April 29th’s Random Boxing Rants

Cork-based heavyweight Mike Perez says he was entering the ring drunk in each bout since the Abdusalamov tragedy:



The Fury family continue to cement their reputation as a joke, firstly by Hughie predictably withdrawing from the Joseph Parker fight, as well as this truly offal excuse for their failed drug tests for nandralone in 2015:



Some reflections on recent fights:

Tete-Villanueva a boring contest, but superb boxing display from one of my hardcore favourites, the rangy Tete.

Who else would be interested in seeing him eventually move up to 122 & play boxing chess with Rigondeaux?

Smyle-Williams a true war for the English title. British fight of the year contender that I’d recommend anybody to check out.

Another hardcore favourite, the eccentric Avtandil Khurtsidze blasted past Tommy Langford to set up a Billy Joe Saunders shot.

Either he gets outboxed by a form Saunders or he exposes Saunders lack of fitness and overwhelms him.


AJ-Klitschko thoughts:

We’re just hours away now from the biggest heavyweight fight since Lewis-Tyson.

I’m tempted to side with Joshua by decision as he’ll likely find Wlad hard to tag clean and I don’t see Klitschko throwing very much in return.

Training videos seem to suggest Klitschko is going to try to box from the outside and be elusively awkward in a similar way to Fury’s display in defeating him. Certainly, while Fury made Wlad look old with his movement, AJ’s far more straightforward style won’t present the same puzzle.

The result largely depends which Klitschko shows up but I find it hard to bet on a 41yo coming off an 18 month layoff and poor performance, against a form guy, with home advantage, four ko wins in the interim and bags of talent in his own right.

March 8th’s Random Boxing Rants

Still no UKAD ruling on the Furys’ nandralone failures from February 2015, and all this with Hughie lined up to challenge Joseph Parker in May and Tyson supposedly returning the following week.

For the record, I’m doubtful that either of these fights take place as scheduled.

The latest ballpark date for a hearing is alleged to be mid-April, but this has turned into one of boxing’s longest running farces.


Part of me feels sorry for David Haye, whose ignominious defeat to Tony Bellew last weekend was ironically also the scene of his greatest display of bravery and heart, qualities it was doubted by many that he possessed.

It was a case of past sins coming back to haunt Haye, whose achilles vulnerability was leaked on fight week, and Haye, who might otherwise have pulled out of the fight, soldiering on because doing so would have irrevocably destroyed an already-frayed reputation with the British boxing public.

As has consistently been his gameplan at heavyweight, Haye sought the path of least resistance to the biggest payday, but, this time, his body gave out.

Despite a comfortable points lead going into the 6th round against a reticent Bellew, Haye looked horrible and a shadow of his past self. Wild swings and misses reminded me of the Ricky Hatton that showed up against Senchenko. People in the back row were ducking for cover.

Then the sudden injury, and, while Bellew must get credit for the big upset (a hope that Haye’s body would let him down would surely have been part of a gameplan to extend the fight to the second half), he beat a shot fighter, and did so in laboured fashion, gassing himself before summoning enough energy to eventually get the stoppage in the 11th.

Can we really imagine the silly spectacle of Bellew challenging Wilder or Parker for a portion of the heavyweight title? It might happen…as could a Haye rematch at some stage.

What about Bellew vs. Tyson Fury?

The Liverpudlian has cracked it, transcending a lack of natural gifts to carve a quality career that’s surpassed the likes of his more talented former foe Nathan Cleverly.

As for Haye, he has had surgery and says he will return, but we’ve seen enough from Hayemaker 2.0 to know that any third iteration will be a sad shell of past glories trotted out with the aim of cashing in on his remaining name value.


Let’s end on a lighter note:

January 5th’s Random Boxing Rants

A year of judging the judges on this site has come to an end, so on to the question of who were some of the worst repeat offenders of the year?

Marcus McDonnell claims the unenviable #1 position amongst referees & judges with 4 separate citations for poor officiating.

Waleska Roldan, Terry O’Connor, Steve Gray and Alexander Kalinkin also picked up multiple mentions each.

