Mayweather, Ward, Froch & Groves

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Bonjour,

I hope everyone had a delightful festive period. Mine descended in to a sea of wine & cheese spent with those who matter most…

My next post will be the fights I wish, no wait.. Demand.. That we have grace our screens in 2014.

I wanted to discuss the latest news/rumours that have come to light the past few days, hence the impromptu post.

Like the rest of us, boxers have been enjoying the holiday period and have taken to twitter to fuel the flames of potential fights next year.

You can picture it now, Andre Ward sat there after going to midnight mass, his nan has passed out infront of the TV with Santa Claus featuring Dudley Moore playing.

What is a guy to do?

Take to twitter of course and throw his two pence worth in on Froch/Groves!

@andreward: #UK fans still not happy with Carl “The Cobra” Froch huh?? That’s why I respect #UK fans, they ride for the home team, but tell the truth!!

He then went on to say that Froch has only two options.

Not just Groves rematch or retire, but a Ward or Groves rematch. In addition, that he would be willing to face Groves in the future.

What a match that would be.

I was salivating reading that, and I had the meat sweats at that point.

Ward fancies fighting Froch again, and who can blame him! Peak Froch couldn’t beat him, Froch on the slide gets stopped in my opinion.

For Ward to call Groves out shows how high his stock really has risen.

Everyone wants a piece of him, including American promoters.

‘There’s an awful lot of promoters interested in me,’ Groves told Sportsmail. ‘Because obviously I’m an exciting fighter in a good division, and I’ve got a successful future. I’m doing my job right and they’re interested. Plenty from Stateside – four from Stateside, all the big players are interested. I’m in a good position, I’m happy.’

In the aftermath of the Froch fight, I spoke about the merits of Groves taking himself Stateside for a brief period. It appears that this is something he is doing himself, for that I commend him.

Promoter wise, it would make sense for him to sign with DiBella Promotions.

Brooklyn based DiBella has great links with Goldenboy, Top Rank, K2 Promotions.
This would mean Groves could fight on Showtime and HBO, thus not restricting himself, as it would if he chose one of the GoldenBoy or Top Rank.

DiBella is a massive character, a man who tells it how it is, takes no shit and would be great for Groves

DiBella currently promotes Sergio Martinez and having an exciting fighter such as Groves, would prove to be a great asset for his stable.

We also had in typical Floyd style, headline stealing tweets regarding Pacquiao and other potential opponents for him next.

Firstly, he tweeted a picture of a guy in Tokyo who appeared to be a cross between Roach and Pacquiao with the caption “Manny Roach”.

Then preceded by digitally made posters of him versus Khan, Maidana and Pacquiao. Mayweather mocked them all, calling Khan a con artist, Maidana a biscuit boy (no idea) and the proposition of facing Pacquiao would be eating Marquez’ leftovers.

What I feel are intelligent about these tweets and the very nature of them, is that this has been done to gauge the fans perception of each potential opponent.

It’s an open secret that the Khan fight is close to be agreed, but it has been received by lukewarm response over here in the UK and in the States.

Mayweather, a renowned PPV fighter wouldn’t of ignored this and I feel the tweets are a reflection of that.

Mayweather v Khan was never going to topple “The One” PPV buys, but for a guy who has agreed a blockbuster deal with Showtime Sports, Mayweather needs to whip up a frenzy on the opposition.

Fans buy to see him win and lose.

Without having that realistic chance of the underdog winning, it doesn’t become a credible main event.

Hundreds of thousands in the States will shell out $60-70 a pop to see a ridiculously one sided main event.

Mayweather needs to be hitting the 750-900 units to ensure he is getting that “Money” and don’t assume the Khan fight is signed and sealed just yet.

In other news we had confirmation of the very brief Price & Booth partnership.

Rumours surfaced earlier this week that Price’s new promoter Sauerland brothers had an issue with Booth being his trainer and manager.

Only for Booth to take to Twitter to pour cold water on those rumours:

@boxingbooth: Contrary to very inaccurate reporting, my decision to stop working with David Price had nothing to do with @SauerlandBros

So with this one, I have no clue what happened and one can only speculate on a vast number of theories, which I’m sure will be revealed in due course.

Right.

That’s my cheese ridden thought process.

Enjoy the rest of your time off and tune in next week for my 2014 fight wish list.

