Sunday, May 31, 2009

Andre Berto: Not Spectacular, But Gets Job Done

By Lee Payton

Photo © Marty Rosengarten / Ringsidephotos.com

Welterweight contender, Andre Berto, won a unanimous decision over tough Juan Urango last night with superior speed, movement and some other less than stirring tactics that sucked much of the drama out of what looked to be a fun match-up.

He won, but compared to his last fight against another southpaw, Luis Collazo, it was a dull 12 rounds.

Despite all of his advantages, Berto seemed content to lay back, explode with a right hand and then fall into a clinch for most of the evening. When referee Tommy Kimmons let him know he was going to take a point for excessive holding, he chose to run around and pot-shot. He won, and that's about it.

We've seen Berto as a speedy offensive force, a gutty warrior, an inside counterpuncher, and now we know he can stink it up if wants to. So what kind of fighter is he exactly?

To me, it's all about his blinding speed. Without it, he becomes merely a solid contender who could never threaten the top level. Solid in most departments, special in none.

They say "speed kills". Well, in Berto's case "speed spoils" is probably more accurate. He's not the type of fighter who will use his quickness to overwhelm top opposition, but he does know how to keep the other guy from having things his way most of the time.

Maybe that's enough, for now, but what happens when he steps up?

The guys on top at 147 aren't exactly tortoises. As it stands, you pretty much have to favour the elite of the division over Berto, though I feel like his natural athleticism would make all those proven hands less than comfortable.

Based purely on styles, perhaps his best chance would be against Miguel Cotto. He has a significant edge in quickness, especially in the feet, and he can counter on the inside with some dangerous looking stuff, including a right uppercut that would likely find it's way to the Puerto Rican's jaw. Of course, Cotto can change things with a few well-placed whacks to the ribs.

I can see why this most recent performance could turn fans off. Yeah, the fight was a total bore, and maybe he's been a little over-hyped, but the kid has a few things going for him and there's no way fans should give up on him just yet.

He was in with a really tough, dangerous guy, who just keeps on coming. It's not the first time Urango has convinced a more celebrated fighter to just get the 'W' and move on. A prime Ricky Hatton also decided to take the safe route once he realized Urango wasn't going anywhere. It should also be pointed out that he was following his trainer's instructions, which is what the fighter is supposed to do.

Perhaps the war with Collazo raised some impossible expectations. I don't know how many more pier 6 brawls he wants to be in. Actually, you may recall that after a few rounds, a point was deducted from Berto for holding. From there, he was basically forced to fight. Perhaps referee Keith Hughes deserves much of the credit for what turned into a great fight. I wish Tommy Kimmons had done the same, as it may have brought out the best in the young man, rather than the cautious fighter we saw.

I still remember how deep he dug in the final round of the Collazo fight. You can't fake guts. It seems like we learn something new about him every time out. I'll be watching to see what he does next.

e-mail Lee Payton
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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Live Blog: Berto vs Urango, Angulo vs Cintron

Welcome to The Boxing Bulletin's live blog coverage of tonight's HBO Bad double-header.

Coverage will start at 9:45 PM EST.


Up first: Alfredo Angulo (15-0) vs Kermit Cintron (30-2-1) ---- 12 rounds at 154

Main Event: Andre Berto (24-0) vs Juan Urango (21-1-1) ---- 12 rounds at 147

If you are here early, check out Michael Nelson's preview of tonight's fights:

Berto vs Urango & Angulo vs Cintron Previews

Refresh this page often as updates will be frequent

9:30... 15 minutes until show time. Updates will start at 9:45.

9:47... Boxing After Dark is on the air. The venue is the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Bob Papa, Lennox Lewis and Max Kellerman will be calling the action.

9:49... Right now they are showing some highlights of Angulo from HBO's Ring Life. I assume the fighters will be making their way to the ring shortly.

9:51... Angulo didn't start fighting until he was 16. He preferred baseball as a kid. The switch in interests not surprisingly didn't please his mother.

9:56... Fight night weights according to HBO's unofficial scales -- Angulo is 159 and Cintron 169.

9:57... Cintron is making his way to the ring.

9:58... Angulo is on his way in.

9;59... According to Bob Papa and Lennox Lewis, there are rumors that Angulo was sick in the days leading up to the fight. He missed the press conference and was late getting into the event.

10:00... Jimmy Lennon Jr. with the intros.

10:01... Wearing gray trunks with red and white trim, with a record of 30-2-1 (27 KO)... Kermit Cintron.

10:02... Wearing black trunks with silver trim, with a record of 15-0 (12 KO)... Alfredo Angulo.

10:03... We are underway.

10:03... According to Bob Papa, Cintron claims to be in the best shape of his career. At 169 tonight, he's certainly bigger than he's ever been. Lennox says he likes the way Cintron is using his jab, but he'd like to see him step into it a little bit more.

10:05... "Measured approach from both." - Papa. Both using their jab. There was one exchange at the 1:30 mark, where they both threw hooks. Cintron landed a jab, and Angulo countered with a hard right hand. About 50 seconds to go in the round.

10:06... Angulo with a hard right hand that backs up Cintron. He's got Kermit retreating a little bit here as the round comes to a close. Cintron with a jab as he backs away. Round 1 is in the books.

10:06... Angulo's corner is telling him to throw the uppercut. Cintron's corner... "Stay busy with the jab, but feint him."

10:07... Harold's got it 1-0 for Cintron. I'd give it to Angulo.

10:07... Kellerman comments that boxing to Angulo is second nature, while Cintron seems to have to think for a second before he makes his move.

10:08... Cintron's doing well early in the 2nd. He also had a good start to the first. Angulo is steadily coming forward though.

10:10... Cintron is using his jab. Angulo with the guard up, follows, also flicking out his jab and trying to follow up with power shots. He lands a nice hook to the body. Angulo just landed a nice right hand over the top with about 20 seconds left. Cintron is standing his ground though, and he lands a nice hook. Angulo comes back and whacks the body as Cintron backs away. Good round. Good fight so far.

10:11... "jab, jab, straight right hand." - Angulo's corner.

10:12... Cintron is circling to his left, flicking the jab out. Angulo coming forward, misses with a hook. Cintron stops and fires off a combo, but Angulo blocks most of it. Angulo steadily keeps coming forward, but Cintron is landing the clean shots so far.

10:14... Lennox likes what he sees from Cintron. Cintron lands a nice left hook that got Angulo's attention with about 45 seconds left in the round. Cintron lands a nice right between the guard. Good stuff from Kermit here. Angulo keeps coming though. There's the bell. Very good round for Cintron.

10:14... Angulo's corner is telling him he's got to throw more punches and move his head.

10:15... Harold has it 3-0 for Kermit.

10:15... Kermit with a chopping right in close. Lennox comments that Cintron looks nice and relaxed. Kermit working the jab, moving backwards and to his left. Angulo's looking a bit slow in there. Makes you wonder if he really might be a little sick.

10:16... Angulo's hurt. Kermit catches him with a big right hand. Angulo's backing away. Kermit composed here as he goes after him. I think Angulo's got his legs though. 1:30 to go in the round. Nice combo by Cintron.

10:18... 1:00 left in round 4. Been a big round for Kermit so far. Angulo is following him around, throwing one shot at a time and eating counters. Angulo with a body shot on the belt line and is cautioned for it. Kermit with a nice right hand. Lennox wonders how many of those Angulo can take. There's the bell ending another good round for Cintron.

10:18... Cintron has a nick over his left eye just below the eyebrow. His corner tells him it's nothing and not to worry about it.

10:19... 4-0 on Harold's card.

