Canelo vs. Khan: Street Fighters & Trump

By Rudy Mondragon
Twitter: @boxingintellect

It was recently announced that Amir Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) will be challenging the WBC middleweight champion, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) on May 7, 2016 at the brand new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. This will be the first time in recent years that Floyd Mayweather Jr. will not headline a Cinco De Mayo fight weekend.

The announcement of this fight has brought on great debate from all corners. Canelo is the middleweight champion, yet some question that title because he has not fought anyone at the 160 lbs limit. Rather, he has engaged in contracted bouts at a max weight of 155lbs. Not a true middleweight champion in the eyes of some boxing fans and experts.

Another critique is that Canelo is taking on a smaller opponent rather than fighting someone his own size. Khan has not fought north of 147 lbs and only has 3 fights at the welterweight division. Although he possesses great skill and speed, one powerful punch can take the challenger out as we have seen in the past (see Prescott and Garcia).

One thing is for sure, Khan and Canelo are big names in mainstream boxing with strong followings from Mexico and the UK. The styles these two possess will make this fight exciting. The possibilities of Khan being knocked out as well as Khan outboxing Canelo make this fight worth tuning in for.

What I found interesting however, were some of the tweets that made their rounds through Twitter immediately following the announcement of this fight.

@BoxingLegal came across a tweet that featured a cartoon image of Blanka versus Dhalsim from the classic video game Street Fighter. The photo was an attempt to poke fun of the racial and ethnic dimensions of this fight. Blanka, representing the Brazilian beast and savage and Dhalsim representing the stereotypical dark skinned Indian yogi. The photo has since been removed from twitter and the twitter user seems to have canceled their account.

Ironically, Canelo’s light skin and good looks distance him from being read as a savage beast (which many Mexicans, especially darker skin Mexicans, are labeled and read as such) and draws him closer to whiteness. In Khan’s case, the stereotypical representation is completely inaccurate given his Pakistani roots and Islamic background. I’m sure @BoxingLegal’s handbook found this and more in regards to the image being a racist representations of the two boxers.

Blanka vs

I also found it necessary to discuss one of Dan Rafael’s (@danrafaelespn) tweets regarding #CaneloKhan. Rafael was clearly excited about the match up. In an effort to show his excitement in a humorous way, he tweeted “Channeling my inner @realDonaldTrump: #CaneloKhan is going to be yuuuuuuuuuge!”

I understand that tweets are limited to 140 characters. It is no excuse however, to tweet something without recognizing the implications of the references made in one’s tweet. Rafael’s tweet leaves out the politics of a hyper-conservative and xenophobic billionaire politician. The reality is, based on numerous Trump interviews and speeches, Donald would actually not think this is “yuuuuuuuge!”

Wait, let me take a step back. Trump would only think this is a big deal if it meant money in his pockets or was comped front row seats to watch a violent spectacle between a Mexican and Muslim. In all honesty, Trumps views construct Canelo as a criminal immigrant threat to this country and Khan as an Islamic enemy that is a hazard to this world.

Let me just say, Dan Rafael does great work and I love following his coverage of boxing. However, I do think it is necessary to unpack tweets and images that ascribe to racial stereotypes as well as linking a boxing match to a problematic figure like Donald Trump. After all, the boxing world is a microcosm of the larger society. The connections are endless and through writings and conversations, we can connect the dots to see how the sport cannot escape the social, cultural, and political realities of the times.

Swift vs The Ghost: Reflections on Latino Politics

By Rudy Mondragon
Twitter: @boxingintellect

On Saturday, January 23rd, 2016 Danny “Swift” Garcia defeated Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero via a 12 round unanimous decision (all three judges had it 116-112). Garcia’s victory earned him the vacant WBC Welterweight title that once belonged to The Best Ever, Floyd Mayweather Jr.


This was a unique match up as these two boxers were both trained by their fathers for this fight. Both fathers have a reputation for being charismatic trash talkers who have contributed to the build up of their son’s previous matches. What was also unique about this match up was that both Danny and Robert are US born fighters who redefine the famous Puerto Rico vs. Mexico boxing rivalry. Danny was born in North Philadelphia and Robert was born in Gilroy, California.

Things got heated at the final press conference and weigh in. Leading up to the final presser, interviews with Ruben Guerrero surfaced in which he was commenting on the silence of Angel Garcia as well as questioning Danny Garcia’s Puerto Rican identity. When asked by Martin Gallegos who he thought the Puerto Rican fans would be cheering for come fight night, Ruben responded by saying:

“Well I think they are going for Robert, because this guy don’t even speak a licking word in Puerto Rico bro, like he said he’s not real Puerto Rican. He just says he is, but he’s not! I don’t know what he is. He hasn’t figured that out yet.”

The question of “who will the Puerto Rican fans cheer for?” is a question that stems from building up the Puerto Rico vs. Mexico drama. Ruben’s response contributes to the build up of the spectacle that the media desperately tries to craft by asking questions like this. One interpretation of what Ruben is saying is that he feels Puerto Rican fans will side with his son because Danny Garcia is whitewashed and not Latino enough for Puerto Rican boxing enthusiasts.

Ruben’s response is an unfortunate example of Latina/os policing other Latina/os for their lack of “authenticity.” His response brings up three complex questions to my mind: What makes someone Latina/o? What constitutes “authenticity” when discussing ethnic/cultural/racial identity? and Why is it that Latina/os continue to use the ability to speak the Spanish language as an argument to say you are more/less Latina/o?

At the final press conference this week, Ruben Guerrero also made a comment that dealt with language as being a marker of authentic Latina/oness. As he was delivering his speech at the final presser, Guerrero announced in Spanish that “shit talkers go down” in reference to Angel Garcia. He followed that up by saying that he had to translate that to English because “you (Angel) don’t talk Spanish, Puerto Ricans don’t talk Spanish!”