Paul

@EliteBoxingBlog

@PaulReady

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Elite Boxing 2013 Awards

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Eve of Christmas Eve, last few days at work for some. I’ve been in holiday mode since 1st December.
So we have come to the end of the Boxing season for 2013 and without question, the most exciting in my memory, 2014 has some big shoes to fill.

I’ve spent some time to say the least deciding on the below, some pick themselves; others needed some thought and serious consideration.

Firstly a special thanks to my unofficial sponsors of the awards Night Nurse and Nurofen.

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Let’s get stuck in….

UK Prospect of The Year

Nominees:
Anthony Joshua
Luke Campbell
Callum Smith
Winner: Callum Smith

To put it simply, I think Callum Smith is not only the most talented Smith brother; he is the most exciting British prospect on these shores. He has absolutely everything in his locker. Tall, rangey, good feet, can bang and had scored one of the best domestic KO’s with a sickening body shot against Ruben Acosta in October.
Smith who has sparred with Carl Froch since his amateur days, cites the experience as invaluable.
Massive 2014 beckons for the Liverpudlian Super Middleweight, a fight against James DeGale late 2014 and I would love to see him against George Groves in a few years time.

International Prospect of The Year
Vasyl Lomachenko
Errol Spence Jr
Oscar Valdez
Winner: Errol Spence Jr

Strong argument for Lomachenko, but he has only had 1 professional fight so far. Texan Southpaw Spence, competed at London 2012 at Welterweight, reaching the Quarter Finals. Currently at 9-0 ( 7 KO’s), Spence is seriously slick boxer, patient, picks his punches well. It’s easy to get carried away, but he looks special. Appears to be no ego with this guy either yet, one hopes he stays humble as the victories and women pile up.
Spence Jr became a somewhat overnight sensation for allegedly knocking Adrien Broner down in sparring and giving Floyd Mayweather a black eye whilst training at Mayweather Gym earlier this year. Spence Jr received a black eye himself, in what some described as the toughest sparring Mayweather has had for some years. Mayweather then proceeded to eject Spence Jr immediately from the gym in disgust, for him to only invite him back later that day.

UK Fight of the Year:

Froch v Groves
This was one that picked itself, the best fight I have seen for years. It certainly was one of the most memorable for a number of reasons. Star was born and announced on the World Stage in George Groves. Carl Froch became a villain in one post fight interview. Groves was cheered out of the ring, Froch booed. They had completely switched roles of hero & villain from before the fight. I can smugly sit here and say that I backed Groves, along with a handful of friends. Froch struggles against fighters younger, quicker than him. Ward who took him to school, Dirrell; Froch was very fortunate to beat.
The conclusion and end of the fight still causes outrage to most, myself included. I hope and pray we see this again next year as Groves disposes of him like a used condom in a matter of rounds!
I want to give a special mention to Carl Frampton for his devastating victory over Kiko Martinez in early 2013. Martinez as we now know is IBF Super Bantamweight champion and proves that Frampton deserves to be sat at boxing’s big table. 2014 is a huge year for him.

International Fight of The Year:

Bradley v Provodnikov

This was a complete barnstormer, Bradley had to dig seriously deep against a then unknown fighter in Ruslan Provodnikov. Bradley threw his traditional counter punching style completely out of the window. He proceeded to stand toe to toe and trade, nearly being knocked out in the 1st two rounds where he looked distinctly average.
What impressed me about this fight were Bradley’s survival instincts. The majority of the division at 147lbs would have been knocked out, they certainly wouldn’t have gone the distance with the Russian.
Bradley admitted at the end of the bout to Max Kellerman of HBO that he was concussed in the 2nd round, and doesn’t remember the majority of the fight. This makes the win even more remarkable in my eyes.

UK Trainer of the Year:
Joe Gallagher

Fantastic year for Gallagher’s Gym, despite the stick Scott Quigg has received in some quarters for being “handed” the WBA Super Bantamweight title, as opposed to winning it off a champion. Quigg has fought 3 times in 5 months, to put a forgetful 2012 behind him. With Gallagher in his corner, this has got him to where he is today, on the cusp of some huge unification fights. The stable has had a hugely successful 12 mths. I’m sure I read that they have 11/12 Area/British/European/World Titles between them.
Stable consists of the following fighters Scott Quigg, Anthony Crolla, Liam, Steven, Paul and Callum Smith, Scotty Cardle, Calum Johnson and arguably the boxing hub of the UK.
International Trainer of the Year 2013

Robert Garcia

Garcia has transformed and orchestrated Marcos Maidana’s world class win over Adrien Broner last weekend to become world champion. Brother Mikey Garcia became WBO Super Featherweight champion, Evgeny Gradovich aka The Mexican Russian won the IBF Featherweight title. He trained Brandon Rios against Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire against Rigondeaux.
Garcia is a student of the game having fought himself and being a former world champion, displays a meticulous boxing brain, preparing his fighters for every eventuality. No stone is left unturned and I expect more to come from the Oxnard, California gym next year.

