Have You Filled Out Your Bracket?

Brook

FROM SHOWTIME BOXING ANALYST STEVE FARHOOD

This Saturday, welterweight titlist Kell Brook will make his first defense when he squares off with Jo Jo Dan in Sheffield, England. The bout will be aired on SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL prior to that evening’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast featuring Jhonny Gonzalez-Gary Russell Jr. and Jermell Charlo-Vanes Martirosyan.

The latter two bouts will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Brook is coming off his impressive win over Shawn Porter, and in December, Dan edged Canadian Kevin Bizier in a rematch.

So where do Brook and Dan rate among the world’s best welters? I’m happily suffering from March Madness, so I thought it would be fun to create a 147-pound tournament without Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.

Here are the brackets and results.

SWEET SIXTEEN

Timothy Bradley vs. Paulie Malignaggi: Distance fight. Fresher Bradley, the aggressor, pulls away late.

Keith Thurman vs. Devon Alexander: Thurman takes it with his big right hand.

Amir Khan-Andre Berto: Khan off the floor to win on points.

Juan Manuel Marquez-Lamont Peterson: Upset! Peterson proves stronger in battle of small welters.

Marcos Maidana-Jo Jo Dan: Fight is even on points when Maidana’s kayo power surfaces.

Kell Brook-Diego Chaves: It’s always close with Chaves. Brook by controversial split decision.

Danny Garcia-Brandon Rios: In first bout as full welter, Garcia wins slugfest. Best fight of first round.

Shawn Porter-Robert Guerrero: Blood everywhere! Porter squeaks by in foul-fest.

ELITE EIGHT

Bradley-Porter: Two short welters muscle each other. Bradley wins battle of attrition.

Thurman-Garcia: Thurman turns pure boxer and wins by decision.

Khan-Brook: Khan wins split decision in tactical battle of countrymen.

Peterson-Maidana: Peterson falls to second Argentine power-puncher. (The first was Lucas Matthysse.)

FINAL FOUR

Bradley-Maidana: The difference: Bradley’s indomitable will.

Thurman-Khan: Bad style matchup for Englishman. Thurman by kayo. 

FINAL

Bradley-Thurman: Thurman keeps it outside and wins on points.

Steve Farhood’s “Destructive Dozen”

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FROM SHOWTIME BOXING ANALYST STEVE FARHOOD

Jhonny Gonzalez’s first-round annihilation of Abner Mares in August 2013 was overwhelming evidence of the fact that he rates with boxing’s most destructive punchers.

Now the WBC featherweight titlist will defend against Gary Russell Jr. this Saturday on SHOWTIME.

My Destructive Dozen:

Javier Fortuna, 27-0-1 (20), junior lightweight: Perhaps premature to list here, but a personal fave. Especially dangerous in first round.

Gennady Golovkin, 32-0 (29), middleweight: Looked like Martin Murray was gonna be the first to last the distance in a title fight vs. Triple G, but noooooooo…

JHONNY GONZALEZ, 57-8 (48), featherweight: Check out YouTube vs. Hozumi Hasegawa, Roinet Caballero, and Jackson Asiku. The Mares fight was hardly his first highlight-reel kayo.

Wlad Klitschko, 63-3 (53), heavyweight: His right hand was rumored to have knocked down the Empire State Building. Good luck, Bryant Jennings.

Sergey Kovalev, 27-0-1 (24), light heavyweight: Just when it seemed Pascal was getting back in the fight … And who else knocks down Bernard Hopkins?

David Lemieux, 33-2 (31), middleweight: Let’s see if his legit power is sufficient when he moves up to championship level.

Marcos Maidana, 35-5 (31), welterweight: The Broner Owner has impressively carried his power from 140 to 147 pounds.

Lucas Matthysse, 36-3 (34), junior welterweight: Evidence: 1) Humberto Soto’s been down once in 75 bouts, courtesy of Matthysse; 2) What he did to Lamont Peterson; 3) He scored knockdowns in two of his three losses (vs. Devon Alexander and Zab Judah). Does Provodnikov fall next?

Adonis Stevenson, 25-1 (21), light heavyweight: Can it still be said that the southpaw with the huge left hand has kayoed a higher level of opponent than Krusher Kovalev?

Keith Thurman, 25-0 (21), welterweight: Don’t be fooled by his recent decision wins; he scored knockdowns in both of them. He needs to land his right hand only One Time.

Takashi Uchiyama, 22-0-1 (18): Has scored stoppages in eight of his 10 world title fights. Only criticism: He fights solely in his native Japan.

Nicholas Walters, 25-0 (21), featherweight: A combined five knockdowns of Vic Darchinyan and Nonito Donaire have won me over.

 

Breaking Down the Pay-Per-View Rebound

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FROM SHOWTIME BOXING ANALYST STEVE FARHOOD

On Friday, December 12, WBA Super Welterweight titlist Erislandy Lara will fight for the first time since his controversial split decision loss to Canelo Alvarez in July.

Lara will defend his title against former champion Ishe Smith.

In most cases, a pay-per-view main event is the biggest bout of a fighter’s career. A loss in such a bout can be devastating … or not.

Here’s a look at recent pay-per-view losers and how they fared in their very next fight.

Marcos Maidana surprised almost everyone by pushing Floyd Mayweather in May. The Argentine powerpuncher was about a 10-1 underdog, but he roughed Mayweather up and halfway through seemed a legitimate threat to win. Mayweather rallied, of course, and remained unbeaten by securing a majority decision.

