KO KINGS 2
What’s up Doug?? All’s good I hope…
First off, thanks for your advice and response on Friday. I’ve actually started the blog and here is my first article: http://bilalhym.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/the-boxing-year-so-far/.
Secondly, DAAAAMMMMMNNNNNN!!!! What a card by Showtime… “Knockout Kings II” was incredible, although Jesus Soto Karass deserved the “KO of the Night” bonus. His punch was a clean counter hook, whereas Keith Thurman threw a messy combination, but, it is what it is. Fight of the night was definitely Omar Figueroa-Nihito Arikawa… What are their bodies made of? Arikawa has the same guts, will and determination as your average protagonist in a Japanese anime. I never thought I’d see someone like that in real life though.
Thirdly, the British fight scene is quite busy in the next few months, with Carl Froch-George Groves, David Haye-Tyson Fury and Kell Brook-Vyacheslav Senchenko, as well as Amir Khan probably against Devon Alexander. I think Haye knocks Fury out cold, with Groves getting similar treatment from the Cobra. Brook should win convincingly so he can finally get a title shot. I don’t think Khan deserves a title shot at 147 lbs, but I do think he beats Alexander by UD.
Finally, a couple more mythical match-ups:
Willie Pep vs. Manny Pacquiao (126 lbs)
Marvin Hagler vs. James Toney
Thanks, and keep up the good work. – Bilal, London
Pep by lopsided unanimous decision. Hagler by close, perhaps majority decision.
Khan may not deserve a welterweight title shot but I think the British star is perfectly OK as a voluntary title defense for Alexander. I also like Khan’s chances against the St. Louis southpaw.
I can see Haye knockout Fury out cold, but I can also see the younger, bigger, more active heavyweight smothering and breaking down the veteran to a late TKO.
I think Froch will have to work hard to beat Groves.
I’m looking forward to all of the upcoming bouts involving UK standouts that you mentioned, as well as the Ricky Burns-Ray Beltran fight.
I think “Knockout Kings II” was a better overall card than “Knockout Kings I” and that’s saying something because last September’s show was quite good, and this past Saturday’s card was essentially without a “star” fighter (which I think is wonderful).
Berto was the “name” fighter on the card but he had lost 2 of his last three bouts, so he was also a big question mark. Sot o Karass, in my opinion, is the poster boy for the reliable gatekeepers of the sport (and I mean that as a compliment). I absolutely love the fact that a fighter with eight losses was not only in the main event but won it in an entertaining and dramatic scrap. (I also agree that he should have been the recipient of the “KO of the Night” bonus. He was a 3-to-1 underdog and he took out a former two-time titleholder!)
The two co-featured bouts featured undefeated odds favorites in with unknown – but obviously worthy – visiting opponents from other countries. American fans didn’t know much about Chavez and Arakawa but they sure as hell do now. Had Thurman and Figueroa not been 100 percent prepared for battle, they probably would have been overwhelmed by the foreign underdogs.
Kudos to all four, especially Arakawa, who epitomized warrior spirit. Watching him throw caution to the wind (and almost 100 punchers per round at Figueroa) was an emotional roller coaster for most of us.
We were entertained, then concerned for his well being, then awed by his fortitude and ultimately humbled by his valor willingness to seemingly sacrifice it all in the spirit of competition.
You know what? Somebody should produce an anime boxing series with Arakawa as the protagonist (or at the very least a Manga book). I’d watch it.
Congrats on your first boxing blog. Here’s a word of advice from an “old vet”: Be consistent with it.
MASSIVE WELTER SKELTER
I had to work overtime Saturday night and therefore missed out on KO Kings Part 2! What a pisser! But I will state this: Thurman probably is the scariest-looking welter out there and perhaps the scariest thing about him is that he’s still in his early 20s and just warming up. Not that Chaves was all that intimidated! He really pushed Thurminator hard and thumbs up to Thurmo for refusing to cave in and closing the show!
Now that Thurmo’s calling out an even harder-hitting Argentine badass, mainly Marcos Maidana, how do you see that one playing out if it happens?
Several more points:
1. Soto Karass is certainly is no gatekeeper. He gave Maidana a tough go, beat Selduck Aydin more convincingly than Guerrero did and now became the first guy to knock out Berto.