UK Fighter of The Year
Darren Barker
Now this may raise some eyebrows, but I don’t care. For this man to win the IBF Middleweight world title, regardless of losing it this month was a remarkable achievement to say the least.
Darren would be the first to admit that not beyond his wildest dreams he felt he would ever become a world champion in his career, but he did it.
A man who has faced every adversity in and out of the ring, and conquered them, I feel this warrants him being my fighter of the year.
Special mention to George Groves he beat Carl Froch like he was his daddy. Fully deserves to be World Champion and I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever he will be next year. Any fighter at 168 with a belt beware as Groves is coming.

International Fighter of The Year
Adonis Stevenson

Adonis is somewhat late bloomer on the world stage, exploded in stunning fashion by flattening Chad Dawson in round 1 this summer to win the WBC Light Heavy title. He proceeded to fight twice more this calendar year, beating Tavoris Cloud convincingly and battering Tony Bellew the end of last month.
I want him against Kovalev, and I want it now!!
Special Achievement Award

Floyd Mayweather Jr

You simply can’t forget Floyd when giving out awards. Two PPV fights this year, “The One” against Canelo becoming the highest grossing fight ever.
The Showtime presentation of the boxing match pulled in nearly $150 million in domestic PPV revenue. The still undefeated Mayweather’s win soundly beats the previous $136 million record set by his match-up against Oscar De La Hoya back on May 24, 2007. The fight had 2.2 million PPV buys.
Taking the financials out of the equation, the sheer nature of Floyd’s victories is more impressive than the money. At 37, Mayweather still displays the same hunger and work ethic of a 19yr old prospect and has somehow defied physics by becoming even quicker. He took Canelo and Robert Guerrero to school in both contests.
For my final section, sponsored by Nurofen Ibrupofen Liquid Capsules “Hit pain, where it hurts”… words are simply not necessary; you can just watch and wince…

British Knockout of the Year:

Steven Smith v Gary Buckland

International Knockout of the Year
Adonis Stevenson v Chad Dawson

So this concludes my awards in what has been a memorable year in not only world boxing, but domestically too. Boxing feels exciting; there is a buzz in the air.
I have friends & work colleagues who I would class as casual fans slowly becoming fully fledged fans. It’s like the resurgence of a cult, minus the mass suicide and pyramid style pay scheme; everyone wants to be part of it.

The more the merrier I say, it can only be good for the sport if more people are watching and taking a serious vested interest in it and going to shows, supporting our fighters, travelling abroad etc.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for reading my ramblings and opinions over the past few months; constant support from everyone I know personally is greatly appreciated.

Tune in around this time next week for my Forecast of 2014 and fights we MUST have made.

Merry Christmas and come on you Red’s tonight against Chelsea!

Regards

Paul

@EliteBoxingBlog
@PaulReady

No Problem for Chino… By Paul Ready

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Evening,

I ruined a surprise Christmas present last week for a mate’s girlfriend. They came round ours for a curry and a few drinks; he had told me earlier that week over text he bought her Katy Perry tickets.

We’ve got a music channel on as background noise, Katie Perry comes on:

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“Lee, you’re going to see Katie Perry aren’t you?!” I blurt out loud without even thinking in a haze of Kronenbourg;

“Well done you dick!” he replied.

It then became a standing joke from my missus and his, he was fine, but the pair of them has milked it massively. Lauren, Lee’s missus, has proceeded to tweet me excessively over it since, I can see this having some legs on it!

Big surprise to some this weekend in San Antonio Texas…

Broner v Maidana

Adrien Broner lost his WBA Welterweight title to Marco Maidana by unanimous decision on Saturday evening.

