Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mayweather-Pacquiao Preview: Five Outcomes

The most significant boxing event of this generation unfolds on Saturday as undefeated pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) takes on rival and offensive dynamo Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs). For over five years, boxing fans have waited for this matchup; however, the event transcends the sport's traditional audience. This fight will not be contested for mere supremacy in the welterweight division or for top placement on mythical pound-for-pound lists. No, Mayweather-Pacquiao will function as an advertisement for boxing itself, reminding or, in many cases, introducing viewers to what the sport can offer.

For the uninitiated, Mayweather has been boxing's premier defensive fighter. Using athleticism, intelligence and accuracy, he outthinks opponents and exploits their weaknesses as fights progress. Pacquiao isn't the knockout machine that he once was but he still has the rare combination of speed and power that can penetrate even the tightest of defenses. 

Over the last few years, both fighters have shown signs of slippage. Pacquiao's knockout power seems to have deserted him; he hasn't stopped an opponent since 2009. In addition, he was brutally knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012. He has recovered from that defeat with three victories but his killer instinct in the ring isn't what it used to be. Mayweather's last two fights against Marcos Maidana were difficult bouts. He got hit cleanly and often. His ability to evade punches from close distance (especially off the ropes) has deteriorated and he has made some surprising strategic errors.

The decline of both boxers (and make no mistake, they are still among the sport's absolute best, just a little bit removed from their respective peaks) has made me reevaluate this fight. When the matchup was first discussed in 2009, I was confident that Mayweather would be victorious, believing that his intelligence and counterpunching would be too much for Pacquiao. I would have predicted Mayweather winning a comfortable decision. However, as both fighters enter the ring in Las Vegas on Saturday, I'm less certain as to the outcome of the match. If Mayweather can't evade shots like he used to then he could be a sitting duck for Pacquiao; if Pacquiao could be knocked out by Marquez, then Mayweather, with his expert timing and punch placement, could certainly have a chance to stop him.

In short, I believe that all options are on the table. It wouldn't surprise me if either fighter wins by a decision or a knockout. Additionally, I wouldn't rule out a draw. Some judges are more impressed by aggression; others like ring generalship, defense and clean punching. There could be disagreement among the judges as to which fighter prevails in close rounds, creating draw (all three judges have it even), majority draw (two see it even) and split draw (one has it even, one for Pacquiao, one for Mayweather) possibilities.

Instead of going over the keys to the fight, my preview will focus on five potential outcomes, with an emphasis on how each one could occur and what the fighters do or don't do in the ring for the given scenario to transpire. By setting up my preview in this manner, I believe that you will get a more complete picture of the strengths and weaknesses for each combatant. Finally, my prediction will be at the end of the article.

1. Mayweather by decision

This outcome represents the conventional wisdom for the fight. One of Mayweather's specialties is pulling away from his opponents in the second half of the fight. Often giving up early rounds, he studies his foes and gradually starts to exploit their weaknesses by the middle of the fight. As bouts progress and he finds more cracks in his opponents' defenses, he unloads more of his arsenal. Mayweather's patience and pinpoint accuracy usually wear down fighters in the latter rounds. In addition, superb conditioning allows for him to turn on the accelerators as other fighters start to fatigue, both physically and mentally. 

It's not hard to imagine Pacquiao winning the first few rounds just on punch volume alone. However, slowly but surely, Mayweather will find things that work – the lead right hand, the counter right, the left hook to the body or the right uppercut, to name a few possibilities. As he lands more and more hard shots, Pacquiao will become flummoxed and his punch volume will start to decrease. In addition, Mayweather's ability to control the action in the ring will reduce the frequency of exchanges, putting more of a premium on accuracy, rather than activity; he will continue to get sharper as Pacquiao tires. If Mayweather is successful with this approach, he will dominate the final rounds to secure a victory.

2. Pacquiao by decision

In this scenario, Pacquiao builds up an early lead and holds on to win it on the cards. Often, Mayweather won't really open up offensively until the third or fourth round. It's certainly possible that Pacquiao could sweep the first third of the fight and then win three of the next eight rounds. That's all he needs for a win. 

Now, this might be easier said than done but Pacquiao has a few distinct advantages over other Mayweather opponents. At his best, Pacquiao featured a very high punch output. If Pacquiao can keep his punch volume up against Mayweather – let’s say 55-60 punches a round – he will provide enough moments to win rounds. Remember, many judges favor aggression, whether it is effective or not. Pacquiao certainly has the offensive profile to steal close rounds based on activity.

The challenge for Pacquiao will be to keep his punch volume at this threshold. Mayweather doesn't make it easy to get off many shots in a round. He uses his legs constantly to reset the action. He's an expert at tying up and, depending on the fight, he can be selective about remaining in the pocket. Pacquiao is going to have to cut off the ring to make Mayweather stay in exchanges. Lateral movement will be a necessity and blocking escape routes, especially to his right side, will be critical for his success. If Pacquiao can do these things and keep throwing punches, then he can pick up enough points to get a decision on the cards. 

