Archive for September, 2010

Lateral movement and inside combinations were the focus yesterday (September 28) during Manny Pacquiao’s workout session with trainer Freddie Roach.

In the below videos, Pacquiao works the right jab-straight left hand from mid-range as Roach mimics Antonio Margarito by stalking after him. When in-close, Pacquiao looks to parry Margarito’s long left hook to the body and counter with a straight left. Pacquiao also worked on landing quick hook-uppercut combinations. Instead of making Miguel Cotto’s mistake of moving straight back after landing, Roach had Pacquiao constantly turn laterally to prevent the slower Margarito from getting set to punch with power.

In the second clip, Pacquiao and Roach worked on continuing the offense after making the lateral move. With Margarito still off-balance, the rationale is to make him pay for his aggression double-fold instead of allowing him to reset after Pacquiao’s lateral swtich without consequence.

Manny Pacquiao also began his first sparring yesterday with Michael Medina. Roach plans to lodge a minimum of 150 rounds of sparring leading into the November 13 bout.

 

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It’s still very early in camp, and you can notice that Pacquiao is rusty from being out of the ring since March. But Roach’s strategy is very sound. Pacquiao will conserve much more energy by turning Margarito instead of backpedaling like Cotto did. And the Filipino fighter’s handspeed will have him landing 3-4 punch combinations to every Margarito punch.

What I’d like to see is how they’ll deal with Margarito’s uppercuts. Manny doesn’t lean forward and invite them like Cotto does, but it’s still a concern as it’s Margarito’s best punch. If the fight goes late, Manny will have to be cognizant not to start becoming reckless with his attacks and bending into Margarito’s power.

So far, there’s no reports coming out about Margarito’s camp.

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During his 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama noted Jay-Z as his favorite emcee. Now two years into his term, President Obama is diversifying his Hip-Hop knowledge by listening to other elite emcees in Nas and Lil Wayne.

In the October edition of Rolling Stone, President Obama gave insight into his musical tastes, verifying that his iPod now boasts 2000 songs. While many were quick to label him as the first “Hip-Hop President” during his campaign, Obama admitted that the title was a misnomer. Even now, the majority of his music centers around the premier musicians of the late 60s and 70s.

“My iPod now has about 2,000 songs, and it is a source of great pleasure to me. I am probably still more heavily weighted toward the music of my childhood than I am the new stuff,” he revealed. “There’s still a lot of Stevie Wonder, a lot of Bob Dylan, a lot of Rolling Stones, a lot of R&B, a lot of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Those are the old standards.”

Because of the demands of his presidency, Obama has relied on aide Reggie Love to find new Hip-Hop for his playlists. He credits his newfound exposure to Nas and Lil Wayne as the result of Love’s efforts, and his two children Malia and Sasha. The president also acknowledges music as a huge stress-reliever in his life.

“Thanks to Reggie, my rap palate has greatly improved. Jay-Z used to be sort of what predominated, but now I’ve got a little Nas and a little Lil Wayne and some other stuff, but I would not claim to be an expert,” President Obama explained. “Malia and Sasha are now getting old enough to where they start hipping me to things. Music is still a great source of joy and occasional solace in the midst of what can be some difficult days.”

Today, Lil Wayne released his I Am Not a Human Being EP, which features Drake and other members from his Young Money label. Nas is expected to release Lost Tapes 2 on December 14, and his currently untitled 10th studio album in early 2011.

President Obama’s Rolling Stone cover story will be available October 15.

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Kudos to Reggie Love on this one! Of course, the obvious question I have is what songs (or albums) from Lil Wayne and Nas has Love supplied in the President’s playlist? Illmatic? Tha Carter II? Distant Relatives? Untitled? Tha Carter III?

Hopefully, Love hits Obama off with all of them by the end of the first term. With all the friction the President is having with the Republican Party, I hope Love has made sure that “Ether” is somewhere in that playlist.

Now if you could add five more Hip-Hop artists to President Obama’s playlist, who would it be?

 

Former IBF junior welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi (27-4, 5 KOs) has announced today that he’s officially signed to Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions.

Malignaggi broke the news via his Twitter account. Lou DiBella was Malignaggi’s previous promoter, but the Brooklyn fighter brought out his contract and severed ties amicably following his TKO loss to Amir Khan in May.

Malignaggi, who competes at junior welterweight, had his mind set on making a run overseas for European title. Although raised in Brooklyn, Malignaggi can legally compete for the title since he was born in Italy. The 140 pound title is currently held by undefeated Irish fighter Paul McCloskey (21-0, 11 KOs).

