback against Joe Smith last year, Fonfara is still one of the best Light-Heavyweights in the world and is once again in a scenario where he has nothing to lose and everything to gain. If Fonfara's loss to Smith will indeed influence the champion in how he approaches this fight one might wonder if Stevenson will have a sense of complacency by thinking this rematch will not be as competitive as the first encounter perhaps with an eye on the potential payday that might loom ahead. If Stevenson is overlooking Fonfara, this could play into the challenger’s hands.

With the month of June largely highlighted by two World Light-Heavyweight championship rematches, the Boxing world will once again focus its attention on the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada where Adonis Stevenson and Andrzej Fonfara will square off on Saturday night. We will see if this fight will provide more wrinkles to not only a storyline that until recently Boxing fans thought was only a matter of when and not if a potential showdown would take place, but perhaps more significantly the long term landscape of the Light-Heavyweight division as a whole.

“And That's The Boxing Truth.”

Stevenson vs. Fonfara II takes place tomorrow night (Saturday, June 3rd) at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. The fight is being televised in Canada on a pay-per-view basis for $69.99 HD/ $64.99 Standard definition. Contact your pay-per-view provider or visit: http://www.canalindigo.com/en/event/event-sheet/284/Stevenson-vs-Fonfara-2-and-Alvarez-vs-Pascal-LIVE for ordering information. In the United States, the fight can be seen on Showtime beginning at 9PM ET/PT and will also be available on the Showtime and Showtime Anytime apps. For more information about Showtime, Showtime Sports, and the Showtime and Showtime Anytime apps please visit: www.sho.com.

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

Follow Beau Denison on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Beau_Denison









Thursday, June 1, 2017

Brief Update

We would like to let our readers know that new material will be released on Friday, June 2nd. 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: www.twitter.com/Beau_Denison


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Will Crawford Face Pacquiao-Horn Winner Next?



On May 20th at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY undefeated unified WBO/WBC Jr. Welterweight world champion Terence Crawford displayed all of the skills and characteristics that have made the Omaha, NE native a two-division world champion. In what was the fifth defense of his unified Jr. Welterweight crown, Crawford battered top contender Felix Diaz over ten rounds to retain his position as the consensus number one fighter in the 140. Jr. Welterweight division.

The skills of Crawford's hand speed, lateral movement, and punching power were the story of the fight as the champion got the better of his opponent in every round battering Diaz, the 2008 Jr. Welterweight Olympic Gold medalist before the fight was stopped by Diaz’ corner at the conclusion of the tenth round. Despite his pedigree and having given former world champion Lamont Peterson all he could handle in a hard fought loss in October 2015. Crawford was simply too much for Diaz, who showed his mettle in defeat.

As for the characteristics Crawford also displayed in this fight, they are the type of characteristics that are often associated with great fighters that have served Crawford well in his career thus far. Crawford not only has natural athletic ability, but what has been most troublesome for most of his opponents and what this observer feels makes him even more of a difficult challenge for his opposition is the systematic approach he uses in virtually every fight in looking to see what his opponent offers and then implementing a strategy that sees him gradually take control of the fight by cutting off the ring and strategically placing his punches with the intent of breaking the opponent down  rather than simply looking to overwhelm his opposition with his hand speed and/or power.

In his fight against Felix Diaz, Crawford showed this approach and although Diaz was able to periodically land a flush punch on the champion, Crawford had an answer for anything the challenger had to offer. As the bout progressed the combat began to resemble most of Crawford's previous fights. Crawford being extremely accurate with his offense and gradually administering a beating to a very “Game”, but overmatched opponent.

The victory over Diaz for Crawford, his thirty-first win in as many fights not only allowed him to retain his position as the central figure of the Jr. Welterweight division, but perhaps more importantly depending on one's perspective allows him to remain in position to potentially challenge future Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao in the future. As most Boxing fans know however, Pacquiao, the current WBO Welterweight world champion is scheduled to defend that championship in Australia on July 2nd.

Although Crawford appears to be the logical option for the winner of that fight in what would be a move up in weight to the 147lb. Welterweight division, as readers might recall prior to Crawford's encounter with Diaz that this observer stated that Crawford could be the next dominant Jr. Welterweight champion, despite the potential of more lucrative opportunities outside of the division. In the week since Crawford's latest title defense, I have thought about two possible scenarios if a fight with the winner of Pacquiao-Horn is not in the cards for Crawford.

