Jonas Knox was born and raised in Southern California. Growing up a die-hard fan of all sports, Jonas discovered sports talk radio at a young age and the seed was planted... Coming from a family of fight fans, he was first introduced to the world of Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts at a young age and has watched and covered both ever since.
Jonas has spent time as a writer and also done local and national radio in both Los Angeles and Charleston, South Carolina where he served as morning show co-host, anchor, and producer. He is currently a producer at
By Jonas Knox
There are certain times in life where your past meets your present. Where one era stands in proximity to another and the results are as unpredictable as the feeling when the moment arrives.
Whether it’s running into an Ex with your current partner, seeing an old pic of a time that once was, hearing a song that reminds you of where you were when it first struck a chord… The examples are endless.
It’s the feeling and all that it encompasses when the former meets the current.
And this familiar scenario plays out again this Saturday in
At just 25 years old, Jones has put together a resume of victims that would put any veteran of the sport in the Hall of Fame on their first try. He has crazy skills, unlimited athletic ability, and is improving even more every time he steps into the cage. He has gone global, becoming the first
But he’s still 25… And he’s made 25 year old mistakes that have come under heavy scrutiny. He was busted for a D.U.I. when he crashed into a pole a few months back and there are rumors swirling that he may have had 2 women with him in the car - neither of them being his fiancé.
Now we can’t prove that there was anything shady going on but let’s not all be naïve here… People in relationships do shady things all the time… I’ve done it. You’ve done it. It is a reality of most people… But it’s not a good look for anyone, let alone a guy who has a desire to brand himself a global superstar and role model.
He is not a well liked dude by many fans and lost the respect of some of his peers following the UFC 151 public debacle that led to the cancellation of the pay-per-view 3 weeks ago and in-turn subsequently led to his fight being re-scheduled to this Saturday.
But he is really damn good and whether you like it or not, he’s the face of the UFC. He’s the future and he’s the present.
But so was Vitor Belfort once.
The Brazilian made his debut at age 19 and was quickly dubbed “The Phenom”.
He was a maniac.
Speed, power, aggression, a badass submission game, and hands as quick as a lightweight but heavy like a truck. He was must-see in the cage. He went on to win the UFC Heavyweight Tournament and in 2004, captured the UFC Light Heavyweight Title. He should have been Jon Jones before Jon Jones.
But things unraveled following the mysterious disappearance of his sister… He left the organization but still continued to fight oversees with mixed results.
He returned to the UFC in 2009 and slowly climbed back into contention. But even though he has amassed a 3-1 record since his return, not even
Vitor Belfort will be undersized in
And standing across the cage will be a replica of what once was. A young Lion with a sport in its hands and no clue how close he always is to a different ending to his amazing start.
Although the faces locked on one another will be unfamiliar on a single September Saturday in the year 2012, the mirror in front of both will be a collective reflection of two paths – crossing here and colliding now.
What happens next is nothing more than fate and the past echoing the present, with a cage to remind them just how familiar they really are.
By Jonas Knox
Making a great fight is all about the ingredients. In Boxing, the time-tested recipe is as follows:
-2 quality opponents at the top of their game
-Contrasting styles to ensure action
-An honest belief between both that they are superior to the other
-A lengthy build up of trash talk
-An HBO “24/7” series on the fight to chronicle their preparation
-And a pinch of cultural rivalry to add that spice and increase the odds of a brawl in the crowd between supporters of both fighter
If that was enough to make your mouth water, then get ready to stuff your face this Saturday on the long anticipated Middleweight Title clash between Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Although neither guy is known for his trash talk, both have taken personal and professional stabs at one another during the weeks and months leading up to the fight.
For Chavez Jr, the son of Mexican Boxing legend – Julio Cesar Chavez, this is easily the biggest fight of his career. Often thought to be half the fighter his Dad was and living off the in-ring reputation of his elder in dispensing of no-name opponent after no-name opponent, Chavez has stepped up his competition and stepped up his game big time since joining world renowned Hollywood based trainer, Freddie Roach in 2010.
Chavez Jr. has always been a cash-cow in Mexico... His fights are always sold out and there was never really a need from his promoters to book a big name, dangerous fight because of the lucrative revenue stream he routinely provided. Thus, he’s amassed an undefeated record. He had his biggest win this past June over Andy Lee with an impressive 7th round stoppage and showcased a more physical and violent style than the lanky kid that first turned Pro, several years ago.
And what did he do to celebrate his big win?
