(February 18th) While Long Island has had its share of dreams and boxing prospects, Bellport has its latest. While many new boxers talk about the major transition from the amateurs to the pro ranks, a large contingent of the newcomers often make a point of all the sacrifices they have to make, but Bellport, Long Islands Alex “El Toro” Vargas sees it in a different light.
Just like the mainstream of the sports participants, absent a top echelon Mayweather / Andre Ward styled contract the 23-year-old fighting social worker, doesn’t see it that way. Diving in head first and taking it well beyond just keeping fit, training correctly and living healthily, it’s only after weeks of eight-hour days at the office, the added pressure of selling tickets, self-promotion, travelling to and from training and missing out on time with friends and family as large as an endeavor it is breaking into the paid ranks, already meeting his early challenge of the longer and additional rounds, still adjusting to pro-styled scoring Vargas not seeing it as a “sacrifice” but as a privilege gets to do what he truly loves, Fight!
Taking that first giant step winning his pro-debut with a crowd pleasing four round shut out unanimous decision on Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing “Rockin Fights 32” card September 21st, just six weeks later Alex taking a second incremental step towards his dream returned to the Paramount, November 30th and showing the character of a seasoned veteran got up from an early push / punch trip to the canvas immediately jumping up and back into his fight re-taking control recording his second pro win an authoritative four round points win over Rochester, New York former amateur standout Jarrill “Birdman” Haadi.
The very focused still green, 2-0 Bellport, welterweight driven by an almost life-long dream willfully dealing with all the chores involved, turning what most would see as obstacles into an enjoyable challenge, just as he did college opens 2019 this Friday, February 22nd when he faces Silver Spring, Maryland eight bout veteran Benjamin Borteye on Star Boxing’s “Rockin Fight’s 34” card at the Paramount in Huntington.
When asked to call for a result or make a prediction for his upcoming bout the very confident but sheepishly modest prospect declared “while it would be nice to get a stoppage, a win is a win. Now it’s all about gaining experience in a positive way, learning on the job and taking it back to the and build. As far as Friday night’s fight, I see it as the next step in a steep flight of stairs and each one becoming a momentary measure of my quest and dream of fighting for my ultimate goal winning a world title.
Turned on to boxing by his father Mike Vargas at age six, “El Toro” trained by Havoc’s Andre Rozier along with his pops is managed by Long Island-based fight promoter Nick Garone. As the pre-fight most of the preparation comes to a close the confident Cortland University graduate insists, he won’t be fazed Friday night when he takes on the far more experienced Borteye in just his third professional fight.
“Rockin Fights 34” headed by a ten round cruiserweight showdown between Belgium’s power punching Joel Tambwe Djeko and Roma, Italy’s once beaten Simone “Tyson” Federici will see the return of Huntington’s all action super lightweight Johnny “Hitman” Hernandez taking on Waco, Texas, upset minded Marquis Hawthorne in the eight round co-feature.
By: Coach K
(September 19th) About seventeen years ago you could have found Bellport, Long Island’s now 23-year-old, Alex Vargas at any one of local boxing clubs eagerly working on his new-found love boxing.
Turned to boxing by his father Mike Vargas at age six, Alex very early on imagined and dreamt about fighting for a world title. Closely guided by his inspiration father / coach, Alex from the very start was taught to be able to adapt and fight different ways.
Staying busy working several minor jobs, while lettering in high school football and wrestling, the “gym rat” developed his skills through the junior, novice and open amateur ranks winning a New York Junior Olympic and a 2013, 165lb, New York Gold Glove title beating heavily favored Henry Beckford in the finals.
Graduating from Bellport High School near the top of his class later that year, Alex with a keen sense for priorities put his dream on hold enrolling at Suffolk County Community College where after earning an Associate’s Degree he transferred to The State University of New York at Cortland graduating in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in teaching English as a second language.
Pulled back to the gym by his love for the sport Alex genuine a student of the game returned to the boxing grind and amateur ranks ending with a well-earned, 2018 “The Road to MSG” tournament silver medal.
When asked who was his favorite fighter the clean-cut, well rounded, and securely grounded self-described boxer puncher quickly vocalizing his love for “The Sweet Science” and the ability needed to adapt named Vasyl “High Tech” Lomachenko as one of his favorites noting he’s a southpaw and very technical fighter. That said: just seconds later Alex was very emphatic declaring “Iron” Mike Tyson as his all-time favorite.
Now seventeen years since beginning his dream “El Toro”, currently working full time for the Department of Social Services having never entirely taken his eye off his dream, trained by Willie Vargas (no relation), Dave Fleming and yes his inspiration and pops Mike Vargas, being managed by Long Island-based fight promoter Nick Garone and will make his pro-debut this Friday, September 23rd on the undercard of Joe Deguardia’s popular Star Boxing “Rockin Fights” series at the Paramount in Huntington, Long Island.
In describing his style the shy but confident young fighter quickly replied, “I like to box but if necessary I can brawl. I love the “Sweet Science” but I do enjoy mixing it up and giving the fans a good fight. I’ve been working with my dad and trainers adjusting to the pro rules and expectations over the last couple of months and feel very comfortable taking this next step.”
In a battle of southpaws “El Toro” makes his pro debut against Philadelphia’s Derron Lawson who comes in off a majority decision loss to Vargas good friend Johnathan Arroyo last March.
By: Coach K
September 15th, T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada: In the main event of a Golden Boy promoted canelo / Golovkin “Final Judgement” rematch LIVE on HBO PPV Guadalajara, Mexico’s, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez claimed the IBO/WBA/WBC World Middleweight Titles with a highly provocative “The Song Remains the Same” twelve round majority decision over LA based previously unbeaten Kazakhstani Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.
