The Boxing Diary

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Why Manny Pacquiao delays announcement for April fight?

Although there is still enough time for Manny Pacquiao to prepare for his next fight, Bob Arum showed concern about his April fight card. He mentioned in an interview that with or without Pacquaio Top Rank's scheduled fight card on 9th April will push through.

The frontrunners for Manny Pacquiao's next opponent are British star Amir Khan, American Timothy Bradley Jr., Terrence Crawford, and Adrien Broner.

Why until this point, was Pacquiao still unable to choose whom to fight?

Here's my take.

Well, Pacquiao, as we all know, is gunning for a higher political position in the Philippines. During one of his interviews, he mentioned that if he wins as a senator in May national elections -- the fight in April will be his last, and he will retire for good to focus on his duties as a senator.

With the elections happening in May 2016, a Pacquiao victory in April 2016 would drum up his political campaign. However, it should not be just a mere victory. He should win this fight in an impressive style. It should be, at the very least, a knockout victory.

Apart from that, Pacquiao should not just merely fight a beatable opponent. It should be an opponent that somehow enhances his legacy. So, the question is: Who could be this opponent be?

I believed until now Manny Pacquiao and his team were still not able to figure out the perfect opponent.

Who do you think Pacquiao will fight next?

Friday, December 25, 2015

A boxer and his little girl

On Saturday night, two exciting heavyweight contenders squared off in New York to put them in line for a heavyweight title showdown. Those contenders were Bryant Jennings (19-2) and Luis "King Kong" Ortiz (24-0). The fight was toe to toe action you rarely see between heavyweights. It was clearly the antithesis of Klitschko vs Fury back in November.

Jennings has a boxer’s style, usually fighting on the outside, circling left to right, with excellent lateral movement. But trainer John David Jackson decided to change things up and have Jennings fight on the inside of the much bigger Ortiz. Jennings banged Ortiz's head and body with vicious hooks and uppercuts. It was a risk Jennings was willing to take so he would not get caught at the end of a powerful blow from the Cuban puncher. It was a risk that did not pan out well for Jennings. Jennings was knocked down with a brutal uppercut and a straight left that made the referee step in and call the fight.

The fight shook the heavyweight division and showed “King Kong” is a force to be reckoned with. But my attention was drawn before the fight even started. I was touched by Ortiz’s inspiration. His inspiration is his four year old little girl who was born with a medical condition that included necrosis in one of her fingers. Ortiz said that he was willing to have one of his fingers amputated so when his daughter was old enough to see his father’s hand, he would tell her she was born just like her Daddy. I immediately thought of a couple of other boxers who were inspired to do great things in boxing because of the love and inspiration they received from their ailing daughters. Those boxers are two time Cruiserweight Champion Steve “USS” Cunningham and Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder.

It is truly amazing how “Daddy’s little girl” can be such an inspiration to the most lethal fighters to ever step in the ring. Cunningham’s daughter was born with a rare heart defect known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome. It is a condition in which the left side of the heart isn’t fully developed. Jesse Dougherty quoted Cunningham referencing his daughter’s battle, "If she can do that, I think I can do anything in boxing, in life, I always take that into the ring.”

Wilder’s daughter was born with the congenital disorder spina bifida. X-rays revealed a hole in the spine shortly after her birth as well as the condition which usually confines a person to a wheelchair for life. Wilder was quoted by Lem Satterfield saying, "“She inspires me and we inspire each other each and every day, man. She inspires me still now,” said Wilder, “because when she was a year old, I promised her that Daddy would become a world champion.” Wilder fulfilled that dream and continues to take on any challengers.

It was interesting seeing the behemoth Ortiz getting very emotional talking about bringing his children to the United States and giving them a better life. Ortiz said, “It inspires me even more to obtain my dream, obtain my dream which is to be World Champion.”

Only children can bring out that kind of emotion out of a Daddy. I know this feeling all too well. Seeing your beautiful daughter suffering, you feel helpless. The only thing you can do is pray. It drives you to be a better man. A better person. A better father. A person who would sacrifice himself any day of the week for his family. It is an experience that drives you closer to God. Putting yourself whole heartedly before someone else is something you would have never dreamed of doing before seeing that little girl receiving round the clock care from nurses and doctors. But turning that stressful and horrible experience into something positive, such as earning a world title, is something truly special. It is something that you wouldn’t expect a tiny little girl to motivate you to accomplish. But these little girls did just that for Cunningham and Wilder. Now let’s see if it could come to fruition for Ortiz.

