Monthly Archives: November 2010

Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez vs Lovemore N’dou-Future vs The Past

Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has another Herculean task ahead of him for his latest impossible labors assigned by Golden Boy Stables.

Canelo Crunch

Canelo Crunch

Alvarez has been busy cracking the iron chins of a cast of former champs and fringe contenders, and his next opponent, Lovemore ‘The Black Panther’ N’dou is no exception, never having ever been knocked out before.

The Black Panther

The Black Panther

N’dou is a tough as nails South African fighter in a proud tradition who has made hard challenges to the likes of Shamba Mitchell, Miguel Cotto, Junior Witter, Pauli Malignaggi, and Kermit Cintron over his career.  He may be 39 yrs old, but good enough still to warrant being tapped as a sparring partner for Floyd Mayweather Jr.

In short, N’dou is a former IBF belt holder who knows his way around a boxing ring and knows an upset of the highly groomed Alvarez can mean yet another title shot.

I’m not sure why the 20 yr old Alvarez has been held back this year when he’s clearly ready to challenge for one of the main titles other than boxing politics that has kept him mostly buried in Mexico. Building a fanbase is the usual justification in spite of already being wildly popular there, probably more so than the Marquez brothers for example.

 There is little doubt he will be a big favorite, and the kid can fight with anyone if he’s ever given a chance. I don’t see how knocking out older, durable fighters and yet another fringe contender properly prepares him for a title challenge against a prime champ, but the schedule tells us he’s due to fight this Saturday, December the 4th in beautiful Vera Cruz, Mexico.

Heck, when you put it that way, damn, I’d be happy to swap out a fight with Canelo just to spend some down time in Vera Cruz. Man, that sounds luscious, so maybe he’s one smart cookie!

Anyway, it’s not that big of a fight, but rather more of a Golden Boy watch. He’s their best prospect, and at 34-0-1, 24 KO, it begs the question?

Oscar, why is the kid still playin’ in the minor leagues?

He could beat Berto, Mosley, and maybe Mayweather, or at least a higher ranked contender. C’mon now!

148.9-In Fine Fettle-149.6

148.9-In Fine Fettle-149.6

So here we are. 

Canelo is charged with mowing down Lovemore N’dou, so if you like hard, scrappy fights and want to see the probable future of boxing, AND you can find a Mexican channel, the kid delivers plenty of action, excitement, and maybe a big knockout, so there it is.

El Matador de Canelo

El Matador de Canelo

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Ali vs Tyson—The Final Ultimatum

Sorry Folks, but a software glitch in the editing has rendered the article into a raw, unfinished state. Such it shall remain after fruitless hours of editing only to watch it reconfigure itself:

Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson are often cited as the two most well known boxers on the planet earth, and as always follows in the minds of ever inquisitive fight fans, they all want to know who would win a fight between them prime to prime? 

Well, folks, this Bud is for you:

Intersection of Time & Space in The Great Pantheon

Intersection of Time & Space in The Great Pantheon

Whoops, let’s amend that opening statement now that Tyson has become something of a grizzled oldtimer with his retirement a few years back, up for entry into the IBHOF next year. Who’d have ever guessed that day would ever come back when the 21 yr old Tyson briefly strode atop of the boxing world like no other before or since?

Was there ever a bigger, brighter, more explosive shooting star, ever?

Arguably Manny Pacquiao is now the best known fighter ever, and his promoter, Bob Arum who promoted some 25 Ali fights claims that Pacquiao is a better fighter than Ali, and presumably by extension, Tyson, but that is another endless debate for another time and another place.

I Remember When..

I Remember When..

Ali could certainly spin a few stories about the ravages of Father Time had he still had a voice, so boxing fans will just have to do with watching his flashing fight reruns and wondering:

What if?

When I first tackled the internet forums more than a decade ago, the AOL baseball forums were great “amateur” preparations for the hysteria of their boxing forums which you can read about here if you want to get sidetracked:

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2010/05/24/how-the-greatest-boxing-web-forum-in-history-crumbled-into-dust/

Anyway, Big Mac Mark McGwire was in the middle of shattering Homerun records, naturally begging the question of who was better, McGwire or Babe Ruth. I quickly learned that some weigh in with a considerably more studied approach than the average keyboard hacker on a drunken swaggering binge fueled by modern media marketing that propelled Big Mac into a larger than life Superman, but I digress.

Mainly, I was well prepared to duck and roll with the punches on the boxing forums which I discovered as an afterthought after the record setting baseball season ended. I was quickly swarmed by a blizzard of angry cyber popcorn  punchers as soon as I weighed in with my observations about Ali whom I had watched develop when I followed his every move as a starry eyed schoolboy.

Same deal with Mike Tyson. Who on the planet with a pulse could not follow their exploits and infamy?

Just a hint of their names or that of Rocky Marciano on the forum would detonate an explosion to raise the dead, kill the living, and wipe all history from the vestiges of the great pantheon of boxing. Vilest of names and threats were issued not to mention actual real ring challenges as if a few rounds in the ring were adequate to answer any question about a proposed fantasy.

Some infidels even hit on creating alternate forum accounts and names so that they could agree and congratulate the intelligence of themselves.

Really!

Truth be told, from what I see, Ali sports a record of 1-2-1 in fantasy fights, losing by KO to Rocky Marciano in Murray Woroner’s computer elimination tourney in the late sixties,

Ali vs Rocky

Ali vs Rocky

  being bounced off the canvas by Gorilla Monsoon before drawing with Antonio Inoki in 1976

Ali vs Inoki

Ali vs Inoki

but beating Superman in 1978, the greatest comeback by The Greatest in fantasy history perhaps.

Ali vs Superman

Ali vs Superman

Tyson’s record is more muddled, having Stone Cold Steve Austin shoot him the finger before shoving Tyson into the bleachers, but then assisting Stone Cold in winning the WWF title by pushing him out for battle whilst almost snatching the speedos off of him.

Capt'n Hook

Capt'n Hook

My, my!

When Teefs Go Flying

When Teefs Go Flying

Certainly Tyson owns Ali in street fight wins, with at least a dozen publicized knockouts of assorted civilian and pro boxer challengers like Mitch Green who became only the 2nd fighter to last the distance against young Tyson, yet couldn’t last 15 seconds in the street:

Busted!

Busted!

The answer to any of these fantasy fights is of course completely subjective and dependant upon point of view, and believe you me, POV in Ali vs Tyson is all over the galactic map, stretching far into the fistic heavens above and reaching way, way down into the hellish muck below.

Git Up Chump!

Git Up Chump!

My own impetus for another look at this fight is wanting a ceremonial celebratory piece featuring the two best known modern fighters of their day to bookmark the end of the first decade of the third millennium while both are still alive.

Smokin' Greetings

Smokin' Greetings

 

Hitman Greetings

Hitman Greetings

The spark of life of life regenerated in the two legends when the fight recently appeared in a particularly dire website produced by some gameboy who ran the fight through his game console and proclaimed the definitive once and for all time answer………X 10!

Yup, they fought 10 consecutive times in gameboy-fantasy world, so now he knew the results and was “sharing.”

Yeah, right, Junior. Get back to us when you grow a pair fill your shorts and another pair to fill your frontal lobes.

Geez, I generally stopped responding to these fantasy fights on subsequent forums because too many only wanted to rant, from whose loins sprang a brand new type of critter never before seen stalking the earth, a ham handed species known as  Nazioso Moderatus who always purports to a higher purpose than their flimsy, venal grasp could ever latch on to in real life.

Nazioso Moderatus

Nazioso Moderatus

 

The fun was gone, the innocent majic of internet communication across generations and state and international borders ruined by underdeveloped homo sapiens unable to contain long repressed schoolboy emotional insecurities as they acted out their playground fantasies.

The Ali/Tyson fight has been proposed in fantasy millions of times to never be answered in the here and now reality that we, those of us who can currently hold up our hands to be counted, live in, but like séances and crystal balls, some claim to know the definitive answer once and for all.

Ali and Tyson existed as fighters in two different eras in what turned out to be a huge, ongoing evolution of the heavyweight division that currently has an unlimited weight class for any fighter scaling over 200 lbs. In Ali’s day, the marker was 175 lbs, a different era as I mentioned, yet oddly enough there is less than 4 years span from Ali’s last fight at age 39 until Tyson’s teenage debut at age 18, and only 6 years span between Ali’s last title fight until Tyson’s first title.

