Posts Tagged ‘welterweight’

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The media is an incredible tool for professional athletes, if they know how to use it to their advantage. Combat sports, such as boxing and mixed martial arts, are one such sport in which the media is very important. Those who use it, and use it well, can increase their marketability immensely. In a sport in which you don’t have a team to fall back on you would be wise to figure out how to use the media to your advantage.

In today’s sport there are few better at using the media for their own gains than reigning pound-for-pound boxing king Floyd Mayweather Jr. Mayweather highlighted his savvy use of the media and the constant rumours in boxing during this interview with Chris Robinson.

After hype and public clamor for a bout between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao had reached fever pitch a few years ago, back-to-back losses by the Filipino fighter caused the calls to dissipate somewhat. However, last month’s dominant display by Pacquiao over Brandon Rios reawakened those calls.

When asked about a potential future bout with Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather responded by saying, “My focus is May 3rd. I don’t know who my opponent will be. If it’s Pacquiao, it’s Pacquiao. If it’s Amir Khan, it’s Amir Khan. For 17 years they’ve been putting guys in front of me, and I’ve been beating them. Come May they’ll put a guy in front of me, I’ll go to training camp, work hard, and the results will be the same.”

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In those few sentences, Mayweather expertly used the media and boxing rumour-mill to his advantage. Without giving away a single detail about his plans for his upcoming bout on May 3rd, Mayweather managed to get people talking. Using the two names the media are continuously throwing out there as a potential opponent – Khan and Pacquiao – Mayweather’s words got ears pricking up and taking notice.

Since that interview hit the web I’ve seen headlines stating that Mayweather and Pacquiao will face off in May, using portions of the above quote to justify their claims. This is exactly what Mayweather aimed for and other fighters should take note.

His words gave away nothing, but they ensured that there his name would appear in headlines across the internet. Even if the articles written never came near print that doesn’t matter. What counts is the fact that with today’s modern media comments like these are pounced upon, spread in seconds and put a fighters name on the tips of tongues.

A fighter like Mayweather will always have to fend off rumours about who they are going to fight. He’s been at the top of the pile for so long that everyone young, up and coming, fighter wants to show he is the man to knock Mayweather off his perch while every veteran feels their wily skills and tricks would allow them to have a chance.

Also don’t forget the power of having Mayweather’s name alone associated to you. If you are a young fighter and you are linked to a bout with Mayweather you are going to instantly garner more interest from more casual fans as they look to see why you’re linked with the man.

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Mayweather simply uses these rumours to make sure that nobody ever forgets about him. Simply using the two names that the majority of fight fans and press representatives are throwing out left, right and center allows Mayweather the opportunity to self promote with without showing his hand. Every Pacquiao and Khan follower undoubtedly pounced on those words and spread them around as quickly as they could.

How many million people saw Mayweather’s name shortly after the interview went live? How many million people are instantly zoned in on May 3rd? Every aspiring athlete who wants to advance their career as quickly as possible needs to look at the way Mayweather has learned to effortlessly promote himself.

Here’s another original article by me published through bleacherreport.com

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Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Let me start off by saying I generally enjoy watching Amir Khan fight. He has speed of both hand and foot, he is aggressive and he loves to throw combination punches. Khan is an exciting, dynamic fighter who rarely leaves fans wondering why they tuned in, win or lose.

Adding to the enjoyment I get from watching Khan fight is the fact that it’s very rarely a one-sided affair. For all of Khan’s hand and foot speed, he is poor in so many defensive fundamentals that he is incredibly easy to hit, and hit clean.

Often moving into rather than away from punches, popping his head up every time he throws a jab or dropping his hands before stepping back, whatever mistake he makes it usually ends with him being clocked and rocked.

In spite of all this, in spite of the enjoyment that usually comes from watching Khan in yet another valiant battle of heart over head, I am not excited at the prospect of Khan taking on IBF Welterweight champion Devon Alexander in December.

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I truly don’t say this to knock either fighter. Anyone who steps in the ring deserves respect for the dedication they’ve shown to their training and preparation and the level of bravery it takes to stand one-on-one with another human being to fight.

I say this because, as styles make fights, this is such a clash of styles that I feel there will be more threatening to engage than actually engaging. For the first time in many years fans, tuning in for the usual Amir Khan edge-of-the-seat drama may be disappointed.

Fighters will always fight to their biggest strengths, as they should. Amir Khan will look to use his incredible speed to edge him along to victory. He is also one of the better-conditioned fighters in boxing and can push a frenetic pace for the whole fight while still looking like he has more to give. Khan will look to dart in with quick combinations and dash away before Alexander can fire anything back.

Alexander, who is no slouch when it comes to hand speed and combination punching, is a far superior defensive boxer. His movement around the ring will create angles that nullify the in-and-out attacks of Khan as Alexander simply won’t be right in front of him.

Alexander’s movement and defensive skill was on display against Randall Bailey, in which he was able to take away Bailey’s power using superior footwork and grind out a victory to capture the IBF crown. This is the manner I expect Alexander to approach the Khan fight in as he looks to frustrate his opponent into recklessness.

