Sunday, December 12, 2021

Canelo Alvarez: A Legend Only on Record?

By Mike I.

After winning his fourth title, Canelo Alvarez now wants to jump up in weight class and fight at cruiserweight in order to pursue a title in yet another weight class. When we think of some of the true greats in boxing history, the boxers that we may consider legends can be a little unrealistic in their pursuits. They then become folkloric figures after some time.

This may be the case with the current pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez. I'd like to start off by saying, I am a huge fan of Canelo’s ability. I think he shows a great fainting style that rings true to legends of the sport such as Roberto Duran. I will never forget when Alvarez fought Miguel Cotto, and in one of the rounds he fainted a right hand and threw a left upper cut that landed perfectly. I remember thinking I've only seen Roy Jones and Roberto Duran pull that move off in a fight, seconds later, the great Roy Jones himself said this exact same thing as he was watching the replay of this move during an HBO broadcast. Jones said, “I thought only me, and Roberto Duran could do that.”

This article is not meant to put Canelo down at all. The goal of this article is to put down the new way of business, and the way legends are built in the sport today. Boxing has always had its conmen, criminals, and bad politics. Yet, the sport has also always had legends who were built on amazing commitment and talent. Since the days of two specific legends, Sugar Ray Robinson and Rocky Marciano, many fighters have believed they must be undefeated, or even break Marciano’s record or 49 wins and zero defeats. There is another group of fighters who strive to be the Sugar Ray Robinson of their time, which means becoming the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world.

Unfortunately for Canelo, he will never be able to beat the record of Marciano because of his one loss to Mayweather. But as a non-heavyweight, he is doing all he can to be the pound-for-pound king. How is he doing that? He is trying to win as many titles in different weight classes as possible, the same way another all-time great legend of the sport did, Henry Armstrong. Armstrong was the first man to win and hold three consecutive titles at the same time. In 1938, he held the featherweight, lightweight, and welterweight titles. Armstrong later tried to win the middleweight title, but he just barely came up short in this bid.

Now, Canelo may be winning multiple titles and is considered the pound-for-pound king now, but let’s put all of this into perspective for the dignity and integrity of the sport of boxing, which I hold more loyalty to than any boxer.

When it comes to being the best boxer pound-for-pound, most will never touch Sugar Ray. He fought 40 fights before losing to Jake LaMotta who he had beaten before that rematch. LaMotta was one of the toughest middleweights ever, and Robinson came right back to beat LaMotta about a month later. Then he fought and beat LaMotta four more times. So, everyone can be a pound-for-pound great in their era, but to be like Sugar Ray, many would have to fight guys who are way better than most greats are allowed to fight today due to boxing's politics.

That does not take away from other boxers, it is just meant to put the pound-for-pound "title" into perspective when comparing contemporary fighters to those of the past. Can Canelo truly say he will fight on the same level of Sugar Ray? Alvarez will never duplicate Robinson's record, but he can fight dangerous fighters like David Benavidez, who will be way more of a challenge and potentially his version of a Jake LaMotta. Furthermore, Benavidez will likely be more of a challenge than the cruiserweight he wants to fight for the WBC title. Size means very little at this level of competition, unless we are talking about truly significant size advantages, like that between featherweights and heavyweights. A great boxer can go knock out much bigger guys in a bar room all night. As far as I can see, this is a notch off the record books for Canelo becoming a boxing legend.

The other thing I would like to address is obsession with records, I love the genius of Floyd Mayweather, but him beating Conor McGregor to break Marciano’s record was like Marciano knocking out the famous wrestler of his time Gorgeous George to make his record 50 and 0. It would have been a win against another great athlete, but at the end of the day, it is not as great of a feat that it would sound like. A record has to mean something deeper than numbers in the record book. Canelo is trying to reach the status of legend the way he can with the pound-for-pound crown and multiple belts. As I said earlier, Henry Armstrong held three titles at once, and he did so at a time when you only had eight champions total. And, it was a time when if you were the champion, it meant something significant. Again, this is not to knock Canelo down, this is to talk about reality. Boxers have become obsessed with being undefeated, holding multiple belts, and being the pound-for-pound king. What they have lost track of is how they achieve these goals.

