@jamesdegale1 Exclusive Interview by Paul Ready

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I caught up with 2008 Olympic Gold Medallist James DeGale MBE today in camp as he prepares for his date with destiny – Chunky (20-1: 14 KO’s) aims to make history by becoming the first British gold medallist to become a world champion.

At the age of 29, James makes his first attempt at capturing a world title when he faces American Andre Dirrell (24-1: 16 KO’s) for the vacant IBF Super-Middleweight title.

Degale

Elite Boxing:

James, you looked really sharp just then – much more mobility as you moved.

You clearly have overcome your injury problems, how are you feeling at the moment?

James DeGale:

I feel extremely good, extremely fit – you just seen me then do four rounds, 12 minutes each round and you saw how hard I worked.

It was high intensity, a lot of work-rate and constantly thinking. I’ve got James Mac in the Southpaw stance working his jab – with some technique work, at the same time Jim was giving me graft on the pads. I’m feeling good man, training is going well – I’ve been training for the past 7-8 weeks so I’m super fit already, I’m just waiting for that date now!

EB:

I guess it’s difficult for you to be able to know when to “peak” with training until you get that confirmation of the date?

JG:

Of course – I’m just waiting for that date. It’s about how the training works around that date.

If the fight is in five weeks I can go flat-out again – if it’s eight weeks I’m going to have a week off or something as I don’t want to burn out.

As Jim says: “You can never burn out, but you can under-rest”. Which is true – you can never over-train, but you can under-rest.

EB:

I’ve watched some footage of Dirrell this week – he’s a Southpaw and he comes in with that left jab that then becomes a hook and followed by an uppercut.

So from your perspective, are you expecting him to “put it on you early”?

JG:

I don’t know – looking at his last couple of fights he’s been holding the centre of the ring more and trying to get his opponent out of there – instead of getting through it and winning on points.

Where as year’s ago in 2009 when he boxed (Carl) Froch and (Arthur) Abraham he was a negative fighter wasn’t he – he used his feet a lot & was willing just to win and look good.

His last couple of fights against (Derek) Edwards and others he’s looked solid, punching a lot harder – wanting to get his opponent out of there. 

I’m not too sure what to expect, but we’ve got everything covered man.

EB:

Well you’ve got the ability to box on the back-foot if needs be – inviting him to come on.

JG:

Do you know what – I’m going over there (to America) and I’m looking to take the title away from him – I’m not looking at a points victory – I want to go and put on a good show and win it convincingly.

EB:

It’s been a difficult few years for you and I was impressed with how you conducted yourself prior to you coming to Matchroom. 

You were perceived in the public as a bit of a villain in the early days and now you are liked.

Non-hardcore friends of mine even mention how they have a different opinion of you now!

JG:

Things are changing big time now. It’s crazy the amount of support I get on Twitter now or from the man on the street – it’s mad!

It’s really nice now. When I came back from the Olympics I was a normal 22 yr old boy from Harlesden – it felt like I was shoved in the limelight a little bit and I didn’t know how to take it.

Obviously I’m a confident young boy anyway and I’m not afraid to tell people how good I am – maybe I played it a bit wrong.

I’m 29 yrs old now and mature, I’ve been a professional for 7 years now – the way you think matures and changes.

EB:

Even when you were with Mick Hennessy and were boxing at the Glow in Bluewater, back then I was impressed with how humble you were – your sole focus was on yourself and not calling anyone else out.

JG:

I had to be humble where I was boxing at that time, it was tough.

EB:

I remember a fight against Dyah Davis for example – that was a tough and frustrating fight for you.

JG:

Yeah Dyah Davis – that was tough, I was injured – actually that was horrible!

Even when I was in there I knew in myself I should be getting rid of these people. I just couldn’t do it, I couldn’t land or get my shots off – it was so, so frustrating.

EB:

Looking at the rest of the Super-Middleweight division, you’ve got Andre Ward who has comeback and of course Jimmy won’t allow you to look beyond this fight but there are some massive names out there.

Ward, Froch still floating around, Golovkin if he moves up etc.

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JG:

If I get this world title, there are some massive fights – obviously domestically Carl Froch and the George Groves rematch.

Worldwide there is Ward – two Olympic gold medallists. Can you imagine that? The skill levels will be crazy.

Golovkin potentially coming up, there are SO many big fights out there; I’m looking forward to it!

EB:

Weight-wise in the future, could you see yourself moving up to Light-Heavy as you have the frame for it?

JG:

Yeah maybe in the future. The Light Heavyweight division at the moment is extremely tough with Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson. 

But I’m in boxing for the big fights and the fights that the people want me to be in.

I agree that I’m big enough for Light-Heavy. If the people want me to go up after I’ve won a world title and mix with those guys, I’m willing to do that.

That division is on fire currently with Stevenson and Kovalev – it’s a wicked division.

EB:

From your perspective winning the world title is your goal – do you want to unify the division?

JG:

Yeah, let’s go through the champions; I win the IBF title, who else have you got?

Arthur Abraham (WBO) – will he fight me though? Eddie Hearn works closely with the Sauerland’s so hopefully we can get that on, it could happen.

Then you’ve got Andre Ward – come on, that’s a massive fight. You could bill that as just “GOLD”, two Olympic gold medallists, same weights – it would be fantastic.

Who else have you got as champion, Anthony Dirrell (WBC) – Andre’s brother, all these fights can happen.

I want to be in these massive fights.

EB:

Final question James – you mentioned earlier to me that you should hear a concrete date next week on when the Dirrell fight will happen?

JG:

So next week they would have had 14 days when it got announced that they (Warriors) won the purse bid – it’s been 9 days already.

On Tuesday (24th March) it has to be signed, sealed and delivered.

Really I should be hearing something tomorrow (Friday). They’ve got to send the contract, we’ve got to have a look over it and send it back. 

So I should know tomorrow and get it announced in the next week.

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

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#GolovkinMurray Review by Paul Ready

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Gennady Golovkin v Martin Murray

Golovkin – wow!

Seems to be the general consensus – and I’m not talking about that outrageous robe he wears to the ring – velvet Versace surely!?

What a performance.

He was spiteful as he was accurate.

What was impressive about Golovkin?

Everything.

His movement & footwork is ridiculous. We’ve seen him cut-the-ring-off and stalk his prey before going for the kill, but this was truly a devastating performance. Huge credit must be given to trainer Abel Sanchez who has transformed the 32 yr old from an upright conservative puncher – (similar to the Klitschko’s) to the aggressive-puncher-boxer you see before you.