Malignaggi joins 12 other junior welterweights on Golden Boy’s roster, including Victor Ortiz, Amir Khan, Nate Campbell and Marcos Maidana.

At press time, Golden Boy is eliciting fan feedback on Twitter to help decide who Paulie Malignaggi’s next opponent should be.

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Not a bad move from the Magic Man. Being that Malignaggi and Amir Khan have gotten chummy over the last month, I wonder if he sought the UK fighter’s advice on this signing.

It’ll be interesting to see if Malignaggi still attempts to try his European run. Golden Boy doesn’t really have much pull in that market. If he can, it’ll give him the chance to make money in some easy fights. Matthew Hatton, brother of Ricky, is currently the European welterweight champ. Being that Malignaggi has already fought Ricky Hatton, facing off against Matthew might help generate a good payday for Paulie. And if he’s looking for a challenge, he could consider someone like Andriy Kotelnik.

Here in the States Malignaggi has a few decent options. He’s already lost to Khan, and I would hope Golden Boy didn’t sign him just to feed him to their other star hopeful Victor Ortiz. If the European tour isn’t a go, Malignaggi should look to make a fight with Nate Campbell. The bout itself wouldn’t be the greatest, but both excel at trash talking and would build it into a solid undercard fight. And if Malignaggi and Golden Boy decide to look outside their stable, a Zab Judah fight would be an all-Brooklyn showdown that would generate coverage.

Paulie Malignaggi is 29 years old. Not an ancient fighter, but he’s slowed down and this was a deal to secure his financial future in boxing. He may not ever capture another world title, but I’m certain the Magic Man has a few more competitive fights left in him.

 

Representatives for Cash Money Records are countering Bangladesh’s “A Milli”compensation lawsuit by stating the producer lost all royalty proceeds for failing to clear the sample.

For the past several months, the Atlanta producer has been airing his grievances publicly with the label to coincide with the lawsuit. Bangladesh alleges Cash Money has not paid him any royalties for “A Milli,” which was the second single off Lil Wayne’s multi-platinum 2008 album Tha Carter III. The track became of the biggest Hip-Hop songs that year and charted #6 on Billboard’s Top 100. Bangladesh also claims the majority of the blame is due to unethical business practices from Cash Money co-CEO Bryan “Baby” Williams.

In a prepared statement from the label, a representative for Cash Money Records confirmed that Bangladesh has not received any royalty payments. However, the statement explains that due to Bangladesh not disclosing his sample sources, his cut of the song’s royalties was eliminated after the company settled a copyright lawsuit from the sample’s copyright holder.

“There is no merit to this claim,” the statement read. “Bangladesh incorporated a sample without informing Cash Money. [Cash Money has] successfully settled the copyright infringement claims that Bangladesh caused with other third parties and his producer and composition shares were wiped out by the sample owners.”

At press time, Bangladesh’s lawsuit is still active. He has submitted instrumentals for Nas’ new album, and is continuing his working relationship with Cash Money Records via tracks submitted for Nicki Minaj’s debut Pink Friday.

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You would think the label would handle sample clearances, but that’s not always the case. Labels are businesses with many hands involved. And like any similar business, costly mistakes can sometimes happen. At first glance, it may seem difficult to believe Cash Money’s statement, but it’s not without precedent in recent Hip-Hop history.

In 2002, Dr. Dre’s former artist Truth Hurts got her first and only hit record courtesy of the DJ Quik-produced “Addictive,” an appropriation of Meghna Naaydu’s Hindi hit “Kaliyon Ka Chaman,” which itself was a remake of Lata Mangeshkar’s 1981 composition “Thoda Resham Lagta Hai.” Quik heard the song early one morning on a TV show, so the likelihood he could get the correct  Hindi song titles and artist names for each sampled track was impossible. Even so, Aftermath released the track and ignored a cease and desist letter from copyright holder Saregama India. The company would file a $500 million dollar lawsuit against Aftermath, which was settled out of court.

In 2004, Just Blaze sampled Supertramp’s “Crime of the Century” for Fabolous’ single “Breathe.” Despite it being Fabolous’ biggest hit, he claims he never made any royalties off of it due to the publishing cut Supertramp requested. Even without seeing the actual paperwork, that means Supertramp received all or the majority of the mechanical (payment for sales) and performance (radio, TV, live) royalties. And this was even with Just Blaze himself working to pay and have the sample cleared beforehand.

