And The Winner GBP! Post Canelo vs. Lara

By Rudy Mondragon

In a close fight on Saturday July 12, 2014, Erislandy Lara took on the young Saul Canelo Alvarez. In a fight where many boxing heads knew Canelo had the political power and the backing of a power house promotion company,  the edge would no doubt favor the Mexican fighter.

When the scores were read and the winner was announced, Jimmy Lennon Jr. misread the script.  It wasn’t Canelo who won the fight, it was Golden Boy Promotions (GBP) who in reality won on this night. Continuing to milk their cash cow, GBP rely on Canelo to bring them big bucks, especially in light of recent struggles after having lost their effective CEO, Richard Schaffer.

Do not get me wrong, there were things that Canelo did well on this night. He was aggressive, he did not allow Lara to counter effectively as he is used to, and his stamina and energy looked better than usual. Canelo however, was also ineffective in his aggression as many of his power shots missed wildly and the power shots connected lacked accuracy or were blocked by Lara. His most effective punch was the uppercut that drew a cut in Lara.

When asked about the fight, Canelo stated that Lara was running and that he should have ran a marathon. In the background, you see Oscar De La Hoya smiling and laughing. Ask Oscar however, if he felt like he was ‘running’ the night he was robbed against Tito Trinidad.

Lara on the other hand controlled the ring (ring generalship), drew Canelo into a chasing match, dictated the tempo, connect cleaner punches, and executed better defense. Had Lara  been busier, Dave Moretti probably would have also given Lara the decision. At this point disregard Levi Martinez (117-111 for Canelo) as either Golden Boy Promotions were in his pockets, he didn’t pay attention to the fight, he had made up his mind before the fight started, or all of the above.

Respect for Canelo. No doubt about. He is 23 years old, already has multiple PPV events, and he comports himself very professionally. Shame on Golden Boy Promotions for putting him in their with the wolves early in his career and selling a false narrative that Canelo in the present is elite. He is not. For starters, this fighter is not even listed in the top ten P4P lists. He is a good fighter who still has a long way to go.

What is the point of putting Canelo in there against a wise, skillful, and athletic elite boxer in Floyd Mayweather back in 2013. The answer is simple: MONEY. Did Canelo learn much from that fight. Not so much, at least it didn’t show on July 12. What is the point of putting Canelo in there with a good boxer in Lara? This question depends on the actions that Canelo and his team make from this point on. From this fight, to me two things are clear: 1) Canelo is a one dimensional fighter who needs to get rid of the bad habit of swinging for the fences and 2) something that the BMB team has discussed for years now, Canelo needs to drop his training staff and move on with a new team.

My suggestion, hire Robert Garcia! Robert is a training who adapts to his individual fighters and can meet his fighters where they are. He is a trainer who lets you know of your bad habits and can help you heal from them. Look at the work he has done with Mikey Garcia and Marcos Maidana. Robert know’s he can’t change a fighter, but he can provide additional tools for them. At Canelo’s young age, working with Robert presents more learning opportunities than dead ends his current team offers.

Since money and false stories are created in boxing by power house promotional companies, it is important to raise these question: Has Canelo peaked? We need to look at this question and be honest. Has Canelo learned all he can from the sport or does he have intellectual room to grow? Can he add to his boxing repertoire or is this all Canelo brings to the ring?

When asked if he was outgrowing the 154lbs limit, Canelo said he intended to stay put. Smart move by a man who knows that the 160lbs is a danger zone that he intends to stay away from. Evidence like this and the fact that Saturday’s fight was at a catch-weight of 155lbs informs me that Canelo is struggling to make 154lbs and that he wants to stay in this weight class for as long as he can because he knows very well that every time he steps into the ring, he will be the bigger and stronger man.

In the end, Lara deserves a rematch that he will never get. He will continue to look for a big pay day that might come his way, but not any time soon. Canelo will go on to most likely face Cotto. With two fighters who each consider themselves the A Side, it will be interesting to see how the negotiation process goes down. Will it be in New York? Las Vegas? Will there be a catch-weight? Who will be announced first? Will they honor the fact that Miguel Cotto is the current WBC Middleweight champion? Time will tell.

