Posts Tagged ‘Showtime’

Original Source:

He accomplished what he sought out to do many years ago. The hard work, dedication, physical and mental toughness came into manifestation this past weekend with the conclusion of the super middleweight Super Six Tournament.

With his victory in the tournament, and display of skills and thorough dominance throughout the past few years, Andre Ward not only solidified himself as the best super middleweight in the world, but also established himself as a pound for pound elite fighter.

Most of the boxing experts did not pick Ward to win the tournament during it’s initial inception. Although many were aware of his talents and latent potential, many did not pick him to win based on his lack of professional experience, opting to go with Arthur Abraham or Mikkel Kessler to win the tournament .

I however, predicted either Ward or Andre Dirrell would emerge as the victor of this prestigious tournament, mainly based on their speed, talent and overall skill level compared to the other participants in the tournament.

High hopes of Ward’s potential was first realized during the Olympic Games in 2004, where he was the only and last American Olympic gold medalist.

Glimpses of his greatness were again realized during his coming of age bout against the multiple, super middleweight titlist and defending champion Kessler, in the tournament’s opening round.

Although Kessler was the strong favorite heading into the tournament, he was clearly outclassed and dominated by the younger, faster, more skillful Ward, en route to a eleventh round technical decision.

After Kessler, Ward easily defeated Sakio Bika, Allan Green, Arthur Abraham and Carl Froch this past weekend.

There were doubts about Ward coming out of the Olympics despite his performance, but some experts could see the elite level pedigree lying dormant within Ward. It was just a matter of progressing as a professional, realizing his potential and seeing how he would fare against formidable opposition.

Ward has encountered plenty of obstacles in his professional career. Changing of promoters, his initial lack of exposure, delays to big name fights, nagging injuries, and so on and so forth, but when facing adversity, Ward has handled everything in such a positive manner.

Never complaining, just taking every obstacle in stride and handling his business.

Which such strong resolve, he has passed every single test outside as well as inside the ring with flying colors. Whatever doubts that stood previously in front of Ward should be erased.

He has all of the tools that make a great fighter, especially from a physical standpoint, but most importantly from a mental aspect and he has a solid foundation.

Ward appears to have a great head on his shoulders, saying and doing all the right things inside and outside the ring. He is the equivalent to Tim Tebow, just more skillful in his particular profession.

As far as physical abilities, speed, reflexes and so forth, outside of Andre Dirrell and Chad Dawson he is the most athletic fighter in the super middle weight and light heavyweight divisions.

To go along with his athletic ability, he has the mental toughness and will power to withstand adversity. He has been knocked down before, but rose up from the canvas to win. He has been stunned against some of the heavy hitters in his division, and continued to march on to victory.

Ward has showcased his versatility and ability to adapt and out think his opponents.

Possessing great hand speed, foot speed and overall great lateral movement, Ward has the ability to fight and flourish on the outside. To go along with those physical gifts, Ward is also accurate and throws precision punches, not wasting energy when he attacks. Ward also has the ability to fight effectively from a southpaw stance if he wants to switch it up on his opponents.

Ward does extremely well in the trenches, even against guys who are supposed to be bigger and stronger, guys such as Arthur Abraham and most recently Carl Froch.

And he does all of this without receiving a lot of damage, which will prolong his career.

Simply put, he has the total package. He should be heralded as one of the elite pound for pound fighters in the world.

Ward is a great all around fighter and as far as skills goes, he belongs in the company of Floyd Mayweather and Nonito Donaire. I believe those are the three most well rounded fighters in the sport as of now.

What looms in the future for the king of the super middle weight division?

A potential match against the best fighter that did not enter the Super Six tournament, Lucian Bute, potentially awaits Ward in what can be one of the great fights of 2012. Ward may also have an obligation to face his WBC super middleweight mandatory Anthony Dirrell, the brother of his friend and fellow fighter Andre Dirrell.