3. Pacquiao by knockout

Although Mayweather's chin has been absolutely fantastic throughout his career, it's impossible to ignore how many hard shots he got hit with during his last two fights against Maidana. Mayweather seemed to get crushed whenever he stayed along the ropes and he also showed specific vulnerability from punches at short range. In the past, he would use his head movement, arms and elbows to avoid or deflect many of these blows; now, he seems half a step slower and gets hit more often. 

Pacquiao has a huge left hand. Whether he throws it after a jab feint, as a lead punch or following a jab or double-jab, he may not need many opportunities to land cleanly. If Mayweather can get rocked by Maidana, who lacks Pacquiao’s blazing hand speed, he can certainly get hurt by Manny. Pacquiao's footwork creates additional avenues for landing his best punch. Using in-and-out and lateral movement, he creates unique angles to throw shots. Mayweather has never fought a boxer with similar movement as Pacquiao's and it will take him a few rounds to figure out where and when Pacquiao will let his hands go. 

Mayweather has been hit with big punches in a number of fights, most recently against Shane Mosley and Maidana. The key to hurting Mayweather is the follow-up shot. I have no doubt that Pacquiao can land one big punch against Mayweather but that might not be enough to send him down. He's going to have to land additional power shots to achieve this goal. If Pacquiao hurts Mayweather badly, he needs to go for the kill. However, he can't run in recklessly, like he did against Juan Manuel Marquez in their fourth fight. Should Pacquiao hurt Mayweather, he must follow up responsibly, not giving up his distance or letting his technique get sloppy. If he can put three or four hard punches together after a big blow, that very well could be enough to end the fight. Despite his recent inability to score knockouts, I believe that Pacquiao still has enough offensive skill and firepower to stop any welterweight, even the great Floyd Mayweather.

4. Mayweather by knockout

On the surface, this eventuality seems unlikely. In his last 12 fights, Mayweather has had only two knockouts. In addition, he emphasizes punch placement and accuracy more than he does power. This means that he will often throw shorter, stinging punches instead of knockout-type blows. To use a baseball analogy, he's a singles and doubles hitter. Furthermore, Pacquiao has demonstrated a good chin throughout his career. Although Pacquiao's knockout loss to Marquez is still fresh in the minds of boxing fans, he has been hit by some big punchers throughout his career (such as Erik Morales, Marquez in fights I-III, Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito) and survived just fine. 

But Manny makes mistakes. He jumps in and loses control of distance. His footwork can get sloppy exiting the pocket. He will throw lazy jabs that can be easily countered. He also can ignore proper defensive positioning during exchanges. When he throws a jab-left hand combo, he leaves the right side of his body open for the left hook. 

If Mayweather sees the right opportunity, especially later in the fight as Pacquiao starts to fatigue, a knockout is certainly possible. He has enough power to do damage. He can time Pacquiao's rhythm with a counter right, overhand right or a left hook. What about a liver shot? If Pacquiao gets too close, his body could be wide open for a Mayweather left hook. And as boxing fans have found out repeatedly over the years, the punch to the liver doesn't necessarily need to be hard; it just has to be in the right spot. The combination of Pacquiao's mistakes and Mayweather's accuracy provides a realistic opportunity for this outcome unfolding.

5. A draw

In this scenario, the fight becomes a tale of two halves, with Pacquiao jumping out to the early lead and Mayweather winning most of the later rounds to force a tie on the scorecards. I'll tell you right now that if the fight goes the distance, I'd favor Pacquiao to win three of the first four rounds and Mayweather to take three of the final four. It's the middle four rounds that most likely will determine where this fight is won on the cards. 

How long will it take Mayweather to start up his offense? When will Pacquiao's activity level drop? How fatigued will Pacquiao get in the fight? In close rounds, will the judges favor Mayweather's accuracy or Pacquiao's aggression and punch volume? Looking at all of these variables, it's certainly conceivable that a draw could take place on Saturday. 


I'll go with Mayweather by a competitive decision, something like eight rounds to four or even seven rounds to five. However, as you can gather from this article, no outcome will surprise me. Both fighters have declined enough from their respective peaks that it's now particularly challenging to predict how Saturday will play out. From my perspective, this uncertainly makes the fight far more intriguing than it would have been had it happened in 2010. Hopefully, we get a memorable fight and a great night for boxing. 

Adam Abramowitz is the head writer and founder of
He is also a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
@snboxing on twitter, SN Boxing on Facebook

Lukie Boxing's Podcast -- Mayweather-Pacquiao

I joined Lucas Ketelle's podcast this week to preview Mayweather-Pacquiao and we broke the fight down from all sorts of angles: keys to victory, age, desire, the judges and more. We also talked about big-fight atmospheres and how we both got into boxing. I really enjoyed the discussion and I think that you will too.
Click on the link to listen.

