Brook not Special yet… Callum Smith… B Hop an Alien… By Paul Ready

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Evening,

The alleged “Wizard of Oz” esq storm that took place was simply the wind produced from consuming a tin of beans.

Upon looking out in to my back garden this morning, I noticed a giant trampoline appeared in the neighbour’s house directly behind ours, must of blown in from another garden.

I was disappointed to not see Tinie Tempah and 2 Chainz on it, and that they didn’t get hit by a swirling shed in the process.

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Yeaaaaaahhhh…

I was out on Saturday so caught up with the fights when I got in. Completely hammered, not often we get a child-less evening, need to make the most of it Vicious and somewhat unfounded rumours were rife of me cutting some serious shapes on the dance floor. It would of been more a two-step. It’s my drunk fail safe move.

Kell Brook KO’d Vyacheslav Senchenko in 4 rounds at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield on Saturday evening.

This came as no surprise for me, this is the type of performance to maintain & surpass if he is to go up a level and graduate with the big boys.

Probably Brook’s best fight to date. Very aggressive. Boxed like a man with a purpose and a point to prove. Peppering Senchenko with shots, got behind the jab well, softened him up like buttery mash.

The Ukrainian caught him with a beautiful punch that left Brook dazed and almost could of swung the fight. But with the home crowd getting behind him, Brook managed to avoid what would of been a shocking defeat as he was fully in control in this encounter up to this point.

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Senchenko described by Brook after as a “world class fighter” for me is an exaggerated comment to say the least. Yes he was ex world champion, but he is not a top 10 fighter in the Welterweight division.

For Brook now, he will have one eye on Alexander v Porter in December as he will face the victor. Other potential opponents are Khan if he doesn’t get the Mayweather fight or Adrien Broner who is fighting Marcos Maidana also in December.

The Broner fight is one which appeals to me most. I for one can’t stand Broner. I really can’t, he looked good against Gavin Rees, but so would anyone. Rees is a tough guy. But he doesn’t possess the speed or durability to trouble anyone of real significance

For me Broner doesn’t live the life enough and I’m unsure HOW good he is. Brook could surprise people in that. It would do wonders for his profile in the US if it happened.

I remember watching an episode “All Access” for The One, he was talking to Floyd backstage at a rap concert, Floyd called him “One pack” due to sporting a pot belly, and Broner laughed it off and boasted about “being on tour”.

Click on the below video 2.30 mins in and check the gut. That was as long as I could stick of the self proclaimed AB.  You knoooowww. Oh dear…

Pretty embarrassing really for a fighter deemed as the heir to Floyd’s throne treating his body in that manner. He will end up having a very short career if he continues to do so.

He is the “I deserve everything for doing nothing” generation. This isn’t college/University where you can take the summer off getting on it because you simply fancy it.

It would make for an blockbuster match-up, Broner should stroll it if he is half as good as the critics say and perhaps deep down I believe he could be. But Brook being the naturally bigger boxer, walks around as a Light Middleweight naturally, should impose his power and win a decision. Eddie Hearn seems to believe they can get him over for $2-3m dollars, but that would be PPV and in the MEN arena. (Now Phones 4U arena)

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Earlier on the card we had Super-Middleweight Callum Smith stopping Ruben Acosta in the 6th round.

Smith, 23, again looked superb. Controlled the centre of the ring, marshalling Acosta who took him further than his past 6 opponents. Now 9-0 with 7 KO’s in his first 12 months as a pro, he folded Acosta like a deckchair with two knock downs from separate body shots.

These are almost becoming his trademark punch, reminiscent of a young Ricky Hatton. Hatton’s body shot of Luis Castillo is one of the best I’ve seen.

Smith, could be sharing a ring the end of 2014/early 2015 with James DeGale which would prove to be a good test and an exciting domestic match up to work towards. Smith would eat him like a biscuit.

A man who embarked on the second step of a journey Smith has completed, Anthony Joshua was next up.

Joshua stopped Paul Butlin in the 2nd round. This was a low key outing for Joshua, coming to the ring with “Holy Grail” playing, he is on a long path to the holy grail of Heavyweight boxing.

Joshua again exerted his power, snapped the jab, floored Butlin with a left-right combo. Splitting the eyebrow in the process which pissed blood.

To his credit, Butlin peeled himself off the canvas, had no idea what day of the week it was, for his corner to then throw the towel in.

Being critical, a mate of mine shouted that his combinations were still very amateurish. 2, 3 punch thrown. Which I would agree with.

I’d like to see him move his head a bit more, slip some shots, bring some more mobility in to his game.

But it will come, he has a fantastic attitude so he will continue to learn and grow.

My final piece is on the man that Father Time forgot, the newly named “The Alien” Bernard Hopkins.

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Hopkins now wants to be known as The Alien, as he is from Pluto apparently.

Look at Naazim Richardson in the background haha.

Shitting himself.

Even he looks unsure if that is actually Hopkins underneath. Or maybe Hopkins’ face was a mask and this is his real face?

You will never see another 48 yr old (49 in January!!) box at this level, to his standard..ever.

Hopkins beat Karo Murat (25-2-1) on a unanimous decision in Atlantic City on Saturday evening.

This was the most exciting fight B Hop has had since he lost to Calzaghe.

Rather than adopting his usual “chess master” tactics, he traded with Murat, throwing and receiving some big shots that he absorbed. A rarity to say the least.

If you’ve ever caught a B Hop video on YouTube, he’s certainly not backward at coming forward about his achievements in the sport.

A man I have the utmost respect for. Been in with everyone and anyone. Fearless.

He has been in prison, come out, turned his life round, boxed at the highest level for a period spanning 25 yrs.

Now in the autumn of his career, with the leaves falling, decaying on the soil below… Hopkins has become an ambassador for Golden Boy and is regularly seen at any big fight they are hosting,

You wonder how much longer he will continue, but I’ve been asking myself that question for 5 yrs, and he shows no signs of letting up just yet. Maybe he will get to 50 and then walk away.

Check out the below video, hilarious interview Steve Bunce had with him in a caravan, a personal favourite of mine. I would be shitting my pants if I was in Buncey’s shoes.

Finally a bit of self promotion, I’m writing for US based Pro Boxing fans on a frequency basis to be agreed.

Something I’m personally pretty proud of so early after only 13 posts including this one.

Hopefully it could lead on to some exciting things in the future, worse case it will result in some great exposure Stateside.

I have a few irons in some fires with house-hold boxers/trainers who shall remain nameless for now.

Hopefully I can get an interview/meet them in the not to distant future, stayed tuned for that!

I’m going to keep banging on the door, I’m confident someone will answer.

Maybe give me a treat, maybe ask for a trick!

Right

That’s your lot from me and my rambling.

I’m off to Amsterdam on Friday for a long weekend with the boys to celebrate my *cough* 30th.