Ward can also go against some of the fighters he did not get a chance to face in the tournament, such as Glen Johnson, Jermain Taylor and Andre Dirrell,

If any of these fights were to ever take place, I believe Ward would beat every fighter just mentioned. Relying on his pin point accuracy and speed advantages, Ward can successfully outbox Johnson from the outside.

Although I believe the Dirrell fight would be highly competitive, and the most interesting of the potential fights, I believe Ward would emerge victorious from battle. Dirrell has the advantages of speed, reach and is equally skillful or even more so in some aspects.

Both fighters possess great lateral movement, and the ability to slip punches and counter punch as well. What separates the two is Dirrell is slightly better than Ward fighting from the outside, but Ward is by far the superior fighter inside the trenches. Ward also has the mental toughness Dirrell lacks.

And Jermain Taylor has fallen from the ranks of the elite in recent years and is finished fighting at high level and would not stand a chance against Ward.

The only person left for him is Bute as mentioned earlier, and that will be a great match up between the two undefeated fighters whenever they decide to fight. Ward should be favored, as he has done everything to merit the acclaim he is being awarded with.

Right now, Ward is the face of Showtime boxing, and will be their main headliner for years to come. He may not be the financial draw like Floyd Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya, or a Manny Pacquiao of recent years, but he certainly is up there in overall fighting skills.

Ward is the heir to the throne, whenever Money May, Sergio Martinez and Juan Manuel Marquez decide to hang them up for good.

Fans of the Bay Area have two great local products to look forward to for years to come. Andre S.O.G. Ward certainly placed the stamp on his greatness with his performance this past weekend.

Original Source:

October 29th, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, was the date scheduled for the final bout of the highly publicized, highly regarded, super middleweight “Super Six” tournament.


Photo Credit: Tom Casino / SHOWTIME

A tournament featured on ShowTime, has run it’s course over the past two years featuring the best fighters from the super middleweight division.

Participants such as Arthur Abraham, Mikkel Kessler, Andre Dirrell, Andre Ward, Carl Froch and Jermain Taylor.

A tournament featuring substitutes Glen Johnson, Sakio Bika and Allan Green.

The two fighters reaching the finals were certainly underdogs when the tournament first started, and now have emerged as the top fighters of their division and are developing into household names.

Unfortunately, the bout between Andre “S.O.G.“ Ward and Carl “The Cobra” Froch and conclusion of the tournament will have to wait.

During a sparring session, Ward suffered a severe cut above his right eye and according to a medical specialist, will require quite some time to heal.

Both fighters have expressed their disappointment in this unfortunate turn of events.

According to reports from boxingscene, both fighters expressed the opinions on that matter.

Ward said: “This is very frustrating for my camp and I, and I that if the shoe were on the other foot and Froch suffered an injury, I would be extremely disappointed.”

The Bay Area product went even further stating, “I’d like to express my apologies to Showtime, the fans and the Froch camp, but this is a part of boxing. Ward and Froch will still get it on but, unfortunately, the date just has to be pushed back.”

Froch obviously frustrated, stated, “Of course you’ve got to take the medical advice seriously, but for a cut to put you out of a fight five full weeks is ludicrous. To me, he’s showing his weakness. Nothing changes for me. I’ll be ready if and when he shows up.”

Showtime apparently caught the incident on camera and will reportedly show in on one of the upcoming episodes for their program ‘Fight Camp 360.’

A few dates have been mentioned as a potential make up date for the bout, the common mentioned is the date of December 10th, a night that also features a welterweight fight between Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson.

The question is, will the postponement of the fight give either fighter an advantage, or will it hinder their efforts?

It’s hard to judge because both fighters are in the middle of training camp, with a little more than a month to go.

As mentioned earlier, Froch echoed his disappointment in the postponement of the fight, but if anything this may be a blessing in disguise.

