Archive for the ‘Boxing’ Category

ROC Bottom

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

By William Trillo

As defined by “Rock Bottom”: A state of being wherein you feel as if you cannot sink any lower emotionally, psychologically, or physically.

As I walked into The Event Center at The Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on Saturday night to cover the ROC NATION promoted Ward vs. Kovalev rematch the only palpable buzz surrounding the event came from the busloads of EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival) attendees who were busy doing whatever it is they do at their event.

Outside of that there was not enough electricity coming from the event to charge a cell phone. That should have come as no surprise to me or anyone else as the weigh-in for the fight just the day before produced maybe a handful of interested fans.

Considering this was a highly anticipated rematch between two legitimate Top 10 Pound4Pound contenders it seemed odd a fight like this could fly so far under the radar. Only a few months earlier the fight promoted by Main Events produced a whole heck of a lot more interest.

ROC NATION took the reigns as lead promoter for this event Saturday night and for all intents and purposes it looked like they were driving this one right off a cliff.

Maybe things would get better once I got inside the arena.

They didn’t.

As I walked into the media room the first person I saw was our ace reporter Daniel Cloutier sitting at a table watching the fights on the media room TV. Cloutier informed me that his seat in the arena was all the way up at the top of the Event Center, visibility was negligible at best. This is how ROC NATION treated one of boxing’s best and longtime reporters. Cloutier flew in on Sunday from Montreal to cover the event and was one of the few whom covered all the events during fight week. His thanks from ROC NATION was the nose bleed seats. To add insult to injury was the fact that ROC NATION handed out premium media passes in mass quantities to their posse and their women, none of whom had any intention of reporting.

Apparently, their main reason for being there was to cheer for their fighter from media row, (highly frowned upon), and jeer and laugh at anyone who they deemed enemies. It was deplorable but it looked like ROC NATION not only approved but were joining in on the less than professional outbursts. Hear me loud and clear, whether you are a media member or not, cheering for your guy from media row is as bad as it gets. The media area was a circus. I am surprised any legitimate and working media member was able to get anything accomplished at all.

And hey, thanks for that awesome spread for dinner. Who did you have cater this affair? The Las Vegas County Jail Commissary? I am still trying to decide if those were burger patties or hockey pucks.

As to the show itself, when the PPV broadcast started the chirping of crickets and a smattering of fans was all those who were watching the broadcast could hear and see. The announced attendance was 10,592 but I am told by a reliable source that officially ticket sales barely broke the 1,000 mark. The remaining 9,000 who showed up moments before the main event were there courtesy of ROC NATION papering the house. I can’t wait to see the amount of PPV buys this dog generated.

The post fight press conference was abysmal. Jeers and laughter directed at Main Events came from those credentialed posse members who had no business being in attendance. And let me ask you this. When Kovalev’s manager Egis Klimis took the microphone why was it okay to mock his Eastern European accent out loud and poke fun at him? Had the shoe been on the other foot would it have been okay to run with some uneducated ghetto smack? I think not. I am sure anyone who attempted that would have been drug out of the room by his heels. Reverse racism is just as bad as claiming racism where it doesn’t exist at all, maybe worse. That is not opinion…that’s fact!

What is also fact is that this was as poorly orchestrated a promotion from top to bottom that has blown through Sin City in years.

There, I had to get that off my chest.

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Ward vs. Kovalev II: Borderline

Monday, June 19th, 2017

By William Trillo
Photo: David Spagnolo – Main Events

If there is one thing we know about Light Heavyweight Champion Andre Ward is that he knows how to win no matter what it takes. He has been called a dirty fighter by many at times. After his TKO victory over Sergey Kovalev many will say his tactics were right on the borderline. In fact that is how the low punches delivered by Ward on Kovalev’s belt line have been described, right on the borderline. Whether or not you think those punches were legal or not it’s clear those blows took Kovalev out of his game.

