Posts Tagged ‘Boxing’

Now that Showtime has managed to salvage its Super Six Super Middleweight tournament, group stage III is scheduled to get underway on November 27 with a double header no less! Thus far this super middleweight tournament has offered lots of drama, controversy, and excitement. Admittedly it has also had its fair share of disappointments, delays, and politics but it’s nice to see things supposedly getting back on track.

Here are my predictions for the group stage III matchups:

Arthur Abraham vs Carl Froch – I’ve been anticipating this fight more than any other since the tournaments inception. I tend to be a bigger fan of brawlers and boxer-punchers that I am of the slick and all too happy to run boxer. That said everyone knows this fight is likely going to be a shootout and its winner determined by who connects first. I see Arthur Abraham walking away from this fight with a win by knockout. Admittedly Froch has good power in both hands and Abraham could find himself in trouble should Froch find a way to connect or breakthrough his shell defense but I believe Abraham to be too fast, too strong, and too strong on defense for Froch to handle. Additionally Froch has been hurt by other fighters who are far less powerful than Abraham is so I see Froch having a hard time in this fight. If Jermaine Taylor could drop him and Kessler could rock him late, it could be a short night for Froch come November 27. Froch is a good fighter but in this fight he is simply outgunned.

Andre Ward vs Andre Dirrell – Though I find myself intrigued and excited about every single fight and potential fight in this Super Six tournament I have to admit that if there is going to be a complete snooze-fest in this tournament it’s going to be this fight. Ward the tactician and Dirrell the defensive minded and quick footed boxer who doesn’t like to take chances should make for what is potentially the most boring fight of this tournament. In this fight I see Dirrell walking away with a win via split decision. Ward is good no doubt but because he’s not that aggressive and doesn’t take too many chances, I see Dirrell using his superior speed of foot and hands to walk away with a victory. I don’t expect much action in this fight nor do I believe either man is really going to put his foot on the gas pedal at any point. Not just because they are friends but also because neither one likes or wants to get hit and neither one is knockout minded.

Allan Green vs. Unnamed Opponent – There’s good reason to believe that Light Heavyweight Glenn Johnson will be dropping down to Super Middleweight and joining this tournament. At least that’s the “word on the street” anyways. There’s a lot of fans bemoaning this choice but I find that those people are generally the same ones who find weakness in this tournaments structure rather than strength, despite some of it’s problems. I digress however and will say this. I think Glenn Johnson even in his 40’s is more than a match for Allan Green. He’s also a much better option than any of the other available and willing fighters. If Glenn turns out to be Green’s opponent, call me crazy but I see Johnson winning the fight by unanimous decision. Why? Green is a career underachiever who’s skills at making excuses far exceed his skills in the ring. Green has come up short against all credible opponents and lost to gatekeeper Edison Miranda. Green’s self imposed limited ring ability as well as his soft resume tell me that he’s going to struggle against the always ready and willing Johnson. I expect a slightly more energetic performance from Green should this one come off but I don’t see Green being able to handle Johnson’s pressure. Unless Johnson ages overnight that is and even then I don’t see Green being able or perhaps capable of stepping his game up and finishing strong. No matter who they match Green up with I just don’t see him winning. The abysmal performance against Ward, his excuses fight after fight, and his inability to step his game up against gatekeeper and world opposition tell me everything I need to know It’s as shame too because I like Green’s personality.

On August 3rd, 2008 after knocking Enzo Maccarinelli out, WBA title holder David Haye proclaimed in a post fight interview that was just as exciting as the preceding fight,  that he was moving up to heavyweight where he vowed to clean out the garbage and put an end to boring fights and end the era of overweight, over-the-hill contenders.  He vowed to take on all comers and said more than anything he wanted to end Wladimir Klitschko’s reign as Heavyweight Champion of the World.  This news and Haye’s public and entertaining confrontation of Wladimir Klitschko had many boxing fans overly excited and had me elated.  As a fan of knockout artists I had been a casual fan of Haye’s since the Fragomeni fight but it was during that post fight interview with Al Bernstein that turned me into one of Haye’s more ardent supporters.