The Professional Boxing Federation of Russia (for allowing Povetkin to fight days after a failed test), the New York State Athletic commission (for the exposure of their widespread corruption and incompetence; special mention to then-chairman Tom Hoover), the California commission (for allowing Salido-Vargas to go ahead after Vargas’ positive test; yes, it resulted in the fight of the year, but I don’t want dirty boxing, no matter how entertaining), and, AIBA (for the rampant levels of fixed draws, bribery, lack of drug testing and seeming mission to annihilate amateur boxing from the inside) deserve particular shaming.

Little tops Germany’s BDB commission, who, led by equivocating president Thomas Putz, were involved in a myriad of scandals this year, involving the failed drug tests of Erkan Teper, Felix Sturm & Sam Soliman, sanctioning a gross Odlanier Solis mismatch versus a novice, and being stripped of their status as a “full member” by the EBU.

For the sake of relative brevity, here are selected details of the most serious BDB oversights relating to the Erkan Teper situation:

Disgraced Erkan Teper returned to fight Derric Rossy on July 3rd.

But how was this allowed to happen after his 2 year ban for PED use going back to his knockout of David Price last July (as well as the police raid on his home that uncovered vast amounts of PEDs, something that has seemingly gone unpunished)?

More details of his ban can be found here:


The answer once again lies in the eternally fractured state of boxing’s regulatory structure, as Germany’s boxing commission (BDB) are under no obligation to honour the EBU’s ban.

Check out the asinine reasoning offered by BDB president Thomas Puetz for their decision:


Does anyone think a fine, random testing & a last-chance probationary stance is enough of a punishment, or enough of a justification to not honour the EBU’s ban?


The Erkan Teper-David Price situation is everything that’s wrong with boxing’s fractured governance and poorly managed PED testing.

Jake Donovan’s report for Boxingscene.com outlines the lurid chain of events in detail: http://www.boxingscene.com/teper-dealt-two-year-ban-price-ko-changed-no-contest–99702?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

The German Boxing Federation (BDB) are most at fault: taking five months to disclose the failed test for the Price fight; it only coming to light now that Teper had previously failed a test & was given a short ban in mid-2014; and for failing to inform the European Boxing Union about any of this until December 2015, when Teper had shortly beforehand been scheduled to fight once again for their title.

It was also somehow not revealed publicly that a police raid on Teper’s residence in April of last year uncovered vast amounts of PEDs (for example, clenbuterol, testosterone, growth hormone and Methandrostenolone).



How did my prospect of the year picks for 2016 pan out?


Pretty well, actually.

Anthony Joshua is, very rapidly, positioning himself as perhaps boxing’s single biggest draw. Sorry, Canelo…

A banner year saw a world title won earlier than expected & two routine defences. AJ is still learning on the job but packing arenas and riding the hype train to eye-popping PPV numbers for Sky.

This is only the beginning.

A hoped-for crowd of 90k will witness his headline debut at Wembley, and first foray into the top tier of the division, against ‘old’ Wlad Klitschko.

Takuma Inoue was all set for a year-end title challenge in just his 9th bout, but injury prevented this. His time will come.

Callum Smith became mandatory challenger for Badou Jack in April, but has had to wait for this title shot to be ordered by the sanctioning body. In the meantime, he racked up three easy stay-busy wins.


What about the fights I hoped would happen in 2016?


Unfortunately, only 3 of the 13 hoped-for contests happened, although DeGale-Jack is set for later this month.

Not a good haul and reflective of a poor year for the sport.


Less than a month to go before the astonishingly bad Chris Eubank Jr.-Renold Quinlan fight on ITV PPV.

As it stands, there’s more than a few reasons to believe this farce won’t actually end up happening:


December 15th’s Random Boxing Rants

On Saturday, just weeks away from his 52nd birthday, Bernard Hopkins returns to the ring for what he says is a final fight.

He takes on consensus top ten contender Joe Smith Jr. and, as tolerant as I am of the great man having one last showcase (one he will probably be able to win on points), in light of the frightful Kovalev beatdown two years ago, let’s hope it really is his last go-around.

B-Hop, you officially have the boxing world’s permission to retire and return to your home planet. (Credit to @bostello for that one)


David Haye has to be one of boxing’s greatest conmen. 

Two comedy fights on Dave and here he is with a foul-mouth fuelled PPV headliner against cruiserweight beltholder Tony Bellew, the ideal money-spinning route to what he really wants: Anthony Joshua in a stadium fight.

