Monthly Archives: February 2011

An American Holiday–Saul Canelo Alvarez vs Magic Matthew Hatton

The current EBU welter champ, Magic Matthew Hatton, will be travelling to the Honda Center, Anaheim, California on Saturday, March 5th, for a fateful encounter against widely acclaimed Mexican wunderkind, Saul Canelo Alvarez.

Magic Time

Magic Time

This is a bit of a novelty bout in that normally we don’t see EBU champs abandon lucrative title defenses to fly over the pond to challenge a red hot Mexican contender, but truth is that Magic Hatton has won all 6 of his fights in the US and should in theory feel relatively comfortable fighting a fighter looking like just another Irish fighter in Alvarez.

The comfort level won’t last long after the first bell chimes in since the 20 yr old Alvarez is in reality already near legendary in Mexico and hopefully wrangling his promoter, Golden Boy, to make this his breakout year. Hatton has also pressured his promoter into making this his biggest year, and his promoter is none other than acclaimed older brother, Ricky Hitman Hatton, who has strong Golden Boy ties which is the impetus for this classic confrontation.

The breaking news going in is that Golden Boy petitioned the WBC to make this a vacant WBC junior middleweight title fight since Alvarez is the #1 mandatory and “Silverbelt” holder.

The previous title holder was Manny Pacquiao who relinquished the belt shortly after winning it in his last fight against Antonio Margarito.

Magic Hatton is at a traditional athletic peak at age 29, and has a bit more ring experience, 299 ring rounds at 41-4-2, 17 KO to Canelo’s 213 rounds at 35-0-1, 26 KO, but experience seem to be his only advantage going into this bout. They are otherwise about the same size and strength with Canelo having a speed and power advantage and harder overall competition coming up the rankings compared to Hatton who has stepped up his competition recently to get to this point.

A significant common denominator is Lovemore N’dou whom Hatton struggled to a draw against whereas Alvarez laid a technical thrashing on him.

I’m thinking Alvarez is the big betting favorite here. Hatton is a strangely awkward fighter for being so technically oriented, but the few times I’ve seen him he always looks off balance and off his timing to start a bout. While his chin has proven solid at the Euro level, Alvarez is a grade above and could take him out early before Hatton warms and adjusts to the fight.

Many regard this as a mismatch with Magic Hatton being long derided as a joke because he never lived up to Ricky’s achievements, but few fighters ever do. Persistence pays dividends though since Magic Hatton has proven to be a solid fighter in his own right and seems to have finally won over the respect of the British boxing public. It helps that brother Ricky is no longer in fighting trim these days, preferring the role of promoter and thus relieving Matthew of the immediate comparisons.

Bottom line is that many in boxing see so much more untapped potential in Alvarez than they do Hatton, and doubtless that should be the case come fight night. More importantly, win, lose, or draw, both fighters will have increased their international exposure which is a win/win scenario for Golden Boy in what could be an entertaining bout if it manages to go more than a few rounds.

       

Newest Old School Flash

Newest Old School Flash

 

Young Canelo has a mean and hungry old school look about him this time out, so what say you tune in for the first hand results?

The Brandon Rios Challenge of WBA Champion Miguel Acosta

Bam Bam Brandon Rios challenges the newly crowned WBA lightweight champion Miguel Acosta in his first bid for world title this Saturday, February 26th at Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Combatants

The Combatants

The 32 yr old Venezuelan Acosta has been boxing since 1999 in an up and down career going nowhere until he caught fire in two consecutive away bouts, torching the undefeated records of Urbano Antillon and Paulus Moses with big knockouts in their home environs for the WBA interim and regular titles in Mexico and Africa respectively.
 
Moreover, Acosta, 28-3-2, 22 KO, has been undefeated since 2004, so now he arrives at the apex of his career, his first defense of his title in another away bout as the headliner in the capital of boxing.

Quite a career turnabout by Miguel Acosta that merits big time respect, harkening back to the days of Danny Little Red Lopez going over to Africa to dethrone champ David Kotey and defending his title against a series of thrilling hometown challengers.

The 24 yr old Rios is just as easily undefeated since his pro debut, 2004, and already nailed his signature win over the equally undefeated Anthony Peterson at the Palms Casino Resort in a WBA title eliminator, so now he has his own fireworks showcase just for him in a comfortable home style setting not that far from where he lives and trains in Oxnard, California.

