Here at TSS, we are unabashed fans about folks who show the stones to speak truth to power.
So we were pleasantly surprised when middleweight Giovanni Lorenzo, a New Yorker out of the Dominican Republic who is counting down to his title crack against Felix Sturm in Germany on Saturday night, talked to us about some of the frustration he feels at having to go overseas to get a major opportunity, to be seen. The 29-2 fighter will glove up in Cologne, and it will be a familiar feeling, leaving his comfort zone to secure a title crack. Last September, he was in Germany to vie against Sebastian Sylvester for the vacant IBF middleweight championship. Lorenzo didnt get his hand raised, as Sylvester took the crown via split decision.
Lorenzo doesnt agree with the judges call in that case, and promises to render the arbiters useless against the 31-year-old Sturm, the WBA titlist who has possessed the strap since April 2007. Lorenzo figures its time to end the reign. He comes off as amped up to get the job done, and seems to be channeling some ire at the circumstances that force him as he sees it to travel overseas to make noise on the sport. TSS asked him why he has to go to Europe to make a statement.
The short answer is in my opinion HBO ruined the sport in this country, he said. They were always pushing older fighters with names instead of building the young fighters of tomorrow. They also only work with a small few promoters and you know who they are. I waited so many years for them to put me on and its was always, Mosley, Hopkins, I’m surprised they are still not putting on Roy Jones. They ran boxing into the ground. Killed it for everybody, including themselves. They would do best by firing everyone and start all over with new executives and run things the way Lou DiBella did. When I win the title in Germany I hope they don’t come to me then, because the answer will be no way. I made a name for myself in Germany and as champion I don’t need HBO anymore, there is more money and more respect over there. I can’t believe I am saying this but I could care less about HBO.
Bold words from the boxer, and we can see his point. Certainly the suits have placed a premium on the known names in the sport, and the sport is in need of replacements for the old warhorses, who keep getting trotted out for PPVs. But we must remember, or know that this is a free, and at times woefully imperfect marketplace. The suits keep the spotlight on somewhat faded names because the names resonate in fight fans minds, and they sell seats (sometimes) and pay per views (again, sometimes). When they dont, they will be removed from the rotation. And we must point out, HBO has been putting the spotlight on Alexander, Bradley, Berto, Kahn, Maidana, Ortiz, Gamboa, etc. And correct me if I am wrong, but Mosley or Hopkins havent fought live on HBO since January of 2009, when Mosley put on a superior performance against Margorito. And if memory serves, Lorenzo was being considered for a shot at then WBC champion Kelly Pavlik when he lost in June 2008 (UD12) to Raul Marquez, an older fighter who came out of retirement.The quickest and best way for the Lorenzos of the world to change the situation, to make HBO and Showtime take notice, is to pound the stuffing out of the name vets. If Lorenzo takes out Sturm in impressive fashion tomorrow, his stock will rise. Just as Tavoris Clouds rep was bolstered with his win over Glen Johnson last month, Lorenzo too can improve his lot with a strong showing. In other words, he has to force the hands of the suits. He thinks he will.
Sturm is not the same fighter he once was, he will not be able to pull the trigger against me like he did to other fighters in the past, Lorenzo said. His legs are gone, his last couple of fights clearly show that he is not the same, he is slower and weaker, his arms and legs are not the same, probably from all that weightlifting they have him doing. He appears to be like the old timers used to say, muscle-bound. All that weight lifting has made him stronger, but it also makes him get muscle fatigue. I can tell he wants to do things in the ring but his body will not let him anymore. He see the punches coming and he still gets hit. Also, I don’t respect a fighter with limited power and no chin.. I am getting better and better every day in every way. Is Felix? If you have seen his last few fights you know the answer to that question is absolutely not, it’s very obvious, he is not the same fighter he was 3-4 years ago. This is a great opportunity for me, I am blessed with a second chance and I will capitalize on it. I believe I will knock him out.
Sturm hasnt fought since last July (win over Khoren Gevor, UD12), so the rust factor could aid Lorenzo, who last toiled in June, beating Daryl Salmon (KO3). He does hold a win over Sylvester (June 2008, UD12), which is something Lorenzo cant boast. The New Yorker tackles that.
Sylvester never beat me, he said. In my mind I out-punched him, was busier, pushed the fight and landed the harder punches. I know people think that because Felix beat Sylvester so convincingly that he will have an easy time with me. The fact is, I had a shoulder injury that held me to only six rounds of sparring for the fight with Sylvester, and I still beat Sylvester. I learned that you can’t have faith in the judging in Germany, and that I belong in boxing. For this fight I am 100 percent healthy and have over eighty rounds of sparring with top rated middleweights. This has improved my timing and accuracy. I think Sturm is taking me lightly, he will see who the real Giovanni Lorenzo is and so will the rest of the world.
And, so presumably will the suits.
They are as eager as any of us to see the next generation emerge. So if Jean Pascal lays out Bernard Hopkins, and Juan Manuel Lopez topples Rafael Marquez, and Michael Katsidis handles Juan Manuel Marquez, and Lorenzo whups Sturm, attention will be paid. Emanuel Steward has been vocal about this fact recently: young fighters must push for knockouts, remove the judges from the equation, to generate buzz.
And if Lorenzo shows half the cajones and passion he did in his anti HBO rant...look out Felix Sturm.