10:20... Lennox comments that Angulo is just pawing with his left jab, which allows Cintron to counter with his right hand. Lennox says he needs to throw some double jabs on the way in. Cintron with a nice counter right, and Angulo takes it and keeps pressing. Nice jab from Cintron. Angulo with a chopping right and then missing with a right.

10:22... Angulo is moving forward all the time, but Cintron is looking very comfy. A good exchange there where they both threw power shots. Papa comments that Cintron's getting a little lazy with the jab. There's the bell.

10:23... 4-1 on Harold's card. He gave the 5th to Angulo.

10:23... The 5th was a better round for Angulo. Cintron didn't really use his jab as effectively as he had in the first few.

10:25... Angulo coming forward behind the jab. Cintron backing up, but he stops and throws a shot to the body before moving again. Kellerman again comments that Angulo didn't look good at the weigh-in.

10:25... Not too much happening other than Angulo following Cintron around, and getting tagged by counters.

10:26... Round 6 is done. Angulo really needs to do something big to turn this around. He's looking sluggish and well beaten so far.

10:27... 5-1 on Harold's card. "I love what Kermit's doing with that jab."

10:28... Full credit to Cintron for the disciplined job he's doing in there, but Angulo really does look poor.

10:30... Angulo keeps walking forward though. He lands a decent right hand with Kermit along the ropes with 1:20 left in the round. Cintron took it well though. Cintron backing up a bit and now he clinches. Angulo back on the attack. He switches southpaw as he comes forward. "He's trying everything." Lennox. He catches Cintron with a hook. Angulo showing a lot more urgency now and he's having more success. He catches Cintron with a right hand along the ropes, but Cintron roars back with a combo. There's the bell.

10:31... 6-1 on Harold's card. I think Angulo got that one though.

10:31... Kellerman says being generous Angulo may have won 3 rounds.

10:32.. Angulo pressing to start the round. He digs a hook to the body with Cintron along the ropes, and Kermit gets out of there. Not a good spot for him. Angulo pressing with the same kind of urgency he showed late in the last round, but eats a right hand as he comes forward.

10:34... 1:30 to go in round 8. Angulo with a right hand that lands. Cintron doing a good job though of standing his ground when he has to and countering effectively. Lennox comments that both fighters are a bit weary. Angulo pressing Cintron here along the ropes. The ref calls time with 11 seconds left in the round. A bit of loose tape on Angulo's glove. There's the bell.

10:35... Angulo's corner telling him he's losing the fight and needs to press.

10:35... Harold has it 6-2 now.

10:37... Angulo coming forward, Cintron circling to his left. Cintron with a combo, both were blocked though. Cintron now flicking the jab. Angulo coming forward, trying to work the body. Kellerman comments that he's now making a concerted effort to go downstairs.

10:38... 1 minute left in the 9th. Angulo with a left to the body and Cintron ties him up. Cintron flicking out the jab, now slips away to this right. Angulo not as active as he was in the previous round. There's the bell. We're done 9.

10:39... Round 10 delayed slightly due to the tape on Angulo's gloves. Harold has it 6-3.

10:40... Harold comments that Cintron's mouth is wide open and he's looking tired.

10:40... Angulo's corner told him between rounds that he needed a knockout to win.

10:41... Angulo is plugging away. Cintron throwing the jab. Both fighters are looking tired.

10:42... Lennox comments that Cintron's hands are coming down a bit. He's tired, but so is Angulo. Cintron with a little hook on the inside. Angulo fighting out of the southpaw stance again. He lands a hook to the body. Cintron flicking the jab and on the move. Angulo with a right hand over the top. He lands another decent right. Cintron backing away here. There's the bell.

10:43... This is the first time Angulo's gone past 10.

10:43... Harold now has it 6-4.

10:45... Cintron with a jab, and a right hand, and then ties Angulo up. Angulo with a long right hand over the top that lands. Cintron dances away to his left, and now to his right. Angulo comes forward and Cintron ties him up. Kellerman comments that even though Angulo's coming on a little over the last couple rounds, Cintron has remained focused and hasn't let the fight get away from him.

10:46... Cintron puts his shoulder into Angulo's chest and holds him. Angulo didn't appreciate it. Angulo pressing forward, Cintron flicking the jab out. Angulo with a right hand. Cintron backing away constantly now, but I don't know if Angulo has the energy to do anything about it. Angulo with a hook to the body. There's the bell.

10:47... "Forget the body, go for the top. This is the last round. Put everything into it." - Angulo's corner.

10:47... "This is the last round, keep your hands up." - Cintron's corner.

10:47... Now 6-5 on Harold's card.

10:48... A tired looking Alfredo Angulo going after a tired looking Kermit Cintron here. He lands a hook to the body. Cintron grabs a hold of him. Angulo pushing forward. Cintron fires a left and backs away. Angulo just misses with a right hand and Cintron holds him again.

10:49... Angulo with a couple short shots in close. 1:30 to go. Angulo with a hard right hand. That looked like it hurt a bit. Cintron backing away. He tries to hold again. Angulo tries to fight through Cintron's clinches.

10:50... 1 minute to go. Cintron is warned for holding. "1 more time and I'll take a point." Angulo trying to pour it on. Cintron is looking completely spent as he backs away. Angulo with a hard right hand. Cintron backing away, flicking out the jab and fires a right hand. Angulo comes back with his own right, and he digs the body. Gutsy stuff from both fighters here. Cintron backing away but firing still. Angulo keeps pressing. There's the bell. Really great finish.

10:52... Harold has it 115-113 for Cintron. He gave Kermit the last one.

10:53... Jimmy Lennon Jr. with the scores. All 3 judges have it 116-112 for Kermit Cintron.

10:56... Cintron is now with Max Kellerman. "This is my best performance to date in my career. We had 8 weeks in training camp... I tell you what, I give credit to my team."

10:57... "Is this redemption for the Margarito fights?" - Kellerman. "No, not at all, the past is the past."

10:58... Cintron says he feels he can still fight at 147.

11:03... Kellerman is going over the welterweight picture while we wait for the fighters.

11:05... Berto is 155 tonight, while Urango is 150.

11:06... Urango is getting ready to make his entrance.

11:08... Berto is on the way in now. There are stairs leading from the dressing rooms to the arena, and Berto's just got to the bottom of them.

11:11... Jimmy Lennon Jr. with the intros for the main event.

11:11... The ref is Tommy Kimmons.

11:13... "The challenger on my right in the blue corner, wearing black trunks with multi-colored trim... his record stands at 21-1-1 (16 KO), moving up in weight... known as Iron Twins, Juan Urango."

11:13... "Wearing white trunks with black trim, with a record of 24-0-0 (19 KO), the undefeated Andre Berto."

11:14... Final instructions have been given. We're ready to get this one underway.

11:14... Papa comments that Urango's a natural righty, but just felt more comfortable boxing as a southpaw.

11:16... Urnago moving forward, with his head going from side to side, gloves up. Berto flicking the jab out, as he circles to his left. He jumps in, lands and holds. Cautious stuff to start from both fighters. We're about half way through round 1.

11:17... A small clash of heads. That's going to be a worry with the southpaw Urango moving forward. They exchange again, and another clash of heads. Urango edging forward. Berto with a jab, and a right. Not sure either landed though. Berto flicking the jab out and they clinch. So far it's looking like the mesh of styles might not be so great. Several clinches and a couple head clashes. There's the bell.

11:18... Berto's corner telling him when he uses the jab, slide over, wait for Urango to reach in and then counter.

11:18... 1-0 Berto on Harold's card.

11:19... Berto jumps in with a right hand, and then clinches. He's looking to beat Urango to the punch and tie him up in close. That's not going to make for pleasing action.

11:20... Berto landed a right hand, and Urango caught him with a right hook, and Berto stumbled a bit, but it looked like he got his foot tangled with Urango's. Some more clinching. Berto with a counter right, and Urango with a shot on the inside in response. 1:00 to go in the round.