Now I, like many boxing experts laid the gauntlet down for Broner, this was his opportunity to show the world, silence the critics who loath his self indulgent, brash persona and were keen for him to have his comeuppance

Maidana proved to be far too much for Broner in what was one of the most one sided fights I’ve seen this year.

I would rank it up there with Bradley v Marquez, Pacquiao v Rios and Froch v Groves.

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From Round 1, it took even Broner by surprise at how tenacious the Argentinean was, it was apparent to everyone that he couldn’t stand Broner and his pre fight posturing, he was going to be the man to silence this guy.

AB, About Billions as he calls himself, was shocked by the power of Maidana. When he returned to his corner at the end of the 1st, he ignored the corner’s instructions, Broner’s dad combed his hair with that ridiculous afro comb, and kept saying “I’ve got this, I’ve got this”.

In round 2, we saw “Chino” Maidana step it up some more, it reminded me of Froch/Groves to a certain extent.

Maidana had no fear of Broner and genuinely didn’t give a fuck about his reputation. Some eye wincing hooks and uppercuts were thrown, then Chino put Broner down for the 1st time in his career with a beautiful left hook.

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The heavily populated Latino crowd erupted.

Broner stumbled to his feet, he was shaken.

This wasn’t in the script.

Maidana proceeded to pummel Broner and pepper him with shots for the next 6 rounds until he knocked him down again.

At the end of each round, Broner sat on his stall, glum, swollen faced and was trying to digest what was transpiring in front of him, his title was slipping away, by the gun loving, tattooed Argentinean menace Maidana.

The fight went the distance, how I will never know as I could see Broner being knocked out at various points, I’m not a fan of him but credit where due for hanging in there.

Maidana won on a unanimous decision, 117-110, 116-109 and 115-100. I had Maidana by at least 7 rounds.

Broner left as soon as the verdict was given, like a spoilt brat not getting their own way, he stormed out of the ring and headed straight towards the exit of the building with his entourage “Band Camp” in tow.

No interview with Showtime… well certainly not on camera.

No congratulations to Maidana.

Nothing.

No class.

Broner behaved appalling before; during with his dry humping behind Maidana, which Chino “returned” the favour in a jovial sense later on.

In the aftermath, Broner didn’t escape criticism of Bernard Hopkins; ambassador for Golden Boy when he spoke to ES News:

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“If the fight was a close decision, there would of been an argument for walking out, by doing that when you took a beat down, that’s worse than the performance of the fight, as it says you can’t play with my ball as I lost, storming out with your lip all down.”

“This fight took 3 fights out of him, they say you have 10, he has 7 left”
He also spoke about Broner not being able to make the relevant adjustments in the fight as there will come a time when you will face adversity;

“In life and in the ring; you can’t fight fire with gasoline, you fight it with water”

Philosophical as ever from B Hop, but he made some valid points.

Broner wasn’t prepared to face adversity, he expected Maidana to come out the traps, but he believed he would stop him eventually. When that game plan wasn’t working, he couldn’t make the necessary adjustments to step up a level and win ugly.

To be a true champion, you need that as well as displaying humility in defeat.

I’m absolutely delighted for Maidana and Robert Garcia, what a year Garcia has had. Fantastic trainer and a top guy, a real boxing man, from a boxing family and I look forward to much more from the pair of them 2014.

Maidana now is a big draw at 147, there will be no shortage of suitors wanting to face him. Paulie Malignaggi will want a crack as he feels that it’s still his belt after an unjust decision against him in the summer in the Broner fight.

The winner of Khan v Mayweather at the end of 2014, Ortiz v Maidana II, he will finally get some big pay days and good luck to him, well deserved.

I have heard about the alleged powder inhaling or something he was passed in the corner by Alex Ariza, no idea what to make of it, is it smelling salts? was it Viagra in a powder form?

I genuinely doubt there is any malice there as especially with Brandon Rios banned this week for failing a post fight VADA test from the Pacquiao bout, and so would be incredibly thick and stupid of Alex Ariza to give Maidana a banned substance.

For Broner, once he has got over his sulk, I hope he develops some humility, via Richard Schaefer from Goldenboy or “Big Bro” Floyd. He should use this as an opportunity to rebrand himself, but I will be very surprised if we see anything other than the overzealous, brash Broner we have come accustom to.

One thing that I think he should consider is moving down to Light Welter, Broner weighed in at 144lbs for this contest, and it would stand him in good stead to drop down to the weight class, which he bypassed when he jumped from Lightweight to Welter.

