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Thread: Boxing is Not Dead.. Yet

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    Senior Member Tetris Champion notdavidlynch's Avatar
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    Boxing is Not Dead.. Yet

    A lot of people think that the May/Pac fight killed boxing, and to a certain extent, it absolutely did turn a lot of the general public off to the sport who were already not that interested - for both good and bad reasons, but I won't get into all of it. I'll just say that May/Pac was built up as the Fight of the Century when it clearly wasn't: it was two aging fighters, past their prime, cashing in on their legacies in a historic way. It was the greatest cash grab in the history of the sport, but it certainly wasn't the best fight that could be made at the time nor were the results very interesting.

    As more of a hardcore fan, boxing has frustrated me as well, but for different reasons. For every Vargas vs. Miura type clash that comes as a surprise and seems to make following the sport worthwhile, there are a litany of disappointments and frustrations.

    Wilder vs. Povetkin was postponed indefinitely one week before it was supposed to happen, and that was a fight that everyone was hankering for (at least amongst hardcore fans) and believed was too good to be true (and it proved to be). Now, instead of a boxing match, everyone argues over the obscured details and complexity of VADA, WADA, the WBC, GC/MS, and legalities while the two sides are now battling it out in New York courts rather than in the ring.

    Great (and I mean GREAT) fighters like GGG - admirable ones with a clear passion and dedication to the sport as well as respect for their fans and opponents - are strung along by the promoters of cash cows of more popular fighters like Canelo Alvarez. Agreements and contracts are made and then broken - either reworked into a new agreement that one side never intends to honor, or just outright violated. Canelo vacated his 160 lb. WBC title rather than face Golovkin this year, something that I don't think any other Mexican boxer has done in the history of the sport. Mexican media labels him a coward, but Golden Boy is moving forward because they know that people will still buy his PPVs, and he can always just promise to make the fight in 2017. GGG is getting older, and I have no interest in seeing him face Canelo when he's into his late 30s and Canelo is at his physical peak (late 20s). The time was now, and now it's gone. Canelo & De La Hoya robbed the sport of something that could've worked to win people back.

    Meanwhile, an actual Fight of the Century caliber matchup has been signed and agreed to. A date and location and other terms are already set. The two fighters just need to make it past interim matchups. The fight will be November 19, 2016 at T-Mobile arena in Vegas. The fight will be between Andre S.O.G. Ward and Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev. Both are nearly unanimously considered top 5 P4P fighters, i.e. they're two of the best, period. They're also not past their primes like May/Pac were. There's no misrepresentation here. If this fight goes down, it will fall into a rare caliber of matchup that the sport simply doesn't see very often. Big fights usually prove to be mismatches for whatever reason: injury, one guy was never that good anyway, age, whatever, and the hardcore fans and experts typically see it coming. This isn't the case here. This is the real deal.

    Both of these guys (Ward and Kovalev) are two artists in the ring. They're still at the peak of their ability. They're both confident, and they would both rather risk their legacies than wonder what would have happened had they had more balls. Both fighters seem to think they can win despite there being narratives against them. This is pure bravery from both men. It's a beautiful thing to see and appreciate in a world dominated by greed and cowardice and people too afraid to do anything more than survive.

    Andre Ward is an Olympic Gold medalist. He hasn't lost a boxing match since he was 12. He's undefeated as a professional. He unified the 168 lb. division and got as high as #2 in the P4P rankings behind Floyd Mayweather Jr. He has already beaten Hall of Fame caliber fighters (Froch, Kessler) and demolished a range of regular ol' run-of-the-mill, elite championship level boxers (Abraham, Dawson, etc). He has a complete legacy as perhaps the best 168 lb. fighter in the history of the sport. He's currently ranked #4 P4P by the Ring Magazine.

    Kovalev is something else. He has literally killed people in the ring. All too often, people assume that because a boxer has a lot of power, that that's all they are - a puncher. Kovalev is a boxer-puncher. He has devastating power to go along with a level of skill comparable to Ward's. But, because he mixes it up and takes risks at a higher rate than guys like Ward or Mayweather - people tend to underestimate him. Sometimes the level of nuance that he displays in the ring seems more improvised than deliberate, and to a certain extent, maybe that's true. He's fluid in his approach, but just like P vs. J in typology, that fluidity means that he can adjust his approach quickly. I've seen him go from getting out-boxed in the 1st round, making adjustments, and schooling his opponent and knocking them out cold in the 2nd. I've seen him flip the switch mid-round. Sometimes it looks like he gets caught and then gets angry and more aggressive, but seeing as how it typically works in his favor - I wonder if he's just getting caught, making adjustments, and capitalizing on them. He's a spectacle. He's currently ranked #2 P4P by the Ring Magazine and is a unified champion in his weight class (WBA, WBO, and IBF).

