Guess who’s going natural!!!!

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Boxing Wishes for 2015

So the first big fight of the year is upon us so I thought I’d write down and share some my wishes for the coming year. I did one of these in 2013 and it was a good way to get some rust off my pen and talk about some things I’d like to see in the coming year. I’m going to try and keep it realistic; I don’t expect Mayweather to fight Kovalev or for Scott Quigg to fight for a proper world title, that would be unfair of me. Anyways…

Anthony Joshua to have a meaningful fight:

Now some of you are going to read this and think I want Joshua to fight Klitschko, Wilder or Audley Harrison (greatest ‘Prizefighter’ of all time, fact). I don’t mean anything like that, when I say meaningful I mean have a fight that means something to him and to the boxing world. I want to see him fight someone live, not someone with close to 20 losses like Michael Sprott. It’s time to fight for a proper title, Lucas Browne the Commonwealth Champion would be an ideal fight for him, he has a prestigious belt, he’s live and he’ll come to win. Joshua’s withdrawal from his scheduled fight vs Kevin Johnson may be a blessing in disguise, it might free him up to have a fight for a domestic title and begin his ascent through the levels (British, European, World). If Eddie Hearn is going to call him special, the next Ali or whatever else. Then let’s see him in a fight that’s at least interesting. Let’s not forget he’s headlining big arenas and charging £50 a ticket, if he’s going to do that then I want to see him have fights that matter, not ‘learning’ fights where he nor us learn anything.

Paul Smith to be stripped of the British Title:

Paul Smith has had the British Title since when he stopped Tony Dodson in July 2013. For 18 months he has held the British Title and has yet to make a defence. His mandatory challenger was Rocky Fielding, Smith showed little desire to fight Fielding, instead he tried to fight Tobias Webb in a voluntary defence (and thus win the title outright, this was rightly rejected by the British Board). In a recent Board meeting the matter of the Super Middleweight title was pushed back until next month, I’m not sure what the hold up is. He has said more than once he would only give up the title for his brother Callum to fight for. I frankly find this stance arrogant, Paul Smith should be stripped immediately to not only free up the title for challengers such as Fielding but also for Smith to pursue his rematch with Arthur Abraham without the spectre of Rocky Fielding hanging over him.

Ovill McKenzie to keep the British Title:

While we’re talking about the British title, it’s only right we talk about our current British Cruiserweight Champion, Ovill McKenzie. In June of last year McKenzie stopped Jon-Lewis Dickinson for the title in a minor upset in Doncaster, I was delighted for him and was even more delighted when he started following me on Twitter (@OvillThe1). Since the victory there has been talk of him fighting Marco Huck for the WBO Title, and as much as I’d like to see that I don’t think it’s realistic. What I’d like to see from Di Upsetter is for him to win the British title outright, starting with a victory over Matty Askin in February.

Lee, Saunders and Eubank to create another memorable Middleweight era:

Now I kind of promised myself when I started this that I’d split this; half Domestic, half International. But then this came to me, after Saunders & Eubank Jnrs nip and tuck fight at the Excel in November, the talk was instantly of a rematch between the pair. Saunders went as far as saying that he’d give Eubank a rematch, if Saunders was to win the world title. The title in Saunders’ sights is now held by Irishman Andy Lee, whose surprise stoppage of Matt Korobov has hopefully given us the catalyst to see fights amongst Lee, Saunders and Eubank Jnr, all with a World Title at stake. Eubank surprised a lot of people with his performance against Saunders, I thought Saunders would decision him comfortably but it turned out to be a very close fight. Eubank is still nowhere near the finished article but he showed a lot of heart and raw talent in giving Saunders all he could handle. Lee is obviously the King Maker in this situation, there was opportunity before with Matthew Macklin, Darren Barker, Martin Murray and Andy Lee but a combination injuries, politics and some arrogance on Macklin’s part stopped these fights from happening. Let’s hope Andy Lee doesn’t see himself as being above domestic fights like Macklin did, he’ll make good money fighting English fighters and should make as much as he can before he eventually hangs up his gloves.