As for Berto, he either barely wins his crucial fights or loses them but still makes it hard for the other guy. He reminds me of Jermain Taylor in that regard.
Come to think about it, the way Soto Karass withstood Berto’s full-powered shots just shows you how hard Maidana can really crack! Take note Adrien Broner!
2. Regarding Mike Alvarado-Ruslan Provodnikov. The bloodthirsty bastard in me would like to see Alvarado pound it out with the Russian meatgrinder and give us a real war to remember!
But if Mike takes the kind of damage that Bradley suffered from Provo’s fists on top of the all that damage he took from previous fights he’ll be reduced to a gutted, foaming wreck! If there’s a fight he really needs to fully use his underrated boxing skills it’s this one.
3. I noticed that some fans are ripping Manny Pacquiao for facing Brandon Rios instead of Alvarado. Let me point out that Rios is still younger and fresher than Alvarado and he also has the stronger chin and doesn’t mark up as easily.
That makes him just as dangerous an opponent for Manny to take on right now as opposed to Mike. Maybe even more so.
This potential war could go either way!
Altogether the welters are really going Helter Skelter for us. Most of the recent best fights and biggest knockouts are happening in the 140-147 pound divisions and that’s where the biggest upcoming fights will be happening!
And speaking of Helter Skelter, I got a really packed and busy month coming up which thankfully ends with an overdue vacation at the end of August! See you in September, Dude! -Dave
Enjoy your vacation, Dave, and rest up. You’re gonna need all the energy you can muster to keep up with boxing’s fall and winter schedule for 2013.
I agree that Rios is potentially more dangerous for Pacquiao than Alvarado would have been. Bam Bam is a better infighter than Alvarado.
Regarding Alvarado’s matchup with Provodnikov, I’m pretty sure that Mile High Mike and his team have thoroughly reviewed the Russian’s loss to Mauricio Herrera (who Alvarado beat last year) and noticed how much the jab was a factor in that upset. My guess is that Mike will box and slug with Provo and his jab – along with his underrated footwork – will be the key to a hard-fought victory. It won’t be an all-out war but it will be a good scrap, at least as good as the Rios rematch, but hopefully for Alvarado, not as punishing.
Soto Karass is a gatekeeper, and there’s nothing wrong with that. He’s very cool cat who has more than paid his due in this tough sport, so I’m sure there are a lot of fans who want to consider him a contender because he stopped a fighter that many hardcore heads love to hate, but let’s be real here:
1)Berto was not a top-10 contender going into Saturday’s fight, having gone 1-2 in his last three bouts and clearly having lost a step from the beatings he took in his losses to Victor Ortiz and Guerrero.
2)Soto Karass is a solid pro who can make for a hard night for all but the elite welterweights, but he’s lost five of his last nine fights (including two by stoppage – and he was lucky to get the nod against Said El Harrak, a guy with just 12 pro bouts, last May). The Mexican veteran is not a contender. He’s the guy who lets us know who the real contenders are.
Having said that, I hope he makes good money in his next few fights. He’s earned it.
Berto reminds me of Taylor, too. Like the former middleweight champ, he’s an Al Haymon client who pissed a lot of fans off when he was undefeated and coddled by HBO, but a he’s also a real (and very flawed) fighter who proved to be a tough S.O.B in brutal losses. I respect both of them.
Unlike many of my boxing writer peers, I’ve been high on The Thurmanator for a while now, and I think he’s developing nicely – especially after his last two fights, which made him think, box and work for the ‘W.’ I would favor him to beat Maidana if they ever meet, but it would be a hell of a fight.
By the way, I’d love to see Chaves back in the ring and on U.S. TV as soon as possible. I liked what I saw from him in the first half of Saturday’s bout.
