Burns vs Crawford: Results and Analysis

No-one can question Ricky Burns heart, desire or effort.

But the simple truth in boxing is that sometimes, regardless of how often you watch Rocky, heart, desire and effort alone aren’t enough.

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American challenger Terence Crawford came to Scotland and ripped Burns’ WBO 135lbs title from his grasp with a performance that combined speed, slickness, skill and a surprising amount of aggression. It was a total performance from Crawford, the sort those who have been watching him for a while have been calling for and despite Burns’ best efforts he simply couldn’t match his opponent.

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DeGale vs Khatchikian: Results and Analysis

James DeGale told us he was finally healthy, injury free and able to perform on the level we’d hoped to see from him since he first turned pro six years ago.

On the evidence of this bout perhaps injuries aren’t the only thing holding DeGale back.

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On paper (and Youtube footage) Gevorg Khatchikian appeared to be an accomadating opponent to showcase DeGale. Despite a 20-0 record there was very little depth there with his best victory being over an equally untested prospect who went on to lose five of the seven bouts he’s had since. Limited, slow and somewhat crude he never appeared to offer much of a threat to DeGale.

But he certainly had his moments. DeGale started the bout confidently, walking forward behind his jab, trying to counter the Armenian’s own punches and then hit the body when the pair came close. But in the second round he appeared to get overconfident, walking forward and throwing single shots as if he was looking for a spectacular one punch knockout. Khatchikian may not have been fluid or technical but he was willing, game and more than once he caught DeGale flush with right hands as DeGale’s defences failed him. The seventh round saw him land land a hard uppercut that went straight through DeGale’s defences and immediately followed up with an overhand right that staggered DeGale. Khatchikian wasn’t able to really follow up but DeGale as clearly hurt.

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Why didn’t Amir Khan get to face Mayweather?

More than one person has been made a fool of trying to predict Floyd Mayweather Jr’s next move. Not so very long ago after all, it was seemingly guaranteed that Mayweather’s next opponent would be Amir Khan. The announcement never happened… and next came a fan poll on who it would be. The results of this were somewhat confusing; on most boxing sites the answer was Marcos Maidana but on the official poll Khan (helped by a lot of twitter advertsing) had a late surge to take the lead. And of course, there had been rumours and “exclusive reports” long before that.

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But now it looks somewhat definitive. Khan himself says that he’s out of the running and that Maidana is the one about to earn millions of dollars and the chance, however remote, to enter his name in boxing’s history as the man who defeated Mayweather.

I’ve been pretty dismissive of the Khan bout previously but despite that I can see why it was an attractive option. Khan has many flaws but what he undoubtedly has is speed. Khan would be the fastest opponent Mayweather has faced since at least Judah and arguably the fastest he’s ever faced. Much of Mayweather’s success has been built on being the faster man, pot-shotting and picking off opponents from the outside; could he do the same against someone quicker than him? Maidana in contrast, despite technical improvements shown in his recent run that culminated in his defeat of the heavily hyped “new Floyd Mayweather” Adrien Broner, is still very much a brawler, an aggressive and powerful puncher who likes to draw boxers into a fight. We’ve seen Floyd against those repeatedly… and he tends to win and win well.

Outside the ring Khan also seemingly offers a lot. Floyd likes to tap into other fanbases… it’s one of the reasons he boxes many fighters with Latino heritage, especially around Mexican Independence Day as it opens up that lucrative market. Khan may not bring them, but he does bring the UK fans and the UK has frequently proven itself as a solid money maker for boxers. Maidana in contrast may be a popular TV fighter but he has no real constituency to fall back on; fans of Maidana tend to be boxing fans as opposed to fans of individual boxers and thus would have probably watched anyway.

So how is it that Khan didn’t get the bout when he had so much in his favour?

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Purdy vs Bundu, Mitchell vs Ouazghari results and analysis

In what on paper was meant to be a relatively soft comeback following being outclassed by then IBF title holder Devon Alexander, Essex brawler Lee Purdy instead found himself beaten up and then stopped by the unheralded Leonard Bundu in a bout that was as much a fight as a boxing match.