I’m guessing Acosta will be the favorite, however I’ve learned that odds can be strangely puzzling sometimes. Mainly the fighters seem evenly matched and I only note projected odds as part of the sport, not wishing to direct any betting.

In the Rios corner will be Robert Garcia, the hottest up and coming trainer in the biz. One notable attribute about Rios is his size, entering the ring bigger than most middleweights in history, but Acosta is hardly a dainty flower himself and may be the hungrier, more self made fighter than Rios who still has a bit of the kid in him needing direction.

The undercard features fast charging 21 yr old featherweight prospect, Robert Marroquin, stepping way up in class against an experienced Mexicali fringe contender, Gilberto Sanchez Leon along side some other Top Rank prospects.

Great card to see some of the future names in boxing, so peel your eyeballs off in that direction this coming Saturday if you like action packed knockout type of fights.

Reality ‘What If’ Fantasy–Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder

Breaking news for this coming February 19th.

A rare astrological phenomena  of top prospects Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder having aligned on separate cards ready to fight this Saturday has torn a rift in the gravitational  pull of the earth’s magnetism  that has sparked this rare communiqué.       

Mars Sez

Mars Sez

 

Message from  Mars, The God of War to The Goddess of Mother Earth, Ceres:

Would you direct two of my better known, most promising prospects to summon the stones to fight each other. I am on duty for supplications to insure this modern British/American rivalry comes off.

Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder

Wow, two near prime, stratospherically bodied heavyweights and undefeated knockout artists with shining amateur records fighting on the same day in different locales when they could be making a small fortune and acclaim for fighting each other.

What a matchmaker Mars would be if he can pull this off, but he needs plugged in team members and an enthusiastic promoter to pull it off.

Young 22 yr old Fury has been fighting around the same time frame as the 26 yr old Wilder in parallel worlds a continent apart, so ‘What If’ they do what is expected and knock out their scheduled opponents? Would there any shortage of boxing fans with a pulse and the hope of a good ol’ fashioned heavyweight slugfest between two young warriors bringing it who wouldn’t storm the gates for a look see?

With the exception of a few crusty old curmudgeons and callous youth, me thinks this could grow some legs and make for an international broadcast, particularly if Fury would storm Wilder’s home state of Alabama under the guise of the newly minted boxing commission that Wilder’s team played a role in creating that you can read about here:

http://www.fightnewsextra.com/cc/2011/02-wilders.htm

A well planned promotion would solve the dilemma that Fury faces of late, that of opponents falling out, leaving him fighting a succession of emergency replacements that you can read about here:

http://news.boxrec.com/news/2011/im-sick-prospects-facing-bums-says-tyson-fury

Fury has actually been bouncing around as a fringe contender for over a year now since the date of his first victory and belt for the English title against Big John McDermott. Wilder remains beltless thus far which could toss the proverbial monkey wrench in to any projected fight.

Fury has already gone the distance in a 10rd championship fight, and was in a 12 rd championship fight that he ended early with a big knockout. Wilder, in spite of being the more physically mature fighter, has never been further than the 4th round of a 6 round fight, so he would be at a distinct disadvantage except that he would hold the hometown advantage.

Would Wilder seize the opportunity?

Team Wilder

 
Team Wilder

Much depends on whether Wilder can get by unranked career lightheavyweight DeAndrey Abron this Saturday and how hungry he is to fight a heavyweight with a pulse and a punch and a rating. At his current rate of development, if he lives to be 90, he might be ready for a title shot.

Notwithstanding, he seems like a good kid who is making ‘The’ debut fight of the new Alabama Boxing Commission this Saturday, so if he is satisfied with the comforts of home, he’ll have a nice soft place of retirement where he has some influence if his push forward gets any softer than it currently is.

Wilder is exactly the type of undefeated young slugger Fury seems to have developed a penchant for recently. Marcelo Luiz Nascimento has a near identical Boxrec ranking to Wilder, 102 to 100 respectively, and Rich Power was equally big, strong, undefeated and big punching until Fury knocked him about the ring.