Have a good week and catch you next week…. if I’m still alive!

Paul

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingBlog

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Frampton KO sets up Title tilt… Brook = pressure is on… By Paul Ready

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Evening,

Had a Weston Super (Mare) this morning. Went to take the recycling out to my sexy new blue bin. Full to the brim with cardboard, plastic and anything else under the sun that is recyclable.

Only to realise that alas, the new blue bin won’t be collected until the 12th November!

F*ck!

Trip to the tip at the weekend is on the cards.

Coupled with my missus’ car having a flat battery, nearly drowning in the rain, the gods weren’t on my side this morning.

Where was my scuba diving outfit when I needed it?!

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Guess this film and I’ll send you a prize… probably a box out of my bin… I’ll even sign it if you’re lucky…

So to last weekend…

We had the return of The Jackal. Carl Frampton stopped Jeremy Parodi in 6 rounds in Belfast.

Frampton, has had rave reviews on his performance, but lets not get carried away, Parodi was the perfect opponent for a “comeback” match. A guy who sports 9 KO’s from 35 wins, he has only ever left France on holiday.

Most importantly, he got the stoppage, looked good doing it and we even had a fantastic Irish jig from Barry McGuigan, Michael Flatley eat your heart out.

I exchanged a few tweets with Daryl Richards who is the Strength coach at McGuigan’s gym, he told me they have one eye on Martinez v Mathebula match in December initially. I was quizzing him on Frampton v Quigg. They know the best route for Carl. Win a title, make the Quigg match a unification bout, it puts you in a much stronger position round the negotiating table. A wise, and logical move.

Quigg’s camp are said to be in discussions with Martinez for a unification fight, so they will have to get their skates on and get something agreed.

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Throwing bombs…

Frampton is due to get married soon, and take a honeymoon so he can fully enjoy his time off with his wife, then get back to business in the new year.

Probably another reason why they picked Parodi and his cotton wool hands, meant there was no chance of Mrs Frampton giving Carl a slap for having a bruised and battered face for the wedding photos!

Moving on to this coming weekend, we have a solid card at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield.

Callum Smith faces Ruben Eduardo Acosta in his 9th fight at Super Middle. Brian Rose in a WBO Light-Middle eliminator, Anthony Joshua’s 2nd outing against Paul Butlin and headlined by Kell Brook v Vyasheslav Senchenko.

For Brook, we forever have the discussion of a “defining fight, big performance”. It is becoming somewhat tiresome.

Yes he’s been unfortunate with injury, missing out against Devon Alexander for his mandatory IBF title shot. Which he still has by the way, should he win this Saturday. Brook then proceeded to scrap past Carson Jones in their 2nd fight. A fight which he had in the bag in the 1st few rounds, he should have tucked him in bed, but he allowed Jones to wake up and stay up that little later.

Against better opposition you will get found out and punished at the highest level. Senchenko who Hatton took the distance pretty much, after a 3 yr absence, should be stopped by Brook inside 5. No excuses.

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I want to get behind Brook, I rate him. He could be very good. But he could equally disappear in to the October fog and be forgotten.

High pressure on him coming from the Steel City, a renowned fighting hub in this country. Home of Prince Naz one of my favourite British boxers of all time. There is a huge expectation on him every time he steps in the ring.

From his promoter, from the fans.

Does he believe in himself?

Is he dedicated to the sport enough to reach the upper echelons?

I’ve heard he likes a night out and his food, Brook needs to reign that in.

Danny Garcia doesn’t drink. He goes to clubs to just pick up girls.

Both similar ages. One is World Champion, the other isn’t. Who would you rather be?

That’s the benchmark, the standard you have to set if you want to be an elite athlete.

I hope he does it, starting on Saturday night. I really do.

Big KO, batter Senchenko in front of Hatton, who I’ve told will be ringside. Give him a wink to say “that’s for you mate”.

If he scrapes to a narrow split decision then he is destined to chug along as a good European fighter, who had a title shot and got found out.

Prove me wrong Kell! It’s over to you….

That’s all from me tonight.

I’m off to go flat pack those boxes…

I reckon I can get another in that bin

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Laters

Paul

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingBlog

Russian Rocky

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Who’s next for Provodnikov?

By Paul Ready

Ruslan Provodnikov stopped Mike Alvarado after 10 rounds of brutal boxing on Saturday evening. Alvarado was pulled out at the end of the 10th by his corner. It was an edge of your seat fight; I needed the toilet, but refused to leave my sofa.

It felt like I was in the playground at school. Two toughest kids in your year squaring off, you couldn’t blink for fear of missing the action. All that was missing was “FIGHT, FIGHT” chants.

What I like about Provodnikov is that he is a true warrior, a word often overused these days along with legend. But he epitomises it in every aspect.

Reminiscent of an Ancient Roman Gladiator, minus a shield and sword. He thrives on being in a gruelling battle, relishes receiving punishment as much as he enjoys prescribing it.

After boxing more like Ivan Drago than Rocky in the encounter, it begs the question who is next for Provodnikov?
Let’s look at some of the potential opponents and some mouth-watering match-ups…

Danny Garcia
(27-0: 16 KO’s).

Defeated Lucas Matthysse on “The One” card last month. Mooted as one of Mayweather’s final four. But appears he’s had Amir Khan cut the queue in front of him for now. Good job he didn’t cut Angel as he would have got his arse kicked!
This fight would be the toughest for Provodnikov. Garcia is a P4P top 5 fighter. One of the most underrated fighters in the world in my eyes. Whilst the Russian Rocky could trouble him with his power, I feel that Danny is a more intelligent fighter and would win a comfortable split decision.

Brandon Rios
(33-1: 23 KO’s)

Rios who is due to face Pacquiao next month in Macau, has won and lost to Alvarado over the past 12 mths.
Whilst it would be foolish to look beyond Pacquiao as his next opponent, it does conjure up exciting thoughts of the prospect of Rios v Provodnikov.
Rios v Alvarado I was voted Fight of 2012 by Sports Illustrated and a match up with the Russian Rocky would certainly be a contender next year. Two monstrous punchers and the guarantee that they would go toe to toe for the full 12 rounds, if it went that far.
This would certainly be one of my top choices regardless of the outcome of the Pacquiao fight.
The winner? I might shade the youth of Rios, but it could easily go the other way.

Manny Pacquiao
(61-5-2: 38 KO’s)

8 weight world champion winning 10 titles. Pacquiao is one of my favourite fighters of the past 10 yrs. He has suffered two back to back defeats to Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Bradley was a contentious split decision, Marquez, there was no argument after he flattened Pacquiao in the 6th.

Pacquiao due to fight the Rios next month, you question how hungry he is to still box at the highest level and how many “wars” he has left in the tank.