Adam Abramowitz is the head writer and founder of
He is also a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
@snboxing on twitter, SN Boxing on Facebook
Contact Adam at

Friday, April 24, 2015

Five Fights: What We've Learned

The last few weeks have been tough for me to crank out the writing. Dealing with a nasty case of strep throat and traveling all around for work (these two things are related), my boxing output hasn't been what I'd like it to be. But the fights never stop and April has seen a number of memorable battles, two of which I attended – Danny Garcia-Lamont Peterson and Andy Lee-Peter Quillin. Ultimately, there's been some great stuff to write about so pardon my delinquency in these matters and let's get to the fights. However, instead of giving you weeks-old recaps, I'll focus on what I've taken away from five bouts in particular. Let's start with the Barclays card.

I. Danny Garcia MD Lamont Peterson

Lesson learned: Clowning is only appropriate if you're clearly winning the fight. 

It's clear from watching the unusual battle between Garcia and Peterson that Peterson got the best of the action...when he decided to engage. Dominating the latter rounds of the fight on the inside, Peterson asserted his will and made Garcia look pedestrian. However, fights are judged by the 10-point "must" system and each round counts as much as the next; Peterson just didn't do enough in the first seven rounds to warrant winning a decision. 

Now, a number of respected boxing writers had Peterson victorious on their cards but in the arena, the fans were none too happy with Peterson's performance in the first half of the fight. He barely threw punches in many of the early rounds and evaded Garcia at the expense of offense. In addition, he fucked around. Showing off his Ali Shuffle, throwing bolo punches and dancing around the ring, Peterson did a number of things instead of actually fighting. The crowd booed. And although Garcia was only marginally more effective than Peterson was early on, his effort in the first seven rounds won him the fight. The scores were 115-113 x2 and 114-114 and they were just. 

Garcia has been slowly coming up from 140 to 147 and it seems to me that he's going to have some big issues with the more physical fighters at welterweight (think Keith Thurman or Shawn Porter). Garcia can still counterpunch well and he is creative offensively but the jury's out on whether he can be a full-fledged welterweight. Needless to say, Peterson would probably be favored in a rematch but he's a notorious slow starter and this isn't the first time that he's failed to win a fight because of his performance in the first few rounds (the Victor Ortiz matchup, for example). Strategy, not talent, cost Peterson this fight and it's certainly possible that he would find a way to lose in a rematch. 

II. Andy Lee D Peter Quillin

Lesson Learned: Quillin's lack of a killer instinct finally cost him.

Watch video of Peter Quillin and there's a lot to like. He throws a great jab. He has an assortment of knockout weapons. Featuring plus hand speed, athleticism and physicality, he has natural advantages over almost any middleweight. However, Quillin lacks a key intangible – the desire to finish a fighter. 

Quillin had Hassan N'Dam down six times but never truly went for the kill. Instead, N'Dam kept coming back and won a number of rounds. Quillin hurt Gabe Rosado in the early rounds of their fight but before that bout was stopped because of a cut, it was Rosado who was coming on strong. Quillin carried the woeful junior middleweight, Lucas Konecny, for 12 rounds as well as the ancient Winky Wright. 

Quillin rocked Andy Lee in the first round. With a crushing right hand that led to a knockdown and a huge left hook that ended the frame, Lee was in terrible shape. But did Quillin rush in for the kill in the next round? No, he followed his pattern and fought tentatively, picking a couple of spots to engage. Slowly but surely, Lee regained his legs and found his timing. Eventually, Lee would drop Quillin with a strong right hook in the seventh and as the fight concluded, he was the fighter making the more significant impact. 

It wound up being a close fight. Quillin paid Lee too much respect early, which gave his opponent the opportunity to recover, establish confidence and work his game plan. Quillin's tentativeness cost him the victory. This is not to disparage Lee's fine countering in the second half of the bout, but after three rounds, the fight was Quillin's to lose, and he came very close to doing so. The draw was appropriate.

III. Lucas Matthysse MD Ruslan Provodnikov

Lesson Learned: In a battle between bangers, Matthysse's boxing skills were the difference.

Although this matchup fell short of the pre-fight orgiastic pronouncements of a bloodbath for the ages, it was still a damn good scrap. Matthysse won most of the early rounds by using his size, reach, legs and fluid combination punches to beat up Provodnikov. But then a funny thing happened, Matthysse stopped moving. Incrementally, Provodnikov started having more success with his cuffing left hook and lead right hand. As the fight progressed, his shots were having the bigger impact. When Matthysse remembered to move and work behind his jab, he dominated the action but when he stood in front of Provodnikov, he got raked.

