DING DONG MIKE WOODSON IS DEAD (as coach of the New York Knicks — we wish him a long and fulfilling life).
After wallowing in schadenfreude for half an hour or so the boys discuss War on Drugs, Ratking, a very special Who Ya Got?, Easter Pie, and that rapper who cut his dick off and thew himself off a building.
Fight night photos by Tom Casino for Showtime
by Gautham Nagesh
WASHINGTON, D.C.—When Philadelphia light heavyweight Bernard Hopkins turned professional in October 1988, President Reagan occupied the White House and the Dow Jones Industrial Average hovered just above 2000. Five years later, “The Alien” lost his first middleweight title challenge here at RFK Stadium to Roy Jones Jr., a loss he would eventually avenge on his way to becoming one of the most decorated fighters of his era.
More than a quarter-century after his debut, Washington’s football team plays in Maryland, four presidents have come and gone, but Hopkins can still thrill a crowd in the nation’s capital. The 49-year-old looked half his age on Saturday night as he dominated Beibut Shumenov on Showtime at D.C. Armory, just a stone’s throw from RFK. Alphabelt titles aside, the fight meant something to the nearly-7,000 fans that packed the venue. And Hopkins showed once again that age is just another limit that the greats can transcend.
by Dr. Octagon, J.D.
Fabricio Werdum defeated Travis Browne at UFC on Fox 11 in Orlando by using superior striking and jiu jitsu to bloody the face of the Hawaiian.
The first round was rough for Browne, and he never really recovered while looking winded for almost the entire fight. He had no answer for Werdum on the feet and wanted no part of taking the BJJ master to the ground. Werdum deserves the heavyweight title shot he’ll get once Cain Velazquez is back from shoulder surgery.
Miesha Tate defeated Liz Carmouche in a terrible fight; the most impressive thing on each fighter’s resume was losing to Ronda Rousey. Rousey is a great fighter, but these two do not have the skills required to make an exciting fight. I can’t believe this was the co-main event while guys like Khabib Nurmagomedov were on the undercard.
Donald Cerrone submitted Edson Barboza after knocking him down with a jab and sinking the rear naked choke. Edson Barboza looked super quick as always, but Cerrone was able to catch him and quickly capitalize to jump on his back and end the fight in the first round.
Yoel Romero used his world-class wrestling to manhandle Brad Tavares in a three-round decision victory. Romero’s striking looks pretty good as well and he is scary strong. Expect him to move quickly up the middle weight ranks.
Photos by Pat Russo and Sarah Deming
by Sarah Deming
BROOKLYN, N.Y.—Only three boys showed up to Atlas Cops and Kids on Friday, not counting the party of four I ejected for horseplay. The day after The Daily News Golden Gloves is always an anticlimax, even for noncombatants.
I sat on the apron writing while Omar worked pads with the kid from Uzbekistan and Shaquille (AKA “Ice Cream”) hit the heavy bag for half an hour, stopping periodically to tell us he was going to be an Olympic gold medallist. Ice Cream won Best Fight of the Tournament for his rip-roaring preliminary loss. He would already be a world champ if he trained half as much as he talks.
The Daily News Golden Gloves finals were this Wednesday and Thursday at the Barclays Center, and my husband Ethan, actually in town and not playing jazz, agreed to go with me the first night. When you are a married woman in boxing, you need to show off your husband once in a while, like waving around a gun.
“How do these guys have so many friends?” Ethan asked, in regard to Anthony “Muscles” Demonte and Domonique White.
Photos by Gautham Nagesh for StiffJab.com
by Gautham Nagesh
FT. WASHINGTON, Md.—Boxing is a sport, but it isn’t game.
Those in attendance at Rosecroft Raceway on Friday for the latest show from Keystone Boxing were reminded of that fact at the end of the night, when Regino Canales of Puerto Rico was carried out of the ring on a stretcher following his stoppage loss to headliner Mike “Yes Indeed” Reed.
It was a frightening end to another formidable performance from the unbeaten junior welterweight. Reed started the fight stalking his opponent from the southpaw stance as usual. Canales would occasionally halt Reed’s advance with a combinations, but Reed’s body attack and jab were the main story. Caneles fought gamely for the first two rounds, but Reed had him on his heels by the third round. He hammered the visitor around the ring, delivering crunching blows to the body.
The body attack continued in the fourth, and my liver hurt just watching it from the mat. Canales was trapped in the corner and eventually went down after a particularly ferocious combination. Somehow he rose, but Reed kept up the non-stop attack for most of the round. Canales held on desperately to survive until the bell, but he was clearly in bad shape. The referee or his corner could have easily stopped the fight in the 4th.