Oh, oh, so close, yet so, so, far away. Amazing!

In the “middle-ages” of the 20th century, Jack Dempsey vs Joe Louis was the red hot fantasy bout of the day, and it’s still a great one for those of us who relish breaking down styles and physical attributes of fighter matchups. Back then fans actually lived boxing instead of just watching it and arguing over the internet. Thousands of teeth were knocked loose from their roots to be scattered across barrooms in the quest to prove a point when civility ceased as tempers combusted in many of these debates.

Boxing was  the unrivaled King of American sports in those days, dominating the sports sections of newspapers.

Now, I’ve been watching boxing in fascination since forever and the next day, so, naturally, ahem, being of a modern superiority oriented bent to all that preceded me, I’ve arrived at a more modern, more mature, more studied approach to the ever lasting debate dilemma with all due deference to my fascination with baseball’s SABRE movement, a newer formulaic method that expanded the use of statistical analysis by weighting eras and ballparks and the offensive and defensive parameters of players.

The Disclaimer:

Let’s be clear here though; folks, unless you die and are admitted into fistic Valhalla where all the greats are in constant battle with each other for you to observe the actual results to report, in the mean streets of the here and now you may or may not make a credible case for your man but you cannot provide definitive ring results, period.

Man up for some civility while listening to some other points of views. Tune them out if they threaten the existence of your favorites, but no need to go into meltdown.

Moving back to point, Ali vs Tyson, who you got?

I’ll say it proud and I’ll say it loud and I’ll come as close to proving it as is possible before I’m through, it’s Tyson in a walkover.

OK, OK…………….just spiking some blood pressure for old time sake with that last exaggeration, I confess, but hear me out with an open mind, I promise to be serious from here on.

Who would you actually bet on if you were forced with everything you hold dear riding on the outcome?

That has to be the bottom line.

Fight fans tend to become highly emotional about their favored fighters, something oddmakers and gambling interests have made a fortune on as far back as distant memory can be pulled up. So consider carefully and make an informed choice unless you want to lose your family farm with your stock of prized blue ribbon mules as the girl of your dreams snatches your dog and storms out of your life forever.

Surely you would put in a little research, so here we go:

Usually it’s assumed that 1966-67 Ali, age 24-25, is tops Ali, and 86-88 Tyson, age 20-21, is tops Tyson. Both are undefeated and marching through their opposition with nary a care for their futures. They are at their peak primes, plain and simple, ready to rumble with any challenge that developed.

Jab This

Jab This

Remember, lesser talented and weaker fighters have been upsetting the odds from time immemorial also as well as greats being unrecognized until they had a platform to showcase their abilities. Savvy gaming interests factor records, styles, ages, betting patterns and many other elements into formulating their odds.

In fantasy world, I am using my freshly cloaked time machine, “Slipping Time,” to go stealthily back into time to lure the combatants to the Ultimate All-time Fight. I have stocked my ship with a large caldron of gold bullion as the tempting purse to be split: winner takes 60/loser takes 40% as the lure.

A small bundle of Ring Magazines featuring each fighter in their primes is included so they can read about each other, along with DVDs of those fights that they can view to prepare fight strategies.

Da Ring

Da Ring

 

“Slipping Time” is big enough to accommodate their trainers, HOFer Angelo Dundee for Ali, including Bundini Brown and any of his key advisors such as Gene Kilroy, ect. Tyson can be with his HOFers, Cus D’amato with Kevin Rooney as trainers and his HOF managers, Jimmy Jacobs and Bill Clayton advising.

So, that is the first thing that stands out to me, the overall strength of Tyson’s team, probably the strongest assembled team of professionals of all time. Without them, Tyson would’ve run off the rails much sooner than he did.

Smokin'

Smokin'

The next thing that stands out is the tone of the Ring Mags as we thumb through them. While praiseworthy of Ali achievements at that time, periodic flaws and complaints are cited. In 1966, Ring did not award a Fighter of the Year, and in 1967 gave the award to Joe Frazier. Those were Ali’s best years. Need I remind anyone that those were controversial political years for Ali, but then his whole career is riddled in controversy, that was his mother’s milk. Still, Ring editor Nat Fleischer steadfastly defended Ali through this time, yet perhaps the controversy overshadowed Ring’s perception of Ali as a boxer, who knows?

The tone of the Tyson articles is not merely only praiseworthy, but grows into a glow of awe over the absolute dominating manner he has dismissed every opponent. Tyson is being couched in terms of the best ever, it was almost a given at that point. He had already won two Ring Fighter of the Year awards.  I mean the kid was only 21 and it was assumed he wasn’t even fully mature yet and was only gonna get better.

The Kid

The Kid

OK, but what of the primacy and strengths of the undefeated fighters themselves coming into this fight?

Typically, the last few bouts are the best indicator of the physicaland style attributes each will possess in the ring. Boxrec uses the last 6 bouts as an indicator for their records website, so let’s use that impartial objective standard.

In Boxrec order, Ali had last defended against Henry Cooper, Brian London, Karl Mildenberger, Cleveland Williams, Ernie Terrell, and Zora Folley respectively, a perfect 6-0, 5 KO, very impressive, but let’s look closer and compare.

Tyson last defended against Pinklon Thomas, Tony Tucker, Tyrell Biggs, Larry Holmes, Tony Tubbs, and Michael Spinks, also a perfect 6-0, 5 KO record to match Ali. Hmmmm….

Wow!

It must firmly be addressed that Cooper is sometimes cited as arguably knocking out Ali in the first fight before being stopped himself depending on which unreliable source of “factual” information you believe. Only edited fight tapes remain of the encounter unless the beeb uncovers the master tape lost in their dingy archives, so the fight has well passed into legend shrouded in mystery and entombed in myth now like so many Ali fights, but there is no doubt Ali was wisely more defensive in the rematch and opened up bloody ‘enery face as expected. An awkward, bloody walkover that at least helped to set the record straight like Joe Louis used to do for his few controversies.

Compare to Pinklon Thomas, 30 lbs of tough, former champion muscle bigger than Cooper that Tyson dismissed by one sided beatdown, a superior opponent by most every measure with all due respect to Sir’enery who’s left hook, “Enry’s ‘Ammer,” became almost Arthurian in British legend.

Next up for Ali was Brian London, easily dismissed in 3 rounds.

Compare to the then undefeated IBF beltholder Tony Tucker, a prime, tall, well built, balanced boxer/puncher who was undefeated. Tucker put up a decent early scrap, but went on the run late to survive the distance for a wide decision loss. Tucker is light years ahead of London.

Now Ali is on the road for his 3rd straight defense against German champ, Karl Mildenberger. Interesting bout with the quickish lefty having enough success that Howard Cosell almost choked on his toupee at one point, but Ali ultimately put together a nifty combo in the 12th to put the fight away.

Compare to tall, quick, undefeated, superheavyweight Olympic Gold Medalist Tyrell Briggs, good enough to have kept Lennox Lewis buried in the amateurs another 4 yrs, yet viciously chased down and brutalized by Tyson in a 7 rd demolition. Most would say that a prime Briggs is considerably more talented and formidable than a prime Mildenberger, but Mildenberger proved to be much more competitive  in his challenge if that counts for anything. One could differ on who was the better fighter from that POV I suppose.

Moving on, many consider Ali’s perfect demolition of Cleveland Williams his signature fight of excellence. Can’t argue that point, but Williams was missing half his guts and had arrived DOA at Ben Taub Hospital after a shootout with Houston police some two years earlier, so he had no business in a title fight other than a retirement benefit that Ali graciously provided. Big credit to The Big Cat for showing up as a powerful looking figure even if his reflexes were gone, a legend in his day.

Compare to the 38 yr old HOFer Larry Holmes who had stalked Tyson for over a year, loudly issuing public challenges while making notes and battle plans. Tyson left him ice stone cold in the shape of a crucifix nailed to the canvas in the 4th round, Holmes’ sole KO loss in a very long, extended career. Nobody could doubt that Holmes was miles ahead of Williams at these points or most any point.

Next up for Ali is a unification bout with tall Ernie Terrell on the best run in his career. After putting up a spirited early scrap, Terrell was injured and hung on to survive terrible punishment to lose a lopsided decision on the cards.

Tyson was fighting Tony Tubbs, a big fast handed former WBA champ who actually tried to trade with Tyson for 2 fruitless rounds before being whacked out. Fairly even high quality defenses between Ali and Tyson, finally, even if there was a wide difference in the results.