11:21... The ref warns Berto that when he tells them to break, to let Urango go. There's another clinch, this time Urango has his arm wrapped around Berto. Berto with a clean right hand, and they clinch again. Berto with a combo just before the bell.

11:22... Two in the books. This is kind of messy stuff so far.

11:22... They clinch immediately to start the 3rd round.

11:24... 2-0 on Harold's card. More clinching. Urango comes forward with a lunging left hand that misses. He misses another one. More clinching. Berto now circles to his right, and slips underneath a hook from Urango. Another clinch. Urango misses with a hook. 1:30 to go in round 3.

11:26... Urango misses, and they get tied up again. Urango comes in, and their feet get tangled and he goes down. It's not a knock-down and the action resumes immediately. That's the second time their legs have got tangled like that, with Berto almost going down in round 1. Messy stuff. 10 seconds left in the round. Urango lunges in with his left and Berto easily makes him miss as he backs away. There's the bell.

11:26... Urango's corner is telling him he needs to lets his hands go on the inside. Berto's corner tells him, "Only hold for a split second, so he won't call that."

11:27... Harold has it 3-0.

11:27... "Juan Urango just has to get busy and punch on the inside." - Harold

11:28... Berto catches Urango with a hook on the way in. He's landing the clean shots here, although clean shots are less common than the clinches so far. Urango lands a hard left, and Berto with a hard right hand. A real good exchange there. About time we've seen one.

11:29... Berto with a right hand. He makes Urango miss, and lands another one. Nice stuff there from Berto. The gap in hand speed is huge.

11:30... Lennox comments that he doesn't like the way Berto throws his combos and then looks to hold. Nobody does, Lennox, but it's working for him. There's the bell to end round 4.

11:31... Round 5 underway. Harold has it 4-0. Kellerman has it a shut-out as well.

11:32... Berto on the move, Urango catches up to him, and Berto grabs him. He releases and catches Urango with a left. He then lands a shot to the body and holds again. I got to say I absolutely can't stand the hit and hold tactics of Berto tonight. I'm a fan of his and usually enjoy his fights, but this isn't good to watch. The ref from the Collazo fight warned him about it early, and we got a much better fight because of it.

11:33... Berto flicking the jab, and then lands a combo. Urango tries to counter, but is a little slow to respond. Berto moving away to his left, and Urango follows, only to be held again. Berto times Urango with a nice uppercut. Lennox says Berto should be pushing Urango back in close, rather than holding. Berto with a jab, and then slips away. There's the bell.

11:34... Urango's corner telling him to use the uppercut in close.

11:35... 5-0 on Harold's card.

11:36... Berto circling away, as Urango follows. Berto tries to time Urango with an uppercut but misses. Urango misses a hook and Berto moves away to his left. Berto with a jab. Urango misses with a hook. 2:00 to go in round 6.

11:37... Urango with a decent uppercut in close. Berto with a right hand, and they clinch. Berto with a right hand, and slips Urango's counter hook. Urango following, trying to get in close, but Berto stays out of range and fires a combo. The ref tells Urango to work out of it, after Berto ties him up. A good exchange, as Urango lands a hook, and Berto lands a right.

11:39... Round 7 is underway. 6-0 on Harold's card.

11:39... Urango backs Berto into the corner and throws a couple of hooks. Berto ties him up, and gets out of trouble when they re-start. Harold says he doesn't know why Berto holds so much, but it's up to Urango to do more when Berto grabs him.

11:40... Harold also commented that Berto is almost back handing his jab.

11:41... This is not thrilling to watch.

11:42... "Urango continues to plod forward, while Berto dances around." - Bob Papa

11:43... Round 8 underway. 7-0 on Harold's card.

11:44... Urango tries to get inside and rough Berto up, but Berto ties him up. "Berto's holding and doing a very effective job of holding." Lennox.

11:45... There's really not much to say about the action. It's dull. Berto's too quick, and when Urango does get close, Berto grabs him.

11:45... "For Urango, it's basically you can't hit what you can't catch." - Papa

11:48... Berto on the move. He goes left. He goes right. Urango follows. Berto going left again. Right again. Bob Papa asks Lennox what Urango can do to make a fight of this. Lennox has no answers. In fairness, there's not much he can do. Berto's too quick, and if he can hold in close all the time, there's little Urango can do other than get a bit dirty. Perhaps getting a bit dirty is the answer though.

11:49... The crowd is starting to boo.

11:50... In between all Berto's dancing about, Urango landed a few shots.

11:50... Urango's corner tells him that when Berto holds, he needs to throw the uppercut.

11:51... Round 10 is underway. Thankfully, only 3 to go. Harold has it 9-0.

11:52... Harold said Tommy Kimmons should have taken a point away from Berto by now. That would be nice. Kellerman says that the ref might do Berto a favor by taking a point away for the holding, since it would make Berto fight more and he's the better fighter.

11:54... The 10th round of this ordeal is over. Only 2 more to go.

11:55... 10-0 on Harold's card.

11:57... Berto landing some jabs. Moving. Lands a right. Urango misses a hook. Some nice moves there from Berto. If he did more of that, and less of the hit and hold, we might have had a better spectacle. Berto with a nice combo. He can fight when he wants to. He's on the move again. Urango following. They hold. "Let him go." Tommy Kimmons. Urango lands a shot just before the bell.

11:58... "Don't change anything." - Berto's corner

11:58... Urango's corner tells him he needs a knockout.

11:59... 10-1 on Harold's card.

11:59... I'm struggling to pay attention here. I'm tempted to flip the channel and watch some basketball and hockey highlights. I'll hang in there though. 1 more round to go.

12:02... Urango pressing and trying to land something big. Not having any luck, although he's landed to the body a bit. Time is running out though. It's not going to happen for Juan tonight. There's the bell.

12:02... Lennox just said that Berto's getting better with every fight. This was not an improvement in my book.

12:03... 118-110 on Harold's card. Berto is pleased with his work. He's chatting away to the cameras. He got the job done. He won easily, but this was not a crowd pleasing performance. This was really not much fun to watch.

12:04... Jimmy Lennon Jr. with the scores. 117-111, 118-110, 118-110 for Andre Berto.

12:07... Berto tells Max Kellerman he was trying to stick to the game plan and not get into his fighting mode.

12:09... "Kermit Cintron was the story of the night." - Max Kellerman

12:10... That's it from The Boxing Bulletin for tonight. We'll be back in a couple of weeks for the next live blog event when Miguel Cotto and Josh Clottey go at it.
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Friday, May 29, 2009

HBO Bad Predictions: Andre Berto vs Juan Urango; Alfredo Angulo vs Kermit Cintron

HBO BAD has a good looking double header tomorrow night. Alfredo Angulo takes on Kermit Cintron at 154 pounds in the opener, while the main event features Andre Berto going against Juan Urango at 147.

Make sure to check out The Boxing Bulletin's live blog coverage of this event.

The Boxing Bulletin writers give their predictions after the jump...

Andre Berto vs Juan Urango

Berto is going to war with Urango, no doubt about it. Andre's speed should dominate the exchanges, but Juan will rock him a few times. Urango showed some nice body work in his last fight. I can't recall anyone really attacking Berto downstairs.

I'm not going to lie, I was one of Berto's biggest detractors, but he won me over during that war against Collazo. I still don't think he is in a class with the very best in the sport and I honestly doubt he ever will be. He is one of the most exciting fighters in the world, and I expect another sizzling battle, with Andre winning an 8-4 type decision. - Mark Lyons
Urango is a 140 title holder, but he'll be right at home at 147. This is going to be some fight. I think it will go the full 12 rounds, and whoever wins the decision will have worked hard for it. Berto will use his speed to beat Urango to the punch with right hand explosions, but I do have some concern for Andre in exchanges, where I think he'll get caught and hurt. The Colombian is underrated when it comes to counter-punching skill.

