Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The Hauser Report: Sergey Kovalev and More at Madison Square Garden

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Hauser Report: Sergey Kovalev and More at Madison Square Garden

    Click image for larger version

Name:	kovalev-shabranskyy-fight-19.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	82.9 KB
ID:	4649

    BY THOMAS HAUSER

    HBO’s triple-header at Madison Square Garden on November 25 marked the start of a unique fifteen-day period. The current Madison Square Garden opened in 1968. This will be the first time ever that the building has hosted boxing in three consecutive weeks.

    The November 25 card was built around 32-year-old Sergey Kovalev, who held the WBA, IBF, and WBO 175-pound titles until losing a disputed decision to Andre Ward in November 2016. Seven months later, Ward stopped Kovalev in round eight of a rematch.

    Thereafter, Kovalev and trainer John David Jackson parted ways on less than good terms. Among the thoughts that Jackson offered on the separation were:

    * “Sergey said a couple of things. He's blaming me for the loss. But you can’t blame me for your loss when you quit. He quit! Once Andre started hitting him to the body, he was done.”

    * “Sergey and I have been going through stuff for years because he’s a real *******. All the Russians that I’ve trained, they’re wonderful people. This guy is a complete dick. Sergey started making money, getting big headed, and he didn’t want to train hard anymore. Every camp was worse and worse.”

    * “If he comes back, he’s damaged goods. He would probably beat a couple of guys, but now they know your secret. You can’t take it to the body. You’re in trouble.”

    Kovalev, for his part, responded, “The whole time I worked with John David Jackson, I got nothing from him except mitts work. I don’t want to say any bad words. He’s a nice guy, but he’s not the coach for me. A coach should help you inside the ring in between rounds when you have one minute for rest. He should say tactics, how to open the target or move to the left or right or back or forward. Because emotions and adrenaline of every fighter inside the ring is very high, fighters don’t see a lot of things [trainers] can see from the side.”

    When Kovalev returned to action on Thanksgiving weekend, it was with a new trainer (Arbor Tursunpulatov) and, he professed, a new attitude.

    “Life showed me that I should be more concentrated on my boxing career if I want to do this,” Sergey told the media. “I cleaned up my body and I cleaned up my mind from zero. All life is like a lesson for me. Right now, I feel all bad things are gone from my mind.”

    Asked about what some thought was a premature stoppage in the Ward rematch after Andre hit him with several illegal low blows, Kovalev answered, “Better for me if Ward knocked me out to close the questions. The Ward fight was like a bad dream. Now I am awake again and must go on with my boxing career. What happened happened. Everything is good. I’m ready to get new fights and new belts again.”

    Kovalev’s opponent on November 25, Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, had questionable credentials and a knockout loss to Sullivan Barrera on his ring ledger. Initially, Kovalev-Shabranskyy was scheduled for ten rounds. Then, on September 21, Andre Ward announced his retirement, freeing up the WBA, WBO, and IBF belts. On October 26, the WBO decreed that Kovalev-Shabranskyy would be for its175-pound title.

    The fight was contested in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. The announced attendance of 3,307 included more than a few giveaways. The crowd was flat to begin with. And an interminably long wait before the televised fights began (during which loud music that didn’t appeal to any on-site demographic blared) didn’t help matters.

    A super-featherweight match-up between Jason Sosa and Yuriorkis Gamboa was first up on HBO.

    A “boring” fight isn’t boring to the fighters involved. Their health and economic future are on the line. They’re trying to beat another man senseless and, at the same time, trying to survive.

    That said; Sosa-Gamboa was boring. The fans in attendance could have been sitting in a movie theater watching a documentary about pottery-making for all the noise they made.

    Gamboa was a shooting star who now looks to be shot. The speed and explosive power that once marked his performances are gone.

    Sosa is a one-dimensional fighter who reported to training camp thirty pounds above the contract weight and wasn’t in shape to push the action for ten rounds. But Jason did some good body work from time to time and made the fight such as it was.

    Referee Ron Lipton made the correct call in two knockdown situations: first, in round three when Gamboa tumbled to the canvas after being hit by a hook to the body and tripped over Sosa’s foot; and again, in round seven when Yuriorkis’s glove touched the canvas as a consequence of his having been wobbled by a clean punch.

    But Lipton has a tendency to insert himself into fights more than necessary. Gamboa held half-heartedly throughout the bout. Sosa could have punched his way out, which would have kept the action flowing. Instead, again and again, Lipton physically broke the fighters, which meant that Gamboa had more time to regroup and was incentivized to keep holding.

    The consensus at ringside was that Sosa was a clear winner by a margin in the neighborhood of six points. Judge Robin Taylor’s scorecard was the first to be announced.

    94-94.

    That elicited a chorus of boos from the few fans who had been engaged enough to actually watch the fight.

    Then Michael Buffer read the scorecards of John McKaie (95-93) and Don Trella (96-92).

    For Gamboa.

    Picture a fastball that bounces in the dirt three feet in front of home plate and is called “strike three” by the umpire. That was the judging in Sosa-Gamboa. The New York State Athletic Commission could have taken three people at random out of the crowd and they would have done a better job.