Last on Ali’s docket in March of 1967 was Zora Folley, an older contender with a long career past his best form, yet given a decent counterpuncher’s fighting chance, dismissed in 7 rds.

Compared to Tyson’s signature bout against all time undefeated HOFer Michel Spinks, blasted out as easily as a child throws a rag doll to the floor. Unbelievable and no wonder so many of the old timers thought Tyson was the 2nd coming of a new and improved Jack Dempsey by that point.

Only the blinkered could deny that Tyson was beating up on much better overall competition than Ali to those points of time, so what next?

The biggest legacy names on Ali’s record had been in 1964-1965 against Sonny Liston and Floyd Patterson, so surely that has to count as something right?

They certainly went a long way in making the legend of Ali, but remember, Liston gave a suspect effort in those fights, causing enough of an uproar to have Congress investigate boxing and haul Liston up to give testimony under oath. Liston died under mysterious circumstance a week or two before his 2nd appearance several years later. At any rate, Liston was already disgraced enough after the first fight to have the WBA strip Ali before the rematch that was it’s own elite category of travesty and farce, or worse.

Doubt Floyd Patterson was even given a chance by his own family, though he did regain status as a contender by remaking his style before retiring. Thing is, his back was completely out for this challenge, a painful fight that had spectators wincing between rounds as Floyd’s corner manfully tried to jerk Floyd’s back in place between rounds.

I don’t see these Ali fights as having much if any relevance to a fight against a prime, healthy Tyson, but at the tail end of 65, Ali did win a wide 15 rd decision over George Chuvalo, a squat, muscular banger/brawler who worked the body with hooks much as Tyson might. Where that similarity ends is that the game Chuvalo was light years slower than Tyson in hand and foot speed and well down in power, never showing the shooting star offense and defensive brilliance that characterized Tyson at his best, yet George had some success in trapping Ali and banging him up the best he could.

Looking back, it’s almost as if The Fates had planned on staging this Ultimate Fight for Tyson’s advantage. The  last 5 of the 6 fights noted above were against tallish, quick, boxer/puncher types, 6-3 for Tubbs, Holmes and Spinks and 6-5 for Briggs and Tucker who could also jab, counter, and move around much like prime Ali.

Most every boxer who came after Ali at least practiced doing him in the gym for some good sport, but few could implement it as well as Briggs and Tucker did in the ring. Fighting Chuvalo may have toughened up Ali’s core, but in no way prepares him for the highly trained and arguably most highly skilled heavy in history at his absolute peak.

A glance at the overall record to these points in time also show that Ali had been susceptible to quick lightheavy types with good left hooks, being knocked down hard by Sonny Banks and Henry Cooper and having Doug Jones take it to him hard enough that many thought Jones won their fight. Young Clay had been looking so vulnerable in recent outings that many thought him undeserving of a title shot against Liston.

The kid in me was worried for his health because that’s the way I saw him, as one kid to another kid. He wasn’t supposed to survive a mauling by the Big Bear, much less win. What a shocker!

In Tyson, basically Cus D’amato lucked into the perfect, moldable, fighting physio-type for his beloved bob and weave style he loved to teach. A struggle for Tyson coming up was a knockdown of a spoiling Quick Tillis and winning a wide decision as a 19 yr teen. The “struggle” was that Tillis was one of the few Tyson couldn’t knock out.

To this day you can still find oodles of critics, some with press and boxing credentials, who criticize big punchers for winning fights when they failed to knock out their opponents, slamming them for outboxing the other guy, something they would never criticize a boxer for doing. You certainly can’t tell them that they can’t come up with a single 19 yr heavyweight in history that would be capable of beating a slick, experienced former contender who was still capable enough the year before to go the distance against Larry Holmes’ title challengers, Carl Williams and Marvis Frazier as well as against future champ Gerrie Coetzee and then Tyrell Biggs.

Whatever, dude. Everyone’s entitled to pick the wave they want to ride in on.

When Push Comes to Crunch

When Push Comes to Crunch

If Ali is to have any degree of significant advantage over Tyson, it’s in knowing that he is his own man fighting his own fight to his own muse. Ali was mostly fighting on natural self-honed talent, only taking those part of boxing skills he deemed useful to meld to his instincts and ignoring the rest. Angelo Dundee was primarily a professional motivator and emotional stabilizer for the chaos that was Ali’s persona along with his sidekick, Bundini Brown. Dundee would pick flaws in opponents to be worked on in sparring, but they were as much suggestions to be planted in Ali’s fertile fighting brain as to actually be worked on in the gym. Ali spent many a sparring session clowning around which he enjoyed immensely since there were ever growing crowds around to be entertained that were future butts in the seats to watch him fight.

So, like a jazz musician, Ali was usually able improvise when the going got rough to bring the fight back to his own rhythm, whereas Tyson was more of a finely oiled by the numbers machine that could potentially go off the rails with the right kind of kink in the tracks. Still, that was a HOF team of mechanics in Tyson’s corner to make the repairs and jigger the fight plan and it cannot be ignored how seamlessly they operated by forcing their own beat as in beating the meat and marrow to the man out of their opposition.

It’s these contrasting fighter mental makeups, with different corners and fight styles that instinctively make the fight as compelling for the dreamy fan as a moth driven to the flame.

Remember, both were undefeated and full of the cocky self assuredness of young men who KNOW they could never, EVER be beat, and what a raucous legion of supporters they had.

Who to Stand?

Who to Stand?

 

What comes after 1967 and 1988 is meaningless and has no bearing on a prime, peak fight between the two. That’s more a question of legacy which bears no relevance to any projected fight. They were both eventually beaten by lesser fighters as typically happens in the greatest of careers, and Tyson’s career in particular fell apart from endless documented mental problems, run ins with the law and subsequent incarcerations and legal entanglements.

Huge “superfights” like this have a way of surprising and is no guarantor of being a classic, but the way I see the action breaking down is as follows.

Tyson comes roaring out looking for a retreating Ali ala the first Liston fight. Tyson is quick on the target who is just as quick as skipping off the ropes, flicking the jab in retreat. Tyson is put off his normal rhythm of being able to engage while Ali is unwilling to engage though he is trying to counter flash right hands off Tyson’s noggin and working his jab in retreat, trying to land something, anything on him to keep him off.

Tyson quickly finds his patience and balanced restored when he moves to stalking mode and cutting off range, making Ali run harder and longer as Tyson begins to slowly reel in the distance with feints, range finders, and positioning. Ali can’t find his timing on the bobbing and weaving Tyson, so much like the Folley fight where he also dropped those early rounds until he figured out how to swoop in on Folley without being countered, it’s a boring fight with him spoiling, clowning, and giving away rounds.

Ali knows he eventually has to stand and fight the monster as he did in the first Liston fight after 5 rounds, so he starts to settle closer to his range as the mid rounds progress. Finally we are starting to see some limited exchanges, but now folks are booing when Ali breaks off. People forget that Ali was often booed at any given fight and forget that his entire ring persona was based on famed wrestler, Gorgeous George, one of the greatest heel personalities in history for whom boos were money raining from the heavens.

Ali is using this time to sharpen his instincts and timing because he will have to choose his spots carefully to start doing some damage on the unmarked Tyson.

So, finally the time comes when Tyson has trapped Ali again who’s ready with his lightning counter right which Tyson shakes off with a massive burst of a combination from Hell that shakes Ali to his core.

So, that’s how I see the fight starting and I can’t see how it starts in any other fashion unless someone actually believes in Ali’s famed “Anchor Punch” that he learned from Stepin’ Fetchit. Me thinks the Tooth Faerie is gonna have to leave it under Ali’s pillow the day before the fight.

How the fight ends is where we get into the really meaty bone of contention. Tony Tucker went on the stick and move the last few rounds against Tyson when he saw he couldn’t survive trying to exchange with him. Some would say smart choice to take your chances with fickle judges whose empty pockets might be bulging by fight’s end. Bonecrusher Smith and Mitch Green, neither scarcely possessing a trace of Ali attributes, survived by tying Tyson up and losing every round, not a prime Ali style.

I’d like to think Ali at his core was more the warrior who would pull out all the stops to win back the early rounds he gave away which is where his fatal flaw is.