After a failed acting career, perhaps he’s turned screenwriter. Certainly, he couldn’t have scripted it any better: bags of cash for a return to PPV in a bout he is almost certain to win.


It takes two to tango, and for AJ-Haye to eventually materialize, Joshua will have to negotiate a far more serious obstacle, that of former perennial champion, old Wlad Klitschko.

Even though he’ll be coming off a 17 month layoff and a terrible showing against Tyson Fury, there still exists the real chance that he’ll know too much for a conventional, if bull-strong & hammer-fisted Joshua.

That said, I favour AJ’s youth and momentum (4 fights since Wlad last laced them up) over Klitschko’s inactivity and reluctance to throw. Even though Joshua will be the opposite of the unorthodox, moving target of Fury, I still find it hard to see Klitschko really letting his hands go with enough confidence to get the win.


Ok, so Shannon Briggs has missed out on the promised David Haye fight and probably has nothing left to offer in the ring.

But doesn’t that make it all the more astonishing that, after several years of catchphrase invention and social media mastery, he has yet to land a significant fight, especially in a heavyweight division that has never shied away from a good freakshow?

Maybe his mandatory position for the WBA’s ‘regular’ trinket can be the opening he needs.

July 6th’s Random Boxing Rants

Fun fact: the promoter (and circus strongman), Butty Sugrue, who brought Ali to Ireland for his 1972 fight in Croke Park, is buried 200m from my house in County Kerry, Ireland.

Here is a trailer for RTE’s terrific documentary on the subject: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wA8_th5nYBU


Some people are already giving Chris Eubank Jr. credit for calling out Gennady Golovkin.

Let’s not go nuts…anybody can blow hot air and call another boxer out.

It’s all perception and hype until he signs on the dotted line and, indeed, until he steps between the ropes.

The reality is that Eubank Jr. has turned down shots at world level against Danny Jacobs (for whom he was the mandatory) and Billy Joe Saunders, to instead fight the modest likes of Nick Blackwell and Tom Doran for the British title.

In my view, the Eubanks are using Golovkin’s name to create a buzz and John Ryder is a far more likely next opponent for Eubank than GGG.


Canelo and his team at Golden Boy announcing they’ll entertain a Golovkin fight in September 2017, and instead fighting Liam Smith later this year, is enough to make anybody hate boxing.

Any fan who buys that rubbish on PPV in America needs a sectioning.



Between the drug test failures of Alexander Povetkin, Lucas Browne, Erkan Teper, the alleged nandralone positives of Tyson and Hughie Fury, & the highly suspicious physiques of Anthony Joshua and the 40 year old Wlad Klitschko, I think it’s fair to say that the heavyweight division can’t be taken much more seriously than the 100m sprint.

June 1st’s Random Boxing Rants

Victor Emilio Ramirez was blown away in two rounds by Denis Lebedev in their recent cruiserweight title unification.

Ramirez is a capable fighter, but he must have a case for the worst two-time ‘world’ titlist in history.

Due to twice being elevated from interim to full titlist status, he has the unenviable world title fight record of 0-2-1, his other loss to Marco Huck, as well as a draw in a short notice defence against Ovill McKenzie.


As for Lebedev, this win arguably establishes him as the #1 at the weight, but he remains an underrated fighter.

In fact, he should be undefeated, his two losses coming by robbery decision to Huck and late stoppage in a brutal war against Guillermo Jones, who then failed a post-fight drug test (as well as a 2nd failed test right before their planned rematch).


Speaking of failed tests, Lucian Bute is the latest to tarnish his legacy by testing positive.

I’m not in the least surprised, having voiced my suspicions of Memo Heredia’s latest reinvigorated clients in my ‘random rants’ of May 6th.


If Chris Arreola gets the Deontay Wilder shot, then surely he must rank as the worst three-time heavyweight title challenger ever, and one of the worst at any weight.


Speaking of baffling world title fights, Ricky Burns vs. Michele Di Rocco for the WBA 140lb. strap was bad on paper and worse in the ring.

Pleased to see the perpetually unlucky Burns (not a true 140lber) catch a break, but the out-of-shape, old Di Rocco had no place in the ring with any boxer of quality.

