Is It Better To Be Talented Or Popular ?

Is It Better To Be Talented Or Popular ?

Living and working back home in Bonnie Scotland I have a lot less time to write but a hell of a lot more time to think about things due to the prehistoric public transport system. Going just 10 miles up the road takes 1 hour minimum and 2 trains. Now some would see this a negative but the truth be told I have always found trains relaxing, a place where I can tap into my thoughts and even iron some things out internally. The other day this took this to a new level when I had an inner debate which saw me miss my stop and add 20 minutes onto my commute home after a long days work. Sitting there watching the world go by I got thinking about Dave Allen and asked myself the question, is it better to be talented or popular?

This is not a new thought to me, it is something that I have asked myself from my school days. Seeing the bright kids in school who take academical work in their stride but just never really fitting into social circles. Then you had the kids who maybe never excelled in the class room but loved school as it was the original social network, a place to go hang around with friends and get a laugh, I was of the latter of these two groups. I have no doubt in my mind that I had the ability to achieve more in the classroom but i made a choice that my life in the short term would be better being one of the popular group, and even to this day I’m not convinced I made the wrong choice.

Dave Allen is a boxer with very limited skills, yes there is a solid foundation to make a good boxer, but without 100% dedication to this sport there is very little anyone can do with a good foundation ……or is there? 

What Dave “The White Rhino” Allen lacks in talent he makes up for with a more sellable asset “popularity” and “Likeability” two assets which have seen Allen get multiple slots on big PPV shows and manoeuvred into commonwealth title positions. We hear Allen tell us time and time again that he has performed poorly because he hasn’t been training right, We even heard that for his last fight he didn’t do any sparring. The Doncaster man has had multiple chances to push forward as a pro athlete, opportunities to enhance his career and see where he can go in the sport but instead chooses to “Play” at boxing. 

I have met Dave Allen once and that was on the night before he fought on a PPV show. He was in a kebab shop in London and the next night he went out and picked up his best win to date against Nick Webb so there is something to Dave Allen. Still only 26 years old I still believe Allan has time to screw his head on, knuckle down and bring the best version of himself to the ring, but I don’t think we will ever see it happen. Just like in school hardworking kids are overlooked whilst others just seem to breeze through on their popularity and people skills. I am not suggesting for one second that the skills Allen does possess are not important to make a successful fighter in todays game but they should be used to elevate an already dedicated fighter, It should never work the other way.

The funny thing is that I actually like Dave Allen as he is a nice honest young man and I hope he is making a lot of money because he is taking more and more punishment as time goes on. This article wasn’t really about him and more about the short sighted popularity contest that opens doors for him. Going round gyms for interviews and seeing guys like David Brophy and others go to hell on a daily basis hoping to get in position to maybe get an opportunity at the big time, whilst others have it handed to them because they are good on twitter that is where i have a problem.

@DjayBoxingBlog 

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Floyd Mayweather Jnr – The Jokes Over

We all have that one uncle who always tells the same joke at every family function. A joke that when heard the first couple of times is met by laughter but as time goes on the laughter downgrades to a smile and before long it starts to grind on you. This unoriginal act will start provoking a reaction other than laughter, It will bring no joy whatsoever to the point you cannot really class it as a joke anymore, It’s more an attack on your state of mind.

There is not a boxing cliche left that hasn’t been used to describe Floyd Mayweather Jnr’s career. With multiple World Titles at five different weight classes, with plaudits from every major sports outlet on the planet as well as generating over $1B in revenue in his career he truly is one of the all time boxing greats. The only thing that comes close to Floyd’s elite level skills is his elite level ego. From crazy demands to outrageous temper tantrums Floyd Mayweather has brought the best and worst out in fans of boxing. His ego mania was last seen whilst boxing fans were gearing up for one the biggest fights in years between Canelo and GGG back in 2017. With a fear and loathing of being forgotten about it was announced that Las Vegas based Mayweather would fight Superstar UFC Champion Conner McGregor in a boxing a ring the week before the Middleweight super fight. A fight aimed at stealing the casual fans PPV buys from Canelo/GGG this was like dog marking his teritiory. This really was classic Floyd, not yet ready to pass on the torch to the guys now carrying boxing he looked to damage them and the sport by taking potential revenue away by fighting a zero fight novice.

