Tuesday, November 30, 2010

CraigFails 2.0

I received her phone call around 4:30 that Friday. Although she always exuded poise and grace, to me her voice just oozed sexuality.

“Hey, how about we get a couple of drinks after work?”

Being completely infatuated with her, I was always keen to hang out but could obviously never let her know that, for we had been friends for a while however this friendship was only something born from my fear of revealing my true motive. You know how it is, people only seem to strategically reveal enough that doesn’t give away their whole hand. And although I tend to be more straight up, I knew that straight turning her inside out was part of my destiny.

I manage to convince my colleague, Asif, who is also an acquaintance of hers, to come with. Work strangely finishes early and together with another colleague, Paul, we start to walk downtown. Both Asif and I are grilling Paul about some girl he is trying to p0wn. I must admit, hearing the civilised desires of my contemporaries only make me realise just how clandestine my own should remain.

This conversation then becomes a joke about how badly I’ve been busting my ass with this girl. Nine months of ‘friendship’ isn’t exactly the result I desire, usually most women have been regretting sleeping with me for 8 months by now. In fact, the whole affair has made me feel ineffectual. More like a spectator than a competitor. A snake without venom is just a belt.

I change the tack of the conversation onto something more mundane;

Craig: You guys see that show ‘River Monsters’? It’s crazy how most of the biggest freshwater fish in the world are some variety of catfish
Asif: Yeah! Last week the dude went to India caught this massive fish. A “Goonch” or something..
Paul: I saw that
Asif: Bro…fuck those things are ugly
Craig: What? You mean Indians??

Asif (who is Indian) gives me a knowing glance. He is conscious that I am joking, however unappreciated it may be, and knows full well that, with every burn, the portrait in my attic becomes a little more decrepit. Paul receives a phone call from his slam piece and boards the nearest bus. You can’t really hate on someone for bailing on drinks to get ass. Respect the game.

We meet her and some of her colleagues at the bar, which is unfortunately more club/bar than bar/club and includes vacuous clientele with even more vacuous music. If I ever met a ‘cultured’ woman I would marry her in an instant. But no, although oceans are deep most are too caught up in their reflection on the surface.

Now, I have totally resigned myself to the fact that it will never happen, so I generally now fill the time I spend with her enjoying her company and waxing lyrical. This night is no different and our playful banter is filled with me busting her chops. The goofy laugh, her total lack of co-ordination, the ‘real’ fragments of who is she is that shine through the mask we all put on. Perception and reality seldom reconcile and it’s those little moments that provides each dynamic, be it platonic or romantic, with the greatest intimacy.

I join her and Asif at a table inside where the latter makes another crack regarding my fruitless efforts. She seems strangely offended and I try to diffuse this by reasserting that the joke was at my expense. Suddenly she wants to talk to me and we move outside. Seated, she tells that she is indeed attracted to me and it’s a shame that I will be moving cities (which was the plan at the time) as she would have liked to see where things could go. Flattered, but kinda confused, I express my own attraction to her and echo her sentiments regarding my prospective change in environs.

One of the journeys in life is to find out what you want to do but at the moment all I know is that I want her. God I want her. To me, she totally embodies what Kerouac wrote about the people he wanted and how they must burn, “like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars”. I wish I could be her world. I wish I was one of the reasons that she would smile and light up the room. I wish we would wake up in the morning and she would look at me with half opened eyes and bed hair then roll into my arms for another hour of sleep.

We rejoin the group for another drink, which goes fairly quickly, and she queries me whether I could come with her and drive her car back to her apartment, as she is too drunk, and then we can just walk back to the bar. It all sounds kosher, she is certainly in no state to drive and, hell, you can always bank on Craig. After dropping off some of her colleagues at the casino, we are on the way back to her apartment when she suggests that we “stop and get some alcohol”.

Craig finally clicks.

Feeling a renewed sense of purpose, I dash from the car and get a dozen beers. I definitely have enough ‘bad ass’ to finish another box. At her apartment, I start chewing through the drinks. Just chewin’ ‘em. In fact, I am on a mission to have the drunkest sex (which is always the best kind) I could ever have. For I had dedicated some time to her and the conclusion was not gonna be short lived. I am going to destroy her.

We sit on the couch, all the while I am still throwin’ ‘em back, and she pulls out some book. “Time Magazines Photos of the World” or something. It’s a sloppy pretence for what is ultimately gonna be a sloppy act. She starts thumbing through the pages and commenting on each. A sly smile is spreading across my face, for I know what she is trying to do. You thought you were sneaky, didn’t you girl? I have laid so many of these traps before, I wonder if they all seem so contrived? Regardless….

I am so fucking ready.

The anticipation is rising. After years of whamming, bamming and thank you mamming I had dedicated almost three quarters of a year to someone who I thought unattainable. I know this feeling well, I used to get it popping receivers looking inside too hard after cutting on a post route or hitting someone just after they turned after catching a hook. Now, with football behind me, the only contact I am currently getting is being chaffed by my zipper.

Sensing that she wants to kiss me, I jump the route. Shocks of electricity run through my body, bringing forth life and enough passion to power a small city. She is a lot more forceful than expected which could only mean her own desires have been as strong as my own. All of a sudden the electricity hits me again. No…wait a minute, it’s my phone.

Craig hurried and unneccessarily loudly: HELLO!?!
Andy: Craig, what’s up man? Are you going to be out and about tonight?

Damn…that’s right, I really didn’t expect to be in this position and had made ‘later’ plans. Which is kind of sad really, I was already at the acceptance stage of my own rejection.

Craig: Hey man, can I talk to you tomorrow? I can’t explain right now..
Andy: You don’t need to say anything more

Yes. Understanding - the mark of true friends.

We continue to kiss on the couch, I am quite happy to take this thing as slowly as possible. This was the culmination of almost nine months of work and I want to slowly bath in her passion for as long as time will allow. That and, well, I’m not really too sure on her protocol. For she struck me as having strong morals and therefore this may not go any further on the first night. Her hands unbuttoning my pants tell me otherwise. Dirty bitch! She grabs my hand and leads me to her room.

The train is about to leave the station. It’s destination? Pound Town. Stab City. Craigtropolis.

Her room looks too sanitary for what I am about to do in it. Thankfully, I have a couple of drinks with me. One goes down quickly leaving the cup still half full (I’m an optomist!). Never have I been more mentally prepared for something and I just want to spray it all over her like a tube of toothpaste that has been hit with a hammer. I put my drink next to the bed (for easy access) before stepping towards her and kissing her passionately. I throw her to the bed and position myself in her guard. Passion surging through my body and she attempts to remove my polo shirt. I do and am reminded that I need to:

1. Shave my chest
2. Shave my balls
3. Do more cardio

Both of our clothes then seem to dissipate into the ether. I take a moment to observe her body. Smooth caramel skin gives vibe to luscious curves. Beautiful lips that shape beautiful words. A goddess, she is why cavemen painted on walls. She whispers in my ear;

“I’ve always fantasised about you”

My mind works furiously to isolate what exactly these fantasies would entail;

Me getting stoned and eating a whole pizza?
Being covered in sweat after furious exercise?
Hunched over a computer speculating on the world boxing scene?

