Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ring Smarts

Thank you so much for your support in my web series, Ring Smarts!

As requested, I am posting all of the videos here for your convenience.

I will be getting back in the saddle again soon and look forward to bringing you even more boxing know-how from your favorite fighters.  Stay tuned!!

EPISODE 1 - The Jab - Paulie "The Magic Man" Malignaggi

EPISODE 2 - Jumping Rope - Brian "Hawaiian Punch" Viloria

EPISODE 3 - The Cross - Saul "Canelo" Alvarez

And of course I wish Ring Smarts alum, Canelo all the luck in the world against the pound for pound best, Floyd "Money" Mayweather tomorrow night!!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

War at Woodland Hills 8

Art of Boxing and Bash Boxing put on another great show in their 8th installment of the 'War at Woodland Hills' series at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills, CA last night. The evening started out with two crowd-pleasing first round TKOs, with Carlos Rodriguez improving his record to 3-0 against Ricardo Malfavon and Aslanbek Kozaev besting James Ventry to stay undefeated at 21-0.

The third fight and the night's best was a 4-round battle of two southpaws between Denver native, Shawn Nichol and Carson, CA fighter, Raymond Chacon.  In the first round, Chacon seemed to be putting in the better work, but Nichol's left cross found his chin and knocked Chacon down late to make it a 10-8 round for Nichol.  The second round was a virtual shutout for Chacon, who dominated a seemingly gassed-out Nichol.  The third round was truly a delight to behold for any boxing fan, with both fighters striving to be the aggressor and brawling as if in a phone booth.  After a furious exchange of blows, an exhausted Nichol managed to land a short right jab powerful enough to put Chacon down on the canvas for the second time that evening.  Chacon got up well before the count and retaliated quickly, landing a barrage of uppercuts on Nichol's chin, which was seemingly made of granite.  Later in the round, Chacon came on strong, backing an exhausted Nichol up and with the crowd cheering him on, it looked as though Chacon was about to score a knock-down at the very least.  What transpired however, was a shock to the crowd as Chacon found himself down on the canvas yet again with 7 seconds left in the round after Nichol dug down deep and somehow dispatched a powerful left cross with pinpoint accuracy.  The fourth round was an all-out brawl with brilliant exchanges between the two fighters and Chacon trying his hardest to knock Nichol out, but Nichol's legs and chin held up, giving him the win by unanimous decision.

"I was exhausted from the 2nd round on," admitted Nichol, "I even told the guy {Chacon} that!"  Having taken this fight with one day's notice, the young fighter admits he wasn't in his best shape.  "This just lets me know I gotta get back in the gym and get in shape," he modestly states, however in his current condition he managed to score three knock-downs against a hometown favorite and win the fight.  Though he has a losing record of 6-10, a fact he attributes to never taking an easy fight and only fighting the best in his division, Shawn Nichol is a fun fighter to watch and packs a mighty punch, even boasting a first-punch knockout during his 4th professional bout (

Local favorite, Tyrell "Hollywood" Hendrix advanced his record to 8-1-2 over Fresno, CA's Loren Myers, 8-16-1in their 6-round bout.  Scoring knock-downs in each of the first three rounds, Hendrix went on to win by unanimous decision.  "There's some things I still need to work on, like my jab," admits Hendrix, "I want to really tighten it up because it can be really effective."  Though his corner urged him to work Myers' body, Hendrix seemed to land the majority of his shots upstairs.  "The guy was a lot shorter than me, which made it hard to go to the body.  I didn't want my guard to go down so far and risk getting hit with a counter, plus I was landing hard shots to his head, so I kept going with that."

The main event of the evening was between Los Angeles, CA's "Prince" Cleotis "Mookie" Pendarvis and Denver, CO's "Red Hot" Robert Frankel in a 12-round fight for the vacant USBA Light Welterweight title and Frankel's WBC USNBC Light Welterweight title.  Pendarvis started strong, dominating the first four rounds with lightning speed and accuracy, but Frankel came on in the fifth round, forcing very close rounds from then on.  Frankel showed a lot of heart throughout the battle, walking through some tough shots and doing his level best to overwhelm Pendarvis with a volume of punches, but Pendarvis was agile and accurate throughout the battle, and with the early rounds paying off, Pendarvis won the fight impressively by unanimous decision, earning him two titles and an improved record of 14-3-2.