It's always hard to go against an undefeated fighter. You tend to think his management team knows what they're doing, but it's clear that Berto doesn't like southpaws or body punches. I'll pick the upset. Urango take's Berto's 0 by close, gutty decision. - Lee Payton
Berto vs Urango should be a good fight. I think Berto’s speed will give Urango problems early on and he’ll win the majority of the early rounds before surviving a late surge by Urango to take the fight by a comfortable points decision. - Dave Oakes
Berto/Urango is interesting, and I consider Urango a fairly live dog. His body attack will be a stern test for Berto. But that can be somewhat neutralized by clinching on the inside, which Berto had no problem doing against Collazo before the referee forced him to fight in close by taking a point away. And in previous fights, Urango hasn't worked inside of the clinch as often as he should.

I think the hand and foot speed advantages Berto have will get him a competitive decision in a fight where he has to survive some rough moments. - Michael Nelson

Check out Michael's preview of the fight: Berto vs Urango & Angulo vs Cintron Previews
Berto by 117-111 scores. The rounds will be competitive, but I think Berto's edge in hand speed will allow him to consistently do just a little bit more. - Andrew Fruman


Alfredo Angulo vs Kermit Cintron

I don't expect Angulo to have any trouble with Cintron. He will punish him from the jump and score a stoppage within six rounds. Lets say four. - Mark Lyons
Cinton doesn't have the stuff to hang with Angulo. He has no defense and absolutely nothing inside. He's going to get ripped to shreds. I'll be surprised if he goes 6. - Lee Payton
I think Angulo v Cintron could be a bit of a war depending on Cintron's frame of mind. Angulo is open to straight rights and I believe that Cintron could hurt Angulo early with that punch. My main worry is that Cintron gets caught and decides he doesn’t fancy getting involved after that. I think that is probably the most likely scenario and think Angulo will win via late stoppage. I wouldn’t rule out a shock Cintron win though. - Dave Oakes
I agree with Mark and Lee about Angulo/Cintron. Angulo's too big, too strong, and too much of a body puncher for Cintron. Cintron will get his licks in en route to getting taken out within 5 rounds. Should be a nice appetizer before the main dish. - Michael Nelson
It's not impossible that Angulo walks into a big right hand early in the fight, but I think once Cintron feels Angulo's power, his determination to stand in and land one of those fight changing punches will drop dramatically. Angulo by stoppage inside of 8 is my pick. - Andrew Fruman

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

British Scene Weekend Preview: Chris Edwards vs Usman Ahmed

Veteran flyweight Chris Edwards will be putting his British & Commonwealth titles on the line against Usman Ahmed in Friday night's Sky main event. The under-card features 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Darren Sutherland taking on Vepkhia Tchilaia in a 6 round super-middleweight contest.

Dave Oakes has the preview.


Check out our recap of the show: Weekend Recap

Friday May 29

Chris Edwards vs Usman Ahmed (SKY)


By Dave Oakes

Chris Edwards goes over old ground on Friday night when he makes the first defence of his British and Commonwealth flyweight titles at the Fenton Manor Sports Complex, Stoke, England.

Edwards has already beaten the challenger, Usman Ahmed, three years ago on Ahmed’s debut. Edwards out-boxed Ahmed with ease over six rounds on that occasion and is the favourite to win again.

Ahmed, the lightest pro in British boxing, has improved since their first meeting but is still some way off being ready for a title shot. Unfortunately, the lads in the flyweight division have very limited options when it comes to picking opponents and are often thrown in at the deep end. I feel this will be the case on Friday night.

Edwards is now at the veteran stage of his career, he’s thirty-three years old with a record that stands 12-13-3. He’s a lot better than his record suggests, most of his defeats were in the early part of his career when he was boxing to earn a few quid rather than to win titles. He’s only lost one of his last seven, and that was against the decent Andy Bell early last year.

Edwards’ best wins have come against the classy and underrated Dale Robinson, who he’s also drawn with, and Jamie McDonnell who was considered a hot prospect before losing to Edwards on a controversial points decision.

Whilst Edwards doesn’t carry significant power, his punches do have a wearing effect that slow his opponents down the longer the fight goes on. He’s also got a tremendous work rate and a reliable chin.

Ahmed is a clever boxer who looks to move around his opponent to create an angle before throwing a quick jab and flashy combinations. He should have the speed advantage over Edwards and will know what to expect from the champion.

I think Ahmed will put up a good fight and will take Edwards the distance, but I believe Edwards’ experience, determination and hometown backing from a usually raucous crowd will be enough to take a points decision somewhere around the 116-112 mark.

On the undercard…

Darren Sutherland, one of the hottest prospects in Europe, takes part in his third pro fight against tough journeyman Vepkhia Tchilaia. Sutherland will be looking to do better than fellow Olympic medallist James De Gale, who was taken the distance by Tchilaia on his debut three months ago.

Sutherland is as good as De Gale technically and hits a lot harder, De Gale was landing regularly but wasn’t putting much power into his punches, Sutherland will and I expect him to take care of business and stop Tchilaia around the third round.

e-mail Dave Oakes

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Miguel Cotto vs Josh Clottey Preview

By Lee Payton

Photo © Marty Rosengarten / Ringsidephotos.com

Two of the the world's best welterweights, Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey, will be fighting in Madison Square Garden on June 13th for a chance to remain in the big money sweepstakes that currently surrounds the division. The winner of this intriguing battle will be in an excellent spot to snag a big money fight with Mosley, Pacquaio or Mayweather.

Make sure to check out The Boxing Bulletin's live blog coverage of this event

But all of that stuff is about 500 punches away from happening, right now. He who wins this one will have really earned a shot at the big time. In what should be a bruising affair, who has the edge?

Miguel Cotto can't help but be fun to watch. He's one of the most dynamic offensive fighters in the game, capable of throwing impressive combinations to the head and body. Sometimes he leaves the other guy wincing in agony with his pulverizing left hook downstairs. Other times he creates a grotesque mess where a face used to be.

Like most fan favourites, Cotto has a vulnerable side. We've seen a lot of him over the years, and I think it's safe to say that he can't take what he can dish out. It's not a question of mental weakness, just that his chin isn't going to make anyone forget Marvin Hagler. He can be hurt, and has been more than a handful of times in his career.

And while he's clearly worked on becoming a little slicker in there, his defense is still relatively unreliable. It seems that he'll always get caught with uppercuts inside, and the way he attempts to roll with right hands coming his way is only about half effective. He is usually in proper position to block left hooks, but good fighters have been able to find him with the shot anyway. Some head movement would do him good, but it's probably too late for that. He is what he is.

It's all part of what makes the Puerto Rican star so popular among fans. You never want to miss it when he laces up the gloves.

One area Joshua Clottey is superior to Cotto is in his ability to block and slip punches. He has the classic shell defense that most fighters from Ghana prefer. With hands high, chin low, and elbows tucked, the rock hard Clottey is a tough target. And even if something does get through, chances are, he can take it. So far, he's stood up to everything that has come his way, including Antonio Margarito's heaviest artillery. There is no easy way out against him.

If he has a weakness, some fans will tell you it's stamina. I'm not too sure I buy that one. Wouldn't it have shown up more clearly against Margarito? It's true that he slowed down in the second half, but that was probably because he hurt his left hand, which happens to be his weapon of choice.

