BROOK AIMS TO TAKE UKRAINIAN APART!

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Kell Brook and Vyacheslav Senchenko go head-to-head at the Motorpoint arena, Sheffield, on October 24 and Brook is intent on putting on a special performance.

This fight is classed as an IBF welterweight title eliminator with the winner in line to get a shot at belt-holder, Devon Alexander; is it me or is Brook involved in a title eliminator every other fight?

Brook is the younger of the two at 26, with Senchenko eleven years his senior. The Ukrainian is also slightly more experienced than Brook with a record of 35(23)-1-0. Brook’s record; an unbeaten one, stands at 30(20)-0-0.

Senchenko first tasted defeat in April 2012, when he lost to Brooklyn’s, Paulie Malignaggi. It was Senchenko’s first serious test in the pro ranks. He got busted up, suffered a broken nose and was pretty much outclassed over 9 rounds.

Brook is still unbeaten, but he had his toughest test in July 2012 when he met American, Carson Jones. The American gave Brook hell in the second half of the fight, after being outboxed in the first half of the contest. Brook scraped through, though; his face a bloody mess after 12 rounds. In their rematch in July, Brook showed his class, stopping Jones in 8 rounds.

Some in the boxing world believe that Senchenko is simply no good; that his title reign is one of the worst in the history of the sport. They say; “Well, if a feather-fisted Paulie Malignaggi stopped Senchenko then Brook busts him up bad!” Well, boxing doesn’t always work like that! However, a majority agree that Senchenko has a good ramrod jab, which could pose Brook a problem.

Many predict Brook to claim a late rounds stoppage victory over Senchenko. We know that Malignaggi’s style gave Senchenko fits, but will Brook’s? Brook is yet to prove he is a World class fighter, because he has not yet beaten anyone of significance to earn that status. Despite all of the above, this should give us an indication of what level Brook is actually at.

Final thoughts:

I think Brook wins this via a 9th round TKO. Senchenko’s game and tough, but Brook’s the classier operator of the two and technically sounder. He’ll pick Senchenko off throughout with pin-point accuracy and gradually break him down.

ALVARADO-PROVODNIKOV – EXPECT BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS!

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On October 19, Denver hosts its first World title fight since September 2000 when “Mile High” Mike Alvarado aims to defend the interim WBO junior welterweight title in his hometown at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Denver, Colorado. Standing in his way of sealing victory on this special occasion is Russian, Ruslan Provodnikov, who dubs himself the “Siberian Rocky”.

Alvarado (34-1-0, 23 KO’s) versus Provodnikov (22-2-0, 15 KO’s), has all the ingredients to be an explosive encounter and it could be a serious contender for the 2013 fight of the year; we are just waiting to see whether it lives up to the hype that’s surrounding it.

Both fighters enter this fight after arguably their career best performances earlier this year, which were both brutal battles.

Alvarado, 33, avenged an October 2012 loss to Brandon Rios in March by defeating “Bam Bam” after 12 enthralling rounds to claim the belt he now possesses. Provodnikov, 29, inflicted a great deal of punishment upon Timothy Bradley during their WBO welterweight title fight, also in March, but despite pushing “Desert Storm” all the way (and knocking him down in the 12th round), the Russian lost a unanimous decision.

If a fighter employs the right tactics during a fight against a dangerous opponent (Danny Garcia-Lucas Matthysse and Timothy Bradley-Juan Manuel Marquez being two recent examples), a fighter will reap the benefits.

To my eyes, Alvarado is technically more gifted than his Russian foe and if “Mile High” sticks to a gameplan he could well outbox Provodnikov over 12 rounds. Alvarado can also give it some when required and he may just test Provodnikov’s resolve at critical points during the fight.
But, those gruelling affairs Alvarado had with Rios may have taken their toll on him, leaving dinner served on a plate for the “Siberian Rocky” to devour. However, is Provodnikov as dangerous as the Bradley fight suggests, because if Alvarado does stick to his boxing will he come unstuck. The Russian is predominantly a slugger, but he may need to show us a bit more to his game on the night.