Burns now joins Bob Fitzsimmons and Duke McKenzie as Britain’s only three-weight titleholders.


The Chris Eubank Jr.-Tom Doran British 160lb. title fight was aptly summed up in one word by Billy Joe Saunders: “manslaughter”. 


Pleased that Shane Mosley lost to the unheralded David Avanesyan in his eliminator for another shot at one of the welterweight division’s top dogs.

No need to see him take a horrific beating from Thurman or Porter.


Star of the Creed movie, Tony Bellew dramatically and improbably achieving his dream at Goodison Park soccer stadium is a true case of life imitating art.

..although that’s applying the term ‘art’ loosely.

It was meant to be, and one of those rare boxing nights.


What are the odds that the David Haye-Tony Bellew freakshow fight actually happens?!


May 17th’s Random Boxing Rants

Amir Khan’s resume is deceptively excellent, and here’s just one way to illustrate that:

Britain currently has 9 world titlists, 10 if you count Jamie McDonnell’s WBA ‘regular’ belt.

Between them they’ve faced a total of 14 men who either held a title previously, or would go on to win one.

Khan, by himself, has faced 12.


Love Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez and was again impressed by his domination of McWilliams Arroyo, even if it wasn’t punctuated by his typical knockout this time.

But I’m starting to get impatient for a fight I can get my teeth into. What’s the hold-up in getting Juan Francisco Estrada or Naoya Inoue across the other side of the ring, HBO?

I’d also be interested in the miniature B-Hop Amnat Ruenroeng, but he’s got the skillset and style to make anybody look bad so is unlikely to get the call.


Povetkin on meldonium? So many Russian athletes with chronic heart problems these days.

I went on record long ago to say that Wilder-Povetkin was never going to happen, least of all in Russia.


David Haye and his team were seemingly outright lying when they stated Alexander Dimitrenko would be the opponent for Shannon Briggs on his undercard this Saturday.

I’ve never rated Dimitrenko, but he’d certainly be a test for a shot Briggs and is actually a much more accomplished boxer than the unpronouncable Swiss lad that Haye will be squashing.

Dimitrenko took to social media to express bafflement at the official announcements of the fight (as well as, amusingly, quotes attributed to him in the press release), saying he’d never even been contacted regarding it.

In reality, Briggs will, if he passes his medical, be bowling over a short-notice bum.

Can’t risk that Haye-Briggs showdown now, can we?

May 6th’s Random Boxing Rants

Missed this last year, but Vanes Martirosyan calling (ex-PED peddler turned boxing strength & conditioning coach extraordinaire) Memo Heredia out on Twitter for allegedly offering him an injection for $9k during their first, and only, meeting is interesting.

Especially interesting when you see Heredia clients like Lucian Bute and Rogelio Medina look so strong and revitalized under his program.


Interesting that Eddie Hearn is trying to steal Chris Eubank Jr. away (for a John Ryder fight, perhaps?) from Frank Warren for his June 25th undercard, which would once again derail plans for a Saunders-Eubank Jr. rematch.


Victor Ortiz really does have a chin made out of kinder egg.

He was boxing quite well in the Berto rematch until the first real punch Berto landed basically ended the fight. He needs to retire before he’s seriously hurt.


Who in their right mind could give a shit about Danny Garcia vs. Andre Berto?

Powers that be, don’t make this dreck #ThankAlHaymon


Looks increasingly as if Deontay Wilder is going to go through with his fight against Povetkin.

I’ll believe it when I see the ringwalks, but props if he can go into the lion’s den & beat the rejuvenated Russian.


Canelo-Khan is fun, outside-the-box matchmaking, which I’m all for, but it’s unfortunately a mismatch in the ring.

It’s also ludicrous as a 155lb. catchweight contest for the lineal middleweight title.

Khan will be on his bike from the first bell, possibly winning one or two early rounds, but will be in survival mode by halfway.

The most likely outcome is a lopsided decision, but it will be interesting to see if Khan’s (overly derided) chin can take Canelo’s (overrated) power.

February 24th’s Random Boxing Rants

A week and a half away from the 2nd Grozny heavyweight freakshow, this time headlined by Uzbek-turned-conquering Chechen hero Ruslan Chagaev taking on the likable but limited Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne, one wonders what theatrics despot Ramzan Kadyrov will involve himself in at ringside.