Broner needs to earn his stripes and there is some monster match ups down there.

Broner v Matthysse, Broner v Garcia, Broner v Provodnikov, Broner v Peterson.

He is stuck between a rock and hard place as unless he drops down to 135lb, he has some massive hurdles to overcome. We will not only see what mind-set Broner is in during his next bout in 2014, but if he can bounce back and prove he is an elite fighter at 140 or 147.

I cannot wait to see what happens.

Right that’s me for today.

My next two blogs to see the year out will by my personal awards on 2013 both internationally and domestically.

My 2nd will be who I feel will be the “ones to watch in 2014”and match ups I hope to see.

Have a good week and don’t get off with that ugly girl in the office who has had a crush on you at the Christmas do.

If she offers you a drink that has some white fizzy powder in it, chances are she bought it from Alex Ariza and its dodge!

DO NOT DRINK IT!

Laters

Paul

@EliteBoxingBlog
@PaulReady

Barker, Brooklyn Boys & Broner… By Paul Ready

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Evening
I had a crazy day & night last Saturday, ended up ruining one of my favourite shirts spilling red wine all over it.

The evening came to a fantastic crescendo as I performed a Dirty Dancing esq lift on a few people on a packed dance floor.

They each had the full 25m run up too to boot, had I drank a few more, I couldn’t of caught a cold in a phone box.

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That is all I can remember.

I know how to have a good time.

Busy weekend of boxing, so many fights to watch, and loads to analyse so will condense this as much as possible.

Where to start, and it has to be in Germany:
Barker v Sturm

Darren Barker lost his IBF Middleweight World Title to Felix Sturm in Stuttgart on Saturday evening.

Absolutely gutted for Darren, really am.

He never got really going from the outset, Sturm steamed in and was surprisingly aggressive in the 1st round, The German could smell blood.

I read that Barker didn’t look comfortable on the pads before and certainly a guy who has unfortunately been cursed with countless injuries throughout his career was out of luck when his hip went.

I’ve seen interviews with the Dazzler, and he has said that his conditioning consists of swimming as he can’t simply run.

This isn’t Ledley King we are discussing playing football, it’s a boxer, trying to move, trade, have a tight defence, mentally stay sharp and having that to contend with is incredible.

Sturm took advantage of the situation knocking Darren down, Barker signalled to Tony Sims that his hip had gone; he knew his belt was moments from being snatched from him.

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The fight ended after a barrage of punches from Sturm and Sims’ reluctantly threw the towel in.

Barker protested initially, but after a short period of time he knew it was the right decision by a man he regards as his best friend.

Sims always has and always will have his best interests at heart.

For Barker, now is the time for no rash decisions, he needs to forget boxing for the time being.

Enjoy the festive period with friends and family. Go on a few benders, hey, go crazy and eat takeaways for 2 weeks. Really needs to let his hair down and relax, as only then he can take an informed, concise decision on his future.

My personal feeling is that the above will be well needed, but will not make a difference. I feel the injuries; emotional rollercoaster he has been on has left him drained mentally and physically. Perhaps he no longer has the sufficient drive to continue to compete and go again. Only he can answer that.

Barker will forever he will be itched in folklore as a World Champion in one of the most glamorous boxing divisions, he deserves that and no one can take that away from him.

Sturm who was fighting for not only to become a 4 time world champion but to secure a highly lucrative TV deal in Germany had it all to lose had he lost to Barker. Credit to the German, he was hungry, showed great determination and aggression. Sturm fully deserved the victory and what a great guy, genuinely humble and I wish him well in that division.

Sturm’s 4 fingers flashing at the end was reminiscent of Andrey Arshavin after bagging his 4th goal at Anfield some years ago.

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Martin Murray has called him out for a rematch which would be a cracking encounter.
I hope we see more of Sturm as you could have a Euro Fantastic Four between those two, and the two Irish boys Macklin & Lee, who are mooted to fight one another on St Patrick’s Day in 2014.

Malignaggi v Judah

We had the battle of Brooklyn between two childhood pals Paulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah.

Malignaggi won this comfortably for me by landing 230 of 607 punches thrown, including 122 of 376 jabs according to CompuBox.

For Judah, this was the third loss in four fights (losing to Danny Garcia also at Barclay’s Centre earlier this year) certainly time for him to call it a day in my eyes.

