Quick take: Deontay Wilder and a Commitment to Power

Deontay Wilder is maybe one of the most questioned boxers in the sport right now.  His resume is average at best and his boxing prowess has thus far appeared limited.  But what he seemingly lacks in technique, he more than makes up for in raw power.  To put it simply, Deontay Wilder is what happens when you prioritize commitment to punching power over everything else.

You can’t have a conversation about Wilder without bringing up how sloppy his fundamentals are.  Here is a clip of him against Ortiz.

 

Now while the right hand does land, look at how off balance he is afterwards.  All the weight is on his front foot and he is not in position to do anything but stand there with his dick in hand.  Wilder should consider himself #blessed the right hand stunned Ortiz here because he now has time to reset and make a decision on what to do next instead of eating a punch totally unguarded.  Most boxers would use this opportunity to compose, and maybe follow up with a a clean combo… Not Wilder.  He literally runs toward his opponent, entirely drops his left hand guard and throws a right I’d expect from a drunken bar bro looking to sucker punch someone.  It to rocks Ortiz, and like most boxers would, he throws another punch, a left hook (if you can even call it that).  This punch does not connect and Wilder again is left totally off balance, damn near spun around in the opposite direction.  Fortunately the rights did their job and Ortiz is out, but without the power, in just 15 seconds Wilder left himself 100% vulnerable.

Does any of this matter? Well the boxer in me wants to say yes, but honestly I just don’t know anymore.  Wilder has made an entire career weaponizing “punchers chance”.  His defense is opponents simply knowing they can not take that right hand, guarded or not.  If the right hand of Wilder comes looking for you, it’s best just not to be there when it shows up.  Where does this otherworldly power come from? Well it’s essentially the product of Wilder sacrificing every ounce of traditional form and committing everything to the right hand.  Seriously, get yourself a partner that commits like Deontay throwing right hands.

Sports GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I have never seen commitment like this, and I am a married man.  Everything Wilder has is in this punch.  Wilder would have fallen over if the ref wasn’t there to linebacker him into the corner.  We could go on for days about how terrible this strategy is and how vulnerable it leaves him when he misses, but lets instead indulge our bloodlust and take a look at what happens when he doesn’t miss.

 

Each punch here when missed leaves Wilder open to get knockout but fighters simply can’t chance eating a right hand with 225 lb’s fully committed to it.  Could a better caliber fighter do something about this? Maybe, and hopefully soon Anthony Joshua will answer that for us but until then, I think Wilder continues to intimidate and destroy with his power.  Regardless of what you make of Wilder, his boxing skill and his resume to date, there is no doubt the man puts on entertaining fights.  So while I do question how he fares against the elite, I know for damn sure he puts on one hell of a show.

 

 

Canelo Alvarez a.k.a Clenelo Alltheroids – Canelo Alvarez Clenbuterol Disaster

Welcome back boxing fans. I wish we had some better news to make our comeback with, but such is life.

The biggest fight of the year (so far), Canelo Alvarez v.s. Gennady Golovkin, has been cancelled due to Canelo’s positive test for a steroid known as Clenbuterol.  According to people way smarter than me:

Clenbuterol is a β2 agonist with some structural and pharmacological similarities to epinephrine and salbutamol, but its effects are more potent and longer-lasting as a stimulant and thermogenic drug. It causes an increase in aerobic capacity, central nervous system stimulation, blood pressure, and oxygen transportation. It increases the rate at which body fat is metabolized while increasing the body’s basal metabolic rate(BMR). It is commonly used for smooth muscle-relaxant properties as a bronchodilator and tocolytic.

So it seems if Canelo has been taking a drug to assist in aerobic capacity and help him cut.  At face value, VADA caught a cheater and the cancellation is straight forward.  However the discoveries and rebuttals in the path leading up to it has been anything but.  Let’s take a dive into the happenings of the past month

March 5th: 

VADA reveals Canelo Alvarez tests positive for Clenbuterol.

Upon first break of this story, it was claimed the presence of Clenbuterol could be attributed to the consumption of tainted Mexican beef in the fighters diet.  While it does sound hokey, Clenbuterol is not banned in the farming of cattle in Mexico and as a result, consuming certain types of beef can indeed lead to Clen in your system.

It is well documented tainted meat can produce a positive test, and it has happened to many athletes over the years, most notably the 2011 Mexican Soccer team.  In 2011, players of the Mexico national soccer team were found with clenbuterol in their bloodstreams. They were acquitted by WADA after they claimed the clenbuterol came from contaminated food.  A similar issue arose in FIFA when 109 players from multiple countries who were participating in the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico tested positive for Clen.  They to were forgiven by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) after they declined to prosecute any cases because the weight of evidence pointed to contamination from Mexican meat.