Mortals cannot trade in Tyson’s wheelhouse, period. Tyson had won almost every round he contested to that point in his career by cutting off the ring and forcing himself into his own distance with impeccable timing and speed, punctuated with lightening combos.

To simplify his game, his offense was his defense. Hardly any punches could land on him from distance, and once in his range he was absolutely blistering.

Maybe Ali extends it into later rounds by mixing fighting hard with running and clowning around as he sometimes did, frustrating Tyson into making mistakes, but Tyson back then was kept on track by his trainers and was all business, especially when he knows he winning the rounds and putting serious hurt on his guy.

Ali did put together a late rally combination to knock out Mildenberger, but Mildy is about as far removed from a prime Tyson as he is from Ali in comparison, but it’s out there, in the record, and no doubting the lightning quality of Ali’s handspeed when he was sufficiently motivated.

Ali does have the longer, quicker, flicking jab he could adjust the snap to suit his purpose, and it was a slicing, cutting marvel that won a lot of cut TKOs for him, so that’s a possible win scenario for him nobody could discount. As a one punch counter, Ali’s right hand is probably the fastest of any heavyweight, and it could be a slicer as well, so try as I might, I can’t see any other way he can win this fight but cuts, but on a 21 yr old fighter never before cut in more contested bouts than Ali had?

It seems silly to bet the farm on a cut knowing Ali is likely to lose most of the rounds and maybe get knocked out, but then again, can you remember how many folks put money on Ali to beat Holmes and Tyson to beat Lewis when each was well past his best?

Go look at the record, and you’ll find a wide assortment of “experts” picking Ali or Tyson for those fights, and one can only imagine the names of those experts who lost their silly money in those lopsided losses.

Yes, I said it. Anyone can get knocked out, and Ali had already been on the canvas or hurt by smaller, lesser skilled and credentialed heavyweights than Tyson. Maybe he could knockout Tyson, his right hand was somewhat underrated compared to the potential power I believe he had, but it just ain’t probable in what we know about the fighters going into this bout.

Tyson also had an excellent jab he famously out jabbed the hugely rangier Tucker with, and on a one punch basis his speed and timing were superb, but it was his combinations that were as quick or quicker than any heavy that preceded him. He was well versed enough in a wide variety of them for every occasion that typically he only needed a few combinations to terminate a fight.

So, Tyson is the favorite for me. I’d have no problem with anyone picking Ali, except that few ever make a good case to counter Tyson’s advantages and generally come up with unrelated nonsense or worse,so I did map out how Ali might win. One can never discount his one off talents coming up with something never seen before.

For the record, Ali was once asked about this fight in Tyson’s prime presence near 25 yrs ago and he indicated Tyson would knock him out. Tyson responded by protesting no way could he ever beat Ali.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ki4UKsI8bms

So, there it is, your most gracious true factual answer to the perpetually unanswerable, complete mutual respect forever captured in time.

Such shall have to suffice for the here and the now. Still, we can dream, “What if?”

Until The End Of…………….

!WoW-Abraham/Froch vs Marquez/Katsidis For FOY!

!WoW-Abraham/Froch vs Marquez/Katsidis For FOY!

Post Thanksgiving, November 27th this Saturday sees what could well be two of the top ranked action packed Fight of the Year candidates.

Just a quick note with all due respect to the abruptly terminated middleweight classic Sergio Martinez and Paul Williams put on.

Planted

Planted

Martinez is smokin’ red hot coming off his dramatic career signature victory and rumored to be in talks to face the newly Showtime signed Lucian Bute, two potential candidates to meet the winner of the Super Six tourney………double WoW!

 First serving this Saturday comes from the “exotic” locale of Helsinki, Finland as part of the Showtime Super Six SuperMiddleweight Tourney when former middleweight champ King Arthur Abraham goes against former supermiddleweight champ Carl The Cobra Froch for the vacant WBC supermiddleweight crown that used to belong to Froch.

These two are far and away the most physical and powerful fighters in the tourney and they usually get their way in the ring by knockout with each being the best or near that the other has ever fought. The ring is gonna get a workout in this one as most folks are thinking a knockdown, drag out, knuckle busting war here.

Both are coming off their first career losses and are hungry to reclaim the glory that used to be theirs. It’s also worth noting that Abraham has knocked the first two fighters he faced clean out of the tournament with brutal concussive force. In Froch’s last bout, Mikkel Kessler outgutted and outboxed him but took enough punishment to pull out of the tourney, citing eye problems that first surfaced in the Ward fight, so fighting Froch is no Sunday picnic.

The Cobra

The Cobra

Froch has really stepped up his competition in his last 4 fights, 3 of which he took some solid punishment in. At age 33, he’s beginning to enter boxing’s twilight zone when traditional athletic attributes start to erode and a fighter needs to make use of smarter conditioning, better ring craft, and nuance. Froch generally likes nothing better than to get in a slugout rather than box which has served him well since he’s so strong, but I rate Abraham’s power over his, so we shall see what transpires when push comes to slug.

One More Down, So Who Wants It Next?

One More Down, So Who Wants It Next?

Abraham is also a pretty basic boxer, never really looking to outbox anyone, but rather to engage in a test of wills, ring generalship, and power. To that end, he does two things exceedingly well: 1-He covers up well on the ropes as he uses them to rest, to gage, and to extend out the opposing fighter.  2-He tends to attack without warning in violent bursts that do a lot of damage and he’s a great finisher when needed.

That’s pretty much 90% of any fight against him that he controls using his style, the ringmanship.

Not many have given Abraham much credit for his footwork, but it’s also topnotch as he’s very quick on the mark, can cut the ring off, and has stayed very well balanced from what I’ve seen in his career save the Dirrell fight where he was forced into a chicken chase of the greased lightning Dirrell and looked off balance and off his game in the early going.

Nobody ever looked good chasing chickens around the pen, though.

If Abraham has any real weakness, it might be found in his titanium rebuilt jaw that Edison Miranda literally shattered in one of the most brutal fights in boxing’s history. It’s a gut wrencher to watch after you understand the full extent of that damage.

I wouldn’t claim to know how long a rebuild of that type could last, but Froch is very heavy handed and the fight game is about exposing and then exploiting any weaknesses as they show up, a predator’s artform.

So for me, it’s Abraham’s footwork and basic style over Froch who will be wanting to rock hard with Abraham in a brutal beauty.

About eight or so time zones later in the more traditional locale of Las Vegas, Nevada, modern Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez means to put his lightweight titles on the line against Aussie based Michael Katsidis for the Ring, WBA and WBO belts.

Marquez is getting up there in years and accumulated ring time, being 37 years of age now and having turned pro in 1993 some 57 fights ago, but he’s currently the man to beat in the lightweight division, so this is the goose who laid the golden eggs opportunity of a lifetime for former WBO champ Katsidis.

The Great Katsidis

The Great Katsidis

Katsidis is the younger, age 30, bigger, stronger, and more powerful puncher in this one whose natural style is as a swarming puncher/brawler. He showed he can box some as the undefeated young contender Kevin Mitchell found out this year when the cagey Katsidis moved and boxed to open before luring Mitchell in for the quick finish.

Marquez is a natural counter puncher, but he won’t back away from a tear up when it comes to him, which it will since Katsidis figures his time is now and knows he could never outbox Marquez on the cards in his adopted Las Vegas fight home.

Marquez knows that he should be able to sharpshoot this one to mark up Katsidis badly, so the question is whether he can finish it before the swarm comes when his old war weary bones will be forced to trade heavily?

A Spritzer Para Tu, Senor

A Spritzer Para Tu, Senor

This one is tougher for me to call. Marquez beat their common opposition that Katsidis lost to, Casamayer and Diaz, but he was struggling although the Diaz rematch went much smoother for him.

Katsidis had Casamayer finished but wasn’t smart enough back then to close the show, and he was never troubled by Diaz, a split decision loss in Diaz’s hometown of Houston, a lackluster fight between two dispirited fighters coming off their first losses and boxing too carefully without any of their usual fire.

Katsidis is now back on the upswing again with a new swagger and better experience whereas Marquez is coming off a dispiriting, lopsided loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr that his rematch win over Diaz scarcely bandaged. Marquez knows that a win puts him in the Manny Pacquiao sweepstakes, a rubber match that has plenty of support in the boxing community, but he also knows that his promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, they are being sued by Manny Pacquiao for defamation, so what was a natural 3rd fight between them becomes problematic.

