Category Archives: Boxing

Statement Made By Ward

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There was a buzz this past Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nevada for the much anticipated rematch between WBA, IBF, and WBO Light Heavyweight Champion Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev. These two engaged in a battle last November in Las Vegas that was tightly contested with Ward winning 114-113 on all three cards to hand Kovalev the first defeat of his career while also taking his title belts. The rematch was highly anticipated due to the fact that Kovalev appeared to be extra motivated to regain his belts and avenge the only defeat of his career, while Ward wasn’t ready to lie down for him. And when Kovalev and Ward stepped into the ring to face each other for the second time, we were all hopeful that this meeting would be as good as the first.

An incensed Kovalev began the fight extremely aggressive as he took a page out of Ward’s playbook which consisted of holding and punching. Kovalev did this while also attempting to land power punches as he was seeking a knockout that would have left no doubt that he was the king of the Light Heavyweight Division. And even though that Kovalev came out seeking to make a statement, Ward never diverted from his game plan.

Ward earned his reputation as one of the best boxers in the sport due to his impeccable defensive skills as well as his ability to frustrate his opponents by taking away what they do best. And coming into this encounter I expected Ward to exploit the fact that Kovalev was seeking a knockout which is exactly what he did.

As Kovalev came out swinging for the fences, Ward tired him out by not allowing him to get clean shots, while also working on the Russian’s body as it was these same body shots that allowed him to get victory last November. The tide began to turn after the fourth round this past Saturday night when Kovalev didn’t have the same steam on his punches which is when Ward went to work.

Ward began to have his way with Kovalev as those early body shots began to take their toll, and he continued to add salt to the wound. Ward would keep working the body which included a few borderline “low” punches that slowed down Kovalev who would claim that the punches were indeed low. Initially referee Tony Weeks instructed Ward to bring his punches up, but after awhile he was not buying selling what Kovalev was selling.

By the eighth round Ward was beginning to open up to the point that Kovalev had nothing in the tank as he was out of gas. Kovalev was on the ropes in more ways than one as he needed a breather to which Ward wasn’t ready to oblige. Ward continued to hit Kovalev with a flurry of punches. And with Kovalev bent over, but on his feet, Weeks had seen enough and decided to stop the fight which brought the crowd at the Mandalay Bay Events Center to their feet. For the second time in as many fights, Ward would get his hand raised against Kovalev, but just like their encounter in November, this one ended in controversy.

Following the fight Kovalev once again was not ready to give Ward credit as he simply referred to him as being “lucky”. Kovalev wasn’t thrilled that he lost the first fight with Ward 114-113 on all three cards as he entered that match as the champion while also sending his opponent to the canvas in the second round. That frustration fueled Kovalev for the rematch, but he became fatigued due to the body shots that he was receiving from Ward along with the fact that he finally met someone who he could not overwhelm with his power. The body shots that Kovalev complained about were borderline, but they were not low. And even if Weeks had not stepped in to stop the action, Kovalev wasn’t going to make it past the tenth round.

Kovalev’s gripe took another step as Main Events CEO Kathy Duva who promotes the former Light Heavyweight Champion acknowledged that she intends to protest the decision with the Nevada State Athletic Commission. After the first fight with Ward, Kovalev’s camp wanted a new referee as they felt that Robert Byrd didn’t do enough to stop Ward from grabbing and holding, while they also wanted new judges. The first time around saw Burt Clements, Glenn Trowbridge, and John McKaie as the three officials who were scoring the fight. Duva and Kovalev got their wish as ┬áthe Nevada State Athletic Commission got a new referee for the rematch in Weeks, while also getting some new judges. Glenn Feldman of Connecticut and Steve Weisfeld of New Jersey joined Nevada’s Dave Moretti as the three judges for the rematch as Duva was seeking to get judges who were not from the West Coast. But all of the king’s horses and all of the king’s men couldn’t prevent Kovalev from getting beaten by Ward again. Once the fight was over Kovalev still had Ward on the brain as he could be seeking a third fight, but the same cannot be said about the champ.

After the fight Ward acknowledged Kovalev as a great fighter, but he didn’t want to leave anything to chance the second time around. And being that Ward won such a close fight in his first meeting with Kovalev, he knew that he plenty to improve on. But since Ward has now beaten Kovalev twice, he not only sits as the undisputed king of the light heavyweights, as he is also arguably the best current pound-for-pound boxer.

Ward is finally getting the recognition that he has deserved for a long time as issues with his former promoter as well as injuries kept him on the shelf for nearly three years. But whereas Ward is now 33-years of age, he has made up for lost time.

Ward studied the defensive skills of former boxer Bernard Hopkins who himself became a Light Heavyweight Champion. Hopkins made it his business to consistently frustrate his opponents and take over the fight in the second half of the bout which is something that Ward has down to science as you can ask the likes of Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler, and of course Kovalev. And whereas most fighters tend to go for the head shot in order to finish off an opponent, Ward continues to work the body until his counterpart has no choice but to succumb to the damage that he is receiving.

