Angel Garcia: Boxing in the Era of Trump

By Rudy Mondragón
Twitter: @boxingintellect

The January 18 press conference for the highly anticipated March 4 showdown between Keith “One Time” Thurman and Danny “Swift” Garcia showed how Trumpism is seeping into the bloodstream of the sweet science. Politics is indeed not separate from the sporting world.

At the press conference, Angel Garica, father and trainer of Danny Garcia, took over by engaging in trash talking and mental warfare against Thurman. This is part of the game. Danny Garcia is not the trash talking type, he does his talking in the ring and often presents himself as a professional in front of the media. This might be why his father does so much of the trash talking, knowing well that it creates a drama that helps promote the spectacle of boxing.


What took place at the press conference was Trumpism rearing its disgusting faces of anti-immigration, jingoism (hyper-patriotism), and sexism. Notice I did not use racism, although that is an additional facet of Trumpism. Many media figures are quick to say that Angel’s use of the N-word (See video below) was a disgusting example of racism. I disagree as the media has not substantially explained why it is an example of racism. For them, it is simply a headline.

Angel’s use of the N-word is more so an example of a light skinned Puerto Rican man from North Philly who has more than likely used the N-word within a cultural context of understanding. For many people I have spoken to over the years, the use of the N-word by Latino peoples is used with an understanding that the word holds a great deal of historical weight. The use of that word is directed at people where mutual love exists. Some have even told me that the word is only used towards people they would be willing to die for and kill for. In other words, the N-word, used within a cultural context of mutual love, understanding, and respect, has a totally different meaning than Angel’s use of it at the press conference.

This is not to say that I excuse Angel’s use of it. Using the word outside its cultural context opens up the meaning of the word for many interpretations, racism being one of them. But its more complex than that. The tone and intention of the way Angel used it was not racist. But his use of it in public promotes a misunderstanding and disregard of the historical use of a word that has been used by white men with racial and economic power during slavery for example. A word that has been historically used as a tool to stigmatize and negatively label black people in relation to white people and white supremacy. It also signals to people that the N-word can be used irresponsibly, ignoring the dark legacy of the word.

Angel’s use of the word in public also impacts and offends black people who do not have a personal connection to the user of the word. Though Angel’s use of the word was not intended to hurt anyone, the impact of that word, outside its cultural context, can have offensive affects on people. That is how powerful that word remains today. I would bet money that Angel would not use that word in a completely new setting with black folks he did not know. The reason for this is it is outside of his cultural context, involving new people that he does not know. The use of the N-word in that new context would be a form of disrespect because there is no mutual bond or connection to the people of that cultural space.

Although I say his use of the N-word was not intended to disrespect Keith Thurman (I would argue “Bitch ass” and “My son gonna fuck you up” intended to disrespect and challenge Keith), a question still remains to be answered. As a bi-racial man who is read as black, what impact did Angel’s use of the N-word have on Keith Thurman? This is an important dynamic that has not been explored.

Trumpism reared its nasty faces in the form of anti-immigration, jingoism (hyper-patriotism), and sexism. When I first met Angel back in 2014, he shared his thoughts on immigrants and boxing. This is something that Angel has been passionate about, the idea that Americans should fight Americans only. This echoes Trump’s philosophy that he recently shared in his inauguration speech: “Buy American and hire American.” Angel Garcia embodied this idea when he said that the only respect he has for his son’s opponent is that he is an American fighter. Ironically, Angel Garcia is of Puerto Rican descent, which has a long colonial history with the US as Puerto Rico remains a colony and unincorporated territory of the US. Despite that imperial legacy, Angel presents himself as a staunch supporter of Trump.

Towards the end of the presser, Angel had this to say:“God bless America. Where Donald Trump at? Come get him. I want to see Trump. Trump, where are you? Make America great again.”Need I say more? To my knowledge, this is the first clear example in 2017 that demonstrates Trump politics entering the sphere of boxing. It is ugly and contradictory of boxing as this sport has historically recruited poor black and brown fighters from all over the world. It is a sport that exploits people and denies them of basic employee benefits. Boxing heads who stand for Trump makes little sense to me. It seems more fitting that boxers would stand United Against Trump.