If the answer to the above is none to the wars, especially after Rios, then he needs to steer clear of Provodnikov as he will get folded up like a freshly pressed pair of trousers.

This would be a fight I’d love to see, but I don’t believe they would pit him against a stable mate. Freddie Roach has already quashed the prospect of this encounter by describing them as “Good friends”.

Shame. Big shame. Maybe they should sell tickets to them sparring at Wild Card?

Lucas Matthysse
(34-3: 32 KO’s)

The Machine, lost to Danny Garcia last month. Has a frightening KO record, is my number 1 choice to face Provodnikov.

Why?

Call me old fashioned, but there is nothing like two guys beating the hell out of each other in the middle of the ring.

Nothing.

This fight would last 5 rounds maximum. We may as well host it in Rome, The Colosseum the perfect venue.

Get them both to ride out on a horse, covered head to toe in Gladiator attire.

A complete sell out.

The result?

I genuinely wouldn’t care who won, as boxing would be the winner.

The only slight, small, tiny issue, is the Golden Boy/Top Rank cold war.

Come on guys, look at these match-ups that can be made.

You’ll make a ton of cash, the public will adore you.
Just kiss and make up?

Pretty Please?

@PaulReady
@EliteBoxingBlog

Marquez can’t weather the Desert Storm… Frampton, Price/Booth By Paul Ready

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Evening,

Belated blog. I’ve been to London, Leeds and Nottingham this week for work and pleasure. Early starts, late finishes. Graft. Feeling baked.

Before we recap last weekend. Who remembers this game from their youth?

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Desert Strike. Mega Drive. Old School.

I thought this was actually called Desert Storm, maybe Bradley’s favourite console game as a boy. Hence this nick-name. But it’s not. My bad. #Awks.

Action packed card at the Thomas & Mack Centre in Vegas, headlined by Tim Bradley v Juan Manuel Marquez. Lets look at the one of the supporting acts:

Lomachenko v Ramirez:

Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko the two-time Olympic Gold Medallist, who is the arguably the greatest amateur of all time. Sporting a 368-1 Amateur record which is jaw-droppingly impressive.

I was expecting big things, 4 horseman of the apocalypse big. He didn’t disappoint.

First observation was that the 25 yr old was making his debut in a 10 rounder against resilient Mexican Jose Ramirez (25-4 15 KO’s).

Who has a debut fight set at 10 rounds? Unheard of. It was never going to go the distance. It could of had a 20 round distance and wouldn’t of made a shred of difference, but it’s the point that 10 rounds was set which is unreal.

20 seconds in when he floored Ramirez, with a superb body shot, you knew you were watching the birth of a future P4P World Champion. He has everything in his locker. He can bang, he can move. Connects with every other punch thrown.

Ramirez proved to be resilient for all of 4 rounds. When he was rocked again with an even better body shot. His theatrical roll was certainly not staged. I felt that from my living room.

Lomachenko is being lined up for a world title bow in his 2nd outing. Against newly crowned Orlando Salido (40-12-2, 28 KOs),

Demonstrates the belief that Top Rank have in him. Big things round the corner for him. He can easily move up to Lightweight, a definite multi-weight World Champion. Might be a tad too soon for a World Title fight for me, could easily go pear shaped.

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Monster

Bradley v Marquez

The forever underrated Timothy Bradley won a tactical master class over 40 yr Juan Manuel Marquez. Bradley, who didn’t drop a round, made Marquez box his fight.

He won on another contentious split decision. Contentious in his favour on this occasion.

How Marquez had won by one judges scoring defies belief. Bradley controlled the fight with ease, and only had to get out of 2nd gear in a handful of exchanges. He stifled Marquez’ power and made him look very much 40 and 10 yrs his elder.

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I backed Marquez before, favouring his counter punching power and heart to steer him to a narrow victory.

Bradley is the American Amir Khan, in the sense that he isn’t rated by the boxing community there.

He isn’t your traditional self assured American boxer like a Floyd or Broner. Nor is he the people’s champion that has a strong following. After this victory he certainly warrants being on the podium in the P4P rankings, but you feel there still is a piece to his jigsaw missing.

A piece that should mirror his boxing brain and undefeated record. He’s been in with the division’s best and always delivered.

I for one hope he isn’t one of Floyd’s remaining 4 opponents as it would be an extremely dull match up. A game of chess would ensue, with neither willing to gamble. He has even adopted the famous Mayweather shoulder roll into his defence.

So it begs the question. Who is next for Bradley? I’d love to see him fight Canelo at a catch weight of say 150. If Canelo doesn’t fight Cotto of course. Bradley has got the frame to make that weight comfortably and it’s a fight for two who have a point to prove. It would be a fascinating encounter.

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The Jackal

Moving closer to home, in Belfast this weekend. We have the maiden event hosted by newly founded Cyclone Promotions, headed by Barry McGuigan. Headlined by Carl Frampton and aptly named “Frampton Comes Alive”, it pits him against relatively unknown Frenchman Jeremy Parodi.

It’s a fight that Frampton should win at a canter. I’ll be staggered if he doesn’t stop him inside 4.

Interestingly the mind games have already began against domestic rival Scott Quigg and ex promoter Eddie Hearn.

It was leaked on Twitter and later confirmed on camera that Matchroom have made an offer to Cyclone for a Quigg v Frampton match up in March 2014.

The timing is very convenient in my eyes, it’s the week before his fight to Parodi. After a long absence since earlier this year, Frampton needs to be 100% focused on the task in hand.

Are they aiming to unsettle him, make Frampton take his eye off the guy in front? Absolutely.

Frampton and his camp don’t suffer fools gladly and can see what stunt they are trying to pull.

Making the below quotes on the timing of the leak and a fair assessment of Quigg’s last fight:

“I thought Salinas won the fight by a round but they both looked very ordinary. The Cuban only lost the fight because he became lazy in the later rounds,” Frampton told the Belfast Newsletter.

“He could have won every round if he had continued to use his jab and I thought his tactics at the end of the fight were very strange. I think we all saw what Quigg has to offer on Saturday night and I think I could take him out in three rounds. He was wobbled on Saturday night by a couple of jabs and because of that he was too nervous to throw shots,” he added.

Quigg’s camp talked about facing IBF World champion Kiko Martinez, a fighter the undefeated Frampton has back in his sights, after the bout, but the European ring king believes that would prove a bad move.

“Kiko would blow him out of the water. He would destroy him.

“Quigg looked ordinary on Saturday night and hopefully we can meet in the future,” added Frampton.

I love that. This has a soap opera all over it. Love rat, jilted ex, new boyfriend.

Brilliant.

I’d have to back Frampton in 1st half of the fight as I believe his is technically a better fighter. Quigg possibly 2nd half of the fight on points. But he’d have to come out of the blocks Usain Bolt style against Frampton, as the fight could be over in 6 if he boxes like he did against Salinas.

