Category Archives: Blog

May 28, 2017
May 28, 2017
errol spence

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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  1. Manny Pacquiao

Spence confirmed his true ability beating Kell Brook at home in Sheffield. Errol is one of America’s brightest talents and deserves to take on the biggest names in the sport. In the absence of Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao remains not only one of the most famous fighters in the world but still represents the highest level of the division. He would make for the biggest fight Spence could take aim at.

  1. Keith Thurman

It’s a natural fight that makes sense. Thurman has unified the WBC and WBA welterweight titles, is unbeaten like Spence and is a big puncher. Plus, Thurman would dispute Spence’s claims to be America’s best welterweight. Their styles would surely gel to put on another thriller too.

  1. Terence Crawford

A sublimely talented fighter, Crawford is dominating at light-welterweight currently. Stepping up to welter would give him a shot at a world title in a third weight class and would provide another true test of Spence’s quality.

Errol Spence

  1. Shawn Porter

Porter is just itching for a chance to reclaim a world title. He has lost to Keith Thurman but his victories over Andre Berto and Adrien Broner keep him in the running for another tilt at glory.

  1. Adrien Broner

Broner is seemingly incapable of keeping himself out of trouble but is the division’s favourite villain. They have some history from sparring and he would guarantee at least a personality clash with Spence.

May 28, 2017
May 28, 2017
Britain Boxing - George Groves v Fedor Chudinov WBA World Super-Middleweight Title - Bramall Lane, Sheffield - 27/5/17 George Groves celebrates winning the fight Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Couldridge Livepic

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  1. James DeGale

This fight is always going to be big. Their bitter personal feud dates all the way back to their amateur days when they were clubmates at Dale Youth. They fought early in their professional careers and now would be the perfect time to box again. Both are super-middleweight world champions, both are big names in their own right. This grudge match would be huge.

  1. Callum Smith

Smith is another tremendous British talent at super-middleweight. He’s tough, has superb skills and is a hard puncher too. He has a world title fight of his own scheduled in against Anthony Dirrell for the vacant WBC title. If he wins, that would make for a tremendously compelling, all-British unification clash.

  1. Chris Eubank Jr

All British scraps are certainly appealing and Eubank brings with him a certain fame, or even notoriety. He’s never fought at world level as a super-middleweight, a strap from the IBO does not qualify him for this shot, but Eubank has a knack for capturing the boxing world’s attention.

George Groves

  1. Badou Jack

The American has announced a move up to light-heavyweight and vacated his title but he is the only active pro who holds a win over Groves. A rematch would give George a chance at vengeance.

  1. Gilberto Ramirez

The Mexican is returning to prominence after recovering from injury. He holds the WBO crown and so this bout would give Groves a shot at unifying the division, and would certainly be winnable for the Englishman.

May 27, 2017
May 27, 2017
Kell Brook vs Errol Spence

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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ON a stacked bill at Bramall Lane stadium in Sheffield, local hero Kell Brook lost his IBF welterweight title to classy Texan Errol Spence via 11th-round stoppage after Brook suffered severe damage to his left eye, which required a visit to hospital after the fight.

In the co-feature, Londoner George Groves finally got his hands on a world crown at the fourth attempt. The heavy-handed super-middleweight picked up the vacant WBA strap after halting tough Russian Fedor Chudinov in the sixth session.

To relive the action from these two world title tussles – and the other nine bouts on the card – check out our ringside blog below.

May 24, 2017
May 24, 2017
Kell Brook vs Errol Spence

Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom

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THE expectation amongst most observers from across the Atlantic is that Errol Spence Jr will be taking home Kell Brook’s IBF title. The US fight fraternity can’t help it; they have an in-built superiority complex that’s very hard to shift. But they also have short memories, as much vaunted North American challengers have come to the UK before and it hasn’t always ended well…

Jim Watt vs Howard Davis Jnr – June 7th 1980, Ibrox Park, Glasgow

Howard Davis arrived in the UK unbeaten as a pro at 13-0 and marching towards his coronation as a world champion. Davis had won gold at the 1976 Montreal Olympics in a great US team, that also saw gold for Leon and Michael Spinks and Sugar Ray Leonard, and beaten Leonard to the Val Barker trophy for the outstanding boxer of the Games. In his way was our very own Jim Watt, making the third defence of his WBC World Lightweight title. Davis’ countrymen expected him to relieve Jim of his belt but Jim hadn’t read their script and beat Davis over 15 rounds. Davis never won a world title.

Nigel Benn vs Gerald McClellan – February 25th 1995, London Arena

Gerald McClellan touched down in London in early 1995 as one of the most feared fighters on the planet. He was the former WBO Middleweight champion and reigning WBC champion and he’d decided to step up to Super Middleweight, come over to England, smash our WBC Super Middleweight champion Nigel Benn to pieces and waltz off with his title. And everyone thought he would. Everyone. Many well respected judges even feared that McClellan might kill Benn. But despite being knocked out of the ring in the opening exchanges Benn somehow won a savage contest. McClellan suffered terrible injuries and never boxed again.