It is worth noting, VADA had stated the levels found in Canelo were consistent with contaminated beef.  However, according to clarifications made by VADA in 2016 due to the proliferation of contaminated meat ‘excuses’

it is not necessary to establish that the unarmed combatant intentionally, knowingly or negligently used a prohibited substance or that the unarmed combatant is otherwise at fault for the presence of the prohibited substance

In regular person talk this means athletes are responsible for what goes in their own bodies.  VADA does not have to prove the origin of the banned substance or the intent of the athlete in question; all that matters is a banned substance was detected.  In other words, due to the clarifications under the VADA sanctions, Canelo will not be gifted a pass like athletes mentioned prior.

March 23rd: 

Nevada State Athletic Commission issues Canelo a 2 week suspension for failed drug tests on Feb 17th and Feb 20th.

Now boxing media is aware of not one, but two failed tests… Suspicions are rising but speculation at the time suggested Canelo would be given a slap on the wrist, Golden Boy would sweep this under the rug, and we would end up seeing a potentially tainted fight.  Investigations are ongoing and the media sharks are ravenous as the test results are released:

“Test A” on February 17th in Jalisco, Mexico, which contained 0.6 – 0.8 ng/ml of Clenbuterol and Adverse

“Test B” on February 20th in Jalisco, Mexico, which contained 0.06 – 0.008 ng/ml of Clenbuterol

Okay great, we now know the official measurements, but what do they mean?  Well let me tell you, because according to a scientific study on Clenbuterol absorption in humans, shit just got real.

Therapeutic dose (20, 40 and 80 micrograms/man) of clenbuterol hydrochloride, a beta 2-adrenergic stimulant, was orally administered to healthy volunteers, and the unmetabolized drug in plasma and urine was determined by enzyme immunoassay. The plasma levels of clenbuterol reached the maximum value of 0.1, 0.2 and 0.35 ng/ml, respectively, in a dose-dependent manner within 2.5 h, which lasted for over 6 h after the administration. The half-life of clenbuterol in plasma was estimated to be about 35 h. When the drug was orally administered repeatedly to men twice a day, the plasma level reached the plateau within 4 d after the initial administration. At that time, the plasma levels of the unchanged form were 0.2 to 0.3 ng/ml and 0.5 to 0.6 ng/ml at doses of 20 and 40 micrograms/man, respectively. The bound ratio of the drug to plasma protein was estimated to be 89-98% at a single administration of 80 micrograms of the drug. The cumulative urinary excretion of unchanged compound corresponded to about 20% of the administered dose as measured at 72 h following a single oral administration.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4045696

When a 40mg therapeutic dose of Clen was administered twice per day the PEAK levels after 4 days were 0.5 – 0.6 ng/ml.  Compare this to Canelo’s 0.6 – 0.8 ng/ml.

I’ll let you make your own conclusions, but that sure seems to be more than what some bad meat could give you.

April 4th: 

Canelo Alvarez v.s. Gennady Golovkin is cancelled

Nothing else to say here.  Contrary to the opinions of Carter and Tom, the fight has been cancelled.  A rematch, already clouded with controversy from the abysmal cards of the first, could not sustain the doping allegations circling the Canelo camp.

It’s a shame boxing fans were robbed of a rematch, but ultimately I believe the right choice was made in cancellation of the fight.  Combat sports are already inherently dangerous by nature and the addition of performance enhancing drugs has the potential to mar the sport with death on PPV.  VADA is doing exactly what it was designed to do by mitigating the possibility to have an enhanced opponent deal damage to a clean fighter.

Canelo Alvarez v.s. Amir Khan – RIP in peace

It’s made all the boxing news this past 24 hours. Amir Khan, whom we love to put on blast at PJB, has accepted a fight against Canelo Alvarez. This comes as a total shocker to the boxing community as Amir has spent the past 3 years waiting on a Manny/Mayweather payday we all knew would never come. Recently he seemingly has refused to fight Kell Brook in the UK, which in my opinion would have been a highly lucrative fight to take. Regardless, here we are now in 2016 and Khan is about to take on one of the most fearsome boxers in the ring right now. Let’s have a quick and dirty breakdown of this fight.