He is a five-time champion within the light welterweight and welterweight divisions, fought everyone, never dodged an opponent, pure fearless fighter.

Respect.

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But similar to Barker, he must question what direction he can and truly wants to go in. When it has gone, it’s gone and nothing more painful to watch than a fighter who is past it.

Malignaggi, is now an Al Haymon fighter, someone who he loathed and openly criticised before the Broner fight in the summer. It may be a surprisingly move to many, myself included initially.

But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

Signing with Al Haymon for Paulie makes perfect financial sense at this stage of his career, he will be placed in big match ups made by the match making Don . Within that come all the financial rewards and trappings that the huge stable he represents has. Expect to see Malignaggi cashing that cheque in 2014 before he retires to become a full time pundit, which he is exceptional at by the way.

Alexander v Porter

On the same card we saw Devon Alexander lose his IBF Welterweight title to Shawn “Showtime” Porter via unanimous decision.

Porter, who if I’m honest hasn’t seen a great deal of, looked like a world beater, or Devon looked shit scared.

Maybe it was a bit of both!

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Alexander was bashed around the ring with some giant shots, rocked constantly, I thought the fight would finish inside two. Alexander showed his best horse impression as he attempted to gallop out of the way of the oncoming bombs with jelly legs of a child that has just learnt to walk.

He simply didn’t look like he wanted it enough at the end of every round, Devon sat on his stall like a broken man, ignoring his corners’ instructions, and he wanted to be out of there, day dreaming of being tucked up in his St Louis’ onesie with a cup of cocoa and the Kardashian’s on TV.

As a new world champion, Showtime Porter has 6 months before he has to face mandatory Kell Brook.

So I’m told, existing champions have 90 days to agree a fight with the mandatory, so I expect to see Porter having a “tune up” beforehand. I believe boxing is the winner as Porter v Brook is a much better fight than Brook v Alexander, both will come to fight, should be a good scrap!

To this weekend, we have a stacked card at Excel courtesy of Matchroom Boxing.
With a total of 16 fights featuring Kevin Mitchell, Lee Purdy, Jamie McDonnell, Martin Murray, Anthony Ogogo, Paul Smith, Martin Ward, Kal Yafai, Erick Ochieng, Wadi Camacho, Ben Ileyemi, promises to be a big end to a great year for the Brentwood based promoter.
We learnt that this week that they have agreed terms with Top Rank and HBO for a mandatory defence between Ricky Burns and Terence Crawford in February. Top Rank agreed for the fight to be staged in Scotland, despite the ridiculous scoring of the Beltran fight.
I doubt we will get to points in that one, it’s sink or swim for Burns as if he doesn’t put the undefeated Crawford away early, he will get knocked out as I think he is the real deal from what I have seen.

Burns has been lucky in his past two fights with Beltran and Gonzalez, the latter who was winning and actually quit on his stall at the end of the 9th, refusing to come out for the 10th citing a hand injury despite being 3 rounds + ahead. I feel the 3rd time, his lucky will run out.

Broner v Maidana

In Texas on Saturday evening, we have the 1st defence of WBA Welterweight title of Adrien “The Problem” Broner which he won in unconvincing style.

This is a massive fight for Broner, make no mistake about it.

Maidana isn’t a world beater, but he is the type of guy you have to beat before you get those PPV super-fights.

The Argentinean has stopped 31 out of 37 opponents and will push Broner all the way, he isn’t a Malignaggi or Rees who will roll over for him.

Well, Malignaggi didn’t, but you get the picture.
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Broner needs to start backing up his claims of being the next boxing superstar as up until now it has been only hot air.

How good is Adrien Broner?

Sunday morning we will have a better indication of where he truly is.

If he wins this, then he is certainly someone we, the boxing public should take a bit more seriously.

Lose and he is another overhyped, overweight motor mouth.

He has talent that is apparent to even the casual fan, it’s his attitude that I have huge questions marks over.

I want to see him really tested, starting with Saturday night.

I want Maidana to bully him, get him in the trenches, and see if he can box, trade without losing his head.

Next year the quality of opposition needs to be seriously ramped up.

I’m talking Broner v Garcia, Broner v Pacquiao, Broner v Canelo, Broner v Bradley.

Pacquiao isn’t contractually obliged to fight on HBO, so how about that next summer?