I don't believe Canelo will be in the same class as the other great fighter I mentioned earlier by winning a cruiserweight world title. It is Canelo wasting amazing his talent against an average opponent instead of fighting the best fighter he face next. This will set himself up to be nothing more than being a “paper champion” and even worse, a paper Legend.” He could be so much more, and boxing history has shown it will remember the legend and how they earned this title. Alvarez should remember the old saying, “champions are not born, they are made.” Take that quote for what you will, but I think it sums up my idea about what Alvarez is capable of doing in boxing. I hope for his sake he will have a real streak of honor shoot up his back into his head, that will push him to take on challenges rather than entertaining a minor obstacle to earn a somewhat faux legendary status. His current goals will render him a legend only on record, rather than in reality.

Photo - BoxRec.com

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Monday, November 29, 2021

Lopez vs. Kambosos

By Frank BartoliniRingside

Words, hats and crows were the entries being fed to all the experts, pundits and media inside the Hulu Theater after George Kambosos, Jr, Sydney Australia, clobbered Teofimo Lopez, Brooklyn. N.Y., over twelve rounds to capture the unified WBA, IBF, WBO World Lightweight Championship. All the experts forecasted an early doom for the challenger from "down under."

Booming cheers rang out from the packed house from the opening bell, when Lopez charged out his corner and teed off, landing thudding punches on Kambosos',134.4 lbs., head and body. During all the commotion, no one seemed to notice Lopez blows were not having much effect on Kambosos. While most of Lopez's opponents collapsed under these blasts, Kambosos waited for his chance. That moment came with seconds left in round one, when Kambosos connected with a perfectly timed counter right hand over Lopez’s left jab. Lopez,135 lbs., went down on both knees. Upon getting up, he managed to return to his corner.

Midway through the contest, the expected blowout victory by Lopez was not occurring. In fact, Kambosos was in the lead. Believing the headlines going into battle, Lopez had no game plan, and when the predicted destruction never happened, Kambosos applied a well thought out strategy of counters and movement. As his confidence grew, Kambosos then started taking it to Lopez and backing him into the ropes.

Scoring a good combination at the conclusion of round six, Kambosos danced and laughed at Lopez before returning to his corner. Suffering a cut eye in round seven did not deter Kambosos as he battered Lopez with overhand rights to the head.

Even though Kambosos was getting the better of the action, both combatants absorbed a good deal of punishment. Lopez got through with two rights to the chin that dropped Kambosos in the tenth. A testament to this grueling battle showed through the lumps, scraps, and cuts on the warriors' faces. A Kambosos right hand opened a nasty cut around Lopez’s left eye in the eleventh. Seasoned referee Harvey Dock had to halt the action to have the ringside physician check out the damage. Covered in blood, Lopez appeared to have walked off the set of a horror movie. After a long period of scrutiny, the doctor let it continue. 

Leaving their corners for the final round, each boxer knew the fight was on the line. Fans stood and screamed the entire session of the ebb and flow as momentum shifted back and forth. The walls were shaking from the roar of the crowd when the final bell rang.

What looked like a clear victory for the Australian, had many people wondering out loud if Kambosos could get a fair shake from the judges in New York. Ring announcer David Diamante gave the answer when he declared Kambosos the new champion by split decision victory by scores of 115-112 , 115-111 in his favor, and 114-113 for Lopez. Leaving the ring without his belts Lopez's record is now 16-1, 12 KOs. Remaining undefeated, the new lightweight king Kambosos slate stands at 20-0, 10 KOs.

In a roundabout way that has been well documented, Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing USA promoted the standing room only show that was broadcast on DAZN.