Last time, during the terrible Chagaev-Oquendo 2014 bout, he sat on a throne alongside David Haye (how many Russian prostitutes visited his hotel room that night?) and hilariously charged onto the apron to shove esteemed trainer Fritz Sdunek out of the way & bark instructions (threats?!) at Chagaev between rounds.

Whatever the case, it’s sure to make for an interesting Instagram post or two:



Another question worth asking is will Browne escape Grozny alive if he manages the upset?

After all, Kadyrov has been known to order an assassination or two, and Oquendo claims to have had his life threatened while in Grozny if he had the temerity to actually win.

Better bring your own teapot, ‘Big Daddy’.


The February 5th gun attack at a Dublin hotel during the weigh-in for the latest MGM boxing promotion is one of the most shocking occurrences to rock the sport in recent memory.

One man was left dead, and two others injured.

Incidentally, my own presence at the weigh-in that afternoon was prevented only by an unavoidable family commitment, in retrospect highly fortuitously.

It is not the time to point fingers, but it’s obvious that all those associated with the individuals behind the MGM (boxers, trainers, promoters, reporters) need to take a long look at who they’ve associated themselves, and are partners in profit, with.

I can only speculate what will happen from here, but one would imagine this will be a huge hit to the MGM brand and their pretensions of doing business as a respectable boxing promoter, running regular shows in Ireland. I’d presume no more MGM shows in the Republic for the forseeable, if ever, and it cancels the plans for Billy Joe Saunders to defend his world title here in April.

The BUI, BBBofC and anybody else doing business with MGM on a regulatory level in boxing should be asking themselves whether it’s appropriate to continue doing so.

Boxing has been dragged ignominiously through the gutter again.


It’s surprising to hear that Charles Martin vs. Anthony Joshua is confirmed for April 9th.

The fight is an almost unprecedented case of a Haymon guy defending a title abroad, and an unexpectedly early title tilt for the unproven Brit.

That said, Martin has done nothing to prove he’s world level and I think Joshua stops him early. Then AJ can do as Deontay Wilder has, and defend against sub-top ten opposition for a while, as he continues to learn on the job.

Shrewd business from Hearn & co., and another genuinely big fight set by the Matchroom boss after missing out on Brook-Khan.


Speaking of big fights, we are just 3 days away from the mouthwatering Frampton-Quigg showdown.

The storylines are innumerable and the stakes are high. Ireland v England. Shane McGuigan v Joe Gallagher. Barry McGuigan v Eddie ‘Archbishop of Banterbury’ Hearn. And, to steal a line from Steve Bunce, too much pride.

This fight is something we get far too little of in boxing: a pure 50-50 affair with both fighters in their 20s, in the midst of their prime. To top it all off, both boxers come to fight with action styles.

No outcome would surprise me. Frampton is the better boxer and I could see him using Quigg’s aggression against him for a points win, or stopping him late.

However, I think a combination of home advantage and Frampton being tight at the weight before his last bout favours Quigg, who I predict wins a debatable split decision.

December 30th’s Random Boxing Rants

Via Dan Rafael on twitter: “Awesome [Tommy Burns vs. Jack Johnson] factoid from 107 yrs ago today: The promoter (Hugh McIntosh) served as referee!! 1st fight he ever officiated!”

I can name a few 21st century promoters who wouldn’t mind operating under those rules.


It’s been enjoyable & informative, but quite a task, to compile a list of boxing’s worst offenders in the area of officiating each month in my Judging the Judges segment which debuted this year on Pound4Pound Ireland.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…yet boxing has a way of forgetting about past sins & assigning the same officials involved in botching fights to the next big one.

With that in mind, who were some of the worst repeat offenders of the year?

Ian John-Lewis tops the list with a whopping 7 gaffes in the 11 months I covered, with countrymen Marcus McDonnell, Terry O’Connor, Dave Parris and Steve Gray all repeat offenders also.

I’ll admit that this is somewhat skewed due to my viewing of British boxing being more comprehensive than international bouts, but one can only draw the conclusion that British boxing has some of the worst referees and judges in the world.

Pat Russell, responsible most notably this year for ending Bradley-Vargas ten seconds too early with Bradley reeling, takes the boxing razzie for worst international official with 3 total offences on my scale of incompetence.