Compared to Ward, Froch is a little older, has participated in more bouts and has had a tougher road to reach the finals of the “Super Six” tournament.

When I say tougher road, I do not necessarily mean the level of competition, because Ward has faced great opposition as well.

But because of Froch’s fighting style and lack of reflexes or sophisticated defensive technique, Froch has endured and accumulated a lot of damage in his recent fights.

The Cobra had a war with Jean Pascal and a life and death battle against Jermain Taylor prior to entering the tournament.

Since his entry into the tournament, Froch participated in tough battles against Andre Dirrell, Mikkel Kessler and Glen Johnson.

As tough as Froch is, a little extra time to recuperate may be beneficial to him.

But it is understandable for him to want get on with the fight, and this interruption may have a negative effect as far as timing goes for his upcoming match up.

Only time will tell.

Original Source:

Saturday June 5th, at the Adrian Phillips Ballroom at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, showcases an intriguing match up between Glen “The Road Warrior” Johnson 51-14-2 (35 ko’s) and WBC Super Middleweight Champion Carl “The Cobra” Froch 27-1 (20 ko‘s).

This is the second semifinal in the Super Six Tournament with the winner to face WBA Super Middleweight Champion Andre Ward.

Froch is a two time Super Middleweight Champion, with victories over Arthur Abraham, Jean Pascal, Jermain Taylor and Andre Dirrell.

Known for his punching power, outstanding chin and toughness, Froch appears to be the odds on favorite going against Johnson.

According to Betfair, Froch is a 1-4 favorite.

Johnson has a nice resume as well, being a long time veteran and former champion himself. Johnson has victories over Roy Jones, Antonio Tarver, Allan Green and Clinton Woods.

I think it is a toss up fight, but who is better suited for Ward in the final?

If you ask Ward, he would probably tell you he does not care who he goes up against. He will undoubtedly prepare for either fighter going in at 100%.

What will be the best outcome for boxing?

A final against Froch or Johnson?

I think a majority of the public wants to see Ward vs. Froch in a good ole classic America vs. England battle. The two nations have a strong history of rivalry that far extends across the sport of boxing.

If we go back in recent history, significant bouts between American and English stars include Floyd Mayweather vs. Ricky Hatton, Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson, Lewis vs. Holyfield, just to name a few.

From a stylistically standpoint, I think Froch is a better fight for Ward.

Although Froch has made steady improvements to his fighting style, progressively getting better with each fight, he has shown he does not fare to great against quick fighters who possess a great deal of athletic ability and or boxing skill.

Take a look at the controversial fight Froch had against Dirrell in the opening round of the tournament. Froch was awarded the split decision, albeit on his home turf, but in many people’s eyes he lost that fight.

Froch was the aggressor and pressed the fight, but he was out boxed, consistently being hit with clean punches, and was far from accurate when he attempted to attack.

His most damaging or consistent attack was when he would rough house and wrestle Dirrell to the canvas.

Dirrell, perhaps being intimidated by Froch’s force or by the chaotic atmosphere surrounding him was too gun shy and waited too late to respond back, as far as fighting with mean intent and stepping up against the tactics from Froch.

Taking it a step further, look back at the fight Froch had against Taylor a few years back.

The former middle weight champ from Arkansas was winning on the scorecards before he gassed out and succumbed to the pressure in the last seconds of the final round.

Before falling from exhaustion, he was hitting Froch at will and even managed to drop the Cobra in the third round. Taylor does possess above average hand speed and a great jab, but certainly is not a stalwart defensively and throughout the later stages of his career has shown a tendency to tire out half way through a fight.

Using these fights as a barometer, it can be seen how Ward can pull off the victory against Froch.

Ward is faster and has more athletic ability than Taylor, and is certainly more defensive and does not get tired. Although Ward may not be as skilled or as technical as his childhood friend Dirrell, the margin between the two is not significant and he has certainly shown he is tougher.