Fury in training 

Fury in training

 

While Fury has already stepped up his competition, when will he fight someone near his own current ranking again, currently 28th on Boxrec? The closest prime, ranked, undefeated heavy below him is 28 yr old American, Seth Mitchell, 20-0, 15 KO at 33rd. The closest above him is 25 yr old  Russian Denis Boytsov, 25-0, 23 KO at 24th.

Wilder has stated that he’s open to sparring with any heavyweight preparing to fight one of the Klitschko brothers, so with Fury in training with Manny Steward and Wlad now, it seems a perfect rivalry is ripe for the plucking. Prospective heavyweights  need to man up to the mark before the day finally comes when nobody shows up to watch OR to fight anymore.

Git 'er done, Boys!

Git 'er done, Boys!

Don’t mess with Mars, fellows, just git ‘er done as Larry the Cable Guy is want to remind us so he can git on back to work installing all the new cable orders a fight of this magnitude would generate.

Had some great sport mixing and matching you two and hope to see you in action soon.

The Tyson Fury Show At Crossroads

The Tyson Fury Show has been a hit with the British public ever since his debut some 2 yrs ago. It’s the kind of reality TV career that sees him as the larger than life hero to reclaim British vigor in the Big Man division, but that also reveals him to be something of the panto villain with his braggadocio styled off the cuff challenges to big name British Heavies and silly Twitter feuds with Andre Dirrell.

These and other “transgressions” outrage his critics into a froth that whet their desire to see the 22 yr old Fury stretched for the count.

Tyson Fury

Tyson Fury

In spite of a smooth, impressive start, his career has started to spit and sputter as the 22yr old oversized manchild struggles to grow into his faster growing fame while negotiating  murky boxing politics that have killed untold numbers of talented hungry boxers long before he  was ever born. His notoriety has risen to the point where potential opponents expect to be paid well to fight him, and perhaps his team is not up to the tricky task of  negotiating fights at this level.

I note these observations on the eve of his attempt to claw his way onto the February 19th card at Wembley Stadium after his initial attempt to fight former WBO champ Frans Botha were shot down by the British Boxing Board of Control. More attempts with more prospective opponents followed, all to fall out for varied reasons, but now the breaking news is that a 30 yr old 6’5 Brazilian knockout specialist, Marcelo Luiz Nascimento, 13-0, 11 KO, only needs to pass the medical to be approved.

Marcelo Luiz Nascimento is precisely the ammunition Fury’s furious critics need to further ravage Fury’s career due to Nascimento being unknown outside of Brazil and probably not that well known within Brazil. With only 27 rounds in the bank against mostly novice fighters, it’s fair to say he is probably on level to Rich “Super” Power whom Fury battered about the ring last year in his American debut.

Tyson & Father John

Tyson & Father John

It’s also fair to say that regardless of whether or not Tyson Fury can make this Saturday’s Wembley card, he can never quite be the youthful, happy go lucky, big punching goof he used to be after his father and mentor, John Fury, was sentenced to 11 yrs behind bars after a fight at a car auction left another man grievously injured.

http://news.boxrec.com/news/2011/tyson-furys-father-jailed-11-years

Bad news like this is not something a young man can plan for. It comes like the unseen sucker punch to the pit of the stomach that can leave anybody floundering about, struggling to regain their balance and bearings.

The whole family is in shock and will be forced to adjust, of course, but how this will influence the career of young Fury has yet to be played out.

The Training

The Training

The good news coming out of the Fury camp had been how legendary Manny Steward had seen fit to take him under his wing and show him a first class operation. As you can see, he’s getting some stellar sparring and seems quite happy to be training at such a level. It remains to be seen if Steward will actually work the corner for a fight, though.

Where the Tyson Fury Show goes from here is anybody’s guess, but he says he wants to take it all the way to the top, so there it is for now, still aiming for this Saturday at Wembley on the way to the top.

Catch 22–A History of Boxing Catchweight Fights

To the Sporting Editor of the Enquirer:
I am prepared to make a match
To fight any man breathing for any
sum from $1000 to $10,000 at catch weights
This challenge is specially
directed at Paddy Ryan.

John L. Sullivan

Catchweight” or “contract weight” fights of course began long before Sully penned his challenges to his peers of the day, but to hear today’s typical boxing fan on a rant, catchweights are killing boxing when extra title belts and promoters ain’t killing boxing.