Katsidis could well wear down the creaking Marquez, but only if his face lasts the distance. Marquez will be the substantial betting favorite though, and Vegas is effectively his home town, so he gets all the officiating perks of the hometown fighter, all ring conditions the game road warrior Katsidis is experienced with. He means to walk through fire for this Golden Goose or go out on his shield trying.

WoW, 2 likely Fight of the Year candidates on the same day well separated by time constraints for your select viewing. Must see to believe!

A Poke Here + A Poke There x 12 = A Lotta Pokes

A Poke Here + A Poke There x 12 = A Lotta Pokes

GrandMaster Marquez Survives to Thrive

GrandMaster Marquez Survives to Thrive

 

Paul Williams vs Sergio Martinez-The Rematch

The stratospherically tall Paul Williams is set to challenge the newly minted WBC middleweight champ in a long anticipated rematch against Sergio Martinez this Saturday, November 11th at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Play It Again, Sam

Play It Again, Sam

Martinez has managed to make himself into something of a sensation recently in spite of posting a disappointing 1-1-1 record over the past two years. The poor results show the limitations of using the record alone to judge a fighter and don’t reflect the excellent boxing skills and fighting spirit Sergio shows in the ring.

The loss was very close and disputed by many, and the draw was a travesty against honesty and competence in boxing when a whacked out Kermit Cintron should have been KTFO after taking the full count or at least DQed for arguing with the ref afterwards. The gang of officials who sanctioned and officiated the bout scrambled to find a single functioning brain cell between the lot of them to tell them what to do next before resuming the bout a farcical 5 minutes later, but that’s all water under the bridge for the new WBC champ coming off his signature win over the towering Kelly Pavlik.

The Argentinean seems to have attracted a significant American following the last couple of years because of his stellar fighting acumen, but perhaps more tellingly by his personal demeanor as an old school consummate gentleman with additional descriptors such as Hollywood handsome tagging along.

All that attention might raise the hackles of the perpetually underappreciated Paul Williams who has been struggling for meaningful fights, recognition, and the large purses that traditionally come with the type of success he’s had in his career thus far, 39-1, 27 KO. If riled, he must be hiding it well since he’s been virtually silent on the promotional end since the fight was announced while Martinez has garnered most of the press.

Williams got little credit for their first fight in spite putting up a great fight and coming away with the majority decision that some claim Martinez deserved. He followed that with another controversial win over Kermit Cintron who has become the King of Controversies. Cintron dove out of the ring during an exchange and hit floor, “apparently” unable to continue until he suddenly came to life to protest the fight’s stoppage much like the Martinez knockdown.

So, Williams is coming off a majority decision and then a technical decision against top ranked contenders and wondering what he has to do to get some recognition and a more comprehensive win.

Williams’ biggest problem besides being impossibly tall and talented is that he’s also a southpaw with a freakish reach making him a very awkward fight. Martinez is also a southpaw, and traditionally two lefties don’t make fan friendly fights though their first match had HBO raving for more. Williams did himself no favors with the public by demanding a 158 lb catchweight for this challenge which is just more catchweight silliness in boxing that lately seems to be catching on like a wave of the latest flu pandemic.

Thankfully their promoters finally got the contracts hammered out, so now it’s up to the fighters to take care of business in a definitive way on the cards that fans can get behind. I get the feeling that this fight is a grudge match for the two training teams if not the fighters themselves since Martinez’s team were vehement in their protest after losing the first fight. Martinez himself just flashed his trademark sunny smile and shrugged his shoulders knowing that he’d already been done in worse for the Cintron fight and that little could be done to change the outcome.

I personally thought Williams edged it, but boxing does itself no favors with perpetually poor refereeing and judging, such that close fights or unsporting behaviors can become contentiously controversial on no other basis save individual perceptions that the rules of boxing are not being followed for a sporting contest.

That’s what rematches and rubber matches were meant for, to straighten out the record, something boxing, ie, promoters and ABCs could better promote, but typically they are more interested in following up tough fights with easy walkovers to build up fragile fighter psyches rather than dicker over infinitesimal purse percentage splits in another tough fight.

The Trinkets

The Trinkets

So, here we are with two top lifetime welter/junior middles fighting at a 158lb catchweight with the WBC and the Ring middleweight titles on the line in what should be a pretty good scrap. Martinez also won the WBO belt when he dethroned Pavlik but was almost simultaneously stripped of that belt and his WBC junior middle belt afterwards, so Martinez is becoming painfully aware of the self serving capriciousness of the various ABC orgs, refs, and judges.

Ripped For Action
Ripped For Action

Reports initially indicated a possible weight problem with Martinez scaling near 180lbs, but in California, he is looking sharp and trimming down as he moves his conditioning up. Here’s a training pic some 2 weeks before the fight that shows a ripped Sergio at whatever his current weight is, so I suspect with the length of his camp, it should be no problem cutting weight.

Team Williams is apparently working on secret weapons and buried itself somewhere deep in Georgia not to be bothered by the press as I’ve heard scarcely a peep out of them. Williams has been much like Kelly Pavlik and Vitali Klitschko in sticking to his longtime trainer, in this case one George Peterson, whereas Martinez seems to have outside training input at the Robert Garcia Gym in Oxnard at the start of camp.

I personally feel both Pavlik and Williams could stand some additional training input from quality outside sources, but it’s their call and loyalty is an admirable trait.

In their last fight Martinez was able to utilize ring movement to direct the stalking Williams around the ring before using his quickness to leap in with damaging shots and combinations before moving out again. It worked OK overall as a counter to Williams’ reach, but it looked to me like Martinez tired down the stretch from fighting such a large, awkward opponent with such an energy sapping fight plan.

The other option would be to stand more at ring center and take the fight directly to Williams.

That would fit perfectly into Williams’ fighting style which has been to take the fight to whomever he’s fighting, softening them up with a blizzard of punches, often delivered in combination from different angles with both hands. Williams has a lot of experience fighting high profile lefties now, a record 4-1, 2KO against Sharmba Mitchell, Carlos Quintana, Winky Wright, and Sergio Martinez, so he has to be confident that he can handle Martinez again.

Remember, Williams did much, much better in his rematch against Quintana, avenging his only loss with a monstrous KO that Williams would love to replicate for this fight to avoid another controversy not of his making.

Williams is an aspiring young man who wishes to please the fans and doesn’t always fight to his strengths which is using his spectacular reach and work rate to overwhelm fighters at a distance. He willingly allows himself to exchange in close which is where the most realistic chance of beating him comes, and though he usually gets the better of those exchanges, a quick fisted combination southpaw puncher like Martinez can pose a danger and make him look clumsier than he is, which is one of the reasons the public has not flocked to him. The other being that Williams is not a dynamic personality with dynamic ring persona. He’s more in the mold of Joe Louis, another small town Southern country boy going quietly about his work to beat every fighter he encounters which keeps his record shining without casting any limelight on himself.

Though Williams and Martinez exchanged opening knockdowns in their first encounter, neither fighter is a one punch artist, but rather a combination, accumulative, attrition type of puncher. It’s possible someone’s chin could crack eventually in spite of both proving to be very durable fighters if the pace gets ramped up to what I suspect it to be with both looking harder for the KO this go round.

I’m guessing the odds will be fairly even come fight night with Williams being a slight favorite, but I have a sneaking suspicion that training preparations will be key in this fight and I have no inside insight there. From the outside, it looks like Martinez has been making all the right moves, but he has a huge obstacle to overcome since Williams is a much quicker, a more dynamic and awkward fighter than the orthodox Kelly Pavlik, a tall powerhouse that Martinez was able to move inside on at will thanks to flowing eye cuts that kept Pavlik blinded for the latter rounds of their fight.

If the fight is near as exciting and as closely contested as the first, I imagine HBO would be willing to put on the rubber, so I’m expecting a good, maybe a great, very tight fight, but you might not want to risk betting the farm in this one unless you enjoy chewed off nails and split judges cards.

Good Lookin' Undercard Too!

Good Lookin’ Undercard Too!

The undercard is intriguing with an undefeated two division champ, Zsolt Erdei, 31-0, 17 KO, former title challenger Tony “The Tiger” Thompson, 34-2, 22KO, and undefeated middleweight contender Fernando Guerrero,19-0, 15KO, fighting, but unfortunately against TBA type of journeymen. Still, these guys may be relatively unknown, but it’s a good opportunity to showcase their skills for future title challenges.

