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Jun 16th
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Home Boxing

Boxing Editorials

DECEMBER PREDICTIONS, PART 2

DECEMBER PREDICTIONS, PART 2
Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito
The fight that has been buried in a wash of great late-year action, has the potential to be the most action packed.  These are two warriors who gave everything they had when they had a lot.  Now that both are diminished, they may give even more.  Margarito has not likely lost his chin, but his skin will probably never be the same after the Pacquiao fight.  He is making money because Bob Arum’s ego has to show the world that it doesn’t matter if his fighter is a criminal.  Bob is bigger and stronger than the law, and he says so.  Nanananana!  Margarito is Mexican, and that sells.  Add a Puerto Rican to that mix, and the ka-ching is even louder than an annoying British fan’s horn section.  Cotto was a better fighter than Margarito before, and still is.  The question is can a plaster-less Margarito still put enough pressure to collapse Cotto’s will and body?  Both men have taken beatings from Pacquiao since their last meeting, and added better trainers.  The difference is that Margarito’s trainer, Robert Garcia, has already been shown to not be able to adjust the “Tijuana Tornado” mid-fight.  Cotto also has far more tools with which to respond to Emmanuel Steward’s instructions.  Cotto also has had the confidence-building of solid wins since their last meeting, while Margarito has only another beat-down loss to Mosley for his memories.  Mid-way through the fight, Cotto will be sitting on a lead, while Margarito will again be trying to go the distance in order to prove something.  Cotto by decision, in a fight that starts great, but ends ok.

Amir Khan vs. Lamont Peterson
Peterson may have the home-town advantage, but it will be something else that gives him a chance at winning.  With a fighter who gives him distance and room to breathe, he can rattle off good combinations.  Peterson’s only blemishes are aginst Victor Ortiz and Timothy Bradley.  Much like his brother’s loss to Brandon Rios, those losses look less bad as the opponent accomplishes even more.  The main problem I see if that Peterson would have to fight a perfect fight.  He is not a big puncher, and figures to be hit harder by Khan than he was against Bradley.

 

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS
Timothy Bradley and Amir Khan are young, vital, and the two best 140lb-ers in the world.  Everyone is on a mad dash to the next division lately.  Nobody is getting Pacquiao now, except Mayweather, Marquez, or the political scene of Phillipines.  Stick around, guys.  Create your own money.

Speaking of creating your own money, Mikkel Kessler is paid an insane amount to face anyone he wants in Denmark .  Rather than dig up old Yanks like Danny Green or Denis Lebedev, or abandon his money base entirely to test himself in the U.S,, like Zsolt Erdei and Sergei Dzindziruk… Kessler has balanced it well between cashing in at home, and testing himself against legit top competition on the road.  Now, if only he can get healthy long enough to re-enter the mix at 168lbs.  Gut tells me he still has enough left to beat Taylor, or perhaps Dirrell (in a “back from injury” tournament).

Speaking of back from injury, is Andre Dirrell ever going to be able to fight again?  I’m no neurologist, but I haven’t heard of brain injuries being something that heals.

 

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DECEMBER PREDICTIONS, PART 1

DECEMBER PREDICTIONS, PART 1
Carl Froch vs. Andre Ward
It would not be the biggest upset if Froch won the fight, but I’m struggling to envision that scenario.  It would have to come in the way that both Vernon Forrest beat Shane Mosley, and the way he lost to Ricardo Mayorga.  We’d need to see a weakness that had not yet revealed itself.  Either Ward’s chin would have to go, or he’d have to suffer an injury that changed his mindset.  The cut could re-open, but I don’t think a focused fighter like Ward would let that bother him too much.  Froch could land heavy artillery, but he’s not a one-punch knockout artist, and I find it hard to imagine Froch catching Ward more than once or twice.  Many people feel Andre Dirrell already laid out the blueprint for a fighter like Ward to beat Froch, and Ward is probably a better overall fighter than Dirrell.  He’s also shown the ability to win at all different paces, while Froch needs his space, and looks quite uncomfortable when he does not have it.  Froch is fairly durable, yet he will probably get stung just enough to keep him honest.  Ward is not a finisher, either.  Ward by unanimous decision.

Joseph Agbeko vs. Abner Mares 2
Agbeko has suffered a handful of knockdowns in his career, all erroneously scored.  He has bad luck with officials, while Mares has had great luck.  Even with all those pluses in Mares’ corner, he barely beat Agbeko the last time.  Provided that fairness is insisted upon, I think Mares will have a rare foot-off-the-gas moment, and that is all it will take for Agbeko.  Donaire is gone now, so there is no prize awaiting the winner.  Except of course the winner of Darchinyan-Moreno, but that is not exciting anyone… yet.  Agbeko has the motivation to be a 3-time champion, and do it the old fashioned way, by avenging the loss to the man who took the belt from him each time.  

 

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BOXING NEEDED THAT

BOXING NEEDED THAT

Lucian Bute’s dominating win over Glen Johnson was impressive, as was Peter Quillin’s dominance over Craig McEwan.  Unfortunately for the two of them, two things will overshadow their victories.  First off, the story post-fight will be more of what happened to their respective opponents.  Craig McEwan was visibly hurt in the sixth round of the Quillin fight, and had lost every round, but was given absolutely no chance to defend himself.  The referee stepped in laughably early to stop the bout.  In a measurement against Andy Lee, it seems to be a good victory for Quillin, and he was likely on his way to a later TKO or decision win, anyway.  However, no matter of mere dominance would measure up against what was coming in the main event.

For Bute, he was the main event, but most of the discussion will be about Glen Johnson’s either not showing up, getting old overnight, or making a ridiculous strategy error.  To abandon the hook was bad enough, but Johnson also spent the bout circling the wrong way, and trying to stay and jab at a distance.  If those 3 mistakes aren’t bad enough, he also showed the failure to realize the futility of this strategy, and made no adjustments.  If he is simply no longer able to do what he does best, or if Bute was too good for him to do so, that much is not clear… but his behavior is distracting us from Bute being only the second man ever to dominate Johnson.

Bute’s win shares the spotlight for another reason.  Pier-Olivier Cote, a Quebec City raised prospect made his HBO debut, with an exhilarating 2nd round KO of Jorge Teron. Not a world beater, Teron went rounds with Brandon Rios, and was at least expected to be competitive.  He also had a height advantage over Cote , something the Canadian should not be used to giving up to that level. 

 

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

It's not as if Don King fighters are super-busy... but why have Francisco Palacios and Guillermo Jones wait around any longer?  They should be fighting each other.. not tune-ups.  Just hold your tourament outside of Sauerland, and get a real network to cover it.  Who do you think James Toney and Antonio Tarver are going to come to?  German promoters to get screwed like Cunningham?  or Don King, where they can get screwed right here at home.  I don't think Cunnigham wants to stay in Germany much longer, either.

Speaking of Toney, if he makes weight, he's already won.  Something tells me that if Jones was able to hang tough with Lebedev, while having only minimized reflexes, Toney's better chin will get things done here.  He still might be too old, but he was good at cruiser, and I'm starting to think he could pull it off.

Speaking of making weight... is no one else going to bring up the NYSAC not allowing Donaire and Narvaez to be weighed by the HBO crew?  Why on earth would that be, unless there was something to hide? Looks like Joey Gamache's lawsuit for a similar incident involving his fight wtih Gatti, may have actually accomplished very little.

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NO ENCORE, PLEASE

NO ENCORE, PLEASE
We are all motivated when a hall-of-fame fighter can turn back the clock for one last great performance… but more often than not, they do not simply take a bow, and move on.  Much of my writing has to do with when to say when.  It may seem like an odd thing for a fight fan to care about, but I‘ll tell you this.  There are many good fighters out there not getting TV or promoter attention, which translates to fan attention.  Much of that has to do with older, more well-known fighters, never stepping aside.  The meal is over, and the check is paid, so get up!  We need the table!  Erik Morales should be listening now.  His “belt”-winning win in his last fight should be his exit.  Instead he will most certainly go on until he embarrasses himself.  When will they learn?  Here are a few who didn’t.

Mark Too Sharp Johnson – After dominating the Flyweight division for years, the D.C. slickster moved up to Super Fly and continued to dominate.  After suffering two defeats at the hands of then unheralded Rafael Marquez, he rebounded with a win over then unbeaten Fernando Montiel for another world title belt.  This HBO-televised victory would have been a fitting end to his great career.  He was in his mid-30's, had successful businesses running, and did not need the fight game.  Instead, he hung out a bit too long.  Plagued by weight problems and inacitivity, he ended his career with two stoppage losses to Ivan Hernandez and Jhonny Gonzalez.

George Foreman – His record for 'oldest champion' may be gone, but the events that surrounded it guaranteed that his triumph remains one of the greatest in boxing history.  Nearly 20 years to the day after his epic loss to Muhammad Ali, and after a ten year hiatus from the ring, 45 year old “Big” George KO’s Michael Moorer to win the legit heavyweight title.   His career momentum afterwards, however, was bizarre.  Questionable decision wins over Axel Schulz and Lou Savarese followed, in addition to one dominating win over Crawford Grimsley. 

 

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS
Just when you think we’re done with these defensive minded, good-enough performances, here comes Omar Narvaez.  When will these guys get it through their heads, it is no victory to go the distance, if you stink out the joint?  Michael Katsidis gets KO’d.  Ditto Jorge Linares.  We want to see them again, because they are exciting!

Speaking of exciting, California referees need to calm the hell down.  I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again.  They, with almost 100% accuracy, stop fights too damn quick.  Jorge Linares was bleeding, and a bit hurt… but he was way in front, with only a round and a half to go.  He deserved better than the Raul Caiz wave-off, AS HE WAS SLIPPING A PUNCH, AND COUNTERING!!  I am disgusted that no one is saying anything.

Speaking of not saying anything, shouldn’t Jean Pascal be a bit louder about the Dawson-Hopkins overturn?  This almost certainly means there will be a rematch of a fight no one was enjoying, and a delay on his Dawson return.  Not to mention all the delays that a protest will cause.  Hopkins ’ win at age 46 was inspirational, but it is holding the light heavyweight division hostage at this point.

 

 

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HOPKINS – DAWSON , BEND OVER

HOPKINS – DAWSON , BEND OVER
I knew the moment Hopkins hit the floor that he would not be getting up and fighting anymore.  Gone are the days of Genaro Hernandez heroic rise from the floor to beat Azumah Nelson, after being fouled.  Gone are the days of Tyrell Biggs fighting for 6 rounds with a dislocated shoulder and winning the fight!  They are gone for several reasons.  Not all can be blamed on the fighters, either.  The world around them has changed.