Regardless, I hope this develops in to a real rivalry that spans a trilogy of fights, like Marquez v Pacquaio and a genuine animosity towards one another.

British boxing needs that. Bad blood sells. I’d go as far as to say I would prefer to see that fight than Brook v Khan. I really would.

My final point this week is David Price. The Liverpudlian Heavyweight who was much lauded as our next great Heavyweight, lost two shocking defeats to Tony Thompson this year.

He has surprisingly appointed “The Dark Lord” Adam Booth as his new trainer, which has surprised many people, myself included.

Firstly, for Price it’s a superb move. Gives him a much needed confidence boost, and having the best British trainer in his corner.

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Plenty to ponder…

A man who is renowned for his conditioning of his fighters, meticulous almost OCD approach to devising a game plan to defeat his man’s’ opponent.

For Booth, he has nothing to lose. If he turns Price around, it’s his finest achievement to date. If he fails, Price was already finished.

Price looked mentally and physically shot to shit in his 2nd fight to Thompson. He gave up, wasn’t returning any punches.

You have to question what mind-set Price is in. How much does he want it? Is he still hungry?

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He must be to a certain extent, or has displayed a sufficient amount to convince Booth to be in his corner.

You know that Booth will have him fitter than he ever has been. Sparring with Haye will do him the world of good, he’ll learn more than fighting many in that division.

I just have reservations of his boxing ability at the highest level.

Price is fortunate that he is in an era where we have a limited number credible Heavyweights. It is improving mind.You have the Klitschko’s, Haye, Fury, Wilder and Joshua in the future. Winning a title is still a strong possibility for Price.

With Booth I’d fancy him against anyone outside of the above list. So good luck to the guy and lets all get behind him.

Right, that’s your lot from me tonight. Need to get an early night in.

Tune in next week.

Cheers

Paul

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingBlog

Michael Watson – Champion in the toughest fight of them all… By Paul Ready

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I grew up in a heavily influenced Boxing environment, from both parents sides. Whilst they have their personal differences towards one another, one fact they remained united on. Michael Watson is greatest British fighter to never win a World Title, bar none. He went as close as humanly possible to being World Champion, before something happened that would alter his and family lives forever.

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Watson was born in Hackney during the swinging ’60’s to a large West Indian family. His father, who separated from his mother Joan had returned to Jamaica.

Living in Dalston, North London. Renowned for being an unruly area in the late 70’s, it was a particularly rigorous environment for a father-less young boy learning to become a man.

Michael was a quiet, softly spoken young man. His mother had installed in him to be polite and courteous at all times. This began to become a disadvantage to him as played football on his estate. One game in particular against a group of older boys would be career defining. In being victorious in this game, Watson was beaten up. Unable to defend himself, he went back to his home licking his wounds. Close family friend “Uncle Joe” was there, he would from this day become a father figure to Watson. He told him that he needs to learn how to defend himself so this is never repeated.

Uncle Joe took 14 yr old Michael to Crown and Manor Boxing Club to do just that. He admits himself, when he looks back that this was a real watershed moment for him. Watson felt a sense of belonging, he felt at home in the gym. He was free. It seemed that the gym and boxing felt the same towards him. He took to the sport like a duck to water.

Watson fought 22 times for Crown and Manor as an amateur, winning 20 losing 2. He transferred to Colvestone Boxing Club where he won the ’83/84 Nationals. This put him in contention to be part of Team GB for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Watson losing what was deemed as an easy fight, he was stopped by young Liverpudlian Brian Schumacher who took his seat on the plane to America.

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Michael soon turned pro after this brief setback. Chalking up some impressive victories. Watson picked holes in his opponents, he could also bang with his trademark right hand.
He was 14-1 before the public really sat up and took notice of him.

“He was a well schooled, clever, skilful boxer.”
Steve Bunce

Watson v Don Lee

American Don Lee, named Dangerous Don was the first real win Watson had in the public eye.Lee was one of the most avoided and
feared middleweights from that period. Watson was the aggressor, exerting frightening power. Stalking and hunting Lee down. He was the polar opposite to himself outside the ring. The referee called a halt to the fight. Lee’s lip was badly cut. Rightly so as he would of done some serious damage to him. Watson whilst the high-pressure fighter in the ring, still displayed the humility outside of it. He never wanted to maim, hospitalise anyone. Thriving on purely embarrassing his opponents with his skill and laser punching precision. That was more satisfying in his eyes.

“I was a Top Ten contender during the era of Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns and Roberto
Duran, it was a great era to be a Top Ten contender” Michael Watson

Watson used this as a catalyst in his next 7 fights, winning 6 by knockout, drawing 1. His KO of Ricky Stackhouse my personal favourite.

This had him knocking firmly on the door of the divisions big guns, Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank. This was the renaissance period of boxing on these shores. An embarrassment of riches in the Super Middleweight division, that would continue with Steve Collins and later Joe Calzaghe in years to come.

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Nigel Benn had 22 fights and 21 KO’s when he was due to fight Watson. He was Michael’s acid test. The man they called the Dark Destroyer. Benn was a real throwback to the boxers of yester year. He reminded me of a young Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier. Inner City street fighters, just angry young men, with a point to prove to the world. Who will go through anything, and anyone who dares to cross their path with the force of a freight train. Benn, enjoyed hurting people, he got off on it. But he could also box and was certainly not a man to piss off.

“The British press hate a winner who’s British. They don’t like any British man to have balls as big as a cow’s like I have.”—Nigel Benn

Watson v Benn

Nigel Benn vs Michael watson 1989 Repro Poster #m328

The poster for this fight is the best I have ever seen. It was the same time Michael Jackson was touring in London for his album “Bad”. Rare for any promoter to miss a trick on what’s current, hats off. Benn’s entrance for this fight was BAD themed and fit his persona like a velvet glove. The venue, “The Super Tent” a purpose built almost circus esq ripe for the occasion.

Benn, the overwhelming favourite sprinted out of the blocks as expected, pressing, trying to bully Watson. Michael cupped his gloves over his head, Ali esq v Foreman and just absorbed everything Benn threw at him. Benn had punched himself out, he was blowing. Later blaming his coaching for not conditioning him correctly for this fight. In the 6th, he met the canvas and was counted out. The crowd in the tent went ballistic, Watson had done it against all odds. The smarter man had won.

After the Benn fight, Watson didn’t hit the expected heights. This was his time to be catapulted into the stratosphere. Why hadn’t it happened?. This was down to appalling management of his team, by Mickey Duff his manager. To put it in to perspective, 18mths after defeating Benn, Watson was fighting on his undercard for £15k, Benn was getting £500k, the figures didn’t add up. His patience and trust had run out with Duff. He knew he was being taken for a ride. No more.

