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Donovan Dennis KOs Razvan Cojanu on ESPN2. #boxing

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The new Mortal Kombat X trailer featuring Kitana vs. Kung Lao is raw as hell. This game is probably going to be a massive hit among adolescent sociopaths and their elders.

Watch on stiffjab.com

Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier got into a fight during their media day. Uncle Dana is probably going to act pissed, but this is going to make the fight really easy to promote. 

Floyd Mayweather Jr Is the Champ Boxing Deserves

Photos by Esther Lin for Showtime

by Sarah Deming

Floyd Mayweather, Jr. knew what he was doing when he ditched the name “Pretty Boy.” Beauty is hard to grasp. Just look at the general wave of meh sweeping the Internets after his latest masterful performance.

Mike Tyson tweeted, “We waited 5 years for that… #underwhelmed #MayPac”

Everyone’s a critic. The publicity surrounding this overdue welterweight showdown swept up writers and fans who normally ignore the sport. Pundits professed hope that a dynamic contest – the word “welter” means “to writhe or toss” – would convince the visitors to stay awhile. But anyone who knows Money knew the odds of that were impossibly long.

“Welter” also means “to wallow, to become deeply sunk, soaked, or involved.” Those of us who wallow daily in boxing’s grime understand that Mayweather does not make art for the masses. The 24/7 tackiness of his extra-ring persona obscures this.

Hoping that Mayweather’s deconstruction of an autumnal Pacquiao will thrill casual viewers is like hoping the Wiz Khalifa fan club will start lining up to hear avant-garde jazz.*

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R.I.P. Maya Angelou, 1928-2014

Maya Angelou dances with the late poet Amiri Baraka at Langston Hughes’ 89th birthday celebration in 1991. Photo by Chester Higgins Jr. for the New York Times.

by Gautham Nagesh

HYDERABAD, India–It has been a while since I last wrote here, my apologies.

I could offer the standard excuses, but there’s really just one reason: I landed my dream job last year, and it has left me no time for anything else. The past month in particular has been an unrelenting stream of news, leaving every other part of my life neglected. This vacation and the chance to rest and recharge couldn’t have come at a better time.

I have always struggled to describe what we do here at Stiff Jab. Put simply, we write about fighting, and try to find beauty in what is clearly an ugly spectacle, designed to appeal to our basest instincts. Whether it’s Sarah documenting the trials of women trying to break into a man’s world, or me simply bearing witness to battles fought by fighters that will never reach the limelight, we try to capture how the heat of battle brings out the best in these men and women, who enter the ring almost naked and depart completely exposed, in victory or defeat.

Fighters are remarkable human beings. Fighters drag themselves from meager conditions with little more than their hands and years of sweat. It is a long, lonely road, and almost none of them find success. Even those that reach the top must spent years toiling anonymously, placing full faith in their discipline and natural gifts and hoping it’s enough to secure their future. And even for the best, their moment is almost always just that; a glorious instant in time, followed by a slow descent back to where they started.

Of course, a few select champions manage to defy all that. They somehow along the way become more than just a sack of meat and bones, but something much larger, a testament to the incredible potential of the human spirit. They inspire us, and expand our vision of what life can hold for all of us. They make us believe in ourselves, and in abilities we never knew we had. 

By any measure, Maya Angelou was a fighter and a champion. Her grandness was such that it cannot be encapsulated by mere titles like poet or author. Maya Angelou was much more. She was living proof that no matter how many times a woman has been knocked down to the canvas, no matter how deeply the odds are stacked against her, she retains a puncher’s chance.

Ms. Angelou rose from a background defined by crippling racism, trauma, and displacement, yet somehow managed to spend her life showing all of us just how much life can be jammed into 86 years. She fought proudly in the ring for over five decades, refusing to capitulate no matter what. If the outpouring of grief and love today is any indication, her arms should be raised in victory for eternity.

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The Wage Gap Exists (in the UFC)

Cat Zingano photo by Esther Lin for Invicta

by Dr. Octagon, J.D.

