Archive for December, 2016

The Best Laid Plans…& More

Monday, December 19th, 2016

By William Trillo

“Final 1” was supposed to be Bernard Hopkins Swan Song. Golden Boy Promotions put all the right pieces in place so B-Hop could ride off into the sunset like The Lone Ranger but no one was chanting “Hi Ho Silver…Away” when the fight came to a crashing end. At the post fight press conference Hopkins was already softening his stance on the claim he was shoved out of the ring. Apparently he watched the video of the KO while he was having his “injured” ankle wrapped and realized he was on the receiving end of a career ending three punch KO combination.

Speaking of the post fight press conference, I could be wrong but it looked to me like Joe Smith Jr. was more excited about that autographed glove he got from Bernard than he was about that belt he just won when he defeated Hopkins.

Alexander Povetkin is an embarrassment to the sport of boxing. He should be permanently banned.

I told anyone who would listen that Vyacheslav Shabranskyy had zero chance against Sullivan Barrera.

Oleksandr Usyk looked less than pedestrian on Saturday night. He has a very short shelf life.

So GGG and Danny Jacobs will meet next year. If Dmitry Pirog is a poor mans version of Golovkin, and he went through Jacobs like a hot knife through butter…how long will it take for GGG to dispatch Jacobs? I am proposing this fight will be shorter than the Jacobs vs Quillin match up. People….Sergio “Manos De Marshmallows” Mora put Jacobs down in their first fight!! My over/under on this one is the 1:30 mark of round one.

Juan Manuel Marquez makes a very good point with this question; “Canelo can fight Chavez Jr. at 165 but he refuses to fight Golovkin at 160?”

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Quick Hitters

Monday, December 12th, 2016

By William Trillo
Photos: Matchroom Boxing, German Villasenor & Top Rank

It was a big weekend of boxing that had both highs and lows. I could go on and on about the proceedings but instead I am going to just cut to the chase and give you my thoughts on it all.

Anthony Joshua made quick work of the shop worn Eric Molina in front of his home country crowd. With his athletic skill and power Joshua appears to be the man to bring life back to the heavyweight division. Let’s hope his April date with Wladimir Klitschko is not coming a bit too soon. I would hate to see him get derailed now. And…Am I the only one who found Wlad’s post fight appearance in the ring to be a staged performance that went off worse than one of Hayden’s B list movie roles?

Online Casino odds making Klitschko as underdog will come as a surprise to many boxing fans and observers alike, with Klitschko being the significantly more experienced of the two and only losing last November for the first time in more than a decade following an excellent boxing display from Britain’s Tyson Fury.

Hey….Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. not only made weight but apparently looked pretty good this weekend. Good…hopefully this is just the shot in the arm he needs to get the courage to step up and fight a real champion. At that point he will get crushed and be put out of everyone’s misery. Hey Jr….stop being so lazy you can’t take care of your own VISA issues and end up getting stuck in Mexico. Get off your spoiled ass and get a passport ….*huevón.

As defined by *huevón: in latin culture, a lazy man. a huevon is a person who is so lazy that his testicles drag on the ground.

No one likes an ingrate. That would be you Charlo (lite). Yes we know you and Williams were talking some serious smack before the fight. That is to be expected. But what also is expected is for combatants after a fight to show the proper respect due to the man he faced. Win or lose. The fans expect it too. Your pathetic performance dissing Williams who came over to congratulate you after being KO’d, followed by your disrespect to the fans is going to come back and bite you on the ass. You want to show up the fans in Los Angeles? Now you will pay. And you’re not even the good Charlo (Not that I think either one of them has a snowball’s chance in hell if Haymon were to let them fight outside the PBC bubble). Bad move.

Note to the Flathead boxing websites that posted results of the Joseph Parker vs. Andy Ruiz fight down under without so much as a spoiler alert for fans who wanted the HBO triple header later that evening without knowing results. You big apes are so concerned about being first for everything that you have put the concerns of your readers on the backburner and the flame is on low.

