News June 2011

Super Six Final : Atlantic City leaves some fans cold


Boardwalk Hall

Rumours of the impending Super Six final being held in Atlantic City have flooded the boxing websites in recent days. The Boardwalk Hall has been confirmed as "being in the running".

The Showtime event, featuring a mouth watering clash between American Olympian Andre Ward and Nottingham's Carl 'the cobra' Froch is going to be one of the highlights of the boxing calendar come October.

But many British fans who were looking forward to the event have aired their disappointment of the chosen venue after having their hopes of a Las Vegas final being dashed by a clash with a large UFC event being proposed on the same night.

"We went to Atlantic City for the Johnson fight and to be honest with you, was largely disappointed with the place. The fight was great, but the place is not a worthy venue to hold such a marquee event." One said.

"A lot of people are looking forward to supporting Froch in the final, but they want New York or Las Vegas. Not somewhere like Atlantic City or god forbid Detroit, where even the marquee fighter's would struggle to draw flies. An unknown destination could cut numbers down to Hardcore fans.

"With Mashantucket, Herning, Monaco and Helsinki under Froch's belt, it's about time he and the fans got a worthier destination. It's a massive fight and needs the biggest stage."

Andre Ward has packed several thousand into his fight in Oakland and Froch also has a packed house of around 10,000 whenever he fights in Nottingham.

But both could struggle to tap into that resource of support if the destination is unappealing.


Jermain Taylor: Mixed feelings over middleweight


By @livefight

The news of the impending return of popular and skillful Arkansas native, Jermain 'Bad Intentions' Taylor to the sport of boxing has been greated both warmly and also with heavy concern.

Following a crushing knockout loss to the nuclear-fisted Arthur Abraham in Germany during the opener of the Super Six Classic, the former undisputed middleweight star and Bronze medal winning Olympian has kept a very low profile.

But Dan Raphael confirmed the rumours a couple of days ago, that Jermain was indeed going to lace the gloves up again. But the almost jaw dropping decision that he will ply his trade back at middleweight was met with deep concern from even his most loyal supporters.

His own trainer admitted that he'd weighed almost 200lb only a few weeks ago, yet was planning on a fight at the 160lb limit in just two months time.

Taylor 28-4 (17ko)was literally knocked out of the middleweight class by Kelly Pavlik almost four years ago in a unification bout. Starting brightly, he floored 'The Ghost' heavily but dramatically ran out of steam and was halted in the 7th round.

Immeadiately blaming difficulty making the 160lb limit, a rematch was made between the pair at a catchweight of 164lb. Pavlik was given a sterner test and had to settle for a points victory over Taylor, who seemed both fearful of being stopped again and of running out of gas.

Some 18 months later, following a white wash victory over slugger Jeff Lacy, he found himself in the premature position of mandatory challenger to the WBC champion Carl 'the cobra' Froch.

Taylor publicly dismissed Froch, declaring nobody had heard of him and that he wasn't prepared to go to England to fight a 'nobody'. Behind the scenes many felt Froch was a legitimate threat and it seemed the fight wouldn't happen.

Froch called Team Taylor's bluff and accepted a much smaller purse than the Arkansas man and also accepted the defence on American soil.

The fight was superb, with Taylor showing dazzling combinations and even floored the iron-jawed Froch in the 3rd round. Many felt like they were witnessing the renaissance of Jermain Taylor, that the weight suited his frame. But Froch's relentless attacks wilted the challenger and in a brutal 12th round, the Nottingham man "smoked his boots" with just 15 seconds to go.

Many travellers from the forum watched the fight live at Foxwoods. They were concerned with what Taylor looked like after the fight.

"We saw him the next day, he couldn't even walk. He was almost carried out the door by his team." said one.

The fight itself won the WBC 'fight of the year' at their annual convention in Cardiff. But the physical and mental toll on Taylor after such a gruelling war would really come home to roost in Germany just 6 months later.

A gun shy Taylor was outboxed by an opponent without his technical ability. A look of concern grew across Taylor's face after the rounds slipped away and it seemed inevitable that he was going to coast to the scorecards for a points defeat.

What he didn't forecast, was lightning was about to strike twice.

With just 15 seconds to go of the final round, Taylor appeared fresher than he did at Foxwoods by some margin. But then a thunderbolt punch from Abraham landed flush - and Taylor was knocked clean out before his head hit the canvas... hard.

Terrified family members at ringside, including his promoter Lou Dibella turned white with the severity of the knockout. Jermain was immeadiately taken to casualty where a brain bleed and memory loss were treated for a couple of days before he was released.

