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  1. The Smoker

    This is longform article so may take a while and in parts regurgitates but is a quite interesting arcane bit of boxing history "In 1905, at the dawn of America’s empire under Teddy Roosevelt, a black sailor and a Jewish sailor boxed in a makeshift ring on the deck of a U.S. Navy ship. What was intended to be entertainment for hundreds of idle soldiers instead turned into a tragedy, marking a pivotal, if overlooked, moment in the history of race in the American military."
  2. Manny Pacquiao reveals demands to face Terence Crawford in April Nick Giongco 02 January 2017 Manny PacquiaoTerence CrawfordManila BulletinBob Arum Credit: Mikey Williams Sen. Manny Pacquiao wants to resurface in late-April for a guaranteed purse of $20-million against undefeated American Terence Crawford. “If it’s Crawford that Top Rank wants for Manny Pacquiao, then we’ll fight Crawford but we want a guarantee of $20-million,” said Pacquiao adviser Mike Koncz told Manila Bulletin after conferring with his boss. The $20-M payday, of course, will be outside the revenue that Pacquiao will receive in the pay-per-view and other sources of income like TV rights, closed circuit and ticket sales, additional money that should jack up his earnings. Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum recently spoke about a mouth-watering matchup between Pacquiao and the fast-rising Crawford and Koncz insists the Filipino champion’s camp isn’t afraid to make that fight. But Koncz says that for a fight to happen, it has to be made for April so it would perfectly suit and adapt to the 38-year-old Pacquiaio’s hectic schedule as a lawmaker. “The (Philippine) Senate will take a break starting mid-March and will resume sessions on May 2,” said Koncz, noting that Arum’s plans to hold Pacquiao’s return fight in late-June is not feasible as the Senate would already be in session by then. Koncz says he learned a lot from the last fight when Pacquiao fought Jessie Vargas. “It was a demanding schedule because, after his Senate work, he had to go to the gym and train,” said Koncz. Pacquiao (59-6-2 with 38 KOs), fortunately, managed to handle Vargas pretty well, flooring the youthful Mexican-American en route to a unanimous decision last November at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. Crawford (30-0 with 21 KOs), 29, had little trouble disposing of Carlos Molina of the US in his last outing last December. Koncz believes the asking price of $20-million is not being impractical as Pacquiao had been regularly getting around that same guaranteed amount except when he fought and lost to Floyd Mayweather in 2015. Pacquiao fought twice last year, first against Tim Bradley in April and Vargas in November. The Bradley brawl was telling as Pacquiao decked his old rival twice before coasting to a clear-cut points victory. Against Vargas, Pacquiao’s speed and power were in full display again but Pacquiao was unable to put him away as his stunned rival opted to go on survival mode following the second-round trip to the canvas. Two of Crawford’s victims include many-time Pacquiao sparmates David Rodela, Ray Beltran, and Viktor Postol. Crawford is regarded as one of the world’s top fighters regardless of weight class. Known as a highly-technical fighter who is comfortable switching stance from right to left in a snap, the Nebraska-born Crawford, however, has yet to face an elite puncher like Pacquiao, something one of the Pacquiao’s feels will be crucial. Nonoy Neri, who serves as one of Freddie Roach’s assistants, swears that Crawford’s gameplan will get messed up as soon as Pacquiao lands one of those sneaky lefts of his. “Once Manny hits them, they start doing some other things,” said Neri, who shares training chores with the more established Buboy Fernandez. “They all say the same things when they’re about to face Manny. They say that they’ll do this and do that to Manny but when they’re in the ring, they fail to do the things they promised to do,” added Neri. Courtesy of Nick Giongco of the Manila Bulletin.
  3. January 2, 2017 Sarah Kurchak In Memoriam: The MMA Fighters Who Passed Away In 2016 This article was originally published on FIGHTLAND Although there's plenty of evidence that 2016 has not been the literal worst year ever, it won't exactly go down as humanity's most beloved spin around the sun, either. Politics, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and a seemingly endless wave of prominent deaths – and the overwhelming reporting of all of the above, thrown at us much faster than our brains can process – have made the past 365 days feel like an endless slog through misery and heartbreak. And the MMA community has not been left untouched by this tragedy. Not only did we lose a hero in boxing, cultural legend and all-around GOAT in the form of Muhammad Ali, we also witnessed the deaths of a number of mixed martial artists. Here's a look back at some of the fighters who passed away in 2016: Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC Kevin Randleman 10 August 1971- 11 February 2016 PRIDE, Strikeforce and UFC legend and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Kevin Randleman died of a heart attack on 11 February after being hospitalised with pneumonia. He was 44 years old. "Those who saw him at his peak will always remember his feats of athleticism in the ring and those who had a chance to speak with him or hear him at seminars will always remember him for the thoughtful, introspective man who shone through from underneath the muscled, almost superhuman exterior," our own Jack Slack wrote in his look back at the highs and lows of Randleman's storied career. João Carvalho 1988- 11 April 2016 The young Portuguese MMA fighter was hospitalised when he started feeling sick after a rough TKO loss to Charlie Ward, in what was only his third professional fight at Total Extreme Fighting 1 (see here for Fightland's full report on the incident). According to a statement released by Nobrega Team, he died at 9:35pm in Dublin on Monday, 11 April. "Even though we had the permanent medical care from the promotion's staff and the Irish hospital, to whom we thank for the support in this tough moment and even though we know the risks of this sport, Joao Carvalho's passing is, in my professional point of view, unfortunate, and makes us, his family and the entire Nobrega Team – which followed Joao Carvalho through his entire career, which gained notoriety nationwide and internationally – saddened and heartbroken," his team posted on Facebook. Amokrane Sabet 1972- 2 May 2016 Amokrane Sabet earned only one victory in his four fight mixed martial arts career in the late nineties and early noughties. He also starred in a 2009 action film called K. Sources reported that the 49-year-old French national, who was living in Bali and was "controversial" among his neighbours, was shot to death by police after stabbing one of their officers to death while resisting arrest on 2 May. An autopsy released on 4 May indicated that Sabet had actually died of stab wounds. Jordan Parsons 26 August 1990- 4 May 2016 Up-and-coming Bellator star and beloved Blackzilian Jordan Parsons died on 4 May, three days after he was the victim of a hit-and-run in Delray Beach, Florida (the driver, Dennis Wright, was found and charged later that month). "Jordan was an exceptional athlete and a rising star in the sport. But more importantly, he was an exceptional young man. Jordan was hard-working, dedicated, intelligent, and a pleasure to be around. He represented all the reasons we love this sport. It is a terribly tragic loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and teammates," Bellator President Scott Coker said in a statement. Blas Avena 30 June 1983- 4 May 2016 Avena was a BJJ black belt whose mixed martial arts career included stints in WEC and Bellator. His last fight was a KO loss to War Machine in 2013. On 4 May, the 32-year old was found dead in a Las Vegas apartment. Police announced that they were investigating the death as a suicide, but did not immediately release the cause of death. Photo by Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Kevin Ferguson aka Kimbo Slice 8 February 1974 - 6 June 2016 In the cage, Kimbo Slice, the viral street-fighting sensation turned professional boxer and Elite XC, UFC, and Bellator star, was a controversial figure. In real life, Kevin Ferguson the father, fiancé, and autism advocate was far more universally beloved. On 3 June, Ferguson was rushed to the hospital with stomach pains, nausea, and a shortness of breath. Diagnosed with heart failure, he was immediately put on a ventilator in intensive care and was about to be added to an organ donor list for a heart transplant. But it was too late. He died at 7:30pm ET on Monday, 6 June in Cleveland. Ferguson is survived by his six children and his long-term girlfriend. Ivan Cole 30 November 1990- 11 June 2016 New Orleans native Ivan Cole was a professional mixed martial artist and Muay Thai instructor whose last fight was for Bellator in 2015. On 11 June, Cole was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in a Dallas apartment. CBS reported that he might have been playing Russian Roulette at the time of his death. "Some say it was about money, someone said something about Russian Roulette, but I don't have any facts now," Cole's mother told the New York Daily News of the tragedy. "I'm a bit devastated at this time." He is survived by his wife Kimberly and their four-year-old daughter. Photo by Jason Silva/USA TODAY Sports Ryan Jimmo 27 November 1981- 26 June 2016 Ryan Jimmo was born in Saint John, New Brunswick. He took up karate very early in life and soon added football, bodybuilding, and chess to his arsenal. Making his professional MMA debut in 2007, he racked up a 19-5 record over the course of his career, which included a three-year run in the UFC. On 26 June, mere hours after proposing to his girlfriend (whom he charmed with karate lessons and Gordon Ramsay impressions), Jimmo was killed in a hit-and-run incident in Edmonton, Alberta. He was 34 years old. In September, two men were charged – one with murder – in connection with his death. Amar Suloev 7 January 1976- 27 June 2016 Suloev faced the likes of Chuck Liddell, Phil Baroni, and Chael Sonnen over the course of his decade-long career that included stints in the UFC and PRIDE, but his post-combat career was far less admirable. Turning to a life of organised crime, Suloev became a contract killer (his fall is detailed in this Bloody Elbow feature). While on trial for murder, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer, and was released on bail in May. He passed away in his childhood home in Anapa, Russia on 27 June. Photo by Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Josh Samman 14 March 1988, 5 October 2016 In addition to his promising MMA career – the Ultimate Fighter 17 star had a 12-4 record – Samman was also a promoter and a writer. He was a contributor to Bloody Elbow and and published a memoir earlier this year. The Housekeeper: Love, Death, and Prizefighting chronicles the many struggles of his young life, including injuries, drug addiction, and the tragic death of his girlfriend in 2013. Six days after he was found unresponsive in his Florida apartment, Samman was pronounced dead on 5 October. His death was ruled a probable drug overdose later that month.
  4. Spaddy at it again!!

    Paul Spadafora Denied Bail After Violent Drug Fueled Attack By Carlos Boogs 02:27 AM EST, Mon Jan 2, 2017 Former world champion Paul Spadafora will remain in jail, as he was blasted during a court appearance by a Allegheny County judge in the state of Pennsylvania. Spadafora, 41 years old, was recently arrested for stabbing his brother, kicking his mother and threatening to kill police. Spadafora's attorney had tried to get him released to enter a treatment facility. Judge Jeffrey Manning said the courts were "very generous" with Spadafora, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In 2005, Spadafora was sentenced 21-to-60 months in prison for shooting his pregnant girlfriend. Between 2004 to 2011, he was arrested three times for drug and alcohol related changes. On April 4th of last last year, Spadafora was arrested for threatening a store cleak with a knife in Armstrong County and then later in the night he assaulting a 63-year-old woman in Allegheny County. According to the paper, Pittsburgh police responded to a domestic call on December 21, after Spadafora "came home high" and attacked his mother and brother after an argument broke out. Spadafora then began fighting with the police and had to be subdued with pepper spray and tasers. According to the criminal complaint, Spadafora said, "Mom, get all their names. I know they have to live in the city. I'm gonna kill them." According to police, he spit on officers and said, "Good, that (expletive) got AIDS now." Spadafora was charged with seven counts of terroristic threats, four counts of aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated harassment by a prisoner, one count of simple assault and one count of possessing an instrument of crime. After the latest incident, the judge let loose on Spadafora, according to the Post-Gazette. "You don't choose to get cancer. You don't choose to get multiple sclerosis. You don't choose to get any other form of disease. But what you do is you choose here to use drugs and alcohol. And he continues to do it, and he continues to do it," Judge Manning said. "It's done. Sooner or later society has to say, 'Enough is enough.'" Spadafora's preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
  5. "Fighting Words" - Four Stories to Follow in 2017 by David P. Greisman What a difference a year makes. There were three fight cards in January 2016. All of the main events were mismatches on paper — Deontay Wilder vs. Artur Szpilka, Danny Garcia vs. Robert Guerrero and the rematch between Sergey Kovalev and Jean Pascal — though at least Wilder-Szpilka and Garcia-Guerrero entertained before reaching their expected conclusions. January 2017 brings two rather notable collisions, plus a third card that could turn out to be interesting. And no, Erislandy Lara vs. Yuri Foreman (Jan. 13 on Spike TV) isn’t one of them. Rather, Jan. 14 has the two top super middleweights, James DeGale and Badou Jack facing each other in a unification bout, while their undercard features 130-pound titleholder Jose Pedraza defending his belt against undefeated prospect Gervonta Davis. Jan. 28 has a rematch on Showtime of last year’s excellent featherweight clash, with Carl Frampton hoping to repeat his victorious performance against Leo Santa Cruz. On that undercard, lightweight titleholder Dejan Zlaticanin defends against come-backing undefeated former two-division titleholder Mikey Garcia, and Lee Selby defends his featherweight belt against Jonathan Victor Barros. On the same day, over on HBO, 130-pound titleholder Francisco Vargas returns from some well-deserved time off following last year’s war with Orlando Salido. He will defend against Miguel Berchelt. On their undercard, another crowd-pleasing junior lightweight, former titleholder Takashi Miura, will face Miguel Roman for the right to fight for a title belt in the not too distant future. That’s January in a nutshell. February also has a pair of title fights (Robert Easter vs. Luis Cruz, Rau'shee Warren vs. Zhanat Zhakiyanovon) on Feb. 10; the Adrien Broner-Adrian Granados fight supported by two title fights (Gary Russell Jr. vs. Oscar Escandon, Jermell Charlo vs. Charles Hatley) on Feb. 18, and Deontay Wilder returning from injury to defend his heavyweight title against Andrzej Wawrzyk on Feb. 25 (the same day as the unfortunate Miguel Cotto vs. James Kirkland pay-per-view). And March has two more big fights between two of the top boxers in their respective divisions: Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia on March 4, and Gennady Golovkin vs. Daniel Jacobs on March 18. There’s plenty to look forward to in the beginning of 2017. There’s also plenty to look for during the year. Here are four storylines to follow: Things Coming to a Head at 126, 147 and 168 Al Haymon’s vast stable reaches most of the weight classes. He is deepest in a handful of