Box out for Mexican Independence

By Rudy Mondragón

According to multiple sources (Bleacher Report and ESPN), Juan Manual Marquez (55-6-1) is set to face Timothy Bradley Jr (30-0) on September 14th, 2013. Bob Arum, President of Top Rank, said that although the fight is set for September, he would move the match to October (5 or 12) if Floyd Mayweather Jr. winds up fighting on the same date. This is a good move given last year’s poor planning where both Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank had major fights scheduled during Mexican Independence weekend (TR: Sergio Martinez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. & GBP: Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez vs. Josesito Lopez).

What Top Rank is doing is calling first dibs on the hottest weekend in boxing. Top Rank is also being real about the power that Floyd Mayweather Jr. has in the sport. As of now, Top Rank owns the September 14th date, unless Mayweather Jr. decides to fight that weekend. I hate to look beyond scheduled fights, but another reality is that there are plans to create a Sergio Martinez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. rematch. The plan is for Martinez to fight this weekend (4/27) and win, setting up a potential fall rematch with Chavez Jr. If Mayweather Jr. beats Robert Guerrero, does it mean that Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (off his recent win agains Austin Trout) lands a fight with Mayweather Jr. in September?

Nothing is for certain with the match ups discussed above, but they are certainly possible. What does this mean for boxing in the year 2013? One hell of a fall season of boxing! As boxing enthusiasts, all we can do is sit back (well, not really, who sits back while watching all the fighters listed above) and enjoy the match ups that are set up for the spring, summer and fall. We will most likely see Marquez and Bradley square off in the ring in October as long as Mayweather Jr. gets the W on May 4th and decides to fight again in September. Given that Money May is not getting any younger and has 30 months to fight six fights under his contract with Showtime, chances are we will see two Mayweather Jr. appearances in 2013.

Alamodome Showdown

ImageBy Rudy Mondragón

On the night of April 20th, 2013, two undefeated fighters will face off in San Antonio, Texas to unify the WBC light middleweight and WBA super world light middleweight titles. Saul “Canelo Alvarez (41-0-1, 30 KOs) and Austin “No Doubt” Trout (26-0, 14 KOs) are fighters who have made names for themselves, yet are still looking for a big win that will inform the public of their boxing ability as well as their pay-per view credibility.

With a recent notable win against Miguel Cotto of Caguas, Puerto Rico (12 round decision), Austin Trout earned his opportunity to fight Saul Alvarez. Saul has had a different path towards this fight. Golden Boy Promotions has attempted to set up marquee matches (i.e. versus Victor Ortiz and James Kirkland) that would have been competitive for the young Alvarez. However, those plans failed as Victor Ortiz had his jaw broken by Josesito Lopez and Kirkland’s team requested more money to fight Canelo. As those plans went out the window, Saul instead fought lesser opponents in Alfonso Gomez, a past his prime Shane Mosely, and an outgunned and underweight Josesito Lopez.

What does this all mean? Let’s take a look at the five keys to victory for both fighters:

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez

  • Utilize his strength and power to break down Trout (over 70% of his fights have ended in a KO)
  • Unleash multiple violent attacks to Trout’s body in order to set up a late stoppage
  • Be mentally and physically prepared to fight 12 rounds
  • Make Trout fight his fight by being aggressive early and setting the pace
  • Cut the ring and not let Trout move too much (especially to his right)

Austin “No Doubt” Trout

  • Exploit his southpaw stance to frustrate and force Canelo to adjust
  • Box Box Box: By utilizing his speed and technical boxing, Trout can work his way to a 12 round decision
  • Counter Canelo with 1-2-3 punch combinations
  • It is in his best interest to not stand toe to toe with Canelo, quick combos and then move out the way!
  • Having fought multiple times in Texas, Trout knows he needs to establish himself early in the fight in order to silence and frustrate the pro-Canelo audience.

Prediction

As many boxing fans know, styles make fights. For this bout, Trout’s style as a speedy technical boxer will make it difficult for Canelo. Throw in the fact that Trout is a southpaw will also pose a challenge for Canelo and will require him to adjustment. This is not the first time Trout enters his rivals backyard. Remember, that his how he beat Canelo’s brother for the vacant WBA world light middleweight title. Canelo will need to attack the body, save his energy for the championship rounds, and take risks for the late stoppage. Being in Texas brings back history of controversial decisions and referee stoppages (i.e. Kirkland vs. Molina and Malignaggi vs. Diaz). Trout will need to win by stoppage or convincingly dominate majority of the fight to win a decision in San Antonio.