My Prediction:

For me, Provodnikov needs to stay as busy as possible throughout the contest, keeping the pressure on constantly and not allowing Alvarado to get into any sort of rhythm. Both fighters have shown they have tons of heart in previous fights, and I expect both to show a great deal of heart when they collide. This may come down who wants to win the most. I don’t expect either fighter to give in one bit, but I expect the Man with the right tactics to get the job done. It’s a tough fight to call, it really is, but I’m picking Alvarado to beat Provodnikov via unanimous decision.

A win here for either Alvarado or Provodnikov and their stock would rise, putting them in a better position to challenge the cream of the crop in the division.

COTTO CRUSHES RODRIGUEZ IN 3!

ImageMiguel Cotto was ruthless and devastating on October 5. Those who were in attendance at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, witnessed the Puerto Rican produce a highly motivated performance, dismantling, Delvin Rodriguez, in just three rounds. 

Cotto, 32, was aggressive and sharp from the opening bell, cutting the ring off and attacking Rodriguez’s body ferociously with a key punch that served him well in his heydey; the left hook. The Puerto Rican, however, showed us on the night that he was not quite washed up yet, with more left in the tank.

Rodriguez, 33, of the Dominican Republic, is not considered a real World title contender but he is no easy target either. Against Cotto, though, he was bullied about the place and looked out of his depth. He just could not cope with the incoming and was unable to deter the Puerto Rican.

Late in the 2nd round, Cotto landed an overhand right followed by a left hook that startled Rodriguez. Just 18 seconds into the 3rd, Cotto set up a right hand downstairs followed by a punishing left hook upstairs that decked Rodriguez. Referee, Frank Santore Jr, then waved the fight off. Some believe Santore Jr stopped the fight prematurely, but Rodriguez really was taking a beating. Cotto improved to 38(31)-4-0 following this win, whilst Rodriguez suffered the seventh loss of his career. His record now stands at 28(16)-7-3.

Not taking anything away from that Cotto performance, as he looked great, but it was against a fighter that was not on his level. I don’t think we should get too carried away, because it’s tough to examine how good this Cotto is until we see him against a top fighter that can really fire back. The Puerto Rican should be aiming to build upon this victory as soon as possible.

Cotto has intentions to become the first Puerto Rican fighter to win four World titles in four weight divisions, so a mega-fight with Argentinian, Sergio Martinez, makes the most sense for him next.

David “Lionheart” Leo claims victory on pro debut!

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A mixed feeling of nerves and excitement ran through Leo’s body ahead of making his professional debut. As the time approached for him to make his way from the dressing room to the ring on fight night, he felt more of a sense of expectation; that all his hard work would pay off.

When you dedicate yourself to something and make sacrifices you are rewarded. Leo’s reward was having his hand raised as the winner after four rounds of boxing. His face was a picture of delight.

Leo’s debut was at the Colosseam in Watford on October 5. His opponent, 38-year-old, Graham Fearn, of York had a record of 5(1)-15-2 going into the contest. Fearn’s tricky style meant that he was tough to pin down. He used a lot of side-to-side movement on the backfoot and had a few tricks up his sleeve too.

Despite this, Leo cut off the ring very well and when he threw the overhand right it landed practically every time.
The Hertfordshire man’s confidence grew as the rounds passed by. He was moving his head constantly, stepping in with his jab much more (and his punches), and he showed better punch variety also.

Fearn was a perfect opponent for Leo to face on his debut. It was a great learning fight and he can take away penty of positives from his performance.

Leo already has a fan-friendly style, but he has promised so much more in his next fight; throwing bombs, solid combinations and non-stop pressure. He wants to make boxing great to watch and we certainly welcome that.

MITCHELL HAMMERS LOPEZ!

ImageRomford’s. Kevin Mitchell, showcased his skills at London’s O2 arena on October 5, breaking down Mexican, Marco Lopez, over six rounds to claim the IBF Inter-Continental lightweight title.