In 1991 Watson took Duff to court citing a “Restraint of Trade” in his contract. The judge agreed that by Duff acting as his manager and promoter there was a clear conflict of interest. He ruled in Watson’s favour.

This was a monumental verdict that would set the precedence in years to come, it had give power back to the fighters. Sent a clear warning to rogue promoters that it wouldn’t be tolerated.

It enabled Watson to finally get his hands on the man he wanted, Chris Eubank.

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Not being born to parents who were accountants was probably my biggest mistake.” – Chris Eubank

Watson v Eubank I

Chris Eubank was the most hated athlete of the late 80’s and 90’s. Eloquently spoken, he was the self appointed aristocrat of this era. Perceived as pompous, up his own arse. He was the man everyone was rooting against. The public wanted to see that smug smile smashed off his face. Eubank drew on the negative energy and hostility he received, and it made him a better fighter for it. This fight was no different, Watson was labelled “The People’s Champion”. Everyone, including Eubank’s wife was in his Watson’s corner. I’ve always admired an athlete with self assurance and arrogance, if he can back it up. Eubank could and he wouldn’t of looked out of place as a tailor in Savile Row.

On warm summers evening in June 1991, a contest for WBO Super Middleweight title, Watson gave Eubank a boxing lesson. Dominated him, he fought like he was the World Champion and Eubank was the challenger. Some had the fight closer, but not for me. The fight went the distance. Watson had it in the bag. He knew it. The crowd knew it. Even Eubank knew. It was written over his swollen sweat dripped face. Eubank got the decision. It was a public robbery, on the highest stage. The crowd utterly defenceless to stop it

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The fall out the next day in the tabloids was venomous, the press simply couldn’t comprehend how Eubank got the decision.

3 months later we had the rematch the world demanded. Eubank had no choice. He had to take it. He had to beat this guy, prove everyone wrong. But could he?

This would prove to be more memorable than the 1st fight. But for the wrong reasons.

Watson v Eubank II

This fight meant more to Watson than any other he had contested. He knew he had to get the stoppage. He couldn’t rely on the officials giving him the decision. It was his time, his destiny. It was the only way he would realise his dream as a 14 yr old boy. Back in his local boxing club, being World Champion. It’s what he worked for in his entire career. Building up to this single moment. The coronation from Peoples Champion to World Champion. Watson treated Eubank like a young sparring partner. Knocking him round the ring like he didn’t deserve to be there. Eubank, in his own words had been out thought, out manoeuvred, out strengthened. Watson’s style was completely wrong for him.

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It’s the 11 round. Watson is light years ahead on points. But he wasn’t satisfied. He had to finish Eubank off. He knocked Eubank down with a right. 1st time Eubank had been put down in his career. 20,000 people going crazy in White Hart Lane. Afterwards, Eubank said he wished he’d hadn’t been able to get up, he wouldn’t of done if he knew what was moments away.

Like a true champion, Eubank showed heart, grit. Despite being exhausted, he wasn’t ready to surrender his title.

Then

It happened….

Slow motion.

Eubank catches Watson with a perfect uppercut, Watson falls on to the ropes, lands awkwardly on the back of his head.

The crowd goes silent….

Watson gets back on his feet. He’s not himself. Visually, breathing different. Mentally, heartbroken.

The round ends.

He returns to his corner. His family said it wasn’t Michael that came out for the 12th. A stranger.

Watson wasn’t returning punches

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The referee immediately stopped the fight.

Watson collapses moments after in the ring.

Tragedy.

There was no ambulance or paramedic at the event.Doctors wearing dinner jackets arrived after some eight minutes, during which time the fallen fighter received no oxygen. A total of 28 minutes elapsed before Watson received treatment in a hospital neurosurgical unit. He spent 40 days in a coma and had six brain operations to remove a blood clot.

Steve Bunce has written a superb piece on how the rest of the night unfolded. Please read below.

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/general/others/boxing-the-night-michael-watsons-career-was-ended-2358050.html

After regaining consciousness, he spent over a year in intensive care and rehabilitation and six more years in a wheelchair.

His biggest fight had begun.

Watson, like the true champion mustered something that most human beings in that situation wouldn’t and couldn’t be able to do. He fought. He fought to get his life back. Or certainly some sense of normality.

One of the key turn points was when Muhammed Ali travelled over from the USA to personally see Michael. He sat by his bedside and told him he’s not a bad looking guy. Not as good looking as him mind! This visit, gave him the needed lift and made him want to continue. It gave him renewed hope in his darkest hour. His idol coming to see him.

Watson sued the British Boxing Board for negligence and won a reported £1m. A paltry sum considering you nearly lost your life due to inadequate care ringside.

On 19 April 2003, Michael Watson made headlines when he completed the London Marathon, walking two hours each morning and afternoon for six days. Raising money for the Brain and Spine Foundation, Watson slept overnight in a support bus that followed him along the way.Finishing the race by his side were Chris Eubank and his neurosurgeon, who had become his personal friends.

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On 4 February 2004, Watson was awarded the MBE by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II.  She told him that she had heard of his achievements. Watson was overjoyed and noted that this was his family’s first visit to Buckingham Palace.

A truly moving story, of not only a remarkable boxer, but a remarkable man.

Many in his situation would hold bitterness, a grudge towards Chris Eubank for nearly ending his life.

Watson told Eubank when they first met many years after the fight that “he forgave him, and had prayed for Eubank that he was ok”.

Now I’m not a remotely religious man, but that’s pretty powerful stuff. Forgiveness in the face of death. Eubank, broke down in to tears upon hearing that.

If Watson can forgive Eubank. It really does make you re-evaluate your life and what’s important.

One thing is for sure.

Michael Watson is a Champion, he doesn’t need a belt or title to hold that accolade.

I hope you enjoyed the article.

Tune in early next week for my next blog.

Paul

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingBlog

Carpe Diem….Did they seize the day? Cotto still got it.. By Paul Ready

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Good evening.

Great night of boxing in some quarters. Others had some what subdued fights for me, with plenty to prove if they are to cut it at the top.

Let’s get stuck straight in.

Lee Selby v Ryan Walsh

A somewhat ugly performance from Selby. Who wasn’t given it on a plate by the stubborn Ryan Walsh, looked sloppy at times. Caught by Walsh all the 1st round and suffering a cut in the third due to a clash of heads. He knew he was going to have to dig deep and grind out a result. As the fight wore on, he threw some decent combinations but never really like troubling Walsh or indeed getting the stoppage. Selby got the decision in the end after controlling the latter rounds. Selby in winning a unanimous decision, defended his British & Commonwealth title. He is now looking to move up to the next level to face Rendall Munroe in a European Featherweight title bout. Selby will need to really come out of the blocks in that one, show much more than he did last night or he will struggle.