Ward will work in the trenches, and will get dirty if he has too, especially with everything on the line in this final match of the tournament.

Ward has the skill, speed and overall athletic ability to outbox Froch like Dirrell did the opening round of the tournament. Ward also has the mental toughness and to match Froch.

Although I believe Ward has certain advantages over Johnson, I believe a fight against Froch is a better match up overall for the betterment of boxing.

It’s a fight between young champs, who proved themselves and are original participants in this very tournament.

I think a match up featuring Froch and Ward will draw more attention from the fans, and out of the two I believe Ward would get more credit for beating the a younger Froch as opposed to a 42 year old Johnson.

Original Source:

The first semifinal of the Super Six Tournament will finally take place Saturday May 14th, at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Ca.

A great matchup pitting contrasting styles against one another as Andre Ward faces Arthur Abraham with a spot in the finals on the line.

Ward enters this Super Six semifinal bout possessing many skills and advantages.

The difference in hand speed and lateral movement will immediately be apparent from opening bell.


Abraham Photo Credit: Marco Krause / Team Sauerland

Cat like reflexes and a blue collar mentality are also present with the young fighter from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Not just relying on speed, Ward is a versatile fighter, displaying the ability to effectively fight on the inside as he showed against Super Six participant Allan Green.

Earlier in his career, Ward demonstrated the ability to move around on his feet, throw quick pot shots, counterpunch, and showed his ability to throw combinations like his childhood friend and fellow Super Six participant Andre Dirrell.

Speaking of Dirrell, this is an important thing to keep in mind because Dirrell had success against Abraham in his disqualification victory last year.

Before the disqualification took place however, Dirrell was pitching out a dominant performance and wonderful display of pugilistic excellence.

Leading on all scorecards, the bout was abruptly ended after Dirrell suffered a punch from Abraham when he slipped to the canvas in the 11th round, resulting in a disqualification for Abraham.

Amidst all the controversy from how the fight ended, the blueprint for beating Abraham was set.

Combination punching, accurate counter shots, moving around the ring, all key components leading to Dirrell’s success and Ward may have to emulate the game plan to be successful.

Contrasting from Ward’s style showcased in earlier fights, most recently, critics of Ward compare his fighting style to Bernard Hopkins.

The comparison is with the defensive fighting approach, which may consists of throwing one or two punches at a time, fighting close in the trenches, clinching, rough house tactics which may include head butting and an elbow here and there.

Any comparisons to Hopkins should be a good thing, considering he is a future first ballot hall of famer.

Entering Saturday’s showdown, the jab will be the most important punch of the fight.

Abraham is known for having a strong jab and an authoritative punch to follow. Just ask Jermain Taylor or Edison Miranda about the Armenian’s punching power.

This will be important in trying to control Ward. Abraham has to deter Ward and keep him from establishing his game plan. He cannot allow Ward to set his pace and find comfort inside the ring.

Abraham has a strong, compact physique, which serves his boxing style.

Defensive minded for the early rounds, Abraham typically uses his arms to shield himself from punches, similar to the cover up defense Joshua Clottey and Winky Wright use.

Abraham consistently employs his jab, and as the fight progresses and he has analyzed his opponent, he presses the attack.

Although Ward has certain advantages in this match up, Abraham is a former champion and no push over.

Expect Ward to out- work Abraham and use his overall speed and versatility to his advantage.

While he does not have freakish knockout power like Abraham, he does possess enough sting to have affect on Abraham and don’t be surprised if Abraham goes down from an accumulation of punches.

This will be a grueling fight, and a dirty affair can be expected as well.

Both fighters also have a history or bad reputation of dirty fighting.

Ward is accused of questionable tactics against Sakio Bika, Mikkel Kessler and Allan Green, while Abraham is accused in his encounters against Jermain Taylor, Edison Miranda, Andre Dirrell and a few others.

To add to that Abraham is coming off an unimpressive streak of fights and will be extremely desperate for a victory, especially over a quality opponent.