That was 2008 and my how  things have changed.  In the 2 years since putting the heavyweight division on notice and giving boxing fans something to salivate over, Haye’s had just 3 fights, which from a boxing fans perspective looks horribly unambitious especially for a talented man in his prime.  Rather than doing as promised and disposing of “fat/old bums” and taking on the Klitschko’s, Haye has instead spent his time making excuses, backing out of fights, and taking fights with opponents that truthfully had no business being in the ring with him.  These mismatches came against B and C level fighters all of whom where either well past their prime and/or where never that great to begin with.  This however is the David Haye of 2010, a new man, a business man who consistently looks to the road that poses the least amount of risk and the highest reward.  Some boxing pundits and even fans might argue that boxing is a business and that this is true of all fighters.  While this may or may not be true Haye’ has made a career out of doing as little as possible for as much money as possible and over time, especially as of late, it’s turned the majority of his fan base off.

Haye’s career from the summer of 2008 – present has been plagued by excessive inactivity, excuses, less than spectacular opponents, and talk, talk, and more talk. I found the talking entertaining up until Haye backed out of two fights with the Klitschko’s.  While there may indeed have been “slave” contracts that would have handed control of Haye’s career and money over to the Klitschko’s the manner in which Haye pulled out at the last minute and with excuses looked awfully suspicious.  What I call “Haye’s Syndrome” seems to reoccur prior to and just after a Haye fight.  A long layoff coupled with lots of trash talk and information about a possible opponent is how it begins.  Then after months of additional silence, team Haye announces there’s trouble with negotiations (regardless of opponent) and that a new opponent will need to be found.  A few more months pass and Haye announces an opponent who’s either way past their prime, severely faded, or was never really that good to begin with.  The post fight symptoms of Haye’s Syndrome are talking/hyping up a fight with a Klitschko, trash talking other heavyweights who he’ll never fight, retirement at the age of 31 and of course how he only wants to fight the best.  Haye’s Syndrome is like clockwork and it’s as predictable as time itself.

Haye’s talked extensively about fighting both Klitschko brothers and unifying the division.  For a long time this remained exciting, entertaining, and gave boxing fans something to look forward too…a meaningful and exciting heavyweight championship fight.  Unfortunately the chances we’ll see a  fight with either Klitschko grow smaller and smaller by the day.  For a long time I defended Haye’s decision to back out of his previous supposed fights with the Klitschko’s on the basis that they simply wanted to much control over Haye’s career and money.  Well recent negotiation breakdowns between Haye and Wladimir Klitschko have me rethinking things.  Haye has repeatedly complained that the Klitschko’s where being unfair in negotiations and that he wanted to fight them badly but would do so only if the terms and contracts where fair.  Very recently Haye got what many feel was an extremely fair deal from Wladimir Klitschko.  Apparently the deal was for a 50/50 split on the fight purse with no future contractual obligations to team Klitschko yet Haye’s people now claim this isn’t a fair deal either.  It’s been reported that Haye refused the offer because Klitschko wants to split all the TV revenue 50/50 as well which I believe is more than fair considering Klitschko is the one who’s recognized as the Heavyweight Champion of the World.  Haye’s merely a title holder and the WBA title holder at that.  Given the fact that Haye goes out of his way to call out the Klitschko’s, trash talk them, and repeatedly claim he wants fair options I find the TV revenue to be a suspiciously convenient and trivial matter.

If David Haye really wanted to fight Wladimir he’d make the fight happen.  Even with the WBA strap, Haye’s nothing more than a Heavyweight titlist, he is not, I repeat, not the Heavyweight Champion of the World.  If he so desires to be he must travel down Klitschko Road and beat the number one man in the division.  Haye stands to make much more money fighting a Klitschko than any other fighter as well, even with or without TV revenue’s so again I find it curious that Haye is unwilling to fight.  In fact I believe Haye’s marketability and career are going to suffer as a result of his latest refusal.  Fighting Audley Harrison later this year will be like pouring salt onto an open wound too and isn’t going to do anything good for Haye.