Following bogus the scoring of the first fight, two positive ped tests and a slap on the wrist 6-month suspension and a hype filled year of unaccountability the 28-year-old former WBC / WBA Light and WBC / WBO Light Middleweight Champion Alvarez alive on a contentious 118-110 score card by Las Vegas Judge Adalaide Byrd appearing to be fighting a pundit called fight plan once again gained the call of many very closely contest rounds in which Golovkin throwing and landing more punches finishing hard where Golovkin’s consistent jab and final three round power punching push rocking Canelo in the tenth, hammering him with jabs, and bilateral power shots in the eleventh.
Gololvkin opened up cracking Canelo’s head back a solid right hand in the twelfth and final round.
Canelo again caught coming forward takes an Golovkin uppercut with the champion landing another clean one to close and take the round.
Yes, Alvarez answered the pundits calls for a sustained body attack but it was GGG who closed hard clearly winning the final three rounds. What better way to end a performance-enhancing drug scandal than with another controversial serving decision.
No question both fights were great and this one stepped up but one fighter pleasing the presses insights or mandates does not make a legitimate pro sports scoring. Sure, it was a fantastic fight but boxing again in its unique decades old manner staying with the status quo rewarding the “Golden Goose” along with its out of control weigh-ins may have just used attractive and fan pleasing to moved one step closer to the WWE. Yes, the WWE where familiar names are matched to create gates and the almighty dollar controls the day.
Always one to stay grounded and reading reports like USA Today’s 115-113 Golovkin Last 3 rounds for Golovkin, ESPN’s 114-114 draw giving Alvarez last round, Forbes 115-113 for GGG with the last three rounds for Golovkin. CBS Sports had it 116-112 Golovkin- last three rounds GGG. MMA Fighting scored it 114 -114 Alvarez giving last round to Alvarez, Bad Left Hook saw it 114-114 giving the last round Canelo. SB Nation having Golovkin the victor winning last three rounds. Then there is Bloody Elbow scoring it 115-113 for Golovkin with GGG winning the last round. The Washington Post marked it 115-113 for GGG with Golovkin winning last three rounds. ESPN.com had it 115-113 for Canelo despite giving last three rounds to Golovkin while ESPN’s own Dan Raphael had it 114-114 with Golovkin winning the last round. Here at SBB we could go on but I will leave it with WBN scoring it 115-113 in favor of GGG only to see Avon, Connecticut, Judge Glenn Feldman giving last four rounds to GGG score it 114-114. River Vale, New Jersey, Judge Steve Weisfeld scoring it 115-113 for Canelo following the Canelo trend had the last round for Alvarez. But not last but not least NEVADA Judge Dave Moretti, yes Moretti from the first fight gave last round to Canelo and had it 115-113 for Alvarez. Maybe I am just a simpleton but after the first sham controversial decision in which Nevada state judge Adalaide Byrd, absurdly scored it 118-110 for Canelo why not three totally different judges?
Canelo moves to 50-1-2, 34Ko’s while the completely discouraged Golovkin suffering his first loss slips 38-1-1, 34Ko’s
In a mutual showing of respect Golovkin and Alvarez immediately hugged after the fight and GGG’s leaving the ring right after just means that the 345-5, Olympic Silver Medalist and previously unbeaten champion respects the combatant but again feels cheated and has obviously lost some respect for the sport, he once loved.
Then when pondering why Golovkin was basically forced to accept a 65-35 split for their first fight and a 55-45 cut after most thought he won the first one I guess you could say GGG should have known what he needed to do. But at this time, unaware of any rule changes it seems to me politics and “Golden Goose” status count much more in today’s new WWE styled popularity scoring system. Yes, it was a close fight. Exactly like the first one. Strange thing though standing in front of a mirror right I can honestly say I think GGG’s jab won this fight 115-113 and my fear the sport is that it has found itself in a WWE era where even “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali’s jab may have won him a fight.
Just a shaded bi-product of this provocative call but the Alvarez win leaves Golden Boy Promotions promoter Bernard Hopkins tied with Golovkin for the middleweight record of 20 successful title bouts.
Oh yeah, I’m sure Alvarez who hasn’t lost since dropping a split decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr.in 2013 will be open to a third fight, a “Final Judgement” follow up next year when Golovkin turns 37.
In the co-feature Tijuana, Baja Mexico’s 21-year-old power punching Jaime Munguia made the second successful defense of his WBO World Super Welterweight Title breaking down Ajax, Ontario, Canada’s once beaten “Bad Boy” Brandon Cook in three rounds.
Fighting for the fifth time in 2018, the much taller, stronger Munguia controlling all aspects of the bout quickly turned Cook’s aggressive third round on itself landing clean heavy shots on the game Canadian landing a heavy barrage of shots continuing to the canvas immediately prompting referee Tony Weeks to put a stop to the bout at 1:03 of round three. Munguia improves to 31-0, 26Ko’s while Cook stopped for just the second time falls to 20-2, 13Ko’s.
In a twelve round middleweight elimination bout which should highlight to return to same day weigh-ins Montreal, Quebec, Canada former IBF Middleweight Champion David Lemieux ended weeks of trash talk blasting out Cork, Ireland’s, Gary O’Sullivan in one round.
The former Golovkin victim Lemieux coming in one victory off a World Boxing Organization World Middleweight Title twelve round unanimous decision loss to Billy Joe Saunders the much bigger, power punching Lemieux lets his hands do the talking dropping “Spike” with a huge left hook forcing referee Russell Mora to stop his count and call the bout at 2:44 of round one. Lemieux with his 15lb fight night weight advantage moves to 40-4, 34Ko’s while the game but “Spike” drops to 28-3, 20Ko’s.
