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!

Weekend Review: Toe-to-Ass

The following is a double-header review from our BMB family about this weekend’s pay-per-view fight card that the intern and I watched through our neighbor’s window, figuratively speaking (wink-wink).
toe to ass
The night did not start well for the Canelo Alvarez camp, as his older brother simply was outclassed by journeyman Sergio Thompson with very simple combinations to the body and head, and by Thompson’s overall work-rate, an impressive late addition to the fight card due to immigration issues.
The second card shimmered as the talented Jorge Linares, previously a Freddie Roach protege, pulled off beautiful combinations to the head and body of Nihito Arakawa, the light-fisted, indestructable man from Japan. To me, it’s just frustrating to see such potential in the motivation, mind, body, and basic technique of Arakawa, but having this almost-perfect boxing package deflated with an embarrassing lack of power. Arakawa, if you’re reading this, please spend a year chopping trees! I swear you’ll be a star in the ring killing 95% of the lightweight division. Linares, on the other hand, can really use this fight to increase his stock, as he can really clean up the top of the lightweight divison. He clearly has an excess of talent, and I use the word excess specifically because of Malignaggi’s quote during one of Linares’ beautiful combinations:
“Linares has beautiful combinations, but he spends too much time after his combinations admiring his handiwork instead of moving away from Arakawa’s pressure.”
This is a telling quote about Linares, and maybe of every young outboxer in today’s professional boxing world. (And can we take a moment to just applaud Malignaggi’s poetry in boxing commentary? He’s just killing it in the booth!) Young professional outboxers arguably get into the limelight early, demonstrating god-given gifts in speed, agility, and above all, grace in dispatching one, or multiple punch combinations on an opponent without getting hit in the process. This is especially true in the Mayweather era, where outboxers are also narcissists, priding themselves in the mental game that began miles before stepping in the ring. Once they step into the ring and actually gain confidence, you can see them smiling at their pugilism, taking a moment to breathe in the smell of defeat from their opponent. Exhibit A: Jorge Linares, punctuating a beautiful 4 punch combination on Arakawa with a huge uppercut, and then just standing right there in front of him, letting Arakawa push into his chest again with patty-cake punches, stealing points away from what should have been a shut-out round. Linares could do well by looking at his tape and comparing it to Mayweather or Sugar Ray Leonard’s, and seeing how outboxers use their combinations to slip away from infighters and challenge them with multiple angles, never losing focus, and always pressing the action.

Anyways, enough with my rant. On to the next fight.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the Leo Santa Cruz fight was the most boring fight of the night, even with his vaunted volume punching that’s as predictable as Peyton Manning’s passing yards every Sunday. This predictability seemed to have caught up to Santa Cruz, when his opponent Cristian Mijares pulled a Joshua Clottey and showed up for a payday and basically looking to not get knocked out. 10 rounds of ZZZs, but props to Santa Cruz for adding another notch to his belt.

Before I talk about the main-event, I want to pass the pen to BMB contributer and in-house statistician, Jose Manuel Hernandez on his take of the Canelo v Angulo boxing match:

I was expecting more from this PPV bout, and frankly, I still don’t see why people think that Canelo is a PPV draw.  We will have to wait to learn about the actual PPV buys, but I can’t imagine this being a big money maker for any side.  One thing that needs to be echoed here is that Canelo has not really been doing anything to enhance the package he came with since being crowned by Golden Boy as the next best thing (after Mayweather).  Against slow, flat-footed boxers, Canelo is seemingly masterful with his faints and even displays some good “shoulder-roll” defense that we have grown to marvel at when Mayweather does it (see Trout fight, Canelo looked so skilled defensively, in spots).  Yet, even after starting this fight with massive bombs, he still gassed in the later rounds and resorted to his two second spurts of action at spots during the fight.  I would love to see Canelo fight Lara or the winner of Cotto/Martinez.

Lastly, does Canelo have legitimate 154lbs power? Why couldn’t Canelo make 154lbs for this fight?  How did this impact his opponent, Angulo?  Did he (Angulo) really not make weight either(154.5lbs)?  So many questions, yet the only thing that is for certain is this, Canelo apparently has a contract with Showtime for 3 “big” PPV fights this year. This is his chance to make us all believe that he has earned the crown he so callously wears.

– Jose M. Hernandez, BMB Contributing Writer

I totally agree with Jose.  Before the fight, I was thinking that Angulo could very well take advantage of Canelo’s wide punches by timing his head movement and shoving it into a phone booth with compact combinations to the head and body. This plan was thrown out the window as Canelo unloaded heavy, heavy combinations right off the bat. Canelo seemed to have made strides in his own mental game with this first move, and you can find the root of it in how his last opponent Mayweather started in Canelo’s previous fight. Mayweather was never a so called “slow-starter” or “fast-starter” but he started extremely fast against Canelo last year, setting the tone and pace that would ultimately decide the championship fight.

Canelo took a page out of that book and transformed into a killer as soon as the bell rang in the first round. Angulo’s eyes widened, and he admitted to his flustered trainer Virgil Hunter that “(Canelo’s) punches bothered me a little.” Canelo did not have to hear that from Angulo’s mouth, as his eyes were probably enough evidence to Canelo that his game plan was working, despite Canelo visibly gassing again in the 6-8th rounds. Overall, Canelo was pretty impressive, albeit still lazy in the later rounds with wide punches and a lack of focus. Canelo demonstrated tighter combinations in his hands, and new wrinkles in his feinting, expanding his already extensive toolbox of weapons. He has not convinced me that he’s eliminating any of his weaknesses though, and I really hope he would start being honest with himself to realize that. As a BMB writer and boxing patron, it would be unfortunate for such a talent like Canelo to be wasted in not practicing humility and working on weaknesses.