“Gennady has a completely different style than when he first came to me,” Sanchez said. “We’ve been able to modify it and convert it into a fan-friendly style. If I’d have kept him how he was – the best way to describe it is that he came over here boxing like a Klitschko – we wouldn’t be talking now.

“I was able to make a dramatic change, but I had to have a fighter who was willing to make that change with me. All of my guys fight similar styles, but they’re similar because we feel, well, I feel, they need to entertain.”

Abel Sanchez has developed his own DNA, inspired by the Ingle Gym in Sheffield – Sanchez made reference to the Ingle’s in his Big Bear Lake gym, shown on a recent video by Behind The Gloves.

Good Boy’s chin was tested on various occasions and he simply looked at Murray shrugging his shoulders – before continuing to break him down further.

Murray started well trading shots with GGG – before he was dissected and opened up. I feared for Murray in the 3rd as he was caught late but the bell sounded in-time to save him.

Two knock-downs ensued in the 4th – first a delayed reaction to a body-shot and the other a brutal uppercut – the end appeared nigh.

But credit to the 32 yr old Murray for surviving so long – he met the canvas again in the 10th after he was caught on the temple. He managed somehow to see the end of the round but you felt the “Big Drama Show” was coming to a conclusion.

In the 11th referee Luis Pabon had seen enough when a vicious combo was unleashed, he intervened and halted the contest.

Martin Murray put up a valiant effort and despite losing – he has won plenty of plaudits for his performance. He shouldn’t be too disheartened, he was beaten in my opinion by the most complete boxer in the world – Murray can secure a big fight off the back of this.

Golovkin, he wants WBC champion Miguel Cotto next – which is a fight I understand has to happen, but as a Cotto fan I would find it hard to watch him get completely butchered. Whether Cotto will “step-up” or vacate however is another question.

The winners of David Lemieux v Hassan N’Dam (IBF) and Andy Lee v Peter Quillin (WBO) will be on his hit-list for the remainder of 2015 – before a move up to 168lbs next year.

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Andre Ward both took to Twitter on Saturday with digs at GGG.

Chavez Jr tweeted:

“Without his power he’s not that good of a boxer. I’ll bet you GGG a million dollars of the purse that I’ll knock you out if we fight. Come to my weight class GGG.”

Ward tweeted at the start of the fight:

“About to enjoy this good nap”

Now Chavez Jr famously “ducked” Golovkin last summer when the opportunity to fight presented itself, Golovkin’s trainer responded by saying that Chavez needs to call promoter Tom Loeffler to get the fight made as they are ready for June.

31 yr old Ward who is referred to in some quarters as “Son of Inactivity” will certainly be up for facing Golovkin at some stage – it’s a fight I expect to see in 2016. I’ve always felt that Ward would pose threats to Golovkin that would see the Olympic Gold Medalist victorious – however with his prolonged absence and the rapid development of GGG – this has made me seriously reconsider.

Whoever is next will have an insurmountable task of not becoming the 20th consecutive KO.

They all as it seems are destined become “Good Boy’s” in the end.

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

How good is Good Boy? By Paul Ready @gggboxing @TomLoeffler1 #MexicanStyle

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Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin added another victim to his 18 consecutive KO list. One of the G’s should stand for the Grim Reaper as whenever he steps through the ropes the opposition see black.

Through no fault of his own “Good Boy” has yet to face an elite fighter in the 160lb division. Fear of being battered by the meteorite hitting Kazak the sole reason – and who can blame them.

This guy is good; scary good but is he the best fighter on the planet at 154-168lbs?

This is a hotly discussed subject with the majority agreeing with this statement.

Marco Antonio Rubio (59-7: 51 KO’s) was a man with a reputation of being able to punch but that was put firmly to shame by Golovkin. Not to dilute this stunning performance but Rubio isn’t a top 10 160lb fighter.

Rubio briefly complained the knockout punch was illegal, although television replays clearly contradicted him

A corkscrew left to the forehead in the 2nd round drilled the Mexican to the canvas who took an 8 count but was waved off by the referee. It was evident after the first few exchanges that Rubio didn’t fancy his chances of causing an upset at the sold-out Stub-Hub Arena in Carson, California.

The ongoing problem for Golvokin (31-0: 28KO’s) and his team is the need to pay over the odds to get an elite fighter to face him. Winning the WBC Interim title was an inspired chess-move as he is now mandatory challenger for Miguel Cotto.

The 32 yr old has proved beyond doubt that no contender in the world can live with his power beyond the first few rounds.

Is there any man out there who can halt this meteorite landing and wiping out the world?

Golovkin is for me P4P the most concussive puncher in world boxing – in any weight-class. That is not up for debate; it’s a fact.

I like most was very impressed with him the weekend. The guy can not only bang, but he can box and is improving rapidly. His footwork and the manner in which he cuts the ring-off cornering his prey is one of his strongest assets.

I’ve been a huge Miguel Cotto fan for years and I am one of Canelo Alvarez’ but neither man gets near him for me. The only man I can see beating Triple G within 154-168lbs is Andre “Son of God” Ward.

I exchanged tweets & texts with fans and fighters yesterday and it appears I am in the minority with that sentiment!

I can see Ward beating Golovkin only if he adopts spoiler tactics – and gets VERY lucky. Ward would have to box in a similar fashion as he did against Carl Froch – utilising his stinging jab, hooks, plenty of lateral movement. Son Of God would have to box on the back-foot as he would struggle to bully Golovkin – despite the clear weight-advantage he would possess.

If Ward gets clipped by a Golovkin uppercut he would meet the canvas.

Can he keep Good Boy at bay for 12 rounds?

It would be some feat if so. But he is the only man I can see with a chance of defeating him.

Tom Loeffler of K2 promotions who represents Triple G spoke to about his next opponents:

“There’s nobody at 160 pounds that can go 12 rounds with Gennady,” “A Chavez Jr fight is a pay-per-view fight. Canelo is definitely a pay-per-view fight. A Cotto fight is a pay-per-view fight. Carl Froch in the UK is a big name. We would fight him. Gennady would have no problems fighting Carl Froch at 168 in the UK. Mikkel Kessler, he’s another guy at 168. There are so many options now, especially with HBO’s support. It will definitely be wide open in 2015.”