True, that toughness menatilty is a bit gone from sports in general, but the fact that athletes and entertainers have to share the spotlight is partly to blame as well.  Referees and doctors are stopping fights… sometimes for legitimate health reasons, but also in the age where everyone is famous, they get the spotlight.  They, like everyone else, are trying to be stars now, and love stopping fights themselves to steal the spotlight.

Everyone was talking Russell Mora after the Mares-Agbeko fight, and don’t think for two seconds that “fair but firm” Joe Cortez hasn’t learned that no press is bad press, after Mayweather-Ortiz.  We also live in a consequence-free environment for the most part, where accountability and come-uppance are not expected.  Referee Marlon Wright seems to be working a ton after screwing Librado Andrade.  Ditto Judge Eugenia Williams.  The Jersey judges who screwed Erislandy Lara will work again.  Mark my words.  Above all… remember this: Hopkins will fight again… and on PPV.  And we will buy it.

 

 

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NOVEMBER PREDICTIONS, PART 2

NOVEMBER PREDICTIONS, PART 2

Lucien Bute vs. Glen Johnson
This is one is not tough to call.  If you’re for real, you beat Johnson.  If you’re not, you don’t.  Bute has already proven he is for real.  The questions that remain are of chin and stamina.  These have not been tested since the first Andrade fight, since Bute has been so dominant and powerful of late.  Johnson will provide a test for both of those attributes, while still putting a W on Bute ’s record.  Bute by an 8-4 decision that may be scored even wider.

Timothy Bradley vs. Joel Casamayor
Casamayor vs. Bradley? This one will be dirty.  The old tricks are among the last things to go, and Casamayor will need them.  He may have found new legs recently, but it won’t be enough to take out a determined Bradley.  Unless “Desert Storm has garnered some serious ring rust, we can expect him to dominate the old Cuban champion.  While a knockout wouldn’t surprise me, I will never pick one with Bradley… Bradley by UD or late round TD.

Danny Green vs,. Krystoff Wlodarczyk
These last two fights are shameful, because a fighter is being rewarded for a loss with a shot at a belt.  Shame on the WBC for both of them.  Tarver and Molina should be fighting for titles, not Cintron and Green.  Yet in a belt that has recently added diamond, emeritus, silver, interim, and in-recess to their vocabulary, nothing is surprising.  I would normally pick the Pole to retain his title, since Green is coming off a bad beating, but he’s such a pretender to the throne, that I cannot in good consciousness pick him. 

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NOVEMBER PREDICTIONS, PART 1

NOVEMBER PREDICTIONS, PART 1

James Toney vs. Denis Lebedev
Well, for all Roy Jones has slipped, he still has a bizarre hold over past opponents.  Once Roy holds a win over you, even if you go on to achieve your own greatness, you never seem to forget it, and end up chasing a ghost.  Hopkins , Tarver, and now Toney… all chasing either Jones himself, or other Jones conquerors.  To prove what?  I am not sure.  Toney might just be trying to prove he can still make Cruiserweight.  Toney vs. Tarver would be a fun fight at any weight, and the winner might sneak into a title shot at Cruiser or Heavy.  Toney would earn a number 1 ranking with the win, but my gut tells me this is the fight where he ages too much.  Lebedev by narrow UD.

Alfredo Angulo Vs. James Kirkland
Many people think this fight would have been more impressive before Angulo’s loss to Cintron, and subsequent exile.  It definitely would have been better before Kirkland was imprisoned, then KO’d in the first round by light-hitting Noburo Ishida, right?  I disagree. This is one of those fights that will actually be even better because both men have something to prove.  Trainer and promoter difficulties, losses, exiles for different reasons, etc.  The 154-160 landscape has moved on without them to create ‘Viva Mexico ’ stars, but are both still wide open besides them.  Neither man would beat Sergio Martinez, but they are live with anyone else.  Their recent losses will also make them more marketable to avoidance-monsters like Alvarez and Chavez Jr.  Any pick would be logical here, because each man will be forced out of a comfort zone.  However, my guess is, much like Rios-Antillon, it’s going to come down to chin.  Angulo has one.  Kirkland doesn’t.  Angulo by 4th round KO in a wild slugfest.

Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Manny Pacquiao 3
The third installment of this trilogy isn’t coming too late chronologically, as it’s only been 7 years since the first match-up, yet as far as what has transpired in the interim, the two are worlds apart. 

 

 

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NO NEED FOR A REMATCH!

NO NEED FOR A REMATCH!
Well, Floyd Mayweather has another victory, and for the first time since 1998, he is a KO winner in the early rounds.  While the fight’s ending was bizarre, I do not see any controversy.  The Golden Boy execs are for sure going to try to spin their magic, so that all may go the bank once again.  There is, however, no real controversy to anyone looking at the fight through unbiased lenses.  I do not fault Mayweather or Joe Cortez for any of their actions, and I definitely do not see the need for a rematch.

First off, Ortiz was the only guilty party.  Why should he be rewarded with another payday when he was the only one who did anything illegal?  He was frustrated, and had already resorted to intentional headbutts by the 4th round.  This is because of reason number 2: Mayweather had proven his superiority.  It’s true that the longer a fight goes on, the more likely it is that anything could happen, but THIS fight was Ortiz’ chance to make that happen.  Again, he does not deserve a second fight because he broke the rules, and then for looked at the ref when he should have been defending himself.  That logic is twisted.  He was on his way to losing and he knew it… hence the headbutt.

Reason number 3: Joe Cortez did a pretty good job.  True, his glance away was ill-timed… but refs do need to check in with time-keepers in situations like this, and time was in.  He penalized Ortiz appropriately, and saw the important things happen, which were two legal punches.  Floyd isn’t even guilty of bad sportsmanship, because he accepted Ortiz’s hug.  He smiled, and returned it before punching. 

 

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Once Champ. Now Chump. An Embarrassing Win for Mayweather

Once Champ. Now Chump. An Embarrassing Win for Mayweather
Even in the sport of boxing there remains an element of ethical behavior that defines the bounds of good sportsmanship. Those bounds were breached in the September 17th WBC Welterweight Championship bout between Victor Ortiz and Floyd Mayweather, resulting in a bizarre and unsatisfying ending.

In case you missed it - there was a clash of heads in the fourth round which referee, Joe Cortez, correctly ruled “intentional,” and he penalized Ortiz one point. Cortez then signaled the fighters together, and as they approached each other, Ortiz began to hug Mayweather in a gesture of apology. Mayweather accepted the hug, but as Ortiz stepped back - looking to Cortez for further instructions - Mayweather blatantly struck with a left hook and straight right while Cortez was still gesturing toward the time keeper. Cortez didn’t see the punches. Unfortunately, neither did Ortiz.

Ortiz, who clearly felt bad about the head butt delivered to Mayweather earlier in the round, did what a good sportsman does - he attempted a reconciliation before the renewal of action. Then, seemingly distracted by something Joe Cortez was saying to the time keeper, Ortiz looked to his left, and in a flash Mayweather delivered his one-two punch while Ortiz’s hands were still by his side. The punch your don’t see, or expect, is the most devastating, and Ortiz fell backward onto the canvas, unable to beat the count. It was like watching a barroom brawl where one guy cold-cocks another guy as he’s distracted by the bartender asking him to pay his tab.

 

 

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GAMBOA HEADING TO 130??

GAMBOA HEADING TO 130??
Yuriorkis Gamboa scored another one-sided victory last Saturday.  This time “El Ciclon de Guantanamo” scored a technical decision over former belt-holder Daniel Ponce De Leon .  That result was not strange or unexpected, however Gamboa’s post-fight plans seem to be.  Gamboa announced that he is done at featherweight.  He said he has done all he can do there.  Excuse me??

If his body simply cannot make the weight, that is fine… but has he forgotten the names of men like Chris John or Juan Manuel Lopez?  At least hang out to see if Lopez wins his title back before you abandon the division.  If I were Lopez, the wind would be taken out of my sails a bit.  Now, no matter what Juanma does at 126, he’ll be second fiddle in this era to Gamboa.

He’s likely not risking Chris John either, so the best Lopez can do is win his belt back, and follow Gamboa up to 130.  Perhaps that is Top Rank’s plan with Gamboa in the first place.  They control both fighters, and this may be the first in a chess move that sees Lopez and Gamboa meeting without anyone pointing to spoiler John after they are done.  What is still confusing, however, is Gamboa’s own reasoning for the move.

 

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WANT MORE KNOCKOUTS?? YOU NEED A WILLING DANCE PARTNER

WANT MORE KNOCKOUTS?? YOU NEED A WILLING DANCE PARTNER
After watching Tomasz Adamek’s futile effort against Vitali Klitschko, I think it is official to start calling a recent observation a trend.  Fighters are only capable of scoring knockouts, when there is no surrender in an overmatched opponent.  Of course there are exceptions in the lower eschelon of matches.  11-0 prospects routinely batter 5-9 journeymen to the ground for kayos, even when the opponent is running for safety.  However, once at the top levels of the game, a knockout is not possible without a stubborn refusal to accept that one is outgunned.

We can use either Klitschko for an example, but I will use both.  David Haye can call himself a decision loser to Wladimir.  Ditto Kevin Johnson to Vitali.  Chris Arreola and Tomasz Adamek, however, are stoppage losers to Vitali.  One glance at a record may suggest that gives Johnson and Haye bragging rights.  One might even make the suggestion that Johnson and Haye possessed better chins.  However, one who has actually watched these fights will come to another conclusion.



 

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BEGINNING OF A NEW ERA??

BEGINNING OF A NEW ERA??
I am a bit excited that Yuriorkis Gamboa and Daniel Ponce De Leon are fighting.  You may simply be excited that these are two action fighters going head to head at all.  Both men are big punchers who have shown chin vulnerability.  Both have styles which lend themselves to action.  Both men have made seemingly difficult fights look easy, and vice versa.  Sure… be excited about the fight.  The promotional make-up, however, has some people salivating even more.

Golden Boy and Top Rank are co-promoting this card.  That has not happened in quite some time.  These two promotional outfits have become to the democrats and republicans of U.S. boxing.  Not in their treatment of fighters, or destruction of the country.  I mean that in the sense of being polarizing forces.  It’s a shame really, as unlike the political parties, they do not have many differences.  Both hold many cards at the local, regional, national, and international levels.  Both have TV deals to provide marketing to their younger stars.  Both pander to the Latino market unashamedly.  Both also posses more top fighters in the U.S. market that anyone else.