Pick’em, Danno-Winner Takes All……..

 

Como se dice, "Adios, Amigo?"

Como se dice, “Adios, Amigo?”

 

 

Danny Green vs BJ Flores, The Barbie Down Under

In Tribute to the Haye vs Harrison @ Handbags English classic riposte staged last Saturday, the Aussies, not to be outdone, they are staging their own Commonwealth special down under tie-me-kangaroo-down-mate classic when Danny The Green Machine Green tops it off against BJ El Peligroso Flores.

Green’s Green Machine ring moniker is spot on with him nearing 38 yrs old with at least a couple of retirements, yet raking in millions in recent fights drawn from a junkyard of rusted out hulks who never fought again.

It follows that BJ, (wonder what his parents were thinking when they hung him with that little jewel?), well, BJ’s ring moniker, El Peligroso, translates to The Danger, with the danger in this case being that Green may add him to his collection of cadavers he keeps.

The Blowout

The Blowout

Oh, I need to amend the above to note that Green did stage a 1st round knockout on the legendary Roy Jones in a disputed fight where Jones claimed Green packed his gloves illegally, but regardless, Jones somehow manages to retain some ranking and is still active, so Jones sorta made himself the exception.

Poor Flores has no such credentials as the former supermiddle and light heavy WBC and WBA champ that Green very briefly was. Green is currently on his 4th defense of his IBO cruiser title now, with all his IBO title fights ending in early knockout.

The only recognizable name on Flores ledger is Darnell Ding-a-Ling Wilson,  a powerful, but inconsistent former contender, a credible win, but otherwise, it’s been a very modest cast of journeymen, winning some minor cruiser belts. The IBO title might qualify minor in some quarters, but it’s a step above anything Flores has won. Oh, and then I guess there’s his own stand in for Roy Jones, a first round demolition of one Ali Supreme, so there it is!

Sounds like a mismatch, eh?

But wait, there’s more! Green has matured into a natural 185 pounder in a 200lb division, and Flores fought the first half of his undefeated, 24-0-1, 15 KO career as a heavyweight before moving to cruiser, so if Green comes in at his normal weight, Flores is likely to be at 210+ lbs in the ring, at least a 25 lb advantage or more. There have been catchweight rumors and financial incentives, so we shall see soon enough.

El Peligroso

El Peligroso

Flores is younger too, right in traditional prime years at age 31 with low ring mileage, whereas Green is nearing 38 years. He does look a strong, fit 38 though he has yet to be tested.

But, wait, Flores hasn’t fought in over a rusted year, so is not ranked in many places anymore. Wonder what the sporting odds of him never fighting again after this fight are? We might never see him in the ring again.

Will he get sucked into The Green Machine topsy turvy upside down under parallel boxing world to be  dressed up, waxed, and spit out as Green’s latest addition to his cadaver collection?

Flores should be afraid, very afraid.

Bernard Hopkins was, backing out of an agreed deal with Green after more sober reflection of Green’s dramatic knockout of Jones. Hopkins hopped the greener pastures fence to take on Jones in their all time stinker passed off as their way overripe rematch for easier money.

Flores looks like he’s gonna make the ring march though, and damned if anyone knows what will really happen, or if they do, I sure ain’t in on it, but it’s likely to be dramatic, controversial, and comical theatre wrapped in a ring enigma to be tossed on the barbie. Might be worth the watch if you’re up and about come November 17th, Aussie time.

No Way, Sonny

No Way, Sonny

?What’s For Dinner–Cowboy ChopSteakSuey–RAW!

First off, apologies for the software problem that has mysteriously butchered up my Pacquiao vs Margarito—Superbowl Del Boxeo article. I’m attempting to edit it back, but I’m not sure of any success, so it may be edited in an inferior fashion to the original or it may just have to be grammatically interpretated as best as possible.

Now, as to last night’s fight at Cowboy stadium, let’s be clear here, regardless of anyone’s personal feelings about Manny Pacquiao or Antonio Margarito, these two fighters deserve high praise for showing up in as fine a condition as any fighters in history ever have, taking last night’s fight to each other with skill and ferocity.

The fight was mostly staged at ring center with each doing as much as they are capable within parameters of their styles and talents, yet by the end, the superiority of Manny Pacquiao stood out as bright as the multiple rotating sky lights that spectacularly lit up the night sky and Cowboy stadium.

ChopSteakSuey Time Para Tu, Senor!

ChopSteakSuey Time Para Tu, Senor!

 I am not of the persuasion that derides lesser losing fighters with banal common descriptors such as “Bum” or dismissing them as ”Shot” or “Trash” and so on. Some fans just don’t understand how this also greatly diminishes their own favored fighter who have apparently only beaten bums or fought trash by extension.

Still, it’s only natural that we the people can have a little fun with metaphors, similes, euphemisms, and captioned photos, all of which paint a picture of the life of a fighter, typically mixed with humbling doses of public pain and humiliation in the ring with shining moments of public glory and satisfaction, even adulation.

It’s no fun getting your face punched in and your guts tenderized in the public view, but to then keep fighting back in a losing cause or having anything left to storm back for ultimate victory, that my friends, takes a special fighter’s heart that was on display last night.

Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito have been two of the highest ranked fighters of their generation with Manny ascending to the top of the fistic heap in these last few years to sweep all the prestigious Fighter of the Decade awards in the first decade of the newly minted 3rd Millennium.

There was a reason that Manny batted clean up for last Sunday’s 60 Minutes that opened with President Obama’s Asian tour and G-20 summit. When the smoke clears, the history will be that Manny Pacquiao will be one of the few seminal world names that kicked off this new decade and millennium.

The fight may have seemed an easy night’s work to the unstudied eye for Senator Manny, but it ain’t easy taking those famed Tijuana Tornado left hooks to the liver, “El Gancho,” anymore than it is eating the famed uppercuts that are Margarito trademark. Those shots brought down highly acclaimed contenders such as Sergio Martinez, Kermit Cintron, and Miguel Cotto and had Oscar de la Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr avoiding him like the plague.

Mr. Manny controlled the ring center with brilliantly dazzling footwork, negating most of Margarito’s offense before it could be triggered.

Credit to Margarito for starting strong with a nice, long, sharp jab that controlled much of the distance between the two early on as Manny probed around the perimeter, getting his timing and openings set to gradually ease into the full measure of the formidable fighter that Margarito is. Some forget or dismiss that Margarito was a Ring ranked fighter for near a decade before being stripped after his wrap fiasco and suspension. He’d earned the WBC #1 contender status by fight night along with the more impartial formulaic Boxrec rankings that had him #2. He made his comeback with renewed vigor, conditioning, and learned some new tricks from his new trainer, so it’s important to understand Antonio Margarito in context.

Margarito has never been more experienced in ring craft, never been in better condition, never been as physically strong as he was last night in Cowboy Stadium, yet Pacquiao slowly chopped him up and then minced him for good measure, one of the most brilliant pieces of ring generalship and talent I’ve ever seen in one fighter.

Cynics may say that Margarito was chosen exactly because his style could be exploited, but folks, I’m here to tell you that any style, any fighter can be exploited by the right talent melding with the right fight plan and style on the night, but it takes a fearless master to put it all together to tame a monster like Margarito who looked like a giant next to the little Filipino.

Sure, I agree that the 150lb catchweight was a bit of a joke, and it’s a mystery only deciphered by the shrouded “public” regulations of the ABC orgs that create these title matches where one of the fighters, Pacquiao, technically failed to make the minimum weight limit of the junior middleweight division which would be one ounce over 147lbs up to 154lbs, not the 144+ figure Manny weighed in at.

The actual fight night weights are no joke however, giving us a rough comparison of the actual size differences in the ring after the fighters have undergone some 36 hours of rehydration and the replenishing and topping off nutritional reserves.

Manny was weighed in at 148lbs and Margarito at 165lbs, or what used to be a standard welter vs middleweight match up of the old days when weight division discrepancies were no big deal.

Boxing needs to be more careful with the way it promotes these types of bouts these days since had Margarito’s strength and power overcome the diminutive Pacquiao with injurious results, the lurking enemies wishing to ban boxing would scurry out in force and the general public would be outraged.

Thankfully, what we saw is what many already knew, Manny Pacquiao is simply a class above any fighter of this generation no matter how much size and strength he has given away in the ring, no matter how many distractions he has outside the ring. He only seems to have grown more nuanced and gotten better and better with every fight, begging the question of whether a limit can ever be reached?