This is for you Annalise. Daddy loves you...

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Heavyweight King

Tyson Fury knows what the alphabet gangs do not: They don’t decide who the real champ is.


Showtime’s Brian Custer recently referred to Deontay Wilder as the “world heavyweight champion” and so contributed to the mass confusion in boxing. Would-be fans —precisely the demographic the sport needs to attract— scratched their heads and wondered what the hell happened two weeks ago when Tyson Fury defeated Wlad Klitschko and was declared the “heavyweight champion of the world.” An unknown number of them reached for the clicker.

The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a fifty-member, all-volunteer initiative representing eighteen countries invites them to put the clicker down and stay tuned. It recommends approaching the sport as they would a holiday with family. When Uncle Ralph staggers over to intrude on a pleasant exchange claiming something is that assuredly isn’t, wave him off. If he can’t take a hint and proves immune to courteous correction, escort him to the door and lock him out in the cold. He’ll sober up eventually. Boxing is overrun with Uncle Ralphs. We find them well-poised on television and meticulous in print, but most of their claims regarding the championships are gobbledygook. Do any of them really believe there are eighty-six champions in the seventeen weight divisions? Do they know the difference between Deontay Wilder’s belt and the divisional crown?

THE CROWN VS. BELTS


Tyson Fury, insists the Board above the nonsense and the din, is heavyweight king. He takes his place in a succession that includes the vanquished Wlad Klitschko, fellow Briton Lennox Lewis, Fury’s namesake Mike Tyson, and thirty-three others give or take. Each divisional succession is an ongoing march through history with expected breaks and disruptions and which began with the first championship bout fought under the Marquess of Queensberry rules. The heavyweights’ stretch back at least to Gentleman Jim Corbett, if not John L. Sullivan — both sons of √Čire like Fury himself.

Anyone with more sense than a partridge in a pear tree knows that there are two paths into a divisional succession: (1) defeat the true champion or (2) if said champion retires or otherwise abdicates, earn a top-two ranking and defeat the top or next-best contender.

And what of “world heavyweight champion” Wilder? He did neither. In January 2015, he defeated Bermane Stiverne (then ranked third in the Transnational Rankings when he was ranked sixth) after both contenders surrendered a percentage of their purses to the WBC. That belt Wilder carries is quite literally bought and paid for. It’s a fabrication; a fabrication puffed up by boxing media as something more but that had nothing to do with Wlad Klitschko and therefore had nothing to do with the heavyweight crown.

Wilder was fervent anyway. “I want to fight four times a year,” he said afterward. “Whoever’s ready, I’m ready.” The response of ESPN’s Dan Rafael was proof positive that the language in the sport must change: “Fight fans who have been searching for a [sic] American heavyweight champion surely are also.”

Tyson Fury understands the problem better than most. “If I want a belt, I can go and buy one,” he said last year. “It’s pointless. There’s the status of saying you’re a ‘world champion’, but when there’s twenty-five different world sanctioning bodies, it doesn’t mean nothing.”

TYSON FURY IN MUHAMMAD ALI’S FOOTSTEPS


Earlier this month, the IBF stripped Fury of their belt because of his intention to give Klitschko a rematch. The heavyweight king responded while doing roadwork. “They should take all of them away from me if they want,” he told reporter Peter Lane. “But they’ll never take what I’ve done.”

He’s in good company. The WBA pulled the same stunt on Muhammad Ali in 1964 after he agreed to a rematch against Sonny Liston. It was a move laughed at by yesterday’s more discerning boxing writers. “The WBA is an imaginary organization,” wrote Red Smith. “When Liston and Clay fight again and the winner is recognized as champion by the public, the press, and the participants, the WBA’s pretensions to power must evaporate.” At the other end of Ali’s career, the WBC took their own swing at his legacy when they stripped Leon Spinks in 1978 for agreeing to fight him in a rematch. They “awarded” the belt to Ken Norton and it was begrudgingly acknowledged by increasingly less-discerning boxing writers.