 

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MY OWN HEAVYWEIGHT TOURNAMENT

MY OWN HEAVYWEIGHT TOURNAMENT

With the dominance of the Klitschkos, the heavyweight division is running out of worthy challengers.  Not only are fighters losing to Vitali and Wlad, they are doing so in such a way, that their credibility is shot for quite a while.  Their are some tournaments going on to establish new challengers, but they are mostly being done with the wrong contenders.  What has Dimnitrenko done to deserve inclusion?  And don't get me started on Jonathon Banks and Jean-Marc Mormeck... men with chin problems at cruiserweight!  Let's do a tournament the right way... MY WAY!

Cris Arreola vs. Eddie Chambers
They are both still in ESPN's bottom of the top ten.  While they are both vital contenders, they have already lost to a Klitschko, which renders them much less interesting.  However, if Haye gets another shot, so do they.  Chambers counterpunching skills make him a live underdog, but after suffering his first knockout to Wladimir, we know what can happen if his temple gets tagged, which Arreola will do, repeatedly, no matter how sloppy it looks.  Arreola by late round TKO.

 

 

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NO NEED FOR A REMATCH!

NO NEED FOR A REMATCH!
Well, Floyd Mayweather has another victory, and for the first time since 1998, he is a KO winner in the early rounds.  While the fight’s ending was bizarre, I do not see any controversy.  The Golden Boy execs are for sure going to try to spin their magic, so that all may go the bank once again.  There is, however, no real controversy to anyone looking at the fight through unbiased lenses.  I do not fault Mayweather or Joe Cortez for any of their actions, and I definitely do not see the need for a rematch.

First off, Ortiz was the only guilty party.  Why should he be rewarded with another payday when he was the only one who did anything illegal?  He was frustrated, and had already resorted to intentional headbutts by the 4th round.  This is because of reason number 2: Mayweather had proven his superiority.  It’s true that the longer a fight goes on, the more likely it is that anything could happen, but THIS fight was Ortiz’ chance to make that happen.  Again, he does not deserve a second fight because he broke the rules, and then for looked at the ref when he should have been defending himself.  That logic is twisted.  He was on his way to losing and he knew it… hence the headbutt.

 

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WHEN IS IT TIME TO BAN A REFEREE?

WHEN IS IT TIME TO BAN A REFEREE?
We live in an age where officials walk around above the law.  They may not have an easy job in the world of sports, but they enjoy a ridiculous amount of freedom from the powerful, as well as ridicule from the fans and writers.  I will confess that in many cases, I would not wish to walk a mile in their shoes.  That does not, however, excuse them from doing their job correctly.

I believe in the “3 strikes and you’re out” mentality.  These are 3 televised strikes against you.  You have blown calls that many times when we are watching?  You probably have done it far more when we are not.  You must be taken out of the game for years, and retrained.  If you strike out again, you are gone.  The NBA’s asinine policy of fining coaches who criticize officials is oppressive and wrong, but no one’s life is at stake.  Tennis officials have been historically bad, but again, players enter and leave in the same health, regardless.  In boxing, men’s lives are at stake… not just their careers.

Joey Curtis was the TV boxing joke of the 1980’s.  He stopped fights too soon, and stopped fights too late.  He even left the finished boxer to stagger around helplessly, while he raised the hand of the victor.  A generation earlier the jokes were former fighters who were given referee assignments.  Who can forget Jersey Joe Walcott blowing the Ali-Liston rematch, or Joe Louis allowing Jerry Quarry to take too much punishment against Joe Frazier?  Even the great Richard Pryor made one of his better-known routines about the latter match.

 

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS
Injuries are the new… “we couldn’t sell enough tickets.”  It happens so often now, it makes us skeptical of true injuries.  I don’t see any reason Robert Guerrero would fake recent the injury, but nobody is buying it.  Not even Maidana.  The frequency of cancellations due to injury, even had everyone panicking when Victor Ortiz suffered something as innocent as a sore back.

Speaking of cancellations, I don’t think they will stop if people end up making out as well as Alexander Povetkin.  Ruslan Chagaev is no pushover, but Povetkin has a much better chance of collecting a belt versus Chagaev than Klitschko.  For every ruined chance from a cancellation is a story like this one, and to fans, that is not encouraging.  Maybe that tree root Povetkin tripped over, when he was injured prior to the first scheduled Klitschko fight, will end up bronzed.

Speaking of encouragement, I wish WBA Super Bantamweight champion Rico Ramos all the best.  He scored a televised come from behind KO to win his belt.  Only drawback was that he had to do so in Atlantic City , when his promoter, Dan Goossen, has tons of cards near his native Los Angeles .  I'm sure he'll take the win, no matter where it is, but there was a Top Rank card going on that same night in Carson , only miles from where Ramos grew up.  With Guillermo Rigondeaux waiting in the wings, it will probably be a short reign for Ramos. 

 

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ARGENTINA’S TIME

ARGENTINA’S TIME
The American boxing scene is always much stronger than the media makes it sound.  True, it is not in its heyday, but how many things are?  Our land has still remained the mecca of boxing in as much as fighters wish to ply their trade on our soil.  It’s a bit strange when you think about it.  Most of the great fighters nowadays are not born and bred here.  Many of them do not live here.  In addition, most of the boxers who make it to the championship level, can make far more money fighting somewhere else.  This is true of the UK , Germany , or Japan .  Yet, it is considered a career unfulfilled, if one does not test oneself against the best the U.S. has to offer.

This could be a metaphor for the U.S as a whole.  Our slow slide into 3rd world nationhood, and away from greatness.  It takes a while for people to figure it out, but during that generation, we still get some of the world’s best contesting on our shores.  Sometimes it’s the only way they can achieve neutrality in their matches.  Japan has long paid better.   Germany is outdoing us in terms of star-making and filling arenas… but there is a new entrant into the mix.

 

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STEPPING ON THE GAS!

STEPPING ON THE GAS!
Lost in the shuffle of the Mares-Agbeko fiasco, is a very pivotal moment.  Inh the 4th round, Agbeko landed a flush right hand, as Mares was loading up his own right.  Mares dipped, then stood back up.  Agbeko did not press the attack… seemingly waiting to land another right hand.  Because he shut his eyes defensively at the moment of impact, perhaps he did not know how badly Mares was hurt.  I am not suggesting that Mares was out on his feet, or that Agbeko definitely blew a chance to end the fight, but we will never know, because he did not press the attack.

Even if Mares had survived an onslaught, it was worth Agbeko pressing the advantage.  So much more good than bad can result from an effective follow up.  This is not the first time a fighter has paid dearly not not pursuing a hurt fighter.  The only negative is to do so saps a fighter’s strength, but fighters should be trained for far more than the demands of an ordinary 12 rounds, so that this is not a factor.  Perhaps Agbeko was concerned after his struggles to make weight.  However, much more than the knockout gets away after a moment like this.  The affected fighter gains confidence, and is given an easy path to show heart.  Taking charge of a fight can still result in dominance, even if it does not result in a knockout.

This is not the only time this has happened.  The other instance that pops in my mind most clearly is Joe Frazier not following up that aggressively against Muhammad Ali in the 11th round of their first match.  He admitted later that he was a bit fooled by Ali’s possum-playing, and averted danger.  Frazier won anyway, however, he nearly died from elevated blood-pressure after the fight, which probably would have been lessened by an 11th round exit.  Also, maybe the world never sees the 2 fights he lost, had he won by a convincing KO.



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LONG MAY HE REIGN

LONG MAY HE REIGN
I pick on the sanctioning bodies, because, well, they deserve it.  They’ve made an already marginalized and misunderstood sport even more difficult to follow.  Fighters seem to like them, as they still provide a springboard to future success, at least for now.  Their ridiculous behaviors are are often tolerated with the dismissive phrase, “fighters make the belt, not the other way around”.  In this strip-happy, interim, silver, rutabaga titles-flying around everywhere days, there have still been a handful of fighters who have taken, and kept a sanctioning body belt for several years.  As this century is only 11 years old, we examine a few of the most recent.  I will also not be including people like Sven Ottke, who were barely journeyman if you scored their fights correctly.  Note, all are undefeated, and were accused of being protected… but even the vast majority of those end up being beaten or giving up a belt.  These did not:

Joe Calzaghe
Sure, the exciting times came once unification happened, and a move up to light heavyweight followed, but before the Hopkins , Jones, Lacy, and Kessler matches, Calzaghe held the WBO title from 1997 to 2007.  He even beat another British legend to become champion, in Chris Eubank.  After 21 successful defenses, he moved up and beame undisputed light heavyweight champion with a win over Bernard Hopkins… a win that is looking better and better all the time.  His 21 defenses over 10 years, however, are an impressive feat in any age.



 

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SANCTIONING BODY QUESTIONS

SANCTIONING BODY QUESTIONS

WBA
What if your “super champion” is called such because he owns the WBA and IBF belts.  Then, the IBF strips him (which happens a lot).  Is he still a super champion?  What if you’ve already crowned a “regular” champion in his absence?  Does that guy get stripped, or demoted to “interim”?  What if you already have a super champion, and your regular champion also unifies with another belt holder?  Do you now have 2 super champions?  Would you still crown yet a 3rd “regular” champion?  Are any of these champions mandated to ever fight each other?  What about Chris John and Yuriorkis Gamboa?  Are they ever going to be forced to fight?  And if Gamboa was the most recent one to unify, why is he not the super champion?  What about Felix Sturm?  I don’t recall him unifying at all.

WBC
Timothy Bradley and Sergio Martinez are “emeritus” champions, correct?  Therefore, they may come back whenever, no matter what is going on the division, and challenge your current WBC champion for their belt.  What about the new regular belt-holder’s mandatory?  Is he still next in line for the winner?  Does he fight for a “silver” title?  If so, is he still in line, or does this consolation prize belt mean the champions are exempt from fighting them?  What the hell is a “diamond” belt?  If you are a Mexican with a star name or billing, are you just handed a WBC belt for your lineage?

IBF
Is there any circumstance for which a champion may be temporarily exempt from a mandatory?  Or do you just strip your new champion every six months, regardless of what kind of better offers they receive?  Are unified champions ever given a chance to defend against the other sanctioning body’s mandatory?  If not, why even bother allowing unifications?  Bravo to allowing Wladimir Klitschko to get away with it for this long, but we have a feeling the useless mandatory you’re about to saddle him with, will put an end to all of that.  Clock is ticking on Amir Khan’s new belt, too.

 

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS
Bravo to Jimmy Kimmel and George Lopez for having boxers on their shows… and non-Latino fighters to boot.  Unlike Tennis, Golf, or other marginalized individual sports, audiences often feel they “should” know who certain boxing champions are.  We can credit the glorious history of boxing for that.

