I was joined the line by Nathan Dowie and Riku to speak about all this weeks big boxing news including Jamel Herring picks up a World Title, Hughie Fury and will he ever fulfil his early potential . We also spoke about AJ/Ruiz as well as all the rest of the goings on in the Heavyweight Division.
Why do we as fans love boxing ? For me personally I love the way in which these athletes can perform under intense pressure . The way in which these men and woman can function whilst being punched ,completely blocking out pain at times . Of course what we get to see in the ring is only a fraction of the time , hardwork and methodical training that’s gone in for the week’s and months before fightnight . On Saturday night we seen two of the very best in the sport go toe to toe when GGG vs Canelo got there rematch underway in what would prove to be a masterclass in boxing , something a lot of fans have forgotten how to enjoy .
Elite >”A select group that is superior in terms of ability”
The above is how the dictionary defines elite , words that could have easily been replaced by a photo of GGG and Canelo . Any doubt as to the Mexican superstars pedigree were put to bed early on in this fight as he shocked everybody by coming and taking the centre of the ring forcing GGG to box off the backfoot , something we have never seen him have to do before .
The first half of the fight we really seen Canelo look comfortable and relaxed doing some great bodywork , whilst GGG smartly stayed behind that fantastic jab until he could adjust to Canelo, who had clearly caught the champion off guard . Although Canelo looked to be doing the better work it really was getting harder to score as the fight went on . As each round passed by GGG looked to be breathing very heavily due to a combination of great bodywork from Canelo and the high pace of the fight .
I have to admit I thought the fight was beginning to get away from GGG at the end of the seventh but then just before the eighth round GGG’s corner told him he was losing this fight . In the eighth a switch seemed to flick in GGG prompting him to go meet Canelo in the middle of the ring and what came next was like watching physical and violent poetry . GGG was definitely having more success fighting this way and clearly picking up a few rounds , the full time starting to feel pity for the judge’s , and It wasn’t going to get any easier for them . As GGG would dominate the first half of around Canelo would finish stronger and vise versa , rounds would swing back and forward . As the fight came to an end one thing was for sure , this was close , really close .
Robbery > To take the property of anther in his or her person or presence
The Judges had the unenviable task of trying to separates these two warriors and as both stood in the ring battered and bloodied a sobering wave of dread came across most watching, as this could be another draw , a result that would totally deflate most spectators . We came for a winner and a winner is what the judges gave us . With one judge calling it a draw and two agreeing Canelo shaved it , it was the Mexican’s hand that was raised in the ring , a fair result right ? Well not to the many people who for one reason or another shouted robbery and fix . These claims leave a sour taste in my mouth . How anybody can totally disrespect the show these two put on is beyond me . Yes GGG could easily have won and the judges could have still have went home with there head’s held high . I feel that to many fans allow themselves to become emotionally involved when watching a fight , remember this isn’t football you really shouldn’t let yourself get overly attached as it clouds judgment , just like it does in football . If you cant sit back and just enjoy what you had watched without judging through tinted glasses then your denying yourself so much , you would enjoy the boxing experience so much more . Keep yourself impartial , watch out for feints , defence , positioning ,footwork and all the other stuff both these guys put together in the ring and just watch in awe .
Revenge > To exact punishment for a wrong on behalf of , especially in a resentful or vindictive spirit
It was clear that the storyline didn’t go to plan on Saturday night as Canelo who has just come back from suspension for failed drug tests walked out winner , but regardless of storylines it was a fair result . This fight had been brewing for months in some bad blood with jibes being aimed at both men in the build up . Twice now this match up has thrown up some unbelievable boxing . This isn’t a Hollywood movie , this was real life and just like in any walk of life whether it’s in a boxing ring or just an average joe in his workplace things go against you , there are those who will give up and think what’s the point , then there are those who will push on knowing that luck has a funny way of going in circles and roundabouts and GGG is certainly due some luck .I really hope GGG doesn’t retire as he still has so much he can give to the sport , and who know’s maybe if he chases that third fight he will get it and we all as fans wins as we watch them do this all over again .