Mitchell, 28, looked first-class on the night, maintaining such a sharp focus throughout and picking his shots so effectively. From the opening bell, you could tell what sort of mood ‘The Hammer’ was in. He was never in a rush and went about his business in an assured manner. Mitchell’s left hooks to the body and left uppercuts were key shots; finding the target practically every single time he threw them. Lopez was clearly not in the same league as Mitchell, but he showed a Mexican’s heart and did not want to quit, despite having to absorb so much punishment.

In round 3, the Mexican’s nose became bloody after Mitchell hammered home a straight right hand. In the 4th, Mitchell countered with a solid left hand which rocked Lopez. The Mexican’s defenses were becoming incresingly scattered. Another brutal left hand landed downstairs which forced Lopez to take a knee. To his credit, he rose to his feet at the count of seven, but he was having serious problems dealing with everything Mitchell was throwing at him. Again, in the 5th round, Lopez had to be commended for battling on, but he was looking more and more ragged.

Mitchell finally got his just deserts for the way he performed after landing a stunning right-left combo to send the Mexican down for a second time. Lopez got up at eight, but the referee took one look at him and waved off the fight. Mitchell improved to 35(25)-2-0 with this victory, whilst Lopez slipped to 23(14)-3-0.

This was Mitchell’s second comeback fight since September 2012 when he lost to WBO lightweight champion, Ricky Burns. The way Mitchell performed against Lopez signalled a real statement of intent. He’s a rejuvenated fighter now, is back fighting regularly and looks much happier within himself. There’s a real air of confidence surrounding him.

A little dust up with Commonwealth lightweight title-holder, Derry Mathews, would show us where Mitchell is at. That’s a fight that Mitchell wants and it could very well happen this December. It’s a fight us fans are salivating over!

JOSHUA’S DEMOLITION JOB!

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Anthony Joshua MBE, started life as a professional boxer in spectacular fashion, by demolishing Italian, Emanuele Leo, inside one round at London’s O2 arena on October 5.

Joshua, 23, was very focused and relaxed for as long as the contest lasted, working off a solid jab and firing home straight 1-2’s down the middle; catching the Italian almost at will.

Leo, 32, was fighting outside of Italy for the first time and was unbeaten in eight pro fights before meeting Joshua. The Italian was game and tough, but was just no match for the Watford man. Joshua showed a ruthless streak that will serve him well in the pro game. With 0:15 of the 1st round remaining, Joshua landed a devastating right hand that Leo was never going to recover from. What an explosive way to introduce yourself on the scene.

The Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist, at last year’s London games, was delighted with the way his pro debut went. He could not have asked for a better start to life as a pro boxer, but knows it is the start of a long journey. He refuses to get carried away, but it is something he can now build on.

As far as professional debuts go, that was an excellent start. He did not look nervous or freeze. He’s a real intimidating, physical specimen at 6’6″ and he’s got power in that right hand. He’s got a great team behind him too and his trainer, Tony Sims, is one of the best trainers in the game.

These are exciting times to be a Joshua fan, but we all know he’s just dipped his feet in the shallow end of the pool. We should keep faith in him, though, because the pieces of the jigsaw are layed out; they just need to be carefully pieced together.

CAMPBELL OVERWHELMS HEPPER IN ONE!

ImageHull’s, Luke Campbell MBE, made it back to back 1st round wins after he overwhelmed Darlington’s, Neil Hepper, in one round at London’s O2 arena on October 5.

Campbell, now 2(2)-0-0, made his pro debut in July in his home city of Hull and he made another statement at the O2 arena. He started a bit too eager early doors and was tagged a few times, but it did not take him long to find his range. Campbell, 26, landed a left hand to Hepper’s body which sent him down on to the canvas, but replays showed that although the shot landed both boxers feet became tangled. This caused Hepper to lose his balance and go over, but he was absolutely fine to continue after receiving a standing eight count.

Not long after that, Campbell landed a vicious right hand to Hepper’s temple which scrambled his senses. Campbell followed up with a venomous left hand to the solar plexus which took everything out of Hepper, causing him to hit the canvas in some distress. The Darlington man was unable to beat the count and the referee waved off the fight with 1:59 of the round having elapsed. With that defeat, Hepper slips to 5(0)-3-0.