When President Obama talks about the wage gap (the concept that men are paid more than women for equal work) I usually just try to ignore him, because he’s a liar that pretends to be all chill, but in reality is spying on all of us.  

So anyway, Barry puts the wage gap at 77% and because he’s a big fucking liar he’s using a number that’s different than the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which goes with 81% or 86% depending on how you calculate it. To make things even more hilarious, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is in the Labor Department, which is part of the Executive Branch (for those of you not following me here, the BLS is a bunch of guys who ultimately answer to the President and whose job it is to calculate shit like this.)

So basically, there is a wage gap between the sexes that liberals say is gigantic and due to persistent discrimination and conservatives say it is due to women taking themselves out of the workforce to make babies or going into jobs that require less of the particularly remunerative specializations such as maths and sciences that men statistically excel at. This esteemed publication tries not to be political, so we’re not going to tell you where our sympathies lie.

Like Barack Obama, UFC boss Dana White also is known spin the truth every now and again, most recently calling out the venerable MMA journalist Dave Meltzer for something that he did not say. Unlike Barack Obama, Dana White is not concerned with the wage gap whatsoever.  

Manvel Gamburyan is a male fighter who is not currently ranked in the UFC’s Top 15 (but you could argue could be included in the top 10) and had the first fight of the night at UFC 178, which was not even broadcast on the televised undercard. The only way to see it was on UFC Fightpass. How much would you say he was paid to show (what he would have made if he did not win)?

He made $25,000. Now I am barely scraping the bottom of the barrel with this blogging gig (and rightly so, I really don’t work that much), but that doesn’t seem to be a lot of money to train for a fight and get into a cage with a man trying to punch my face in. You know, he has to have a full training camp, travel to the fight with all his coaches, pay his coaches, pay Mike Dolce, etc. In the interest of transparency, Manny also made an additional $25,000 because he won. 

On the other hand we have Cat Zingano, who is the best female fighter in the UFC other than Ronda Rousey (according to the UFC’s rankings), who fought on the main card, that people paid around sixty bucks each to watch. How much do you think she made to show up? It must have been at least a little bit more than Manny Gamburyan, right? Nope. $9,000 to fight (another $9,000 to win). That’s right. Not exactly five figures, but almost there.  

So Cat Zingano, who was on the Pay Per View Card and is the second-best female fighter in the entire UFC got paid 36% of the amount that Manny Gamburyan made to fight on teh internets.  But let’s compare apples to apples. Dominick Cruz also fought on the Pay Per View card and is similarly ranked to Zingano. He got paid 50k to show up. He’s a former champ, so there’s that, but she’s still only making 18% of what he is.  

This is pretty common for sports, due to things like the laws of supply and demand and the invisible hand of the market and shit like that, which is why Carmelo Anthony makes more money than the entire WNBA roster. But there aren’t a lot of other sports where men’s and women’s competitions are on the same show.

Also, it’s sort of hard to argue that there’s no demand to see Zingano fight, when the UFC is sticking her on the portion of the card that you have to pay for. You’d think the wage gap would be a little lower.  

So there you go: MMA fighters aren’t making money. But female fighters in particular are getting screwed.

Manny Pacquiao Beats Tim Bradley In Rematch

Photo by Chris Farina for Top Rank

by Gautham Nagesh

If there were any doubts about whether Manny Pacquiao is a superior fighter than Tim Bradley Jr., the Filipino welterweight put them to bed on Saturday night in Las Vegas on HBO Pay Per View.

The Pacman overcame a spirited early effort from Bradley to win a convincing decision at the MGM Grand, avenging his controversial loss in their first bout last year. This time there could be no debate: Bradley threw everything he had against Pacquiao in the early rounds, but Pacman took it all and kept coming.

Bradley landed a number of crashing rights early in the fight, but it was Pacquiao’s dynamite left hand that ruled the evening, as it has so many times before. Pacquiao’s speed and effortless power were the difference in the end. Bradley left his sizable heart into the ring, but he simply did not have the talent to match Pacquiao.