The first option would be for Crawford to attempt to further unify the Jr. Welterweight division by facing undefeated unified IBF/IBO/WBA Jr. Welterweight world champion Julius Indongo in what would be a fight to determine the first undisputed Jr. Welterweight world champion in the history of the sport. Even though many of the dominant Jr. Welterweight champions throughout history have all at one time or another looked to the Welterweight division and beyond for more lucrative opportunities, this would be a viable option due to the fact that one of the two undefeated champions would walk away as the undisputed champion of the division, which would also likely increase the chances of either fighter gaining a lucrative opportunity at a higher weight.

The second option if Crawford is more intent on testing the waters of the Welterweight division could be for him to look to challenge the winner of today’s IBF world Welterweight championship fight between champion Kell Brook and undefeated challenger Errol Spence. As to which option is the most viable/logical of the two, this observer believes Crawford may be better served to seek the undisputed Jr. Welterweight world championship possibly before the end of 2017 before setting his sights on the Welterweight division. Much like Crawford, Julius Indongo is a highly skilled fighter who may not be as well known due to his never fighting in the United States.

Indongo however, scored a dominant victory in adding the World Boxing Association (WBA) crown to his unified championship over former three-division world champion Ricky Burns in April. Coincidentally, Crawford also holds a victory over Burns in winning his first world championship in March 2014. Whether or not this coincidence would be used as a comparison if a fight between Crawford and Indongo is made remains to be seen, but it is clear that Terence Crawford has options which could be on the table outside of an encounter with the winner of the Pacquiao-Horn clash. It will simply come down to which option Crawford chooses to pursue.  For now, Boxing fans and experts alike await the next chapter in the career of the undefeated two-division world champion.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Update

We would like to let our readers know that new material discussing the recent Terence Crawford-Felix Diaz world Jr. Welterweight championship fight will be released on Saturday, May 27th. Stay tuned. "And That's The Boxing Truth."


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Friday, May 19, 2017

Crawford-Diaz Preview


The 140lb. Jr. Welterweight division was largely put on the main stage of the sport of Boxing in this observer's eyes by the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., who served as the division's central figure from the late 1980’s through most of the 1990’s. Since Chavez began periodically competing as a 147lb. Welterweight on through his eventual retirement in 2005 after an incredible career of one hundred fifteen professional fights and having won world championships in three weight divisions, I have periodically wondered who could be the next fighter that may be able to dominate the Jr. Welterweight division, the weight class Chavez competed in the longest throughout his illustrious career.

Of course, many great fighters have competed in the Jr. Welterweight division and had successful reigns at the top of the weight class. Opinion however, can be split as to which was truly dominant due to often a fighter setting his sights on more lucrative opportunities in the Welterweight division and beyond. Some could make an argument that a fighter who could hold claim to being a dominant Jr. Welterweight champion would be former kingpin Kostya Tszyu, who had two reigns as world champion in the division from the mid-1990s through June of 2005.  A fighter who could in time also belong in the discussion of the truly dominant Jr. Welterweights along with fighters such as Chavez and Tszyu is undefeated current WBO/WBC world champion Terence Crawford.

Crawford, a native of Omaha, NE is a two-division world champion who won the WBO Jr. Welterweight world championship in April 2015 with a sixth round stoppage of Thomas Dulorme, has in two short years become the division's central figure compiling four successful title defenses and successfully unifying the WBO and WBC Jr. Welterweight crowns along the way. After a successful title defense in December of last year over John Molina, the twenty-nine year old Crawford now prepares to for his fifth title defense as he will square off against top contender Felix Diaz on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY.

Diaz, who is currently rated number three in the world by the World Boxing Council (WBC) and number ten in the world by the World Boxing Organization (WBO), has won nineteen of his twenty professional fights and will be making his first attempt at a world championship. Although some might feel Diaz is an underdog going into this fight, what should not be overlooked is Diaz’ pedigree as he became an Olympic Gold medalist in 2008 as a Jr. Welterweight. In his lone professional loss, Diaz lost a razor thin twelve round majority decision to former unified Jr. Welterweight world champion Lamont Peterson in October 2015.

Since the loss to Peterson, Diaz has won two straight fights including an impressive performance in scoring a ten round unanimous decision over previously undefeated prospect Sammy Vasquez in July of last year. Despite Diaz’ credentials and his standing as a top ten contender, some may view this fight as a “Tune Up” for Crawford, who has been a potential opponent in recent times for current WBO Welterweight world champion Manny Pacquiao.