As for Angulo, his courage was really questionable for me. His whole persona of toughness and doggedness evaporated in the first round, and his efforts were stifled and outmatched with one or two punches on a fading Canelo. I was really cheering him on, but this is probably the fate for many no-movement infighters like him (i.e. Rios, Margarito, etc.) For all future fighters hoping to go pro with this style, there is a ceiling, and it is called brain damage. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have that Mike Tyson/Jack Dempsey head and torso movement paired with vicious, compact combinations on the inside? I can only dream of this in the Mayweather/Outboxer era we’re in right now.

Virgil Hunting for Trainer of The Year


By Rudy Mondragon

Virgil Hunter began his career as a boxing trainer by coaching youth from probation centers. In order to grow as a trainer, Hunter sought the mentorship of trainers like Bobby Warren, Jimmie Simmons, Charlie Smith, and Tiger Floyd. He has associated himself with the likes of Barry Hunter, Leon Lawson, Tony Morrison, Kevin Cunningham, and Nazim Richardson. Virgil’s growth as a trainer first became evident to me based on the rise of his star fighter, Andre Ward. Virgil’s work with Ward have helped put his name on the map. As a result, Virgil has became the hunted trainer as three big names in boxing have solicited his services in the last 2 years.

This is all important when you think about being at the right place at the right time. However, in the case of Virgil Hunter, that cliche is too simple to describe a man who has worked hard to put himself in the right place at a crucial time in his career. The three boxers are Amir Khan, Alfredo Angulo, and Andre Berto. The first two hired Virgil in the fall of 2012 while the latter hired him in June of 2013. These three, along with Andre Ward are the key ingredients that can elevate Virgil Hunter to 2014 Trainer of the Year.

Let’s first look at Alfredo ‘El Perro’ Angulo. He is set to fight Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on March 8, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Many are saying that Angulo is a stepping stone, comeback fight for Alvarez. Angulo is being framed as the underdog, which creates major gains not only for Angulo, but also  Virgil. This will be Virgil and Angulo’s fourth fight together. They’ve had plenty of time to cultivate a trainer/boxer bond, which will positively impact their training camp. Training Angulo to a win over Canelo can provide Virgil with the first steps needed to be named 2014 Trainer of the Year. 

Now, let’s take a look at Amir Khan. Amir is currently the frontrunner to land a mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. All signs are pointing to a Cinco de Mayo weekend scenario. This would be the first time Mayweather fights a fast boxer since Zab Judah in 2006. Although Khan has a questionable chin, Virgil’s fight to not get hit philosophy may rub off on Khan and help elevate him to an upset win against Floyd. Farfetched? Sure. But the speed, quickness, and natural skill is there. Virgil might not have the blueprint, but if he has a  formula that works, then he’d be taking another step in the direction of 2014 Trainer of the Year.

Virgil’s next two fighters are yet to declare who they will fight next. Nonetheless, Andre Berto and Andre Ward will fight in 2014 and victories will place Virgil at the next level.

Let’s take a look at Andre Berto. Andre is coming off a 12th round TKO defeat at the hands of journeymen, Jesus Soto Karass. Berto tore the tendon in his right shoulder early that night and was forced to fight with one bad arm. Berto’s attempt at using the shoulder roll defense got him in trouble, but he eventually made adjustments to stay competitive in that fight. He was even able to knockdown Karass before ultimately being stopped in the final round. The adjustments made in this fight show the influence his new trainer had on him. 2014 will be the second time Virgil and Berto may work together. If they land a fight soon, it can be Berto’s comeback night and with the help of the media, Berto could be back in the running for top competition at the welterweight division. Wouldn’t be the biggest of wins, but it will make noise for Virgil as Berto’s reputation as a hungry fighter is still more relevant than say, Victor Ortiz. Training Berto to a win in 2014 will be another reason as to why Virgil Hunter could be named 2014 Trainer of the Year.

And finally, we have Andre Ward, the man who cleaned out the Super Middleweight division. He is BMB’s P4P number two best fighter and doesn’t appear to be slowing down. In November of 2013, he outboxed and humiliated Edwin Rodriguez after 14 months of inactivity due to shoulder surgery. Andre will score another win this year if he fights a Super Middleweight, guaranteed! If Gennady Golovkin is willing to move up eight pounds to fight Ward, then it would make for an exciting fight on paper that only favors Ward and Virgil. Another option for Ward is to move up to Light Heavyweight. I’m not saying Ward would challenge and beat Adonis Stevenson or Sergey Kovalev, but Jean Pascal is a beatable option. A win in his first trip to Light Heavyweight can add another highlight in the resume of the potential 2014 Trainer of the Year. 

The path is there for Virgil Hunter. With these four big names in his stable, Virgil’s name will continue to be in the media. With multiple wins this year, Virgil will be enroute to having a decorated 2014. As we step into February, BMB fans will have to wait and see if Virgil will have success this year. If he succeeds, mark my words, Virgil will be the 2014 Trainer of the Year.