(As seen on Queensberry Rules)

It is far too common for those living in the great white north (including myself) to observe a fighter who performs almost exclusively at home in Canada and builds a community of rowdy fans within the Bell Centre waiting for their popularity to peak. They wait for an opportunity to fight for a title belt, or until they become brave enough to venture into enemy territory without their horde of loyal followers.

This same horde will often boast of the superior skills that their fighter possesses compared to the global competition within the weight class, but there are many times where they experience complete disappointment. One recent example that comes to mind is Lucian Bute. As is the case with most of the more popular fighters performing out of Canada these days, Bute represents the archetype of the nation’s adopted son. Does he fight out of Canada? Yes. Is he Canadian? Sort of, but not really. Though Bute met his figurative demise against Carl Froch in Nottingham, Canada has also had other talents that have performed better, for example: Jean Pascal and Adonis Stevenson.  It’s great to have a fighter to cheer for in your home town/province/state, but these fighters would also fall into the category of “adopted children of the nation.” A hometown hero isn’t a necessity when cheering for a fighter, but a certain amount of nationalism never hurt the fan experience. Pascal and Stevenson were both born and raised in Haiti. These fighters have experienced a certain degree success and have developed sizeable fan bases (especially Bute), but none have been graced with the success of, for example, UFC’s Georges St. Pierre. There are obviously some market segment differences between the two sports, but my point on Canadian superstardom remains.

David Lemieux has most of the building blocks to become a star in Canada; he’s a young, attractive, likeable guy who speaks both French and English, and has a crowd-pleasing style. Previously on Queensberry Rules, Tim Starks has mentioned that if a fighter is considered attractive or a “pretty boy,” this image can draw a negative perception from certain audiences, but Lemieux’s 94 percent knockout ratio may act as an equalizer in the macho spectrum. This Saturday, he is scheduled to fight Gabriel Rosado. Rosado is well known in the boxing community as a consistently solid opponent who acts as a good litmus test for anybody looking to penetrate the rankings of whatever division he may be competing in. Unfortunately, he hasn’t done much lately to pass a threshold which will relieve him of his “solid gatekeeper” status. Rosado may be the toughest opponent of Lemieux’s career and is surely his toughest opponent since his loss to Marco Antonio Rubio in 2011. A win against Rosado would be great to have on his resume if he wants to continue securing television dates with premium networks.

Both fighters have had an opportunity to showcase their skills to a broader audience by competing on either Showtime or HBO within the past years, but unless they can make key adjustments, their history may not warrant continued exposure. Rosado has lost three of his last four bouts (with one no contest) and his most significant win is most likely Jesus Soto Karass, or Bryan Vera if you want to count bouts outside of the squared circle. Similarly, Lemieux has lost twice, with a win over Fernando Guerrero as his greatest accomplishment. Many fans see this fight as a continuation of less-than-stellar matchups on premium network television, but I believe there’s a potential for a fun, competitive match-up. So without further ado, let’s switch gears to a more tactical discussion.

The Fight

For a Rosado Win

Regardless of whether or not he captured a victory, Rosado has had success in some of his recent bouts when he works off of his jab. He doesn’t have the strongest jab in the game, but when he uses it, it’s consistent and sets up combinations that can help him rack up enough points to win rounds. When he fought against Peter Quillin, he used his jab in the later rounds to set up significant hooks and uppercuts to the head. Quick jabs can be effective against a guy like Lemieux who usually moves forward with his gloves palm to palm rather than pinky to pinky.

A straight right hand is another punch that can be effective against Lemieux’s style. If Rosado’s camp has taken a rudimentary approach, they would study Rubio’s technical knockout victory over Lemieux, and more particularly the straight right over the top which buzzed Lemieux leading into the TKO. In this bout, Lemieux tended to be lazy when retracting his jab to a defensive position and Rubio capitalized. Thankfully for Lemieux and his camp, this is something that he’s worked on. In his fights with Guerrero and Jose Miguel Torres, his left glove was working overtime in its defensive position, so Rosado may have to be a bit more creative and step to the left so his counter rights can land straight down the pipe rather than over the top.

Rosado may also be able to take advantage of one of Lemieux’s unorthodox habits in order to win. In most of his fights, both victory and defeat alike, Lemieux has exhibited an offensive blitz where he throws vicious hooks as he steps with the corresponding foot. He will throw a massive left hook, often not looking at his opponent, and take a massive left foot forward, followed by a right hook that follows the same pattern.  Generally, it’s easy to instruct a fighter to capitalize on a vicious fighter’s mistakes, but conducting the action is always harder than providing the instruction. Rosado experienced one of the most dangerous fighters in the sport when he fought Gennady Golovkin for his first fight at middleweight, so if there was any fighter with enough cojones to confront Lemieux head-on, it would be Rosado. As Lemieux lunges forward, he tends to square up and one of Rosado’s left uppercuts would not go astray, along with some body work to take some steam out of Lemieux.

For a Lemieux Win

In order for Lemieux to be effective in this fight, or any fight thus far, he’s going to need to fight on the front foot. Generally he always possesses the confidence to walk forward and facing Rosado will not cause a disruption to this routine. One technique that Lemieux can utilize in order to secure a victory over Rosado is to use his hooks to position his man. Rosado’s resume has given him enough ring savvy to know never to back up against an opponent who is pressuring you. Lemieux will need to throw left hooks as Rosado is raising his traditional guard and pivoting to his left, and vice versa for the opposite side. In Rosado’s bout with Golovkin, he fought off of the back foot for the major portion of the fight and exhausted a lot of energy moving around the ring. Stepping forward and shutting down Rosado’s escape routes should be a key tactic if Lemieux intends to create damaging combinations and capture a victory from an experienced opponent.

It is also essential for Lemieux to be able to control the distance between him and his Rosado. He operates most efficiently when he is in-fighting, or in close range. When Lemieux finds himself at mid-range, he often doubles the jab and risks a right hand behind it every now and then to transition to the inside. Closing the gap is possibly one of Lemieux’s best assets and he has demonstrated this throughout his career; most recently when he sent Guerrero to the canvas multiple times during their bout.  After a counter is landed on his end, or a defensive retreat is initiated by his opponent, swift footwork can get him in place to throw hard shots on a turtled opponent who has their back to the ropes. Rosado is effective at close range but if Lemieux creates an inside fight, he should control it against Rosado.

Conclusion and Prediction

Perhaps a win against Rosado will not raise Lemieux to “Canadian Superstar” status and perhaps defeating Lemieux will not rid Rosado of his “tough contender” status, but a win for either man is a significant one for their respective careers. If a win does not prompt an elevation in rank of the victorious fighter, it should at least provide them with a future premium television date.

I believe that Lemieux’s recent defensive developments will assist him tremendously in this bout. Lemieux was 22 when he faced defeat against Rubio three years ago and has evidently adjusted his game so that his left glove has the job of protecting his consciousness rather than his corner man throwing in a towel. I see Lemieux being on top of his game on Saturday, but Rosado will remain competitive until the end of the bout.

Lemieux TKO 8 over Rosado

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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”.


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.


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



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”



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


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”


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


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


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 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.


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Furiously Ahead


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 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 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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