Trout will box well early on and utilize his movement to win the first few rounds. Canelo will make sure Trout feels his power and will do a good job attacking Trout’s body and transitioning to devastating head shots. I see this fight going the distance where Trout’s experience as being the underdog will help him execute a smart and technical fight earning him the split decision victory.

What are your thoughts?

Bradley’s Brawl

By: Mateo Banegas

Saturday night gave boxing fans an early gift, an incredible fight that could be considered a candidate for fight-of-the-year as well as round(s)-of-the-year. Coming off of a 10-month absence from the ring since his win against Manny Pacquiao, Tim “Desert Storm” Bradley (29-0) defended his WBO welterweight title against a fairly new face to many, boxer Ruslan “The Siberian Rocky” Provodnikov (22-1). Bradley aimed to get back on his feet, following months of criticism and banter about his Pacquiao fight, and show the world why he deserves to be world champion. Fortunately, that’s exactly what happened in Bradley’s first defense of his WBO belt, an action-packed slugfest, against a strong, aggressive Provodnikov – a name boxing fans will not soon forget.

Bradley came out fast and busy, telling Max Kellerman that he wanted to establish control of the fight early, although this approach catered to Provodnikov, known for his steady pressure and brawling style. So began the brawl, with the fighters trading strong, hard-hitting punches, tit-for-tat, in the middle of the ring for the first two rounds. Bradley kept getting caught with good looping rights from Provodnikov, though he would find a way to answer back. Bradley got rocked in the 2nd round and found himself taking a knee that was called a slip by the referee, but which some felt should have been called a knockdown for Provodnikov. By the end of the 2nd, it was unimaginable how the fighters remained standing from the amount of blows each took.

Bradley then began boxing, slowing the fight and implementing a plan that allowed him to jab, land body shots and set up good punches. Provodnikov was unable to box with Bradley, as he kept looking for power punches and trying to shift the match back to a brawl.  Yet, Bradley stayed busy, making Provodnikov focus on his defense, and showing his ring experience.

The punch-for-punch action returned at the end of 6th round, with Provodnikov moving forward, hurt or not. Bradley returned to move around in round 7, swinging the fight back in his favor. Provodnikov’s right eye started to swell from Bradley’s steady work. In the 9th, Bradley opened a good cut over Provodnikov’s right eye, as he continued to land calculating punches. At moments, Provodnikov would gain steam and move forward steadily, though Bradley would squash the front with calculated body blows.

Provoknidov had one last stand, connecting with a brutal left that wobbled Bradley and continued with punches that would lead to a knockdown. Yet, Bradley lasted until the end of the round and got up for a standing eight-count to end the fight.

Bradley won by unanimous decision, with the judges calling it:

judge: Raul Caiz Sr 115-112 | judge: Marty Denkin 114-113 | judge: Jerry Cantu 114-113

Overall, Bradley showed he had a tremendous chin, could withstand strong fronts, and endure fights with his boxing kills, proving to all why he deserves to be the champion.

Earlier in the night, young Jessie Vargas (21-0) met up with Wale “Lucky Boy” Omotoso (23-0), in a welterweight bout of two unbeaten prospects that would foreshadow many aspects of the main event.

Fans were greeted with a very active first few round, as both fighters let the gloves fly. Trained by Freddie Roach, the fight seemed to favor Lucky Boy, a known hard hitter who came in having KO’d 19 of his 23 opponents. Omotoso who was clearly the stronger individual, kept catching Vargas with strong right hand punches that would land over Vargas’ jab. As they began to engage, it was apparent that Lucky Boy was winning.

Trying to prevent Omotoso from taking over the fight, Vargas seemed to recalibrate his jab and make it effective, keeping Lucky boy at a safe distance. For the rest of the fight, Vargas was able to establish a rhythm and set up combos to land points and keep Omotoso at bay, taking away that dangerous right hand.