    The next fight – a light-heavyweight match-up between Sullivan Barrera and Felix Valera – was a sloppy foul-filled affair. Referee Mike Ortega deducted three points from Valera and one from Barrera for low blows. This time, three different judges got it right, scoring the contest 98-88, 97-90, 97-89 for Barrera.

    Then it was time for Kovalev-Shabranskyy.

    Kovalev was a 12-to-1 betting favorite. For good cause. One minute forty seconds into round one, he dropped Shabranskyy with an overhand right. Vyacheslav rose quickly and, a minute later, was on the canvas again courtesy of a clubbing right hand followed by a left hook.

    Round two was more of the same. Fifteen seconds into the stanza, another right over the top shook Shabranskyy. Just before the two minute mark, an accumulation of punches put him on the canvas for the third time. He rose. Kovalev pummeled him around the ring some more. And referee Harvey Dock waved off the action at the 2:36 mark.

    There are some good fights to be made now at 175 pounds. If boxing were a well-run sport, fans would see a four-man elimination tournament with Kovalev, Artur Beterbiev, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, and Dmitry Bivol to determine who’s the best 175-pound fighter in the world. Adonis Stevenson, who in recent years has shown no interest in fighting elite opposition, could be the alternate. That way, Stevenson could continue to talk about going in tough and continue to not go in tough.

    Boxing is not a well-run sport.

    And a closing note on the November 25, 2017, festivities at Madison Square Garden.

    Prior to Sosa-Gamboa, Michael Buffer introduced Ron Lipton with the words, “Inside the ring, in charge of the action at the bell, referee Ron Lipton.”

    Later, in introducing Harvey Dock who was the third man in the ring for Kovalev-Shabranskyy, Buffer proclaimed, “When the bell rings, the man in charge of the action, your referee, world championship veteran Harvey Dock.”

    As Buffer was leaving the arena at the end of the night, Lipton approached him and complained about the introductions, saying, “How could you introduce us like that? He doesn’t have my experience. I started refereeing before he did. I’ve done more championship fights than he has.”

    Right now, Harvey Dock might be the best referee in boxing.

    Thomas Hauser can be reached by email at thauser@rcn.com. His most recent book – There Will Always Be Boxing – was published by the University of Arkansas Press. In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing journalism.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.



  • #2
    First of all in response to the comments by Tom, "
    "Gamboa held half-heartedly throughout the bout. Sosa could have punched his way out, which would have kept the action flowing. Instead, again and again, Lipton physically broke the fighters, which meant that Gamboa had more time to regroup and was incentivized to keep holding."

    Please look at the film to see how inaccurate this statement is, Gamboa was given every opportunity to punch his way out of the clinches, I would tell them to work their way out, it reached a point where Gamboa was excessively holding almost all the time, he was warned repeatedly and given every chance to work his way out. I make it a point not to overly officiate and not to insert myself into the fight. If I did not maintain control it would have been even more constant holding by Gamboa. There is no referee that tells the boxers in the dressing room to foul to their hearts content in the last round because in the last round anything goes.

    Additionally, Tom and I go back a long way, I worked on "Muhammad Ali, the Whole Story," back in 1991 where Tom was involved, I was the senior boxing consultant. I lived and traveled with Ali, who cared about me very much. That seems to bother Tom who becomes very territorial when it comes to Ali. I have known Ali since 1962 and my friendship with him was unique. I was always respectful to Tom through the years and admired his accomplishments. That being said I had a falling out with a close friend of his formerly on the NYSAC, as did others. There are other reasons he does this to me none of which have anything to do what happens in the ring. Even that night at the Theater at M.S.G. I shook his hand to say hello.

    He can be a very cruel person devoid of any fairness. A brilliant man to be admired but there is a cruel pomposity there that is hurtful and unmerited. The less said now the better as I do not want any ridiculous flame war here.

    No matter what I do now or in the future Tom will be there to criticize me but others have carte blanche to make any bout altering mistake there are in the ring without him writing a thing about it. Harvey is a terrific referee, but he has made mistakes too, like letting Chris Algieri get hit on the deck by Ruslan Provodnikov and not calling time out or taking points, it was a blatant foul, where was Tom Hauser's comments on that, there are many others that Tom purposely lets slide. He likes him so he can do no wrong.

    Tom's close friend that was let go from the NYSAC passed over many of us NY State resident referees over to use his pet referees. Ability had nothing to do with it, because films don't lie. Tom is a lawyer, his friend is a lawyer, and Harvey is admiringly studying to be a lawyer too. I rest my case.

    We all make mistakes including me, but the point is not to use the Sweet Science or The Ring magazine to spew poison in a personal animus as a writer. It is beneath his reputation as a writer to do that.

    Walking across a room to ask Michael Buffer, "What was Ron Lipton talking to you about?" It seems like it is an ongoing agenda handed down to Tom by his close friend who was let go by the commission to keep the poison pen flowing with me targeted.