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Selby needs a big performance against Munroe next

Kevin Mitchell v Marco Lopez

Mitchell in his 2nd outgoing since his defeat to Ricky Burns last year, looked good against a poor Lopez. Lopez, looked in shocking shape for a professional boxer, never looked like troubling the man from Romford. Mitchell, who controlled the tempo and pace of the fight from start to finish. He scored two knock downs in 5th and 6th before the fight was finally stopped by the referee. This tees up a mouth-watering matchup with Derry Mathews, rumoured to be December this year. I’d have to back Mathews due to his punching power and ability to stop anyone in the Lightweight division. It’s a fight that makes sense for both parties whilst Burns is recovering from his jaw injury and his sights set on immediate rematch with Beltran.

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Mitchell back on track after setback, Mathews next?

Luke Campbell v Neil Hepper

Another explosive 1st round victory by Olympian Luke Campbell. A technically perfect body shot, folded Hepper up like a pair of freshly pressed trousers. Lightening fast hands and movement, a friend of mine compared him to Amir Khan when he was 1st starting out. Let’s hope he can take a punch better. Challenge for his team now is at what pace to continue his progress at. He needs to get some rounds in the bank, but the quality of his opposition will continue to be this level for at least his next 5-10 fights. Campbell, we need to be patient with but I expect him to be challenging for the British title this time next year. Very impressive and I look forward to his next outing.

Boxing at Craven Park in Hull

Another stoppage for Campbell

Scott Quigg v Yoandris Salinas

Quigg’s first “defence” of his recently obtained WBA Super Bantamweight title resulted in an average show from the man from Bury. A poor 1st 5 rounds, Quigg who never really got going until the 2nd half of the fight, took time to get himself in to gear. Salinas dictating the tempo and pace of the fight from the outset. Quigg began to impose himself much more in the final 5/6 rounds, but he made it more of a contest than it should of been. Salinas proved to be an awkward customer, constantly putting the theatrics on. Spending the final part of the fight turning his back on Quigg and complaining to the ref. This made me want Quigg to KO him even more. One would argue that if Quigg had started like he finished, he could of got the stoppage. His combinations were good when he began to unload them. But with the draw as a final decision, there was minimal grounds to grumble. I had Quigg by a round. He will need to raise his performance significantly in his next encounters as the big fights will come thick and fast. Another slow start against better opposition will result in him losing. Joe Gallagher and himself must go back to the drawing board on their tactical approach after watching this fight back.

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Time for Quigg to change his approach…

Anthony Joshua v Emanuele Leo

The long awaited, much hyped debut of Heavyweight Joshua was made. Explosive finish, stopping him in round 1. Leo, whilst he will never be world champion anytime soon, was 8-0 so was no complete whipping boy. But Joshua disposed of him with ease. Got behind the jab when he had the opportunity and blew him away with his first real combination thrown. Few nerves from Joshua, which was to be expected with the pressure that has been placed on him. But what is apparent is the sheer power he possesses. With 8oz gloves and no headguard, one would understand it was a surreal experience for him. But once Joshua settled and let the hands fly, the ref had to rightly step in before Leo was badly hurt. After the fight, it was discussed by promoter Hearn that other than his expected outing on the Brook v Senchenko card, he intends to get Joshua out twice more before the year is out. Possibly on Froch v Groves undercard and an international bow in Germany on the Barker v Sturm bill. This will aid him no end. What is key to the development of Joshua and Campbell is the amount of rounds they can accumulate in the bank. They need to both bee in with opponents who can soak up the punches, and take them 5-6 rounds. They will learn so much from that. This stage of a young pro’s development is imperative that they aren’t thrust in to dangerous fights too soon due to public clamour and expectation. It will help Joshua not headlining in his next few fights, so he can go out and get the job done with no undue pressure. The finish, was impressive, as I expected.

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Man mountain Joshua

Internationally, we had two notable match-ups. In Moscow triple Heavyweight Champion Wladmir Klitschko v Alexander Povetkin & in Orlando Miguel Cotto v Delvin Rodriguez.

Klitschko v Povetkin

IBF, WBO & WBA World Champion Klitschko won a one sided victory against undefeated challenger Povetkin in front of a 15,000 crowd at the Olympic Stadium. This was Klitschko’s 15th defence of his belts and his record now stands at 61 victories in 64 fights. Povetkin never posed any threat, being knocked three times in the 7th. Resulted in an overwhelming 119-104 victory to Wladimir who picked up a cool £11m for the fight. At 37 yr old, one would question how many fights he has left & whether the hunger still burns strong. The competition out there currently is poor. Fury & Haye being the only two attractive propositions currently in the ring and financially. But how much does he want either fight? Not very much in my eyes.

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I’d be pulling the same face if I picked up £11m for one nights work…

Cotto v Rodriguez

Miguel Cotto, 3 weight World Champion of Puerto Rico, scored a devastating 3rd round KO victory over Delvin Rodriguez. After back to back defeats to Floyd Mayweather and Austin Trout. Cotto took a break from boxing, and hired Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, who orchestrated his defeat to Manny Pacquiao. Roach who before the fight spoke about wanting Cotto to get back to being the aggressive direct fighter he once was. It appears that the chemistry is working as this felt like we were watching Cotto of 7 years ago. Rodriguez who has suffered 5 defeats prior to this was hardly in the class of his previous two opponents. Never the less, you are only as good as your last fight and Cotto looked sharp. Does this mean he can go in with Mayweather again? No chance. What Roach will bring is a freshness and new approach on how to get him back to his best style in the ring. Using Juan Manuel Marquez as a poster boy for the seasoned veteran, Cotto proved there is plenty of life in the old dog left. I’d like to see him in with Canelo next, especially with Roach in his corner it would make for a fascinating encounter. The only thing, and it’s a large one that could scupper that would be the Top Rank/HBO and Goldenboy/Showtime situation. It seems that we are destined to never see any crossover fights of the two respective promoters, which is a shame. I’d love to see them agree a fight and it going to a bidding situation for which Network shows it. Highly unlikely after the acrimonious split Goldenboy had from a long term relationship with HBO. In light of that, the winner of Bradley/Marquez or even him moving up to face Sergio Martinez at Middleweight has been discussed. Cotto could comfortably make 160. I for one, look forward to seeing modern day Gladiator Cotto in action again. If not for his boxing, for his hashtag #WarCotto. Superb!

Check out the Rodriguez KO below.

Right, that’s all from me this evening.

I’m off to polish off more of this Garlic Chicken I cooked…

I apologise in advance to whoever has to speak to me tomorrow.

Tune in later this week for a blog dedicated to a British boxing great.

