It seems that heavyweight boxing is no longer what it used to be, certainly not in the eyes of the public which nowadays tends to have its collective eyes focused on lighter weights. However there are still some superb heavyweights out there, including the current heavyweight champion of the world Wladimir Klitschko. Despite his power as a boxer, he is not superstar material as the like of Rocky Marciano, Joe Louis, and of course Muhammad Ali. And Ali did it better than anyone with his amazing personality. In terms of presence and charisma, the only boxer since Ali to come close to his level was Mike Tyson though Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield also had that special something.
But who is going to be the next charismatic heavyweight? Wladimir Klitschko along with his brother Vitali are craftsmen rather than the kind of boxers who instil a sense of awe and even fear in their opponents, and they are both getting fairly near to retirement; and the younger heavyweight contenders such as David Haye, Tomasz Adamek and Alexander Povetkin all lack that superstar status. But there is little doubt that the pendulum will swing again. Every vacuum eventually gets filled and one day, hopefully before too long, we will again see the likes of Ali and Rocky wooing the crowds in some Las Vegas casino.
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At my day job, there's an abbreviation that all of my employees know: NFG. It stands for "No F---s Given," and we use it when people show up at our business who obviously don't care. Usually this means they've dressed like slobs or idiots, but it really can refer to anything. Occasionally it's meant as a sign of admiration. Most of the time, though, we use it in a derogatory fashion.
Adrien Broner joined the NFG Crew in a big way on Saturday. He obviously didn't care about making weight for his 130-pound title defense against Vicente Escobedo, showing up 3 1/2 pounds heavy at the weigh-in, then even heavier the next morning. After a frenzied series of negotiations, the fight went on anyway, and Broner pummeled Escobedo, because he's really good. Humorously, BoxRec (a site I really respect, and I understand is just playing by its own established rules) still has Broner listed as the No. 1 super featherweight in the world.
There wasn't humorous about the way Broner handled the outrage over his indifference about making weight, which was to treat the whole thing as something of a joke. Besides knocking people out, that's pretty much what he does. In retrospect, this was probably the least surprising case of a boxer missing weight since... maybe ever, because:
a) Broner had already made it known that he was moving up in weight after facing Escobedo.
b) Though I stopped following The Problem on Twitter a whole ago because he was drifting across the line from funny to insufferable a little too often for my tastes, numerous folks had pointed out that while he was in camp, he kept posting pictures of and odes of love to crappy food.
There's really no answer to Broner's attitude about flat out refusing to make weight. He forfeited his belt, which didn't make a difference because he would have given it up anyway when he left the division. A larger portion of the purse went to Escobedo, but that didn't matter much either. Why? Because Broner looks like the goods, arguably the most dynamic young American boxer at any weight, and there's more dough down the road for him.
Speaking of money, that was the motivation for Escobedo to (eventually) agree to the fight. It was telling that his camp was divided about whether or not the fight should go on. In the end, he really had little choice - as Kevin Iole explains perfectly here - because unlike Broner, Escobedo doesn't have big paydays looming in the future. He needed the extra money he was getting, even if it was a painful way to earn it.
Lest this turn into solely an anti-Broner rant, it should be pointed out that he's not the first boxer to appear not to give a crap about appearing at his contracted weight this year. Brandon Rios, who was in a very similar set of circumstances now that I think about it, did the same before his meeting with Richard Abril. Venerable Mexican warrior Erik Morales came in heavy for his March bout with Danny Garcia, then ended up getting beaten up anyway.
So we're talking about a systemic problem here, one inherent to the way boxing is organized (using that term loosely), and one with no easy solution. Don't expect HBO or Showtime to do anything to solve it. Their bread is buttered with money, and they make that, or at least lose less of it, thanks to guys with star power. Broner has that, professionalism be damned.
The only way I could see behavior like this ending is if boxing had a centralized ruling body and a single authority figure with the kind of power that Dana White has in the UFC. You know, the same kind of thing writers and fans have been calling for as long as I've been a boxing fan. And there's probably less chance of that happening than there is of Broner not getting his hair brushed or otherwise clowning around when the cameras are on him.