Speaking of glorious history, is there really a good time to retire?  Lewis, Marciano, Hagler, and Calzaghe had to hear about it for walking away on top.  Nobody believed they were done, until they either showed up looking fatter and older, or were inducted into the hall of fame.  Now, they are congratulated for it.  Meanwhile Roy Jones and Evander Holyfield have us wishing they’d walked away a decade ago.  Michael Carbajal and Ricardo Lopez seem the best examples of the right time to walk away… on a winning note, but having still shown enough vulnerability to fully justify it as a good move.

Speaking of good moves, Amir Khan’s people are looking like geniuses for matching him with overrated Zab Judah .  Now he has unified the division (technically), and can move to 147lbs, while making it look as if Bradley was the one who ducked him.  Still not sure who would win that fight, but now we won’t blame Khan for not finding out.

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TYSON FURY… VULNERABILITY GOES A LONG WAY

TYSON FURY… VULNERABILITY GOES A LONG WAY
I’ve long said that nowadays blue-chip prospects like Vanes Martirosyan will wait years for a title shot, while guys with a few losses will get their chance earlier.  This is not new.  Vernon Forrest had to wait a decade, while Justin Juuko got shot after shot.  What we need is some fighters with the personality of the stars, but the vulnerability of the also-rans.  Enter Tyson Fury.

So, Fury fumbled and bumbled his way to another decision win.  Now, Wladmir Klitschko is talking about facing him.  The only time I have seen him in a full-length fight, he was dominant but unimpressive against unbeaten no-hoper Rich Power.  He has already had a close call, and been hurt on more than one occasion.  Now, it’s true that even Muhammad Ali did not look invincible on his rise to the top, but believe me, I am not about to make that comparison.

Sometimes these semi-conditioned, wrong-game-plan heavyweight fighters are actually a great thing for boxing.  Particularly in the heavyweight division, we need people to (ironically in some cases) trim the fat.  The Damian Wills’, Israel Garcias, Travis Walkers, and Manuel Quezadas could have clouded up the landscape, but Cris Arreola cleaned them out.  He may not beat a Klitschko, but he’s exciting, powerful, and has a decent heart/chin combo to keep in the tough fights.  Maybe that is what young Fury is destined to be.  He’s already thinned a few bleak prospects: Power, Chisora… and that may be what we need more than a big star who can “carry the sport on his shoulders”.

 

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SEPTEMBER PREDICTIONS

SEPTEMBER PREDICTIONS

Floyd Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz – Ortiz has barely gotten to enjoy anything he has accomplished in boxing before he gets knocked down a peg.  He was barely an unbeaten prospect, when a bizarre dq ended that run.  He was barely the next great Mexican-American star, when Marcos Maidana derailed him.  Now, he will get to enjoy being WBC Welterweight champion for a whopping 5 months.  Granted he will be paid very well to surrender the belt to Floyd, but that is just what he will do.  Ortiz is tough, skilled, and might buzz Floyd occasionally with a straight left, yet he may not win a round.  His heart will not come into question, as Mayweather’s backward moton will make it look as if Ortiz is trying.  The ‘Vicious’ one will gradually be worn down, however, and perhaps even stopped.  Gut instinct tells me, that Floyd won’t press the issue enough to score the KO.  Mayweather by wide unanimous decision.

Saul Alvarez vs. Alfonso Gomez
Well, I guess the next step in building a contender into a star without him actually facing any threatening competition, is the perennial contender who occasionally pulls off an upset.  They are not about to risk Erislandy Lara or Carlos Molina for young “Canelo”, but Gomez is the perfect foil.  He is another Mexican, who is popular in Los Angeles .  Gomez also is an exciting fighter who will not run, but who also has a good jab.  He will test Canelo, but not beat him.  Gomez would have to fight the perfect fight, and not get caught, or busted up.  Highly unlikely, given the increasingly good offensive skills of the young Mexican.  Gomez’ toughness does, however, almost guarantee another decision win for Alvarez.

 

 

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KHAN VS. JUDAH

KHAN VS. JUDAH

I didn’t get a chance to make an official prediction here, as the fight was thrown together in less than two months time.  I am glad that it was, as I think the lead time most fights endure is not necessary.  Now I will join the tradition most fight writers engage in… making a detailed analysis the week of a fight.

Just when you think Zab Judah will not get any more chances, he does.  I find it odd that Shane Mosley has a handful of upsets to his credit, yet is doubted for attempting another.  Surely, he did not give a good account of himself against either Mayweather or Pacquiao, but those are the two best fighters in the world.  He has a history of fooling us, yet is not given the benefit of the doubt that he may do so once more.  Judah has no such history, yet keeps getting chances.

Other than winning 2 of the first 4 rounds from Mayweather, and avenging a defeat to Cory Spinks, has Judah ever really surprised us?  If so, he surprised us by losing.  His close shave with Lucas Matthysse is looking all the more forgiveable now that Devon Alexander had the same difficulties with the Argentinian. However, his win over Mabuza was not that impressive, given the competition, yet we are ready to anoint a second coming for the Brooklyn native.  Judah is a solid fighter, and legitimate former champion of the world, who loses against the hall-of-famers he fights.  So, why the excessive love?

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PUNCHING POWER - LATE BLOOMERS

PUNCHING POWER - LATE BLOOMERS

Punchers are born, not made.  We hear this all the time.  Perhaps this is true, but one glance at many a fighters record will confuse any fan who buys into this.  Some fighters start out as punchers, then stop (Paulie Malingaggi KO’d his first 3 opponents, Pernell Whittaker 6 of his first 7, etc).  Others develop their power slowly.  Some blame this on “sitting down” on punches, as one transitions to a pro style from an amateur style.  Others cite confidence.  Let’s look at 3 modern examples:

Diego Magdaleno – The most recent entry into this list may not look like he belongs yet.  At first glance, 7 KO’s in 19 wins does not a puncher make.  However, when one sees that 4 of those have come in his last 4 fights, it looks a bit more impressive.  Add to that, the fact that they have come early, he looks a bit more powerful.  Then the final ingredient appears in the form of his knockouts coming as he is stepping up in class.  Funny thing is his other 3 KO’s happened in his first 6 fights... so the amateur style is not to blame.  Perhaps it’s just a matter developing his confidence.

Robert Guerrero – One of the most physically strong featherweights in the last 20 years, Guerrero has grown into a full lightweight, who is now making his debut at 140lbs.  People who are fans of the Gilroy , CA native’s recent fights, however, may be surprised to know that only 3 of his first 12 fights ended by KO.  He followed this up with a tear of first round KO’s, meaning once he had sat down on his punches, his powerful style soon developed.  That early run of distance fights, however, is to thank for his ability to box, and go the distance with confidence.


 

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AUGUST PREDICTIONS

AUGUST PREDICTIONS

Abner Mares vs. Joseph Agbeko
A fight I believe will be well worth the wait, it is one of those where betting hearts and heads will be pitted against one another.  Both fighters have shown the ability to box or slug, and be different fighters on different nights.  The difference is Agbeko’s slight experience edge, as well as his superior skin and chin.  Mares doesn’t exactly have a major deficiency in those areas, but he is average.  Agbeko is unhurtable.  Mares will have to fight the perfect fight, both inside and out.  This is not out of the realm of possibility, and for the future of the division, it may be a better thing.  Mares is very marketable due to his heritage, promoter, location, age, and style.  Agbeko enjoys virtually none of those advantages.  However, the winner is the logical opponent for Nonito Donaire.  This is a fight that will happen if Mares wins; not necessarily if Agbeko wins.  There are so many reasons to hope Abner pulls it off, but hope does not equal expectations.  Agbeko by unanimous decision… in a fight where Mares hangs tough, and shows heart to make it to the final bell.

Kelly Pavlik vs. Daryl Cunningham
This is not a great fight for Pavilk.  He won without looking impressive last time out, and he needs a talented, yet vulnerable opponent to get us talking about him again.  This is not that fight.  Cunningham is not a puncher, but a southpaw boxer, who has two decision losses early in his career to unimpressive opposition.  His best win is a shutout decision over former title challenger Rubin Williams.  He will likely box well until Pavlik traps him and unloads.  Once again Pavlik will win, but look awkward and slow until he either takes over with aggression, or lands a big shot.  Pavlik by late-round TKO.


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JUDGING REFORM

JUDGING REFORM
In the wake of the obviously bad decision rendered in the Paul Williams vs. Erislandy Lara match, I will offer two opinions right away.  First off, as Max Kellerman pointed out, a distinction needs to be offered between a decision that is questionable, and one that is outrageously bad.  For example, Devon Alexander vs. Lucas Matthysse was debatable.  Williams vs. Lara was robbery.  Lennox Lewis vs. Ray Mercer was debatable.  Lennox Lewis vs. Holyfield 1 was robbery.  Get it?  Ok, now we can move on.

There is a certain level of idiocy that is not possible from a rational human beaing. Therefore, to assume that someone with eyes, and the slightest clue as to what they were looking at could have called it the way it ended, is ridiculous.  Reasonable doubt is under assault everywhere.  After the joke of a trial for Casey Anthony, we must keep in perspective that miscarriages of boxing justice are not so important, but there is a parallel.  Reasonable doubt begins with the word “reason”.

We must assume the majority of people in the world are sane, therefore when you stand against 90% of the opinions, you better have a track record of genius and foresight on your side, or else you are likely wrong.  The fact that all three judges in ther Williams – Lara farce were inexperienced, and that Goossen is already dodging the rematch question is just extra proof.

 

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Haye Eats Crow In Disappointing Loss To Wladamir Klitscho Is David Rodriguez Next?

Haye Eats Crow In Disappointing Loss To Wladamir Klitscho Is David Rodriguez Next?
Darn, I suppose those Klitscho brothers are more dominating then I would think after all these years. Hayes was more of a mouth than a man of courage. Fighting Wladamir in Germany, he did not let the combinations fly when he had a couple of opportunities. Too bad as he had a chance to put boxing back in the spotlight. Wladamir kept the Englishman at bay with stinging left jabs and hard right hands. Sadly, Haye seemd to be over-protective until the tenth round. He then landed a decent right left combo on the champion but again, failed to open up his aresenal. Wladamir responded in kind and more to even win that round. Not much of a contest.

It has been some time since our home town UTEP football player, Ross Purrity, KO'd Wladamir Klitscho in a non-title fight. Unfortunately, Ross didn't follow up with his chance of becoming the champion. Since Arreoloa couldn't do well either, the USA doesn't have much hope of bringing a single title to this country.

A boxer I trained for near twelve years, David Rodriguez, 35-0 under Louie Burke as a pro for 12 years, and the last two under Zeferino management, might be a long shot against the brothers. That being said, David is mostly a vicious hitter and would have to get one of the brothers early on as his cardio seems to be lacking. He has no experience going 12 rounds and seemed a surprising winded in his recent KO of Owen Beck. Surprising because he was reported to have had a very energetic camp in Las Vegas prior to the match. He is so used to knocking opponents out in 1 or 2 rounds and that is why I suggest that he get the best cardio coach available if he should get a title shot.

 

 

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VICTOR ORTIZ

VICTOR ORTIZ

So, Floyd Mayweather is taking on Victor Ortiz.  I, for one, am actually glad this fight is taking place.  While I think Mayweather-Martinez would have been more historic, and pushed Mayweather past Pacquiao in the respect category, this fight still does make sense.  For those of you saying that Ortiz is getting this shot as much for his deficiencies, as he is for his strengths, I would say there is some truth to that.  However, a look at fighter’s records is a bit misleading here.

Certainly there is no comparison in the experience category.  This is Ortiz’s first recognizable belt.  Mayweather has won them in 5 weight divisions.  For those looking at unbeaten records, however, things are not as they seem.  A further analysis is necessary.  Mayweather is legitimately unbeaten, but his fights with Castillo and De La Hoya were certainly close, and perhaps may have gone the other way.  Ortiz, on the other hand, has not had the best luck.

Disqualified in his first loss, for a shady ‘Evander Holyfield in the 1984 Olympics’ style technicality, he lost his unbeaten record young.  His first draw was also in the first round, and of the technical variety.  Most people had him winning the Peterson draw, and he was ahead on all cards, having scored 3 knockdowns, when eye injuries forced him out of his fight with Maidana.  Everyone was so distracted by his unfighter-like comments after the Maidana loss, that we forgot what had transpired prior.



 

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JULY PREDICTIONS

JULY PREDICTIONS
David Haye vs. Vladimir Klitschko
Perhaps my acknowledging it with a prediction is a bad omen.  Boxing fans are crossing their fingers for this bout to actually come off.  I believe that it will this time, if only because of David Haye’s attempt at a master plan.  He wishes to beat both Klitschko brothers by his 31st birthday in October (Should he upset Wladimir, I think Tomasz Adamek can kiss his Sept 25 date with Vitali goodbye).  I think that plan will be derailed however.  An upset would not be unprecedented.  Many other fighters earned shots with their mouths, and still delivered when fight time came (Clay vs. Liston1, and Leonard vs. Hagler).  However, David Haye does legitmitaely have a bad chin.  Klitschko’s losses are not due to a bad chin, but bad stamina, which he has corrected.  Only his loss to Sanders was from power punches, and while Haye hits hard, he does not hit as hard as Sanders.  Also, Haye is facing a defensive minded Wlad, and will have difficulty being the first to land big shots.  If Haye presses the action, he may have some success, but he will be Ko’d within 3 rounds.  If he boxes cautiously, he may last, but will gradually fall way behind.  This will force desperation, and get him Ko’d in round 10 or 11.  Either way you slice it, Wladimir by KO.

Amir Khan vs. Zab Judah
Let’s face it.  This fight is low-risk, high-reward for Khan.  The Bradley fight was one which Khan had a very real chance of losing.  Judah, who has always failed at the highest level, will fail again.  He got a belt, the IBF… which is passed around frequently through vacancies at 140lbs.  That is the sole reason we have been fooled into believing he is vital again.  Judah will be competitive for the first few rounds, but Khan will build a lead in the middle rounds.  Amir will probably not step on the gas, to give Judah his only shot.  Khan by wide unanimous decision, or late round TKO.

 

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

Lucas Matthysse is not nearly the victim he is making himself out to be.  Sure, he is doing a great job of selling the idea that he was robbed against Judah and Alexander, but let’s look at these fights objectively.  In both cases, he took rounds off when he could ill afford to.  He was cleanly outboxed in at least 1/3 of the rounds.  He has no jab, swings wildly, tries to steal rounds in the last 30 seconds, and has lousy defense.  A guy like that is never gonna look like he is dominating someone.  Also, while he may score the occasional knockdown; much like his countryman Maidana, if he cannot shorten up the punches, he is not going to stop anyone at this level.  Maidana vs. Matthysse is one of the best fights to be made in boxing.  However, that is due to their shortcomings, as much as their strengths.

Speaking of shortcomings, Guillermo Jones should just retire  Fabrice Tiozzo did the honorable thing when promoters could not get him fights.  He was incredulous that he had a title, and could not get a fight.  Therefore, he walked away.  Jones finally got two fights scheduled within the same calendar year, and he has an injury.  Just walk away, “Felino”.   You’re in your late thirties, won a belt, made some money, and had a hometown defense.  Anything more is just not meant to be.

 

 

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David Rodriguez KO’s Owen Beck with Booming Thundering Left Hooks

David Rodriguez KO’s Owen Beck with Booming Thundering Left Hooks

June 24th, 2011 was Friday Fight Night at the Don Haskins Center. The featured bout was David Rodriguez Versus Owen Beck for the FeComBox Heavyweight Championship. The promotion entailed too much waste of time.

Whew, finally a bout. Oh oh, that Okie kid, Yon Harvison, couldn't even bend his knees to avoid head shots. He didn't even know how to bob and weave, take off the jab or slip punches to counter. He looked good with his hands excepting the cold hard fact that a boxer needs to be balanced to execute their wares. He was quickly knocked out...as expected.

The Mark Villa fight was strange. Villa landed the better heavy punches but he was swarmed by his opponent from the beginning and I would bet money that Villa received three punches for every one he landed. The decision for an unfit and tiring Villa was met with boo's from the crowd. Looked like a draw at best for Villa.

As for Rodriguez, he wasn't loose at first and received some heavy blows, one a huge uppercut to his chin. The good news: he took the shots well and went to the body early to set up the 3rd round KO by hooks to the chin. Give Rodriguez credit, Beck, fit for a change but having that bad eye, has never been knocked out so viciously. Perhaps now we will see a match between Arreola and Rodriguez. That bout would be a huge seller for Vegas or Los Angeles. With TV rights around the world, I could see both boxers earning a million if the deal is made and made soon. Age is a factor, especially for Rodriguez.

One for the road about the Rodriguez critics: El Paso’s most admired past heavyweight was Adolfo Quijano. He had some memorable great fights, granted. What about some of his foes capabilities? How about Johnny cooper 0-3? Cooper again, 0-4? Fred Massey 2-2? Sebastain Gonzalez 22-20-4? Eddie Wiliams 0-1-0? Black Jack Louis 1-2-1? Pancho Medrano 3-8-3? Amado Rodriguez 12-19-1? Darby Dan 2-3-1 (He beat Dolph)? Speedy Williams 4-4-1? Deacon Logan 29-15-3? Dolph lost and then beat Logan in a rematch. He then fought the best bout of his career, losing a 1946 decision to former world champion, Joey Maxim. That led to his great victory over Jimmy Webb 54-17-4 for the Texas State Light Heavyweight title. Dolph won the Texas State Heavy Title over a good Bobby Sikes in 1948 after being KO'd in the 2nd round by Bob Foxworth earlier in 1947.

Dolph defended the Texas title over Whitey Berlier 5-7-2 and Jimmy Curl 44-14-1 and moved up in class and was knocked out by Bob Flanagan in the 2nd and Tko'd by Gino Buonvino in the 2nd. He rebounded with wins over Buddy Scott 114-29-6 and Jack Huber 19-14-6. In Oct. 1950 in L.A. he was awful as Irish Bob Murphy KO'd him in the first round. He tuned up in El Paso again with Carl Schobe and then Charles Henry 17-44-2. Back to the big boys: Watson Jones KO'd him in 10. He then lost to a very talented boxer, Freddy Milton. He didn’t wish to end his career that ugly loss and arranged a rematch.
In one of his greater moments of a checkered career, Dolph rose to the occasion and thoroughly beat the favorite to end his career on a high note.

One more thing for critics, including me, before gunning down a gunner with a verbal attack, may I suggest to you that it takes 'balls' to get in the ring - win or lose. Teddy Roosevelt said it best when it came to toughness.

 

 

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WE ACTUALLY NEED BETTER NETWORKS

WE ACTUALLY NEED BETTER NETWORKS
Yes, I am gratfeul that EPIX, Versus, and ESPN 3 all occasionally grace us fight fans with air time.  However, this is not the answer.  There are so many outlets nowadays, that someone with only a basic DirectTV package can watch the same FOX Sports Golden Boy card on 7 channels simultaneously.  A bit better package gives you the Top Rank cards in real time.  If you have those channels, you also likely get the British Prizefighter Series.  In addition, Versus has gone back on their stance to abandon boxing, as they air both Toughman reruns, as well as the World Series of Boxing.  It's not top shelf, sure, but it's boxing, and it's on TV.  Sounds like a great time for televised boxing... but if we ever hope to return our beloved sport to the mainstream, we should actually be encouraging the opposite.

I am a stand-up comedian by trade, and as such I have seen this kind of oversaturation before.  It does far more harm that good.  In the 1980's, stand-up comedy experienced a boom.  There were not a ton of comedians, but there were a ton of clubs.  Comedians you have never heard of, were getting regular TV spots, and headlining clubs every week of the year for $2500 a week, plus airfare.  It was a golden era.  But then, two things happened, and the industry has never fully recovered.

First, there were so many TV channels, all offering stand-up both in showcase and hour special-formats (HBO, Showtime, MTV, VH1, A&E) , and two entire stations were devoted to comedy (HA!, Comedy Central).  Now, people saw it as a viable career option, and the talent pool increased considerably.  Then, from 1989 to 1993, the economy was in a recession.  People stopped going out to see live comedy, instead settling for watching it incessantly on the TV shows.  The result was pronounced.  By the late 1990's, there were 1/5 the amount of clubs.  They paid 1/3 of what they paid in the 1980's, sometimes even less.  The business has never recovered.  It all started, and was exascerbated, by too much exposure for the mid-level shows.

 

 

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CINAMMON GETTING SWEETER??

CINAMMON GETTING SWEETER??

I don’t feel as if it’s a bad thing at all that Saul Alvarez is being brought along slowly.  He probably doesn’t deserve to be paid as much as he is to do so, but that’s the nature of fame in any business.  It is only a problem, if his record is being padded for money, and not for development.  I think he looked great against Ryan Rhodes, because he showed improvement in every category in which he had been criticized.

Yes, he only got the stoppage in a technical fashion, but did he really need to prove his power?  Knocking out iron-chinned Carlos Baldomir with one punch pretty much is the last test your power should ever have to take.  The areas of improvement left to see are: can he handle a slick boxer, and can he mix his offense and defense well, when another puncher is willing to trade with him.  He is almost 21 years old, and to be honest, a loss would do him good.  Look at how well Victor Ortiz has recovered.  Here are the most likely candidates to hand Alvarez that loss at 154lbs:

Paul Williams – Not the perfect opponent for Alvarez in any other way except that a loss to Williams would be highly forgiveable.  Depending on how well Williams does against Lara, it may not even be a fight Alvarez would lose.  He has the punch to hurt ‘The Punisher’.  We know that now, but he’s certain to look awful until he starts landing, and maybe even after.

 

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Farewell to a Friend R.I.P. Bob “Scooter” Carroll 1966-2011

Farewell to a Friend  R.I.P. Bob “Scooter” Carroll 1966-2011

It is with deep sadness and a broken heart that I write this article, in my years of writing I have written tributes and articles about the passing of people in and around the boxing world, but never in a million years could I ever have imagined that I would be paying tribute to my best friend Bob “Scooter” Carroll.

I met Bob about four or five years ago (cannot pinpoint the date because speaking with Bob one hour felt like you knew him an eternity), but I was working publicity for then heavyweight contender Brian Minto when Bob submitted a request to have Minto on his radio show Fightin’ Words Radio. As usual I botched the request so Minto’s manager took care of that, but I began speaking with Bob and he asked me to come on the show with he and Butch. I did so thinking it would be a one time deal and be done with it. But it turned out to be a life changing event that has been going on for several years now.

It was more than a radio show; it was the beginning of a bonding friendship that even death cannot break.

Ok, for the ones who are saying, who is Bob?

No he was not a heavyweight champion, this big time portrait in boxing, but he was one of the best friends that a guy could ever have. A born bread Philly fan that stayed true to his teams win lose or draw. Bob was also a long time fan of the sport of Boxing. His love as well as my passion brought us together, now our opinions on which “America’s Football Team” was, that was a bit different. Bob stayed true to his Philly roots and I stuck with mine as a Dallas Cowboy fan. Man, the debates we would have!

 

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BOB ARUM NEEDS TO RETIRE

BOB ARUM NEEDS TO RETIRE
Ok, I tried to defend the actions of Top Rank.  It was bad enough that the luster has been taken off of Juanma Lopez vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa forever.  I don’t care what happens in the rematch with Salido.  It is abbhorent that we are being given Pacquiao-Marquez 3, only after Marquez’ skills have clearly eroded, and he has already been dominated by Floyd Mayweather.  Now, they are “mexican-ing” their way out of Chavez Jr. facing Sergio Martinez, the true Middleweight champion.  It was bad enough they stole his belt.  Why did I try to defend these actions?

There is a very real reason Arum keeps it all in-house.  He, and to a lesser extent Don King, are the only real promoters left in American boxing.  Golden Boy is a noteworthy exception (more on that later), but what Goossen, Shaw, DiBella, and others do is not promotion.  It is site-booking.  They get a fee, and put on a fight.  Do you see their fighters advertising anything?  Do you see them on the radio, or TV?  Do you see them making cameos, or appearing on late-night shows?  Do you see them even learning English, if they do not already know it?

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BLAME IT ON 1982

BLAME IT ON 1982

Boxing has been living on the outskirts of sporting fame for a few decades now.  This is a sad truth that while one star usually makes it to the mainstream (one at a time anyway), most members of the general public cannot name more than 3 active boxers, if that.  The abandonment of network television is the biggest culprit, alongside the disappearing act of the U.S. heavyweight.  While many theories are given as to the reason for this, I can trace it all back to four very important events.  Oddly enough, all of them took place 29 years ago.

Muhammad Ali Showing Wear and Tear
Not only did we have to lose him in the ring, but 1982 was the first year where we really got to see that we were slowly losing him on the microphone as well.  He’d always been slowing, and people close to Ali knew for years, but the permanence of his damage was becoming obvious.  The absence of the voice of boxing was perhaps more damaging than his retirement, as we can assume many people would tune into fights just to hear him speak.  He is still the most recognizable personality in the world, without the benefit of sound bites. We needed this in 1982, because faces and voices were disappearing fast, like…

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THE ONLY THING MISSING MAY BE A HUGE THING

THE ONLY THING MISSING MAY BE A HUGE THING

The knockout mesmerizes people.  It is often the only way a boxer can enter the general sports highlight reels on news channels.  Sergio Martinez winning a close one over Paul Williams would have made a nice story of revenge, but we’d all be talking trilogy.  Instead, because 'Maravilla' flattened a previously rock-chinned opponent, he made everyone’s p4p lists, while Williams has dropped out of sight.  While Manny Pacquiao and Andre Ward’s recent victories have signaled an end to the string of upsets, they have not set the sporting world on fire.

Andre Ward has won 4 times in dominating fashion, since entering the Super Six tournament.  On 3 of those 4 occasions he faced a fighter with a very good chin, so the decision wins are piling up.  On the other, however, he could not put a weakened Allan Green away.  He was also recently criticized for not stepping on the gas to take out Arthur Abraham.  Pacquiao too, has had trouble with defensive minded fighters feeling his power and going into survival mode.  Now, are we to blame their extraordinary talent, combined with the lack of heart of today’s challengers?  Perhaps, but the “good enough” mentality may turn out to fall well short of enough, if we want to make true stars out of fighters.


 

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A WORD TO TOP RANK

A WORD TO TOP RANK

Congratulations to Bob Arum and company for fooling me.  Not that I am surprised by Pacquiao’s decision win over Shane Mosley.  In fact, it was my pick.  But the doubts your promotion intended to put into my mind were there.  Pacquiao has proven time and again that he causes even the most skilled, and/or durable fighters to think twice about trading with him.  What he does is amazing, and so what are his future plans?

Arum is not saying the F-word (Floyd), because he thinks he is such a great promoter that he can make everyone forget about the most important fight in the world.  You know, the one fight where’d he have to share the pie?  Arum, listen to me.  All of your work will go out the window if the big fight is not made.  You will be remembered as the man whose ego cost the world one of the greatest matchups of all time.  Second to Floyd’s ego that is… but Manny will never come off looking like the bad guy on the Top Rank side of the argument.  You will.

All the great promotion you have done in your career will be forgotten.  You need to grovel, beg, and plead for the Mayweather fight.  Floyd’s reputation cannot get any worse.  His un-beaten record is all he has.  He’d rather miss this fight.  Pacquiao needs it.  He is a star right now, but the question marks about Mayweather will be what people will remember, because his recent fights have been so unmemorable.  He also has no such risk of losing an unbeaten record. 

 

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3 WAYS TO GIVE UP

3 WAYS TO GIVE UP
On the recent Pacquiao-Mosley PPV card, I saw 3 different forms of surrender on the 4-fight telecast.  Fans deserve more than this, even for a basic cable fight card (and we usually get it there).  Let’s explore what I mean, and what it means to surrender.

Sugar Ray Narh – Was he going to beat Mike Alvarado?  Probably not.  We shall never know, however, because as soon as it appeared he was even leaning toward the losing end, Narh surrendered in the corner.  So many things can happen in another 7 rounds… injuries, fatigue, a shift in momentum.  Narh, a once-beaten contender going in, was not a hand-picked opponent, looking for a payday (or at least not to the observers naked eye).  However, even in the season of upsets, he gave himself no such chance.  I agree with Antonio Tarver, that his purse should be withheld, but if they do, it will just go to the commission.  The fans who paid for the PPV card should be partially reimbursed.  That would be fair.  That’s why it won’t happen.

Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. - Speaking of getting your money’s worth, this brawl made sure everyone walked away satisfied before the main event even started.  Good thing, too, as the main event left a lot to be desired.  For starters, it was a war that saw a comebacking Jorge Arce and an inexperienced phenom trading bombs for 12 rounds.  Momentum shifts, both fighters hurt, it had everything.  However, as the 12th round started and Vasquez was taking many shots, we actually saw something wonderful… something that we rarely see anymore.  A referee was giving a hurt fighter a chance to weather the storm.  However, just as Vasquez was doing just that, even landing a couple shots in return, our excitement became short-lived.  We were quickly reminded that it’s not just referees who often ruin fights, in order to be the center of attention.

 

 

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Pound For Pound …?

Pound For Pound …?
There seems to be an irresistible desire for boxing fans and pundits alike to contemplate which boxer of a given era was the best, pound for pound. I’ve always thought the whole issue was a dalliance into the absurd. Offsetting the natural attributes of each weight division in order to create some kind of parity between large and small is akin to calculating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.  Balancing the bone-numbing power of the Big Boys with the dazzling speed and resiliency of a mini mosca requires a refined set of definitions that are not easy to agree upon.

However, since physiology, athleticism, pugilistic skill, and ring achievement are subjective, I suppose I can no longer shirk my duty. So with a certain reluctance I join the throng, and make my case for the greatest fighter in my lifetime.

I will only consider fighters whose video record allows fair comparison. The grainy, jerky footage of boxers from the early part of the Twentieth Century, while fascinating, give few accurate clues to the skills of the fighters themselves.

 

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THE RECENT UPSETS – WHICH ONES REALLY MATTER

THE RECENT UPSETS – WHICH ONES REALLY MATTER

Pulling off an upset win is a big accomplishment for any fighter.  Even when viewed by itself, it’s a grand career achievement.  However, many fans and writers seem to think it is a universal springboard to future success.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Just ask Zahir Raheem, for example.  Let’s examine a few of the recent surprise winners, and categorize who will really benefit, and who will not.  There are many Middleweights here, I've noticed.

IN
Victor Ortiz – If there is any hiccup in making Pacquiao vs. Mayweather, Ortiz is practically guaranteed one of them.  More than likely Mayweather, who can pick up another green belt, and keep the fight an in-house promotion for Golden Boy.  In fact, that fight may even happen this summer, so as to preserve the winner for a fall date with Manny.  If Mosley pulls off the upset next week, no one wants to see Floyd-Shane 2.  That means Ortiz is the man with the money yet again, as he would likely be Mosley’s next opponent.  Either way, ‘Vicious’ Victor is a much richer man by this time next year.

Marco Antonio Rubio – A huge KO win over David Lemieux poised Rubio for a shot at Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, if Chavez gets the belt from Sebastian Zbik.  Believe it or not, Rubio is the perfect foil for an upset win over Chavez Jr. 