Adrien Broner to act a bit more like big bro:

Nooo I don’t mean the gaudy jewellery, the hangers on, the excessive gambling, being overly physical with ladies, the pointless boring Instagram posts of cars, jewellery etc. No when I say I want Adrien Broner to act more like his ‘big bro’ Floyd Mayweather, what I’d like to see Broner show some dedication to his craft and main income generator, boxing. Broner has a long time to party, his main focus should be on his craft and getting back to the blistering form he showed at Lightweight. Let’s not forget Antonio DeMarco was the No.1 ranked Lightweight by Ring Magazine when Broner stopped him in 8 rounds. It was a win that was underrated by the boxing public considering it was his first fight at the weight. His jump up to Welter was ill advised and even though he was able to nab another title (vs Malignaggi) at 147, he hasn’t looked the same fighter since the DeMarco win. Broner needs to stop eating junk, stop partying and start to live the life of an elite athlete. There’s a reason Floyd can go to McD’s during a training camp, he’s in the gym every day whether he has a fight scheduled or not. Broner is still young enough to become an elite fighter, but he has to dedicate himself to the sport, if he doesn’t then despite his 3 world titles, he’ll be seen as another waste of talent.

Guillermo Rigondeaux to channel his inner Shannon Briggs

Guillermo Rigondeaux is a bad man, I refuse to describe him in any other way. I’ve been a fan since he traveled to Ireland and destroyed Willy Casey for the Interim WBA Super Bantam title. Since then he’s won the full WBA title as well as the WBO and Ring titles, but nobody wants to fight him. There are 3 other fighters calling themselves ‘World Champion’ but none of them want any part of the consensus number 1 in the division. By contrast Shannon Briggs is not even a top 50 heavyweight, but more people are talking about Briggs because he’s made a nuisance of himself to World Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko; he’s literally ate his food, knocked him off his jet ski and sat ringside at his fights. All the while being able to post 20 Instagram videos a day on the first ever iPhone. Now I’m not suggesting Rigo starts eating the food off Scott Quigg’s plate, but he needs to be more active in his attempts to get a unification fight. As I mentioned before, he’s no stranger to Ireland, so when Carl Frampton makes his Mandatory defence of his IBF Title against Chris Avalos next month, he should get as close to ringside as he can and get people talking about a fight between him and Frampton. Turn up at the press conference afterwards as well, it worked for his compatriot Erislandry Lara, it can work for him too.

And finally…..

The Heavyweights to rule the World, again.

I went to a boxing show late last year, the headline fight was Dillian Whyte (12-0, 9 KO’s) vs Ante Verunica (3-1-1) and it was the Camden Centre in London. Most people in the audience were friends or family of the fighters, plus 1 or 2 cranks and groupies (which I had the delight of chatting to during the prelim fights). The fights in my mind were a foregone conclusion, they were an opportunity for the ‘A side’ fighters (look it up Pac-Man) to get some rounds in and also get some cash on the hip in time for Christmas, but an interesting thing happened once that first bell rang, the place went completely silent. The saying goes that anything can happen in the Heavyweight division and I think it’s fair to say that those in attendance believed the same thing. In the end Whyte stopped Verunica in the second round but there is something about the Heavyweights that makes the most casual of fan pay attention. No heavyweight out there will beat Wladimir Klitschko, not in the foreseeable future anyway. But this weekend we have a WBC Heavyweight title fight in Las Vegas, and for the first time in a long time people are excited about a heavyweight fight. Deontay Wilder is the favourite with the Vegas bookies but whoever wins between Wilder and reigning Champion Bermane Stiverne (edit – Wilder won by UD) can become a big star by having exciting fights with the likes of; Tyson Fury, Bryant Jennings and the lineal Champion Wladimir Klitschko. Even the likes of David Price and Anthony Joshua have the power to get people excited about the Heavyweights again.