For Ruben, “authentic” Puerto Rican identity comes down to one’s ability to speak Spanish. I guess for Ruben, it doesn’t matter that Angel is well aware that that Puerto Rico is still a US colony or that Danny identifies as Philly-Rican. Interestingly enough, Ruben Guerrero identifies as Chicano and practices a form of Chicana/o Spanglish. Spanglish, being a constructed language that takes both English and Spanish as a tool to communicate Chicana/o culture, experience, and struggle in a world that privileges colonial languages over indigenous tongues. Language is a way to communicate culture and not an absolute marker of cultural, racial, and ethnic identity.

As a boxing fan and writer, I am well aware that trash talking is used as a strategy to get in the mind of your opponent. Some of the greatest mental game strategist consist of Jack Johnson, Muhammad Ali, Fernando Vargas, Ricardo Mayorga, Mike Tyson, Paulie Malignaggi, Bernard Hopkins, amongst many others. Paying attention to the content of the trash talking however, is important as it communicates messages that are reflective of the broader society and social problems that go beyond the boxing realm.

When it comes to Ruben Guerrero, his trash talking game takes on a hyper-masculine approach perpetuating the idea that this world is run by men. His emasculation of Angel Garcia reeks of misogyny. And his policing of Angel and Danny Garcia’s Puerto Rican identity based on one’s ability to speak Spanish is unfortunately a common factor that breaks up the possibilities of Latina/o solidarity. The media plays a huge part in this, but it also takes two to tango.

In closing, I want to again say that I understand that trash talking is part of the boxing game. It is a tool used to mentally throw off your opponent. Trash talking takes creativity and thoughtfulness. Can boxers today be more creative and innovative with their trash talking and find ways to not perpetuate isms (racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, etc.)? It is a challenge that I would like to discuss with anyone in the boxing game, even Ruben Guerrero. As long as he doesn’t say I have “baby nuts” or challenges me to a fight, I am all in for an honest conversation.

Canelo vs Cotto: Prediction Edition


Jarrett Bato 

It’s refreshing to have a fight like this come at a time of the year when nostalgia hits the hardest. As the year comes to a close, we humans naturally contemplate of the days that have gone by and why our current reality doesn’t quite match it. That’s why Cotto taking the challenge of Canelo is very important for the sport, and will cement Cotto’s legacy as one of the greatest that ever stepped in the ring.

There’s almost no advantage given to any of the boxers on the signing of this fight. Cotto could have easily given himself an advantage in the weight limit, but the fight is set at 155, which is still easily made for Canelo, though probably still more difficult for Canelo compared to Cotto. The A-side/B-side mental game that Cotto sometimes wallows in has no effect to Canelo, who is of the new generation of boxers that doesn’t accept that the house poses any underlying advantage to any fighter. On paper, it seems that the fight is at an even keel, given the richer experience of Cotto versus the raw and still-blooming talent of Canelo.

I think the key to this fight will be preparation, where here Cotto has the advantage. Cotto has never been shy to make big changes that are needed, and that’s truly the mark of experience and ring generalship, and I believe there couldn’t be any better team behind him than Team Freddie Roach. I think Freddie will bring an excellent game plan to the fight that will expose some of Canelo’s tendencies ala Ronda Rousey, because Canelo has honestly been exploiting his natural talents with little evolution fight to fight.

However, Canelo has demonstrated the ability to evolve as the fight goes on with the one thing he has improved, which is his endurance. With his newfound endurance, he’s able to focus longer, improvise longer, and pull out majestic combinations exploiting new holes in his opponent that weren’t obvious in his earlier fights that went longer than 5 rounds because he’s been too gassed to see them. If Canelo indeed puts 100% focus on Cotto he might just pull off the upset.

But that’s what it will be, an upset compared to the potential perfect game plan. #warcotto, UD

Prediction: Cotto by unanimous decision 

Rudy Mondragon (Twitter: @boxingintellect)

I have dedicated a great deal of time thinking about the outcome of this fight. My heart says Miguel Cotto, but my studies tell me Saul Canelo Alvarez will emerge as the victor.

Since hooking up with Freddie Roach, many have said that Cotto is a new and improved boxer. I agree, to an extent. Cotto has had his ups and downs. Many thought he was done after his loss to Austin Trout in December 2012.

Since then, Cotto has been under the watchful eye of Roach and has won three straight. Two of his three wins have come off worthy opponents. Cotto beat Sergio Martinez in June 2014 and Daniel Geale a year later. A closer look at those two opponents however, reveal serious discrepancies. Martinez had 2 bad knees and was inches away from retirement. Geale was drained at the weigh-in and looked similar to the many zombies that appear on the Walking Dead.

Based on those two victories, I can’t confidently say that Miguel Cotto is a new and improved fighter. After all, how much can a fighter learn from a new trainer this late into their career? However, I do believe that Cotto is inspired by Roach and has a great deal of faith in him. This makes Cotto’s corner a dangerous one when it comes to strategy and game plan.

At age 25, Canelo is younger and hungry for what Cotto has. Although Canelo is the favorite to win this fight, it is Cotto who has the A-Side power. Miguel Cotto will earn $15 million for this fight, while Canelo will take $5 million. Not a bad pay day by any means, but Canelo wants to continue building his legacy. In order to establish himself as an all-time great however, he needs to take down the experienced Miguel Cotto, who serves as Canelo’s gatekeeper.