Campbell most certainly has a vicious streak in him, but he also has great boxing ability and has now claimed two impressive 1st round victories. It’s to get carried away, but a dose of reality is needed. He blew away two opponents in no time at all, but you can’t help but be impressed. You can only beat what’s put in front of you and that was only his second pro fight. Campbell has shown great accuracy and gets full range on his punches. He has long arms and he’s got power in both hands. He gets in and out of range very well, but we saw him become a little too eager very early on and was clipped a few times. That’s no real problem, though, because it’s good for him to get hit. He’s able to dish it out but he needs to take a few too. He got the job done at the end of the day and there’s always things to work on back in the gym when you look back over a fight.

The 2012 Olympic gold medallist looks a very switched on individual, highly confident and smart. He believes he is competing in the most exciting weight division (lightweight) in Britain, with plenty of good fighters out there for him to face over time. He’s taking it one fight at a time and learning as he goes.

Campbell wants to excite the fans and that’s exactly what he’s doing.

CRAWFORD CRUISES PAST KLIMOV!

ImageTerence “Bud” Crawford improved to 22(16)-0-0 on October 5, after dominating Russian, Andrey Klimov, over 10 rounds at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.

Crawford, 26, demonstrated superior reflexes, hand speed and footwork from the off, countering Klimov with a variety of shots to head and body. It was a very relaxed and controlled start from Omaha native; the pace suited him as the 31-year-old Russian was unable to land anything of significance. During the 2nd round, Crawford switched to a southpaw stance, which was a clear sign of how confident he felt. Klimov, who was unbeaten going in to the fight, was reluctant to throw anything, but you could clearly see that he was struggling. Crawford still fought as a southpaw during the 4th, which his corner may have instructed him to do as that stance caused Klimov so many problems. “Bud” stepped it up a gear gradually and also stepped in with his punches more too. There was a bemused look on the Russian’s face as he went back to his corner after the 4th round had ended.

Klimov’s slow hands and feet were apparent and he wasn’t committing at all. A few fans were booing as you sensed they wanted more urgency from Crawford, but you got the impression that he did not want to take many risks. Crawford still controlled the contest throughout, though, claiming center ring and beating Klimov to the punch. The Russian was beginning to show signs of frustration. There was more intent coming from Crawford in the 7th, as he was going through the gears. His left hand landed to Klimov’s body often, which was a shot that hurt Klimov most. You got the sense that Crawford would get the job done, but he then seemed to take his foot off the gas late in the fight. Crawford coasted the final round and was awarded a comprehensive points decision, with all three judges’ scoring the contest in his favour 100-90. Klimov slipped to 16(8)-1-0 after this defeat.

Some critics say that Crawford may not have gained many fans after this performance, but to me he displayed sound technical boxing ability. He has many weapons in his armoury that will pose many fighters problems. He may not have learnt much (if anything), from facing Klimov, but it’s clear he needs to step up in class and face better opposition at lightweight. He is a very talented boxer.

If Crawford is to face WBO lightweight champion, Ricky Burns, in the near future, my money would be on Crawford to win. I hope that fight happens because it’s a very good matchup.

THE PRIDE OF PUERTO RICO, MIGUEL COTTO, RETURNS!

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MIGUEL COTTO, returns to the ring on October 5, which will see the Puerto Rican star take on Delvin Rodriguez of the Dominican Republic in a 12 round, non-title fight at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.

Cotto 37(30)-4-0, is back with Top Rank Boxing, who initially managed his career. Cotto is now also under the tutelage of Freddie Roach and together they plan to rejuvenate the Puerto Rican’s career; starting with victory over a fighter who aims to wreck their plans.

Outside of the ring, Cotto, 32, is a humble, family man and inside of it he wears his heart on sleeve; a true warrior who we have watched give his all in many memorable fights over the years. He is a legend in many people’s eyes and he has an allegiance of fans all over the World.

This fight against Rodriguez is viewed as a big event, because of who Cotto is and because people are interested in seeing how the Puerto Rican performs. Many feel that Cotto is on the slide, but many feel that he has got something left in the tank.