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Slideshow: Boxing At Harlem Children’s Festival

Photos by Debi Cornwall

2012 U.S. Olympian Marcus Browne, Bronx junior middleweight prospect Eddie Gomez and other Golden Boy fighters stopped by the Harlem Children’s Festival on Saturday to take photos, sign autographs and introduce some youngsters to the Sweet Science.

Our Sarah Deming was on hand with Atlas Cops & Kids Boxing to spread both the sport and their anti-gun violence message. Her friend, the clearly talented photographer Debi Cornwall, was gracious enough to let us publish her photo essay on the event above.

Sarah will bring you ringside coverage of the card from Best Buy Theater headlined by Danny Jacobs vs. Giovanni Lorenzo at middleweight tomorrow (Monday) night. Full bout sheet here.

Anderson Silva Clowns Around, Gets Knocked Out By Chris Weidman

by Dr. Octagon, J.D. 

The sky fell on Saturday night in Las Vegas for one of the biggest stars of mixed martial arts. Chris Weidman knocked out Anderson Silva at UFC 162 in Las Vegas, handing the Brazilian middleweight champion his first loss in the UFC.

The main event started out predictably: Silva was treating Weidman like Demian Maia. Anderson danced around, dropping his hands and taunting Weidman. It cost him in the second round, when Weidman found home with a left hook for a knockdown, then pounced on Silva to put a nail in the coffin.

Anderson’s ridiculous antics finally caught up to him. Weidman, who refused to renegotiate his contract prior to this bout, was getting paid $48,000 for this fight including the win bonus. He is going to have serious negotiating power going forward. Weidman’s gamble paid off, and vindicated all the people who were predicting him to win.

That being said, it’s sort of a shame that we didn’t see what would have happened if Anderson took this fight seriously. I’m shocked. It’s going to take a while to process this, but it really opens up the possibilities in the middleweight division.  

Floyd Mayweather Makes It Look Easy Against Robert Guerrero

Photo by Tom Casino for Showtime

by Gautham Nagesh

Welterweight Floyd “Money” Mayweather cemented his status as boxing’s pound-for-pound king by picking apart Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero on Showtime Pay Per View in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

Floyd looked supremely comfortable against the overmatched Guerrero, who becomes the 44th notch on Mayweather’s unblemished record. Mayweather was landing his straight right hand from the outset, and made Guerrero look foolish at points. Guerrero’s heart and effort can’t be questioned, but he was simply not on the same level as the superlative Mayweather, who somehow impressed despite being the heavy favorite.

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R.I.P. Omar Henry 1987-2013

by Gautham Nagesh

Junior middleweight prospect Omar Henry passed away Friday in Chicago from gall bladder cancer. He was 25.

Born in Chicago and raised in Houston, Henry was a decorated amateur with a promising future in the 154-lb weight class. Henry boasted a record of 12-0-1 with 9 KOs and was slated to be the headliner on ShoBox last November, when his illness was first discovered. He posted a message to his Facebook account on January 9th expressing his hope that he would live to see his 26th birthday on February 8th.

“To all my friends and loyal fans I want to inform you all that I am fighting the fight of my life against a disease known as gallbladder cancer,” Henry posted to Facebook on Sunday. “While I’m in this current state I am fighting with my family by my side and I will not go down for the count.”

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Juan Manuel Marquez KOs Manny Pacquiao

by Gautham Nagesh

Juan Manuel Marquez knocked welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao out cold with a right hand on Saturday night in the 6th round of the fourth edition of their rivalry at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. 

The emphatic win by Marquez terminates Pacquiao’s decade-long run atop the sport, and avenges the Mexican junior welterweight champion’s two losses in their three previous fights. Marquez also fulfilled his vow to finish the fight by knockout, therefore avoiding the possibility of another controversial decision favoring the Filipino fan favorite.

Marquez scored his first knockdown against Pacquiao in the 3rd round, after a cautious start had him down two rounds on our card. A looping right connected squarely with Pacquiao’s chin and sent the Filipino down, though he sprang up and fought back gamely for the rest of the round. Pacquiao steadied himself in the 4th and came back to score a knockdown of his own in the 5th with a lead left hand. The punch sent JMM off-balance, and the Mexican was forced to touch a glove to the canvas to steady himself.

