Saturday, May 3, 2014

Things You Should Know Before “The Moment”












By William T. Shorter

Boxing’s first advertised big mega event of the year is finally here sports fans! On May 3rd the world will tune in to see the Floyd Mayweather Jr. v.s. Marcos Maidana boxing match. The boxing card aptly titled “The Moment” is the third Mayweather fight in a six fight deal with Showtime Sports. Outside of his fight with Miguel Cotto in May of 2012 recent opponents of Mayweather have provided little to no resistance in the ring. Although the fights were heavily promoted and hyped fans that purchased tickets to the fight and those who purchased the fight via pay-per view were left with a bit of an empty feeling due to the lack of competitiveness of the main event.

Since the jump to Showtime Golden Boy and Mayweather Promotions have tried to deliver better undercard fights to provide better value and increase revenue of the boxing card. This Saturday’s fight card is filled with three of the sports biggest names Mayweather, Khan, and Broner. When fans discuss these three fighters most of the time opinions on their skills and significance will spark passionate debate amongst those who follow the sport. One thing that can’t be argued is all three of these fighters will have the attention of the collective eyes of the boxing world on Saturday May 3rd 2014.
 
With their fights just under 24 hours away and the weight-ins completed and most if not all pre-fight media obligations have been fulfilled, the fighters are left with nothing but time and their thoughts with how their respective fights will unfold on Saturday. So in the hours leading up to the fight now is the perfect time to give an analysis/prediction for the fight.

Adrien Broner (27-1 22 KO) vs Carlos Molina (17-1-1 1 No-Contest 7 KO)

Looking to rebound from his first career lost at the hands of Marcos Madiana, Adrien Broner must get back to what he does best in the ring. That would entail Broner using his accurate jab and lead left hook. Broner is naturally the bigger and stronger fighter he should use this to his advantage on the inside when he clinches.  

This is not Molina’s first time fighting upper echelon competition; his last fight resulted in a TKO defeat by Amir Khan. Molina is in no way a slouch he is a rugged fighter with decent boxing skills and average power. Molina must remain patient during the fight and pick his spots and use his jab. Broner loves to fight behind his lead high left shoulder, to get around his defense Molina must jab to the body and connect with the right hook.

Prediction: I think Broner uses his speed and physical advantages to stop Molina by TKO in the 9th round.

Amir Khan (28-3, 19 KO) vs Luis Collazo (35-5, 18 KO)

Amir Khan took the path of least resistance to land his coveted co-feature match versus Collazo on the undercard. After deciding to avoid a potential match-up against Devon Alexander last December in hopes of landing a fight against Mayweather in the main event, his calculated risk worked against him in his attempt to get his dream match-up. This match-up against Callazo will not be a walk in the park. Amir Khan possesses elite hand speed and quickness inside the ring.

The knock against Amir Khan has been that he goes straight back with his hands down that makes him susceptible to straight right hands and hooks. Coupled with a questionable chin this has been a recipe for disaster. Khan must stay off the ropes and maintain proper defensive fundamentals to avoid Collazo’s favorite punch the over hand left. Callazo is fighter who loves to come forward and make the fight rugged and apply pressure on the inside. He has the style to make this a rugged and tough fight for Khan but I have my doubts if he has the power to capitalize on Khan’s mistakes during the fight. Khan will try to throw a flurry of punches at the end of the round to try to steal the round in the judge’s mind if he’s unsure if he won the round. Also with a potential September match-up with Mayweather; Amir Khan may feel the pressure to look great against Collazo and impress fans. This could pose many opportunities for Collazo to land power shots when in range.

Prediction: Amir Khan by split decision, the presence of acclaimed trainer Virgil Hill will provide Khan with the needed strategic insight to over come Collazo’s pressure style.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. (45-0, 26 KO) vs Marcos Maidana (35-3, 31 KO)

Maidana is the perfect opponent for Mayweather he is a hard charging fighter who comes straight forward and throws wide looping punches. But, don’t think that Maidana is just a brute with little to no boxing acumen in the ring. Maidana struggles with fighters who use various angles in the ring with good head movement. Maidana will attempt to use a similar strategy he used against Broner, single or double jabs to the body and try to connect with the over hand right. Maidana will aggressively apply pressure and try to control the fight on the inside when he is able to work Mayweather on the ropes.