Trainer Peter Fury was more correct than we supposed when he compared Fury’s upset win over Klitschko with Ali’s upset win over Liston. Fury’s recent dismissal of homosexuality and the value of women in society left him wide open for censure, but Ali said worse. Before becoming America’s secular saint, Ali was a divisive figure who routinely thumbed his nose at the majority culture. “A black man should be killed if he’s messing with a white woman,” he said during a Playboy interview in 1975. And what of a Black Muslim woman who wants to go out with a white man? “Then she dies. Kill her, too.”

In case you haven’t noticed, Ali is celebrated by the very demographic that now condemns Fury.

A HERALD OF CHANGE?


Fury, who shuffled his feet familiarly a few times during the Klitschko fight, can likewise redefine himself as something other than a provocateur of the political left; he can step forward as a herald of change in boxing. Reform is in the air. It’s in his ear. “Gonna speak with [promoter] Mick [Hennessy] and & Tyson to give all belts away. Win em & vacate the lot. Money racket,” tweeted his trainer on December 9. “We know who the real champ is.”

The IBF, WBA, WBC, et al. would rather we didn’t. Unaccountable to anything outside their counting houses, they will continue to thrive in the mass confusion and make decisions based solely on their interests.

The heavyweight king is expected to do what is in his interests, but is also signaling his willingness to do something more.

The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board’s only interest resides in that “something more.” It will continue to provide clarity for fans and fighters alike by publishing clean, globally-represented rankings at www.tbrb.org and identifying “the real champs” with virtual crowns that don’t cost a thing.

_________________

Springs Toledo is a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.  Special thanks to Jose Corpas and Tim Starks.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Official weights: Bryant Jennings, 229.5, Luis Ortiz, 239

Bryant Jennings and Luis Ortiz stepped on the scales Friday for their anticipated heavyweight clash this Saturday at the Turning Stone Resort Casino.

Jennings (19-1, 10 KOs) came in at 229.5 pounds, 9.5  pounds lighter than Ortiz (23-0, 20 KO’s) who weighed in at 239 pounds. 

Bryant Jennings vs Luis Ortiz Weigh-in Live streaming 1PM ET



Bryant Jennings (19-1, 10 KOs) and undefeated Luis Ortiz (23-0, 20 KO's) will hit the scales this afternoon for the official weigh-in at the Convention Center, Seneca, Onondaga and Cayuga Rooms at Turning Stone Resort Casino at 1PM ET ahead of their 12-round heavyweight title bout.

During the final presser Ortiz told the media that: "I am a man of few words and will let my hands do the talking."
"I have worked very hard to be here, and I will not waste this opportunity. We will see on Saturday who is the best." says Ortiz.

Meanwhile, Jennings told that: "Preparation went as planned" and that "there will be no surprises on Saturday."

Let's take a look at the fighters once again during the weigh-in and see how the fight will look like as they flex their battle ready arms.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Watch: Luiz Ortiz highlights



Jennings vs. Ortiz is a 12-round heavyweight bout fight for the heavyweight title on HBO Boxing After Dark telecast begins live at 10:15 p.m. ET/PT at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, New York on Saturday night.

Roy Jones Jr.: The end of an era…hopefully

On Saturday night, the great Roy Jones Jr. (62-9) was the recipient of one of the most brutal knockouts of his career against Cruiserweight contender Enzo Maccarinelli (33-7). It was very sad watching what was left of the legendary Jones in the ring that night. An overweight Jones was standing straight up, holding his hands low, while trading punches with the much bigger Maccarinelli. According to the commentators, Jones was doing the old “rope-a-dope” tactic, shooting straight rights and left hooks while being pinned against the ropes. In reality, Jones’ body is so broken down that he could no longer move laterally. His knees are shot from taking the abuse he withstood from his father.

As an amateur, Jones Sr. used to make his son run ten miles a day in the streets of Pensacola, Florida. If Jones was the last kid to come back from doing his road work, he paid a heavy price through physical abuse. Because of the condition of his knees, running is no longer an option to get in shape for fights at this stage of his career. Due to Jones’ deteriorating knees, his legs were so straight in his last fight that it appeared he was fighting on stilts. A boxer cannot punch effectively or get out-of-the-way of punches if his legs are not able to able to bend or function properly.

Jones was knocked out with a right uppercut to the head and a vicious right hook to the temple. The heavy blows dropped Jones like a ton of bricks, flat on his stomach. Eventually, he rolled over on his back, eyes closed, with slight movement to his legs. However, his legs looked as if he was having involuntary leg spasms. It was a sight seen way too often in the hall of fame career of the great Jones. The jerky movement was eerily familiar to when Jones was knocked out cold by Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson in 2004. Most fighters would have walked away from boxing after sustaining such traumatic knockouts. Jones has had 21 additional professional fights since.