Another example is Sting, lead singer of the Police. The rock legend will clear samples of his work only if he gets 100% of the publishing. Puff Daddy had to concede on this point in order to get clearance for his 1997 hit “Missing You,” which uses the Police’s “Every Breath You Take.” Cam’Ron also gave up all his song publishing Confessions of Fire’s “Prophecy,” which uses Sting’s “Fragile.” On those album’s liner notes, you’ll see Sting’s name as the sole writer of those Hip-Hop tracks. For the rapper, the hope is that the song becomes popular enough to allow for money to be made through touring, and other revenue streams like endorsements.

So going back to Bangladesh’s case, each side’s stance is believable. Bangladesh could have submitted his samples (Gladys Knight & the Pips’ “Don’t Burn Down the Bridge,” and A Tribe Called Quest’s “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo (Vampire Mix)”) for “A Milli,” and Cash Money simply failed to follow through. Or he could’ve pulled what DJ Quik did and simply submitted the work without the sample references.

The scary thing is it’s quite possible that legally he’s not entitled to any royalties depending on the publishing split. It’s just another example of how crazy the music industry is. Behind the glamour and glitz is a cutthroat business model that you have to be fluent in to survive.

I hope it works out for Bangladesh. If it doesn’t, it’s an expensive but valuable lesson he’ll have learned.

 “A Milli’s” Intro Sample

“A Milli” Vocal Sample (0:35-0:52 and 3:49-5:09 marks)

12 months from now, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer sees Amir Khan as a potential PPV opponent for Floyd Mayweather if the Manny Pacquiao talks continue to fail.

While a popular fighter in his native UK, Amir Khan will only be making his second U.S. appearance for Golden Boy on December 11 against Marcos Maidana. But Schaefer believes the 23-year-old, WBA junior welterweight champion has potential to be a crossover star. By September 2011, he predicts Khan can become a PPV attraction and therefore a suitable adversary for Floyd Mayweather.

“If we can’t make Mayweather-Pacquiao in the spring it may be too late,” Schaefer told the Daily Mail, alluding to the previous failed negotiations between the two. “So this gives us time to build Amir into a pay-per-view superstar in the US.”

Mayweather has not competed at junior welterweight since 2005, meaning that Amir Khan would likely have to move up to welterweight to make the fight happen. Currently, Khan has expressed his desire to unify the 140 pound division with the winner of the proposed Devon Alexander-Timothy Bradley fight by mid 2011.

At press time, Mayweather is taking a hiatus from the ring and will not fight again for the rest of the year. Manny Pacquiao faces Antonio Margarito on November 13.

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Mayweather fighting someone not named Manny Pacquiao in his next bout is not going to fly with anyone.

A lot can happen in a year. But the likelihood of Amir Khan becoming a big PPV star in America is very small. Right now, there are only two viable PPV stars in boxing, and that’s Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. And it’ll likely stay that way until they retire. Khan can establish himself as a Top 10 Pound for Pound fighter by unifying junior welterweight, but that’s not going to cross him over.

And then there is the weight issue. Mayweather coming in at 146 for the 142 pound catchweight against Juan Manuel Marquez last year shows he’s now a full-fledged welterweight. For a Khan bout to be seen as credible, he’d have to go on a tear in the welterweight division before facing Floyd. That’s means taking out guys like Andre Berto or a Luis Collazo. And with Khan having unfinished business at 140, he simply doesn’t have enough time to get in the fights needed to build himself up by Schaefer’s timeline.

This brings us back to the only PPV fight that matters in boxing, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. Until it happens, each man will have a glaring question mark over their careers.

“The say they want that dumb shit, but this is ignorant…”

Jeezy

Hold up, don’t write the Snowman off just yet. Jeezy’s been treading water for most of 2010 while trying to find that right song to kick off Thug Motivation 103 (TM103). After a few false starts like the peculiar Lil Jon collaboration “Jizzle,” Jeezy looks to be headed back in the right direction courtesy of producer Shawty Redd and their latest offering, “Amen.”

The production as expected is heavy on synths, but it’s a lot more subdued and not the bombastic  anthem that was “Who Dat.” Even though that was just two years ago, mainstream listener’s ears a little different these days. Redd splits the composition between the signature pulsing 808s and hi-hats of standard trap music, and a soothing, minimalist chorus.

After a prayer intro, the halves allow Jeezy to show some range on the track. On the harder side, he approaches the song the way you’d expect the Snowman to rhyme over any trap production. In his first verse, Jeezy addresses naysayers who have been speculating on whether TM103 is doomed to be a disappointment. According to Jeezy, people have forgotten his track record, and he boasts the new album will be exactly what fans have come to expect from him since Thug Motivation 101.

“See you motherfuckers acting like/Y’all done caught amnesia/I know what to do/Get them shades up out the freezer,” he rhymes.

When the beat switches to the mellowed melody for the chorus, Jeezy equally subdues his gruff voice to create harmony.

“Please lord..it’s getting realer everyday/Niggas killing, niggas starving/’Cause they can’t find no yay,” Jeezy phrases. “See the first it roll around/And they bills they cannot pay/So some be trappin’, some be buyin’/Bow our heads and let us pray, amen.”

Will this be the song that gets Jeezy over the hump and a release date? It may not be enough to eliminate all of Def Jam’s reluctance, but it’s definitely a good sign for Jeezy’s fans that they can expect an updated sound of the trap music they fell in love with.

Young Jeezy “Amen” (Produced by Shawty Redd)


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Showtime and Allan Green promoter Lou DiBella are currently considering former light-heavyweight champion Glen Johnson as a possible Stage Three opponent on November 6.

The 41-year-old Johnson is coming off a close, hard-fought decision loss to Tavoris Cloud last month. Johnson accepted that he was hurt early but thought he did enough to win . Some observers scored the contest a draw

Although Johnson’s last super-middleweight bout was in 2000 against Toks Owoh, the Road Warrior told ESPN earlier today that he could make the weight easily. His reasons that he isn’t a big light-heavyweight, and would only have to lose roughly 3-4 more pounds to make weight.

“I definitely think I can make the weight. If you pay attention to my weigh-ins, I weigh like 172, 173 all the time,” Johnson explained. “I stay in the low 170s, so I just have to lose an extra three or four pounds to get into the 168-pound division. I made light heavyweight fairly easy, so I wouldn’t see a problem making that weight. Hard work is what I have done in my career. I’m not going to change that now.”

Allan Green was left without an Super Six opponent following Mikkel Kessler’s eye injury withdrawal last month. Showtime considered altering the tournament’s format from round robin to elimination, but contract specifications prevented the change. Green has zero points following his one-sided decision loss to Andre Ward in June. But he can still advance if he wins his next fight by KO, and Andre Dirrell loses to Andre Ward. However, if Glen Johnson wins by KO under the same scenario, he moves to the semi-finals.

At press time, Glen Johnson expects to receive confirmation on his potential Super Six berth by the end of this week. If approved, Johnson and Green would square off on the undercard of Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Rafael Marquez.

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This one was out of left field but understandable. With Sakio Bika declining due to a death in family, and Lucian Bute locked in with his own fight against Jesse Brinkley next month, there aren’t many substitution options. But I strongly doubt Glen Johnson can make super-middleweight without adverse consequences.

Johnson is correct, he weighed in at 173 for his last fight in August. But he looked very drawn, sickly, and dehydrated. His condition makes perfect sense when you see how much weight he put back on the following night.

That’s a 19 pound weight gain in the span of 24 hours! That’s gives you an idea of Glen’s natural weight, and what he goes through to make it down to light-heavyweight. So to go another five pounds from 173 to 168 comes off as very risky.

On the other hand, Allan Green claims his flat performance against Andre Ward was due to being weakened from making super-middleweight. During Showtime’s 360 Fight Camp broadcast, Green can he heard telling Ward that he needs to move up to 175. Now whether that is an excuse or legit issue remains to be seen.

Point is, if this comes off we’d likely see a Glen Johnson far different from hard-nosed, never say die warrior we’ve become accustomed to at light-heavyweight. But money talks, and Glen Johnson has never seen odds that weren’t in his favor. I just hope for the sake of his health, he knows what he’s doing.

Hall of Fame boxer Joe Frazier views Philadelphia as his adopted hometown. But that won’t stop his birth state of South Carolina from honoring the former heavyweight champion today (September 27) with its highest civilian honor.

Governor Mark Sanford bestowed Frazier with the Order of the Palmetto, the most prestigious award South Carolina can give to a civilian. Created in 1971, the honor recognizes outstanding achievements of South Carolina natives. Past recipients have normally been affluent individuals in the sectors of business and politics.