Upon return, Taylor made plans for facing unbeaten Andre Ward in the second phase of the Showtime tournament. But family members pleaded with him to withdraw. Lou Dibella also declared that he was standing down as his promoter, urging Jermain to quit. That move by Lou was both admirable and honest - and it prompted Taylor with the following statement.

"I'm going to take some time off from the sport of boxing and take myself out of Showtime Sports World Boxing Classic tournament." announced Taylor.

"It's important that I give my body and mind some much needed rest, because I have been boxing for nearly 20 years. I plan on keeping myself in shape and making a return to the sport sometime in the future."

Taylor withdrew from the public eye and switched off his twitter account. Not to be seen at ringside, nor conduct any interviews at all. Until his trainer Pat Burns broke silence at the weekend to ESPN to confirm that Taylor was coming back following extensive medical tests that he was not at risk from injury.

"I like everything I'm seeing, but most important, both neurologists he has seen have given him 100 percent clearance to compete and, based on what I've seen, he looks outstanding. He's very hungry. He has the look he had when he was on the way up." said trainer Pat Burns to ESPN.

The trainer also admitted the first time he measured up Taylor following the layoff, was that he weighed a whopping 197lb. But over the past few weeks the boxer has trimmed down to a svelte 165lb.

When I read that part of the story, my immeadiate thoughts went to his conquerer Carl Froch. A fighter who walks around at a weight limit of 168-172 maximum. Who keeps himself in tip top conditioning year-round.

Surely walking around, being generally inactive for the thick end of two years is not going to assist Taylor in any fashion.

A return to the 175lb light heavyweight division might have been acceptable. A foray back into Super Middlweight would have been frowned upon - but to drop back down to middlweight after four years (two of which spent getting knocked out and the rest being overweight and inactive) - well that's just asking for trouble.

It's no surprise that Lou Dibella said "No Comment" upon hearing the details surrounding his career resurrection. Big Lou has often wore his heart on sleeve for his fighters and is likely yet to be convinced of Taylor's present state.

As a huge admirer of Jermain Taylor as both a boxer and a person, I find the middleweight return worrying and many have predicted it could end in tears.

The division is absolutely bursting with talent from Sergio Martinez to Dmitry Pirog. Then we have all the others in the mix from Gennady Golovkin, N'Dam, Felix Sturm, Daniel Geale to the fringe fighters like Darren Barker, Andy Lee and Mathew Macklin.

Anyone of those names could give a shell of Jermain Taylor fits.

We can only hope and pray that for his own wellbeing, that the popular Arkansas man has truly found his mojo again to compete at the top of the division.

As a fan of the man, I'd hate to witness another chink in an otherwise sterling career.

And at very worse another brutal knockout loss.


Reveller punches James Degale in face


By @livefight

Degale loses to Groves in a close fight last month

According to an article in the Sun, former British champion and gold medallist Olympian James Degale, was struck in the face at a pool party whilst partying with Jade Goody's widower Jack Tweed.

The pair were partying over in Puerto Banus when Degale was struck by the youth, alledged to be from Manchester.

The blow dislodged the star's false tooth, before hotel security dived into the seperate the attacker, who is apparently part of a gang that go by the name of "The Manc Steroid Crew".

Amidst the assault it is believed that the attacker's friend stole Degale's bag containing his clothes and credit cards.

"Things like this get blown out of proportion. It was nothing. I prefer to keep it in the ring if possible." said Degale afterwards.

A "James was minding his own business when this guy seemed to take exception to something or thought he was being ignored and just took a swing at James and hit him in the mouth.

"James was taken aback but surprisingly restrained in the circumstances.

"The hotel security people were on the scene quickly and dealt with it ó but in the middle of it someone walked off with James's bag and all his credit cards and personal stuff." said a friend of the boxer.

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Floyd gets hit by fan


By @livefight

Mayweather's feelings hurt again

Floyd "Money" Mayweather has been hit by another set of charges from a disgruntled fan who claims he was assaulted by the fighter's hulking body guard squad.

Anthony Cliff claims he received his beating near a valet parking stand at the Palms Casino Resort on March 27, 2010.

Earlier Mr Cliff had requested a photo of Mayweather, but was told the star was not posing for pictures. Later Cliff spotted Mayweather leaving then asked him about a fight with a rival - and it was at this point Floyd Mayweather accused the man of disrespecting him.