Fights I’d like to see:

Keith Thurman vs Marcos Maidana
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr 2
Anthony Crolla vs Kevin Mitchell
Arthur Abraham vs George Groves
Carl Froch vs James DeGale
Anthony Joshua vs David Price
Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev
Gennady Golovkin vs Andre Ward
Nicholas Walters vs Vasyl Lomachenko
Amir Khan vs Kell Brook
Miguel Cotto vs Canelo Alvarez
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao.

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Mass Hysteria

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Mass Hysteria took place in Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany on Saturday night after Paul Smith’s valiant effort against reigning WBO Super-Middleweight Champion Arthur Abraham. The mass hysteria was not coming from the victorious Abraham’s loyal supporters, nor was it even from Smith’s corner, but from the Sky commentary team of Nick Halling and Jim Watt. Halling and Watt are subject to online vitriol almost anytime Sky broadcast boxing either domestically or abroad. On most occasions I am able to drown out commentators but Saturday seemed to be a bad day for me, first of all I found myself getting annoyed at the Arsenal-centric commentary and pundit teams whilst watching Arsenal v Tottenham and this continued when watching Abraham vs Smith.

The narrative for the evening seemed to be set early by Sky, with Martin Murray as a studio guest (along with Nathan Cleverly) who went into detail about his experience in Germany, not only with the scorecards but also with the gloves that were provided for him by the German officials pre fight. The narrative didn’t change come fight time where the opening 3 rounds were exchanged with Abraham taking a 2 rounds to 1 lead on my card. At this point Watt and Halling were being reasonably calm and calling the fight sensibly. As the fight progressed it felt like Abraham was boxing well within himself and picking up rounds, after 6 rounds I had Abraham 5-1 up. He was completely in charge but full credit to Smith he showed a terrific chin in taking so many big shots from Abraham in the first half of the fight. Around round 7 was when Halling and Watt seemed to slip into hyperbolic meltdown, at one point they called Paul Smith a “banger” like they were talking about Gennady Golovkin. Smith had just had his best round of the fight and was clearly giving his all so some excitement was to be expected but Halling was being hysterical, calling every grazed Smith punch like a Mike Tyson left hook.

I gave round 8 to Smith, Abraham seemed to take a round off and Smith did some good work. In round 9 Smith caught Abraham with a good left hook but then ate some right hands which Halling and Watt ignored, I gave round 9 to Abraham but it was a close round and I can see why it may have gone the other way. At the end of this round Halling made a note of the German TV only showing Abraham highlights, he obviously didn’t sense the irony that he was verbally doing the same injustice to Abraham.The longer the fight progressed it seemed that the possibility of Smith going the distance automatically meant he was going to get robbed, they seemed to get sucked into the plucky loser narrative and stopped watching one of the two fighters in front of them. This is a common practice with Halling and Watt, they nail their colours to a fighter early on and tend to ignore the realities of what’s occurring in front of them.

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In Round 10 Abraham started to tire and at this point Halling in particular started to become hysterical and this wasn’t helped by Jim Watts crazy scorecard of 6 rounds to 4 to Smith, this was echoed by Nathan Cleverly in the studio, no doubt being led by Halling’s hysterical commentary. At this point I gave up hope of Halling being reasonable, he had decided that Smith was the rightful winner and that he was getting robbed, sanity had left the building. I split the last 2 rounds; 1 to Abraham and 1 to Smith. Smith had put up a valiant effort and worked incredibly hard up until the final bell but Smith’s fast start seemed to wake Abraham up and allowed to Abraham to take a substantial early lead as he teed off at Smith with a ramrod jab and thudding right hands. At the end I had scored the fight 116-112 Arthur Abraham. I could possibly give the 9th to Smith and make it 115-113 but there was no doubt to me that Abraham had won. He had controlled the fight until the 9th round and had done enough to retain his title.

