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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

No Holds Barred: The Isaac Dogboe Days of Summer 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman discussed the sensational performance by Ghanaian boxer Isaac Dogboe, who made the first successful defense of his WBO 122-pound belt this past Saturday with a first-round TKO of Hidenori Otake, who had never been stopped before. Now with a record of 20-0 with 14 KOs, including three knockout wins this year alone, and an appealing aggressive style, and a bubbling personality, the 23-year-old Dogboe should be one of boxing's stars by now. But discussed is why that is not the case, at least not yet, largely due to the mishandling of his U.S. TV appearances by ESPN, which started the telecast of his fight Saturday right after it had begun, and with no introductions.

(Photos of Isaac Dogboe by Mikey Williams, Top Rank.)

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is available at Google Play Music.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

You can also listen to No Holds Barred via Stitcher through iOS or Android devices or on the web here.

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

The Catch Wrestling Alliance, resurrecting and promoting the sport of authentic catch-as-catch-can wrestling. The Catch Wrestling Alliance provides tournaments, seminars, and training as well as education about catch wrestling. Join the movement and keep real wrestling alive. For more information, go to CatchWrestlingAlliance.com.

Skullz Double-End Bags, the perfect bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve timing, distance, and hand and eye coordination. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. For more information, go to SkullzDeBags.com.

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Thursday, August 23, 2018

No Holds Barred: Fury vs. Wilder, Battle of the Unbeaten and Overrated 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman discussed the return to the ring of former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, who easily outpointed journeyman Francesco Pianeta this past Saturday at Windsor Park in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Right after the fight, as expected, it was announced that he would be fighting WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder at an unspecified date and location later this year. Discussed are Fury's comeback so far, how such a fight with Wilder might look, both the sport and business reasons this fight was set at this time, and much more about boxing. Also, the show opens with an explanation of the recurring Internet problems caused by Verizon which have hampered production of No Holds Barred.

(Photo of Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder by Chris Roberts, Frank Warren.)

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is available at Google Play Music.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

You can also listen to No Holds Barred via Stitcher through iOS or Android devices or on the web here.

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

The Catch Wrestling Alliance, resurrecting and promoting the sport of authentic catch-as-catch-can wrestling. The Catch Wrestling Alliance provides tournaments, seminars, and training as well as education about catch wrestling. Join the movement and keep real wrestling alive. For more information, go to CatchWrestlingAlliance.com.

Skullz Double-End Bags, the perfect bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve timing, distance, and hand and eye coordination. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. For more information, go to SkullzDeBags.com.

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Curious Comeback of Tyson Fury 

by Eddie Goldman

The road to the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world is a crooked one, full of detours, dead ends, and dark alleys. From the days of John L. Sullivan and "Gentleman" Jim Corbett, to Jack Johnson, to Max Schmeling, Max Baer, James J. Braddock, and Joe Louis, to Sonny Liston, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman, to the Larry Holmes era with numerous other belt holders, to Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe, and Lennox Lewis, to Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, and today and tomorrow, there are few examples of heavyweight title reigns beginning and ending smoothly. You could look it up, as "The Old Perfessor" Casey Stengel used to advise.

The man who ended the Klitschko era, Tyson Fury, with an ugly but clear-cut decision win over Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015, had his reign ended almost as soon as it started. Dropped not by Klitschko but by drugs, drink, and depression, Fury cancelled two scheduled rematches with Klitschko in 2016, lost his boxing license, and relinquished his belts while trying to restore his physical and mental health.

After ballooning up to somewhere near 400 pounds, and a sea of contradictory statements about whether or not he would ever fight again, Fury finally resumed training and returned in June of this year to fight, sort of anyway. His opponent was a blown-up cruiserweight journeyman, Sefer Seferi. The highlights of this fight, if it can be classified as such, were both men dancing the Ali Shuffle in the first round, Fury pausing in the ring while in the middle of the second round to watch a real fight in the crowd, a few punches mostly by Fury being thrown here and there, and Seferi quitting after the fourth round. Such a charade would have made P.T. Barnum envious.

But this was supposed to be just the start of the return of Tyson Fury, who mesmerized the media and some fans by regularly peppering his social media posts with an admixture of sometimes hilarious, outrageous, and bigoted remarks.