    My point. Having been a hardcore boxing fan all this time, even I'm getting sick of the sport. I've thought about quitting as a fan just as I've quit as a fan of team sports. The disappointment is sometimes just too much. However, while I feel this, I need to remind myself that something great is on the horizon and - regardless of how the fight turns out - the fact that it has even been agreed to warms my heart and renews my faith in the small handful of people in the world who are great at what they do and are not afraid to test the full limits of their abilities, especially in an arena of life as harsh and unforgiving as boxing. Courage, in my mind, is a virtue as fundamental as truth, and both of these men demonstrate a refreshing level of it.

    There are better boxers out there who, for whatever reason, seem to fly under the radar of the public while never generating much interest or fanfare for their careers. Usually it's because they prove to be too good too early and other elite boxers or their promoters choose not to risk fighting them. Gennady Golovkin is a prime example of this, but he's managed to find some share of the limelight through perseverance and decent marketing ploys by his promoter (moving him to Los Angeles and pandering to Mexicans).

    Perhaps the most skilled boxer on the planet - Guillermo Rigondeaux - is on the verge of being forgotten forever. Like a lot of Cuban defectors, he arrived late to the professional game and had trouble attracting quality opponents. Who in their right mind would want to face a two time Olympic Gold Medalist for an almost guaranteed loss and little to no money? He managed to get a fight vs. Nonito Donaire, but it would be a shame if that proves to be his only worthwhile fight.

    Lomachenko has hope because he's being promoted by TopRank, but guys are still turning down career high paydays claiming it's too little to step in the ring with someone they don't think they can beat. Inoue is another guy to watch. There's talent everywhere, but we don't get to see that talent expressed to it's fullest capacity.

    This is why Ward vs. Kovalev is the real Fight of the Century. It's potentially an Ali vs. Frazier I type match up. This is why the public should be paying attention. This is why I'm posting this thread. It's a signal boost.

    Last edited by notdavidlynch; 07-01-2016 at 04:21 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Makers!*'s Avatar
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    Thanks for the post. I'll keep tuned into the Ward vs. Kovalev fight. Boxing is a sweet science. I have great admiration for their skill.

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    Senior Member Tetris Champion notdavidlynch's Avatar
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    May as well start posting Lee Wylie videos..


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    Guillermo Rigondeaux


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    Senior Member Tetris Champion notdavidlynch's Avatar
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    My keys to victory for both Kovalev and Ward (cross-posted)

    KOVALEV

    Cut off the ring Stay in the center as the aggressor, away from the ropes, and restrict Ward's ability to circle you or evade

    Feints and fakes Quickly learn how Ward may counter various aggressions. Keep Ward on his toes and don't allow him too much time to think or plan an attack. Certainly don't get into a pattern or rhythm that Ward could time and break. Despite beating the shit out of Pascal twice, you got a little arrogant on both occasions, stopped mixing things up, and paid for it with some hard counters.

    Counter his counters Ward will be cautious, is unlikely to be beaten by straightforward attacks, and won't be easily baited into attacking first. You'll need to open often and anticipate his counter-punching and evasions.

    More is better Attack progressively, relentlessly, accurately, and as awkwardly as possible. One and two punch combinations certainly won't do it, three probably won't either. More openings will come after Ward has been forced to block/counter/evade for the 4th, 5th, or 6th time or more in a single attack. The rhythm of attacking/retreating can be disrupted with fake retreats to keep up the pressure.

    Feet Use your explosiveness to quickly shift angles of attack and retreat. Stay balanced and move in and out of range quickly, especially after Ward evades your first level of aggression or if he attempts to clinch and slow down the fight. Don't lose your center of gravity and topple over on your own or with the help of a tap or nudge from Ward. You could be the victim of flash knockdowns if caught or simply be made to look foolish when you fall down on your own, potentially tainting the judges perception of who is in control.

    Killer Instincts So much of what we see from you in the ring appears too fluid and opportunistic to be game-planned or even practiced. Prepare well and come in with a good strategy, but don't second guess the fighting intuitions that have proved to be good enough to thwart great boxing minds like Hopkins. Ward is cerebral and will study you, but you're naturally in tune with what's in front of you to a degree that you'll be able to read his intentions quickly even if you barely understand why. Stay focused and stay confident so that you can read these subtle cues and pounce without laboring under too much conscious thought. Stay calm and relaxed so that you go for the kill the right way at the right time, rather than missing good shots and forcing bad ones through anxiety or overthinking.

    Power Hard shots to the body will tire Ward quicker, impair his movement, and drop his hands. Hard shots to the head have the potential to cloud his judgement, impair his reflexes, and of course put him down for the count. If Ward feels your power early on, then you can keep him retreating and reluctant to attack even if he sees an opening. You probably won't win without landing hard shots, and doing everything I listed above will give you the best chance of landing them.