Canelo is not the best boxer and in this fight, he will emerge as the combination puncher that will chase Cotto down. Canelo will cut the ring and take some of Miguel’s punches in order to land power shots of his own. At age 35, Cotto will not be able to put together a complete fight. A complete fight requires Cotto to land 1-2 punch combinations and quickly circle left and right. Cotto will not land power punches. This is too dangerous for Cotto because it means sitting down on his punches, leaving him vulnerable to Canelo power combinations. Eventually, Cotto will tire and Canelo will be able to catch him more frequently. Cotto bruises and bleeds easily. By the 8th or 9th round, expect to see Cotto’s face visibly marked. My prediction is that Canelo will trap Cotto in a corner or on the ropes and stop him in the 11th round.

My heart is with Cotto and I hope I am wrong with my prediction. I just don’t see the younger and hungry Canelo losing this fight. There is too much on the line for him. Canelo has graduated from the defeat he had against Mayweather. This will be reflective tomorrow night as Canelo will pull the trigger and take successful risks in his quest to take down the future hall of famer.

Prediction: Canelo by 11th round stoppage 

Check out the video collaborations between Blood Money Boxing’s Rudy Mondragon and In My Humble’s Pierre Banks:


Response to Oscar De La Hoya’s Farewell Letter to Floyd

OscarFloydBy Rudy Mondragon (Twitter: @boxingintellect)

In the last day, I have received messages from close friends asking me about my thoughts on Oscar De La Hoya’s farewell letter to Floyd Mayweather. As I read the letter, I found it reeking of bitterness and resentment caused by Oscar’s relationship (or lack there of) with Floyd Mayweather. Given what we are seeing at the University of Missouri, where student leaders and the entire football team mobilized to pressure the university’s leadership for their lack of addressing racial bias and sexual violence, I feel that Oscar’s letter to Floyd needs to be addressed and discussed in new ways. In a way that goes beyond boxing.

In this letter, Oscar hits on a variety of themes. He comments on how boring Floyd Mayweather is as a boxer, the lack of risk taken in his career, and insulting Floyd for his participation in Dancing with the Stars. Many have read this and agree with Oscar. To an extent, I would also agree with Oscar. Some of Floyd’s fights have been boring. Floyd should have fought with Pacquiao five years ago. Floyd has taken calculated risks within a sporting industry that expects their employees to expose their bodies to punishment and discipline. When boxers are taking home run shots to their heads, wouldn’t you take calculated risks too? The reality is, some fighters have no choice but to take risks as boxing is a vehicle for making ends meet.

Reading this letter a second time however, I couldn’t help but be critical of the content. A second read of the letter stimulated the following questions. Why do folks continue to hate and critique Floyd Mayweather? What is informing their critiques? It seems to me that fans and media will never give Floyd credit. He could move up in weight and challenge and beat a heavyweight and people would still show him no love. I would have given Oscar more credit had he used his platform to call out Floyd’s history with gender-based violence. After all, both fighters have their shortcomings in the arena of reinforcing patriarchy and choosing to stay silent on the issues. However, Oscar used his platform as a wealthy boxing promoter and iconic retired boxer to critique Floyd from a toxic position. That position was one of anti-blackness and it informed the way in which Oscar wrote the open letter published in Playboy Magazine.

To better understand how it is possible for Oscar De La Hoya to ascribe to anti-blackness, it is important to explain Oscar’s relationship to whiteness. According to Gregory Rodriguez, De La Hoya was portrayed as an All-American antithesis to the stereotypical threatening Mexican masculinity that is over represented by the media. In other words, Oscar was considered an exceptional Mexican who was not undocumented, did not gang bang, or engage in criminal activity. He was understood as a different kind of Mexican American. In my opinion, Oscar was Mexican American boxer who was accepted by white America because he was politically safe. Gregory Rodriguez further states that Oscar was considered a racially marked man who transcended his racial status. In other words, the mainstream media and fan base of boxing didn’t always read Oscar as a person of color. He was read and presented as an American Mexican boxer who could pass for white.

As a white friendly boxer who took no political risks, Oscar De La Hoya was afforded the power he needed to succeed in the boxing game. Boxing author Thomas Hauser described Oscar as having cultivated his career as a clean-cut corporate friendly fighter. We see this manifest during the Oscar De La Hoya and Fernando Vargas press conference in 2001. Top Rank President, Bob Arum, introduced Oscar De La Hoya as a member of the school of boxing that is represented by Sugar Ray Leonard and Evander Holyfield. Arum married Oscar, Leonard, and Holyfield as examples of the gentlemen of boxing. He then said Fernando Vargas, Zab Judah, and Mike Tyson were in the opposite school of boxing. What Arum was saying is that they were from the savage and uncivilized school of boxing. As a result, Vargas was labeled as the villain while Oscar had the privilege of being presented as the hero within this moral contest. This was further confirmed as Oscar stepped up to the podium and agreed with the words of Bob Arum, stating:

“One thing that I have to say is that I try to represent boxing in a good way to make the sport grow. On the other hand we have this guy (Vargas) who is along with Tysons and the Judahs of the world.”

These words confirmed De La Hoya’s acceptance and support of labeling boxers of color as deviant threats to the white power structure.

I say all this to show a small piece of Oscar’s past experience, an experience that hardly gets mentioned since most boxing fans and media are more concerned with what happens in the ring. Oscar’s letter to Floyd had three major issues that I would like to briefly discuss. These three issues, as I argue, are informed by Oscar’s anti-blackness sentiment that informed the writing of this letter. The first is Oscar’s assumption that Floyd will unwisely blow off all his money and will have to find an alternative way to make ends meet. Oscar reduces Floyd’s legacy in boxing to simply making large sums of money. Oscar states that Floyd made,

“More money than you could spend in a lifetime. (Wait, I’ve seen those episodes of 24/7. You probably will spend it all.)”

Resentful and bitter of Floyd’s financial success, Oscar insults Floyd on a very sensitive subject. Black fighters in boxing have had sharks and leeches pray on their financial success. We know about the stories of Evander Holyfield losing his home and boxing earnings. He’s so financially unstable that he recently agreed to get knocked out by Republican Mitt Romney for a charity event!