Last but not least let me say that there is simply no excuse for taking a fight for a world championship and then coming in 4 pounds overweight. I repeat, there is NO excuse. John Molina Jr. is one of the better guys in the sport but that does not give him a pass for what he pulled for his fight with Terrance Crawford. With Super Fights looming in his future Crawford needs to make the most out of every victory these days to put himself in place to grab those big dollar fights. Now this victory will always have the taint of Molina coming in overweight and not being a real test (and it wasn’t). Who knows how long someone else’s carelessness will delay Crawford’s first Super Fight. And I don’t want to hear that Molina gave money to Crawford out of his purse so the fight would go on. Whatever that amount was is “Chump Change” in comparison to what Crawford is looking to make on the big stage. And thanks for the apology, but on behalf of boxing fans it’s not accepted. This went from world title fight to meaningless and near unwatchable scrap in a matter of seconds, it’s unacceptable. I have watched fighters suffer to make weight over the years, some older and past their prime but I also watched them do what they had to in order to make weight. You signed the contract for a world title fight, now make the weight. I don’t care if your name is Jose Luis Castillo, Orlando Salido or John Molina Jr. You sign the contract, you make the weight. No excuses!

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Larry Merchant Interview: Part Two – “Nobody In America Knows Who Deontay Wilder Is”

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

By William Trillo

In Part Two of our interview Merchant picks up right where he left off by closing the book on Andre Ward, Sergey Kovalev and what could be in store in regard to a rematch. Merchant then discussed topics from speculating who will be boxing’s next Superstar to the Heavyweights and more.

Check out what boxing’s long time premier commentator had to say:

Will Anyone Have Interest In A Kovalev Vs. Ward Rematch?

I would say no given the nature of the fight but I would also say if they have a rematch clause you can be pretty sure that Kathy Duva will make every effort to make it happen. I don’t know if it rose to the level of being a controversy, but with the fact that so many people thought Kovalev won, maybe Duva can get a more international jury on the fight. I think she basically blew that one (Having the fight in Las Vegas). Kathy thought that since Kovalev fought more of his fights there, more than Ward…well I don’t know if it became part of the discussion or not but I believe Duva had a little more faith in the system than she does right now. Maybe the rematch will be in New York or maybe even back in Las Vegas. They had a pretty good house for that fight and there is no reason that they couldn’t go back there.

I believe some of this has to do with Ward’s contract with ROC Nation. I am not sure of the contract but it would be interesting to know whether he got a guarantee against earnings for X number of fights or whether he got a bonus. I believe Cotto had a guarantee of fifteen million dollars or more for two fights. So if they (ROC Nation) think he can fight a heavyweight, a David Haye for instance, not a Super Heavyweight but a Heavyweight, and think that would generate bucks then they probably would pay off Kovalev to stand by and wait for the next fight. Things like that can happen.

Who May Be Boxing’s Next Big Breakout Superstar?

The obvious parallel is and I don’t know if it’s going to be better, but the competition in the lower weight classes, around the welterweights, Terrance Crawford may have a better chance of arousing interest. Timothy Bradley was unable to. Bradley is a B-side and he made good money because he is a good fighter and fought everybody. But I don’t know. I am not sure about Crawford. Arum knows and Arum is patient. It took a long time before Mayweather was able to achieve that. Maybe there is a chance, if Crawford goes out there and fights and beats Pacquiao maybe that becomes a changing of the guard and he steps up. But we have to remember that when Pacquiao found that fan base and became an international star he had nine or ten fights against established Mexican stars in that weight class, and it was one drama after another. That (drama) has to be there.

It is what it is and historically somebody emerges. If boxing made a big comeback in Britain, which is why so many American fighters are looking to fight British fighters, because they crystallize an audience over there, then it’s not going to take all that much for something similar to happen here, you know somebody who pops out.

In terms of the media status in the USA Boxing is like Broadway, it needs its “Hamilton” to come along and revive the sport. A show like “Hamilton” comes along and transcends the world of theatre and entertainment and it becomes a big thing. So, it’s like having a heavyweight champion who transcends the world, and that is what boxing needs right now.

Boxing in Britain, where boxing originated as we know it, was comatose for decades. But suddenly along came Lennox Lewis and and Prince Naseem and Joe Calzaghe followed by Froch, Khan and Brook. Now you add their new heavyweights Fury and Joshua as well as well as Haye and suddenly your thinking, “Where did this happen, how did this go?”