He called out the best Middleweight in the world and a Top 5 pound-for-pound stud in Sergio Martinez.
Martinez, a native Argentinean now residing in Oxnard, California – is a flat out star in the making. In my opinion, he’s the only guy outside of Manny Pacquiao and inside a reasonable weight proximity that can give Floyd Mayweather a run for his money. If there is one knock on Martinez, it’s his age.
Homeboy is 37, which is entering Jurassic territory inside the ring.
He started Boxing at age 20, which is very rare for a guy who’s had the success Martinez has had. A lot like Chavez, his momentum has really picked up in the last couple of years. Unlike Chavez, it’s been against top-tier talent. And he has put on quite the show, displaying speed the likes of which we haven’t seen at Middleweight and power that has resulted in stoppages of his last 4 opponents. Including a sensational one-punch knockout of former pound-for-pound staple Paul Williams in 2010 - Which for my money is the best knockout in boxing over the last 10 years, considering the magnitude of the fight.
Martinez thinks Chavez Jr. is undeserving of being a champion because he hasn’t fought anybody. Chavez Jr. says Martinez is too old and nobody cares about him. Boxing experts say they’re split in some circles as to who will win. I say don’t bother me Saturday night when the bell rings and these guys start throwing wrist grenades like they just stole from one another.
I’d never tell someone how to spend their money in this economically sensitive time… But do yourselves a favor and get some friends, grab some beers, split up the cost, and shell out the $50 plus for this fight. Think of it as a weekend investment tip from your unofficial boxing broker.
In this rubberneck world of media and entertainment, sometimes it is ok to just sit back, watch, and enjoy the car crash.
And the next violent pile-up will be this Saturday in Las Vegas on pay-per-view.
You can follow Jonas Knox on Twitter at @JonasTSK. He'll be tweeting during the fight with round-by-round coverage.
UFC fans are gitty about UFC 148. You have Chael "The Voice" Sonnen going against Anderson "The Spider" Silva. Plus, it's no secret that these guys can't stand eachother and it should make to an interesting fight. We're not going to break down the fight fo you, but what we'll do is give you a glimpse of what Chael Sonnen had to overcome to get to this moment in his life.
Get the tissue papers ready; this will break your heart.
I’ve always found it fascinating how we like and root for athletes, celebrities, or musicians without ever really knowing them… We’ll support them to the bitter end and let them off the hook for mistakes we’d have chastised those around us for, yet we don’t know anything about them. We don’t know if we’d even see eye-to-eye on certain topics we find important or whether they’d blow us off if we walked up and said hello. In certain cases, you get a general feel for the decency of one’s self through incidents or acts of kindness in the public eye but even then, it’s only a dose of what may or may not be a bigger identity. They are what they allow us to see.
But we’ll still cheer for them and still offer our support.
Nick Diaz however, has made it pretty tough on some to root for him. The UFC Welterweight has had incident after incident since his debut in mainstream Mixed Martial Arts… Dubbed “
So is “One of
And maybe “Welterweight Champion of the World” if he can get by Carlos Condit this Saturday Night in
A style all his own, Diaz walks his opponents down… His hands are always up and far apart, daring fighters, talking to them - making himself easy to hit. And when he gets hit – he cuts easily and rarely leaves the cage bloodless. But it’s his stalking style that generally wins out… Growing up on Boxing, I always enjoy seeing remnants of the “Sweet Science” in the world of Mixed Martial Arts. Diaz pays homage and is relentless to the body. It’s as if he knows he’ll never gas. As if he knows that the grueling triathlons that he participates in between fights have made his mind up to stand in the eye of every violent exchange. Liver shot by liver shot, he replaces a man’s will with doubt.
The struggle for so many in the media is trying to figure out what makes Diaz act the way he acts at times. I don’t see a thug who wants to be the bad guy and intimidate everyone he encounters. I see a guy who trusts a hand full of people and may never be comfortable with a mic and camera being shoved in his face as he’s preparing to possibly lose years off his life in the middle of a cage. Talk to anyone who takes part in Martial Arts and they’ll tell you that discipline is everything. The sport and the practice change you. Diaz may cover up social phobias and privacy issues by coming off annoyed at press conferences and in interviews but maybe that’s just his demeanor in front of strangers. He probably hasn’t grasped the idea of being able to do a press tour to promote a fight, with the guy he’s supposed to fight. To me, that’s not him being an a-hole, that’s him making the conscious choice when he was young that loyalty is everything and fighting the people you care about is wrong – and he’s said as much in recent months. Does that really make him a bad guy?
