The Excellence of Execution

The Excellence of Execution: Terence Crawford

Terence “Bud” Crawford (38-0, 29 KO’s) made the fifth defense of his WBO welterweight title this past weekend, defeating Shawn “Showtime” Porter (31-4-1, 17 KO’s), in what was arguably the toughest test of his professional career to date.

Porter, who has fought every elite welterweight of this era, provided Crawford with different looks and made things uncomfortable on the inside, forcing Crawford to elevate his game to secure victory in the championship rounds.

But again, as the pound-for-pound best displayed several times throughout his career, he has a knack for adjusting to whatever his opposition presents to him and when he sees blood or any form of weakness, he ticks up his attack tenfold.

Cerebral with his approach, Crawford systematically executes his opponents with great proficiency. Similar to Bret “The Hitman” Hart of wrestling fame. For all those familiar with the old-school World Wrestling Federation entertainment from back in the day.

Hart, was known for his in-the-ring methodical aptitude and widely regarded as the best technical wrestler of his generation. One of the monikers Hart was known for and referred to as “The Excellence of Execution.”

Crawford for his part, draws many parallels to Hart. In true fashion like a hitman, Crawford had to execute the target, even if that target was a close friend in Porter.

“(I figured him out in) Round 1,” Crawford said post-fight. “I figured that I had the reach and he (Porter) had to take chances, and he did what he normally does. He tried to maul and push me back, but I used my angles and I pushed him back at times as well. Shawn Porter is a slick fighter. He was doing some things in there and made me think.”

“I love him. Shawn Porter is a real good friend of mine. I didn’t really want to fight him. We always said we would fight each other when the time was right and I guess the time was right for this fight to happen. I tried to fight the other champions in the division, and that didn’t happen, so I went to the next best thing.”

Porter led 48-47 on all three scorecards after five rounds, but Crawford took control in the second half of the fight. The fight was close heading into the tenth round, with Crawford holding a slim lead on the cards. Upping the ante, as Crawford is prone to do when faced with resistance, he scored a pair of knockdowns, and Porter’s trainer and father, Kenny Porter, stopped the fight.

“My timing was off and he wouldn’t allow me to get my rhythm,” Porter said. “He’s the best out of everybody I have been in the ring with.”

As alluded to earlier, Porter has been in the ring with most of the top fighters at welterweight from the last several years; Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman, Yordenis Ugas, Danny Garcia, Kell Brook, Paulie Malignaggi, Andre Berto and Adrien Broner.

But, after being in the ring with Crawford, he tabbed the Omaha-native as the best fighter he had ever faced in the ring.

“He’s the best out of everybody I have been in the ring with. He was on point A to Z and he was that good that I would want to do it again. He’s got it, inside and outside the ring.”

Heading into the fight, part of the build-up and mantra, was Porter wanting to channel his boxing idol Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Porter even had the “Marvelous War” words embedded across his fight trunks. In some ways, he was able to channel and honor the late legend.

Porter embodies hard work, grit, strong resolve, undeniable will and has a huge heart. Throughout his career, Porter also displayed these traits and Hagler would be proud of his performance this past weekend. As Porter announced his retirement during one of his post-fight interviews, like his idol unfortunately, he ends his career on the losing end.

Oddly enough, Crawford, personifies Hagler a great deal as well. Aside from being a switch-hitter, having the ability to effectively switch from orthodox stance (right hand dominant) to southpaw stance (left hand dominant), Crawford is mean and menacing inside the ring.

He seeks to destroy his opponents; enjoys inflicting damage upon the target and winning isn’t enough. He wants to exert his dominance. Crawford is not much for words with the media at least, he’s about business. Much like the Marvelous one.

Crawford’s future, has multiple layers to sort through and analyze, as he not only will search for new opponents, more accolades, more notoriety, but he may switch promotional ties in hopes of securing greener pastures.

With this recent victory, along with this upcoming journey, comes many questions.

Critics, may still question the level of opposition Crawford has faced to this point. Some may question, how much of a prime version of Shawn Porter did we see? Porter is a high energy, high activity fighter and how much of that style should we expect to see from a guy at age 34, who endured many welterweight wars? Who also contemplated retirement before agreeing to this most recent bout?

While these may be a valid questions for greater context, some things to consider, is Crawford at 34-years-old, isn’t a spring chicken either. Plus styles make fights and Crawford’s style and ability may have always posed a problem for Porter. Unfortunately, there isn’t really a way for us to know with certainty. We just have to accept the facts that Crawford was the better man during their encounter.  

As far as quality of opponents go, to date, Crawford has defeated nine world champions.

World Champions Faced:

  • Ricky Burns
  • Amir Khan
  • Ray Beltran
  • Julius Indongo
  • Viktor Postol
  • Jeff Horn
  • Shawn Porter
  • Yuriorkis Gamboa
  • Kell Brook

We can also add Felix Diaz to the mix, although wasn’t a world champion, was an Olympic gold medalist. Same can be stated with Yuriorkis Gamboa.

Again, context is important while analyzing these fights and measuring the significance of these victories. With that added context, all of the variables should be considered, some of which, are out of Crawford’s control. We won’t go into a full dive at this time, you can make of it what you will.

Crawford alluded to not receiving his praise until he’s gone from the sport and he may be right. It may take some time for critics to truly value his worth, what he accomplished and against who.

But Crawford also alluded to the fact, during one of his post-fight interviews, that his promoter Bob Arum, hasn’t been able to secure him the big fights. The most noticeable fight, against current unified WBC and IBF welterweight champion, Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. (27-0, 21 KO’s).

It’s fair to question, whether Arum’s motives or relationships with other promotional companies, hindered Crawford’s opportunities for securing fights against some of boxing’s biggest stars.

Contests that would ultimately bolster Crawford’s legacy and pockets. Matches against Keith Thurman, Mikey Garcia, Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson, Adrien Broner, Manny Pacquiao, etc.

Fights that never materialized. And if Crawford’s recent fight attempt history (whatever we want to make of it) serves as a precursor, the same fate may transpire again when it comes to matching Crawford against Spence.

That highly anticipated match-up, could potentially be the most noteworthy bout since Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao back in 2015.

With the significance and potential for a great extended rivalry between the two, similar to heavyweights Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, or even wrestling entertainment contemporaries, Bret Hart and Texas-based Shawn Michaels, a missed opportunity for pugilistic encounters featuring Spence and Crawford would be a huge disappointment.

“Bud” mentioned moving up to junior middleweight and Top Rank promoter Arum, mentioned possibly pitting the current pound-for-pound king against current undisputed junior welterweight champion Josh Taylor (18-0, 13 KO’s). That’s cool and all, but fans, media, other fighters alike, want to see Crawford and Spence mix it up. There’s even a written-saga dedicated towards that potential match-up (Errol Spence vs. Terence Crawford Series:).

It’s too early to tell and it’s really subjective, if Crawford will go down in history as, “The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.” But for the time being, he is for certain regarded as “The Excellence of Execution.”

The Hard Way, The Shawn Porter Way

Heading into his final fight, Shawn “Showtime” Porter wanted to channel his favorite all-time fighter Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Unfortunately like his idol, Porter fell just a little bit short in his final contest as a professional.

It what was a tough, competitive bout, between two friends, it had a strange, sudden ending to the affair.

Omaha, Nebraska native Terence “Bud” Crawford improved to (39-0, 28 KO’s), extending his pound-for-pound excellence, while marking his welterweight dominance with his foray into the division.

Porter (31-4-1, 17 KO’s), of Akron, Ohio, lost by technical knockout (corner through in the towel), suffering defeat via stoppage for the first time in 13 years as a professional.

“I’m prepared to retire,” Porter said in one of his post-fight interviews. “I was prepared to announce my retirement tonight, win, lose or draw. We had the date they was telling us we was gonna have to do it again. I was not gonna do it again. I’m announcing my retirement right now.”

Porter stated that he would’ve retired win, lose or draw versus Crawford in their ESPN Pay-Per-View main event, in part because he originally expected to retire following his 12-round, split-decision defeat to Errol Spence Jr. during their epic welterweight-unification clash in September 2019.

“I knew that Errol Spence Jr. was gonna be my last fight, after 2017 I think it was, when he won his championship (from Kell Brook),” Porter continued. “And I said he would be the last one I fought. And after we fought, I felt there was something else, and that something else was Terence Crawford.”

Porter’s tenacity was not enough to overcome some of the deficiencies he was pitted against facing Crawford. While heading into the fight, Porter mentioned his desire to secure a signature victory against a top-level, pound-for-pound caliber fighter, aiming to win the “Superbowl” of boxing.

Already falling short to welterweight contemporaries like Kell Brook, Keith Thurman, Spence and now Crawford, Porter stated he did not want to go out like Dan Marino, finishing his career without winning the big one.

But at this point, it’s one of the things that will be remembered about his career.

However, while he may not have secured the signature victory meeting his standards, if this is indeed the end, Porter had a great career, with wins over solid opposition.

Key Wins:

  • Julio Diaz
  • Devon Alexander
  • Paul Malignaggi
  • Andre Berto
  • Adrien Broner
  • Danny Garcia
  • Yordenis Ugas

Key Achievements:

  • IBF welterweight champion
  • WBC welterweight champion

Some may view Porter as an overachiever; he was routinely listed as the underdog in his biggest, marquee matches and with each respective bout, exceeded the reflection of the listed odds and left everything in the ring.

Like his boxing idol Hagler, Porter embodied hard work, grit, determination, tremendous will and heart. Throughout his career, Porter also displayed strong ethical character traits and even in defeat, continues to exemplify class and professionalism.

While he did not walk away with desirable results, Porter is walking away from such a dangerous sport at the right time.

Porter, 34, from a fighting standpoint, is a boxer based on the high energy, high-octane style of mauling aggression. As his father (Kenny Porter) alluded to in the immediate post-fight interview with ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna, Shawn seems to be on the downward side of the slope both physically and mentally.

When there are internal discussions of retirement prior to your scheduled bout and when there are other interests and opportunities outside of boxing, there’s nothing wrong with walking away from sport so much of your life has been dedicated towards. Especially if you can walk away with your health intact.

