Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Updated P4P: Pacquiao still Top - Mayweather Grabs #2 Spot

With the successful return of Floyd Mayweather Jr., it's time (okay, it was probably time last week, but we've just got around to getting the votes tabulated now) for The Boxing Bulletin to update our P4P rankings.

Photo © Marty Rosengarten /

The two main questions facing our voters this time...

How far should Juan Manuel Marquez drop, and did Mayweather do enough to knock Manny Pacquaio off the top spot?

Also in action since our last update were Nonito Donaire, Ivan Calderon and Mikkel Kessler.

1. Manny Pacquiao (vs Miguel Cotto - November 14)

The Pac-Man remains atop the Bulletin's P4P list simply because he is willing to take on all comers, and is out there not only to dominate, but destroy.

2. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (NEW, UD over Juan Manuel Marquez - September 19)

"Money" looked like the same guy who retired almost two years ago. Not surprising really, considering his natural talent and obsessive work ethic. Now that he's back, the question is, who's next? Mosley, or the Pac/Cotto winner?

3. Bernard Hopkins

This might be the last time you'll be seeing The Executioner on our list, as it's getting close to 12 months since he dominated Kelly Pavlik. Also, his future plans include a tune-up and then a possible match-up with Roy Jones. Neither fight does anything for is P4P status.

4. Shane Mosley

Sugar Shane STILL can't get a big-fight, or even a suitable TV date. Unreal. He blasts out the scariest welter around and then sits out a year??? Seems like he'll have to face young Andre Berto to keep his name out there while the big money names decide whether they want some or not. Probably not.

5. Paul Williams (vs Kelly Pavlik - December 5)

"The Punisher" is scheduled to face off against Kelly Pavlik for the Middleweight Championship Of The World, December 5th. I call this remarkable fighter Mr. Pound For Pound because he is a true threat to anyone from 147 to 160, and it says here that he'll be removing Mr. Pavlik from his throne when all is said and done.

6. Juan Manuel Marquez (down 4, lost UD to Floyd Mayweather Jr. - September 19)

The magnificent Marquez probably came in too heavy, too slow and too old for the defensive genius, Mayweather. If he wasn't already declining going into that megafight, he is now. He showed all of the heart and guts that made him a future Hall of Famer in surviving 12 rounds, but was just outgunned. It's hard to figure out where he goes from here, but it was a helluva ride while it lasted.

7. Chad Dawson (vs Glen Johnson - November 7)

"Bad" Chad has a lot of tools to work with, and now he has the support of the major networks, so the sky is the limit for the speedy southpaw. We'll get a better sense of exactly where he stands as a potential great when he laces them up for a second time against iron-willed Glen Johnson, who pushed him to the brink last year.

8. Nonito Donaire (up 1, UD over Rafael Concepcion - August 15)

Since his demolition of Darchinyan, Nonito has done little. It's quite frustrating as a fan because he's a young, fast, exciting and well-schooled fighter who can create some buzz for the little guys in boxing. Perhaps the move up to 115 lbs will open some new doors for him. Maybe now's the time for Donaire-Darchinyan II?

9. Juan Manuel Lopez (down 2, vs Rogers Mtagwa - October 10)

Juan Ma is another young fighter with the world at his feet. Great speed, accuracy and killer instinct are his main assets, but he's also developed some of the most shocking counter punching in the sport. We know he can dish it out, but can he take it? His promoter, Bob Arum, is planning a showdown between Lopez and undefeated Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa. That match-up should deliver some answers.

10. Miguel Cotto (down 1, vs Manny Pacquiao - November 14)

Whatever your opinion of Cotto, you have to respect his schedule. He's faced off against 3 welters no one else wanted any part of in Mosley, Clottey and Margarito. You can make the argument that he didn't really "win" any of those, but to be right there with those guys is admirable. He's earned the paycheck that comes with fighting Pacquiao. Should be an all out war for as long as it lasts.

11. Ivan Calderon (Technical SD over Rodel Mayol - September 12)

The tiny Puerto Rican is still regarded as perhaps the most pure boxer out there, but it looks like Father Time is catching up quickly. If he wants to remain a P4P player, he's got to sign a significant fight soon because he's starting to settle into a cautious matchmaking pattern.

12. Mikkel Kessler (TKO4 over Gusmyl Perdomo - September 12, vs Andre Ward - November 21)

With the managerial issues hopefully behind him, Kessler is set to prove that he belongs among the elite. The first step is defeating Andre Ward in the brilliant 168 tournament hosted by Showtime.

13. Timothy Bradley (vs Lamont Peterson - December 12)

While his last fight with Nate Campbell proved little, we were probably a little bit late in including "Dessert Storm" as one of the 15 best out there. At first glance, it's easy to miss a lot of what makes him a very difficult guy to beat. He doesn't have crazy speed, or monstrous power, but he is solid at every facet of the game. While it may not make him the most exciting fighter out there, he just may be the most dangerous guy at 140.

14. Carl Froch (vs Andre Dirrell - October 17)

The hard man from Nottingham is proof that boxing is no beauty contest. There's nothing "pretty" about him, except his undefeated record. He's made up for athletic deficiencies against Pascal and Taylor with grit and conditioning. He'll need the same kind of effort when he meets undefeated Andre Dirrell in the first round of the 168 lb tourney.

15. Hozumi Hasegawa (NEW)

Those who closely follow the Asian scene may be thinking "it's about time" the Japanese destroyer gets some P4P love. None of his last 4 opponents have seen the end of the 2nd round. Included among those is a fellow named Alejandro Valdez, who beat up Fernando Montiel just a few weeks ago.

Just missing the cut...

Vic Darchinyan, Lucian Bute, Rafael Marquez, Celestino Caballero & Wladimir Klitschko

Also receiving votes...

Kelly Pavlik, Jean Pascal, David Haye, Arthur Abraham, Chris John, Fernando Montiel, Glen Johnson & Tomasz Adamek

Not ranked due to inactivity...

Israel Vasquez

To make our top 15, a fighter must have had at least 1 bout during the previous 12 months.
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One More Round With Mark Lyons: Klitschko/Arreola, Jean Pascal, Duran vs Jackson, etc...

Mark Lyons is back with his weekly take on the previous weekend's boxing action, as well as a look ahead to what's coming up.

Last week we saw a couple of over matched challengers get beat up and unfortunately I didn’t see a bang up brawl between former lightweight champions. Not a whole lot on the docket for this week, but lets get to it.

My take on this past weekend's action...

- As I mentioned last week, Arreola gave it his all in a losing effort. Only surprise for me was that he displayed even more toughness than I thought he had. Unfortunately for the challenger, his skill set and conditioning were lacking. While I applaud his effort, smashing your face into Vitali’s gloves for ten rounds isn’t going to bring back much interest in the Heavyweight division.

- With Cristobal’s style, he needs to be not only in great shape, but better shape than the guy he is fighting. There is no other way to put it. He wasn’t in nearly the shape he will need to be in to accomplish his goals. Lets hope the whole situation was a wake up call. But I’ll just let time be the judge of that.

- Vitali did everything he needed to dominate. That is something you can pretty much count on. While his resume is on what I would call invisible paper at this point, he is always in great shape and thrashes whoever is put in front of him. The older Klitschko would likely be a handful for just about any of histories great Heavyweights, but his lack of credible opponents - which is not at all his fault - will leave him well short of any kind of historical standing.

- Jean Pascal breezed his way through an older and out gunned challenger. Silvio Branco has been pretty much a gate keeper to alphabet straps for many years and this was probably his last dance at that level. With the foot and hand speed to stick and move, the Canadian once again showed a desire to be exciting.

- In a fight I sadly didn’t see. David Diaz returned from a long layoff to edge Jesus Chavez in a fight you know had to be packed with action.

Looking Ahead...

Not a whole lot going on this week. So I’m going to peak into my crystal ball and we will see if it is working properly, or if I need to send it back to the shop.

- One fight I would love to see is tonight's battle between Nobuo Nashiro & Hugo Cazares for a Jr Bantamweight strap. I only have seen Nashiro’s win over Martin Castillo for his first swing through alphabet corner. But I came away impressed that he had such poise in only his seventh fight. Cazares was always huge for Jr flyweight, so it’s yet another intriguing lower weight contest in Japan. They seem to pop up frequently.