This moment of thought allows me the time to demolish my last drink. You should always hydrate before anything strenuous. This final push has now made me a rolling mess and I am thankful that I won’t need all my co-ordination. We go at it and I am giving all I have, all the built up frustration and passion are harnessed and exerted in a universe where time has no bearing. At least that is what my body is telling me as even although hours have fallen off the clock and I'm covered in sweat, I still surge. She suggests that we flip this thing over however, as I lay down, the room starts spinning. She mounts me and begins to go to work but ceases suddenly and looks at me aghast;

“Are you alright? You look like you need to throw up??”

I respond affirmatively and, without time to make it to the bathroom, I am led out to the front porch. As I reach the sliding door I can feel it rising and cover my mouth with my hand in order to keep the vom as discrete as possible. This does little to suppress the flow though and, one step outside the house, the vomit explodes out of my mouth, ricocheting off my hand back on to my face, my naked body, my still erect-ness.

She rinses me off with the water from her water bottle and I am given a minute to collect myself. After showering, I feel a lot better and make my way back to her room. Now, you would think my chances of resuming action were fairly dire no? Defying the odds, Craig goes back to his maximum smoothness.

I awake sometime mid-morning. The room has all the marks of something ugly; condom wrappers, empty bottles, strewn clothes and the reality of what happened hits. We speak and, obviously being fairly embarrassed, I try to make light of the situation. She counters angrily,

“Craig – you had vomit on your PENIS!!”

I Am Legend.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Supremacy 7

Original can be found here

Fighting for the glory, the title and possibly even New Zealand pride, "Hot" Rod MacSwain (Strikeforce) got cage-bound with top Australian fighter Ian "Hitman" Bone (Body Torque) for the South Pacific Welterweight Title. Already one of the brightest stars on the New Zealand MMA stage, albeit a savagely competent and skilled one, MacSwain's name got a lot brighter with his victory over Bone at Supremacy 7.

Proving that you don't need to lose any blood to win an MMA fight, MacSwain forced the win in the first round with an armbar submission that seemed to infuriate the Australian. But there was nothing he could do, and the belt was strapped around MacSwain's middle with a flourish that set the crowd alight at the YMCA Stadium in Auckland.

Fighting top matches here at home, and across the Tasman in Australia, is one thing, but all signs point to a fight in Hong Kong for "Hot" Rod early next year. After that? Well, UFC doesn't seem unlikely if this bright young star keeps rising.

With Strikeforce onboard it was a good bet that the event would feature some of the best young fighters around. And they didn't disappoint. Well-matched fighters came together to choke, strike, punch, kick and submit to each other in true MMA style; adding another surge of energy to the building wave of MMA popularity that was captured by Sky Sport on the night.

Sam "Striker" Brown (Strikeforce) is another fighter riding that MMA wave. In defence of his NZ Heavyweight title, Brown struck down another challenger to his crown in a three round battle that also gave his opponent, Marc Creedy (Fightshop NZ), his due. Creedy gave as good as he got, but was put out by the referee as he struggled under the final assault.

If you weren't fortunate enough to hear the slap of connecting fists, feel the glare of the sodium lights, catch a glimpse of the stunning ring girls, or smell the sharp metallic scent of victory, then watch out for Sky Sport's coverage of Supremacy 7 early next year.

Of course if you can't wait that long, get the whole blow-by-blow report from our cage-side reporter Craig Bailey:

Antz Moala (Strikeforce) vs Rob Baxter (FightShop NZ)

Much of the opening round is spent on the ground. Baxter mounts Moala, but finds himself in a guillotine and has to struggle and slam his way free. He shoots on Moala, and is caught in another guillotine in the second, but escapes and manages to control the top position with his ground and pound. Both fighters seem intent on keeping it on the ground during the third, and Moala secures Baxter's back. Baxter is able to spin, and reverts back to pounding on Moala from the mount as well as attempting to finish Moala via submission.

Rob Baxter won by unanimous decision.


Spida Hunter (GroundWorx BJJ) vs Daniel Brady (Hibiscus MMA)

Brady comes out fast, but is taken down by a clinch. Hunter manages to pass guard and begins to rain down strikes from the mount position. After a sustained barrage, Brady has had enough and taps out.

Spida Hunter won by submission (strikes) in Round 1.


Jason Walker (Douglas BJJ) vs Vaughn Antonio (FightShop NZ)

They go to ground with Walker inside half guard. He is able to pass to side control, then mount, where he works his ground and pound. Walker is unleashing vicious punches and, although Antonio attempts to roll, he is not defending himself intelligently and the referee is forced to stop the contest.

Jason Walker won by TKO (strikes) in Round 1.


Forrest Goodwin (Strikeforce) vs Peter Clinch (FiGi Training/Honey Badgers MMA)

Clinch shoots early and manages a single leg takedown. From inside guard he attempts a choke, but Goodwin escapes and ends up on top where he fails to lock in a kimura. Both show very technical jiu-jitsu in jockeying for position. Clinch opens the second with another single leg takedown and the jiu-jitsu is marked by strategy. Clinch seems to be in dominant positions more, and he is able to get back control on Goodwin. From here he locks in a rear naked choke, and Goodwin taps.

Peter Clinch won by submission (rear naked choke) in Round 2.


Kaiwhare Kara-France (Strikeforce) vs Ray Karaitiana (Syndikit MMA)

Both are cautious early and the exchanges are evenly contested. Kara-France steps inside and uncorks a flurry of punches which have Karaitiana's back to the cage. Kara-France takes him down briefly before landing a hard head kick followed up by a flush punch, both of which appear to rock Karaitiana badly. Smelling blood, Kara-France swarms Karaitiana on the ground, and the referee stops the fight to prevent Karaitiana taking any more punishment.

Kaiwhare Kara-France won by TKO (strikes) in Round 1.


Mitch MacKay (FiGi Training/Honey Badgers MMA) vs Bjorn Reirson (FightShop NZ)

MacKay seems intent on taking the fight to ground and lands a takedown. Reirson attempts an armbar early; however, he is slammed to the mat by the pressing MacKay. MacKay shows his superior jiu-jitsu as he easily mounts Reirson, gets his back, and applies a rear naked choke before his opponent taps out.

Mitch MacKay won by submission (rear naked choke) in Round 1.


Roman Hunt (Strikeforce) vs Luke Jumeau (Incorporated Martial Arts)

Both exchange takedowns in the early goings, however, it is Hunt who ends up in Jumeau's guard. Jumeau attempts an armbar, but Hunt breaks free and is dropping shots from inside guard. He passes to side control, and Jumeau continues to look for submissions from his back. Hunt scores a couple of takedowns at the beginning of the second but, from guard, Jumeau locks in a tight triangle choke. As tough as he is, Hunt just can't escape the vice-like grip as the life is slowly squeezed out of him. Unable to hang on any longer, Hunt eventually taps.