Wladimir Klitschko calls out David Haye

While I used to defend and support Haye, I now find myself in a much different position.  The excuses, long layoffs, weak opponents and talk have gone from entertaining and exciting to old and irritating.  Haye promised to change the heavyweight landscape and bring excitement and athleticism back to the division.  The division has seen no change and the excitement we’ve seen has had little to do with Haye.  The outcome of the fight against Barrett was predictable, the Valuev fight was boring and I thought Valuev won by 2 rounds, and the Ruiz fight was nothing more than a gross mismatch cooked up by boxing politics.  I’ve been a boxing fan for nearly 30 years and in that time I’ve seen fighters drop belts and titles to make fights happen.  I’ve seen fighters accept what many would consider questionable terms and contracts in order to get a fight they want to move ahead.  I’ve also seen fighters work aggressive to secure the best opponent possible and to fight as often as possible.  Some I’m left wondering, what’s Haye’s excuse?  What’s the holdup?  What the real reason Haye won’t fight a Klitschko (in this case Wladimir)?

Could there be other details about the proposed 50/50 deal team Klitschko made that we just don’t know about?  There certainly could be but Haye’s silence on the matter speaker volumes and makes me look at Haye in a whole other light.  Wladimir even went so far as to make a video publicly calling David Haye out, a calling I might add that the biggest mouth in boxing completely ignored.  Months have gone by now and there’s still no response to that video which also adds to my suspicions that Haye wants nothing to do with either Klitschko.  While I don’t for a second believe David is afraid to fight them or anyone for that matter, I do believe that the David Haye of 2010 is more of a business man than a fighter and is looking to milk his WBA title for all it’s worth.  I believe he’ll then retire at the end of 2011 having never fought either Wladimir or Vitali though he will continue to claim that he accomplished great things in the division and was the heavyweight champion of the world.  I know see Haye as a man who wants to take less risk than he’s ever taken before in every one of his fights.  Should he take a fight with a Klitschko and lose his career is, for all intensive purposes, over. Although he would stand to make a large sum of money from just one Klitschko fight, he’ll take the easy road and fight unqualified opponents for less money to ensure that his winning streak continues.

Many will disagree with me but I see Haye beating both Klitschko’s.  He’s faster and hits harder than both of them.  Vitali is great but has looked old as of late and I don’t believe Wladimir will be able to weather Haye’s aggression, should he bring it to the fight that night. Haye wants to retire at the age of 31 and as the unified heavyweight champion (or so he says).  Well Haye had better get a move on.  He’ll be 30 in just a few short months and both Wladimir and Vitali are tied up with opponents this fall.  That means Haye has two choices, remain inactive for the remainder of the  year, or fight another overrated bum.  My money is on inactivity though I won’t be surprised to see a fight with Harrison made very soon.  Haye brings excitement when he actually fights but he no longer fights the best and would rather spend his time making one excuse after another.  Shit or get off the pot David!  You claim the Klitschko’s are boring and bad for boxing but it’s now become a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Graceful Exits

Posted: November 9, 2008 in Boxing
Tags: , ,

joenroy When word first broke that Roy Jones Jr. would be fighting England’s Joe Calzaghe I felt both excitement and apprehension.  Excitement because Roy Jones Jr. ranks 2nd on my list of all time favorite fighters.  Apprehension because judging by Roy’s recent performances I felt that he’d be dominated in this fight.

In actuality I needed only to review Jones’ most recent fight against Felix Trinidad to make a prediction about a Jones/Calzaghe match up.  Roy had Felix in trouble several times but chose not to close the show.  As Jones fought at Light Heavyweight for the majority of his career and Trinidad was and is a natural welterweight I thought Jones, even at age 39 could have walked right over him and knocked the much smaller fighter out.  Jones opted as he has in recent years to play it safe which shows me he lacks the heart and confidence he once had.

