I podcast and write to cope with my continuing struggle to play guitar.
This episode of the Pay Me No Mind (@PMNMhaven) podcast is named the Don’t Blink Episode for multiple reasons in addition to it being the nickname of the featured guest, Chicago, Illinois bantamweight Joshua “Don’t Blink” Greer, Jr (12-1-1, 5 KOs).
Earlier this week Dayton, Ohio’s UD Arena – the home of the University of Dayton Flyers – hosted the two play-in games that kickoff the NCAA Tournament each year. March Madness is a prime example of “don’t blink” conclusions to sporting games – perhaps not as physically damaging as a knockout punch. However, the pain lingers emotionally and mentally as higher seeded teams fall to one of the lower seeds.
Through the first two days of games there were only a few surprises. No. 12-seeded Middle Tennessee State Univ. followed up last year’s upset of Tom Izzo’s Spartans by knocking out No. 5 seed Minnesota 81-72. The aforementioned Dayton Flyers, a 7-seed lost 64-58 to the No. 10-seeded Wichita State Shockers on Friday night. The match up was one of the tourney’s most egregious seeding mistakes. Lastly, also on Friday, University of Southern California – a play-in game winner – stunned popular dark-horse Final Four team, 6-seed SMU with a 66-65 finish.
No shade to a pair of 11-seeds who also advanced, as Xavier and Rhode Island knocked out Maryland and Creighton, respectively. Don’t Blink.
NBA (FanRagSports and 16WinsaRing) and Maryland prep writer Colby Giacubeno (@ColbyGHoops) assists with some brief March Madness talk at 48:35 before getting into some NBA talk.
In other ‘Don’t Blink’ news, this weekend also includes one of the year’s biggest blockbuster pay-per-view boxing events as Gennday “GGG” Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs) faces Daniel “The Miracle Man” Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs) – it’s even dubbed “Middleweight Madness”. These two fighters enter the ring Saturday night with a combined streak of 35 consecutive knockouts, and the winner will unify Golovkin’s IBO/WBA Super/WBC/IBF World middleweight titles and Jacobs’ WBA belt. Don’t be confused, you saw WBA twice, right? Jacobs’ version of the belt is, let’s say, the non-super. It’s regular.
This week’s boxing guest didn’t make it in to the show for me to give my full analysis of the bout, so I’ll wrap it up quickly here.
Golovkin, a 2004 Olympic silver medalist, is one of boxing’s premier power punchers and owns a streak of 23 straight knockouts to back it up. He’s aggressive. He’s destructive. To his trainer Abel Sanchez’s liking, he looks to make each fight a fan-friendly ‘drama show’, but he does turn 35 years old in just a few weeks. While the Kazakhstani is at his best when brawling he will box when an opponent’s skill or power warrants him to do so. Despite GGG’s Jordan Brand endorsement he’s not one of boxing’s exceptionally athletic fighters, but he anticipates well and his aggression while stalking his opponents enables him to cut off the ring for most opponents. Another major strength for Golovkin is that reportedly he’s never been down or hurt as a professional, and never once in his nearly 350 amateur bouts.
Jacobs along with his usual demeanor and his triumphant backstory is an extremely likeable fighter – he’s a good middleweight champion. For me and my love for hip hop, he’s from Brooklyn and “ain’t no shook hands from Brook-lyn” (I regretfully forgot to mention the passing of March 9th, the 20th anniversary of B.I.G.’s death on the podcast). Miracle Man’s career is typically bookended by two things. In 2012 he battled and overcame osteosarcoma, the rare form of bone cancer cost him 19 months of his career. The second narrative, a 2010 fifth round knockout loss to Dmitry Pirog has seemingly left many questioning Jacobs’ chin. Most detractors ignore the fact Jacobs’ grandmother passed away the week of the fight, and that there was also some interesting physical contact between referee Robert Byrd and Jacobs as the fighter attempted to get up from the canvas – through five rounds Jacobs was up in the fight.
Big questions about Jacobs remain today despite the fact he whipped cancer, and subsequently went on to stop the next 12 fighters without any setbacks. The doubters also hold onto a flash knockdown Sergio Mora scored against Jacobs in 2015 in the first round of their first fight. Jacobs was caught being reckless after downing Mora, and seemed to get up without any signs of being stunned.