divisions. At last, many of his top fighters are beginning to face each other, and this may be the year that three divisions are either sorted out or come much closer to reaching that point. At featherweight, last year brought Carl Frampton’s decision over Leo Santa Cruz, as well as Abner Mares outpointing Jesus Cuellar. However, Gary Russell Jr. and Lee Selby each only fought once. They had seemed positioned to face each other in a unification bout. That fight never came to fruition. Frampton-Santa Cruz 2 is a necessary rematch. Selby is fighting in January. Russell is fighting in February. The winners of two of those three bouts should go on to face each other. The one fighter left out of that is titleholder Oscar Valdez, who is with Top Rank. Although Haymon and Top Rank settled their legal battle last year, don’t expect Valdez to be inserted into this unofficial tournament. The same could be said for super middleweight, where James DeGale and Badou Jack are unifying belts in less than two weeks. In the wake of Carl Froch’s retirement, DeGale and Jack worked their way to the top of the rankings at 168. DeGale bested Andre Dirrell for a vacant belt in May 2015 and has since made two defenses against Lucian Bute and Rogelio Medina. Jack beat Anthony Dirrell for a title in April 2015, defended with a decision over George Groves and a draw that the judges should’ve seen as a victory over Bute. A prospect named Callum Smith waits in the wings as mandatory challenger to the winner, though Jack may not hang around super middleweight much longer, win or lose. Also of note is Gilberto Ramirez, who unseated Arthur Abraham for a world title last April. He subsequently suffered an injury, hasn’t been back since, and may not be on a course to unify with the other two, nor with Tyron Zeuge of Germany. Nevertheless, the DeGale-Jack winner produces a top guy at 168 for the first time in some time. However long that lasts is another question. Down at 147, the former top fighter, Floyd Mayweather Jr., left the sport at the end of 2015. Manny Pacquiao fought and beat better opposition last year than his remaining counterparts did. This year, the other top welterweights are stepping up. Danny Garcia-Keith Thurman is a very good start. Kell Brook was originally supposed to have a unification fight last year with since-deposed titleholder Jessie Vargas but instead went up to middleweight for a brave but unsuccessful challenge of Gennady Golovkin. Brook was thought to be done at 147 but may come back. He owes a mandatory to top contender Errol Spence. He may instead meet Amir Khan in a fight Brook’s wanted for ages. Spence still deserves a big opportunity — and a tough test. Also out there is Shawn Porter, who wants to come back from his loss to Thurman last year. In an ideal world, the thaw between Haymon (who has Garcia, Thurman, Spence, Khan and Porter, plus others) and Top Rank (which has Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley) would lead to big fights, the kind that would lead to more worthy pay-per-views for Pacquiao than the ones he participated in last year. A Crucial Third Year for Premier Boxing Champions The PBC has been under a microscope since its launch. Once again, boxing media will not only be monitoring the fights put on by Haymon’s venture, but also the business side of things. Most new enterprises lose money off the bat. The point is to turn that around as quickly as possible and go from being in the red to being in the black. PBC spent a huge chunk of money on fighter paychecks, television time buys, production and marketing. It doesn’t seem as if the advertising revenue and ticket sales have yet been anywhere near enough to make up for those costs. The company has made adjustments. It’s wisely sent some of Haymon’s fighters overseas to fight in the United Kingdom, for example, so that other promoters are spending to keep these boxers active. It’s put on fewer fight cards and kept many fighters inactive or completely sidelined. There also are more big shows ending up on Showtime, which wants significant fights and will gladly pay to feature them on the network. PBC’s launch ultimately led to lawsuits from Top Rank (since settled) and Golden Boy Promotions (ongoing). Paul Gift of combat sports website Bloody Elbow looked at some of the deposition highlights. In one of his reports, he noted that a PBC executive spoke of hoping to change the business model by the beginning of 2018, aiming to receive rights fees from a network or networks the way that other pro sports do, including the UFC. This, then, would need to be the year where the ratings convince a network that it is worth it to pay for boxing content. HBO and Showtime do that on a much, much smaller scale. Broadcast television networks and basic cable stations have not tended to shell out for boxing at the cost necessary to pay what fighters have become accustomed to making, never mind to pay for as many fighters as PBC has under its banner. Big Matches Should Happen, But Will They? The promoters say that they want Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin to happen in 2017, should Golovkin get by Jacobs in March. There’s still no deal, something that would need to be reached pretty quickly afterward in order to set up a big fight later in the year, with a likely date on the traditional Mexican Independence Day weekend pay-per-view in mid-September. Canelo is likely fighting in May — he’s been in negotiations for a sideshow fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. — and that could tighten the timeline even more. Sergey Kovalev’s team, meanwhile, wants a rematch with Andre Ward after his very close, disputed decision loss to Ward in November. They say they have a contractual right to the rematch. But the bout didn’t do very well on pay-per-view, a pay-per-view that needed to happen in order to cover the boxers’ paychecks. Would a sequel be able to pull in enough for it to happen again? It’s unlikely that either man would agree to take a pay cut. Ward is now the top guy at 175. There’s also still a lineal champion in the division — Adonis Stevenson. He hasn’t done much of note of late. We waited years as Stevenson and Kovalev, or rather their teams, found ways for those fighters not to face each other. Stevenson will probably face contender Eleider Alvarez later in the year. The fact that Golovkin-Jacobs wound up on HBO despite their various network and promotional affiliations may mean we could see Kovalev or Ward against Stevenson on HBO, and it’s also possible that the weak pay-per-view sales mean Kovalev or Ward would be able to fight on another network. That may be naively optimistic thinking. Will Tyson Fury Return, and Will It Matter If He Does? Tyson Fury is to blame for no longer having his three world titles. But the boxing industry sure seemed like vultures that swooped in to feast on his scraps. One of Fury’s belts was vacated early on in his reign because he was contractually obligated to have a rematch with the man he’d just beaten, Wladimir Klitschko, rather than defend against one of his mandatory challengers. The other two titles were dropped last year when Fury pulled out of the rematch and took a sabbatical, thanks to struggles with mental illness that became public around the time he tested positive for cocaine. Here’s where the heavyweight titles now are: Deontay Wilder has held the WBC for two years. Fury’s promptly-vacated IBF went to Charles Martin last January, and then to Anthony Joshua in April. The WBO, vacated by Fury late last year, was picked up by Joseph Parker in his win over Andy Ruiz this past December. The WBA remains vacant, thanks to some maneuvering; the sanctioning body was convinced to offer it to the winner of April’s fight between Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko. Fury may return this year. Even if he does, being the lineal champion doesn’t mean the rest of the division needs to have anything to do with him. Wilder and Fury jawed at each other in the ring about a year ago, when Fury decided to make a scene following a Wilder victory. But Wilder will owe a fight to his mandatory challenger — still