Luke Jumeau won by submission (triangle choke) in Round 2.


Cole Davids (Strikeforce) vs Rob Joyce (FightShop NZ)

Davids comes out aggressively trying to land. He takes Joyce down and lands in his guard. Davids is really coming on strong with his vicious ground and pound game. He manages to posture up and drops sledgehammer right hands until the referee steps in to stop it.

Cole Davids won by TKO (punches) in Round 1.


NZ Heavyweight Title Fight
Sam Brown (Strikeforce) vs Marc Creedy (Fightshop NZ)

Champion Brown starts the bout letting go of his dynamite hands. Creedy, who only took the fight on short notice, looks to clinch early and pushes Brown up against the cage. However, he is unable to accomplish much from this position, other than not giving Brown enough room to punch. At the start of the second round, Brown drives Creedy across the ring and dumps him on his back. The champion works some ground and pound, before passing to half guard then mount. Creedy does well to escape, and reverts back to pushing Brown up against the cage. They begin to trade on their feet and Brown lands a hard jab and right hand. Creedy connects with a huge overhand right at the start of the third, but he is taken down and being mauled on the ground. Brown is just wailing on him from the top position, and the referee has seen enough.

Sam Brown won by TKO (strikes) in Round 3.


South Pacific Welterweight Title Fight
Rod MacSwain (Strikeforce) vs Ian "Hitman" Bone (Body Torque)

The feature bout of the night saw NZ champion "Hot" Rod MacSwain take on Australian and Rize Champion, Ian "Hitman" Bone. The well-muscled Bone lands a takedown early in the opening stanza. MacSwain manages to sweep, where he finds himself on top and attempts an armbar. Bone gives up his back briefly, before swivelling into Macswain's guard. He appears to be in control of the bout as he uses his ground and pound, until MacSwain is able to trap him in an armbar and torque Bone's limb until he can't take the pain and taps out.

Rod MacSwain won by submission (armbar) in Round 1.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Typhoon 14 - Lighting 6

Lightning punch far below their weight in Typhoon loss

Like women I meet in a bar, Blockhouse Bay Reserve seemed to become both hot and wet with my arrival. After totally bailing early last week, this was to be my first full “Lightnings” experience and it felt strangely foreign, and exciting. Kind of like The Stranger. I knew that, after a thumping at the hands of the Lions in the opening week, the Lightning would be keen to exact revenge on the brand new Waitakere Typhoon.

They were to get a shock however as, on only their second offensive play, a Typhoons receiver scorches the Lightning secondary in completing a 75 yard pass for a score (2 point conversion no good). Early on, dreamboat quarterback Johnny Johnson and his receivers can’t find rhythm as balls are dropped or overthrown. Tailback Siliva Ugapo is surgical in slicing through the line and provides much needed go forward in the early goings. At the start of the second quarter, juggernaut fullback Ojay Edwards lays waste to multiple Typhoon defenders before losing possession. The Typhoon’s spread offense is clearly out to ask questions of the Lightning defensive backs however the defense is hungry for blood and players frenzy to get a piece of the ball carrier like beasts to a carcass. And like any kind of hierarchical pack, leaders Wes Manao, Zac Timo and Starsky Maiava are always out to feed first. The ensuing Lightning drive is stuttering but receives life in the form of Typhoon indiscipline. Unfortunately, they are unable to execute and Ali Juddery is once again back to kick. Not even a misfiring offense can quell the fire in the defense and Timo slices through the line to make a big sack on third down.

It’s late in the second quarter and Ugapo is back on the dance floor doing old moves (to quote 50 Cent) and keep the ball rolling while receiver Ali Tillbrook brings in a couple of passes which moves the chains. Typhoon penalties further the Lightnings cause another 30 yards before receiver Shiraz Soya lays out beautifully to collect a 20 yard Johnson pass and put the offense within striking distance. On the very next play, Soysa again brings in a pass and has the goal line in sight before blowing his load early and fumbling the ball through the endzone. The first half ends with the Lightning ruing missed opportunities. On too many occasions, balls were dropped or overthrown, blocks unsecured and possession lost in what are base fundamentals of the sport. I’m certain Coach Jim Hunter has plenty to say during the break and a quick look over to the Lightning girlfriends momentarily makes me think of The Stranger again.

The second half begins with some great defense and special teams play from Maiava, Edwards manages to rumble for a few on the next drive before the Typhoons open up the game with their short passing. Linebacker Timo has clearly been doing both his weights AND his speed work as a huge tackle blights their attempt at a fourth down conversion. For the first time today, the Lightning offense looks relaxed and fluid as the workload is spread around. Edwards gains some hard yards up the middle, Soysa makes a long grab and Ugapo bounces outside for yards which brings puts them well into the red zone. Tillbrook evens up the game with a collection in the end zone however the 2 point conversion is no good. Short passes from the Typhoon offense open up the Lightning defense but there is just no quit in cornerback Tillbrook as he competes for every ball and disrupts the passing action that comes his way.

The score is locked at 6-6 midway through the fourth until, after a series of short passes, the Typhoon manage to run the ball in and top it off with a two point conversion. With ball in hand and the game on the line, the time for the Lightning offense is now. Johnson is unable to connect with any of his receivers as the game, and the hopes of the dozens and dozens of Lightning fans around the globe, are all but extinguished. Even though the Lightning defense has still come to fight, they are only able to give the offense 12 seconds with the ball. Johnson once again heaves the ball downfield but the pass, as well as the game, just seems to be one or two steps out of reach.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

King of the Door 2 Final

Original can be found here

Needing only technical analysis, I only wrote for the final......

he final is upon us. The gods seem to be momentarily appeased, with sacrifices complete and 12 bodies broken before them. Two warriors still stand to compete for the prize. This night has been absolutely grueling for the competitors as all gladiators prayed for that ‘thumbs down' gesture from the crowd. Although the action has been short lived, the intensity of each bout made it seem like an age. And now here we were, at the point when those that have that extra gear are crowned champions among (door)men. The crowd is at a fever pitch as these two titans stare the other down before their ultimate battle. Moments before the bell, the air is so thick with anticipation that the crowd can hardly breathe.

Each is seemingly programmed to bring the intensity early. Va'asa takes his opponent down; however, Lenui's grappling is strong and he ends up in side control, where he exerts his ground and pound. Lenui is able to keep the fight standing up during the second. Exchanges are hard and both modern day gladiators drive the other on, aiming to test their resolve, their mettle and their will. The power in Lenui's hands seems to be a factor, however, as he is getting the best of the exchanges and landing the harder single shots.

