Bute-Pascal aftermath

The Fight

So I finally got the big Canadian fight that was made about a year ago.

Was I pleased by it? I can say absolutely not. To many, I’m coming across as a sore-loser sort of Bute fan, but I think I can justify my standpoint mainly because the fight was pretty garbage for such a highly promoted/anticipated “event”.

Bute


It seems at this point that Lucian Bute is useless at 175, and has no reason to be considered a top-level dude, furthermore; he shouldn’t be in with top-level dudes. So what exactly is left for him? Not sure. It seems funny to consider retirement given that he’s only 33 and he was considered one of the best super-middleweights in the world (perhaps a naive premature evaluation) not even 2 years ago. Perhaps he should migrate back down to 168. That would be one option, depending on how comfortable he still feels at that weight.

Will he still sell tickets? Maybe, but there’s only so much that people will pay to see a guy that everyone knows is a lower tier fighter knocking out contenders that never had a shot.

He can possibly be fun at lower level, but that’s depressing. On that same point, Grachev was considered to be on a somewhat lower level, but Bute struggled throughout the fight, and it was just plain frustrating to watch.

Pascal

Too many fools are exiting the show thinking that good ol’ Roy Jones jr. is the savior/mechanic of Jean Pascal’s style, but I don’t believe that to be true. I believe that Jean Pascal would have beaten Lucian Bute the same way he did, with or without the future hall-of-famer in his corner on Saturday night.

For the most part, we saw the same old Jean Pascal that we are all accustomed to: a guy that leaps in viciously with inaccurate power shots at an incredibly inconsistent pace, who fades in the later rounds.

Many saw the lead left hook and screamed “THAT’S ROY! THAT’S ROY!”, but I advise these people to look at any number of Pascal’s bouts prior to Saturday night.

The Future 


Looking forward, I’m still confident on seeing some fun stuff in the sport from Canada. Adonis Stevenson is the obvious conversation piece, and rightfully so. He’ll most likely be matched with Sergey Kovalev for a lucrative HBO show. It’s also possible that we may have another “Canadian Showdown” if Stevenson is matched against Pascal, but I don’t think that we’ll get this in 2014 (let’s not forget Pascal’s gross tendencies of inactivity). I’m also not sure it will sell as well as the Bute fight (people really loved Bute). I could be wrong though…the “SU-PER-MAN! SU-PER-MAN!” chants are growing louder and louder with each show, and I love that.

Many seem to think that Stevenson is avoiding Kovalev simply based on his post-fight statements after defeating Bellew, but I don’t believe that is the case, due to several interviews that have been collected afterwards. Stevenson seems to want to fight Hopkins and Froch because he actually believes that they are the bigger more fan-friendly names. Montreal also seemed to have no problem with these two when he announced them. Many also forget that he stated that “If the money is right” he has “no problem” in facing Kovalev. He brought up no issues with promoters/management to dodge the question like fighters usually do when they are actually “ducking” another fighter.

I, alongside many others, am more interested in the Kovalev fight (for Stevenson)

Aside: Can we please try bumping David Lemieux up a level again!?

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Froch Vs Kessler II Analysis and Prediction.

In the sport of boxing, fighters will always come across what they believe to be their “biggest fight”; something that causes them to put every ounce of dedication into one training camp, something they can tell their kids about, a bragging right, maybe even a shiny belt to help you get a date, or accompany you as you attend high-stakes boxing matches holding your fist up at a camera.

In any case, I’d like to think that all of these factors (with the biggest exception to Mister Froch for the date capturing) apply in this bout.

Years ago

                On April 24th, 2010, the Showtime “Super Six World Boxing Classic” produced its first, and arguably best war of the entire tournament. Kessler came into the bout hot off of a loss against Andre Ward, a bout that ran to an eleventh round technical decision. Froch, on the other hand, came into the bout with an impressive string of wins against fighters like Jean Pascal, Jermain Taylor, and Andre Dirrell.

Time and time again throughout the bout, we witnessed two styles that seemed to mesh in a completely aesthetic way.  In watching the bout recently, I’ve noticed a few points of interest that may or may not apply to the strategy book of both fighters going into the second bout.

Points of Interest

Froching

Froching

Before and above all, let’s get one thing out of the way; Froch is an effective awkward fighter, a puzzle. Analysts, strategists, and bloggers could sit at a computer screen all day, identifying what they would refer to as “technical flaws” from Carl Froch, but a completely different story presents itself in the ring when you attempt to implement your master game plan (unless you’re Andre Ward).

