On The Beak – Admin
Teon Kennedy (17-1-2, 7ko) of Philadelphia, who challenges undefeated WBA bantamweight titlist Guillermo Rigondeaux (9-0-0, 7ko), of Cuba, on Saturday, June 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada as part of the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley championship card, has had to overcome two fairly recent family life-shattering incidents that would have broken less-resolute fighters.
Late in 2009, Kennedy knocked out Francisco Rodriguez in the tenth round of their scheduled 12-round contest for the vacant USBA super bantamweight title. Kennedy’s elation at winning was short-circuited when Rodriguez collapsed in his corner, was rushed to the hospital and died of a brain injury two days later.
No one prepares a fighter for when the most tragic possible ending occurs in a fight: “When it first happened it was difficult, but as anyone in boxing knows that could happen,” said Kennedy, who was 13-0-1 and 23-years-old at the time. “It could happen to me. Sometimes I do still think about it, but I try not to dwell on it.”
Kennedy did not fight for six months, but he had the encouragement of his team as well as that of the Rodriguez family to get back into the ring.
He came back with three good wins, including a scintillating performance, a 12-round unanimous decision over then-undefeated prospect Julio Diaz, of New Brunswick.
The second life-altering incident occurred in mid 2011.
Kennedy was charged with a felony stemming from a shooting in Philadelphia. Those charges were later dropped, but it played on Kennedy’s mind as he prepared for a fight last August that, had he won, could have led to a match with undefeated Yuriorkis Gamboa of Cuba, in a world featherweight title fight.
He went through with the fight last August and lost his first bout as a pro, a 12-round decision to Alejandro Lopez, of Mexico, in a lacklustre performance: “The legal issues were definitely in my head,” Kennedy said.
“It’s hard to be falsely accused of something I did not do. That was probably the main reason I didn’t feel like myself.”
He put his first setback and his legal charges behind him and he got back in the gym quickly. Boxing experts weren’t sure if he’d rebound, but he turned in a strong performance in his most recent fight, a draw against the once-beaten Chris Martin, of Chula Vista, in January in Las Vegas. Many observers felt Kennedy, the aggressor for most of the fight, deserved the win.
Kennedy feels that he has come to grips with the arduous road he has had to travel the last several years.
“Everything bad is in the past now,” said Kennedy, who is looking to pull off the upset against the favored Rigondeaux. “I’m just focused on the fight. I’m still going to be aggressive.”
Photo: Stacey Verbeek – Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas
Vaughn Jackson, who has been training undefeated welterweight Mike Jones (26-0-0, 19ko) since Jones turned professional in 2005, has a quiet, yet bold confidence as his fighter is less than a week from boxing Randall Bailey (42-7-0, 36ko) for the vacant IBF welterweight world title on Saturday, June 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, as part of the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley championship card.
“He’s well-prepared,” Jackson said of Jones, 29, the number one rated IBF welterweight contender. “Mike is going to bring out the best in himself.”
Jackson is well aware of Bailey’s reputation as one of boxing’s strongest punchers, but feels that won’t be enough against Jones, a knockout threat himself with a 73 percent knockout percentage to Bailey’s 72: “I’ve been watching Randall Bailey for quite a while now,” Jackson began. “He still has a lot of power, but I’m not expecting any changes since he’s an older guy stuck in his old ways. Whatever he brings, we’ll be ready for it.
“People talk and say what they’re going to do, but when Bailey gets in the ring and feels how strong Mike is, he’s going to be in a lot of trouble and have his hands full. He’ll realize then he’s in with a full-blown 147-pound man. Mike is big. If Bailey thinks he can bully Mike, that’s not going to happen.”
Jackson, 42, one of the best of the new breed of trainers, feels that Jones has a big advantage in overall boxing skills, speed and movement, which will allow the younger Jones, to dictate the pace of the fight: “Randall Bailey won’t be able to stand back and dictate the pace.
“Mike, with his all-around boxing talent, will dictate the pace. Bailey will have to move around more than he’s accustomed to, which he’s never been known to do and at his age  that will be even more difficult for him now. I think Bailey is going to step straight to Mike and try to hit the lottery. That’s the only chance he has, but Bailey’s chin is suspect, and Mike can crack, too.”
Jackson is excited about Jones’ first world title opportunity, but he’s treating it like all of their previous 26 winning efforts. Jackson is certain that Jones will shine: “Although this is a title fight, this is just another fight for us. Bailey is just a stepping-stone for Mike to becoming the undefeated welterweight champion of the world, the new IBF champion.