The scores read out were harsh to Smith and further fed the theory that he was robbed, but he wasn’t. Smith made a good effort and made Abraham work hard but he lost. Since then there has been talk of a review and of a rematch, I am very much in favour of the review, the 119-109 given by Fernando Laguna was awful and disrespectful to Smith’s effort in there. Laguna shouldn’t be allowed near a fight again it was that bad. The rematch option I’m not in favour of, Smith put in a very worthy effort vs Abraham but Smith was incredibly lucky to get a World title fight in the first place.

Since he beat Tony Dodson in June 2013 (who’d just been stopped by ‘The Upsetter’ Ovill McKenzie in 2 rounds) he has fought twice (vs David Sarabia and Jamie Ambler) whose records total at 17-55-4, not exactly stellar competition. All the while trying his hardest to avoid a mandatory defence of his British Title vs Rocky Fielding, he tried so hard in fact that he attempted to make his cancelled fight vs Tobias Webb a voluntary for the British Title (this was rejected by the BBBofC) as he knew with one more defence he would win the Lonsdale Belt outright. Paul Smith didn’t deserve a world title fight to begin with and now he’s lost, he doesn’t deserve a second bite of the cherry either.

I’d also suggest that Halling not be allowed near a microphone again, he may be a good journalist but he shouldn’t be commentating on boxing, he nails his colours to the mast early on and sticks to it, regardless of the realities in front of him (A friend has just told me Nick Halling was kicked off doing NFL commentary).
Jim Watt I actually have a soft spot for, he’s a lot better than analysts like Glenn McCrory and Spencer Oliver who seem to just go through the motions and pick up a pay cheque. With Watt you can sense a genuine passion for the sport, he is also one of the few who doesn’t toe the company line, he won’t say Matchroom fighters are the next big thing just because Eddie Hearn tells him too, if he thinks someone needs to improve in a certain area, he’ll say so and I respect him for that.

The problem with Watt is he gets caught up in Halling’s narrative and in his role of 2nd commentator is forced to speak without having given proper thought to the words leaving his mouth. A role in the studio would suit him much more, he wouldn’t be forced to speak constantly and would have other people there to bounce his thoughts off of, instead of them just leaving his mouth and giving viewers at home further reason to want to mute the TV, or heaven forbid find a Russian Stream to watch it on instead.

It can be argued that Sky’s marriage with Matchroom Sports and Eddie Hearn has helped Boxing become more mainstream, the Wembley Stadium fight between Carl Froch between George Groves was a tremendous achievement for everyone involved. At the same time it can be argued that the partnership has affected the broadcast teams ability to stay objective when covering Matchroom fighters. I wrote in a blog a couple of years ago that Sky’s broadcast team needs a shakeup, there were slight changes but not nearly enough. The addition of Bob Mee to the announce team was a breath of fresh air, but it didn’t last long. As a Sky subscriber I feel it is their responsibility to not only provide me with entertaining Television but also to not insult my intelligence with inaccurate fight promotion and fight commentary.

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Has George Groves Peaked?

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I was at Wembley Arena Saturday night for George Groves (20-2, 15 by KO) comeback win against reigning European Champion Christopher Rebrasse (22-3-3, 6 by KO). When George’s entrance began I realised then that George Groves was comfortably my second favourite active fighter (behind Floyd Mayweather, deal with it) and was genuinely buzzing when he entered the ring in front a near capacity crowd. I was also pleased to note that when Groves stepped into the ring that Carl Froch clapped and pointed in Groves’ direction, it was a nice touch despite the minor verbal’s afterwards.

This was my second time watching Groves fight live, the first time was his decision win over an old Glen Johnson at Excel Arena, but the seats weren’t great. This time I had great seats, on the upper tier but right in front for the ring, perfect. The fight settled very quickly with Groves winning the early 3 rounds using his fast jab and fighting at a very quick pace early on. In the 3rd round Groves buzzed Rebrasse noticeably, but Rebrasse was blocking shots quite well and avoided being tagged with anything clean. In the fourth was where I started to become concerned about Groves, he started to tire and began to lose coordination with his footwork, his balance was poor and seemed a very square on target for Rebrasse to tag with solid jabs and hooks.

