Monthly Archives: April 2010

FYI: The Hasegowa vs Montiel Friday Firefight.

By Bobby Mac

Two of today’s most fearsome banties will be battling in Tokyo, Japan this Friday in as compelling a fight as can be made today.

Fernando Montiel is becoming something of a Mexican legend with a title record of 16-2, 12 KO in 3 WBO sanctioned divisions which is outstanding when you throw in his career record of 40-2-2, 30 KO, yet only just turned 31.

This little fella can crack, let me tell you, and he can box, never having been beaten cleanly. His only two losses came by majority decision and split decision in title fights. Unfortunately, the fly and banty divisions get little notice or airtime in America where I live, so I’ve only been able to follow his career fitfully against overmatched journeymen on Telefutura back when, but I was quite fortunate to catch his 4 rd demolition of a very good Martin Castillo a couple years back.

Montiel’s last defense against Ciso Morales was against a young unproven fringe contender that did nothing to prepare him for his first ever title fight outside the WBO organization when he goes against a 29 yr old aspiring Japanese legend, Hozumi Hasegawa.

Hasegowa can now be said to be a star in Japan, rising rapidly through the tough Japanse ranks. At 28-2, 12 KO, his record looks sparse upon first glance compared to Montiel, but in this case, looks are very deceiving as regards to him which I suspect is a large reason for his success in the ring.

Hozumi Hasegawa

Hozumi Hasegawa

His only two losses were against undefeated prospects in 4 rounders ages ago. He had 4 title OPBF title wins before winning his WBC banty title 5 yrs ago against a superior Veeraphol Sahaprom before reeling off 10 straight WBC title defenses with 6 K0. Five of those knockouts came in his last 5 defenses. Only one was able to make it past the 2nd round, but he was gone by the 4th round.

That is some seriously harsh treatment of some very fine contenders by a physically very imposing fighter at this weight class. He’s listed at 5-6 to Montiel’s 5-4, but is ripped to shreds and gives the impression of being several divisions above banty. Indeed, he wants to move up but decided to set a Japanese record for consecutive title defenses at one weight, which if patchy memory serves, he only needs 2 more successful defenses.

With Montiel fighting primarily in Mexico and Hasegowa in Japan, it would’ve been real easy for these little bombers to avoid each other, but they didn’t. Further, Montiel will be the guest fighter in Hasegowa’s home base, Hozumi having never fought outside of Japan, so Fernando deserves super props for going on the road. Think about it though, he’s doing exactly what we expect a Mexican legend to be doing.

Legend!

This is not a hostile environment though. The Japanese boxing fans are as savvy and appreciative as any of the history of the fight game and love great fighters, so Montiel should be well received by a public panting in anticipation of a classic international doozy. How lucky they are and how I wish I could be ringside taking it all in. Oh to be Joe Koizumi for the day, the IBHOF quality Japanese matchmaker, manager, and journalist who will have unfettered access to the fight and fighters.

Alas, me being me, I have to do primarily with his reports and the record of Hasegawa, though I have seen a couple of his last fights that are poor examples of what Fernando Montiel brings to this fight.

Perhaps Veeraphol Sahaprom has the closest attributes of Montiel in size and quality. Hasegawa won a unanimous decision and a KO in those matches early in his title run, and he’s clearly a better fighter, seemingly improving every year since he turned pro.

Montiel dropped a split decision to a very good version of Jhonny Gonzales a few years back. Johnny was a tallish boxer/puncher champ at banty like Hasegawa.

There is an additional factor at play. Hasegawa is a lefty, and lefties with power are generally considered the most dangerous of boxing.

From what I see, both are patient boxers who know each can bang, so this should start cautiously. I’d pick a bob and weave and jab inside for Montiel and then throw short rights, short hooks, and uppercuts like Mike Tyson used to do against tall opponents. Take away Hasegawa’s reach advantage and seize control of the fight.

Hasegawa doesn’t appear to be one to fluster, however, part of the reason he’s likely to be the favorite in this bout. I’m predicting he will carefully pick his shots and outwork the game Montiel from a distance. There will be some firefight type of exchanges, and a KO is possible, but probably only for the intimidating Hasegowa, but bet at your own risk at this level of quality. Neither of these fighters’ chances can be dismissed out of hand regardless of selection.