Ultimately, Matthysse did enough in the early part of the fight to win a razor-thin majority decision (115-113, 115-113 and 114-114) but Lucas and his corner almost gave it away. Throughout the fight, Matthysse's trainer, Luis Barrera, insisted that Matthysse was up significantly, which was certainly not the case towards the end of the match. As a result, Matthysse fought the championship rounds with little urgency, trying to avoid prolonged skirmishes and survive. Ultimately, Matthysse was lucky. The fight was very much in the balance and it's certainly possible that with a different set of judges that Matthysse could've lost the match by a round or two (note: I also had Matthysse winning 115-113). 

Matthysse has dropped three winnable fights in his career and his corner has been problematic in two of them. He was far too tentative in the first half against Zab Judah and he was overly knockout-happy early against Danny Garcia, creating opportunities to be countered. During the Provodnikov fight, Barrera needed to stress that Lucas' best chance to win the fight was by boxing. Also, knowing Matthysse's history of losing debatable decisions, Barrera should never have been so self-satisfied in the corner. 

It's a shame that Lucas has failed to reach his full potential as a fighter.  Much of this can be attributed to his weak corner, which gives him bad advice and is slow to make adjustments. However, Matthysse deserves responsibility for this failure too. He makes his own decisions and picks his team. Other fighters have left for top trainers to maximize their abilities in the ring. Yet, Matthysse seems satisfied with the status quo. Unless Matthysse switches corners, he will always be a case of "what could have been."

IV. Terence Crawford KO 6 Thomas Dulorme

Lesson Learned: One round of brilliance was enough.

A beautiful two-punch sequence in the sixth round led to the end of the fight: Crawford feinted the jab and came with the right hand immediately behind it – and Dulorme was never the same. Within moments, Dulorme was down three times and the fight was waved off. Crawford showed tremendous finishing instincts in a fight that had been competitive; his knockout was quite a statement. 

But my question is this: Why did the fight have to be close? Crawford was oddly tentative throughout the first five rounds. His punch volume was low and he had a natural advantage that he failed to employ. Crawford is one of the best switch-hitters in boxing and Dulorme showed huge vulnerabilities against Hank Lundy when Lundy went to southpaw. The opportunity to dominate Dulorme was there for Crawford but he didn't take it. 

Some have compared Crawford's performance to those of modern greats such as Floyd Mayweather or Bernard Hopkins. Those two often gave up rounds early in fights but eventually took away their opponents' weapons. They made adjustments and owned the later rounds. However, Crawford didn't do this against Dulorme. The fight turned on one punch. True, Crawford set up the shot with his work in the earlier rounds but what if that punch wasn't enough to hurt Dulorme or what if it didn't land as cleanly as he wanted it to? 

Essentially, Crawford's power was more responsible for his victory than his cunning was. In my opinion, Crawford didn't need to give up rounds against Dulorme. Against an opponent of this caliber, he had the talent to sweep every one of them. Ultimately, he got the victory but I believe that he had looked more impressive against Ricky Burns, Yuriorkis Gamboa and Ray Beltran than he did against Dulorme. Crawford's victory train keeps rolling but his performance lacked the well-roundedness of his best efforts.  

V. Andrzej Fonfara RTD 9 Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. 

Lesson Learned: Chavez is less successful when he picks on someone his own size. 

Oh it must be fun to have a functional 15-lb. advantage over an opponent. You can use your body to lean on him, break him down to the body and feel confident that your chin can absorb all of the incoming shots. But what happens when your opponent is the same size? Does your usual bag of tricks still work?

For Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., the answer to this last question is an authoritative "no." Andrzej Fonfara pasted him around the ring, landing huge right hands and left hooks throughout the fight. It was essentially target practice. Chavez's defense was awful and his footwork was laughably bad. Fonfara looked like a real light heavyweight and Chavez served his role as ritual cannon fodder. Fonfara dropped him in the ninth and after the round Chavez didn't want any more.
Showtime and Al Haymon invested a lot of money to get Chavez and after one fight, that investment looks unfortunate. Chavez can't compete with real light heavyweights and it's not even clear if he has the desire to get down to super middleweight, a division where he could at least hope to compete. Furthermore, he's never exhibited the discipline in training to reach his full potential in the ring. For now, Chavez lacks the willingness to take his career seriously and he is a man without a division, not a good recipe for future success. 

Adam Abramowitz is the head writer and founder of
He is also a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
@snboxing on twitter, SN Boxing on Facebook

Friday, April 10, 2015

Previews: Garcia-Peterson, Lee-Quillin

The next installment of the Premier Boxing Champions takes place on Saturday in Brooklyn and features a pair of intriguing matchups: two of the best junior welterweights (fighting above the division limit at 143 lbs.) in Danny Garcia (29-0, 17 KOs) against Lamont Peterson (33-2-1, 17 KOs) and a middleweight title fight between knockout artist Andy Lee (34-2, 24 KOs) and hometown boxer-puncher Peter Quillin (31-0, 22 KOs). Garcia-Peterson has been long-delayed but it's still a fascinating matchup. Their styles should mesh to form a very exciting fight. In the middleweight clash, both Lee and Quillin possess true knockout power. Read below for the keys to each fight. My predictions will be at the end of each section.