Carl Froch won’t fight Golovkin even if it is HBO PPV; as it is a high-risk, low reward fight for a man in the Winter of his career. It pains me to type that as that would be a modern day Gatti v Ward contest.

The Cobra a man who shy’s away from no-one in his heart of hearts would know his chances of beating him would be slim.

Chavez Jr is a Unicorn, a mythical creature that is never seen. He declined the opportunity of facing Golovkin in the summer and I doubt he will be rushing to face him now.

A fight in Monte Carlo against a top 10 fighter early 2015 was discussed post-fight by Loeffler as the next move. Canelo Alvarez and Miguel Cotto are due to square-off on Cinco De Mayo next year. The winner surely has to face Good Boy late 2015.

The opposition are running out of excuses and as his popularity grows on the West Coast so will the HBO bucket of cash. The Staples Arena in Los Angeles will no doubt host his next fight there.

So how good is Good Boy?

VERY fucking Good!

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

Boxing Update – 24/01 By Paul Ready

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Boxing Update – 24/01/14 By Paul Ready

Evening,

Friday baby, the weekend is here.
I need a Fred Flintstone moment when I finish every Friday, sound the horn and slide down the tail of a dinosaur, through the window of my car.

When I wrote this article, I was going to open with how quiet this week has been, not an abundance to report etc.
But the IBF had other plans, they have fully put the “cat amongst the pigeons” as Twitter has gone in to complete meltdown.

The IBF has ordered a rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves within 90 days.

Massive news.

Will Froch take the fight?

Will he vacate?

I would be completely staggered if The Cobra vacated.

So it is on like fucking Donkey Kong!

The Cobra has broken his silence since Christmas regarding a potential rematch against George Groves.
Speaking on SkySports News yesterday, here is what Froch had to say:

“The fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr is one of the five options that I do have and that’s a fight that I can get motivated for, a fight that excites me,”

“Going over to America to fight in Las Vegas is something that all British pros with big aspirations to do big things in boxing (want to do).”

“To be on a pay-per-view channel in America – very, very few British fighters have done that.”

“So as an option for me, that is a realistic option and one that I’m very, very seriously considering. In fact, we’re closer to that happening than the George Groves fight.

“I will happily fight George Groves again, I’m happy to give him a return provided it makes sense and it’s realistic. It’s down to Eddie Hearn, my promoter, to make it happen and it’s down to George Groves to be realistic.”

“If I’ve got two fights this year – and I usually do fight twice a year – one of those I think should be George Groves and one should be Chavez Jr.

“I will happily fight George Groves again, I’m happy to give him a return provided it makes sense and it’s realistic.”

“But probably not in that order, Chavez Jr is the next fight, the big fight that we’re closer to doing.

“I spoke to my promoter Eddie Hearn yesterday and that fight is pretty much nailed-on as being done and I’m happy with it.”

Froch said: “I’m bored of listening to his whingeing and moaning and cursing. You’ll find out I do actually call the shots – I’ve got two world titles and he’s not got any because I beat him and defended my titles.

“Another thing which was spoken about was options and he’s talking about all these options that he’s got – he’s got very, very few options, especially without those world titles.

“I’ve probably got five or six options, but I’ve narrowed them down with my promoter Eddie Hearn to probably two.”

Make no mistake about it, Froch does want the fight, in his eyes, Groves’ is an annoying itch that he can’t shift.

But Froch feels that he has already won and has nothing to prove against George Groves. Which I’m afraid he is in the minority with that mindset.

It’s apparent today that the IBF agree with the Groves, who personally attended a hearing with them in New York last week.

Froch has it all to prove against Groves, he needs to knock him out. He won’t beat Saint GG on points, Groves wins a decision as he is the better boxer and speed kills.

The conundrum that faces The Cobra is two-fold:

1) Vacate and fight Chavez Jnr in the summer. Credibility to everyone outside of Nottingham is below zero. I am talking planet Pluto cold.

2) Froch takes the fight, win, lose or draw (please god no) and it comes to a fitting conclusion for him, Groves and the public. Both can move on.

I believe Groves will win and by a stoppage, he will be like a man possessed. If he drops Froch, the 25 yr old will not allow him to clear his head, he will instead be looking to take it clean off.

I’m not ashamed to say, I actually have a semi in my pants over this fight, and I doubt I am the only one.

Groves needs to now pick a promoter and quickly so he can ensure he gets a fair deal.

Froch released a statement to the press this afternoon regarding Groves rejecting an offer he was made.

Alleged to be double what he received in the first fight which is around £300k, (£400k originally but £100k went to Adam Booth remember). So for Matchroom to offer what, £800,000 -£1m absolute tops when Groves wasn’t mandatory challenger. To now having his mandatory status reinstated, he will surely be able to negotiate a bigger purse.

Watch this space!

It is like a male soap opera unfolding in-front of our very eyes.

Mersey Beat

Matchroom Boxing has announced their 3rd card of 2014, at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.

With the following fighters on the bill:
Tony Bellew, Stephen, Paul, & Callum Smith, Rocky Fielding, Kell Brook, Kevin Mitchell, Kal Yafai and Robbie Davies Jnr.

Tony “The Bomber” Bellew will be fighting for against Valery Brudov. This will be The Bomber’s first outing since his defeat against Adonis Stevenson in November.

In addition, it will be Bellew’s debut at Cruiserweight, and I fully expect him to progress rapidly.

The big fight in that division is of course domestic rematch with Nathan Cleverly, (who has also moved up to Cruiser).

Ola Afolabi another fellow Brit is ranked 4th by the Ring Magazine, just below all the title holders, so he is certainly someone Cleverly & Bellew could be facing in the future.

Bellew, Cleverly and Afolabi can look towards challenging for a World title against one of the following;

Yoan Pablo Hernandez (Ring & IBF), Marco Huck (WBO), Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (WBC), Denis Lebedev (WBA).

Huck and Hernandez for me are the two stand-out fighters in the division.
German Huck fights tomorrow (Saturday 25th) against Firat Arslan in an all German rematch in Stuttgart.

The first fight taking place in November 2012, which Huck won by a unanimous decision.

Opponents have yet to be announced for rest of the card and will be in due course.

Kell Brook for example, won’t be in a “life or death” match. Brook I would imagine would fight in a 10 round encounter, at say 150lb.