After Angel’s Donald Trump rant, he finished off by directing some harsh words towards boxing publicist, Kelly Swanson. I’m sure Swanson told Angel to knock it off, that is her job after all. I think it would have been better if Angel had simply ignored her plea, but rather than let it go, Angel directed harsh words towards this woman by saying, “I’ll jack you up!” Actions like this should not be normal and accepted. This is not what it means to be a man. Yet, under the new presidential regime, it does not seem like sexism, patriarchy, and misogyny will be challenged or dismantled (the people will continue these efforts despite Trump’s lack of care and conviction on these serious matters). As recently as this morning, Trump disregarded the powerful Women’s Marches that took place across the nation yesterday. Not to mention Trumps history with male entitlement over women’s bodies and their right to choice. Given these disturbing times, the question of what it means to practice healthy forms of masculinity is critical!

As mentioned earlier, the ideas that Angel Garcia has about immigration and his hyper-patriotism is nothing new. The question I leave readers with is to what extent do the beliefs and words of Donald Trump provide a green light for conservative and hate filled ideas to emerge? In response to his dad’s theatrics, Danny Garcia stated “I’ve heard Trump say Worse!” This may be true, but Angel Garcia nonetheless echoes many of the toxic ideas that we see in Trump.

As a boxing expert, fan, and critic, I also question the art of trash talking. Can trash talking manifest within reason, innovation, and creativity? Riding the curtails of hate speech to inform one’s engagement in mental warfare against one’s opponent is a misuse of a high status platform. The boxing world can do better. I believe it can.

Essence Historic: 15 rounds for brutal magic

My essence historic series kicks off from being reminded of long discussion about rounds with my uncle and about the fights he looks forward to in 2017. Last weekend’s rematch of LSC and Frampton was one of them. And like a light switch I was violently pulled from staring at the burning dumpster fire that is our American life under Trump, and was reminded of what was cool about boxing. The laser focus of Leo to pull off such a disciplined fight from the veteran instinct Frampton used to sweep the first fight was inspiring. Leo was fast, crisp, purposeful and always in motion. It watching fights like these that makes the rounds fly by, suddenly looking up and realizing that there’s only two more rounds left. You could see Carl finding gaps and Leo momentarily getting caught in the same traps set in the first fight. The rematch ends, a third is instantly paid for, and I’m reminded of my uncle’s parting words of why he’d rather be pleasantly surprised than look forward to any fight in 2017.

“There isn’t a culture competitive heavyweights, and belts mean less since the change from 15 to 12 rounds”

To my uncle and many folks, the competitive landscape in the 70s and early 80s brought a sense of real urgency when the undisputed champion put his belt on the line for 15 rounds. Not only were matchups tantalizing in unpredictable ways, the flow of the fight has the potential to drastically change when months of preparation is culminated in the first round, the 12th round and the 15th round. A fella can change strategy, emotion, or simply get knocked in the mouth with heavyweight power. Since the time Ali roamed the land we’ve never seen a crop of legends sprout so high, and all on American soil. I guess if you got to enjoy that boxing period you would have to be crazy to compare that to today’s boxing. But was it because of 15 rounds or the period? I’m here to break down the context of the change.

It was November 1982, and the headline above, “Tragedy,” set off a series of events that gave Jose Sulaiman no choice but to buckle against a jerk reaction from mainstream calls to end “barbaric” boxing. Rather risk further mainstream persecution Sulaiman took out his large brush and swept 15 rounds to twelve. Sulaiman actually also proposed 90 seconds between rounds but I presume critics were pleased with his sacrifice.

However, Mancini, from Washington, called the round reduction ”a farce” and said he preferred the 15-round title bouts. ”The W.B.C. has given in to the public and critics who have called boxing barbaric,” he said. ”I hope the W.B.A. does not give in.” – Dec 9, 1982. NY Times

“My reaction is one of happiness that a world organization is moving toward boxing safety by taking a first step,” said Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, the Miami physician who supervises many boxing matches and is a commentator for NBC. “But this (12-round limit) is no cure-all or panacea,” he said. “It will not stop boxing fatalities.” Dec 10, 1982. Washington Post

Fighters like Scott Quigg agree. Fighters like Carl Frampton disagree. – Reddit

After looking back and looking forward, I feel torn. In that moment, boxing sport was being threatened. For leaders in the sport they love, I can understand why taking drastic action seemed so necessary for survival. Not only action, they needed symbolism. It needed a vote of confidence for the safety of boxers. Decreasing the total time boxers are at risk to get hurt was logical. (Of course people will say, “Of course!”) But will simple but sweeping changes address real problems with boxing injuries? Will it bring more attention to needs of the sport? Will it change the hearts of mainstream audiences that already thought boxing was barbaric?