1. Neither fighter is good in the opening rounds. Who will seize the early momentum?

With some notable exceptions, like his outing against Zab Judah and the second Erik Morales fight, Garcia can be a slow starter. He's most often a counterpuncher who uses the first few rounds of a fight to size his opponents up. He fell behind early against Lucas Matthysse, looked terrible in the first few rounds against Mauricio Herrera, was dominated at the outset by Amir Khan and failed to impress in the opening rounds of the first Morales fight. Garcia gradually unleashes his arsenal throughout a fight. He'll start with a few jabs and right hands, either to the head or body, but his best shot, his counter left hook, often doesn't appear until a few rounds into the match. 

Peterson could capitalize on Garcia's methodical starts by ramping up the activity level in the bout's first third. Using his strong jab and lateral movement, Peterson has the ability to take a decisive lead; however, he has his own problems in the opening rounds. Here's a list:
  • Knocked down in the second round and twice in the third against Matthysse (the last one ended the fight)
  • Sent down in the first round by Amir Khan
  • Dropped twice in the third against Victor Ortiz
  • Hit the canvas in the third round facing Tim Bradley
In his bigger fights, Peterson has demonstrated confidence issues. Early on, he can be very hesitant committing to his punches and it takes him a few rounds to warm up and find his comfort zone in the ring. Against top opposition, he gradually works his way into a fight, providing significant opportunities for his opponents. 

Garcia should test Peterson in the opening rounds, unloading his power shots. This is a change from his standard operating procedure but it's a risk well worth taking. Getting an early 10-8 round from a knockdown could be a huge swing in the bout. 

Both Garcia and Peterson can be bested early in fights. However, they are also slow starters. Which one will change his usual game plan and adapt to his opponent's weakness? Will either of them seize this potential opportunity? 

2. If Lamont is hurt, can Danny finish him?

The flip side to Lamont's vulnerability early in fights is his significant recuperative powers. It seemed like he wouldn't make it out of the opening rounds against Khan and Ortiz but he rallied in both instances to earn a win and a draw. In addition, Peterson's physicality is a significant advantage in the second half of fights, gradually wearing down opponent. 

It's certainly possible that Garcia will land something big in the fight but I'm not sold on his finishing skills. Even though he stopped Khan, he patiently hit him with flush shots instead of pressing for the knockout. Similarly, he had Zab Judah hurt badly early in their match but couldn't put him away. Judah was able to stay in the fight and actually hurt Garcia in the closing rounds. 

On the world level, Garcia has only stopped Khan and an ancient Erik Morales. Although Garcia's counters are accurate and damaging, they don't necessarily KO opponents. In addition, I'm not sure that Garcia has the temperament to really push for the knockout if the opponent isn't ready to go. Against Peterson, Garcia needs to go for the KO if Peterson is hurt. Peterson isn't a natural counterpuncher so Garcia shouldn't have to worry about some spectacular shot coming back his way. In addition, letting Peterson stay in the fight is a bad idea for the later rounds. If Peterson's hurt, Garcia has to try to end it. 

3. Peterson must get inside. 

Garcia's best shots are from mid-range and further. His left hook can be wide. His counter right hand can be devastating in the pocket. Even his right uppercut needs a little bit of distance to hit his target. Garcia is less of a threat on the inside. 

Peterson can be very versatile in the ring. He possesses the boxing skills to fight from distance and the physicality to rough up opponents in close quarters; for this matchup, Peterson must fight in the trenches. By staying in close, Peterson can lessen the impact of Garcia's best weapons. Peterson needs to use his double jab and lateral movement to get inside and once he's there he needs to work. He has the types of short shots (right hand and left hook) that could give Garcia problems. If he's clinching a lot it's a big mistake.  


I see this as a very competitive fight with a number of swings in action. Ultimately, I think that Garcia's clean punching and effective counters will do enough to give him the nod. This very well could be a 7-5 type of fight and I don't expect the three scorecards to be in agreement.

Danny Garcia ekes out a victory over Lamont Peterson. 



Note: this preview was written before Quillin came in heavy to the weigh-in. Quillin's weight can certainly be a very important factor in the outcome of the fight.

1. Can Lee land his best right hook and what happens if he does?

Quillin has never faced a big puncher in his career. Throughout 31 fights, his chin has never been a question mark but Lee's right hook could change that dynamic. In his last two fights, Lee destroyed John Jackson and Matt Korobov and he has the type of power to finish anyone at 160. However, those stoppages were the result of his opponents being out-of-position, in spots where they couldn't fully defend themselves. Quillin is a disciplined fighter and will take fewer risks than those opponents did. For Lee, delivering his best hook against Quillin will be a difficult proposition. He's going to have to throw combinations to land his best shot. I don't think that single counterpunches will be enough.  