Jones has fallen victim to staying in one of the most unforgiving sports on the planet far beyond what he should have. I have seen the rise and fall all too often in World Champions. World Champions such as Julio Cesar Chavez, Oscar De Lay Hoya, Evander Holyfield, Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson, and the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, it is very rare to see a fighter go out on top like Lennox Lewis or Joe Calzaghe. It is even more rare to see an old fighter such as George Foreman and Bernard Hopkins succeed in the twilight of their career.

Growing up I was in awe of the Jones. The speed, quickness, and power was unlike anyone I have seen put on a pair of boxing gloves. Jones dominated the 90s, and it seemed like there was no one worthy of challenging him. Boxing pundits used to say that Jones fought in the wrong era of boxing due to the lack of competition. It was unheard of for a man to go from winning the middleweight championship of the world, to winning the heavyweight championship of the world, along with every world title in between. Every title except, the Cruiserweight title.

In a very touching article written by Brin-Jonathan Butler, Jones was asked when enough was enough regarding his accomplishments in the ring. Jones said,”Cruiserweight title. Nobody in history has won all the titles I’ve won and the cruiserweight title. I’d be the only man in history. That’s when you die and go to heaven, and God can look at you and know you did everything with the gifts he gave you. If I died today, could I really say that? If I stopped fighting, could I live the rest of my life knowing I didn’t do everything I was put here to do?”

Jones should have went out on top in 2003 when he defeated Heavyweight Champion John Ruiz. I remember seeing how fast he worked the jab against Ruiz. The speed of his hands and feet was a work of art. Ruiz couldn’t touch the man. When Jones won that fight, he cemented his legacy in boxing. But like many boxers, he was lured back into the sport. He then felt his accomplishments were not enough.

I hope Jones will not be remembered as the man who stayed in the ring way too long, lying unconscious on the canvas. Budd Schulberg wrote, “Old fighters don’t fade away. They slowly die in front of our eyes.” I’m tired of seeing Jones die in front of my eyes along with everyone else that is close to him. In 2006 Jones, made his rap debut with, “Ya’ll must have forgot,” reminding the public of all of his accomplishments in the ring. One thing is for sure. I do not think I will ever forget.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Anthony Joshua knocks out Dillian Whyte in Round 7

Joshua went beyond round two for the first time in his career and Whyte was able to expose some vulnerability of his game during their heavyweight clash at the O2 Arena in London, the United Kingdom on Sky Box Office.


Joshua stopped Whyte in Round 7 to continue his 15 consecutive victories, which is all by way of stoppage. Joshua landed a hard counter right hand that wobbled Whyte. He followed up with a hard uppercut that sent Whyte to the canvass causing referee Howard John Foster to stop the fight at 1:27 in Round 7.

In the first round, Joshua was in control of the fight and hurt Whyte few seconds left in the first round. I thought it would be another walk in the park for Joshua. But Whyte managed to hang on. Out of excitement to finish Whyte early, Joshua unintentionally threw few more punches after the bell. It did not go well on Whyte, and he retaliated by throwing a couple of punches while the referee tried to separate them. This made each camp's entourage come up in the ring. The extra commotion benefited Whyte as he got more time to recover from the flush shot that hurt him in the previous round.

In the second and third rounds, Whyte was able to hurt Joshua. His confidence grew a little bit as he tries now to step his offense a little bit up. But Joshua was obviously still in control of the pace of the fight as he landed a more telling blow that limited Whyte to mount or even build his attack rhythm.

In the seventh, Joshua landed a hard counter that hurt Whyte. After sensing Whyte's in trouble, Joshua followed up with few more punches and then caught the retreating rival with a vicious uppercut that sent Whyte to the canvass for good.

Although, still a knockout victory for Joshua, many have been quick to criticize his performance. A Twitter fan says that "David Haye whatever his condition will beat Joshua".

It could be true, but one thing for sure is that Joshua really learned something in this fight, and I expect few improvements from his game the next time he steps up into the ring.

Read: Nonito Donaire's message following grueling battle against Cesar Juarez


Following Nonito Donaire's decisive but hard-earned battle against Mexico's Cesar Juarez, "The Filipino Flash" went to Facebook to thank his fans, supporters, family and God.