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What happened to Timmy?

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No, not that Timmy

“It’s not about money, it’s about that spot I want his spot, I want the throne”

– Timothy ‘Desert Storm’ Bradley

On the 9th June 2012, Tim Bradley scored the biggest win of his career (29-0-1NC) when he won a controversial split decision over Pay-Per-View money machine and 8 division world titlist Manny Pacquiao. The decision caused outrage amongst mainstream boxing media outlets but a vocal minority such as respected names Danny Flexen and Thomas Hauser had Bradley winning. The fight was broadcast on HBO PPV in the States and on subscription channel Primetime here in the UK and should’ve been; win, lose or draw, Bradley’s opportunity to shine on the biggest stage. I’ve watched the fight twice, both times with the sound off and Pacquiao in my opinion threw that fight away but not not doing anything for the first 60 seconds of each round whereas Tim was being busy, sticking his jab out and working the body where possible. Pacquiao landed the flusher, more eye catching shots but Bradley worked harder and fought for the whole 3 minutes of each round, especially in the last 3 rounds in which 2 of the judges scored for Bradley, as did I. I had the fight on the second viewing as a close win for Bradley 115-113.

Seven months later, Tim Bradley finds himself with the WBO welterweight title but with no fight on the horizon, no-one calling him out or even talking about him. So what’s happened?

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Since Tim Bradley stepped up to world championship level he’s done things the hard way. The first time I saw him fight was in 2008 when he took on Junior Witter for the WBC Light Welterweight title in Nottingham, England. That makes Bradley a bit of a throwback, when do you last remember an undefeated American coming to England to fight for another guy’s world title? Jeff Lacy is the only one off the top of my head, but it doesn’t happen often. When it comes to boxing I’m not patriotic, Junior Witter has a way of rubbing people the wrong way and I’m not ashamed to say I was firmly in the Bradley camp that night and I celebrated when Bradley scored a knockdown and was subsequently was given a deserved but razor thin decision. Bradley’s first defence wasn’t a homecoming party, he defended the belt against Edner Cherry in Mississippi which he won by Unanimous decision.
Being the true champion he is didn’t continue having routine defences in his home state of California, he went looking for the other champions. In 2009 Tim Bradley signed to fight big punching WBO Champion Kendall Holt. Despite being dropped twice, Tim out worked Holt to unify the WBC & WBO titles. It’s performances like this one that have made me respect Bradley, he’s not the flashiest personality or the biggest puncher but he finds a way to win, he’s what the Americans might call a ‘clutch fighter’. Bradley wasn’t given much time to celebrate as shortly afterwards he was stripped (not for the last time) by the WBC for having the audacity to unify the 2 belts.

After this no-one would have blamed him for going the Joe Calzaghe route of mandatory defence after defence of his remaining WBO Title but he kept looking for the best fights. A fight with multi Lightweight titlist Nate Campbell ended in a no contest before a decision win over future Amir Khan conquerer Lamont Peterson, which was tougher than the scorecards suggested. After a quick leap to 147 for a decision win over then undefeated Luis Carlos Abregu he then made another attempt at unifying the 140 division when he took on another undefeated fighter in Devon Alexander whose stock at the time was sky high after stopping the usually sturdy IBF Titlist Juan Urango.

The fight with Alexander is, in a sense what may have sewn the seeds of Bradley’s current problems. The fight was given all the big fight treatment, it got a HBO Face off show with Max Kellerman and boxing fans were buzzing about it. Two undefeated guys, both with belts putting it all on the line. It turned out to be one of the most boring fights in recent memory, their styles just didn’t work and continuous clashes of heads meant the fight finished early after Alexander basically quit in the 10th round. The nature of the end of this fight may have marked Bradley’s card as a guy you can’t build a big show around as fight fans will be cautious about spending money on a fighter who seems to have more accidental head clashes than most.