NFG, baby. NFG.
The first fight of tonight's televised card is finished. Broner and Escobedo should be making their way to the ring shortly.
Here they come. Escobedo is on his way first. He's coming to the ring to "In The Air Tonight," by Phil Colins.
Here comes Broner being accompanied by rapper Waka Flocka Fame.
Escobedo is 26-3 with 15 KOs. Broner is undefeated.
Here we go.
They square up in the center. Escobedo starts his jab early. He lands a nice one. Not much coming from Broner yet. Broner launches offense now and it's a jab and a straight right. Both were lightning fast. Broner throws a jab to the body. Goes back upstairs. Escobedo can't get block the Broner offense. His punches are coming fast and at all angles.
Parker: 10-9 Broner no comments
The broadcast of Amir Kahn vs. Danny Garcia is about to get underway at 11:00 PM EST. The main event is the only fight on tonight's televised card. The two fighters should be making their way to the ring momentarily.
Here they come. Garcia heads to the ring first.
Garcia is in. Here comes Khan.
Time for the intros. Garcia is 23-0-0 with 14 KOs. Khan is 26-2-0 with 18 KOs.
Here we go.
They square up in the center. Khan strikes first and quickly with a big right hook. There's another one. His speed and reflexes look better than Garcia's already. Garcia counters with a right hand. Garcia throws a strong right hand, but Khan blocks it. They hand speed of both fighters is very impressive. Khan lands a great jab. There's another left from Khan. Swelling is going to start soon on Garcia's face. He's getting hit a lot. Khan eats a straight right hand. Garcia lands a low blow, which looked accidental. Khan takes a moment and goes back to work. Garcia lands a right hook before the bell.
Parker: 10-9 Khan no comments
One fight down, one to go on HBO's Boxing After Dark. Bob Papa, Max Kellerman and Roy Jones Jr. are on hand at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California getting ready for a 122-pound showdown between the Filipino Flash, Nonito Donaire, and Jeffrey Mathebula.
The tale of the tape shows that Mathebula has more than four inches of height on Donaire but not as much of an edge in reach. The South African is 33, while Nonito is 29. Both men rehydrated to around the same weight on HBO's unofficial scale.
Kellerman calls Mathebula the tallest guy he's ever seen in this division as he makes his ring walk. His pro record stands at 26-3-2 with 14 KOs.
Donaire comes out second, sporting a 28-1 record with 18 stoppages. His last two victories have come by decision following a long streak of KO wins.
Lupe Contreras handles the official fighter introductions. Pat Russell is the referee in charge of the action. The formalities are out of the way, and we're properly prepared for a scheduled 12 rounds of action for the WBO and IBF 122-pound titles.
Donaire swings for the fences with his first punch. Mathebula tries to get his range, but he flails wildly while doing so. Donaire hooks to the body with a left. Mathebula throws four or five straight jabs, and Donaire just mises with a left. Mathebula stumbles more and may have been caght by something. Donaire lands some more shots upstairs, but he also gets caught by a couple of counter shots. They exchange awkwardly as the round closes out.
Tylwalk: 10-9 Donaire
Both guys seem a little more cautious, but Donaire ends it with a right hand. Mathebula gets grabbed by the head for a second. Donaire shrugs off a combo to land a right. Mathebula has to be wary of some nasty hooks, and a nice exchange breaks out. Mathebula goes back to his jab. Donaire is really looking to load up some hooks. Mathebula lets his hands go in combination.
Tylwalk: 10-9 Donaire
Harold Lederman gave that round to Mathebula. It was close. Donaire is trying to stay outside of Mathebula's reach, which isn't easy. The crowd is ooh-ing every time Nonito lands. They almost start trading along the ropes, but Mathebula manuevers his way out. Tons of dancing as Donaire tries to work his way in. Mathebula has been busier, probably enough to take this round. Not a pretty one by any means.