Whether that’s possible in the USA I don’t know but it does run in cycles. One of the many times boxing was given a wake was before Muhammad Ali came on the scene. Then you had you a Leonard and De La Hoya and so on.

Does Boxing Have A Chance For Resurgence In 2017?

It’s a pretty low bar. If Canelo and Golovkin and Jacobs get into some kind of a Round Robin, where for example Jacobs fights Golovkin and then Golvkin fights Canelo then that would be exciting. And there could be something happening in the welterweight divisions with a couple of good fights there that are possible.

I am looking forward to Crawford doing some serious fights next year and for the welterweight division to come alive, it has so many good fighters in it. Crawford is a pleasant and interesting guy but the combination of opportunity and body language and performance that means the stars are aligned and you can somehow transcend a championship fighter into being a star fighter…well there are many champions but there are very few stars. Does Crawford have that? I don’t think it’s a natural for his personality, which is pleasant enough, that it could make him a star. But he has got to get a chance to go out and fight the top welterweights. Or fight a guy like Pacquiao and if he can perform well he will have a chance of becoming must see TV.

On The Heavyweight Picture

I thought we had something going with the heavyweights before Fury imploded. I like Anthony Joshua, he has star quality. With the way he looks in the ring, his statuesque appearance, he has that star quality. Whether or not he has the stuff to be a star as a fighter remains to be seen because he really hasn’t been pushed to the limit and tested.

But when you had a character like Fury and a rematch with Klitschko and you have Wilder coming up and Ortiz, there are some talented guys out there you figure somebody is going to emerge and capture our attention. But right now it seems scattered again and I do not know what the fight would be at the moment where everybody would agree and say, “OK, he is the heavyweight champion.” Maybe Joshua against Klitschko, but Klitschko is coming off a loss. I like Joshua but I want to see what happens when he gets hit and how he responds.

Wilder has a style that could work (against Joshua) but he is in his early thirties already and nobody knows who he is. Nobody in America knows who Wilder is.

But if Joshua were to fight Klitschko and win and then challenge Wilder, or vice versa, then that would become a major event and maybe good things would come out of it.

But what if we have a real heavyweight champion and nobody knows him?

On Going To Bernard Hopkins Last Fight

I doubt I will be going. I like Bernard, I think he is a cockeyed marvel as a dedicated fighter who has amazing self discipline…but his fights bore the crap out of me for the most part. Just the fact that he is old and in great shape is something to celebrate. But when the fight starts he is not looking to get hit. He once told me, “Larry you are never going to see me getting beat up!” Well Kovalev changed that a little, but I assume they have an opponent now who is more qualified keep him in the fight. I will probably watch it, I don’t think I am going to go see it, but I might change my mind.

Merchant may have not made up his mind on attending Hopkins last fight or not but it’s pretty obvious he has his mind made up on the current state of boxing. When you put all his thoughts together it seems clear Merchant is looking for a breakout star to enter and bring the game back to the forefront. Like Merchant we hope this star emerges sooner rather than later…boxing needs a good shot in the arm.

In closing we here at Pound4Pound would like to thank Mr. Merchant for giving us some his valuable time and insight.

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Larry Merchant Interview: Part One – “Andre Ward Is Like A Minor League Franchise”

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

By William Trillo

For fight fans the final weekends in November looked promising on paper. Yet when the highly anticipated fights played out the collective thud in their aftermath was deafening. Kovalev vs. Ward was a good not great fight and the PPV numbers were disastrous. The following week fight fans got little or no reprieve from the mediocrity as Lomachenko vs. Walters was a veritable dud with viewer numbers that were also surprisingly low.

Over the course of this past weekend, a slow one for boxing fans, I tried to make heads or tails of what is going on with the fight game. What is the nagging problem? Why can’t boxing keep from punching itself in the gut? I had some theories but needed more than my twisted view on things to put the pieces together.

With that I decided to reach out to long time boxing commentator Larry Merchant to get his views on the state of boxing as we close out another year. As always Merchant had some very candid thoughts on boxing and why it is sputtering to the finish line in 2016.