May have to search around to find the feed before or after the fight, but I’m confident it will be worth it.

Hozumi Hasegawa vs Fernando Montiel

Hozumi Hasegawa vs Fernando Montiel

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Who R U Pickin’ The Mosley vs Mayweather Preview

by Bobby Mac

It’s almost time for the 2nd Biggest Boxing Spectacle of the Year when Shane Mosley defends his WBA welterweight title against himself.

Shane & Brother Nazim

Shane & Brother Nazim

“WHAT on earth are you talking about? Mosley’s fighting Floyd Mayweather this coming Saturday. It’s gonna be HUGE!”

True dat, true enough, but…………Mosley won’t be defending his belt against Mayweather unless there is a sea change in the WBA official position. All supposedly due to sanctioning fees, non-payments of same, and prickly egos. So, if Mosley wins, he retains his title, but if he loses, the title I guess would go into the nomenclature of WBA speak, “Recess,” until an eliminator can be fought to reclaim it.

The WBC has sent out feelers of the possibility of this fight being for the WBC’s freshly minted “Diamond Belt” that they awarded Pacquiao for his victory over Cotto, but nothing firm about that as of the date of this article. One supposes that Pacquiao would hold the WBC Super Diamond Belt with Mayweather holding the WBC Regular Diamond Belt, but I’ve learned there is no predicting the complex tiered system of championships each organization has in place for each division.

Money

Money

I mention these things in advance of the actual preview of the fight, because this is an extremely complex affair as any Mayweather fight has evolved into over time. Two fights were cancelled just to cobble this fight together after one lawsuit filed against the promoter of this fight and both the fighters of this fight. That would be the defamation lawsuit filed by Manny Pacquiao.

More insidious complexities caused the cancellation of The Biggest Fight of the Year, the Pacquiao/Mayweather bout scheduled for last March. It would be a stretch to think all these complexities won’t play out in the ring come fight night, but hold that thought for a moment so we can look at the fighters’ acumen and talent.

Age: Mosley is 38, and Mayweather is 33. Result is an edge for Mayweather.

Size/Strength: Both are near the same stature with Mosley slightly bigger and a weightlifting background. Result is a slight edge for Mosley.

Speed/Reflexes: Both have good hand and foot speed, but Mayweather is the younger man. Result is slight edge to Mayweather.

Power: Mosley was a noted KO artist at lightweight as Mayweather was at superfeather. Result is an edge for Mosley.

Stamina: Both are traditionally in superior condition, and no change in recent training reports. Results are a draw.

Mayweather 146 - Mosley 147

Mayweather 146 – Mosley 147

Skills: Both with considerable offensive skills, but Mayweather noted as a defensive artist as well. Result is an edge for Mayweather.

Experience and competition: Both well experienced against excellent oppostion, but Mosley has had more and tougher fights, perhaps too experienced at this point, but he is way more experienced at the weight. Result is a slight edge to Mosley.

Ring Generalship: Mayweather the undefeated fighter and Mosley with 5 losses. Result is edge for Mayweather.

Corner: Mayweather listens to his own muse and his Uncle Roger cannot come close to matching the overall credentials and professionalism of Nazim Richardson who has arrived at this point in time with a considerable legacy still in ascendency: Result is an edge for Mosley.

Intangibles: Hard to know what motivates two HOF quality fighters late in their careers, but there is genuine animosity between them with the history of Mayweather wanting this fight many years ago, and then moving on to which Mosley then ran the gauntlet of desire. So they have arrived to this point in a simmering contrivance of convenience. Result is a draw.

Ring Rust: Both have it, but both are gym rats who never get out of shape. Result is a draw.

Outside distractions: Both are being sued by Pacquiao for defamation. Mosley is coming off a divorce with reduced finances and Mayweather’s tax woes are no secret. Mosley otherwise enjoys a relaxed southern California lifestyle, whereas Mayweather moved operations to Las Vegas where the Mayweather family continues to run afoul of the law that seems to be their preferred lifestyle. Results are a draw.

Just sewing up the preview by the numbers with draw=0, slight edge=1, edge=2: Tally is Mayweather 7 to Mosley’s 6 pts. Result is a slight edge to Mayweather.

OK, you done good holding all those complexities of this fight in check that are just bursting to come tumbling out.

