Reddit AMA (online Q&A with fans) with Bob Arum

Featuring such gems as:

“Have you ever seen the infamous Oscar fishnet pictures? If so, what are your thoughts?”

Arum: “Oscar always maintained that it was photoshopped, and that’s a testament to his credibility”

&

“With the rise of the #metoo movement, on a scale of 1 to 10 how scared are you of skeletons from your past being exposed?”

Arum: “Well, I always envision getting up at a press conference and talking and some old lady in a walker comes in and accuses me 50 years ago of doing something inappropriate. I can always plead at my age that I have no memory, but it’s possible!”

Pound4poundireland’s February 3rd POUND FOR POUND top 10

1. Terence Crawford

2. Vasyl Lomachenko

3. Gennady Golovkin

4. Suriyan Sor Rungvisai

5. Keith Thurman

6. Mikey Garcia

7. Naoya Inoue

8. Oleksandr Usyk

9. Juan Francisco Estrada

10. Jeff Horn

  • Usyk enters at #8 after winning a terrific, closely contested fight with Mairis Briedis in the WBSS semi finals. He’ll have his opportunity to claim a rare undisputed title when facing the Gassiev-Dorticos winner in the final.
  • Saul Alvarez exits.

Pound4poundireland’s 2017 Fighter of the Year

Rungvisai Gonzalez Boxing

Fighter of the Year

1. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai

2. Vasyl Lomachenko

3. Mikey Garcia

Mikey Garcia reminded everyone of his talent this year, continuing his comeback from a long layoff to first destroy titlist Dejan Zlaticanin at lightweight in a KO of the year candidate, then dominate Adrien Broner at 140.

“No Mas-chenko” was coined in boxing lore thanks to consecutive schoolings in 2017 of Jason Sosa, Miguel Marriaga and (the admittedly much smaller) Guillermo Rigondeaux, all of which resulted in corner retirements, cementing Vasyl Lomachenko near the top of everyone’s estimations of boxing’s top fighter.

Wouldn’t it be great to see Lomachenko-Garcia in 2018? A shame that promotional differences, maybe size too, will keep them apart, at least for now.

The outstanding fighter of 2017 to my eyes was the formerly unheralded Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.

Prior to 2017, the Thai, birth name Wisaksil Wangek, a former kickboxer of over 50 professional fights, was most known for a brief 115lb. title run that ended in a cut-shortened defeat to Carlos Cuadras in 2014.

But, having not faced a fighter with a decent record in two years, he fought a savage war with consensus pound for pound #1 and undefeated lower weight legend Roman Gonzalez, coming out with a hotly debated decision win, one which I felt he had earned.

All debate was quenched in the immediate rematch 6 months later, when Rungvisai stepped it up yet another gear and flattened Gonzalez brutally in the fourth round.

He’s earned his place among boxing’s elite, will have a chance to further his case against another lower weight darling when he takes on Juan Francisco Estrada next month, and is the Pound4poundireland Fighter of the Year for 2017.

 

Fights to look forward to in 2018?

Note: I’ve kept this list to bouts that can realistically happen next year, hence why you won’t see any fights like Burnett-Tete or Kovalev-Beterbiev on this list that are likely prevented by promotional/TV differences etc.

1. Tyson Fury- Anthony Joshua

Now that Fury’s UKAD situation has finally been sorted out, he can end his two year plus layoff and this long-discussed fight can approach becoming a reality.

It’s probably a long shot for 2018, but here’s hoping.

2. Anthony Joshua-Deontay Wilder

More likely in the immediate future is AJ vs. Wilder for all of the sanctioning body marbles, arguably the most exciting fight that can be made in boxing.

3. Oleksandr Usyk-Murat Gassiev/Yunier Dorticos

As long as Usyk beats Mairis Breidis in his World Boxing Super Series semi, this fight should happen in the final to determine ultimate cruiserweight supremacy.

4. Sergey Kovalev-Dmitry Bivol

Bivol recently signed with Main Events and if Kovalev is really on the wane, perhaps a win in a fight like this could be what launches Bivol to stardom at the expense of his promotional stablemate.