Numerous times thundering blows landed on Kovalev’s belt line and with each and every shot you could see Kovalev’s power and strength dwindling. No one including Kovalev will argue that fact.

The crushing right hand Ward landed in round eight was the beginning of the end and Ward jumped on Kovalev with body shots that forced Kovalev to take a seat on the ropes. Ref Tony Weeks had seen enough and waved the fight off at that point. It also can be argued Weeks stopped the fight too early, but that is merely hindsight now.

I think the telling moment was in the previous round when Kovalev turned his back on Ward looking to escape the onslaught.

Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva believes it’s those borderline shots that weakened her fighter and she plans on protesting the stoppage. The NSAC has already stated that all the blows were legal and it appears her protest will fall on deaf ears.

For Andre it looks like he is literally looking for bigger things ahead as he mentioned a jump to cruiserweight while his trainer Virgil Hunter suggested Ward could beat Heavyweight Champ Anthony Joshua. That could be a bit of a stretch.

It’s hard to tell where Kovalev will go from here.

Ward/Kovalev 2 will be argued for weeks to come but the fact remains Ward did what he had to in order to win.

“Borderline, Feels like I’m going to lose my mind” Madonna

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Boxing Troops Rally Around Injured Franco

Monday, June 12th, 2017

By William Trillo

Featherweight Daniel “Twitch” Franco suffered a severe brain injury in his match on Saturday night in Sioux City and had immediate emergency surgery to stop two brain bleeds. Along with his Father Al, Franco remains in the Iowa hospital under the watchful eye of medical specialists.

In the aftermath of the tragic event I have seen the boxing community step up like never before to rally around the fallen fighter. As I write this article the gofundme page set up on his behalf has generated over $20,000 worth of donations. The money will help with the costs of so many things we never think about until a time like this, hospital bills, hotel accommodations for his family to stay close by his side, travel expenses and the aftercare that Franco will need when he is released from the hospital.

I have had a chance to communicate with Franco’s father Al over the past days. Being there with his son but not being able to do anything to help is admittedly the toughest thing he has ever been through. Franco is very thankful for the outpouring of love and prayers that are coming their way.

I am asking everyone to keep those prayers coming as “Twitch” was taken back into surgery as he is bleeding in the brain again. Let’s all gather together and pray that the buildup in pressure will go down and the bleeding stops with this surgery.

It seems like just yesterday when we attended and videotaped a show in Pomona CA that the young Franco was fighting in his second professional fight. You could see even in his early career that Franco loved his sport and with his father close by his side in his corner they had a good career ahead of them.

That was early in 2011.

It’s mid-2017 now and Franco faces the toughest fight of his life and just like in all his other bouts, his Father Al is there in his corner right by his side. In times like these it’s difficult to express in mere words how to address these kinds of situations. I can tell you that the Franco’s are a well-respected and loved family in the boxing community here in California. They will have all our support during this chapter of their lives.

Please see the link below for Daniel’s gofundme page.

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The Lowest Common Denominator

Monday, June 5th, 2017

By William Trillo

As soon as Adonis Stevenson clubbed Andrzej Fonfara on the top of the head and virtually incapacitated the Polish fighter my immediate thought was to wonder if this is another in a growing line of fighters who have went to Virgil Hunter for help only to find themselves getting steamrolled into oblivion. It’s hard not to consider the facts when it comes to Amir Khan, Alfredo Angulo and now Fonfara. No one will argue their respective careers went south when they went to the training camp up north, (Northern California that is).

Hunter’s claim to fame has always been his association with Andre Ward and he has gravy trained that into some other high profile fighters corners. That is an indisputable fact. Now… there are plenty who say any trainer could have trained the naturally gifted Ward into Super Stardom but I will not go that far simply because I think the bond Hunter has with Ward is something special but…I am not convinced Hunter can take fighters like Angulo and Fonfara and turn them into anything noteworthy. Let the record speak for itself.