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Bundu may have been the owner of a pretty 29-0 record and the holder of the European belt, but the 41 year old had barely boxed outside Italy previously and had faced a pretty limited selection of opposition. A younger, fresher Purdy boxing at home was expected to be able to overpower him. Instead, Bundu was simply the better man throughout. The bout was an entertaining, engaging war where both men could be proud of their efforts with Purdy pressing forwards relentlessly to confront Bundu who was trying to keep the battle at range. The issue was that even when he did manage to get to the inside, Bundu still had the edge, landing impressive combinations and cutting Purdy open. As the bout wore on Purdy became wilder and wilder while Bundu’s seemed to become more and more powerful and in the 12th he knocked Purdy down with a right and then swarmed him with follow up punches to earn a deserved stoppage.

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Dislocating the Champ: Sturm vs Barker results and analysis

Just as the bout was warming up, it was over…

Felix Sturm once again became a world champion, stopping Darren Barkr in the second round after the Essex man’s corner threw in the towel.

Early on the bout looked like it was going to be a brawl. Putting all of us pundits who said he was too old and his style a little too inactive to bring him a victory on notice, Felix exploded out of the gate being more aggressive then I’ve seen from him in years. He landed two good hooks within the first 10 seconds and didn’t stop, continuing to use his jab aggressively at distance and then stepping forward with powerful straights and hooks. Barker stood his ground and brawled back, looking for big uppercuts (which admittedly generally missed) and putting together some hurtful body shots, but Sturm had laid a marker down and was the clear winner of the first round. What we didn’t know was that the seeds of Barker’s defeat had allowed been sown; his hip had been tweaked in the round and he told his corner that he thought it had gone.

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The second round started much the same way, but now it was Barker that was the aggressor and the better of the two. He pushed Sturm back, sometimes with punches, sometimes physically, and kept hammering shots to the body. Considering the high pace and the nature of the shots it looked like Barker was looking to test Sturm’s conditioning and drag the veteran deep.

But he never got the chance.

Midway through the round Sturm threw a short but sharp counter straight that landed right on Barker’s temple and wobbled the champion. That was bad enough… but the real damage came from the wobble, not the blow or the immediate follow up punches that sent him to the ground. The punch forced him to move in an awkward way and it was immediately apparent that something had happened to his hip… and Barker has had to had operations on both his hips due to injuries there previously. Barker regained his feet (while holding his hip) without much trouble but he clearly couldn’t move and could barely put any weight on his right leg. Sturm forced the issue and dropped him again, Barker gesticulated to her corner, returned to his feet, took a few more punches and was just about to fire back when his corner threw in the towel.

And that was that.

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Mayweather Jr vs Khan rears its head again.

I was literally in the process of writing a post setting out possible opponents for Floyd Mayweather and listing Amir Khan as an option but a somewhat unlikely one.

And this came out…

Saying that a Floyd Mayweather Jr -Amir Khan fight would “have a huge crowd of Brits showing up wherever the fight would take place,” Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefersaid that he would “have to see if that fight can be done.”

“With Amir, there is no secret that he and his team are pursuing a Mayweather fight, and Floyd Mayweather, right now, is enjoying his time off. We’re working on it to see if, in fact, it can be done.”

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I’d stress this doesn’t necessarily make it a done deal; Mayweather Jr has floated possible opponent names in the past to see what the reaction is only to choose someone else (Devon Alexander was the last to get that treatment), but with Schaefer and Golden Boy saying it rather than someone from the immediate vicinity of Mayweather Jr this is bit more solid a commitment.

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Froch vs Groves: Analysis and Opinion

So by now, I’m sure everyone is aware of the controversy over Carl Froch stopping George Groves on Saturday night.

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I’ve deliberately avoided writing anything too substantive on the subject for a day or two. All too often people immediately reach for their keyboards (a testament to the times we live in) whenever something like this happens and before you know it there’s a thousand voices screaming a thousand things. I wanted a chance to sit back, clear it from my mind (helped out by Pacquiao’s performance the same night) and then rewatch the entire bout a few times before putting my thoughts on paper.

But anyway, let’s focus on the big point straight away.

The stoppage was early. Not quite ridiculously early, but pretty close to it. Early even by Britain notoriously quick standards. It was early and it was wrong and it should never have happened. Let’s keep that in mind throughout.

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Can Saint George drives the Cobra out of England: Froch vs Groves prediction and analysis

Excuse me mixing up my saints (and species of snake… and countries) in the headline… I was struggling for one.