Most recently, we found out that Felix Trinidad lost $63 million dollars investing Puerto Rican Government Bonds. An investment his financial adviser made even after he was told to invest conservatively. To say that a black man will most likely lose all his earnings speaks to Oscar’s irresponsible ignorance to the belief that black people are in poverty as a result of their cultural behavior. He ignores the dark reality of many black boxers who have risen out of poverty, earned large sums of money, and then were taken advantage of by managers and promoters who claimed to have their best interest at heart. To say Floyd can “open up a used-car dealership or run a circus” speaks to Oscar’s heartless position in taking lightly his assumption that Floyd is not smart with his money and will eventually go broke. What kind of mentality does Oscar ascribe to that inform these kinds of words?

The second issues I took with the letter is Oscar’s overall bitterness and resentment towards Floyd. He critiques Floyd for not taking risks in his career. This speaks to Oscar’s own insecurities and traumas directly related to his own career. Let’s recall the night of September 18, 1999. Oscar was undefeated and facing Felix Trinidad. Oscar fought an ultra-conservative fight. He only used his jab and never took any serious risks. He ended up losing that fight as a result of refusing to trade punches and engage in the final rounds. To me, his critique of Floyd is really a reflection of his own disapproval of how his career turned out. Yes, Oscar faced top competition. Yes, the case can be made that they were all in their prime. The reality is however, Oscar lost to all of them (Trinidad, Mosley, Hopkins, Mayweather, Pacquiao). To what extent does this inform Oscar’s letter, which can be read as a letter to vent his own frustrations with his career?

The third issues I take with this letter is Oscar’s sense of entitlement. After all, who does Oscar think he is, the Prime Minister of Boxing? The following is the most problematic statement I found in this letter. Oscar writes,

“Boxing will also be a better place without the Mouth. Your mouth, to be precise, the one that created “Money” Mayweather. I know you needed that Money Mayweather persona.”

Again, a great deal of resentment, bitterness, and jealousy. More importantly though is Oscars entitlement to feel he can say that Floyd’s career consisted of being too loud for white America. This speaks to Oscar’s (white) anxieties in not being able to control a person like Floyd Mayweather. Oscar lost to Floyd in the ring and Floyd has beaten Golden Boy Promotion fighters on multiple occasions. Writing this letter is Oscar’s attempt to re-establish dominance and control the mouth of a black man he feels is taking up too much space in the white world Oscar is so comfortable living in.

Lastly, I don’t want people reading this and thinking I am arguing that Oscar De La Hoya is trying to be white. Also, this opinion piece is not about hating on Oscar or not respecting the contributions he has made in the sport. Nor am I saying that coming up financially, as Oscar has, is a bad thing. What I am trying to show is that Oscar ascribes to a problematic ideology of whiteness, has benefited from whiteness, and writes a letter that is informed by anti-blackness. Oscar’s light skin allowed him to pass as white. Being a politically correct figure also made corporate (and corrupt) white America feel safe around Oscar. And guess what, it paid off for him. There are serious implications to this. The most important, in my opinion, is Oscar’s transformation as a result of his adaptability to whiteness.

As a person committed to social justice, I take two things very seriously. One is that I try my best to not pass judgment on anyone. Oscar is on a unique journey and it is filled with ups and downs. I don’t judge him because, the reality is, we all have struggles. I am however, critical of how he uses his earned privileges in dehumanizing ways.

The second thing I take serious is why I do social justice work. I do this work out of love. As a distant brother, I got love for Oscar. I understand that he has had to navigate a world which looks down on poor brown folks from the barrios of East Los Angeles. I understand how difficult it must have been for Oscar to deny certain parts of his identities in order to navigate the boxing industry and achieve success. I understand how hard that must have been and the price he’s had to pay in not being honest with the world about who Oscar De La Hoya really is.

My hope is that Oscar can liberate himself from the resentment and bitterness he expresses in this letter. It is part of his healing process. I hope his letter was written from a space of venting, a space that he can eventually move on from. I hope he can forgive himself for the shortcomings he thinks he had in his career and be happy with what he did in boxing. I hope he can stop comparing himself to Floyd Mayweather. It is a pointless endeavor that will keep one trapped regardless of who one compares himself/herself to. I hope Oscar can take an alternative approach and instead of trying to take Floyd down, he can find a way to reconcile with him and work together to envision a collective plan that cares about the wellbeing of boxers.

Thoughts? Opinions? Questions?

BMB & In My Humble Video Collaboration

Blood Money Boxing’s Rudy Mondragon (Editor in Chief and Co-Founder) sat down with Pierre Banks of In My Humble to discuss various topics in the boxing world. These topics include Mikey Garcia, upcoming fight between Brandon Rios and Timothy Bradley, and a reflection on the Abner Mares and Leo Santa Cruz fight that took place August 29th at the Staples Center.

Special thanks to Elie Seckbach for video footage from my visit to the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy. It is worth noting that he was one of a few independent reporters present at the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy Gym to document the fundraiser that Robert Garcia put on to support Luisa Rosas, a cancer victim from the Oxnard community. It is actions like this by members of the boxing community that are worth sharing and documenting. At the same time, people like Robert Garcia don’t do these things to get media attention. Nonetheless, it is important that we see how boxers and trainers give back to their communities.

Check it out, comment, and share BMB family! More to come. This is just the first of many videos to come between BMB’s Rudy Mondragon and Pierre Banks from In My Humble. Enjoy the conversation!

