Posts tagged Boxing

Open Letter To Gennady Golovkin

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Photo courtesy of Suzan Classen

by Sarah Deming

NEW YORK, N.Y.—Thank you, Gennady Golovkin, for taking just three rounds to dispatch Daniel Geale and retain your title. Three is the magic number: quick enough to get us home early, long enough to love. One of the G’s must stand for “generous.”

Thank you for wearing shimmery white trunks of a pre-hip hop length that evoked ancient rites, and thank you for confining the advertisements to discrete patches on each leg. Thank you for your perfect middleweight body and golden skin under the Garden lights. Thank you for the mysterious permasmile onto which we project our own meanings. Thank you for training hard for light work. 

Thank you for your streak of 17 stoppages and your record of 30-0 (27 KOs), the highest knockout percentage of any active champion. Knockouts are better than decisions. Not because they are more violent but because they are negotiated by the actors in the ring rather than the functionaries outside it. Nobody likes to be judged. 

Thank you for cultivating superb balance and timing. Trainer Abel Sanchez attributes your “numbing” power to these fundamentals. This is more praiseworthy than heavy hands.

Top Rank Signs Maryland Boxer Mike Reed

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Mike Reed photos courtesy of Team Reed

by Gautham Nagesh

2013 Stiff Jab Prospect of the Year Mike “Yes Indeed” Reed has signed with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions, joining the likes of Muhammad Ali and Manny Pacquiao.

Reed’s team announced the signing on Thursday, after it had been rumored for weeks. While there are a number of local DMV fighters signed with Golden Boy Promotions and top manager Al Haymon, Reed is one of the few East Coast fighters signed to Top Rank, which focuses mostly on the West Coast and Mexican fighters. The news is proof of what we have said all along: at 21, Reed is the most proven best young boxer in the DMV.

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“I am delighted to sign with Top Rank. They’ve been successful for a long time, and have promoted the biggest names in boxing,” Reed said in a statement. “I am excited to have the same opportunities as the legends that came before me. Top Rank clearly has an understanding of how to market their fighters and they know how to build pay-per-view superstars. Team Reed is looking forward to having a long, successful relationship with one of the most prestigious promotional companies in boxing.”

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A History of Women’s Boxing by Malissa Smith

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by Sarah Deming

The first time I spoke to author Malissa Smith, proprietress of the indispensable blog girlboxing, we argued about skirts in the ring. This was right before the 2012 Olympic Trials, and I had called to get her take on the competitive field in Spokane. 

The internets were buzzing over the proposal that women boxers make their Olympic debut in skirts, but I didn’t want to talk about that. I was sick of the media posing female fighters in evening gowns or talking about their history of sexual abuse. Couldn’t we just treat them as athletes?

“The skirt thing is a non-issue,” I said. 

Malissa’s rage exploded from my cell phone. “It is not a non-issue! It’s a profound insult to the athleticism of the women entering this sport. It completely undermines them.

“I’d fight naked if I could be in the Olympics,” I said.

Opening Bell: Lamont Peterson Returns August 9th

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Lamont Peterson photo by Trey Pollard for StiffJab.com

by Gautham Nagesh

Even if featherweight Gary Russell Jr. wins his first belt on Saturday, the reigning pride of D.C. will still be junior welterweight contender Lamont Peterson. Peterson is the man that brought big-time boxing back to D.C. and is the only local fighter that has proven himself again and again in front of his hometown fans. So when we hear Peterson is planning to return on August 9th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, that qualifies as big news.

The news comes to us via Headbangers spokesman Andre Johnson, who had few other details. The fact Lamont is leaving D.C. makes me think this will be against a real opponent; why else would Peterson forego a hometown fight to perform on the undercard of a stinker like Shawn Porter vs. Kell Brook? I’m sure Showtime isn’t eager to televise that fight as a main event, and definitely not with Lamont in a stay-busy fight as the co-feature.