How did my prospect of the year picks for 2015 pan out?


Felix Verdejo made his HBO debut and continued to progress, although a hand injury did put him on the shelf for a while.

Errol Spence made it look easy as he demolished a quartet of fringe contenders at 147. He’s ready for world level in 2016.

Oleksandr Usyk continued to rise at cruiserweight with 3 wins, and, despite middling opposition, looks ready for anybody after just 9 pro fights.

Definitely a blue chip trio of ‘can’t miss’ future titlists.



What about the fights I hoped would happen in 2015?


Unfortunately, only 3 of the 12 hoped-for fights happened, although Frampton-Quigg is set for February.

Not a good haul.

Some of the fights on the list (Canelo-GGG & Brook-Khan, for example) just might be ready to ripen in 2016, while others (Stevenson-Kovalev & Lomachenko-Walters) seem unlikely to ever take place.


Wrap-up of the two big UK cards that ended the boxing year: Saunders MD12 Lee: a purist’s exercise in fistic chess.

I was very impressed by Saunders, and expect him to be matched right (think more Tommy Langford than GGG) & hold onto the belt for quite a while.

He showed great improvement from the Eubank Jr. contest a year ago. His strategy was spot on, he kept his composure throughout, showed surprising power, and, even though he again faded to a degree late, it seemed less due to conditioning than to playing it safe with a healthy lead in hand.

As for Lee, his luck was bound to run out sooner rather than later, but he showed great heart as always to survive the torrid third round. He can come again right back into a significant fight, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him in the ring with Danny Jacobs next year in NYC.


Joshua KO7 Whyte topped the card of the year on December 12th.

I’m not usually given over to unqualified superlatives, but this was a night of thrilling entertainment that left me breathless.

Two upsets were authored by Barroso knocking out Mitchell (to earn a shot at Anthony Crolla) & Luke Campbell floundering, and Bellew-Masternak was fun.

All heart, no head from Eubank Jr. in the co-feature. I couldn’t believe I was watching an Adam Booth fighter in there. He’s nowhere near ready for Danny Jacobs (whom he’s now mandatory for) & I’d be surprised if he’s sent to New York to fight him next year.

Perfect stoppage by Spike’s corner after round 7. It boggles the mind that the same corner let Frank Buglioni absorb a full 12 rounds of hellacious punishment against Fedor Chudinov in September. Maybe they’ve learned a valuable lesson.

The Campbell loss was one of the biggest upsets of the year, as he was one of the sport’s brightest prospects.

He’ll learn a lot from the defeat but was seriously exposed at this stage of his development. His weak, amateurish punches hardly penetrated Yvan Mendy’s guard at all, and, as a bantamweight amateur, clearly he had trouble dealing with pressure from a decently skilled, natural lightweight. In fact, Mendy has gone 12 rounds with divisonal leader Viktor Postol at 140lbs.

A lot of work for ‘Cool Hand’ to do, but I still think that someday he will win a world title. However, the expected showdown next year with Anthony Crolla is down the tubes.

I knew the AJ journey would be exciting, but the main event was a surprisingly early test of his mettle. He flirted with disaster and it’s telling of how raw he is that he struggled so mightily the first time he faced somebody with ambition, a decent chin and who threw punches of his own in return.

A world level fighter would likely have ended matters in the 2nd, which puts the kibosh on the hype merchants who would have us believe that Joshua is already one of the best in the world. His defence needs to be improved, and he lacked fluency in there at times, appearing stiff in the shoulders. Those improbable muscles had him gulping oxygen mighty early too.

On the plus side, he’ll have gained a lot of experience & his composure from round 4 onwards to break a tiring Whyte down was admirable, as was the spectacular finish.

Spike & Whyte both see their stock rise in defeat, and can come again. I see Joshua-Whyte II in the future. In Joshua’s immediate future, perhaps it will be Chisora next on April 9th, or Helenius for the European title?


Funniest boxing moment of 2015?

My vote goes to the belated realization of Alan Partridge’s concept of Chris Eubank reviewing youth hostels.


Bonus Eubank hilarity to end the year’s ‘random rants’.

Frank Bruno could never dance that well.

Happy 2016 everybody!