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  1. 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
  2. Cliff Rold does excellent previews - here's tonight's big one - my pick is Ward - just a gut feeling and not based on anything else - a pick'em fight for me Sat Nov 19, 2016 Sergey Kovalev-Andre Ward: Pre-Fight Report Card by Cliff Rold Four years ago, having gone through the Super Six minefield and becoming the first man to stop then lineal light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson in a super middleweight title fight, Andre Ward looked like the heir apparent. Following the wild round robin years of the 1980s featuring a relative parity of elite talent led by Sugar Ray Leonard, there has always been that one guy who stands out from the crowd; the sublime master talent whose peers can’t quite catch up to in their prime. Pernell Whitaker, Roy Jones, Floyd Mayweather…Andre Ward? That’s the way things looked like they were heading. Maybe that’s the way they’ve been all these years anyways. Injuries and a well documented legal battle with his former promoters kept Ward on the shelf for most of 2013 and all of 2014. Since returning in June 2015 from an eighteen-month layoff, the former 168 lb. king Ward has been in the ring three times. He may not have lost more than a handful of rounds. He hasn’t shared the ring with anyone who had any business doing better than that. That changes this weekend. A lot of things have changed over the last four years. When Ward stepped into the ring with Dawson in September 2012, Sergey Kovalev was still just an interesting prospect in the light heavyweight division. In January 2013, he announced that he might be much more. A three round annihilation of former titlist Gabriel Campillo was an eye opener. Campillo came in on the heels of highly debated decision losses to Beibut Shumenov and Tavoris Cloud; he could easily have been a unified beltholder that night. Kovalev walked through him. He’s walked through a lot of other good fighters since while winning three of the four most recognized belts in his class. Nathan Cleverly and Jean Pascal had never been stopped before they faced Kovalev. No one had ever shut out the great Bernard Hopkins before Kovalev did it. In nine title fights at light heavyweight, only two have lasted the distance and all have hit the deck at least once. None of them were Andre Ward. In the four years since Ward last faced someone regarded as an elite talent, a genuine rival has emerged. In each other, Ward and Kovalev find an opponent that can both validate everything they’ve done to date and elevate their standing to a new plateau. Many fights can be regarded going in as 50-50 but for the rare few does that really set the imagination on fire. It might not decide history’s king at 175 lbs. (that claim still resides with Adonis Stevenson), but the winner will be widely regarded as the best light heavyweight in the world. This isn’t just a fight where we can’t be sure who will win. It’s a fight where we can’t wait to find out. Let’s go the report card. The Ledgers Sergey Kovalev Age: 33 ?Current Titles: WBO Light Heavyweight (2013-Present, 8 Defenses); WBA Super Light Heavyweight (2014-Present, 4 Defenses); IBF Light Heavyweight (2014-Present, 4 Defenses) Previous Titles: None Height: 6’0 Weight: 175 lbs. ?Hails from: Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Hails from Russia) Record: 30-0-1, 26 KO Rankings: #1 (BoxingScene, TBRB, Ring, Boxing Monthly, BoxRec), #2 (ESPN) Record in Major Title Fights: 9-0, 7 KO Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: 4 (Gabriel Campillo TKO3; Nathan Cleverly TKO4; Bernard Hopkins UD12; Jean Pascal TKO8, RTD7) Vs. Andre Ward Age: 32 ?Current Title: None Previous Titles: WBA Super Middleweight (2009-15, 6 Defenses); WBC Super Middleweight (2011-13, 1 Defense); TBRB/Ring/Lineal Super Middleweight (2011-15, 2 Defenses) Height: 6’0 Weight: 175 lbs. ?Hails from: Oakland, California Record: 30-0, 15 KO Rankings: #2 (BoxingScene, TBRB), #3 (ESPN, Boxing Monthly, BoxRec), #4 (Ring) Record in Major Title Fights: 7-0, 1 KO Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: 5 (Mikkel Kessler TD11; Sakio Bika UD12; Arthur Abraham UD12; Carl Froch UD12; Chad Dawson TKO10) Grades Pre-Fight: Speed – Kovalev B+; Ward A Pre-Fight: Power – Kovalev A; Ward B Pre-Fight: Defense – Kovalev B+; Ward A Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Kovalev A+; Ward A+ If the weigh in is any indication of the atmosphere Saturday night, the 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist at Light Heavyweight, Ward, will have the home court advantage here. Kovalev got a round of boos when he stepped to the scale. He