Ringside.. Froch/Groves, Ward, Pacquiao.. by Paul Ready
How are we doing?
I had an absolute touch last week; I ended up winning a competition to be in the crowd at SkySports show Ringside on Friday. They had the legendary Larry Holmes on for a Special featurette on his career. I was sat on the second bench behind him and was a pleasure being in his company and hearing some great stories from him.
He felt somewhat aggrieved that people constantly quiz him on Ali, Tyson who was the greatest, when Holmes feels that he was the best ever. Certainly a Hall of Fame fighter, but when he beat former sparring partner Ali, Ali was 38 and was beginning to show signs of Parkinson’s Disease.
Not to dilute Holmes’ achievements as he has mixed it with the very best, one fight that never happened that would have been a barnstormer would have been Holmes v Foreman.
Holmes had some choice words to describe Lennox Lewis, he felt Lewis was overrated, and gave him 4 out of 10. Which surprised me, Lewis boxed in a great era in the 90’s. That won’t make the final cut they show on the telly nor will the colourful language.
That is one thing that does irritate me on fight night, commentators apologising at 10pm/3am for the corner swearing? This isn’t Tots TV, it’s two men going to war.
Holmes was at Prizefighter the night before to see Anthony Joshua fight and feels he has the lot to go all the way.
Great endorsement and Joshua certainly boxed like he wanted to impress Holmes, getting behind the jab well, and landed some accurate combos.
From a personal perspective, being at Ringside, it was good to have a chat with Johnny Nelson, top guy and mentioned myself as an inspiring blogger/writer, he gave me some sound advice which was well received and provided some food for thought.
I did throw in a curve ball question about Groves and Booth to Nelson, does he know why they really split. But he wouldn’t say, believes it will come out at some point, which I do believe myself after the Froch v Groves fight.
The fight itself Groves and Froch feels like he has absolutely flown round. Seems like yesterday it was announced.
Lots of build up this week on TV, Tactics, Behind the Ropes with each fighter, Final Press Conference, Weigh In to name a few so we will all be more than ready for the fight come Saturday.
Froch v Groves
Let’s go right in to my prediction and how I feel the fight will pan out.
I fancy Groves to shock the world here, and let me tell you why.
Carl Froch, the warrior, man who has boxed everyone and anyone in front of him is one dimensional.
He comes forward, forward, and forward like pavement roller. It is an effective and flawless tactic against a Kessler, Bute. You put him toe to toe with any boxer in the world; bar Golovkin, he wins.
Against a smarter, more intelligent boxer, Andre Ward for example, he struggles.
Now I’m not for one second comparing Groves to Ward, but Groves is mobile, intelligent and has one of the best jabs in the division (although Ward would beg to differ!) Groves has fantastic head movement and I genuinely feel Groves’ stylistically is all wrong for Froch.
If Groves tries to trade in the middle of the ring with Froch, he gets knocked out. The Cobra at some point will tag Groves and we will see how well Saint GG’s chin is. Groves has never swam in these waters before, Froch is a huge step up in class.
So for me, if Froch hasn’t knocked him out in 6 rounds, Groves will outbox him and win on points.
I feel Froch is too “gung ho” and can’t box on the outside, struggles to move out of the way of punches quick enough.
It makes for a great spectacle, two contrasting styles collide together like a thunder cloud.
In addition to the main event we have a stacked card that contains; Scott Quigg, Martin Murray, Anthony Joshua, Anthony Crolla, Scott Cardle to name a few.
I’m personally gutted that Super Middleweight prospect Callum Smith has had to pull out due to injury; he is definitely one of my favourite domestic fighters currently and has a huge future.
Smith v Groves in the future anyone?
Ward v Rodriguez
In Ontario, California Saturday just gone, we had the long awaited return of Andre Ward against undefeated Edwin Rodriguez.
Ward won a unanimous points victory against Rodriguez who was 2lbs overweight at the weigh in. In doing so, Rodriguez surrendered part of his purse and in reality Ward was fighting a Light Heavyweight based on the weight of his opponent.