5. George Groves/Chris Eubank Jr.-Callum Smith

Groves-Eubank in February is already as good as it gets in terms of matchmaking, but an expected showdown between the winner and Callum Smith in the WBSS final comes close to as mouthwatering.

6. Gennady Golovkin-Saul Alvarez II

This is a rematch that probably wouldn’t have been necessary if the judges had gotten things right the first time, but it’s still a fight that will be hugely anticipated.

With Canelo in his prime as both a boxer and darling of the judges, and Golovkin looking like he’s slowed down, maybe this will be the Mexican’s crowning glory.

7. Gennady Golovkin/Saul Alvarez-Billy Joe Saunders

The winner will have to face slick and underrated Billy Joe Saunders for undisputed 160lb. supremacy, however, and let’s hope that happens by this time next year.

8. Keith Thurman-Errol Spence

This is the obvious fight to be made at 147 (at least until Terence Crawford establishes himself at the new weight), but whether it will happen or not is a different question.

Thurman has expressed reluctance, expressing his preference to push it back until 2019 and admitting he’s lost some of his hunger for boxing.

9. Lee Selby-Carl Frampton

If Selby schools Josh Warrington as expected and Frampton overcomes a potentially dangerous fight with Nonito Donaire, this is the final destination that would make most sense.

They have the same promoter, Frampton wants another world title shot and Selby is looking for his defining fights after a few years in the wilderness.

10. Naoya Inoue-Srisaket Sor Rungvisai/Juan Francisco Estrada

It’s a shame that Inoue will possibly not stick around at 115lbs. long enough to meet the winner of the excellent upcoming SSR-Estrada fight, but why not just make it for 118 instead?

Pound4poundireland’s 2017 Fight, Knockout, Round, Prospect, Upset and Trainer of the Year

Fight of the Year

1. Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko

2. Dominic Breazeale-Izuagbe Ugonoh

3. Orlando Salido-Miguel Roman

Knockout of the Year

1.  Zolani Tete ko1 Sibonsino Gonya

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/full-fight-video-zolani-tete-vs-sibonsino-gonya-fastest-world-title-ko-in-history/

2. Jermell Charlo ko1 Erickson Lubin

3. Carlos Daniel Cordoba ko6 Martin Ariel Ruiz

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0ti_zenlbU (@ 5:45)

Round of the Year

1. Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko Round 5

2. Roarke Knapp-John Bopape Round 3

3. Dominic Breazeale-Izuagbe Ugonoh Round 3

Prospect of the Year

1. Josh Kelly

2. Jaime Munguia

3. Vergil Ortiz Jr.

Upset of the Year

1. Caleb Truax MD12 James DeGale

2. Jeff Horn UD12 Manny Pacquiao

3. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai MD12 Roman Gonzalez

 

Trainer of the Year

Derrick James – for his work with Jermell Charlo and Errol Spence

December 30th’s Random Boxing Rants

My prospect of the year picks for 2017 were a mixed bag:

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/pound4poundirelands-2016-fighter-fight-knockout-round-prospect-upset-and-trainer-of-the-year/

Top pick Jarrett Hurd won a vacant title against Tony Harrison, then beat skilled veteran Austin Trout, both in entertaining fights, to set himself up for a unification against the likes of Jermell Charlo.

Unfortunately, #2 pick Jason Quigley suffered a setback with a serious hand injury, suffered in a tougher-than-expected win over Glen Tapia in March, his only bout of the year:

Hughie Fury boxed just once also, a close loss for a world title against Joseph Parker.

He was ultra-defensive and reluctant to engage, frustrating the plodding Parker in possibly the year’s most boring fight, one in which both men looked terrible.

Fury will get other chances in the future, but while he proved he has a skillset to hang with some of the divison’s top ten, he’ll have to be a lot more aggressive to succeed.