In a special attraction ten round super flyweight bout Managua, Nicaragua former WBA Minimumweight, WBA Light Flyweight, WBC Flyweight and Super Flyweight Champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez came crashing back from consecutive losses to ferociously stop Mexico City, Mexico’s former WBO Minimumweight Champion Moises “Moy” Fuentes in five rounds.
Following a first round shake down Gonzalez opened up the pressure punching and landing from both sides landing to the body and head opening a cut around Fuentes’ right eye in round two.
Staying with his patented offense mined attack Gonzalez put Fuentes on his back foot working him t o the ropes in round five following up a set up left hook with a monster right hand dropping Fuentes on his back forcing to immediately wave the bout over at 1:44 of round five. Gonzalez moves to 47-2, 39Ko’s while Fuentes 1-4 in his last five bouts falls to 25-6-1, 14Ko’s
Dallas, Texas 20-year-old amateur standout and heavy handed pro super lightweight Vergil Ortiz Jr, remained perfect banging out Zaragoza, Mexico veteran Roberto “Massa” Ortiz in two rounds. Vergil Ortiz Jr. catching “Massa” with a loaded right early in round two was quick to demonstrate his finishing touch immediately going back on the attack putting “Massa” for on a knee a forcing referee Vic Drackulich to step in and stop the fight at 1:03 of round two. Vergil Ortiz Jr improves to 11-0, 11Ko’s while “Massa” Roberto Ortiz winless in his last four falls to 35-4-2, 26Ko’s.
In an eight-round battle of southpaw welterweights Santa Anna, California’s 21-year-old Alexis “Lex” Rocha scored a unanimous decision win over Zaragoza, Mexico’s 34-year-old Carlos Ortiz Cervantes.
The sharper quicker punching Rocha used some clean combination punching to grab an early lead, opening a cut over Cervantes right eye mixing in a solid body attack earning a well-deserved 79-73, 80-72 times two unanimous decision win. Rocha stays unbeaten at 12-0, 8Ko’s while Cervantes suffering his second straight defeat dips to 11-3, 11Ko’s.
In a battle of unbeaten super middleweight’s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, based Georgian Jaba Khositashvili scored six round points win over San Bernardino, California’s 21-year-old, southpaw, Lawrence “Dawg” King. The 28-year-old, Georgian zeroing his right hand early landing the cleaner harder punches stayed on the attack to score a more convincing than scored 58-56 times three unanimous decision win. Khositashvili advances to 4-0, 2Ko’s while King suffering his first loss slips to 4-1, 3Ko’s.
In six round welterweight action New York’s Brian Ceballo remained unbeaten stopping Orange, Texas, David “Terminator” Thomas in two rounds. Ceballo the much more skilled fighter in charge from the opening sound flooring the “Terminator” twice in round one continued the punishment in round two exhorting referee Jay Nady to stop the punishment at 0:34 of round two. Ceballo improves to 5-0, 2Ko’s as Thomas winless in his last four drops to 6-4-1, 2Ko’s.
By: Coach K (StrictlyBusinessBoxing.com)
(September 14th) When HBO first announced Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin one it was the most highly anticipated middleweight bouts in some time. It is since that date (September 16th, 2017) after the first go around was marred by some suspicious Las Vegas scoring that the pair were set square off a rematch set for May 5th only to be crushed when the younger Alvarez would twice test positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol.
Then with Canelo taking no personal responsibility for the positive test, claiming it was the result of ingesting some “tainted beef” and receiving just a six-month suspension by the Nevada Boxing Commission, the Golden Boy Promotions “golden goose” still allowed to continue to train you now had a guy who averaging a fight once every three months (52 times in 156 months since 2005) found to be taking performance enhancing drugs getting the benefit of a suspect draw and an even more suspect slap on the wrist suspension be rewarded with the most lucrative fight of his career.
Now with the 28-year-old Canelo, 49-1-2, 34Ko’s hungry to avenge the sham draw and attempting recoup his reputation the question is does it make him a more dangerous or vulnerable fighter this time around.
Golovkin having won the first match in the eyes of most ringside, the power punching beast biggest adversary may be father time making the suspension and now one-year period between the bouts a benefit for Canelo.
Turning pro at age 15 the red headed Alvarez winning his first title over a blown-up Matthew Hatton March 5th, 2011. Running his record to 42-0-1 before being outclassed by Floyd Mayweather September 14th, 2013.
Rebounding with a March 8th 2014, tenth round knockout of Alfredo Angulo and a controversial points win over Erislandy Lara later that year and adding a third-round stoppage of an undisciplined James Kirkland the once beaten Canelo closed out 2015 with a twelve round points win over an aging and worn Miguel Cotto.
Feverishly growing in popularity, red headed “phenom” notching a pair of 2016 KO wins blowing out the much smaller and moving up Amir Khan in six and Liam Smith in nine rounds Canelo parlayed his only appearance in 160lb division into a May 6th, 2017 one sided twelve round unanimous decision win over Mexican rival Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. into the now infamous September 16th, 2017 title shot at unbeaten IBF/IBO/WBA and WBC Middleweight Champion Golovkin.
Following the drama and skepticism of the first bout and a second round of prolonged contentious negotiations in which Canelo was treated as if he were the champion or “A” side there is still a long list of questions left to be answered in this rematch.
This Saturday night Alvarez forced to face his own demons brought on by the first fight scoring debacle and follow up “Clenelo” PED scandal it is the eight-year younger Golden Boy Promotions cash cow who has some very over bearing questions to be answered. It is in those questions I see the “naturally” bigger, stronger Golovkin’s mental toughness that will level Canelo’s substantial youth advantage.
It was Golovkin the boxer who clearly won in the first fight. Just because you don’t bounce on your toes from post to post doesn’t mean you’re not boxing. This time around I see Canelo attempting to start strong again but this time “GGG” the one of the two who really wants to fight “GGG” starts faster
taking control of the center of the ring and come forward cutting off the ring breaking the slough footed Mexican’s timing with a constant accurate jab and unrelenting pressure forcing Canelo into a first fight resembling “boxing” retreat taking away Canelo’s first fight early edge incrementally building the pressure methodically depleting Canelos first fight late surge.
Understanding what’s on the line Canelo will certainly make some adjustments and undoubtedly have his moments but this time “GGG’s” vast Olympic experience will showcase the better technician making subtle but more influential adjustments going to the young Mexicans body more in this fight tiring and breaking him down to a possible Matthew Macklin moment.
In the end once again faced with Golovkin’s granite chin march backed by his usual volume attack the “you are only as old as you feel” Champion wins the war of wills out throwing and landing Canelo.
Very wary of Golovkin’s power when successful the stop and punch Canelo once again will not follow up and even worse at times will answer with wild open swings ultimately allowing him to be countered and forced to the ropes for a battle of contrasting “best punches” in which GGG’s much heavier right hand wins out over Canelo’s fatiguing left hook ending this middleweight title “beef” with GGG still the reigning undefeated middleweight champ.
The 36-year-old Golovkin, 36-0-1, 34Ko’s a highly decorated amateur compiling a record of 345-5 winning numerous world amateur titles including a Silver Medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece turning pro at age 24 in 2006 running off nineteen straight wins, sixteen inside the distance claimed the World Boxing Association World Middleweight Title December 16th, 2010 stopping Nilson Julio Tapia in three rounds. Adding title defense KO wins over Kassim Ouma, Lajuan Simon and Makoto Fuchigami “GGG” arrived on U.S. soil six years ago making his HBO cable television “drama show” debut running his KO streak to eleven stopping Grzegorz Proksa in five.
Always a shining an ambassador for the sport Golovkin continuing his heavy-handed ways recording KO wins over Gabriel Rosado, Nobuhiro Ishida, Matthew Macklin, Curtis Stevens, Osumanu Adama, Daniel Geale, Marco Antonio Rubio, Martin Murray, Willie Monroe Jr, David Lemieux, Dominic Wade’ and Kell Brook it would be almost nine years until the Kazakhstani assassin would be forced to go the full tilt scoring a twelve round unanimous decision over Brooklyn, New York “Miracle Man” Danny Jacobs March 18th, 2017 leading us into to the now nefarious September 16th, 2017 Canelo scoring debacle draw.
Reflecting his customary professional, efficient in the ring success, Golovkin always a man of high social class with consistent public persona outside would slip a bit after an Oscar De La Hoya fake news rant stating Golovkin demanded no national anthems to be played before the fight revealing a new mean nasty spirited dark side of GGG ahead of this Saturday’s Golden Boy Promotion soap-opera / WWE styled “drama show”.
At the final fight presser WBA and WBC World Middleweight Champion Gennady Golovkin was quoted telling BBC Sport, “If you are a real guy, a real fan, you want clean sport”.
In reference to the doping incident Canelo was quick to quip “People suggest in their own heads but I am preparing like always. You will see the same Canelo, same muscles, same size, same speed, same everything.”
Expecting both fighters to be at their best in the end no matter who wins this fight, no fighter or fight, should ever become bigger than the sport itself. In the case of the PED use when you consider the safety of the sport and all involved. You MUST realize as attractive as this rematch is, it should not be happening. Just like the NFL’s mis-handling of the National Anthem black eye, boxing having the chance to make a solid against illegal drug use stand they blew it again. GGG should looking to other big names and Canelo should still be suspended living with the shadow HE created.
Prediction: Noting the facts above I see the fight following familiar path and the new meaner GGG taking it out of the judges’ hands in the second half.
(October 10th) Uniquely aware that sports and in specific terms boxing careers don’t last forever, pro boxer and former WBC International Light Heavyweight Champion Joe “The Beast” Smith Jr. gives us some input on his future plans.
Recovering from an in the ring injury Smith Jr. has joined with his father, Joe Sr. building a full-scale tree service on Long Island. While some pro athletes wait until retirement, the twenty-eight-year-old Mastic/Shirley resident, also a laborer with Local 66 has not hung up his gloves but like he does in training, he is planning ahead.
(Rob Smith, Joe Smith Sr and “The Beast” Joe Smith Jr)
Promoted by Joe Deguardia’s Star Boxing Smith, 23-2, 19Ko’s as a pro, holding knockout wins over Andrzej Fonfara and future Hall of Famer Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, Smith is currently recovering from surgery after having battled the final nine rounds of his July 15th ten round unanimous decision loss to Cuban power puncher Sullivan Barrera, LIVE on HBO Smith Jr. has turned his attention to knocking down trees.
Familiar with the fact many pro athletes, in particular boxers end up broke, either during or shortly after the end of their careers the young fighter/businessman has taken a major entrepreneurial step joining his father in establishing TEAM SMITH TREE SERVICE.
Trained by Gerry and Phil Capobiano, the former amateur standout, turning pro in 2009 quickly gained the moniker “The Beast” for his all-in training regiment and his workman like ring performances. here’s what “The Beast” had this to say about his new enterprise. “Business and boxing are a lot alike. They’re both extremely demanding, competitive and require an exhaustive, full-on amount of effort and attention to detail.”
On turning his attention to knocking down trees instead of opponents, Smith made it perfectly clear he fully intends to bring the same passion, tenacity and power to his new business that he does to the ring. A vision concisely evident by his new business motto, “Call Us Last: “WE Knockout the Competition” one by the way parallels his boxing career.
Continuing his non-boxing training (running and calisthenics) while awaiting full medical clearance Smith Jr. says he expects to be back into full boxing mode in the upcoming months following a recommended dental surgery.
In closing “Smith quickly clarified his current boxing vision declaring: “First I have to give full credit to Barrera for his victory but I’m fully focused on introducing him to the “Real Beast”.
(July 24th) Saturday night, July 15th, Mastic/Shirley New York former WBC International Light Heavyweight Champion Joe Smith Jr. boldly faced once beaten Sullivan Barrera on HBO’s Boxing After Dark. Amongst all the criticism after the bout it was diagnosed for the second time in his young career with a broken jaw.
With Shenandoah National Park Ranger Roy Cleveland Sullivan holds the Guinness Book of Records for being hit by lightning seven times in boxing the idiom “Lightning Never Strikes Twice” took another hit. The second “lightning strike” came Saturday night July 15th at the Forum, Inglewood, California, when after flooring challenger Sullivan Barrera in round one the 27-year-old power punching Smith Jr. trained and managed by the “Fighting” Capobianco’s was forced to battle on with was later diagnosed as a fractured jaw. First detected at UCLA Medical Center on the west coast, Smith returning home would have his jaw wired at Stony Brook University Hospital near his home. This would be the second time the valiant warrior Smith battled under such conditions.
While broken jaws are uncommon, nothing new to boxing. You can go back to English bare-knuckle champion Tom Cribb’s breaking of former US slave and American’s real first world champion Tom Molineaux’s jaw in their savage contest back in 1811 through Muhammad Ali’s 1973 highly glorified broken jaw battle with Ken Norton and one thing is certain facing such an adversity is not just a sign of courage but gives us a snapshot into the mindset of the fighter and his team.
As many of the Monday morning quarterbacks have criticized Smith Jr.’s corner for not stopping the fight, I see it much differently. Let’s look at some of the facts. Smith a distinguished amateur beginning with numerous, junior, novice and open titles going on to win two New York Golden Glove titles turned pro in 2009. Winning his first six bouts all coming by KO Smith would face his first real adversity amateur or pro August 7th, 2010 in just his seventh pro fight facing Lawrence, Massachusetts, Eddie “Thunder” Caminero, the new pro battled four rounds with was post-fight diagnosed as multiple jaw fractures.
Returning to action eleven months later, winning his next fifteen, eleven of those victories coming inside the distance against an increasing level of competition including Otis Griffin, Michael Gbenga, Cory Cummings and Will Rosinsky. The old school fighting Irishman would go onto make the most of of his biggest opportunity June 18th, 2016 stopping former WNC Light Heavyweight challenger Andrzej Fonfara in one round.
Readily excepting his next challenge, four months later Smith would again make the most of an opportunity launching Philadelphia boxing methuselah and future Hall of Hamer Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins out of the ring and into retirement in eight rounds. Smith labeled the “Common Man” by Hopkins before their bout, Smith continuing his fight anyone, anywhere attitude unhesitatingly excepted the fight to face once beaten Barrera.
Putting aside the rumors of a bruised jaw in his last sparring session prior to the fight, when you consider that at no time did the young talent ask for or show any open display of wanting the fight stopped.
A throwback fighter in search a world title, Smith understanding his position going into the fight made a personal choice to continue. In fact, after the contest the young “Irishman” immediately went onto praise his team for their judgement and support.
To understand this further if you have to consider the fact the heavy-handed Irishman always armed with a one punch solution thoroughly understood his chances and possible consequences having been in this position before. Whether it was potential for further injury or more important to him the fact that the fight being stopped at this juncture of his career with the potential of a meeting for the winner to face former WBC World Champion Sergey Kovalev in November on the line a stoppage loss would severely handicap the young boxer/puncher in his world championship bid.
Now having the advantage of hindsight and no further damage having been done and Smith now recovering from the second surgical procedure on his jaw I think it should be perfectly clear to any and all Team Smith doubters fully knowing the consequences and odds the choice they made to fight on was the right one. After all, in today’s hide and seek, protect the zero-boxing mentality who knows when the next opportunity, if any would come. To me Smith and his team not only made the right decision but in my mind made a choice consistent with his let’s fight mentality.
Knowing Smith since he was a young teen and having witnessed his steady progression as a fighter, specifically his skills as a boxer since coming under the tutelage of a pair former fighters Phil and Gerry Capobianco. To me it is clear to see the confidence and self-assurance Smith has not only in his punch but the years of boxing awareness and expertise they bring both in and out of the ring. It is that along with a genuine and almost parental care about their charge that I think allows Smith the fighter to clearly look forward and stay focused on the task at hand.
Now 23-2, 19Ko’s the hard working, union backed 27-year-old boxer / laborer, after commending his opponent Barrera for his performance has not shown any sign of regret and remains entirely focused on his recovery and his return to his quest for a world title.
What might that quest entail? Promoted by Joe Deguardia’s Star Boxing, Smith with a five month return prognosis, medically cleared, could return with a potential take the rust off comeback fight around December or early 2018, potentially setting up a financially rewarding long talked about fight against former amateur rival and sparring partner Seanie Monaghan.
Ironically or in the stars Monaghan suffered his first defeat the same night July 15th, to Staten Island 2012 Olympian “Sir” Marcus Browne. That quick plan being just one of many options alone justifies Smith’s desire to continue to battle Saturday night, after all he is the one facing the punches. The Monaghan loss most likely calling for a step back return fight of his own sync’s up two very popular Irishman on a collision course perfectly timed for St Paddy’s Day at Long Island’s newly renovated Nassau Coliseum.
One thing is for sure, Smith no stranger to adversity again proved he is NO ordinary Joe. Admitting after fight that there were moments he contemplated giving in to the increasing pain, quickly cited his corners positive input reinforced and re-energized his desire to continue. It is with that in mind if you consider Smiths current position you could easily draw parallels to the great Irish light heavyweight and future heavyweight champion Gene “The Fighting Marine” Tunney.