Tylwalk: 10-9 Mathebula
Now it's a pose-off as both men play to the crowd. Donaire is leaping in to land his stuff, not that he has tons of choice. Mathebula fires off a flurry of shots upstairs. He tries hooks with both hands as the crowd tries to psyche up Donaire. Right hand by Nonito as he comes forward. He measures a right and left, then backs Mathebula into the corner. Mathebula misses about seven straight before taking one back. With five seconds left, Donaire lands a left hand right on the chin, and Mathebula is down for the first tiem in his career. He beats the count, but he looks mighty dazed.
Tylwalk: 10-8 Donaire
Mathebula tries to show he's unhurt by firing his quick, light punches. But can he last in the face of Donaire's crazy power shots? He narrowly misses some bombs, but Mathebula lands a solid right. Donaire goes to the body, then to the head in the corner. Anothe left hand stuns Mathebula for a moment. Donaire clowns for a second and almost lands after the bell.
Tylwalk: 10-9 Donaire
Donaire sticks in a right hand. They jockey for position, and Mathebula lands some combination shots. Donaire walks through two jabs, looking for home runs with his left. Jab and a right hand by Nonito. Mathebula looks off balance as he goes back. Both men land right hands pretty flush. Nice left hand by Mathebula as he mimics his opponetnt's style, but Donaire is back on the offensive in the closing seconds.
Tylwalk: 10-9 Donaire
Lederman favored Mathebula in the previous round. This one starts quietly. Donaire hops around and jabs. He tries pecking with the jab to set up a right. he goes to the body, then snaps a left to the face. Mathebula isn't throwing much but jabs at the moment. He reaches from range but is too far away. Left-right from Donaire are partially blocked. Donaire lands lefts to the head and body.
Tylwalk: 10-9 Donaire
CompuBox had Round 7 as Mathebula's least active round so far. Both guys jab, with Mathebula landing more. Donaire doubles his, and he forces Mathebula into an extedned turtle position. Donaire turns counter-puncher briefly. They trade for a moment along the ropes before Mathebula backs away again. The crowd boos as things fall back into a lull. Tough round to score as neither guy did major damage.
Tylwalk: 10-9 Mathebula
Mathebula's corner tells him to jab and drop the right. Not sure that would be the best way to go about this, but I'm not a trainer. Donaire is showing some redness, and Mathebula tries to step up his activity level. He swings wildly to keep Donaire off of him. Nonito hunts for single shots while dodging the volume coming back. Donaire hops in for left hooks. Two rights and a left hand come in for Donaire in the closing seconds.
Tylwalk: 10-9 Donaire
Donaire steps it up a bit, with Mathebula punching while he backs up. They battle in the middle with Mathebula staying busier, and they get tangled up for a second. Donaire slips more punches but gets hit with a right. Again not much of big consequence, but Mathebula worked more consistently.
Tylwalk: 10-9 Mathebula
Was that last round 30 second short? HBO thinks it was. Donaire weathers more early jabs and lands right hand off the jab. Garcia asked for more of that. Nonito goes to the body, then lands a right to the head. Jabs set up a strong right hand that knocks Mathebula back. It looks like Mathebula may be hurt, because he hasn't thrown much for the last 30 seconds. He's in pure survival mode. CompuBox says Mathebula has landed zero power shots in this frame.
Tylwalk: 10-9 Donaire
Stiff left from Donaire, though Mathebula is back to at least punching again. Right-left combo chases Mathebula back for the umpteenth time. Jeffrey lands a right hand, then opens up with both gloves. Donaire just misses two shots along the ropes. Two lefts sneak through for Mathebula. Donaire snaps his foe's head back with a left hand. Nonito scores a couple more punches along the ropes and chases Mathebula until the final bell.
Tylwalk: 10-9 Donaire
Tylwalk: 117-110 Donaire
The judges score it 117-110, 118-109 and 119-108, all to the winner by unanimous decision... and now the WBO and IBF super bantamweight titleholder... "The Filipino Flash" Nonito Donaire.