Fury's next fights this Saturday, August 18. His foe is the 33-year-old Francesco Pianeta, originally from Italy and fighting mainly out of Germany, who has a record of 35-4-1 with 21 KOs, but who has lost two of his last three fights. Also in June of this year, Pianeta lost a decision to 22-year-old Croatian prospect Petar Milas, who is now 12-0. In October 2017, Pianeta lost by seventh-round TKO to journeyman Kevin Johnson, who had been 2-5 in his previous fights. Pianeta's biggest fight was in 2013, when he was dominated and stopped by then-champ Wladimir Klitschko in six rounds. He is currently ranked number 140 in the world by BoxRec, whose computerized ratings are a matter of controversy but in this case give you an idea of Pianeta's standing in the heavyweight division.

But this Fury-Pianeta fight seems to be getting the most attention of any fight in the world this coming weekend, even though it is not the main event on its own card. That card takes place at the famed Windsor Park football stadium in Belfast, Northern Ireland, which is the city's national stadium, first opened in 1905 with renovations throughout the years, and is an outdoor facility.

The main event in Belfast will feature Belfast's own Carl Frampton, the former unified featherweight champion with a record of 25-1 and 14 KOs. He will face the unbeaten but untested Luke Jackson of Australia, who has a record of 16-0 with 7 KOs and has never fought any top level fighter, for some interim belt.

No doubt the expected crowd of some 20,000 will deliriously greet Frampton and sing his praises as long as that fight lasts. But the main attention of the world is focused on how Fury looks and performs in his showcase fight.

This card will be shown live in the U.K. on BT Sport. In the U.S., Showtime will be streaming it live on their Facebook and YouTube pages (I recommend using the latter), with a televised replay that night on Showtime Extreme.

Almost no one alive expects Pianeta to win, but there are still a few things to watch for in this match. Since returning from his layoff, how much of Fury's speed, dexterity, stamina, punch accuracy, and mental ability to navigate through an entire fight against a reasonably professional heavyweight remain? Right now thos is unknown. The Seferi farce proved nothing other than he can go through training, media events, and a semblance of a fight again. Fury's weight is also a factor. Whether or not he looks like he can handle or at least stay with for some time top competition anymore is the real issue here, and not the outcome of this fight.

According to all the prefight hype, the next stop on Fury's comeback tour is already planned, and will be previewed right after Pianeta is dispatched. WBC champ Deontay Wilder will be ringside in Windsor Park, and will no doubt reenact the postfight in-ring jawfest he had with Fury following his own knockout of Artur Szpilka back on January 16, 2016, in Brooklyn. That confrontation led nowhere then, but might to a major fight this fall. To do their shtick in the ring, both Fury and Wilder hopefully have cleared it with the Northern Ireland Branch of Equity, the performers' union.

The big prize in the heavyweight division is a shot at unified champion Anthony Joshua, which would draw in tens of millions of dollars and pounds in the U.K., U.S., and elsewhere. With the Joshua-Wilder negotiations, if there ever really were any serious attempt at making that fight this year, at best on hold, Wilder needs someone who is a major draw to face.

By himself Wilder is a mediocre attraction both on TV and in arenas. His WBC mandatory, Dominic Breazeale, who was knocked out by Joshua in 2016, hardly fits that bill. And as boxing writer and historian Frank Lotierzo recently pointed out, Wilder needs to up his international standing in order to increase his bargaining power if or when the talks with Joshua's camp resume. A convincing win over Fury, still laughably referred to by the meaningless and archaic term "linear champion", would greatly assist in that regard. And a Wilder-Fury fight would have Showtime exhume the plagued monster of boxing pay-per-views.

We have seen and heard so much from Fury over the years that it is often overlooked that he just turned 30 on August 12. But all of his life's drama and despair have made his career trajectory seem like it is at an end. Just his motivation for wanting to fight Wilder now, seemingly an end game fight, appears less clear.

Fury could fight Justin Bieber, Mr. Bean, and Graham Norton, and still get an enormous payday with Joshua. A win over Wilder would no doubt enhance his bargaining power, but going straight from the likes of Seferi and Pianeta to Wilder, ranked number two in the world by most observers, is a quite risky endeavor.

If they fight and Wilder defeats Fury, except by a Las Vegas-style decision, Fury's chance of meeting Joshua will be slim and at best for him delayed for some time. Fury thus either is confident that he has returned to form enough so as to defeat Wilder, or is not confident of that and just wants to get a major fight and then cash out. But if Fury does lose a disputed decision, he can still get Joshua.

The question remains: Why don't Fury and Wilder each take easier fights before facing Joshua?

One explanation is boxing's suicidal politics. Wilder fights on Showtime in the U.S., which Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn left for the streaming startup DAZN. Fury fights these days on BT Sport in the U.K. and is promoted by Frank Warren, all rivals of Hearn and the network with which he has a lucrative deal, Sky Sports.