Here is what Merchant had to say on these topics:

On Boxings Free Fall

“Look, there is no doubt in general that America is not producing the number of serious fighters like we used to have,” stated Merchant, “But the fact that we are standing here on a corner waiting for them to pass by suggests that there is not enough of them passing by…and that’s a problem. The promoters are trying to find the best way to promote their fighters and advance them in one way or another.”

“Arguably this is a low period,” said Merchant, “Arum had a couple of fighters who looked like they had a chance to become box office attractions. That being Felix Verdejo, who would succeed Miguel Cotto like Cotto succeeded Tito Trinidad. But Verdejo is still quite young and has been hurt. Arum also has the Super-Middleweight Gilberto Ramirez who might have had a chance but is also young and slowed down by an injury. You also could say the similar things (injuries) about PBC’s Deontay Wilder.”


“I don’t know but it looks like that whole Haymon project seems to be imploding although they do have maybe two good fights scheduled for next year. But they are having a hard time creating a buzz about any of their fighters. And by that I mean a buzz that could lead to stardom.”

What Is The Problem With Boxing Today?

“There’s another problem it seems to me. I was one among the many who thought Kovalev won that fight over Ward,” Merchant then somewhat justified the outcome, “It was perfectly understandable as a classic hometown decision.”

Merchant went on to say, “When two American fighters get rewarded, and I am talking about Mayweather and Ward, for high level and maybe even virtuoso boxing skill which lowers the temperature of a fight, I think that the game has a problem and that is defining what it is. The fact that the referee (Robert Byrd) let Ward throw one punch and fall into a clinch, which is part of Wards tactics, or throwing one punch and step back, he is very good at it. Now, you give Ward high marks for coming back from the knockdown and steadying himself and so on.

“My take is, and what I try to tell people is this; Once upon a time there was always one guy out there who was a pure boxer. Maybe a guy like Sweet Pea, but it was OK because a week or two before or a week or two later you were going to get a fight where something exciting was going to happen. So the spectrum was covered and it was OK. Back in the day when I was in Philadelphia I liked Harold Johnson who was a pure mechanic, but really good and really strong, and there were enough good exciting fights at the same time to have him in the mix. Right now there are not those kinds of fighters. ”

How Are These Problems Fixed?

“Whether it’s the promoters or the commissioners or both they need to get together and decide that the fighter who fights in a way that he is willing to take some risks and is willing to try to make the fight happen needs to get the benefit of the doubt more than the hometown guy. It’s up to the commissions to modify the rules of engagement. Sometimes the scoring is accurately reflected in the results but in the biggest fights of the year it’s not. It’s very disappointing.” But given boxings scattered organizations which is to say there is no organization, which means every man for himself inside and outside of the ring, I do not know how you impose that.”

“When in the biggest fight and the biggest matches the boxer gets the benefit of the doubt, if that’s the way it is, then in every gym in America trainers are saying, “you see what that boxer did, that’s how you do it”, then you end up getting more of the same until some serious fighters come along.”

On The Low PPV Numbers

“The numbers is a whole other thing,” stated Merchant, “The fact that two fighters took a minimum of seven million dollars out of the night isn’t bad. The fact that it did relatively low in PPV numbers isn’t good. Now, one of the things we know from experience is that no European fighter has ever been the major attraction. He has never been the A-side consistently. Pacquiao and a few fighters from South of the Border have done that by finding a fan base and generating a tribal interest. But you can go back and look, whether it’s the Klitschko’s or many others who have come here to fight, sometimes they have had big gates but they do not sustain them. That’s just a fact of life. When Golovkin fought on PPV it was maybe more money than they could have gotten from the networks but it was also a PPV disaster. But if they got the kind of money they would have gotten out of the networks, then they tried and they saw and now they got to move on.”

On Andre Ward As A PPV Star

“Andre Ward is like a minor league franchise in Oakland. I was pleasantly surprised that fans showed up to Vegas for his fight from San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland. They gave him an edge because it was a big event and a much anticipated fight amongst the fight establishment and those who followed Ward in the bay area. But, we know he has never been a big attraction.”

Merchant had plenty more to say in this interview. From Terrance Crawford to Bernard Hopkins and still more about the Kovalev vs. Ward fiasco Merchant let it all hang out in this candid interview. Stay tuned to for Part Two of our Larry Merchant Interview.

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