“Mike’s going to shine like a 2,000-watt light bulb.”
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Five-time Futch-Condon award winner Freddie Roach is confident his premier charge Manny Pacquiao will quell the talk he is on the decline by defeating resilient Timothy Bradley when the two tussle for the WBO welterweight world championship on Saturday, June 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas. Roach expects the best Pacquiao yet, as the multi-divisional boxing king from the Philippines has minimal distractions…
“Manny’s focus is very good,” said Roach, 52, who has overseen Pacquiao’s training camp in Baguio and in Hollywood. “We don’t have days where he comes in tired and so forth because he has no nightlife whatsoever, besides the bible study. He is very focused on the fight. He and God are very close right now and he is just a better athlete – with no distractions.”
Against Bradley, Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38ko) will be taking on a pugilist enjoying his prime years who has an undefeated record and three world titles at 140lb in his locker. Roach has been constructing the game-plan to negate Bradley’s best assets: his unyielding determination, confidence, durability and in-ring skills.
“If a knockout comes it will be a bonus,” mused Roach. “Bradley is a great fighter and he’ll be resilient, but I think you’ll see the best Manny Pacquiao yet.”
Pacquiao added: “I don’t know what Tim Bradley will bring in the ring on that night but we will be ready for whatever he brings. I know he will be 100 percent conditioned for the fight. We have practiced every kind of fight in the ring with four different sparring partners. We have trained hard for Bradley because he is the type of fighter we cannot underestimate.”
On The Beak – Admin
HBO Sports has today reported that 1.5 million pay-per-view buys were generated from the May 5 super welterweight title fight between Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The current buy rate total generated $94 million in PPV revenue and the performance of Mayweather-Cotto ranks as the second highest grossing non-heavyweight pay-per-view event in boxing history.
Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
Polarising pugilist Floyd Mayweather Jr produced a boxing masterclass on Saturday, May 5 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, unseating Miguel Cotto from the Puerto Rican’s throne as the king of the WBA junior middleweight division. Mayweather was almost un-hittable from the outside but, during the middle rounds, ventured into the inside and braved out a gutsy ruckus with Cotto who made Mayweather bleed for his winner’s money.
Official verdict: Mayweather via UD (117-111, 117-111, 118-110).
Floyd accepted a match-up at the full junior middleweight limit of 154lbs because he wanted defending WBA champion at his best, however, Mayweather also insisted on another factor that could have been perceived to favour the harder-hitting Cotto – 8oz gloves. Not content with that, Mayweather even took the extraordinary and extravagant measure to effectively handicap himself by sporting heavy red leather trunks. When fists met faces, it seemed none of that mattered to Money, as the man previously known as Pretty Boy barely broke a sweat despite completely outboxing Cotto throughout round one’s entirety.
While Cotto fought on the front-foot, Mayweather darted in and out of the pocket and landed jabs with his trademark precision. Floyd promised a toe-to-toe brawl during the pre-fight promotion and, for large portions of the second round, Mayweather boxed with his back to the ropes, refusing to use the full space of the ring and, when he wasn’t reintroducing gloves to Cotto’s lips (even landing an astonishing six punch combo), he was proving to be an elusive and downright frustrating target.
Mayweather’s defence was, simply put, masterful. In the third round, for instance, Cotto attempted to put his punches into bunches but the head-bound shots were harmlessly parried away with Floyd’s shoulder-rolling stance. Although his defence rightly wins plaudits, Mayweather’s defence is equally adept, as Cotto will no doubt testify too when he was just as helpless defending against four punch flurries that included uppercuts and straights as he was when attempting to land something, anything, cleanly.
In round five Cotto attempted to enhance his punch output, but showing great reserves of will, Mayweather again met him punch for punch. The only difference, of course, was that Mayweather landed cleanly whereas Cotto couldn’t connect. With 35 seconds remaining on round five, Miguel caught Floyd with a left hand. Such a solid strike, though, was notable purely because it occured so seldomly, even when the two engaged in trench warfare.
Using the box-and-move method that worked so emphatically against Antonio Margarito in New York last Christmas, Cotto enjoyed a significant sixth, relinquishing the centre of the ring to Floyd as he danced sideways, stuck out the jab and did just enough to register a winning round. In the seventh, Mayweather returned to winning ways by reverting to outside fighting and utilising his reach advantage but in the eighth, the aggression was all from Cotto, backing Floyd into corners and inflicting a seemingly relentless barrage of blows into his skull. When Mayweather returned to his stool, the damage had taken it’s toll as his nose was bleeding considerably yet he turned to the cameras and smiled.
