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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

David Alaverdian Back in Action This Saturday

David Alaverdian is scheduled to fight on Saturday, December 3 against Edgar Mendoza Hernandez at Auditorio Ernesto Rufo in Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico. Both men fought on the same card on November 11 in Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico.

David Alaverdian (6-0-1, 5 KOs) is a 29 year old from Nahariya, Israel. On November 11, the judges called his fight with Angel Geovanny Meza Morales a split draw. It was a horrible decision meant to save the local kid's undefeated record. Alaverdian landed about as many punches as Meza threw. The judges seemed to discount David's jab completely. The Jewish Boxing Blog scored it 59-55 for Alaverdian.

Edgar Mendoza (3-8, 1 KO), nicknamed Torito, is a 29 year old from Mexico City, Mexico. Torito translates to "little bull," and it isn't an apt description of Mendoza. A tall super flyweight, Mendoza is best on the outside keeping his opponent at range.

Teddy Atlas and Emanuel Steward, both legendary trainers and tv analysts, used to say they preferred taller fighters. But taller fighters tend to have skinny legs and at times Mendoza has exhibited the grace of a newborn fawn while circling the perimeter of the ring. In his 2015 debut against Edgar Hernandez Villanueva, Mendoza traded too often with his shorter foe and lost a majority decision.

On November 11, Mendoza was beaten badly by Ernesto Garcia, an aggressive fighter who switches stances like Alaverdian, and cuts off the ring well. Torito showed heart and a willingness to trade while under fire, but he was officially knocked down three times in under two rounds of action. His corner mercifully stopped the contest.

This is the right opponent on the right timeline for Alaverdian after that frustrating draw. Mendoza, a tall guy who lets his hands go, of course has a puncher's chance, but he boasts of only one KO in eleven fights. He is tough however, only stopped twice.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

News and Notes

Shawn Sarembock, a 31 year old junior middleweight, had been tentatively scheduled to fight on December 16, but his bout has been pushed back to January although nothing is official yet. Check out his interview last month with The Jewish Boxing Blog.

Yuri Foreman worked with his old trainer Joe Grier this past week. Grier, who is retired, helped Foreman win the WBA junior middleweight world championship in 2009. Grier threw in the towel after Foreman tore his ACL in his first title defense against Miguel Cotto in Yankee Stadium. In so doing, Grier attempted to save his fighter by stopping the fight in the eighth round, but referee Arthur Mercante Jr. inexplicably rejected the towel and forced the fight to continue. Foreman, normally an agile boxer, was a sitting duck because of his compromised leg.

David Kaminsky, a 22 year old super middleweight, had surgery this week to repair a torn ACL and MCL. Despite the injuries, he attempted to fight on October 8th, but the California State Athletic Commission won't allow him to enter the ring until his injuries are surgically repaired. The absolute minimum timetable to rehabilitate after ACL surgery is six months, but a year is closer to the norm.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Frustratingly Unfair Decisions

There is an old anti-Semitic trope that asserts Jews run the world, and since boxing is part of the world, they run boxing, too. This line of thinking is particularly deleterious, because it casts suspicion on any individual Jew who achieves success. At one time, Jews were certainly overrepresented as boxing promoters, but overrepresentation, of course, does not equal control.

If, for some peculiar reason, we accept the anti-Semites' view that Jews control boxing, it certainly hasn't helped Jewish boxers. This year has seen several frustratingly bad decisions go against Jewish fighters.

The worst decision came in Poland this past March. Igor Lazarev dominated the local kid, Dominik Harwankowski. The Jewish Boxing Blog scored the bout 59-55 for Lazarev, but the local judges disagreed. Eugeniusz Tuszynski, Tomasz Chwoszcz, and Arek Malek scored the fight 59-55, 58-56, and 58-56 respectively for their fellow countryman. The JBB soon learned that Arek Malek had a significant conflict of interest considering he was Harwankowski's mentor.

On November 11, David Alaverdian showed off his skills against local prospect Angel Geovanny Meza Morales in Mexico. The JBB scored the fight 59-55 for Alaverdian. The judges' scores are a bit of a mystery, but one had it 59-55 one way, another scored it 56-58 the other way, and the third judge saw it 57-57 for a spit draw.

The most bizarre incident dates to Mor Oknin's fight on February 26 in Agua Prieta, Mexico. Oknin claims he defeated Jose Cariaga by fourth round TKO. BoxRec lists the result as a third round TKO victory for Cariaga. The JBB investigated and was told by an editor of BoxRec that the site has "lots of problems with wrong reports." BoxRec posts whatever result the local commission reports. This fall, Oknin told The JBB that an effort to overturn the result was ongoing.