undetermined, but likely to be a rematch with Bermane Stiverne. Stiverne was supposed to face Alexander Povetkin late last year with the mandatory spot on the line, and then Povetkin tested positive for a banned substance. Showtime, which has a contract with Joshua and which has featured Wilder in the past, likely would want a bout between those two. Parker seems on a course to face another Fury — Tyson’s cousin Hughie — or prospect Jarrell Miller. David Haye remains on the periphery, a former titleholder who returned from retirement but hasn’t taken on a heavyweight of consequence in ages. Luis Ortiz wants a heavyweight title shot. He doesn’t yet carry enough marketing power or leverage in order to force one to happen. Fury is still king. A king is defined by how he rules. In boxing, that means defending it against the top challengers. Fury’s never even defended once before stepping away. The top challengers right now can earn plenty of money and respect without him. Fury’s had to rebuild himself outside of the ring. He’ll need to do the same in the ring. He’ll need to show that he can bring in money at the box office and on television/pay-per-view. And he’ll need to string together some victories to put pressure on the others, to make it known that while they were able to rise in his absence, they will need to go through him in order to finish their ascent. “Fighting Words” appears every Monday on Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at or internationally at Send questions/comments via email at
  6. Carl Frampton eyeing 2017 weight change By Joe O'Neill | on January 2, 2017 | Carl Frampton [23(14)-0] plans to cement his legacy as Ireland’s greatest ever fighter in 2017 by winning world honours at an unprecedented third weight class. ‘The Jackal’ intends to move up to super featherweight (130lbs) before the year is out and wants to add to the 122 and 126lbs titles he has already claimed. Frampton has long spoke of his desire to become a three-weight world champion, however it was always assumed that a move up to super feather was some way in the distance – potentially even his final fight. This may not be the case, with Frampton seemingly planning just two more fights at his new weight of 126lbs before moving north again. The Belfast man, who turns 30 in February, outlined in his column for the Sunday Life that he wants to defend his WBA featherweight belt against Leo Santa Cruz this month, unify with IBF champ Lee Selby at Windsor Park during the summer, then make his way up to super featherweight before Christmas. The Tiger’s Bay fighter described how “assuming I can overcome Santa Cruz and Selby, then it would be an incredible way to finish the year by moving up to fight for a third world title at super featherweight. If 2017 pans out like this then it would be the dream 12 months.” The current super featherweight champions are WBC: Francisco Vargas WBA: Jezreel Corrales IBF: Jose Pedraza WBO: Vasyl Lomachenko Irish Boxing Show Podcast - Soundcloud
  7.  Jack Johnson is too important a historical figure to be used as a prop by right-wing politicians. By Dave Zirin There is a push underway—long championed by Republican Senator John McCain and Representative Peter King—to secure a pardon for the legendary boxer Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion of the 20th century. In 1913, Johnson was convicted by an all-white jury on “Mann Act” charges—otherwise known as “white slavery”—for transporting a white sex worker named Lucille Cameron across state lines “for immoral purposes.” Even though, Johnson married Cameron several months later, the state still pushed the case until Johnson was found guilty. It was a racist conviction aimed at bringing low a fighter who was never afraid to wear expensive clothes, consort with white women, and tell mainstream America that they could kiss his ass. He was also perhaps the most powerful symbol of resistance to white supremacy since Nat Turner, inspiring spirituals and songs of protest from the fields of sharecroppers to the hard labor of chain gangs. Johnson received the maximum sentence of a year and a day in federal prison, but instead of accepting their verdict, he lived in exile for seven years. Then he eventually returned and served his sentence in Leavenworth Prison. McCain was asked by The Undefeated’s Jesse Washington about whether he believed President Obama would deny the pardon. He said, “I hope not, but I’m afraid so. I’m very confused by it. I have not understood, where this is an egregious act of racism, that the president of the United States wouldn’t want to correct history.” But the question is not whether the US government will “right this wrong” but whether Jack Johnson’s family should even allow the US to sit in judgment of this towering figure. Johnson lived a rebel’s life, and his persecution by this government is precisely part of what makes him such a powerful symbol of resistance to this day. He was both brash and uncompromising in an era when public lynchings against black men took place on weekly basis. Johnson was not an explicitly political figure like Muhammad Ali, making speeches against the Philippine American war. But as a walking, self-conscious political symbol, he explored new boundaries. Johnson was flagrantly flamboyant, described as a “dandy” by a white press shocked by a famous boxer who wanted to look good, dress fine, and not give a damn who was scandalized. From the American Legion to Booker T. Washington, they threw their punches and Johnson slipped every one like a weak left jab. Jack Johnson’s open mockery of the ceremonies of white supremacy made him more than a boxer. It made him the lightning rod of white rage and exemplar of Black Pride. This swelled to an apex on July 4 1910, when Johnson famously destroyed the “Great White Hope” Jim Jeffries in a much anticipated fight. Afterwards the New York World wrote, “That Mr. Johnson should so lightly and carelessly punch the head of Mr. Jeffries must come as a shock to every devoted believer in the supremacy of the Anglo-Saxon race.” The shock turned deadly after Jeffries was finally counted out. Violent race riots erupted around the country, in which white mobs attempted to enter black urban neighborhoods, and were repelled. After the smoke cleared, dozens of African Americans were dead in the most widespread urban cataclysm that the United States would see until the aftermath of Dr. King’s assassination in 1968. The US government did not take this moment decry racist violence, but instead turned its ire on boxing, voting to restrict films of fights and even debating the banning of boxing altogether. They also set about the relentless persecution of Jack Johnson. This led WEB DuBois to issue these immortal words about Johnson in 1914. “Why then this thrill of national disgust? It comes down, then, after all to this unforgivable blackness.” As if it wasn’t obvious enough—with Senator McCain and his history of anti-immigrant, anti-Asian racist baggage as well as Rep. Peter King, the supreme anti-Islamic bigot in Congress leading this charge—the push to pardon Jack Johnson is more about how this country wants to regard itself today than any sense of righting past wrongs. It is a bellow of the hollow conceit that racism is a disease existing primarily in the past and treats a pardon for Jack Johnson pardon as part of the “healing process” so we can move on to our post-racial future and “a more perfect union.” Pardoning Johnson in this political climate would be an act of vanity, not justice, using his story to sell a lie about the present. We are a country that just used the political tool of 18th and 19th century slaveholders—the electoral college—to elect a white supremacy sympathizer even though he received three million less votes than his opponent. This is a sick system, and it lacks the moral authority to pardon Jack Johnson for any reason other than its own public relations. It’s not for us to forgive Jack Johnson. The opposite is the case. If he were still alive, the Galveston Giant would look John McCain and Peter King square into their mottled, hypocritical faces and say, “Pardon this.”