ERIK MORALES – WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN
Just thinking about this, Erik Morales had all the tools to be a very, very good
boxer (as opposed to the boxer-brawler he was): heavy long accurate jab,
nice head movement when he used it, good foot movement, decent punching power, great workrate, stamina and punch delivery – if he’d had a different temperament, how much better in terms of legacy do you think he would have been and would he have lasted significantly longer even than he did? Just looking back at those old fights, when he would show flashes of the boxer-puncher style and responsible defense, he really did look like he had it all and it made me wonder… What’s your take? – Ed from UK
Morales was a hell of a boxer when he wanted to be. If he didn’t have a risk-taking warrior’s mentality I think his career would have lasted about the same amount of time, but he probably would have been able to hold on to his world-class form longer. And who knows? Maybe he would have gone 2-1 with Marco Antonio Barrera or even won all three bouts against his arch rival.
That would have enhanced his legacy from an accomplishment standpoint, but I don’t think a boxing style or a boxer’s mentality would have helped his popularity (which is a big part of his legacy).
Mexican fans get behind their fighters but they don’t loyally follow all of their champions, no matter how skilled they may be. The most popular Mexican boxers were fighters who took risks. As near-perfect a technician as Ricardo “Finito” Lopez was, he never had a big fan base. Same deal with Miguel Canto, a pure stick and move boxer, who is one of the greatest flyweights of all time. Juan Manuel Marquez didn’t have much of a following when he was at his counter-punching, technical best as a featherweight. JMM didn’t catch on with the public until he showed some stones vs. Manny Pacquiao in their classic first bout and then slowed down and slugged it out a little more as he got older (and heavier).
There have been some extremely skilled and accomplished Mexican boxers to come along over the past decades, such as Raul Perez – a former bantamweight and junior featherweight titleholder during the late ’80s/early ’90s than nobody ever talks about – but it’s only the ones who exhibited warrior spirit who have built lasting legacies.
Put short, a “boxing Morales” may have won more fights and accomplished more, but it’s the never-say-die warrior, “El Terrible,” who connected with fans.
Long time reader first time writer. I wanted to ask you if you know of any gyms with notable trainers who let ppl from out of town spar with their fighters?
Also, me and a friend have been arguing about Batman vs all the superheroes ever… He says Batman wins on brains (like when he almost destroyed the Justice League) and ninja skills!! I say he’s human so he’s easily killed but idk, I’m just barely a beginner at this comic book thing.
(P.S. thank you for doing what you do. I started watching boxing from Pac vs JMM 2, and you Steve Kim are the truth.) – Ramiro
Thanks for the kind words, Ramiro and thanks for finally writing in to the mailbag.
Batman is to the DC Universe what Bernard Hopkins is to boxing: a brilliant tactician, who lacks super-human talents, but more than makes up for it with an obsession for staying on top of his game, old-school skill and technique, toughness and a ruthless nature.
Never count out B-Hop or the Dark Knight.
Many trainers at real boxing gyms in the greater Los Angeles area will allow non-boxers to spar as long as those people train there for a while and prove that they are competent enough not to get themselves seriously hurt.
So I don’t think you can just pop in anywhere and demand to spar with a “notable trainer’s” fighter, but if you’re in town for awhile and you workout at a particular gym long enough to get to know the people there, you might get your wish.
Robert Garcia is a down to earth dude. He might be let you work with some of his young fighters (amateur or newly pro) at his gym in Oxnard. My old trainer Kevin Morgan was always big on sparring. If you track him down (I think he’s been training at the LB4LB Gym on La Cienega in L.A.) he might let you work with one of his lads without having to train around him too much.
MOST HATED BOXER?
I have been reading your mailbag for a while and I wanted to write to you and finally I got the chance to do just that. From the time I have started reading your mailbag, a few areas particularly excite me a lot: the mythical matchups and the probable future fights that could happen. The thing I have noticed is that, a particular fighter (who I happen to be a fan of) is often criticized and unanimously disregarded in the latter section of your mailbag. The guy I am talking about is Amir Khan.
Since being beaten by Danny Garcia, all the forums, posts, articles, colums, etc. that I go through, it seems it’s a consensus belief that anyone who can crack a 2 inch wooden board with a punch can somehow knock Amir Khan out! I just don’t understand why is this guy being dissed and completely written off by everyone without any proper assessment. I have followed Khan throughout and I think he is one of the absolute best the sport has got right now and I can prove that through stats and facts.