*NOTE: For those who want to rewatch the fight, make sure you watch it in mute, so that all the cheers for all the Canelo misses do not influence your take on the July 12th 2014 winner.

Schaefer leaves GBP: Where should a boxer sign now?

New schaefer post

In light of recent events, the new-old-guard of the modern boxing world has suddenly shifted its weight, causing a stir in the boxing community, speculating on potential downstream events such as whether fights that fans have been calling for can actually be made. In summary, Richard Schaefer, the acting CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, is effectively retired from this position in Golden Boy, but is still contractually bound to Golden Boy and still holds shares with the company.

As a partner to Oscar De La Hoya since 2000, Schaefer was instrumental in building his promoting company to the behemoth it is today. He has architected a boxing landscape that is built to reward the business-minded boxer in an era where, understandably, boxers of great ability were taken advantage of, abused, and discarded as a shell of their former selves. Schaefer and the Golden Boy were out to make a difference, and were aptly rewarded with generations of fighters that wanted to be recognized and wanted to make money. Arguably, Al Haymon and Mayweather stepped so much further into that philosophy and maximized the profit to risk ratio with a generation of fighters all seemingly defensive and powerful in style, with matchups won before even stepping into the scales. What was once a honorable venture in changing boxing turned into a beast cranking out fighters that look the part, and crank out even more money. Here’s my formula for the PPV Cash Cow Fighter:

  1. Oozing with confidence
  2. Has a nice smile/face that hasn’t been pounded with punches
  3. Obsessively conditioned body
  4. Clinch first/fight back later
  5. Likes to shake head to opponent, feigns “That didn’t hurt.”
  6. Probably not a bad dancer
  7. Growing posse with a fat guy and small guys
  8. Probably is a LeBron fan
  9. Hedging to be a movie/rap star on the side
  10. Makes a fashion statement outside of the ring
  11. Fiance ringside with a massive ring
  12. Likes to be in pictures with the Watson Twins

Of course, in regular BMB fashion, let’s be critical optimists of this situation. I believe greatly that this shift in the landscape is a monumental chance for fighters to take ownership of their futures in the sport. I’m not saying that they have to be different fighters, but they have a chance to directly tap into the fans rather than try to appease the big wigs in the promotional thrones. They don’t have that much weight anymore, the fans with their money do. Too long has boxing taken advantage of the media and skewed the so called value of a fighter with superficial quantities like PPV buys. Is PPV buys correlated with the international professional record of a fighter? Is PPV buys correlated with the hours put in the gym or miles pounding pavement? In the same vein that students can’t be judged with their SAT or GRE scores alone, boxers too should access all their talents and dimensions to their game (personality, values, work ethic, humor, community) along with the new wave of media channels  – Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Facebook – to market themselves and control their destiny.

Here’s to a bright future for boxing.

Canelo vs. Lara: Good for Boxing

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By Rudy Mondragon
Twitter: @bloodmoneyboxin
Instagram: bloodmoneyboxing

Finally! The match many have been asking for. Erislandy Lara has been demanding this fight, most recently stepping up to the podium post Canelo/Angulo fight asking Canelo to rumble with him in the ring. The fight between Saul Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 KOs) and Erislandy Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs) is scheduled for July 12th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight will be a Showtime Pay-Per-View event, which will be worth it.

It is worth noting that Lara was scheduled to fight former IBF Champion Ishe Smith on the 2nd of May, but that fight has been officially scratched. Thank goodness, as that match up was nothing more than a filler-fight for a Friday night.

This fight, however, is huge for boxing. Lara has the style that can give Canelo trouble. He is the better boxer and will have more power than recent Canelo opponents. Think of Mayweather, how technically sound and smart as he is. Lara won’t bring that same level of technique and IQ, but he has both nonetheless and more so than Canelo. He also has experience at the Jr Middleweight division and will have that type of strength.

This is the kind of match-up that boxing needs. Canelo will have the opportunity to shut many critics up. He is the cash cow for Golden Boy Promotions, and being the cash cow comes with many privileges. Can Saul live up to the hype he currently carries? Lara will be on a mission to take his throne and establish himself as the Jr Middleweight to beat. Can he do it and back up his talk?

Rock, Paper, or Scissors? Boxing is all about styles. Canelo walked all over Angulo recently, yet he had a close fight with Austin Trout. Lara won a war in which he was dropped twice against Angulo, yet dominated Trout. When these two meet, we won’t know who is the Rock, Paper, or Scissor. What we know is that Canelo will look to establish his size and power. Lara will box and establish ring generalship to control the pace and attempt to outpoint Saul. This is what boxing is all about.

I don’t want to give too much credit to Golden Boy Promotions, but I do tip my hat to them for this one. It is a good match up. Top Rank should take down some notes out of the Golden Boy Promo’s book and quit the child’s play in saying we should boycott Mayweather/Maidana.

Andre Berto in Need of Yoga!

ImageBy Rudy Mondragon

July 27, 2013 was supposed to be the day Andre Berto (28-3, 22 KOs) would rebuild his career. It was supposed to be a night where Berto would enter the ring against a reliable gatekeeper in Jesus Soto Karass (28-8, 18 KOs). Things were lined up to work for the 29 year old. Nothing better in boxing when a guy like Karass can disrupt the agenda of promotional giants (I’m looking at you specifically Golden Boy).

Berto entered the fight looking strong in the physical sense. He came into the fight fit as can be. He did however appear to look really stiff at times and looked like he needed to incorporate some type of cross-fit or yoga into his workout routine. The man did not look comfortable in the ring and started round one again not being himself. He incorporated the shoulder roll and head shake that Floyd Mayweather Jr has made famous. This hurt Berto as Karass hurt him both in the first and third round of the fight. Karass was utilizing his length and catching Berto with looping, effective rights.

There were times in the fight where Berto’s new trainer, Virgil Hunter, appeared to be frustrated with his fighter. It sounded as if Berto was not manifesting the guidance presented by Virgil.

As the fight went on last night, one thing does need to be made clear. Although Berto did not have great footwork, movement, defense, technique, or game plan last night, the man did display a level of heart unheard of. Berto hurt his right shoulder early in the fight and almost finished the entire fight with only one good arm. He fought through it and displayed a great deal of resiliency.

Round 11 showed great back and forth action. Berto caught Karass with a body shot and it dropped Karass. After the fight Karass stated that it was a low blow and that is what dropped it. He also said he was never hurt by Berto. Nevertheless, Berto scored the knockdown, but in my eyes, failed to win round 11.

Round 12 was in my opinion the Knockout King round. Soto Karass caught Berto with a short and sharp counter left. Berto leaned into it and did not see it coming and it put him on the canvas. He beat the count, but Jon Schorle saw Berto as unfit to continue.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kuiT_0TTxZU#at=29 

It was a great night for Karass as his career is back on a path towards one or two money fights. It was good to see a guy like Karass rise up when many put him in this position to simply serve as a stepping stone for another boxer. Berto looked defeated at the end of the fight as he was in tears and sought comfort in the arms of Virgil Hunter. At this point, Berto not only needs yoga to get some of the stiffness out of him, but also to heal his mind, body and spirit. Is it too late for Berto to make it in the game? One thing is for sure, he needs to find his own style and identity in the ring and out.

Two loses in a row for Berto now. Both fights (prior fight against Robert Guerrero) were supposed to elevate Berto. It did not happen as planned and that is the beauty of boxing. Not sure where Berto goes from here. Soto has some options. There is non-vicious Victor Ortiz who needs a fight, that would be an action packed match. There is also Robert Guerrero. These three fighters all have a win against Berto in common, so that would make either one of these fights interesting.

Lastly, for Golden Boy Promotions, shame on you for awarding Keith Thurman with the Knockout King II award. Maybe it’s time to drop the whole Knockout King award if you are never going to get it right.