The Finger Post Boxing: New Mexico’s Jason Sanchez crushes foe in Frisco (February 2, 2019)

The Finger Post Boxing (February 2, 2019)

New Mexico’s undefeated world ranked contender Jason Sanchez, 125.4, had his first taste of the big stage as he stepped in the ring with Ixtapa Zihuatanejo Mexico’s Daniel Olea, 125.5, in the third fight of the night. Sanchez boxed well early on but the aggression he showed in Panama City in his last fight quickly emerged when he rattled Olea with a well times overhand right that sent the Mexican back into the corner a minute into the fight. Olea covered up and quickly moved out of the corner but he was unable to keep the Albuquerque native off of him. Sanchez turned into a hunter, stalking his prey, and showed a dazzling array of punches as he mixed up heavy punches upstairs with a solid body attack that had the Mexican doubling over at times. In round two Jason boxed well early on and continued his effective counterpunching as Olea tried to lunge in with looping punches. Although Sanchez did lose his mouthpiece in the second round he maintained complete control of the fight and timed a pictutre perfect overhand right that sent Olea crashing to the canvas. Although Olea rose on wobbly legs referee Gregorio Alvarez waved the fight off at 1:35 of round two. With the win Sanchez improves to 14-0, 7 KOs while Olea drops to 13-7-2, 5 KOs.

The Finger Post Boxing: Remembering the day Floyd Mayweather Jr. fought in Albuquerque

The Finger Post Boxing (November 30, 2018)

 

I’ve covered fights all across the globe and have sat ringside for some of the biggest fights in boxing history…but I think every boxing writer laments the one that got away.  And for me that was the night of May 26, 2001.

I was just kicking off my career as a freelance boxing writer in Michigan.  I had submitted some material to a few smaller boxing websites and was 11 days away from covering my first fight card for Fightnews.com: a club show in a VFW hall in Durand, Michigan. (for the record, Fightnews didn’t end up posting it, my first published fight report was from a show in Washington D.C.).

But even if I wasn’t a boxing writer at that point I was still a fight fan, which makes May 26, 2001 inexcusable.

That was the day that “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather Jr. defended his WBC Super Featherweight title in Grand Rapids, Michigan against Carlos Hernandez of Argentina.  I don’t know why I didn’t make the drive out from Flint to Grand Rapids to see that fight.  Floyd was already established as one of boxing’s best champions and although he would dominate Hernandez it would prove to be a historic night: the only knockdown of Mayweather’s career (for the record it wasn’t much of a knockdown).

I would go on to see Mayweather in action in the future…April 8, 2006, when he won a decision over Zab Judah in Las Vegas.  But by then Mayweather was a superstar.  In Grand Rapids he wasn’t the most recognizable fighter on the planet yet.  Hell, he wasn’t even the most recognizable fighter in Michigan yet.  He was talented…we all saw it.  But somehow that talent wasn’t enough to motivate me to drive one and a half hours to see him in action live.

I guess I just didn’t appreciate how close to greatness I was back on May 26, 2001.  And I guess that is why I often pay special attention to those four round fights on the undercard.  You never know if that 3-0 kid on the undercard might just be something special.  Admittedly they are usually in against a softer touch…but how many of you would say you wouldn’t drive up to Albuquerque to have seen a young Floyd Mayweather Jr. in action, even if it was against a journeyman?  Sure the fight featuring that young prospect ends up being pretty lopsided, but you still get to see a young prospect in action…and sometimes that young prospect turns out to be something really, really special.  You see the flashes of brilliance…and sometimes you even get to see the rough edges that you know will be polished out before he fights for his first world title.

Yeah, I may have May 26, 2001 as my missed opportunity to see greatness rising…but I am not alone.  Just about every fight fan in New Mexico has a date they also have to carry with them: November 30, 1996.  22-years ago to the day.

Because on that day Floyd Mayweather came to Albuquerque.

In an ESPN televised fight card featuring then WBO Super Flyweight champion Johnny Tapia in a title defense, Floyd Mayweather Jr. stopped by for a four round clash with a little know journeyman from Indiana named Reggie Sanders.  And if you are a fight fans from New Mexico who for whatever reason didn’t go to the Tingley Coliseum on November 30, 1996 then watching the fight now on YouTube will be painful.  You will see hundreds of empty seats all around the ring.  Sure we didn’t know that Floyd would become “Money” but it doesn’t change the fact that you missed this golden opportunity.  You missed a chance to see an all time great in his only fight in New Mexico.