So we are quietly hoping that this will be the moment Lamont finally gets his shot at the division’s top man, Danny Garcia of Philadelphia. Now, I have no inside information on this. The word on the street is that Garcia is lining up to fight Brooklyn’s once-beaten Gabriel “Tito” Bracero after his lack-luster showing against Mauricio Herrera. But little would be gained from that fight for Garcia. Meanwhile, Peterson is a real name, and someone that has earned another shot at the title.

Kevin Rivers Looks Good In Return, Pat Harris Jr Debuts

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Photos by Wallace Barron for Keystone Boxing

by Gautham Nagesh

FORT WASHINGTON, Md.—Unbeaten featherweight Kevin Rivers Jr. looked good in his return to the ring, while junior welterweight Patrick Harris Jr. made his debut short and sweet at Rosecroft Raceway on Friday night. The pair both impressed, but for different reasons, on the show promoted by Gene Molovinsky of Keystone Boxing, with his son Ross serving as matchmaker.

Rivers (above) hasn’t fought in a year, and showed some rust early against the game Xavier Montelongo Jr. before settling down to win a clear six-round decision. Harris (below) needed just 45 seconds to dispatch George Palmer of Oklahoma, who had no business in the ring with a terror like Pat Jr. Unbeaten local junior middleweight "Swift" Jarrett Hurd was similarly efficient, taking just two minutes to stop Joshua Robertson in the main event.

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Ruslan Provodnikov vs Chris Algieri Weigh-In

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Photos by Jason Costa for Hit First

by Sarah Deming

What got me out of bed and over to the Barclays Center for Friday’s weigh-in was the image of Ruslan Provodnikov in dinosaur Underoos. Provodnikov (23-2, 16 KOs) will defend his junior welterweight title against Chris Algieri (19-0, 8 KOs) in the main event of Saturday’s HBO card, and although most boxing writers have cast him as some kind of Siberian missing link, I still think he’s smarter than the average bear.

Ruslan recites Russian poetry during his ring walk, eschews materialism, and says he grew up sniffing glue. Even if his pull quotes are tweaked in translation, they still beat anything Chris Algieri says.  

Maryland Boxer Mike Reed Auditions For Top Rank

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by Gautham Nagesh

Waldorf, Md. junior welterweight Mike “Yes Indeed” Reed has taken the hard road to 9-0 (6 KOs).

Since turning professional 15 months ago, Reed has fought without a promoter or manager, and has endured tough match-making to become a local headliner for Keystone Boxing. At a time when most prospects are knocking out creampuffs, the 21-year-old Reed has fought quality opposition, and handled everything thrown at him with aplomb. We’ve been ringside for almost all of those fights to witness his steady improvement, which is why we named him our 2013 Prospect of the Year.

Word of Reed’s talent couldn’t help but escape the beltway, and his name eventually found its way to Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman via Keystone matchmaker Ross Molovinsky. One of the oldest and largest promotional outfits in boxing, Top Rank has built an empire in the Southwest, and rarely signs East Coast talent. But Goodman reportedly decided to give Reed a shot, hence his appearance on the undercard of Glenn Tapia vs. Keenan Collins tomorrow night in Atlantic City.

Reed will take on Alberto Morales of Nicaragua in a six-round battle early in the evening. Even for a prospect as proven as Reed, the fight is a real test. Morales is bigger, having campaigned at welterweight and junior middleweight. He has been in with tougher competition than Reed, and has power to boot. Reached by phone Thursday night, Reed said he’s ready for the challenge, and expects Morales to be in his face all night.

"He’s a pressure fighter and this should be a good fight. I’m not going to have to chase him, or find him," Reed said.

TBRB Rankings Update: Cotto is King, Top Dawg Williams Debuts at 175

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Miguel Cotto photo by Chris Farina for Top Rank

by Gautham Nagesh

As I’ve mentioned here beforeStiff Jab is a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. That means every week I participate in an online forum where a number of impartial boxing writers from around the globe debate on the ranking of the top ten fighters in every weight division.