This is where fans will scream for the Khan of old to show his face. In past fights Khan hasn’t been good at sticking to a plan. When all was going well against Marcos Maidana, Khan abandoned the strategy that had been working so well and let his bravado take over. He engaged Maidana in close and was rocked badly.

Who Will Win Between Amir Khan and Devon Alexander?

  • Khan by KO

    12.2%
  • Alexander by KO

    16.9%
  • Khan via Decision

    43.9%
  • Alexander via Decision

    16.9%
  • Who cares? I’ll take a nap through that one!

    10.1%

Total votes: 189

Alexander will be happy to move around the ring and land counters and small combinations to build up a points advantage.

He will stick to his strategy and hope, with the fans, that Khan will revert to past times and completely abandon the plan he comes in with out of frustration and start to attack blindly, searching for an opening. Alexander showed Maidana that his power is often underestimated as he landed heavier than expected shots almost at will throughout their 2012 bout.

Khan, on the other hand, will look to display a new ability to stay on task and avoid the past reckless behaviour.

One of the aspects of his game Khan wanted to improve on when he aligned himself with Virgil Hunter as his new trainer was his ability to stick to a planned strategy throughout the fight, and to lose the wild and ragged edge that had often been his undoing.

In the two fights Khan’s had with Hunter in his corner, he’s shown slight improvement in his ability to stay on task. While still having a couple of wild moments, Hunter has been able to calm Khan down and get him back to task with his advice between rounds.

As a fighter who strives to improve, I have no doubt Khan has spent significant time in the gym with Hunter since his last fight in April, working on small aspects of his game and on his focus when times get tough.

This is why I predict a snoozer.

With a new focus and a willingness to trust his trainer and stick to their plan, Khan will become frustrated by Alexander’s excellent footwork. However, unlike the old days of him losing his patience and rushing in, only to be countered and put on his backside, Khan will stay focused, follow instruction and try to box his way through.

Here’s a quick look at the latest progress of an up and coming British Welterweight in the shape of Frankie Gavin. This article is an original work published on Bleacher Report.

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Scott Heavey/Getty Images

British Welterweight champion Frankie Gavin defeated Jason Welborn this weekend to retain his British title. In the build up to the fight, he signaled his intent to try to make 2013 a big year for him.

Gavin, highly ranked as an amateur, stepped up in class in his last last year to defeat former WBC light-welterweight champion Junior Witter to become the British Welterweight champion. Now 27 years old, Gavin understands he needs to begin testing himself against a higher class of opposition to see if he is ready for world title challenges.

After overcoming personal problems that threatened to derail his boxing career, a re-focussed Gavin had a strong 2012 that was capped off by claiming Witter’s British Title.

While understanding he has to continue the hard work he displayed throughout 2012, Gavin stated he wouldn’t say no if offered the chance to face a top opponent like Timothy Bradley, Amir Khan or Kell Brook. A fight against an opponent at that level may be a step too far for Gavin, but his willingness to step in with anyone is refreshing to see.

While being way off elite status, Frankie Gavin is one to watch for 2013. He has the momentum from an impressive previous year, confidence from gaining his first title and is hungry for more. Gavin is the No. 1 contender for the European Welterweight title and could enter the world title discussion with a strong year.

Here’s one some of you may not have heard of. Published by me through bleacherreport.com a look at Frankie Gavin’s recent victory over Junior Witter.

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Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Frankie who?

British welterweight prospect Frankie Gavin defeated former World Boxing Council Light Welterweight champion Junior Witter last night to claim the British Welterweight Title and get his career back on track.

Gavin was an excellent amateur boxer who won a bronze medal in the 2005 EU Amateur Championships and then followed with successive gold medals in the 2006 Commonwealth Games, 2007 World Amateur Championships and 2008 EU Amateur Championships.

He was viewed by many as the favourite for the 2008 Olympic gold medal, but failed to make weight and was unable to compete, ultimately leading to him choosing to embark on a professional career.

Starting life well as a professional boxer, Gavin raced off to an 11-0 record, capped off with obtaining the World Boxing Organization Intercontinental Welterweight Title by outpointing fellow Brit, and former professional soccer player, Curtis Woodhouse in July 2011.

That’s when the wheels fell off.

Gavin went through personal problems outside boxing, including bereavement, illness and relationship troubles, that affected his focus on his career.

Gavin pulled out of a 2011 WBO Intercontinental Welterweight clash after reportedly walking out on training with no explanation, leaving promoter Frank Warren scrambling to rescue the ticket.

Those problems, according to Gavin, are now behind him and he is ready to make up for lost time.

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The fight with Witter was Gavin’s third of 2012, and saw him step up the level of competition he was facing.

Witter, a former world title holder, was a great test for Gavin. A fast-handed switch-hitter with experience in world title fights, and who still holds a Top 20 ranking in the stacked welterweight division according to iboboxing.com, Witter would let us see how Gavin’s progression has come along.

In a fight that lacked the type of explosive action fans crave, Gavin showed he can handle a difficult, experienced fighter, as he raced to a dominant decision victory.

If Gavin can continue his recovery from the personal problems that plagued his 2011, and if he can secure more fights that can challenge his abilities, he could continue his rise through the welterweight division and become yet another highly regarded prospect within a division loaded with talent