After the round, I noticed Reed celebrating in his corner and assumed correctly the fight had been stopped. As I stood on the mat to photograph the victor, I noticed Caneles tumbling off his stool from the corner of my eye. Medical personnel rushed over as Canales appeared to convulse once, then lay motionless on the canvas. After a long, tense period he eventually sat up to applause, then was placed back on his back and carried out via stretcher.
Keystone Boxing posted on Facebook today that Canales has been treated and released from a local hospital; we are hoping to get an update as soon as possible. Our thoughts and prayers are with Canales, and all the other fighters who put their lives on the line far from home and their loved ones. Bearing witness to these scenes is the most unpleasant part of running a site such as this, but also the primary reason we keep it going, despite the time and resources it requires. If professional fighting is something we are going to tolerate as a society, someone should be watching and holding the officials in charge accountable.
Chris Algieri photo by Ed Diller for Star Boxing
by Sarah Deming
BROOKLYN, N.Y.—Junior welterweight contender Ruslan Provodnikov wants bigger game, but he’ll settle for Chris Algieri.
After his thrilling loss to Timothy Bradley in our 2013 Fight of the Year, the Siberian Rocky dropped back down to 140 last October to grab Mike Alvarado’s WBO belt. He makes his first title defense June 14 at the Barclays Center against the undefeated Algieri, broadcast live on HBO Boxing After Dark. The baby-faced Algieri is a former kickboxing champion who sells a lot of tickets in Huntingdon, New York.
By the time Wednesday’s presser at the Barclays Center rolled around, Provodnikov seemed to have processed his initial crankiness about the choice of opponent and joined in the general enthusiasm of Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark, HBO’s Peter Nelson, Artie Pellullo of Banner Promotions, Joe Deguardia of Star Boxing, and Kevin Rooney of DiBella Promotions. Top Rank’s Bob Arum, also co-promoting, took a pass for his grandson’s bar mitzvah.
It’s been a wild week for New York sports, but don’t worry, Brad and James are here to elucidate the issues of the day with grace, aplomb, wit, and sensitivity. The Knicks are officially DUNZO. Eli Manning is embroiled in WHITE HOT CONTROVERSY. CC Sabathia doesn’t LOOK THAT SKINNY. What should you think about these developments? BRAD AND JAMES WILL TELL YOU!
In the second half of the podcast the boys review Avey Tare’s new album Enter the Slasher House and Mobb Deep’s triple-CD money grab/”reissue” of The Infamous.
Also — James sings a bunch of Janet Jackson songs. You should check it out.
Photo by Chris Farina for Top Rank
by Gautham Nagesh
If there were any doubts about whether Manny Pacquiao is a superior fighter than Tim Bradley Jr., the Filipino welterweight put them to bed on Saturday night in Las Vegas on HBO Pay Per View.
The Pacman overcame a spirited early effort from Bradley to win a convincing decision at the MGM Grand, avenging his controversial loss in their first bout last year. This time there could be no debate: Bradley threw everything he had against Pacquiao in the early rounds, but Pacman took it all and kept coming.
Bradley landed a number of crashing rights early in the fight, but it was Pacquiao’s dynamite left hand that ruled the evening, as it has so many times before. Pacquiao’s speed and effortless power were the difference in the end. Bradley left his sizable heart into the ring, but he simply did not have the talent to match Pacquiao.
Knicks’ playoff chances? FUCKED! Phil Jackson's tenure as President of the Knicks? A SMASHING SUCCESS! Stevie Nicks documentary on Netflix? HILARIOUS (for about half an hour)!
As always we cover a metric ton of riveting, hilarious, informative content, but this week’s episode is particularly philosophical. Check it out if you want to live your best life. Check it out if you want to laugh. Check it out if you want to learn how to love again.