Keeping Jones’ recent performance in mind I predicted that Joe Calzaghe would maul and dominate Roy Jones Jr. for an entire 12 rounds.  I tuned into this fight in hopes that Roy would actually take the fight seriously and try to win and not just outlast the clock.  Aside from a knock down delivered by Jones in the opening round (which was due to an elbow and not a punch) the fight went nearly exactly as I saw it happening in my head months prior to the fight.  Calzaghe no longer possesses the power he once had but he embarrassed Roy tonight and did so emphatically.  Roy fought so poorly even for a man his age that Calzaghe began carrying his hands down at his side and began showboating quite a bit.  Even more embarrassing for Roy, Calzaghe stood in front of Roy several times with his hands down, shook his head to taunt Roy and Roy did nothing.  The one sided beating continued for 12 rounds and Joe walked away with the unanimous decision.

Calzahe’s absent power and Roy’s unwillingness to fight told me months ago that there’d be no knockdowns in this fight and I was nearly right.  Joe beat Roy senseless and I congratulate the Welshman on an outstanding performance.  That said this fight showed something important.

Roy Jones Jr. needs to retire.  Many experts claim that Roy’s skill set is not what it once was.  I disagree completely with their sentiments however and believe that Roy possess most of the skills he used to dazzle us with, he simply doesn’t have any desire to use them anymore.  The three fights Roy had prior to the Calzaghe fight where simply promotional tools for a Calzaghe showdown.  This fight was just a payday for Roy.  Roy barley threw any punches tonight and when he did it was one at a time, much like Tyson did from the mid 90’s onward.  Tyson wasn’t fighting to fight…he was fighting for a paycheck.  Roy is doing his fans and boxing a disservice by showing up and fighting the way he did tonight.  Some say the Roy we see now is merely a shell of the Roy of old.  I would go a step further and say that the Roy we see today isn’t a shell of his old self but rather just a name.  If he was any other fighter and had the same recent performances he’s had he’d never get the attention he still receives.  Roy is only embarrassing himself by continuing to fight.  He’s got the name and I’m sure there’s plenty of ways to make good money in the world of boxing without having to fight, especially when you’re name is Roy Jones Jr.  Like Max Kellerman once said to Floyd Mayweather during a broadcast, “if you’re heart isn’t in it, don’t come back”, I would say the same thing to Roy tonight…quit fighting because it’s clear your hearts no longer in it.

I can recall nearly every boxing fan and many boxing experts counting Roy out long before the fight took place and before Bernard Hopkins destroyed Kelly Pavlik.  As soon as the 43 year old Hopkins broke down and beat a 26 year old Pavlik, many experts and fans started calling for the Jones upset.  Evidently people started drawing parallels to Hopkins brilliant performance and Roy’s apparent resurgence.  I too was hopeful for a Jones upset but I always knew in the back of my mind that Joe Calzaghe was going to dominate Roy Jones.  Though his punches aren’t to powerful Calzaghe has, with the exception of Hopkins, thoroughly dominated his last few opponents while Jones fought two nobodies and failed to stop an over the hill, ring rusty Felix Trinidad.   So many of us, including myself hold onto the foolish hope that Roy Jones Jr. will give us one more great show and while it’s evident, especially after tonight, that he could where his heart in it, he chooses not to.

I will always remain a fan of Roy Jones Jr. and prior to this fight I would have tuned into any fight that he was a part of but tonight solidified my belief that Jones has only been fighting for money and has nothing left to give boxing fans.  I never want to see any great fighter retire but Jones no longer belongs in the boxing ring.  To win fights you actually have to fight and that means throwing punches and evading your opponents, not laying on the ropes and blocking all night.  This was truly a pathetic performance by any boxing standard, regardless of age.  Pack it in Roy it’s all over.

We all need to know when to make a graceful exit…now is that time Roy.