Size

I’d like to separate size from weight for this fight.  Normally they go hand in hand, but for Khan and Canelo they do not.  Khan and Canelo are 1cm apart in height and Khan has the reach advantage.  Size wise, they are the same. Don’t believe me?

In this photo, one may assume Khan is the bigger guy.  Sure he is a bit closer to the camera distorting it a bit, but really they are the same size. Typically this would equate to a similar weight, but the freakish frame of Canelo allows for him to balloon to 170.  Khan is not so fortunate.

Verdict – Draw

Weight

In the past 3 years, Khan has fought 3 times at 147; 8 fewer pounds than he is scheduled to face of at 155 with Canelo. This poses a rather interesting narrative as the human body can put on roughly .25-.5 kilos of lean muscle a week under serious muscular training. Lets give Khan the benefit of the doubt. In 14 weeks he puts on .25 kilos a week, that is 7.7lbs; this assumes a camp of straight muscle training, which we all know is not how a training camp goes. Unless Khan has been anticipating this fight, I foresee a very difficult battle to put on proper weight in 14 weeks.

Canelo in the same time frame has fought 6 times at varying weights around 155.  When he fought Mayweather at 152, he came into the ring at 165.  Against Trout and Angulo at 154, he came in at 172 and 174 respectively.   This poses a serious risk for Khan.  If Canelo can cut the in the same manner, and if Khan really does have to put on weight, Canelo could come in almost 20lbs heavier on fight night.  Very bad news for a questionably chinned Khan.

Verdict- Canleo

 

Speed

Khan is no doubt a quicker more technically sound fighter than Canelo.  However, with the potential weight gain Khan faces, will we be able to maintain the speed? If Khan really does need to pack on 8lbs, he faces a body builder-esque regime that will , out of necessity, neglect speed training.  Keep in mind this assumes Khan is still at 147 shape and needs to put on substantial weight; this may not be the case.  That being said if Khan brings his 147 speed to the ring with 155 frame, Canelo may have some troubles dealing with it similar to how he struggled against Mayweather

Verdict – Unknown

 

Chin

If the article photo didn’t explain thoroughly, Khan has a very very bad chin.  He has been knocked down 6 times in 34 fights, 2 resulting in a KO.  Those 2 KOs came at lightweight and super lightweight… They were not particularly savage blows, just well timed shots and in fairness, may have stumbled a stronger chin as well. But in case anyone had forgotten, Canelo was almost able to put Kirklands skull in low earth orbit with this.

I don’t like making assumptions, but if a lightweight Prescott can KO you in 54 seconds, Canelo has the potential to legitimately kill you.

Verdict – RIP Khan

 

Technique

Khan is without a doubt the better ‘pure boxer’ of the two.  He is better in nearly every aspect.  Footwork, speed, ring awareness, counter-punching and defense all swing in Khans favor, but he has had that advantage in virtually every fight hes taken.  Fact of the matter is, his chin is so bad that a punchers chance really becomes a rather easy win condition for the opponent.  Canelo has made a living of beatdowns.  What he lacks in ‘pure boxing’ he makes up for in raw power and the ability to trade.  Given the weight advantage he will most certainly have, Canelo will be able to bully Khan, regardless of the technique skill gap.

Verdict – Khan, but it won’t matter

 

Conclusion

People keep bringing up Mayweather, myself included.  Yes Canelo had no answers, but he was much younger and much less experienced than he is now.  Would he beat Mayweather now? Who knows. But one thing is for certain, Khan is nowhere near May’s level.  I don’t think you have to respect Khan as much in the ring; he can’t pick you apart like Mayweather can.  If you bully Khan, he will open up and get caught and it only needs to happen once for Canelo to have an easy KO. 

Khan has little to lose and much to gain in this fight.  For starters, this will be a huge payday.  As for win/lose; get KO’ed and we all saw that coming, but win and the boxing world will have to collectively back pedal on the Amir bashing.  If he is able to pull the upset, the Mayweather comparisons and YouTube rants will have some merit and shed a whole new light on Amir’s prior 3 years of bitching.

In closing, I must give respect where it is due.  Khan has accepted a near unwinnable fight in 14 weeks after Ward-like inactivity.  He has chosen to take on one of the best in the ring right now with zero experience at the agreed weight 8lbs heavier than he has ever fought and that takes brass balls. 

Verdict – May the spirit of Gatti-Ward be infused into Khan’s chin.