The ranking proposals, rules, and changes are all transparent and concrete. Our champions are real champions, earned in the ring, not paper champions, produced via favors from sanctioning bodies. We don’t strip titles and we don’t charge sanctioning fees. We simply recognize the best. The boxing world is slowly waking up to this fact, but to help accelerate that process, I’m going to periodically post updates here on changes in our rankings.

The big mover this week is the man you see above, Miguel Cotto aka the new middleweight champion of the world. In just his first fight as a middleweight, Cotto dethroned the hobbled champion Sergio Martinez and forced the Argentine’s corner to stop the fight before the 10th round. As a result, Cotto is now the money man in yet another division, and the prime target for Gennady Golovkin, Peter Quillin, and anyone else at 160 lbs.

Opening Bell: Phil-Jackson Benson Would Like to Thank Al Haymon

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by Gautham Nagesh

It may seem like a regular feature of this column by now, but boxing powerbroker Al Haymon has signed another one of the DMV’s top young fighters. This time it’s super middleweight Phil Jackson-Benson, and the news comes to us courtesy of the irreplaceable Gary “Digital” Williams of Boxing Along the Beltway.

We’ve covered most of Jackson-Benson’s recent fights, and he improved steadily over the course of three bouts in 2013. At age 29, Phil is 13-1 with 12 KOs. He’s definitely heavy-handed, but tends to wear fighters down rather than stopping them with a single blow. Jackson-Benson is big and strong for his weight class, and more than comfortable fighting on the inside, as he showed while beating Maxell Taylor Jr. at Club One Fitness last year.

Miguel Cotto Stops Sergio Martinez

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Photo by Chris Farina for Top Rank

by Sarah Deming

Miguel Cotto made it look easy Saturday night at Madison Square Garden against lineal middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, knocking the aging Argentine down four times en route to a tenth-round TKO. Cotto (39-4, 32 KOs) put his people in a party mood, becoming the first Puerto Rican to win a world title in four weight divisions.

It was a Cotto house at Jack Demsey’s. The midtown bar was hosting a viewing of the HBO PPV card to support the Dr. Theodore Atlas Foundation, the charity that funds the community gym where I coach. 

Expert consensus was that Sergio Martinez (51-3-2, 28 KOs) would win this fight on size and speed (barring the recurrence of his knee or hand injuries), but the experts could learn a thing or two from the crowd at Jack Demsey’s.

“Who are you picking?” I asked Teddy Atlas.

Eddie Gomez Loses, David Grayton, Immanuwel Aleem & Hugo Centeno Jr. Win

Photos by Esther Lin for Showtime

by Gautham Nagesh

Bronx welterweight Eddie Gomez dropped a harsh unanimous decision to Francisco Santana for his first professional loss Friday night on ShoBox from Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif.

Gomez impressed early and was clearly the more gifted fighter, but Santana staged a rally in the late rounds that won over the judges. We didn’t score the fight, but a draw or a close victory either way would have been justified. Scores of 97-93 and 98-92 for Santana were laughable, while 96-94 from the third judge was fair. 

Gomez was shorter, but his punches were more compact and quicker. Unfortunately, his defense and ring generalship were overlooked in favor of Santana’s higher work rate. To be sure, Gomez took his foot off the gas after dominating the first half of the fight. He has no one but himself to blame for this loss. Santana appeared to rock Gomez in the 6th and 7th rounds, and controlled the latter stages

However, for us Gomez was simply sharper all-around, and able to counter effectively. While Santana had his moments courtesy of some hard charges forward in the later rounds, Gomez looks like the fighter with the brighter future. He showed a good chin, solid defense in the pocket and the ability to land precise shots with power. If he takes a lesson from the loss and comes back ready to fight 12 hard rounds, he could challenge almost any welterweight down the road.