A possible scenario that might exist for Crawford providing he is successful in this fight against Diaz could be for him to face the winner of the July 2nd fight between Pacquiao and undefeated contender Jeff Horn in a fight where Pacquiao’s world championship will be at stake. Based on this possible scenario one might question if Crawford might be looking past Diaz and toward a lucrative opportunity in a potential move up to Welterweight.

Diaz has shown however, that he is a fighter one should not overlook as the previous two times he was cast in the role of an underdog opponent against a former world champion and a highly touted prospect, he surprised not only the fighters he faced, but also Boxing fans who may have also underestimated him. One could also make a case given how close his battle with Lemont Peterson was that Diaz could have walked into this fight with Crawford as an undefeated challenger.

The challenge for Diaz in this observer's eyes will be to find a way to negate Crawford’s hand speed. Crawford is a fighter who has demonstrated devastating power throughout his career, but what sets up that power is his timing, his ability to execute his offense in combination, and finally his counter punching ability. Several world class fighters such as Dierry Jean, John Molina, and Victor Postol all had problems with Crawford because of these attributes and it will be interesting to see how Diaz will attempt to combat the champion.

In his fight with Lamont Peterson, Diaz was able to have success when he was able to keep the fight on the inside where he did some effective work to Peterson’s body as well as success in landing short combinations. Where I felt Diaz gave ground to Peterson in that fight was when he would either allow Peterson to push him back to the ropes or when Diaz himself would go on the ropes and it was this that gave cause for Peterson to get the nod in what was a fight that could have gone either way.

Diaz was more effective in that fight when he was able to keep the combat in close, but doing so away from the ropes and I am curious to see if he will look to implement a similar approach in this fight against Crawford. For the champion meanwhile, it could be to his advantage to allow Diaz to take the initiative by coming forward and thus allow the champion to create opportunities to counter and move before Diaz can get into position to throw punches on the inside.

Although Crawford seems to be approaching a likely move up in weight to the Welterweight division, this observer feels that the definition of a champion is one that takes on all comers, fulfills their obligations in regard to facing number one contenders, but most importantly whether that champion can remain consistent both in terms of being active in competition as well as in regard to their performance in the ring. Crawford has shown thus far that he is certainly a fighting champion and to his credit has faced and defeated whomever has been put in front of him, but with a potential lucrative payday possibly ahead outside of the Jr. Welterweight division it may be all too tempting to regard this title defense against Felix Diaz as a mere formality.

Boxing fans may indeed regard this as a “Tune Up” fight for Crawford, but if Crawford can remain consistent, his name may very well be added to the list of truly dominant Jr. Welterweights of all-time even if Crawford's ultimate destiny is in the Welterweight division or beyond. We will see what happens on Saturday night.

“And That's The Boxing Truth.”

Crawford vs. Diaz takes place Saturday, May 20th at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY. The bout can be seen in the United States on HBO Sports beginning at 10:15 PM ET/PT. Check your cable or satellite provider for time and channel in your area. For more information about HBO, HBO Sports, and HBO Boxing please visit: www.hbo.com/Boxing. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the bout can be seen on BoxNation beginning at 2AM (Sunday, May 21st Local UK Time.) For more information about BoxNation please visit: www.boxnation.com. Check your listings internationally.

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

Follow Beau Denison on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Beau_Denison





Thursday, May 18, 2017

Brief Update


We would like to let our readers know that a preview for Saturday’s world Jr. Welterweight championship clash between undefeated unified WBO/WBC world champion Terence Crawford and top contender Felix Diaz is in the works and will be released on Friday, May 19th during the evening hours. 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: www.twitter.com/Beau_Denison

Friday, May 12, 2017

Alvarez-Chavez: A Silver Lining?



On May 6th the Boxing world converged on the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV to see Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, one of the sport's biggest stars do battle against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in a highly anticipated encounter of two of Mexico’s top fighters. Alvarez, a two-division world champion who is quickly making a push to establish himself as Boxing's top pay-per-view draw facing a former WBC Middleweight world champion in Chavez Jr., who for years was pushed as a pay-per-view attraction as “The Son Of The Legend” following in the footsteps of his father Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. the man regarded by many as the greatest Mexican fighter of all-time.

Some would argue that despite being victorious in fifty of his fifty-four professional fights and winning a world championship along the way prior to facing Alvarez, that Chavez Jr. has not fulfilled his full potential perhaps in part due to the impossible task of following his father and trying to establish his own legacy. Chavez had also seen his career marred by inconsistencies in the ring in regard to both problems making weight and his performances as well as personal problems outside the ring. Although Chavez came into the fight having won his previous two bouts after suffering a knockout loss at the hands of Andrzej Fonfara at the Light-Heavyweight limit of 175lbs. in April 2015, this observer did question how Chavez would look in this bout against Alvarez given that the fight took place at a catchweight of 164lbs. four pounds above the 160lb. Middleweight limit and a weight that Chavez had not fought near in nearly five years since losing his Middleweight championship to Sergio Martinez in September 2012. A question that only seemed more valid following the weigh-in when Chavez, who was able to make the contracted limit of 164lbs. looked utterly gaunt.  It was understandable how some including this observer could question whether the process of trying to make weight would have an effect on Chavez in the fight.

Even though this fight had the ingredients of a special occasion for the sport including the passionate fan followings of both fighters, a sell out crowd in attendance, and the festive atmosphere surrounding Cinco de Mayo weekend, this would not be a classic encounter deserving of a label of a “Super Fight” known for a thrilling give and take battle, but rather an occasion that was more about the event than what took place in the ring. For twelve rounds, Alvarez battered Chavez from pillar to post to such a degree that it resembled more of a sparring session rather than an actual fight.

Rather than giving an analysis of a fight that was frankly one-sided in favor of Alvarez, who won all twelve rounds for a unanimous decision victory, the focus should be on what will follow this fight as it was announced immediately in the ring after Alvarez’ victory over Chavez. On September 16th, Alvarez will face undefeated unified WBA/IBO/IBF/WBC Middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin for Golovkin’s Middleweight crown.

This is a fight that has been one that Boxing fans and experts alike have been anticipating as the sport’s next legitimate “Super Fight.” Although this is a fight that needs to happen, in my opinion, there has also been an element of controversy that has surrounded the announcement of the fight being signed in that some have questioned whether the Alvarez-Chavez bout was  “A Fix.” The basis of this theory is rooted not only in how the fight was announced with Golovkin making an entrance following Alvarez’ victory over Chavez in a fashion similar to how some Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) bouts have been announced, but also Chavez’ overall lack of offense throughout the twelve round bout.

This observer has talked with several Boxing fans in the days since the Alvarez-Chavez bout took place who all shared the opinion that they felt the fight was a done deal before it got in the ring last weekend. Even though it is understandable how those who paid $69.95 for this fight and it’s accompanying undercard on a pay-per-view basis may feel disappointed due to the lack of action that took place in this bout, it is worth noting that both due to the gradual increase in prices of pay-per-view Boxing cards over the years as well as at times only getting access to between three to five fights on a card for the price rather than the full card that when a main event fails to live up to expectations it may be all too tempting to call a foul on the sport and by extension it’s fans.

Speaking only for myself, I do not feel that the Alvarez-Chavez fight was not on the level. Prior to this bout, some across various social media platforms asked me for my opinion as to whether or not I felt Chavez had a chance in this fight due in large part to how he looked at the weigh-in. I responded to this question by stating that any fighter who gets in the ring has a chance because after all, all it takes is one punch. I also explained that it was my view that it would depend on whether or not the task of coming down to make weight took too much out of Chavez.

Although I do not feel that a thorough analysis is warranted in this case Chavez, a fighter who has almost always had a height and reach advantage over most of his opponents has always used a come forward pressure style that has one goal, to gradually break an opponent down. As some readers who have followed this observer’s coverage of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s career over the years both in magazines as well as various online outlets may recall, I have always been of the opinion that Chavez did not make use of his physical advantages by using his height and reach to keep an opponent at distance. He has always fought in a style that I have stated in the past was perfectly suited for his father who stands 5’7 ½ with a 66” reach who began his career at or around the 126lb. Featherweight division and never fought above the 147lb. Welterweight division in his career whereas Chavez Jr., who stands 6’1 with a 73” reach who began his career as a 130lb. Jr. Lightweight and quickly progressed up the scale to the 154lb. Jr. Middleweight division, 160lb. Middleweight division, and had fought his last four fights prior to the encounter with Alvarez in either the 168lb. Super-Middleweight division or the 175lb. Light-Heavyweight division is a naturally bigger man as compared to his father.

Despite never fighting in a style that would make use of his height and reach, Chavez elected to attempt to box Alvarez from a distance that would theoretically allow him to use his natural size and reach. It was clear after four rounds however, that the strategy Chavez and his new trainer Ignacio Beristain had developed was not working and Chavez simply could not adapt and revert to the pressure style he had used for most of his career. Even though it is commendable that Chavez would look to improve/change his Boxing style after fifty-four professional fights, this was not the time where he should have adapted to a different style and perhaps this in addition to not being able to consistently put himself in a position where he could throw and land punches was the story of the fight.

It does nothing however, to take away from the performance of Saul Alvarez. While it was by no means an exciting fight to watch, Alvarez did what he had to do and looked impressive in doing so against a naturally bigger fighter whom may have been compromised by the drop in weight, but more importantly was compromised by being the lesser fighter in terms of skill.

This brings us back to the story that came out of this fight, the upcoming showdown between Gennady Golovkin and Alvarez which is scheduled for September 16th at a site to be named. If there is a silver lining to a fight that did not live up to expectations or the price that consumers were asked to pay to see it, it is that a legitimate “Big” or “Super” fight is on the horizon.

Although some will no doubt say that this fight could and should have already occurred, it should be noted that this encounter will take place in a considerably quicker time frame as compared to other would be “Big” or “Super” fights that have taken place in years past. One concern however, that those who are behind this fight should keep in mind is the backlash that took place after Boxing's last big “Mega” event when a fight Boxing fans waited nearly a decade for the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao encounter in 2015 turned out to be a major disappointment in the eyes of many as much like the Alvarez-Chavez bout, it failed to live up to expectations. When you factor in that the Mayweather-Pacquiao event was the most expensive pay-per-view attraction in history priced at nearly $100 and the general increase of pay-per-view prices outside of the “Big”, “Super”, or “Mega” event one may question whether Boxing fans will be as quick to spend their money regardless of what the main event of such an event might be. A valid question as more and more consumers are choosing to move away from traditional cable/satellite television and move toward Over The Top (OTT) digital distribution and thus do not have legal access to events carried exclusively on cable/satellite pay-per-view.

As is the case with most “Big” or “Super” fights this observer has no doubt that the event of Golovkin-Alvarez in of itself will be it's own story. It is my hope however, as the event nears, anticipation increases, and the Boxing world focuses its attention on Boxing's next showdown that when all is said and done Boxing fans and those of us in the media are not talking about another underwhelming moment for the sport that will be more known for the “Spectacle” of the event than what takes place in the ring where no matter the outcome the ultimate authority, the Boxing fan feels once again to be the victim of injustice due to paying an expensive price for something that failed to deliver on expectations.

Boxing as a sport is truly given a boost when a “Mega” event is remembered for the right reasons. One only needs to look at the recent encounter between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko to see that when a fight exceeds the atmosphere of the event as well as expectations, the Boxing fan does not complain about being “Cheated” or “Let Down” afterwards, does not offer suggestions of a possible “Fix” and/or questions the integrity of a referee or the judges scoring a bout, but rather talks about the “Great Fight” they saw and what they anticipate may be in store for both fighters next which can only encourage increased interest in the sport particularly among casual fans. Such enthusiasm is even better when the Boxing fan is not charged such a high price in order to witness such an occasion. After an occasion where 90,000 people packed the legendary Wembley Stadium in London, England, over a million more ordered Joshua-Klitschko on pay-per-view in the United Kingdom for a far more reasonable price of €24.95 for the HD broadcast of the event with even millions more tuning in to see what became an all-time classic around the world, Gennady Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez sure have a tough act to follow.

“And That's The Boxing Truth.”

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

Follow Beau Denison on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Beau_Denison

Why Joshua-Klitschko Was A Win For Boxing



If one were to take a poll of Boxing fans who ranged from the casual fan to the die hard enthusiast on what is one aspect about the sport of Boxing that most can universally agree on, you would probably get varying answers because of course, the question in itself is general in nature and does not center around a specific subject regarding the sport. One topic however, that usually draws the interest of both the enthusiast as well as the casual fan is when a special occasion is on the horizon. The type of occasion that epitomizes the “Big Fight” atmosphere. Of all the “Big Fights” that take place in Boxing, one thing most folks would say whether casual fan or enthusiast is there is nothing quite like the anticipation that precedes a World Heavyweight championship fight.