A Wilder-Fury fight this fall is aimed at stealing the spotlight from Joshua and DAZN, which debuts in the U.S. with its first live show headlined by Joshua fighting Alexander Povetkin on September 22. DAZN is especially seen as a threat by Showtime, at present the top boxing network in America. It also seeks to establish an internationally recognized top heavyweight to be as marketable as Joshua, already anointed by SportsPro Media as the most marketable athlete in the world in any sport or country.

What the machinations are should become more evident after the Fury-Pianeta fight. Let's just hope it doesn't rain Saturday at Windsor Park.

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Friday, August 03, 2018

Down Goes Verizon, Again and Again 


By Eddie Goldman

By the grace of Kahless the Unforgettable, my Verizon(lol) landline and Internet are back, for the moment at least.

I reported almost two weeks ago that there had to be an outage in my area, since at that time the voice line was down but not Internet. Since Wednesday night, both were up and down like a yo-yo. But when I called the regular Verizon repair, as usual I got an unhelpful and rude rep who denied there was, or even could be, any outage in the area.

On Friday morning, August 3, I got a voicemail from Verizon admitting that “your service disruption was caused by a cable failure”. It appears Verizon’s strategy to paying customers making such reports is to cause them so much aggravation that they either just quit complaining or die.

Now the service is back, but we shall see for how long. This type of outage and back-and-forth has happened about once or twice a year over the past several years.

You have to escalate, first as I did by calling their so-called “Executive Relations” team, at 855-655-2304 (this is just for New York), and then, as is also usually necessary, filing a complaint with the New York State Public Service Commission.

Verizon, in violation of its franchise agreement with the City of New York, still does not offer its Fios service in much of New York City. This rollout was supposed to have been completed by 2014.

The New York State Public Service Commission is kicking the scab Spectrum cable company out of the state, and we should pressure the politicians to make sure this actually happens. But the next target of both state and city officials has to be revoking Verizon’s Fios franchise.

What we really need is municipal broadband, but this unfortunately is a longer-term goal since all the state and city officials are puppets of Wall Street, the real estate sharks, etc.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2018

No Holds Barred: Curran Jacobs, the Giant Slayer 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with catch wrestler Curran "The Giant Slayer" Jacobs.

On July 14, Curran Jacobs competed in the eight-man Snake Pit USA catch wrestling tournament in Hamilton, New Jersey. Facing three talented and heavier opponents in three grueling matches, he defeated Johnny Buck, then Erik Hammer, and lastly Brandon Ruiz in the finals, all by rear naked choke submission.

He wrestled about an hour and a half that night, with only 10- to 15-minute breaks between matches, and thus earned the right to be called not only by his new nickname of the "Giant Slayer", but also the best catch wrestler on the planet.

We spoke with Curran Jacobs by phone Tuesday.

After this tournament he had to rest up and heal from the injuries he suffered during it.

"I could not move the next day," he said. "I was in so much pain.

"I've never been in that much pain in my life, and I've wrestled all of my life. And that was the toughest tournament I've ever been in, and that was the most damage my body's ever taken. It was horrible, horrible pain, but I'm feeling great now.

"I'm looking to enjoy some more time off before I hit the mat."

Next up for him as he completes his healing is not a tournament, but conducting a catch wrestling seminar. This will be this Saturday, August 4, at the 2018 Frank Gotch World Catch Wrestling Tournament.

Organized by the Catch Wrestling Alliance, this event takes place at the Westside Training Center, at Cheviot Hills/Palms, 3272 Motor Avenue, Suite D, Los Angeles, California 90034. This is the third annual Gotch Tournament, and its first two years, Curran Jacobs was victorious in every match he wrestled there.

We discussed how all his three matches went at the July 14 tournament, how he adapted Muhammad Ali's Rope-A-Dope technique to catch wrestling to wear down and defeat his three bigger opponents, how these matches and catch wrestling are "physical chess", how his "big mouth persona" is now a thing of the past, his dual career plans as a wrestler and an actor and how they sometimes conflict, why catch wrestling can develop to be "wrestling's NFL", and much, much more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is available at Google Play Music.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

You can also listen to No Holds Barred via Stitcher through iOS or Android devices or on the web here.

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

The Catch Wrestling Alliance, resurrecting and promoting the sport of authentic catch-as-catch-can wrestling. The Catch Wrestling Alliance provides tournaments, seminars, and training as well as education about catch wrestling. Join the movement and keep real wrestling alive. For more information, go to CatchWrestlingAlliance.com.

Skullz Double-End Bags, the perfect bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve timing, distance, and hand and eye coordination. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. For more information, go to SkullzDeBags.com.

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