In that sense I say no. The change arguably steals rounds from fighters like Scott Quigg, or Provodnikov (remember him?) which is unfortunate but probably for the better lest they want to be remembered as the one who got brain damage/broken jaw/black piss. What was good to revisit and remember is the context of the extreme mental toughness of fighters that prepared for all 15. That was a glorious time and it will and should be even more revered as so. But let’s not forget that our current amateur boxing’s finest brothers and sisters lace them up and prepare for each and every round as if it’s their last, and we have to recognize the risk and art of of doing it for 8 rounds as much as 4. (Protect yourself at ALL times.) There will be no shortage of golden moments in boxing so long as there is hope in great champions like Leo Santa Cruz and Roman Gonzales (though like our phones, I guess our champions are miniaturizing). Plus, as for boxing reform there are arguably bigger fish to fry (ahem, matchmaking, ahem). What I’ve learned in this segment of Essence Historic is the art of nuance in history. Seems like as we progress graceful nuance always trumps severe, irreversible, thoughtless, ignorant, reactions. Lessons learned from history.

So here’s to the future. I’m at peace with 12 rounds but we need more fights like Leo Santa Cruz V. Carl Frampton. Shit give Scott Quig a swing at it.

GGG vs. Brook: Prediction

GGG Brook.jpg

By Rudy Mondragón
Twitter: @boxingintellect 

Gennady Golovkin versus Kell Brook is another match up where one man jumps two weight classes to challenge the other. First, we had Amir Khan jump up to 155lbs to take on Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. That fight ended with Canelo knocking out Khan in the 6th round. Will Golovkin, also known as GGG, knock out Brook, to grow his KO streak to 23?

Kell Brook shared with The Guardian that he was killing himself, mentally and physically, to make 147lbs. Moving up to 154lbs would make the most sense for Kell, yet he decided to take on the most feared man at 160lbs. For Brook, this is an opportunity to claim the biggest win in his career. There is more to lose for GGG and everything to gain for Brook.

Brook has a cosmetically impressive record of 36-0 (25 KOs). His biggest win (majority decision) was over Shawn Porter back in 2014. This was his biggest test, but at the welterweight limit. He has not been tested at 154 or 160. What makes GGG versus Brook different from Canelo versus Khan, is that Brook is undefeated and his chin has never been questioned. Tomorrow night’s fight will reveal many truths about Brook.

GGG should win this fight. It is a stepping stone to setting up his fight with Canelo Alvarez. GGG is stronger and has proven that his chin is made of concrete. However, a close examination of their weigh-in revealed that GGG might be drained for tomorrow’s contest. His spirit at the weigh in can be described as low, exhausted, and mentally fatigued. This depends on who you speak to however, as some will say his demeanor at the weigh-in was calm and collected, ready for tomorrow night’s match.

Brook is the faster man. His media workout showed that he has not lost any speed despite putting on the extra 11 or so pounds. His speed, elusiveness, boxing skills, and mental strategy can prove to be the difference maker tomorrow if in fact GGG is not close to 100 percent (Let’s be real, no fighter is ever in tip top shape come fight night).

Brook will go 10 rounds and have early success. The extra weight will take some time to adjust to, so Brook will fade in the later rounds, giving GGG the opportunity he will need to score his 23rd straight (T)KO victory.

When you take a step back and look at GGG versus Brook, you will realize that this is part of the promotional tour for the eventual GGG versus Canelo mega-fight. Of course, GGG needs to beat Brook first, but when he does, it will place Gennady and Alvarez one step closer to giving the fans what they want: a true middleweight mega-fight spectacle.

All that said, being a fan of the underdog, I do hope that Brook upsets GGG and disrupts the master script of boxing. I love it when promoter’s behind the scenes plans are made void by the boxers they have positioned to be pawns in their chess match. Rise up Brook, don’t be their pawn.