There has been no evidence of anti-Semitism as a motivation for any of these bad decisions. They were almost certainly erroneous decisions made to favor the local fighter regardless of the background of the opponent. The pro game is so decentralized that local commissions can pretty much do whatever they want. 

Jewish boxers also suffered from bad decision in amateur boxing this year. During the European Amateur Championships in May, Alaverdian and Miroslav Kapuler were the victims of curious judging. In Alaverdian's fight, two judges inconceivably scored the third round for his opponent. Kapuler clearly controlled the second round of his bout, but two judges inexplicably scored the round for his opponent. Judge Johany Maden of France was the common denominator in both decisions, scoring against the Israelis regardless of their performance in the ring.

The IBA, which ran the European amateur champions, is so corrupt it has been barred from running the Olympic boxing tournament. That corruption is the likely culprit for those bad decisions.

For all the power a faceless group of Jews supposedly possesses, it sure hasn't helped actual Jewish boxers. Those boxers have been on the short end of some terrible decisions this year, not because of their religious persuasion, but because the amateur game is shrouded in corruption and the pro game is so decentralized that results are determined by the whims of individual commissions.

Monday, November 14, 2022

The Importance of Pad Work

*Pat-pat-pat-pat* Floyd Mayweather's Grant gloves land with a unique mixture of speed and grace on the carefully placed Everlast mitts of his uncle Roger. A generation of aspiring boxers watch as Floyd throws nine punches in less than two seconds on HBO's hit show 24/7.

Origins and Popularization
The origins of pad work are murky. All roads lead to an unsourced Wikipedia article, but there are some verifiable moments of significance. The martial arts legend and actor Bruce Lee designed a focus mitt that looked something like a baseball catcher's glove. Hall of Fame coach Emanuel Steward brought pad work into vogue by initially wearing boxing gloves backwards and catching his charge's punches on the padded backside of the gloves.

But Mayweather's extravagant combinations on 24/7, intricately coordinated with his uncle, popularized pad work. Nowadays, one can find countless social media videos mimicking Mayweather's moves.

Bruce Lee's focus mitts

Styles of Pad Work
Some older trainers disapprove of pad work. Former WBA junior middleweight world champion Yuri Foreman states, "Russian trainers told me, 'Don't embrace the pads,' when I was young." A native of the Soviet Union, Foreman immigrated to Israel before moving to Brooklyn. "It messes up distance. Your perception of distance is very important in boxing."

Adam Hadad, a coach based in Israel, explains why older trainers might be against the exercise. "They often see that Mayweather style and think it’s not real boxing, and they're right. But real pad work is highly valuable and a more modern form of training, so it makes sense that the old guard doesn’t like it."

Shawn Sarembock, an 8-0 fighter with 8 KOs, says, "We use zero hand pads, but not by choice." His dad and trainer, Neil, was a champion kickboxer whose career was cut short due to injury. "It's just me and my dad and I don't want to rip his arms off," Shawn says. "But if I did pad work, I wouldn't do it in the Mayweather style, because I don't fight like that."

Former pro boxer turned coach, Tony Milch says, "I did a lot of pad work with [coach] Ian Burbedge when I was a pro." But he notes, "We didn't do speed pads- Mayweather style- ever." 

"The problem with modern pad work stems from Mayweather’s pad work during open workouts before fights," explains Coach Hadad, who counts Israeli amateur standouts David Bazov and Tomer Benny among his fighters "In front of the cameras Floyd and his uncle did the Mayweather style of pad work: continuous, light combinations with lots of flashy movements. What the Mayweathers did in front of the cameras was just for show."

According to Hadad, a coach- the late James Ricky Coward, known as Coach Rick- started a program called Mittology which taught coaches to hold the pads like Roger Mayweather to produce flashy combinations. Hadad says the videos portrayed this style "as if it were real work rather than fancy stuff for the cameras."

"This style, being visually appealing, proliferated in boxing training because it’s highly Instagramable," Hadad concludes.
Floyd Mayweather works the pads with his uncle Roger

David Alaverdian (6-0-1, 5 KOs), who works with Floyd Mayweather Sr., notes that the fancy Mayweather style of pad work has it's place but can't be the only method. "You gotta do the old school and new pad work style together. You can't just do the new one.

"The biggest problem with the new one is they don't use a lot of footwork," Alaverdian says. "They stand in place, and it's a lot of combinations. So if your opponent is just in front of you, you're going to unload some crazy nice-looking combinations. But what happens when somebody has really good footwork running around the ring? You can't do nothing. You can't even land your jab on this guy."