Porter, who works as an analyst for FOX Sports and has his own podcast, The Porter Way Podcast, has plenty of ventures to occupy his time post-retirement.

Too many times, observers like to highlight the deficiencies of a fighter, instead of appreciating the differences that make them unique. Porter did not present the technical brand of boxing many associate the sweet science with.

Did he do everything perfect, no, but who does? From a skill standpoint, Porter possessed traits that enabled his success over the years.

His ability to cover distance with his underrated foot speed and footwork, utilize upper body and head movement, weaving into the danger zone often times to inflict damage, while rolling with incoming punches, was not always realized and appreciated.  

Nonetheless, Porter preserved and prevailed. He reached the highest pinnacles of the sport, becoming a two-time welterweight world champion. He fought the very best and left a positive impression across the sport.

Never one to take shortcuts, he did things the hard way. He succeeded, doing things the Shawn Porter way.

Pursuit of Supremacy: Starring Saul Alvarez and Caleb Plant (Part III – Legacy)

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.– Benjamin Franklin

Considering this weekend’s blockbuster event, featuring pugilists skilled at telling stories with their fists, both competitors aim to produce a memorable experience and leave a positive lasting impression.

This historic battle will be for the WBA, WBO and WBC titles held by super-middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KO’s) and for the IBF title belonging to Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (21-0, 12 KO’s).

Alvarez aims become the first-ever boxer from Mexico, to gain recognition as undisputed champion in any weight division, in the alphabet/multi-belt era.

“To be undisputed is history for Mexico and for everyone on my team,” said Alvarez to reporters. “To be the undisputed champion is just a great thing for my career.”

“This is very important for my country of Mexico. It’s important for me to become undisputed. It’s one of the most important fights of my life. I’m taking it very seriously and it means a lot to me.”

Plant wants to continue his unconventional path towards prominence.

He understands despite his championship accomplishments, he still isn’t regarded as one of the best fighters in the world and wants to cement his standing. He wants unification, he wants glory, he’ll leave everything in the ring to seize greatness.

“Being undisputed would mean a lot. I’ve sacrificed so much to this sport and I’ve been doing this a long time,” said Plant. “All that work would come down to one moment. I want my name in those history books and that’s the only reason that I’m here.”

“I know that people don’t believe me when I tell them I’m winning on November 6. All those people who tell me that I can’t do something, you live believable lives and you do believable things.”

“I promised myself that I was going to run this all the way to the top, with no problem crashing and burning along the way. I set out to live an unbelievable life and accomplish unbelievable things. Those people who doubt me are the very reason that I’m here.”

Tale of the Tape

BoxerSaul AlvarezCaleb Plant
Reach70 1/274
Current Titles (Super Middleweight)WBA, WBC, WBOIBF
Rounds Boxed42512
Country of Origin/NationalityMexicoUnited States
NicknameCaneloSweet Hands

“No legacy is so rich as honesty.” – William Shakespeare

While it’s too early to ultimately predict the legacy of each fighter, this match, can hold as a solid mark of reference when reviewing in time. There is much at stake for each fighter. Even though Alvarez has positive promotion and narratives spun in his favor across most mass media, there are critics who still question the validity of some of his accomplishments and standing within the sport.

Some of these questions are valid; they make for great debate and dialogue, especially when these topics are given the proper context and analysis. In a way this fight for Alvarez, is a fight for validity of sorts.

For Plant, he looks aesthetically pleasing as a fighter, but considering the lack of numerous great names across his resume compared to Alvarez, the question is how will he look against one of the elite, premier fighters of the sport?

Keys to Victory for Saul Alvarez:

  • This is the biggest fight of Plant’s life and it is paramount for Alvarez to apply physical and mental pressure.
  • Plant will be best served fighting at distance, so Alvarez must close the distance effectively and efficiently.
  • Cut the ring off and control the ring real estate.
  • Take the air out of Plant’s tires; attack the body and sap the speed and stamina from Plant.
  • Neutralize Plant’s “Sweet Hands” primarily be negating the effectiveness of his jab. Slip and counter the jab; implore effective upper body movement.
  • Practice patient hostility. Provide the constant threat of attack and rely on his advantage of experience.

Keys to Victory for Caleb Plant:

  • Be attentive and active.
  • The jab is key. The jab will have to be strong, stiff and quick. At times, jab will have to come in bunches to minimize Alvarez’s counterattacks.
  • Establish the proper distance to maximize his skill set; fighting from the outside and utilizing his superior height and reach.
  • Continuing with the theme of mastering ring real estate, stay off the ropes and do not become a stationary target.
  • Plant must punch Alvarez hard enough to earn Alvarez’s respect. He must operate to which he always presents a threat.
  • Adaptability is crucial, as Alvarez is vastly more experienced. Plant will have to display dynamic abilities at different times to disguise his offense.

There are many questions that will be answered this weekend. It’s possible, even more questions will arise depending on the outcome and fashion.

One of those questions is will the business of boxing prevail?

The “business” being Alvarez. He is one of the faces of the sport. Perhaps viewing from cynical but logical lens, from a business standpoint, it makes greater sense for Alvarez to win. Translation, if the fight is close, Alvarez will get the benefit of the doubt. Erislandy Lara, Floyd Mayweather, Gennady Golovkin can attest to that.

Plant must be honest with that reality and must be extraordinary to win and upset the business of boxing and throw off the ecosystem.

Not many, if any, are picking Plant to win. Alvarez is listed by Caesars Sportsbook as a 9-1 favorite to win their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event tonight. Super-middleweight contemporaries Anthony Dirrell and David Benavidez openly expressed their disdain for Plant leading up to this fight.

Another super-middleweight contemporary and most recent foe of Alvarez has his take on the fight.

“I don’t think he’s (Alvarez) the invincible man. I think that Plant’s got a very good boxing brain, he just needs to maintain his distance. Make sure you’re out of distance, don’t just think you’re out of distance because that’s the difference when you’re in with world level and elite level. He’s gotta make sure to be on his game all the way, I think he’s gonna give Canelo a good fight,” former two-division champion Billie Joe Saunders explained to Talk Sport.

“He’s obviously gotta keep it at long distance. Keep it very busy for the first six rounds and finish strong. He’s gotta certainly maintain that jab. Being orthodox – I was southpaw and that causes more problems – so he’s open to more counters obviously than what I would’ve been.”

“You’ve gotta maintain your range at safe distance and box nice, and hopefully the judges score the true boxing scorecards, rather than the name of Canelo.”

There are more lucrative options for Alvarez and for the business of boxing after this fight – should he walk away victorious.

Whether it’s undefeated two-time WBC super-middleweight champion David Benavidez, undefeated two-division (junior middleweight, middleweight) champion Jermall Charlo, even possibly undefeated two-world title (IBF, WBC) welterweight champion Errol Spence.  

There’s a key parable, from a fictional character, Peter Parker, “With great power, comes great responsibility,” as that derives from the Christian bible verse of Parable of the Faithful Servant (Luke 12:48): “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

That’s why a lot may be asked of Alvarez. Greatness operates on different standards. More is asked, more is required – fair or unfair. People want to see the best competition possible; at least we’re told that’s what the standard should be, correct?

Fair competition, elite competition, the best facing the best, on equal footing. Establishing clarity in such a murky current dynamic.

Tracing back to Alvarez, how does he want to define his legacy and how does this fight and accomplishment of unification (should he win) impact that?

Mass media imposes the narrative Alvarez is already an all-time great. That may be a true statement however, critics can point to plenty of discrepancies that can dimmer the light on his legacy.

Alvarez is an outstanding fighter; highly skilled, aesthetically entertaining to watch, extremely focused, tough, gritty, works extremely hard on his craft, those are facts. The history of catch-weights, allegations of PED usage, failed drug tests, preferential treatment from sanctioning are facts as well.

May not be enjoyable information to digest, but the pill of truth isn’t always easy to swallow.

The winners tend to write history, along with claiming fortune, fortune in the form of currency, or in the form of glorious achievement. The pursuit of supremacy.

Pursuit of Supremacy: Starring Saul Alvarez and Caleb Plant (Part II – Reign of Terror)

There’s a famous proverb, known by many fans of the Marvel Universe, recognized in mass from a pop cultural standpoint.

“With great power, comes great responsibility,” as some refer to this as one of Peter Parker’s (Spider-Man) core principles – with how he deals with juggling work life, school life, social life, crime fighting life, in attempts to make the best decisions in which requires a lot of sacrifice.

There are various versions, storylines, interpretations of the character, but as a whole, he is known for displaying his strong moral standing, because he realizes he has the power to make a difference, good or bad.

So, with great power comes great responsibility and, in some cases, with great power, comes corruption. 

When you’re in a position of power and hold leverage for a situation, whether that form of leverage is your likeness, name, talent, a service provided or product, you are in prime position to dictate the terms of engagement.

It just so happens Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KO’s) has ruled boxing with iron gloves for several years now.

Whether it’s mass media outlets, or sanctioning bodies, there appears to be a lack of transparency, when applying rules to Alvarez, comparatively as these same rules apply differently towards his contemporaries. And granted, that’s what happens across all avenues of business, social standing, and life in general.

When you have a gift, talent, skill, something that everyone else admires or covets, they will treat you differently. The point isn’t to discredit or to state fault in Alvarez’s position. He has to the right to operate how he wants.

But shedding light on these distinctions and pointing out the hypocrisy amongst mass media, promotional companies, networks, and sanctioning bodies is important. There is a double-standard when it comes to some of Alvarez’s transgressions compared to other great fighters and athletes.

Considering he is the main face of boxing, earnings wise and in regard to pound-for-pound standing. He holds a great deal of power with that standing, although Alvarez wouldn’t be the first fighter in history to control the boxing space.

Dating back to the lineage of boxing kings from the past, they each etched their course across the landscape as well.

Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather, Alvarez’s former promoter Oscar De La Hoya – each fighter at some point in their respective careers were viewed as among the best, generated the most money, were considered torch bearers of the sport and held a lot of power and influence. Alvarez now fills that void.

In a sense, it’s similar to LeBron James of the National Basketball Association.

Granted, James is far removed from being the best player in the league currently, but due to his long-term standing in the league, accomplishments, money invested behind him in advertising and in turn, the money generated from him, he maintains much power and influence within the league.