A discussion regarding two hard-hitting Heavyweights each with knockout power entering the ring to do battle alone is enough to draw varying opinions as to what may or may not happen when the two fighters square off. When the storyline of the encounter centers on a former longtime champion, who lost his crown returning to the ring after a lengthy absence to attempt to regain the championship as well as his standing in the sport against a young unbeaten “Knockout Artist”, it is certainly understandable how anticipation can only increase as the days, weeks, and at times months prior to a showdown go on. When a fight not only draws interest among each fighter’s respective fanbase, but interest on a true global scale the ingredients of a special occasion are present that more often than not turns a highly anticipated fight into an event. When those ingredients include a legendary venue and a massive crowd of spectators to witness the encounter, you have the very definition of the “Big Fight” atmosphere.

On April 29th, over 90,000 people packed the legendary Wembley Stadium in London, England to witness such an event as undefeated “Knockout Artist” Anthony Joshua made the third defense of his International Boxing Federation (IBF) Heavyweight world championship against former longtime champion Wladimir Klitschko. Prior to this encounter, this observer stated that this was a classic scenario of youth versus experience. Although there were questions that surrounded both fighters, I felt the focus would be on the former champion Klitschko due in large part to his lackluster performance in losing his championship to Tyson Fury in 2015 as well as his being inactive since that loss.

Of course, some could make an argument that for a fighter who was as active as Klitschko was at the height of his dominance over the Heavyweight division that perhaps an extended hiatus would be appropriate to allow the fighter’s body adequate time to recuperate from the riggers of training and other injuries that can occur over the course of a long career. The counter argument however, which has just as much validity is that as a fighter gets older, extended time out of competition can actually do more harm than good due to the effects age can have on one’s reflexes as well as reaction time, which are crucial in all of sports, but especially with regard to combat sports.

It surprised me to see Klitschko begin this fight coming forward working behind his jab. Although this had not been uncommon for Klitschko throughout his career, I felt strongly prior to this fight that he would elect to allow Joshua to come forward and look to counter his normal aggression as the champion looked to apply pressure. It was nevertheless an interesting tactic implemented by the challenger from the outset. One thing that the champion did early on that I felt was an effective strategy was Joshua focused part of his offense on Klitschko's body, which has been something that some previous Klitschko opponents have been unable to have consistent success in attempting against him due to Klitschko usually having a height and reach advantage as well as his ability to control distance with his jab and straight right hand. Even though the two fighters were equal in height, it was an element of offense that was executed well by the champion. What was also evident was that Joshua was not awed by the occasion of fighting in a legendary venue such as Wembley Stadium and did not appear pressured by the support of the massive crowd in attendance.

Although both fighters were able to have their share of moments early on, it appeared as though the champion had a slight edge due to landing the harder punches of the two. Joshua was also able to withstand the Klitschko jab/right hand combination, a focal point of Wladimir Klitschko's offense for many years in the early rounds. Despite showing more aggression and more of a willingness to engage than he had against Tyson Fury, Klitschko seemed to have some difficulty landing power punches early due to Joshua choosing to box and not look for a quick knockout.

What was an exciting yet tactical battle in the early rounds however, would change as the bout progressed. At the beginning of the fifth round, Joshua was able to stun the former champion with a left hook to the jaw setting off a barrage of offense, which opened a cut over Klitschko's left eye and resulted in him going down on his knees to the canvas. Upon scoring the knockdown, an energetic Joshua pressed forward looking for the stoppage, but under circumstances where previous Joshua opponents were unable to recover and ultimately crumbled under the power of the twenty-seven year old “Knockout Artist” Joshua, Klitschko withstood the assault and by the end of the fifth round appeared to turn the tide as Joshua looked to have punched himself out. Despite suffering some knockout losses early in his career where some including this observer questioned his ability to take a punch, Klitschko deserves much credit for his ability to recover under such circumstances and it would be the challenger who would have his say in round six.

It would be at this stage in the fight where Klitschko would force Joshua to answer a question that inevitably follows all fighters who are labeled “Knockout Artists.” What happens to the fighter once they are hit flush and more specifically, how will that fighter respond after being sent to the canvas? Despite being the victim of a knockdown in the previous round and in serious trouble for half of that round, Klitschko was able to take advantage of the momentum he was able to build late in round five by dropping Joshua for the first time in his career with a flush straight right hand to the jaw behind a jab.

The unbeaten champion was able to show that he was not only capable of getting up from a knockdown, but also proved that he could withstand punishment as Klitschko pressed forward and continued to find success in landing his right hand. This fight clearly was one where some long sought answers to questions surrounding both fighters were answered. Following his knockdown of the champion in round six, Klitschko was able to dictate the combat by controlling distance and generally seemed to get his punches off first and land more effectively than Joshua in the second half of the fight and after ten rounds this observer had the fight even on my scorecard.

In round eleven however, the fight would come to a sudden and dramatic conclusion in a fashion  that most think of when they think of the Heavyweight division at it’s best. As was the case in round five, Joshua staggered Klitschko at the beginning of the round, but did not pressure Klitschko as aggressively as he did in the fifth round likely due to not wanting to risk being badly compromised by putting himself in a position where he punched himself out and thus allowing his hurt challenger the opportunity to recover. The champion instead took a more calculated approach and staggered Klitschko badly with a devastating right uppercut to the chin setting off a barrage of punches that sent the former champion down to the canvas. Klitschko, showing his mettle arose from the knockdown only to be dropped for a second time by a follow up barrage from Joshua. Klitschko again was able to get up from the knockdown, but it was academic as Joshua pressed forward and after landing a few more solid blows the bout was stopped.

It was a thrilling encounter where both men proved something to their critics. For Anthony Joshua, the third defense of his world championship also earned him the World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Organization (IBO) Heavyweight world championships that were previously vacated by Tyson Fury following his scheduled rematch with Klitschko never becoming a reality, but more important in this eyes of this observer and any critic of Joshua before this bout took place, he proved he belonged in the ring with a fighter who for over a decade ruled over the Heavyweight division as it’s unified world champion. Despite only having nineteen professional fights, Joshua showed not only the ability to overcome adversity to win a fight and retain his championship, but he did so by knocking out his opponent and proved he belongs at the top of the division as one of three fighters who currently hold a claim to the World Heavyweight championship along with the World Boxing Council (WBC) world champion Deontay Wilder and the World Boxing Organization (WBO) world champion Joseph Parker.

Although he came out of this fight having suffered his second consecutive loss, an argument can be made that Klitschko in this defeat may have finally earned his just due from Boxing fans who simply did not appreciate his dominance and/or Boxing style during his second reign as a Heavyweight world champion, much in the same way as other dominant champions such as Larry Holmes and Evander Holyfield received overdue recognition only after they lost their championships and are now rightfully regarded as two of the greatest Heavyweights of all-time. Klitschko was also able to show despite some setbacks early in his career where he suffered knockouts where he was knocked down and was unable to recover, that he could fight on and nearly was able to come back after the first of what became three knockdowns to nearly end the fight himself by knockout. The former champion also deserves praise, in my opinion for being able to get up from an uppercut that would have ended the night for most Heavyweights and valiantly try to fight on, Even though there were punches that followed the crushing right uppercut from Joshua, there is no disputing that it was that blow that led to Klitschko going down in the eleventh round in the second of what became three overall knockdowns he suffered over the course of the fight.

In the near two weeks since Joshua-Klitschko took place I have had one question running through my mind. How long will it be before there is a second encounter between Joshua and Klitschko? It is after all a fair and logical question to ask not only given the exciting combat these two fighters produced, but also the overall success the fight generated in producing over one million pay-per-view buys in the United Kingdom as well as over ten million viewers on German television network RTL in addition to producing over a million combined viewers here in the United States on both Showtime and HBO, who each produced separate broadcasts of the event for the first time in history.

After an encounter that exceeded every possible expectation both as an event as well as what took place inside the ring in addition to the fact that there was a rematch clause in the contract for this fight, it seems logical that a rematch between the two take place. Given the interest that preceded what became a classic encounter, this observer has no doubts that interest would be as high or maybe greater in a potential rematch. Joshua-Klitschko was after all a “Big” or “Super Fight” that did deliver. In an era where many of the sport’s “Big Fights” have failed to live up to expectations leaving the ultimate authority, the Boxing fan feeling at minimum disappointed and at worst cheated, why not give Boxing fans an encore of what was a legitimate “Big Fight?”

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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

Follow Beau Denison on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Beau_Denison