Once in the third round, his energy seems to surge out even further; he comes forward with every exchange, while Va'asa appears to be running low on gas. These positions momentarily reverse in the fourth, with Va'asa pushing the pace until Lenui starts to whip leg kicks that visibly hurt and buckle his opponent. Both are still hurling hand grenades each other.

The final round seems to bring out the champion in both as they exchange strikes with fury. Exerting relentless pressure on each other, the combatants seem caught between a rock and a hard place as neither wants to give any ground. However, it is Lenui who will not relent as he is mechanically and maniacally hunting for that big shot, right until end.

The competitors stand exhausted as the judges tally up the cards. Each has left their soul in the ring, a gift for the spectators to qualify with their applause. With the verdict in, it is Felise "Fobfather" Lenui that is crowned your winner by unanimous decision, and the newest King of the Door.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Opinion: Pacquiao - Margarito

This weekend, the best pound for pound fighter in the game (you heard me Ilai!) and current WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao takes on former welterweight champion and Eddie Guerrero doppelganger Antonio Margarito. Fighting for a vacant junior-middleweight strap (but fought at a 150 pound catchweight), this is by far the most difficult fight of their respective careers. The overwhelming favourite going in, a win for Pacquiao would only further cement his place in boxing history and, arguably, prove him to be the greatest pound for pound fighter ever. Comparatively, Margarito’s reputation as a fighter crumbled after he was found to have loaded his handwraps before his January 2009 knockout loss to Sugar Shane Mosley. If Margarito is able to upset Pacquiao, then it may lend some validity back to his career and prove that his biggest wins could possibly have been legitimate.


Manny Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs)

STRENGHTS

Pacquiao’s main weapon in his ascent thought the weight divisions has been his speed. It magnifies his power and, by using his great footwork, he creates angles where his opponents either don’t expect to be hit from or simply can’t do enough to stop it. We only need to look at his sustained beat down of Miguel Cotto to see that, although he was the smaller fighter, he was still the one coming forward and appeared stronger throughout. Margarito has trouble with guys who can box and move, as shown in the first half of his bouts with Paul Williams and Cotto. Albeit, “The Punisher” is much taller, which would make boxing easier, however Pacquiao is twice as fast with far better footwork. And, although Pacquiao began as a pure puncher, under the tutelage of Freddie Roach, his boxing skills are very well rounded.

On top of his speed, Pac’s stamina makes him an absolute buzzsaw who fights just as furiously in the last round as he did in the opening. He is straight going after you son. In his last bout, against a covering Joshua Clottey, Pacquiao could have easily tapered off his attack and simply won rounds due to activity. This was not to be as “The Pac Man” threw over 1,200 punches endlessly trying to get him out of there.

Pacquiao also has the greater activity of late, fighting three guys (in Clottey, Cotto and Hatton) who were considered in the top five of their division at the time. In each case, he completely dominated them (especially his dicknailing of Ricky Hatton) without them so much as causing Pacquiao any type of concern.



WEAKNESSES

Since being voted into a congressman in his native Philippines, Pacquiao has had to try and balance his responsibilities as a statesman with his career as a professional fighter. A lot of the talk coming directly out of the Pacquiao camp, is that Pacquiao has been distracted and not looking nearly in the form that he exhibited in previous camps.

Even though Pacquiao performed admirably against a large welter in the form of Joshua Clottey and stopped Oscar De La Hoya, he still hasn’t had anyone of size that brings the fight to him. This is EXACTLY what Margarito will do and we really haven’t seen Pacquiao have to fight going backwards in, well, as long as anyone can remember.

Compounding this is the fact that Pacquiao has never fought at a weight as high as 150, which is a lot of have to pack on a 5’6 ½’’ frame. So we don’t really know what that extra weight will do to his speed. He is certainly a small welterweight and hasn’t really fought a natural welter who will bring the fight to him. Now, he is fighting a natural 154 pounder who only knows how to bring the fight to you.


Antonio “The Tijuana Tornado” Margarito (38-6, 27 KOs)

STRENGTHS

Don’t expect anything fancy from Margarito, just for him to come at you. Guys have tried to box him, guys have tried to punch him but, with exception of Sugar Shane (and that bout must be viewed with an asterisks), nobody has been effective at keeping him off. Miguel Cotto boxed well for 5 rounds before Margarito was able to walk him down and simply break his will. Let me make this clear, Margarito broke Cotto with his pressure. To the point where Cotto twice took knees in order to stop the constant barrage that he was being put under.

Margarito’s chin has also been one of the best in the business. His knockout loss to Shane Mosley (probably) also had something to do with the fact that he, before the fight, had been busted with illegal handwraps. Facing the certainty of a (possible lifetime) ban, it is more than probably than he was completely distracted. Otherwise, he has simply walked through punchers such as Cotto, Kermit Cintron and Paul Williams without being in the faintest bit of trouble. Even though Pacquiao is a great puncher, he is small compared to what Margarito has been dealing with previously.

Further to this, Margarito was a large welter who really had to cut down to make 147. Expect him to be a lot stronger at 150 and he looks to be in fantastic condition. The only real concern is that he has overtrained for the bout.


WEAKNESSES

A slow starter, Margarito has been known to give away the first half of the fights before his punch output accelerates. In the first round of the Cotto fight, Margarito threw 57 punches. By the ninth, he was throwing about 100 punches per round (including an incredible 130 shots in the seventh). He also holds the compubox record for punches thrown with 1,675 against Joshua Clotty but, as Shane Mosley has shown, if you attack him early (and to the body) you have a chance of getting him out of there.


Margarito has the hand and foot speed of an Egyptian mummy. He isn’t about to box you, will stand right in front of you and he should have a massive problem against a guy who has respectable power and can keep him on the move. It must also be noted that Margarito telegraphs his punches and anyone who can move effectively with decent hand speed, SHOULD be able to win the exchange before the “Tijuana Tornado” has even uncorked a shot.

Going back to the handwrap scandal, we must also speculate that this was a strategy employed by Margarito for the entirety of his career. Certainly, what he did to Cotto was inhuman and only adds fuel to the fire as well as the fact the Margarito seems to get stronger (as the plaster hardens) as the fight progresses. At this point, it is difficult to give Margarito credit for any of the wins he has accumulated and this fight will be the ultimate litmus test. The subsequent long layoff, due to suspension, should factor as Margarito has only one fight in close to two years in looking relatively unimpressve against C-list opposition Robert Garcia. This ring rust could be disastrous, as Pacquiao is likely to start fast and not let up.



PREDICTION

My early draft of this read ‘Margarito KO’, and this is hard to deny. He is bigger, stronger, in shape and seemingly impossible for a guy Pacquiao’s size to keep off. BUT, much of Margarito’s career has been tarnished by the handwrap scandal – which looks to be a completely logical explanation for his performances. Even though Margarito is in shape, it is entirely possible that he has overtrained (and Manny has undertrained). Pacquiao should be able to pile up points early, move his way around the ring and use his hand speed to offset the oncoming pressure from Margarito (which will be great in the later rounds) on his way to a clear decision win.