AJ Liebling: The Sweet Scientist


I’ve been reading one of the most revered boxing writers, New Yorker contributor AJ Liebling.  He was a writer that would have felt just as home behind the mic providing color commentary like Max Kellerman or Paulie Malignaggi, but he instead provided meditative essays most unexpected for such a brutal sport, especially in his time. He was still the perennial professional, but weaved inside the report of the biggest fights in New York was this extra human dimension; 24/7 but in writing if you will. But more than just sharing deep realism, Liebling cared about the fighter’s dreams and motivations. In a time when boxing media required physical attendance, and were gatherings that were probably as dangerous as the risks the fighters took inside the ring, Liebling was there in the front row and in the locker rooms and in the gym. He penned the name “The Sweet Science” but only to punctuate the depths of boxing story Liebling brings forward. He decomposes a picture of the entire boxing experience, from the hard work in the gym for novices, to the champion weigh-ins and the seething anticipation of the crowd in the seconds between rounds.

The primary collection of Liebling’s stories was self-titled The Sweet Science, and his other collection named The Neutral Corner. I’ve been picking up one story at a time from each book, and am noticing the supreme passion AJ Liebling has for boxing and how startly different the sport was in his time. AJ Liebling was a gym rat that absorbed boxing as an observer. He would keep his mind in the moment and pursue the story in the boxers, and be concise on actual events but lean on his paragraphs explaining how much compassion and emotion he would recall of the boxers, the team, the gym, the difficult weeks of work in between the NY lights.

AJ Liebling wrote alot about the fighters in and around Stillman‘s Gym, a legendary gym that housed the likes of Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, and Rocky Marciano, but Liebling actually wrote a lot about the challengers, the no-names and what their lives were like outside the gym. He wrote about transient fighters looking to make more money in the big city. He wrote about the drunks in the nosebleed seats bullying richer people in the expensive seats. What was interesting was him writing about what I would’ve called today as gatekeepers, like Tommy “Hurricane” Jackson.

What interested Liebling to Jackson was not only his Tommy Hearns-like physical gifts (his reach was always longer) and his unlimited endurance as a heavyweight (something nonexistent today) but how Tommy was squarely between boxing art and boxing capability. Looking up Jackson on boxrec was like a looking at Brandon Rios’ record. If your name wasn’t Floyd Patterson, you simply cannot beat Hurricane Jackson. [Jackson even beat Ezzard Charles, twice!] He was an illiterate fighter that could run for days and fought on instinct, but was slow to start and just too simple, too uncoordinated, ill-managed, or just simply unlucky. While brighter lights rewarded Floyd Patterson, Liebling instead sheds his light to Tommy Jackson. “On the night of the [Nino Valdez] fight, I was more excited than I had been before any match for years, and for purely subjective reasons. If the animal [Tommy Jackson] won, it meant that the Sweet Science was mere guess-work…” He went on to understand the difference between the boxer that can paint with his tools, and the boxer that well, simply has tools. It’s wafer thin, and makes a mystery again of what was supposed to be the Sweet Science. But thankfully the simple art of Tommy Jackson was remembered and shared by Liebling, and I came away elevating Floyd Patterson to greater heights but also respecting the immense legacy of the top men he beat, most especially the Hurricane.

AJ Lieblings stories are pregnant of these spaces in between headlines; full of riches from boxing events in the past, and I will continue to recall them here in short specials. Liebling reminds me of what we started Blood Money Boxing about, critical commentary with depth. We don’t talk only about the star fighter, but also the strong fighters that those fighters overcome. If boxing is a representation of a truly democratic sport that I love, we’d do well  by following the lead of AJ Liebling and cover the Hurricane’s and the Bam Bams.

Credit of the photos of Stillman’s gym goes to the venerable Magnum Photos.


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.