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More recently Floyd’s former foe Canelo Alvarez signed the most lucrative deal in boxing history and fired a gloating shot in Mayweather’s direction. Now any normal Multi Millionaire adult would laugh off Canelos dig, i mean after all what else do you have left to prove? Well for Floyd it seems letting go of the constant lime light has been his biggest struggle so we all knew what was coming.

Whilst in Japan a well choreographed “chance meeting” between two of boxings modern day greats Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather had words and left both claiming that these now old and diminished versions will meet again for the rematch, a rematch  nobody wanted, but everyone will buy and that is power Floyd Mayweather has over boxing…….He sells

News has just broken that former boxing five weight World Champion Mayweather will fight Japanese kick boxer Tension Nasukawa with the rules yet to be disclosed. Now lets just get this out in the open right away, there is no way that Floyd will fight a Kickboxer at Kickboxing, no way does this ego maniac give away any advantage. Floyd was famous for making every opponent dance to his tune in negotiations whilst he was an elite level boxer so that will never change.

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How many more time will this joke be retold? How much money and attention will be diverted away from real boxers before someone puts your uncle is asked to leave and put in a taxi and is sent home, or better still when will we stop inviting him in the first place?. People think that Floyd Mayweather with his 50-0-0 record is risking his legacy, I would argue otherwise, i would say Floyd is already damaging it with these freak show fights.

Go away and enjoy your life, boxing doesn’t need you.

Steven Donnell

Jamel Herring Interview – Fighting Pride

Jamel Herring Interview – Fighting Pride

The United States of America, the home of the brave and the land of the free. On this small planet that we all inhabit there is not a prouder nation upon it. A country who’s citizens are fanatical about being American. As a nation born through war, its people celebrate their veterans past and present. Through wars of independence against the Red Coat Army loyal to Britain or the American Civil war this proud nation in its infancy was built on the sacrifices of its brave young men.

In recent times we have seen on TV the men and woman of US and Coalition Forces go off to fight in an impossible war against an invisible enemy in places likened to hell. We watched on TV as these young men leave behind their families and go to a places where they are expected to risk their lives on a daily basis. We seen on TV the absolute devastation left by a roadside bombs targeting these men and woman…..WE seen on TV whilst THEY lived through it.

Jamel Herring was raised in the Hamlet of Coram, New York. A place which looks  picturesque on a Google search but like most places in todays world you don’t have to try to hard to find that “street life” is usually thriving off of human vices away from the cameras. Jamel explained how he steered clear of falling into the “Life”.

“Coram was a crazy place live at times and then it could be so peaceful. I seen a lot of my friends getting caught up doing things that they shouldn’t have been doing , especially at a really young age. Me? I found sports to keep me busy and away from that kind of life”

Jamel happily admits that boxing was never his first love. Like so many youngsters in the US there is only one sport for them and that’s American Football.

 “When i got started in sport it was playing football in high school, that was the sport that sent me on my way to being an athlete and doing things of that nature. It was years later before I laced up a set of boxing gloves, I was like 15 or 16 years old”

The New Yorker may have been late coming into boxing but he was eager to make up for lost time. After just a year in the sport a young Jamel picked up his first amateur loss to future middleweight world champion Danny Jacobs during the New York Junior Olympic Finals in 2002.

In the 2003 the World was on the verge of War again. It was plain to see that no diplomatic solution would be reached between the US and the Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Government. Jamel Herring was Graduating from school whilst his country was gearing up for war. Like so many of us at that time in our lives Herring felt lost in what to do in life until his friend Suggested he enlist in the military and do something with his life and that’s exactly what he did.