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Monday, November 22, 2021

Survivor Series 2021

By Steve Ward

WWE returned to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY this evening for the longstanding Thanksgiving Day/Week tradition - Survivor Series. The theme of brand supremacy that has established itself in recent years returned tonight as RAW was pit against Smackdown (may as well have been Team FOX vs. Team USA Network). This not only meant no clashes like the classic showdown of The Hulkamaniacs vs. The Warriors at the 1990 installment of the show, but also, no titles would be contested as we would only witness some champion versus champion encounters. Following another round of performers receiving their walking papers this week including John Morrison, Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, and Jaxson Ryker, not to mention the incredible AEW Full Gear event last weekend, WWE really needed a big show tonight. The card tonight featured a modest six matches which included two “classic” Survivor Series matchups - both Team RAW vs. Team Smackdown.


Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair

Winner: Becky Lynch via pinfall


The opening bout pit RAW Women’s Champion Becky Lynch against Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair in our first match for brand supremacy. With rumors swirling that Charlotte has been unhappy with her recent booking, one has to wonder how she felt about opening the show. Mr. McMahon seems to be playing a dangerous game with arguably his biggest draw in the Women’s Division - especially when her fiancĂ©e, Andrade El Idolo, left for AEW in the past year. In the definition of a back and forth encounter, this contest ended in a series of roll up pin attempts that finally saw Becky come out victorious with an assist from holding the middle rope.


Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match

Team RAW (Bobby Lashley w/ MVP, Austin Theory, Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, & Seth Rollins) vs. Team Smackdown (King Woods, Jeff Hardy, Sheamus, Happy Corbin w/ Madcap Moss, & Drew McIntyre)

Sole Survivor: Seth Rollins


The first of the “classic” Survivor Series match-ups began in underwhelming fashion as Kevin Owens who started the match for Team RAW immediately left the ring after the opening bell, walked up the ramp, was counted out, and left the arena to stick it to his team. This apparently was a recurring theme in the bout as Lashley and McIntyre got carried away while embroiled in combat outside the ring and were both counted out. Late in the match, Sheamus was rolled up for the pin and eliminated by Austin Theory. Jeff Hardy was then left in seemingly dire straits as he was leveled by his own partner Sheamus as he departed the ring. Hardy quickly turned the tables and finished off Theory with the Swanton Bomb leaving Rollins and himself as the final two combatants. Hardy attempted another Swanton Bomb moments later only to be unmercifully met with Seth Rollins’ knees in the small of his back. Rollins capitalized with the Curb Stomp to solidify the win for Team RAW.


The Rock’s 25th Anniversary 25-Man Battle Royal

Winner: Omos


With all of the recent releases, I was impressed that a battle royale could be assembled but in all seriousness, some of the notable participants included AJ Styles, Cesaro, Omos, Bobby Roode, and Jinder Mahal. At one point, the crowd was so disinterested in this card-filler, that they began chanting, “We want pizza” as the match was sponsored by Pizza Hut. The final four participants in this match were The Street Profits, Omos, and Ricochet. This was no contest as Omos disposed of all three men with little to no effort.


The Usos vs. RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Matt Riddle)

Winners: RK-Bro via pinfall


The Smackdown Tag Team Champions, The Usos, squared off with the RAW Tag Team Champions, RK-Bro, in the next clash of champions this evening. In the closing moments of the match, Jimmy Uso had not realized that Orton had blind tagged himself into the match before he was super kicked off of the ring apron. Jimmy, believing the legal man was still in the ring, proceeded to maintain his focus on Riddle which would prove to be his downfall. Jimmy ascended to the top rope to finish Riddle off with a splash, however, he was greeted with an RKO Out of Nowhere which allowed Orton to secure the pinfall for his team.


Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match

Team RAW (Bianca Belair, Carmella, Queen Zelina, Liv Morgan, & Rhea Ripley) vs. Team Smackdown (Natalya, Shayna Baszler, Toni Storm, Shotzi, & Sasha Banks)

Sole Survivor: Bianca Belair


The penultimate bout of the evening pit the women’s teams from RAW and Smackdown against each other as the battle for network…or rather brand…supremacy rattled on. Late in this contest, it appeared that the numbers would be insurmountable for Bianca Belair as she was the lone participant remaining for Team RAW against Shotzi, Banks, Baszler, and Natalya for Smackdown. Following some dissent in the Smackdown ranks, Sasha Banks was counted out and thus eliminated. Belair then proceeded to make quick work of Natalya and Baszler leaving her alone with Shotzi. Shotzi posed some resistance but found herself succumbing to the Kiss of Death shortly thereafter.