Just like these celebrities that we’ve all adored, we don’t know Nick Diaz. And instead of people piling on someone uncomfortable with the growing public relations role of fighters in a growing sport, I’ll choose to not take it personally if I never really get to know the guy or he flips me off if I go to say hello. It takes away from getting to enjoy a unique and gifted, modern day warrior in the midst of his prime and getting his shot at a world title this Saturday night.
An old metaphor I’ve always tried to employ in anything I’ve ever gone after in life is “Empty every bullet in your chamber and when you’re out - use the butt of the gun, and when that breaks - use your bare hands… But always make sure that when it’s over, the world remembers it fought you.”
That metaphor is played out every time Nick Diaz’s name shows up on the marquee - the same marquee that comes with more of a spotlight, more questions, and more misperceptions. But just like you’ve gotten accustomed to seeing Diaz so unguarded when he’s inside the cage, it’s the guard he has up outside of it that you’ll have to get used to next.
Growing up in my house, you needed thick skin. You needed to be able to handle the verbal onslaught and crude/inappropriate humor that came with being a Knox.
It wasn’t an option… You just either developed a chin worthy enough to take the blows or you were ostracized to the proverbial wood chipper – chewed up and spit out. You had 2 choices… And I chose to stand in the pocket and see what I was made of on a comedic and mental front.
Ask anyone close to me and they’ll confirm my survival… I don’t get offended by much and truly appreciate the quality of a joke more than the sensitivity of the subject matter. If you need proof, 2 of my favorite comics of all time are Andrew Dice Clay and the late great Greg Giraldo.
(You probably know Dice but YouTube Giraldo at any of the celebrity roast’s he performed at and you’ll feel like you did something wrong afterwards)
So when a guy like Chael Sonnen comes along, I can’t help but take notice.
The UFC Middleweight contender rips on people, countries, philosophies, wardrobe, politics, fighting styles, personalities, beliefs, etc… You name it; he’ll speak on it. If you’ve got a pair of ears, he’s got an opinion and oh by the way, the dude is a hell of a fighter.
To say he’s a bit of a blowhard is like saying Jeffrey Dahmer was a bit of a meat eater.
The guy loves the spotlight and when the mic’s are hot, he’s as good as there’s ever been. As Sonnen once said, “When I go off its like a bomb and anybody around me’s gonna get dirty.”
The man with the most dirt on him after Sonnen’s explosions over the past year and a half is Middleweight Champion, Anderson Silva. Widely considered not only the best in the division and the best pound-for-pound in the sport, the Brazilian may be the greatest Mixed Martial Artist of all time. He has that aura that so few have. He beats guys before the fight even starts. The perception has been that he’s scary good at almost every aspect of the game and he knows it.
So when Sonnen called him out and said he’d beat him down before their August 2010 fight, many thought it was a great sell attempt by the Oregon native who was capitalizing on his 10 seconds of spotlight… Except when he got in, Sonnen did everything he said he would and pounded on Silva for 4 plus rounds, only to see it all vaporize when he was caught in a triangle choke less than 2 minutes away from certain victory.
Since then, Sonnen’s verbal attacks have only gotten more detailed and more personal. Convinced Silva wants no part of a rematch, Chael has gone after Silva’s fellow country men, mocked his manager, and insulted his wife…
He now finds himself just hours away from his biggest audience yet; as he’ll take on
Some will argue if Sonnen is good for a sport trying to grow and dispel comparisons to Boxing and
What you see in many instances is for the most part what you’ll allow yourself to. When I see a guy like Chael Sonnen, I see a super smart, articulate guy with a dry wit who knows that it’s his job to make you pay attention. I see a world-class fighter with a world-class background, whose goal is to become world champion – a promise made to his Father as he lay dying of cancer in 2002.
What motivates people to say and do the things they do is a truth that only rests in their head. We can speculate or criticize the routes that one takes to get to where he needs to go, but unless you’re behind the wheel – you will truly never know. The complexities of goals are as fascinating as the journeys you’ll take to reach them.
The next stop in Chael Sonnen’s journey is
Or as Sonnen put it, “It’s the year 2000-and-Chael”
The first time I saw Mirko Filipovic fight I immediately liked his style. I’m not sure if it was his calculated south paw movement or his stoic heavyweight demeanor but the way he stood on his feet and battled, I found aesthetically pleasing. Although trained on the ground in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for years, Filipovic was a former Kickboxer who’s devastating striking was the stuff of legend. His nickname – “Cro Cop”, short for Croatian Cop, was given to him because of his Croatian heritage and the fact that he was a former law enforcement officer and part of
So basically he was a bad ass.