It’s shocking that he can be a sitting Senator, a music and movie star, a husband, a father, an icon for the ages, and still be improving as the best fighter of the decade.

Sweet Victory

Sweet Victory

Some are now mentioning Pacquiao as the best ever, and to be fair, he earned the #2 spot in a well publicized world wide public poll held last year, just behind the fabled Sugar Ray Robinson, but ahead of Muhammad Ali.

His admittedly biased promoter, Bob Arum has been proclaiming Manny as the best ever,  and with the gravitas he carries as promoter of some 25 Ali bouts, his view is starting to gather some public steam.

I don’t get into many of those lineal, top down descriptors that limit understanding of all the great fighters that have come down the pike in every generation, but it’s out there now folks, a new “beauty contest,” so there it is for any to chew on as they see fit.

Mainly a big thanks to Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito for leaving everything they have in the ring, and to their highly developed training teams that provided some well publicized handwrap controversies and drug accusations in the final countdown before the first bell sounded to kick off the fight.

It’s all settled now. Classic Boxing 101 in Spades!

Pacquiao vs Margarito Pre-Fight Update

With the Pacquiao vs Margarito fight at Cowboy Stadium just a few days away now, physical training is winding down as the fighters enter the tapering stage. Maximum physical gains and sharpness are realized by relaxing their bodies as their mental states gear up for the weigh-in and first bell. Promotions are entering their final push as the public interest fleshes out, so there have been some interesting developments that are worth noting.

Also, some interesting links to follow and of course you can read the main course fight preview as the next article on this home page or click this link directly or copy and paste it into your search:

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/pacquiao-vs-margarito-superbowl-del-boxeo-3/

First off, controversial Texas referee Laurence Cole has been named as the 3rd man in the ring to oversee the actions and insure a fair contest according to the rules of the sport. I last saw him in action when he butchered the Abraham/Dirrell match up in Detroit by being woefully out of position to see  or intervene in the “final knockdown” of Dirrell by Abraham. This he compounded by delivering a count over the convulsing Dirrell before stopping to yell at Abraham in the neutral corner before asking the ring doc for medical assistance a full 20 seconds after Dirrell had been convulsing. Amazingly, Cole then loudly proclaimed his ruling of a disqualification by foul in spite of not seeing what actually occurred and without consulting anyone or any reflection that I could see.

Maybe I’ve seen worse officiating efforts, but it’s up there near the top. I get too riled reliving it, so you can read a more detailed report here. Fighters deserve much better for sure, so I can only hope and pray he can do better for Manny and Tony’s sake this Saturday.

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2010/03/30/an-outsider-looks-in-on-abrahamdirrell-results/

Moving on, Manny had scarcely arrived in Los Angeles before Bob Arum asked him to make a campaign appearance to boost US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a former boxer himself. The Senator was targeted in a bruising re-election battle during a hellacious take no prisoners election cycle, being knocked down and taking the count according to many polls.

Manny eats up this stuff like candy, so of course he showed up to plug the Senator, and of course Arum, Manny, and Tony all got a bonu$ by this unusual opportunity to plug their fight to a national political audience not usually plugged in on fight night. The fighting Senator Reid edged out a split hair decision on the cards.

Naturally some are crediting Super Manny who furthered his political connections for his own newest senatorial, ahem……..Presidential ambitions :

Mr President

Mr President

Here’s a link to an interesting 24/7 series showing Pacquiao and Margarito in fine training camp form and confident in their respective victories. I believe the final 24-7 segment will be released shortly:

http://www.youtube.com/user/SerpicoRising#p/u/0/9eiM2cDRZ1c

How about his CBS 60 Minutes appearance this last Sunday:

Here’s a brief 60 Minutes clip talking about Mama Manny and her new career. She has apparently never seen one of his fights, disliking boxing and fearing for her son’s safety like so many boxing moms:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWZ8ec0QAFM

Here’s the clip of Manny singing John Lennon’s “Imagine” with Will Ferrel on the Jimmy Kimmel show.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jT4hHMIpnjU

Here’s a photo of Margarito soaking in all his adulation in Fort Worth at a tamale festival. It’s worth noting that Margarito fans seemed to have outnumbered Manny fans at the Cowboy Stadium press conferences, perhaps more a reflection of the huge Mexican presence in Texas.

The Siesta Comes Later

Below are some photos Sports Illustrated graciously dug out of their archives showing Manny’s development through fight photos into a world wide icon and superstar.

Note: It begins with a concussive shot on Marcos Antonio Barrera, a huge upset at the time. I almost got to see it first hand from ringside but for the last minute timing of joining the old Boxing Central website writing staff, later hacked out of existence. It’s big brother, Boxrec lives on gloriously and recently resurrected a new staff of sorts, reporting on the British fight scene. Had I joined up the week or two before the fight, there would’ve been time to properly sort out press credentials instead of the 2 day timeline we had, but what a FIGHT!

The Siesta Comes Later
I don't recognize you!

I don't recognize you!

 

Where am I?

Where am I?

 

 
Ya snooze, ya looze!

Ya snooze, ya looze!

 

Final Thoughts on the fight:

mini-manny vs MIGHTY-MARG

mini-manny vs MIGHTY-MARG

The conditioning issues have already been addressed in the original article that you can read next. Roach is on record as stating he expects Margarito to be at 160 lbs or more come fight night, so apparently the rehydration clause was just a rumor. We shall see if Tony allows himself to be weighed on fight night.

Manny of course will have to be over 147 lbs to make this fight an official WBC superwelter title fight, and the reports indicated that he chose to abandon excessive strength training and weight gaining programs to come in at a more natural 147+ so as to concentrate on his speed that he and Roach see as key to this fight. Interesting to see the difference they think those 3 extra pounds might impose on Manny.

Margarito is in the best condition of his life, impressive considering he holds the Compubox punch stat record for the most punches thrown, some near 1400 punches in a 12 rd fight against Joshua Clottey who Manny beat up earlier this year in Cowboy Stadium’s first boxing match. I personally think Compubox is a bunch a marketing hooey, but regardless, he holds the record and means to come right at Manny, bulling him around with a blizzard of sledgehammers, which is exactly the kind of fight Manny, the press, and the fans want to see.

Manny will move some, give angles, and pick openings to dart in with lightning combos and disappear. He has been sparring with some big middleweight types so should be well prepared for Margarito’s style. There are fewer options for Margarito to prepare for Manny, him being a one off once in a century type of fighter, but Team Margarito has brought in a few southpaws who did their best with the best being tallish WBC middle champ, Sergio Martinez. It’s hard to know if Margarito can cope with Manny’s control over ring center, because that is where 90% of the battle will be waged, who to be the King of the Ring?

Quien es mas macho?

Watch for Manny cutting and swelling up. Clottey didn’t throw and land much, but Manny was a bit marked up after the fight, and Margarito will throw and try to land 10x that. Could be a factor as might the natural lefty/righty style unintentional headbutts that stopped two of Margarito’s title fights against Daniel Santos, one of which he lost a technical split decision on.

I’m picking Manny for all the obvious reasons, but Margarito should prove to be a serious danger in the ring and he’s the hungrier, more motivated fighter looking for redemption and a measure of the considerable respect he used to enjoy. If anyone can stage an upset on Manny at this point in time, he’s one of the select few.

This is a REAL FIGHT, a classic little man/BIG MAN battle, so enjoy……..  

Pacquiao vs Margarito ~ Superbowl del Boxeo

Superbowl del Boxeo is what the Mexican boxing magazine, Boxeo La Vista, has tagged this promotion.

Hmmmmm……..

Not exactly a poetic amalgamation of tongues this combination of Spanish mixed in with an American original euphemism that has become the crown jewel of a multi billion dollar business, the NFL.

Spanish and English are among the most poetic of languages, and boxing can be among the most poetic of sports, but any poetry in this matchup will have to be found in the rhythmic sounds of abrupt combination impacts of gloved fists slamming into faces and soft body tissues.

The Superbowl of Boxing is an apt translation of Pacquiao vs Margarito given the kill or be kill nature of the way the fight is likely to unfold. The shiny new billion dollar domed wonder, the Dallas Cowboy Stadium,  is the venue as well as coincidentally the site of the next Superbowl, although Top Rank has tagged the promotion more simply as Pacquiao/Margarito.