Let’s see how good this guy really is, is he the heir to Money Mayweather?

3 weight world champion at 24?

This means nothing so far for me, so I’m sorry, it won’t wash just yet.

You want to be a GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) Adrien, 2014 is the time for you, Goldenboy and Al Haymon to do it!
Right.

That’s me.

I’m off to watch the Masterchef Final

Note to self, never watch a cookery show if you are hungry

Catch you next week
@EliteBoxingBlog
@PaulReady

Bellew..Barker..Battle of Brooklyn & The Cuban.. By Paul Ready

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Evening,

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I’ve been struck by man/bird/swine flu, so I bought myself a box of the world’s hottest chilli powders as anecdote; Ghost, Butch T (sounds hard), Moruga and Bhut Jolokia.

I intend to launch one of these in a curry later this evening, if it doesn’t make me sweat it out, I’m hoping Butch T beats it out.

Two big weekends of boxing coming up, home and abroad, but before we get in to that, let’s discuss Tony Bellew from the weekend just gone:

Stevenson v Bellew

Adonis Stevenson beat Tony Bellew in a 6th round TKO, to retain his WBC Light Heavyweight title. For me, the most exciting thing was the weigh in where it kicked off massively. Bellew touched heads with Stevenson at the face off and all hell broke loose.

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Guy in the middle looks like he has shit his pants

Stevenson was carried away by his entourage calling Bellew:

“A bum, you can’t fight, you’re getting knocked out” etc.

Back to the fight, Bellew was completely outclassed by Stevenson who seriously impressed me with his boxing ability. He proceeded to carry on where he left off against Tavoris Cloud by showing a tight defence and exerting some real power when he unloaded.

“He said I’m a dwarf, and the dwarf knocked him out,” said 36-year-old Stevenson, who was giving up four inches in height and five years in age to the 6ft 3in Bellew.
“I told him, when he’s going to feel my power, I’m going to drop him out.”

That he certainly did when he ended the fight with a huge left that rocked Bellew completely off balance, Stevenson steamed in with a melee of punches which the ref jumped straight in and called a halt to the encounter. Well timed stoppage and no controversy in Canada.

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I take my hat off to Bellew for going out there; he has apparently had stick off BRITISH fans on twitter which I find pretty disgusting. No matter how you think they will fare in these match ups, you have to support your own.

Stevenson was always going to win this one, but I wouldn’t insult a man who has endured a gruelling 12wk camp for the shot of a lifetime, he deserves respect.
For Bellew, he is considering moving up to Cruiserweight for his next move, arch nemesis Nathan Cleverly is now operating there, so could have a big domestic rematch.
For Stevenson, he has called out Froch and Hopkins on behalf of Canada, for their victories over Bute and Pascal. Two easy fights for him in my eyes, as he stops them both well within the distance.
One man he seemed apparent to distance himself from fighting is unbeaten Russian Sergey Kovalev (23-0-1, 21 KO’s) in a Light Weight unification match up.
I for one don’t blame him.
Kovalev is a complete beast; he ate Nathan Cleverly in the summer like a homeless person consuming a meal at the Salvation Army and dropped a Hiroshima style nuke on Ismayl Sillakh in round 2 on the undercard. Check out the 2nd knockdown, he doesn’t fuck around!

Money talks as they say and HBO will demand that fight happens in Spring 2014, it is one I cannot wait to see.
This weekend, we have IBF Middleweight World Champ “Dazzling” Darren Barker, facing his mandatory challenger, veteran Felix Sturm in Stuttgart on Saturday evening.

Barker v Sturm

Darren Barker (26-1: 16 KO’s) makes his first defence of the IBF Middleweight title against Felix Sturm (38-3-2: 17 KO’s) in Stuttgart on December 7th.

Barker, 31 has agreed a career high purse of £700k/$1.1m to fight in Germany against veteran Sturm, 34.
This, from my perspective is admirable from a newly crowned champion and you simply can’t turn that kind of money down simply because you are the “away” fighter.

Matchroom who represent Barker have ensured there is no favouritism to the home fighter by appointing neutral judges. This is a smart move considering recent questionable scoring in Mayweather v Canelo and Bradley v Marquez.

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More like a GQ photo-shoot than a press conference…

In addition, they have inserted a rematch clause which would take place in London if they felt the need to activate it, if he does lose on a contentious decision.