In Bradley’s post fight interview he said given the option between fighting Marcos Maidana or Amir Khan, he’d rather fight Khan (who 3 months prior had beaten Maidana). At this point Tim was promoted by Gary Shaw and although Shaw isn’t the most loved man in boxing, he’ll work with other promoters when it makes business sense. When Chad Dawson was the mandatory to Bernard Hopkins, he worked with Golden Boy and made the fight happen because his fighter wanted the fight. According to Amir Khan and Gary Shaw (Bradley hasn’t disputed this) Khan, being the big money draw in the fight, offered Bradley $1.4m plus 50% of the UK TV revenue for a fight to determine the man at 140lbs, thats a pretty tasty offer, Bradley said no, but why?

Despite what he said, Bradley wanted only one man…….. Manny Pacquiao.

To get the fight he wanted he could not be signed to Gary Shaw, so he shook hands with the devil and signed to Top Rank. The problem is, Top Rank only deal with Top Rank and unless they’re pushed into a corner (like in the case of Martinez v Chavez) they do their utmost to keep things in house. This may have been the reason that Bradley’s career has stalled since the Pacquiao win, there’s plenty of competition out there; WBA Titlist Paulie Malignaggi would make perfect sense. Paulie is similar to Bradley in the sense that he’s not a big puncher but talks a great game, has a loyal New York following and brings a belt to the table. There is also the possibility of a rematch with Devon Alexander who may feel he has something to prove after the first fight, although I doubt many would pay to see that again. There is also the wildcard in Sheffield’s Kell Brook who inexplicably turned down a fight with Bradley to instead fight Argentinian no-hoper Hector Saldivia, but if he were to beat Alexander in February he may want to come back to the negotiating table with a belt around his waist.

The fight I’d really like to see though would be against WBC & Lineal Champion Floyd Mayweather, with Pacquiao & Marquez prepared to fight each other until the end of the time, a fight between two African American champions would be a change of pace from the South American and Asian fighters we’re used to seeing. The HBO Face Off would be electric, Floyd would be his usual self and Bradley with a hint of bitterness running through him would not be afraid to bite back at him, I’d pay the money just to watch the 24/7 Series alone. I also imagine the payday would top the $5m he was paid to fight Pacquiao. The reality is though that because of his Top Rank Contract and him not being a big puncher or a big money draw he’ll fight a no name opponent in the Spring before fighting Top Rank stablemate Brandon Rios in the Autumn. This a shame for a worthy champion who has earned his stripes, a lot more than fighters like Rios, Canelo Alvarez & Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr who seem to get one big payday after another by winning cheap belts and defending them against cheap opponents.

Bradley is a throwback and he deserves better, but he shook hands with the devil and could’ve had his fingers burnt.

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My Boxing Wishes for 2013

As we’re beginning a New Year and this is my first post on my own WordPress account, I thought I’d share some things I’d like to see happen in the sport of Boxing in the coming 12 months; in no particular order.

1. Nathan Cleverly to continue his US adventure:

I’m a fan of Cleverly, have been since he beat Tony Oakey for the Commonwealth title back in 2008. After that victory he went from strength to strength, picking up the British and European Titles (which I was fortunate to watch live at Wembley), but since he defeated Karo Murat in September of 2010 he has stopped improving. I put this down to a lack of ambition by the team around him, i.e. his Dad/trainer Vince Cleverly and Promoter Frank Warren. After the Murat fight he faced 2 late substitutes in succession before a big domestic clash with Tony Bellew in Liverpool. He struggled against Bellew when in my opinion he shouldn’t have, Bellew has a big mouth and has made a career out of Cleverly’s name but is really nothing special. After getting the win Cleverly had the opportunity to move past these lower level fighters and start looking at either challenging defences or unification fights. His 2 fights since against Tommy Karpency and Shawn Hawk have been hugely disappointing for a fighter with the ability to test most at 175 lbs. In the build up to his fight with Hawk he sparred at the Wild Card Gym and afterwards spoke of spending more time in the states this year, I hope these aren’t empty words and in the build up to his mandatory defence against Robin Krasniqi he gets back out to the states to get the good quality sparring and experience he needs.