The “Elite” Gap

With the grace of hindsight, it’s nice to reflect on the Broner vs. Porter fight, a fight that means so much for the welterweight division following Guerrero vs. Thurman back in March simply because of the exciting matchup, AND two more candidates that thin the pool for the latter half of the year’s big fights. It was a contest that uncovered a tantalizing story of styles that just breeds so much speculation for how the rest of 2015 will turn out for even more exciting matchups. In the business of boxing, this is all I agree with. If the illuminati of the sport are cashing in by meticulously making deals to make stylistically alluring matchups like we had on Saturday night, then more power to them.

I might be skipping ahead though. I meant to start this article with: “This was Broner’s fight to win, yet Porter’s growth and dedication to the craft might hint of a higher ceiling for Showtime.” Sorry, long ass headline haha. But it’s true. The fight on paper was too good. A hungry infighter with fast feet and rising confidence against a loud mouth shooter that people love to watch to get hit in the mouth. It was bound to be a good time. And it was. It was massively satisfying to see Porter with a new, massively improved jab. A jab that was underrated, not yet talked about in my world of boxing, but was fast, fierce, and punishing. It demeaned whatever confidence Broner had to basically nothing. Typically the first to shoot, Broner became obviously gun-shy after Porter connected numerous times early, and Broner had no choice in his small, small mind (which makes Mayweather look so much better) but to hold and just hold. Porter improved a lot since Kell Brook, and he deserved that win wholeheartedly. Broner must re-examine his goals and see if he really wants this because the root of his motivation will inform his performance. And that’s the difference between him and his so-called big brother.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 10.44.50 PM


And this is what I wanted to write about today, this gap. The gap that existed between the fight that happened last Saturday and the night of May 2nd (yes, I’m sorry, I’m still talking about MayPac). Unpacking each of the fight’s moments and looking back to Mayweather vs. Pacquiao and then further back to fights of the 70’s and 80’s — when holding wasn’t a primary strategy — showed me really how far we’ve come (or fallen, depending on your perspective) from matchups of elite talents of the past. Without diving to deep in my Hearns, Arguello, Chavez Sr. pilgrimages, I actually felt as if Porter’s win was a testament to the Church of Infighting. The church of Eddie Futch. The church of motivation, perseverance, infliction of punishment, fists, sweat, blood, and bone. Porter won from the opening bell and though today’s outboxer has high affinity for defense, Porter’s offense, though messy at times, consistently overcame, which is hard to accomplish in today’s defense-heavy boxing sport.

However, that 12-round knockdown reminded me of how fickle my faith in the Church of Infighting can be. With some body-blow investments throughout the rounds, The Problem’s perfect left hook (fast, explosive, and whip-lashing) could have had high-drama reminiscent of fights of the past. Porter’s massive preparation feigns the fact that a champion outboxer who might have laid down some brickwork bodywork in earlier rounds might have walked away with a stunning and memorable 12th round KO. A mere jester in the Order of Outboxing, Adrien Broner lost that fight (especially after not capitalizing on that KD, and foolishly trying to repeat the magic of that left hook) but in my eyes redeemed (yes, redeemed) his place among other welterweights/jr. welterweights and I do believe that this makes him still a good matchup with many in this range of weight divisions. His weight seems optimal around 144 so I would put his name in with Amir Khan, Chris Algieri, Provodnikov, Brandon Rios. Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 10.07.08 PM But what of the rest of the welterweight class? How does this fight move things around? I’ll make some speculations to contribute to the boxing world after my long winded treatise. Working backwards from Mayweather, I believe his next matchup is nobody. I feel like he’s likely to skip out a fight in 2015 to enjoy his rest. Mayweather’s not going to venture up in weight, looping in names like Miguel Cotto, coming of a good-looking win, and the likes of Canelo, still bitter and probably even more so now as he is quickly aging out of that weight class, or Triple G, who he’d rather let the pundits continue to speculate.

I think Kell Brook would do well giving Shawn Porter a rematch. Keith Thurman is in a must-win scenario against the Monk, my favorite, Luis Collazo. But you know, Luis just has a way, I know it, a way of making people look bad. I predict Thurman will remain hustling against the middle class. I know this is crazy, but he’s a good gatekeeper for the elites, to be honest. (Hey, I’m just speculating.) I think Andre Berto could come back and splash some cold water on Amir Khan if he’s waiting, and this new shit with Bradley vs. Vargas just adds more pesto to the mix. Porter vs. Marquez. I don’t even know! My matchup juju is a flutter! All I know is that no one right now is a good matchup for Floyd.

Except for a healthy Pacquiao. 😉 LOL

Chocolatito & GGG: The cursed, the last Highlanders


What a night of boxing. Please check out our instagram for the latest clips of exciting knockouts by the highly favored Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzales and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin against their proud, but doomed opponents. When I did research on the opponents of the darlings of boxing pundits, I admit I didn’t see any interest until I saw the photos from the weigh in. Monroe Jr. wore sunglasses at the weigh in. Damn Edgar Sosa’s picture looks nervous on the tale of the tape. Were these opponents just marching towards their fate? Was the pressure of these champions so immense that it was inescapable? It seemed so, and I became more curious to the downside of their plans getting foiled tonight.

Maybe it’s the risk-taker whispering doubt in my ear, but what would the champions lose if they lost tonight? I began to think hard and just realized in a daze… they would’ve lost nothing.  A loss changes nothing. They would really want to bring that drama in if they could. It’s just that their champion souls burned so bright in their human but finely honed bodies that a loss would actually bring purpose to their domination. “Ahh,” they might say. “There are people that are better, and that’s why I must train harder and learn more to be the best. My punches are not strong, I’m not fast enough, I’m not smart enough, …” But of course they are. Triple G and Chocolatito are the very BEST of this sport and we saw 732 seconds of true, old-school but in the flesh sweet science.