Almost like an action hero in some
“Right leg, hospital. Left leg, cemetery”
He had me as a fan for life the second I heard it.
In the fight game, you have to talk yourself up. You have to have outward confidence. You have to be able to get ahead of your opponent mentally before you do it physically. Its been done for decades upon decades. It doesn’t guarantee you wins and there are millions of examples of guys whose words proved futile when the bell rang and the talking was over.
But you still watch. You either want to see them come through on their guarantee or you want to see them get beat. It sells fights.
The difference with Cro Cop, was that it almost looked as if he meant it. YouTube some of his highlights from when he fought overseas and there’s one thunderous and violent knockout after another. To think as a fighter, that your go-to finisher was a left high kick to the head is absurd. And its not like he was landing these on garden gnome’s either… These were big guys. Fellow heavyweights. And he had the speed, power, accuracy, and flexibility to find their snooze buttons at any moment in the fight. He truly was one of a kind. An outsider who walked in an accomplished Kickboxer, to a sport full of so many different fighting styles, and he made his work.
But as is the norm with most all athletes, the toll that the continuous pounding takes on your body is an unforgiving equalizer. And by the time Cro Cop finally came to the UFC in 2007, the injuries were starting to become more frequent. His body was starting to break down and he struggled to adjust to the contours of the cage after years of fighting in a ring. He suffered his own crushing knockout losses and soon started to slip down the heavyweight rankings while hearing whispers about what he had left to give in his great career. As he came in to this past Saturday’s fight against Roy Nelson, the Croatian acknowledged that win or loss – this was probably his last fight.
As he put it – “I’ve been fighting for 20 years… I have many other things that I want to discover now”
And as we discovered, fairy tale endings are rarely a reality as he was stopped in the 3rd round and officially announced that he was walking out of the octagon for the final time.
Finale’s are if nothing else – strange. It doesn’t matter the situation… A relationship, a game, a retirement… They are never quite what you had envisioned or played out in your own mind. I’ve always said that the saddest part about losing a relationship is that there will come a point when you no longer know the person you did so well and for so long. It’s the time in between the beginning and the end that programs your final memory.
And the saddest thing about Cro Cop is that the lasting image that so many UFC fans will take with them is a guy at the end of his career rope, incapable of competing at a level worth continuing for.
But that’s only because they weren’t here for his beginning…
Because if they were, then the time in between would’ve programmed their final memories of him like it programmed mine - memories of a master at his craft with the ability to do and say things of the rarest levels in a style all his own.
That… was Cro Cop
They say that in many things in life or in sports that you can usually tell a lot about how something will go by how it starts. Head & Shoulders even had a tag line somewhat referencing that back in the day to push their product:
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression”
This past Saturday’s Light Heavyweight title bout between Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson at
But have no fear. What happened (or didn’t happen) Saturday night will have no bearing on this Author’s outcome. So join me in giving the odds of our success based on the start of live fight coverage, a double middle finger and let’s make sense of just what the hell went down in the City of
In the 2nd round - Bernard Hopkins was laying on Chad Dawson’s back when
Seems easy, end of the article right?
More like “yeah right”…
Because Pat Russell ruled it a TKO for
Now let me say this – I’ve met Pat Russell and genuinely like him. He’s a good guy. I also picked
But each has a part in this. Russell for blowing the call and
And much like we’ve learned with other athlete’s in the past (see Jay Cutler in last year’s Bears/Packers NFC Championship game) you can never question the legitimacy of a guy’s injury and this was no different as we since learned that Hopkins suffered a significant shoulder dislocation and will need surgery. Now if you’re a conspiracy theorist, you might say that
But I’m not doing that because I already think too much as it is and I’d like give the benefit of the doubt to one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport.
So now we have yet another drama filled main event and a let down for the casual fan who may have tuned in and bought it... I still can’t figure out why it was a pay-per-view to begin with because the promotion leading up sure didn’t have a pay-per-view feel but again I digress…
It was a crazy night… The ending made no sense and there are so many angles that can’t be answered. I feel that although this will go down as a bad night for Boxing because of the main event, the undercard was absolutely fantastic and ultimately I think this will be a good thing for
As for Hopkins - he’s 46, he’s been great with his money, he’s accomplished everything in the sport, he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer, and he now needs surgery to repair his shoulder and faces a long road of rehabilitation… It’s probably time to walk away.