The 27 yr old does have to boil down to 147lbs and for me will at some stage fight at Light-Middle as he is a naturally around that weight. But for Brook, the key for this fight is to keep the mind and body sharp.

Special K has wait for his long over-due IBF Welterweight Championship match in June 2014.

David Price

David Price makes his long-awaited return to the ring on Saturday night against Istvan Ruzsinsky in Stuttgart.

The Liverpudlian was due to face Konstantin Airic, who was forced to withdraw after failing a medical test.
Ruzsinky (12-9: 8 KO’s) was due to fight on the undercard and has been parachuted in at the 11th hour to replace Airic.

It has been a crazy 12 months for Price; 2 back-to-back losses to Tony Thompson, changing promoters to Sauerland, changing trainers twice, originally teaming up with Adam Booth for a short period and now with American Tommy Brooks.

Brooks has worked with Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson and the Klitschko brothers, you couldn’t ask for a more impressive CV as a Heavyweight.

This many changes can’t be good for a man, and you would hope that now he can put this all behind him and focus on boxing.

I wish David the best of luck, and hope this is a turning point for him as there are some great domestic Heavyweight fights out there.

Price is 30 yrs of age, it is his chance to make it happen before he has Anthony Joshua and Hughie Fury breathing down his neck.

Internationally

The fights we have this weekend are as follows:

WBO Cruiserweight Championship

Marco Huck v Firat Arslan – 25th January – Stuttgart

David Price v Istvan Ruzsinsky – 25th January – Stuttgart

WBO Super-Featherweight Championship

Mikey Garcia v Juan Carlos Burgos – 25th January – Madison Square Garden, New York

IBF Light-Welter Championship

Lamont Peterson v Jean Dierry – 25th January – Washington DC

Gabriel Rosado v Jermell Charlo – 25th January – Washington DC

Unfortunately the Mikey Garcia fight isn’t on TV, Washington DC card and the Stuttgart one are being shown on Boxnation.
I hope we see more International fights on SkySports in 2014 that is one glaring area they have minimal coverage of.

Right,

That’s me done.

Have a great weekend and catch you next week.

Paul

@EliteBoxingBlog
@PaulReady

Boxing Update 16/01… By Paul Ready

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Evening,

How is January treating you so far, have you fallen off the “diet” wagon yet?

#Cake

We have had some fights announced and a retirement in recent weeks, so let’s cover these in the first instance.

Then I will discuss International Match-Ups which are scheduled for the next consecutive weekends.

Let’s dive in like you would on a gooey Chocolate Brownie…

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Hmm… That’s tasty…

Darren Barker

Former IBF Middleweight World Champion Darren “Dazzling” Barker announced this week his retirement from boxing.
Barker, who lost to Felix Sturm in December, has decided to call it a day with an impending hip operation due to take place.

I’ve written much about Darren over the past few months, but I believe he has made the right choice.

Barker has achieved every boy-hood fan’s dream of winning a World Title and can hold his head high. He has done himself and his family proud.

Dazzler defeated all odds inside and outside of the ring, leading him to reaching the “Promised Land” of becoming World Champion.

Darren has stated numerous times that he has no desire to become a trainer.

I can personally see him working as a pundit on fight nights for SkySports, or as an ambassador for Matchroom Boxing in a Bernard Hopkins-esq role.

Hopkins is an ambassador for Goldenboy Promotions in America, he is the “link” man between the promoter and the fighters. Bernard is a Hall of Fame boxer Stateside and commands instant respect from the stables fighters, young and old.

I feel young pro’s in Britain could learn plenty from Darren, remaining humble, hungry and down-to-earth are key traits to any aspiring World Champion.

I wish him all the best in whatever he decides to do.

Tyson Fury

Biggest news domestically has been Tyson Fury agreeing to fight on BoxNation.

It appeared that Frank had slightly jumped the gun assuming the deal was signed, when Fury’s camp denied it was agreed at that stage.

Tyson is still a Hennessy fighter, as is cousin Hughie Fury, but they will both fight on BoxNation for say 3 fights this year.

This opens the door immediately to a rematch with Dereck Chisora in the summer, something Warren spoke about hosting in a football stadium.

It should be an intriguing match-up domestically, as they are the top 2 British Heavyweights currently.

I’m choosing to exclude David Haye from this as he is still injured with a shoulder injury, despite posting pictures online of himself back in the gym.

I want to see Fury v Deontay Wilder this year; it is the biggest Heavyweight fight in the world.

Some may scoff at that, but two undefeated fighters, charismatic, some-bodies 0 has got to go!

Providing of course, that Fury beats a yet to be named opponent 15th Feb and Chisora of course in the summer.

James DeGale

The WBC has ordered a final eliminator between Mayweather Promotions Badou Jack (16-0: 11 KO’s) and James DeGale for the mandatory position of the Super Middle-Weight title.

This will be a stern test for DeGale, Jack is rated as one of brightest talents in the Mayweather stable.

The fight is scheduled to take place by June this year. I haven’t seen an abundance of Jack, but I would back DeGale to edge it on a decision.

The winner would then move on to face Sakio Bika who won a split decision last month against Anthony Dirrell.

George Groves

George Groves was interviewed by IFLTV at a SkySports press conference for recently released movie “Grudge Match”; which features Sylvester Stallone and Robert Di Niro in a box-office boxing match-up.

Groves confirmed that he has held talks with American based Goldenboy Promotions and Top Rank already, with two meetings arranged this week with Boxing king-pin Al Haymon and New York based Lou Di-Bella.

I don’t believe it will be too long until we know who he has signed with.

Imagine if Groves signed with Haymon…

Wow!

Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, who promotes Carl Froch told SkySports earlier this week that the rematch between Froch & Groves remains a strong option.

Froch is keen to fight in Las Vegas before he retires, and as mentioned previously, Julio Chavez Jr, Gennady Golovkin and Andre Ward rematch as possible opponents.

Rumours have surfaced this morning of Froch agreeing to fight Andre Ward in Las Vegas on 1st June, but so far just word round the camp-fire.

I will now run through the first few cards that have been announced by Britain’s top two promoters, Matchroom and Frank Warren.

Reloaded, Cardiff Motorpoint Arena – 1st February

European Featherweight title

Lee Selby v Rendall Munroe

Gavin Rees v Gary Buckland

Anthony Joshua v Dorian Darch

Erick Ochieng v Dale Evans

Chris Jenkins v TBC

I for one am looking forward to seeing Lee Selby fight again, Selby is an exciting fighter in and outside of the ring, one that Matchroom have huge hopes for.