Same with Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers with the National Football League.

Certain athletes because of their gifts, are privy to certain benefits. From a business owner’s perspective, why wouldn’t you want to listen to what your product/money maker is saying? It goes without saying.

With the power to generate money, comes the power to manipulate – or control the landscape. This has been true to form for Alvarez on numerous occasions.

As stated, Alvarez has the power and many acknowledge him as the king of the sport. But is he abusing his power?

There have been issues past and present, regarding performance enhancing drugs, catch-weights, rehydration clauses, picking and poaching weaker opposition, choosing the right time to face the perceived stronger opposition, etc.

Critics of “Canelo” lament that he is the beneficiary of convenience for every match-up.

And many people look past these controversies, as they do with one of the current heavyweight champions.

One can only guess which motives inspire some to look past these discrepancies.

For example, the notion of conveniently catching guys at the right time – that label and assertion is always casted on Floyd Mayweather, the last reigning cash cow of boxing. Why isn’t the same standard applied to Alvarez?

Is it due to promotion and to how he is portrayed by the media and perceived by the masses? Is Alvarez warranted the benefit of the doubt due to his perceived style of fighting? Is it the culture from where he descends from, to where at least in boxing circles, he is afforded that benefit? Or are there other variables? Lets dive a little deeper.

Notable Alvarez Opponents:

  • Miguel Vazquez (twice) 
  • Carlos Baldomir 
  • Lovemore N’dou
  • Kermit Cintron
  • Shane Mosley
  • Erislandy Lara 
  • Miguel Cotto 
  • Amir Khan
  • Liam Smith 
  • Julio Cesar Chavez Jr 
  • Gennady Golovkin 
  • Daniel Jacobs 
  • Sergey Kovalev
  • Callum Smith 
  • Billy Joe Saunders
  • Floyd Mayweather
  • Austin Trout

Just off names and appearance alone, that’s an amazing resume, right? 17 world champions, minimum of three Hall of Fame fighters on that list.

Question is, what is the condition of the fighter leading into the match-up? Is there a special stipulation in the match-up, like a catch-weight or rehydration clause? How did the fight actually turn out?

Honestly looking at the list, Jacobs looks like one of the few fighters who would be considered in or near their physical prime, at the time when he faced Alvarez.

Others include Lara, Trout and arguably Golovkin as not being too far removed. Critics may also point out, Lara and Golovkin respectively, have strong arguments for having defeated Alvarez across their encounters.

Mayweather earned a majority decision against Alvarez, despite most observers acknowledged witnessing a virtuoso and dominant performance from the 36-year-old fighter. The smaller, older fighter, who moved up in weight for their historic clash.

Although, for some reason many people believe Alvarez at 23-years-old at the time was too young and at a disadvantage over a smaller, 36-year-old.

But forget that, the first Hall of Fame caliber fighter Alvarez faced was Shane Mosley a few years prior. For Mosley, after losing to Mayweather, drawing with Sergio Mora and then losing to Manny Pacquiao, what business did a 40-year-old Mosley have in the ring with a 21-year-old Alvarez?

Yes, for the business of boxing the move is understandable and it’s intelligent from the team of Alvarez. But when people try to bypass that victory as a top-notch achievement, it’s questionable.

Lets see, as recent as this year, Alvarez went up against his former sparring partner turned challenger, Avni Yildirim. Leading into that fight, Yildirim had not been in the ring since he lost a technical split decision to Anthony Dirrell two years prior in February 2019.

Yildirim had been named to the mandatory position as a result of the controversial nature of his loss to Dirrell, however, he had remained sidelined due to injury and the COVID-19 pandemic. The fight itself was not a pleasing display aesthetically, as it looked as though Yildirim showed up just to show up.

Delving further into the resume, Amir Khan moved up two weight classes to face Alvarez. With no disrespect intended towards Khan, as he was an excellent fighter in the lower weight divisions, possessing excellent hand speed, boxing ability and a huge heart, he was also renown for having a shaky chin.

The fight went as anticipated, Khan started fast and won the early rounds according to most observers, only to get caught with a vicious right hand from Alvarez, stopping him cold in round six.

Again, that’s an example of Alvarez doing what he is supposed to do, as far as knocking out the competition – and it was a highlight reel level knock-out. Only problem, is at that particular time, Alvarez was being pressed by a fighter near his weight class, who happened to be regarded as the premier champion of that division.

Alvarez was focused on moving up from junior middleweight, but was fighting at a catch-weight. Some referred to the weight class as the “Canelo weight.” There was a point where he had five consecutive fights at his preferred 155-pound catch-weight.

But the fighter in question, pursuing Alvarez for years was Gennady Golovkin. They eventually shared two controversial, entertaining bouts that will remain staples in middleweight history for years to come. Their saga is a whole story in itself.

Another notable fighter in pursuit of Alvarez for many years, is Demetrius Andrade. In spite of sharing the same promotional banner for a short time and providing great incentive, he was never able to secure a fight with Alvarez.

When Alvarez stated he wanted to unify the middleweight division, Andrade was the last piece to the puzzle but for whatever reason the fight never manifested.

Examining Alvarez’s trip up north from middleweight post Golovkin, detractors may point to Alvarez’s selection of Rocky Fielding and Sergey Kovalev as carefully picked opponents, en route to the easiest path to a world title across super-middleweight and the light-heavyweight divisions.

Analyzing Alvarez’s match-up against former light-heavyweight champion Kovalev, it can be argued, out of all of the opponents across the super-middleweight and light-heavyweight landscape, Kovalev was the easiest target.

Kovalev, while an outstanding fighter during his glory years, looked battle worn in recent fights. Which is evidenced with his struggles after losing to Andre Ward for a second time in 2017. You can look good in defeat and bad in victory.

Kovalev looked different after the Ward fights and Eleider Alvarez didn’t help, when he stopped Kovalev in their 2018 encounter. Kovalev would exact revenge a year later, but the aging champion, may have aged a tad more after fighting the young challenger Anthony Yarde the same year.

And according to CompuBox, Kovalev landed 223 of his 686 punches (32.5%) while Yarde landed 132 of his 575 punches (23%), which to the point was the most punches any fighter has landed on Kovalev.

The fight against Yarde was towards the end of August, right after that, Kovalev fights Saul Alvarez in November of the same year.

He signed up for it, he’s a grown individual, he was financially compensated. But do you notice a trend here?

After the fight, Kovalev suggested that he had always been unlikely to win the fight, due to the grueling schedule of back-to-back training camps which resulted from the short period of time between the Yarde and Alvarez fights. Nonetheless, he had agreed to fight Alvarez regardless due to the high financial incentive, which was reported to be $12 million.

“I was tired after round six, because I had my last fight very close to this one, but it’s okay, it’s a new experience for me. Canelo is really a great champion. A little bit right now, I didn’t recover from my last fight. But it’s okay. Thanks for the fight Canelo, I have big respect for him. He made history,” Kovalev said in a post-fight interview.

Call it sour grapes if you want, but there is truth to those assertions.

To the victor goes the spoils. People remember the wins and gloss over circumstances and underlying variables. When given greater context, the wins appear somewhat inflated with value. When you win, often times you can afford to write history the way you want it to be remembered.

Aside from nitpicking resumes, there has been questions lingering about performance enhancing drugs and Alvarez’s camp. Some of these question marks stem from positive tests in the past.

Alvarez tested positive for two drug tests after his first bout with Golovkin. There was a large fallout from the test, with the rematch with Golovkin was called off initially, before rescheduled to a later date.

Oscar Valdez, who is a current super-featherweight champion and part of Alvarez’s camp recently tested positive for the banned substance phentermine, leading into his title defense this past September.

Victor Conte recently interviewed with AHKi TV and provided excellent information about PED usage in the sport.

Conte is the founder and president of Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO), a sports nutrition center in California. He now operates Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning (SNAC Nutrition).

The interview is very informative, obviously some of this information pertains to the big fight between Alvarez and Caleb Plant.

Another take away from Conte’s interview, is the claim that fighters now are not using steroids, they’re using synthetic testosterone. Which can be more difficult to catch, depending on the organization conducting the testing.

The interview also expands on a few notions that will be expanded on in the following tweets:

Fortunately, both Alvarez and Plant are enrolled in The Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) testing.

But if a fighter were using PED’s and held off on signing a contract for a proposed fight, that may stipulate drug testing for a certain period of time, it’s possible that fighter may purposely delay signing the contract, to get the PED’s out their system.

When the time comes for testing for that proposed fight, albeit they are no longer using the enhancements during training, they’ve already reaped the benefits. It’s fair to suggest, the agreement for drug testing is just for optics.

The commissions from each state, the sanctioning, various organizations all have varying motives. Essentially, it would be extremely difficult to operate under full transparency regarding drug testing.

There might always be a cloud that follows Alvarez, whether that’s fair or not. For the most part, it has not affected his professional career to the point where he is derailed from his position.

Most of these organizations do not care. Many media outlets and personalities do not care. Many fans do not care, as long as their fighter is winning. Or as long as their country and what or who they perceive as their cultural representee is winning.

Alvarez plays chess while the rest play checkers. Web-slinging superheroes don’t exist in the real world.

Navigating through politics of boxing, meticulously carving his path, crafting his image, all while honing his physical skills, he elevated to the top of pound-for-pound list and established a firm hold as one of the top money earners in all of sports.

When you master the game, you establish trends and rules for everyone else to follow. In a position of authority and while maintaining leverage, one has the ability to exploit situations to their advantage. While in a position of power, why would one concede any advantages? Maintaining leverage, is extending your reign.

Great superstars like De La Hoya, Leonard, Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have exercised such options during their reign. Alvarez continues to flex his muscles during his sovereignty.

Is he abusing his power or exploiting a flawed series of systems? Is there a fighter, who is going to do anything about it and supplant the ruler?

Pursuit of Supremacy: Starring Saul Alvarez and Caleb Plant (Part I – Proclamation)

“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life, think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” – Swami Vivekananda

This process of thinking and life philosophy applies to many people. Two of which, happen to be facing one another for undisputed status this weekend.