Just thinking out loud…Can someone explain to me why Fonfara would go into a rematch with Stevenson and go toe to toe with him from the opening bell? Seems to me the smart thing to do would be to stay outside, use your jab some, move a lot, clinch and grab after throwing punches…you know…kind of what Andre Ward does throughout the fight, in every fight. It’s as boring as hell and awful to watch but hey…Ward has taken that routine to the top. And by the way, it’s a hell of a lot safer than putting yourself in Superman’s wheelhouse and allowing him to bounce thunder off the top of your head.

In Hunters defense, I will say he made the right call in stopping the fight. Fonfara was finished before round one was over. Sending him out in round two at least gave the fighter a chance to redeem himself. But alas, it was clear in seconds his night was over. There was no need for it to continue.

I will be curious to see if there will be any fighters in the near future who will be so anxious to head to Oakland in search of Hunter’s tutelage. My guess is Virgil’s run as Flavor Of The Month is going to come to a grinding halt sooner rather than later.

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P.S. And if Hunter is all that then why did Team Ward reach out to Sergey Kovalev’s trainer John David Jackson to ask him if he would jump camps and help Ward in the rematch? Unless of course you just did it to try to muck up the chemistry in Camp Kovalev. Why else would you leak false rumors about Jackson reaching out to your side first?

Brook Gets DiSPENCEd

Monday, May 29th, 2017

By William Trillo
Photo: Amanda Westcott – SHOWTIME

It was apparent the game plan for former welterweight champion Kell Brook was contingent on Errol Spence either fading from fatigue in the latter rounds or to be overcome with the enormity of the moment and collapsing under the pressure.

Not only did Spence throw a Monkey Wrench into those ill-conceived plans but he took the champions belt and snatched the hearts of Brooks hometown Sheffield, Yorkshire crowd along the way.

With his victory Errol Spence Jr. exemplified everything a polished number one contender from the United States stands for. He went to the Champion’s backyard and without the pomp and circumstance that a good number of his like promoted peers perceive they deserve, Spence proved inside and outside the ring he is more than worthy to be called a champion today.

In a fight that looked to be clearly going the way of the champion Brook in the early stages Spence remained focused and calm. Not once did the raucous crowd nor the talented Champion deter him. Spence stayed the course and by the 7th round his diligence began to pay dividends and Brook faded fast down the stretch.

No discredit to Brook who apparently was working with another broken orbital bone in the final rounds. Down in round 10 Brook rose to his feet and fought through the pain to make this one of the most memorable rounds of the year.

But in the next round the pain was too much. With double vision and memories of the GGG injury fresh on his mind he had no choice but to take a knee. The night was over and so was his title reign.

I do not want to hear one word about the courage of Brook. He did everything he could but Spence proved he is the superior fighter.

Now that Spence has that 147 strap we can look for him to target Keith Thurman. Thurman has made more than his share of derogatory comments about Spence. Now it’s time for that to get sorted out.

Personally, I am concerned about Brook. In his last two fights he has suffered the same injury to both sides of his face. Now there are rumors of him moving up to 154 pounds and the bigger punchers. Quite frankly I think Brook could hold his own and most likely defeat many of the top fighters in that division. But if the orbital bone injuries plague him you must ask yourself if it’s worth the risk.

Boxing fans were once again treated to a very entertaining fight that lived up to the hype.

At the midway point of 2017 it’s safe to say boxing is having a very good year.

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The Mail Pouch: McGarry Weighs In

Saturday, May 27th, 2017

By William Trillo

As has become customary, our faithful reader David McGarry has thoughts on the big fights from across the pond. I must admit McGarry has a firm handle on the event from Sheffield. Check out what he has to say:

Dear Mr. Trillo,

Later today there are two world title fights taking place in Sheffield, England. Super middleweight George Groves has his fourth attempt at winning a world title when he takes on Fedor Chudinov and IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook defends his title against mandatory challenger Errol Spence.