  8. Interesting division, not given much attention due to lighter weight but some good fighters and scraps from these little regarded division(s)
  9. Roman Gonzalez vs. Naoya Inoue - Skip to the Main Course By Cliff Rold Sometimes, it’s best to get to the main course early and let the rest of the meal unfold from there. Fans of the lower weight classes know that, right now, Jr. bantamweight is about as loaded as one could ask a class to be. Between the four major titlists there is a single loss. Solid veterans surround them with fighters from lower weights are vacating titles to get into the mix. Already, we’ve had a Fight of the Year contender in 2016 in the twelve hellish rounds of Roman Gonzalez-Carlos Cuadras. That may yet be seen as only an appetizer, a harbinger of carnage over the next couple of years. Since 2014, when Gonzalez won the lineal crown at 112 lbs. and Naoya Inoue won belts at both 108 and 115 lbs., hardcore fight fans have wondered about a showdown between the two. As we stare at a potentially delightful menu of options for 2017, the premiere entrée on the menu may have received all the marinating it needs on Friday in Japan. Making the fourth defense of his WBO super flyweight belt, the 23-year old Inoue (12-0, 10 KO) went through veteran former two-time WBA titlist Kohei Kono (32-10-1, 13 KO). Inoue winning wasn’t unexpected. Kono is 36, old for his division, and was coming off a title loss in August to Luis Concepcion. Inoue gets credit for style points. Kono had been dropped before but no one had ever stopped him. Inoue did it in six with deft counter punching and brutal work to the body. The way he won was a statement. The statement was that it’s time for him to face the best in his division. The biggest, best fight that can be made on paper is Inoue versus the 29-year old WBC beltholder Gonzalez (46-0, 38 KO). Many rate the four-division titlist from Nicaragua the best fighter in the world in any weight class. In Inoue, he’d be facing a younger, taller, faster man with legitimate one-punch knockout power. This is the main course. Can we order it up immediately? This is boxing so maybe not. If that is the case, it’s not like there aren’t other things to order on the menu. The great thing right now at Jr. bantamweight/115 lbs. is that you can mix and match about eight different fighters, all age 30 or under, and get a fight where the winner could be in doubt. Those eight fighters are: · Gonzalez · Inoue · Khalid Yafai – 27 – UK Olympian, current WBA titlist – 21-0, 14 KO · Jerwin Ancajas – 24 – current IBF titlist – 25-1-1, 16 KO · Cuadras – 28 – former WBC titlist – 35-1-1, 27 KO · Srisaket Sor Rungvisai – 30 – former WBC titlist – 41-4-1, 38 KO · Juan Francisco Estrada – 26 – former WBA/WBO flyweight titlist – 34-2, 24 KO · John Riel Casimero – 26 – former IBF Jr. flyweight and flyweight titlist – 23-3, 15 KO That’s a strong top of any class. It comes with plenty of fun narratives in the form of fresh matches and potential rematches. Inoue against any of these men is a new chapter for the ingénue. We’ve already seen Cuadras-Sor Rungvisai and got an unsatisfying cut ending in 2014. A sequel there could be fun. Sequels between Gonzalez and Cuadras or Estrada, whom he defeated at 108 lbs. in a 2012 classic, would be even better. Cuadras-Estrada would be an all Mexican war. Either versus Ancajas or Casimero could be thrilling chapters in the Mexico-Philippines rivalry. Gonzalez-Sor Rungvisai is a possible mandatory in 2017. Yafai could attempt to lure any of the above to the lively UK market. That all are still in their prime makes it all the more mouth watering. It’s a minefield that could hand out losses to anyone if it produces the round robin available. How long it stays this hot will depend in part on how long the ingredients stay in place. Gonzalez’s struggle with Cuadras last year redrew some of his perceived ceiling. Talks of him going all the way to featherweight eventually have been tempered and there is little reason to move competitively anyways. There is plenty to do right where he is. The ceiling for Inoue is another story. Talk of a move to bantamweight for Inoue has been there for at least a year. Waiting on this fight for too long could see its sell by date expire. Waiting doesn’t make sense if the fight is going to happen when it could be most attractive. Inoue’s lack of fights and need for more experience was a reason to wait, one even Inoue expressed at one time. The Kono performance begs the question, ‘what are we waiting for?’ Inoue isn’t going to become a remarkably active fighter. He’s a 2-3 appearance a year guy already. Hand injuries in the past could always crop up in future outings so making other fights risks unnecessary delay. Gonzalez and Inoue share promotional ties in Japan and are perceived as 1-2 in the class right now. They are undefeated right now. There may not be a better fight to make in all of boxing right now. Boxing fans have seen too many fights like this get watered down. They could fight any of the other men mentioned and it would be fine. We’d be seeing competitive fights and there would be no guarantees that this showdown would remain the main course it is in this moment. All of those fights could still happen after a showdown. Speculation about Gonzalez-Inoue has been there for two years. Can Inoue weather the relentless attack of Gonzalez? Can Gonzalez handle the speed and explosive power of this younger, hungry rival? There is only one way to find out in a genuine 50-50 match. It’s time to turn speculation into spectacle. Gonzalez-Inoue must happen in 2017. Gonzalez-Inoue should be served next. Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at
  10. 1958 A Blast from the Past

    Eric Armit describes 1958 Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 to come
  11. 1.Erickson Lubin When junior middleweight Erickson Lubin was about 3 or 4 years old and growing up in Orlando, Florida, he tagged along with older brother Michael to the boxing gym. Lubin would watch him train and, like many little brothers, wanted to imitate his big brother. "I kept asking to box and to go in the ring with him," Lubin said. "I watched him train. It looked fun." Rafael's Prospects of the Year 2016-Erickson Lubin 2015-Errol Spence Jr. 2014-Felix Verdejo 2013-Vasyl Lomachenko 2012-David Price 2011-Gary Russell Jr. 2010-Canelo Alvarez 2009-Daniel Jacobs 2008-Victor Ortiz 2007-Amir Khan 2006-Andre Berto 2005-Joel Julio 2004-Samuel Peter 2003-Jermain Taylor 2002-Miguel Cotto 2001-Francisco Bojado 2000-Julio Diaz Eventually, Lubin was allowed to try boxing. He was also practicing karate but eventually quit that and began to box as his main sporting activity. He had his first amateur bout at age 8. "I watched a lot of Floyd Mayweather fights, videos of Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Winky Wright and Oscar De La Hoya, one of my favorites," Lubin said. "I try to take a little bit from all of their styles. A little Hagler when I want to brawl, Floyd when I want to box, De La Hoya with the range, Meldrick Taylor with the combinations." Lubin would go on to compile a record of 143-7 and win gold medals