And of course, Willie Monroe Jr. and Edgar Sosa were very good, but not even close to the candidates to bring these champions an inkling of doubt. In GGG’s case, and using a Dragon Ball Z metaphor, he even powered down to 60% in a round to bring that “Big Drama Show” to a crescendo just for his fans. Chocolatito and GGG’s spirit, strength, and courage are indomitable, and anyone who carries a belt in the division they live in know that for sure.

For the 112 lb. Flyweight division, I feel Chocolatito must have been feeling that fate. He is absolutely dominated the division and has demonstrated excellence in brutality against a dynamic spectrum of boxing styles. I feel what he might find to appease that champion drive is perhaps a move to higher weight classes but arguably he has more work ahead of him unifying the divsion, and it’s not like he’s suffering trying to make weight. His peaceful demeanor makes me think his 43-0 hides the wisdom he has beyond his years, and perhaps hiding a secret desire to hone the craft and push the science further. His highlight reel is certainly a priceless collection, and will remain timeless as boxing excellence executed to a T. Naoya Inoue might be on his radar on the 118lb division but his direction is upward in weight as a 22 year old. Regardless, tonight’s show was a swift execution of an experienced veteran in Edgar Sosa. It wasn’t even fair. Chocolatito stands among no one, and his resume will stand the test of time.

@chocolatito87 just lining them up and shooting em down #boxeo #boxing #gennadygolovkin #chocolatito #ko @rudymondragon #bmb A video posted by bloodmoneyboxing (@bloodmoneyboxing) on May 16, 2015 at 7:21pm PDT

Gennady Golovkin however, sits itchy on his throne, unsatisfied with lords of other boxing lands reaping rewards he believes should be for the strongest, the real champion. As if releasing his naive, perhaps even Roman expectations that the best would fight the best in these modern boxing days, he instead appeals to Mexican, Latin hearts, to gain traction and a powerful democratic voice to gain credibility for a fight with the Cotto’s the Canelo’s of the world. Even Andre Ward was in the conversation, yet GGG might have recognized him another Highlander to save for another time.

2015 might have had a bust in the fight of the century feeling like a robbery in it’s record-setting richness, but 2015 also proved that drama pays. Perhaps the trio of GGG, Cotto, and Canelo might be tipped with the very same hearts that GGG is appealing to, the Mexicans and real fight fans, and their thirst for fights on their holidays. GGG is now fully playing the game in and most importantly out of the ring, and perhaps learning from an outgoing Floyd Mayweather Jr. to hold on to that emotional connection you have to the fans, it’s powerful. I predict Floyd tipping the balance and pulling Cotto in for a rematch in September in 2015 and Canelo claiming his seat as the prince of Mexican Style with a bout with GGG in the fall as well. Christmas comes in September for fight fans and yours truly.

It’s very very lonely at the top, and we were treated to a night showing a total of 7 rounds of sweet sweet science. I guess if these type of champions truly took out everyone, there would be no drama. In fact, there would also be no need of refs, judges, or any other supporting roles that it takes to organize a boxing event. It would simply be arranged, and they would come out victorious as simple as that. But this is reality, and drama exists, even in boxing. The Big Drama Show.

I’ll Take My Roses Now


By Luke Givens

“They say, they never really miss you till you dead or you gone…”
-Jay Z

This past weekend the world witnessed one of the greatest fighters of all time put on a masterful display of technical boxing against one of this generation’s best fighters. And yet, what we’ve been hearing from most so called boxing fans and many in the mainstream media is how disappointed they were in the fight. How they expected more. How it didn’t live up to the hype. How Floyd was too cautious, Manny too timid, and how so called real champions…. (fill in your descriptions here).

I’m not going to make the case for Floyd Mayweather’s bid as the G.O.A.T (Greatest of All Time) or T.B.E (The Best Ever). The truth of the matter is no one reading this can objectively make that evaluation. Sure I have my opinion but that opinion is based on subjective evidence. That evidence being what I’ve seen, witnessed, heard and read. It’s my experience. I didn’t watch Sugar Ray Robinson, Jack Johnson, Rocky Marciano, Willie Pep, Joe Louis, Henry Armstrong, or Muhammad Ali fight in their prime. I’ve heard the stories, listened to the experts, and seen some of the old reels but there is no way me or anyone else can objectively evaluate and make that determination on which of these is the so-called GREATEST OF ALL TIME. They didn’t fight each other. They were in different weight classes. They trained differently. They fought with different rules and in different eras. Those who came later were influenced by those who came before.

I grew up watching Larry Holmes, Evander Holyfield, Roy Jones Jr., Pernell Whitaker, Lennox Lewis, Tito Trinidad, George Foreman (the 2nd go around), and Mike Tyson. My experience was shaped by sitting on my parent’s livingroom floor watching HBO’s Boxing After Dark, Pay-Per-Views and old VHS tapes my uncles and parent’s friends recorded and passed around. You see, my evaluation is shaped by that experience. So you can’t tell me that Roy Jones Jr. in his prime wasn’t the most exciting boxer ever, because I saw it with my own eyes. I watched him toy with opponents, avoid shots, then knockout guys with some crazy off-angle counter from out of nowhere. You can’t convince me of George Foreman’s grit because I watched a 45 year old Foreman come from behind on the cards to KO the 26 year old champion Michael Moorer. We can’t argue Tyson’s punching power or the fear he instilled in opponents because I watched him win fights in the staredown. (Sidenote: Mike was the only person who could make grown men spend $50 for what might only end up being 10 seconds of pleasure. Hell most prostitutes can’t do that. You paid for a vicious knockout and whether it took 10 seconds or 10 rounds, you left satisfied. Sidenote over) I can’t be convinced of Tito’s controlled aggression or Sweet Pea’s elusive defense. That’s not to make a case for any of these guys as the Greatest, it’s simply to provide a context for how I evaluate guys like Floyd Mayweather, Bernard Hopkins, Manny Pacquiao, Oscar de la Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez, or Wladimir Klitschko. I’ve seen the tapes of Ali, Frazier, (young) Foreman, Louis, Johnson, Leonard, Duran, and Hagler but I didn’t watch them live. Most importantly, I couldn’t watch them without the knowledge of the influence they would have on future boxers.