“I went and joined the marine corp coming straight out of school. I was still only 17 years old, in fact i spent my 18th Birthday in bootcamp. Once I started my military career I thought that I wouldn’t have had time for boxing. Boxing was a bit stop start for the next few years…..soldier first, boxer second”

image.pngIn 2005 the young Marine was sent on his first tour of war torn Iraq after being deployed in the infamous Iraqi City of Fallujah. Now working with a Recon Unit as an electrician who’s job it was to seek out insurgents tasked with planting IEDs and Roadside bombs . For those of us old enough to remember, Fallujah was a place we seen on the news daily. Renowned as one of the most dangerous places in the world at the time, Jamel said to me in as serious a tone that only a military man could “Being in Iraq in a time of war really took my mind away from boxing”. Once home from Iraq Jamel admitted he had a new found appreciation of American values and way of life.

In all Jamel did two tours in Iraq firstly in 2005 and then again in 2007 but on his second tour things had changed, Jamel had become a father and with parenthood comes responsibilities, for a soldier that is staying alive.image.png

Herring did have success in the ring between tours of Iraq but he admits his mind was always on the job he had to do in the Middle East and getting home safely to his family. The war veteran explained that being in the Marine Corp in a time of war means your mind is solely focussed on doing a job which meant “Boxing was always in my heart but it had to take a back seat”. He admits that there was a time when he thought he would never be able to get back into the boxing the way he would have wanted but that was all going change.

Coming back from a war zone to civilisation is often one of the hardest things any soldier will do. From being on a constant level of high alert then walking right back into your life back home. When the then 22 year old came back after his second tour he explained how still being in the military, and their boxing team helped him resettle and get back into the life he had left behind.

“It took a while , a really long time. It wasn’t easy but i was determined. I was determined to get back into boxing. I concentrated on being the best fighter I could be in the boxing team because the better you are on the team the better the chances of you sticking around and that’s what i needed in my life at that time”

Due to his Military career The New Yorker had always felt like he was playing catch up in the ring and that he could never really have a good run at boxing that way he always wanted to, but in the next couple of years that all changed. Refocussed on boxing Jamel says “I started studying the amateur system a lot more than i ever had before and that helped Me a lot in the ring, it wasn’t long before i started moving up the rankings” and after winning Gold at the 2012 Olympic trials Jamel was going to the London Olympics, the first Marine Corps boxer to do so since 1992.

On 27th July 2012 the opening ceremony for the London Olympic Games got underway. This is the day that every athlete at any Olympic Games looks forward to, a ceremony that celebrates the achievements of every athlete of just making it there, which will be the pinochle of so many’s career. The now father of four had fought for his country on the battlefield, now he would do so in the ring on the world stage, but the opening ceremony was a day of mixed emotions for Jamel. On the 27th July 2009 Jamel’s partner found their young daughter Ariyanah who was in bed wasn’t breathing, and although Doctors tried they couldn’t save the two month old child. The cause of death was later determined as SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). During our interview i made a conscious decision not to ask Jamel about this as a token of respect as the tragedy is already well documented. On that night of the opening ceremony Jamel said he looked up to the sky and said “Baby Girl I made it”

London 2012 is remembered as one of the great Olympic Games and Jamel felt right at home in the UK.

“I’m from New York so coming to London it was like a home away from for me. Once i was over in London i quickly adapted to the people and made some really good friends some of whom I am still close to.”

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The Olympian said He didn’t fair to well in the olympic games but he felt he had done himself and the Marine Corp proud. Jamel had loved his time in London and had made some good friends through the sport.

“I would love to go back to the UK one day to entertain the people over there. I’m friends with Josh Taylor and i am really happy with what he’s doing for himself in the sport. People need to remember boxing is like a fraternity. What i mean by that is that its a very small community so Josh is still a good friend of mine and he just fought another good friend of mine Ryan Martin”

Coming home from the Olympic games the American made one of the hardest decisions of his life when he decided to leave the Marine Corp and pursue his dream of becoming a Professional Boxer. Now with a record of 18-2-0 10KO picked up USBA Super Featherweight Title in his last fight with a points win over John Vincent Moralde Jamel should soon be world ranked with the IBF.