Boxing After Dark is live on HBO tonight from the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. It's a Top Rank show in store for us, headlined by the Filipino Flash, Nonito Donaire. The co-feature is interesting in its own right, as it pits the comebacking Kelly Pavlik against Will Rosinsky. Bob Papa, Max Kellerman and Roy Jones Jr. are the announce team on hand.
Papa takes us through some of Pavlik's roller coaster ride of a career, beginning with his victory over Jermain Taylor and running through his in-ring losses and his personal demons. We also see Kellerman's pre-taped interview with The Ghost, where he answers questions about some of the poor decisions he's made over the past four years or so. He owns up to some of the choices he made, admitting that the things he was doing got out of hand. Pavlik says his family was the driving force in getting him into rehab, though he did not fight it.
Kelly also discusses what it's like training in the Robert Garcia camp. He says it's taken him out of his comfort zone, in a good way.
Lupe Contreras is in the ring to introduce both fighters. Wayne Hedgepath is the referee for tonight. Rosinky enters this fight with a 16-1 pro record with nine KOs, while Pavlik is 39-2 with 34 KOs. And we're all set for a scheduled 10 rounds of super middleweight action.
Pavlik has a definite height advantage and looks naturally bigger too. Rosinsky isn't looking scared, closing in to attack the body. Roy wants to see Pavlik jab. Rosinsky tries hooks with both hands and a right hand over the top. Pavlik settles in with a one-two off the jab. Rosinsky is landing some rights; his hand speed is better than you may have expected. Rosinsky lands a solid right during a flurry. He moves around in both directions. Pavlik just misses with a straight right, then follows with a two-punch combo that does land. Lead right for Rosinsky, then both men throw hooks.
Tylwalk: 10-9 Rosinsky
It's freaking hot out there today. But the action in the ring tonight on HBO could be even hotter. Bazinga!
Okay, maybe not. There are, however, a couple of good reasons to tune in to Boxing After Dark tonight at 10 pm Eastern time. The first is to see if Kelly Pavlik can keep advancing down the comeback trail by defeating Will Rosinsky.
The other is to watch the Filipino Flash, Nonito Donaire, who was approaching must-watch status, then slid back a step, and now is vowing to get back up there again. Follow all that? He'll face off with Jeffrey Mathebula in the main event.
Yes, there is some other fights going on tonight too. So if you are occupied with those or perhaps submerged in a pool somewhere trying to beat the heat, you can follow along with us. I'll be liveblogging the Pavlik-Rosinsky fight for sure, and hopefully the Donaire-Mathebula bout too if the first fight ends in a decently short time (hint, hint, Kelly!).
All you have to do is visit our home page from your internet-enabled device, find our round-by-round posts and refresh at your convenience for the latest. Or to put it another way - and even though we're so late to the party with this - take heed of the following ditty:
(Set to the tune of You Know What...)
Hey, you just read this
And this is crazy
But here's our website
So go there, maybe?
Barry Tompkins and Steve Farhood are in the house at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California for tonight's ShoBox main event. It's a rematch between Cornelius "K9" Bundrage and the man he beat two summers ago, former world champion Cory Spinks.
Spinks comes to the ring first as the challenger for the IBF junior middleweight belt that once belonged to him. He is 39-6 with 11 KOs, and he has said himself that this may be his last hurrah. Spinks has two wins under his belt since his loss to Bundrage.
Speaking of K9, he makes his ring walk sporting a 31-4 pro record. Like Spinks, he has not fought often over the past few years. He's been inactive since June 25 of last year, when he defeated Sechew Powell.
Jake Gutierrez makes the formal introductions of both fighters. We're all set for 12 scheduled round of boxing for the IBF junior middleweight title.
Bundrage looks dry as he begins this one. Spinks comes out with the higher work rate, popping some right hands. Bundrage lands two of his own rights and a stiff jab. K9 swings for the fences and just misses a big right. Those punches slowed down Spinks a bit. Bundrage mugs Spinks with close range shots whilethey grapple. Spinks lifts Bundrage off the mat in a clinch, which draws a reaction from the fans. K9 looks like he is getting away with holding and hitting. A mean right hand lands for Bundrage, and Spinks goes down on his butt. Cory beats the count, but that looks like it knocked him for a loop. They wrestle a bit and both end up on the mat.