 

Gennady Golovkin v.s. David Lemieux Fight Odds: Vegas Dreams of a Public Fleecing

By now we all know the name Gennady Golovkin. A 33 year old super star with 33 fights and 30 knockouts. This Saturday he will face arguably one of his best opponents, David Lemieux and as with any hyped fight, Vegas is looking to cash in on public opinion; That opinion seems to be heavily manifesting itself on Gennady Golovkin’s betting line.

As it stands right now, Gennady is (depending on where you wager) anywhere from -1900 to -2000 and Lemieux seems to be hovering around +800 to +900. Gennady is a 20:1 favorite right now. This means if you were to correctly wager $100 on a GGG victory you’d be rewarded with a paltry $5. Now odds like this happen often in boxing, typically on undercards and in lesser known fights where you can see up-and-comers steamroll unworthy opponents. In a main event however, to be this favored is actually quite rare.

Mayweather, as many like to berate him for, is the champion of mismatches easily being favored in all of his match-ups… at least that’s what we all remember.  Vegas paints a slightly different picture however.  This chart is a summary of Mayweather’s last 17 bouts and the Vegas odds to go along with them.
floytd

In 17 fights in the span of a decade, Mayweather has been a 20:1 favorite twice.  Of all the hate that gets slung his way for taking ‘past prime’ opponents, coupled with his undeniable talent, Mayweather only twice tipped the scales that far.  4 of those opponents listed are shoe in HoF’ers and still Mayweather has only been such a large favorite twice.  Regardless of any personal opinions of either fighter, or the quality of their opponents, 20:1 favorites are no joke when it comes to Vegas book making.  It offers enormous cash flow in with very low risk money going out.  For every million that comes in for Gennady you only need to account for a possible 50k loss; wagers on Lemieux will easily cover that spread.

In summary:

  • A 49-0 unified champ who is arguably one of the greatest boxing talents to come around has been 20:1 twice.
  • A 33-0 champion who has faced very average talent, despite looking excellent against them, is 20:1 against potentially one of his best fights to date.

I am no expert on boxing wagers (I bet on Berto) but I find it very peculiar that a fighter like GGG would face such favoritism against a very legitimate opponent.  GGG has rightfully turned into a fan favorite and has even now starred in an apple commercial; but it seems as if Vegas is looking to exploit the hype on some wildly favorited odds.  As the saying goes “The house always wins” and I think Vegas will be laughing their way all the way to the bank on the GGG Hype Express.

 

Floyd Mayweather’s IV fluids, USADA, and the State of Boxing

DISCLAIMER: The following commentary represents Carter’s views and is no way indicative of Tom or Ted’s position on the issue.

As I’m sure many have come to read by now, it has emerged via SB Nation’s Thomas Hauser that Floyd Mayweather received banned IV fluids prior to his fight against Manny Pacquiao. It Is being widely reported that this act is in direct violation of United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) policy on Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) and Floyd Mayweather is a cheat. While I find it morally indefensible, it is not cheating. Floyd Mayweather and USADA are not in direct violation of any rules or regulations and that is a problem caused by boxing itself.

An important detail many articles have been sensationalizing first must be made clear:

Mayweather did not receive banned fluids. The fluids he took are perfectly legal. However, the fluids were administered in a prohibited manner. It is the delivery of the IV in question, not the contents

With that clear, let’s begin by taking a look at USADA and their role in boxing:

USADA is contractually obligated to individual fights, not boxing as a whole; they are quite simply a “not-for-profit” corporation that offers drug-testing services for a fee. Boxing (particularly NSAC) has no professional agreement with USADA to universally enforce World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) polices during camp, nor is USADA legally required to do so. This is due in part to boxing not being a signatory on WADA policies, but more importantly because boxing lacks a central governing body to enforce it. To grossly simplify it, due to the relative nonexistence of boxing’s regulations regarding testing and procedures, fighters are allowed to tailor-make specific testing polices with independent agencies that lack the ability to levy any discipline for infractions they may discover.

Let’s get into Floyd’s situation.

On May 1st, Mayweather was administered an IV which consisted of two separate mixes. The first was a mixture of 250 milliliters of saline and multi-vitamins. The second was a 500-milliliter mixture of saline and Vitamin C for a total of 750ml of solution. This raises concern because it causes a violation of 2015 WADA “Prohibited Substances and Methods List” which states,

“Intravenous infusions and/or injections of more than 50 ml per 6 hour period are prohibited except for those legitimately received in the course of hospital admissions, surgical procedures, or clinical investigations.”