Floyd is accused of then issuing a 'Thumbs Down' signal to his team of muscle, who then set about assaulting the man.

We can only surmise that the situation arose after a certain southpaw's name was likely mentioned, provoking the star to cross the line.


VIDEO: Haye talks from Germany press conference


By @livefight

David Haye talks to Sky Sports news following the conclusion of the official press conference ahead of the heavyweight unification clash on Sky Box Office this coming Saturday with Wladimir Klitschko.


Devon beats Mattysse amidst controversy


By Lee Skavydis

Devon wins a tight one against Matthysse

Devon Alexander beat Lucas Matthysse by a close decision last night at the Family Arena in Missouri, United States.

The bout started fast with both guys looking for openings but neither scoring with any eye catching shots.

In the second, Matthysse caught Alexander with a right hook and a left but missed with another big right. A straight right and a left forced Alexander on the back foot and the former WBC and IBF light-welterweight champion found himself on the ropes caught with hooks.

Alexander had a good third round when he scored with a short right hook, but took a right and left hook. Devon used the jab sporadically in this round, and caught Matthysse with another short right, and followed with shots to the head and body.

The fourth round saw a nasty turn of bad luck for Alexander when he was floored with a straight right hand in the first thirty seconds. Alexander rose quickly, looking unhurt and was able to fight back immediately. He tried to counter Matthysse but unsuccessfully. The man from Missouri found himself pinned on the ropes and was caught with a right hook.

He came back to work, popping out punches but not landing anything note worthy.

The fifth was a scrappy round, but the two boxers went toe to toe near the end of the sixth, trading hooks to the head.

In the eighth, it came across that Matthysse was finding Alexander easy to hit as he caught him with regularity, landing uppercuts and hooks to the head. Alexander tried the jab again before setting up the power punches but found himself being hammered at.

In the ninth, Alexander landed a combination to the head that made the crowd cheer.

The tenth saw Matthysse land a left hook to the head early in the round, and a right that drove Alexander back. Devon wanted to prove something to everybody as he kept standing in front of the powerful Argentinian, and was successful with a short right. Matthysse landed a head combination and managed to drive Alexander to the ropes again and clinches were seen. Alexander made a final statement by landing an eye catching left hook, and the bout ended with both guys clinching and hitting one another.

Scores of 96-93, 96-93 and 95-94 for Alexander by a split decision was read out, and Alexander made a first successful come back.

"He was a good fighter. (asked about the knockdown) It was a flash knockdown. I wanted to show people that I'm a warrior and that I got heart," said Alexander.

Matthysse said, "I don't do it for the money, I do it for the glory. I gave it all. It was a tough fight but I think I won it. Look at my face and look at his."


Livefight's ringside report from Wigan

Martin Murray last night dominated the brave but outgunned Nick Blackwell over five one sided rounds to add the vacant British middleweight title to his Commonwealth and WBA Inter-Continental belts.

Making just his ninth professional start, Blackwell weighed in at just 11st 2lb and found himself facing a formidable task as Murray held big advantages in size and experience. Sadly for the youngster from Trowbridge, his much vaunted hand speed made little to no effect upon Murray as the 28 year old was able to walk through his best offerings.

Fighting in front of a raucous travelling support and with domestic rivals Matthew Macklin and Darren Barker in attendance, Murray never allowed the 20 year old Blackwell to gain a foothold in the fight. Blackwell opened the first sharply, moving around the calmer Murray, firing off a series of two handed attacks. Murray, 11st 5lbs, calmly stalked the younger man, catching the majority of Blackwells work on his arms and countering with a sharp jab. A solid right by Murray towards the end of the round cemented his superiority.

Murray continued to methodically walk down Blackwell in the second round, scoring with a series of straight punches. The pressure seemed to be beginning to tell on Blackwell at this early stage and he appeared to be uncomfortable when Murray switched his attack downstairs. Blackwell ended the round bleeding from the nose and already appearing to have a mountain to climb.

The third was no better for Blackwell as he was shaken by a right hand early in the round. Murray took advantage and landed a hard left to the body which clearly hurt Blackwell. ĎBang Bangí gamely fired back and the pair traded blows as the round ended. Murrays shots were far more accurate, carried more weight and he always had the final word in these exchanges.

Blackwell seemed to be struggling for breath in between rounds, it later emerged he had damaged a rib, and the feeling inside the arena was that he needed to find a fight turning punch quickly. Instead Blackwell found himself under heavy fire from the outset and Murray snapped his head back with a solid jab. The St Helens man was in no mood to let his man off the hook and ploughed forward, bullying him onto the ropes and firing off a combination of shots. A straight right hand and solid left hook landed and Blackwell appeared to be in desperate trouble as the round ended.