I agree with the result being a slight edge to Mayweather, but given the complexities which included money, legal issues, heated tensions, drugs. boxing politics, I’m not sure if there can really be said to be a true edge to this fight that would swing my betting if I were a betting man.

So, me not being a seer, I make no claims to divine the winner, but the complexities will make a close fight closer, even really. Mayweather may still be in the driver’s seat as the higher ranked fighter of recent record, but I’m predicting a tough, ugly, hotly contested and controversial fight with officiating disputes before, during, and after the fight. The best fight of the night may come from Uncle Roger.

Let’s just say this fight is a new and different breed of classic.

1. So, it’s Mayweather for me, and the rest of the writers to follow with their own predictions.

It’s Time for REAL Broadcast Volume Control

by Bobby Mac

OK, time to come clean.

I truly confess, mine ears and sensibilities never got along with the blithering sonorous proclamations handed down to captive viewing audiences by the imperious Howard Cosell.

Tip O' Toup

Tip O’ Toup

We only wanted to watch a good fight and here was some bald noggin sandwiched between a toupee and yeller suit trying to tell us what we were already watching. He was near clueless about the sport and often launched into stories unrelated to the ongoing ring action. What was that all about?

They did give Howie his own show and it was cancelled inside 3 months because nobody showed up to watch……….DUHHHHHHH!!!!!!

At least when my critics wish to skip over me, they are allowed to do so in complete freedom of choice since they are not held captive to this page for boxing content.

I was not alone. Numerous sports and entertainment figures as well as the general public clashed with Cosell‘s personality and broadcast style. Certainly he had his moments of prescience as we all do from time to time, and he was an icon for decades in boxing and near as recognizable figure as Ali himself. Yet he was only just this year elected to the IBHOF because it took 15 yrs for the bile he produced to settle out from his career.

I was reminded of those days most recently in the Showtime broadcast of Kessler/Froch. Gus Johnson has an annoying habit of barking into his shorts anytime a shot lands that he actually sees, leaping into dramatic hysteria about the fighter being hurt that was Cosell’s signature. 

Indeed, Froch landed a decent right hand on Kessler, but in this case Kessler immediately jumped on Froch, blasting him to the ropes, going for a finish as Johnson is still lagging on about Kessler being hurt.

Really? And Johnson got paid how much for that load?

Then there is the specter of fruitless attempts to reach into the screen to strangle Jim Lampley running off at the mouth about punch numbers as Max Kellerman preens for airspace with his Uncle Howie impersonations of nonsense.

Now, I’ve got two strong arms, so why can’t I throttle the two simultaneously as is needed to restore peace and harmony to the world? 

Sure, turn the volume down, but I’m trying to listen to the crowd, the punches, the exertions by the fighters, the instructions by the ref, and so forth to get a feel for the fight, so why do major broadcasters over-dub the sound of The Sport of Kings with what could best be described as fingernails screeching across a blackboard? 

Wouldn’t a popcorn machine popping in the background at least cost less, be more soothing, and induce some “Official Sponsors” to market flickering caption banners of related food and beverage products and give us a more palatable sound for the moment?

If not, why can’t we have a broadcast volume control to adjust the event noise separate from the broadcast, with me turning the broadcast down to a whisper….or less?

It’s no wonder boxing is losing market share to other sports. Good, God, man, at least put some mufflers on the gas bags and impose a word limit so we can watch the spectacle unfold in something resembling it’s proper context.

And make em speak Polish so I can at least hold out hope they really do know what they are talking about!

Adamek Vs Arreola, Fight of the Year?

By Bobby Mac

Two highly regarded heavyweights collide this Saturday at Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, California, in what many are picking as a Fight of the Year candidate.

Tomasz “Goral” Adamek is the former two division champion stepping up to his 3rd division in a bid to win a heavyweight title. A win over former challenger Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola guarantees him a title shot within a year. Arreola is in a similar circumstance, hungry for another crack at the title and a win over Adamek would open the doors for him.

Tomasz Adamek

Tomasz Adamek

Goral is Polish for Highlander, a reference to the region where Adamek was raised, but it also connotes an exotic coolness of temperament which describes the Adamek approach to boxing to a T. With a 40-1 career record at age 33 and seemingly in his prime as a boxer, he’s near becoming a legend in boxing that he already is in Poland.

Tomasz can box some, brawl a little, fight inside or out with a little slugging thrown in as his 27 KO victims can attest, but he is never locked into one style, and he’s in no hurry to get anything done. His offense just flows to him when the moment is right, and if he has to take a few steps back, cover on the ropes and take some time off, hey, no big deal to take a rest and reset. He’s smart, patient, and he has an innate fighting sense of which adjustments to make to figure out how to beat very good fighters.

Arreola has the fire to light up Adamek’s coolness, though. He’s an highly charged come forward busy brawler/slugger looking for a trade, a nightmare if you can’t fight him off. At age 29 with a 28-1 record with an 86% KO ratio, he is used to getting his way in the ring and has also become a fan favorite in Southern California, so this donnybrook will be in his stompin’ grounds, a distinct advantage.

Chris Arreola

Chris Arreola

Arreola is also the natural heavyweight here, making his debut at 236lbs and at a high of 263 lbs his last bout against the outgunned Brian Minto. Reportedly he’s been in his hardest training camp ever and looking at 240s come weigh-in. We shall see, but he’s sure to have some 20-30lbs on Adamek who’s slated to come in under 220, so while size as measured in bulk may favor Arreola, it’s not clear who will have the advantage in physical strength given that Arreola is prone to corpulence and Adamek’s large frame will be all lean muscle.

Adamek will be the faster fighter of hand and foot, but Arreola has proven to have an excellence sense of timing and surprising quickness for such a bulky man. They are both offensively oriented fighters, so expect the leather to be flying in this one.

The fight won’t be about size, strength, and speed advantages, it will be about style and temperament contrast with only two common denominators, both liking to fight and able to take a good crack to the chin with neither ever being stopped before. What’s more is each style is so unique that neither can find a sparring partner to replicate their styles.

So many unknowns and intangibles in this one, so which style best maximizes the attributes of each fighter to overcome the other?

Goral vs Nightmare

Goral vs Nightmare

We don’t know the definitive answer to that, but I’m guessing the oddsmakers will make Adamek the slight favorite. I also favor Adamek, but this is really the kind of fight that could go either way. An early KO is possible, but I’m thinking the fight enters the later rounds where stamina will play a role. Arreola has never kept the pace at this high level and Adamek has never had to beat down such a big, strong, dangerous fighter as Arreola.

It’s gonna be a corker, so best stay tuned and sober for this one.

Enjoy!

Preview of Pavlik vs Martinez

By Bobby Mac

A very intriguing middleweight title defense is coming up this Saturday when Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik defends his Ring, WBC, and WBO titles against the WBC junior middleweight champion, Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez.

Martinez was the late stand-in for the ailing Kelly Pavlik when Paul William’s expected title challenge to Pavlik at the end of 2009 fell out. Martinez lost a majority decision to Williams in a spirited nontitle middleweight bout that Martinez supporters claim he won. Regardless of the decision, Sergio Martinez won over a lot of fans with his performance, enough to catch the attention of the newly slighted Kelly Pavlik looking to regain his monumental reputation in the boxing world.

Pavlik is making his 6th defense of his titles that he won the hard way back in 2007 when he beat The Man who beat The Man, Jermain Taylor, who Kelly whacked out in the 7th round in thrilling bout. Since then, he has struggled with a career threatening accident when he put his hand through a pane of glass, then was near death in a reaction to treatment from a staphylococcus infection in his hand.

Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik

Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik

Pavlik also struggled somewhat in the ring, unable to replicate thrilling performances against Edison Miranda and Jermain Taylor before taking a near shutout drubbing at the hands Bernard Hopkins in a Light Heavyweight non title catchweight fight. Still, in spite of the adversity, here he is in his 6th defense against the biggest challenge of his career since he first challenged Jermain Taylor.

Sergio Martinez is a fast handed, southpaw Argentinean just now coming into his own at age 35. He will be giving up some significant size and strength against the huge Pavlik, but size and strength is not the Martinez stock in trade although he is plenty big enough. Martinez is a boxer reliant on speed and angles to earn his wins and operates out of a tricky southpaw stance.

Martinez trades with Paul Williams

The Bruising

It’s hard to know how Pavlik will adjust to fighting a southpaw since he has no significant experience with a southpaw at this high level. He was in training to fight Paul Williams who is also a southpaw, so Pavlik will at least have had some previous training accumulated. Likewise, Martinez has no experience against such a big strong, prime, heavyhanded fighter as is Pavlik. Williams was as tall, but more fast handed boxer than slugger and not nearly so physically strong.