Empty seats…as far as the eye can see.

And interestingly enough, even though the matchup wasn’t exactly a major test for Mayweather, history was made that night at the Tingley Coliseum.  Floyd Mayweather Jr. was taken the distance for the first time.  Reggie Sanders was able to last the four-round distance with Mayweather and although judges Levi Martinez and William Gantt had Mayweather winning 40-36, one judge (Sandy Pino, a familiar face to fight fans in New Mexico) actually had Sanders winning one round and scored the fight 39-37.   So another bit of boxing history occurred in Albuquerque 22-years ago today and New Mexico fight fans in attendance were able to witness it.

Albuquerque saw the first round Floyd Mayweather Jr. would lose as a professional.

Admittedly a lot of fans were probably not paying much attention to the then young boxer from Grand Rapids who was fighting as a professional for only the second time in his career.  But those who did…well, they witnessed history in the making.  They saw the Beatles with Pete Best on the drums.  They saw Michael Jordan playing basketball in college.  They saw a young Floyd Mayweather Jr. go the distance for the first time ever.  And who knows, maybe they even realized they were watching something special.

There is a fight coming up this weekend in Albuquerque, and although I won’t claim that any of the fighters on that card will become the next Floyd Mayweather Jr. I have to admit…back in 2001 I didn’t think Floyd Mayweather Jr. would become the next Floyd Mayweather Jr.   So what do I know?  Maybe you shouldn’t take my word for it and you should head down to the Manuel Lujan Building in Albuquerque Saturday night just to make sure you don’t miss something special.  A week after that show boxing will head to to Odessa, Texas where a pair of undefeated fighters in Desmond Hill and Abel Mendoza are slated to fight in two separate fights at the Ector County Coliseum.  Are either of them the next Canelo Alvarez or Manny Pacquiao?  Most people would say no.  But those are the same people who didn’t buy these five empty ringside seats for Canelo Alvarez fight agaist Raul Pinzon in Miami back in 2008.  Don’t be the five guys not sitting in those seats on Saturday in Albuquerque or on December 8 in Odessa.

If you are still not sure if you want to go to the fights this weekend just take a long, hard look at those five empty chairs and think about all the money you’ve spent on Canelo PPVs

 

And for those of you who missed Albuquerque’s brush with greatness on November 30th, 1996…for those fight fans in New Mexico who were old enough to have gone to that fight card at the Tingley Coliseum and for whatever reason didn’t…

Well, all I can say is I feel your pain.

 

 

Read more Finger Post Boxing stories here!

 

 

Boxing: Revisiting a 2010 interview with Wladimir Klitschko (April 15, 2010)

The Finger Post (August 15, 2018)

 

April 15, 2010.  Eight years ago today.  I was approached by Fightnews about a possible interview with heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.  Naturally I was excited about the opportunity to interview Wladimir, but not just because he was the heavyweight champion.  I felt like this interview might be the start of a legendary rivalry.  Quite frankly, in 2010 the division was stagnant.  In April of 2010 Klitschko had just passed something of a milestone: six years since he last tasted defeat on April 10, 2004.  In that time he won 12 straight fights but to many American fans the division had grown stale under his dominant reign.  But along came a cocky Brit who seemed to push all of Wladimir’s buttons.  In 2010 it looked like boxing was about to get a shot of adrenaline and the birth of a new rivalry for the ages: Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye.

Of course history has shown us that the rivalry was anticlimactic…but for a few months in 2010 and 2011…it did look like something special was brewing in the heavyweight division.

 

Wladimir Klitschko calls out David Haye 

    For many boxing fans, the heavyweight division has been in a serious slump for several years, despite the fact that the reigning IBF and WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (54-3, 48 KO’s) is so clearly a class above almost every other contender in the division.  Since winning the IBF title back in 2006 from Chris Byrd he has arguably not lost a single round against the eight fighters he’s defended his title against, and even his harshest critics admit that he could easily continue that streak of dominance for several more years.  But it’s not so much that fact that he’s dominant that has boxing fans writing off the division.  It’s the manner in which he has been winning lately, with some critics considering him to be to “safety first” against clearly overmatched opponents.  But if there is one thing that could give the division and the sport a much needed shot of adrenaline, it is a legitimate grudge match between Klitschko and the only fighter in the world who doesn’t share his last name and who is widely perceived as his only serious threat: David Haye.  And although a unification fight seems like a no-brainer, it is already emerging as quite possibly the most heated heavyweight rivalry since Mike Tyson and Razor Ruddock. 