Pacquiao UD.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Last Man Standing 2

Original can be found here

I've always been very wary of sequels as, with the exception of the Godfather, they don't even come close to topping the original. This wasn't the case with Last Man Standing, however, as sponsors Lurkers Entertainment, DC Entertainment, JFC and NZ Pure put on a rip roaring show for the near capacity crowd. This would be my third Lurkers event, with each becoming more entertaining and more well-oiled than its predecessor. Host-with-the-most and birthday celebrant Puka Lynn would tonight be showcasing four professional fights and a women's bout, as well as the 8-man Last Man Standing tournament. A $5,000 cheque hung enormous over the ring, aimed to inspire the tournament contestants. And although I had satisfied my hunger for sustenance with press beer and press ham (which isn't the same as pressed ham so I'm told), my hunger for combat was still unabated.

As an appetizer, towering guitar virtuoso Kara Gordon kicked us off with incendiary fretwork that took us on a sonic journey through blues licks, classical and flamenco runs - plus some of the finest riffs ever lent to hard rock and heavy metal.

Cahla McKenzie squared off against Rachel Atkins in the women's boxing feature and opener. It was a rare sight, with both contestants seeming more suited to having guys fight over them rather than between themselves. The ring card boy looked divine (and was undoubtedly bikini zone waxed); however, it seemed like he was in for a short night as McKenzie came out winging hard hooks. She applied relentless pressure, and a monster right hand rocked Atkins to the point where the referee was forced to step in.

In the first Last Man Standing tournament bout, Dom Tepu used his timing and right hand to take a clear decision over Matt Ahern.

Immediately following, southpaw Ryan Atkins showcased his southpaw style and strength on his way to scoring two knockdowns (however only one was counted), and winning a unanimous decision over Arnoldus Buis.

The third Last Man Standing preliminary bout pitched Craig Thompson against Turner Ormsby. This was a difficult fight to score, however, Ormsby's pressure prevailed over Thompson's defensive nous and counterpunching, in the eyes of the judges.

The last of the preliminary Last Man Standing bouts was fought between Joseph Hill and Fredrick Kei. The smaller Kei did a good job of giving Hill angles and closing the distance, but it was Hill who landed the harder, cleaner punches.

The first professional bout on the card saw experienced amateur John Leighton dive into the pro game against Ben Villi. Leighton fought an extremely intelligent fight by using his height, taking advantage of openings and mounting a crippling body attack. He was simply a puzzle that Villi couldn't work out, becoming more confident as the bout progressed and being awarded a clear unanimous decision at the final bell.

The semifinal Last Man Standing bouts then began, with Ryan Atkins outlasting a stern challenge from Dom Tepu. Tepu came out aggressive in the opening round, but appeared to gas early in the second. Atkins' left hand then took over as he was able to consistently beat Tepu to the punch on his way to booking his place in the final.

Tuner Ormsby once again put on a display of pressure against Joseph Hill. Hill appeared to have his moments during the third round, and was hurt badly, but Ormsby couldn't close the show. This set up a southpaw versus pressure fighter final that wet the lips of all attending.

World ranked cruiserweight Soulan Pownceby put an absolute beating on Fale Siaola over four rounds. The granite-chinned Siaola soaked up all the punishment Pownceby could muster, but just didn't have enough in his arsenal to be dominant. Pownceby's class won him every round.

In further cruiserweight action, prospect Robert Berridge survived an early scare to dispatch Ronan Hunt in the opening stanza. Action was toe-to-toe with an early Hunt uppercut sending Berridge to the deck. But "The Butcher" survived this, as well as being hurt badly after, and rallied hard to put Hunt on the mat three times later in the round.

In the co-headliner, Shane "Chopper" Chapman stopped Monty "The Grim Reaper" Faeau in the fourth round. Chapman's early body attack set up hard overhand rights that gradually broke Faeau's will. "The Grim Reaper" had a huge moment in the third when he was able to visibly hurt Chapman. However, the opportunity was left wanting, and Faeau couldn't answer the referees count after a three punch combination in the following round.

In a much anticipated Last Man Standing final, Ryan Atkins squared off against Turner Ormsby. Atkins did a great job of sticking and moving to offset a frustrated Ormsby's pressure. The final round provided hard exchanges as both fighter's heads were snapped back; however, it was Atkins who prevailed with a majority decision win. The delight of the vocal East Auckland massive was enormous as the decision was read and one of their own became the latest Last Man Standing Champion.

-- Contact Andy Conlan to order images from specific fights on Andyconlan@gmail.com --

RESULTS

Cahla McKenzie WON by R1-KO vs Rachel Atkins

-- Last Man Standing Preliminary bouts --

Dom Tepu WON by UNANIMOUS DECISION vs beat Matt Ahern

Ryan Atkins WON by UNANIMOUS DECISION vs Arnoldus Buis

Turner Ormsby WON by MAJORITY DECISION vs Craig Thompson

Joseph Hill WON by MAJORITY DECISION vs Fredrick Kei

-- Professional bout --

John Leighton WON by UNANIMOUS DECISION vs Ben Villi

-- Last Man Standing Semi Final bouts --

Ryan Atkins WON by UNANIMOUS DECISION vs Dom Tepu

Turner Ormsby WON by MAJORITY DECISION vs Joseph Hill

-- Professional bouts --

Soulon Pownceby WON by UNANIMOUS DECISION vs Fale Siaola

Robert Berridge WON by R1-KO vs Roman Hunt

Shane Chapman WON by R4-KO vs Monty Faeau

-- Last Man Standing Final --

Ryan Atkins WON by MAJORITY DECISION vs Turner Ormsby

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Old and New Normal

The Global Financial Crisis has ushered in huge changes in the global economy which will impact everyone from individuals to governments. The financial world will never be the same as policy makers will attempt to stem disproportionate growth. The following is an overview of the ‘Old Normal’ (the world before the Global Financial Crisis) and the projected ‘New Normal’.



The Old Normal


The Old Normal has existed since WWII and accelerated dramatically over the last 25 years. Greed was allowed to run rampant, the winner took everything and consumers looked to maximize their position.


  • Easy credit enabled spending and production above our means, the growth of money accelerates economic growth.

  • Asset (like housing) values continually inflated enabling more credit.

  • Free Trade, fueled by Comparative Advantage (a countries ability to produce a product with the highest relative efficiency given all the other products that could be produced).

  • Massive population growth fueling economic growth and rising real (read: inflation adjusted) incomes.

  • Governments got bigger as a consequence of free market activity which was becoming more deregulated (less rules).



Obviously the party was never going to last forever and, although we have had mini-recessions since (stock market crash etc), nothing has hit the global economy this hard since the Great Depression. Economists have predicted what some of the major features of the ‘New Normal’ will be…..



The New Normal


De-leveraging - Individuals, households, businesses and governments will cut their debt and save and invest more. This reduction in consumption will mean slower economic growth.