Jacobs’ signature win is a sensational underdog first round 1:25 knockout of a previously unbeaten Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin at Barclays Center in December 2015. Jacobs, or maybe his team, squandered that moment’s buzz with an unnecessary rematch with Mora in September 2016. Part two was a lopsided 7-rounder that left Jacobs’ still needing to prove himself against a meaningful opponent. I was already fan – although, I had picked Quillin (shhhhish).
What to expect tonight. This fight is one of the types of match ups in sports (okay, it’s also apropos for modern politics) where I reference one of my favorite sleeper hits from John Legend, “Everybody Knows” from the Ohioan’s 2008 album Evolver. In the song’s hook Legend sings, “Cause everybody knows, that nobody really knows.”
I don’t bet on fights, I don’t clearly understand the odds, but CBS Sports indicates you would need to bet $100 to win $700 for Golovkin. I think. So, GGG is again heavily favored and the big plan is for him to remain undefeated until the boxing gods deliver fight fans a mega bout between GGG and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in late-2017.
I’m getting to my prediction.
For a winner, I look at past GGG opponents David Lemieux and Martin Murray making it to rounds 8 and 11 before being stopped, respectively. Curtis Stevens also made it to 8 rounds in bout versus Golovkin. Then, I throw in the Quillin fight and Jacobs’ determined performance coupled with his advantages in this fights – size, reach, athleticism. There’s also the hometown crowd. My only uncertainty in the fight is that with Jacobs’ fights coming inside the distance, we just don’t know if the Brooklyn product can stay focused with a lethal puncher, for all 12 rounds to pull off the upset.
Furthermore, Jacobs credited Golovkin as being an A/A+ power puncher, and himself being a B in the same category. Is a B-caliber power puncher capable of fending off Golovkin’s pressure all night, or knocking out a fighter that’s never been hurt?
I’m going to chicken out in this one family, simply by default, I’m rockin’ with the American to win the fight by split decision. The outcome of this fight irreparably derailing a future Alavarez-Golovkin fight is just so inconceivable as a reality.
So, I ask, if Jacobs wins do boxing fans lose in the long-game?
Back to the podcast.
Editor-in-chief and self-described movie lover extraordinaire Eric Fetterman (@Efetterman) of Broknowsmovies returns (37:32) to help solve the mystery that the upcoming sci-fi flick Life is to fans of the genre, per its recent trailer which doesn’t reveal much. How does a film featuring Jake Gyllenhaal and Mr. Deadpool Ryan Reynolds receive like a 2-week press run?
Undefeated bantamweight prospect Ja’Rico O’Quinn (6-0, 5 KOs) out of the Motor City joined the show (1:12:24) to discuss promising future after he blitzed Szilveszter Kanalas (14-5, 10 KOs) last week on the undercard of Claressa Shields’ headlining event on SHOWTIME Boxing’s ShoBox: The New Generation. The Great Lakes King’s bout wasn’t televised, but his 1:23 of work for his 6th win bodes well for the kid’s future. O’Quinn touches on how he alone decided to turn over a new leaf, and walk away from a life in the streets of Detroit to embark on a walk of faith.
As a bonus, this episode also includes some audio clips (1:26:49) of some recent interviews with Cincinnati-based lightweight Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring, and SHOWTIME Boxing analyst Raul Marquez (@RaulMarquez92). Herring breaks down his resounding Feb. 10 bounce win versus Art Hovhannisyan, and former super welterweight world champion Marquez provides his thoughts on boxing’s phenomenal 2017 start.
Last but not least, Chitown’s Greer Jr. (@JoshuaGreerJr) revealed (1:36:28) the origins of his ‘night night’ pillow that made a cameo appearance on ShoBox: The New Generation’s March 10 telecast. Greer’s astonishing 6th round knockout of Detroit’s James Gordon-Smith was the culmination of an extremely well fought battle between the pair of prospects. Click play and learn about Greer’s future plans, his admiration for his friend slain welterweight Ed “Bad Boy” Brown, and his development under the tutelage of trainer George Hernandez (Adrian Granados).
Continue enjoying March Madness this weekend, as well as boxing’s Middleweight Madness later on this evening. Hopefully come Monday morning your bracket is in much better shape than the loser of tonight’s bout.
Oh, officially, my March Madness pick is for Villanova to repeat as the National Champions, but largely for historical purposes and the nostalgia of the old Big East. Duke is a close second because they can possibly have a different leading scorer for all 6 games. And then, Michigan and North Carolina are my hopefuls because they’re my childhood squads.