 

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JUNE PREDICTIONS, PART 1

JUNE PREDICTIONS, PART 1

Danny Green vs. Antonio Tarver - Green has shown the ability to be a legend killer.  Tarver, however, is a four-time light heavyweight champion, but not yet a legend.  He has not taken many beatings throughout his career, and after a lackluster showing in his heavyweight debut, he may be right where he belongs at 200lbs.  Green, a former Super Middleweight, is making plenty of money defending a lowly belt in his native Australia .  He is coming off of a medical issue with his abdominal area, and Tarver’s left to the body can be very dangerous.  Green may be protected geographically, but he is not taking any soft touches.  He beat Roy Jones and BJ Flores, neither of which were gimme opponents.  While both Green and Tarver are giant question marks, Tarver’s age seems to be the one extra grain of sand weighing in Green’s favor.  While a one-round blowout is not in order, an impressive decision win for Green is.  Sauerland and Don King aren’t putting any of their belt holders in with this guy, so calling out the elderly Americans may seem to be the best course of action for Green.  Hopkins may come calling next.

Saul Alvarez vs. Ryan Rhodes - They actually dug up the “Spice Boy” for Alvarez?  As if the nickname wasn't clue enough to the last time Rhodes was relevant, this is quite the mismatch.  Rhodes did come back in convincing fashion since his earlier career fizzled, but let’s be honest.  Promoters are in protection-mode with ‘Canelo’ until they can fully develop his talent, and land a big name opponent at 154lbs. 

 

 

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BACK INJURY??

BACK INJURY??

Yet another great fight is lost to injury.  I am speaking of Joseph Agbeko vs. Abner Mares.  Mares held even with both Darchinyan and Perez, utilizing entirely different styles.  Agbeko himself ahd outboxed Perez in their rematch, while he slugged it out with Perez the first time, as well as Darchinyan.  There were so many interesting questions left unanswered.  Now, it seems to be a bit quiet when discussing a rescheduling of this match.  Forgive me for being pessimistic, as I first believed the injury, but I have questions now.

As far as Joseph Agbeko goes, I’ve had sciatica.  A flare-up usually lasts a week.  Use ice and Advil, and try to alternate walking and lying down.  After that he should be fine, with a few certain yoga stretches to prevent future flare-ups.  If they take any longer than a few days to reschedule this fight, something is fishy, for sure.  Why was this bout not rescheduled immediately?  He may lose a week of training, but that should set the match back no more than 3 weeks.  As far as promotion money goes, it seems the promoters offered no discount to ticket-holders that I am aware of.  Maybe they thought these fights should not be offered together.  Long gone are the days of mega-cards.  Even pay-per-view events rarely offer a championship undercard.

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS
Hats off to Vic Darchinyan.  Most fighters with a unique style are finished one that style is figured out, or can no longer be applied (Roy Jones, Naseem Hamed, etc.)  Darchinyan has attempted to add many facets to his game, and readjusted well after each loss.

While Darchinyan’s recent win is very impressive, the fact that he has taken 4 years to re-perfect his style after the Donaire loss is not.  After all the patience and boxing skills he tried to add, it turned out to not be necessary.  It wasn’t a hard adjustment after all.  He simply mixed his natural aggression, with slightly higher-held hands.  That’s it.

After Omar Sheika’s recent loss to Garrett Wilson, two things are clear.  Sheika should retire, and Steve Cunningham may finally have an easy hometown defense.  It makes sense for everyone.  Wilson clearly got an IBF ranking by picking up the USBA Cruiserweight belt.  Cunningham, the IBF champ, hails from Philadelphia , where Peltz boxing (the promoters for Wilson-Sheika took place) promotes matches.  Cunningham may have jumped ship to Germany where the money is, but he deserves to have the crowd on his side for once in his career, and to get an easy defense. 

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MAY PREDICTIONS, PART 2

MAY PREDICTIONS, PART 2

Humberto Soto vs. Urbano Antillon – The rematch of last year’s fight of the year candidate, promises to deliver the aemtype of action, and a similar result.  In fact, the way to an easier night of it for either man, would be for one to deviate from the script, and utlize more defense.  Soto is more capable of that, and may even utilize it early on to gain control, however, one can be certain that it will be ‘bombs away’ more often than not.  These two are far too Mexican to let fans down in that department.  Soto is due to be getting older any day now.  He may only be 30, but 65 fights in 14 years is old, no matter what number you put on it.  Antillon’s only other loss, to Miguel Acosta, also looks quite forgiveable given what Acosta has accomplished since then.  However, something tells me this matchup favors the more experienced Soto, and he will prevail again, by a slightly wider margin.

Sebastian Sylvester vs. Daniel Geale – This bout is for one of the many German-owned straps at Middleweight.  Geale’s only loss was via controversial decision to Anthony Mundine.  Mundine, being the all-talk, no-action pretender he is, of course did not grant a rematch.  Sylvester should already have been deposed, as he lost to Roman Karmazin, only to have the ‘stewed-to-a-perfection’ corruption Sauerland Promotions is known for, rob him of the title. 

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A FOUL HYPOCRISY

A FOUL HYPOCRISY
All fouls are not created equal.  Referees view different infractions with varying severity, in different ways.  This is appropriate oiffociating, but they do not always get it right.  Group think is a dangerous thing, and I think the entire boxing world has let an idiotic thought-process brainwash them for far too long.  It has probably already cost lives, and I’d like to start a movement to change it. I have noticed in the 26 years I have been following boxing, that a fighter is almost always given time to recover from a low blow.  Even with a borderline shot, that everyone knows did not stray low enough to do any damage, a referee typically believes the offended fighter is hurt.  They then proceed to allow up to 5 minutes for recovery!  This seems like quite generous treatment, yet for certain low blows it would be totally appropriate.  I guess that is why referees take no chances, and usually err on the side of caution.  Given that stance, it does leave one question: Why do we treat headbutts with so much carelessness. If never heard of anyone dying or suffering permanent damage from a low blow.  Ken Buchanan claimed he still gets occasional aches from the foul Duran landed in their title bout in 1972, but function-wise, everything still works.  Headbutts, however, can kill.  Just ask Randie Carver, who collapsed in 1999 after repeated headbutts from Kabary Salem.  They can be just as dangerous, if not more dangerous than a punch, and yet there is no time given to a headbutted fighter.  We seem to think only cuts can result from these fouls, and once a referee checks for blood, he allows the fight to immediately continue.  This double standard is unintelligent, and quite dangerous.

 

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MAYWEATHER VS. MARTINEZ , NOT SUCH A BAD IDEA

MAYWEATHER VS. MARTINEZ , NOT SUCH A BAD IDEA

As Pacquiao digs up an old, but still dangerous Shane Mosley, while Floyd digs up attorneys, one can only wonder if the “delay of game” the promoters have cooked up to generate more interest has backfired.  There is really no one left for Pacquiao to face, who makes any sense.  Unless Timothy Bradley beats both Amir Khan and Juan Manuel Marquez (not a far-fetched proposition), Pacquiao will have no one his size to tangle with, that will generate public interest.  Mayweather, however, should look in the other direction.  The middleweight championship is now the one thing Manny has not, and will not, attempt to conquer.  Floyd should give it a shot.

Yes, the covnentional wisdom is that Floyd is too small, not apt to take risks, and perhaps never going to fight again ever, much less against anyone other than Pacquiao.  Martinez , in addition, is looking toward the super six at 168, not the mess at 154, after vanquishing its two best players (Williams and Dzinziruk).  However, what both men are looking towards is legacy and money, especially since old age is knocking on the door for both of them.

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MAY PREDICTIONS, PART 1

MAY PREDICTIONS, PART 1

Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley – I think the answer to this puzzle lies not in Pacquiao’s recent fights, but in Mosley’s.  Mosley landed a hard right hand to Floyd Mayweather's chin, in round 2 of their bout last year.  He subsequently failed to win one minute of any round thereafter.  Pacquiao is known, even more so than Floyd, for his recuperative powers.  Therefore the question is, how long before Mosley lands?  Then, how badly will it hurt Manny?  Then, if/when he surivives, how one-sided does the fight become?  Shane is a great fighter, but he does what he does.  It either works, or doesn’t.  He will not be able to adjust much.  He can only adjust the tempo.  Mosley has also never reacted well to having a speed deficit, and I think loading up on power shots can only highlight that issue further.  Barring a miracle one-punch knockout, I say it’s fairly even until Mosley connects with a big shot, probably in about round 4.  Then, Pacquiao will wake up, and dominate for the remainder of the fight.  Shane might even bust up for the first time in his career, but will probably make it to the final bell.  Pacquiao by 9-3 or 10-2 unanimous decision.

Andre Ward vs. Arthur Abraham – Abraham is not only coming off two straight Super Six losses, he is coming off dominating losses to two fighters with very different styles.  Ward, on the other hand, is coming off of three consecutive victories.  He won all those fights using very different styles.  He outboxed Kessler, out-fought Green on the inside, and then matched Sakio Bika’s awkwardness.  Abraham’s only prayer is a lucky punch, but Ward makes too few mistakes to give him many opportunities to land it.  Also, he may not have an iron chin, but Ward does not appear to have a weak one, either.  Therefore, Abraham will have to put punches together…

 

 

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS
I have a great exit strategy for the the Klitschkos.  First, Vitali vs. Haye, and Wladimir vs. Adamek.  This seems to be the opposite of what will likely happen, but it makes more sense.  Wlad has a better chin than people think, but it is Haye’s best shot at a victory.  Vitali does not offer similar hope.  While Adamek has not brought his power up to heavyweight, and will likely not threaten Wladimir’s boxing ability.  Second, they should tackle to the two unbeaten Russians: Povetkin and Boystov, neither of whom stand much of a chance against them.  That should be a stadium fight in Kiev .  A hometown show gives them not only a great farewell, but it's great PR for Vitali's political aspirations, and gives Wladimir a chance to erase bad hometown memories from the Ross Purrity fight.  Once that is done, there will literally be no one else viable whom they have not already beaten.

Speaking of heading for the exits… Am I the only one that does not think the April 9 PPV card is not going to be that competitive?  Robert Guerrero has the strength and power to overwhelm and finish Katsidis early.  The Australian does not have a style that lends itself to longevity in boxing, and Guerrero gets physically stronger each fight.  Morales is still a shell of his former self, and while Maidana is not tops in skill department, he is a relatively solid chinned power-puncher, with good stamina.  He also keeps coming forward, and if you are not blessed with top notch skills, you’re in trouble.  Morales was blessed once, but they are gone now.  This will look like Camacho vs. Leonard… a sad end.

 

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MARTINEZ OR DONAIRE, WHO’S NUMBER 3?

MARTINEZ OR DONAIRE, WHO’S NUMBER 3?