Sturm, has spent the lion’s share of his career fighting in Germany and Europe, only venturing to the USA once to fight Oscar De La Hoya in 2004,losing on a unanimous decision in Las Vegas.

Other notable opponents on his CV are Brits Martin Murray, Matthew Macklin, Daniel Geale.

Murray, Sturm drew with; Macklin, won a split decision and Geale he lost on a split decision, his 1st defeat in 6 years.

Geale, we all know well as he is the man Barker beat in August to win his 1st World title in dramatic fashion.

It was a fight that captured the imagination of not only your hardcore boxing contingency, but even the general public as well.
I will give you an example.

I was up myself doing a shift feeding my then 2 week older daughter. My girlfriend, who to be fair to her is no sport fan whatsoever, was utterly mesmerised by the end of the fight.

It was truly heart rendering and you can see how much it meant to Barker and his camp.

All in tears once they heard “And NEW!!!”, you would of had to go far to find a dry eye in the arena.

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It felt lost a bit on HBO’s Max Kellerman, perhaps he thought it was another overrated Brit celebrating a win. But I’m certain he now knows what it meant to them.

Barker dedicated the victory to his late brother Gary, who died tragically in a car accident 7 years ago.

In the aftermath of the fight, Darren swore he saw his brother in the ring when he was knocked down by Geale:

“I saw Gary as clear as day. It was vivid, so vivid. He was there. I know it sounds like a movie script, but I saw my brother. He told me to get up.”
In this fight, I can only see one winner.

Barker.

Why you ask?

Momentum.

The Geale victory in face of defeat will have given him new found hunger to have a gruelling camp and push himself to be in the best shape possible.

Amazing what winning a world title will do to a man. Barker will be reluctant to surrender a belt that he has spent his whole career to date working towards acquiring.

Blood, sweat, tears and tragedy he has experienced.

Sturm I feel is in the Winter of his career, he will still pose a serious threat that Barker won’t take lightly, but I envisage a Barker stoppage around round 8-10.

Stateside, we have the Battle of Brooklyn between Paulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah:
Malignaggi v Judah

Paulie Malignaggi (32-5, 7 KO’s) faces Zab Judah (42-8, 29 KO’s) at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn on Saturday evening.

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What is a local, fierce derby from a geographical perspective, we have two guys who are “home boys” according to Judah and have both spoke very candidly about one another.

Shame really, but I think it reflects on where they both are in their respective careers; Malignaggi coming off a loss to Adrien Broner in the summer and thus losing his WBA Welterweight title, Judah, losing to Danny Garcia at Jnr Welter.

No shame on either defeat for the Brooklyn boys, Broner a multi-weight world champion, Garcia the main man at 140lbs.

What it does represent is an opportunity for each of them to display they are not in twilight of their career, and let’s face it, provide a good pay day in front of a packed home crowd.

I’d favour Malignaggi over the distance due to speed and appearing the busier fighter, but Judah can bang, so don’t be surprised if he gets a late stoppage.

There is a knats cock between them.
Rigondeaux v Agbeko

Super Bantamweight Kingpin Guillermo Rigondeaux faces Joseph Agbeko at Boardwalk Hall on Saturday night, for the WBA and WBO super bantamweight titles.

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This is the Cuban’s 1st fight since his dismantling of Nonito Donaire earlier this year, which was a pure boxing lesson for any aspiring young fighter and one to send shivers down the spine of young starlets such as Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton.

For Agbeko, it’s his first outing since 2011, he is a former two-time world champion, used to be a steady fighter.

But this is easy money for Rigondeaux, like being on call for an hour on a Monday morning, spending the rest of the day at home. I fully expect Agbeko French kissing the canvas within 3 rounds.

The problem Rigondeaux has is who to face next, at 33 he is at the peak of his powers, Donaire rematch, Martinez, Frampton & Quigg other possible opponents.

I’ll be amazed if Team Frampton or Quigg want that fight just yet, they need to come armed with two belts first.

I’d love to see the winner of Frampton/Quigg in with him this time next year/early 2015.

Let’s see something different, make him box on the backfoot. Put him under the cosh, Donaire did have him on the deck remember.

Can he beat a hungry 25yr old superstar in the making?
Right,

That’s your lot from me.
I’m off to try these chilli’s, cue the ring of fire!

Have a good weekend and catch you next week.

Paul

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingBlog