2 boxing matches analyzed

A pair of boxing matches are in focus tonight:

Adonis Stevenson v Tavoris “Thunder” Cloud, going 12 rounds for the WBC light heavyweight title.

First, your challenger:
Cloud is 24-1-0, 19 wins by KO, 1 loss by decision. #6 light heavyweight in the world, #2 in the US. He comes out of that one loss, when facing Bernard Hopkins in March, losing the IBF light heavyweight title in the process. Besides that blemish, he’s scored 3 KOs and 4 decisions in 7 fights of 12 rounds in length. His KOs tends to come in the very latter stages at 12 rounds. This will be his 3rd fight since graduating to 8 rounds where his opponent has 1 loss. This is his first fight north of the border. He hasn’t dispatched an opponent early in a fight since 2008, with a 1st-round KO against Mike Wood, his first title fight.

I don’t like these cycles. The power isn’t there, nor is the passion to continue a long fight. Mentally he’s in better shape, so he can probably guess correctly at what punches will be coming at him.

Stevenson is in his residential base of Quebec tonight. At home, he’s the top ranked light heavywieght, while #2 worldwide. 21-1-0, 18 by KO, losing 1 by KO. So we have two fighters with very high KO % numbers. He’s fought almost exlusively north of the border, and already in his 10th fight at the Bell Centre (and 6th consecutive). In his 8 prior fights, most at 12 rounds, he’s registered 8 straight KO wins, and the majority of those early in the bout.
Claude Paquette is judging a Stevenson bout for the 7th time tonight, all scoring higher for him. Just saying.

Stevenson’s cycles are not all that attractive, tho is about to come out of a triple low. Getting a bit of a sense of his strength but making poor decisions with them.

Not an especially appealing fight, this one. Stevenson by decision.


Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, vs Brian Vega, middleweights, 10 rounds, in Carson CA
Chavez is 46-1-1, 32 KOs. Comes out of only loss a year ago this month. In so doing, he lost the WBC middleweight title, to Sergio Gabriel Martinez. Outside of that fight, he’s gone 10+ rounds 20 times, with the great majority of his KOs coming early to middle rounds (by 6th or 8th rounds at most). He is in his 5th fight in the state.

Generally OK cycles but he’s feeling the effects of a physical critical day…not being at all in touch with his strength…likely to bleed more and not making good decisions with his punches. He’ll feel undaunted, and still feel inwardly motivated to persevere. Overall his focus is waning.

Vega has a mixed record of 23-6-0, 14 KOs, world middleweight #12, and US middleweight #3. 14th fight going up against an opponent who was undefeated or with 1 loss at fight time. He went 7-6 in those fights. With 14 fights at least 10 rounds, he’s had 6 KOs of varying points in the fight. Reached decision in 8 of last 11. 2nd fight in CA, first one was his first pro loss, as seen on “The Contender”

Can’t get much better than this. Triple high cycles have it all over JCC Jr.

Middle fight KO for Vega.

Boxing’s greatest fight night, analyzed

What else can I add to all the verbiage bestowed on tonight’s mega-mega boxing card at the MGM Grand? Well I plan to provide a bit of insight with some of the boxers’ background in prior fights, plus the usual biorhythmic madness. BoxRec, the source for the info I use, put out a top-level 5-star rating for 3 of the fights. When’s the last time this had occurred?

Ishe Smith vs Carlos Molina for Ishe’s IBF light middleweight title.
Referee Jay Nady will be the third man. Ishe won 2 6-round decisions the only other fights Nady’s been present. For Molina, no such record.

Judges: Adalaide Byrd: Ishe recorded TKO over Ayi Bruce
Bruce Clements: Ishe lost 10-round decision to Joel Julio.
Barry Druxman: Molina has 10-round decision victory over Cedrick Armstrong.

Ishe’s (7/22/78) in his home base of Vegas, and his MGM Grand debut. He is 25-5-0, 11 KOs. He ranks #5 worldwide as a light middleweight, and #2 stateside. This will be just his 3rd fight scheduled for 12. In the prior two, he had won both decisions.

A powerful combo here for Ishe, who’s going to be explosive from the get-go. Very strong physically, good head on shoulders, quite focused. These cycles suggest he’s thinking knockout.

Molina (5-25-83) fights for the 3rd time in Vegas, first at the MGM Grand as well. 4th fight at 12 rounds (2 decisions, 1 DQ). #2 light middleweight worldwide. Just his second fight of the year.

Triple high cycles for the “King” even though they are all starting to turn downward. Pure strength is at a peak, the passion is stronger with him but he’s also somewhat predictable and prone to some errors. Can he make up for it with his power? I’d say yes.

Great fight, this. Calling it a majority decision for Ishe Smith.

Danny Garcia vs Lucas Martin Mathysse for the WBA super world light welterweight and WBC light heavyweight titles.

Referee: Tony Weeks was present for a first round TKO by Garcia early in Danny’s career.
Judges: Glenn Trowbridge was involved in two decision wins for Garcia at 8 and 10 rounds. Robert Boyle was present for a 10th round TKO by Mathysse.
Garcia is the world #2 light heavyweight, with a record of 26-0-0, 16 KOs. 6th fight at 12 rounds, 2 of the 5 wins by early KO. 5th fight at MGM Grand, with 1 TKO.

Cycles are rather mixed, a bit on the negative side. Comes in very weak physically, yet very sharp mentally, and a slight emotional drive. He’ll have to rely on some amount of creativity to win as his ‘wisdom’ level is at a mini-peak. His sense of passion is waning.

Matthysse (9/27/82) is the world #1 light welterweight, 34-2-0, with an amazing 32 by KO. That’s 86% of rounds boxed. His record in 12-round fights: 11-1-0, 8 KOs, 6 of those KOs coming in the early stages of the fight (before 5th round). 2nd fight at MGM Grand, winning via 1st round KO in 2007. Met and defeated one other previously undefeated boxer (Olusegun Ajose, 2012).

Inside a triple low, tho his inward motivation is starting to grow. He’s also approaching the fight at his physical nadir, and virtually no focus. He’d likely quit before getting knocked out.

Garcia has the major edge here, so long as he can prolong the fight and not try to take apart Mathysse quickly.

Garcia, majority decision.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs Saul Alvarez, for the WBC light middleweight and WBA super world light middleweight titles.
Referee: Kenny Bayless presided over 2 decision wins and 1 early KO for Mayweather.
Dave Moretti has scored 6 prior Mayweather bouts, 1 TKO, 4 unanimous decisions, 1 retirement.
CJ Ross was present for a 1st round KO out of 6 rounds for Mayweather, 1 decision for Alvarez.

Money fights for the 8th straight time at the MGM Grand, 8 wins, 2 by KO. 26 fights at 12 rounds, 9 KOs, 2 in early rounds, 3 in middle, 4 late. 44-0-0 lifetime, 26 KOs.

Money’s defeated two previously unbeaten fighters: Diego Corrales in 2001, TKO 10th of 12, and Ricky Hatton, same result.

Money is very lucky as this fight comes a day before he embraces a triple low. Physical cycle is his saving grace. He’s had some decision-making issues as of late, and his focus has dropped sharply. He’ll have to slug it out and hang on as he’s done in his most recent bouts.

“Canelo” is the top ranked light middleweight worldwide. Record of 42-0-1, all by age 23 is oustanding. Has TKOs in 4 of last 6 fights. He makes his 4th appearance at the MGM grand, with 2 TKOs in those 3 prior. 2 wins against previously unbeatens (Gabriel Martinez, 2008, Euri Gonzalez, 2009, both in his native Mexico).

Alvarez comes in pretty weak physically but very sharp mentally and will get more out of the audience than Money on his opponent’s adopted home turf. The power won’t be there but he’ll be creative enough to keep Money guessing. His inner drive is mediocre but getting better as of late.

Alvarez wins via split decision.

2013 US Open tennis men’s final analysis in cycles and stats

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic lock horns once again, in their 37th meeting, and 14th on hardcourt, plus their third US Open final, later this afternoon.

In evaluating nearly all matches, there is a fair amount of overlap in each variable so I’m giving a series of % benchmarks for both players to at least be competitive in the match, for avoiding losing, and for winning outright. All stats are based on their specific head to head matchups only Stat source: http://www.matchstat.com
1st serve in: Rafa average 66% in wins, 60% in losses, with an overall average of 61. Benchmark to compete: 53%.
Djokovic’s average is 62% in wins and 64% in losses, with a low of 51%.Never has been below 51% in any match. Let’s use 62% as the figure for Djokovic to win.

Aces/double faults: Rafa is averaging +2 in this ratio in wins, +2.5 in losses. Needs to avoid 4 double faults in this match to avoid losing.   Djokovic averages +3.5 in wins, +1 in losses. For Djokovic, 5 aces, and/or a result of 3 double faults or less would be ideal.

1st service points won: Nadal is 71% in wins, 62% in losses. Needs at least 57% to be competitive, and 74% to win.
Djokovic is 73% in wins, 60% in losses. Needs 63% to be competitive.

2nd service points won: Nadal is 56% in wins, 41% in losses. Needs 42% to stay competitive, and 59% to win.
Djokovic is 60% in wins, and 40% in losses. Must get 44% to have any chance, and at least 60% to win.

Fastest serve: Rafa averages 205 for fastest speed in their matches in wins, 202 in losses.
Djokovic’s best speed in matches is 207 in wins, 205 in losses.
This stat is a wash.

1st serve speed: Rafa averages 176 Kph in wins, 180 in losses. Needs to be at 172 for an average to be competitive, and preferably above 180 to win.
Djokovic’s 1st serve speed is 184 in wins, 186 in losses. Must keep his serve in the 180s.

2nd serve speed:
Rafa’s average speed here is 152 in wins, 136 in losses. Line of demarcation is very clear; he must average 144 Kph in this area.
Djokovic’s 2nd serve averages 139 in wins, 151 in losses. Also needs 144 Kph.

Break points converted:
Nadal’s record is 49% in wins, 33% in losses. To have any chance, he should at least have 25%, and absolutely above 67% to win.
Djokovic’s record is 61% in wins, 50% in losses. 22% is is low threshold here. Let’s say 61% is the requirement

Return points won:
Nadal is 41% in wins, 34% in losses. Needs 29% to stay competitive, and 43% to win.
Djokovic is 44% in wins and 35% in losses. Needs 38% to be competitive, and 45% + to win.

Winners/unforced errors: Nadal is averaging +5 in their matchups when winning, -8 in losses. Djokovic is +2 in wins, -5.8 in losses.

Net approaches: Nadal is 67% in wins, 75% in losses. Needs to be at 68% to have any chance.
Djokovic is 73% in wins, 63% in losses. Needs 66% to be competitive, and above 77% to win.
Seems that in all categories, Nadal has lower requirements to meet, and that may give him a good advantage. Already he leads the head to head series 21-15, and 7-3 in Grand Slams.
Looking further, let’s see how many of these benchmarks each player made thus far in the 2013 US Open:
vs Gasquet: 5
vs Robredo: 5
vs Kohlschreiber: 6
vs Dodiq: 6
vs Da Silva: 7
vs Harrison: 6

vs Wawrinka: 4
vs Youzhny: 6
vs Granollers: 7
vs Sousa: 6
vs Becker: 7
vs. Berankis: 6
On these stats alone, I’m giving Nadal a tough 4-set victory. But let’s look at the biorhythms to measure the potential:

Nadal (6/3/86):

Nadal’s been competing in a tough triple-low period but is already emerging from this, and the power surge is the first sign. He will be hitting shots that seem effortless, really coming into stride…even if he does make a lot of unforced errors and tosses his racket once or twice. He can’t get too down on himself, really. But he must lock into his power game here.

Djokovic (5/22/87):

Novak had a run of critical days, never fun to experience during a tennis tournament and he certainly looked rather mortal in the semis vs Wawrinska. If anything, his brainpower is at peak. You’ll see him make very few mistakes. The only issue is the power…it won’t be there, or very little to speak of anyway. He has to be more about finesse here to succeed.
Both competitors seem to have average cycles in terms of their stamina and pure athletics. Yet Djokovic appears to be making better decisions overall.
The stats say Nadal in 4 but the cycles suggest Djokovic in 5.

US Open Women’s tennis final; analysis

Serena and Vika, once again, in a Grand Slam matchup. This time around, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka lock rackets in the US Open final later today in Forest Hills, NY.

In 15 contests, Serena has the strong upper hand, winning 12 times, including both times in prior US Open duels. This is a repeat of last year’s final, which Serena won in 3 sets, 28 games. Their longest duel was 31 games in the 2010 Australia Open quarters. Further, Serena has a 6-3 edge in outdoor hard court wins.

Taking a sampling of stats from their last 14 matchups, here are the trends that are notable:

Vika has consistently double faulted more than score aces. In fact 2 of the 3 times she had 3 aces, she won.
Her 1st service % is pretty consistent, 69% in her wins against Serena, 67% in losses. 1st service points won: 67% in wins, 60% in losses.
Fastest speed of serve has averaged at 173 KPH, with average 1st service of 155, 138 in 2nd service.
Break points converted in wins: 37%. Losses: 25%.
Return points won: 49%. Losses: 27%.
Vika has averaged a ratio of 5 more errors to winners in their matchups.
Net opportunities have averaged 65%.

Keys to win:

Must get 3 aces.
71% success rate in getting the first serve in.
46% in return points won

Looking at her tournament so far, has she met these benchmarks against her opponents? In 6 matches, she hit 1 benchmark vs Flavia Pennetta, 1 vs Daniela Hantuchova, 3 for 3 vs Ana Ivanovic, 0 vs Alize Cornet, (winning in 3 sets plus tiebreak, 30 games), 2 vs Alexsandra Wozniak, and 1 vs Dinah Pfizenmaier.

Serena is averaging 62% for 1st service %, 55% in losses to Vika.
Serena is always scoring a bunch of aces, and very few double faults. In her 3 losses to Vika, she had at least 5 double faults.
1st service points won: 78% in wins, 65% in losses.
2nd service points won: 67% in wins, 37% in losses.
Fastest speed has averaged at 190 in their matchups.
Her average 1st service speed is 173 Kph, exactly the average fastest speed by Vika. Clearly Serena is an another level here!
2nd service speed is usually 138.
Break points conversion %: 53% in wins, 35% in losses to Vika.
Return points won: 46% in wins, 41% in losses.
Consistenly scoring 10 more winners than unforced errors in their match, a swing of 15 points in their 15 matches.
Net opportunities: averaging 66% in their matches.

Keys for Serena to win:
Less than 5 double-faults.
1st serve % higher than 62%
1st service points won at least 70%
2nd service points won at least 47%
Break points conversion at least 46%
Return points win % at least 45%.

Comparing her US Open tournament trail, she hit 4 of those benchmarks vs Na Li, 5 vs Carla Suarez-Navarro, 4 vs. Sloane Stephens, 5 vs Yaroslava Shvedova, 5 vs Galina Voskoboeva, and 5 vs Francesca Schiavone, all in straight sets.

To sum up, whichever opponent has the better % in 1st service, (70%+) and/or return points won (ideally 45%+) will be your champion.



Here are Vika’s cycles first:

Unlikely to do much today. Physically she’s been a low and making more of her share of unforced errors for certain, and she is currently lacking a sense of connection to the fans and her overall self-worth. Athletic ability is approaching a nadir.


She’s had to channel all her strength into her power game, not so much finesse, to succeed today. She’s gotten down on herself lately, and she’s also made her share of errors. Also not connecting with the energy of the NYC crowd as much. If anything, her sheer physicality is still strong, and it will be enough to see her through.

Serena in straight sets, tho I’m guessing it will be of the 6-4, 6-2 variety.