Cotto has fought for major honours at light-welterweight, welterweight and light middleweight in every fight he has fought in since May 2004. He has had a stellar career and is a former three-weight World champion. He has beaten some big-name fighters in Paulie Malignaggi (UD 12), in ’06, Zab Judah (TKO 11), in ’07, Shane Mosley (UD 12), in ’07 and Antonio Margarito (RTD 9), in a rematch in 2011.

The Puerto Rican has four losses on his résumé too, which came against Antonio Margarito (TKO 11), in ’08, Manny Pacquiao (TKO 12), in ’09, Floyd Mayweather Jr (UD 12), in 2012 and Austin Trout (UD 12), also in 2012. As you can see, Cotto has only lost to fighters at the very top of the spectrum.

Rodriguez 28(16)-6-3, is aiming to spoil Cotto’s return and in the process make a name for himself. A win could ignite his own career. Timing is a word that pops up every so often in boxing; for Rodriguez, the timing of this fight could be perfect for him.

Unfortunately for Rodriguez, 33, he will never become a serious threat at the very top, but he is an honest, hardy competitor. He has lost to the likes of Jesse Feliciano (TKO 8), in ’07, Isaac Hlatshwayo (SD 12), in ’09, Rafal Jackiewicz (UD 12), in ’09, Ashley Theophane (MD 10), in 2010 and Austin Trout (UD 12) in 2012. Whenever Rodriguez has stepped up in class, he has come up short.

Prediction:

Now, this is not a prime Cotto coming into this fight, but on paper, he beats Rodriguez all day long. However, we know that fights are not won on paper.
Cotto is not a natural light middleweight (which I believe is the weight that this fight is being fought at), whilst Rodriguez is a natural 154lber.
In the past, Cotto has done very well against taller opponents and against opponents of Rodriguez’s calibre, so I expect Cotto to come at Rodriguez.

Rodriguez will need space to work, because if the fight is fought at close quarters that is Cotto’s territory.
I do not think Rodriguez has the power or skillset to really trouble Cotto, but again, this is not a prime Cotto we are talking about here.
I do think though that Cotto’s left hook will be a key weapon in this fight, so look for him to slip Rodriguez’s right hand when he throws it; landing left hooks to the body. If Cotto lands it at will, I can see him beating Rodriguez inside the distance.

The safe bet here is for Cotto to win via unanimous decision and that’s what I’m going for.

Cotto UD

A black eye for boxing as Chavez Jr gets the nod over Vera!

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You know when you have that bitter taste in your mouth after you’ve consumed something? Well, that’s the unpleasant feeling I, and many others had after the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr-Brian Vera scorecards were read out.

The vast majority who watched the fight at the StubHub Center in Carson, and at home, on September 28, believed Vera had won.
Chavez Jr was awarded the unanimous decision with scores of 98-92, 96-94, 97-93, after 10 rounds of boxing.
Nowadays, we shouldn’t be shocked when dubious scorecards are read out.

Vera, 31, took the fight to the Mexican from the off; stepping in with his jab to set up his ammunition. The Texan set a very high work rate throughout, throwing more punches than Chavez Jr overall, but connected with fewer shots.
Vera also threw more power punches than Chavez Jr and landed more.

Chavez Jr, 27, practically fought on the back foot for the entire fight, winding up his shots rather than throwing punches in bunches. The Mexican landed some eye-catching shots to head and body, but they were single scoring shots more than anything else.
Whenever Chavez Jr landed something of note, Vera merely smiled back at him as if to say; “Is that all you got?!”.
Vera did, however, acknowledge Chavez a couple of times whenever the Mexican got off with some good shots.

Vera was momentarily buzzed on occasion and rocked on another, but he showed a solid chin and kept plugging away. After the final bell, Vera raised his hands up in the air, cheering confidently, believing he had got the better of Chavez Jr.

Chavez Jr moves to 47(32)-1-1, whilst Vera slips to 23(14)-7-0.

This was arguable Vera’s most impressive career performance.
He looked like a man full of confidence and his game plan won him the fight in many people’s eyes.