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No Boxing Please, We’re Spanish

On the 13th of July, the Barry McGuigan-managed featherweight, Marco McCullough, got a call at home in Belfast.  Check your passport, he was told, you’ve got a fight in Madrid’s Hipódromo de Zarzuela on the 24th. Short notice and away from home, but Marco didn’t care. He’d been itching to get back in the ring […]

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Let the Clamour for Frampton v Quigg Intensify

At one point it looked like their respective first bells would chime simultaneously, like final-day-of-season football games in which one team’s result could affect the performance of another. And despite the ire of the millions desperate to enjoy both, perhaps that would have been fitting. Yesterday, at around 10pm in Manchester and 4pm in Texas, […]

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From Belfast to Banús: Jamie Conlan is Primed for the Big Time

“He’ll be a world champion within two years.  I’m absolutely certain.” Boxing trainer Danny Vaughan, a softly spoken Liverpudlian with over 20 years’ experience in the sport, is not one for hyperbole so when he tells me this, I know he believes it. The subject is his newest charge, Jamie Conlan, and we are standing […]

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Floyd & Manny: The Greatest Fight Ever Sold

Almost a week has now passed since I sat silently alone in an incipient Madrileño dawn to absorb the biggest prize fight of a generation.  My solitude was a function of the general indifference the average Spaniard feels towards the sweet science: particularly bouts that take place at 6am on a Sunday morning.  The silence […]

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Three Minutes: Pacquiao v Márquez IV Round 6

It is as jarring an image as we’ve seen in an elite-level boxing ring this century.  A recumbent Manny Pacquiao, prostrate and unmoving on the canvas floor, momentarily oblivious to the bedlam descending around him.  Some, his trainer and promoter among them, later confessed to having feared the very worst.  His wife and teenage sweetheart, […]

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Three Minutes: McGuigan v Cruz Round 15

Everything was a little off that igneous day in Las Vegas.  The location, the climate, the opponent, McGuigan himself: nothing felt quite right. Belfast and London had hosted the vast majority of Barry McGuigan’s glory nights, but after his historic victory over the legendary Eusebio Pedroza, the newly crowned featherweight champion of the world understandably […]

Erik Morales fights Marco Antonio Barrera at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Three Minutes: Barrera v Morales III Round 11

In the opening years of the 21st century, a mutual antipathy between two future Hall of Fame fighters festered and then flourished down Mexico way.  As Marco Antonio Barrera and Érik Morales rose triumphantly through the weight divisions, so their dislike for one another appeared to increase exponentially. Unusually for professional boxing, this shared enmity […]

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Kovalev Stops Pascal in Eight

The Sunday morning headline writers probably checked the pre-fight odds and thought they were in for an easy shift.  Massacre in Montreal.  Carnage in Canada.  Krusher Kovalev KOs …. You get the general alliterative idea.  But while the final result, Kovalev by TKO between rounds eight to twelve, was exactly where all the smart money […]

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Frampton Teaches Avalos Some Manners in Belfast

If the temperature rose under the mock crystal chandeliers of the Europa Hotel’s Grand Ballroom at Friday’s weigh-in, the mercury surged north and burst free in the Odyssey Arena last night as super bantamweight champion of the world, Carl Frampton, destroyed his mandatory challenger, Chris Avalos, in thirteen and half raucous minutes. The Europa, as […]

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Carpe Diem Sergey

There was relative calm that night in Kiev, a year ago this weekend.  An uneasy truce between the government and opposition saw Hrushevskoho Street partially cleared while the Maidan Nezalezhnosti protestors around the corner braced themselves for the violence they sensed was coming.  The official beginning of the 2014 Ukranian Revolution was still three days […]

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Luke Keeler: The Prizefighter

There will be no love lost inside Blackpool’s Winter Gardens this Valentine’s night as the latest instalment of the Prizefighter series hits England’s answer to Atlantic City.  Barry Hearn’s innovative one night, eight man, twenty-one round shoot-out returns in its 35th incarnation and this time it will be a merry band of middleweights vying for […]

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The Beautiful Brutality of Kevin Mitchell

There are various sports that, when played at the highest level by protagonists approaching peak performance, can be legitimately described as beautiful or brutal.  But it is perhaps only in the sport of boxing that the beauty and brutality arrive simultaneously: and even in the prize ring the occurrence is rare and fleeting. However, those […]

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The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board: A Call to Arms to Save Boxing’s Soul

Imagine a world where at least four athletes walk away from each event in the Olympic Games with shiny gold medals.  Where on a Sunday evening every April at Augusta National, four or five different golfers pull out of Magnolia Lane and head for home with a winners’ cheque tucked into the breast pocket of […]

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Three Minutes: Foreman v Frazier I Round 2

Muhammad Ali’s star shone so brightly throughout the 1970s that it is easy to squint and blur the rest.  And when other figures from that golden age in heavyweight boxing do come into focus, it is invariably on account of their orbit having brought them into close proximity with the GOAT rather than an acknowledgement […]