The two combatants, dueling in a potentially epic showdown, in which will showcase the culmination of hopes, dreams, hard-work, dedication, sacrifice, pain, blood, guts and glory.

This showcase is the battle between the ruling WBA, WBO and WBC super-middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KO’s), as he confronts IBF titleholder Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (21-0, 12 KO’s).

Alvarez vs. Plant is significant and historic because the winner will walk away as the unified, undisputed champion at super-middleweight. A rare accomplishment in this era of alphabet belts.

The winner will etch his name in the history books and can start conversations of consideration for the best of all-time, specifically as it pertains to this weight class. That distinction of course, based on the merit of this accomplishment of unification and undisputed status.

Further expansion of the distinction of course, depends on other variables; as time push forward and actions unfold. Perhaps this will be a discussion reserved for a later time. While at present, we can review how each fighter arrived at this moment.

Alvarez is regarded as the favorite, mainly due to his resume of opposition and familiarity with the public and boxing audiences.

Heading into the weekend, Alvarez defeated 16 opponents (9 by KO’s) in world title fights and is 15-1-1 (6 KO’s) against former, current and future world champions. We won’t discuss full context of each fight and fighter for now, but the list includes:

Wins against Miguel Vazquez (twice), Carlos Manuel Baldomir, Lovemore N’dou, Kermit Cintron, Shane Mosley, Erislandy Lara, Miguel Angel Cotto, Amir Khan, Liam Smith, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, Gennady Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs, Sergey Kovalev, Callum Smith & Billy Joe Saunders.

The sole defeat for Alvarez was against lost against Floyd Mayweather and Alvarez drew against Gennady Golovkin in their first bout.

Just off names and appearance alone, that’s a gaudy resume, right? Albeit context matters.

Also, in terms of accomplishment, Alvarez is a champion across four different weight classes and is listed as the second boxer to hold world titles in three different weight divisions simultaneously.

He was the Lineal Champion at middleweight after defeating Golovkin in September of 2018, The Ring Magazine/WBA Champion at super-middleweight after defeating Rocky Fielding in December of 2018, and he acquired the WBO title at light-heavyweight after defeating Kovalev in November of 2019.

Also, in aiming to knock off another undefeated fighter as he prepares for Plant this weekend, Alvarez to this point, previously defeated seven undefeated opponents with ten or more bouts.

That list includes Gabriel Martinez, Euri Gonzalez, Austin Trout, Liam Smith, Gennady Golovkin, Callum Smith & Billy Joe Saunders.

He punches with power and precision, possessing cat-like reflexes regarding his upper body fluidity and dexterity. Alvarez operates with such expertise, garnering respect from his friendly peers and competitors alike, with regard to his skill level inside the ring. Simply put, he’s an exceptional fighter.

While Plant is regarded as a huge underdog, this may not truly be an accurate reflection of his skill and assessment of his talents. While he has not collected the same accolades as Alvarez, or faced the same level of opposition, he is an elite fighter, a world champion and worthy of that distinction and respect.

As an amateur fighter, Plant was a National Champion, Golden Gloves at 165 lbs., in addition to being a 2012 US Olympic Boxing Team-Alternate.

As a professional, he is 2-0 (0 KO’s) against former, current and future world titlists, in addition to being 3-0 (1 KO’s) in world title fights.

If you take the time to look into Plant’s life, regarding the trials and tribulations he had to endure and ultimately overcome, it would be easy to see why to root for him. One of the common traits with boxing, in which makes the sport so compelling, is the backstory of the fighter.

The piles of pain they go through, that in some cases, pushes them to a point of overcoming their situations despite the struggle. As viewers, we can all relate to that. That’s one of the humanizing elements of the sport transcending beyond business.

It’s understood fights are not won off emotion. How do you use the emotional distress and harness that into becoming the best fighter possible?

Alvarez, is known for his mantra, “No boxing, no life.” It’s self-explanatory.

Reviewing Alvarez’s body of work and acquiring a glimpse at his day-to-day work ethic and routines – courtesy of YouTube and other media outlets, it’s clear to see the passion and dedication Alvarez has for boxing.

“Even harder than getting to the top is staying there,” Alvarez said in recent weeks. “That’s why I try to get better each and every day. That’s what I’ve been trying to do from my first fight up until now.”

This is the same vigor, greats such as Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and others have displayed to catapult themselves to the top position of the sport. And to maintain it for the longest time possible for that matter. Not just being the champion, but being one of the best, if not the best to ever do it. That’s the proclamation.

However, Plant has his own assertions of prominence and what it takes to reach the highest level and where he sees himself. The native from Tennessee is no stranger to the rigors of constant training and perfection of his craft inside the ring.

“I have conquered things way bigger than boxing, things that would chew Alvarez up and spit him out and I’ve come out of it with my chin up,” Plant told Showtime’s “All Access” cameras ahead of the fight.

“He (Alvarez) knows what he has got in front of him. He’s just another guy to me. He’s used to people coming in and just bowing down to him and handing over their belt and being happy for their check or whatever. I don’t give a shit about none of that. That’s not why I am here or why I fight.”

As they battle for supremacy this weekend, who’s ideology will reign true?

The Treacherous Trilogy: Starring Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury (Part III – Redemption)

The Treacherous Trilogy: Starring Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury (Part III – Redemption)

Posted on 10/08/2021

By: Kirk Jackson

This weekend, Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KO’s) faces “The Gypsy King” Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21 KO’s), in what looks to be the final heavyweight contest between the two, for the WBC and The Ring heavyweight titles.

Although, more is at stake than just world titles.

“I don’t have anything to prove. I’m in a great place and in a great state of mind. I have a lot of great people around me. This fight is about redemption, retaliation, and retribution.”

“Many people thought I was down and out, but it wouldn’t be fair to the people around me to feel that way. My dedication has been focused every day. My energy is like my mind, it’s very violent. I’m just ready to go October 9. I’ve dedicated myself and devoted my time and my body, me and my team, to reinventing myself. I’m ready to reintroduce myself to the world.” 

– Deontay Wilder

Billed as Once and For All, this event, alleges to be the final chapter between the parties. 

“Wilder is a weak person mentally and I’m going to knock him out on Saturday night. I obliterated him in the rematch and I see much more of the same in the third fight.” 

“I’m the last man standing between me, Deontay and Anthony Joshua. I’m the last one undefeated. I’m the two-time heavyweight champion and I’ve never lost a fight. That’s history. He’s in denial and he’s getting knocked out. His legacy is in bits. I knocked him out and now I’m going to retire him.”

– Tyson Fury

This trilogy is quite unique, with the various aspects attached to the storylines surrounding each participant. Whether it’s the trainer, the fighter, promoter, or reporters involved.

With the event that is the fight, there are elements of international pageantry, genuine levels of dislike between the two combatants, along with a mixture of other factors, that make for an exciting weekend and potentially historic occurrence. 

One of the biggest questions looming over this encounter, is what has changed from the second bout to this upcoming engagement?

What kind of changes will we see from Fury and perhaps more importantly, what kind of changes will we see from Wilder? 

Wilder is slightly older and widely considered by most boxing pundits, to be at a technical disadvantage. 

But his technical deficiencies, as many like to claim, especially those of the Fury fanbase, are exaggerated. Fury’s fanbase is mentioned because they do him a disservice by minimizing the skillset and accomplishments of his most noteworthy adversary. 

Something to keep in mind, for fans and reporters alike, the more they diminish the skills and greatness of Wilder, the more it takes away from Fury’s accomplishments. 

For those standing firm behind the assessment of Wilder cannot fight and is unskilled, this is the very same fighter, who dropped Fury twice during their first encounter. This fighter is an Olympic medalist and earned the praise of legendary trainer Emanuel Steward, uncle of Fury’s current trainer, SugarHillSteward.

Fury’s victory over Wilder is his most celebrated to date and launched him into cross-over, star status. In essence, Wilder helped resurrect Fury’s career. 

Fury’s own father oftentimes, expressed concern for his son’s well-being while facing Wilder; due to the dangers of that vaunted right hand from The Bronze Bomber.

“Tyson Fury is very conscious of Deontay’s abilities. We’re just concentrating on being sharp and being focused. There’s always more to learn in boxing and Tyson is learning and having fun with it.” 

“It’s exciting to be here. I believe in what the Wilder camp has been working on. I’ve looked at the clips. It gets me motivated to keep working with Tyson. We’re expecting nothing less than a knockout.”

– Head trainer of Tyson Fury, SugarHill Steward 

Wilder’s path to retribution, is configuring the stylistic puzzle of Tyson Fury, implementing the proper game plan, and administering enough punishment to secure victory. 

The question is, how do you overcome an opponent, physically bigger, taller, longer, with tremendous skill and boxing ability? How do you contend with a fighter, who is also willing to get physical, tenacious, and will use any means to ensure he wins?

Keys to Victory for Deontay Wilder:

o The path to victory for Wilder, maybe through the belly of the beast. Easier stated than achieved, but one of the main staples for success will be beating Fury’s body like a drum.

o Move away from the clench and keep head level with Fury’s.

o Stay off the ropes, which prevents the Fury from man repeated grappling.

o Throw with a higher frequency, aim to punch more in combination to keep Fury guessing.

o Establish the jab early, to establish range. Must be consistent with the jab.

o Practice patient hostility. Provide the constant threat of attack, without over-exposing your defense and avoid being comprised for a counter-punch, or clinch.

“I’m a student of the game. Deontay, in my opinion, ruled the heavyweight division just using one or two weapons. Being in training with him, I used to always say that a lot of his skills weren’t being used. He got content knocking people out with one weapon.”

“I went into Deontay’s toolbox and pulled everything out that he did well. I wanted to make sure that we drilled it over and over again. I didn’t teach him anything new. Deontay Wilder can do it all, I just pulled some of those things out of him.”  

“When it comes to working on Deontay’s fundamentals, he has good fundamentals, he just didn’t always use them. I’m just reminding him about tools that he wasn’t using.”