The best that ever wasn’t: Charley Burley and the hidden knights of the Black Murderer’s Row


I’m coming to the realization on exactly why boxing is truly one of the greatest human achievements, but also one of the most wicked in sports history. Boxing is one of the most revered individual sport and is a competition so purely distilled in skill and ambition; however, even racehorses are treated with more dignity in retirement. Legends of the past are kept alive orally but legends of the present are stifled by money, their own management, or even the media. That’s why its even more of a responsibility to stay critical of the sport as fans, because sometimes the impact of a single boxing match has world-changing implications, and would unfairly sway conversations on who was the best and who wasn’t the best. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we fans should honor all fighters who step in the ring, and give due to legends of the past, but recognize that the history of the sport largely stands undocumented, unless we all accept that boxing is as diverse and multifaceted as society itself, where for every rock, there’s paper, and for every scissor, there’s rock.

Conversations of TBE in the today’s world is as disconcerting to the present state of boxing. Sure, Floyd Mayweather Jr. calls himself TBE. Why not? He retired at the top of boxing world on his terms. We might still be coming into grips of that in the next 10 years, but why all incessant debate, and why muddle the economics of matchups with legacy. Just a quick trip to frequent tropes of TBE debates grinds to a halt with Sugar Ray Robinson, where I went even further and hunted down information beyond that. I found that the art and science of boxing shouldn’t be judged only on performances on the big stage but also what was forged in the backrooms of gyms at dusk, where the thudding of heavy bags would stop, the rattle of speedbags pause for all to check out who was sparring in the middle of the ring. Where the science was debated and the state of the art was pushed even further. This is where legends are made, but also where the sport bloomed into the sweet science fans today are still being deprived from. This type of understanding of the sport is direly needed, and the only way to achieve it is through the spirit of competition.

Between 1936-1950, Charley Burley was the uncrowned king of The Black Murderer’s Row, the most avoided fraternity of black boxers who fought each other 61 times in search of quiet in their own frustrated ambition. No one of fame, including Sugar Ray Robinson, would fight them because of their fearsome durability and sublime skill. Sugar Ray was already avoided in the height of his reign, but these guys had to settle for the “Colored” middleweight title or other similar lower titles. In the height of the Golden Age of boxing, there were 9 extremely talented and feared boxers (Holman Williams, Lloyd Marshall, Cocoa Kid, Eddie Booker, Elmer Ray, Jack Chase, Aaron Wade, & Bert Lytell) that fought each other and became even better. Compared to the 2008 achievement of Manny Pacquiao disposing of 3 hall of famers in one year, The Black Murderers’ Row would fight that many times in a month. 

Reading deep into Charley Burley is exciting, but also deeply depressing because of the possibility of forgetting some of the legends of today that thrived in competition, cared about improving their game, and stood toe-to-toe on wars every second of every round of the fights they were able to arrange on their professional record. Sure, it’s nice to have debates on who’s the best and have thought experiments on who they would have beaten but why? Why can’t we have tournaments that mandated the spirit of competition inspired by the Black Murderers’ Row?

I find I may have to just do my part in preserving and honoring current fighters who hold up that spirit of competition. Here’s to the unofficial rounds of Robert Guerrero in Gilroy, Brandon Rios in Oxnard, Manny Pacquiao in Manila, Roman Gonzales in Panama, and many many others currently carving their legacies. Here’s to the unofficial rounds going on in gyms everywhere, may they never be forgotten and may that add to the future of boxing.

The Legacy of Heavyweight Boxing


The most recent heavyweight belt bout was defended in fantastic fashion by Deontay Wilder from the top challenger Artur Szpilka in a stunning 9th round knockout. Wilder’s latest defense of the belt is now his most impressive, demonstrating great maturity in the ring and in his words of respect afterwards, where he commended his Polish opponent and wished his safe return home. It’s easy then to get excited about an American return to the heavyweight boxing prominence of the glorious years past, gilded with the resumes of all-time American greats like Foreman, Holyfield, Tyson, Ali, Frazier…

But is it that time already to feel like we’re in the 90’s? Where we could get amazed with IQ,  footwork and hand speed of Ali, or the sheer torque generated from the hips all the way to the teeth from Tyson? Where we could witness emotional and even political fight nights that would move nations in anticipation? I would say no, and even with Wilder’s latest defense we are only seeing a slight glimmer towards a positive direction that has arguably been slipping away from the limelight since the 90’s.