Below is an example of what I would refer to as “Froching”: unorthodox movements/techniques demonstrated by Carl Froch in a prizefight.

1)      In this still we see Kessler with a high guard raised in anticipation of the “Froch Lunge” that is about to present itself.

2)      Carl starts to step into the lunch with his right hand in its ever-low state.

3)      Carl Misses-

4)      –and finds himself completely off balance, and turned 180 degrees, an opportunity most fighters would jump in and take advantage of.

5)      A southpaw stance is grounded, as Carl extends his right hand to discourage a forward movement-

6)      –and he spins back into place

One noteworthy element of this still is that it all happens in a span of two seconds.

“Super-committed right hand”

FrochKesslerAnalysis4

FrochKesslerAnalysis1

A common occurrence with Carl Froch is the tendency to completely square up when throwing his massive 2-1 combination which I refer to as a “Froch Lunge”.  Due to the fact that Froch completely squares up, the shot provides a lot of power, and is troubling for fighters that will walk back in straight lines, but for a fighter that can manage to circle to the left like Kessler  (pictured), countering opportunities are available, as Froch is left hesitant in the opposite stance (last frame)

The Jab

FrochKesslerAnalysis2

In the early as well as later segments of the first bout, the jab was a continuous dispute. Kessler provided more frequency, but Froch often countered, and landed effectively.

1)      Kessler demonstrating his usual high-guard, and Froch; the exact opposite, as they both prepare to jab.

2)      Both fighters land, but Froch got the better of the exchange because of his longer reach, and Kessler’s straight-backward movement.

The “Froch-Lunge”

froching

As previously stated, the “Froch-Lunge” describes Carl Froch’s ever-frequent 2-1 combination that is executed in a jumping, or lunging fashion. According to his last couple of outings (particularly against Lucian Bute) this is Carl’s weapon of choice, and a dangerous one at that.

1)      Kessler demonstrates a mid-guard in preparation for a mixed assault.

2)      Froch feints and Kessler raises his high-guard

3)      Kessler retreats back to an identical mid-guard

4)      He then catches Froch’s left jab, and-

5)      – shoots a quick jab to Froch’s body.

6)      Froch telegraphs the beginning of his lunge, as Kessler prepares his high-left.

7)      Kessler slips the punch, but continues to be backed straight up, and -

8)      –gets caught with the biggest right hand of the fight. [Hey look guys, MMA]

Holding and Activity

FrochKesslerAnalysis5

1)      Kessler presents a hard right hand to Froch’s chest area, as Froch backs up.

2)      He then strafes right and fires a jab in an attempt to locate Froch on the ropes

3)      Froch circles to his left (while presenting himself in a beautiful Greek God-esque pose in this still)

4)      Froch is no longer with his back facing the ropes and –

5)      –attempts to fire a flurry –

6)      But it is nullified by the holding of Kessler

This technique was sparingly used by Kessler in the first bout, but as Andre Ward has proved to us, it can be a key to victory, as it keeps Froch’s best attack at bay, albeit Ward also has supreme inside fighting skills, working excellently in the clinch, and in close quarters.

Danger in Both Hands

FrochKesslerAnalysis6

It was also evident in the first bout that “nothing was sacred” for Froch. He was dangerous and sneaky with both hands, continuing to land at several angles.

1)      Froch throws a jab  and –

2)      A right hand behind it which Kessler slips.

3)      The punch brings Froch into a southpaw stance and Kessler stands his ground for the available counter.

4)      Froch explodes a left hand bomb that hits Kessler flush in the face.

If either man were to win,

Froch would need to…

Keep the trend rolling

In the first bout, I distinctly remember a point in the fourth round where Al Bernstein states that “Carl Froch is a notoriously slow starter”, which I thought was justified on his resume at the time. In the past year, Froch has gone against the stereotype, and blasted his opposition out early.

With the “home advantage” that Froch has, I think he is capable of keeping this momentum going, attacking early, and in devastating fashion.

Keep the right hand up (or at least try)

One of Mikkel Kessler’s best punches in the first fight was his right hand to the body.  In December of 2012, Kessler faced Brian Magee. Before I go on about effectiveness, it is known that Brian Magee is susceptible to body punching. I could start listing fighters that have “gotten to” Magee with body punches, but I don’t enjoy experiencing pain.

