Convicted Artist Magazine

Dec 08th
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pro-boxing-glovesI am not a huge Joan Guzman fan, but he looked as good as you should look against his opponent Frdiay night.  After showing clear offensive superiority over Jesus Pabon, he responded to Pabon's "come on" gesture the best way that one can... with a spectacular knockout blow.  Given that he is not known for power at the higher weights, this is a good start towards regaining respect.  Granted, weak-chinned Pabon was chosen to showcase this specific trait, but if Guzman can't stop eating, he better bring more sting to his shots, and roll with the division changes.  At 140-147, he will not run out of opponents.

Speaking of running out of opponents, the Klitschkos are officially done with decent heavyweights to pound on.  Fury would be a good retirement fight, but Helenius and Povetkin have been recently disgraced, so who else is there?  Seth Mitchell needs to prove himself more, and Thompson and Arreola should fight each other, in order to stand above the pack.  Goossen will probably not risk that, so it looks like the back of the line has now become the front.  (yawn)

Speaking of the proving grounds... Shane Mosley may be shot, but given his style and experience, Canelo Alvarez will get a real test.  This is of course provided that the bout isn't waved off the second Canelo lands a decent combination (a realistic possibility), but given Mosley's first ballot hall-of-famer status, you have to hope Vegas refs will give him more respect than that.  I just hope this isn't what it looks like, which is building up another Mexican to be taken down by Floyd, in a "Manny-avoiding" move.  September 16 weekend is open, and if Alvarez looks better than Mayweather did in beating Mosley, we may be cheated out of the big one yet again.  This is especially true if Bradley beats Pacquiao, which is not out of the question.

Speaking of respect, I have a lot for both Brandon Rios and Yuriorkis Gamboa.  I didn't think that fight was going to happen at this stage of both men's careers.  I thought Gamboa's mention of moving up two dividions was just hype to get Juanma's people to try harder for that fight, but he really has moved on for a better challenge.  He can always drop down to 130 if a star emerges there (Broner, etc.), but he is moving up to challenge an unbeaten 135lb titlist.  And kudos to Rios.  Gamboa has shown the chin deficiencies that a fighter like Rios can exploit, but Rios himself has shown vulnerable to quick boxers... provided they can keep up the assault.  Gamboa can, so it's a risk.  And without risk, boxing gets boring.  Thanks to both guys for providing what movie critics would call the "sleeper hit of the season".

Speaking of risk/reward, there is a lot at stake this spring.  Many fighters have a lot to lose if they lose.  Amir Khan may see his career spiral towards basic cable if he comes up the loser twice against Lamont Peterson.  Probably not right away, but it would be a big drop.  Pacquiao is taking on a live underdog in Bradley, and his big money status is hugely diminished if he takes a loss here, especially after the close shave aginst Marquez.  Canelo Alvarez will have to completely rebuild if an aging Mosley pulls off the upset.  In the same division, James Kirkland is coming off a fight of the year candidate against possibly the most effective spoiler in boxing, Carlos Molina.  Where talent is crowded, it is hard to stand out... therefore you must keep winning.

Chris Strait
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