at the 2013 Police Athletic League nationals and 2013 U.S. National Golden Gloves. On his 18th birthday (Oct. 1, 2013), Lubin, heralded as a lock to make the 2016 U.S. Olympic team, surprised many and signed a professional contract with Iron Mike Productions, the now-defunct promotional company that had Tyson as its figurehead. The signing drew a public rebuke from USA Boxing. The organization that oversees American amateur boxing lashed out at Tyson, accusing him of poaching a top Olympic prospect. Lubin had his first professional fight a month later and, now under the guidance of adviser Al Haymon, has moved quickly and impressively. The 5-foot-11 southpaw with skills, speed and power has become one of the top, young talents in the sport and is the 2016 prospect of the year. Lubin, 21, known as "The Hammer," said he has no regrets about going pro rather than pursuing the Olympics. The amateur system was undergoing major changes -- such as the removal of head gear -- and he had just beaten 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Yasnier Toledo, of Cuba, in a major upset at the 2013 Independence Cup. "I spoke to my team and my coach, and we felt that was our Olympic gold-medal win, beating that dude," Lubin said. "So we met with a few promoters. I went into the pros hot. I had just won the 2013 Golden Gloves. That stuff from USA Boxing didn't bother me too much. It made me feel special and it gave me a lot of exposure." Lubin, trained by Jason Galarza, said he still has a good relationship with Tyson and that the company did a good job of moving him before closing shop. "They moved me real fast and now I'm at a point where I'm almost fighting for a world title," Lubin said. "I told myself before I turned pro that I wanted to be going for a world title in four years. Mike and his team put the right opponents in front of me. At 7-0, I fought Norberto Gonzalez, who was almost a contender. They built me very well." Lubin (17-0, 12 KOs) is closing in on his goal of that title fight within four years. After winning his four 2016 bouts, including early knockouts of experienced Daniel Sandoval (TKO3) in June and Juan Ubaldo Cabrera (KO2) on Dec. 10, Lubin is scheduled to face Mexico's Jorge Cota (25-1, 22 KOs) in a semifinal eliminator March 4 on the Keith Thurman-Danny Garcia undercard. A Lubin victory will move him a step closer to a mandatory shot at titleholder Jermell Charlo. "I'm moving at the right pace and getting the right fights," Lubin said. "My past 6-7 fights have all been against guys with great records and been good fights. I feel like everything is going great for me." While Lubin hopes to fight for a 154-pound title in 2017, he also has other goals. "Everybody wants to make that money and be like Mayweather, but my ultimate goal is to unify the titles," he said. "I want to unify titles and I want to be pound-for-pound. That would put me with the greats. I want to unify at 154 and do the same thing at 160 and 168." First things first against Cota. "I'm gonna seize the moment," Lubin said. "I will shut the mouths of the people who say I am too young." The rest of the top 20 rising stars: 2. Oleksandr Gvozdyk (29, Ukraine, light heavyweight, 12-0, 10 KOs): The 2012 Olympic bronze medalist is trained by Robert Garcia and in the same Egis Klimas-managed stable that boasts Sergey Kovalev and Olympic teammates and close friends Vasyl Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk. Gvozdyk is a near-complete fighter who is strong offensively and defensively. He has a ram-rod jab, is patient and wears down opponents. He won his four 2016 bouts by knockout, finishing with an impressive, eighth-round KO of former title challenger Isaac Chilemba on the Andre Ward-Kovalev card in November. 3. Egidijus Kavaliauskas (28, Lithuania, welterweight, 15-0, 12 KOs): "The Mean Machine" was a 2008 and 2012 Olympian with around 400 amateur fights who is in the same Egis Klimas-managed stable that boasts Sergey Kovalev and Vasyl Lomachenko. Kavaliauskas is a beast on offense and solid on defense. Trainer Robert Garcia has compared him to a younger Gennady Golovkin. A ruptured right biceps limited Kavaliauskas to two late-year fights in 2015, and although he was 4-0 in 2016, he missed time due to a broken foot. He's a good bet to be his nation's first world titleholder. 4. Felix Verdejo (23, Puerto Rico, lightweight, 22-0, 15 KOs): Hailed by many as Puerto Rico's next big star, Verdejo was a 2012 Olympian and 2014 prospect of the year. He remains one of boxing's most talented and exciting up-and-comers, not to mention a big draw at home and in New York. He was 3-0 in 2016 but twice went the distance against lesser opponents. He was due for a mandatory shot at titleholder Terry Flanagan in late 2016 but didn't fight after suffering injuries in an August motorcycle crash that put him in the hospital for five days. He's OK and due back Feb. 3 in a tune-up for the title fight. 5. Ivan Golub (27, Ukraine, welterweight, 13-0, 11 KOs): The Brooklyn, New York-based southpaw went 270-32 as an amateur and was a five-time Ukrainian national champion. As a pro, he is moving quickly and had a strong 2016 in which he went 4-0 (all KOs), culminating with an impressive, third-round knockout of experienced James Stevenson in September. 6. Jarrett Hurd (26, Accokeek, Maryland, junior middleweight, 19-0, 13 KOs): Although he had a limited amateur career (40 fights), he has made big strides as a pro in a short time. He's patient and mature on offense (wicked right uppercut) but needs defensive polish. When he knocked out then-unbeaten Frank Galarza in November 2015, Hurd opened many eyes and continued doing so in 2016 in his two wins: knockouts of then-unbeaten Olympian Oscar Molina and ex-title challenger Jo Jo Dan. Hurd has had outstanding sparring with Austin Trout, Lamont Peterson, Dominic Wade and Antoine Douglas. 7. David Benavidez (20, Phoenix, super middleweight, 16-0, 15 KOs): The younger brother of former interim junior welterweight titleholder Jose Benavidez Jr., David turned pro at age 16 in Mexico because he was too young to fight in the U.S. He has heavy hands and a crowd-pleasing style. He went 4-0 in 2016, including his 10th-round knockout of gatekeeper Denis Douglin. He has gotten tremendous experience in the gym, having sparred with Gennady Golovkin, Peter Quillin, Kelly Pavlik, Gilberto Ramirez and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy. 8. Gervonta Davis (22, Baltimore, junior lightweight, 16-0, 15 KOs): Davis, a dynamic talent and protégé of Floyd Mayweather, has all the skills in the world. A southpaw, he has a tremendous blend of power and speed. He won a 2012 National Golden Gloves title and numerous tournaments during an amateur career in which he went 206-15. If there's one knock, he needs to mature emotionally. Davis was limited to only two fights in 2016 but scored explosive knockouts in both. Now it's time to sink or swim: On Jan. 14, he'll challenge Jose Pedraza for his world title. 9. Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller (28, Brooklyn, New York, heavyweight, 18-0-1, 16 KOs): Miller is a big man (6-foot-4, 285 pounds) with a big punch, an even bigger personality and a chance to make his mark. The former kickboxer has tremendous charisma and KO'd all three of his 2016 opponents on national television, including 2015 Boxcino finalist Donovan Dennis and experienced Fred Kassi. Managed by Steve Nelson (who helped guide Hasim Rahman to the heavyweight title), Miller is in the running to land a spring world title shot against Joseph Parker. 10. Jose Ramirez (24, Avenal, Calif., junior welterweight, 19-0, 14 KOs): Ramirez was a superb amateur, going 145-11, winning 11 national titles and making the 2012 U.S. Olympic team. He has shown speed and power and is a good body puncher, but his most dangerous weapon is a fight-altering left hook. He was 3-0 (2 KOs) in 2016 and is a major draw in his home region of Fresno, California, where he drew 13,700 to the Save Mart Center for his Dec. 2 knockout of Issouf Kinda. Top Rank figures to step up his opposition in 2017. 11. Ivan Baranchyk (23, Russia, junior welterweight, 13-0, 10 KOs): New York-based Baranchyk -- "The Beast" -- received excellent exposure on Showtime's "ShoBox" and continued to impress. Baranchyk, approximately 120-30 as an amateur, went 4-0 in 2016, including the 10-round distance in his past two fights. In 2016, he boxed exclusively at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma, where he has become a popular figure. In the gym, he has gotten tremendous sparring with Avtandil Khurtsidze, Ievgen Khytrov, Sergey Derevyanchenko and Ivan Golub. 12. Rob Brant (26, St. Paul, Minnesota, middleweight, 21-0, 14 KOs): Brant was an excellent amateur -- he counts a 2010 National Golden Gloves title among his accomplishments -- and has done everything right during his steady pro rise. Although he's known more as boxer than puncher, make no mistake: He has pop. He has stopped eight of his past nine opponents, including DeCarlo Perez, whom Brant scored a devastating knockout against on Showtime's "ShoBox" in January. It was the first of Brant's three wins in 2016 that put him on the short list to face world titleholder Billy Joe Saunders. 13. Joseph Diaz Jr. (24, South El Monte, California, featherweight, 23-0, 13 KOs): Diaz, a 2012 U.S. Olympian who fights with joy, is on the verge of a becoming a player in the talent-rich, 126-pound division. He is not a big puncher, but he can run opponents ragged with his aggressive, non-stop punching style. In 2016, he went 4-0 and fought twice on HBO, scoring decision wins against former title challenger Jayson Velez and tough Horacio Garcia. A title shot in 2017 is possible. 14. Diego De La Hoya (22, Mexico, junior featherweight, 16-0, 9 KOs): The last name catches the eye, but the kid can fight. He's a first cousin of Hall of Famer Oscar De La Hoya (also his promoter), which means he has big shoes to fill. So far, he has been up to the task. The former member of the Mexican National team had more than 250 amateur bouts and went 3-0 in 2016, including his most recent wins coming against his best opponents: a seventh-round knockout of then-undefeated Rocco Santomauro and a decision over Luis Orlando Del Valle. Golden Boy thinks very highly of him, placing De La Hoya on Canelo Alvarez's past two undercards. 15. Takuma Inoue (21, Japan, bantamweight, 8-0, 2 KO): Inoue is the gifted younger brother of junior bantamweight titlist Naoya Inoue, already a two-division titleholder at 23. Takuma could be just as good. He was 52-5 as an amateur and is a former Japanese high school national champion. He doesn't possess the power of his brother but is a similar prodigy who has faced quality opposition. He won two bouts in 2016 and was due to challenge world titleholder Marlon Tapales on Dec. 30 but suffered a fractured right hand and withdrew. 16. Jason Quigley (25, Ireland, middleweight, 12-0, 10 KOs): "El Animal" is an aggressive puncher with a growing fan base. Quigley has been boxing since he was 7 and is a former amateur standout. In 2013, he won gold at the European championships and became the first Irish fighter to win a silver medal at the world championships. He was 3-0 in 2016, including his two most recent wins against his best opponents, a shutout decision against James De La Rosa and a first-round, three-knockdown destruction of Jorge Melendez. 17. Rashidi Ellis (23, Boston, welterweight, 17-0, 12 KOs): Nicknamed "Speedy," Ellis was 60-11 in a limited amateur career that included three New England Golden Gloves titles. As a pro, he has shown excellent speed, skills and underrated power. Now getting a push from Golden Boy, Ellis was 3-0 in 2016, including by far his biggest and most impressive victory, a resounding, first-round knockout of Eddie Gomez on Dec. 16, just two weeks after the birth of his first child, a son. Ellis has gained experience sparring with Canelo Alvarez. 18. Ryan Martin (23, Chattanooga, Tennessee, lightweight, 17-0, 10 KOs): "Blue Chip" Martin was 202-22 and won several national titles as an amateur. When he didn't make the 2012 Olympic team, he was chased by several promoters. He signed with Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, whose short-lived tenure in promotion was a disaster. Martin wound up inactive for 11 months (most of 2015/part of 2016) and in a lawsuit. He got back on track in April after hooking up with K2 Promotions and went 4-0 in 2016. He has ring intelligence, smooth skills, speed and recently began training with Abel Sanchez. 19. Luis Nery (22, Mexico, bantamweight, 22-0, 16 KO): A strong southpaw puncher, Nery had a handful of amateur bouts but has emerged as a fighter to watch. He was 5-0 (4 KOs) in 2016 against solid opposition, including a fourth-round KO of former interim junior bantamweight titlist David Sanchez and a second-round stoppage of former two-time flyweight title challenger Richie Mepranum. 20. Jack Catterall (23, England, junior welterweight, 17-0, 9 KOs): Catterall, a quick southpaw, hasn't faced any recognizable names, but he won his three 2016 fights and was selected to serve as one of Floyd Mayweather's sparring partners when he was preparing for his 2015 mega fight with Manny Pacquiao. He also sparred with Canelo Alvarez to get ready for James Kirkland. Those assignments alone are meaningful and show the kind of potential Catterall has. 2016 Boxing Awards Fighter of the year KO of the year Round of the year (still to come) Fight of the year (still to come)
  12. An interesting piece on a interesting concept and individual
  13. Alex Arthur lifts lid on the Hell he suffered after quitting – depression, putting on five stone and not even being able to urinate for two days The former Scots world champion tells all in an incredibly frank interview and how he now wants to help other boxers. By Colan Lamont-DR Updated10:25, 18 DEC 2016 Former world champion Alex Arthur has revealed he faced a fight with depression after hanging up his gloves. The Edinburgh boxer ballooned in weight after he retired in 2003, couldn’t sleep and couldn’t urinate for two days at a time because of an issue with the pituitary gland on his brain. For more than a year, the 38-year-old was fighting off demons that threatened to make his retirement Hell on Earth. Haunted by what he sees happening to other boxers after they leave the ring behind, Arthur thinks the boxing fraternity should get together to offer help to those who need it. Revealing for the first time the depths he sank to, he now hopes his story can help save lives after he proved you can come out the other side. Read rest here