The youngest of 11 children, Frazier was born in 1944 and raised in Beaufort County’s Laurel Bay section. As a teenager, he realized that the racism of his environment would prevent him from developing into a championship fighter. Although he still holds his birthplace in high esteem, Frazier knew he had to leave in order to have a shot at greatness.

“I’ve always loved my hometown despite the bigotry and prejudice I experienced growing up,” Frazier told The State. “We’ve come a long way… I’m just so sorry I couldn’t grow and be a champion down there in Beaufort.”

Frazier relocated to Philadelphia in 1960. Under the tutelage of Yancey “Yank” Durham, Frazier made the U.S. Olympic boxing team in 1964. He would be the only fighter to bring home  a gold medal, and turned pro the following year.

With a lethal, whipping left hook and relentless pressure behind a bob and weave defense, Frazier climbed the rankings and won the heavyweight title in 1970 against Jimmy Ellis. The following year, he would become the first man to defeat Muhammad Ali in the famous Fight of the Century at Madison Square Garden. The two bitter rivals would stage two more fights in 1974 and 1975, both won by Ali.

The nomination for the Order of the Palmetto award came from a Beaufort resident named John Trask III, who began correspondence with Frazier a few years ago to organize a boxing event in their hometown. Trask tells The State that Frazier still doesn’t get the recognition he deserves for his career. He also commends Frazier for the personal dignity he still retains after enduring racial taunts such as “Uncle Tom” and the “white man’s champion” from Muhammad Ali.

“To me, Joe has not received the accolades and appreciation he deserves,” Trask explained. “He’s humble, understated, a gentleman who through the way he’s reacted to adversity and Muhammad Ali’s racism against him, has exhibited qualities more people should have.”

As champion, Frazier made four title defenses from 1970-1973. He retired in 1981 with a record of 32-4 with 27 KOs.

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Bravo, South Carolina! Joe Frazier hasn’t talked extensively about his birthplace in recent years, so it’s great to see this part of his life being celebrated.

Too often, we shower people with praise after their eyes have closed for the final time. I’m a big proponent of showing that love to people when they’re still alive to appreciate it.

Unfortunately for Frazier, the specter of Ali will always be a double-edged sword. The feud defined Frazier’s fighting spirit, and earned him arguably the best win in heavyweight boxing history. On the flip side, it marks a painful period where his integrity and worth as a man were unfairly ridiculed and scorned.

But today, Joe Frazier can put those memories to rest. Today we celebrate Frazier’s achievements and how he succeeded despite all the odds stacked against him.

Well done, Smokin’ Joe.

 

The opening of this C of Tranquility sampler is a clear reminder that time sure does fly. It almost doesn’t seem that long ago when Canibus was the heir apparent to the lyrical throne, and the hottest rookie in the game.

But that was roughly 12 years ago. With nine solo albums under his belt, Canibus is now a veteran who’s survived many of his contemporaries from that era. While ‘Bis didn’t become the next superstar that some predicted, he’s carved a dedicated, niche fanbase for his dense battle rhyme schemes instead of looking for any mainstream acceptance.

You know what you’ll get lyrically from Canibus, but the question mark with each release is the quality of the production. For this project, Canibus has enlisted DJ Premier, Scram Jones, D.R. Period, Jake One, J-Zone and more.

C of Tranquility drops on October 5 via Interdependent Media.

Manny Pacquiao and Rick Ross are among the celebrities featured prominently in Nike’s latest “Boom” ad campaign.

The company is using the “boom” catchphrase to crystallize game-changing or ending moments. In Pacquiao’s clip, NFL players Tim Tebow and Ndamukong Suh are getting tailored and watching the final moments of Manny’s 2008 TKO victory over David Diaz. With the ending knockout, each man yells out the signature “boom” catchphrase.

With Rick Ross not being an athlete, Nike constructed  the Miami emcee’s “pivotal moment” as buying a gaudy new chain, which comes to life and also utters the “boom” catchphrase.

Each spot will be run nationally. For more ads from Nike’s “Boom” series, visit their official Youtube page.

Manny Pacquiao’s “Boom” Nike Ad

Rick Ross’ “Boom” Nike Ad

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No real complaints on my end except the fight they picked for Pacquiao’s clip. If you want a real “boom,” all you have to do is watch and listen to the Pacquaio left hook that ended Ricky Hatton’s career last year. In fact, I just noticed that HBO announcer Jim Lampley says “boom” right after it lands. Maybe he needs to hit up Nike for some compensation.