There is a saying used by Marines “My time in uniform maybe over, but being a Marine never ends” now adopting the alias “Semper Fi” which is a Marine Corp motto, Herring is a proud example of that.

“I love this sport. I still support the amateur system to this day. I’m doing really well right now in the pro game but my main goal has alway been to represent the Marine Corp to the best of my ability and with pride. Whether that was in the amateurs or now as a pro, that gives me enjoyment and i hope it gives the Corp”

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Now promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank “Semper Fi” has said in 2019 He will have a decision to make. He can wait for his shot at the IBF or he does have the option to go the WBO route, Jamel says one thing is for sure though.

“In 2019 i WILL be fighting for a world title of that i have no doubt. I will be a world champion. Not only that i will want to unify the division as well. Some guys today get a title and have no interest in Unifying but not me though, I want to be a unified world champion”

*Jamel Herring is fighting again on 14th December in Texas

Hughie Fury Loses Again – Levels to Boxing

Hughie Fury Loses Again – Levels to Boxing

In boxing We hear the term “levels” chucked around by fans on a weekly basis, but what does it actually mean?

Well, it is quite simple really. It’s a way of looking at talent in context, a bit like how football separates the best teams by divisions. Where boxing is different from football is that when we see a top prospects it’s not always practicle to promote them up through the aforementioned levels (or leagues if you prefer) gradually.

Although this is something we as fans like to see it does leave so much room for presumption that certain skills are already possessed by a prospect, and as an intelligent woman once said

“Evolution has long been the target of illogical arguments that use presumption”

On Saturday night we seen Hughie Fury learn the hard way that sometimes a presumption of talent can damage and ultimately derail a prospects career.

Praise was heaped on Hughie Fury when he took the fight that Dillion Whyte didn’t want when he signed to fight Kubrat Pulev in the veteran fighters homecoming in Bulgaria.  Hughie, the younger cousin of former Unified Heavyweight World Champion Tyson Fury, seemed ready to be fast tracked through the sport. On Saturday night we learned that it is individuals that are special, not their DNA .

It was clear from early on that Hughie Fury just didn’t have the experience, the skill set or even the heart to beat an awkward but ordinary opponent in Pulev. From early on it was clear that although Hughie Fury was the far bigger man in the ring he was being bullied by the vastly more experienced Pulev. Fury picked up a cut in the second round, something every boxer will go through in their career but this seemed to throw Fury’s concentration and a couple rounds later you could see the confidence and heart start seep out of a ever more defeated Fury. The longer the fight went on the more ordinary Pulev looked with his storm in style, but the more Fury looked like a fish out of water. Kubrat Pulev would have been coming into the ring on Saturday expecting a tough fight, what he got was an easy road to Anthony Joshua.

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Now i am not trying to be nasty about Hughie Fury after all he is still a relatively young man but this was his second time being fast tracked up to world level ,the first being a close fight with Joseph Parker in which Fury also failed. In both fights i have seen nothing that would suggest that Hughie Fury should be fast tracked through the levels for a third time. On Saturday, I seen a young fighter try to implement his usual style and it didn’t work he couldn’t change as he had nothing else in his armoury to call on. For me Fury has used the Surname for all it is worth to get a world title fight, and more recently a shot at a final eliminator, now he must step back down the levels. He has to go and learn his trade and see where his talent will get him, not his name . If he does that and gets back to world level he will find himself a lot more equipped to deal with what’s in front of him .

Steven Donnell

Canelo Signs With DAZN And What It Could Mean For Matchroom USA

Canelo Signs With DAZN And What It Could Mean For Matchroom USA

There are not a lot of constants in boxing, it is a sport where things inside and outside the ring are constantly evolving but the one thing the sport will always retain is its power to shock. Today we woke up to the news that boxing’s biggest superstar had signed a five year deal with newly launched (in the US) streaming app DAZN, a deal worth $365m. DAZN may be the new boys in the US market but they are cash rich and look to be throwing everything at cracking the market to becoming one of the world’s biggest online sport’s platforms.