It’s easy to watch the highlights and the physicality of Wilder or even Anthony Joshua of England and say, “Yea, in 2016 heavyweights look like heavyweights.” This general media sentiment is like saying “Good, the heavyweight division is back because they’re not overweight and they use punches to win.” Where is the IQ, where is the dimensionality of heavyweights using actual boxing skills to enhance their physical gifts? According to boxing fans in 2016, that only exists in the lighter weight classes. How feeble our memories, and maybe that’s why the golden age of heavyweights will always look grander from our present point of view.

It’s important to realize that the it’s the media’s job to sell this division and I won’t ignore that Wilder is certainly taking it in a positive direction. His rededication to the sport is honorable, and his new maturity outside the ring is impressive. But at 31, he’s only beginning to scratch the boxing discipline of a 19 year old Mike Tyson. Anthony Joshua is only 26 but the overall lack of talent at the top is not showing any signs of change compared to years past. If we weren’t myopic about the boatloads of attention we’re giving to Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua, we could arguably be wondering about how genetics have changed since the early 90’s to have such little talent at the top weights. In the era of Ali and Frazier, we also had Ken Norton and Larry Holmes biting at their heels. This era had gyms of giants, where their practice blows packed the full power of a Roman Gonzalez vs. Brian Viloria.

My treatise ends with me asking to wake me up when we have a real heavyweight with wings on his feet and stones in his hands. He doesn’t even have to be a poet but that would help. Maybe heavyweights do have an impossible legacy to fulfill given the rich history of boxing. Hopefully that’s not the case, because we at BMB might end up as historians, not passionate enthusiasts.


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:


Tacoma 67th Annual Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament

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After stewing just a little about it, I still can’t believe I watched 14 competitive fights all in one night. I remember walking in with an expectation that there’ll be much bravado for any type of boxing event, but I came out very humbled of the hometown feel of watching young, hungry, fighters, with their families, put out their all over 3-4 rounds. 28 fighters were all fighting for the opportunity to move on to the National Golden Gloves at Las Vegas, March 21-22, 2015. My big takeaway was that although this was strictly an amateur sport, governed by the rules of USA Boxing, these athletes carried themselves professionally, even in defeat.
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I would like to highlight a few fighters that I saw had tremendous potential and style in the brief time I saw them fighting. The first is Nick Vasquez from the Squared Circle Gym. This guy was going up against a very slick moving boxer, Terrence Oddie from West Portland, but just did not give him any ground. I felt like the way he moved was like a Pernell Whitaker with a Thomas Hearns, an offensive minded matador, moving only to get a better angle to throw a murderous right hand deep towards vulnerable areas. He really walked down Terrence with no respect, and like in the shot above (in red), landed deep, deep body blows that buckled Terrence twice before the ref let Nick have the TKO. I spent maybe 30 minutes in an internet hole trying to learn more about this guy but alas, maybe something will come up later.

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The next fighter I’d like to introduce is big Matthew Mollet from the (practically) hosts, the Tacoma Boxing Club, above in red. This amateur heavyweight (-201 lbs) has so much to look forward to and is proudly standing on strong foundations, from what I read of this young man and from what I saw in his fight last night.

From what I saw last night, I would be damned if he wasn’t what was really supposed to save American Heavyweight Boxing. With a huge frame, great reach, great instincts, and non-stop attack, he was just a lot to get excited about from the first second of the first round of his demolition of Edgar Cortez from the UW. Poor, poor Edgar. I felt the mascara tears of the UW booster club haplessly cheering him from upstairs, but Matthew’s onslaught was divine. Matthew was using all his god-given gifts to lay waste to that guy and it made me immensely happy.

That’s all for now, but you’ll definitely be seeing more from BMB covering Pacific Northwest Amateurs. We’ll stay tuned on news of the upcoming National Golden Gloves tournament, and how these guys will perform.