I would expect Selby to dispossess Munroe with ease and use a big performance to push him on to World level opposition and a title bout.

Anthony Joshua make’s his long awaited return from injury against Welshman Dorian Darch.

It will be great experience for Joshua to be the “away” fighter in this one, Darch hails from Aberdare and will certainly have the packed crowd on his side.

How will Joshua respond to a booing, baying partisan crowd of Welshman?

I think he will thrive in it.

Gavin Rees will be keen to put a forgetful 2013 behind him, with losses to Anthony Crolla and Adrien Broner respectively.
Rees faces fellow Welshman Gary Buckland, who is stepping up a weight-class and was on the wrong end of my KO of the year against Stephen Smith late 2013.

Chris Jenkins, Light Welterweight winner of Prizefighter, has an opportunity to shine on Skysports again, and move towards establishing himself at 140. Jenkins looked a level above the opposition in that competition, I’m looking forward to seeing him blossom over the next few years.

Copperbox, Stratford, London – 15th February 2014

Last week Frank Warren announced the first card of 2014 that Queensbury Promotions will host.

This will be a solid card that will contain the below fights, including a maiden outing for Tyson and possibly Hughie Fury on BoxNation:

The European Heavyweight Championship

Dereck Chisora v Andriy Rudenko

International Heavyweight Contest

Tyson Fury vs TBC

The WBO European Super-Middleweight Championship

Frank Buglioni v Gaetano Nespro

The Vacant WBA Intercontinental Welterweight Championship

Bradley Skeete v Vivian Harris

Hughie Fury v TBC

International News:

Jean Pascal v Lucien Bute – 18th January

We have our first super-fight this Saturday in Montreal Canada, which is rapidly becoming a boxing-mecca with Adonis Stevenson’s exploits last year.

It promises to be an explosive encounter, two fellow countrymen, it could be a Canadian Benn v Eubank.

Bute, who you will recall was battered by Carl Froch in 5 rounds in 2012, has fought just once since then against Denis Grachev later 2012.

He will be looking to weather a “Polar Vortex” of early punches from Pascal who is renowned for explosive starts.

I fear for Bute in this, having had an extended period of inactivity. This coupled with moving up to Light-Heavy, could be too much.

I feel Bute is no longer the same fighter and he could be stopped inside 7 or 8.

Next weekend we see the fights ramp-up significantly; David Price’s comeback in his maiden outing as a Sauerland fighter:

WBO Cruiserweight Championship

Marco Huck v Firat Arslan – 25th January – Stuttgart

David Price v Konstantin Airich – 25th January – Stuttgart

WBO Super-Featherweight Championship

Mikey Garcia v Juan Carlos Burgos – 25th January – Madison Sq Garden, New York

IBF Light-Welter Championship

Lamont Peterson v Jean Dierry – 25th January – Washington DC

Gabriel Rosado v Jermell Charlo – 25th January – Washington DC

Lots to look forward to as we await the return of the big boys!

Ok guys that is your lot from me on this crisp evening.

Have a great weekend and tune in next week.

Cheers
Paul

@EliteBoxingBlog
@PaulReady

2014 Fight Wish List By Paul Ready

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Happy New Year one & all.

I hope that you had an enjoyable festive period.

Back to reality of setting an alarm at 6am for work, those long lay-ins a distant memory.

In my opinion, there are some fights that must and will happen this year.

There are some fights that everyone fan, critic and broadcaster wishes to happen which I will list shortly.

Then we have my hand-picked fights which I will discuss in more detail, as to why I would like to see them.

I’m going to exclude Floyd “Money” Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao within this, as it is a pipe dream. This fight is destined for games console as a pure fantasy encounter.

It is up there with other urban myths such as ghosts, goblins, unicorns and lottery wins.

It will always be the fight that never happened for 100 hundred millions reasons.

The main issue being the promoter rivalry between both camps that represent each fighter (Goldenboy for Money Mayweather, Top Rank for Manny) the broadcaster rivalry between both camps (Showtime for Floyd, HBO for Pacquiao).

I feel the same about Carl “The Cobra” Froch and “Saint” George Groves rematch. Froch has no desire to fight Groves again, he is afraid, annoyed at the public and Groves’ perceived behaviour after the controversial stoppage win Froch had in the 1st fight.

That is my genuine gut feel, I hope I’m wrong, but I feel Froch will avoid it at all costs. The Cobra has cited aspirations of fighting in Las Vegas before he retires, I expect him to fight there this year at some point.

The below is a list of fights that everyone wants to see, and I feel they will happen this year at some point:

Miguel Cotto v Saul “Canelo” Alvarez
Scott Quigg v Carl Frampton
Mikey Garcia v Yuriorkis Gamboa
Ruslan Provodinkov v Brandon Rios
Adonis Stevenson v Sergei Kovalev
Floyd Mayweather v Amir Khan
Floyd Mayweather v Marcos Maidana
Tyson Fury v Deontay Wilder
Tyson Fury v Dereck Chisora II
Manny Pacquiao v Tim Bradley II
Andre Ward v Gennady Golovkin
Andy Lee v Matthew Macklin

In relation to the above fights, I feel these have been talked to death by boxing experts on TV, us, the fans and are constantly discussed on social networks.

Boxing is prize fighting remember, so I feel the above will happen due to public demand and money.

The contradiction to the above statement is Mayweather v Pacquiao match as it would be the most financially lucrative of all time. There simply is SO much “red-tape” preventing it from ever occurring.

If you wish to read further into this, there are countless articles, interviews with both fighters and their respective camps on the internet.

Let’s move on now to the fights I personally want to happen:

Andre “Son of God” Ward v George Groves

This is a fight I believe can, and will be made in 2014.
Ward has declared that he is interested in fighting him and Groves’ trainer Paddy Fitzpatrick tweeted in a Q&A with fans that a fight with Ward is a real possibility.

Another fascinating point about this fight, which adds more drama to it, is that Carl Froch has publicly declared on numerous occasions that he wants a rematch with Ward. The Cobra as you will recall lost to Ward a few years ago. It was a boxing lesson from Ward.

For Groves to be chosen by Ward as a more exciting adversary than Froch, speaks volumes about his profile Stateside.

Technically this will be a beautiful fight, two fighters with crisp jabs, dazzling speed and both can whack.