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Regardless of my own linguistic frailities, come Saturday much of the boxing media will be focused on China and a certain Manny Pacquiao making his comeback. But a significant amount will also be looking to England and an intruiging 168lbs bout between Carl “the Cobra” Froch and “Saint” George Groves.

People have come to know Froch well over recent years. At first glance he’s a brawler with decent power, an iron chin and an unbreakable will and to this day some people have written him off as simply being nothing more then that. But the truth is, that’s not the case and while no-one is mistaking him for Willie Pep reborn he has a certain amount of class and guile in his ring craft. He can use his jab well, put together powerful combinations, box on the inside and outside and has some underrated footwork. There are still holes in his game of course; his punches have a little too much loop to them, his head movement (and general defence) is at best limited, he still has a tendency to lunge forward into shots and he struggles to transition quickly between ranges and from offence to defence… but over the last few years he’s shown quite how talented his is.

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Irish Eyes Closing – Martin Rogan looks likely to retire

It looks like the fairy tale career of Martin Rogan may be over.

Considering what’s happened in boxing recently and my own struggles with the sport it seems a little poor taste to glorify in a KO but there’s no doubt that Rogan’s recent loss to German prospect Erkan Teper is one of the most brutal I can recall in recent times.

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If the footage of the stoppage itself wasn’t bad enough, one can look to the consequences. While thankfully there at least appears to have been no serious head injuries or brain trauma, Rogan still suffered a pretty significant broken jaw which, in his own words, required it to be put together “like a jigsaw” and leaves him with “more plates in my face and neck than we have in our cupboards”.

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With all that in mind, and his own follow up that he’d had a great career and went out with a bang (figuratively and literally), it looks like it’s the end for “Rogie”. And the man is utterly correct. He did have a great career and should look back on it with pride.

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Brook vs Senchenko: Results and Analysis

For a long time Kell Brook slipped under the radar.

Not in terms of “Special K’s” name value or media image. Almost from the moment he turned pro at 18 boxing fans have been inundated with promoters, trainers and fellow boxers telling us how special he is and the mantra over the last few years is how it was a certainty that Kell Brook would be “the next” world champion. Likewise, it seems impossible to turn on a boxing broadcast in this country and not see Brook as either an analyst or in attendence. No, as a British boxing fan it’s been near impossible to miss Brook.

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But we never held him and his promoters to the standards we do others.

Think about the above paragraph again. For years we’ve been told that he is a special boxer. That he will be a world champion. That he is one of the elite, one of the best, that it is only a matter of time before he fulfills his destiny.

And yet who has he faced?

There have been impressive performances sure… he destroyed Hector David Saldivia, smashed Carson Jones in their rematch, outclassed Lovemore Ndou and dominated Michael Jennings. In truth there is probably only a handful of bouts where he has looked underwhelming and only one bout where he looked bad (the first bout with Jones). But look at those names. Were any of them seen as world class? Were any of them seen as world beaters?

Boxing fans have a tendency to mock those who can’t match their hype with their achievements. We ridicule Deontay Wilder for continuing to face scrubs. We laugh at Amir Khan and how he declares himself one of the best in the world. Nathan Cleverly was widely mocked for facing the likes of Shawn Hawk while talking about facing Bernard Hopkins. And do I really need to talk about how Audley Harrison and his constant comments that it was his destiny to be world heavyweight champion were viewed?

Yet Kell “Special K” Brook was rarely criticised for this.

He’s 27 years old. Going into this bout he’d had 30 bouts. He’s been a pro for nine years. And yet his was still spinning his wheels; too good for domestic class, too good for fringe international boxers but either unwilling or unable to take that step up to the next level, to really push on and make a run for a world title. And yet he and his promoters had managed to escape most of the mockery and criticism that normally comes with that. Way back in 2010 Brook’s victory over Kennings was a WBO eliminator… yet here we are three years later and he’s still not boxed for a world title, let alone held one.

Criticism had started to appear in recent months, notably in the wake of the long delayed and then eventually cancelled bout between Brook and IBF champion Devon Alexander. People started to question whether Brook really wanted to face the best or whether he was content to stand his ground, earning good money as an attraction in Sheffield, unwilling to take the risk of facing a higher level of competition. That he wanted to win a world title the soft way, waiting for a vacant belt to appear rather than to go off and beat a title holder.

And that’s why this bout with Vyacheslav Senchenko was important.

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