Bronze Bomber vs B.WARE Predictions


Bermane “B.WARE” Stiverne (24-1, 21 KOs) will be defending his WBC heavyweight title against Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs) on Saturday, January 17 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Many believe this could be the fight where a U.S. born heavyweight fighter is crowned with the title. This is of great significance as there has not been a U.S born heavyweight champion since 2006 when Shannon Briggs held the WBO title. The match up we have for tomorrow is an experienced champion versus an inexperienced athletic knockout artist. This is how the BMB sees it:

Miguel Marino

32 KOs > 21 KOs. 6ft 7in > 6ft 2in. 84in > 80in. You don’t need to be a math wiz to know that the person in the left hand side of the equation has an advantage than the person on the right. So whom do these numbers belong to? The first set of numbers are the total fights won by knockout over each boxer’s career, which favor Wilder over Stiverne. The second set are each boxer’s height. Again, advantage Wilder. The last set of numbers are each boxer’s reach. No surprise, advantage Wilder. It is striking the physical advantage that Wilder has over Stiverne. The only number where Stiverne has the advantage over Wilder is this: 36 > 29. Well, maybe advantage isn’t the right word since this set of numbers denote age of the boxers. Though here at BMB we try to avoid seeing boxing as simply numbers and statistics, the number differentials between these fighters should not be ignored. Even if you ignore these numbers, looking at previous fights, you get the sense that this will be a one-sided fight as long as Wilder uses his reach advantage and pounds all night. The only chance Stiverne has is to get into Wilder’s space just once and deliver an authoritative punch. Unfortunately, at 36, it might be too late for Stiverne. Stiverne had struggled against previous foes bigger than him but has survived because none of those fighters had sufficient the power to take him down. Wilder doesn’t have a power problem and he should be the one to dethrone Stiverne.

Prediction: Wilder, KO 9th round.

Jarrett Bato

Bronze Bomber? More like Baby Bomber. There’s no debate that 32 KO’s is impressive, but I wonder about the mental maturity of the same Deontay Wilder picking on fights on the internet. In my mind Stiverne is more of the professional boxer, with methodical combinations and movement to pick off stronger opponents. Although Mexican-American Arreola is a much more clumsier fighter, I believe in Stiverne’s mind, Wilder is of the same template “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” I think I would have to see a true demonstration of maturity and ring generalship on Wilder’s end before I believe he’s the Vanguard of the new American Heavyweight. Until then, I pick Stiverne for a late 9th round KO for his ever-compact style and fundamentals to frustrate Wilder who’s looking for an early KO. If Wilder tries to go out of his KO style, he’s still in for a long night as Stiverne will get inside and score points if all Wilder wants is to prove he can last. Wilder need to demonstrate explosive quickness and a mix of body and head work that I just don’t see, and is more of Stiverne’s style albeit with less power.

Prediction: Stiverne, KO 9th round

Luke Givens

My Prediction?


Prediction: Wilder

Rudy Mondragon

There is a reason why they call Deontay “The Bronze Bomber,” he is far from being a gold. Deontay started his career at age 19 and has relied on his athletic ability. One who relies on their athletic ability in boxing sacrifices the technical and mental aspect of their game. All of Deontay’s fights have ended by the 4th round, meaning two things: 1) He has only fought scrubs and 2) He doesn’t have the experience to enter the second half of a regular fight, let alone a title fight. Stiverne has more experience and as of recently, has proven he can go the distance against an aggressive, hard hitting fighter. Not only did he go the distance against Cris Arreola, he was also able to knock him out in the 6th round of their 2014 rematch. Stiverene is a patient counter puncher with power in both hands. Wilder again has fought no body! How is Wilder making a million for this fight and Stiverne only $910k? This is why: Although Stiverne is the champion, Wilder enters this fight as the A-Side because his promoters (currently Golden Boy Promotions, but will more than likely leave them as he is managed by Al Haymon) are marketing him as the next U.S heavyweight champion of the world. All the pressure is on Deontay to win tomorrow night. But how does one expect Deontay to win if he has not fought anybody who could have given him the necessary experience to be competitive for this title match? According to Robert Ecksel’s prediction on however, Wilder will hurt Stiverne and get him on the ropes, prompting the ref to stop the contest prematurely in favor of Deontay. This is definitely a possibility as Don King promotes Stiverne and Al Haymon manages Wilder and according to Ecksel, behind the scene deals can be made if it means making more money with Deontay as champion. Valid prediction, but I do not see this happening because Tony Weeks is the referee and he has proven high levels of integrity in his work.  I don’t see Wilder having success past the 5th round. Stiverne will weather the storm with his brain and patience, take Wilder into the later rounds and win via TKO stoppage in the 11th round.

Prediction: Stiverne, TKO 11th round