    “I want to wipe (Haye) out of the ring,” Klitschko said to Fightnews with noticeable anger and contempt, “I care about the punishment in the fight for David Haye.  The best scenario is like the (Eddie) Chambers fight.  I want to punish him for twelve rounds and then knock him out.  But I don’t think I can wait, If I see the opportunity to knock him out at I’m going to do it.”

    Klitschko admitted to Fightnews that not only has Haye gotten under his skin, but he has emerged as the most despised fighter he’s ever encountered.

    “Whatever you call it, under my skin, it’s enough bullshitting from David Haye and his side, and I think now is the time to make it.”  Klitschko stated, “I made it clear in the message I posted online, I want David Haye’s title, and I want to beat this ‘bitching out’ person in the ring.”

    May boxing fans have already seen the now infamous clip of Wladimir Klitschko challenging the WBA champion in harsh and at times profane words; it proved as shocking as it was effective, showing a different side of the German based champion.  The Clip was featured on Fightnews and in the two days since it was posted on Youtube it has garnered nearly half a million views.  The video itself has created more buzz in the division than any of the title fights this year, but there remains one unanswered question: will Haye accept the challenge?

    “I made it as clear as possible, I used social media so it came direct from me and not the promoters,” Klitschko stated, “I just had enough of David Haye’s bullshit for a year and a half, and I laid back, but that’s enough now.  Actions speak louder than words.  Now we’ll see how scared David Haye is.”

    Klitschko also made it clear that he believed that David Haye had ducked him in the past, and has not put it past the WBA champ to come up with an excuse to avoid fighting him.

    “No doubt he avoided me, Sorry to call him a liar.  But I was relying on his word.  Then two weeks before (the scheduled Wladimir KlitschkoHaye fight) he bitched out and claimed he had a back injury, and then asked for two more weeks.  And then four more weeks, and then six more weeks.  Then he made an excuse for not fighting Vitali, saying the contract was bad.  It was the same contract he signed with me!  That’s why I just can’t trust this guy.  He’s dishonest”. 

    For many boxing fans it is refreshing to see the heavyweight champion show a meaner, edgier side.  But some insiders are wondering if he is falling into Haye’s trap.  Most insiders felt that Klitschko was too cautious and defensive in his last several fights, and many are wondering if the raw emotion that Klitschko is displaying could lead him into a fight that would benefit that smaller, but hard hitting, Haye. 

    I have my strength, forty-eight fighters out of fifty-three that I faced ended up either sitting on the stool or being knocked out.  David Haye is going to be one of those guys.  I will knock him out.  I will knock this mo-fo out!”

    A tasteless T-shirt that Haye was recently spotted wearing created an uproar with many boxing fans (it featured Haye with the severed heads of both Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko), but it appears that it had the desired effect.

    “It’s just not acceptable to represent himself with two (severed) heads and then not to take the fight, but just to promote himself.  I think he’s obnoxious and I don’t like how he walks and how he talks”.

    Klitschko also considered his plan-B if the Haye fight fails to materialize, a fight with long-time #1 contender Alex Poevtkin.  Although Povetkin is not widely recognized by American fight fans, he is widely regarded as the best undefeated heavyweight in the world and long overdue for a title fight.  A Haye fight will require another postponement for the #1 contender.  When asked why that fight hasn’t occurred yet, Klitschko pointed the finger squarely in Povetkin’s camp.

    “If David Haye keeps bitching, then I have to fight Povetkin,” Klitschko stated, “But we have another problem in which Povetkin is not ready.  His coach is saying he’s not ready.  Two years ago we had an opportunity and they say he’s not ready.  Now he is still not ready?  How much time does he need?”

    Although Klitschko has been getting a fair share of criticism in the last few years, there is little question that he has been dominant.  And Klitschko feels that much of the criticism is somewhat unwarranted. 