Here's the full message:

THANK YOU to God for allowing me to bring back the belt to Philippines!

Thank you to my Angels for their protection.

Thank you to my TEAM who kept me in my game and training me mentally, physically, spiritually for this fight.

To my loving family for all their sacrifice and love...

To the BEST manager in the game Cameron Dunkin for looking out for me.

To Top Rank for the title opportunity...

To Motolite for continuing to believe in me.

To Mizuno for always styling us out.

To ABSCBN for always showing my fights.

To the island of Puerto Rico for welcoming as their own..

And finally to all my fans for always supporting me and never giving up on me.

My words cannot express my gratitude.

Mabuhay Pilipinas!
THANK YOU to God for allowing me to bring back the belt to Philippines! Thank you to my Angels for their protection. ...

Posted by Nonito Donaire Jr. on Friday, December 11, 2015



 

Donaire earns a bruising decision win over Juarez in Puerto Rico

Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire (36-3, 23 KO's) displayed the skills, guts, and heart of a champion and claimed the title, once again, in the super bantamweight division, in what turned out a potential Fight of the Year candidate.


The FOTY possibility could not be achieved without the unflinching guts, grits tough as a concrete nails in Cesar Juarez. He showed what it is like to be a proud warrior. Juarez (17-4, 13 KO's) may not have sound boxing skills and experience to back it up, but his heart and relentless pressure to force Donaire to fight his game made the fight so thrilling and explosive till the end.

There's no questioning about the guts, and toughness of Juarez. He was absorbing all the best shots of Donaire. Ranging from Donaire's right straight and vaunted left hook. But oh man! Juarez is such a proud warrior willing to take it all in front of the Puerto Rican crowd in Coliseo Roberto Clemente, San Juan, Puerto Rico. However, the difference in class was very evident. Donaire's boxing skills are way above but Juarez's heart and toughness are no doubt at a much higher level.

The Fight


The first three rounds are all about Donaire. He was light on his feet, sharp-shooting the predictable Juarez.

Things got much in Donaire's favor in Round 4.

Donaire scored two knockdowns in Round 4 in what looked like a fight that would not last the distance. Looks like another short night in favor of Donaire. But Juarez brushed the cob-webs off and continued the pressure. The younger Juarez was quick to recover in less than 10 counts from the referee. Donaire, an excellent finisher, was unable to finish the work at hand.

In Round 6, some serious concern on Donaire's corner when he slipped and got up limping. It looked like something was not right on his ankle. The referee gave him time to feel his ankle. After few seconds, he continued to fight.

In Round 7, Juarez got the better out of Donaire who seemed a little bit tired. Donaire didn't get past three rounds in disposing of opponents in his last two fights. Juarez, 24, started walking Donaire, 33, towards the ropes and then pounded him there with hard shots to the head and body. But Donaire, was able to time and counter Juarez with power left hooks and right straights that wobbled Juarez several times.

In Round 9, Donaire started back to his foot and trying to box around again with his jabs. But Juarez was persistent in stalking Donaire. His only chance is when Donaire's back against the rope enabling him to land his shots.

In the championship rounds, Donaire is well ahead of the judges' scorecards. He can disengage and dance away from Juarez if he wanted to and still won on points. But obviously, his mind is willing but his feet were not, plus the unwavering pressure of Juarez. Both men ended the fight locked nose to nose and let their hands fly till the final bell.

In the end, the official scores were: 166-110, 116-110, and 117-109 all in favor of Donaire for the unanimous decision win.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Jesus Cuellar wins UD over Jonathan Oquendo

Jesus Cuellar got all three judges to nod to win a unanimous decision against Jonathan Oquendo during their featherweight title match at the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, Saturday night

The official scores were: 116-111, 116-111, and 120-107 all for Cuellar for the unanimous decision victory.

Oquendo was down in Round 4 on what seemed like he tangled his leg against Cuellar in that sequence and fell hard head-first to the canvas.

Cuellar improved to 28 wins, 1 defeat, 21 wins via knockout while Oquendo added another loss to his ledger, 26 wins, 5 defeats, 16 wins via knockout.