I’m not making a comparison of skills, talent or power but of a situation similar to the position Smith found himself against Barrera. On May 23rd, 1922, Tunney in his first and only defeat after having had his nose severely smashed, both eyebrows cut and bleeding from the nose and mouth early in his Light Heavyweight Title challenge of reigning champion Harry Greb, “The Fighting Marine” once verbalized his choice to continue stating: that during that fight he rationalized to himself that if Greb couldn’t finish him off, he would be the better man.
Again, not to make a direct comparison of Smith to Tunney but it is with that same mindset that Tunney would turn that mental victory into a Hall of Fame career going on to face the future Hall of Famer, Greb four more times without a loss, later claiming the World Heavyweight title scoring a ten round unanimous decision over one of the sports most popular champions Jack Dempsey.
Tunney was 25 for the first Greb fight. So, before we jump to conclusions when it comes to Smith, as true boxing fan, I just ask that at this stage of Smith’s promising young career we all just take a deep breath, sit back and watch to see what is this old school tradesman’s next move brings.
By: Coach K Last night May 27th, at the Bramall Lane Football Ground, in Sheffield, Yorkshire, UK, Desoto, Texas, 2012, US Olympian, Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. claimed the IBF World Welterweight title with a hard fought eleventh round knockout of Sheffield’s, Kell “Special K” Brook.
Brook showing the spirit of a true world champion returning from his only defeat, a two-division trip up to challenge 160lb monster Gennady “GGG” Golovkin chose to battle the weight obstacle and return to the 147lb division and defend his IBF title.
It would be after travelling nearly 7,500 miles the 27-year-old, unbeaten southpaw, Spence well deserving of the challenge would quietly but emphatically begin to stake his claim.
In the beginning the soft spoken, but hard hitting, quietly confident Spence persevered early on taking all the champion had to offer. Fighting tough he would continually make subtle but telling adjustments until almost on key when prodded by his corner in round nine he would begin to stalk the champion drawing on the fruits of a relentless body attack and pinpoint combination punching breaking down and tearing up the UK’s “Special One” wearing him down and closing his non-surgical left eye, putting the champion on a knee with a barrage of punches in round ten. Showing the killer instinct to match his skills, Spence continued his up and down two-handed assault and again putting the champion on a knee in round eleven, this time for a referee Howard John Foster full count.
While the 31-year-old, Brook suffering just his second defeat slips to 36-2, 25Ko’s, the world caliber title win moves Spence Jr. to 22-0, 19Ko’s. But more importantly it may have also done boxing a major service. What is that you might say! Well it can finally call out and put an end the much-ballyhooed future circus event between self-proclaimed “Best Ever” Floyd Mayweather and UFC’s, Conor McGregor.
See, after the fight the modest newly crowned, first time world champion finally prodded to give an interview called out Clearwater, Florida’s, WBC World Welterweight and WBA Super World Welterweight Champion Keith “One Time” Thurman. It was then I realized here it is, the perfect opportunity for someone to force the outspoken, self-indulging 49-0 Floyd “Money” Mayweather to finally put his money where his mouth is and finally step into a career defining, risk taking fight and face the real “Truth” for the dubious so called #50 record.
Like luck, greatness can be easily defined as the minute accomplishment is finally made when preparation finally meets opportunity. As I see it, for the last two decades the “A” side, my way or the highway, Las Vegas anchored Mayweather has controlled the opportunity. No more perfect example than his record tying #49 fight “opponent” selection of Andre Berto. Not to be a Berto basher but didn’t he already have losses to prior Mayweather division climbing, $$$$ chasing targets Robert Guerrero and non-descript “Vicious” Victor Ortiz. Plus, to set the record straight 49-0 gets its significance in the heavyweight division. The division where even the most casual fan knows it can all end on a single punch. The fact is outside boxing’s most famed division 49-0 has been surpassed several times.
There is Jimmy Wilde going 93-0-1 to start a career that went 132-3-1. Packey McFarland at 70-0-5, Ricardo López 51-0-1 making 21 title defenses, Willie Pep 62-0 finally losing to future Hall of Famer Sammy Angott and Mexican great Julio Cesar Chavez winning his first 87. Oh, and let’s not forget
Carlos Zarate who at 52-0, 51Ko’s like those just mentioned did not even go into a “first” retirement faced unbeaten future Hall of Famer Wilfredo “Bazooka” Gomez for his first defeat in fight #53.
See the handwriting is on the wall. Spence with his win over Brook, just another one of the names on Floyd’s most avoided list could easily put an end to the possible Mayweather/ McGregor, money / phony record grabbing circus event.
Before you attack me. I’m just the messenger. It wasn’t me who said he was better than Muhammad Ali, or would school unbeaten Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. It wasn’t me who just a week ago before the Gervonta Davis / Liam Walsh fight while Shawn Porter, unbeaten champions Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia, remain out there in WWE fashion called out the Walsh brothers to fight on one night. It was Floyd “Motor Mouth” Mayweather.
So here is one of those potential career defining moments and Mayweather once again has the “opportunity” to finally challenge himself with a true risk-taking test and put aside the McGregor pro-boxing debut, three ring spectacle and face “The Truth”. It would be a resolute challenge, win, lose or draw. One that might even ingratiate even the most soured Mayweather, “Naysayer”. It’s time to put up or shut up!
Today’s Boxing and “The Sweet Science!
By: Coach K – BillyCBoxing.com
Over the very recent months whether in the gym, in the Billy C chatroom or at the fights I have found myself in more and more conversations about boxing as the “sweet science.”