  14. Sun Dec 18, 2016 Joe Smith Blasts Bernard Hopkins Right Out of The Ring, TKO Win! By Francisco Salazar INGLEWOOD - Bernard Hopkins wanted a memorable send-off Saturday night at The Forum after 28 years as a pro. Everything seemed lined up for him to get a win tonight, including whom many thought would be a fighter in Joe Smith who would be in over his head. Turns out the result was memorable indeed, but not the way Hopkins would have wanted. Hopkins was counted out after being sent through the ropes and onto the floor before a shocked crowd of 6,513. With the win, Smith improves to 23-1, 19 KOs, while Hopkins ends his illustrious career with a loss, dropping his record to 55-8-2 1 NC, 32 KOs. Hopkins was hanging up the gloves for good, or so he says he was, after winning world title belts in two different weight classes, including the 20 consecutive title defenses of his IBF World middleweight title. He had not fought since November of 2014, when he lost a 12 round unanimous decision to Sergey Kovalev. Smith was coming off an upset win on June 18; a first round knockout victory over Andrzej Fonfara in Chicago. If Smith did not have Hopkins' attention before the fight, he sure did in the later stages of the opening round, when a right hand momentarily stunned Hopkins, sending him back against the ropes. As the bout progressed, Hopkins began to land his trademark right hand to the head. Hopkins varied that attack, landing lead or counter right hands. On top of Hopkins landing repeatedly with that right, Smith had to deal with a cut over his left eye, mostly likely due to an accidental clash of heads. Hopkins seemed to be in control of the fight until round five, when Smith landed a series of right hands to the head that seemed to stun Hopkins. Both fighters had their moments during the sixth and seventh rounds. Smith began to breath heavy, as he seemed to exert a lot of energy from the number of times he would throw and miss. Moments into round eight, Smith backed Hopkins against the ropes, throwing a left and followed by a right hand to the head. The momentum of the punches sent Hopkins through the ropes and landing on his back on the cement floor. As outlined by the unified rules of boxing, because a fighter falls through the ropes and lands on the outside, a fighter has until the count of 20 to return inside the ring. Referee Jack Reiss counted Hopkins out at 54 seconds. Hopkins appeared upset with the outcome of the fight more than he was hurt by the punches Smith landed. Hopkins did claim he hurt his ankle when he fell out of the ring. "I hurt my right ankle when I fell out of the ring," Hopkins told the assembled media after the fight. " could stand, but I was trying to put weight on my foot." Asked about the impact of the loss to Smith compared to others, Hopkins was diplomatic. "I feel worse now than when I did when I was 25. I'd rather get a win or something where it's clear, whether it's a loss or a win. I look at the result of this fight as a misfortune." "This is the fight I wanted. I didn't want to be a cherry-picker. I felt good. I felt him out and I executed what I wanted. He was getting frustrated. He was missing. I could take a good punch. Asked about whether tonight was the final time he would appear in the ring, Hopkins said yes. "Win, lose, or draw or controversy, this is it. I have no regrets." For Smith, the victory on Saturday opens more door for bigger fights in 2017. "It feels great. It's the best feeling in the world to accomplish something I set out for and wanted to do." "It feels great that I was able to do something that Sergey Kovalev wasn't able to do. I was able to stop Andrzej Fonfara when Adonis Stevenson wasn't. I'm looking for those big fights." Featherweight contender Joseph Diaz, Jr. won a 10 round unanimous decision over Horacio Garcia. Diaz improves to 23-0, 13 KOs, while Garcia falls to 30-2-1, 21 KOs. It was all Diaz during the first three rounds as he landed the more effective punches. The southpaw Diaz was able to sit down on his punches, connecting with repeated left hands to Garcia's head. Garcia had his best round during the fourth. He was able to stand in the pocket and connect with a series of right hands to the head of Diaz. Garcia, who has fought a majority of his fights at 122 pounds, was not able to build off that momentum as Diaz mixed his attack of countering or initiating exchanges during the middle rounds, finishing with more left hands to the head. As the bout entered into the final rounds, Garcia's punch output dropped, but he was still looking to set up his right hand. Diaz was able to beat him to the punch, scoring repeated with left uppercuts to the head. All three judges scored the bout 100-90 in favor of Diaz. Full Fight Hopkins Post Fight Joe Smith Post Fight
  15. Sat Dec 17, 2016 Oleksandr Usyk Drops Mchunu Three Times For KO in Nine The Forum, Inglewood, California - Making his American debut, Olympic gold medal winner Oleksandr Usyk (11-0, 10KOs) scored three knockdowns to stop Thabiso Mchunu (17-3, 11KOs) in the ninth round to retain his WBO cruiserweight championship for the first time. The battle of southpaws began with Usyk working his jab and sizing up Mchunu, who was using his short stature to make things very tough for Usyk. The second round was more of Usyk jabbing, with Mchunu landing the bigger and more effective shots. Usyk began to get more active in the third, but it was still Mchunu landing the better shots with his right hand finding the mark. Usyk picked up the pace even further in the fourth, by letting his hands go and started letting go with some very big punches. Uysk was more accurate in the fifth, and began to find the target more often and was really unleashing with his punch ratio. Mchunu was landing a good shot here and there but not nearly active enough. The sixth saw Usyk really unloading and landing some very hard shots on Mchunu, and a big left uppercut sent him. Mchunu got up and Usyk went right after him to to follow-up, but the Mchunu managed to fight him off to get away from trouble. Mchunu was trying to re-establish himself in the seventh while Usyk took his foot off the gas. Towards the end of that round, Mchunu was getting overwhelmed by a lot of shots coming at him. Usyk went right back to work in the eight, landing some good punches but then he seemed to get bothered by a few hard right hands that countered back from Mchunu. For some reason Mchunu did not follow up with anything to see if Usyk was actually hurt. Usyk started landing to the body in the ninth and then following up with combinations to the head. A few more punches wore Mchunu down for a second knockdown. Then Usyk jumped on with Mchunu trying to fight him off, but Usyk continued to land hard shots and sent him down for a third time - and the referee waved off the fight.