In the September rematch, Mayweather dictated the terms and won again on points, but this time far more convincingly.

It was only the second rematch of Mayweather’s career.

Two other Money victims fared much better than Maidana, probably because they didn’t face Mayweather again. In May 2013, Robert Guerrero, a former world titlist in two divisions, challenged Mayweather and lost by one-sided decision. “The Ghost” took more than a year off, then in June engaged in one of the year’s best fights, decisioning Japan’s Yoshihiro Kamegai.

Guerrero remains a top contender at 147 pounds.

When you’re as young and popular as Canelo Alvarez, there’s plenty of life after Floyd. In September 2013, Canelo lost for the first time when he was thoroughly outboxed by Mayweather. The Mexican has gone 2-0 since, destroying Alfredo Angulo in March and edging Lara in July.

Alvarez is the No. 1 ranked junior middleweight in the world–assuming you list Mayweather only among the welterweights.

When Brandon Rios fought Manny Pacquiao in November 2013, he was coming off a loss to Mike Alvarado. It didn’t shock anyone when, in November 2013, he finished second-best to Pac-Man as well. But all-action Rios rebounded in August with a disqualification win over tough Argentinean Diego Chaves.

Rios was behind by a single point on two cards at the time of the DQ.

It’s been tough to figure future hall of famer Miguel Cotto. The Puerto Rican fought well in losing a decision to Mayweather in May 2012, then lost again on points seven months later to difficult southpaw Austin Trout. At that point, most observers decided Cotto was near-finished.

But after a blowout of fringe contender Delvin Rodriguez, Cotto was reborn with a crushing stoppage of middleweight titleholder Sergio Martinez in June.

He is the only Puerto Rican to have won titles in four different weight classes.

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Finally, there’s the curious case of Victor Ortiz, who is among boxing’s most unpredictable performers. A title-winning effort against welterweight king Andre Berto landed Ortiz a shot at Mayweather in September 2011. After suffering a knockout loss, Ortiz lost twice more, both times by stoppage, to Josesito Lopez (Ortiz was ahead on points when he suffered a broken jaw) and Luis Collazo.

Ortiz, who has always made for good fights, is scheduled to return to the ring on Dec. 13 against an opponent to be announced.

Watch the Replay of the Mayweather vs. Maidana 2 Weigh-In

Five Reasons Why Marcos Maidana Could Beat Floyd Mayweather

From Showtime Boxing Analyst Steve Farhood

1. Confidence

World-class fighters are rarely lacking in self-belief, but when you’re matched with an icon like Mayweather, confidence is hardly a given. After all, one magnificent performance after another has earned the pound-for-pound king not just a reputation, but an aura.

Given his relative success in May, Maidana knows he can compete evenly with Mayweather. What this has done for the Argentine’s psyche can’t be overestimated.
Marcos Maidana wearing crown

2. Conditioning

With his girlfriend pregnant during camp, Maidana’s preparation for the first fight was limited to five weeks. Trainer Robert Garcia is certain that a full camp will dramatically improve Maidana’s chances.
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3. Weight Control

Maidana scaled 146 1/2 for the first fight, then added an exorbitant 18 1/2 pounds between the weigh-in and the opening bell. (Mayweather scaled 146 and added only two pounds.) The extra weight helped Maidana early in the fight, when he was roughing up Mayweather along the ropes, but it also contributed to his fade down the stretch.

Garcia promises Maidana’s rehydration will be less drastic this time.
Marcos Maidana Weigh-In

4. Age

Mayweather is now 37 1/2 years old, and he’s been fighting as a pro for almost 20 years. That’s 46 fights, 351 rounds, and about one million situps.

Mayweather remains unbeaten, but he’ll never be favored over Father Time. When will he slow down? Did the first fight vs. Maidana illustrate that he’s already beginning to decelerate? Will he bleed again? (As fighters age, they’re more susceptible to cuts because their skin begins to lose its elasticity.)
Reminder: There’s only one Bernard Hopkins.
Marcos Maidana - Esther Lin photoshoot

5. Size And Power

Mayweather is a small welterweight. The fact that he’s been able to dominate despite routinely giving away several pounds at fight time is under-appreciated. And his ability to consistently frustrate his opponents without possessing the power to hurt them is remarkable as well.

Maidana, on the other hand, has carried his clout from junior welterweight to welterweight.

Maidana may not be better, but he is bigger and stronger. And if it’s a long, draining fight, that could be a deciding factor.

Marcos Maidana Found In Robert Garcia a Trainer Who Could Take Him to the Top of the Sport

Robert Garcia wrapping Marcos Maidana hands

By Tim Smith
Sebastian Contursi was faced with a choice that really wasn’t a choice. Before his client, Marcos Maidana, was scheduled to fight Devon Alexander, Contursi made a telephone call to Maidana’s trainer, Rudy Perez, to alert him to get ready to start training camp.

“I called his home and his wife hinted that something was going on. I didn’t know he had cancer,’’ Contursi said. “She said, “Could you call at 2 p.m. and he will pick it up?’’

“He was very straight with me. He said, “I’m sick. I don’t want to talk much about it. But I won’t be in boxing much at all.’’ I was shocked.’’

Perez passed away from stomach cancer a year later. So Contursi had to look for another trainer and the first one that came to mind was Robert Garcia. But first Contursi wanted to give Perez’s assistant trainer a chance to step up and take over the primary training responsibilities for Maidana. He felt he owed him that opportunity. Continue reading