Laters

Paul

@PaulReady

Will Khan unwrap his Wonka bar and find a Floyd Golden Ticket? By Paul Ready

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My kind of Golden Ticket….
In light of the rife speculation, linking Khan with a fight against Mayweather in May 2014. I felt it was only fitting that I chipped in with my two pence worth. Hence the impromptu blog today.
Despite the immediate denials from the Khan camp today, I think it’s an announcement that will be made in the not too distant future. Which is a tad presumptuous that he will breeze past Alexander in December, unless he his pulling out of that fight.
Khan (31 fights, 28 Wins, 19 KO’s, 3 Losses) is yet to have an official fight at 147lbs. His last outing in March a tight victory over Julio Diaz was at a 143lbs catch weight. He has spoke recently that 147lbs is a natural weight for him and he walks around at 150lbs.

Mens Lightweight (60kg) Medal Ceremony
It feels like he has been around forever, he will be only 27 in December. Khan went pro after the 2004 Olympics where he picked up a silver medal at the tender age of 17. He is a man who is actually more popular in the States than he is over here. The American’s love the vulnerable nature of his chin and this makes for thrilling fights in their eyes. He always looks one punch away from being KO’d. But Khan has lightening hand speed and is willing to trade in the trenches of a fight, a commendable trait, if you can take a punch. In the UK, we find him a tad arrogant the way he discusses himself in the 3rd person and what is perceived as an overconfidence in the manner in which he comes across in and out of the ring. Khan who is now on his 3rd trainer, has struggled for me to stick & execute a game plan in the big fights that have mattered.
This has been illustrated in fights with Maidana & Diaz which he ended up winning both, but could of been knocked out various times on both occasions.

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Breidis Prescott and Danny Garcia both completely blasted him away in spectacular fashion. Prescott has gone backwards since then, where as Garcia for me should be the man in the opposite corner to Floyd next, not Khan. Perhaps a fight Floyd feels is too dangerous next. Maybe he wants a tune up first and feels Khan is that?

Khan who has changed from Hall Fame coach Freddie Roach, to Virgil Hunter who trains Super Middleweight king Andre Ward. The reason for the split rumoured to be Khan’s felt Roach was to blame for his loss to Garcia. Which I find a tad harsh. Khan was winning that fight, got caught clean, and went down and from then on he was easy pickings for Garcia to KO. Looking back on that fight and how Garcia has progressed and developed since, there is no shame in that loss. Garcia is one of the top boxers around currently in any weight class.

We heard the same quotes when he joined Roach and is now making identical noises this time. It is tiring to hear. Whilst some blame could be placed at Roach’s door, Khan was always going to be the number 2 fighter at Wild Card gym to Pacquaio. He should of been under no illusions from the outset. He could blame his on/off relationship with Roach’s then strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza, but you are then really clutching at straws.

For me as an elite athlete, you have to be your own worst critic. To be the best, you have to scrutinise your victories as much as you do your defeats. Leave no stone unturned. You can’t afford to.

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Always the bridesmaid, never the bride to Roach.

What hasn’t endured him to the British public in my opinion, is his recycled quotes that he’s “going back to basics” etc. After almost 10 yrs as a pro, you have either got it, or you haven’t. I make comparisons to Ricky Hatton in the latter stages of his career. His two losses to Floyd and Pacquiao, he suffered from a rush of blood when hit clean. He wanted the fight to be a war and ended up being outclassed and knocked out. Khan, for me, is cut from the same cloth

Khan has a relatively large entourage “Team Khan” as they are known. My concern is he is surrounded by “yes men”. People who inflate his ego, make him believe he is the heir to Mayweather’s throne and the next P4P champion. Hunter has already been critical of Khan travelling all over the States/UK and not focussing on his time in the gym. He really is in last chance saloon with his career. If it doesn’t work out with Hunter, then who does he turn to?

If it happens, this is a safe fight for Floyd, he won’t underestimate Khan by any stretch of the imagination. But nor will he pose any real problems. He is quicker than Khan and I do wonder if Khan can absorb the snapping counter punches Floyd will throw and not be knocked out.
I see Floyd stoppage within 5 rounds. And a juicy PPV pay cheque to boot. Khan, would earn a reported $10m (£5m) from this fight, which would eclipse his purses altogether in his career.
Khan has spoken previously about wanting to leave the sport at 30, with his mind and body intact. With his recent marriage, possible plans to start a family this may become a genuine possibility now. He has done some positive things in the community in his native town of Bolton. Joe Gallagher and his stable of fighters Anthony Crolla, Scott Quigg, John Murray and Matthew Macklin have been using Khan’s Bolton gym which has not gone unnoticed by the British Boxing community.
I can see Khan as a promoter in the future when he eventually does hang his gloves up. He has that kind of personality and a house hold name to succeed where Hatton and other ex British fighters has failed.
Until then, I’m sure we will enjoy a few more edge of your seat fights with him. Regardless of your personal opinion on him, there is never a dull fight with Amir Khan involved.
Right.
That’s me. I’m off to the gym to do some Floyd esq ab exercises whilst shouting “Hard WHAT?” to passers by.
Enjoy the boxing this weekend and tune in next week for analysis.
Paul
@PaulReady

Can Bellew be Kryptonite… Joshua a specimen… How good are our Olympians?

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So here we are…

FINALLY fight week!

With the rescheduled Haye fight, feels like it’s been an eternity since we’ve seen some domestic action.

Fear not fight fans, for your thirst will be quenched like an ice cold beer this forthcoming weekend.

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Definitely my favourite beer currently. Like an upmarket Julian Speroni….

So let’s reflect on this past weekends big match in Canada. Adonis “Superman” Stevenson v Tavoris Cloud for WBC title. I backed Cloud in my last blog. I was mistaken. Not only did Stevenson win, he didn’t drop a round before Cloud was pulled out by his corner in the 8th. He completely dominated him from start to finish.

What impressed and surprised me to a certain extent, was how well Stevenson can box. We all know he can put people to sleep. But what struck me was he looked more composed than I ever expected him to be. Granted I had heard the name before the Dawson fight, but didn’t know a vast amount about him. I had him down as a modern day Clubber Lang, just hurts people… because he can. But he’s mobile, jab, open his opponent up. The resemblance of Lang and Stevenson is uncanny by the way… Lose the facial hair…

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I pity the Bellew…

This was following the recent trend of one sided fights we’ve experienced recently. Stevenson outclassed Cloud for 8 rounds. Pulled out rightly so as his face was cut to shreds. Cloud is no soft touch, Stevenson made him look distinctly average under the Montréal lights.

Tony Bellew, who was ringside for this fight. Is mandatory for WBC belt. With a date already signed by Matchroom and Stevenson camp for 30th November in Quebec/Montreal. I think Bellew deserves his chance as he has worked his socks off. Completely changed his approach to boxing. I remember him being parachuted in to face Cleverley a few years ago. He looked bloated, in terrible shape. And duly lost. Since then he has dedicated himself to the sport. Changed his diet, mentality and is rightly reaping the rewards for this. I fear Stevenson is a class above and he will lose by decision. But as a Brit I wish him all the luck in the world, really do.