Joe Calzaghe vs Jeff lacy – 4th March 2006, MEN Arena, Manchester

In this instance both fighters brought a belt to the table. Calzaghe (40-0), was the WBO Super Middle champion, whilst Lacy (21-0 and 1 NC) was IBF boss. Lacy was a heavy favourite; there was an astonishing amount of hype around him and his celebrated left hook. The fight even took place in the early hours of the morning British time at the behest of American TV so they could treat viewers to a prime time look at Lacy’s inevitable unification and glorification. But that isn’t what they saw. Calzaghe handed Lacy a systematic beating winning 119-107, 119-107 and 119-105. Lacy continued but was never the same again, the last I heard of him was in October last year when he retired after 5 rounds in Bristol against Tony Okey in a fight not licensed by the British Boxing Board of Control.

Lucian Bute vs Carl Froch – 26th May 2012, Nottingham Arena

I’ve cheated slightly with this one because firstly Bute was the champion and Froch the challenger, and secondly because Bute is Romanian. But it qualifies because Bute had fought his entire career (apart from one fight in Romania) in North America, and because he was unjustly a huge favourite. Unjustly because although he was 30-0, and making the 10th defence of his IBF title, his CV was nowhere near as good as Froch’s, who, as a 2 time WBC champion, had mixed in far better company. But Froch was coming into the fight off the back of a unification defeat to Andre Ward and many thought he was finished. But he wasn’t. The Cobra utterly annihilated Bute, stopping him in the 5th. Bute had a rematch clause but never exercised it, he didn’t want any more of Froch, not at any price.

But sometimes the hype is real; Terence Crawford was outstanding when he took Ricky Burns’ WBO Lightweight title in Glasgow in March 2014 (Gervonta Davis defended his title in style at the Copperbox on Saturday too) and Errol Spence Jr may also prove to be the real thing. But he’ll need to be because Kell Brook’s already proved that he’s the genuine article. And that, really, is my point.

May 23, 2017
May 23, 2017
Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin

Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos/Golden Boy

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IT’S a really good fight. They’ve sparred in the past. They key thing is they have sparred in the past and what’s gone on in that sparring. People say you can’t take a lot from sparring because Canelo Alvarez could have come in and helped GGG out but not be in shape. Canelo could have been in shape and GGG wasn’t in shape or both of them could have been in shape and it could have been a really competitive spar. But only the people that were there know.

GGG is very confident of beating Canelo but Canelo is very confident in the ring. That confidence comes from their own ability and also I feel a little bit on what’s gone on in the sparring in the past. I do feel Canelo has got very, very quick hands. I think very underestimated. His jab was very, very good [against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr]. It was the key to the victory of what was a very good win. GGG’s a very good amateur fighter. I feel his last one or two fights, he’s always been wanting to entertain the crowd, wanting the ‘you hit me, I hit you’ mentality, willing to take a shot to land a shot. I do feel he can’t do that with Canelo. I do feel GGG may go back to what he was good at, with good feet, good amateur breeding in him and box a little bit more.

Canelo is very hard to hit clean, very hard to hit clean. You’ve seen the other day when Chavez had him where he wanted him, he was reluctant to pull the trigger because of the fear of what was coming back in the combinations. Canelo can come off the ropes with right hands, left hooks, right uppercuts, double and treble up on the same hand and he keeps you thinking. Not only that when you have Canelo in that situation on the ropes, his target is very small. He doesn’t have a big target, he covers his body up well. He has big arms, he covers it up well, he crouches well, he’s very hard to hit. No one has really seen Canelo really hurt with anything and the only way to beat Canelo has in the past has been somebody with good ringcraft and good feet, which Floyd Mayweather has. Does GGG have good ringcraft? Yeah, he does. Does he have good feet? Maybe not of late but he has. And can he make him fall short? Yeah he can. So that’s what makes it a really fascinating fight but I do feel sooner or later in the exchanges, and they will exchange, I always seem to go with: who has the better defence will usually win the fight. And in exchanges I just think Canelo is just that little bit better, I think he fights better up close than what GGG does in the pocket. GGG’s a good midrange fighter. He’s got a lot of power mid-range. Mid range, three quarter length range, gets lots of power, gets lots of people knocked out. Right up close and in the pocket? I think Canelo, that’s his game. I think Canelo’s the better inside fighter than GGG.

The capabilities are in there GGG to win this fight. He has to go back to some of the old good stuff, sharpen up, don’t be too lazy, don’t get caught with silly shots. I do feel a lot of people underestimate the speed of Canelo’s punches and his jab. He has a very, very good jab.

Canelo Alvarez

Would GGG have stopped Chavez, would Canelo have stopped Daniel Jacobs? Could the results have changed much different, or would the fights have been very similar? That’s what makes it an interesting fight. If they’d have swapped opponents last time out would the results have been any different. Would you have said GGG will knock Chavez out within six rounds on that performance? Would you have said on GGG’s last performance, Canelo would have stopped Daniel Jacobs? That’s what makes it such a fascinating fight.