Most of my readers won’t know this but my father is blind , but any of you that do know my old man will agree that he is one of the most amazing people you will ever meet. From cycling on his tandem to mountain climbing he has done it all but his real passion is weight lifting. My Dad is in the gym most days of the week and just approaching 59 years he is still one of the strongest and fittest men in his gym. My “Old man” has told me how so many young guys have come and gone over the years and how others who have trained with him have got noticeably bigger and stronger over short periods of time, and with him not being a man to hold back his words thats usually where his relationship with these guy’s bitterly ends. You see my Dad maybe blind but he can see a cheat a mile away. For him training is all about the hard work and dedication so when people who ask to train with him take shortcuts and cheat he takes this as a personal insult. As is so often the case my Dad’s strong feeling’s on doping has passed down to me .
Now my hatred for drug cheats has served me well and led me to hammer those caught doping at any opportunity. When Louis Ortiz failed a drug test for the second time I was only to happy to take my pound of flesh off of him. When Alexander Povetkin failed his drug test just before he was due to face Deontay Wilder I wanted a lengthy ban, when he failed another I wanted him out of the sport for life. Yeah things were good sitting back and taking aim at these fighters I felt no attachment to but that all changed in February when one of my favourite boxers in the sport, Saul Canelo Alvarez tested positive for Clenbuterol on two separate occasions.
Now like all dopers Canelo denied any wrong doing blaming the failed test on the notorious contaminated Mexican beef. Now I never bought into this excuse no mater how many times the WBC tried to force it down our throats. Now seeing Canelo coming into this fight with GGG he is noticeably smaller, now I never knew what Clenbuterol done to the human body until i seen Canelo in a picture recently and that for me has removed any doubt that he cheated. As a fan of his boxing style and ability it really has left a sour taste in my mouth. On Saturday night if GGG wins then boxing wins, but what about if Canelo wins ? Will he get the credit for being the first man to beat GGG ?, I seriously doubt it, will it clear his name and legacy ? Nope , will he be remembered for it ? I don’t think so …….which got me thinking .
One of my favourite fighters of all time is Evander Holyfield, for me he is a modern day legend of the sport. Holyfield was involved in some of the best fights to take place in my lifetime and to this day I still go back and watch them, we even have one on our Casuals Corner. What boxing fans like to do is overlook the fact that “The Real Deal” is a drug cheat. When people talk about the Klitschko’s it is often met with “yeah Vitali was the better brother” and people will point to how Vitali was schooling Lennox Lewis until the fight was stopped prematurely due to a cut, another modern day great, another drug cheat. If you didn’t know Roy Jones Jnr was a drugs cheat you would never hear a boxing fan tell you instead they would go on about how he is one of the best fighters ever to grace the squared circle.
We as fans pick and choose when we want there to be a hardline zero tolerance of PED enhanced boxers and when we give them a pass. The truth of the matter is that boxing can be a popularity contest outside the ring which see’s us turn a blind eye all to often. It would seem that we only want a hardline when it suits us which really makes us no better than the law makers of the sport.
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It’s finally time to sit down and write my preview for this weekends super fight between GGG vs Canelo . Now i say that with an exasperated tone as the build up to this fight has been exhausting and dare i say it , it’s now even turning people off from the fight . I have also seen some well respected people in the boxing media say they don’t care about this fight , that since Canelo tested positive or due to the how the last fight finished which i think is crazy as in modern boxing the best very rarely fight the best at this level . Personally I cannot wait for that bell to ring and for this fight to get underway , for me part 1 of this fight was a masterclass in boxing skill and it was a joy to watch and on Saturday in Las Vegas i think it will be the same all over again .
GGG 38-0-1 34ko’s
GGG is coming into this fight on a wave of anger and bad blood . The Kazakhs not only furious about how the first fight was stolen from him on the cards but also that this rematch had to be postponed after Canelo was suspended for testing positive for clenbuterol back in February . Since then the usually quiet and reserved GGG has pointed both barrels at Canelo and pulled the trigger . This could be an effective tool for GGG as it is obvious he has got into Canelo’s head with the Mexican refusing to do any pressers with GGG in the build up to this fight .