Mayweather will use his reflexes, high lead left shoulder, and his famous shoulder roll followed by his lead right hand. Mayweather will use the first two rounds to take in what Maidana is trying to do offensively and then use a pin point jab, lead left hooks and straight rights to systematically break down Maidana over the course of the fight. Mayweather must avoid staying on the ropes and keep the action in the middle of the ring.

Prediction: Even with the social media distractions that have popped up for Mayweather over the past 48 hours (Most of it self induced) the moment (pun intended) is never to big for him come fight night. Mayweather has too many tools and the championship experience to outclass Maidana, Madiana will land shots on occasion but not nearly enough to make this a very competitive fight. Mayweather 12 round unanimous decision.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Newest Contestant in Boxing’s Money Sweepstake













By William T. Shorter

Quick! Name the four title holders in the Welterweight division. The first three are easy Floyd Mayweather Jr, (That one was easy because he is the biggest star in boxing), Manny Pacquiao (That’s wasn’t to hard he is only boxing’s second biggest star), Marcos Maidana (That one wasn’t a given but given his upcoming mega fight with Floyd Mayweather his popularity will increase building up to their fight on May 3rd) and finally.. Are you stumped? Give up? Let me help you Shawn Porter, the defending IBF champion.


Over the past 6 months Shawn Porter has increased his profile in the boxing community, but Saturday on the undercard of Hopkins v.s. Shumenov fight Porter may have taken his profile to an all-time high and has officially placed his name in boxing’s money sweepstake to potentially unify his IBF title v.s Floyd Mayweather.



While Porter (24-0-1, 15 KOs) vs Malignaggi (33-6 7 KOs) on paper was a classic battle of boxer (Malignaggi) vs brawler (Porter) this was a one sided destruction by Shawn Porter. From the opening bell Porter used a smothering aggressive style similar to the style used to outpoint Devon Alexander on Dec 7th 2013 to capture the title. This time the result was a 4th round KO over Malignaggi, from the beginning this fight was action packed. Porter’s pin point power punching produced a cut under Malignaggi’s left eye in the first round. He continued to land almost at will thru out the first three rounds. At one point he staggered Malignaggi with a body shot that prompted Malignaggi to attempt to regain distance behind his jab to make it thru the third round.



Finally in the 4th Porter’s continuous pressure and aggressive style took its toll on Malignaggi when he was dropped with a right hand. Referee Sam Williams took a good look into the dazed eyes of Malignaggi and stopped the count, so that Malignaggi would not endure any more damage during the fight.



The results of this might showed the contrast at where these two fighters are at in their careers. After the fight, Malignaggi stated that he would think about retirement, and Porter further elevated his career and entered his name into boxing’s money sweepstake.



“Shawn Porter come on down you are the next contestant in the Money Mayweather Sweepstake!”

Bernard Hopkins Historic Return to DC


By William T. Shorter

Almost 21 years ago in historic RFK stadium a boxing card was being promoted that would forever change my perspective and love for the sweet science. The main event for the card was the undisputed heavyweight champ of the world Riddick Bowe v. Jesse Ferguson. Although the main event was noncompetitive (If my memory serves me correct Bowe knocked out Ferguson with a vicious right upper cut and a short left hook to the temple), there was another fight on the under card that unbeknownst to any one at the time would have major boxing historical ramifications in the future. The fight was Roy Jones v. Bernard Hopkins I, no need to go into the details of that fight but we all know the end result Roy Jones Jr. my unanimous decision for the IBF Middleweight title. This would be Bernard Hopkins first big night in Washington DC , but not his last or most historic.



Fast forward to April 19, 2014, Bernard Hopkins (55-6-2-2 32 KO) at the age of 49 years would successfully make his 24th successful title defense against 30 year old Beibut Shunenov (14 -2 9KO) the defending WBA and IBA Light Heavyweight champion. Hopkins would become the oldest champion to unify a world championship at the age of 49. Although Hopkins vs. Shumenov was a unification bout between two titleholders, this match-up was a mismatch in boxing accomplishment, experience, technical skill, and capability.



As a native of the Washington DC there are two sports that this town really loves that is basketball and championship boxing. (Although Washington has a passionate fan base for their professional football team, at its grass roots basketball and boxing are two of the areas favorite sports). Although there was a lack of local marketing and promotion for this fight, 7,000 passionate boxing fans showed up to a nearly sold out DC Stadium Armory.



A very pro Bernard Hopkins crowd was at a fever pitch in anticipation for the main event. Shunenov entered the ring with scattered applause through out the stands at the top of the Armory. Next, Bernard Hopkins entered to a loud ovation from the crowd, when he disrobed his ovation grew louder. This was due to Hopkins choice of colors for his boxing trunks and gloves; he sported burgundy and gold the colors of Washington’s professional football team.


From the opening bell it became obvious that Shumenov’s success would be dependent on two things his ability to crack the code to beating Hopkins (Shumenov doesn't have a trainer he prefers to train himself) and whether or not father time has caught up with Bernard Hopkins. As the fight proceeded it became apparent Shumenov would go 0 for 2 on that front. At the start of the bell this was a classic Bernard Hopkins in the first round; Hopkins was content to use faints to set traps for later in the fight and allowed Shumenov to jab to try to close the distance while Hopkins used his high shoulder defense and shoulder roll. When Shumenov was able to close the distance Hopkins would circle right which served to make Shumenov reset his feet and weight after he threw punches.
  

The action in the fight started to pick up from the end of the 3rd round on for Hopkins. During the round Hopkins was able to land his over the top right hand, which started to swell Shumenov’s left eye. This prompted the crowd to start their chant of “BHop! BHop!” Shumenov maintained his volume punching pace through out the fight; this could potentially make for a recipe for disaster against a fighter like Hopkins who loves to capitalize off his opponents mistake with the shoulder roll and short right hand or stepping to his left and finding a place for a one – two combination.



Hopkins maintained his measured pace throughout the middle rounds of the fight. On numerous occasions Hopkins would invite Shumenov to engage him by letting his lead left hand down to capitalize with lead right hands and stiff jabs, specifically in the seven round where Hopkins tripled up on his jab to move Shumenov back. Always the master of in ring antics and mind tricks Hopkins would antagonize Shumenov by sticking his tongue out or using his glove in a waving motion to invite Shumenov to engage him.    



Then during the 11th round with the momentum building for Hopkins in the ring and the crowd starting to get since antsy for Hopkins to get the knockout, that magical moment that all fans hope for during a fight. Hopkins caught Shumenov with a straight right hand that hurt and dropped him in the 11th. The crowd erupted once again into a chant of “BHop! BHop! Shumenov beat the standing eight count to rebound and land a impressive combo in the last 15 seconds of the 11th round.



With the fight clearly in hand Hopkins did not rest on what he did during the prior 11 rounds, he came out on the attack going for the knockout which would have been his first since 2004 when he defeated Oscar De La Hoya. This brought the crowd to their feet with anticipation but Hopkins was unable to get the coveted KO.



After the final bell the fight went to the judge’s scorecard, in what everyone in attendance thought was a foregone conclusion the ring announcer stated there was a split decision. This prompted a sense of confusion and “Here comes the Bu**Sh*t” from some of the spectators ringside, it what was the only drama in the fight two judges scored the fight 116-112 for Hopkins and Gustavo Padilla, had it 114-113 for Shumenov.



After a historic outing from Hopkins he held court ringside in the media section with Golden Boy CEO sitting beside him and graciously answered a numerous of questions about his legacy, the historical significance of the fight, the sport of boxing, and what is next for him.

  

When the subject of a potential showdown with Adonis Stevenson Schaefer said “I think it’s a terrific match-up” “I believe this is a big fight for Bernard and for Stevens and I will get it done.” But before we get ahead of our selves Stevenson has to defeat Andrzej Fonfara on May 24th. If this fight happens with would pose a significant challenge for Hopkins, but if he wins he would be the oldest undisputed champion ever in boxing. This would be yet another great accomplishment for a man who has done it his way bout inside and outside the ring.