I'd say that the main concern for those who are backing him is in his tendency to hold back a little bit in some circumstances. Because he is so responsible on defense, sometimes his offense suffers. When a fighter's hands are as high as Clottey's, he can be beaten to the punch by a quicker fighter, and he's facing one this time around. So while you can expect the majority of Cotto's punches to bounce off forearms and elbows, the judges may give him the benefit on effort alone.

It's a very tough fight to pick. Let's try to find an edge...

Speed- When a punch is launched from point A to point B, I think Clottey's shots get there just a little bit faster.

Quickness- Cotto is quicker to pull the trigger. I expect him to get off first more often.

Defense- Clottey has a big advantage here.

Jab- Neither guy really relies on it, though I think Josh has a longer, stronger, faster stick. Especially coming forward.

Right hand- Clottey again. Not his favourite shot, but he's sharp with it.

Left hook- Most people would give this to Cotto easy because his is harder and shorter. Clottey has a very good hook himself that he works more than any other punch. He's quite accurate and sneaky with it. I'll give it to Cotto because of his nasty hook to the body.

Uppercut- Clottey for sure.

Counterpunching- Both are solid in this department. I think Cotto is easier to counter because he is on the offensive more often.

Physical strength- Clottey is a hunk of granite. Cotto is a bull. Take your pick. I assume the African fighter will be stronger down the stretch.

Footwork- Cotto is much lighter on his feet.

Chin- Clottey, without a doubt. We've yet to see him hurt.

Interesting...

Joshua Clottey is definitely worth a look if you're thinking of laying some money down, considering all of his tools and the fact that he's +250 at the sports book. Doesn't seem right on paper, does it?

This has been one of the most difficult fights for me to handicap in quite awhile because there are so many unknowns going in. Cotto is basically training himself and will be without a boxing mind in the corner. What's going to happen if it gets rough? Will Clottey let his hands go enough in the biggest fight of his career? Will the pro-Cotto crowd influence the judges in close rounds? What fight plan will Miguel use this time around? Are there any lingering effects from the Margarito fight?

One thing I am sure of though is the entertainment value of this fight. If you're into watching two skilled fighters swap left hooks, don't miss it.

e-mail Lee Payton
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Darren Barker vs Darren McDermott Photo Gallery

This past Saturday night at The Colosseum in Watford, Dazzling Darren Barker put his Commonwealth middleweight title on the line against The Black Country Body Snatcher, Darren McDermott.

Photographer Justin McKie was ringside to capture all the action.

Darren Barker vs Darren McDermott - Commonwealth Middleweight Title


Photos © Justin McKie, click on the images to enlarge.

Trainer Tony Simms prepares Dazzling Darren Barker for his Commonwealth middleweight title defense.

With the bout doubling as a British title eliminator, a showdown with Matthew Macklin is also at stake.

The champion on the left brings a perfect 19-0 mark into the contest. Pictured on the right, challenger Darren McDermott comes into his title challenge with a record of 16-1-1

Barker prepares to unload with a left hand during a contentious opening frame.

While both fighters tried to establish their jab, it was the champion who landed the cleaner more effective punches.



While McDermott gamely battled to stay in the fight, the story was Barker's combination punching. The champion consistently found the mark with straight 1-2's on the taller man's chin.

By the fourth round, Barker was in control and opening up with a variety of shots. Here he catches the challenger with a left.

The end came in the final minute of the fourth round - and no surprise it was a perfect 1-2 combination, with the right hand landing flush on the side of McDermott's jaw.

McDermott was on his feet by the count of 7, but referee Dave Parris didn't like what he saw and called a halt to the contest.

The impressive victory improves Barker's record to 20-0, and despite having protested the stoppage, McDermott is classy in defeat.
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Monday, May 25, 2009

British Scene: Cleverly, Barker and Fury Score Stoppages

It was a busy weekend in British boxing with both Sky and ITV featuring Commonwealth title contests.

On Friday, Nathan Cleverly defended his light-heavyweight belt against Billy Boyle, while on Saturday Darren Barker (pictured right) put his middleweight crown on the line against Darren McDermott.

Dave Oakes and Matt Chudley have all the details


Photos © Justin McKie

Check out the previews of both shows: Barker vs McDermott & Cleverly vs Boyle

Friday May 22

Cleverly Stops Boyle in Two


By Dave Oakes

Nathan Cleverly retained his Commonwealth light-heavy title on Friday night after stopping the tough but limited Billy Boyle in two one-sided rounds at the York Hall, Bethnal Green.

Cleverly controlled the fight from start to finish with the much shorter Boyle unable to land a single punch of note. The fight soon settled into a pattern of Boyle trying to close the range and Cleverly hitting him with sharp jabs and straight rights before moving out of range.

After a one-sided battering in the first round, you knew that Boyle was in for a hard night’s work. The ending still came earlier than most expected though, when Cleverly trapped Boyle on the ropes and began to hammer home some heavy looking punches towards the end of the second round, Boyles trainer, Glyn Rhodes, jumped in to safe his fighter from taking any more punishment.

Rhodes complained bitterly about the fight being stopped, but in truth, it saved him from taking a sustained beating. The end would’ve come within the next two rounds anyway.

Cleverly is scheduled to fight Danny McIntosh on July 18th for the vacant British title in what should be a much more competitive fight.

On the undercard…

Kevin Mitchell needed just three rounds to stop late substitute Lanquaye Wilson. Mitchell struggled to find his rhythm in the first two rounds and was looking rusty after nearly a year out due to a hand injury.

He was just starting to find his feet in the third round when the referee, Dave Parris, prematurely stopped the bout with Wilson still on his feet and not looking in trouble. Mitchell had landed a couple of heavy shots but the Ghanaian had taken them well enough and in my opinion, should’ve been allowed to continue.

Heavyweight prospect Derek Chisora got away with chewing on Paul Butlin’s ear to take a wide points decision to keep his unbeaten record.

The controversy came in the fifth round when Chisora was tied up against the ropes with Butlin resting his head on his chest. He decided this was the perfect opportunity to have a munch on Butlin’s ear and stooped low to emulate the Mike Tyson incident of yesteryear. It was a moment of madness and one he was very lucky to get away with, he can consider himself very fortunate that the referee was unable to see it.

The incident took the shine of what had been a good performance up until that point. Chisora went on win 79-72 on the referee’s scorecard but major questions have got to be asked about whether or not he’s got the temperament required to succeed against higher level opponents.

e-mail Dave Oakes


Saturday, May 23

Barker and Fury Score Stoppage Victories


By Matt Chudley

Darren Barker impressively stopped English champion Darren McDermott this past Saturday night at the Watford Coliseum to retain his commonwealth title and set up a marquee fight with British champion Matthew Macklin.

Though the eventual outcome appeared in little doubt, the ending to the fight saw referee Dave Paris at the centre of controversy once again. After Paris's contentious handling of the climax to the Martin Rogan-Sam Sexton fight last Friday, the referee angered many with his somewhat premature stoppage of McDermott. Outclassed, but still competitive, McDermott was not given a chance to continue after being put down in the fourth, despite not appearing to be seriously hurt.

Before the bell it appeared that McDermott's physical attributes may cause some difficulties for the unbeaten North Londoner. From the outset though the undersized Barker used his movement and quick reactions to surprisingly out jab his larger opponent who possessed a significant height and reach advantages.

By the third round, Barker had settled into a comfortable rhythm, and McDermott's lack of head movement was being punished consistently with 1-2 combinations and lead right hands. The challenger still fired back and appeared resolute, but much of his work was being caught by the arms and gloves of the champion.

The end came at 2:30 of the fourth round. After catching McDermott's attention with a solid jab, Barker put the challenger down with a big right hand that landed on the side of the chin. Figuring that the fight was on its way to a predictable conclusion and that McDermott may have been shipping a few straight rights, Paris waved off the contest. With his career at stake in possibly his last big opportunity, the Black Country fighter understandably felt it was a quick call.