For Groves, this is almost certainly his last shot at the big time, and he could not have asked for a more suitable opponent. Chudinov is an aggressive fighter with limited skills, inactive since February 2016, who lost a controversial decision to Felix Sturm in his previous bout. The London-born Groves should find it fairly straight forward to counter Chudinov’s advances with straight right power punches.

The main obstacle to an easy night for Groves is a possible reaction to his previous fight last November. He beat Eduard Gutknecht by a wide points margin, but his opponent collapsed and went into a coma a few hours later and has still not recovered. Boxers who win fights like that often never fully recover from the trauma, so it remains to be seen how Groves will cope.

My prediction: Groves wins a points decision by a wide margin, but fails to finish off a completely outclassed opponent.

The main event features, arguably, the best two welterweights in the world. For the champion, the main issues are how will he react to his first ever loss, how will he adjust to going from middleweight to welterweight again and how will his broken eye socket hold up against a hard puncher.

We do know Brook took the weight off slowly, and was only a few pounds over the limit three weeks ago. He looks in great shape. Will he have the same stamina and punching power as before?

For the challenger, we have yet to see how he performs against a world class opponent and how he handles fighting thousands of miles from home in front of a hostile crowd.

My prediction: while this is a genuine 50-50 contest in terms of trying to pick a winner, I don’t expect a close fought bout. After an initial feeling out period, one of these boxers is going to dominate the other completely en route to a stoppage around the fourth or fifth round. Could the body attack of Spence halt a weight-drained champion in his tracks? Or will Brook take advantage of his opponent’s lack of head movement to deliver some crushing right hand blows? My gut feeling is that because Brook chose his opponent and the venue and trained for 20 weeks to prepare for this fight at the stadium of the football team he supports, he will seize his chances.

The pick of the undercard fights could be a brief outing for big cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie. He will be making a name for himself in the heavyweight division before too long.

Thanks again to David for his on point contribution.

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GGG, Canelo & One Armed Bandits: “Bombs Away”

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

By William Trillo

I was feeling adventurous today and thought it was about time to send out some feelers to attempt to get the inside track on the destination of the now signed middleweight super fight between Gennady Golovkin & Saul Alvarez. You might know them better as GGG & Canelo.

What I found out was that the respective promoters, that being Golden Boy and K2, have an agreement that nothing will be revealed until a decision on the site is finalized.

Indeed, I was probably as likely to pull hard cash out of these free-to-play slot games I’ve been playing than find that information anytime soon.

It just wasn’t happening.

But if you are looking for my two cents to drop into your penny slot machine I will tell you where I think the fight should take place.

If you are paying attention you should know exactly where I think the fight should go down.

That’s right Rocket Scientists…. Las Vegas, the boxing capital of the world!

My reasoning is simple and has nothing to do with site fees, PPV revenue and/or arena seating capacity.

If my memory serves me correctly it was inside the ring at The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas that Canelo has twice now ungraciously verbally slapped GGG across the face.

You might remember in 2016 after defeating Amir Khan Canelo ran his now infamous, “mamadas” smack. It went something like, “We are Mexican’s, we don’t F**k around.”

You also may recall Canelo threw his 160 pound belt in the garbage days later which essentially put the kibosh on the title unifier at the time.

Fast forward one year and we find Canelo and GGG standing in the same ring to announce the Super Fight was signed sealed and delivered. When Max Kellerman asked the fighters if they had anything to say to each other Golovkin wished Canelo good luck. The retort from Canelo lacked one ounce of humility or dignity. Canelo responded, “Luck is for mediocre people!”

My hope is that Golovkin and Canelo will be standing in that same Las Vegas ring in September. It will be the perfect place for GGG to have his own answers for the mamadas and mediocre bombs dropped on him by Canelo over the last year.

My educated guess is Golovkin will have some bombs to drop of his own.

Bomb’s Away!

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Tuscaloosan To English Translator

Monday, May 15th, 2017

By William Trillo

Did you see the report that quotes WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder’s manager saying they want to unify the division by fighting WBO Champ Joseph Parker next?

Allow me to cut to the chase.

As soon as Wilder saw WBA and IBF Champ Anthony Joshua TKO former unified Champion Wladimir Klitschko in the best 11 rounds of boxing seen in the heavyweight division in quite some time..well…Deontay made a B-line for the land down under. He literally went to the furthest corner of the world to duck Joshua.

There is nothing more that needs to be said. The challenge speaks for itself.

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Chavez Jr. Escapes Under GGG vs. Canelo “Bombs Away” Announcement

Monday, May 8th, 2017

By William Trillo

The best thing that happened to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Saturday night was the announcement that Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin is officially signed and set for September 16th. If not for that, Chavez Jr. would have been sliced up like a Carne Asada at a Mexican Delicatessen.

When the lone highlight of your weekend is the fact that you finally made the contracted weight after years of failed attempts you can go ahead and assume you suck, as does your entire career.

Max Kellerman hit the nail on the head on the HBO PPV when he suggested that this performance by Chavez Jr. proved he had perpetrated fraud on the boxing public during his entire career.

As far as Canelo vs. GGG, I must admit I did not see this one coming so quickly. Kudos to both Golden Boy and K2 Promotions for nailing this one down. It’s certainly something fight fans deserve.

The thinking was that Golden Boy would wait until GGG was a little longer in the tooth before they allowed Canelo to get in the ring with him but this move shows Golden Boy believes their Golden Egg laying goose is ready for the challenge at hand.

Coming off a fight where he did not stop his opponent Danny Jacobs but instead was stretched to the 12 round limit there are some who think Golovkin peaked and now is starting on the dowside of his career. I for one am not one of those skeptics. Jacobs is a big and talented fighter who got himself ready to take Golovkin to the limit. And yes it’s true he gave it a good shot, but no one can say they believe he beat GGG.

For Canelo, you can’t take away what he did and how he looked on Saturday night just because Chavez Jr. was afraid to exchange. Alvarez was sharp, accurate and strong and we can expect he will be just as ready in September. In fact he will be more than ready.

The biggest question now is where is this fight going to take place?

I’m told the T-Mobile in Las Vegas is already on hold but that doesn’t mean places like Texas and New York or even London are out of the running. This fight is going to be huge and I am sure Golden Boy is ready to listen to all bidders.

It’s Bombs Away for GGG and Canelo in September.

Hopefully it’s Bums Away for Chavez Jr. ….permanently.

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The Return Of Fortune Telling Elvis

Saturday, May 6th, 2017

By William Trillo

It’s been a while since I got to visit my old haunt on my drive to Las Vegas but with the big show ahead I knew it was time to pay a visit to my old friend Elvis to get his thoughts on the upcoming battle.

For the cost of just two bits Elvis simply stated, ” It’s best to keep your mouth shut than end up looking like a fool. Always let your actions do your talking for you.”

Fair enough.

We know there has been a lot of talk prior to the big Mexican showdown, I for one have to stand corrected. I stated numerous times that there would be no way Chavez Jr. would make the weight and would be fined 1 million dollars per pound for every pound he came in overweight. Where was Elvis when I needed him?

Chavez Jr. let his actions do the talking at the weigh-in as he came in a half pound under the contracted weight. So much for my theory.

The question now is whether or not Chavez drained himself too much to make a decent showing or if it’s all part of an elaborate plan. If he comes in tonight close to 180 pounds and has regained his strength it could be a long night for the Red Head.

Only time will tell.

But if Junior depleted himself far beyond his limits we should see Canelo dispatch his countrymen in the mid rounds of this anticipated attraction.

I look for a good fight while it lasts and I now can say beyond a shadow of a doubt…anything can happen.

I realize that’s a far cry from a solid prediction but you will have to decide for yourself which Mexican will gain bragging rights tonight.

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