Hadad agrees that there is something to the Mayweather style, "There is some value to it in terms of building instincts and flow." Specifically about Floyd and his uncle, he expounds, "What most people didn’t contextualize was that that pad work was built over two decades. The original combinations and sequences were sharp and explosive."

The Benefits of Pad Work
Pad work can be used for a variety of reasons. Junior middleweight Tony Milch used pads when he was an active boxer "for sharpness and angles as I was a tall boxer for the weight."

Yuri Foreman says, "I like doing the pads now because it challenges my stamina."

"I find that with beginners, working with the pads allows me to shape their punches and stance faster," Coach Adam Hadad explains. "With advanced fighters, it’s a great tool for tuning counter punches, reactions, and timing. It allows me to push the fighters to have a higher punch rate, more accurate punches, and better overall flow, especially for counter punching."

"That's an advantage that I have over a lot of boxers here in the States," David Alaverdian says of using the old school method of pad work. "Some coaches won't do the basic old school 1-2, jab, jab, jab 1-2 on the pads. They would just do these combination drills all the time. [In a fight against their boxers] I just started running around the ring and using a lot of footwork, and they just can't do anything."

Emanuel Steward works the pads with Thomas Hearns

Alaverdian says both old and new styles of pad work are useful together. "You gotta do both. Because there's a time your opponent's going to move and a time when your opponent's going to stand and trade with you."

Final Thoughts

"As a retired boxer and coach I believe pad work, of course, has its place," says Milch, "but it's not the most important. Overall you do need pad work to keep sharp, but it's not needed as much as boxers or people think nowadays."

"I would do pad work like Abel Sanchez and Triple G [Gennady Golovkin]," says Shawn Sarembock, who, like Milch, believes shadowboxing and sparring are more useful. "Like Robert Garcia does or like Manny Robles."  Sanchez, Garcia, and Robles are all top-level coaches who move around and call for punches that more closely simulate a fight than does the newer style of pad work. 

"It’s hard to maintain focus and motivation with bag work and shadowboxing," Hadad notes. "Pad work is highly engaging and responsive, so it makes training more fun and dynamic."

Though pad work can be quite useful for an expert coach like Hadad, Milch rightly observes, "A lot of people can look good on pads but cannot fight at all."

The opinions of boxers and coaches on pad work are quite nuanced . Those interviewed agree in some areas on the subject and disagree in others. The Mayweather style of pad work may or may not have some value but all agree it shouldn't be a fighter's primary training method. Some see more value in using the pads than others. "Everyone's different," Yuri Foreman puts it aptly. "There's not one approach."

Friday, November 11, 2022

David Alaverdian Deserved to Win, Fight Called Split Draw

Flyweights David Alaverdian and Angel Geovanny Meza Morales fought to a split draw tonight at GNP Segura Arena in humid Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico. Alaverdian, a 29 year old from Israel, dominated the six-round fight virtually from start to finish and deserved to win by a wide margin.

From the opening bell, Alaverdian controlled center ring with his jab and feints from the orthodox stance. At first he threw a range-finding jab, but by the end of the round that jab was landing effectively. Meza, a 22 year old from Mexico, wasn't able to counter the entire fight and kept his hands home most of the way. When Meza did throw, David used the shoulder roll defense to slip the shots.

In the second round, Alaverdian landed a beautiful lead left as a southpaw, avoided Meza's right with a quick step back, and then landed an eye-catching counter left to punctuate the fight's prettiest combination. Alaverdian attacked the body and landed a left uppercut as a righty to easily take the round.

David exuded confidence in the ring by the third round. In that round and the next, he landed left uppercuts from the outside and lead lefts as a southpaw. Both shots are dangerous to throw because they leave one open for a counter. By consistently shooting those punches, Alaverdian showed no concern for Meza's hand speed or counters. In the fourth, the Mexican prospect landed a right while Alaverdian was against the ropes, but the Israeli had won every round to that point.

Meza came out with fire in the fifth and backed Alaverdian to the ropes where he began launching bombs. Body shots and a right uppercut landed. It seemed as if Alaverdian was getting a bit too cute feeling he had the fight in hand. While he continued to jab and land left hooks to the body periodically throughout the round, Meza won it. He had David's back to the ropes multiple times and showed a bigger commitment to the body than before.

Alaverdian won the sixth and final round with his jab. When Meza connected with a shot to the midsection, Alaverdian landed several right back.