After being knocked out by Prescott, Khan took a one off fight with a nobody named Oisin Fagan and made easy work of him. After that he has gone on a wrecking mission through England and U.S beating 1 top guy after another. –
vs Barrera ( he was still good back then)
vs Kotelnik ( won the title against him)
vs Salita ( mandatory challenger )
vs Malignaggi ( we just saw he still has it against Broner )
vs Maidana ( he was a beast at 140 )
vs McClosky ( I agree this was a nobody but he still beat Prescott later)
vs Judah ( like Malignaggi he showed he still has it against Garcia )
And now for his consecutive losses
In all fairness let’s look at the Peterson fight –
-Quite frankly it was a close fight which I think Khan won, but not by much.
– The hometown decision went Peterson’s way
– The referee was a complete nut job. The point deduction in the last round was a farce.
– Peterson admitted he used pellets before this fight.
– He dominated the first 3 rounds and then he got caught by the best left hook I’ve seen in a while. No excuses!
If you saw the Julio Diaz fight I think you’ll notice that Khan was hurt from round 4 all the way to the end and yet he managed to win. Khan has shown balls the size of boulders and the heart of a lion; both of which are unmatched in the sport right now. He faced everyone placed in front of him and continues to do so. There is no ducking and no cherry picking with this guy. He is an all action fighter and IMO his value for money in terms of PPV is the best. You never know what is gonna happen in a Khan fight.
THE CHIN is his biggest and only flaw. He just can’t seem to take a punch anymore. But still it hasn’t stopped him from winning. Maidana hurt him, Diaz hurt him and I guess even Peterson did to some extent but he never goes away. Also, can you think of anyone with faster hands than Khan? He has the skill set and the tools to be the best and beat just about everyone. Why is he not appreciated then? 1 reason could be his public pursuit of Mayweather but who doesn’t do that? I think ( and hope ) he can still come back and win titles at 147. I’ve got a couple of questions for you regarding Khan:
1. Do you think his chin will improve by going up in weight?
2. Khan vs Alexander. Who wins?
3. Khan’s future in boxing?
and lastly your opinion on Khan.
Thanking you in advance – Pranay (INDIA)
Thanks for finally writing to the mailbag, Pranay. (I think you’re the first to do so from India.)
Let me begin my response by saying that I have the utmost respect for Khan the path of MOST-resistance that he’s chosen. I think he’s the epitome of a world-class professional boxer.
I don’t give him much credit for the Barrera (too old, too small) and Salita (an unworthy WBA mandatory) victory, but I give him a lot of credit for fighting the top-10 likes of Kotelnik, Malignaggi, Maidana, Judah, Peterson, Garcia and McClosky (who’s better than most American fans realize). I don’t care that he lost to Peterson (I also thought he edged that one out) or was hurt vs. Maidana or was KTFO by Garcia. He FOUGHT them.
Forget about boxing forums and some of the boobs who shoot their mouths off on social media. They’re idiot fans who only count victories on a fighter’s record and live to s__t on pro fighters when they are down. If these dips__ts were around (along with social media) in the 1980s they would have said Thomas Hearns was “exposed” in his epic loss to SRL. They would have created mocking memes of Hearns being knocked out after his all-time classic shootout with Hagler. They would have declared his career over and said he lost to “a bum” or “club fighter” after the shocking upset KO to Iran Barkley.
Don’t bother trying to defend Khan to most of those dimwits. Let Khan redeem himself. If he gets the Alexander fight and wins (which I think is very possible), he’ll silence SOME of his critics, but he’ll never shut them all up.
I’ll answer your Khan questions in order:
1. Do you think his chin will improve by going up in weight? I think his legs will be stronger, which might help his chin a little bit, but it’s all relative because his opponents will hit harder at 147 pounds.
2. Khan vs Alexander. Who wins? I see it as a toss-up fight, but I slightly favor Khan. He’s always done well with boxers/technicians (Kotelnik, Malignaggi; even fast southpaws, such as Judah). It’s boxer-punchers (Prescott, Garcia, Diaz), rugged sluggers (Maidana) and aggressive fighters (Peterson) who give him fits.
3. Khan’s future in boxing? It’s not as bright as it was prior to the Peterson and Garcia losses, but it’s certainly not over. What happens in December is pivotal.
Photo / Tom Casino-SHOWTIME