– Head trainer of Deontay Wilder, Malik Scott

Keys to Victory for Tyson Fury:

o Be alert and active. Cannot afford to be too relaxed or take Wilder lightly.

o Counter Wilder’s jab. 

o Make Wilder reset, back Wilder up. Fury would benefit from pressing Wilder at certain points, utilizing his footwork and size to push Wilder against the ropes, negating his punching power.

o Invest in attacking Wilder’s body, to drain the energy and power.

o Grapple, hold, fight dirty like the previous encounter.

o Adaptability is the greatest asset. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, but it’s imperative to adapt, change strategy, and implement tactics when prompted.

Not settling for ordinary and chasing greatness, both fighters operate on the same beat.

If the Bronze Bomber is to reclaim his crown, he must overcome all odds. He is the underdog, he has been left for dead, many fans, analysts/reporters, boxing legends of the sport, do not speak favorably of him, so he will not be the beneficiary of preferential treatment or support. 

It’s not quite as particular, but he draws parallels to Jack Johnson.

Fury displayed multiple times throughout his career he is willing to do whatever it takes to win. Whether it’s against Christian Hammer, Otto Wallin, Steve Cunningham, Wladimir Klitschko, Wilder himself, Fury will do whatever he can, to win. It’s second nature to him.

When that kind of person is your opponent, at the very least, you must match that energy and will, if not surpass it. Eye for an eye. 

As it’s well documented, Fury, who handed Wilder his first professional defeat, overcame his own adversities and is living his redemption story. Fury wants to maintain his spot as the king of the hill. That current path does not include any pit stops.

If Wilder wants to re-create his redemption story, forge his path to becoming the greatest of all time, or the best of his era, he must go through Fury. Generally speaking, excuses may be valid, but greatness does not settle and accept excuses. 

Their first encounter featured the narrative of Fury and his comeback. The sequel continued that story arch and highlighted Fury’s pinnacle achievement. 

The third fight may feature redemption in a different form. Wilder, aims to pose as the Phoenix rising from the ashes. That is the American dream right, or the storybook ending for Wilder. Or perhaps Fury will prove storybook endings across this platform, in this reality, do not exist.

The Treacherous Trilogy: Starring Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury (Part II – Controversy)

“Just because something isn’t a lie does not mean that it isn’t deceptive. A liar knows that he is a liar, but one who speaks mere portions of truth, in order to deceive, is a craftsman of destruction.”

Criss Jami

Interesting, up until this point, there have been many examples of flagrant incident, hypocrisy, and peculiar occurrence, surrounding Tyson Fury.

There’s an old saying, wherever there is smoke, there is fire.

There are a bunch of fires out and around. I would like to believe for every hypothetical fire, the proper protocol would be followed by most people. Meaning, you call upon the proper authority to douse the fires.

While upon extinguishing that imminent threat, we also investigate to see what ignited the flames, for prevention purposes and safe keeping moving forward.

When it comes to the curious cases of Fury, whether it’s performance-enhancing drug issues, glove-tampering/illegal use of glove accusations, illicit tactic implementations, etc., one would think a deeper investigative scope would be applied to Fury’s profile.

The questions beckon, as to where is the reporting and journalism from the worldwide leader in sports?

Not only from ESPN, but other outlets as well? Members of the media, truth reporters and seekers, by virtue and definition as reporters, should be advocates of truth, correct?

Although they’re portrayed and coveted more favorably now, Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, are prime examples of polarizing figures and fixtures of boxing, who were villainized to the highest degree at certain points.

They’ve endured cycles of negative media coverage, even false reporting and misrepresentation at certain points. All for the benefit of a headline, for the benefit to push a certain narrative.

We live in an age now, where information, as it stands currently, is easier to access. In theory, reporting and conversation discussing topics should be more transparent.

But too many times, a blind eye is turned for the benefit of a person in good favor. We see this through various levels across the world stage, especially with entertainment. Whether it’s sports, politics, cinema, music, etc. The narratives are crafted and dictated to the audience.

As former professional basketball player, entrepreneur and current social-media sensation Kwame Brown alluded to, there is a such a thing as the “Go-along, get-along gang.”

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

Malcolm X

Breaking things down further, from ESPN’s standpoint, from a business position, it makes sense not to go against their fighter.

Fury is with Top Rank Promotions and aligned with MTK Global. Fury’s deal with Top Rank, is in conjunction with ESPN. So essentially, ESPN is the media/network representee of Fury, as Top Rank fights through that network exclusively.

By virtue, many of the analysts and boxing experts under ESPN, may not display a full level of transparency, because that goes against the business model.

A prime example, would be the recent broadcast of the WBC super featherweight title bout, featuring the defending champion Oscar Valdez, vs. Olympic Gold medalist Robson Conceição – back on September 10, 2021.

In spite of the success of Conceição, the commentary suggested otherwise. This is even with the performance-enhancing drug controversy, surrounding Valdez, leading into the fight.

Harping back to Fury, it’s hard-pressed to see any public figure of note, within mainstream media, pursuing a legitimate investigation regarding his controversial exploits. Where is the pursuit of truth and clarification?

Because in that path of pursuit, the result, either validates or invalidates the claims. It’s clear, it’s black and white.

Drawing back to the glove issue surrounding Fury, not only did former heavyweight challenger and former IBF cruiserweight world champion, Steve Cunningham, expose certain viewpoints on the matter, former sparring partners and coaches provided testimony as well.

In a video posted across his social media accounts, Nicholas Asberry, a professional fighter who helped Fury in preparation for his first encounter with Wilder, claimed he discovered gloves belonging to Fury, after sparring some rounds with the champion.

Asberry asserts padding was removed to inflict more damage during their sparring sessions. At the time, Asberry reported his findings to the media outlet, World Boxing News.

Asberry informed the publication, “Yes, I was shocked, pissed and disappointed all at the same time. People get seriously hurt in boxing. But the proof is in front of their faces. I have no reason to lie and neither does coach Barry Robinson (One of the coach’s present for the sparring session).”

Asberry continued, “The management team was aware and so was everyone at his camp. I contacted them and they told me they would compensate me after the Wilder fight. They tried to talk me down and say they didn’t do anything to the gloves.”

“So, let’s say the possibility is that they didn’t. But as soon as I picked up the glove, the inside was falling out. You could manipulate the part of the glove, that makes contact with its target.”

“I showed in my screenshot conversations that they knew Tyson was sparring with gloves that were, to their account ‘dodgy’. The gloves just didn’t have all of the paddings in there. They also had weird marks on the outside of the glove, that showed it was in contact with something other than what it was made for.”

If the issue with gloves wasn’t enough, there is the issue pertaining to the performance-enhancing drug, nandrolone as well.

To recap, back in June 2016, a month before Fury’s proposed rematch with Wladimir Klitschko, the United Kingdom Anti-Doping group (UKAD) suspended Fury, due to an adverse finding.

The suspension was not revealed until later in the year, but Fury pulled out of the rematch with Klitschko, citing an ankle injury.

Pending a hearing and appeal, UKAD stated both Tyson and his cousin Hughie Fury, returned samples with elevated levels of nandrolone metabolites, after their fights in February 2015. At the time, Hughie defeated Andriy Rudenko in Monaco, prior to Tyson defeating Christian Hammer a week later in London.

There was also a glove controversy for that bout against Hammer, as the referee had to intervene and upon inspection inside the ring, delayed the fight, because there was an issue with Tyson’s gloves.

In addition, Tyson was later charged with failing to provide a sample in September 2016, although that allegation was eventually dropped.

For additional context, nandrolone is a substance sometimes used by bodybuilders, although it is a banned anabolic steroid. It promotes protein uptake and makes it easier for the body to build muscle. It accelerates the recovery process, reduces fatigue and muscle strain, thus allowing users to train harder and more frequently.

Both men strongly denied taking any performance-enhancing drugs when the allegations first emerged in August 2016. The specifics would not come out into the public domain for more than a year after a lengthy, legal battle, which is thought to have cost UKAD a substantial amount of money. It would later emerge, that they claimed to have ingested the nandrolone substance by eating uncastrated wild boar.

Fellow contemporary, former two-time world heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua, appears to have his antennas up, regarding Fury’s storied history of allegations.

When asked about his rival’s past, Joshua said, “With the UKAD situation, every win he’s had has had drama around it. Whether it was to do with Klitschko, Wilder, there is always drama.”

When it comes to Deontay Wilder, he faced a hailstorm of criticism from fans and every mainstream media outlet alike.

His style, personality, proposed shortcomings as a fighter, have always been a hot-rod topic of conversation before, during, and in the immediate aftermath of his saga with Fury.

This is despite his tenure as a long-reigning world champion and accomplishments as an Olympic medalist, representing the United States.

Whether it’s fair or not doesn’t matter; it’s not about victimhood. Reality is something we live with and must face, whether we enjoy the facets of this existence or not.

Is Fury an incredible talent, with remarkable skills, gifted with uncanny size and high-level maneuverability to boot? Yes, and it’s easy to acknowledge these traits and recognize him as an extraordinary fighter.

More than one thing can be true. Along with that package of skillfulness, is the bundle of inconsistencies of sportsmanship, with regularities of deception.

The Treacherous Trilogy: Starring Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury (Part I – Review)

The final meeting, between two great heavyweight champions is upon us, as the eventful clash between Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KO’s) and “The Gypsy King,” Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21 KO’s) will take place this Saturday, October 9 at the T-Mobile Arena, in Las Vegas, for the WBC and The Ring heavyweight titles.

The culmination of a series of events, many of which controversial, come to a final head. Saturday night will be the final capstone so to speak, regarding the saga featuring two polarizing characters of the sport.

Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder III, is appropriately billed as, Once and For All.

Two heavyweights standing large in stature, emanating great presence and enigmatic energy, both possessing enormous personalities. This pivotal contest, features another clash of these proverbial Titans, determining (fingers crossed) who will eventually or potentially, face the other champion of the division, former undisputed cruiserweight world champion and the newly crowned, unified, heavyweight world champion (WBA, WBO, IBF), Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13 KO’s).

But before we look towards this glorious evening, let’s recap what transpired thus far and review factors and headlines leading to this finale.

It’s important to note, this third fight did not almost take place at all, as by all appearances, Fury’s team, Tyson Fury himself, did not want to fight Wilder for a third time. Wilder initiated a contractual rematch clause in March of 2020, a month after suffering defeat in the second fight, with the third fight scheduled for July 18 of that year.