    WARD

    Well timed and jarring aggression
    . Kovalev will be the aggressor for the most part, and you'll likely default to defending - and for good reason - but your easiest route to winning the fight is through picking the right spots to break out of this cat/mouse game and land multi-level, progressive combinations. You did this well against Dawson.

    Size and strength. Everyone seems to be under the impression that Kovalev is bigger and stronger, but you're just as tall and just as heavy with seemingly better muscle mass and definition. You might lack Kovalev's explosive power, but you're probably just as strong if not stronger, especially in your core. Get inside and use that strength to your advantage. Push Kovalev and exploit his tendency to lose balance. Lock arms, clinch, use your forearms, and fight dirty if necessary. Keep your center of gravity low and maintain good leverage to work your way into a favorable position in close quarters or while clinching.

    Reflexes. Let's hope you can get them back to where they were before the layoff, or that they're at least good enough to win this fight. Despite your skill, you were heavily reliant on your quick reflexes and reaction times during your prime, and they haven't appeared to be as crisp after the layoff. It doesn't matter how good your brain is at boxing if your body won't respond quickly enough to an athlete like Kovalev. He's such an accurate and powerful puncher that reacting a few milliseconds too slowly can be the difference between going 12 and getting knocked out early.

    Your chin, toughness, and survival instincts. You got caught and dropped pretty hard vs. Boone. Kovalev has more power than anyone you've ever faced and is also the best boxer. If Kovalev connects with even his medium shots, how will it effect you? How will you handle a harder shot? How will you handle the body shots? No one - not even Mayweather - has gone 12 rounds in championship level boxing without being hit a few times. As the rounds go on, will you get stronger or weaker? The core strength I mentioned earlier will play a role here if you're able to take hard body shots and continue to box and move effectively. Ring survival instincts may also come into play, the kind that we saw from Mayweather when Mosley rocked him and he latched on to his arm so quickly that Mosley couldn't pull it back, giving Mayweather the chance to hold on and eventually recover. I just don't know if you have these instincts.

    Don't get behind early, and don't play it too safely. You don't want to be down a few rounds or hurt before you collect a sense of urgency. The more you allow Kovalev to aggress, the more likely you are to take damage, and the more likely it is that you won't go 12. The way you fought Barrera was too tentative, and you'll need to ramp up and take control of this fight a little quicker.

    Landing counter punches when Kovalev covers distance. I've mentioned it already, but I've seen Kovalev trip over his own feet quite a bit, usually when he bounds in and out of range. If a well timed counter lands then I'm pretty sure that you'll get a knockdown like the one you scored on Barrera. Obviously, these knockdowns can put distance between your point total and Kovalev's, flavor the judges perception of the fight, and shake up Kovalev's own confidence and make him think more - and if this fight boils down to thinking, then you'll win. Easy knockdowns could mean the difference between a draw or close decision either way and a wide UD in your favor.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Tetris Champion notdavidlynch's Avatar
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    Currently debating whether or not to go to this fight. Another cheaper option would be going to see Hopkins @ The Forum in December. Another fight I was definitely going to see was Salido vs. Miura but that was cancelled.

    Bare minimum budget for the cheapest available seats would be ~500 bucks (2 nosebleed tickets + taxes/fees, gas to Vegas and back, not-bunk hotel room for 1 night - minimum MGM Grand quality - 1st floor rooms are ~100/night, food, etc). Not sure if the bad seats would make the trip worth it. Could expand the budget to 1000-1500 to include 'acceptable' seats. Good tickets cost thousands of dollars each.

    ... Ehhh...

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    (╯□)╯︵ ┻━┻ Deckard's Avatar
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    I think boxing has declined as a direct result of the rise of MMA. I would say part of this is because MMA is less of a rigid sport, it evolves over time and it encourages diversity in fighting styles which attracts a wider audience. Another reason is that it's more of a pure fight, and the techniques that work in MMA work in the real world. I think it's a good thing for the fighters too, since MMA has a much lower rate of serious injury.

    One thing I dislike about MMA is that fighters are booked & paid according to their ability to pull crowds, which is fine in itself and expected, but it's created a dynamic where fighters are pressured to create a persona, to generate drama and controversy. I guess that's what a lot of people want, but it's a layer of bullshit that I think detracts from the sport.

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    Senior Member Senseye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deckard View Post
    One thing I dislike about MMA is that fighters are booked & paid according to their ability to pull crowds...
    This is somewhat true, but boxing is even worse. MMA likes to stir up a bit of a "fake" rivalry, boxing likes to use contrived "undefeated" records so some fighters that have been meticulously managed never fight anyone good until their big payday. Then it turns out they were never that good.

    MMA usually pits top ranked fighters against each other, then tells them to hype the fight. The fights are usually competitive though, and I think that is why it has eaten boxing's lunch.