De-globalization – Countries will try and protect domestic industries by increasing tariffs, therefore eliminating cheaper imported goods. This should also breath new life into certain industries and create (some) new jobs although goods may be more expensive as local industry will not have comparative advantage. Again, economic growth is reduced as certain countries will not be able to take advantage of trade and investment opportunities.


Re-regulation – As a way to manage and reduce risks, governments will become more powerful and intrusive in business and financial markets. Financial institutions and banks will be hampered by the harsher credit conditions. Credit growth (the growth of money) is a pillar of economic growth therefore, once again, expect slow growth.

However, this New Normal is not without its issues…..



Issues with the New Normal


During the Global Financial Crisis, governments tried to stimulate the economy with “borrow and spend” fiscal packages. This debt will have to be paid back before costs set in and stall growth further. The private sector will need to produce the wealth needed to pay the governments debts. Governments could accelerate this through higher taxes but this further dampens consumption, saving and investment effectively crippling the private sector (which they desperately need).


Unemployment will also be a major factor as some industries have all but disappeared. Those affected will not be easy to re-employ and there are high costs associated in retraining and upskilling.


Other issues: Retirement, healthcare

Monday, October 25, 2010

Exclusive Interview with Tamaki Lightning Head Coach Jim Hunter

I feel so out of place. Sitting in a trendy Devonport cafĂ© wearing beat up jeans and a t-shirt, I’m waiting to interview Tamaki Lightning head coach Jim Hunter. I’m all too aware that the primped and groomed around are looking at me as a ‘gringo’ and, frankly, it’s giving me the fear. But, Coach Hunter is a hard man to pin down though and his press policy is very similar to the methods used to grow mushrooms. Feed them manure and keep them in the dark. My awkward sweating, and incessant mumbling to myself, is broken by Coach Hunter sitting down in front of me. The decaf soy trim latte he demands makes my order of the “cheapest tap beer you have” look crude in comparison. Our early small talk reveals that he is equal parts wisdom and boyish handsomeness, like a mix between Ryan Reynolds and Bill Clinton. All my questions that require serious thought are met with him dropping his head then lifting it back up and squinting underneath his eyebrows before answering, which is very George Clooney-esque. On top of that, his smile is warm and makes me feel at home. Which is a far throw from the glitz and glamour of the North Shore.



Q: Tell us a little about your history with the sport and the Lightning?

Well, I think we’d have to jump into the ‘way back’ machine to see when I started! Ah, my first season I was a skinny 17 year old fresh out of High School and have been involved pretty much ever since then – with a couple of seasons not playing due to travel. I’ve played and coached at nearly every level and grade and for a while was involved with the running of the game.

I joined the lightning in I believe its second season and technically played one game in the first season. I’d played most of my career with (Tamaki Lightning founder) Coach Campbell so it was natural to come over to the newer Lightning as the Raiders were well established and had a solid team.


Q: How’s the team looking so far this year?

Well, we’re a young team and we’re working hard to get ready for the season. We’re improving as we go, and that’s all I can really ask for. We’re light in some positions at the moment but we have a healthy influx of rookies and so far they look like they are going to be big contributors to the program. I’m loathe to make any predictions but at this stage we’re in good shape for a positive season and I’m fortunate to have a group of guys that are putting in the effort for each other, with so far a bigger ‘core’ of players at training.


Q: What are some things that you would like to improve on from last year?

We need to be far more consistent than we were last year. The ‘09 season was marked with key personnel missing throughout the seasons and that led to a loss of cohesion and many times we had different starting teams and people rotating into positions.

The most stable group last year – in a relative sense – was the offensive line and they really were the most consistent part.


Q: The Lightning passing game had lost some of its venom in the last couple of years, how has the improvement of guys like Shiraz “The Crankin’ Sri Lankan” Soysa helped this?

Shiraz, like many others in the team have really established themselves in the past couple seasons as true weapons. We have a great receiver core this year, with a nice mix of veterans and rookies and Shiraz is certainly going to be a big part of things.

As clichĂ© as it is to say, we really did have a rebuilding period the past couple of seasons and I think we’re getting a lot closer to where we need to be personnel wise, and I’m expecting that to be a factor in our performance.

Offensively, we have Ojay returning, and he was huge for us last season; if we get the offensive line returners then those guys alone are an awesome platform; backed with some new blood at QB and we should have a nice balance.


Q: What do you see as key to the Lightning’s historical success?


Oh, that’s tough. I’d say that consistency of players; balanced units, and a solid core.

I think in our better years we were characterised as more of a passing team with a solid ground game backing that up. We were also fortunate to have some US players and coaches who prepared us well for each opponent – with Coach Y (Chris Yunker, ex Tamaki Lightning Head Coach and chief ball power-er) spending countless hours breaking down film scouting and preparing.

The core is important too. For any team or group there is always a ‘core’ of people that are at every training; they work hard to improve and they tend to lift the effort of others whilst putting in the effort themselves – there is a distinct correlation between a large and solid core and performance on the field.


Q: Last question, do you have any words for the dozens and dozens of Lightning fans around the globe?


Sure, tell them that we still have their photos posted in the lobby of the Thunder Dome, and it’s awesome to know that they are out there.

A club is more to me than ‘just’ the current team. Our past players and coaches leave their legacy and we can still see some of their attitudes now (and some are still quoted); the family support is massive and the fans around the planet watching and posting remind us that there is a small but dedicated group of lightning fans.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Opinion: Molsey-Mora


It’s been a long time since you heard from “The A-Fist-ionado”. And with good reason, recent events have meant that my mind hasn’t been doing much ramblin’ at all. Well, at least not boxing rambling. Maybe my confidence has been dented, for I’ve gone 2-4 in my calls this year. Anywhos….

This Sunday (NZ time), three-division former champion “Sugar” Shane Mosley takes on former 154 pound titlist Sergio Mora in a junior middleweight bout. We last saw “Sugar” Shane in a lop-sided decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May. Although he severely hurt Money May in the second, Mosley didn’t seem to have the gas to close the show and lost almost every other round. Comparatively, Sergio Mora jumped up to 160 in April to (actually) stop Calvin Green in seven. Although massively derided by the press, this is really a crossroads bout for both fighters, with the loser being forced to retire or into ‘journeyman’ status.



STRENGTHS

“Sugar” Shane Mosley is one of best pound for pound fighters of our generation. His brand of power-boxing brings both the speed to dazzle and the power to turn out the lights. Although he has fought almost every top fighter from 135-154, he has never been stopped and only off his feet in the first bout against Vernon Forrest.

Mosley always has a massive advantage in opposition fought. His record reads like a ‘who’s who’ of both the welter and junior-middle divisions over the last ten years. Names like Oscar De La Hoya (twice), Vernon Forrest (twice!), Winky Wright (twice!!), Fernando Vargas (twice!!!), Luis Collazo, Miguel Cotto, Ricardo Mayorga, Antonio Margartio and Floyd Mayweather all grace his record and only four have prevailed.