For this ploy to work GGG has to detach himself from his emotions on fight night and go in there to box to a plan . GGG has one of the best jabs in boxing , it is the key to winning this fight for him . In the first fight GGG started to slowly and seemed to be load up on his shots far to often , but the tide started to turn once he established his jab . With a chin made of granite and an awesome selection of punches to choose from GGG is the perfect all round fighter so it is difficult to find a fault with him but there is one . For years i admired the way in which GGG closed off the ring on opponents leaving them nowhere to go but now at 36 years old and stepping up to elite level opposition i think his feet have slowed down . In the last fight he fell into a habit of following Canelo rather than chasing him down and now another year older this could be his Achilles heal .
Saul Canelo Alvarez 49-1-2 34ko’s
Being a superstar of the sport from such a young age Canelo was everybody’s favourite villain since Floyd Mayweather hung up his gloves so after Adelaide Byrd’s crazy score card which resulted in Canelo getting a draw (A result i have no problem with) the Canelo hate was off the chart from boxing fans . That ridículas scorecard robbed Canelo of any credit in that fight . Canelo boxed brilliantly in the first fight which he was in right until the end on my cards (i had GGG by 1 round) . For me Canelo is the more skilled of these two fighters and when you see him throw his punches in bunches you see why . He can set you up with a feint and unload with three or four meaningful shots before disengaging , but just like GGG , Canelo didn’t use his best weapon from the start . Only once GGG established the jab did Canelo look to land more than one shot at a time . It was clear in the first fight that Canelo’s movement gave GGG problems in the first fight and i think that is what Canelo is going to try an exploit again on Saturday night , but there is no getting away from the facts that Canelo looks small coming into this fight and i think we can all suspect why . I really don’t know how this will work out for Canelo as he will be quicker ,more agile and probably be able to go for longer this time round but he will be missing that power to keep GGG off of him which has to be a big worry in the Canelo camp .
Even with all the drama to get to this rematch i am still buzzing thinking about it . How can you predict how these two will go at it as both can mix and match there styles like all the elite level fighters can . If Canelo is to win this fight he will need to fight a Mayweatheresc fight landing and moving before the counter , never being tied down and letting GGG get to work . If Abel Sanchez thought he ran last time i suspect he will be seething after this IF Canelo can pull it off . There is no getting away from the sheer difference in size of these guys . I believe GGG will just be to big for Canelo who i expect to start fast but fade as the fight hits the middle rounds and that’s when i think the pendulum will swing toward GGG. I think Canelo might even hit the canvas but he will see out the fight . I have said before that if GGG is to win on the cards he must win big , and i think he will do that .
GGG Unanimous Decision
Today i have been sitting reading the news that GGG vs Canelo rematch is all but dead due to negotiations breaking down because a dispute over purse splits , this come’s just a week after AJ vs Wilder broke down in negotiations and now also look’s like it wont be happening anytime soon . After such a promising start to the year the past month has really took the wind right of my sails which has me asking myself ….Does any other sport treat there fans with the utter discontent that boxing does ? .
Time after time we see fight’s that make sense at the elite level fall apart in negotiations , to the point that we see more of these fight’s fall apart more often than they are made . Ever since AJ beat Joseph Parker to pick up his third world title his team have been pushing this narrative that Deontay Wilder did not want to fight AJ . As a war of words kicked off between the two via social media Anthony Joshua told Wilder
“You pay me $50m and il sign the fight tomorrow ”
When Joshua made this statement it was a throwaway comment but to his shock team Wilder came up with the $50m , which would be Joshua’s biggest ever payday so the fight should get made right ? ….Well no as the next demand made was that AJ wanted home advantage , a move that would cap the earning potential of this fight , a demand that the money men behind this offer couldn’t agree to . As of now this fight looks dead in the water which is no big loss to AJ as he could make that kind of money in three easier fights here in the UK keeping his sponsors like StubHub happy as they make millions from ripping fans off to go watch AJ , but why are we as fans willing to accept this just because it’s AJ ? Boxing fans lost all respect for guys like Adonis Stevenson and Danny Garcia for doing something similar .