Quillin doesn't want a ragged fight. He's certainly aware of Lee's power and he can win without taking unnecessary chances. However, if he does get tagged, all bets are off. We don't know about his recuperative powers or his ability to survive if he gets hurt. 

2. Quillin's counters.

A very accurate counterpuncher, Quillin can do damage with three shots: left hook, straight right hand and right uppercut. He's patient in the ring and he'll let an opponent outwork him during flurries to land his power counters. Lee has certainly been hurt before in the ring, especially to the body, and Quillin's counter shots will play a huge role in getting the best of the action. Lee can get lazy with his jab, giving Quillin the opportunity to land solid counter rights and left hooks. In close quarters, Lee often squares himself up, leaving his body exposed. Quillin will have his pick of power counters in those circumstances. 

Although Lee is considered the bigger puncher in the fight, Quillin's power shouldn't be underrated. He has more than enough steam on his shots to end things if Lee makes mistakes. Ultimately, this is the type of fight where either man could get knocked out. 

3. Can Lee win rounds by boxing?

I expect Quillin to have a very conservative game plan for this fight. Keeping the action in the center of the ring and using his jab to be first, Quillin could pick up points in a hurry. And despite Lee's Olympic pedigree, he's been beaten to the punch by almost every fighter that he's faced on the world level. In addition, Lee's work rate is often inconsistent and can fall precipitously if he's behind. 

Lee can't expect a one-punch knockout to salvage his night on Saturday. He's the one who has to force the action. If the fight stays in the pocket, Quillin's jab and quick shots will score the points. Lee's going to have put punches together and really work to win rounds. Quillin will be more than content to win a decision by boxing; Lee will have to be active enough to give judges a reason to score rounds for him.  


Although this matchup features plenty of firepower, I bet that we'll see a much more technical fight, with Quillin working behind his jab and using his legs to control the pace of the fight. Lee will continually see his head knocked back by sharp punches and his lack of athleticism will be a huge hindrance. Quillin boxes his way to a decisive victory. 

Peter Quillin defeats Andy Lee 118-110. 

Adam Abramowitz is the head writer and founder of
He is also a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
@snboxing on twitter, SN Boxing on Facebook

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The SNB Interview -- Tureano Johnson

Just over a year ago, Tureano Johnson was an obscure middleweight from the Bahamas who had only appeared in one eight-round fight. Flash forward to the spring of 2015 and Johnson (18-1, 13 KOs) finds himself right in the mix for a 160-lb. title shot. With a fan-friendly style and a desire to take on all-comers, Johnson has seen his notoriety in the sport increase rapidly. Under consideration for Gennady Golovkin's next title defense, Johnson was passed over in favor of Willie Monroe. However, Johnson remains undeterred in his quest to be a champion and he continues to seek out the biggest fights in the division.
Saturday Night Boxing recently talked with Johnson in a wide-ranging interview. Among the topics covered was Johnson's colorful and varied amateur career, including  training in Cuba for five years and representing his country in the 2008 Olympics; recovering from the first loss of his career against Curtis Stevens; how the Bible helped form Johnson's ring identity; why he's upset with Miguel Cotto and whom he would like to fight next.
Interview by Adam Abramowitz:
The Interview has been condensed and edited.

I wanted to start out with how you originally got into boxing in the Bahamas. What brought you to picking up the gloves for the first time? 

I was coming home from school one day and I was going to my grandmother’s house. My uncle is Ray Minus Sr. He was also a professional boxer in the Bahamas and a great fighter. He found the world champion Elisha Obed. It was Ray Minus Sr. who introduced me to the boxing game but it was me who was persistent about the sport. He saw that I had a passion for it.  

During your amateur career, at what point did you know that you could compete on the world-level?  

It was really Ray Minus Jr., Ray Minus Sr.’s son [Minus Jr. challenged for a world title three times]. He became my coach later on in my amateur career, before I trained in Cuba. I was at the Silver Gloves in Florida and I had won all of my fights there. From there, we travelled throughout the Americas, such as Guatemala, Venezuela and so on, and we had a lot of success with that. 

You trained in Cuba for five years during your amateur days. How did that opportunity come to you? 

Training and living among the best boxers in the world, it was thrilling. At the 2003 CABA Games [the annual tournament held by the Caribbean Amateur Boxing Association], I was named the best boxer. In fact, I won eight gold medals at the CABA Games and was named best boxer five times. Peter Nygard was there in 2003 [Nygard is the chairman of Nygard International, a fashion house]. He was originally from Finland, raised in Canada but lives in the Bahamas. He is very involved with the Bahamian amateur program. He thought it was worth it for me to train in Cuba with some of the world’s best boxers.  He sent me to Cuba to live and train with them.   

I saw that you fought Diego Chaves a couple of times in the amateurs. What do you remember about those fights? 