Roman Reigns w/ Paul Heyman vs. Big E

Winner: Roman Reigns via pinfall


The main event of the evening presented a showdown between the Universal Champion, Roman Reigns, and the WWE Champion, Big E, in the final encounter for brand supremacy. What began as a rather pedestrian match certainly built momentum as it progressed towards the closing moments. First, Big E withstood three consecutive Superman Punches and answered with the Big Ending, however, he was unable to secure the pinfall as Roman grasped the bottom rope. The two then erupted into a brawl outside the ring which finally culminated when the men returned to the ring and Roman delivered a brutal spear to put Big E away.


The closing moments of the event were certainly awkward as the entire show celebrated the 25th anniversary of The Rock’s debut at Survivor Series 1996, was sponsored by The Rock’s new Netflix movie Red Notice, and Paul Heyman was informed that Brock Lesnar’s indefinite suspension would be coming to an end soon yet neither man made an appearance at the end as the commentators sounded distracted by someone speaking to them in their earpieces…makes you wonder.



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Friday, November 19, 2021

Sonny Conto Post-Fight Press Conference

By Luis A. Cortes III, Ringside

Check out audio from Sonny Conto's post-fight press conference. Conto defeated Jimmie Levins by first round TKO on Thursday night at Live! Casino and Hotel in South Philadelphia. He improved his record to eight wins, seven by knockout, and zero defeats. 

The Weigh-In: Your Home for Combat Sports · Sonny Conto Post-Fight Press Conference

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Thursday, November 18, 2021

Results from Live!

By Luis A. Cortes III, Ringside

Live! Casino Hotel and Casino hosted a sold-out crowd for their inaugural professional boxing event promoted by Joe Hand Promotions.  Top Rank Promotions heavyweight prospect Sonny Canto was the main attraction of the event that marked the 50th year of Joe Hand Promotions.  Hand, once a member of Cloverly Inc. that guided the career of Hall-of-Fame legend Joe Frazier, was honored before the main event.  

South Philadelphia native Sonny "The Branco" Conto (8-0)(7 KO's) who has spent time in training camps with Tyson Fury looked to impress his hometown crowd.  Conto started things out with a measured pace behind the jab but started to exchange with Joel Caudle (8-6-2)(5 KO's) who was a game opponent as he landed his own quick shots on the inside.  Caudle was able to do some good work and push the young prospect until Conto started to use his better skills by using his jab and solid movement.  Conto even switched to southpaw and answered the early test from the game Caudle when he landed a strong left hook combination that floored Caudle.

Caudle rose to his feet and tried to answer the count, but clearly hurt, the referee stopped the contest in the last ten seconds of the third round.            
  
Gerardo Martinez (5-2)(1 KO) and Christopher Burgos (3-4-1)(1 KO) wasted no time and got right to work as they willingly exchanged combinations to start what turned out to be an exciting first round.  The action continued through three rounds with both fighters landing power shots.  Burgos had a mouse form under his left eye while Martinez had to deal with a busted lip. Burgos continued to apply pressure on Martinez landing quality punches to the body and head.  Every time Martinez tried to counter Burgos responded clearly winning the trades.   

After six rounds it was clear that Burgos deserved the victory.  Fans in attendance showed their appreciation for the six rounds of hard work by applauding both fighters after the final bell.  58-56 and 59-55 were the scores all in favor of the winner Christopher Burgos.     

Daiyaan Butt (9-1)(4 KO's) and Seifullah Wise (4-2)(1 KO) both fighting out of Philadelphia started their six-round Jr. welterweight fight right away with Wise landing power shots that hurt Butt.  Fighting out of the southpaw stance, Wise was able to land right hooks while avoiding Butt's counters.  Wise was penalized for hitting behind the head at the end of the opening round.  

Butt began to warm up and landed body shots that started to change the momentum of the fight.  That was until referee Benji Esteves called a halt to the fight at the 53-second mark of round three.  Esteves had warned Wise constantly before finally stopping the fight.