It’s that unknown factor that both bring into the fight that makes it so intriguing to me. Usually I have a sense of how the fight is likely to unfold, but I’m coming up blank on this other than to note Pavlik is not likely to be outboxing Martinez who in turn is not likely to be outslugging Pavlik. Kelly should be the favorite, but perhaps not by so much.

I’m hoping for a classic slugger vs boxer fight of the year candidate that both gentlemen are fully capable of delivering. May the best man win.

Give It Up For Da Preeminator, A Future HOFer!

By Bobby Mac

Time for all Da Preem’s grumpy old critics to retire their sagging vitriol against Da Preem to their jars of old dentures in the cabinet.

‘Tain’t a matter of if Primo Carnera is ever elected to the IBHOF, but rather of when.

With a record of 88-14-0, 72 KO against a cast of HOFers in his era, there is no heavy champion save a couple of fringe claimants with more wins. Big George comes the closest with 76-5-0, 68 KO, with George  being also considered something of a giant in his day. Yet a prime George would be dwarfed next to the gargantuan Carnera.

Yes, I can hear the hue and cry over comparing Carnera to Foreman, but those would be tiny teacups overflowing of no concern. Their blinkered tunnel vision crops the wide scope of boxing history to their own discredit.

Da Preem is a complex case study in the fabled stories of Giants that occur in every culture and who’s boxing career somewhat parallels his modern day equivalent, Big Niko Valuev, both highly intelligent men with no boxing backgrounds who turned pro guided by unsavory management more interested in exploiting freak value than developing  boxing legends.

Da Thinker

Da Thinker

Da Preem, however, was a rare heavy champ in the manner of Dempsey and Baer in that he becomes a star of note in Hollywood movies, something greater champs coming after him never achieved. One can only imagine the tales of his exploits in Hollywood during the time he was feted as royalty.

Like all streaking meteors, Primo reached an apex of brightness before flashing out in a spectacular display of slugging and mauling when he succumbed to Max Baer in his last championship bout.

Then the dark days followed. A kidney disease robbed him of his stamina and strength that necessitated a kidney removal during the darkest days of the 1930’s leading up to World War 2. He finally had to accept that he could no longer box in those most desperate hours, completely abandoned by his handlers with no support.

But Primo proved to still be a champ, coming off the deck well past his prime as a sick man to fight an enemy much greater than him when he joined anti-fascist Italian loyalists. He was wounded in an heroic losing battle as their group of ragtags were overwhelmed by Mussolini and German Nazis stamping their own murderous mark upon history.

After the war, in spite of making million$ in his prime for his handlers, Primo was as penniless, destitute, shoeless and hungry as any of his Italian peasant brethren. However, he was still blessed with his formidable size and champion’s heart, so he embarked on a long barnstorming career as a ‘rassler and referee across the American and European landscape, always introduced as the former Heavyweight Champion of the World.

This article is not really designed to comb through the formidable record of Carnera which shall stand on it’s own merits in due time once the winds of prejudice against the big Italian blow out, but rather pay homage to the lasting charisma and spectacle that he brought to depression era boxing, no doubt attracting the largest overall gate totals in history when added together.

Here’s well past it post prime Primo featured in one of the great iconic cult classics of all time, Mighty Joe Young, with an impressive display of eye popping physical prowess for sure:

 

Primo in merry olde England where he and Young Stribling were imported to put on a royal dustup:

with Young Stribling

With HOFer Young Stribling

 

Holy Mittendorf, look at the mitts they put him in to keep his hands off!

Myrna Loy with her boys

Myrna Loy with her boys

 

Flattening Goodtime Charlie Chaplin:

 

Flattening Goodtime Charlie

Primo had no problems standing out in the maddening crowds:

 
 
Standout

Standout

Children and Giants have a natural affinity, so no surprise to see Da Preem with a handful of little fellows:

Blessed Little Ones

Blessed Little Ones

 

Mr & Mrs Primo with their own:

Mr & Mrs Primo with their own.

Mr & Mrs Primo with their own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always a bad day at the office when you PO Jack da Giant Killer!

Jack the Giant Killer's Primo Straightener!