- I’ll believe David Tua is fighting when he and Shane Cameron touch gloves

- Paul Williams is in position for a Hopkinsesque run at Middleweight. I’m sure he will go searching up in weight for a challenge, but I see him holding the Middleweight belts for the next four or five years. Yes, I realize he doesn’t have them yet. But his challenge of Pavlik will buy my Christmas presents

- Chad Dawson and Jean Pascal will hook up in a hard core fans super fight within two years.

- Arthur Abraham over Carl Froch in the Super Middleweight Tourney finals.

- Wladimir Klitschko will never again face anyone with power. EVER.

- The buy rate for Mayweather/Marquez ensures that we will never see Mayweather vs Pacquiao... and it wont be because of Floyd.

- Timothy Bradley, Edwin Valero & Ivan Calderon will all lose their titles before the end of 2010.

- Erislandy Lara & Guillermo Rigondeaux will both be belt holders by mid 2011

- Ravens 28 Patriots 20

A fight I’ve been thinking about...

Julian Jackson vs Roberto Duran

The Hawk was relentless and one of histories most punishing punchers. That’s just the way Roberto Duran liked them. He would take the best Jackson threw at him and counter with his patented right hand. I imagine Jackson would win the first few rounds during some furious exchanges and then the old master would take over behind a brutal body attack and laser right hands. Give me Duran by stoppage in eight or nine.

You don’t tug on Supermans Cape
You don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger
And you don’t try to knock out Duran

e-mail Mark Lyons
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Monday, September 28, 2009

The Boxing Bulletin Pick'em Game - October Week 1

With the first weekend of October coming up, it's time to start a new Boxing Bulletin's Pick'em game. Point totals are reset at the beginning of the month, so join right in if you haven't played yet because everyone's starting from scratch again.

Our game is a combination of picking the winners straight-up and beating the odds. If you're ready to match your prognostication skills against other boxing fans, then let's get started...

If you played last week, scroll down to the bottom for September's final standings.

The game is strictly for fun, and entry is free. The deadline to enter this week is Thursday night at 11 PM EST. We'll have the results tabulated and posted with Monday's Week 4 game sheet (please check this post's comments for early results, as we'll try getting them up there by Sunday).

If you've played before and know the rules, here's the game sheet for this week: Week 1 game sheet.

Pick The Winners

This part's easy - 2 points for each correct answer.

Beat The Odds

This is where it gets a little more involved, as you will be risking points to gain points. You will also have the option of choosing 1 fight to risk double points and 1 fight to risk triple points (you cannot choose the same fight to risk double and triple fights on).


We will keep standings for the full year, although each game will only last for 1 month. At the end of the month standings will be reset and a new game will begin.

We've got a few details below on the fights in play this week, but if you're ready to get started, here's the Week 1 game sheet.

Friday, October 2

Antwone Smith vs Henry Crawford - 10 rounds & Alan Green vs Tarvis Simms - 10 rounds - First Council Casino, Newkirk, Oklahoma, United States (Showtime)

Prizefighter Heavyweights III - 1 night 8 man elimination tournament - all bouts are 3 rounds - ExCel Arena, Dockland, London, United Kingdom - (Sky - UK)

Quarter-Final match-ups

QF1 - Scott Gammer vs Coleman Barrett
QF2 - Danny Williams vs Carl Baker
QF3 - Audley Harrison vs Scott Belshaw
QF4 - Neil Perkins vs Danny Hughes

SF1 - Winner of QF1 vs Winner of QF2
SF2 - Winner of QF3 vs Winner of QF4

Final - Winner of SF1 vs Winner of SF2

Saturday, October 3

Antonin Decarie vs Shamone Alvarez - 12 rounds - Montreal Casino, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (Super Chanel - Canada)

John Murray vs Jonathan Thaxton - 12 rounds - vacant British lightweight title - Leisure Centre, Altrincham, Cheshire, United Kingdom - (ITV4 - UK)

Ready to play? Here's the Week 1 game sheet.

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British Scene Weekend Recap: Macklin Annihilates Asikainen

Matthew Macklin claimed the vacant European middleweight title this past weekend in Manchester, making quick work of Finland's Amin Asikainen. Dave Oakes has the recap.

Photo © Chris Royle

Matthew Macklin became the European middleweight champion on Friday night after a stunning first round stoppage of Amin Asikainen. Asikainen was regarded as being Macklin’s toughest challenge to date but he couldn’t survive a round against an on fire Macklin.

Both fighters started cautiously, seeming happy to take a look at each other before firing the occasional range finder. That all change just after the midway point in the round when Macklin landed a huge left hook that dropped Asikainen heavily, it looked as if the fight would end there and then as Asikainen’s head bounced off the canvas.

He managed to beat the count but was on unsteady legs, the referee allowed him to box on but it was clearly only a matter of time before he was going to get stopped. Macklin finished off the job just thirty seconds later when he sent Asikainen sprawling to the canvas after two clubbing right hooks connected to the side of Asikainen’s head. He beat the count yet again, but this time the referee had seen enough and waved the fight off.

Asikainen complained bitterly about the stoppage but his eyes looked unclear and his legs weren’t exactly sturdy either. If the referee had allowed him to box on, I feel he would’ve been dropped again almost immediately.

The win puts Macklin in a great position in the rankings; he mustn’t be too far away from a world title shot. He’s in a weight division that’s fairly devoid of big names and top class talent, so you’d have to think he’d be in with a great chance of winning a world title if he can consistently reproduce the form he’s shown in his past two fights.

He seems to be targeting a fight with Sebastian Sylvester, a fighter who’s won one and lost one against Asikainen. I think Macklin stands a very good chance of beating Sylvester, especially if his promoter can secure him hometown advantage.

Check out Chris Royle's photo gallery of the main-event: Matthew Macklin vs Amin Asikainen

On the undercard...

The undercard was a collection of mismatches that provided a few highlight reel knockouts, the main one being Cello Renda’s obliteration of the previously unbeaten Sam Horton. The light punching Horton unwisely decided to stand and trade with the extremely heavy-handed Renda; he was knocked down early in the second round but didn’t seem to learn from this and walked onto a monstrous left hook just seconds afterwards.

The shot hit him with such force that he was unconscious before he hit the canvas, the referee sensibly decided not to bother with a count and waved for medical help immediately. Thankfully, after a few worrying minutes, Horton got to his feet with nothing more than his pride hurt.

Joe Murray scored the first knockout of his fledgling career, stopping the durable Delroy Spencer in the first round. Murray was teeing off on Spencer for most of the fight forcing the referee's intervention.

The undefeated Scott Quigg kept his record intact with a two round blow-out of the hapless Nico Schroeder. Quigg looks to be a top talent but needs more competitive fights than this to help him progress.

Other results...

Martin Murray bt George Aduashvili KO 1, Mark Thompson bt Gari Abajian TKO 5, Denton Vassell bt Vasile Surcica PTS, Rhys Roberts bt Steve Gethin PTS, Anthony Crolla bt Jon Baguley PTS, Andreas Evensen bt Gianpiero Contestabile TKO 5, Graeme Higginson bt Adam Kelly PTS.

e-mail Dave Oakes
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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Vitali Klitschko vs Chris Arreola: Round by Round Blog

Welcome to The Boxing Bulletin's live round by round blog coverage of the heavyweight showdown between Vitali Klitschko and Chris Arreola.

The HBO broadcast is set to begin at 10 PM EST, and updates will start as soon as the show starts.

Vitali Klitschko 37-2 (252) vs Chris Arreola 27-0 (251)

If you are here early, check out some of our recent stories...

The Man to Beat Floyd Mayweather Jr... by Jeff Pryor

The Mayweather vs Marquez Big Screen Experience by Jeff Pryor

Chris Arreola Has The Tools To Rise Above Expectations by Michael Nelson

Has Arreola Sacrificed Enough To Beat Klitschko by Lee Payton

Refresh this page often as updates will be frequent

9:50 PM EST... 10 minutes until the show starts.

10:05... HBO is live from the Staples Center, but first they are replaying last weekend's Mayweather/Marquez fight. According to Jim Lampley, it will be another hour before the heavyweights come on. I'll be back then for the round by round of Klitschko vs Arreola.

10:40... The Mayweather/Marquez replay is through 8 now. Hopefully tonight's fight will be starting around 11.

11:02... After the replay, Lampley interviewed Mayweather. Nothing really worth relaying, as Floyd didn't give anything away regarding his future plans.

11:04... Arreola is pacing inside his dressing room. Now HBO's going to do a little hyping with a Ring Life piece on the challenger.

11:10... Merchant on Arreola... "He jiggles in place he shouldn't jiggle in."

11:13... Now we're seeing some clips of Vitali. Neither fighter has made their way towards the ring yet.

11:15... Tale of the tape... Vitali has a 3 1/2 inch height advantage, plus a 3 1/2 edge in arm length.

11:16... Here comes Arreola.

11:17... Arreola is in the ring. He's wearing a black robe with silver trim, with the words "Chris The Nightmare" emblazoned on the back.

11:17... Vitali making his way towards the ring.

11:18... "Two very big men in the ring... let's go to Michael Buffer for the official introductions." - Lampley

11:19... The ref is Jon Schorle.

11:20... The crowd is buzzing as Arreola is introduced.

11:22... Not quite the same warm reception for Vitali.

11:22... Final instructions have been given. We are moments from starting.

11:25... Vitali with his left low, pawing with the jab as Arreola trying to get close. Arreola trying to get inside and eats a right hand. Vitali backing away as Arreola tries to get inside, and manages to tie Arreola up and get away. Arreola charges forward, but doesn't catch the big man. Now Vitali with a 1-2 that's blocoked. Vitali sticking a couple jabs home from long range. Vitali with a right hand uppercut. 1:30 to go. Arreola looking to get close, but no luck so far. Now Vitali ties him up. Vitali with a right hand, and another one. Now Vitali with that awkward jab/hook of his. 45 seconds left. Vit with a jab. Another jab, and a right that's blocked. Vit now misses with a right. Arreol is coming forward, but Vit keeping him at his range. 15 secnds left. Arreola tries to jab his way in, and gets one home. Now Vitali with a 1-2 that is short. Arreola tries to respond, but doesn't connect. There's the bell.

11:26... A lot of celebs in attendance. Mike Tyson got a big hand. Stallone and Arnold are there too. So is Kobe.

11:30... 1-0 on Harold's card for Vitali. Arreola with a couple jabs. Vit with a jab in response. Arreola with a right hand to the body, and Vit fires back. Vit with a 1-2, and Arreola fires back and pushes Vit into the ropes, but gets tied up. Vit with a jab. Vit sticking the jab home. Now a 1-2 from the big guy. Arreola coming forward, but not getting close enough. Now he eats a 1-2 again. Vit lands and then gets out of there. Arreola keeps following, but eats another right hand. Vit with a jab. Another jab and a right. Arreola keeps coming, but he's getting hit for his troubles. Arreola now chases Vitali accross the ring, but doesn't really land anything in the process, and Vit resumes banging Arreola with the jab and right hand. Another 1-2 from Vitali. Vit is also working that hook in there too. Arreola having to lunge to get close. There's the bell. Another round for Vitali.

11:30... Arreola is making Vitali work hard, but is he's taking some punishment in the process. Not sure he can do that for too long. We'll see.

11:33... 2-0 on Harold's card. Vit with a jab. Lampley commenting on Vitali breathing through his mouth, and then adds that he always does that. Vitali with a right hand. Arreola tries to respond, but misses. Vitali with a hook/jab. Vit just sticking the jab in ther as Arreola follows him around the ring. Vit is circling to his left. Now he catches Arreola with a 1-2. Arreola did get his own right hand in though. Now Arreola lunges in with a right, and gets caught again. 1:20 to go. Vit with a 1-2. Arreola keeps edging forward, he's got his gloves up when he does, but his head is too stationary and he's getting tagged with jabs. Vit with another 1-2. Arreola making Vitali use his legs a lot here. Vit with another jab. Arreola tries to respond just before the bell, but gets tied up.

11:37... Lampley mentions that Arreola's face is beginning to redden and show some damage. 3-0 on Harold's card. Arreola comes forward, eats a jab, but lands a right hand. Vitali on the move... going left. Arreola chases him and throws a 1-2, but is short as Vitali gets away. Vit moves back to the middle of the ring. Arreola comes forward and eats a jab. Vitali with a jab, but misses the follow up right hand. Vit with another jab. Arreola chases Vit into the ropes, and fires off a right hand that lands. Vit responds with a 1-2. Vit with a jab. Vit with a right. 1:00. Merchant commenting that Arreola is closing the distance a little bit, but still catching a lot more than he's landing. Vit with a jab. Arreola misses with a right hand. Vit sticking out the jab, and Arreola fires a right hand to the body. Vit with a jab. Vit with his left hand low keeps sticking out the jab when Arreola comes forward. There's the bell.

11:38... Between rounds, we got a highlight of a little left hook that Arreola landed on the inside.

11:41... 4-0 on Harold's card. Arreola coming forward, leans in with a jab that's short. Vitali responds with a right hand that lands. Vitali with another right, and then he slips away to his left. Now he goes to his right and Arreola tries to chase him down. Vitali though sticks the jab and moves. Vitali with another jab. Arreola lunges in and gets tied, but he bangs the body in the clinch. 1:40. Arreola charges forward, eats a jab, but keeps pressing and pushes Vitali into the ropes. Vitali with a right. Vit with another right. Vit is landing a lot of shots, but Arreola keeps coming. Another jab. "Arreola has got to find a way to get inside if he wants to stay in this fight." - Merchant. "Vitali not fighting like a 38 year old." Larry adds. Vitali with another jab. Vitali moving to his right. Sticking the jab home when Arreola advances. Now a right hand. Now a jab. Steward thinks Arreola's confidence is growing. Vitali with a 1-2 just before the bell.

11:46... Round 6 underway. 5-0 on Harold's card. Vitali moving to his right. He sticks the jab in. Arreola tries to respond, but doesn't have any luck as Vitali backs away and then slips off to his right. Vitali with a jab. Follows up with a right hand. Arreola edging forward, but Vitali bangs home a 1-2. Arreola pushes Vitali into the ropes and gets tied up. Vitali with a right uppercut. Vit with a jab. Action now in the middle of the ring. Arreola just not able to get inside, and he's not presing the way he did this round as he was in the previous round. Just as I say that, he forces Vitali into the ropes. Now Vitali lands a right, and Arroela comes back and presses Vitali again, but I don't think he got his shot home. Viali with a jab. 40 seconds left in the round. Vitali with a right hand to the body. Vit with a jab. Vit with a 1-2. Vit with a right hand. And another right. Arreola with a couple jabs, but is short with them. He tries to land a right, but Vitali backs away and the round ends.

11:50... 6-0 on Harold's card. I'd assume all 3 judges have it the same. Arreola eats a 1-2 as he tries to get inside. Vit with a right hand. Arreola rushes forward, firing his right hand, but Vitali escapes without getting tagged with anything serious. Vitali now moving away to his left. 2:00 to go in the round. Vit with a jab, and slips away to his left, now moves to his right and gets back in the middle of the ring. Arreola resumes following, but just can't get inside. Vitali sticks home a body shot. Vitali with a right hand. Vit with a jab. 1:00 to go. Vit got turned around and Arreola whacked him in the back. He's given a quick word by the ref. Vitali with a 1-2. Vitali with a right hand to the body. Larry comments on Vitali's fantastic conditioning. The pace of this round is a little slower. Arreola tries to get something started in the last few seconds and rushes Vitali. There's the bell.

11:50... Vitali has to be getting tired with all this movement, but at the same time, Arreola's pace seems to have slowed as well, and he's taken a great deal of punishment so far. Even if Vitali tires a little, not sure if Arreola will have anything left to press him with him.

11:54... Arreola resumes following Vitali around. He gets inside and Vitali grabs him, but with a free hand he bangs the body. The ref has been very quick to break them on the inside as he does so on that occasion. Harold pointed that in the previous round. That's certainly not helping Arreola. Now Arreola chases Vitali into the ropes, and he lands a hard left hand that got Vitali's attention. He followed up with a right hand, and Vitali was forced to hold on. Vitali fires back, but Arreola with some real energy fired off another right hand that forced Vitali to clinch. Now Vitali ties him up again. Vitali with a right hand. Arreola rushes forward, eats a right, but keeps coming and pushes Vitali into the ropes. Arreola looks like he's going for a broke here. Vitali fires to the body. Arreola fires a right hand. Lampley points out that blood is coming from Arreola's nose. Vitali fires a right hand. Vitali with a right hand. Arreola appeared to tag him with a counter, and then chases the big guy into the ropes. There's the bell. Definitely Arreola's best round so far.

11:54... Arreola's corner tells him to keep doing what he's doing.

11:54... Vitali's corner urging him to keep using his jab.

11:58... Arreola comes forward to start the round. Vitali with his hands down, firing off the jab. Arreola now tries to jab his way in, but Vitali slips away to his right. Vitali with a jab. Arreola pushes forward and eats a 1-2. Action in the middle of the ring now. Arreola fires off a hook, but misses. Vitali digs to the body with a right hand. Arreola comes forward and wings a right hand, but gets tied up. Now Vitali slips away and sticks Arreola with the jab. Now they clinch. Vit with a 1-2. Vit with a hard right hand that got Arreola's attention, but Arreola immediately comes forward. Vit with a right hand. Merchant comments that this is as one sided as last week's Mayweather/Marquez fight. Arreola tries to get inside, but gets tied up. Vit with a jab. Vit with another jab. Arreola is looking tired here and Vitali backs him into the ropes just as the round ends.

12:02... Round 10 coming up. Harold has it 8-1. Arreola comes out pressing. Vitali keeping his distance with the jab. Arreola following Vitali and eating jabs here. Arreola trying to get inside, but having no luck. He just chased Vitali into the ropes but couldn't land anything and Vitali responded with a 1-2. Vitali digs a shot to the body. Vitali with a 1-2. Vit with another 1-2. Arreola not pressing with the same enthusiasm he was earlier. His rushes forward are getting increasingly infrequent. Now he comes forward and misses witha hook. Vit with a jab. Vit with a right hand. Vit with another right hand. Vit with a jab. Vit with another jab. This is very one sided stuff. Vit with a 1-2.

12:02... It's over. Arreola's corner has ended it.

12:03... Or maybe the ref is the one that called an end to it. Either way it was a good decision, because the last two rounds were extremely one sided and it was looking like it was only going to get worse.

12:05... Here's Michael Buffer with the official announcement. He asks for a round of applause for the courageous challenger. "Referee Jon Schorle steps in and calls a halt to the bout at the end of round 10. The winner by TKO, Dr. Iron Fist, Vitali Klitschko."

12:06... Merchant is with Vitali. "Was this as easy for you as it looked to us?" Merchant asks. "It's never easy."

12:08... Arreola comes over and has a congratulatory word for Vitali. Now Larry's talking to Arreola, and he's really broken up. "I didn't want to quit. I wanted to the full 12 rounds."

12:09... "I just couldn't get to him, man." - Arreola

12:10... Larry tells him that he gained a lot of fans tonight. He gave it his all tonight, you have to give him that.

12:11... That's it for our coverage. I hope you enjoyed it and please check us out again next time.
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Photo Gallery: Matthew Macklin vs Amin Asikainen

Thanks to a devastating left hook, Birmingham middleweight Matthew Macklin claimed European title honours Saturday night at the Velodrome in Manchester with a first round stoppage of Finland's Amin Asikainen.

Photographer Chris Royle was ringside to capture all the action from the explosive one rounder.

Matthew Macklin vs Amin Asikainen

Photos © Chris Royle - Click on the images to enlarge.

Matthew Macklin (below left with trainer Joe Gallagher) brought a 24-2 record into the contest. The Birmingham middleweight claimed the British title in his last outing with a 2 round destruction of fellow Birmingham fighter, Wayne Elcock.

Despite sporting a 25-2 record, Finland's Amin Asikainen (below right) entered the bout as a prohibitive underdog. A veteran of 5 European title bouts, the former champ was stopped in his previous attempt to reclaim the crown by Khoren Gevor last November.
The action heated up right away, and while Macklin was the more aggressive of the two fighters, firing power shots with both hands, Asikainen stood his ground and battled it out in the middle of the ring.
Above - Macklin digs a hard right hand to Asikainen's body.

It was not too long after that a huge left hook to the side of the jaw sent the Fin crashing to the canvas. For a moment it looked like the fight might be over right then and there, but the visiting man gamely made it to his feet on noticeably unsteady legs.
Sensing victory, Macklin wasted no time in going for the finish, backing Asikainen into the ropes before putting him down for a second time with a series of right hands.

Asikainen was up almost immediately, but after finishing the mandatory 8 count, referee Luigi Muratore waved the fight off. The time was 2:34 of the opening round.
A victorious Macklin jumps into trainer Joe Gallagher's arms.

After having worked with several different trainers in the past, it appears that Macklin has found a good match with the Manchester based Gallagher.
Promoter Ricky Hatton (far left) is one of the first in the ring to congratulate the new European champion.

On the right, Joe Gallagher poses with the two fighters.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Jean Pascal vs Silvio Branco: Round by Round Blog

Welcome to The Boxing Bulletin's live round by round blog coverage of the light-heavyweight clash between Jean Pascal and Silvio Branco. If you're looking to watch the fight live, the show is being broadcast via online PPV at

Make sure to check us out tomorrow night as well, as we'll be doing a live round by round blog of the heavyweight match-up between Vitali Klitschko and Cristobal Arreola.

Jean Pascal 23-1 (175) vs Silvio Branco 59-9-2 (174.2)

If you are here early, check out some of our recent stories...

British Scene: Matthew Macklin vs Amin Asikainen Preview by Dave Oakes

Battle at the O2: Bernard Dunne vs. Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym Preview by Michael Nelson

The Man to Beat Floyd Mayweather Jr... by Jeff Pryor

The Mayweather vs Marquez Big Screen Experience by Jeff Pryor

Chris Arreola Has The Tools To Rise Above Expectations by Michael Nelson

Has Arreola Sacrificed Enough To Beat Klitschko by Lee Payton

Refresh this page often as updates will be frequent

8:10 PM EST... Right now, the 3rd preliminary bout of the evening between cruiserweights David Whittom and Carl Handy is in the 5th round (scheduled for 6). Still to come before the main-event is an 8 rounder between Sebastian Demers and Jose Spearman as well as a scheduled 12 rounder between Adonis Stevenson and Jermaine Mackey.

I would estimate Pascal and Branco will be coming on between 10:00 and 10:30, and updates will start as soon as soon as the fighters make their way towards the ring. Check back with us earlier though in case the show moves along a little quicker than expected.

8:21... Handy just finished pounding out a unanimous decision over Wittom. Scores were 59-55, 58-56 and 60-54. Wittom finished the bout with some nasty looking brusing under his right eye.

8:24... Jose Spearman is in the ring, with Sebastian Demers on his way in. I'll give periodic updates of these next two bouts, but will save the detailed round by round updates for the main-event.

8:31... Just over a minute into the opening round, Demers dropped Spearman for the 10 count with a right hand, followed by a left hook to the body. It looked like the right hand did most of the damage and I think Spearman was already heading down when the body shot landed. The official time was 1:18.

8:34... On the replay it looks like Spearman was definitely finished by the right hand. He had his gloves up high with his back to the ropes, and the punch looked like it caught him just behind his guard.

8:44... Adonis Stevenson is heading in. Jermain Mackey is already in the ring. This one's scheduled for 12, and I'll be giving periodic updates.

8:52... First round is in the books. Stevenson looked like he hurt Mackey with a left hand to the body with about 30 seconds left in the round, and backed the visiting man up into the ropes with a follow-up flurry.

8:56... Not too much to report from round 2, although during the closing seconds, Mackey stuck his chin out at Stevenson, daring the Canadian to take a shot. Stevenson responded with a jab and a 1-2, but couldn't connect as Mackey dodged his head out of the way. Guy Jutras has it 2-0 for Stevenson.

9:00... A good round for Stevenson. Mackey's a shifty customer, able to slip most shots upstairs, but Stevenson has made a concerted effort to fire to the body with both hands and has had success doing so.

9:05... Stevenson put Mackey down at the end of the 4th round, putting an exclamation mark on a very one sided round. He landed a couple of hard straight lefts early in the frame, while continuing to work the body. With about 45 seconds left, he landed another hard straight left, and landed several more, which had Mackey in all kinds of trouble before he went down just before the bell.

9:07... That's it. This one's over. It looked like they might might stop it before the 5th round, as the doctor took a look at Mackey before allowing the round to begin. Stevenson immediately went on the attack, and after it appeared the ropes prevented Mackey from going down near the corner, the ref jumped in and called it off. Good stoppage.

9:08... The official time is 0:20 of round 5. Stevenson the winner by TKO.

9:12... With Demers and Stevenson both winning early, we might be in for a bit of a wait before the main-event. I'll keep you posted.

9:20... While we wait for Pascal and Branco, highlights from the night's earlier bouts are being shown. I'm going to guess we'll be waiting at least another 15-20 minutes before the main-event starts.

9:24... Adonis Stevenson is chatting with the commentators. If I could understand French, I still wouldn't be able to relay what's being discussed as the audio from the booth isn't coming through at all. That's been the story throughout the broadcast. I'm wondering if the American feed is any different from the Canadian feed? English commentary? Or is it the exact same broadcast?

9:29... Now Joachim Alcine is helping to fill some air time.

9:34... I just checked Bad Left Hook's fight night coverage, and they're reporting no audio from the commentary booth as well. Not a big deal, as at least we're getting the sounds from the arena, the ring announcer, etc.

9:37... Now a more worrisome concern than the lack of audio has developed, as the picture has frozen up a few times in the last couple minutes. Hopefully that does not happen during the fight.

9:40... Yvon Michel just had his turn in the booth. Now it's Antonin Decarie. Still having some picture problems.

9:46... There are flags in the ring visible behind the commentators. That's a good sign. Anthems must be coming up very shortly... then the fight.

9:51... Branco's in the ring, and Pascal is about to join him there.

9:52... The ring announcer is Christian Gauthier.

9:53... Gerry Bolan is the ref.

9:56... The crowd's buzzing as Pascal's name is announced. Looks like we're moments from getting under-way. Bolan about to give the fighters their final instructions.

10:01... We're underway. Branco immediately moves forward looking to press the action, while Pascal circles. Pascal moving to his left. Branco with a probing jab. Pascal keeps moving. Now he sticks a jab out. Branco short with a jab to the body. No punches landed in the opening 60 seconds. Pascal is short with a jab, and then gets on the move. Now he jumps in, but doesn't land. Branco is short with his jab. Branco short with another jab. Cautious stuff here. Branco now fires a right hand over the top, which may have just landed. Now Pascal fires back, but misses with a hook. 30 seconds left in the opening round. Pascal with a jab, and lands a follow-up glancing right. There's the bell.

10:02... 1-0 to Branco on Jutras' card.

10:05... Pascal circling to his left as Branco follows. Pascal now stops and jabs to the body, but is short with it. Branco with a 1-2, but neither lands. The right hand was blocked. Branco misses witha jab. Pascal fires back with a right hand, but he's short with it. Neither man really committing much here in the early going. Pascal with a 1-2, but he's short. Branco misses a right hand, and misses with a follow-up left hook. Now Pascal coming forward, and throws a right hand, but doesn't connect. Now he gets one home. Branco short with the jab. Pascal moving to his left, then his right, then to his left. Now Branco comes forward and Pascal ties him up. 30 seconds left in the round. Branco with a couple jabs that are short. Pascal jabs to the body. Now they exchange, but neither man gets anything home, and Pascal wildly goes forward and misses. Pascal misses with a hook. Two rounds in the book and neither man has landed a telling punch yet.

10:09... Round 3 is underway. Branco is up off his stool first. 1-1 on the Jutras score-card. I'd say that's about right. Not much has happened so far, and neither man deserves an edge. Branco with a right hand that's blocked. Pascal standing his ground a little more to start the round, but now he's on the move again. He throws a jab to the body that is short. Now Pascal edges forward, and tries to get in a jab, but Branco ties him up. Action in the center of the ring here. Branco looks to have caught Pascal during an exchange and I think Pascal is a bit buzzed, He backs off to the ropes with his gloves up and Branco goes after him. Now it looks like the Canadian is okay as he comes back throwing. 1:00 to go in round 3. Pascal throws a a bit of a wild 1-2 as he comes forward. Now he paws with the jab. Branco just misses with a 1-2. Pascal fires wildly back with his right hand. Some action here. A little sloppy, but both men looking willing to throw. Pascal with a jab, catching Branco on the way in. Pascal tries to fire off a lead hook. There's the bell to end round 3.

10:10... We're getting a replay of the moment when Pascal was slightly buzzed. Looked like a little right hand thrown in the clinch did it.

10:14... 2-1 Branco on Jutras' card. Branco comes out pressing, with Pascal circling. Branco with a right hand that got through as Pascal had backed up near the corner. Now the action shifts back to the middle of the ring. Pascal trying to jab his way in... very cautiously, and doesn't land. Pascal with a jab to the body which he's short with. Pascal now fires home a jab. Branco jabs to the body. 1:30 to go. Pascal looks a little unsure of himself here tonight. Now he comes forward with some aggression, backing Branco into the ropes, but the Italian fires back and backs Pascal off. 1:00 to go. Branco with a jab, and a left hook that's blocked. Pascal now comes forward with a jab and a hook. Branco ties him up. 30 seconds left. Pascal with a 1-2, but the right hand sails too high. Now Pascal gets home a right hand and aggressively goes after Branco. He throws him to the ground. The ref is counting. Is he calling that a knockdown? That happened just at the bell. Branco's up. We'll have to see that again.

10:14... It looked like a right hand from Pascal landed on the back of Branco's head while the two were tangled along the ropes.

10:15... The ref ruled that a knockdown, and that's going to be a 10-8 round. I think that's a little crazy, but that appears to be the way it was called.

10:18... Pascal a little more aggressive here in round 5. He's coming forward and letting his hands go. Now he backs off and looks to counter. Branco edges forward and Pascal fires a left hook that's blocked. Now Pascal catches Branco with a counter. Branco comes back with a 1-2 that lands. Now Pascal is on the move again, circling away to his left. He jumps in with a right hand that misses. 1:00 to go. Branco edging forward and tries to flurry, but Pascal ties him up. Pascal with a jab, but he's short. Now Pascal backs up and Branco follows him to the other side of the ring. Branco with a series of jabs into Pascal's high guard. Pascal now edges forward and throws a chopping right that is blocked. Branco fires his own right hand that doesn't get through. There's the bell.

10:22... Round 6 is underway. Jutras gave the 5th to Pascal. He's got him up 3-2, plus the alleged knockdown. A decent exchange as both men let their hands go and appeared to land. Pascal with a jab. Branco with a 1-2, but misses. Now Pascal fires a right hand over the top that misses. Branco misses with a jab. Pascal to the body with a jab. Branco edging forward here. He flicks out the jab. Now he fires a 1-2 into the guard. Pascal responds with a couple of shots to the body. Now Pascal witha bit of energy, fires off a hard flurry. Pascal now digs to the body. Branco on the ropes now fires back and gets out of there. Some good moments for Pascal. He's really not gone to the body at all in the early going with any purpose, but made a real effort to during that sequence. Branco now edging forward. He jabs into Pascal's guard, and now Pascal slips away to his left. Pascal now comes forward and fires off a 1-2 and I think the right hand got home. Both men fire off shots as the bell rings.

10:23... 4-2, 58-55 on Guy Jutras' scorecard.

10:27... Branco came out and backed Pascal in the corner and fired off a right hand. Pascal got out of there, firing off his own. Now Pascal with a combo. Pascal misses with a hook. Branco coming forward, with Pascal moving to his left. Now Pascal goes to his right and fires off a 1-2, but misses. Branco resumes coming forard. Pascal with his back to the ropes, looking to counter. Branco fires a right, and gets tied up. Pascal with a hold of Branco, who tries to fire a right in the clinch. Branco jabs into Pascal's guard. Now Branco with a hold of Pascal, and Pascal bangs a right hand to the back of Branco's head during the clinch. He's warned about it and the ref spots some loose tape. Action resumes and Pascal lands a right hand. Branco tries to fire back and then grabs a hold of Pascal's left hand. 15 seconds left in the round. Pascal with a right hand to the body, and then tries to flurry with both hands downstairs and then tosses Branco to the canvas... and this is called a knockdown. That didn't look like it. We'll have to see the replay, but I think Mr.Bolan has got it wrong again.

10:27... Looked like Pascal was throwing a punch, but still looked more like a push than anything else. Ruled a knockdown though.

10:31... 68-63 on Jutras' card after 7. Pascal is short with a jab to the body. Branco misses with a right hand. Pascal tries to rush forward, but he doesn't get anything home. Now Branco misses with a 1-2 and Pascal fires a right hand counter. Pascal misses with a sweeping hook. Pascal lands with a couple shots to the body. Now he gets home a right hand, and Branco grabs a hold of him. Pascal tries to flurry, but gets tied up. 1:30 to go. Branco fires a right hand that may have just landed. He's edging forward. Pascal moving to his left. Now Pascal has his back to the ropes. Branco pawing with the jab, looking to throw the right, but he doesn't let go with it. Now Pascal ties him up. 45 seconds left in the round. Action in the middle of the ring. Pascal misses with an overhand right. Pascal fires an uppercut, and then slips away. Branco gives chase. Branco goes to the body with a right hand and Pascal fires back with his own. 10 seconds left in the round. Branco with a couple of jabs that are short. Pascal fires back, and Branco comes back with a couple shots, although not sure if either landed. There's the bell.

10:36... 78-72 on Jutras' card. Branco comes out moving forward and misses with a right hand. Pascal is moving to his left. Now Pascal tries to flick a couple of jabs and come forward, but neither landed, and he goes back to the ropes looking to counter. Branco with a jab into the guard. Branco with a right hand that's blocked. Branco flicking out the jab, but not landing it. Now he fires a 1-2. Pascal fires a right hand in response. Branco tries to flurry, and Pascal fires back with a right hand. Not sure if it landed though. Branco immediately resumes coming forward. He fires a right hand into the guard. 1:00 to go. They clinch. Action in the middle of the ring. Branco tries to fire a hook, but misses. Pascal with a counter but doesn't connect. Now Pascal comes forward winging shots, as Branco backs up into the ropes. Down goes Branco. Not sure if he was hit low, but he suddenly went to the canvas. He's got some loose tape on his gloves anyway and Bolan takes him over to the corner for some work. They are back at it, but there's the bell to end the round.

10:37.. While Branco was having the tape on his gloves fixed, they showed a replay. Wasn't really clear if Pascal hit him low or not. Pascal fires to the body with both hands, and after a second, Branco went down. 88-81 on Jutras' card after 9.

10:40... Branco came out pressing as usual. Not much success though. Pascal just missed with a wild hook. Branco now pushing forward. He throws a 1-2 into the guard with Pascal's back along the ropes. Pascal now jumps forward with a hook to the body. Branco coming forward, missing with the right hand. Pascal meanwhile misses with a counter hook. Now Branco edges forward, firing a 1-2 into the guard. As the action moved in the center of the ring, Pascal catches Branco with something and sends him down. He's claiming he was hit behind the head, but he's up at the count of 9. Pascal goes after him, with both hands. Pascal lands a hook and down goes Branco again, and his corner quickly jumps into the ring and this one is over.

10:41... The first knockdown was a right hand that caught Branco while he was bending over. It did kind of catch him behind the head, but the way he was leaning over, that couldn't have been helped. Pascal went after him hard, and landed a couple decent hooks, the last of which sent Branco down again, prompting his corner to throw in the towel.

10:43... Pascal now has the microphone and is saying a few words to the crowd.

10:45... I didn't think Pascal really looked all that sharp tonight. Very tentative early, and didn't go to the body the way he's capable of. Still, he got the job done.

10:47... Pascal's now chatting with the commentators, and since there's no audio and I wouldn't be able to translate anyway, I might as well sign off. I hope you enjoyed our coverage of tonight's show and check back in with us tomorrow night for the Klitschko/Arreola heavyweight showdown.
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

British Scene: Matthew Macklin vs Amin Asikainen Preview

Dave Oakes previews tomorrow night's match-up between Matthew Macklin and Amin Asikainen for the vacant European middleweight title.

Photo © Justin McKie

Matthew Macklin (pictured after his recent victory over Wayne Elcock) makes the step up to European level this Friday when he faces former champion Amin Asikainen for the vacant European middleweight title at the Manchester Velodrome.

This will be Macklin’s first fight since his impressive three round demolition job of Wayne Elcock earlier this year. That victory was the best of Macklin’s career to date; he stalked Elcock from the first bell, working his way cleverly into range before unloading heavy punches that seemed to shake Elcock every time they landed.

Macklin has been accused of rushing his boxing in the past but that night he seemed to be using a calmer and more controlled method of aggression than he had done previously. Hopefully that’s going to be the style he sticks with for this fight, he doesn’t want to engage in a war with Asikainen as the big Fin is heavy handed enough to hurt Macklin.

Asikainen’s punch power is definitely his main attribute but he’s also a good technician. He keeps his chin tucked down, likes to box behind the jab and waits patiently for openings before committing himself to an attack. The only flaw in his makeup is that he tends to fall apart when he’s going through a difficult period in a fight.

The only two defeats on Asikainen’s record came by stoppage, against Sebastian Sylvester and Khoren Gevor respectively. He was doing okay early in the fight against Sylvester, a fighter he’d previously beaten, but seemed to fall apart when Sylvester started to land some heavy shots of his own. The same goes for the Gevor fight, he capitulated as soon as Gevor began getting his own way. It’s a worrying trend that I feel will show again in this fight.

Macklin has also got two defeats on his record, a debatable points defeat against Andrew Facey and the brutal ‘fight of the year’ knockout defeat to Jamie Moore. Macklin showed incredible courage in the Moore fight and I believe his will to win is far greater than Asikainen’s.

Macklin’s career has been a slow burner up to now, one in which he’s repeatedly changed trainers and promoters. I’ve always sensed that Macklin was trying to find somewhere he felt comfortable. With any luck the new deal he recently signed with his big mate Ricky Hatton will put an end to his flitting between promotional outfits. He needs stability at this stage of his career, at 27, he's just coming into his prime and needs to concentrate fully on his boxing if he wants to achieve his dream of winning a world title.

As a side note, this will be Hatton Promotions first televised card of an eight show deal they recently agreed with Sky. It’s a big night for the new boys on the promoting scene in Britain; it should be interesting to see how they evolve over the next few years.

I think this will be a great fight for Macklin to progress his career with, he’ll have to be careful in the early rounds but I can see him outboxing Asikainen whilst steadily increasing the tempo on his way to a stoppage victory somewhere in the last four rounds.

A packed undercard features prospects Joe Murray, Denton Vassell, Scott Quigg and Rhys Roberts.

e-mail Dave Oakes
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Battle at the O2: Bernard Dunne vs. Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym Preview

Michael Nelson previews Saturday's super-bantamweight clash between Ireland's Bernard Dunne and Thailand's Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym.

The bout will be streamed live worldwide on with the broadcast starting at 9:30 PM GMT / 4:30 EST / 1:30 PST.

While most believe that Juan Manuel Marquez' thrilling knockout over Juan Diaz in February is the runaway fight of the year thus far, there are many, including me, who see Bernard Dunne's war against Ricardo Cordoba the following month as perhaps even more scintillating. Dunne came back from being nearly knocked out in the 5th round to brutally stop the favored Panamanian in the 11th.

Don't be surprised if you see a similar level of action and drama when Dunne meets Thailand's Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym this Saturday.

Kratingdaenggym (somehow I think the commentators are just going to call him 'the Thai guy') is a relentless pressure fighter that cuts off the ring well. His battles with Somsak Sithchatchawal and Ricardo Cordoba were gems, with the 28 year old getting inside on his significantly taller opponents and ripping a variety of shots to the body and head. It's unlikely that Poonsawat has been in too many dull fights.

At 5'3 1/2, he'll be at a significant height disadvantage against the 5'8 champion from Ireland. Cordoba used his height and reach to almost defeat Kratingdaenggym in 2005 by constantly punching and turning for long stretches of the bout, reminiscent of the game plan Robert Guerrero executed against Malcolm Klassen last month. While it's not Dunne's style to enact the same strategy, he'll look to use his jab and straight right hand to keep the little bulldog at bay. When Poonsawat does make his way inside, Dunne has a strong left hook waiting for him, the same left hook that fell Cordoba on multiple occasions.

Another obstacle for the Thailand native to overcome is geography. The fight will take place in Dublin, Ireland, Bernard's hometown, which will mark only the second time in 40 fights Poonsawat has fought outside of Thailand. The only other time, a 2006 bout against Wladimir Sidorenko in Germany, resulted in his lone loss.

Still, Dunne has weaknesses that the smaller man can exploit. The 29 year old boasts a tremendous heart but his whiskers are iffy. His career got temporarily derailed when Kiko Martinez knocked him out in one round two years ago. And of course, Ricardo Cordoba badly hurt him a number of times during their war in March. Kratingdaenggym won't be mistaken as a knockout artist, but he does have a stern punch, and he has the stamina to keep his hands busy for 12 rounds. Barring Dunne scoring an early KO (and Poonsawat has a sturdy chin), he'll have to endure a good deal of punishment, particularly to the body as the challenger will have no qualms with slamming right hands into his sternum if Dunne decides to fight tall.

There's action guaranteed for however long it lasts. The big heavyweight fight in Los Angeles on the same night will get more attention, but this should serve as the tasty appetizer that may be better than the main dish.

e-mail Michael Nelson
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Has Arreola Sacrificed Enough to Beat Klitschko?

By Lee Payton

Photo © Ray Kasprowicz

This is a story I wrote awhile back. For those of you who haven't read it, here are my thoughts on the upcoming heavyweight fight...

On September 26, Chris "The Nightmare" Arreola will have a chance to become the first ever Mexican Heavyweight Champion when he challenges Vitali Klitscko in front of what is sure to be a passionate crowd at Staples Center, in Los Angeles. A former amateur stand-out, Arreola has gone undefeated in 27 fights as a pro, with almost all of his wins coming by way of knockout. When you see this guy fight, there's plenty to get excited about, but I have to admit that despite his potential and kill or be killed mindset, I just can't get behind him.

Let me start my explanation off by saying that I generally love Mexican fighters. Gimme the delightful arrogance of Morales, the deadly offensive discipline of Marquez, the brutal clinch work of Castillo, the almost psychotic style of Limon, and the hard-nosed work ethic of Ramirez (I could go on forever), and I'm gushing. These men are what boxing is all about for me. Of course, gutsy, granite chinned, go forward at all cost fighters with nasty hooks to the liver come from scary places all over the world, but those are traits of the prototypical Mexican warhorse. They're a joy to watch if want to see a man broken down in a violent way. They will test your heart, win or lose. You can count on it.

I think Arreola has some of that guerrero in him. I really do. He seems like a guy who loves fighting, and I can't see him pulling the plug when things get rough. He's also got some classic Mexican weapons, like a solid uppercut and a nasty left hook. What he lacks in speed and snap he makes up for in physical strength and heavy punching technique.

The problem is hunger. When those guys I mentioned earlier were on the way up, they were starving. You can't tell me that Arreola's desire is anywhere near the same level. The proof is in his rather comfortable financial situation and his waistline. He's hardly fighting his way out of poverty.

As a rare Mexican heavyweight who can fight, he's been moved along expertly by his promoter, Dan Goossen, who knows just what he has on his hands. Arreola has been paid well throughout his career to beat guys he was supposed to pound on. Many of his fights have been televised, including his last two, which were featured on HBO. What other heavyweight in the world gets on thee big time boxing network against Travis Walker and a retired Jameel McCline? He's been getting the Michael Grant treatment. Not the fighter's fault, obviously, but let's call it like it is.

Heavies rarely fight killers on their way up these days (there are none out there anyway) so I'll give him a bit of a pass for that. My main concern is with his pear-like physique. The man is just way too fat. He's good enough that it doesn't matter against a certain class, but boxing has never been overly kind to anyone who isn't willing to put the work in. At the highest level, this game has to be more than a day job or something you do a few times a year.

I find it astounding that he could be so soft at his age, given his profession. I think you'd actually have to be trying to be as overweight as he often is. Every movement is accompanied by an unsightly jiggle we're just not used to seeing in the ring.

There have been reports that Chris is taking this fight more seriously than others, and I believe them. I also believe those who say he began camp at about 280 lbs. I read that he is so serious about this fight that he actually started jogging! What?! Jogging?!!

Look, I'm sure that he's going to work harder than he ever has, but there is no way he can possibly come into this fight at his best fighting weight. I think those who are hoping for anything below 250 are going to be disappointed. There's just not enough time for him to get into peak condition, in my opinion.

Apart from the issues Arreola has with discipline, I think he's facing a difficult stylistic challenge, as well. Vitali is a 6'7 fighter who understands distance and how to utilize his height both on offense and defense. He uses a steady jab, that tends to come up from his hip, to keep his opponents at bay while sets them up for his other punches. I don't see Chris getting out of the way of these shots too often because he's not very quick of hand or foot, and he has virtually no head movement. Steadily pressing has never worked against Big Brother. He's a master of taking advantage of quasi-aggression from shorter fighters. At 6'3 or so, and with a head that is sure to be right there, I think Arreola's chin is on a tee.

And call it a hunch, but I don't think he's all that difficult to hurt. Not that he has been seriously buzzed all that often, but the way he reacts to shots doesn't exactly remind me of other stone-chinned Mexicans like Chavez and Castillo, who rarely ever blinked inside the ring.

Yes, Vitali Klitscko is 38 years old. He does have a history of injuries, and he has had it pretty easy in his two comeback fights. But we have seen him take flush bombs from real hitters like Lennox Lewis and Corrie Sanders without going down, so I find it hard to question his mettle, even at this stage. I think it's also important to point out that he has been an athlete his entire life. If you saw Arreola on the street, "athlete" is not a word that would cross your mind. As much as this sport is about mental preparation, it is still a physical contest, and in that category, it really is "no-contest".

In the end, it's about sacrifice. You don't truly love and respect this sport unless you are willing to accept the work that comes along with it. I don't believe Chris Arreola has struggled hard enough so I am picking Vitali Klitschko to win by knockout. It will be a painful lesson for the young man.

Email Lee Payton

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Man to Beat Floyd Mayweather Jr....

Jeff Pryor takes a look at what it will take to beat Floyd Mayweather, and who might be the man to do it.

Photo © Marty Rosengarten /

Against a smaller, older, slower, lighter punching man in his last bout, Mayweather looked virtually unbeatable. However like all fighters, he is not invincible.

Even for all his world class athletic attributes there are areas to exploit against Mayweather, it is a credit to his skill and choice in opponents that no fighter he has faced has yet had exactly the right tools to take advantage of the chinks in his armor.

So, what is there to exploit you ask? First off, Floyd pulls straight back. His Fred Astaire feet make him hard to reach and his right glove is usually by his chin... but he pulls straight back. And his left hand is forever dangling at his waist when he does it. The shorter, slower man, with much less reach, Marquez was able to clip him a number of times as Mayweather pulled back.

Secondly Mayweather still allows himself to get caught on the ropes at times. Whether bravado, break taking or a comfort zone, when Floyd's back is on the ropes he is far less effective than when he can escape out the back door and move freely. Marquez landed some of his cleanest blows while Floyd languished on the threads. Delahoya too, was allowed to bang away and score significant blows with Mayweather back on his heels and hemmed in.

Third, his style is almost entirely based on reflex and speed. Those leaping left hooks that first caught Marquez off guard, rarely landed as the fight went on. Juan Manuel didn't have the speed to do more than dodge them once he had the timing figured, but no matter how fast, leaping in with shots like Floyd does is dangerous business and one well timed blow could change a fight seemingly in hand.

Lastly there is the matter of volume. Mayweather is economical and though his speed tends to make opponents think twice about letting their hands go, he can be outworked. The trick is getting that output to land (see above).

With those points in mind, there are several fighters within Mayweathers own weight class who would provide a true litmus test for Mayweathers unbeaten record.

Here we'll run down the most likely suspects:

Manny Pacquiao

Photo © Ray Kasprowicz

Debatably, he isn't even in Mayweather's weight class, yet so dynamic has Pacquiao's rise been that size considerations have been all but written off when it comes to the division hopping Filipino. An explosive combo of power and aggression, with a galvanized skill set, Manny seems to be the odds on favorite to face Mayweather should he get past Cotto.

With hand and foot speed, as well as reflex reaction on par with Mayweather this would be a tight wire tension drill for both men. Pacquiao would have a hard time reaching Mayweather as he pulls back, but he would be able to react and counter, get Floyd on the ropes and get shots in with his frenetic attacks.

Floyd would be able to pick his spots and counter, potshot at times and would strain to keep the fight at his pace, while Manny bounces at him furiously pouncing with a flurry of blows at every available opportunity. The crux of this matchup really would be whether Manny has real power at 147 or if his recent blowouts of Hatton and DeLaHoya were slightly misleading due to the condition of his foes.

If Manny really does pack the punch he seems to, and we'll know for sure after he faces Cotto in November, then this fight pits an absolute offensive monster against an all time defensive master. Somethings gotta give.

Miguel Cotto

Photo © Marty Rosengarten /

The written off man, it would seem, in the Mayweather sweepstakes. To my mind there is a very good chance for him to beat Pacquiao despite the sports apparent willingness to presume Manny's victory before it's happened. Should he defeat Pacquiao, his widespread Puerto Rican and east coast fan base would likely be enough of a cash cow to lure Mayweather into a bout.

Cotto showed he had hand speed the equal of Mosley in their fight and the skill to outbox him for a majority of the bout. Whether it be brawling or boxing, Cotto's defining trait is that he just has the innate ability to do what it takes to win.

The aforementioned hand speed would give Cotto a good chance to land a significant amount on Floyd, and he is a punishing puncher, particularly to the body, where Floyd has had rib problems. The landscape for Miguel to succeed in this bout would be when he has Floyd on the ropes. Cotto's swarming punches would come in a flurry and he's skilled enough to place them well.

The styles matchup would be less daunting for the Puerto Rican than some of his recent bouts as well. Cotto's weakness would seem to be relentless bigger guys he can't hurt. Floyd certainly isn't relentless. And he isn't going to pressure Cotto in the least. If Cotto could cut off the ring well, he just might be the guy to corral Mayweather and make it ugly for the Pretty Boy.

Antonio Margarito

Photo © Ray Kasprowicz

His wrap scandal aside, Margarito has in the ring business to attend to in order to repair his reputation after his dismantling at the hands of Mosley. Beyond that, Margarito at his best would still pose issues for Floyd. His length would allow him to reach Mayweather on the way out, and his punch output would be impossible for Floyd to match.

Though Mayweather would likely be able to strafe Margarito at will, should the cement headed Mexican be back in full force, this would do little to discourage him. The sheer number of punches Antonio would hurl, would make it likely that a fair amount would batter into Floyd, and Margarito does a good job of cutting off the ring and tracking down opponents.

Floyd would outclass and out speed him, but he wouldn't be able to resist unloading on the easy to hit Margarito at times. And in those moments he has to stand still and punch. Margarito would bomb with him and make it interesting. If there is a head in boxing to crack Floyd's fragile hands Margarito's is surely the one.

Paul Williams

Photo © Ray Kasprowicz

The freakish nature of Paul Williams size almost certainly negates any chance of Floyd ever excepting Williams as an opponent, so I'll keep this short; Williams reach would be a nightmare for Mayweather's usual style.

If Mayweather committed to working inside the giant wingspan of Williams he could find real success, but his comfort zone is on the outside, and Paul's size would allow him to clip Floyd as he pulled out and keep him at bay on the ropes with his long arms.

My guess is Williams never fights at 147 again so this is almost a moot point. Still, Williams presents the type of high risk, low reward challenge Mayweather has never been willing to entertain. In fairness it would be a lot asking Floyd to take this fight. Still, for as highly as Floyd talks of himself, this match-up should be fair game.

Shane Mosley

Photo © Ray Kasprowicz

Probably the most qualified opponent to face Floyd, with probably the best chance to win. His speed may not quite equal "Money's" flashing fists, but it's close enough to do the trick, and behind Mosley's speed there is considerable power. Zab Judah was able to knock Floyd down with a similar combination of attributes and Shane brings more punching prowess to the table. His strength and stamina would tax Floyd in close and his willingness to throw-down would likely force Floyd into exchanging more than he would be comfortable with.

Mosley is a total welterweight package, the likes of which Floyd has never dared to face before. Of the points I outlined above, Mosley would be the one man that could likely take advantage of all of them.

What makes the fight so intriguing however is the fact that Miguel Cotto was able to outbox Mosley in the home stretch of their bout to pull off the win. As good as Mosely's skills are, at times he just wants to fight and that mentality would keep things interesting and open up both great opportunities and liabilities for Mayweather.

Mosley the hunter. Mayweather the elusive potshotter. A great fight and the real matchup to be made at welterweight.

Each of these men has strengths that they could leverage against Mayweather. And each has weaknesses that Floyd could exploit.

The fact is, to beat Floyd Mayweather, you can't just be a great fighter, you've got to have particular attributes that can take advantage of his few weaknesses. You must be able to push the action and make him engage. When he is throwing punches, he is far more available to be hit.

You must have some combination of comparable speed, rangy reach and/or reactive reflexes to counterbalance his own otherworldly athleticism.

You must have a good chin, because he's going to hit you clean and fast at times.

You must be consistent and put in a full fight of indefatigable work.

And you probably need an X-factor. If you're going to do something special, you have to bring something special to the table. Could be unbelievable fortitude and determination, or it could be game changing power, unusual length or matching speed.

Make no mistake, beating Floyd Mayweather is a task that few welterweights on the planet would have any hope of achieving. At best, if we are lucky, one... maybe two, might get the opportunity to take up the challenge.

To many hardcore boxing fans Floyd Mayweather is unbeaten with an asterisk; some feel he flat out lost to Jose Luis Castillo, others feel his handpicked opposition has been the chief factor in his unblemished brocade of victories.

Whatever each individual detractors quibbling preference may be, it would appear that for the man who has proclaimed himself "the greatest of all time", many a fan still feels Mayweather has long avoided readily available challenges that could at least make such self indulgent hyperbole less of an arrogant assertion without merit and into a semi-reasonable, if still self aggrandizing, proclamation.

The point is, if we can feel he's done everything he humanly can to prove he's the best, and succeeded, we can live with him stamping himself with approval. But as there have been multiple tough and worthy fighters he has shied away from in favor of seemingly easier opposition, fans have had a natural backlash.

Mayweather is in the drivers seat and he can go some ways down that road to all time greatness if he wants to. Any of the men listed above would be solid choices as opponents.

There's a good chance for one or more of these fights to get made and with all the factors that go into any bout, it's almost impossible to predict exactly who or how someone may beat Mayweather. It may happen next time out for Money May. It may never happen.

All that most of the sports observers ask is that Floyd challenges himself to be as great as he already claims he is.

The man who has what it takes to beat Mayweather is out there. It may take a special night for this man. It may take a lucky break. Or it may just take an opportunity to step into the ring with him.

He's out there. Whether he gets an opportunity to prove it, with Mayweather's notorious aversion to risk as a barrier, is a question we'll have answered over the relatively short remainder of Floyd's career.

The double edged sword here is that those same men who could snatch his unbeaten record away and upend Mayweather's argument for GOAT ascendency, could also provide the nudge into GOAT-like possibility, should he conquer a few of these worthy challengers available to him.

The truth is, the men to beat Mayweather, should he face them, are also the men who will beat Mayweather should he choose not to. The specter of match-ups avoided could loom larger than a true loss on Mayweather's record as the years go by and with a rogue's gallery of dangerous opponents at hand, failing to rise to meet those challenges is as big a defeat as succumbing in the squared circle.

Floyd Mayweather is so good, he may not lose to Mosley, Pacquiao, Margarito, Cotto or Williams inside the ring were he to fight them, but if he doesn't face down one or two in a prize fight, those men will claim a bigger victory over Mayweather's legacy. Defining it, even in their absence.

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