May 22, 2017
May 22, 2017
Canelo Alvarez

Joe Camporeale/USA Today Sports

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PRELIMINARY numbers for the all-Mexico showdown between Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr indicates approximately one million HBO PPV buys. Over 20,000 more filled the stands in Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, proudly waving the Mexican flag. They might as well have wrapped themselves in it and taken a nap. Chavez Jr’s refusal to engage led to a one-sided snoozer with Canelo winning every round.

The card was somewhat salvaged by the Canelo-Gennady Golovkin announcement. Even so, no one should have to pay $75 for a sparring session and the declaration of a fight that will likely cost them another $75, if not more. Canelo-GGG is worth every penny, but that doesn’t excuse the undeserving PPVs before and likely after it.

Canelo Alvarez

HBO boxing once reserved PPVs for established stars against worthy contenders. And when these stars fought lesser opposition, it was off-PPV.

In recent years, however, HBO has relaxed its standards for being a star. While Showtime and Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) look to expand their audience, the network that premiered their boxing series with Frazier-Foreman, kicked off Boxing After Dark with Barrera-McKinney, and cultivated more stars than Dr. Dre, is doing its best to minimize theirs.

HBO’s output has dropped significantly. After peaking at 42 shows in 2006, that number fell to 22 in 2010 and then 20 (five PPV’s) in 2016. This year’s schedule is even worse: A dismal nine cards through September, four of which are PPV’s. At this rate, every fighter on the network will become a PPV commodity—if only they had the buys to justify it.

Some industry insiders believe that money sunk into failed shows (the short-lived Vinyl, for instance) has adversely affected the network’s budget.

Others suggest that AT&T’s $85.4 billion acquisition of HBO parent company Time Warner forced the latter to pare their boxing budget to window dress their valuation.

A third rumoured possibility is that the sagging viewership led to these cuts. Ratings for HBO’s boxing telecasts fell by 10% in 2016. The downtrend has continued this year. HBO Sports Executive VP Peter Nelson has given the masses the Canelo-GGG super-fight, brought Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev together twice, and developed Roman Gonzalez among others, but even he can’t be expected to spread butter with a toothpick.

While HBO disaffiliates from boxing, the sport is gaining momentum elsewhere. In the UK, 90,000 watched Anthony Joshua KO Wladimir Klitschko live. Further, two Americans, Gervonta Davis and Errol Spence Jr will head to England this month for world title bouts.

The US is also experiencing a grassroots renaissance. New York’s Barclays Center, a home away from home for Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia, housed a boxing-record 16,333 attendees for the duo’s faceoff last March.

Deontay Wilder’s February homecoming brought 12,346 folks out to Birmingham, a record for Alabama boxing.

Nearly 10,000 braved cold temperatures in Toledo, Ohio to watch local Robert Easter Jr last February.

And Terence Crawford drew 11,270 in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska last December.

These numbers are beginning to translate to television, where the Showtime network has been like manna to the starved fight fan.

Showtime, which has 28 million subscribers to HBO’s 32 million, kicked off the new year by beating HBO head-to-head for the first time in their history. Two weeks later, 859,000 watched Adrien Broner eke by Adrian Granados, making it their most-watched event since January 2015. The bout was also streamed live on Twitter, a sign that boxing, after years of watching UFC outpace them in the cyberworld, is beginning to make headway.

By June 9 Showtime would have televised 17 live boxing telecasts in 2017, including 15 world championship fights. None on PPV. Most of these cards feature fighters from the PBC series. While media chatter has revolved around the demise of Al Haymon’s brainchild (and not HBO boxing on life support) PBC has aired 56 shows in the past twelve months—including 22 this year through June 3.  These cards have averaged 2.3 million viewers through eight episodes on the Big Three (CBS, NBC & Fox).

Haymon is doing his part to keep HBO’s ship afloat as well. Terence Crawford’s last two opponents, John Molina and Felix Diaz, are his. Canelo and Golovkin have also fought Haymon fighters in two of their last three bouts.

No doubt, some fans and media will accuse this writer of network bias for pointing this out. If desiring consistent, affordable quality fare over the opposite is a crime, then so be it.

PPVs such as Canelo-GGG have become the exception rather than the rule. Such a decline in HBO boxing might have been a death knell for the sport a decade ago. Indeed, boxing has taken many blows throughout its history and survived. Now, for the first time in a long time, it’s beginning to go on the offensive.

May 20, 2017
May 20, 2017
Gervonta Davis vs Liam Walsh

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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LIKE it or not, when Floyd Mayweather talks, people take notice. And Mayweather himself has anointed Gervonta Davis as American boxing’s next star. After winning the IBF junior-lightweight title in style, Davis certainly seems to be living up to that promise. Now he travels to London to defend his crown against Cromer’s Liam Walsh at the Copperbox.

On the undercard Liam’s twin brother Ryan Walsh fights for the British featherweight, heavy-punching heavyweight prospect Daniel Dubois has his latest outing against David Howe and imposing light-heavy Anthony Yarde meets Chris Hobbs for the Southern Area stray.

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