But he won’t.
Saturday’s decision should and probably will be overturned and ruled the No Contest that it deserves… And then the posturing from both sides regarding a rematch will start, and the circus will begin all over again. But as Head & Shoulders pointed out years ago, first impressions are everything. And it won’t change the initial glimpse that the casual eyes caught. Eyes that will be looking the other way the next time these two come to an arena near you.
Evolution is a constant thread that weaves one version of something to another. In order to truly appreciate the present, you must reflect on the past. On Saturday night in Denver, we witnessed the evolution in Mixed Martial Arts in the form of a brilliant, wide ranging stand up and ground finish by current UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jonny “Bones” Jones.
At 24 years old, Jones is a nightmare in 205lb division with pin point accuracy, a unique flare, and the calm resolve of a decade long pro. When you couple that with the quality of his opponent in Quinton “Rampage”
As promo’s started coming across the television announcing the signing of Jackson, the images depicted a savage powerhouse with knockout power and highlight reel slams - one imparticular to a Brazilian named Ricardo Arona, that is still a YouTube must... Within a couple of fights in the UFC,
At that very moment, he was the example of evolution.
So to fast forward just a few years later and to see how outmatched he was with a much slicker, younger, and mature Jon Jones – you see the progression of a sport and a fighter who is fastly becoming the face of a company in the middle of its own meteoric rise in the sports landscape.
To see such art imitate life, reminds me that we too have change in our everyday lives and more often than not, we’re so enthralled and wrapped up in our present day duels that we forget to view it all from the ceiling of ourselves. And although the present could be good or bad and a comparison to the past may show a regression in your own mind, it is then that you truly see your own evolution – a constant timeline of battles, threading one version of you to another.
It’s the 9th inning, there are 2 outs, your team is in the lead, and you’re on the mound and in the middle of throwing a perfect game when Barry Bonds comes up to bat. He works the count and next thing you know, after a great eye and not taking the bait on your breaking ball, you find yourself in a 3 balls and 1 strike pitch situation. You need to throw a fastball to get something over the plate so you don’t walk him to preserve your perfect game. With the infielders on their toes and the outfielders playing as far back as the park will hold them – knowing this will be the best pitch Bonds will see all at bat, you fire your fast ball and your hopes in the direction of the best and most disliked hitter in all of baseball. Like slow motion, you can see the seems on the ball turning over and you know that within a split second the result will be the present. Then he does it…
He lays down a picture perfect bunt and races safely to first, in possession of a base hit and a piece of your legacy. There are no written rules that petition against it but it’s the un-written rules that scream in protest.
In essence, that is what Floyd Mayweather did Saturday night by knocking out Victor Ortiz in the 4th round of their Welterweight title fight in
The fact that referee Joe Cortez (AKA – The worst ref in the sport that still for some reason gets big time fights) was lackadaisical in his separating of the fighters following Ortiz’s point deduction for an intentional head butt, is not what led to the ending of the fight. What led to the ending of Saturday’s pay-per-view clash is something that only the man who ended it can truly answer. But if I had to guess, I would say that seed was planted either somewhere in Floyd’s upbringing or somewhere in the time period when “Pretty Boy Floyd” morphed into “Money Mayweather”.
If you stripped away the ego, the flash, the obnoxious comments, and the fact that he basically picks his opponents but always has a long winded indirect answer when asked why he’s turned down some of the sports tougher matchups… If you stripped all that away, you’d have a master of his craft. A fighter who doesn’t drink, a fighter who is in year round shape, and a fighter who even in his mid 30’s can take a year and half off – only to dispel any questions of rust and then dismantle a younger, bigger, and very dangerous Victor Ortiz.
When he says he’s great, he isn’t lying.
Just like Bonds, Floyd is a once in a generation talent. Alleged steroid use aside, Bonds was a fantastic baseball player. The fact that so many people dislike him, is what will ultimately be his asterisk… And after Saturday, Mayweather should expect the same. By knocking out Ortiz the way he did, Floyd wrote atleast one chapter in his career in permanent ink. No matter what he does, people that follow the un-written rules will never forget
They say there’s no such thing as bad press. The fact that we’re talking about Boxing following a football filled weekend is a good thing right? But it’s the perception of it all that has me unsatisfied, because there is so much good in Boxing that will never be spoken of by the casual experts that came out for this fight. But welcome to the strange life in recent years as a long time fan of the sport they call “The Sweet Science” - One that always seems to come out sour lately, whenever we try and share it with you.