It was a great evening of boxing and comedy with three respective comedians performing throughout the night to entertain the crowd and "Repo" Rick Hypeman hyping up the crowd and playfully smack-talking for two blue-corner fighters.  The 'War at Woodland Hills' series truly is local boxing at it's best.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Let he who is without sin...

Manny Pacquiao is making headlines once again, but this time it is not for an incredible knockout or defeat in the ring, or even for a piece of legislature passed on behalf of the Sarangani Province in the Philippines where Pacquiao is a Congressman. The headlines this time are of a different sort for the storied champion of boxing, as they are heatedly in aversion to the Pacman's recent statements against gay marriage.

To be fair, some writers have been quick to criticize Pacquiao and have falsely accused him of claiming that gay men should be sentenced to death, while Granville Ampong, the original writer of the article where Pacquiao spoke out against gay marriage and advocated instead for "God's law" has since frantically tried to clarify that he was the one who quoted the Bible verse where it is written that 'a man who lays with a man as he would a woman must be put to death,' and not Pacquiao. “As we see, nowhere in my supposition and integration of my interview with Pacquiao did I mention that Pacquiao recited this Leviticus 20:13 nor did I imply that Pacquiao had quoted such,” he said in his article for

But it is too late, as the media backlash is in full swing against the normally humbly-portrayed pugilist, with talks of pending endorsement cancellations and the celebrated champion being banned from popular Los Angeles shopping area, The Grove, where he was to interview with Mario Lopez for entertainment news magazine EXTRA! (Rumor has it that EXTRA! was fine with the cancellation, but host and boxing fan, Lopez is fighting to keep the interview, offering to hold it at a different location.)

Quickly becoming polarizing for Pac fans, the issue seemingly has become whether Pacquiao is indeed against gay marriage or simply stringent in his own religious beliefs. Is this just semantics? Or are the polarizing views truly that this man is just another exclusionary, blindly religious politician versus being a man who is a humble, God-fearing person who wants to do his best to lead a life of holiness?

The obvious criticisms regarding his stance on gay marriage are those of hypocrisy, as news of Pacquiao's many infidelities during his marriage to Jinkee Pacquiao have been widely reported as well as rumors of potentially two children born to 'other women' whom Pacquiao has apparently bedded. Joanna Bacosa claims her child is Pacquiao's, though she has refused to allow a DNA test as final proof. Kat Ordonez has denied her child is Pacquiao's, but it is the popular opinion of the public that the child is indeed his, since he held a suspiciously significant role at the child's christening. Regardless of whether the children were sired by him, it is unmistakable that the 'People's Champ' has broken the law of adultery several times and in some people's minds his stance that "{marriage} should not be of the same sex, so as to adulterate the altar of matrimony" is a direct hypocrisy to his own behavior and perhaps his own rights to marriage should be in question.

After all, though there are a couple of verses in the Bible that zealots will rabidly quote which admonish gay relationships, God has a top ten list of sins not to commit, (more commonly known as "commandments"), where "Thou shalt not commit adultery" made #7 on the list and "Thou shalt not be gay" didn't make the list at all. The Bible also relieves us of judging others (lest we be judged) and has dedicated a large portion of the book of Romans to condemning the self-righteous and warning that they will face the same judgment, if not more so than those whom they feel they are above. Perhaps Congressman Pacquiao should dedicate a few of the Bible studies he leads to this book instead of small passages in Leviticus and 1 Corinthians.

Or is the public being unfair? We are all entitled to our opinions, aren't we? Should Pacquiao be punished for his fervently religious beliefs simply because he is a role model and considered by TIME magazine to be the 16th most influential person in the world? Does this strip him of his right to have personal beliefs?

One wonders if this was an early bid for Presidency in the largely Roman Catholic-populated Philippines. Pacquiao may have actually gained a few fans in that case over in his homeland, but it is pretty clear that over here in the United States, his popularity is plummeting. Pacquiao may need to call The Dixie Chicks for support before long, as many fans are publicly renouncing their support of him and the negativity boom is escalating by the minute. But before we start burning our Pacman gear in the streets, I think we should ask ourselves if we have ever said anything that would be wildly offensive to or about a large community of people and just been lucky enough not to be famous and quoted all over the world about it?

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone - John 8:7

My opinion:

I personally disagree with Pacquiao on the issue of gay marriage and have my own misgivings about remaining a fan of his, not because I disagree with his religious views, but because I disagree with his hypocrisy.  However, I also believe that he has every right to his opinion.  I have just never been a fan of laws which are meant to exclude people, nor do I believe the Bible's teachings are meant to be perverted into tools for that purpose. 