2. George Groves to fight (and defeat) Arthur Abraham:

George is another fighter I’m a big fan of. I think it probably began because of my disdain at the time for James DeGale, I thought he boxed excellently that night and fully deserved the decision against James who was gassed up far too much by his team (and Johnny Nelson, we’ll get to him later). Since then his progression has been hit and miss, he scored an excellent 2 round stoppage against the usually steady Paul Smith. After the win he found himself as the No. 1 contender for then WBO Belt Holder Robert Stieglitz. The fight was arranged but due to an injury to Groves, Abraham got the call and beat Stieglitz by unanimous decision. This may have been a blessing for George, it gave him the opportunity to test himself in the states against Francisco Sierra and then Glen Johnson in London (another fight I attended). With Frank Warren’s cosy relationship with the WBO, it is not beyond the realms that George could get a fight with Abraham this year. I think similar tactics to the DeGale fight would give George a great chance against Abraham whose high guard and low work rate style shouldn’t be too hard for Dark Lord Adam Booth to devise a game plan for.

3. The Death of International/Intercontinental titles:

The vile behaviour of the multiple sanctioning bodies in boxing has been well documented and the blame for the majority of the sports ills have been laid at their door. I though have a different opinion about the multiple title belts we have in boxing. I do not blame the sanctioning bodies for sanctioning title fight after title fight because they are given a license to print money by crooked promoters and weak fighters. For some reason the promoters of boxing events think us boxing fans are all stupid and we don’t realise that Intercontinental/International titles are nothing more than receipts for a place in the WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO’s rankings. Shortly after Eddie Hearn was awarded his exclusive contract on Sky he said “I think titles will become more and more irrelevant” since then 2 of his fighters; Tony Bellew & Darren Barker have each picked up a glorified receipt. The fighters are not exempt here, the IBF did not put a gun to Darren Barker’s head and force him to pay for a worthless belt, he chose to. If boxers want to see the end of these belts, stop paying for them. Also please Mr Hearn, Mr Warren; don’t insult my intelligence, just make the best fights and sod the belts you’re not kidding anyone.

4. David Haye to fight:

No I don’t mean in a press conference or a jungle. What I would love to see is David Haye in a sanctioned boxing match, preferably against Vitali Klitschko. Vitali has slowed down considerably in recent fights and is ripe to be taken down by the Hayemaker. Haye has said more than once that he is only interested in fighting the Klitschkos but if he was to get the W against Vitali then instead of him retiring (again) I’d like to see him carry on fighting, preferably against guys his own size. Haye’s more cautious performances have been against guys taller than him (Valuev, Wlad and even Audley) I think that even if Vitali retires then Haye should fight guys like Adamek, Povetkin and Arreola before calling it a day again. David Haye fights are tremendous events and he has kept himself in great shape. You’re a long time retired and it would be a shame if Haye was to bow out without adding a few wins and titles to his resume at Heavyweight.