Pacquiao vs Margarito

Pacquiao vs Margarito

Pacquiao attempts to win a record setting 8th divisional world title with the vacant WBC junior middleweight belt up for grabs. There is a catch however, that catch being a catchweight being imposed on Margarito of 150, 151, or 152lbs, I’ve heard all three numbers being bandied about. Regardless, the catchweight adds to what is already a controversial fight in many quarters, a fight which seems to be gathering strength much as a hurricane sitting out in the Gulf of Mexico before it makes landfall to sweep over the populace with deadly force.

I’ve also heard whispers of a limited rehydration clause in the contract for Margarito, something that first surfaced when Pacquiao first fought Oscar de la Hoya. I can live with the idea of a reasonable catchweight, but limiting rehydration would be very disturbing if true.

Make no mistake, Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito are two of the most seriously trained ring assassins in the game regardless of what anyone may think of their matchup. Every fighter who has ever existed had weaknesses to offset their strengths, and savvy managers, matchmakers and promoters have made and lost fortunes with the selections and conditions they make, and this promotion means to make a fortune.

Bob Arum is a wily, grandfatherly, meaner than a Chinese junkyard dog lawyer with 5-6 decades worth of boxing experience who is the promoter of record with the Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones massaging the promotion with his magic.

Manny Pacquiao has become the crowning achievement of Arum’s long HOF career. Proven beyond a doubt to be the most well known and respected boxer in the world currently practicing his craft, Pacquiao has been at the apex of his career for the past few years. The physics of boxing and by extension, life itself, those physics are well known to Arum.

What goes up must eventually come down.

No fighter can remain at the top forever except in the minds of the most rabid fans for whom a Rocky Marciano or Muhammad Ali are the best who would beat the best no matter the time or place. Manny has risen to that point in time where he has many, many millions of those kind of fans around the world, too many in too many far and away corners of the world to count, and to be fair, his has been a storybook fairytale type of the most flea ridden rags to the most incomprehensible riches and acclaim imaginable.

This simple, humble man has proven to be a swift and fit warrior beyond belief, headlined more than a dozen PPVshows, swept the fighter of the decade awards, has his own band where he is the lead singer, is the lead actor in movies written and directed just for him, and most recently elected to the highest legislative branch of his country, the Philippines.

There has never been another like him and likely never will be into the distant future.Yet all those accolades and earnings are but a bunch of fluff to be dismissed by the first Magarito punches when the first bell sounds for the first round, so there is more to lose than any other fighter today for Manny if the unthinkable happens.

Antonio Margarito has 36 minutes to bludgeon him into chopsteaksuey and Antonio has had the look of a lean and hungry ripped to the gills Cassius sizing up his fat emperor, Cesar, since the promotion was first kicked off.His style may appear crude and simple to unstudied eyes like his horrific beatdown of the highly acclaimed, undefeated Miguel Cotto, but his sole mission has to be one of seek and destroy since it’s highly unlikely he could ever actually outbox the speedy, highly skilled little southpaw to win a decision on the cards any more than he could against Cotto.

Margarito will be wearing the black hat as the heel to put a euphemistic spin on this promotion. His detractors probably outnumber his supporters at this stage, but it wasn’t always this way.

The Tijuana Tornado is American born who curiously reversed the immigration trend to return to Mexico to live. Turning pro as a skinny 15 yr old, 133 lb nino, his is the prototypical Mexican rise from poverty of their storied boxers in the mold of Julio Cesar Chavez and other great Mexicans who learn to fight tough hombres in postage stamped sized rings where no quarter is asked or given.

He became the King of the Beatdown in his division, so brutally delivered that he had problems landing top fights once he became ranked. He was too much risk for too little reward in the pick and choose promoter’s world that run boxing, but he finally got a shot at a vacant WBO belt that he won and doggedly held on to as Arum stayed loyal to him, trying to hook him up against Oscar de la Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr, but they just wouldn’t bite to be landed in the ring.

Then there was the set back against the freakish Paul Williams, another high risk, low reward fighter in the division who took his title away, and suddenly Margarito was without an anchor and lost at sea. Finally, some good news when Floyd Mayweather Jr retired in a pique of hysteria that left Miguel Cotto without his superfight, so Margarito agreed to a fight in a convenient in house Arum promotion. Cotto put up a huge battle but was ultimately beaten to a pulp, making Margarito the newest boxing sensation after all these tough years of unloved labor.

The tough Mexican’s fall from grace was as brutal as his beatdowns when he was busted for having illegal inserts in his handwraps before he went against hometown California hero, Sugar Shane Mosley in his next fight. His longtime trainer confessed to the set up, but the damage was done. He lost his new title, instead picking up a one year suspension and the ire of the boxing press and public.

So, now Margarito makes his return to his home country after being written off by hasty critics. He’s been at training for more than a very hungry year and we already know what he did coming off a big loss before the Cotto fight against the media and fan favorite, or did we?

The claim is that Margarito also used his illegal inserts in that fight, and maybe previous fights as well. I’ve addressed the handwraps topic repeatedly if you want a more sequential detailed history of the events as they played out:

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/open-letter-to-the-association-of-boxing-commissionsabc-and-dick-cole/

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2010/08/18/breaking-antonio-margarito-denied-a-california-boxing-license/

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/antonio-margarito-finally-licensed-to-box-in-texas/

The controversy will be irrelevant once the combatants enter the ring. Margarito will be watched like a hawk by all interested parties to insure a fair contest, as will Manny, so how does the fight itself actually break down?

Two things really stand out for the fight, the current condition each fighter with both having a history of being among the finest conditions of any fighters in history. These two professional boxers have taken their careers very seriously, but reports out of Manny’s training camp have been troubling, reinforcing my own predictions once he was elected to public office. It’s impossible to be both a full time fighter while representing your people in elective office while additionally being a father and husband and everything else under the sun that Manny enjoys, but he obviously means to try.

Margarito was ripped and ready from day one of the promotion. He is a career welter only fighting sporadically with mixed results at junior middleweight, yet he garnished a #2 boxrec ranking and #1 WBC ranking with his last win over Roberto Garcia in Mexico. The Oscar de la Hoya Ring magazine has refused to rate him after the wraps controversy after near a decade of consecutive welter rankings, but regardless, nobody has ever seen Margarito look so shredded and muscled in his career as now.

Margarito looks drop dead dangerous as hell!

It seems to have been ignored that Margarito’s team claimed he was coming off eye surgery a week before the Mosley fight and was not fit to fight. He was brutalized and knocked out that night, though after one year of suspensions and steady training, he recently walked through a rough tough Roberto Garcia in his shake the rust loose bout.

Margarito has never been tested at the level that Manny brings on fight night regardless of any poor training camp although Paul Williams tested him and won their fight. Williams is a different breed of cat from Manny with an extra 10” of height and reach though both are southpaws.

Then we get into the performance enhancing drug accusations against Manny leveled by Floyd Mayweather Jr and his uncle Roger and Golden Boy counterbalanced by the Margarito illegal wraps. Facts are if Manny and Marg are really cheating than so is the same likelyhood of their opponents and every other boxer since they are all given the same pre and post fight screenings during their careers.

So for me, this is a pickem fight with too many unknowns squirreled away in dark corners to know about. Manny will be the overwhelming favorite in the betting, but being the betting favorite has never been a guaranteed prognosticator of results as new fans found out when Mosley pulled a big upset over Margarito.

Stuff happens.

A more solid prediction would be that this could be a fight of the year type which is why Arum was willing to match two of his stars against each other. The time is ripe with Manny rapidly running out of big opponents in what may be his last bout, the Dallas Cowboy Jerry’s World new shiny cool venue being made available, and the combatants as game as it gets with a white hat against black hat, a Pinoy Mexican assassin against the biggest, strongest, toughest Mexican gunslinger available in their new division.

Perhaps the most undersung part of the promotion is the storied Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders going up against the red hot Ines “L00kie-L00kie” Sainz for eye candy honors.

L00kie-L00kie- Bring Your X-ray Glasses.

L00kie-L00kie- Bring Your X-ray Glasses

This is the biggest fight of the year, and with near 50,000 thousand watching Manny shutout the unknown African, Joshua Clottey in his last fight, it’s possible 80,000 could pack Cowboy Stadium and raise the roof.No doubt there will be a few heart attacks and dozens of fights breaking out among the viewers before the dust clears.

It’s that kind of epic battle.