The dialogue usually begins with each participant giving their individual definition of what they see as the “sweet science.” The discussion most times quickly turns to the individuals vocalizing their favorite model. It didn’t take long to realize that most of the new, millennial boxing fans describe the “sweet science” as the best defensive fighter and most offering Floyd Mayweather Jr. as their example. While I firmly believe in the freedom of speech and the right of everyone to have an opinion, I also believe in the old adage, you know the one, about everyone having one and that includes myself.
So, in this case, I think it’s important for the crux of the conversation regarding boxing as the “sweet science” have its roots soundly grounded in some fact, rather than fan fair. Therefore, for the sake of this article and future “sweet science” debates I hope you would do just that and take into consideration the fact that defense is only one part of boxing, particularly when it comes to the sports scoring system.
As the rules apply it’s simple, punches landed is the number one factor in scoring with effective aggressiveness second and ring generalship in an if needed comes in third place.
Continuing on this line, you must face the fact that no matter how crafty or slick a fighter may be, no fight has ever been won on a slipped punch. Even when those “highly skilled defenseman” bob and weave, rock and roll, run, duck, back pedal, their way through a bout, they must land a punch to score, plainly rendering offense the other major ingredient in the synthesis of a fighter’s style and their version of the “sweet science.” I would suggest that it is the unique blend of a boxer’s offensive AND defensive attributes that should be studied when evaluating his or her representation of the “sweet science.”
For example, while Hall of Fame puncher-brawler Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini may well represent a great offensive fighter, but with no disrespect intended but he is leaps and bounds away from a defensive wizard and falls well short of a solid example of the “Sweet Science”.
On the other side of the coin, we have today’s TMZ fan favorite and self-proclaimed “Best Ever” Floyd Mayweather Jr. While he may be classified as a may defensive genius, it is his minimal risk, at times passive offense and boring style that leaves him without a career defining fight and well short of what “I” would describe as the “sweet science.” How much money you make doesn’t play here.
In an attempt, not to give away my age or bring up unfamiliar names in talks with today’s young or new fans, when it comes to naming my model of the “sweet science” I usually skip some of my favorites like Benny Leonard, Ray Robinson, Barney Ross and the well-balanced Gene Tunney and go to a name more current and likely to be readily recognized and whole heartedly advocate two division world champion Vasyl “High Tech” Lomachenko. The most constructive way to tell you why is just to tell you a little about him.
Vasyl Lomachenko is professional boxer born February 17th, 1988, in Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, Ukraine. His father a former amateur fighter and his mother a gymnast and trainer it was shortly after coming home from the hospital that Vasyl would don his first pair of boxing gloves and barely four short years later he would commence his formal boxing training under the close tutelage of his father Anatoly.
Demonstrating a deep aptitude for the sport at an early age, Vasyl was pulled out boxing by his trainer / father around age nine and placed in dance school. While training in dance and playing ice hockey, two sports requiring extreme footwork, very focused even as a youth Lomachenko developed a stronger, faster and more powerful level of balance, flexibility and agility along with a true sense of creativity. Returning to boxing Vasyl would develop many unique training regiments parlaying those gains into increased endurance, speed, timing, accuracy and dramatic lateral foot movement, combining it all with an ice hockey styled aggressive edge resuming his assault on the Ukrainian National Boxing Team and the 2008 Olympics at age thirteen. Vasyl has claimed numerous times that if his father had not been a boxing coach he probably would have chosen to play professional ice hockey.
Transitioning those skills to the ring, competing in the featherweight and lightweight divisions the hardworking, entertaining heavy handed pro styled crowd-pleaser quickly turned his superior skills and creativity into a Silver Medal at the 2007 World Championships, consecutive Gold Medals at the 2009 and 2011 World Championships and consecutive Golds at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, becoming one of the most highly rated, if not the top ranked amateur boxer of all time compiling an amateur record of 396-1, avenging his only loss to Albert Selimov, twice.
Leaving the amateurs to enter boxing’s controversial limbo state known as the World Series of Boxing Lomachenko unbeaten fighting as a lightweight in six bouts 2012-13 Lomachenko turning pro July 2013 signing with Bob Arum’s, Top Rank Boxing.
Rather than follow the well-established career buildup trek of several calculated transition fights, the twenty-five-year-old Vasyl would go “Hi Tech” October 12th, 2013, making his pro debut in a 10-round bout claiming the WBO International Featherweight title stopping Mexican veteran Jose Luis Ramirez, 25-3 in four rounds.
It would be in his second pro bout March 1st, 2014 the skilled Ukrainian would stumble dropping a controversial, closely contested WBO Featherweight title challenge split decision to an above the weight, premier rule bender and low blow king, fifty-five fight veteran Orlando “Siri” Salido.
Four months later, June 22nd in just his third official professional bout, Lomachenko would lay claim to vacant World Boxing Organization Featherweight Title pressuring and landing well timed combinations and drilling body shots out pointing Capitol Heights, Maryland’s mobile but less accurate previously unbeaten Gary Russell Jr. Not a small detail when you compare it to Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s winning his first title in his eighteenth bout against Genaro Hernandez who had lost to Oscar de La Hoya eight fights earlier. Why mentioned it? As a comparison to todays protected risk versus reward opponent selection mentality, since it would take the then “Pretty Boy” almost ten years to finally fight the four year older now on the slide “Golden Boy”.
Making his first title defense in just his fourth pro bout Lomachenko dropped Thailand mandatory challenger Suriya Tatakhun (Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo) in round four enroute to a to a resounding 120-107 times three unanimous decision victory.
On May 2nd, 2015, the Ukrainian star made his second successful title defense, out classing Puerto Rico’s Gamalier Rodriguez ripping speedy combinations to the body and head, turning the thirty-fight veteran into heavy power shots, flooring his beaten challenger twice finally forcing referee Robert Byrd to wave it over in round nine.