The bout was postponed several times, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions. There would be claims from Fury’s team, citing the rematch clause expired. A mediation process would take place, before ultimately, a legal binding obligation had to be honored, as issued by the arbitration judge handling the case.

The fact a judge has to force a professional fighter to defend his title and follow contractual obligations says a lot about that fighter, but we’ll address that later.

The third bout was scheduled for July of 2021 and to no one’s surprise, the bout was postponed again, from the original date of July 24, until October 9, after Fury’s camp suffered an outbreak of COVID-19.

There was controversy following that postponement, because members of Fury’s team (sparring partners and such), exposed to COVID-19 allegedly, were out in about that following weekend of the postponement, attending a UFC event amongst the public.

If things go off without a hitch, then yes, we will finally see fight number three, between Wilder and Fury this weekend.

This bout holds significance, because the results continue to lead us towards the path of unification and transparency in the form of who is the best fighter and the one true ruler of the division.

Unification and undisputed status, leads to the decisive conclusion, fighters and fans alike are seeking; a clear vision of who rules the divisional landscape.

Historically, trilogies tend to be a good thing with boxing.

Significant trilogies at heavyweight.

  • Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier
  • Muhammad Ali vs. Ken Norton
  • Floyd Patterson vs. Ingemar Johansson
  • Riddick Bowe vs. Evander Holyfield
  • John Ruiz vs. Evander Holyfield
  • Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury

In the past, the late Emanuel Steward was quoted as saying, “There’s one kid in America no one speaks of and that’s Deontay Wilder. He was on the Olympic Team (United States) he lost but he’s a big kid.”

“I’ve had the fortune of; he has trained with me before, he’s a big kid too, bigger than Wladimir (Klitschko) and he’s got good speed and power and best talent… and best talent is going to be Tyson (Fury) and Deontay Wilder.”

Interesting, how Steward predicted what would eventually unfold as reality; with eventual rivals that would be Fury and Wilder.

Another interesting element, is SugarHill Steward, the nephew of Emanuel, is the current head trainer of Fury. Wonder if Emanuel, would have predicted the mental back and forth banter and controversy between the two combatants?

Leading into their first encounter and the rematch, Fury was painted as the sympathetic figure, due to his battles with mental health, depression and self-inflicted drug abuse.

He battled back into fighting shape, clashed with Wilder, earning a draw during the first encounter and ultimately dethroned the long-term champion, by defeating Wilder the second go-around.

Fury, is still the one holding the edge heading into this final bout. He is still the one with public backing and maintains a certain level of prestige. He is the beneficiary, despite allegations of fraudulent fabrications from the opposing side.

This will be explored more in the next chapter.

Tank’s New Terrain

Tank’s New Terrain

Posted on 06/28/2021

By: Kirk Jackson

Again, he displayed star power. Another exciting, back and forth fight, another exhilarating finish and a wonderful display from both Gervonta “Tank” Davis (25-0, 24 KOs) and Mario “El Azteca” Barrios (26-1, 17 KOs).

While we await pay-per-view results and other pecuniary numbers from the event this past weekend, the end result – referring to the fisticuffs, was amazing as the two warriors clashed and battled for the WBA (Regular) super lightweight title at the State Farm Arena, in Atlanta, Georgia.

For his part, along with tremendous effort, strategy, will and heart, epitomizing the Aztec Warrior aspect of his heritage he proudly represents, Barrios also displayed humility even in defeat.

“I’ve never been a hater. Congrats to ‘Tank’,” said Barrios. “He came here and did his thing. It was nothing short of an exciting fight and that’s exactly what both of us predicted. He was the better man tonight, but I’ll definitely be back.”

“Tank is explosive. He caught me slipping and it’s boxing. At the end of the day, one punch can change the fight. That’s exactly what I felt happened. Congrats to him.”

Although Davis was “The One,” ultimately displaying explosive punching power, which can detonate at any moment, he was also cognizant of the punching power of Barrios.

“I definitely was nervous the whole night because I didn’t know if I catch him, would I hurt him?” Davis said during a post-fight press conference. “Or if he catch me, would he hurt me? You know, he had on eight ounces [gloves] and I was going up two weight classes, so my mind was, you know, my coach and them was, even Floyd was telling me to press him.”

Fortunately for Davis and for fight fans, he pressed on before ultimately scoring the stoppage.

As of June 2021, Davis is ranked as the world’s best active super featherweight according to The Ring magazine and is also ranked as the world’s best active lightweight by BoxRec. What is next for Davis, as he successfully enters into new super lightweight territory?

The world is his oyster and he has many options to choose from. And while boasting a perfect professional record, a knockout-to-win percentage standing at 96% (100% in world title fights), “Tank” can legitimately compete with anyone from super featherweight to super lightweight.

Like former heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, Davis has that equalizer that can erase any deficit. He can hurt opponents with either hand and when watching him fight, you can see viciousness and tenacity placed behind his punches. It’s been mentioned in the past, but Davis resembles Mike Tyson. Davis is somewhat of a hybrid between Pernell Whitaker, Floyd Mayweather and Tyson in a sense.

While his skill and power pose significant problems, because of his drawing power and ever-growing celebrity, there are fighters willing to face the three-division world champion.

Earlier this month, ShowTime, the network broadcasting this latest PPV, released THE KINGS, a four-part documentary series chronicling Roberto “Manos de Piedra” Durán, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns, and Sugar Ray Leonard, featuring their ascension to greatness and the legendary matches they produced.

Which is fitting, because we may potentially be in a new era, featuring four kings. Davis, Teofimo Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs), Devin Haney (26-0, 15 KOs) and Ryan Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs). All of which, outside of Garcia, are lightweight world titlists. All of which, who are young, undefeated, immensely popular and possess great potential. Mighty large comparisons yes, but we’ll see how it plays out.

Shakur Stevenson (16-0, 8 KOs), currently competing at super featherweight, is not often mentioned with his contemporaries, although he is young, undefeated and may potentially end up as the greatest fighter out of the bunch. The Olympic silver medalist has a claim to royalty, he can very well supplant Garcia when it comes to the four kings’ discussions, but it’s also important to acknowledge every fighter individually as special in their own right.

The main point is it would be beneficial for boxing to have these fighters face one another in a round-robin type series.

While that’s not typically how the business of boxing works, due to promoters, networks and sanctioning bodies, we can certainly hope for the best outcomes match-making wise.

Who doesn’t want to see “Tank” take on “The Matrix” Vasiliy Lomachenko (15-2, 11 KOs), who successfully returned this past weekend as well, defeating Masayoshi Nakatani (19-2, 13 KOs).

Or Davis vs. the current undisputed super lightweight champion, Josh Taylor (18-0, 13 KOs)?

Or Davis vs. Regis “Rougarou” Prograis (26-1, 22 KOs), the former world champion, who only narrowly suffered defeat against Taylor via majority decision, in Taylor’s backyard at The O2 Arena, in London, England.

The Baltimore native is more than likely poised to face Prograis next, due to promotional and network affiliations. It would be highly competitive, action-packed and makes sense from the standpoint, of the winner would be in prime position to challenge Taylor afterward. Barring any promotional issues.

The plans of Top Rank and Bob Arum (Promoter of Taylor), may not align with the plans of Premier Boxing Champions and Floyd Mayweather (Promoter of Davis).

That is to be determined. Whichever is next for Davis across this new terrain, the world will be watching.

The Options Awaiting The Monster, Naoya Inoue

The Options Awaiting The Monster, Naoya Inoue

Posted on 06/21/2021

By: Kirk Jackson

After another successful defense of his WBA bantamweight world title this past weekend, Naoya “The Monster” Inoue (21-0, 18 KOs), improved his unblemished record and continues to forge his path towards greatness.

The pound-for-pound elite Inoue, swiftly and violently stopped Filipino challenger Michael “Hot and Spicy” Dasmarinas (30-3-1, 20 KOs), with a series of lethal body shots.

“The first round, I just wanted to see what he had. It depended on how he came out, and after a little while, yeah, I thought I could get him out,” Inoue said during his post-fight interview.

“Against the number one ranked fighter, Dasmarinas, I think I had a great win. I prepare myself to knock them out, whether with a head shot or a body shot. I came prepared and to get a win by knockout is good for me.”

An eye-pleasing performance for spectators, albeit brief. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who was in attendance, was also impressed by Inoue’s showing.

Arum added, “Naoya Inoue is a unique force of nature inside that ring. Another incredible performance from ‘The Monster.’ We are seeing a great fighter at work here, and he is only going to get better.”

With performances like this, it may be hard-pressed to entice a large pool of challengers to take a shot at the reigning WBA/IBF/Ring bantamweight champ, oddly enough.

Sometimes, a fighter may display a certain measure of violent tenacity, discouraging even to other top-level contemporaries. Fighters of that classification, who immediately come to mind, are guys such as Sonny Liston, Jack Dempsey, Mike Tyson, Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran.

Additionally, there are fighters possessing great technical prowess; to the point, they utterly outclass and embarrass opponents, even discouraging potential suitors from taking the challenge.

Fighters who come to mind are Guillermo Rigondeaux, Floyd Mayweather (before he became the cash cow), Erislandy Lara and Gary Russell Jr.

In this modern era of alphabet title belts, it’s easier to avoid the pathway of particular champions, while still achieving great success. Yes, ducking still exists.

Which beckons the question, with this current incredible run from Inoue, will this enhance the notion, or actual reality, of fighters aiming to avoid “The Monster’s” wrath? There have been claims in the past from Inoue’s team, the difficulties of securing bouts – even as the reigning WBO junior-bantamweight champion.

Fortunately, for boxing fans, there are other fighters with the desire to not only challenge but defeat Inoue. Starting with one of those fighters who happened to be in attendance for Inoue’s fight, Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire (41-6, 27 KOs).

Donaire, the recently crowned WBC bantamweight champion, continues to elude the ill effects of old age, defy the odds and already has history with Inoue.

Their first encounter was a battle for the ages. It was voted the Ring magazine Fight of the Year for 2019. The culmination of skill, grit and competitiveness at the highest level, with all of the stakes on the line, battling for IBF, WBA, Ring Magazine bantamweight world titles, the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy (World Series of Boxing) and bantamweight supremacy.