   “Eddie Chambers and Sultan Ibragimov are similar fighters,” Klitschko pointed out, “after four rounds they gave up with there strategy and were just playing safe.  If you try to knock out a fighter who is just playing it safe it is very difficult.   If a fighter is just playing safe, then any fight is going to be boring.  That’s why I got into the conversation with Emanuel Steward in the last round.  Emanuel was in the corner and told me I have to knock him out, I said ‘Emanuel, Relax, I’m trying!’”

    But for American boxing fans, it has been increasingly difficult to gauge his performances since his less than stellar decision over Sultan Ibragimov in February 2008 was his last U.S. appearance and his most recent title fight against Eddie Chambers has not broadcast on any major cable network.  HBO executive Ross Greenburg even made a comment that American boxing fans were having trouble telling the two Klitschko’s apart, leading to a drop in ratings and interest from fans.

   “It’s just about boxing and not about who looks alike or not,” Klitschko fired back, “and Vitali’s fight against Arreola had the highest rating on HBO of the year!  It is difficult to comment on such things.”

    Almost all boxing fans admit, however, that there is one heavyweight fight that could happen that would prove to be one of the most talked about, and possibly exciting, title fights in the division’s history.  But for boxing fans it is no closer to happening.

    “There is nothing that can make us fight,” Wladimir said about a possible Klitschko versus Klitschko matchup, “if the world goes down and only our fight can save the world then maybe we will fight each other, than otherwise not.”

 

Read more Finger Post boxing stories here

Boxing: WBO says Jeff Horn won the fight.

Finger Post Boxing (July 11, 2017)

Photo by David Finger

The WBO’s review of the Horn-Pacquiao fight is in, and for the second time this month Jeff Horn is declared the winner over Manny Pacquiao after a five judge panel reviewed the fight.

Read my report here on Fightnews.com on the WBO’s announcement.

For more Finger Post boxing click here!

Boxing: This week’s top fight you probably won’t see (Hughie Fury v. TBA, July 8)

Finger Post Boxing (July 6, 2017)

Normally I don’t get too excited about a fight featuring a top ranked contender versus a TBA in a six rounder, but this weekend’s fight featuring Hughie Fury is worth checking out if for no other reason then it really shouldn’t be happening.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad it is (and not because I am anticipating a competitive fight).  I appreciate the gesture and the willingness to whet the appetite of boxing fans looking forward to the upcoming Parker-Fury clash in September.  But this is a no-win situation if ever I saw one.  At best he blows out his opponent (and how much ring rust to you shake off in that situation?).  There is no reason to take on a tune-up fight when you already are signed to fight for the world title.

I can’t help but think of Clarence “Bones” Adams.  Most of you remember Adams as the popular former WBA super bantamweight champion who had two memorable fights against Paulie Ayala on HBO back in 2001 and 2002.  But in 1995 Adams was a young, up and coming contender whose career was in freefall after losing back to back fights against Orlando Canizales (for the IBF bantamweight title) and Frankie Toledo. The Toledo fight came as a result of a shoulder injury and Adams elected to take on a little known club fighter named Jeff Trimble in February of 1995 in Detroit just three months after losing to Toledo due to the dislocated shoulder.  Although some wondered if the injury of Adams had enough time to heal, few anticipated that Trimble (who was coming into the fight with a 4-8 record) would be any test for Adams.  As fate would have it, Adams would lose his third fight in a row after he suffered another dislocated shoulder.
It’s worth mentioning that it was three months ago that Fury was forced to pull out of his title fight with Parker due to a back injury.  Does this mean that I’m picking Fury to lose in an upset?  No.  But I have some questions about if Fury is at 100% and we may get answers to that question this weekend.  If his back is still bothering him we may know about it on July 8th.  If he is suffering from ring rust we may know about it on July 8th.

 

Odds are that if they can find an opponent for Hughie Fury by Saturday (Fury tweeted as recently as yesterday that he was still on for the July 8th fight so I am expecting the fight to go forward) we won’t be rewarded with a tremendous fight.  Whoever ends up taking the fight will have less than a week to prepare for the WBO #1 ranked heavyweight, and odds are they will be bringing in someone who isn’t going to push Fury even if he had ample time to prepare for the fight. Most likely it will be little more than a glorified sparring session where Fury works off some of the ring rust. But even if he is healthy it is worth noting that the last time a fighter took on an ill-advised tune-up after signing to fight for the heavyweight title in London was way back in 1993.

 

And that fighter was Tommy Morrison:

For more Finger Post Boxing click here!