In either case; Kessler dropped Magee multiple times in the bout, and eventually knocked him out with a body shot. Every punch that scored a knockdown was a right hand to the body. If Froch commits even slightly more to raising his right to his mid section, I’ll be satisfied.

Feinting

Feinting is a technique that Carl Froch has developed over his recent fights, and is a great contribution to his game. Kessler was more effective in the first fight when he was able to walk Froch down and establish his forward movement. If Froch finds himself backing up, or near the ropes, his improved feinting will help to execute his flurries and find the openings that he needs.

Kessler would need to…

Avoid going straight back

As I’ve demonstrated in one of the image sets, Kessler tended to back straight up in the first fight, leaving himself open for a variety of Froch’s punches, including his long jab, left hook, and flurries.

If Mr. Kessler wants to see more success the second time around, he’s going to have to get back to some textbook stuff, and circle away from the power hand.

Set the pace early, and heavy

Kessler’s last couple of fights with Allan Green, and Brian Magee have shown us a new(ish) version of Kessler that seems to favor an earlier end to his fights, as opposed to a prolonged “smart-fight”.

Mikkel Kessler is capable of walking forward, and gaining his ground effectively, which his class-A jab really assists. He is also capable of sitting down on his punches and getting a knockout to the body or head. Against Carl Froch, one would expect Kessler to commit to the body, if not to lower his guard and take away his legs, it’s that Carl Froch’s chin cannot be damaged. I think that Kessler is capable of having the success that Jermain Taylor had, but in order to achieve it, he needs to set a heavy pace from the first bell.

Some will speculate that the urgency is due to the library of injuries that Kessler has accumulated over the course of his career, but that isn’t the direction of this article.

Exploit off-balance

Whenever two fighters enter the ring for the second time against one another, they come back with a better academic understanding of the strategic make-up of the man in the opposite corner. Though Carl Froch is a hard puzzle to solve, one would have hope that an important topic of the training camp was to take advantage of the periods in the fight where Froch throws himself off balance.

If a southpaw stance is achieved by an over-commitment, a left hook to the body or head could prove to be effective, especially considering the power that Kessler has shown with this punch recently.

My Prediction

To be completely predictable, I’ll say that the fight should definitely be must-see event, just as the first one was.

Unless some devastatingly unexpected factor is involved, I expect Carl Froch to come out early with hard shots as he did in the Bute and Mack bouts. Kessler will also continue his recent trend, similar to that of Froch. I can see Mikkel Kessler landing a couple of more clean shots than he did in the first bout, but ultimately the fight will be close.

I think the fight goes to a close points victory, something like 116-112 for Carl Froch. This is also an occasion where a points victory for Kessler would not surprise me, but I see the close rounds going to Froch, as they may have been scored for Kessler in Denmark.

Additionally; my scorecard from the first bout is listed below.

KesslerFrochScorecard

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Furiously Ahead

Image

One event of merit from this past big weekend of boxing was the Tyson Fury versus Steve Cunningham bout, aired on NBC sports on Saturday. From its announcement, this bout was aimed to give at least some credit to the rising topic of Tyson Fury.  Firstly, I’ll say that I agreed that Cunningham is a step up in competition, regardless of any surrounding issues, and that proved true in the bout.

The Bout

Early on (2nd round) Steve Cunningham planted a bomb on Tyson fury’s chin that dropped him. As soon as Fury dropped to the canvas like a California sequoia, the thought running through everybody’s mind was a post-fight chuckle at the failure of two over-hyped British heavyweight phenoms. Not that I’m comparing Steve Cunningham to Tony Thompson by any means, but the obvious similarity would remain. To get back to the point, Fury ended up getting up off the canvas and surviving the round, and eventually coming back strong.

As far as skill goes, Tyson Fury has what he needs to progress, given his natural gifts. You’ll get a few writers and fans that frown on such conversation, but given the popularity of the statement, I’ll bring it up. A quote that was drifting across social media, and eventually into press conferences was “He only beats guys because he is big”. This quote is not outlandish, as it is used against the Klitschko brothers on a regular basis. Given a certain height, and size you are given an opportunity to do various things such as lean, clinch a little harder, and push and shove more effectively than a fighter of a smaller size is capable of doing. Tyson fury did indeed do all of these things, and yes they did help him significantly in the fight. Would Steve Cunningham have done better given that Tyson fury was his size? To be honest, it’s irrelevant. Weight classes are put in boxing for a reason, and situations like this are the hard truth of the dangerous and boundless heavyweight division of boxing.