As Pacquiao and Mayweather deal with avoiding each other in different ways, our attention has turned to two far more exciting/explosive/fearless fighters of late.  Pacquiao is on his seniors/already exposed tour, and probably wishing he’d signed with Golden Boy.  There he’d have skipped straight to Mosley while we still gave a damn, and then right into Mayweather.  Two fights, huge money, done! Now, Pacquiao is on this “filling stadiums to watch him carry no hopers” plan that Arum has scheduled.  Mayweather is avoiding fighting altogether, except with his baby’s mama.  Mainstream fans may still be caught up in the question of who is better, who will win… but for the hardcores… we have two new exciting, active, explosive pound-for-pound fighters.  They have left us asking 'Manny and Floyd who'? Unlike Pacquiao and Mayweather, Nonito Donaire and Sergio Martinez fight the best their divisions (and even other divisions) have to offer.  Unlike Pacquiao and Mayweather, they cannot possibly face each other, so when it comes to who is the best between the two of them, the question is left to the experts. The case for Martinez: When it comes to consitent quality of opposition, Martinez has a clear edge.  Donaire has two explosive wins over top quality fighters: Darchinyan and Montiel, but in the 4 years between them, he had trouble securing meaningful fights.  Martinez took on dangerous Kermit Cintron, Paul Williams twice, Pavlik, and Dzindziruk.  That is more championship level fights than most at 154 and 160 will have in their entire career.  I am only talking about Maravilla’s last two years!  He has only one loss in that span, and it was a close one, brutally avenged. 

 

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DID NOT BRING POWER UP IN WEIGHT

DID NOT BRING POWER UP IN WEIGHT

Roberto Duran - A brutal puncher who scored incredible knockouts as a lightweight champion.  Reigned for over 7 eyars, and many consider him the greatest lightweight of all time.  Moved up two divisions, and while Ray Leonard respected his power, he was unable to drop or even hurt most opponents.  By the time he was a middleweight, he was a distance fighter near;y every time out.  Even the odd stoppage usually came from an accumulation of punches, not the big bombs he had at 135lbs.  By the time the early 90’s came around, he managed to score some knockdowns, as his power had finally caught up to his size. Hector Camacho - While moving up in weight is not usually blamed for Camacho’s lack of power, it is important to remember that at 130lbs, he scored knockouts, once he moved up in weight, he brought his speed, defensive ability, and chin.  His power was gone.  While many believe Edwin Rosario put the fear of punishment in the “Macho Man” with his power, even against lighter hitting fighters, Camacho fought in retreat, rarely harming anyone.  It would appear his inability keep fighters off of him was as much the culprit for his safety first style as any residual effects from the “Chapo” escape. Mike McCallum - The “Body Snatcher” did not lose the ability his nickname suggests, in a hall-of-fame career that spanned 154lbs to 175lbs.  He did lose the effectiveness in finishing off his opponents, however.  In his 154lb campaign, he was unbeatable, and usually stopped his opponents, early or late.  Once up to Middleweight, though, the power fell off.  It was virtually gone by the time he reached 175lbs.

 

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BROUGHT POWER UP IN WEIGHT

BROUGHT POWER UP IN WEIGHT

Manny Pacquiao - He scored brutal knockouts from 108lbs to 147lbs, and seemed to carry it no matter if he was the bigger or smaller man during the fight.  Even at 154lbs, where he fails tos core knockdowns, he still disfigures faces.  While trainers and nutrition can make sure technique and strength are added, they cannot affect power.  Many will have it for as lng as he fights, in whatever division he campaigns. Thomas Hearns - A KO artist at welterweight.  A KO artist at cruiserweight.  When Thoams Hearns went the distance, it was a tribute to the chin/toughness of his opponents.  His frame never looked anything less than lean and explosive, no matter what division he was competing in.  The two most impressive Ko wins of his carrer may have taken place at 147 and 160, (Cuevas and Duran), but ask natura light heavy Dennis Andries about hearns’ pop at 175.  Andires, who would go on to win that same WBC starp two more times, hit the deck 5 times against “The Hitman”.  His chin seemed to adjust as well, as he was no more vulnerable to knockout losses at 147, than he was at 190. Oscar de la Hoya - While it may seem as if ‘The Godlen Boy” had less big KO’s in the higher divisions he competed in, it is due to two factors.  Numebr one: He went too big too fast.  Oppiste problem of Duran, his body had not caught up with his junior middle and middleweight leaps.  Also, he rarely had tune-up fights at the higher weigths, and lasted longer against the top fighters of his day.  However, during the rare appearance against someone vulnerable: Kamau, Charpentier, Gatti, and Mayorga, it was clear that Oscar was still the same brutal puncher at the bigger weights.  If his punch didn’t make it up higher, it was against higher-level fighters, not weights. James Toney - It may seem odd that I mention him, since he was never known as a big puncher. 

 

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STRAIT JABS

STRAIT JABS

Michael Grant vs. Tye Fields??  And Joel Casamayor vs. Mike Anchondo??  Talk about a fight card that doesn’t belong on PPV!  This card belongs in the “everyone involved should retire, regardless of what happens” category.  If anything, the fact that all 4 of them are shot, and/or exposed, may make it exciting.  However, for those who know boxing, it will just be more sad than anything else.  This card does not deserve a place in my official predictions section, but I will make my picks here:  Grant by 1st round KO, and Casamayor by decision or late round TKO. Speaking of semi-retired fighters, it looks like Matthew Hatton does have one thing on his brother, Ricky… chin.  His lack of skills left plenty of chances for him to show us that. Speaking of last Saturday’s fight, it’s not that Saul Alvarez looked bad, but don’t be surprised if the ‘brother revenge’ fight against Austin Trout doesn’t happen just yet.  He can ill afford a loss now, and just like the man they are comparing him to (JC Chavez), Alvarez’s style lends itself to a weakness for slick African American boxers. Speaking of 80’s and 90’s African-American fighters, may we please finally stop calling Buddy McGirt an elite trainer?  Nothing against him personally, but he has completely jumped the shark.  His fighters never win, and complain when they leave him.  We all got a little too excited when he happened to be the trainer of Arturo Gatti, when Gatti remembered to box.  I honestly know people who are diminishing Sergei Dzindzruk’s chances this Saturday, because McGirt is his new trainer. 

 

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APRIL PREDICTIONS, PART 2

APRIL PREDICTIONS, PART 2

Marcos Maidana vs. Erik Morales – Ten years ago, Morales would have outclassed a tough guy like Maidana.  Now, however, and especially at this weight, what does he have that will deter the Argentinian?  Maidana is a seriously flawed fighter, but he is powerful, fairly durable, has a ton of heart, and possesses impressive stamina.  Basically, he is a bigger David Diaz with more power, and better skin.  We all saw how badly a younger Morales did there.  Morales has been able to pad his record enough to garner him another payday, and apparently this is it.  He boxes well early, but gets overpowered as the fight wears on.  And I don’t mean it will have to wear on for long.  ‘El Terrible” will take a bad beating, and be rescued either by corner or referee.  Maidana by 4th or 5th round TKO, in a match that distracts us from “ Chino ”s technical deficiencies. Amir Khan vs. Paul McCloskey – This fight is merely a chance for Khan to go show off his new status to the home fans, while killing time for a Bradley match to be negotiated.  If McCloskey was a serious threat, we would not be seeing this fight.  However, that seems to be the kind of fighter which poses the most risk to Khan.  McCloskey is unbeaten, but completely untested… his best wins coming against a shot former lightweight champ Cesar Bazan, and a once-dangerous Colin Lynes.  He is a good finisher late, and riding a four-fight KO streak, so if Khan gets tired, watch out.  However, I think we can count on Khan to win a wide unanimous decision, or late round TKO. Andre Berto vs. Victor Ortiz – This is a tough one to call, but for the most part, Berto can do away with the lower weight class fighters.  Also, Ortiz is already becoming the kind of fighter we forgive for a loss. 

 

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WARNER CENTER WAR 3

WARNER CENTER WAR 3
An action-filled eight-bout card took place, Friday, March 4 at the Warner Center Marriott, in Woodland Hills , CA . Yusuf Mack, of Philadelphia , PA won the USBA Light Heavyweight championship with a dull 12-round unanimous decision over Otis "Triple OG" Griffin .  Griffin limited his offense to staying outside, and making occasional rushes, while Mack landed the better head and body shots.  Each round was a copy of the one before it, until the 12th round, when Mack dropped Griffin with a left hook.  Strangely, one judge has Griffin up 114-113, while the other two scored a more appropriate 116-111, and 119-108.  Convicted Artist scored it 117-110 Mack.  With the win, Mack earns a crack at IBF champion Tavoris Cloud. In the co-main event, Ray Beltran, of Los Mochis , Mexico , got back in the ring after over a year delay, to domnate and stop Carlos Vinan at the end of round 7.  Vinan showed heart, but did not have the firepower to thwart Beltran, who took turnes dominating from the orthodox and southpaw stances... each time landing his hard left hand on many occasions.  In an eight-round junior-featherweight special attraction, Javier 'El Girito" Gallo came back from a crushing KO loss in his last bout, to win a hard-fought split -decision over Tecate, MX's Jose Luis Araiza.  The bout was a close, exciting affair, with very little defense  in virtually every round.  In the end, 2 judges favored the aggression and forward pressure of Gallo, who took the fight, 78-74, and 77-75.  Araiza was jup on the third card, 77-75.  Convicted Artist scored it a 76-76 draw.

 

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In Defense of Boxing

In Defense of Boxing
"It is no superficial thing, a fad of a moment or a generation. It is as deep as our consciousness, and is woven into the fibers of our being. This is the ape and tiger in us, granted, but it is in us, isn't it? "  - Jack London

"(Boxing is) the one great physical sport in which actual personal superiority can ever be authoritatively tested."  - Boxing Magazine (in anticipation of the Jack Johnson/Jim Jeffries fight of 1910)

A few weeks ago I was at a luncheon with friends and acquaintances in a upscale suburb of Phoenix. While nibbling pasta primavera and chatting about sports, I dropped an innocuous comment about my affection for boxing. A quiet pall descended over the conversation and the woman across from me contorted her face as though she’d smelled something foul. “I don’t see how can anybody enjoy a sport where the goal is for two people to beat each other senseless,” she said dismissively. I knew her slightly, so even before she opened her mouth, I was prepared for the onslaught. In the split second between inhaling and commencing my reply, our host deftly changed the subject, sideswiping my response. What was the point of an argument anyway?  It was doomed to be a stalemate of ideas against emotions, so I bit my lip in the spirit of congeniality. But I couldn’t quash the cacophony ricocheting across my brain.
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