Outside the ropes: June 23, 2016
Man, I am fired up and looking forward to the big fights this weekend. There’s gonna be some bombs thrown and some shit talked afterwards (mostly by me). I can’t see the Anthony Joshua,16-0 (16)-Dominic Breazeale, 17-0 (15) bout for the IBF heavyweight championship lasting more than six rounds. Big props for Breazeale for traveling to the champ’s home turf (they said the same thing about Charles Martin) to bring back the goods. This is unusual, two rising stars hooking up this early in their careers. All I know is Dominic better set his alarm for the right starting time because Joshua seems to like coming out hard early. I see that as an issue for Dominic because he starts slowly and I’d hate to see some more Charles Martin bullshit.
WBA welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman has been talking big shit for months now and giving former IBF champ Shawn “Showtime” Porter the death stare. Early in his career, Thurman ran up a string of knockouts and declared himself the new KO king. I’ve noticed some flaws in his drawers, along the way though. I first noticed them when he ate a big left hook from Julio Diaz, in April 2014, that put a little scamper in his ass for a few rounds. Then Thurman fought some 40-year-old guy, Leonard Bundu, nearly eight months later, and, after dropping the old guy early and not finishing him, One Time spent a lotta time on his back foot. In his latest bout, against ol’ vet Luis Collazo, in July 2015, Thurman got folded up like a beach chair with a hard body shot. Again, scamper time. So, it’s this writer’s take that Thurman doesn’t have a huge heart for the heavy lifting. Luckily though, Porter’s not a banger but he is a hustler and, if he gets through the early rounds, I see him outworking Thurman.
Has former light heavyweight title challenger Andrzej Fonfara recovered from that unexpected ass-whippin’ handed out by – who he – Joe Smith Jr.? I always thought Fonfara and fellow Polish fighter Tomasz Adamek were overachievers, anyway. Fonfara, with that pencil neck and straight-up stance, has been rattled on several occasions, even after he had Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. nearly out in their fight. Junior actually came back like a madman, stunning Fonfara, but then Junior pulled a Victor Ortiz. So what’s next for Smith? One thing is known: He can take a decent shot because No. 2 neck shook him with a sweet left hook. He was shaken for a second but then came that sweeping, overhand right and a new star was born. Fonfara said he was going back to the drawing board and I have no idea where that proverbial drawing board is but that must be some crowded classroom.
From time to time, I find myself involved in a heated discussion about what makes a good trainer. Most boxers and ex-boxers are quick to say, “If you haven’t fought before, you can’t teach it.” I say, just because you’ve fought doesn’t mean you can teach it. I know from experience that some of the worse damn trainers are ex-fighters. Now I’ve never boxed before. I’m like Howard Cosell; I never played the game but, in my years as a trainer, my guys have kicked lots of asses that were trained by ex-fighters. A lotta so-called great trainers get by on bullshit or have one good fighter and call themselves great. I often hear fans say, “So and so should get with Floyd Mayweather Sr.” This guy’s often called “world renowned.” For what? Other than his son, exactly whom did he take from the beginning to a championship? Hell, his brother Roger helped train his son. Sure he had Oscar De La Hoya, Chad Dawson (there’s a real killer for you), Francisco “Panchito” Bojado and a few others over for a cup of coffee but who else?
I was sitting next to Bojado ( a once-promising prospect) at a gym in LA where Senior was training Oscar and he said, “Oscar never knew how to throw a body shot until I got him.” Panchito looked at me and said, “Is he fuckin’ nuts? Now I know I ain’t training long with him.” He was right; Oscar was a devastating body snatcher in the amateurs. I agree that, having never boxed before, there are certain aspects of the game I can’t relate to (being dazed, dropped, cut, etc.) but I sure as hell know the game and what a guy should be doing, given his skill set. I learned most of my boxing knowledge spending hours upon hours listening to Yank Durham and Willie Reddish (trainers of the late, great Smokin’ Joe Frazier) and today’s trainers don’t teach what they taught. One flaw I noticed is most boxers can only teach their style of fighting. I used to hear Scrap Iron Johnson yelling at one of his fighters, “Man, don’t back up! I ain’t never backed up!”
Any sports fan knows that the great players usually make the worse coaches, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell, to name a couple. But take the marginal guys: Red Auerbach, Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, Steve Kerr and where the hell did Erik Spoelstra star? Mayweather Sr. used to get pissed all the way off when Freddie Roach kept winning “Trainer of the Year” awards and he never won shit, not even for those silly poems he did.
I know WBA “regular” middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs wishes like hell that people would stop suggesting he step to IBF/WBA/WBC boss, Gennady Golovkin. I know one damn thing: If Sergio Mora can drop you with his back to the ropes and some nondescript guy (Dmitry Pirog) can stop you…well, Jacobs has changed his nickname from “The Golden Child” to “The Miracle Man.” If he fights “GGG,” he’ll need to change it to “The Sleeping Man.”
So now, Oscar De La Hoya is saying his freckled-faced golden goose, lineal middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez is definitely gonna fight Gennady Golovkin in the fall of 2017. That’s pitiful. He said that’ll give Canelo a chance to get accustomed to fighting at 160. So who is “Freckles” fighting next? A junior middleweight. Yeah, that should get him ready.