Jeremiah Kendrick (1-0)(1 KO) won his professional debut with a first-round stoppage over the out-gunned Tyrone Lews (0-2). 

Bilal Quintyne (2-0) was able to win a four-round majority decision over Maurice Burke (1-1)   A hard straight right hand landed late in the fourth and final round that helped Quintyne win the close decision.  It was a back and forth contest and it was reflected that way on the judge's scorecards.  Quintyne won on two of the cards 39-37.  While the other judge scored the fight a draw at 38-38.

Light heavyweights started the nights' action with Tariq Green (1-0) winning a four-round decision over Tunde Fatiregun (1-1)(1 KO).   

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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Monday, November 8, 2021

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Russell Peltz and Ray Didinger: A Hall of Fame Friendship

By TWI Staff

Our very own Luis Cortes teamed up with The Sweet Science to bring you another great boxing article about the friendship that exists between two Philly legends, J Russell Peltz and Ray Didinger. 



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Friday, November 5, 2021

Results from the Third Installment of Boardwalk Boxing

By Frank Bartolini

On Saturday, October 30th, Hard Hitting Promotions promoted its third show, part of a monthly series, at The Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City. Originally announced as ten scheduled bouts, it dwindled down to five by fight night. In this case, the third time was not a charm. 

Shinard Bunch of Philadelphia blasted out his opponent, Wilfrido Buelvas, Barranquilla, Colombia, in one minute fifty-eight seconds of round one. Entering the contest as a heavy favorite, the chiseled Brunch, 146 lbs., did not take his training lightly, regardless of the quality of his foe.

When the adversaries squared off at the opening bell, Buelvas, 147.75 lbs., circled and tried to keep Bunch at bay by pumping his jab. With little more than a minute expired, Brunch clipped Buelvas with a right to the head that put the Colombian on his tailbone. Gamely rising to his feet, Buelvas was sent airborne when Brunch landed a right hand laser to Buelvas' face. Once gravity brought Buelvas back to the mat, he was out cold and crumpled. Referee Eric Dali did not bother to count and waved the contest off as the ring physician s rushed into the ring. The power punching Brunch is now 17-1, 15 KOs, and Buelvas falls to 22-15, 16 KOs. 

As a professional for just over two years, Bunch has developed quickly under the tutelage of trainer Chino Rivas and the guidance of his manager J Russell Peltz. 

Felony assault charges could have been brought against Anthony Demonte of Staten Island, NY. Demonte, 144.5 lbs., mugged Nicholas Collins of Anchorage Alaska. It took only twenty nine seconds for Demonte to mash tomato can Collins into sauce. Demonte is now 4-0, 4 KO’s. Collins, who is not a pro boxer and should not be allowed to fight again, is 0-2. 

After numerous delays and down time, only two of the other three scheduled bouts took place. 

Ten minutes before Shauncy Perry's scheduled six rounder was about to begin, paramedics had to be called to his locker room when the Jonesboro, Arkansas native was showing signs of a heart attack. Perry was taken to the hospital and released with a clean bill of health. 

Dezmond Lucas of Bronx, NY pitched a shutout, outpointing debuting Cesar Espinel-Maldonado, Puerto Rico. Lucas, 147.75, improves to 3-0, 1 KO. Willing participant Maldonado drops to 0-1. 

In a decision that was booed by the crowd of approximately 200 people, Justice Bland of Brooklyn, NY won a unanimous six round decision over Geovanny Martinez of Chicago, Illinois. Moving forward Martinez, 122.5 lbs., beat Bland, 123 lbs., to the punch as he backed his foe up throughout the match. Judges Mark Consentino saw it 60-54. Judges Tony Lundy and Robin Taylor's cards were both 58-56 for Bland, who is now 5-1, 2 KOs. Martinez is 1-1, 1 KO. This scribe had it 59-55 for Martinez.


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Thursday, November 4, 2021

Robert Carmody fought for his country in the boxing ring and on the battlefield

By TWI Staff

Our very own Matt Ward teamed up with We Are The Mighty to bring you a great article about American hero Robert Carmody! 


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Gravesite of Robert Carmody.

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