With the fight doubling as a British title eliminator, Barker now finds himself in line for a shot at the all action Matthew Macklin after the latter's voluntary on the Khan-Kotelnik undercard. If promoters Frank Warren and Mick Hennessy are unable to agree terms the British boxing board of control will hold purse bids for the fight which is likely to take place in September or October.

In an eagerly awaited co-feature, heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury (pictured left) moved into British title contention by impressively stopping fellow British Heavyweight hopeful Scott Belshaw.

The wild and clumsy, but vicious swings of the Belfast fighter were way too crude to trouble the 20 year old Fury. The Cheshire youngster employed a cultured and much improved body attack to discourage and finish the previously 10-1 Belshaw at 0:52 of the second round.

In a classy move, Fury opted not to pile on further damage to his winded opponent, who after being down twice in round one, was still standing but doubled over in pain from a left hook to the body at the end.

On the undercard...

Staying busy was Bermondsey-based middleweight Matthew Thirwall who stopped former sparring partner and good friend George Hillyard. Hillyard’s corner called it off in between the 4th and 5th rounds after a big left hook put their man down at the end of the round. Along with Coventry’s Steve Bendall, the 19-3 Thirwall is now a possible opponent for Matt Macklin on the 27th of June for his voluntary defense.

e-mail Matt Chudley
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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mark's Top 40 at 40: 5

Mark Lyons is back with the latest edition of his top 40 favorite fighters list. He'll be counting down the remaining names one by one as he's down to his top five, and has plenty to say about all of them,

If you're now familiar with the style of fighter Mark appreciates, the featured fighter of today's edition should come as no surprise...



5. Roberto Duran

Career Record: 103-16 (70)

Three favorite Fights: Ray Leonard I UD15, Iran Barkley SD12, Esteban DeJesus III TKO12

This is getting fun. With all due respect to Sugar Ray Robinson, Willie Pep, Hank Armstrong and the rest of history's greats, Manos De Piedra was far and away the best damn fighter I have ever seen.

The sneers, the lifting Dejesus off the ground with body shots that inspired Stallone, the full out manhood lesson to Ray Leonard, the 5 punch combo that introduced Iran Barkley to the canvas, and yes, even climbing off the floor after being face planted from Thomas Hearns. If you don't respect Roberto Duran,
your boxing privileges should be revoked.

My first live Duran fight was the night he dismembered Esteban Dejesus in their rubber match like Hannibal Lecter on a death mission. The man didn't just beat you, he took your heart and everything that was attached to it. Watching Manny Pacquiao evolve is truly special, but it's nothing like watching Roberto Duran transform himself from nonstop aggressor to one of the best defensive fighters in the world, with the greatest lead and counter right hand in history.

"He was inconsistent at 54 and above." Get out of here! This after 80+ fights with two losses. Both of the men that beat him could have donated blood from their urine from their victories. I remember watching Duran/Palomino on Closed Circuit TV on the Holmes/Weaver undercard. Carlos was tough as they come, but Duran made him seem like a mouse with his relentless pressure and unparalleled right hand. If you want to watch a near shutout that will thrill you, that's the fight. The round Palomino won preceded a trip to the canvas from the precision nuclear warhead that was Duran's deadly right.

June 20th, 1980. Lets get it on "Sugar". Leonard was a great fighter. He showed true grit in getting manhandled by the Hands of Stone like a redheaded stepchild on that glorious night in Montreal. For those that want to pretend Leonard's "revenge" win mattered, go watch some tennis.

Nothing ever stopped the man and he always came back. Who intimidated Marvin Hagler? Roberto Duran, that's who. He beat Iran Barkley as a 37 year old, but even after that you had to tread lightly around him. Vinnie Pazienza hit the deck hard, and he was still scary enough to bring out some truly feminine displays from Ray Leonard in a laughable third fight at 168. Ray got too close with about 30 seconds left and got his head split open for his brief moment of bravery.

Love him or hate him, you better respect Roberto Duran. He was Ray Leonard's daddy when it mattered. He took Thomas Hearns most explosive missiles and lived to tell about it. He nearly ended Esteban Dejesus life for having the gall to defeat him. He had Davey Moore's hometown sing him happy birthday while he massacred Moore like a doll. It would be my greatest honor to have Roberto Duran gouge my eyes and flatten me with his sword of a right hand.

There may have been greater (though it's damn sure arguable), but nobody ever changed their ways of boxing and became a completely different fighter while remaining effective. The reason why? He was Roberto Duran, and you're not. And that goes for every fighter in my lifetime, the best of the lot and it isn't close. Who really wants to see the Hands of Stone across the ring from them?


Mark's previous entries: Intro, 40-36, 35-31, 30-26, 25-21, 20-16, 15-13, 12-10, 9-8 & 7-6.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Berto vs Urango & Angulo vs Cintron Previews

Next Saturday, quick handed Andre Berto will be putting his undefeated mark on the line against junior welterweight strap holder Juan Urango, while up and coming junior-middleweight bruiser Alredo Angulo takes on big hitting Kermit Cintron.

Michael Nelson has the preview of the HBO double-header.


Photo © Marty Rosengarten / Ringsidephotos.com

Andre Berto's path to his WBC title was paved with scrupulous care. In 2009, starting with a fight of the year candidate against Luis Collazo in January, the paving had become rocky and the navigation system had long indicated that he was on his own.

He has reached uncharted territory; the section of a promising fighter's career where true champions emerge. He is now facing world class opposition that know his weaknesses and have the talent to exploit them.

Still, the physically gifted Berto will enter the ring May 30th as more than a 3-1 favorite over the hard-nosed Juan Urango.

It's easy to see why. Stepping up to the Welterweight division, Urango won't enjoy the same size and strength advantages he had over most of his opponents at 140 pounds. And while his sturdy punch has produced some spectacular knockouts, it hasn't resulted in stoppages over the best fighters he has faced. The most accomplished opponent in his career, Ricky Hatton, earned a lopsided decision over him. In fact, three other southpaws - Eamonn Magee, Luis Collazo, and of course Manny Pacquiao - had far better success in the ring against the British star.

But there's a devastating aspect to Urango's game that makes those odds a bit misleading. It's why Ricky Hatton felt threatened enough to invoke the punch-and-grab spirit of John Ruiz for much of the second half of their bout, and it's why Herman Ngoudjo (who was also favored over him) took several deep, pained breaths during their encounter earlier this year.

Juan Urango is a crushing body puncher. And, well, Berto isn't fond of receiving body punches.

Andre looked worn in the late rounds against Collazo, a side product of Collazo's dedicated body work throughout. He had to dig deep to gut out the last round in an effort that won him a host of converts. Moreover, while the final stretch against Cosme Rivera a year and a half earlier was kinder to Berto, he spent the closing minute of the fight with his arms at his waist, smarting from a left hook to the liver. A series of uppercuts landing solidly against Rivera's bloodied mask made sure his discomfort went unnoticed by many observers. But make no mistake, he was hurt.

Urango's a far more resolute body puncher than either of those men. You have to wonder how Berto's going to fare in rounds six, seven, and eight if Urango's still in his face slamming right hooks into his rib cage.

Juan will likely have to eat a healthy diet of uppercuts to get a taste of Berto's ribs though. Andre shoots punches from underneath quickly and violently, jolting an opponent that gets too comfortable on the inside. How Urango fares in the early rounds against those uppercuts and the significant hand and foot speed disadvantage he'll find himself with may tell the story of the fight. Barring an early KO or knockdowns, he'll have to drop rounds in the first half of the fight against his more explosive foe. Fatigue and body punishment should start to slow Berto in the middle rounds, and Urango will have his best opportunity to snatch a hold of the fight thereafter.

