Posts tagged Sports

Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson, and Danny Jacobs Dominate

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Photo courtesy of Suzan Classen

by Sarah Deming

BROOKLYN, N.Y.—Saturday’s card at Barclays was a bad night for the underdog, and  – to quote light welterweight Edgar Santana (above right) – we are all underdogs in one way or another. 

In the first of the night’s three mismatches broadcast on Showtime, bone cancer survivor Danny “Miracle Man” Jacobs (below) almost finished Aussie Jarrod Fletcher in the first round. Fletcher hung on until stopped by a barrage in the fifth. 

The reliably odious Jim Gray worked the cancer angle overtime in the post-fight interview, even asking Jacobs what he thought about when he was on his deathbed. What Danny Jacobs thought about on his deathbed is none of our business. Anyway, it’s not a deathbed if you survive. 

Photos by Amanda Kwok for Showtime

Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier got into a fight during their media day. Uncle Dana is probably going to act pissed, but this is going to make the fight really easy to promote. 

Immanuwel Aleem Passes Test On ESPN, Campillo Beats Top Dog WIlliams

Immanuwel Aleem file photo by Trey Pollard for StiffJab.com

by Gautham Nagesh

Two DMV boxers faced the toughest tests of their career on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights from Shelton, Wash. tonight. Richmond super middleweight Immanuwel Aleem passed with flying colors, reaching back to score a sixth-round stoppage of Juan Carlos Rojas to preserve his unbeaten record. It was an impressive performance by Aleem in his tenth pro bout, and it may have put him on the map after spending his early career largely overlooked.

Light heavyweight prospect Thomas “Top Dog” Williams has gotten much more attention of late, a tribute to his top-ten ranking at 175 lbs. While we haven’t paid as much attention to Williams, other like ESPN’s Teddy Atlas have more than made up for it by showering him with praise. Unfortunately, Williams was unable to live up to that lofty billing in the main event against Gabriel Campillo. Campillo poked him with a jab in the 4th round that opened up a bad cut, from which Williams was unable to recover. The doctor stopped the fight before the 6th round.

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.

UFC 175 Results: Ronda Rousey Rolls, Chris Weidman Wins

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Photos by Getty Images for Zuffa LLC

by Dr. Octagon, J.D.

Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey (above) needed just 16 seconds to win on Saturday at UFC 175 in Las Vegas, while Chris Weidman (below) won a terrific battle against Lyoto Machida to keep his middleweight title.

Rousey’s opponent Alexis Davis opened up as a 20-1 underdog and looked very much the part while getting steamrolled in the first minute. Ronda landed a punch, followed by a knee, then put Davis down with a spectacular judo throw that morphed into a headlock. From there all it took was roughly ten undefended strikes to the face before referee Yves Lavigne stepped in to stop the fight. Davis was clearly out of it; she attempted to grapple with Lavigne after the fight was over and clearly had no clue what had happened.

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World Series of Fighting 11 Results

by Dr. Octagon, J.D.

World Series of Fighting had a pretty exciting card this afternoon, with some solid action from fighters who are definitely UFC-caliber (especially given the frequency of UFC events these days). Seriously guys, Marcus Brimage is on the undercard of the UFC 175 Pay Per View.  

Melvin Guillard looked pretty good in a slugfest with J.Z. Cavalcante. Melvin was getting the better of the exchanges, but he was also the beneficiary of a seemingly early stoppage, since JZ was still on his feet. Guillard also weighed in three pounds over the lightweight limit, not a great sign from the longtime UFC stalwart.

It’s rare to see a fight stopped while a fighter is on his feet in MMA (as opposed to boxing), but maybe we could use more of them. JZ was getting his ass kicked, and ate a particularly large knee before the stoppage, so there’s probably not going to be much of an uproar over this one. Melvin by TKO in 2:36

Cody Bollinger won by rear naked choke in the first round at 2:37 against Pablo Alonso. This was a nice quick fight, but Bollinger said he will move up to 145 lbs. after weighing in two pounds above the 135-lb limit for this fight.

Jon Fitch put a vicious ground-and-pound on the thoroughly over-matched Dennis Hallman, winning all three rounds on all three cards. The whole fight took place on the ground, but it was more exciting than a typical Fitch fight, with oodles of ground striking.  

The battle of the undefeated lightweights in the main event was tough to watch. Justin Gaethje was able to keep the fight on the feet against one-handed (congenital amputee) submission expert Nick Newell. Gaethje teed off on Newell for what seemed like the longest 1.5 rounds I’ve ever watched.  

I know it was a championship fight and everything, but I wouldn’t have minded seeing it stopped earlier. Gaithje retains the belt with a KO at 2:36 of Round 2 via overhand right. Newell remains the most badass one-armed man on the planet.

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.

Chael Sonnen Fails Drug Test, Retires On UFC Tonight

Chael Sonnen photo by Josh Hedges for Zuffa LLC

by Dr. Octagon, J.D.

Former UFC middleweight and lightweight contender Chael Sonnen failed his random drug test and is no longer fighting Vitor Belfort at UFC 175.  

For those of you at home, that makes three middleweights in the last month or so who failed drug tests (well Wandy technically just ran away, but you know…) While Sonnen had previously announced that he was going to appeal, on Wednesday night he seemed to change his mind and retired on-air on UFC Tonight.  

Chael tested positive for Anastrozole and Clomiphene, which are not steroids, but rather estrogen blockers. People who know way more about this stuff than I do have said that these are the sort of things you take to transition from Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) usage. There’s also been a claim about Chael having fertility issues, which I don’t really understand. Sometimes it seems like you need an M.D. in juicehead bro-science to cover MMA.

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.