If the story ended here, Floyd would be found guilty of violating his own testing policies, unfortunately despite what the Floyd hate train says, there is more to investigate. Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao had a personalized contract drawn up with USADA specifically for their May 2nd match-up that allowed the testing agency to grant a retroactive therapeutic use exemption (TUE) to either fighter in the event a fighter was found to be in violation WADA policy; something NSAC has no policy on.  This is where boxing really drops the ball because by not having a universal doping policy, you leave the system wide open to be gamed.

The main point of contention in this ‘scandal’ is the TUE was granted retroactively to Mayweather and Pac’s camp was not informed.  On May 1st Mayweather got his IV and 18 days later on May 19th, NSAC and Pacquiao’s camp were informed it occurred, and more importantly was allowed.  Here are the relevant bits of contract I’d like to bring up.

First off, USADA is the God of TUEs. Any decision they make in regards to a TUE is non-appealable as it clearly states here.  This whole situation is contractually irreversible and is honestly nothing short of genius on Mayweathers part.

TUE

Secondly, nowhere does it say parties are to be notified when a TUE is submitted. The wording is very clear; parties are to be notified when a TUE is APPROVED. “But Carter, read point 2 that says existence of a TUE is to be shared!!111!!” Again, (2) states clearly “ the existence or modification of an APPROVED TUE” this has no effect on submitted and unapproved TUEs.  Mayweather probably submitted the TUE on May 1st, but USADA doesn’t have to inform anyone of this until they have made a ruling on it.  18 days later on May 19th USADA approved it and as per the contract, they informed both applicable parties.

TUE approval

And to top it all off, signatures by both parties acknowledging they have read and UNDERSTAND the contents of the contract.

signed

Let me be very clear about my stance on this. Mayweather is shady. What USADA and he have done is a very sketchy practice and it is a detriment to the sport of boxing. However, Mayweather and USADA have broken zero rules; Pac was gamed by a contract he signed and NSAC allowed it to be created in the first place. There are understandably sour grapes from everyone and the Mayweather hate train is full steam ahead but this does not change the plain and simple fact Mayweather did not cheat. The contract clearly outlines that what would normally be considered cheating, will not be so in this case.

If moral victories are of interest to you, tune into 100 Huntley Street.  This is professional prize fighting.  Hundreds of millions are at stake and I fully expect every competing athlete will be exploiting every loophole to squeeze every last bit of advantage they can; you’d be naive to assume anything less.  If your sport allows for that to happen due to it’s total lack of governing body, it has to change.  Boxing has allowed Mayweather to pay for and organize his own drug testing; this is the core issue and it was only a matter of time until something like this happened. The whole situation highlights a horrendously flawed anti-doping policy boxing as a sport has established.  It is not an acceptable practice and it would not be allowed happen in any other professional sport.  Mayweather has knowingly (and legally) gamed NSAC and it’s time to do something about it.  Boxing needs a single, unified policy surrounding doping in the sport. Until that happens, expect to see more shenanigans like this.  Again I do not support what has happened but nothing Mayweather has done is “wrong” according to the rules.  Mayweather is shady and morally corrupt but he is not a cheater; he has not broken any rules.  It is time to re-write these rules to ensure something like this cannot happen again.

Miguel Cotto v.s. Canelo Alvarez: A Quick Analysis

Miguel Cotto, a seasoned Puerto Rican veteran and Canelo Alvarez, a scrappy young Mexican, are set to battle in Vegas on November 21st, 2015. This fight on paper promises fireworks; featuring one of boxing’s most celebrated rivalries, a Puerto Rican/Mexican match-up, and two of the best fighters from their respective countries. At a catch-weight of 155lbs Cotto v.s. Canelo has fight of the year written all over it. Current odds have Canelo as the favorite at -240 and Cotto as the dog at +180; odds wise quite a close fight. Let’s take a brief rundown of how it could shake up.

Experience:

Cotto easily takes this one. He has been in the ring a long time and has squared off with some of the greats.  Not to discount Canelo’s opponents, as he has taken bouts with absolutely everyone willing to do so, they just don’t have the same ring experience as those Cotto has fought.  Not really much else to say here, Cotto is 9 years Alvarez senior and has simply been boxing longer.

Power:

Both fighters bring a tremendous amount of power for their size. Cotto is more one dimensional with his power, focusing primarily on a bombing left hook.

This is a deadly punch no doubt, but it is a signature.  That means it can be expected and planned for.  If Canelo is able to neutralize the left hook from Cotto, he has vastly increased his chance at success.  Cotto can still deliver a beating without the left hook, but it is unquestionably his best blow.
Canelo doesn’t have a signature punch, but he has far more raw power throughout the his full arsenal. A knockout blow can come from anywhere at almost any angle and this is what has made him a champion.  It is much harder to fight an opponent that can muster a KO in any given punch.  Cotto must exercise more caution than he is typically known for.