Inoue battled adversity, overcoming a cut suffered early in the bout and outdueled the savvy veteran in a fight deemed as an instant classic.

Another potential would-be challenger to Inoue, also in attendance to witness his most recent performance, was three division world champion, John Riel “Quadro Alas” Casimero (30-4, 21KOs).

“It was a great performance by Naoya Inoue,” Casimero told ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna after the fight. “Michael Dasmarinas fought scared and showed too much respect. But it was great seeing Naoya Inoue live.”

Casimero was previously scheduled to face Inoue last April, in a bantamweight title unification clash at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Those plans were canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with the two ultimately going their separate ways.

“Quadro Alas” appeared last September, destroying previously unbeaten, Duke Micah inside of three rounds last September on Showtime Pay-Per-View. He will next face four-division world champion and current WBC bantamweight titlist Donaire, in a title unification clash scheduled for August 14 on Showtime.

Donaire, for his part, is stepping in for Guillermo Rigondeaux (20-1, 13 KO), who was removed from the matchup.

The winner of Casimero-Donaire, in all likelihood, is the next option for Inoue, with all three parties expressing an interest in pursuing the undisputed championship for their weight class. But for fun, we’ll explore other suitors, seeking “The Monster.”

Speaking of Rigondeaux, he mentioned his desire to go “Monster Hunting” awhile back and deemed Inoue “an excellent fighter, a great fighter, a warrior.”

Even if he is plagued with another long spell of inactivity, the future Hall-of-Famer is still a dangerous fighter and his style could present problems for Inoue. Considering how Rigondeaux was removed from a title bout through his own promotional company, not sure what the chances are of an opposing promotional company reaching out and manifesting a fight between the two.

At least, there is somewhat of a clear path at bantamweight for Inoue. As mentioned earlier, he ravaged through junior-bantamweight, then experienced difficulty luring the other champions in an effort to unify. We missed opportunities to see Inoue against the likes of Juan Francisco Estrada, Roman Gonzalez, Carlos Cuadras, or Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.

After the dust settles with Inoue’s unification attempt at bantamweight, as there isn’t a clear timetable for its conclusion, greater challenges await Inoue in a deeper weight class at super bantamweight.

Arguably from top to bottom, super bantamweight is the deepest in boxing. One of the premier fighters of the division already has his eyes set on “The Monster.”

The WBO super bantamweight champion Stephen “Cool Boy Steph” Fulton (19-0, 8 KOs), has a bout with WBC and WBA champion Brandon Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs) on Sept. 11 in a 122-pound unification match on Showtime. The unified winner, whether it be Figueroa or Fulton, would at the very least have the world titles and acclaim to lure Inoue.

The 26-year-old Fulton has a strong conviction on the damage he’ll inflict on Inoue. The Philadelphia-bred product is one of the best young fighters in the sport and alluded to his skills and size as determining factors en route to his predicted victory. That is, if the fight were to ever materialize.

“I see me wiping him out clean! Inoue is too small for me, he’s too short, his reach isn’t there, I’m not going to sit there for those power shots all the time,” Fulton said of Inoue.

“He’s good, but he’s not better than me. I believe what happened to Nery (when Figueroa knocked him out last month) will happen to him.”

The Sports Immortal, Collectable Collaboration And The Special Connection With Sports

The Sports Immortal, Collectable Collaboration And The Special Connection With Sports

Posted on 12/11/2020

By: Kirk Jackson

The Sports Immortal, Collectable Collaboration and the Special Connection with Sports

Boxing Insider sat down with Ezra Levine, CEO of Collectable, and Jim Platt, President of Sports Immortals to discuss their collaboration, as well as the origins of their respective ventures. Also in the discussion are the goals and purpose of this association, along with the importance of the highly coveted, illustrious Muhammad Ali World Boxing Championship Belt, awarded to him for his legendary 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” conquest over the reigning champion George Foreman.

This past November, the sports memorabilia investment platform Collectable, announced a new partnership with Sports Immortals. Through this partnership, Collectable will offer fractional ownership of some of the world’s most paramount pieces of sports memorabilia in affordable share increments. The first items of Sports Immortals memorabilia to be added to the Collectable platform include:

o Beginning with the highly coveted Muhammad Ali World Boxing Council (WBC) Championship Belt awarded to Ali in 1976 for his victory over George Foreman on October 30, 1974.

· Wilt Chamberlain game-worn and autographed Overbrook High School uniform.

· This uniform was obtained by Joel Platt, founder of Sports Immortals, directly from Wilt Chamberlain’s mother during a visit to her home in Philadelphia on June 26th, 1961.

· This belt was obtained by Joel Platt directly from Muhammad Ali’s father, Cassius Clay Sr. during a visit to his home in Louisville, Kentucky on February 22, 1989.

· Jackie Robinson autographed Stats Bat.

· This Louisville Slugger bat was produced by the Hillerich & Bradsby sporting Goods Company in 1950. Harry D. Evans, a true pioneer baseball collector, inscribed Jackie Robinson’s statistics from the 1949 season to celebrate Jackie’s being the 1949 National League Batting Champion and then he had Jackie Robinson autograph the bat.

· Lew Alcindor game-worn UCLA warm-up jacket from 1969 NCAA Championship Game.

· The jacket is photo matched to his celebration after helping UCLA win three straight championship titles from 1967 to 1969, and seen on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

· 1965 Johnny Unitas’ game-worn and autographed road jersey.

· This jersey was obtained directly from former equipment manager of the Baltimore Colts, Fred Schubach.

Founder Joel Platt, over the span of several decades, traveled more than one million miles to curate one million mementos from such iconic athletes as Muhammad Ali, Babe Ruth, Jim Thorpe, Michael Jordan, just to name a few. 

Sports Immortals covers the spectrum of categories including game-worn uniforms and equipment, autographed balls, photos, tickets, programs, awards, medals, etc. More often than not, the backstories of how Mr. Platt came to acquire the items are just as interesting as the items themselves.

Recently Joel’s son, Jim, has taken the lead and will continue to enhance the Sports Immortals collection and further the company’s mission. 

“The fractional ownership platform offers us a new and exciting way to keep the memories and accomplishments of the greatest athletes in sports history alive and as relevant today as they were back then,” said Jim Platt, President of Sports Immortals. “We have some of the rarest artifacts in existence – alongside Collectable, we’re thrilled to start sharing several of these items and their stories with sports fans all over the country.”

Shares on items from the Sports Immortals collection are already available for purchase beginning in November.

Further expanding on the origins of Sports Immortal, “Well my father in 1943, was injured in a gasoline explosion at the age of 4,” said Jim.

“He was bedridden for a year and my grandparents started buying baseball cards to help entertain him during his recovery period. One of the cards was Babe Ruth and he had a dream one night. Babe came to visit him and said ‘kid don’t give up.’ One day you could be a Major League Baseball player or one day build a shrine to honor sports heroes.”

“But as he recovered he said with his life, he had two goals. One was to be a Major League Baseball player. But he ultimately injured his arm playing baseball in college, right before he was going to sign with the Red Sox. But the other was, he knew at a young age, that if he was going to build a shrine to honor sports heroes, that he needed memorabilia to be the nucleus of that project. So his collection grew from cards to tickets, to programs, to autographs – actual mementos from the athletes.”

“When he was able to drive, he started driving all over the country, meeting the athletes and their relatives, telling them about his vision and mission, which was to preserve the memories and achievements of the world’s greatest athletes and in over 78 years, he’s traveled over a million miles to curate the collection. Over one million mementos from the world’s greatest athletes. Now in addition to that, garnering great relationships with equipment managers of the different sports teams. So it’s really a culmination of his traveling encounters with the athletes and their relatives.”

Muhammad Ali, regarded as one of the sport’s greatest icons, arguably reached his pinnacle boxing achievement by defeating fellow legendary heavyweight champion George Foreman, in what was dubbed, “The Rumble in the Jungle.”

As Jim continued, “But in particular, you know why we’re kind of talking here today. The Muhammad Ali belt. Of all the travels my dad made and in all the athletes he’s met, Muhammad Ali is by far his favorite. He met the champ on eight different occasions, each time spending a couple hours with him; just unbelievable stories and backstories.”

“In terms of where the belt came from, my dad actually traveled to Louisville, Kentucky and met with Cassius Clay Sr., his father. He heard he was living there, he looked him up and came unannounced as he usually did, knocked on the door and introduced himself. Told him how much he adored his son and heard that he had some memorabilia and he was interested to see if it was possible to obtain it for the Sports Immortals collection.”

“And you know, after spending a couple hours with Cassius Clay Sr., he was able to acquire unbelievable mementos, including the championship belt.

Regarding Collectable’s involvement, Collectable offers potential investors the opportunity to buy and sell fractional shares of items like cards, rings, documents and game-used items. Founded by CEO Ezra Levine, who was previously CFO of football scouting showcase The Spring League, said he learned about fractionalization and sought to merge the concept to sports memorabilia, thus forming this partnership with Sports Immortal.

“Sports Immortals has a jaw-dropping collection of sports memorabilia, arguably the greatest the world has ever seen,” said Ezra Levine, CEO of Collectable. 

“Seeing and experiencing the collection first-hand was a surreal and visceral experience. I knew, then and there, we had to find a way to bring their collection to Collectable. Through this partnership, and through Collectable’s fractional ownership model, collectors and sports fans will have the opportunity to own some of the most iconic pieces of sports memorabilia the market has ever seen. We couldn’t be more thrilled to share it with sports fans and collectors of all income brackets, all across the country.”

Collectable aims to build revenue streams outside of its fees and any profit it is able to clear on the acquisition and subsequent sale of memorabilia. The company will introduce a premium membership model that will grant paying users early access to IPO prices, and another potential source of income is fan events built around athlete-owned memorabilia as further plans include the avenue to provide athletes an opportunity to list memorabilia while maintaining partial ownership and possession of the items.

“It was all about his whole life creating a museum that would honor and enshrined the greatest athletes of all time. The museum up until probably the year 2000 or so, was really the only vehicle for him to share his collection with fans,” said Jim.