Nobody could have complained had Blackwell stayed on his stool but he bravely answered the bell for the fifth round. Murray, feeling the title was within his grasp, tried to end matters with a huge right hand which barely missed the target but did land with a right uppercut as he pushed a tired Blackwell into the corner. Murray continued to land flush shots for the remainder of the round and punctuated his efforts with a final big right hand on the bell. A hurt, tired Blackwell slumped onto his stool.

Bloodied and struggling for breath, Blackwells corner decided enough was enough and stopped the bout before the sixth round began.

Murray took his record to 23-0 and now holds the British, Commonwealth and WBA Inter-Continental belts at middleweight. He has long called for domestic match ups with Macklin and Barker but with those two now set for world title bids, he may have to look farther a field for the big fights he craves.

In undercard action Anthony Crolla marked time with a first round stoppage of late substitute Herve De Luca.

The British lightweight champion got wasted no time in stamping his authority on the fight and a hard left hook to the body put the Belgian down within a minute. ďMillion $Ē seemed determined to end matters early and by the midpoint in the round, the signs off the Manchester fighters body attack were clear as De Lucas ribcage turned bright red. It was no surprise to see him taking another count after a left hook, right hand combination. The fight was eventually waved off at 2.59 of the first round as Crolla found the gap to fire in another sickening left hook to the body.

Crolla, now 21-2, picked up the WBA Intercontinental lightweight title.

ďGeniusĒ Joe Murray completed the full twelve round distance for the first time in his career as he out pointed James Ancliff in a featherweight contest.

Although Murray was in control from the first bell, he may well be frustrated that he was unable to force a stoppage against the resilient Scot.

Murray began like a whirlwind, his movement and hand speed seemingly too much for Ancliff to cope with. His right hand landed repeatedly and he shook his opponent on numerous occasions. Ancliff refused to crumble though and buzzed Murray with a sharp left hook in the fourth. It was a rare success for Ancliff.

Murrays continued to dominate the rounds but Ancliff bravely dug in and fired back enough to keep the 2008 Olympians attention. Murray remained busy throughout, consistently out scoring Ancliff and will be happy to have negotiated twelve rounds for the first time. Scores were 120-109, 120-110 and 118-111. The IBF Youth title he was awarded after the bout (although strangely the bout was a non title affair) could be the first of many. Murrayís record now stands at 11(5)-0.

Martin Murray Interview


This Saturday night seeís Wiganís Robin Park host a triple title clash when Martin Murray and Nick Blackwell clash for the vacant British middleweight title and Murrays Commonwealth and WBA Inter-Continental belts. Whilst Blackwell holds the distinction of becoming the youngest ever fighter to win the English middleweight title, he will be taking a huge step up in class in just his ninth professional fight when he faces the 22-0 Murray.

Murray in action

Livefight caught up with Martin this week to gauge his opinions on the upcoming fight and his hopes for the future.

So, what do you know about Nick Blackwell?

I donít know what his amateur records like but heís had eight fights as a pro and won them all. Heís the youngest English champion so heís got everything to gain.

He seems to have jumped at the chance.

Yeah, good on him. Heís seen a chance and taken it. I was gonna say the chance has come too soon for him, but itíll never be too soon because thereís no way heíd ever beat me. Iíve had 22 fights and 22 wins. Heís just not in the same class as me and I mean to show that when we fight.

It sounds like youíre pretty confident then.

Yeah, Iím confident but Iím not overlooking him. Iím confident going into every fight and this ones no different but as I said, itís a chance heís grabbed with both hands.

From reading some of the quotes from Blackwellís camp, they seem to think heíll be too quick for you. What do you make of that?

Iíve heard it all before. There are thousands of boxers out there who are quicker than me but it doesnít make them better than me. Iíve heard it before. They say ďweíve watched videoís of him and thisíll beat himÖĒ but when we fight on that night, heíll realise from the first round that heís not gonna win. People might look at me and think they can beat me but they soon realise when we get in the ring that itís a different story.

They say ďOh, our speed will do itĒ but thatís just not good enough is it? What are they gonna do when that doesnít work? Heís had eight fights, won eight and had everything his own way. Heís not been in a tough fight yet or had things that have gone against him so itís gonna hit him hard when that happens this week.

I guess last time out John Anderson Carvalho was probably quicker than you but speed didnít seem to help him much.