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Diehard toffees fan Bellew finally has his world title shot.. Can he be Superman’s kryptonite? Time will tell….

This weekend starts an exciting era for British Heavyweight boxing. For the 1st time in 15 yrs do we have a natural Heavyweight who we can really get excited about. A man who I feel has major cross-over appeal, he can bring British Boxing to the mainstream, attract a new plethora of fans. Off the back of his 2012 Super Heavyweight Olympic Gold Medallist success. Anthony Joshua makes his long awaited debut on the Carpe Diem bill. Which now is a seriously stacked card, with Quigg v Salinas World Title fight, Luke Campbell, Kevin Mitchell, Lee Selby who described Floyd Mayweather as “The American Lee Selby”. Character.

Joshua, you may feel I am over hyping. It’s hard not to get carried away on the crescendo of a Heavyweight Olympic Gold Medallist (Audley Harrison anyone?). In Britain, like America, we CRAVE an exciting Heavyweight prospect. Almost we expect it. We take it for granted. Both countries demand an exciting Heavyweight prospect in their ranks, it’s a given. Like the Italian’s in football, treat Central Defenders as “Demi Gods”, we offer the same to our Heavyweights. It captures the general publics imagination. Not just your casual boxing fans and your hard-core contingency. Within that comes great pressure and expectation to deliver a world title. Small price to pay for god like status surely? Check the below video to see Joshua’s media training session. Size of this guys arms….

As you can see, Joshua is in exceptional shape. As lean as a welter, moves like a middle and punches like a heavyweight. He’s polished in front of the camera, well media trained after his Olympic exploits. Joshua strikes me as a very level headed guy, He is aware that he has it all to do, he’s achieved nothing yet, which is freshening to see in a young athlete. Feet firmly on the ground, focused on the long road ahead. I think it’s going to be a fascinating journey for him. Local lad in Watford, I will definitely go and see him in the flesh in the not too distant future.

Looking at this card, Joshua and Luke Campbell’s 2nd fight, it got me thinking. Thinking of the Beijing Olympics 2008 and how our stars from then are progressing 5 yrs later.

Have they been a success?

Are they underachieving?

Are they knocking on the door for a World Title?

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5 yrs on… Are they where we expected them to be?

Frankie Gavin

17-0, (12 KO’s) “Funtime” Frankie, missed out on his place in the British Olympic team due to not making the weight. He was labelled as our top prospect prior to Beijing due to his strong amateur background. Gold at WAC in Chicago ’07, Gold at Melbourne Commonwealth Games in ’06.  Hailing from Birmingham, 27 yr old Light Welter Gavin won the Lonsdale belt 2 weeks ago outright. Gavin is now looking to make the step up to World level now. Despite his somewhat modest progression since his Beijing heartbreak, you cannot deny his class. I just compare him to Amir Khan from the Olympics in ’04, same weight class. Khan has been there, seen it and got the t-shirt. I feel Gavin hasn’t hit the heights he would have liked to at this stage. It’s a huge 18mths for him which will define his career. He will either be remembered as either a good domestic/European level fighter or someone who has finally fulfilled his potential at world level.

James DeGale

16-15-1, (10 KO’s) Middleweight Gold Medallist  “Chunky” De Gale has changed promoters from Frank Warren to Mick Hennessy in the past 5 yrs. Good record, with only one defeat against him to George Groves.  A fight I watched again a few months ago. It could have easily gone his way, Groves won by the skin of his teeth. Since that defeat I feel that DeGale has somewhat gone backwards since then. Hasn’t fought anyone of any significance and the fact Chris Eubank Jnr has been calling him out suggests that he is still very much a Domestic/European level fighter. DeGale has held the European WBC Super Middleweight title since December 2011. DeGale needs to capture the boxing public’s imagination and fight some dangerous opponents. At 27, I have my reservations whether he can compete at world level and if he truly belongs at boxing’s top table.

Billy Joe Saunders

18-0 (10 KO’s) Middleweight Saunders the youngest of the trio at 24 yrs, for me has made the most progress. Victories this year over undefeated pair John Ryder and Gary O’Sullivan respectively, has put him firmly as the best domestic middleweight below Barker/Murray/Macklin.  Saunders is set to face a yet unnamed opponent on 30th November defending his British and Commonwealth title. Pressure is on Warren to deliver a credible opponent to build on his fantastic 2013. I fully expect Billy Joe to be European champion early next year and having a World Title fight by the end of 2014. He was recognised by the Boxing Writers Club as their Young Boxer of the Year, fully deserved in my book.  Definite one to watch.

So what does the above tell us?

Competing at the Olympics, even winning Gold, doesn’t guarantee you success when you turn pro. You have to show hunger, desire along with the backing of a good promotional team to excel. The above 3 should be examples to Luke Campbell, Anthony Joshua and Anthony Ogogo of how it can go either way. We now can sit back and watch how the next 5 yrs pan out for these 3.

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Bright future? Time will tell….

Another exciting fight which is on the Carpe Diem bill is Scott Quigg v Salinas

Quigg (25 Fights-24 Wins – 0 Losses – 1 Draw 17 KO’s)

Quigg’s rescheduled fight from Haye/Fury bill see’s him fighting for the WBA Super-Bantamweight Title. Quigg who hadn’t fought since November 2012, prior to his 3 round KO of Prado in June. Co headlines the Carpe Diem bill.

He was promoted to WBA “regular” title without having to lace up due to rankings. What I like about Quigg is, he doesn’t want the belt gift wrapped. He has trained and approached this fight as if it’s an actual title match, himself as the challenger. Fantastic attitude to have, putting himself under pressure to deliver. This avoids any complacency creeping in and ensures he will deliver a great performance.

Winning World Title will put him a few steps ahead of his domestic rival Carl Frampton, who has also had an enforced absence due to a perforated eardrum ruled him out of fighting in the summer. It’s a fight that we all want to see, I’d love to see them get in the ring early next year. Then the winner going to face Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux . Who is the standout fighter in that division.

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The fight we all want to see….

One of them is likely to end up facing Kiko Martinez. (Frampton already has KO’d him) who won the IBF title in a surprise victory in the summer against Jonathan Romero.

Promotional politics are the only thing that could stop Frampton v Quigg. One in Warren’s stable, the other in Matchroom. You hope common sense and most importantly money will prevail to get them round the table. I expect this one to rumble on. I’d love to see them fighting numerous times, I can’t imagine there is much between them.

Right guys… That’s all from me this evening… tune in next week for analysis on this weekends card.

I’m off to watch the mighty Arsenal v Napoli.

By Paul Ready

@PaulReady