It would be November 7th, 2015, in bout number six, while making his third title defense against Mexico’s Romulo Koasicha, we would see Lomachenko the dancer. Holding what can only be described as “Hi Tech” target practice, Lomachenko landing large bunches of punches would finally put his out classed foe out of his misery a drilling body shot, finally ending the high skills exhibition in round ten.
June 11th, 2016, taking a step up in weight and opposition putting on a brilliant display of footwork and angle punching Lomachenko would claim the WBO World Super Featherweight strap out-landing the experienced Roman ‘Rocky’ Martinez three to one, before dropping the three-time world champion cold with a tight a left uppercut, right hook combination in round five.
In his last outing, this past November 16th the 5’6” Lomachenko fighting giving away eight inches in ” reach continuing to accelerate his level of opposition out boxing and out punching Jamaica’s bigger “Axe Man” Nicholas Walters, 26-0-1, 21Ko’s picking his spots angling his way past the “Axe Man’s” 73” reach, hurting him several times through the first six rounds thoroughly convincing the previously unbeaten power puncher he had taken enough punishment retiring the frustrated “Axe Man” after round six.
Scheduled for action this weekend Saturday, April 8th, Lomachenko takes on another
heavy handed opponent when he faces off against Camden, New Jersey’s, Jason “El Canito” Sosa, at the MGM National Harbor, in Oxon Hill, Maryland. The 29-year-old Sosa, 20-1-4, 15Ko’s unbeaten in his last twenty fights holds a twelve-round draw with the now once beaten “Axe Man”.
On top of that superlative amateur career it is through these eight challenging fights that Lomachenko has established he is a rare, dying breed and the perfect example of the “Sweet Science.”
The crafty, agile ring general comes with a GPS like awareness and a laser range finding jab. He has shown he is a polished fighter setting himself right in the mix with history’s best ring generals. It’s not just the decisive lateral movement, the precision angling or the small windowed defense, Lomachenko is a technically sound boxer / puncher, armed with a full arsenal, possessing and demonstrating all the classic techniques big and small, offensive and defensive. He is always well conditioned and is physically and mentally relaxed under fire, forever transforming his classic / innovative style repeatedly surpassing his earlier forecasted potential as a comprehensive technician and sagacious pro.
Exhibiting the footwork rivaling a Johnny Dundee, Barney Ross and Benny Leonard, Lomachenko excels with neutralizing side steps and pivots allowing his most defensive position to simultaneously be his most dangerous. His continuous changing levels, turning of feints into blistering combinations like a Bruce Lee shadow, it is his no run, no hide “sweet science” offensive defense that makes him shine.
As a response to those critics who are caught up in the “Best Ever” Mayweather PC, social media storm defining the “sweet science” in track and field event terms, Lomachenko is a master at cutting off the ring. The next time you see him in action pay close attention to his footwork, it’s the key to what allows the Ukrainian star to remain simultaneously out of harm’s way but still in the perfect position to strike.
Holding the pin point punching accuracy of a Joe Louis, the chest blasting, midsection solar plexus punching, oil drilling fashioned left hook to the liver, punishing body attack of Alexis Arguello, Lomachenko’s body work is second to none today.
Putting together all the precision foot work, calculated feinting, speed and power together with an inexhaustible work rate and superior skill set, Lomachenko adding new and innovated flairs to his solid classic style, “Hi Tech” a southpaw version of Willie Pep.
As he continues to modernize some classic skills Lomachenko hasn’t stepped too far from some of the old-time greats. While showcasing the inside chicanery of a Henry Armstrong he quickly can adjust and emulating a more current day “Hitman” Ricky Hatton when appearing to engage in mutual grappling the Ukrainian technician cleverly uses it like a wrestling feint initiating counterfeit clinches setting up his initial punching range or to open the way to a quick step or angle widening the options of his fully loaded punishing tool set.
Maybe it’s an undiagnosed dissociative identity disorder, or whatever you want to call it, it a treat to see Lomachenko the childhood dancer / hockey player morph into Lomanchenko the boxer and alternate between Loma the “Hi Tech” General to Loma the “Violent Barbarian”.
As there is no question his lengthy amateur experience has helped paint this masterpiece, you can’t overlook the intangibles. When you witness the volatile combination of desire, heart, aggressiveness, smarts, superior athleticism, a virtuous work ethic mixed together with all the skill you can’t help but realize that’s what makes Lomachenko the complete package.
When considering Lomachenko, as “the whole package” and his loss to Salido you must give that fight an open-minded evaluation. Especially when you take into consideration that the great Alexis Arguello lost his fourth and fifth fights, the “Filipino Flash” Nonito Donaire lost his second pro bout, “The Matador” Ricardo Mayorga, Juan Manuel Marquez, and “The Executioner” Bernard Hopkins all lost their first pro bouts and one of boxing’s top ten, best-ever, Henry Armstrong losing 3 of first four was stopped in his pro debut, it’s easy to see the Salido fight as an anomaly or “the exception that proves the rule.”
So now you that you have my pick for today’s best example of the “sweet science” when you add in the second most mentioned name on “sweet science” enthusiast lips and everyone-else’s mind the fight everyone wants is a “Hi Tech” match against unbeaten Cuban boxing star Guillermo “El Chacal” Rigondeaux.
The slick fighting southpaw Rigondeaux, another fighter commonly named fighter in “sweet science” conversations comes with an impressive amateur career of his own. Winning Gold at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics compiling a record of 463-12 in the amateur ranks the 36-year-old, much avoided defensive virtuoso, holding pro victories over Roberto Marroquin, Nonito Donaire, Joseph Agbeko and Hisashi Amagasa makes a “Hi Tech” vs “The Jackal” a potential all hands-on deck “Sweet Science” match-up.