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Top Rank & Golden Boy Sign Multi-Fight Deal Around Mayweather-Pacquiao

Photo by Ethan Miller for Getty Images

by Gautham Nagesh 

A tumultuous month for boxing was punctuated late Sunday night, when promoters Bob Arum of Top Rank and Oscar de la Hoya of Golden Boy announced an end to years of hostilities.

The pair will collaborate on a series of cards in the coming months matching their top fighters in every division. The cards will take place at major stadiums and coliseums throughout the country. The first show will feature Top Rank cash cow Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez at Cowboys Stadium on Cinco de Mayo; the last wil be headlined by the long-awaited showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather at the Superdome in New Orleans in August.

Most stunning is the news the shows will air not on Pay Per View, but over broadcast television to maximize the potential audience. Several networks have already begun bidding on the rights; the promoters are also counting on strong revenue from both tickets and advertising.

“We know it’s a risk, but we’re confident that if we put out the best product, the fans will come back to boxing,” Arum told reporters at a press conference in New York.

“We’re trying to look beyond the short-term in hopes of growing the sport’s overall audience,” added de la Hoya.

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Johny Hendricks Beats Robbie Lawler, Wins UFC Welterweight Title

by Dr. Octagon, J.D.

Johny Hendricks threw caution to the wind at UFC 171 on Saturday night and basically stood directly in front of Robbie Lawler for five rounds in their fight for the vacant UFC welterweight title.  

We were rooting for Johny because he got robbed against former champ Georges St. Pierre in his last fight. Against Lawler, Johny won the first two rounds, while Robbie won the third and fourth, busting up Johny’s face really badly.  

The fight was pretty clearly up for grabs in the fifth round. Johny had a little more gas in the tank, as Robbie looked winded. After landing some punches, Hendricks scored a crucial takedown. Robbie looked up at the clock and appeared ticked off, as if he knew he had lost.

The judges all had it 48-47 for Hendricks, which was the correct score. Great fight, congrats to the new champ.

Floyd Mayweather vs Canelo Alvarez: Mayweather Stands Alone

Photos by Tom Casino for Showtime 

by Gautham Nagesh 

LAS VEGAS, Nev.–It was supposed to be the fight of the year, and maybe the decade. For the thousands of Mexican and Mexican-American fans that descended on the Strip this week, it was a chance to witness the changing of the guard. To see their fresh-faced young idol dethrone the sport’s perennial kingpin, and assume his position as boxing’s top draw.

Instead, as we predicted, Saturday night’s main event served only to reinforce what we already knew: Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the best boxer in the world, and it isn’t close. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez was viewed by many, including this website, as the most credible challenge Mayweather has faced since Oscar de la Hoya. Yet when the final bell rang, Alvarez found himself in the same position as the many men that came before him: thoroughly whipped and searching for answers as to how one beats Money Mayweather.

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Random Thoughts from UFC 162

by Dr. Octagon, J.D.

1. We’re still in shock from Anderson Silva’s loss. I’d love to see a rematch where Silva keeps his hands up and doesn’t act like a fool.

2. Great to see that Chris Weidman is going to get a solid payday after being paid $24,000 to show up tonight.  

3. Frankie Edgar looked okay, but he’s made for five rounders. He really didn’t start to look like he was totally in control until the third.

4. Mike Pierce is really good and needs to be on regular television instead of these clowns from TUF Smashes.

5. Denis Siver looked good. Cub Swanson looked ridiculously good.

6. It’s lucky Cub Swanson stopped punching Denis Siver, because referee Herb Dean looked like he was going to let it go on until Siver’s brains were liquified.  

7. Kim Winslow shouldn’t be allowed to officiate heavyweights. Gabriel Gonzaga barely even noticed her trying to pull him off of Pee Wee Herman.

8. Mark Munoz looked like he was in top form again after ballooning to 260 pounds. Good to see him back.

9. Silva needs to ditch Usher and get back with Steven Seagal.

10. Roger Gracie remains one dimensional. He needs to improve his striking to be able to defeat top level competition.