Wow! Those were great fights! I fought him once at the Pan American Games and the other one in the Olympic trials. He beat me at the Pan American Games. I wasn’t feeling well in my training session and I was having a lot of personal issues going on at that time. But then I put my head together and I went to the Olympic qualifiers in Guatemala. I qualified beating the Pan American Games gold medalist, Pedro Lima, and the bronze medalist, Diego Chavez, who is a very good fighter. Chaves gave me a good run for my money that fight but I was victorious.  

In 2008 you became the third boxer from the Bahamas to represent your country in the Olympics. Putting boxing aside for a moment, what was the Olympic experience like for you. What was it like living in the Olympic village? 

2008 Beijing Olympics. What a country! What a beautiful moment to be there! Everyone in China was very nice to me and I was grateful for that opportunity. It was the best thing that I’ve ever been to, Beijing, China.  

After the Olympics, what was the process like for you turning pro? Did you have a promoter or a manager in place?  

We had people trying to get me into the professional ring but I didn’t really feel it. And I waited until a year later. I turned pro in 2009 rather than after the Olympics in 2008.  

It was a very difficult task. The guys who were trying to give me an opportunity the first time were no longer open. I’ll tell kids out there right now: if the opportunity comes, you take it. Look at that Bulgarian fighter who fought Floyd Mayweather in the Olympics [Serafim Todorov]. Now he regrets that he did not turn pro. I’m appreciative of everything that I have but I would have taken it sooner had I known how difficult it would be as a professional fighter.  

Your first four professional fights were in the southeast in the U.S. How did you start fighting there? 

Well I was contacted by a few managers out of Atlanta. These guys showed me a dream and they made it happen. They were great for me. They accommodated me in many ways. But now I’ve moved on. The end was bittersweet. Atlanta was good to me but now I’m in Ft. Lauderdale, which is one of the best places for boxing. But I’m appreciative of everything that they did for me. 

After four fights, you had a layoff for 17 months, what was happening to you during that time? 

As I said previously – the bittersweet moment – that was the bittersweet moment. It’s a hard business. I became very hesitant because I didn’t know what was going on. I had a promoter who seemed to be having problems with managers. And it created a big conflict and my managers turned against me at that time. It was a bit of a stress for them and a bit of a stress for me. 

But my current team, they were the guys who have helped me through it. They got me out of the situation I was in. They brought me back into the ring on very short notice. But hey, that’s what you want to do. I’ll fight anybody right now. I get into the ring. I’m prepared. A professional fighter should always be ready but now I have that consistency of training.  

Tell us a little about Team Johnson right now. Who are instrumental in preparing you, training you and guiding your career? 

My manager is Victor Wainstein. Antonio Betancourt is my coach in Florida. Kayla Johnson, who is my older sister, is also a coach for me here in the Bahamas. We’re doing a good job of figuring out who to fight next and how to fight an opponent. Right now, we’re looking at everyone, everyone in the Top-15. My manager Victor Wainstein is phenomenal when it comes to begging promoters for me to fight their fighters. I think he’s doing a great job and I have to take my hat off to him. Victor’s really going out there and getting other promoters to get me fights on their cards.  

The first fight of yours that really caught my attention was your matchup against Willie Fortune in 2013. He was another undefeated prospect and it was a big step up for you with the fight being aired on Showtime. What was the game plan for you there? 

I’m an exciting fighter. I went in there and I beat him up. I’m not there to throw jabs. I mean I have it if I really need it but I didn’t need it. I went in there and I beat the guy up. We knew from the outset of the fight, we were there to take it. We weren’t there to go rounds, we were there to just fight.  

Now that a year has passed since your controversial stoppage loss to Curtis Stevens, and I was there that night in Philadelphia, what are your thoughts on that fight?  

It was not the first time that I had an unjust decision laid upon me. In the Olympics I won the first two preliminary fights. Come the third fight, I fought the hometown guy [Hanati Silamu]. And there was very unfair scoring there.  

I know now that I’m fighting guys in their backyard. I’m fighting in my opponent’s hometown. But now when I’m going to fight an opponent, I’m going to hit him with a devastating punch. I’m going to knock him out, get the TKO or just beat him up badly.  And that’s how I’m going to have to do it, just go in there to beat you up, real convincingly.  

After that loss, did you approach your fight with Mike Gavronski a little differently or did you just do what you normally do. 

That fight I went in there and I did what I usually do.  

About Curtis Stevens, I’m going to have to find a way to get it done. Perhaps find a way to not be so, so aggressive but still be myself in the ring. That fight was a total rip-off…but I’m back and I’ll fight the way I’m good at, with my dominant nature. I’m pressing, using my natural ability and coming forward. 

I notice in the ring that you feel very comfortable fighting either orthodox or as a southpaw. How did you develop that style? 