Vargas’ jab proved to cause a lot of problems for Omotoso, neutralizing his fronts, and securing the WBC Continental Americas Welterweight belt. With Vargas’ name being thrown around for potential fights against Pacquiao and Marquez, we may see this young fighter in the spotlight sooner than later.

Final Scorecard all in favor of Vargas:

  judge: Gwen Adair 97-92 | judge: Jonathan Davis 96-93 | judge: Fritz Werner 96-93

I’m the Best, I must Confess, All the Rest, There’s no Contest

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By Rudy Mondragón

Lock and load boxing fans, Floyd Mayweather (43-0) is set to take on Robert Guerrero (31-1-1) on the 4th of May in Las Vegas, Nevada. This fight will mark a full year since Mayweather’s last fight where he unanimously defeated Miguel Cotto (37-4) for the WBA Super World light middleweight title. A month later, Floyd served a two month jail term for a domestic abuse conviction. Guerrero, a bit busier than Floyd, has fought twice in the last year. Most recent is his impressive underdog win against Andre Berto. Guerrero, being the stylist boxer that he is, did well to beat a good fighter in Berto. We are yet to see what The Ghost can do however, as he has not faced an elite fighter. May 4th, 2013 will be his opportunity to prove to the boxing world whether or not he should be considered elite or merely a good, hard working fighter.

With any good match up comes the entertainment aspect. Boxer versus boxer, face to face at press conferences, Twitter wars, YouTube videos, etc. Yes, this fight has a lot of it and more is yet to come. Mayweather recently worked the corner of one of his fighter’s and following the match, Guerrero was quick to tweet a message about how he will permanently make Floyd a full-time trainer. What is interesting about the hype of this fight however, is that Money May has not done much trash talking, but seems to be more focused on his promotions company. Maybe it’s still early and Money May is yet to engage in a mental chess match with his opponent via trash talking, we will see. It is the fathers of the two fighters who have taken the lead to trash talk and challenge each other to a street fight. Ruben Guerrero, father of The Ghost, is undefeated in the streets, 30-0 to be exact, and has proclaimed that he will “kick his [Mayweather Sr] f***ing ass, him and his son (Boxingscene).” Mental warfare, nothing new in the boxing game.

This match up has the potential for an exciting fight. Floyd Mayweather is a professor of boxing, he can pick his opponents apart, counter punch them with his straight right, execute expert defensive skills, and can finish off his rival if he see’s an opening. Guerrero is a stylist, he fights his opponents with a style that he thinks will make it difficult for his challenger. He will come forward, clinch to frustrate his opponent and use his head as a third glove in an effort to make it a dog fight. Guerrero has done it before and I am sure he will try it against Floyd. Only difference here is that he is facing Money May, who has the ability to adapt, not get hit, and counter attack the south paw to the point where he can break him down. The truth is that a fighter like Guerrero will need more than just god in his corner and hard work to get a win against Floyd. Guerrero has a huge heart and a strong sense of faith, but lacks the skill and boxing IQ to engage in a chess match against an elite boxing tactician.

Prediction for the fight will come soon, stay tuned folks. For now, I will leave you with a short poem by Floyd Mayweather Sr., which applies to Money May against The Ghost: Floyd is the best, I must confess, all the rest, there’s no contest. 

Rios vs. Alvarado II

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By Rudy Mondragón

Brandon Rios (31-0-1) is scheduled to face Mike Alvarado (33-1) March 30, 2013 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. These two fighters fought an action packed fight that was awarded round of the year (round 5) on the night of October 13, 2012. Alvarado tried to box Rios and was successful at times. However, Rios pressed the action and overwhelmed Alvarado, forcing the fight into a brawl.

This rematch is necessary for what it means to these two fighters and fight fans. Why? It’s simple really. Rios stopped Alvarado in the 7th round. Rios had Alvarado hurt really bad and the referee stopped the fight while Alvarado was still on his feet. Alvarado was hurt and many people (including Alvarado) still feel that he would have recovered and continued the fight. Alvarado wants another shot at it to prove to people that he could have continued and in his opinion, won the fight. Rios wants this fight to confirm his win back in October was straight up. Lastly, the style of these two fighters excite fight fans. Rios and Alvarado will engage each other in savage exchanges, will test each others chins and will challenge each other to see who the toughest fighter at 140lbs is.