Regardless, Berto will no doubt have his fill of tough southpaws after May 30th.

On the undercard, rugged KO artist Alfredo Angulo - who sports a dog collar into the ring - appears to have an easier assignment. His opponent Kermit Cintron lacks the durability and the unwavering focus of a Juan Urango, having been blown out twice by Antonio Margarito (who many have deemed to be a smaller, more accomplished version of Angulo) and essentially knocked out by southpaw cutie Sergio Gabriel Martinez in his last outing. The beneficiary of a very charitable count, Cintron came away from the latter with a disputed draw.

Meanwhile, Angulo is much like Urango; slow, but strong, with staunch punching power and a tenacious body attack. His last 11 opponents have folded under the duress of his pressure within the distance.

Cintron can hang his hat on the fact that he's no slouch when it comes to punching power himself. Boasting a 90% KO ratio, Kermit had an explosive right hand as a Welterweight. Whether he carries enough of that that power to Jr. Middleweight to stop a bull like Angulo is questionable, but he'll have his opportunities to make his right hand felt.

Otherwise, you don't have to wear a dog collar to sniff out a early to mid-rounds knockout victory for Alfredo.

e-mail Michael Nelson
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

British Scene: Barker vs McDermott, Fury vs Belshaw

For the first time since Carl Froch's dramatic late win over Jermain Taylor across the Atlantic in April, Mick Hennessy's stable of fighters will be back in action.

Matt Chudley has the preview for Saturday night's ITV4 show that features Darren Barker (pictured right) defending his Commonwealth middleweight title against Darren McDermott.


Photos © Justin McKie

Check out our recap of both UK shows from this weekend: Cleverly, Barker and Fury Score Stoppages

Saturday May 23

Darren Barker vs Darren McDermott, Tyson Fury vs Scott Belshaw (ITV4)


By Matt Chudley

In the main-event, highly skilled middleweight Darren Barker (pictured below left doing road work with John O'Donnell), defends his Commonwealth title against Dudley's once beaten English champion Darren McDermott, while Scott Belshaw and the ever talkative Tyson Fury go at it on the under-card.

While on paper Barker's title defense against McDermott may seem like a small but appropriate step-up in class for the North London native, it also indicates some serious intent and ambition from Barker and his promoter Mick Hennessy.

Considered by most to be the best middleweight in the UK is the all action brummie Matthew Macklin and rather than deciding to navigate their assents in separate routes as is nearly always the case, Hennessy has received sanctioning for this upcoming defense to also qualify as a final eliminator for the British title. With Macklin under the guidance of Frank Warren and the likelihood that negotiations would be beyond complicated, Mick Hennessy is showing supreme confidence in his man by looking to drag Macklin and Warren into purse bids.

First though Barker must concentrate on getting past McDermott, who at 16-1-1 holds a career best win over former reigning English champion and common opponent Steve Bendall, with his one defeat coming via an unfortunate stoppage due to cuts. Having bettered McDermott’s decision win over Bendall with a seventh round stoppage and beaten a few more accomplished fighters, Barker will undoubtedly be extremely confident but should be wary of looking beyond the black country fighter.

Though billed as the chief-supporting bout, the 8 round clash between heavyweight prospects Tyson Fury and Scott Belshaw has arguably become the most anticipated bout of the weekend.

Belshaw had been scheduled to fight on the under-card to Rogan-Sexton in Belfast last week but was left on the sidelines after his opponent pulled out. Having missed the opportunity to fight in his hometown and with the incessant claims from Tyson Fury that no UK heavyweights wanted to fight him, Belshaw has decided to step up to the plate.

The 10-1 Frank Maloney promoted fighter presents a unique challenge for the loud mouth Fury, being that its the first time Fury will have faced an opponent of a similar size and stature. Both men are amongst the many young heavyweights to have come up against well traveled yardstick Daniel Peret. The limited but brave Peret has been able to separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of Heavyweight prospect, coming up short against the likes of Fury and Derek Chisora yet beating Larry Olubamiwo and Belshaw. While avenged, this defeated does not bode well for Belshaw as it shows that he may only be able to intimidate overmatched opponents with his heavy but extremely slow hands.

Filling out the televised portion of the card are the modest but always game, under-card battlers George Hillyard and Matthew Thirwall who go for 10 rounds at middleweight.

Carl Froch will return to his part-time role as ITV pundit for the evening and possibly elaborate on a future bout with Lucien Bute.

e-mail Matt Chudley

Check out Dave Oakes' preview of Nathan Cleverly vs Billy Boyle
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British Scene: Cleverly vs Boyle Preview

A busy week in British boxing continues tomorrow night with Welshman Nathan Cleverly's Commonwealth light-heavyweight title defense against Sheffield's Billy Boyle.

Sky Sports 1 will be televising the show and Dave Oakes has the preview.


Check out our recap of both UK shows from this weekend: Cleverly, Barker and Fury Score Stoppages

Friday May 22

Nathan Cleverly vs Billy Boyle (SKY)


By Dave Oakes

Nathan Cleverly makes the third defence of his Commonwealth light-heavyweight title this Friday against the inexperienced Billy Boyle at the York Hall, Bethnal Green, England.

Cleverly is using this fight as a warm up for his British title fight with Danny McIntosh, which says a lot about how competitive this fight will be. Boyle comes into the fight with a respectable 12-1 record, which looks a lot better on paper than it really is. He’s only ever won against extremely low level opposition and the only time he’s faced a championship level fighter was when he was out-pointed by Tony Oakey in the Prizefighter competition earlier this year. He didn’t show much potential in that fight, and at 32 years of age, he’s not exactly at the start of the learning curve.

Cleverly is at the other end of the scale; he’s young, talented and has shown real improvement over the past couple of years. He won the title against the only man to beat Boyle, when out-boxing and out-pointing Tony Oakey just over seven months ago. He’s had two routine defences since then, first stopping the decent Douglas Otieno in four rounds and last time out when he destroyed Samson Onyango in the first round after he levelled the challenger with an enormous right uppercut.

Those two successful defences have shown that Cleverly’s punch power is improving, he looks like he’s planting his feet more firmly now than what he was at the beginning in his career. He’s still not a big puncher but he’s the type of fighter whose power gets the respect of his opponent early on and dissuades them from standing toe to toe with him.

Cleverly is a fighter on the up and will be looking to use his massive height and reach advantages over Boyle. I think Cleverly will work behind his stiff jab and will look to get a few rounds under his belt before cranking up the pace and stopping Boyle around the 6th round.

Kevin Mitchell takes on John Gicharu on the undercard in his first fight for the best part of a year. It should be a routine win for the Dagenham Destroyer as he attempts to shed ring rust before aiming for a world title shot against new WBO champion Roman Martinez later this year.

e-mail Dave Oakes

Check out Matt Chudley's preview of Darren Barker vs Darren McDermott


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British Scene: Cruiserweight Prizefighter Recap

The latest edition of the Prizefighter series was full of knockouts and surprises. Matt Chudley has a recap of all the action from this past Tuesday's cruiserweight tournament.

Check out our preview of the show: Cruiserweight Prizefighters Preview

Tuesday May 19

The Prizefighters: Cruiserweights


By Matt Chudley

After an evening of shocking upsets, Derby-based Jamaican and late replacement Ovill McKenzie outlasted fellow outsider John 'Buster' Keeton to claim the 6th prizefighter tournament and the £25,000 prize.

McKenzie, a career light-heavyweight who stepped in for the injured Mark Krence, weighed-in nearly 15lbs under the tournament limit of 202lbs and carried an unspectacular 14-9 record. Equally suprising was the appearance of McKenzie's opponent John 'Buster' Keeton in the final. Like McKenzie, Keeton had lost 3 of his last 4 coming into the tournament and 16 in his 42 fight proffessional career. Before the first bell of the night sounded, McKenzie and Keeton where ranked 6 and 7 in the field of 8 by the bookmakers at odds of 12 and 16 to 1 for the oversized trophy.