The televised main event saw Oxnard prospect Hugo “the Boss” Centeno Jr. school late substitute Gerardo Ibarra (below) in a matchup of unbeaten 23-year-olds at middleweight. Centeno was too fast, skilled and tall for the doughy Ibarra, who had only a week to prepare for the fight. Centeno looked straight from central casting before and after the fight, with nary a hair out of place by the bout’s end. He won an easy unanimous decision.

Preview: Sergio Martinez vs Miguel Cotto

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Photo by Chris Farina for Top Rank

by Gautham Nagesh

Madison Square Garden in midtown Manhattan will once again be the center of the boxing universe on Saturday, when middleweight champion Sergio Martinez defends his crown against Puerto Rican icon Miguel Cotto.

As the champion the Argentine is a deserving favorite, but the New York crowd will undoubtedly be heavily boricua and squarely in Cotto’s corner. This is the kind of fight I would have bought a ticket to see myself, if I hadn’t just returned from an international trip. Instead our senior writer in New York Sarah Deming will handle fight night coverage, while I will be at home hoping neither of these likable champions takes too much damage in the fight.

Danny Kelly, Lamont Roach Jr Win In Boston on FS1

by Gautham Nagesh

Local heavyweight prospect Danny “Smooth” Kelly and lightweight Lamont Roach Jr. of NoXcuse Boxing scored first-round stoppage wins on Thursday at House of Blues in Boston.

Roach won in the evening’s first bout on the un-televised undercard when his opponent Miguel Antonio Rodriguez didn’t answer the bell for the 2nd round, according to Boxing Along the Beltway. We heard the result from the twitter account of Golden Boy, Roach’s promoter which was also the source of the photo below.

Kelly appeared as the swing bout on the Fox Sports 1 telecast and looked good in his national TV debut. With opponent Eric Newell against the ropes, Kelly landed a chopping right hand that dropped Newell and left him unable to beat the count. Kelly took some time to establish enough distance to land his punches, but once he did he made short work of Newell. At only 22 years old, Kelly has the time and tools to become an exciting heavyweight. 

The Night BHop & Big Daddy Bowe Brought Boxing to RFK Stadium

by Aaron Tallent Special to Stiff Jab

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Bernard Hopkins’ dominating win over Beibut Shumenov at D.C. Armory on April 19th was proof that Washington has re-emerged as a first-rate fight town. Almost 7,000 fans crowded the Armory to see Hopkins confirm his place as the top contender to light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson. The rise of Lamont Peterson is what brought the TV networks back to the nation’s capital, but BHop was first out-of-town fighter to headline here in almost a decade.

The irony is that Hopkins was there the last time D.C. hosted a huge fight when he faced Roy Jones Jr. in 1993 at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial (RFK) Stadium, just a stone’s throw away from the Armory. The story of that debacle is much less about Hopkins and Jones than it is about Riddick Bowe and his manager, Rock Newman.

Entering 1993, Bowe was flying high. He won the heavyweight title from Evander Holyfield in November 1992 and was building a mansion in Fort Washington, Md., a suburb of the District. That allowed him to be near Newman, a graduate of Howard University who lived in Washington. The D.C. boxing community had already embraced “Big Daddy,” and a lucrative deal with HBO was in the offing, provided Bowe keep winning.

Opening Bell: Al Haymon Signs D.C. Boxer David “Day Day” Grayton

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Photo by Anna John for StiffJab.com

by Gautham Nagesh

We’ve been sitting on this one for a couple weeks, but now the contracts are signed and the ink is dry. Top talent wrangler Al Haymon has snapped up another local boxing prospect whom you first learned about from us: welterweight David “Day Day” Grayton IV of Northeast D.C.

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Day Day is scheduled to fight German Valdez Friday night in Indio, Calif. on the undercard of the latest episode of ShoBox, which also features middleweight Hugo Centeno and Bronx welterweight Eddie Gomez. I profiled Day Day last year for The Washington Post, so I’m even more familiar with his story than most: