Sights and Sounds from Sin City
TalkinBoxing with Billy C’s Canelo versus Kovalev pre-fight coverage
By Alex Pierpaoli
Billy C and Alex P arrived in Sin City on Wednesday and have consumed all there is to take in about the DAZN card tonight featuring Saul Canelo Alvarez’s jump to 175 pounds against Sergey The Krusher Kovalev.
After all that’s been said and done we’re just hours away from fight-time but you’ve still got time to catch up on all our Canelo-Kovalev fight week coverage!
Johnston Brown prediction HERE
Daxx Kahn scouting report HERE
Billy C and the gang breakdown Canelo-Kovalev HERE
Canelo vs. Kovalev pre-fight coverage Live from Las Vegas Part 1
Canelo vs. Kovalev pre-fight coverage Live from Las Vegas Part 2
Canelo vs. Kovalev pre-fight coverage Live from Las Vegas Part 3
Saul Canelo Alvarez turned back the challenge of IBF strap-holder Daniel Jacobs tonight at the T-Mobile Arena, in Las Vegas, NV. Guadalajara, Mexico’s favorite son thrilled a crowd of 20,203 people with a close but decisive display of his unique brand of pot-shot punching, bedeviling defense and the rock-solid chin that make Canelo Alvarez the biggest star in the sport and quite probably the best middleweight on earth. There is of course still some question of that. But first to Daniel Jacobs.
Tonight, Brownsville’s cancer survivor and all around good-guy didn’t show quite the same aggression he showed at yesterday’s weigh-in. Jacobs boxed smart through much of the fight and took chances in trading in the later rounds but was never able to hurt Canelo or stymie his brutal economy of well-placed hard shots. Jacobs appeared busier during much of the bout but even in the close rounds, of which there were probably three, it was Canelo landing the more damaging, showier shots. Jacobs had some success in keeping Canelo on the outside when switching to southpaw, but Jacobs landed more than just jabs and did better scoring from the orthodox stance. In the fourth round, Canelo Alvarez put on a dazzling display of defense that had Jacobs hurling and whiffing at the Mexican with punch after missed punch in the final minute of the frame.
Although it never had the same brutality of the 2 fights with Golovkin, Canelo-Jacobs did become bruising in the 8th, 9th and 10th when Jacobs knew he was likely behind and chose to stand and trade more often. In the ninth, Jacobs landed a huge right hand, his best shot of the fight, and it had no effect on Canelo whatsoever. By the final bell in the twelfth, Alvarez had made his case as the new owner of Jacobs IBF Title and the final scorecards were 115-113 x 2 and 116-112. Alvarez is now the WBA, WBA and IBF Champion while Providence, Rhode Island’s Demetrius Andrade holds the fourth piece of the 160 pound world governing body title, the WBO.
Daniel Jacobs had exceeded a contractual rehydration clause by weighing 173.6lbs this morning and was forced to cough up 250,000 dollars for each pound over the 10 pound rehydration limit. That’s right, that means he lost almost a million dollars off his earnings for tonight’s bout before he even taped up his hands. And his height and bulk did not really help him versus Alvarez, as there were few clinches and the fight took place in close only in spots.
Afterwards, Jacobs said about the weight: “I didn’t feel any different. I’m just a naturally big middleweight. I made the sacrifice of coming in 173 and paying a hefty fine for it but at the end of the day, I made sacrifices.” Promoter Eddie Hearn told DAZN’s Brian Kenny later that he will talk to the Brownsville native about a possible move up to super middleweight in the future.
As to Canelo Alvarez, after vanquishing Jacobs, he now has a draw and a victory with the only other middleweight on earth who could argue he might be better or at least as good, Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin. The Kazakh was ringside and heard the boos and hisses from the pro-Canelo crowd each time he was shown on the monitors at the T-Mobile Arena. But what of a third meeting between them, would Canelo be interested? When asked if there was unfinished business between him and Triple G, Canelo answered: “No, for me, it’s over. But if the people want another fight, we’ll do it again, and I’ll beat him again.”
That’s exactly what fight fans want, a third fight, and it looks as though they’ll get it this Fall. One thing is for sure, this building and this city have become Canelo Country, of that there’s no doubt. He puts asses and seats and he gives them exactly what they want. And for all those folks who like to argue about who the current P4P best fighter in the sport may be, it’s hard to look at the names and accomplishments on Canelo Alvarez’s record and not think This is THE MAN.
The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada is ground zero for Saul “Canelo” Alvarez versus Daniel Jacobs tomorrow night but things almost erupted into full fledged fisticuffs just moments ago here at the weigh-in. After both fighters made weight, Jacobs 160lbs, and Canelo 159.5lbs, their obligatory pre-fight face-off descended into a forehead-to-forehead shoving match which Canelo seemed to take personally. Jacobs explained later that he didn’t like Canelo “bumping me with that big ass head.” After the shove both fighters had to be restrained by members of their camps and Canelo seemed the angrier of the two fighters.
Neither man had anything nice to say about the other and both fighters suggested the other man go perform unnatural acts with their own mother. The packed crowd loved every minute of it and it certainly made for good entertainment. Was it real? It sure seemed real. Welterweight great Marlon Starling likes to say “the worst thing that could happen in a boxing match is a fight breaks out.” Well, if you saw the way Canelo just responded he seemed ready to fight right now, not really a wise move when if he did he could jeopardize the actual fight tomorrow night. Was that just what Jacobs was hoping to do? Try to knock Canelo out of the focused, strategist counter-puncher role we’ve seen Canelo be and get him to charge Jacobs angrily? Jacobs did appear to push the intimidation and the forehead-to-forehead pressure in that face-off. But it was Canelo who “flinched” first and shoved back hard which caused the melee. In the end it’s just a face-off and the fight comes tomorrow, but damn it was fun.
Other weights were as follows:
Vergil Ortiz Jr weighed 147lbs and fights Mauricio Herrera who scaled 146.5lbs
Joseph Diaz Jr weighed 129.5lbs and battles Freddy Fonseca, 130lbs
Lamont Roach weighed 129.5lbs and meets Jonathan Oquendo, 130lbs
Sadam Ali, 147lbs versus Anthony Young, 146lbs
John Ryder, 167.5lbs versus Bilal Akkawy, 167.5lbs
Aram Avagyan, 125.5lbs, versus Francisco Esparza, 126lbs
Alexis Espino, 164lbs, versus Billy Wagner, 161.5lbs
Hey Fight fans!
This week our subject is former heavyweight contender and generally strange/dangerous guy, Ike Ibeabuchi. Born February 2, 1973, in Isuochi, Nigeria, Ike “The President” Ibeabuchi stood six foot two inches tall and weighed a solid two hundred thirty some odd pounds. After success as an amateur in his native Nigeria, Ibeabuchi came to the USA and fought out of the Dallas, Texas gym of former welterweight great turned trainer, Curtis Cokes.
Ibeabuchi was on the winning end of one of the greatest heavyweight fights of the last thirty years. Together with slugger David Tua, Ibeabuchi set a compubox record for punches thrown in a heavyweight contest (Ibeabuchi set the record for most thrown by a heavy). Ibeabuchi was an action heavyweight with lots of punches in his arsenal and the aggressiveness to land them. He went on to stop Chris Byrd at a time when Byrd was one of the best heavyweights in the division and Ibeabuchi was on course to challenge Lennox Lewis in a super-fight for the heavyweight championship.
Ibeabuchi was involved in several disturbing criminal incidents before the sexual assault to which he accepted an Alford Plea and was eventually incarcerated. Before that he kidnapped his own son from an estranged girlfriend and, with the young man in the passenger seat, Ibeabuchi drove his car at high speed into a bridge abutment. The boy was permanently disabled and Ike was sentenced to 120 days in jail for kidnapping. After the win over Byrd, Ibeabuchi was involved in another incident at the Mirage Hotel when an in-room entertainer claimed she was sexually assaulted by Ibeabuchi. He then locked himself in the hotel bathroom and when police arrived he had to be forcibly removed by being pepper-sprayed under the door.
It was a long time before Ibeabuchi was finally deemed fit to stand trial and was sentenced to prison. He was released in November of twenty-fifteen and there were rumors he was going to return to boxing and fight Andy Ruiz on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley rematch but that never panned out. And in April of twenty-sixteen he was arrested for parole violation and is currently being held pending sentence or deportation.
Born in Sheffield, England to Yemeni parents, Prince Naseem Hamed brought bone-crunching, head-cracking, leg-wobbling power to the featherweight division in the late 90s. An elusive, free-styling, arrogant southpaw with power in either hand, the Prince called the rounds he’d scored kayos in and then boasted about it when he proved himself true. Training out of the Wincobank Hill boxing gym of Brendan Ingle, the seven year old Naseem showed an aptitude for speed, power and the drive to become a champion. After 11 years as an amateur and a record 62-5 (18), Hamed turned pro and started racking up the kayos.
In 1997 he burst upon the American boxing scene with a true tempest-in-a-teapot of a fight against the Flushing Flash Kevin Kelley. Their contest featured one of the longest ring-entrance walks ever witnessed and six knockdowns in four rounds. The Prince had arrived.
He solidified his claim to featherweight bad-assery with a frightening knockout of tough but limited Augie The Las Vegas Kid Sanchez in Connecticut in August of 2000, a fight which paved the way for a featherweight unification fight against the great Marco Antonio Barrera. Unfortunately for the Prince, he had broken his hand in the Sanchez victory and allowed himself to get too out of shape during the recovery period. Once camp began for Barrera it was focused almost entirely on weight-loss. Whatever, the Prince never really recovered professionally from the embarrassing domination he suffered at the hands of Barrera.
At his peak he posed a difficult and extremely dangerous opponent for any featherweight and he helped catapult the little men into bigger purses with his flamboyant style, arrogance and knockout power to back it up. He was inducted into the IBHOF in 2015.
Born Thomas Rocco Barbella this all-time great middleweight champion grew up a juvenile delinquent and got pinched for stealing things that began with the letter “A” like a radio, a watch, a car, a wallet or a purse. A true anti-authoritarian, Barbella entered the armed forces to avoid jail time but was dishonorably discharged for striking an officer. Barbella started boxing under the name of his sister’s boyfriend, Rocky Graziano to avoid his own past. As Graziano would say years later “turns out he had longer rap sheet than I did!”
Graziano’s blend of powerful punches, freakish durability and raw, relentless pressure were the perfect foil to the classic boxing expertise of the Man of Steel, Tony Zale and the two middleweights fought a classic three bout series.
Graziano didn’t have much education; he left school on account of pneumonia, not because he had it, because he couldn’t spell it. But Graziano’s charisma propelled into a lucrative career in tv and commercials after he left the ring and made more there in tinsel town than he ever did in the squared circle.
Rocky Graziano died in 1990 and was inducted in to the IBHOF in 1991.
This week’s Blast features Nicolino Locche “Il Intocable”-The Untouchable.
Despite a two pack-a-day smoking habit, Locche had some of the quickest ring reflexes ever displayed. Legendary trainer Ray Arcel thought Locche was even better than Willie Pep, the man most herald as the greatest-defensive-fighter-of-all-time. Locche was arguably superior. Born in Tunuyan, Mendoza in Argentina, Locche started boxing at 9 years old and amassed an amateur record of 117-5. Locche may have looked like a banger with his beefy sloping shoulders and thick torso, but Locche was all finesse and freakish reflexes. He could all but disappear while standing right in front of an opponent. His ability to make an opponent miss and to mock him while doing it was second to none. Unfortunately, he does not get the credit today, especially from American media, as he fought almost exclusively in Argentina; he had two fights abroad, one in Venezuela and one in Panama.
Although it wasn’t until later in his career that his opponent’s could touch him, cigarettes had their hooks in him. In 1994 he underwent a triple bypass and he died of heart failure at the age of 66 in twenty-oh-five. He was inducted to the IBHOF in Canastota, NY in 2003.
Check out the highlight video below
The Title Bout Championship Boxing Game picks the winners in this weekend’s bouts
By Alex Pierpaoli
We like to use the Title Bout Championship Boxing Game every week in the Blast-From-The-Past by posing fantasy match-ups between today’s stars and yester-years’ greats. Well, of course we can also use the game to propose lots of matches, including a few we’re to see this weekend. Here are the results.
Raymundo Beltran versus Johnathan Maicelo is the first bout to air on HBO at 10:15pm est Saturday night.
The first pairing of these two goes the full 12 and Beltran wins by unanimous decision. In the tenth round we see a rare 9-8 scored frame when Beltran scores a knockdown but is subsequently penalized one point for hitting on the break. Beltran went on to drop Maicelo in the 11th and again in the 12th. Beltran went on to win by scores of 116-110, 117-108 and 116-108.
When these two do battle one hundred times Beltran comes out ahead going 77-16-7 (49). And in those sixteen victories Maicelo was able to score 8 kayos.
Terence Crawford battles Felix Diaz in HBO’s Main Event, and in their first Title Bout contest Bud Crawford kayos Diaz at :39 of round 12. Crawford put Diaz down in the 11th once and down again for good in the 12th.
When these two fight it out one hundred times it is Crawford who dominates, going 74-21-5 (38) and 10 of those 21 wins by Diaz are by kayo.
Gary Russell Jr versus Oscar Escandon is the main event of the Showtime triple-header that begins at 6pm est. In their first encounter Gary Russell Jr scores a tenth round technical knockout at :57. Escandon was on the deck in the first and then stopped on cuts in the 10th.
When they fight 100 times Russell jr dominates at 86-9-5 (17) with 2 of those nine victories for Escandon coming via the knockout.
That’s TBCBG’s take for this weekend. Enjoy the fights!
This week’s Blast features Miguel Canto
Born January 30th, 1948 in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, Miguel Canto Solis was just five feet and one half inch tall and fought as a Flyweight. The Yucatan is one of Mexico’s 31 independent states and is also the home of other world champion boxers like Guty Espadas, Miguel Berchelt, Gilberto Keb Bass and others but none achieved similar glory as El Maestro Pequeno, Miguel Canto. Canto was not the typical Mexican fighter. He was not a blood-and-guts pressure fighter like we’ve come to love when we imagine a Mexican fighter. Canto was a stylist and defensive genius and is often referred to as the Mexican Willie Pep.
Canto was one of those rare-greats who actually lost his pro-debut, a three round technical knockout defeat to Raul Hernandez on February fifth, 1969. Canto was just 21 years old. Fighting predominantly in his hometown of Merida, Canto notched a record of 33-3-3 (12) in just under five years as a pro before he faced Betulio Gonzalez in Caracas Venezuela for the WBC Flyweight Championship. Canto dropped a 15 round majority decision to Gonzalez but Canto won his next six fights earning himself another shot at the title in January of `75 against southpaw, Shoji Oguma in Japan. Canto defeated Oguma by the closest of Majority Decisions but he battled Oguma twice more during his record-setting title reign, defeating him each time they met.
In May of `75, Canto avenged his loss to Venezuelan, Betulio Gonzalez winning a spilt decision in his first official defense of the WBC Flyweight Title he earned beating Oguma. Canto went on to defend the Flyweight title 14 times before facing Chan-Hee Park of South Korea who defeated him via 15 round unanimous decision.
IBRO ranks him at number 7 in the top ten of all-time Greatest Flyweights, just behind Frankie Genaro and ahead of Ricardo “Finito” Lopez.