    Alas, MMA (at least the UFC) grossly underpays fighters, and the fighters seem to be waking up to this. I suspect over the next 10 years or so it will go the way of boxing, the UFC near monopoly will be broken, and at that point, agent managed top fighters will rarely square off, as the paydays aren't what their agents demand.

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    Senior Member Tetris Champion notdavidlynch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deckard View Post
    I think boxing has declined as a direct result of the rise of MMA.
    Definitely not true. A) Boxing hasn't declined - it's as popular as ever from a global perspective, and therein lies B) it's declined for some audiences precisely because it's become more of a global sport and the names on the champions table are becoming increasingly unrecognizable to the English speaking world (outside of the UK, at least). 1991 was the start of boxing's decline amongst Western audiences, but it wasn't UFC 1 - it was the collapse of the Soviet Union opening the doors for a major influx of talent from Russia, Kazakhstan, the Ukraine, etc. The Klitschko's near decade and a half reign of terror in the historically American dominated heavyweight division really took boxing out of media machine favor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deckard View Post
    I would say part of this is because MMA is less of a rigid sport
    I wouldn't say that it's less rigid at all. They both have a laundry list of artificially imposed rules. The difference is that boxing is a single martial art while MMA is obviously mixed martial arts, with the consequence being that - apart from wrestlers - most MMA fighters are not world class in any given thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deckard View Post
    it evolves over time and it encourages diversity in fighting styles which attracts a wider audience.
    It has evolved over time, but it's evolved in the direction of less diversity. Compare the first couple of UFCs to today and it's a huge difference - the sport has become far more homogenous - basic striking + BJJ and the occasional wrestling or judo move.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deckard View Post
    Another reason is that it's more of a pure fight, and the techniques that work in MMA work in the real world.
    It's no more pure of a fight than boxing. They're both artificially constrained and skilled competitions, rarely devolving into fights at the highest level. The real world has things like tables and hard floors and concrete and curbs and sharp objects and bystanders - using MMA grappling and takedown moves in a street fight is a quick recipe for seriously injuring yourself. This is why most street fights are mostly stand up affairs with the occasional tackle when someone is feeling brave. They reward boxing skills more - head movement, footwork, balance, distance, well-timed and well placed hooks more than anything - hooks seem to be the quickest way to end a street fight because your everyday Joe doesn't comprehend much more than the right cross. Of course, an MMA fighters basic understanding of boxing is probably way more than enough skill necessary to clobber 99.9% of people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deckard View Post
    I think it's a good thing for the fighters too, since MMA has a much lower rate of serious injury.
    Definitely true, or so I think.

    ----

    For some reason, I'm reminded of watching video of Alexander Povetkin when he was a high level kickboxer. He fought almost exclusively with his hands - kicks were just kind of lazily thrown in. He still managed to become a world champion almost solely on the merit of his boxing, and he eventually switched to boxing (Gold medalist, world heavyweight champion, 30-1 as a pro).

  10. #10
    fluctuating Obfuscate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by notdavidlynch View Post
    Meanwhile, an actual Fight of the Century caliber matchup has been signed and agreed to. A date and location and other terms are already set. The two fighters just need to make it past interim matchups. The fight will be November 19, 2016 at T-Mobile arena in Vegas. The fight will be between Andre S.O.G. Ward and Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev. Both are nearly unanimously considered top 5 P4P fighters, i.e. they're two of the best, period. They're also not past their primes like May/Pac were. There's no misrepresentation here. If this fight goes down, it will fall into a rare caliber of matchup that the sport simply doesn't see very often. Big fights usually prove to be mismatches for whatever reason: injury, one guy was never that good anyway, age, whatever, and the hardcore fans and experts typically see it coming. This isn't the case here. This is the real deal.

    Both of these guys (Ward and Kovalev) are two artists in the ring. They're still at the peak of their ability. They're both confident, and they would both rather risk their legacies than wonder what would have happened had they had more balls. Both fighters seem to think they can win despite there being narratives against them. This is pure bravery from both men. It's a beautiful thing to see and appreciate in a world dominated by greed and cowardice and people too afraid to do anything more than survive.
    for fuck's sake, you you write well about this... the whole thing was very well written, but about the time you hit the point quoted i actually felt interested in boxing for a moment... i don't think i will be shelling out for a ppv, but i will be looking for a copy of it afterwords... even that level of interest in boxing is a lot for me...

    anyhow, i just wanted to let you know that i was impressed with your presentation here..
    "The vanity of intelligence is that the intelligent man is often more committed to 'one-upping' his opponent than being truthful. When the idea of intelligence, rather than intelligence itself, becomes a staple, there is no wisdom in it."
    Criss Jami

    "When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion."
    "Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving."
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