smiled anyways. This isn’t first time he’s been on the road in hostile territory. Both men looked elated by the moment and in peak shape. There was no reason to expect anything less. Both Ward and Kovalev have been consistently professional throughout their careers. They also consistently met and exceeded expectations. Kovalev and Ward are gamers. They don’t just win their big fights. They win big in their big fights. What will that mean Saturday? It could mean one man holds to that standard and simply takes over. We can hope it means we get something more memorable than that, a genuine two-way contest worthy of the anticipation this has garnered among serious fight followers. There are reasons to think both are possible. If one man takes over, the smart pick to do so is probably Ward. Kovalev physically dominating Ward, hurting him early and never letting up, is possible. Ward’s craft makes that less likely. The American is the sort of fighter who does a little bit of everything right. He has excellent balance, understands distance as well as any fighter in the game, and can throw in some work from the southpaw side just to mess with an opponent’s timing. Ward’s best power punch is the left hook but power isn’t what makes his game. What makes Ward so fascinating to watch, and frustrating for foes, is the way he takes weapons away. For fighters who like to fight inside, Ward has proven able to box at range and smother when they get close. Against foes that like to keep a man at the end of a jab, think Kessler and Dawson, Ward beat them up at close quarters. He doesn’t waste motion regardless. Ward moves but he’s not a guy who stays on his toes all night. His movement is about getting to the next spot where he can plant and land again. It’s not always pretty and he’s not above bending the rules. Forearms, an educated forehead, and clinches that allow him to use his physical strength to wear men down aren’t about aesthetics. They’re just about winning. Another thing that makes fighters like Ward successful is that they bring the punch output of their opponent’s down. Ward has smart head movement and is no easy target. If Kovalev headhunts, he is in for a long night. He’s regularly shown the ring smarts to be more than that but he struggled in spots in his last fight against Isaac Chilemba. Chilemba boxed, stayed in his game, and lasted the distance while winning a few rounds along the way. Kovalev couldn’t find him the way he was used to finding others. His punch output dropped from a Compubox average in the eight fights prior to Chilemba by approximately nine punches per round. If Chilemba can do that, Ward’s chances to bring his output down even more look good. Kovalev isn’t above using the rough stuff either. He punches what is available. Sometimes that means flirting around the waistline; sometimes it means a hard shot that lands on the back of the head. Kovalev will have to have answers for Ward’s reservoir of tactical knowledge. It will start off the jab. In his breakthrough fight against Mikkel Kessler, Ward disrupted the Dane’s jab all night. Kessler had arguably the best jab in the super middleweight division then. The same can be said of Kovalev right now at light heavyweight. Kovalev’s jab appears superior to Kessler’s. It’s just as straight but Kovalev isn’t as athletically rigid and he mixes it up to the head and body better. Ward has the edge in speed here but Kovalev is quick enough to use his advantage in arm length. The reach, on paper, isn’t far apart but Kovalev has more narrow shoulders than Ward. Earlier this year, the punch that Sullivan Barrera had the most (of limited) success with against Ward was the jab. Like Kovalev, that was predicated on his length. If Kovalev can establish his jab, he can win the fight. The jab sets up everything else. Some have pointed out Kovalev’s perceived deficiency on the inside. If this becomes a phone booth fight, the edge will be to Ward. Few are better at working in the clinch and hacking away with the free hand. Carl Froch was able to land his share of awkward rights against Ward. It wasn’t enough to change the fight, but the angles he worked from made Ward work to the end. Kovalev is quicker than Froch and can land at similar angles with more precision. It doesn’t mean Kovalev lacks weapons at close range. He’s very good at taking a short step backwards and landing quick left hooks and shortened, slashing overhand rights when foes try to crowd. That he can land those with power moving backwards makes him more dangerous. Defense is an assumed advantage for Ward but Kovalev isn’t easy to hit either. His head movement is an overlooked asset and he’s good at creating space. This could