Coupled with this impressive record is the fact that Mosley has never lost to a fighter of Mexican decent. In fact, “Sugar” Shane has been turning Mexicans away worse than the state of Arizona. If the fight is coming toward Shane Mosley, then it should also be prepared to be falling backwards.


WEAKNESSES

Shane looked every bit of his 38 years of age against Floyd Mayweather. Even after cold rocking Floyd to his shoes in the second round, he just couldn’t find the gas to close the show and was huffing air between rounds. And that was only in round two! Given, he had been out of the ring for 15 months and complained of a neck injury after the fight but even my tank can go two rounds (albeit with the gas-light on!). Hopefully the ring time with Money May will have gotten rid of any rust.

Mosley is a supremely talented boxer who can CHOOSE to fight any way he likes. He just has the gifts to back them up. However, of late, Mosley has seemed a little one-dimensional in attack. His jab has been reduced to a flick and he is far too reliant on landing his right hand. Mosley also has a dynamite lead hook, like the one he used to dispatch Fernando Vargas, but he has hardly deployed it all. He is also there to be hit, as evidenced by his nose, and Mora throws punches in bunches.

Fighters who are naturally bigger, as is Mora, and use their height or have an awkward style, as does Mora, are always going to give Mosley trouble. Forrest was able to bully him in their first bought and guys like Wright, Mayorga and Mayweather gave him all kinds of problems. Expect Mora to emphasize his jab, have a lot of output and move his feet to give Mosley angles.



STRENGTHS

The winner of the first season of the contender showed smooth boxing skills and has used the experience and exposure to full effect. At 6’0’’ he is a tall junior-middle and utilizes his size well whilst using his long arms to his advantage. Mosley had a hell of a time against Vernon Forrest the first time out and, it is generally held, that if you have a long, heavy jab and are strong enough to tie him up, you have a good shot of giving Mosley a good fight. Whilst Mora’s jab isn’t particularly heavy, it can be snakey (think Larry Holmes) and it helped to control Peter Manfredo in both of their bouts.

A big part of Mora’s strength is his activity and combination punching. He has really well educated hands and is generally a busy fighter with good footwork. He beat Vernon Forrest mostly with his activity and movement and Mosley has issues with both. Even though they were smaller, both Cotto and Mayweather did great jobs of boxing Sugar Shane without getting drawn into unnecessary firefights. At this point in time, Mora is the far superior boxer.


WEAKNESSSES

Although a great boxer, Mora’s meagre six stoppages in 22 wins means really means he is throwing fast handbags. Although he scored a stoppage over Calvin Green in his last fight it, was fought at middleweight, was from activity rather than a single shot and Calvin Green gets stopped by anything more offensive than a wet fart. If you are going to deter Mosley from wanting to engage, you better hope you have some stopping power in your arsenal and the fact of the matter is – Mora simply doesn’t.

Compounding this is the fact that Mora can get drawn into slugging relatively easily. Vernon Forrest drew him in during their rematch as did Peter Manfredo, who was unlucky to walk away with a split decision loss. He can’t afford that kind of pride against Mosley, who will straight stretch you out.

The quality of Mora’s opposition is also very questionable. The reality is that his only quality opponent has been Vernon Forrest and, although Forrest dominated Mosley on two occassions, he seemed very unmotivated in the first Mora outing (and made excuses about weight troubles) and won a very wide decision in the return.



PREDICTION

Although I think “Sugar” Shane is already a wide betting favourite, much will depend on their weights the day before the fight. If Mora can make 154 comfortably, then he has a very legitimate shot. If, however, there are any troubles with the weight, then I think he will be too drained for an (already) more powerful fighter. Most are picking Mosley for the stoppage, but I think Mora’s style will pose some problems for “Sugar’ Shane and he should get up via comfortable decision.

Mosley UD.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

With a Revill yell: Lance Revill Boxing Promotion's 'Pro-Am Boxing'

The published account can be found here

At the Howick Community Centre

The Howick Community Center has served me in a number of ways over the course of my youth. Gym. Basketball. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The “official” destination I used as an excuse to my parents whilst I partook in underage drinking. Tonight, it was to provide a showcase of professional and amateur boxing hosted by Lance Revill Boxing Promotions. The card was thick with local talent including Jake “The Snake” Revill and Rory O’Connell, two fighters I had seen in their amateurs days but had not been fortunate enough to experience as pros. The crowd built steadily and, by the time it began, they were thick with a mixture of anticipation and alcohol. Seven amateur bouts were to be headlined by four professional fight I, for one, couldn’t wait for the action to begin. Also of was that it was Kylie Bell’s (Lance Revill’s daughter) birthday and, with her brother in one of the headlining bouts, you would only hope that fortune smiled upon her.


Amateur Bout One
3*1.5 minute rounds

Blake Hodges v. Taine Clark

Hodges began the first round pressing Clark, who looked to use his movement. Hodges stuns him with a right hand and his punches seem to be more accurate. Hooks with both hands also land for Hodges while Clark appears a little overwhelmed by the pressure. Hodges asserts his superior hands further in the second round and they seem to be a puzzle that Clark can’t figure out. This has all done wonders for Hodges confidence and he comes out breathing fire in the third, attempting to close the show. Clark has some success countering this aggression and gets home with a couple of uppercuts and a right hand.

By pressing the action and having the better hands, Blake Hodges wins a unanimous decision.


Amateur Bout Two
3*2 minute rounds

Reece Birmingham v. Karewini Webster

Neither fighter wastes any time as they both welcome hard exchanges early on. Birmingham is firing off lightning fast combinations consisting of mostly straight punches while Webster’s shots are a little wider but cause much more damage. Birmingham’s nose is bloodied mid way through the round and Webster lands a couple of hard lefts. Birmingham is getting off more but just can’t deter Webster. The second round sees Birmingham attempt to box and use his movement more but his nose is a sanguine mess and Webster is stalking. Webster’s left hand is further on display in the third, where he lands often. Desperation is sinking in as Birmingham’s shots are becoming a little wilder and he can not dent Webster.

With a combination of heavy hands and a granite chin, Karewini Webster wins a unanimous decision.


Amateur Bout Three
3*2 minute rounds

Mike Pirini v. Ethan Kulatea

Southpaw Kulatea makes his presence felt early as hooks momentarily stumble Pirini, who begins to use his reach in attempts to keep Kulatea on the outside. He succeeds for most of the round and moves his head well to avoid any incoming fire but eats a big left hook at the bell. He attempts to continue this in the second round but Kulatea lands a couple of hard lefts and his mauling style sees Pirini begin to tire. Kulatea continues to press in the third and, although Pirini is landing, most of his punches have lost their sting. Kulatea recognizes this, pushes the pace further and is able to land another left hand late in the round.