“So about 18 months ago, I was contacted by a group that had told me about the whole fractionalization concept and told us you could share the collection that way with people and offer people the opportunity to own some of your dad’s collection, while actually not giving up the asset and still possessing it, but being able to share it with people so they get the pleasure of owning part of sports history.”

“We were introduced to the concept, met with three different groups and just really wasn’t in love with any of the deals. I never leave a stone unturned and it was actually my wife told me that she came across the Collectable and I looked them up, got in contact with Ezra. About three days later, he was on a plane during Covid-19, he came down to see us. We spent a delightful two days with him, you know, took him into the vault. He met my family. He introduced me through zoom to his entire staff, which was quite impressive.  From that moment we tried our best to work things out and we were able to reach agreement with them and have been very excited ever since.”

The Rumble in the Jungle is one of Ali’s most famous fights and remains culturally impactful to this day more than 46 years later. It has also been referenced as “Arguably the greatest sporting event of the 20th century.”

“It was really about finding the right partnership and the right  storytellers who could curate and help advance the stories of the athletes in the collection,” said Ezra. 

“We want to share these athlete’s achievements, items and memories with the next generation to support Sports Immortals and all the other initiatives that they have planned Our visions were very much aligned and we always put storytelling at the front of our business.”

“Referencing the Muhammad Ali belt, so I’ll talk about it from our vantage point, for Collectable, our mission is to democratize the sports memorabilia industry,” said Ezra.

“One thing that we set out to do in addition to democratizing the industry, was providing the best in class investment opportunities of iconic sports memorabilia. And I don’t think it’s arguable that the Sports Immortals collection is the greatest collection.  It was a really big get for our platform because it guaranteed we’re going to have the best possible supply and opportunities for our users.  The Muhammad Ali title belt is obviously is one of the most iconic mementoes and art we could offer.”

Tale of the Tape: The Rumble in the Jungle

Date: October 30, 1974.

Venue: Stade Tata Raphaël – Kinshasa, Zaire.

Title(s) on the line: WBA/WBC/The Ring/Lineal Heavyweight Championships, Undisputed World Heavyweight Championship.

Champion: “Big George” George Foreman 40–0 (37 KO’s), Current WBA/WBC/The Ring/Lineal Heavyweight Champion, from Houston, Texas.

Challenger: “Louisville Slugger,” aka “The Champ,” aka “The Greatest,” Muhammad Ali 44–2 (31 KO’s), Former Undisputed Champion from Louisville, Kentucky.

Ezra continued, “You look for things that are rare and scarce. We look for things that have ironclad stories, that come directly from the players and player’s families. The Muhammad Ali belt in my opinion, is just a perfect example of the type of outrageously unique supply that we’re going to bring for our investors going forward as well.”

“And this is truly our coming out celebration if you will, what we’re really announcing with Sports Immortals, what we’re bringing to the world and it was so perfect and appropriate to have Muhammad Ali, who along with Michael Jordan, are probably the greatest athletes kick things off, ,” said Jim.

“We’re happy we did it and it made my dad very happy that that we could put Muhammad Ali front and center and really bring his memory back to the forefront so that anybody that is becoming associated with Collectable can be introduced back to Muhammad Ali.”

The idea of connecting to an extraordinary assortment of significant memorabilia from sporting events, athletes and commemorating it with our own remembrances sounds like a solid investment. For more information, please visit the links below.

About Sports Immortals

Sports Immortals, Inc. is a holding company headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida that owns the rights to over one million sports mementos from the world’s greatest athletes. Sports Immortals Inc. will utilize its reservoir of content, exclusive copyrights, licenses and trademarks to develop projects that will be inspirational, educational, historical, cultural and most of all, entertaining. Please visit for more information.

About Collectable

Collectable is an investing platform and community for sports fans. As the first and only fractional ownership app dedicated to sports, Collectable is re-imagining sports collecting and investing, a long overdue modernization of a timeless tradition through fractionalized shares, more access, more liquidity, lower price point, and less exclusivity. Collectable believes the greatest moments and artifacts in sports history should be accessible to the masses, not just the wealthy. The Collectable app is available in the Apple Store or on Google Play, please visit for more information

Jesse Katz, President Of Roots Of Fight, Breaks Down His Collaboration With Triller And Reminisces About Mike Tyson And Roy Jones Jr.

Jesse Katz, President Of Roots Of Fight, Breaks Down His Collaboration With Triller And Reminisces About Mike Tyson And Roy Jones Jr.

Posted on 12/01/2020

By: Kirk Jackson

Roots of Fight Sowed Connections with Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr.

Roots of Fight President Jesse Katz recently spoke with Boxing Insider, providing insight to the highly anticipated bout between legendary Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. Katz also expanded on the collaboration with Triller, origins of Root of Fight, expectations for the anticipated match-up, along with his fondest memories of Tyson and Jones Jr.

The Roots of Fight connection between Roy Jones Jr., Mike Tyson and President of the company Jesse Katz, stems deeper than an exhibition fight taking place this past weekend. A star-studded event, featuring luminaries from several spectrums of the entertainment sphere, is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year.

“We’re pretty well respected and loved within the fight community and have very good relationships. We have a fairly decent audience, even though we’re not a Nike or Adidas, we’re pretty ubiquitous in this space and obviously have the attachment with all the icons we represent,” Katz said to Boxing Insider when speaking about how this event came together.

“We already had the relationships with the fighters where you know their approval needs to be had for everything to do with this event. So I got a call from Nakisa (Bidarian) and we’re very excited about the opportunity and to be a part of it.”

“We thought it was a very symbiotic relationship where we could have. We can add a lot of value to them with our relationships, our seeding abilities, the product capabilities and then, of course, we would get the benefit of all the connection with this incredible event and you know, just looking at these two guys look the way they do right now, I’m so excited about this fight on Saturday.”

The Vancouver-raised Katz was always a fight fan. As a youth growing up and even as he entered adulthood, Katz watched the likes of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler and many others. He coincidentally also admired the two icons featured in this past weekend’s blockbuster event between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr.

“We’re a company born from Muhammad Ali,” said Katz. “We wouldn’t exist without Muhammad and Lonnie and everything they did for us. With everything they did for us, they embraced, encouraged and supported.”

“As we initially built the company, it was largely just from my personal experience; relationships I had and the people who were my heroes growing up as an athlete and a fanatical sports lover. All of the greats that we represented in the early years, were people who were the best in the world at what they did. Whether that was fighting as world champions or baseball players or football players or basketball players, they were iconic.”

What started as an idea, a clothing brand representing and paying homage to various icons of the sports world, blossomed and transcended into one of the more influential brands we see today. With the addition of apparel featuring more fighters, apparel featuring other impactful figures from the world of sports and other avenues, Root of Fight continues to add its imprint into the fabric of popular culture.

“But as we started maturing, as the political landscape changed – in particular in America, the ideals of the people we represented became ever more important,” said Katz.

“We decided to shift the company and the brand and started focusing on people who were exceptional on the field of play, but were also exceptional off the field of play and helped shape popular culture on a global scale and moved the needle to making the world a better place. So that’s really what our focus is now; shining a spotlight on them and paying respect and tribute to people who were groundbreakers, difference makers, game-changers in all aspects in what that means.”

Tyson and Jones respectively are game-changers, with their influence not only transcending sports, but other mediums of entertainment. They have inspired the lives of many across multiple generations.

“Obviously for people who know our brand, we have the history with Mike and with Roy, we’ve worked in both of them. Both of them have their own clothing ventures now. When Triller was looking to find partnerships, there’s some complexity there, and we already have worked with and have very positive working relationships and histories with each of the fighters,” said Katz.

“The executive producer of the event, Nakisa (Bidarian) is someone that I worked with years ago when he was the CFO of the UFC. And then when he moved over [to Triller] and is producing this event. He thought of who would be a good brand partner that has a very positive reputation in that space and is synonymous with boxing and the combat sports world.”

The expectations were enormous for this fight between Tyson and Jones on Saturday; albeit it was reasonable to temper projected forecasts with all things considered. However, it’s Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr.; their reputations far proceed them and the memories many fans share tend to override conventional thought.

It’s fair to suggest most, if not all of the sports world was intrigued by this event. The sentiment is echoed by everyone involved.

“Coming back, the older fighters don’t usually look crisp, powerful, clean, fast. Both these guys look fantastic and I think I’m like everybody else — I just can’t wait to see what happens and what the fireworks should be.”

Katz on Memories of Tyson:

“I mean I grew up watching Mike Tyson, so I’m 49-years-old. I grew up watching Mike Tyson as a teenager and I can remember watching those fights with my father. And you know those memories are permanently etched in my brain,” said Katz.

“But then I was in University in Montreal, like probably my mid-20s for the Evander Holyfield fight, the first one, and I remember going through a kind of upscale pool hall, where they were showing it in a big open room and it was so packed. But I mean it was just absolutely chaos and that emotion everyone was so attached to Mike. And although that fight didn’t go his way, every fight was a spectacle that was built up with so much energy and so much entertainment, everything was emotionally charged. That excitement was palpable.”

Katz on Memories of Jones:

“And then with Roy Jones Jr., I have two. One, I think would begin with Vinny Pazienza. If I’m correct, he hit like a 21-punch combination and it looked like a video game, where I watched it over and over again in super slow-mo. It was like he was hitting him like he’s playing ping-pong with him. It was just so extraordinary watching that, like it was like nothing I’ve ever seen again. It’s like a video game, like The Matrix,” Katz said of Jones Jr.

“When he fought James Toney. Toney was just such a scary dude and I remember watching Roy then and just again thinking that this guy is inhuman, that what he’s doing is not real. I still think that Roy would have retired after Ruiz, then he would have been regarded as the greatest part of pound for pound ever to live. Yeah, he was just such a special. Such a special fighter man. It was just such a pleasure to watch him work, he was poetry in motion.”

As the official apparel partner for the match, Roots of Fight has created an exclusive collection of graphic apparel across five styles including sweatshirts and tees all inspired by the official promotional poster in bright colors like yellow, pink and blue. The collection draws from the designs of retro concert tees that can be worn to showcase support and excitement around the match or simply as your go-to graphic tee.

The Triller Presents Tyson vs. Jones Collection retails from $48 – $80 and is available on