The Knockout

As Tyson fury began to effectively use his size and strength to wear Steve Cunningham down, a knockout was produced in the 7th round of the bout. In what was mostly a round that lacked finesse from both fighters, Tyson fury pushed and mugged Steve Cunningham on to the ropes after a clean uppercut to the body seemed to hurt him. What followed was a series of shots, including a skimming uppercut that popped Cunningham’s head up out of his guard. Cunningham stepped back and, unfortunately, decided to try and shove a man who was 44 pounds heavier than him in order to avoid some damage. What resulted was a retaliating shove to a corner, a forearm to the face, and subsequently a crushing right hand to the face of Steve Cunningham that sent him down for the count

Some may refer to the knockout as being “controversial”, however; I’ll just stick with saying that it was hard to watch.  When it boils down to it, the shot was illegal, but it presented itself in a situation where it could not have been halted by a referee, and will probably never be overlooked.

The Man Behind the Voice

                Impatience is a word that could describe the state of heavyweight spectators (with the exception of the folks over in Germany) and a prospect’s current performance is something that will be over analyzed, and the thought of his next one; drooled over. As of right now, the boxing world knows a few key things about Tyson Fury: he’s quite large, he has some skill, and he’s outspoken.

As I’ve stated, size can get you places in the scary realm of the heavyweight division, as long as it’s not the “butterbean stuff”, and Tyson Fury does have the size, but size is also an asset of the two-headed heavyweight champion of the world. As long as Mister Fury is facing guys that are reasonably skilled, and quite a bit smaller than him, he will remain relevant, and continue to gain mileage with the media, but it is remained to be seen how he fairs once the bubble level is balanced across the head of his opponent.

Apart from the keys to a competitive victory, one must wonder if a fighter like Tyson Fury will succeed in the box office. In my perspective, Tyson Fury has a couple of important elements that will get him the ticket sales, along with a fairly large, and polarized, audience.  In the perspectives of many, Tyson Fury simply comes across as a schoolyard bully, so let’s draw some parallels; the bully will mostly draw out the smaller guys in the schoolyard in order to take any lunch money they may have. Said bully will talk so much that the time and location of his fight with the smaller kids is a hot item in the schoolyard conscience, but to many of the kids’ dismay; the biggest, toughest guy in the school, the jock, will never give the bully the time of day to try and shut him up-unless he pushes the right button.

My Take

I think it can be said without a doubt that Fury is trying desperately to find out which button to press to get a chance to perform against the highest tier of heavyweight crop in the modern day, the only question is if the jock will give the bully the time of day, and if Fury’s talking game, rather than his singing, continues its exponential growth.

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Year-End

Year-End Awards:

Fighter of the year: Nonito Donaire

Fight of the year: Branon Rios – Mike Alvarado

Upset of the year: Sonny Boy Jaro TKO 6 over Pongsaklek Wonjongkam

-Honorable Mention(s): Danny Garcia TKO 4 Amir Khan, Daniel Geale  SD 12 Felix Sturm,

Knockout of the year: Juan Manuel Marquez over Manny Pacquiao

Most promising “Prospect”: Keith Thurman

-Honorable mention: Leo Santa Cruz

Round of the year: Rd 12 Martinez – Chavez Jr.

Robbery of the year: Timothy Bradley SD over Manny Pacquiao

Moneybags (largest perceived stock-rise award): Adrien Broner

The Burglar/Santa’s Favorite (received the most robberies/gifts): Tomasz Adamek

The Hermit (inactivity award): Andre Direll

Canadian fighter of the year: Antonin Decarie

Out of the ordinary award: The phenomenon known as “The Canelo Curse”

Post-fight quote of the year:

“If the fans want it, I want it, my manager wants it, fuck it, let’s do it again.”

-Brandon Rios [Alvarado 10/13]

Gatti award (Heart, crowd pleasing, need i say more?): Josesito Lopez

Notable Events  (I feel that  it  is disrespectful to refer to such happenings as “awards”)

Tragedy of the year (excluding deaths): Paul Williams paralysis.