It was my dad. My dad is a religious guy. He’s a Christian man. One of the chapters in the bible in the Book of Kings says that you should be able to shoot arrows with both hands. And my dad has always been fascinated by that. He made me catch balls with both hands, write with my unnatural hand. He made me do a lot of things with both hands and I became very comfortable with that. I think that’s one of the reasons why I love fighting as a southpaw. I definitely use that from time to time.  

Another thing that I think is very interesting about you is that you’ve had over 300 amateur fights but you fight in a style that would be much different than the "quote-unquote"  typical “amateur” style. How did you learn the finer points of in-fighting, body-punching, working during clinches – all the things that are often less emphasized during the amateurs?  

That’s an interesting question to ask. I go back to Cuba, the Cuban school of boxing. I grew up fighting the Cuban fighters. Most Cuban fighters know how to close distance. They can do that inside flurry without the jab. In Cuba, my coach taught me how to get inside without using the jab. And it was the hardest thing to teach this kid the jab. I want to get around you. I want to hit you. I want to blow something up. I don’t really need the jab. Yes, it works sometimes but my coach realized that about me. He taught me how do damage without throwing the jab. That’s part of the Cuban school of boxing. 

I know that boxers are always trying to improve. What are some things you are presently working on in the gym? 

We want to finish fighters. Sometimes I hit fighters and I don’t realize that they are hurt. I’ve watched videos of fighters leaning on my shoulders after I hit them and I don’t realize that. It’s too late. So we’re working on finishing my opponents, with more power than I’ve had before.  

As far as jabbing, it’s not something I’m focusing on but we still work on it every day. Someday I may need to run around a bit. Who knows? Maybe I’ll fight an opponent where I need to do that. But right now, we’re working on finishing an opponent. 
In your last fight, your scored two knockdowns and got a stoppage win over Alex Theran. How do you assess your performance from that fight? 

It was not one of my greatest performances. I say that without a shadow of doubt. And this is a fact. I wasn’t really warmed up going into that ring. We didn’t really know when we were going into the ring. Once I came into the ring, I did my stretches and all that stuff. By the third round, I was just getting warmed up. But then he went down and soon the fight was over. I didn’t even know it. I couldn’t believe it. It was such a shame. He gave up [Theran didn't answer the bell for the sixth round].  

Well, he took a lot of punishment. 

I don’t know. If you’re a fighter, you’re there to win it, regardless of what happens in the ring. If you want it that bad, you got to get it. I think he could have done better.  

I noticed that at your last fight both the Bahamian Minster of Sports and the Minister of Tourism were there. How are you received in the Bahamas when you go back and how did you form those relationships with the people in the top levels of government? 

The Bahamas is a small country, just a little more than 300,000 in population. It’s a small nation, with 700 islands and keys. And the people, they’re coming out to my fights more and more. The people receive me well. They show their appreciation.  

As you remember, we did have a world champion [Elisha Obed] who fought at the highest levels of professional boxing, the highest level of achievement we have ever had in the Bahamas. I hope to get to that level. I must say it [the support] benefits when you’re from a small country and I’ve benefitted a lot.  

From where you were a year ago, before the fight with Stevens, to where you are now, it’s been quite a transformation in your boxing career. How would you describe this last year? 

I really must say that [promoter] Gary Shaw, my manager, Victor Wainstein, and my coaches are doing great jobs. These guys are steering me in a direction that I never thought would happen so quick. They’re putting me in place to be a world champion. Right now, I think I’m a world champion but without the hardware around my waist. My coaches know this. Gary Shaw, he made it happen. Victor Wainstein, he came up with a good plan.  

And it’s such a short period of time. Look how far they’ve taken me in just under 20 fights. They’re talking a world title. And that’s a huge accomplishment in my career thus far.  

You’ve called out Jorge Sebastian Heiland, David Lemieux and a number of guys. Are there particular people you’d like to fight or whatever comes your way? What’s next in your agenda? 

I want to be a world champion and I will focus on fighting world champions. Right now, any title. It’s only fair for me to fight Miguel Cotto but it’s clear to me that he’s not interested in fighting right now. Golovkin would be a great fight too…I don’t understand why Cotto has an international title but he doesn’t want to fight!  

Bring me the days when champions fight champions. Give the fans what they deserve. Mayweather and Pacquiao is the fight the fans want, two world champions. And Cotto, that’s absurd! A world champion fighter should be fighting a world champion-caliber opponent. Right now, I’d like to fight Golovkin or Miguel Cotto but I know that neither one of them will give me the fight. Cotto’s probably going to fight some natural 150-lb, fighter. Let’s see a competitive fight. Give the champion a champion-style fight. And the fans want the same thing.  

I know that a lot of fight fans would feel encouraged by your opinion on this.  

I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again that I’m Tureano Johnson and I bring the fight with me. Fans get tired of being ripped off. Let the champions fight champions. And let me fight a real fight.

Adam Abramowitz is the head writer and founder of
He is also a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
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