With that in mind, Ward has the savvy of a well experienced general inside the ring. The ability to slip punches, shift his shoulders, land accurate hooks and upper cuts to the body while also displaying precision upstairs as well.

Versatility is extremely important and Ward will continue to show his pedigree boxing from the inside and outside, on route to earning a tough victory over Abraham, advancing to the Super Six finals.

Original Source:

There are many reasons why boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao will emerge victorious Saturday, when he faces three division star Shane Mosley for the WBO Welterweight Championship at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

A major factor is recent activity and momentum. Pacquiao is riding a 12 fight win streak over the last five years. Mosley has three victories, two defeats and a draw over the last four years.

Comparing the two, Pacquiao has been the more active and successful fighter over the past few years.

Mosley’s last two fights were definitely poor showings. Whether it is a combination of the quality of opposition or old age is debatable, the fact is did not good spectacular in those respective fights against Floyd Mayweather and Sergio Mora.


Photo: Tom Casino/ Showtime

Mosley’s defensive discrepancies will also play a major role in how this fight turns out. Mosley is definitely easier to hit now, does not possess the same lateral movement he once had, and is not much of a counter puncher by nature.

It’s a likely possibility he will be a sitting duck inside the ring against a fighter ferocious like Pacquiao.

Facing an aggressive all out offensive fighter like Pacquiao, a few elements are crucial in order to have success.

Lateral movement, keeping the attacking fighter off balance is key, effective counter punching, timely clinching and smothering of punches, and a great jab can all be utilized to stop the force of a fighter like Pacquiao.

Unfortunately for Mosley because of father time and his overall style as a fighter, he is unable to do most of those elements just mentioned.

I can’t remember that last time I saw a consistent strong jab from Mosley; you would probably have to go back to the Lightweight days, which was over a decade ago.

Mosley lost a great deal of his lateral movement which understandably happens when you come up in age and has never been known as a counter puncher or a technical boxer.

Mosley does have a great chin, amazing heart and is still an extremely fasted handed fighter with uncanny athleticism.

But athleticism can only take you so far, because as you get older, athleticism fades.

With slower reflexes, Mosley can’t dodge the punches he used to in his younger years, and his stamina and punch output is also on the decline.

And as mentioned earlier, Mosley is not really a technical boxer. He is more of a brawler, which plays into Pacquiao’s hands.

Pacquiao is a little bit faster hand speed wise, and has the mobility to bounce around the ring as he pleases which allows him freedom to implore various strategies for this fight.

As iron chinned Mosley is, Pacquiao packs a punch and a person can only take some much damage until they succumb to the persistent output Pacquiao is capable of putting out.

Another thing to keep in mind is it’s hard to slip and roll punches coming from a relentless pugilist, especially if they as flaring from a variety of different angles.

Those are the dangers that await Mosley this upcoming Saturday when he faces Pacquiao in the one of the biggest events of the year.

Anything can occur in this combat sport, a single punch can completely alter the outcome of a fight. No one should ever be counted out especially a future hall of famer in Mosley, but more than likely, it will be a combination of different factors to go along with a combination of punches that allow Pacquiao to prevail.

Original Source:

Mike Tyson with a potential blueprint to beat Floyd Mayweather?

floyd663By Kirk Jackson: Recently, Hall of Fame boxer Mike Tyson was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal and gave his opinion on the huge fight taking place May 2nd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

On the set of ESPN’s “First Take” journalists Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless offer their insight on Tyson’s remarks in regards to the upcoming fight between Floyd Mayweather 47-0 (26 KO’s) and Manny Pacquiao 57-5-2 (38 KO’s).

More importantly with what Tyson said, he indicated this will be Mayweather’s toughest fight to date and there is a great possibility of Mayweather getting busted up and losing. Tyson offered great perspective on what Pacquiao should do to secure a victory May 2nd.