In addition to his power advantage, Canelo is naturally the bigger man with 2” of height and 3.5” of reach on Cotto. He also has almost a decade of youth to boot.

Boxing Ability:

Canelo can throw devastating combinations, both powerful and precise.

However, he tends to move around poorly and lacks a sharp sense of distance; he can be out-boxed and has had several fights which demonstrate that.
Cotto easily takes an advantage in ring generalship with better footwork and is the superior ‘boxing-puncher’. This being said, neither man is known for a textbook display of the sweet science, yet both are greats of the sport. Cotto has an advantage, but given the circumstance it is rather moot point.

Defense:

No real standout between fighters here. Canelo has been known to take rounds off or let his hands fly and Cotto loves to bomb left hooks on the inside leaving himself open. This fight will not be a show of defensive prowess, it is neither Cotto’s nor Canelo’s forte but that is what makes this fight so exciting.  Expect a KO to end this fight.

Intangibles:

Heart and grit often come up when speaking of boxing intangibles and can sometimes affect the outcome of a fight. Cotto has undoubtedly been tested time and time again whereas Canelo, despite some tough fights, has yet to be in a true battle. This is likely a testament to his skill set and raw power but an interesting thought should the fight go down the stretch.

Conclusion:

I think Canelo’s youth and power will earn him a victory come November 21st, but I do not count Cotto out whatsoever; he is certainly not a long-shot like many would have you believe.  This fight can go either way and the opening odds certainly reflect that.  Both fighters bring an exciting style to the table and regardless of the outcome, this fight will be a must see!

 

Andre Ward v.s. Gennady Golovkin – A Technical Breakdown

Andre Ward v.s. Gennady Golovkin – A Technical Breakdown

Gennady Golovkin has laid waste to the talent at Middleweight relying on his devastating power and fantastic ring generalship. Andre Ward has done much the same at Super Middleweight but relying on his footwork and tactics as opposed to raw power. Both fighters extremely gifted, albeit in different aspects… What happens if we throw them in the ring together? I will do my best and attempt to break each fighter down in a few core aspects of the sweet science. 

PSA: This will not go into great technical detail as I wish to remain as objective as possible to let you derive your own conclusions.  Lets get started.

Footwork

Ward

Ward has excellent footwork, probably amongst the best in the ring right now. With it he is able to derive a massive tactical advantage; it’s easily one of the top reasons for his success.  Most will probably draw immediate comparisons to Floyd and his “running” style.

It’s important to see how calculated he is being, particularly against Rodriguez in the second gif. He is aware of where his feet are in the ring and where they are placed in relation to his opponent. In both examples he moves squared with the other fighter.  Doing so allows him to throw on the move, or to rapidly switch directions.

Golovkin

GGG does not have the same calculated caliber of footwork as Ward, but he is far better at cutting of the ring. In fact, I don’t think it would be a stretch to say Gennady is the best active fighter at doing so. He owns the ring

It does not seem to matter where his opponent is going; GGG simply ends up in front of them. As an opponent you end up fighting where Golovkin allows you to fight. Against Rosado (first gif) you can see the big angular steps GGG takes in order to keep Rosado locked into a small portion of the ring.  This is a textbook example of ‘cutting off the ring’  GGG eliminates the direction Rosado is able to move by placing himself in the way.

Conclusion

Given both fighters are exceptional at ring movement it’s really hard to say who wins the ring spacing battle. I don’t think Ward can hold ground with footwork alone. He will have to take away the relentless forward movement from GGG.

 

Jab

Golovkin

GGG has the highest amount of average jabs landed per round of all the fighters tracked by compubox. If you have ever seen him throw one of these jabs, you know that they are comprable to many fighters powerpunches. Golovkin throws the jab frequently and effectively. He upsets his opponents’ rhythm, negates attempts at distance and generally just disrupts the game plan altogether.

Golovkin uses it to move in and out and side to side… Really he just throws it damn near constantly; always with the chance to have someone seeing stars.  Andre Ward, much like any fighter, has been thrown for a loop catching a saucy jab so we know that GGG can come in here and demand respect with one.

I don’t think Ward will have a problem with the jab once he figures it out, but it is nonetheless a very devastating blow that Gennady throws almost endlessly.

Ward

That being said, Ward throws a pretty nasty jab himself.  He does not throw it as frequently as Golovkin does, but he typically connects it flush.