be a fight where we see both men thinking and looking for openings in spots versus punching. Temperament will be a factor as well. Neither Kovalev nor Ward come across as kindly men in the ring. Can either man shake the other mentally and force them out of character? How will Ward respond if he has to come off the floor? How will Kovalev respond if he finds himself being bullied inside and forced to the ropes? We’re mere hours from finding both the answers to these questions and what questions we didn’t think to ask. The Pick There are a few ways for Ward to win here and it will be interesting to see what his strategy is. Does he think his chances are better in smothering Kovalev or will he find his edge in speed allows him to use his legs and counter punching to keep Kovalev frozen and resetting. For Kovalev, it's a tighter needle to thread. He has to hurt Ward at some point and not let him establish a rhythm. Kovalev can win rounds that way but it's hard to see seven of them. Ward is a twelve round, methodical fighter. A long steady contest favors him. The power of Kovalev, his underrated quickness, and fluid combinations, make him a threat no matter the round. This isn’t as simple as boxer versus puncher. Both men are well-rounded, high boxing IQ talents with commensurate professional experience. They’ve seen a range of styles, both have been in big fights, and neither knows how to lose. However, in flipping the coin on a fight that is 50-50 on paper, the coin comes up Ward. Kovalev’s paths to victory depend on offense and Ward is a master of stifling offensive fighters. It’s the safe pick even if no pick feels safe on this one. The fight is that good. Report Card and Staff Picks 2016: 37-13
  3. scribbs

    Anton Christoforidis

    Anton Christoforidis: Unheralded but Undisputed Boxing Champion By TNH Staff - April 1, 2016 1 1062 Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Anton Christoforidis is one of the most successful professional boxers of all time. Winner of multiple middleweight and light-heavyweight titles in Europe, North Africa, and the United States, Christoforidis has long been recognized as the first Modern Greek to become a world class boxing champion. Yet such acclaim did not come easily or without considerable and sustained effort. Christoforidis was born on May 6, 1917 in Mersin, a large port city on the Mediterranean coast of what is today southern Turkey. An interview with Christoforidis, a year before his death, offers this recollection: “when I was one month old, the Turks killed seven of the twelve members in our family, including my father. All that was left was my mother, sister, brother, a nephew and me. The rest of us were exiled to Greece in 1921 (European Stars and Stripes September 7, 1984).” Once in Greece the family eventually settled in Athens where Christoforidis began picking cotton by the age of six. Within two years of their arrival Christoforidis’ mother was dead. By the very early 1930s, Christoforidis while struggling to live on the streets of Athens he was even then learning to box. Unable to make a living by boxing in Greece Christoforidis, around 1933, went to Paris and immediately entered boxing circles. Very quickly Christoforidis was recognized as a very competent boxer who possessed good basic skills. At the same time it was also clear that the young Greek did not possess “heavy hands” which is boxing jargon for the ability to cleanly and consistently knockout one’s opponents. Consequently, throughout his career Christoforidis focused on his innate ability to cannily size up the moment and out-work his adversary in the ring. From 1935 to 1939 Christoforidis fought not just in France but also Holland, Belgium, Germany, Greece and North Africa. From 1935, until late 1939, the young Greek had 46 professional fights in Europe. Various reports allege that Christoforidis’ first professional bout was against Theodore Korenyi in Athens, Greece, which he won by a second round knockout. On November 8, 1937, Christoforidis won both the Greek Middleweight and Greek Light Heavyweight titles from Costas Vassis in Athens, Greece. Christoforidis defeated EBU (European) Middleweight Champion Bep van Klaveren on November 14, 1938 in a title match. Christoforidis later said that one of the spectators of this bout was none other than Adolf Hitler. His first title defense, for the European middleweight was against France’s Edouard Tenet in Paris. Anton was ahead on points going into the eleventh round, but broke his left hand that round and was forced to finish the fight on the defensive. He lost via decision and so lost his European middleweight championship title. Yet it was his 10-round contest with