Losses of the year (a few significant and particularly saddening departures, from my perspective):

-Emanuel Steward

-Corrie Sanders

-Bert Sugar

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Pacquiao Marquez

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Froch-Mack

Froch having the best opening round you can have here. Great knockdwon from the left hook Surprisingly clean and accurate. Froch also looked to stagger him with a combination in the latter stages.  (Froch)

For a large portion of that round, Mack had the right idea. He stayed on the outside and pumped his jab, moving his head. I don’t think Froch is a better boxer then Mack but he definitely took Mack’s legs away at the very end. Froch stole the round for me.

Froch was doing well boxing on the outisde; his jab working really well-What a fantastic combination. Straight right to the body and left uppercut to the other end. Great work from froch

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Junior Witter VS Frankie Gavin; round-by-round coverage.

Round 1:  Early in the round Gavin was landing a couple of nice lead straights to the body. Around mid-way through, Witter started to pump his jab and aggressively jump forward landing 2 very heavy body uppercuts. (Witter)

Round 2: Witter was jabbing away in the first minute or so, but then Gavin looked to get the better of the wild exchanges on the inside; landing a nice few solid body shots.  Witter didn’t last in southpaw after Gavin caught him flush whilst jumping in recklessly once again. (Gavin)

Round 3: Witter was really physical on the inside exchanges, a good idea against a guy that held you up on the ropes with an elbow in the previous round. I wouldn’t say there was a damaging blow landed in that round. Every now and then you can see Gavin time Witter on the way in, but he’s not consistent enough with it up to this point. Hard to win a round for him on my card with Witter’s awkward high-volume output. (Witter)

Round 4: Gavin’s frustrated at this point ( credit to Witter ). (Like the previous) Very few meaningful punches landed in round 4. Hard to score. I gave it to witter for the jabbing and consistancy. Gavin seems to have no answer for Witter wildly jumping in. I’d advise a Bute-esque left hand “undercut”, or some forward movement. (Witter)

Round 5: On the contrary to the BoxNation broadcast crowd; i gave that round to Witter. I thought he did a great job with those lunging hooks/uppercuts  to the body. A lot of lead power shots landing by witter. Gavin did have a few moments in the round doing what he should be; timing the lunges. (Witter)

Round 6: Gavin is finally starting to implement a game-plan and adapt. He’s realizing that he needs to be walking witter down whilst throwing in combinations. Witter seems to be slowing on his feet as well. A lot less pouncing. Perhaps he was embarrassed of the huge tumble he took. (Gavin)

Round 7: Pace of the fight has changed a bit in round 7. We see Gavin becoming more loose and broadcasting his confidence while Witter has his back; turned trying to force a foul in his favor. Half of this is due to Witter turning his back after a clinch/exchange. Eyes on the prize, Junior. Good consistent work by Gavin in that round. (Gavin)

Round 8: Witter is consistently turning around after exchanges. Gavin is developing a more physical game-plan which is really working. As witter jumps into him he shoves him back off balance. Witter found himself in the corner quite a bit in that round. As an additional note; Witter attempted to be Roy Jones Jr. with his hands behind his back staring straight into Gavin’s eyes creating the most awkward pause I’ve ever seen in a boxing match. Witter’s trying everything NOT contained in boxing textbooks in desperation, but Gavin has a solution.(Gavin)

Round 9: Gavin had some hard punches landed whilst walking Witter down. The game-plan is very effective. Witter’s looking drained and i don’t see him doing well down the stretch of this bout. At the 30 second mark, there was a solid uppercut landed which knocked Witter’s head up it’s axis. (Witter)

Round 10: The first minute consisted mostly of glove-on-glove…Oh and Frankie Gavin falling through the ropes. Witter’s style is only effective when it is accompanied with speed. He’s now pausing, and ineffectively shooting his right hand lead, which is telegraphed to Gavin. There was a point deduction in the round which foreshadows a Gavin win. (Gavin)

Round 11: OK…Gavin won the round, but let’s refer to the situation as Witter losing the round. A couple of thudding body shots to Witter’s wide open body solidified the round for Gavin. (Gavin)

Round 12: I thought Witter was awkward before the last round-I don’t know what i think of him after that last round. Very odd approach; literally switching stances (orthodox to southpaw) every couple of seconds or so. I’ll admit; it was effective. I gave that round to Witter for effective jabbing and denying a target to Gavin. (Witter)

Final 115-112 Gavin

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