By being the aggressor and with the success of his hard left, Ethan Kulatea wins a tight majority decision in a fight that could have gone either way.


Amateur Bout Four
3*1.5 minute rounds

Bobby Wetzel v. Bravely Matau

Matau is aggressive early and is trying to capitalize on Wetzel’s lack of experience. He lands a hard jab followed by a one-two that hurts Wetzel. Smelling blood, Matau pours it onto a covering Wetzel and the referee steps in to issue a standing 8 count. Matau is throwing the kitchen sink and Wetzel simply can’t stand up to the pressure. He goes down hard and, although he rises, is in no shape to continue.

Bravely Matau showed a killer instinct far beyond his years and overwhelms Bobby Wetzel for a first round knockout.


Amateur Bout Five
3*2 minute rounds

Brad Day v. Brad Robinson

Day begins the fight fast, landing straight shots with both hands. Robinson has superb reflexes and is able to dodge most of the incoming fire and counter effectively with his right hand. During the second, Day continues to press the action and Robinson remains composed and uses great head movement. Robinson lands a 1-2 and Day responds with a right hand near the end of the round. Day is still wearing his right hand out in the third whilst Robinson implores his foe to exchange with him and is able to negate his size disadvantage with movement of both head and feet coupled with his well schooled hands.

In a tough fight to score, Brad Day wins a unanimous decision.


Amateur Bout Six
3*2 minute rounds

Callum Armstrong v. Caleb Lloyd

Lloyd’s schooled right jab dictates the early action and he is catching Armstrong moving in. He appears to be a skillset above early. Armstrong is certainly trying but his attempts are sloppy and need refinement. By the second round Lloyd is in complete control and a total buzzsaw. His cute skills carry him most of the round but Armstrong is able to land a right hand during an exchange. By the third round, Armstrong has become wild compared to the sharp skills of Lloyd. An Armstrong right is followed by a Lloyd left and, late in the round, a big overhand land wobbles Armstrong.

By completely dominating the bout and winning every exchange, Caleb Lloyd cruises to a unanimous decision win.



Amateur Bout Seven
3*2 minute rounds

James Thompson v. Andrew Schuler

Both fighters spend much of the first round feeling each other out and finding their range. Schuler bloodies his opponents nose in the second and utilizes his right jab. He backs Thompson in the corner and unloads but most of his attempts are blocked. They exchange crosses later in the round. Both come out hard in the third round and Thompson is throwing everything he can at Schuler. Schuler lands a left and, although Thompson responds with a right, it is followed up by a cross-uppercut combination. Almost all of Schuler’s offense is held in his left hand and Thompson hasn’t been able to adjust to the southpaw style.


Andrew Schuler wins a unanimous decision.


Professional Bout One
Middleweight
4*3 minute rounds

Ryan Tauaki v. Rory O’Connell

The heavily muscled Tauaki throws wide hooks from the get go. He wears a couple of right hands and is attempting the bully O’Connell, who seems relaxed and composed. Tauaki connects with a right hand in the second but doesn’t have the power in his fists to do any serious damage. O’Connell’s timing has seemed off thus far, he is clearly the superior fighter but is making the night hard on himself. He lands often with the right hand, at one point stunning Tauaki however he can not capitalize. Tauaki is making a real fist of the third, bringing the fight to O’Connell and not allowing him to get his punches off. They are exchanging right hands but O’Connell just seems like he is being beaten to the punch. Tauaki continues to come forward in the fourth and lands a couple of right hands but his conditioning is beginning to fail him. O’Connell scores with his lead hook and then connects a pair of right hands late in the round.

Rory O’Connell wins a tougher-than-expected majority decision.


Professional Bout Two
Super Middleweight
4*3 minute rounds

Gunner Jackson v. Ryan O’Connell

O’Connell is fairly dominant in the opening stanza landing right hands, boxing well and catching most of Jackson’s shots. He continues to control the bout during the second however Jackson begins to connect with both hands, including a 1-2 that hurts O’Connell. Unfortunately, Jackson is also prepared to fight dirty and continues to punch after the bell. Jackson is shown a little bit more respect in the third as he is starting to dictate the pace of the fight and land all the meaningful punches. His confidence is growing and, by the end of the round, is loading up and connecting. The fourth round sees Jackson in total control and landing huge right hands. One of these has O’Connell in trouble and Jackson pours it on. Another right hand followed by a flurry forces the referee to step in.

Gunner Jackson wins by fourth round technical knockout.


Professional Bout Three
Cruiserweight
4*3 minute rounds

Jake Revill v. Monte Fauea

Revill comes out landing his heavy jab followed by a left to the body and a right hand upstairs. Fauea is visibly upset by his opponent trying to engage him in the sport of boxing and gestures to Revill, before wrestling him to the ground and putting him in a headlock. Fauea’s early antics are an embarrassment to himself, the gym he represents and the sport that pays him. After much confusion and deliberation, the bout continues and Fauea is able to land a right hand. Revill returns the favour and, after the bell, Fauea continues to punch. Disgusting. He comes out hard in the second and instantly eats a right hand. Another Revill right, has Fauea in trouble and he crumbles under the follow up pressure. Apparently not satisfied with being dominated and brutally stopped, Fauea continues to yell and rant after the bout has concluded.

Jake Revill wins by second round knockout.


Professional Bout Four
Heavyweight ‘swing’ bout
6*3 minute rounds

John Ellis Jr. v. Hassan Chitsaz

I had heard much about the 52 year old Chitsaz, surprisingly all of it good. Undefeated with all wins coming by the short route. World ranked by various organizations. Holder of multiple titles. And it was with a sense of anticipation that I viewed this bout. His opponent, with a ‘meager’ 2-0 record, seemed to be heavily overmatched. In fact, in the minds of many, we were about to witness a slaughter. The bout begins and Chitsaz goes to touch gloves. Ellis steps inside and delivers a cannonball right hand that drops Chitsaz on his face. He attempts to rise but face plants back onto the mat. The bout is over.

Say what you want about Ellis’ punch. They had touched gloves before the bout had begun and, once the bell rings, you must protect yourself at all times. Chitsaz didn’t and paid the price.

John Ellis Jr. wins by first round knockout.



Well. The evening put me through the full gamut of emotion. I laughed. I booed. I was dazzled and cheered. Which is really all you can ask from being a spectator. Albeit one with press privileges (does getting blood on you count as a privilege?). Although on the wrong end of a close decision, I was impressed by Brad Robinson. His head movement, reflexes and countering really highlighted the defensive side of boxing. Which is what it is – a system of self-defense. Caleb Lloyd had a great night, completely outclassing his opponent with his well-schooled hands that helped to offset the size differential. He must have won close to every exchange and, being roughly the same size, a match up with Robinson would have the stylistic makings of something fantastic.

Jake Revill also showed composure and maturity in being able to deal with a ‘difficult’ opponent. His heavy jab, dynamite right hand and ring savvy would make him a handful for any cruiserweight in the country.