I doubt that Ward will take on Kovalev for a third time as this is in the category of “been there done that”, and although that Adonis Stevenson is the WBC Light Heavyweight Champion, he doesn’t receive that much respect since he ran from fighting Kovalev twice. But for Ward he is now in the catbird’s seat as he can write his own ticket while running things at Light Heavyweight. Ward always has the option to move up cruiserweight, but since he isn’t packing a ton of power, he could get lost at that level.

When Ward exited the ring this past Saturday night, his undefeated record remained in tact due to the fact that he has maintained the moniker of professional boxing being “a hungry man’s sport”. The wolf that is at the top of the mountain typically isn’t as hungry as the pack which is climbing to overtake him. However in the case of Ward he has shown that he has what it takes to not only stay at the top, but also fend off of all of those who are intending on dethroning him.

 

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Ripe For The Picking?

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Gennady Golovkin

The past few years have seen Gennady Golovkin become a sensation on the boxing scene. Golovkin’s sparkling record of 37-0 includes 33 knockouts which has made him a fan favorite. Golovkin currently possesses the WBA, WBC, IBF, and IBO Middleweight Championships as he is the king of the division. But what has hurt Golovkin throughout his career is that most of the big names in boxing haven’t been overenthusiastic as far as climbing into the ring with him due to to his awesome punching power. One fighter that comes to mind is Saul “Canelo” Alvarez who like Golovkin is a dominate middleweight.

Alvarez is the current Ring Magazine and Lineal Middleweight Champions, while he is also in possession of the WBO Junior Middleweight Title. Alvarez has a professional record of 48-1-1 and like Golovkin he is known for his punching power which is evident by his 34 career knockouts. Golovkin and Alvarez have been the top two middleweights for the past five years, but they’ve yet to meet inside of the ring. However that could be changing soon.

Canelo Alvarez

Theoretically the fight between Alvarez and Golovkin should have happened two years ago. But Alvarez’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya and his Golden Boy Promotions have been playing the old cat and mouse game.

Alvarez is literally De La Hoya’s “Golden Boy” as he is the company’s meal ticket. And after Alvarez suffered a loss to Floyd Mayweather in September 2013, De La Hoya has gone to work as far as protecting his top fighter.

Alvarez has gone on to fight good contenders such as Erislandy Lara and Miguel Cotto, but no one who De La Hoya feared losing to which is why a fight against Golovkin has consistently been put on the back burner. But that might not be the case that much longer.

Last September, Golovkin scored a fifth-round TKO of Kell Brook after Brook could not answer the bell for the sixth round. This was due in part to punches that Golovkin had administered in the first round to Brook’s eye. However Brook was dishing out his fair share of punishment to Golovkin as some observers had him winning the fight. Prior to the contest, there were rumors circulating that Golovkin had been dealing with an illness leading up to the fight. And if those rumors were true it gave something to the conversation of him not being sharp against Brook.

But this past Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Golovkin had the opportunity to once again display his ability as a knockout artist when he took on Daniel Jacobs. Jacobs stepped into the ring with a sparkling record of 32-1 and he wasn’t expected to be a pushover for Golovkin.

Jacobs was sent to the canvas by Golovkin in the third round, but he was unfazed. For the remainder of the contest Jacobs took Golovkin’s best shots in stride and even took the time out to taunt his undefeated opponent on several occasions. Jacobs was able to keep Golovkin off balance by switching back and forth between fighting orthodox and southpaw. Jacobs was also able to land flurries of combos that Golovkin has never had to deal with before which at times bewildered him. And when it was all said and done, Jacobs became the first fighter in nine years who was able to go the distance with Golovkin as he ended his 23-fight knockout streak.

Golovkin was able to score a controversial unanimous decision over Jacobs as many people (myself included) felt that he lost. Now Golovkin has had consecutive fights against quality fighters who have made him look human and whereas De La Hoya has made Alvarez avoid the notion of climbing into the ring with Triple G, it could be happening sooner rather than later.

Golovkin is 34-years of age and as that awesome punching power might be beginning to fizzle it is just the opening that De La Hoya needs. Alvarez is 26-years of age and as he is in the prime of his career, it has been very easy for De La Hoya to put of a fight with Golovkin off in order to benefit his fighter.

But this wouldn’t be the first time that we’ve seen this tactic in boxing as for years Mayweather backed away from fighting Manny Pacquiao until Pacquiao’s skills began to diminish which led to Mayweather climbing in the ring to face him in May 2015 as he secured an easy victory. A big problem in boxing is that promoters too often are more concerned with protecting a fighter’s record as opposed to giving the fans what they want which is to have the best face the best, and that would mean more money for everyone involved.

Oscar De La Hoya

So now when Alvarez faces Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on May 6, there will be a big buzz in Las Vegas for the fight. And if Alvarez is able to secure a victory over Chavez Jr., De La Hoya will almost instantaneously claim that Alvarez is ready to face Golovkin because he knows that he loves the chances of his fighter winning right now. And for boxing fans, they would finally get to see Golovkin take on Alvarez. However with the skills of Golovkin apparently fading, we more than likely will get a watered down version of the contest.

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