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For years Canelo Alvarez has been the face of HBO boxing, the pinnacle of  boxing in terms of super fights. A platform steeped in boxing history. A few weeks ago HBO announced it was pulling out of boxing leaving the superstar without a home. Although DAZN are cash rich this deal came as a shock to most as DAZN already have a $1B eight year deal in place with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom and Golden Boy promotions who look after Canelo Alvarez have stated publicly “We are not interested in Co-Promoting Canelo”. As more details have emerged about this deal it has became clear that this deal is between Golden Boy and DAZN, separate from the Matchroom USA deal. This looks like a moment of genius from John Skipper, the Executive Chairman of Performance Group, the owners of DAZN. Skipper looks to have rekindled and relationship with Oscar De La Hoya after both knew each other from their time working together for ESPN, not just bringing in Canelo but also securing a home for Golden Boy and their stable.image.png

So what does this mean for Eddie Hearn and Matchroom USA ? 

Well as it stand it is impossible for us to tell for sure. It was reported that on DAZN Apps launch night which featured AJ vs Povetkin fight, that subscription numbers were particularly poor, in the low tens of thousands if some reports are to be believed . This could mean one of two things for Hearn in my opinion. When DAZN announced their $1B deal with Eddie Hearn it was clear from early on that Eddie had targets to hit. Any fighters signed to the new deal was only offered a short term bumper deals, which most declined and any decent names were co-promotion deals. With HBO pulling the plug on boxing this could be a sign that DAZN may have decided to go another way, i mean its not everyday that the biggest star in boxing becomes a free agent. I’m not saying DAZN will ditch Matchroom USA completely, i am saying that DAZN are looking to build a platform on the back of Canelo and not Matchroom, maybe in the next quarter Matchroom USA will find their budget for putting on shows dramatically cut as DAZN have already secured the rights to stream Anthony Joshua fights from the UK along with Canelo’s fights, It doesn’t get much bigger than that.

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We could also look at this another way. Eddie Hearn has worked with performance group now for over five years, together they have signed some massive deals outside of the US market so we know that there is a good working relationship between both parties. This may well be DAZN telling Eddie Hearn that they know they had given him a near impossible task to crack the US and this is their way of pushing things along. There can be no doubt that this deal puts matchroom USA in a significantly stronger position as subscribers will buy into DAZN in massive numbers to see Canelo, but these people will still be viewing the platforms other shows putting Hearn in a great position to build his own star.

One thing is for sure, this deal isn’t bad for boxing. The way in which boxing is evolving on the business side of things i think it actually makes sense for a platform NOT to be exclusive to one promoter. Any sort of negotiations between Matchroom and Golden Boy just became a hell of a lot easier.

Steven Donnell

World Boxing Super Series – Josh Taylor Presser

World Boxing Super Series – Josh Taylor Presser

Glasgow , 15th October 

This tournament has been described as the Champions League of boxing in the past and when you walk into the press conference you certainly get that feel . Representation from all the major media outlets were in attendance from BBC to ITV (STV) , then you have your big players in the boxing media like Ring Mag and IFL in attendance , but something the WBSS has got right when it comes to the media is that it’s not ” Job’s for the Boys” which is usually the case with these big showpiece events . The World Boxing Super Series have on more than one occasion now made space for small independent outlets like myself which is a breath of fresh air .

Nisse Sauerland got thing’s underway in the presser outlining exactly just what this tournament is trying to do  ….build stars . Nisse also emphasised that this tournament is aimed at a global audience  so although they faced criticism for Season 1 final being in Saudi Arabia they won’t change . Josh Taylor looked in fantastic shape and we found out why . Taylor now has a permanent training base in London which means he isn’t spending the full camps . Taylor said he ready fight now,  a couple of weeks out from fight night and predicts still with some hard training to come in the next two weeks he will be in the best shape of his career .

WATCH PRESS CONFERENCE HERE

After the initial press conference we had time to catch up with Josh and Nisse

Ticket’s start at £35 and this is a show thats not to be missed as Bantamweight World Champion Ryan Burnett will take on Nonito Donair on the same card . Tickets can be purchased here Tickets