Where Ward’s jab really gets some serious jam behind his jab when he leads with the right first or tricks you to throw with a feint.  This is a prime example of the tactical prowess of Ward; punches rarely if ever come alone.  Double jab, body/head, Ward gets crafty with it.

GGG is particularly susceptible to this type of combo throwing because he really lacks smart head movement. He tends to pull straight back with zero head movement. He is used to working angles and when he doesn’t he tends to get caught with punches right down the pipe.

Conclusion

Both fighters would immediately try to establish the jab. GGG lands more often; Ward lands more effectively.

Defense

Ward

Ward has a rather impressive defense. His signature is bending at the waist; and although not typically a great defense, Ward seems to have it mastered quite well.

Sure looks like it works? Well, most times it does, until you get caught with an uppercut.  Rolling bent like that drastically increases your surface area that an uppercut can connect on.  Really it is not a matter of if as it is a matter of when.

As we know, Gennady lays a vicious beat down on the body if given the opportunity. Getting low at the waist is a great way to get yourself an uppercut from GGG

The one thing Ward must absolutely be on the lookout for is the left hook to the body as he moves lateraly. Gennady, if given the opportunity to land this punch cleanly has a very real possibility of ending the fight.

Movement at the waist tends to leave you open for a body shot and is something Ward will need to absolutely dial in; he cannot be bent, blindly dodging high punches.  Ward will need to ensure he has eyes on Golovkins left at all times or possibly pay with his perfect record.

Golovkin

Gennady has an average defense at best; not much else to say. He really only utilizes upper body movement and could very greatly benefit from some head movement. As a result, his defense is susceptible to exploitation especially during combination punches or when on the inside.

Here is what Andre can do if you don’t move your head on a consistent basis. He is a wizard when it comes to tricky punches and combinations.

Conclusion

Ward’s defense will not stop GGG from connecting leather, but I think it could take some meat away that GGG is used to heavily relying on. Golovkin would really get a test of chin from Ward, he simply does not move his head enough and Ward will make you pay for it every time.

 

Distance

Both fighters will do their absolute damnedest to establish their dominance on the mid-outside. In addition to their jabs outside, both GGG and Ward posses a nasty right hand. GGG throws an overhand and Ward throws a straight.

Mid-range Ward

Mid-range, we get into a very diverse territory for both fighters. Ward does not have a distinctive style mid-range and often times gets caught moving in. For him, this is a transition phase, moving to the outside or moving inside. He does not look particularly sharp mid-range.

Mid-range Golovkin

Middle ranges are where Gennady really shines; mid-range is his murder zone. You do not want to be in the ring with GGG at this distance as he is in control of way too much. His ring generalship, fast punches and power will all coalesce and really bring the hurt.

Inside Golovkin

On the inside, Golovkin seems to struggle. If he is forced to do so, he pushes off or steps back in order to create space. Rarely will you see him throw an effective punch while shoulder to shoulder. He just does not look comfortable at this range.

Inside Ward

Ward works the inside well. He tends to manhandle oppoents close range holding with one hand and going to work with the other. It’s not pretty, but for Ward it has proven highly effective.

Conclusion

I see this inside game bothering Golovkin quite a bit. He simply does not look natural inside and I think he could be handled by Ward. However, Ward must obviously get inside somehow… That means entering mid-range territory where one wrong move will have you snacking on GGGs leather.

Who Wins?

I think Ward makes this an ugly fight and takes it on the cards.  He takes a beating and easily has the toughest fight of his career but his tactician style can lower Golovkins output enough to take a card win.  I don’t see it being particularly entertaining, as Ward can tend to clinch much like Floyd, but I think he is a superior boxer to GGG and can stifle his gameplan just enough to keep himself upright for twelve rounds.

Having said that, I don’t think we’ve seen GGG preform at his absolute best and honestly can’t extrapolate what that might entail.  It’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility that GGG is an even better fighter than we have seen; my heart has no trouble accepting this.  Either way it pans out, I see it being a great test for both fighters and a great match for boxing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Offensive Wizardy of Floyd Mayweather Jr.

There is no more polarizing a boxer than Floyd Mayweather Jr; an absolute master of the sweet science, yet typically a very ‘non-fan friendly’ fighter. He doesn’t have great power, nor is he a ‘punches in bunches’ type. What Mayweather has done is absolutely perfect the science of movement. At its absolute bare bones, boxing is a sport of movement. Yes it is about punching and landing, but first and foremost it is exceptional movement that will create champions. Mayweather is often lauded for his defensive movements, I’d like to praise him for his offensive movements.