You would have to favour the undefeated “Son of God” on paper due to his dazzling CV, but only a fool would bet against Groves bringing the world to a standstill by winning.

Danny “Swift” Garcia v Adrien “The Problem” Broner

Both fighters have had two contrasting years in boxing, but I feel both need one another in the ring.

Undefeated Garcia, has no credible opponents left at 140lbs (Jnr Welter) having beaten Lucas Matthysse in September. Broner it seems will move down from 147lbs (Welter) to 140lbs after a career first defeat against Marcos Maidana last month.

It is a fight that I believe will happen late 2014, certainly PPV (Pay Per View) and one that would be career defining for both fighters.

The winner will be able to stake their claim to be a future global star in America, ready to take the mantle from Mayweather when he retires.

Garcia, will put himself firmly in front of Mayweather as an opponent for 2015, one that he won’t be able to avoid.

Broner, will show that he is the real deal, that he took the defeat against Maidana like a man, went away, honed his craft and delivered emphatically.

Danny is an accurate puncher, rarely wastes a shot. He struggled in stages against Zab Judah, but looked world-class against Matthysse.

Broner is a big puncher, has good hand-speed but he must work on his conditioning and lifestyle as he will have a short tenure in the sport if he continues to live the way he does.

Amir “King” Khan v Kell “Special K” Brook

Now many of you may scoff at the proposition of this fight;

“How can Khan go from Mayweather to Brook?”

That my friend is a valid question, my answer?

Money.

Khan would earn loads from this fight, domestically it is a PPV fight, Sky and Eddie Hearn would be all-over it like chicken pox on a toddler.

2014 financially could set Khan up for life, two fights, Mayweather and Brook, opposite ends of the scale granted, but both hugely lucrative.

Khan can use the Brook fight as an opportunity to prove to his doubters in the UK that he isn’t “chinny” and can beat the best domestically at 147lbs.

For Brook, if he beats Khan, he becomes a household name; it would announce him on the big stage in America.

Kell would receive much needed recognition there and set up some huge fights in the Welterweight division.

King Khan has a big profile America and receives more “love” than he does at home.

I think it would be a great tear-up, no love lost between them which date back to sparring between them as amateurs.

Brook needs to beat Shawn Porter, the newly crowned IBF Welter Champion when they fight in the summer.

I feel that this can be the carrot dangled in-front of Amir to lure him in to a blockbuster match up.

Khan has blistering hand-speed, but always has that vulnerability factor about him that has you on the edge of your seat.

Special K, at the age of 27 (28 in May) is untested on the world stage. Fights with Shawn Porter and Amir Khan will prove whether he will “sink or swim”.

The stakes couldn’t be higher for either fighter in this, losing is simply unthinkable.

Anthony Joshua v Hughie Fury

This fight draws mixed opinion from most, is it too soon for them to fight? Joshua, 24 is 3-0, Fury, 19 is 12-0.

There is a valid argument that we should wait a few years, let it manifest into a monster fight.

Perhaps they could take a leaf out of the Quigg v Frampton situation as opposed to James DeGale v George Groves.

DeGale v Groves if you recall took place 3 yrs ago this May, was a cracking encounter but it could of been a bigger fight further down the line as both have had only a handful of fights.

The positives of this happening in the summer are that we have a match-up between the two most exciting Heavyweight prospects on these shores.
The loser has plenty of time to come-back and build themselves again, as they are both mere pups for the Heavyweight division.

Joshua may start out for some as the favourite, but write Fury off at your peril as he could surprise many.

The pair of them are big lads, with impressive KO records so far, I would be amazed if this went the distance.

There are a number of other domestic fights I believe we could see, which I will list below:

Callum Smith v Frank Buglioni
Nathan Cleverly v Tony Bellew II
Kevin Mitchell v Ricky Burns II
Tommy Coyle v Kevin Mitchell
David Price v Dereck Chisora
Luke Campbell v Gavin Rees
Frankie Gavin v Kell Brook

I think 2014 will be the year of the Lightweight Division as there are so many fights that can be made there domestically, you could comfortably stage 1 each month.

I will be happy if any of the above happens, 2014 has some huge shoes to fill as 2013 was a phenomenal year for the sport.

Right, I must dash… my salad is getting warm…

#NewYearNewMe

Cheers
Paul

@EliteBoxingBlog
@PaulReady

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

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

Ringside.. Froch/Groves, Ward, Pacquiao.. by Paul Ready

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How are we doing?

I had an absolute touch last week; I ended up winning a competition to be in the crowd at SkySports show Ringside on Friday. They had the legendary Larry Holmes on for a Special featurette on his career. I was sat on the second bench behind him and was a pleasure being in his company and hearing some great stories from him.

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He felt somewhat aggrieved that people constantly quiz him on Ali, Tyson who was the greatest, when Holmes feels that he was the best ever. Certainly a Hall of Fame fighter, but when he beat former sparring partner Ali, Ali was 38 and was beginning to show signs of Parkinson’s Disease.

Not to dilute Holmes’ achievements as he has mixed it with the very best, one fight that never happened that would have been a barnstormer would have been Holmes v Foreman.

Holmes had some choice words to describe Lennox Lewis, he felt Lewis was overrated, and gave him 4 out of 10. Which surprised me, Lewis boxed in a great era in the 90’s. That won’t make the final cut they show on the telly nor will the colourful language.

That is one thing that does irritate me on fight night, commentators apologising at 10pm/3am for the corner swearing? This isn’t Tots TV, it’s two men going to war.

Holmes was at Prizefighter the night before to see Anthony Joshua fight and feels he has the lot to go all the way.

Great endorsement and Joshua certainly boxed like he wanted to impress Holmes, getting behind the jab well, and landed some accurate combos.

From a personal perspective, being at Ringside, it was good to have a chat with Johnny Nelson, top guy and mentioned myself as an inspiring blogger/writer, he gave me some sound advice which was well received and provided some food for thought.

I did throw in a curve ball question about Groves and Booth to Nelson, does he know why they really split. But he wouldn’t say, believes it will come out at some point, which I do believe myself after the Froch v Groves fight.

The fight itself Groves and Froch feels like he has absolutely flown round. Seems like yesterday it was announced.

Lots of build up this week on TV, Tactics, Behind the Ropes with each fighter, Final Press Conference, Weigh In to name a few so we will all be more than ready for the fight come Saturday.

Froch v Groves

Let’s go right in to my prediction and how I feel the fight will pan out.

I fancy Groves to shock the world here, and let me tell you why.

Carl Froch, the warrior, man who has boxed everyone and anyone in front of him is one dimensional.

He comes forward, forward, and forward like pavement roller. It is an effective and flawless tactic against a Kessler, Bute. You put him toe to toe with any boxer in the world; bar Golovkin, he wins.

Against a smarter, more intelligent boxer, Andre Ward for example, he struggles.

Now I’m not for one second comparing Groves to Ward, but Groves is mobile, intelligent and has one of the best jabs in the division (although Ward would beg to differ!) Groves has fantastic head movement and I genuinely feel Groves’ stylistically is all wrong for Froch.

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If Groves tries to trade in the middle of the ring with Froch, he gets knocked out. The Cobra at some point will tag Groves and we will see how well Saint GG’s chin is. Groves has never swam in these waters before, Froch is a huge step up in class.

So for me, if Froch hasn’t knocked him out in 6 rounds, Groves will outbox him and win on points.

I feel Froch is too “gung ho” and can’t box on the outside, struggles to move out of the way of punches quick enough.

It makes for a great spectacle, two contrasting styles collide together like a thunder cloud.

In addition to the main event we have a stacked card that contains; Scott Quigg, Martin Murray, Anthony Joshua, Anthony Crolla, Scott Cardle to name a few.

I’m personally gutted that Super Middleweight prospect Callum Smith has had to pull out due to injury; he is definitely one of my favourite domestic fighters currently and has a huge future.

Smith v Groves in the future anyone?

Ward v Rodriguez

In Ontario, California Saturday just gone, we had the long awaited return of Andre Ward against undefeated Edwin Rodriguez.

Ward won a unanimous points victory against Rodriguez who was 2lbs overweight at the weigh in. In doing so, Rodriguez surrendered part of his purse and in reality Ward was fighting a Light Heavyweight based on the weight of his opponent.

In a scrappy first few rounds that drew boos, the pair of them wrestled, grappled in what was more reminiscent of a WWE encounter than a boxing match. The ref even docked 2 points a-piece for un-sportsman like conduct, which ensured the official had his 2 minutes in the lime light.

Ward, like any elite fighter demonstrated that “ring rust” is a pure myth. He proceeded to school Rodriguez in the art of boxing. It was a lesson pure and simple, master v pupil, Miyagi v Daniel Son.

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Ward delivered some spectacular jabs that were as powerful as a hook, the weight behind the punch that was expelled from his legs was sublime. Rodriguez’ neck was snapped back on numerous occasions, I was half expecting him to leave at the end in a foam neck brace with whiplash and his team on the phone to an injury lawyer.

In Round 6, 27-4 was the number of punches landed by Ward, compared to those landed by Rodriguez, according to CompuBox. Ward displayed an incredible offence in this fight, people often take for granted and pigeon hole him as a pure counter puncher. He was very much the aggressor in this, taking out 14 months of frustration on his opponent.

Round 10 he landed a huge left hook that Rodriguez still wouldn’t have seen on the replay it was so quick.

Overall it was an impressive return from Ward and showed that he is untouchable in the Super Middleweight division.

Next he should face Golovkin or move up to Light Heavy again and face big punching Kovalev.

Kovalev you will recall had Nathan Cleverly for breakfast in the summer.

Ward finds himself in a similar situation to Mayweather with the lack of credible opponents rapidly evaporating in front of our eyes.

Who he is next matched with will be interesting indeed.

In addition to Froch v Groves this Saturday, we have a feast of a fight in Macau, China in the wee hours of Sunday morning, the return of Manny Pacquiao who faces punching juggernaut Brandon Rios.

Pacquiao v Rios

Manny Pacquiao is one of my favourite fighters of the past 10 yrs, I have loved the journey he has embarked on, it has been a real rollercoaster.

From beating De Le Hoya, putting Hatton’s career to sleep, battered Cotto and Margarito, The Pac Man has been in some wars and thoroughly entertained.

Pacquiao’s last fight was the brutal knock out by arch nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez at the 4th attempt.

My fear in this fight is that Pacquiao is facing the hungriest fighter to date.

We will see how hungry he still is. Philippine politics won’t have a law that can save him this weekend.

In light of the recent tragedy in the Phillipines, you would expect Pacquiao will dedicate a victory in their honour.

Rios is monster. Loves a scrap and is a sadistic fucker who thrives on getting hit, the taste of his own blood only makes him smile and crave more punishment.

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“Boxing for me is better than sex” I heard him say. Brandon, you either aren’t doing it right or you genuinely are that much of a nutter.

What I like about Rios and his training camp is the camaraderie they have at the Robert Garcia gym in Oxnard, California.

Those of you who have ever watched any of Ellie Sechbach’s videos, you will see that Rios’ is a proper lad, loves a piss take and is firmly the joker of the gym.

Garcia created a tight knit environment within the stable, that boasts some impressive names, Nonito Donaire, Marcus Maidana and of course Garcia’s brother Mikey. A stable to rival any worldwide, notably Wild Card in LA.

Could this be Rios’ time? Absolutely.

If Manny isn’t on his game, he will get folded up like an origami swan by one of Rios’ rib shattering body shots.

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But if I’m honest, the speed and boxing ability for Pacquiao should be enough to gain a late stoppage in the 9th/10th.

I feel that Rios will stand in the centre of the ring and just keep coming forward, like a young Froch.

Bam Bam will throw those big uppercuts and bodyshots that we have come accustom to with him. It will certainly test Pacquiao’s resolve and heart, something I believe he will struggle to exceed Rios in. Pacquiao needs to match and supersede Rios’ work-rate.

But don’t take your eyes off that one for a second, blink and you will miss it.

Ok.

That’s it from me.

I’m off to catch up on Boardwalk Empire.

Laters

Paul

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingBlog

Mikey impressive.. Prizefighter.. Donaire & Ward By Paul Ready

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Evening,

We are entering the sexy season for boxing now, fights coming thick and fast.

F*ck the festive season for now, if I see another John Lewis, M&S, Coca Cola advert, my TV is going out the window.

Far too early for me!

Although, I’m still staring at this picture and so are you….

Admit it…

It’s ok…take your time…

Let’s crack on with a look at the past weekends exploits in the ring.

Garcia v Martinez

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Mikey Garcia stopped Rocky Martinez in the 8th round in Corpus Christi, Texas on Saturday night.