Lou Brouillard, on April 5, 1939 that brought Christoforidis to the attention of American boxing promoters such as Ed Mead and other notables. Again, rather than a clean win by either boxer Christoforidis won by decision. By early November 1939, Christoforidis was brought to the United States by American boxing promoter Lou Burston. As reported by syndicated sports columnist Jack Cuddy: “Burston considers himself mighty lucky because this Greek battler shapes up as one of the finest middleweight prospects ever to hit town. Veteran lookers-over, like “Dumb Dan” Morgan, Lou Brix and Nat Rodgers (all notable boxing promoters) predict Anton will develop into the greatest of all Greek fighters, whether born here or abroad (San Diego Union December 31, 1939).” Press accounts of this period stressed that Christoforidis was “rated among the best fighters in Europe…out of 100 fights he’s said to have scored at least forty-five knockouts” (Daily Nonpariel January 7, 1940).” Christoforidis made his United States debut on January 5, 1940 in Madison Square Garden, defeating Willie Pavlovich by decision. After this success, for reasons not now known to history, Christoforidis settled in Geneva, Ohio. Anton next built up a six fight winning streak, which was stopped when future Hall of Famer Jimmy Bivins. Anton once said, “I won that fight; it was strictly a hometown decision.” Rather than a mere brag, in a rematch held on December 2, 1940, Christoforidis returned the favor and walked off with a 10-round decision, handing Bivins the first defeat of his American career. The Bivins win landed Christoforidis a shot at Melio Bettina for the vacant National Boxing Association World Light Heavyweight title. At this moment, in American sport’s history boxing titles were regional not national. With that in mind, Christoforidis won the NBA Light Heavyweight title-crown on January 13, 1941 in Cleveland, Ohio by defeating Bettina in a unanimous decision of a fifteen-round bout. It is with this success that Anton Christoforidis became the first Greek to become a world boxing champion. Just for the sake of a Greek-American historical perspective, at this very same moment, Jim Londos held various heavy weight boxing titles as well. American sports writers have never been known for their innate sensitivity. So, Christoforidis’ name became a long running topic of discussion. In the end, the fans dubbed the young Greek “Christo the Fisto” while the press grudgingly admitted the young boxer’s good looks and so tended to call him the “Greek Sheik.” But the world of American professional boxing was a volatile forum during this period. After knockout wins over Italo Colonello and Johnny Romero in nontitle bouts, Christoforidis lost his NBA title to Gus Lesnevich by unanimous decision on May 22, 1941. Although this event was not technically an NBA title fight, Lesnevich was later awarded the title by the NBA regardless on May 24, 1941. Never stopping long in his career Christoforidis next met and defeated both Ceferino Garcia and George Burnette. Then, on January 12, 1942, Christoforidis suffered his first knockout loss at the hands of rising contender and future light heavyweight legend Ezzard Charles in Cincinnati, Ohio. On February 2, 1943, Christoforidis won the “duration” heavyweight title from Jimmy Bivins and then promptly lost it to Lloyd Marshall on April 21st of that same year. Christoforidis fought his last bout on February 18, 1947 against Anton Raadik. While accounts vary it seems safe to say that at his retirement Christoforidis’ record consisted of 53 wins (13 by knockout), 15 losses and 8 draws. At his height of his career it was not uncommon for 12,000 to 14,000 people to attend a Christoforidis bout. A longtime resident of Ohio, upon his retirement Christoforidis ran a bar-restaurant in Geneva, OH for a good number of years. In 1961, Christoforidis and his wife were divorced and in 1968 he sold his interests in Geneva and moved to Florida to retire. In 1971, he took an extended trip back to Greece for the first time for a scheduled 45 days. However, he liked it so much, the 45 days turned into 15 years. As one might expect Christoforidis was a hero in Greece. On October 31, 1985, Christoforidis died suddenly of an apparent heart attack in Athens, Greece. Holder of at least five different European, North African and American professional boxing titles Anton Christoforidis is the first Greek to become an undisputed professional box champion. The logical question here is why do we not hear more of this champion and the other Greeks like his contemporary Londos, who all were literally at the pinnacle of American sports? CBZ - Anton "The Sheik" Greek vs Jimmy Bivins