Great fight for 2013, the Robert Garcia camp is off to a great start and I believe will continue to shine. If Rios maintains a disciplined diet and is not drained at the weigh in, then I see nothing but success for Team Rios.

Mikey Garcia: Good things to Come

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By Rudy Mondragón

Big news and events take place everyday. January 19, 2013 was no exception. Gennady Golovkin (25-0) won his fight and revealed to the world that he is a beatable fighter. Rocky Martinez (26-1-2) retained his WBO Super Featherweight title with a draw against Juan C Burgos (30-1-1). Most will agree that Burgos did his job in the ring and should have walked away with that belt. However, unacceptable judging determined that it was not Burgos, but Martinez who would remain champion. January 19 was also the day that Kelly Pavlik, who at age 30, announced his retirement from the sport of boxing.

The biggest news in the context of boxing and its future was the beautiful performance that Mikey Garcia (31-0) put on tonight against Orlando Salido (39-12-2). Garcia came out with big shots in the first round that helped him knock Salido down twice. He was also able to put Salido down again in the 3rd and 4th round of the fight. It was complete domination from Garcia who utilized his longer reach, counter punching ability, effective jab, and most importantly his composure to control and dictate the fight. As a boxing fan, it was just fun to watch a young prospect rise up in his first real challenge. Not only did Garcia deliver in the ring, but he also let the boxing world know that he is the real deal. The fight ended after the 8th round due to an accidental headbutt that broke Mikey Garcia’s nose. Scorecards were in Garcia’s favor, but it would have been nice to see the young man go the distance or KO his opponent.

Mikey made a statement tonight. Steve Kim (Twitter @stevemaxboxing) tweeted after the fight that Mikey Garcia “is a lot like Juan Manuel Marquez in his timing, counter-punching and precision.” I most definitely agree and would add that this young fighter also has the power and composure to be a big threat in the 126, 130 and 135 lbs weight classes. Mikey Garcia has what it takes to be relevant and stay relevant in the boxing game for a long time.

Garcia is in a good situation. The boxing world is talking about him, he has great people around him (trainer and brother Robert Garcia), boxing skills, patients, composure, and an incredibly high boxing IQ. As long as Mikey continues to work and improve his craft, stay healthy (mind, body and spirit), and stay humble, boxing fans can only expect good things to come.

Garcia vs. Salido: A Show that People will talk about for Ages

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By Rudy Mondragón

Dope fight, great way to start the 2013 boxing year! Orlando Salido (39-11-2) versus Mikey Garcia (30-0) is going down this weekend, live from the Garden in NYC. Boxing is in need of a good start to the year and I believe Salido and Garcia will give the people what they want. Since his last defeat to Yuriokis Gamboa in the fall of 2010, Orlando Salido has had 5 fights. All 5 fights since then have been won via KOs (4 TKOs and 1 KO). Most notably are his two wins against Juan Manual Lopez, both of which took place in Puerto Rico. He is a strong puncher, resilient and will fight you till the end. The kind of fighter that Mexican boxing fans fall in love with. He is a fan favorite in that regard.

Mikey Garcia comes from the Robert Garcia camp. Not only is Robert his trainer, but he is also his older brother. Close relationships facilitate the boxer/trainer relationship (at least that is how it appears in this case). Garcia is a young, hungry, well trained fighter who is ready to make a statement. He is fun to watch because he can mix it up and adapt. He also has the ability to smell blood and capitalize on his prey. 26 of his 30 wins have come by way of KO. A win here can elevate his career. The boxing world will definitely start talking about him as a top featherweight.

Salido’s experience is worth discussing. He mixed it up with Juan Manuel Marquez and lost a 12 round decision in 2004. He also defeated Robert the Ghost Guerrero, but was later ruled a no contest due to a positive drug test. Add two wins against Juan Manuel Lopez and you have a fighter who has learned from past fights and is carrying serious momentum and energy into the ring. Garcia has trainer of the year in his corner and the heart of a young lion ready to take the WBO Featherweight title from his opponent.

One can make a prediction based on multiple factors. In the case of these two, fight fans can surely count on one thing: This will be a war between two fighters who understand their fans. No need to trash talk each other, just this:  “I just told him that we should go out there and put on a good show — a show that people will talk about for ages,” Garcia said of his brief words with his opponent. “He agreed” (Via ESPN)