 

Unfortunately, just two of the ten bouts I craved in 2017 (Canelo-GGG & Ward-Kovalev II) actually took place:

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/fights-to-look-forward-to-in-2017/

This is surprising, perhaps, given that 2017 has to be viewed as a strong one for the sport, probably the best since 2013.

Some of the fights (Gonzalez-Inoue, Joshua-Haye, for example) withered on the vine due to the older boxers suffering losses and appearing to be shot.

 

Looking back at my monthly Judging the Judges pieces from the past year, the question emerges of who were some of the worst repeat offenders of the year?

Britain’s Bob Williams claims the unenviable #1 position amongst referees & judges with 5 separate citations for poor officiating.

Phil Edwards, Steve Gray, Steve Weisfeld, Ian John-Lewis, Victor Loughlin, Don Trella, Jamie Garayua, Steve Morrow, Tony Weeks, Irakli Malazonia, Richard Ocasio and Valerie Dorsett also picked up multiple mentions each.

Dishonourable mention must also be made of:

  • Adalaide ‘118-110’ Byrd
  • The Arkansas commission for allowing a HIV-positive boxer to fight
  • The New York commission for their sins as outlined by Thomas Hauser
  • WBO supervisor John Handelaar for not knowing the weigh-in rules of his own organization
  • Clark Sammartino for not knowing the identities of the boxers in the fight he was judging
  • And extra special mention to Bob Bennett and the Nevada commission for their sanctioning and subsequent justifications of Mayweather-McGregor, as well as the Rigondeaux-Flores post-fight mess.

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (December 2017)

Dec. 2nd – Let’s start on a rare positive note, by giving credit to judges Julie Lederman, Steve Weisfeld and Eric Marlinski for correctly judging Sadam Ali the winner over Miguel Cotto on his swansong outing.

It would have been very easy to be swayed by the sentimentality of the whole evening and gifted the decision to the hugely popular veteran.

Dec. 9th – It’s never too late for one of the robberies of the year, however.

Tevin Farmer schooled Kenichi Ogawa in a vacant 130lb. title fight, only to find himself robbed by the cards of Max DeLuca (115-113) & Burt Clements (116-112).

Dec. 13th – Bob Williams missed a clear knockdown scored by Lawrence Okolie in the second round en route to his stoppage of Portuguese journeyman Antonio Sousa.

The real controversy came later in this York Hall show, and again involved Bob Williams.
He laughably scored hyped prospect Conor Benn a 57-54 winner over Cedrick Peynaud after a wild 6 rounds, meaning he had not scored a single round to Peynaud after the 10-7 first session.
This makes absolutely no sense, considering that Peynaud hurt Benn again in the third and was generally in control until the 5th round. In fact, Benn didn’t even need to score his dramatic 5th and 6th round knockdowns to get the decision!
One of the year’s worst cards.
Dec. 16th – Billy Joe Saunders pitched a Wright vs. Trinidad-esque abject shutout on home boxer David Lemieux in Montreal.
Gerardo Martinez’s 117-111 card was stupidly generous to the Canadian.
Dec. 22nd – Rose Volante won a 135lb. title against Brenda Karen Carabajal in Argentina, scoring two knockdowns on her way to the win.
Hector Miguel seemed intent on robbing her, however, turning in a 94-94 score.
The Fury/UKAD situation, raging since their February 2015 failed drug tests, and chronicled much of the way on this site (largely in this ‘judging the judges’ section), has finally come to a conclusion, if not a wholly satisfactory one:

In my view, it boils down to this: UKAD reportedly feared legal reprecussions because of their mishandling of the case, namely the gross “delays in results management”, but also did not want to appear toothless by appearing to not sanction the Furys over the tests.

The Furys simply wanted to put the case behind them, and, in the case of Tyson, to box on again as soon as possible.

Thus, the two-year backdated ‘non-ban’ ban was invented, lip-service to a legitimate process and punishment, but not changing the fact that Tyson was allowed to potentially box dirty to beat Klitschko in late 2015 (something UKAD are careful not to suggest when outlining Tyson’s subsequent clean samples) when he could have been banned in the event of an expedited results procedure.