The judges scored the bout 59-55 one way, 58-56 the other, and 57-57 although it wasn't clear which score corresponded with which fighter. "I'm kind of bummed out it's a draw," David told The Jewish Boxing BlogThe JBB scored the fight 59-55 for Alaverdian. The only round that was close was the fifth, which The JBB scored for Meza.

"I'm frustrated. I felt like for every shot he landed, I landed five," Alaverdian said. Boxing's scoring system is subjective, but to put it frankly, Alaverdian was robbed of a win. Perhaps the judges favored the local fighter, which happens far too often in the sport, but incompetence in judging worldwide has reached epidemic proportions.

Alaverdian is now 6-0-1 with 5 KOs) while Angel Meza is very fortunate to maintain an undefeated record at 4-0-2 with 4 KOs.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

David Alaverdian and Angel Meza Make Weight

David Alaverdian and Angel Geovanny Meza Morales both weighed in under the flyweight limit ahead of their six-round clash tomorrow at GNP Segura Arena in Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico.

Alaverdian (6-0, 5 KOs), a 29 year old Israeli based in the U.S., came in at 110.5 pounds, the lightest of his pro career. His previous lightest weight was 112 while his heaviest has been 114.8, a very narrow range for a boxer and an indication of extreme discipline. Last month, Alaverdian told The Jewish Boxing Blog, "I can make light flyweight as well." On social media yesterday, he mentioned he had the last couple of pounds to drop.

Meza (4-0-1, 4 KOs) is a formidable 22 year old from Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. Nicknamed Rayito, he also came in at 110.5 pounds. The lightest he's weighed was 110 pounds back in 2020. In his debut he came in at 121.8 pounds, by far the heaviest of his career. This will be Meza's third fight as a flyweight. He's had two as a super flyweight and one as a junior bantam.

During the weigh-in the MC announced that a boxer in a different fight was from Ukraine and another boxer from Romania. It turned out they were both from Armenia, and based on his reaction, Armenia is a country the MC had likely never heard of. During the stare-downs, the MC often pushed one of the fighters closer to the other, trying to generate some animosity. A different official moved Alaverdian and Meza closer during their stare-down, but the two were stoic and professional the entire time.

A coin was then flipped to choose corners. Alaverdian will receive his instructions in the red corner while Meza will fight out of the blue. The two then shook hands.

The event will be shown on Fite.tv. It can be viewed with a Fite + subscription, which is only $4.99 a month. Fite + is offering a seven day trial period, so the event can be viewed for free as long as the subscription is canceled before the trial period ends. Fite.TV can be watched on a smart tv, mobile device, or computer. Video quality can vary from event to event, but on the whole Fite.TV is quite reputable.

The JBB's preview of Alaverdian-Meza is here. Video of the weigh-in can be viewed here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Updates on Alaverdian, Bazov, and Cohen

David Alaverdian is scheduled to face Angel Geovanny Meza Morales at the WBC annual convention in Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico this Friday. Here is The Jewish Boxing Blog's preview of the fight. The card is slated to be shown on Fite TV. It's a six-round flyweight affair. Former two-division world champion Carolina Duer is at the convention.

David Bazov had been scheduled to make his pro debut on November 12 in Kosovo. He is now off the card. Bazov fought in an exhibition match just a couple of weeks ago.

Stefi Cohen mentioned that December 10 was a possible date for her return to the ring, but she is now scheduled to fight on January 27, 2023. The fight is penciled in for Quiet Canyon Country Club in Montebello, California, USA. It's a four-rounder in the super bantamweight division against an opponent to be announced at a later date. The event is to be shown on UFC Fight Pass.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Dr. Stefi Cohen May Fight in December

 Dr. Stefi Cohen was recently asked on social media about her next fight. She responded by saying, "December 10ish." The fight is also pegged to take place in the U.S. state of California although nothing is official.

Cohen had been scheduled to fight Ontario, California on October 22, but her opponent backed out just before the weigh-in. Stefi sports a record of 2-1-1 with one KO during her boxing career. Cohen, as is the case with most boxers, has had quite a few fights cancelled during her career, which began in June of last year.

A 30 year old native of Venezuela, she is currently based in Miami, Florida. Stefi is a world record-holding powerlifter, entrepreneur, and social media star. She has also been open about her struggles with anxiety. She admitted she experiences a fear of failure, fear of disappointing others and herself, and a fear of looking bad. Though her record contains blemishes, Stefi has acclimated herself to the ring quite well for someone who began boxing just two years ago.

"I never imagined I'd be doing any of this at 30 years old," Cohen recently wrote, "At this rate I won't be surprised if I become like... a 52 year old carpenter living in Arkansas with three kids that aren't even mine."