If you never knew about the existence of a cellular phone and I gave you the iPhone 6, it would blow your mind. But if I then handed you the LG flip phone I used to carry in college, you’d be decidedly less impressed. That doesn’t take anything away from the flip phone (or the boxers I’m using for this comparison), it’s to communicate that one couldn’t exist without the other. Mayweather’s greatness was built on the foundation of men like Ali, Leonard, Hearns, and Whitaker. Now would we honestly argue that the LG flip phone is a greater cellular device than the iPhone 6? Compared to the Zack Morris Motorola…YES! But compared to the iPhone 6? However, the iphone can’t exist without that Motorola. Mayweather can’t exist without Ali…Ali without Robinson…Robinson without Louis…and Louis without Johnson. Boxing, like technology, and like all things grows and evolves. So when we look at Mayweather, we’re looking at the best of what that evolution has produced.

The old-school fighters trained differently. They fought more often. They competed for fewer belts. All of this is true but their greatness wasn’t recognized in their time, it came with people’s ability to understand how they built on the foundation of those who came before. This is why I make the case for recognizing Floyd’s accomplishments now. We forget how despised a fighter Ali was in his time. Both Black and White America hated the young mouthy Cassius Clay. It was only after a few years of inactivity (due to his stance against the war) that Black America gained a slight appreciation for him as a fighter. Let’s not even get started on Jack Johnson’s image (or his private life). While we’re talking about private lives, take a few moments to Google Sugar Ray Robinson. That’s who most boxing experts label T.B.E. right? The point of making these comparisons isn’t to slander any of these fighters or their legacy; nor is it to excuse the sometimes questionable actions of Floyd Mayweather. The point of the comparisons are to provide a context for how these individuals were viewed in their time and how time has allowed society to shift and in many cases change that perception. Sure, those fighters may have labeled themselves the best or the greatest but did the expert say so?

We don’t appreciate Floyd because it’s so easy for us to take him for granted. The casual boxing fan will never really like Floyd because he doesn’t charge into the ring like an uncaged animal and knock people’s heads off. That person is never going to appreciate the gifts a guy like Mayweather has. They said Johnson ducked his greatest opponents, Robinson hugged too much, and Ali ran. But after a few years of inactivity those voices got softer and the voices of appreciation got louder. So maybe in five or ten years, when it’s been awhile since his last fight, and he’s not in the media as much, and the guys he’s fought wrap up their careers and begin their induction into the Hall of Fame, maybe we’ll start to appreciate Floyd. Right now we don’t miss him. He’s too fresh. He’s too cocky. He’s too brash.

But we like brash. We like cocky. We just like it in hindsight.

So I would ask folks to go back and look at the old clips of Louis, Ali, Robinson, Pep, Holmes, Frazier, Duran, and the many others who’ve influenced today’s boxers. I’d ask them to look at their opponents. I’d ask them to look at their records. I’d ask them to look at how they trained. I’d ask them to look at how they were judged…both inside and outside the ring. Some people are brawlers, some knockout artist, some technicians, and some even icons. But we’re not talking about the greatest fighter in history, or knockout artist, or even the fighter with the greatest social, cultural, or political impact. We’re talking about the greatest boxer in history. Now I’ll ask that you to look at Floyd Mayweather, judge him with that context and through that perspective, then make your determination.

“If you can’t respect that, your whole perspective is wack. Maybe you’ll love me when I fade to black.”
-Jay Z

The Boxer’s Pride: Served Two Ways

The Fight of The Century. The fight they were talking about for 5 years, and complained about it for hours afterwards, including yours truly.

I’m here to share a reflection that maybe it actually was a classic, but in ways that weren’t obvious, and in layers maybe we’ll never know. Or we’ll continue to learn in the coming days as everyone collectively learns how human these fighters are compared to the demigods that we were building them up as in the last couple months. Not to say that Floyd and Manny are normal humans. They represent the absolute pinnacle of human athleticism combined with one of the oldest of martial arts. They both carry the pride and spirit of champions past, but just a way we’re not used to yet.

The narratives coming into the fight were unusually flipped, where Mayweather was the one subdued in public, actually not claiming yet to win but touting supreme and cautious confidence. Critics of Floyd were already calling him scared, and even as the fight progressed, his own father claimed how he was fighting scared. Manny on the other hand flew early from the islands to Los Angeles eager to start camp before the fight was even announced. If being Filipino is a source, that just fueled the flame for fans anticipating the fight being made. Freddie Roach immediately began a campaign, marketing his 5-year gameplan and commenting on how pleased camp was progressing, even as rumors now swirled on how the camp hid details like injuries in plain sight.

Then the fight actually happened, and both fighters demonstrated why they were number 1 and 2 in the world. Except 1 was several stories upwards from 2, and 2 was flights up from 3 to N. And as the fight progressed and I was in fact only now realizing that we were watching the Floyd Mayweather Jr. show, and the champion’s adjustments slowly pulled away from the challenger.

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The fight ended and Floyd immediately stood on the ropes and told the crowd “I won.” He crossed his arms and let the rain of boos wash over him. Manny took a while, but raised his arms, however he couldn’t feign, his head wasn’t raised. Floyd’s smiled shone through, as if he hasn’t smiled in years, and was gracious to his opponent for what seemed like the first time ever amongst the 47 previous opponents.  “Thank you for marketing for me, those Foot Locker commercials, for bringing your fans, and giving me your best.” He seemed to say. Manny’s body might not have been 100% able, but his pride drove his legs to the steps of the canvas. Now, Manny seemed more broken than ever. Floyd thanked God, while Manny cursed his under an ever-amicable smile.