Creed: This generation's Rocky Balboa

 On Thanksgiving day, the premiere of Creed debuted in theaters across the country. Directed by Ryan Coogler, the spin off to the Rocky series is the story of Adonis Johnson, the son of Apollo Creed. Creed was the Heavyweight Champion of the world, and Rocky’s nemesis, in the original Rocky. In the later sequels, Apollo became Rocky’s trainer and close friend.

Prior to fighting Ivan Drago in Rocky 4, Apollo had an affair with a woman who later gave birth to Johnson. Apollo was killed in the ring by Drago and never got to meet Johnson. Years later, while Johnson was in custody at juvenile hall, Mary Anne Creed (Apollo’s wife) reveals to Johnson that Apollo Creed is his father. It is unknown who Johnson’s real mother is. Mary Anne offers to have Johnson move in with her instead of going from group home to group home. Johnson agrees. Johnson eventually decides to become a professional boxer under the tutelage of the "Italian Stallion” Rocky Balboa.

Prior to watching this movie, I read article after article about how fantastic the movie is. I read that Johnson’s character, Michael B. Jordan, did an excellent job. I read the movie should be a franchise of its own and an Oscar may be a possibility. Being one of the biggest Rocky fans in the world, I did not know what to expect. Was it going to embarrass one of the greatest underdog stories of all time? Did the Rocky character have to be resurrected once again after the disappointing Rocky 5 and the entertaining but so so "Rocky Balboa" movie? Was Creed going to run the franchise into the ground? Let’s just say, I was very much pleasantly surprised.

The movie had its definite share of nostalgia of the original Rocky movie. Johnson is seen running through the Italian market where Rocky ran in the first two Rocky movies. Johnson is also seen working out in the vintage Mighty Mick’s boxing gym where Rocky spent countless hours being trained by Mickey Goldmill. Mighty Mick’s is also the location of where Apollo and Rocky had a secret trilogy match up. Rocky finally reveals who won that third fight in Creed. And last but not least, Johnson is seen visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art where Rocky ran up “the steps.” The museum is also where the famous Rocky statue sits. But the freshness Creed brought was unexpected and a breath of fresh air.

The hip hop and R&B influence was very apparent. The street slang, the music, and style of dress showed a different side of the Rocky franchise. Creed also showed a different kind of love story never before seen in previous Rocky movies. The dialogue between Johnson and his love interest, Bianca, played by Tessa Thompson, was genuine and original. Both characters had dreams and goals and later supported one another in their endeavors. Their story simply did not focus on what Johnson wanted to achieve in boxing and in life. It was new and refreshing to see.

I was happy to once again see the great Sylvester Stallone play Rocky’s character on the big screen. To see the innocence, inspiring, and heart of gold of the man who has been a part of American culture since 1976 was an absolute joy. But there was something different this time around about the indestructible fighter who took blow after blow and kept coming that we have grown accustomed to seeing over the years.There is no more fight at the end with Rocky being the triumphant champ with the crowd cheering “Rocky! Rocky!” This is not Rocky’s story. It is Johnson’s story. Rocky has officially passed the torch. Rocky’s time has officially passed, as he shows his age and fragility. Rocky is now Mickey, the trainer helping his fighter defeat his opponent in the ring. It was something that was inevitable. Although I have to admit, it was a little sad to see unfold before my eyes. But like life itself, the show must go on…

Creed portrayed one of the very best boxing sequences I have ever seen in Hollywood. The boxing choreography was excellent. It was not pure give and take, brawling, and blood and guts. Was there blood? Was there give and take, tit for tat, and exaggerated punching sequences? Absolutely! But the defense, counter shots, shoulder roll, and combination punching to the head and body was unlike any other I have seen on the big screen. Kudos to you Ryan Coogler!

The training camp in the film was also very impressive. The bag work, the shadow boxing, the sparring, and the mitt work appeared very real. It did not show some hodge podge actor holding punching mitts like he just got off the couch and walked into a boxing gym. Mitt holding is a skill in itself. The training camp showed the assistant boxing trainer as someone who has been around the sport for a long time. It was also very apparent Michael B. Jordan put in an immense amount of work in the gym to do the character justice.

I’m ecstatic that Creed made the Rocky franchise proud. I’m excited the birth of a new underdog trying to prove his worth has arrived and that boxing continues to be an avenue to tell inspiring stories. I am excited that the Rocky Balboa spirit continues to live on for generations to come. Ladies and gentlemen there’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Adonis “Hollywood” Johnson.