“You need to put constant pressure on Floyd, be in front of him all the time by moving side to side and punching from angles,” said Tyson.

“Manny is going to feint Floyd out of position a lot and make him throw more punches than he is used to and that will open Floyd up. He [Mayweather] has never been tested, whatever happens in the fight, I think he’s going to get hit and hurt more than he has ever before; we’re going to see how tough he is.”

Many things to take away from this Mike Tyson quote.

Although this is not a full comprehensive game plan, this is a good foundation on how to attack Mayweather and Pacquiao has the athletic gifts to certainly pull off this game plan. Pacquiao has a herky-jerky style and could very well feint Mayweather out of position, where he can capitalize because of his great foot and hand speed. This is one of the advantages and tactics Pacquiao utilizes over most opponents.

A danger exists, if the fighter kennedy execute this style of fighting efficiently. Moving side to side, while dodging attacks can be physically and mentally taxing, especially if the fighter [Pacquiao] is missing punches are occasionally eating counter punches for his troubles.

The thing is, aside from what Tyson mentioned as keys for success against Mayweather, in order to have just a modicum of success against Mayweather, it can be argued the opponent must possess a solid jab, ala Miguel Cotto, Marcos Maidana, Oscar De La Hoya, Jose Luis Castillo (first fight).

A trait all the fighters mentioned have in common with (De La Hoya) being the exception, is they’re really good pressure / inside fighters. Another thing is all of those fighters mentioned are naturally bigger / stronger than Mayweather.

Pacquiao is the smallest opponent Mayweather has faced since Juan Manuel Marquez back in 2009, the size advantage for Pacquiao will not be there. Pacquiao is not a pressure fighter by nature and rarely fights on the inside, he is more a mid-range fighter.

He uses his speech to advantage, move in and attacks, dashes back or to the side, usually towards his right, away from danger. With all the Pacquiao has in his arsenal, the jab is not necessarily one of his best punches.

Tyson and others are mistakenly labeling Pacquiao as an all out pressure fighter, when that’s not really his game. Tyson maybe implying that he has to fight ferociously like he did in his prime, but in reality, they’re two different styles of fighter.

Many claim Pacquiao lost his “Killer Instinct” over the last couple of years, I think he just he evolved and maximized his strengths as a fighter.

As Chris Algieri 20-1 (8 KO’s) post fight after his defeat against Pacquiao this past November was quoted as saying, “Manny is great at being Manny.”

Fighting Marquez four times probably provided Pacquiao with the realization that he can’t rush in giving caution to the wind against certain fighters, which contributes to Manny’s evolution as a fighter.

Pacquiao may have to continue with the next phase of evolution and change his temperament, in order to apply the Tyson game plan and a defeat Mayweather. He is going to have to learn to cut off the ring, he will have to suddenly develop or at least be effective in using the jab as well.

Maybe Tyson is alluding to the strategy Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach plan to implore May 2nd.

The last and take away from Mike Tyson’s analysis of the fight is the question of Mayweather’s toughness or lack thereof.

It seems as though Mike Tyson doesn’t care for the Mayweather, at least not in this fight. Freddie Roach trained Tyson toward the end of his career and Roach is the current trainer of Pacquiao. Tyson on a number of occasions expressed his displeasure of Mayweather and said he would have liked to have fought Mayweather and expressed pleasure and beating him up.

That’s fine and all, I would expect for him to remain loyal to his former trainer and gravitate towards Pacquiao because he is a fellow action fighter.

For him to question the toughness of a guy who has been a champion for over 17 years, defeated 22 former or current world champions, fought in 24 championship fights across five weight classes says a lot. Mayweather was visibly stunned against DeMarcus Corley, Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, bounced back and dominated all of them.

Seems like a ridiculous statement and adds to the notion of people will not be satisfied until they see Floyd Mayweather lose. Loyalty the side, guess we’ll see what happens May 2nd.