In his storied past, Pacquiao’s raw talents brought him out of the streets and into the land of lucrative prizefights. If God had ushered Manny to discover his gifts, it was Man that led him astray. His so-called yes-men had driven every decision in his life since his sensational strings of fights and displays of courage. He was yet refined, and reminded people about boxing’s savage past, and brought hope to simple men in a simple country. Yet that simpleness was exploited, all the way to the last hour where in pride and simple loyalty he could not even predict his own future. Instead his “team” and Bob Arum will determine his future.

On the other hand, Floyd celebrated as soon as he heard the clap of the 10 second mark. As his internal clocked wound to 48-0, his resume grew to one more champion defeated, and he relished the words he would impart to his doubters. But something tells me this win was different, how happy he was. Floyd was arguably already transforming into the affable personality hidden underneath the riches, his gifts, his vision. The prime example of the self made man making unheard business moves on a shark-infested environment, he seemed to finally allow himself to celebrate his accomplishments and shed his persona. He only has one fight left, what left does he have to hide?

As for Manny, I hope he can ask his own heart of his desires. A man of responsibility, he has carried a burden too big, in the name of God, to ever start complaining about what own needs are… but he should, and I hope he does. He carries an old soul derived from the great champions of the past, who at times carried their burden/debt/sins/guilt/pride to their death. Floyd is fiercely fighting that archetype, believing that champions who have served the sport deserve the best of this life. That new pride is a needed evolution for the souls in this sport, and will define its future. Cheers, everyone.


T-30 Days: A Look at Manny Pacquiao

Continuing our analysis, now 30 days out from the biggest boxing match of our generation, we take a look at Manny Pacquiao. Please do take a look at the quick treatise we made for his opponent, Floyd Mayweather Jr.

I’ve started talking in the previous post on how us, the BMB team, started this blog to document the sport through it’s transformative years with Floyd Mayweather Jr. as a focal point. Just as Yin cannot exist without a Yang, Manny Pacquiao has also been a main BMB focal point in a style that cannot be any more different to Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Manny, in contrast, is similarly difficult to write about amongst other boxing journalists in the sport because of the weight of his name, his image, his legacy, and especially, his country. It’s hard to speak about him as a fighter when he is literally and figuratively representing humble beginnings that are still happening in the nation of the Philippines. As a Filipino-American, I struggle, because hyphenated identities are still defining their legacy, but Manny had arguably moved that legacy forward since moving to Los Angeles. Filipino-Americans welcomed him with open arms and joined to train with him and (hopefully) respecting his desires to focus on this fight. It was telling to see Manny fly early to the Wild Card gym to train for this fight, maybe not as an eager move to prepare, but to escape the pressures of a whole nation that desperately pleads for his victory. I feel Manny is truly grateful to fight the best, and is eager for a chance to prove himself, and would rather focus on that feeling once he is across the ring with the champion rather than feel the weight of his country on his shoulders. He finds solace in his light personality and is trying to enjoy the event, rather than be reminded that at one point he was fighting to feed himself and his family.

Looking past Manny as an icon, I believe we see someone that truly any Filipino and immigrant could relate to. “Manong” Manny, as his crew calls him now is 2 years younger than Floyd Mayweather, but has to his claim a family of kids almost as tall as he is now. He commands respect in circles not necessarily political because he’s put the work and earned it many times over. However, he graciously polite to anyone as he would be polite to any stranger. His energetic humor is something that quite isn’t represented in American channels just because the general public likes to think of him as a cosmopolitan, but I just see him as supremely restless and ravenously hungry for opportunity. It’s as if his appetite for experience has scaled up proportionately compared to his wealth and status, starting from fighting as a young, homeless boy. He still retains a world-view as light as a kid with a whole day of adventure and opportunity ahead of him.

This is why the matchup is tantalizing, electrifying, and beyond predictable. If Floyd is a spiteful retaliator, Manny is an “Opportunity Maximizer”, as his volume-punching style hides the fact that every one of his punches immediately changes his outlook and informs his next action, within milliseconds. His feints shake opponents to the core, allowing him to capitalize with blows that could fall a man twice his weight. Over the years he’s also been able to change his game by introducing better feints, head movement, and foot placement. People talk about his speed, but what really makes Manny a threat is his eye for offense, offense, and continued offense. If Floyd is training to fight one fight 3 times over, Manny is training to fight 3 times the opponents in one fight.

Applauding Manny’s style is not fair without comment on his knockout in the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez. I could’ve written of the similar contrast in styles with Marquez and Pacquiao, but I think all commentary of this argument actually undervalues the preparation and work Marquez displayed, and the deserving result of that fight and arguably his fights with Manny before. In the end what I see is 30 rounds to 18. Manny still consistently shows evidence of a world-beater, and his knockout is just him playing the cruel numbers game. Marquez was focused on redemption and he got it.

What is upcoming is 12 rounds on May 2nd. If Manny isn’t as focused in those 12 rounds on redeeming the 47 other fighters that couldn’t pull off a win, he will not succeed. But I believe the styles for that night are perfect, and I just hope the execution reveals character and action in both fighters that we have never seen before. Manny’s outlook on recent media has been nothing but happy and eager, and to me, that’s a good sign. It’s a telling signs that understands what Mayweather is capable of doing and how he may in turn respond. Will Manny see opportunities in the best boxer in the world? Or will he too, fall to Mayweather’s traps and his authority of confidence? It seems like even though Manny is the Vegas underdog, the world is behind him, and cheering for his victory, including myself. However, even though I’m scared, I take comfort in Manny’s knowing smile, that everything will be OK.