In a scrappy first few rounds that drew boos, the pair of them wrestled, grappled in what was more reminiscent of a WWE encounter than a boxing match. The ref even docked 2 points a-piece for un-sportsman like conduct, which ensured the official had his 2 minutes in the lime light.
Ward, like any elite fighter demonstrated that “ring rust” is a pure myth. He proceeded to school Rodriguez in the art of boxing. It was a lesson pure and simple, master v pupil, Miyagi v Daniel Son.
Ward delivered some spectacular jabs that were as powerful as a hook, the weight behind the punch that was expelled from his legs was sublime. Rodriguez’ neck was snapped back on numerous occasions, I was half expecting him to leave at the end in a foam neck brace with whiplash and his team on the phone to an injury lawyer.
In Round 6, 27-4 was the number of punches landed by Ward, compared to those landed by Rodriguez, according to CompuBox. Ward displayed an incredible offence in this fight, people often take for granted and pigeon hole him as a pure counter puncher. He was very much the aggressor in this, taking out 14 months of frustration on his opponent.
Round 10 he landed a huge left hook that Rodriguez still wouldn’t have seen on the replay it was so quick.
Overall it was an impressive return from Ward and showed that he is untouchable in the Super Middleweight division.
Next he should face Golovkin or move up to Light Heavy again and face big punching Kovalev.
Kovalev you will recall had Nathan Cleverly for breakfast in the summer.
Ward finds himself in a similar situation to Mayweather with the lack of credible opponents rapidly evaporating in front of our eyes.
Who he is next matched with will be interesting indeed.
In addition to Froch v Groves this Saturday, we have a feast of a fight in Macau, China in the wee hours of Sunday morning, the return of Manny Pacquiao who faces punching juggernaut Brandon Rios.
Pacquiao v Rios
Manny Pacquiao is one of my favourite fighters of the past 10 yrs, I have loved the journey he has embarked on, it has been a real rollercoaster.
From beating De Le Hoya, putting Hatton’s career to sleep, battered Cotto and Margarito, The Pac Man has been in some wars and thoroughly entertained.
Pacquiao’s last fight was the brutal knock out by arch nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez at the 4th attempt.
My fear in this fight is that Pacquiao is facing the hungriest fighter to date.
We will see how hungry he still is. Philippine politics won’t have a law that can save him this weekend.
In light of the recent tragedy in the Phillipines, you would expect Pacquiao will dedicate a victory in their honour.
Rios is monster. Loves a scrap and is a sadistic fucker who thrives on getting hit, the taste of his own blood only makes him smile and crave more punishment.
“Boxing for me is better than sex” I heard him say. Brandon, you either aren’t doing it right or you genuinely are that much of a nutter.
What I like about Rios and his training camp is the camaraderie they have at the Robert Garcia gym in Oxnard, California.
Those of you who have ever watched any of Ellie Sechbach’s videos, you will see that Rios’ is a proper lad, loves a piss take and is firmly the joker of the gym.
Garcia created a tight knit environment within the stable, that boasts some impressive names, Nonito Donaire, Marcus Maidana and of course Garcia’s brother Mikey. A stable to rival any worldwide, notably Wild Card in LA.
Could this be Rios’ time? Absolutely.
If Manny isn’t on his game, he will get folded up like an origami swan by one of Rios’ rib shattering body shots.
But if I’m honest, the speed and boxing ability for Pacquiao should be enough to gain a late stoppage in the 9th/10th.
I feel that Rios will stand in the centre of the ring and just keep coming forward, like a young Froch.
Bam Bam will throw those big uppercuts and bodyshots that we have come accustom to with him. It will certainly test Pacquiao’s resolve and heart, something I believe he will struggle to exceed Rios in. Pacquiao needs to match and supersede Rios’ work-rate.
But don’t take your eyes off that one for a second, blink and you will miss it.
That’s it from me.
I’m off to catch up on Boardwalk Empire.