    Tom was NOT standing near Michael and me, and Buffer made it a point to tell me that Tom Hauser walked over to him just to ask that. To me that is a vicious intrusive intent to snoop, discredit and misuse TSS.

    N.J.'s Harvey Dock is a good referee and is given a lot of work in NY state, we are always polite to each other and work well together, I like him personally.

    Michael Buffer and I go back to the early 90's and he is my friend. I was one of the first referees he ever said "World championship veteran (Boxing man) Ron Lipton." Look at the films on you tube from the 90's. He later did that for others. My boxing background goes way beyond my referee career. I asked Mike that question because my family watches and I missed that intro from him as he is special to all of us.

    Well I better hold onto my hat for more future attacks by Tom. It is sad that a few of my friends write for TSS and The Ring where Tom does too. I hope this transparent type of thing stops. I doubt it though.

    Respectfully,

    Referee Ron Lipton

    When I saw this article I contacted Mike Buffer. He wrote me back and I still have it. He stated clearly that Tom Hauser walked over to him on his own and asked, "What was Ron Lipton talking to you about?" One has to think of the motivation behind that for a moment, to take time out of your life and walk over to him and ask such an intrusive question and then to put it in an article like this to hurt someone. Mike said the following in his E-mail to me, "

    To: rlipt8 <rlipt8@aol.com>
    Cc: By Bruce Buffer at <info@letsrumble.com>
    Date: Mon, Nov 27, 2017 11:10 pm
    Hi Ron,

    After you and I chatted, Tom Hauser asked what was Ron Lipton talking to you about to which I replied...”Ron asked me about the referee intros as I said ‘world championship veteran’ for Harvey but not for him as I had done in the past”. I added that you mentioned having “been around a lot longer and had done many world title fights also” (which, of course, is true). Then when I said “I usually reserve that added part of the intro for a title fight” to you...you completely understood and that was that.

    In retrospect I should have added it was a perfectly understandable thing to ask (I thought) and not a big deal. It seems after reading his version it would’ve been better for both of us if I just said nothing.

    My apologies for any misunderstanding or misinterpretation that was a result of my response to Hauser.


    All the best, Ron and if I don’t see you before the end of the year have a great holiday season.


    Cheers,

    Michael

    Comment


    • #3
      Wow. That took some real guts but it certainly seemed to put a different light on what Mr. Hauser said. Kudos to Ron Lipton for having the fortitude to do this notwithstanding the possibility of a withering counterattack.

      Comment


      • #4
        There are a couple things to state on this article.

        First, I did not find Gamboa-Sosa to be a boring fight. I was into it throughout.

        In regards to the officiating, Gamboa can be one tough guy to referee. He will use his legs, look to counter when presented with the opportunity and yes hold. Many referees don't want to "impose" themselves and back potentially back themselves into a corner in his fights by having to deduct points and possibly facing a decision on a DQ. So they just let it be. And fights then turn into clunkers, anyone who is having a hard time falling asleep on a particular night should watch Gamboa's bout with Darleys Perez.

        Anyway, I did not have issue with Lipton's warnings. This is professional boxing and I thought he was trying to keep this from being an absolute clunker as well as being fair to Sosa. I am not going to criticize Lipton either for how he handled the fight. It was a tough fight to officiate and frankly anyone who refereed that fight could be critiqued for how they handled it. It was just one of those fights and Ganboa is one of those fighters whose style will always lead to difficult refereeing assignments.

        Lipton's officiating is not the issue with this contest. The issue was the judging as Mr. Hauser does accurately point out. That is what needs to be discussed in more detail if bringing this fight back to the forefront and how we can fix this issue (grading the judges, tweaking how judges view a fight, etc) that continues to plague this sport.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by oubobcat View Post
          There are a couple things to state on this article.

          First, I did not find Gamboa-Sosa to be a boring fight. I was into it throughout.

          In regards to the officiating, Gamboa can be one tough guy to referee. He will use his legs, look to counter when presented with the opportunity and yes hold. Many referees don't want to "impose" themselves and back potentially back themselves into a corner in his fights by having to deduct points and possibly facing a decision on a DQ. So they just let it be. And fights then turn into clunkers, anyone who is having a hard time falling asleep on a particular night should watch Gamboa's bout with Darleys Perez.

          Anyway, I did not have issue with Lipton's warnings. This is professional boxing and I thought he was trying to keep this from being an absolute clunker as well as being fair to Sosa. I am not going to criticize Lipton either for how he handled the fight. It was a tough fight to officiate and frankly anyone who refereed that fight could be critiqued for how they handled it. It was just one of those fights and Ganboa is one of those fighters whose style will always lead to difficult refereeing assignments.

          Lipton's officiating is not the issue with this contest. The issue was the judging as Mr. Hauser does accurately point out. That is what needs to be discussed in more detail if bringing this fight back to the forefront and how we can fix this issue (grading the judges, tweaking how judges view a fight, etc) that continues to plague this sport.
          I think you are missing the back story, Matt.And that's between Lipton and Hauser.

          Comment

          Working...
          X