No, it didnít. Once Iím in there and taking that speed advantage away from them it doesnít matter does it? Thereís a video of Blackwells his fight on Hatton TV and Iíve only watched it once, I leave everything else to Oliver (Harrison, Murrayís trainer) but I think heís over rating his own speed. I didnít look at him and think ďwow, heís super fastĒ.

OK. Away from the Blackwell fight, take us back to the Carvalho fight on the undercard of Amir Khan v Paul McCloskey. How did you find the whole experience of fighting on a big bill and were you happy with your performance?

First of all, being on the show was brilliant. I was on fairly early but as soon as I got there I went and saw the ring. Itís the biggest venue Iíve fought in and I could just see myself fighting there all the time. It was a great experience.

I was happy with the performance. Iím never 100% happy with how I fight but Oliver was happy with it and thatís the main thing. I know if Oliverís happy then it was a good performance. Oliver was the one who said that that was the shot that would do him. Before every fight, earlier on in the day me and Oliver go through half an hour of tactics. We do some slow pads and figure out the tactics of whatís gonna work and we worked a lot on that punch and it worked! His tactics were bang on again. Once that shot landed, I knew he wasnít getting up from it.

On that subject, body punching could be a good tactic again this weekend against a faster opponent?

Well he thinks heís fast but also thinks heís a bit of a body puncher too. Iíll just be there doing what I do, wearing him down and whether itís the first round or the twelfth, heís gonna get beaten.

Winning the British title would put you right in the mix for bigger fights and maybe more nights like the Khan fight.

Definitely. There are only certain people who can fill those shows and I was just happy being on the undercard but once I win this fight, it does Ė hopefully Ė put me in the mix. Hopefully Macklin can do well the week after me against Sturm. If he can pull it out, you never know, maybe we could fight at a big venue later on down the line.

If Macklin does beat Sturm, with you holding the intercontinental belt and the fight having been talked about before, you would be in the perfect position.

Well I think Iím ranked fourth at the moment. I think this might go down as a voluntary defence of my WBA belt, Iím not really sure how that works, but I think a win will jump me a few places higher. It just gets me more in line for the winner really. If Macklin does come through, itíd be great to have two British guys fighting for a world title. If not, Iíd happily go to Germany and take any chance Sturm might give me. Iíve just gotta wait and see. I think Iím one of those fighters who will have to take my chance wherever it comes. Whether itís sooner or later, me and Oliver are sure weíll get there.

If the Macklin fight doesnít come off, would you still be looking at British fighters like Darren Barker or Paul Smith or would you want to move forward to European or world level?

Iíd love to win the Lonsdale belt outright. Itís always been a dream of mine since I was an amateur. The British belt was the one I wanted and Iíd love to keep it. Unless the fights can be made quickly though and I can make a couple of defences, I wont be waiting around. Iím 29 in September and Iíve gotta get moving and take whatever chance I can get. Regardless of who it is, if the fights get made quickly Iíll be happy to stay at British level and get my defences in but weíll just have to wait and see.

You mentioned earlier that you go through tactics on the day of the fight with Oliver. Do you set out the tactics for a fight at the start of the training camp of focus on them more towards the end?

When weíre just ticking over in the gym without an opponent we work on everything. As soon as we do get an opponent, Oliver watches the videos and DVDs, I stick to my normal training and fitness work but then we find sparring partners who most closely resemble the lad weíre fighting and Oliver will go through certain tactics and different punches thatíll work in the ring. Weíve always done that. Well, not always, early on when we were fighting the journeymen, theyíre in there surviving but when weíve had videos of people weíve gone through everything. I just train and do what Oliver tells me. If Iím in that ring, feeling good and stick to what Oliver tells me, I know weíll be alright.

Itís exactly a week ahead of the fight, has the hard work all been done now? Any more hard days planned?

Itís done. We were gonna have the last hard day today doing sprints but I spoke to Oliver earlier and he said that this training camps just flown by and everythingís going well so I had my last hard session this week just gone. Itís just about making weight now and sharpening up so weíll just have light, sharp sessions this week.

Youíre headlining on Sky Sports. Itís a big opportunity to look good.

It is. Itís great exposure for me. Itís the first time Iíve been live on Sky since Prizefighter and itís something Iím really looking forward to. I think my next couple of fights will be live on Sky to so I can hopefully raise my profile a bit more and the big fights might come from that. Itís a good bill. Anthony Crolla and Joe Murray are fighting and a couple more, itís a show Iím looking forward too.

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