Distance


One of the first and most important things you will learn when you step into the ring is distance. It is your bread and butter; your safe haven and your brutal assault. Floyd is the GOAT of distance and I honestly don’t think this can be disputed. If you could reduce Floyd to a single thing he does that makes him great, IMO, it is his distance awareness. Distance allows you to manipulate every single movement you opponent makes. Step away, opponents open up; Move in, opponents square up. It is a very lineal equation in boxing, yet so few people bend it to work to their advantage like Floyd.

This is staple Money May, something he copied from Ali, and a strong reason Mayweather hate irritates me so much.

Look at how Mayweather (and Ali) forces his opponent to throw an extended jab only to jump in and feed a counter before they can follow it with another punch. If this setup is off even an inch, you end up on your ass half the time after eating a punch to the mouth

Now yes, every boxer has successfully done this, myself included and it feels like magic when you get it right, BUT Floyd can do this at will for 12 rounds. I’ll say it again; distancing a jab is not hard to do. It is damn near impossible to master though. I’d expect any fighter (as I said) to be able to execute this once or twice in a fight, but Floyd can see the distance of damn near any punch coming. He adapts, he learns and he does it on every punch in the arsenal.

Floyd also does a nifty thing with his body here (something Roy Jones also excelled at) as he keeps his torso just about even with his lead foot in these setups. In the ring, an opponent is largely unaware of where your feet are, only aware of where your upper portions are. By having your body out like this, you’ve given your opponent a false sense of distance and a super juicy target to toss leather at. What you have given yourself though is the ability to learn several feet back away from a punch without moving your feet. When the distance is perfect (as seen in the gifs) this allows you to also return with a punch of your own. Again, most fighters have stumbled across this, but Floyd can summon this whenever. Once Floyd uses this to get in, he then uses the EXACT move to get back out.

 

Movement


Distance is essential to both his defense and his offense. By utilizing distance and movement Mayweather is able to effectively disguise his punches, one of which he seems particularly fond of disguising is his body jab.

Notice here the initial movement is almost the exact same and this is looking at it after the fact. Imagine being in the ring, fighting on instinct, on training and on recognition as you try to hone in on your opponents game plan. Marquez sees this punch coming “well here comes that body jab again, I’ll step out and bring my elbow down jussssssst a bi… OH FUCK!!!!!!!”

It is absolutely remarkable that Mayweather sees this movement in the first exchange, and even more unbelievable that he can sell it the second time. Keep in mind, this is not feinting. Well, I mean it could be considered a feint, but in my mind it’s fundamentally a bit different. Think of what Mayweather does as A Pavlov/Schrödinger hybrid. The punch is both a body jab and hook until we see how the fighter reacts. By effectively selling the punch and having the ability to take it either way, you are guaranteed a clean blow based on which punch the opponent goes to jab. When all of this fails, we go into the oh so hated Mayweather “Hugging”.

Clinching


Love it or hate it Mayweather is a beast at clinching. What most do not realize is the extent he still uses movement in and out of the clinch as an offensive advantage.

He doesn’t clinch here, but it is a Mayweather move. Straight right and duck under the left hook you know will follow it. He can’t even see the punch coming (and it doesn’t) but he is under it ready to get the right hand out and clinch.

Here we can see the exact same punch, the exact same movement and into the clench. But how he comes out of it is really special. He rings a cross right to the face of Hatton.

But wait…? How can he throw a cross from the inside you say? With the same movement he uses to dodge out of a jab, he can use to cook up a cross inside. We’ve come full circle! The same move he uses to avoid punches, he uses to land punches here.

Mayweather also has a glorious pull-push/left-right coordination he uses with the movement to make it truly shine. As his opponent ducks in, Mayweather gets his forearm all up in their grill and pushes away as he cocks his hips to get some sauce on the right. Sounds easy though? Yeah it sounds easy sure, but it’s super difficult to push with your left while leaning back mid turning your hips and shoulders to throw a right with any sort-of meat on it. Hell give it a try now, it’s hard to do even when I’m dedicating full brain power to it.

He doesn’t always connect with it, but he always throws it. Fighting out of a clinch is something very very few fighters do effectively.

In summary, the movements and distance are not super varied, but they work superbly for both offense and defense when used in such a flawless manner as Floyd. It is not necessarily the variety of tools in Floyd’s bag, but the variety of ways he can use the few tools he does have effectively.