I caught up with Cruiserweight, Ola Afolabi shortly after his second fight with Marco Huck, landing a Majority Draw decision in Huck's home country of Germany. This fight was a nail-biter (especially in the 12th round) and a certain candidate for Fight of the Year. I really hope they fight for a third time!!

The Importance of Local Boxing Shows

They say that boxing is dying. They’ve been saying that for a long time now, but with the emergence of even grittier sports such as MMA, packaged and marketed perhaps better than the sweet science, some boxing fans are starting to agree. Not me.

In my opinion, true boxing fans are the ones who follow the sport through any means necessary. Be it television or streams (only the legal ones, naturally), or live shows, there is plenty of good boxing out there to be enjoyed. And it starts at home.

Some of the greatest fights I have ever seen have come on a local level, with unknown fighters who enter the ring for the promise of glory, or for the love of fighting, but all with the intention of winning and putting on a good show. The success of boxing should not only be measured by the big fights, but by all fights, including the ones on the local level. That’s how fans are born and how new fighters are inspired. It’s by the hometown heroes who show that they’ve got what it takes to make it on the big stage – as in any sport.

Art of Boxing and Bash Boxing promotions put on some of my favorite local shows and at the seventh installment of their “War at Woodland Hills” series, I was treated to what has become a pattern of exceptional and gritty matches. The crowd was a real boxing crowd, as all of their shows attract, and the action in the ring lived up to the cheers and screams heard throughout the entire evening.
Highlights of the night included a 4-round fight between welterweights, Neil Arellano and Shawn Gary, both making their professional debuts. All four rounds were action-packed, with great exchanges and ruthless combinations being thrown. Both fighters stayed composed and defended well, but their aggressive styles shone out, much to the delight of the crowd. Though Arellano got the decision in the end, Gary’s next opponent is in for a tough night and will most likely grossly underestimate him because of this loss.
Local favorite, Zachary “Kid Yamaka” Wohlman (2-0-0) also attracted his unprecedented legion of followers to watch him pound it out with Cleveland, OH native, Clifford McPherson (2-8-1). The match started beautifully with Wohlman landing a stiff right hand on McPherson, who immediately returned the favor by landing a thumping right hand of his own. Wohlman took the early lead in power shots, but when the wild-styled McPherson would land a punch, it was thunderous. Disappointingly, the action was halted late in the first round by the referee, after McPherson collapsed to the canvas without having endured a heavy blow and was unable to continue. It became clear moments later that he had injured his left hand, as Wohlman’s trainer and cornerman, Eric Brown graciously and gingerly helped McPherson’s trainer remove the glove and hand-wrap.

A disappointed and sad McPherson told me after the fight that it was an injury to his thumb that caused the sudden collapse. “I must have turned my hand the wrong way and hit him. I felt a sting in my thumb and I fell down automatically,” the fighter said. “I got back up and thought I could continue, but it still was aching and the referee just called it off.” Though the fans were a little disappointed that the promising bout was cut short, they were elated that Wohlman’s record improved to 3-0.
The main event of the evening was between unbeaten DonYil Livingston (8-0-1) and Elie Auugstama (5-4-0). Auugstama had a tricky style and surprising hand-speed that had Livingston down on the canvas in the opening round. Though hometown favorite Livingston put up a valiant effort the remaining five rounds, Auugustama countered with well-timed clinches and continued his awkward and quick offense to win a split decision over Livingston, handing him his first defeat.
It is shows like these where fighters get "the bug" and hunger for the bigger stage and the bigger crowd. It is oftentimes the achievements at this level that shape a fighter's future and provide the very hope that gets them there. As a fan, it's cool to watch the transcendence of a fighter at such an early stage. Kind of like when people talk about a hot new band, and you being able to say "yeah, I actually really like their old stuff too".

Support your local shows, boxing fans!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sugar Shane Mosley on Saul Canelo Alvarez

Sugar Shane Mosley talks candidly about his release from Golden Boy and his upcoming fight with Canelo Alvarez...monkey video to follow!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Manny vs Marquez - The eyebrow-raising saga continues

I got a chance to catch up with boxing judge, Robert Hoyle after Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez III. Hoyle was the only judge to score it a draw and I wanted to hear his take on the fight as well as what it's like to be a boxing judge...