Photo by Gautham Nagesh from the National Portrait Gallery
by Anna John
Behold, a rundown of the stories we’re talking about at Stiff Jab headquarters here in suddenly-balmy Washington, D.C. Ladies and gents, I give you this week’s link roundup:
1) We’re starting off on a serious, alarming note— “Study: MMA Brain Injury Risk Higher Than Boxing”:
"About one-third of professional mixed martial arts matches end in knockout or technical knockout, indicating a higher incidence of brain trauma than boxing or other martial arts, according to a new study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine." [ABC News]
2) Here’s a nice story out of Brooklyn, and our writer Sarah Deming’s old stomping grounds at Gleason’s Gym: “Paul Malignaggi strikes a blow vs. obesity”
"I was born and raised in Brooklyn," said Malignaggi, as his pal Verteouris, and Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams listened intently. "I have the ability to give back to my community, help make a difference, and Knockout Obesity is a program I believe in. I know it can make a huge difference in the community. Boxing is an optimum, great way to exercise and with diet and nutrition added to the mix, it’s a winning program." [ESPN New York]
3) Next up— “How HBO lost Adonis Stevenson to Showtime”. A lengthy exploration of yet another boxing-network fustercluck:
"None of this would be an issue if HBO had done its job last year and made certain not to televise an otherwise meaningless doubleheader featuring Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev without first having an agreement in place for them to meet on HBO in their next fight." [Yahoo! Sports]
4) Here’s something different and useful: “The Big, Big List of Boxing on Twitter”. It’s exactly what it sounds like— a massive compilation of boxing-related accounts on the popular social networking service. Tweet tweet. Thanks to author Scott Christ for including us. [Bad Left Hook]
Photos by Rich Graessle for Main Events
by Raymundo Dioses
Russian super-puncher Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev will face Chicago’s Cedric Agnew in a match-up of unbeaten light heavyweights on HBO Saturday night from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
Agnew, (26-0, 13 KOs) is unbeaten, yet considered a soft-touch who was supposed to set ‘Krusher’ for a puncher vs. puncher mega bout with light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson this fall on HBO. Stevenson will be defending his title against Andrzej Fonfara in May; Fonfara, (27-2, 15 KOs) has faced better competition than Agnew, but is also considered a walk-through bout so HBO could make the Kovalev-Stevenson fight before the calendars turn.
However, events this week threw a proverbial punch in the best laid plans of men. Stevenson (23-1, 20 KO) aligned himself with shadowy advisor Al Haymon, and the Fonfara fight was shipped to HBO rival Showtime. Most of the industry sees this move as a buzzkill, scuttle-butting a potential knockdown, knockout-fest between two 175-pound lions.
Photos by Sue Jaye Johnson
by Sarah Deming
BROOKLYN, N.Y.—I had planned to hunker down Friday night and pre-toxify for my trip to Amsterdam, but when I heard that junior featherweights Heather “The Heat” Hardy and Nydia “Phenomenal” Feliciano were doing battle at the Aviator, I couldn’t stay home.
Two years ago, I saw Nydia Feliciano spar a woman called Fire in a gym in Inwood. Fire was slick, but she couldn’t get her distance on Feliciano, whose soft body held surprising strength. I still remember the knowing way Feliciano placed her shots, chipping away at Fire’s body like a sculptor who sees something in a stone.
Feliciano has been pro longer than Heather Hardy has been boxing. Hardy has amassed an 8-0 record and become one of the favorites at promoter Lou Dibella’s Broadway Boxing shows, but nobody had ever accused her of finesse. I was surprised she had taken a fight with such a tough opponent.
On the bus ride to the godforsaken corner of Brooklyn that holds the Aviator Sports and Events Center, I ran into the ubiquitous Diablo, who said he was cornering Feliciano. Diablo is about 4’10” and looks like a Dominican Yosemite Sam. He once tried to have me ejected from a Golden Gloves show for no apparent reason.
by Dr. Octagon, J.D.
Even though he was grandfathered in with what is hopefully the last Testosterone Replacement Therapy exemption in the history of the sport, the 43-year old Dan Henderson (above) is still a force to be reckoned with. On Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 38 in Brazil, Henderson proved it by stopping Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in the 3rd round of a rematch of one of the better mixed martial arts fights in recent memory.
Unfortunately for Rua, Henderson still has a chin of solid granite and old man strength in his right hand. Shogun hurt Dan badly in both the first and second rounds. Referee Herb Dean could have stopped it in the first round there probably wouldn’t be much protest. Dan looked pretty flat in the first two rounds and his cardio still appeared suspect.
Everything changed in the third round, when Henderson landed a vicious right hand off the break, sending Rua to the mat. Henderson then fired about a dozen hammerfists to his fallen opponent’s head to end the fight. Shogun was holding onto his leg, but he was pretty much out and also had a busted nose.
We hardly talk about the Knicks at all this week so listen to the whole thing. That’s our advice. Topics covered include:
Mac Demarco, The Men, sesame bagels, Billy Joel, “magic mushrooms”, hangovers, Fight Club, The Toadies, Jesus, healthcare reform, Rick Ross, and MORE!