Mayweather counter-punched his way to the ten score in round nine and stalked Cotto in round ten. In the final two rounds Mayweather did what he does best; diluting his opponent’s best strengths, deflating their confidence and fortifying his already industry-leading plus-minus ratio. There was little question who was going to prevail when the scorecards were to be announced, with Floyd winning a convincing unanimous decision.
With his victory over Cotto – his 43rd in his professional career – Mayweather rose to 43-0-0, 26ko while Cotto suffered his third defeat and dropped to 37-3-0, 30ko.
Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
Undefeated 22-year-old Jessie Vargas, of Las Vegas, extended his unbeaten streak to 19 fights as he outpointed experienced American Steve Forbes in a fight that did more for Vargas’ boxing education and progression than it did for increasing his fanbase. At the MGM Grand Garden Arena in his hometown on Saturday, May 5, Vargas fought a cautious fight, remained out of range and boxed off his jab.
Official verdict: Vargas via UD (100-90, 98-92, 97-93).
Having slaughtered Vivian Harris and Walter Estrada in 2011, Vargas fell from grace when he almost came unstuck against Josesito Lopez in his final fight of the year, however, he bounced back with a dominant points victory over Lanardo Tyler three months ago and, against high-profile opponent Steve Forbes, Vargas demonstrated some of the skills that have attracted the accolades he has.
An accurate jabber, Vargas was reliant on the lead orthodox punch and, because he threw it so well and landed it so cleanly, it was a shot that saw him build-up a handsome lead against his 35-year-old opponent. While Vargas’ jab was so exquisite, there was not much of note coming back from Forbes aside from inaccurate combinations. The flurries worked well for him in the opening stanza but as the rounds progressed they became less and less effective.
Forbes’ defence consisted of a solid guard that provided a cushion against the incoming jabs and double-jabs. When attacking, Forbes may have been upping the pressure on his younger challenger but nothing significant landed as Vargas stayed out of reach.
While Vargas boxed well throughout the course of the ten rounder, the nature of the one-sided victory was not what Las Vegas is renowned for – enthralling heavy-hitting contests – and so the Garden Arena crowd vacated their seats in their masses and, instead, engaged in conversation outside.
In victory, Vargas preserved his unblemished record and moved to 19-0-0, 9ko.
Photos: Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos (unless otherwise stated)
Words: Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen
During the promotion for the high-profile WBA junior middleweight world championship clash between defending titlist Miguel Cotto (37-2-0, 30ko) and challenger Floyd Mayweather Jr (42-0-0, 26ko), the latter had spoken out over the lack of excitement during segments of the popular HBO 24/7 series. Ahead of their May 5 showdown at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, the two pugilists finally got shirty after extended periods of amicable exchanges…
On The Beak – Admin
Popular Filipino fighter Manny Pacquiao, 33, makes the fourth defence of his WBO welterweight world championship title on Saturday, June 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas when he takes on undefeated Californian Timothy Bradley, 28. Pacman has already begun his preparations and, in the official two-part training videos below, can be seen working the heavy bag and striking the pads with Buboy Fernandez ahead of camp in Baguiao, Philippines.
(Embedded videos credit – YouTube, mannypacquiaofficial)
Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
WBO super lightweight world champion Timothy Bradley, 28, of Cathedral City in California, is currently in the spotlight as he is the latest challenger to Manny Pacquiao and the Filipino’s WBO welterweight world title, scheduled to take place on Saturday, June 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and he arguably has never looked better…
Bradley, whose walk-around weight fluctuates between 160 and 165lbs, is certainly looking the part of a worthy challenger as the undefeated American shows off his muscle-clad frame during a recent commercial shoot – note the bulk in his thighs, as well as his arms – as he shows a seeming ease in his transition from competing at 140lbs to 147lbs.
All Pictures: Stacey Verbeek – Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas
“Take the test? I am the test!” That is the message Manny Pacquiao supporters are sending to Floyd Mayweather Jr as the fiercely loyal Filipino fans lined up in their thousands in order to attend their charge’s obligatory pre-fight weigh-in with Saturday, November 12 opponent Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Pacmania took over the megacasino as Pacfans, armed with placards, made some noise…
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