In doing so, Garcia won the WBO Junior Lightweight title and was the 1st man to knockdown & stop Puerto Rican Martinez in his career. After suffering a knockdown from a flash punch on the button in the 2nd, this served as a shot of espresso to Garcia.

From then on we witnessed the usual high pressure, aggressive streak that we have come to expect from the Californian.

The body shot that crumpled Martinez in the 8th like a screwed up ball of paper, was for me better than Callum Smith’s recent body shot KO. Mikey caught him with an absolute a peach of a left hook to the lower abdomen, you knew the fight was over, no question, Martinez gasped for breath like he was drowning.

Garcia was stripped of his featherweight title in June, when he failed to make weight for a defence against Juan Manuel Lopez. This provided redemption to him and a clear indicator that he should be fighting at a bigger weight.

Next up could be Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa (23-0: 16 KO’s), which would provide a stern test for him. Outside of that match up, there aren’t many fights in this division to whet the appetite.

What Garcia now needs to do is capture the imagination of the rapidly growing fan base he has acquired. Lomachenko v Garcia, for example would be a cracker, they would smash the shit out of each other for however long it lasted. But I would like to see that grow over a few years in to a PPV fight. In reality I can’t imagine Top Rank being so bold making it next year, expect that in 2015/16.

Personally, I’d like to see Garcia move up further, to Lightweight and compete there. Alongside the Brit Pack; Ricky Burns, Kevin Mitchell, Anthony Crolla, Gavin Rees, Luke Campbell, fellow American Terence Crawford (who has been announced as Burn’s WBO mandatory) and Miguel Vasquez.

Donaire v Darchinyan

Nonito Donaire (32-2: 21 KO’s) stopped Vic Darchinyan (39-6: 28 KO’s) on the same card in Texas. Darchinyan wanted to avenge the loss that cost him the IBF flyweight title previously. He was floored twice in the eighth round in a hard earned victory that perhaps, one could argue Darchinyan was leading up until that point. I had Darchinyan leading until then.

Donaire connected on more than half of his power punches. He had surgery on his right shoulder after his most recent fight, a loss by decision to Guillermo Rigondeaux.

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“Vic hit me hard and it felt like he broke my jaw earlier in the fight and all I was thinking was, `I’m going to lose,” Donaire said. “But I continued fighting and found an opportunity to land a great shot.”

This is what great fighters do, in the face of adversity they manage to pull something out of the bag to win when on the night, they don’t deserve to it.

For Donaire, he will want to avenge the Rigondeaux defeat naturally next, but I would like to see him face Carl Frampton.

That would be a mouth watering match up; they have both exchanged a few tweets to the tune of meeting in the ring at some point. It would prove to be a big step up in class for Frampton and one that he would have a genuine opportunity of winning.

This isn’t the same Donaire from years gone by, the Donaire who beat Manuel Vargas in 2010.

The Flash looks slightly off pace, probably down to the surgery in the summer, less mobile, an ideal time for Frampton to put himself in the shop window and face a top P4P Super Bantamweight.

Forget Quigg for now or a Martinez rematch, regardless of the IBF title.

Cyclone Promotions, make the call!!

Boxing this week, we have a treat on Thursday night from York Hall with Heavyweight Prizefighter. UK v USA, Ryder Cup style. Michael Sprott the main man for the UK and Hall of Famer James Toney for the Americans.

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Always an enjoyable watch these, Toney is an absolute legend in the sport, 3 weight world champion, fought at Middle right through to Heavyweight, avoided by Eubank and Benn in the 90’s, beaten Holyfield, lost to Roy Jones Jr.

My concern for him is at 45 yrs of age, after 88 Fights, “Lights Out” has taken far too many punches, listening to him speak on Ringside was tough viewing to understand the slurred speech. You never want to see anyone hurt in the sport, but he needs to think about calling it a day sooner rather than later, if not for him, for the family.

But Boxing is a like a drug addiction, it’s hard to resist and walk away. Hence why we see so many fighters having comebacks.

Toney was & still is a big character in and outside of the ring, I remember seeing a clip of him on Jonathan Ross via satellite sat next to Mickey Rourke in the mid 90’s. Benn and Eubank were on the show and the trash talking from Toney was superb, Benn bit and had a pipe back, but deep down, he knew his place.

When I first watched this, I actually though it was Kat from Red Dwarf sat there not Benn, absolute spit of him!

I fancy Toney or Sprott to do the business and win the whole thing.

On the same card we have Anthony Joshua’s 3rd outing against Croatian Hrvoje Kisicek, in-between the Semi Finals of the contest, looking forward to the next step forward for The Don.

Moving on to the weekend, we have the long awaited return of P4P number 2 in the World;

Andre “Son of God” Ward, THE man in the 168lb division.

I look at Ward with a small sense of envy, same school year as me, same height, weight.

One of us is a (possible) future P4P Boxing Writer, the other an undefeated World Champion who has faced the very best before he hits 30.

Showtime Championship Boxing: Andre Ward vs Sakio Bika - November 27, 2010

Could have been me….

Maybe not.

Ward who relinquished the WBC title in May, over an inability to face a mandatory challenger. SOG cited a shoulder injury, but couldn’t evidence it when challenged by the board, all got very messy.

He faces undefeated Edwin Rodriguez (24-0: 16 KO’s) in Ontario, California on Saturday night. It is an opportunity for Ward to exorcise some demons, and shake off ring rust, having not fought for 14 mths since a 10th round TKO of Chad Dawson.

Ward as we know is an efficient counter puncher, somewhat dull to the mainstream fans, the hardcore contingency appreciates the tactical approach he adopts.

The fact remains, there is no real blue print to defeating him.

Froch tried to trade with him, and was embarrassed in the process. Danced around The Cobra, slipping shots and unloading combos.

For Ward, he is rapidly running out of credible opposition to face. Golovkin should step up to 168 for me and face him, although I would fancy Ward on a decision.

A possible rematch with Froch could be on the cards, should he come through Groves of course, which isn’t guaranteed.

Maybe Adonis Stevenson/Bernard Hopkins at a catchweight?

Time will tell, feel free to leave some comments who you would like to see Ward fight next year??

Right ladies.

That is your lot from me.

I’m off to watch “The Gloves Are Off – Middleweights” that I recorded.

Catch you next week.

Paul

@EliteBoxingBlog

@PaulReady