Quarter-finals

In the first bout of the evening the tournaments heavy favourite and WBO top ten 175lber, Dean Francis made light work of overmatched journeyman Neil Simpson. Having succumbed to Francis after 3 rounds 13 years prior, the 26-18 Coventry based fighter faced the same fate again. Electing to use his oft-injured right arm as sparingly as possible, Francis peppered Simpson with left hooks and uppercuts from the outside with little argument until referee Phil Edwards decided he had seen enough 38 seconds into final round.

Next up was the return of former two-time world title challenger Bruce Scott against old victim John Keeton. Having been stopped twice by Scott previously, Keeton was the fresher man this time around. In the first round Scott was unlucky to recieve a count from referee Richie Davis after having been pushed to the canvas by Keeton, but was visibly hurt and had been shaken up by an uppercut in the previous exchange. Following the 10-8 round, Scott came back in the second to hurt Keeton with a right hand of his own but the Sheffield man steadied himself and continued to keep the action highly competitive, to the point where the knock-down provided a decent cushion and he prevailed on the scorecards.

Fancied by many and the classiest of the bunch in his prime, Terry Dunstan was returning to televised action for the first time since his four and a half year prison stint for trying to rob a central London pub and was taking on the little fancied Ovill McKenzie. The drab affair came to life in the second round when McKenzie dropped Dunstan with a right hand, but besides that it was the lack of accuracy from McKenzie against the ring rust and awful timing of Dunstan. McKenzie edged the 1st and 3rd rounds with slightly more activity and marginally more punches landed to take the win by a wide margin on the scorecards.

The last quarter-final saw the youngest fighter, 25 year old former heavyweight Mickey Steeds taking on the talkative former Commonwealth champion Darren Corbett. Employing little to no head movement, Steeds was caught with an overhand right early in the first that left him clinging for the ropes but unable to avoid the canvas. Though he did come back to hurt Corbett in the 2nd with a left hook, Steeds was unable to keep out of the way of the surprisingly quick hands of the Ulsterman and lost on points.

Semi-finals

With the revised in-play odds now showing him to be the odds-on favourite for the tournament, the ever confident Dean Francis was up against career gatekeeper John Keeton in the first semi. However, the marauding, plow-forward style of underdog Keeton was clearly a nightmare for Francis from the outset. A super-middleweight earlier in his career the smaller man Francis was given no room to get his shots off by the on-rushing Keeton, who dropped Francis with a right hand to the top of the head as Francis was back-peddling. The punch clearly shook-up Francis's equilibrium and after returning to his feet he was soon back on the canvas again, from almost identical punch. Francis elected not to try and beat the count on the second occasion and the fight was over.

With Francis gone, popular character Darren Corbett now seemed to have little in his way to becoming the 2nd Prizefighter winner from Belfast, after the success of countryman Martin Rogan. With Corbett having turned pro as 220+ pound heavyweight and McKenzie the smallest man in the competition, McKenzie looked to hold up close and try and use his superior speed and timing to get the better of his rusty opponent who was only in his 3rd fight in the last 5 years. After a close first round a left hook, right hand combination from the Jamaican shook the Irishman and falling back onto the ropes another right hand put him down. With Corbett still shaken up, McKenzie pressed on to draw the stoppage from referee Richie Davis. Slouched on the ropes and failing to answer back, Corbett was clearly in no position to carry on despite his arguments to the contrary.

Final

With two former world title challengers and most fancied fighter left by the wayside, the final was now to be contested by two fighters carrying 25 defeats between them.

The Jamaican started the more purposefully of the two in the first getting some joy out of working Keeton on the ropes. Undeterred as ever, Keeton continued to press forward and momentarily stunned McKenzie in the 2nd with an overhand right from his crouched stance. With Keeton understandably feeling the pace more after his grueling war with Bruce Scott, McKenzie continued to produce the sharper punches in the 3rd and prevailed by scores of 29-28 (twice) and 30-27.

Following the victory a stunned yet overjoyed McKenzie confessed that he had no idea what he would spend the prize money on, having given it little thought and that he would be returning to the light-heavyweight division.

e-mail Matt Chudley
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Introducing Tyson Fury - Story & Photo Gallery

While American boxing is suffering through a shortage of gifted young heavyweights, there's a giant youngster making headlines in the UK.

Dave Oakes takes a look at Tyson Fury, the 6'7" 250 pound heavyweight from Manchester.


Photos © Justin McKie


click on the images to enlarge.

Tyson Fury sounds more like a name a Rocky villain would have rather than a genuine boxer, but this new kid on the block is certainly one to keep an eye out for. At a towering 6ft 7ins, the Manchester based heavyweight is certainly attracting a lot of attention on this side of the pond.

He’s a giant of a man, has a Hollywood name and is unbeaten in the paid ranks, with all five victories coming inside the distance. It’s no surprise people are sitting up and taking notice of him. Mick Hennessy, Fury’s promoter, has been cranking the hype machine up to full speed in his effort to make him well known, but the question remains, can he actually fight?

Well, yes, he can actually. He’s got great hand speed, puts combinations together well and has the right mentality to succeed. There are still a few things we don’t know about him, mainly whether or not he can take a punch and how his stamina will hold up over the championship distance.

It’s still early days and those questions will be answered in the next couple of years but he looks to be progressing very well in his first year as a pro. I also think he still has some maturing to do physically, that might sound a strange thing to say about such a big man but he looks like he might not hit his physical peak until his mid 20’s.

The David Price Rivalry...

There seems to be a lot of animosity between Fury and Olympic medallist David Price. Both have been calling for a fight against the other man and both claim to be the hottest heavyweight prospect in Britain. It’s a fight all boxing fans are looking forward to somewhere down the line, although I’d be surprised to see Price taking such a big leap up in class any time soon.

I think Fury is the better prospect of the two but with Price’s enormous punch power, anything could happen. The biggest worry for me is that Price loses his unbeaten record before a fight against Fury is made; Price’s weakness around the whiskers is no secret to the gym observers and writers of the British scene.

It’s hard to gauge just how good Fury is at this stage of his career but he’s definitely one to look out for. I’d say he’s a good bet to clean up at British level in the next two to three years, but no-one knows how far he’ll go beyond that level. I certainly wouldn’t bet against him going further, he’s got all the attributes needed to be a top class fighter.

e-mail Dave Oakes


Tyson Fury Photo Gallery

Referee John Howard Foster sends Fury to a neutral corner after flooring Bela Gyongyosi in his pro debut.

The over-matched Hungarian lasted all of 134 seconds.
Fury made it 3-0 with a win over Daniil Peretyatko in February. The bout was stopped after only 2 rounds due to a cut over the Russian's left eye.


Veteran heavyweight Lee Swaby, one time challenger for the British cruiserweight title lasted 4 rounds. Swaby took a fair bit of punishment and gave a game effort, and his corner wisely chose not to send their man out for round 5.

In Fury's most recent outing on the under-card of the John O'Donnell - Craig Watson show, he took care of Matthew Ellis in only 48 seconds. Ellis, who came in with a record of 20-6-1 was down twice.

Matt Chudley's recap: O'Donnell edges Watson

Tyson Fury will be taking on Northern Ireland's young heavyweight prospect Scott Belshaw (10-1, 7 KOs) this Saturday on the under-card of the Darren Barker vs Darren McDermott Commonwealth middleweight title fight.

The Boxing Bulletin's Matt Chudley will have the preview of that show tomorrow.

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