Tylwalk: 10-8 Bundrage
As we get set for the second fight of tonight's ShoBox tripleheader, Steve Farhood interviews Josesito Lopez about his thrilling upset of Victor Ortiz. Hard not to like this kid. But the man about to be showcased is Gary Russell Jr. , putting his undefeated record on the line against Christopher Perez.
This one will be a 10-rounder in the featherweight division. Perez comes out first, and his pro record is a good one: 23-2 with 14 KOs. He has fought exclusively in his native Mexico until tonight.
Russell heads to the ring looking to add to his 19-0 professional mark. He's been carefully managed by his father early in his career, and it's tough to say if this is really a step up for him or not.
Jake Gutierrez introduces both men to the fans on hand, and we're all set to go.
Russell hunts for a way inside against the slightly taller Perez. The Mexican tries to get his hands going. No one throwing much as they study each other. Russell tries to load up a left, and Perez tries to counter. Russell lands a quick counter left, then a bigger one as a counter to Perez's left hook. A thumping left hook score for Russell. Gary lands two short lefts on the inside as he continues chasing Perez from corner to corner. Perez times a left hand as Russell leaps in.
Tylwalk: 10-9 Russell
Combination punches land for Russell as they scramble around. Both men look like they would be more comfortable counter-punching. Russell flashes his hand speed again amidst a brief exchange. Perez looks like he has been off-balance a few times. Russell slugs it out in another exchange and lands a combo that puts Perez on the canvas. Perez beats the count but still looks a bit wobbly. Perez absorbs a number of punches along the ropes as he tries to shake out the cobwebs.
Tylwalk: 10-8 Russell
Russell lands a counter left, and every time Perez punches, he looks like he's in trouble. A left hand knocks Perez straight back and down for the second time. Perez beats this count too, but he's quickly put back down. Will the ref let this continue? Yes, for now. Perez has two minutes to survive. Russell hunts patiently, knowing he has things fully in hand. A right hand puts Perez down for the fourth time, and I believe that will be it.
The winner by KO at 1:41 of Round 3, "Mister" Gary Russell Jr.
A special Saturday night edition of ShoBox is on the air, bringing us three fights. Up first is Cuban southpaw Erislandy Lara, who will attempt to follow up his first-round KO of Ronald Hearns as he takes on Freddy Hernandez.
Barry Tompkins and Steve Farhood are the announce team for this evening. They kick things off by discussing all the talent that has accumulated in the 154-pound division.
Hernandez enters the ring first, sporting a 30-2 pro record with 20 KOs. He beat Luis Collazo in his most recent appearance but was blasted out in two minutes by Andre Berto the time before that.
Lara is 16-1-1 with his lone defeat coming via majority decision to Paul Williams. Farhood mentions that because his fight against Hearns was so short, he has fought only one round in the past year.
Jake Gutierrez formally introduces both fighters, getting us set for a scheduled 10 rounds of junior middleweight (or super welterweight, if you prefer) action.
Lara takes the center of the ring and forces Hernandez to circle around him. Lara lands the first telling punches with a quick combo and a straight left. Hernandez tries to set up some right hands. Lara punches under his foe's guard with his left. Freddy has to be wary and keep his hands high. Now he gets busy trying to keep Lara back. Lara ducks and weaves while Hernandez throws multiple hooks. Hernandez comes forward with multiple shots that are mostly blocked. Lara is just a tad off on some of his home run shots.
Tylwalk: 10-9 Lara
There's no doubt that Lara is not getting cheated on either head or body punches. Hernandez walks him down a bit, trying to back him into the ropes. Lara punches right through Freddy's guard. He's trying to mix in an uppercut at times too. Lara ties his man up after dodging a few power shots. Right hook upstairs and a left to the body by Lara. Hernandez covers up again, but right hands sneak through to the head and torso. Hernandez whips out a four-punch combination of his own. Both men miss in the closing seconds.
Tylwalk: 10-9 Lara