5. Sky to shake things up in their boxing coverage

Now you’ll see the title and think “they shook things up last year” and you’re right they did, but not for the better. When they gave Eddie Hearn the exclusive contract last year it caused a noticeable shift in their coverage. Their coverage stopped being balanced and become a Matchroom love-in, we’ve had Kell Brook crowned as a future great without him beating anyone even close to ‘World Class’. Carson Jones is a club fighter who would never be allowed in a main event on US Networks HBO or Showtime, but he gave Brook absolute fits in their fight last July. On ‘Ringside’ Sky’s magazine show Chris Eubank appeared as a guest and said that Carl Froch lacked flair. Adam Smith and Johnny Nelson sat there in shock because it went against their script of saying Carl Froch is the best thing since sliced bread. We know’s Carl a top fighter but he has 2 losses and isn’t a household name so it’s not sacrilege to ask for more from him. I found Eubank’s presence on the show to be a refreshing change from the tired opinions of Glen McCrory, Nicky Piper and Johnny Nelson, whom you get the impression know very little about the fighters they’re covering, especially those not from these shores. In contrast Bob Mee has been a revelation and I look forward to listening and learning from him every time he’s on Sky. I’d like to see more journalists appear on Ringside and if possible be given their own monthly Sunday night show like ‘The Sunday Supplement’ football show. A roundtable of Tris Dixon, Danny Flexen, Bob Mee, Glyn Leach and Teddy Atlas as an occasional US Wildcard would have me tuning in like clockwork.

6. Floyd Mayweather to retire.

If you follow me on Twitter (@BCTHEGRANDSLAM) you’ll know that Floyd Mayweather is my favourite boxer and along with Roy Jones Jnr, the best I’ve ever seen. In my opinion Floyd is the best boxer in the world but he is starting to slow down and is running out of opponents. After Floyd’s victory over Miguel Cotto he said in the press conference that Cotto was “the last of the mohicans” and he was right. He is too small for Light Middleweight and has no reason to fight there, if he were to fight Saul Alvarez I’d pick Floyd to win but it would be a tough night because of the size of ‘Canelo’. Floyd has already announced he intends to fight twice this year, if it were up to me his opponents would be Manny Pacquiao and Tim Bradley and after that he would retire 45-0. It’s unlikely he’ll fight either of those so unless he wants to take a very risky but winnable super fight against Sergio Martinez then I’d like to see Floyd retire. Guys like Robert Guerrero and Saul Alvarez don’t deserve to be in the ring with the pound for pound king and it’s better for Floyd to retire now with his finances and zero in tact than to risk getting a loss against guys who couldn’t lace his gloves when he was 30.

and last but not least

7. Amir Khan to stay at 140 and clear up.

Amir Khan is another boxer I’m a big fan of, after the Judah fight I was telling people he would be top 10 Pound for Pound within 18 months. 12 months and 2 losses later he finds himself having to rebuild under yet another new trainer. Contrary to popular opinion, I thought Amir leaving Freddie Roach was exactly the right thing to do and was calling for him to do it before his loss to Danny Garcia. The sight of him sparring a Russian Light-Middleweight while his trainer was thousands of miles away was the straw broke the camel’s back for me. The Wild Card has gone from elite boxing gym to circus in the last few years, it seems to be full of people that have no business being there. It’s no surprise to me that Freddie Roach’s fighters can’t buy a win at the moment, when your trainer has a reality show (Being Freddie Roach) then you know the focus has gone. I would’ve liked Khan to train with Adam Booth but Virgil Hunter is an excellent trainer who has a very serious aura around him which will put Khan’s feet firmly on the ground again. I never understood the talk of moving to 147, he doesn’t have the power to hurt people at a higher weight, as long as he can make 140, he should stay there. I’d like to see Khan have one more training camp and fight with Hunter before rematching Danny Garcia and this time I think he’ll box to a plan and win.

Some other quick ones: British boxing to stop acting like Performance Enhancing Drugs are an American problem and introduce Olympic Style testing for all title fights, Roy Jones to retire, Steve Cunningham to get a W over Adamek, Chad Dawson to bounce back and beat Pascal at 175, Prince Arron to get the Lonsdale belt at Middleweight, Oville McKenzie to do the same at Light Heavy, Juan Manuel Marquez to retire now, on top, Shane Mosley to beat Malignaggi and then retire again, no more catchweight fights, Danny Williams to retire, Adrien Broner to keep winning and being himself, Saul Alvarez to behave like a world champion and fight people at his own weight, David Price to fight a live body and Tyson Fury to avoid David Price until next Summer.

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