Over in the the US we have GGG insisting on a 50/50 split when he fights the biggest name in boxing Canelo Alvarez in there long awaited rematch . Now this one is a little bit more complicated due to Canelo failing a drug test in April and his fight with GGG being cancelled . The fight was due to take place in May with all sides agreeing on 65/35 split in favour of Canelo , giving GGG 5% more than he got in the first fight but since the failed drug test GGG and his team feel they should be compensated . Now i am GGG fan but there is no way that he brings 50% to the table, Canelo is by far the main draw here but when we are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars there is more than enough cash on the table to get this fight made and to be honest it makes me feel sick that both sides cant get this fight made when I’ve spoke to guys who can’t even cover there training camp due to there purse being so low .
Could you imagine any other sport where the best don’t test themselves against the best . Imagine for a second that in football Barcelona refused to play Real Madrid or in tennis if Andy Murray refused to take on Djokovic . Why are we so willing to accept being treated like this as fans ? At the end of the day our power lays with the pounds , shilling’s and pence that is in our pockets , I think these so called superstars need to remember it is us the fans that put them where they are and we can bring them back down .
This week has been a damming week for sport but not to much of a surprise for a born again pessimist like myself . Earlier this week the UK Government published it’s report into doping and it indicated some of the biggest names in UK sport are suspected of being cheats . The Parliamentary Digital , culture , media and sport select committee came to the damming conclusion that Team Sky (Cycling Team) cynically abused the anti doping system and allowed its athletes to take PED’s , it also claims there is a strong possibility that Sir Bradley Wiggans was also on PED’s in his time with Team Sky . It doesn’t feel to long ago since the fairytale story of Lance Armstrong was proved to be just that …A fairytale .
It was announced this week that superstar boxer Canelo Alvarez test sample came back with trace amounts of clenbuterol , a banned substance . The weirdest thing about this story was that VADA and WBA had verified and accepted Canelo’s story of ” Contaminated Meat ” right away and took the harsh stance of making Canelo finish his training camp in the US (did you sense the sarcasm) . Now i do accept that Canelo may well have ate contaminated meat as it is a confirmed epidemic in Mexico with sportsmen failing tests in every sport including Mexicos U17 football team . Surly if there is a history of contaminated meat in Mexico that makes Canelo and his team more responsible for making sure he is eating the best organic meat around , even import it like Deontay Wilder had done when getting ready to fight Alexander Povetkin in Russia , ironically a fight that was cancelled due to Povetkin failing a drug test . Canelo’s sample came back with 0.8 and 0.6 trace amounts of clenbuterol in his system which doesn’t sound a lot but when you think a cyclist received a two year ban for having 0.5 in his system it really doesn’t look good for boxing .
Also this week we seen Former Olympian Tony Yoka receive a one year suspended ban for missing multiple drug teats . When i read this i have to admit i felt a little dejected , what is the point in that ban . I have yet to see one athlete that has been caught doping that holds there hands up and admits it , there is always some excuse which deflects blame and even makes them the victims . Tony Yoka missing a drug test has to be an admission of guilt the same way that Rio Ferdinand got a lengthy ban from the FA for missing a test whilst playing for Manchester Utd , Yoka needed to get lengthy ban . Another thing that doesn’t sit right with me is on Saturday night we seen Luis Ortiz fight for the WBC Heavyweight title a few months after failing a drug test by testing positive for a drug known to mask doping , of course Ortiz claimed it was medication for high blood pressure that he forgot to declare to testers . This case got even more bizarre when the WBA stripped Ortiz of his title and gave him a ban but the WBC said he didn’t have a case to answer ….very strange .
There are some fans out there who still believe in “Superhumans” people who will take away from the MPs investigation by saying ” who would Trust an MP ” and then there is those who say “clenbuterol isn’t even a steroid ‘ neglecting to acknowledge its on the banned list , those who say ” Ortiz has High Blood Pressure ” and dont care that he never declared he was on medication on the banned list , something all pro athletes MUST DO . If you are one of these people this is something you should take onboard , There is no such thing as a Superhuman there are only Super Doping Programmes .
So what a weekend of action and controversy , yet again it was things outside the ring that stole the show in Las Vegas .
GGG vs Canelo at T-Mobile Arena ,LV
This was the fight that all boxing fans have been dreaming about for the past 2 years and my god it delivered . From the very get go in this fight you could see that these two had styles that would put together and make a fight . Early doors you could feel the tension, and for the first couple of rounds at least the underdog Canelo just looked to be that bit quicker on his feet and to the punch but without landing anything to significant . Canelo definitely looked the more fluent of the two but in the third round that changed , GGG started upping the pace and although i thought Canelo won the round he wasn’t getting a break between exchanges , GGG was certainly making Canelo throw more and testing that gas tank . Into the fourth i had it 2-1 Canelo (scoring on my fourth time watching it due to excessive alcohol consumption) but GGG really started to get the jab going, he also cut the ring off very well stopping Canelo moving ,trapping him on the ropes but instead of opening up , GGG was patient , not giving Canelo a chance to counter any big shots, instead choosing to keep Canelo on the of his jab .
The story was pretty much the same for the next couple of rounds . Now anybody that follows me twitter will see i have a go at Abel Sanchez quite lot , but on Saturday night Sanchez was fantastic, When he was telling GGG to fight for the full 3 min of a round and to stop letting Canelo have a break on the ropes, his advice was to get Canelo on the ropes and keep him there making him work every second . Going into the seventh round i had it all square, Canelo showing superb work and skill off the ropes in the Sixth but it really was a hard round to score and GGG’s work rate was really starting to have an affect on Canelo . For the next two rounds GGG’s jab just took him to another level , what a weapon to have your disposal and it was making the Mexican have to think constantly .As Canelo was starting to slow down , GGG was finding the mark a lot more regular with his jab. Canelo on the other hand was looking to load up in rounds seven and eight and apart from a lovely uppercut ,he just didnt have an answer to that GGG jab .
Now the Ninth for me was the most interesting round ,it was like Canelo could see the fight getting away from him and decided to try and turn up it . Coming out at the start Canelo was doing a lot of shoe shinning but again that GGG jab was grinding him down, that was until Canelo timed GGG coming in and caught him with a monster of a overhand right, and to GGG credit he didn’t even blink before charging forward again . This round for me stopped the rot for Canelo but it was very close as GGG jab was a constant factor, so i can see an argument for both winning this round . The tenth was more of the same, Canelo maybe landing flashier shots but that GGG jab was constant throughout the fight .
In the eleventh round Canelo really surprised everyone, he came out like a guy knowing he needed these last two rounds to keep it close, and for the first time in 5 rounds he was outworking GGG , maybe not catching clean but definetly catching the eye . The twelth round was pretty much the same with Canelo knowing he needed the round he came out to take it . What we must say is that Canelo was throwing what he had left at the older GGG , yet GGG looked like he could do another twelve rounds , this man is a machine .
As the fight ends i have GGG winning 7-5 (canelo rounds 2,3,5(sr),11,12)(GGG rounds 1(sr),4,6,7,8,9,10(sr) , this fight was superb, the skill on show was unreal , both showed they are made of something special but GGG’s work rate was Canelos undoing and the diffrence between the two …….So then comes the first scorecard “Byrd scores it 118-110 Canelo” ……Oh my fucking god , the biggest fight in years by two warriors and this happens AGAIN . The other two judges cards (Moretti 115-113 and Trella 114-114 )i don’t really have a problem with , but that Byrd card is down right corruption , there is no other word for it , its an embressment to the sport .
Due to the way this battle ended the fight itself has been forgotten , i think Canelo proved a lot of people wrong as did GGG . I thought maybe age would have caught up with GGG , and in some ways it has but anybody who can fight with that intensity and have that jab can still do great things in this sport . As for Canelo his defence and counter punching was a thing of beauty, also he managed his gas tank well to have enough left for a late flurry , we just didn’t see enough over the twelve rounds for me to give Canelo the win . That 118-110 score card has robbed Canelo of any credit in this fight, it has also robbed the fans who’s paid a lot of money out of any legitmacy in this result . This result will damage Canelo’s reputation and if he doesn’t get back in the ring soon for the rematch i don’t think it will ever recover .