“If we could just get back to one belt and only the best fighting the best when men were men and on and on, over and over,” and so it goes on life’s wonderful merry-go-round.

Well, to be clear, the average fight fan is a rather unstudied lot, but then boxing as a business does little to educate the public as to the history of the sport, so in context, it is as it always was and forever shall be.

Promoters of course love catchweights for expanding the pool of prospective matchups that can be made and fighters themselves often jump when a lucrative opportunity presents itself, so let’s take a look at some of the bigger “catchweight” fights.

Kid Lavigne@131.5 vs Joe Walcott@131.5

Staged December 2nd, 1895 in Queens, New York, Barbados Joe Walcott was a squat, blocky welterweight in need of a big fight, so enter the manager of undefeated The Saginaw Kid Lavigne with a catchweight offer at 15 rounds, won by Lavigne by way of another stipulation of lasting the distance. Walcott’s manager put all his money in Walcott knocking out Lavigne. Keep in mind that the welter and lightweight limits were less by a few pounds than they are today and Walcott was coming off an open bout needing no weight limit and was at 138 lbs for that bout. They staged the rematch 2 yrs later with the Kid doing the honors, knocking out Barbados Joe who weighed 135 lbs for this bout.

Joe Gans@131 vs Battling Nelson@131lbs

Nelson vs Gans

Nelson vs Gans

This was Tex Rickard’s first big fight that established him as one of the greatest promoters ever, and what a dandy it was. Staged September 3rd, 1906 in the Nevada gold mining town of Goldfield, Rickard showcased the $33,000 purse as gold coins in the local bank’s store window, attracting the sporting crowds from all corners of the country.

Joe Gans was incrementally the bigger man, so Battling Nelson wouldn’t fight him without a weight stipulation of 131 lbs, being such a stickler that his camp insisted on weighing Gans at ringside just before the first bell. After 42 rounds of give and take action, Nelson had taken enough of a beating, delivering a blow so low and obvious that he was disqualified. Now I see Boxrec has “edited” the weights again along with the purse, so now the account of the fight is in disagreement with their record, but such are the always moving goalposts of boxing history. The point remains, Gans/Nelson fight is always reported as a catchweight fight.

Harry Lewis@149 vs Johnny Summers@141

Lewis vs Summers

Lewis vs Summers

Harry Lewis is an undersung fighter who held a portion of the welterweight title after the turn of the century. Staged January 25th, 1911 in London, England, the contracted weight was 144 lbs. Lewis was well over and paid a forfeit before knocking out Summers in the 4th round. He then announced he was moving up to middleweight where he finished his career. Fight conditions were very similar to the Mayweather/Marquez bout.

Henry Armstrong@142 vs Ceferino Garcia@153½

The Battle

Staged March 1st, 1940, this is a storied bout touted as Armstrong’s attempt to claim his 4th belt, but the truth of the matter is that only the state of California appeared to recognize the title, which, surprise, was split to smithereens! I see no indication it was reported as a catchweight fight, but I included it because in essence the conditions were near mirror image of the Pacquiao/Margarito fight.

Armstrong was well below the welter limit as was Pacquiao, and lifelong welterweight Garcia well below the middle limit, as was the Margarito career and weight. Some important differences are that Garcia did actually hold a portion of the middle title as recognized by the NYASC by beating Fred Apostoli, but the California fight was only for 10 rds, Another difference is the era with fighters like Margarito enhanced by modern weigh-in rules that give them as much as 36 hours to replenish fluids and nutrients before the fight. Margarito weighed a reported 167lbs in the ring, dwarfing Armstrong, Pacquiao, Garcia and most pre 90s middleweights in size.

Sugar Ray Leonard@165 vs  Donny Lalonde@167

Staged at Ceasars PalaceNovember 7th in Las Vegas, Nevada, this fight had all the media hype of a typical Leonard fight plus much more thanks to creative manipulations by the WBC that allowed Leonard to challenge for both the supermiddleweight and LaLonde’s lightheavy title simultaneously in spite of neither making the LH limit. The well drained LaLonde was coming on strong, on the verge of knocking out Leonard before visibly running out of steam and being flattened in the 9th round. It was a good scrap, but emblematic of the extremes of what “catchweight” fights can go to. LaLonde was never the same after this, campaigning at cruiserweight to finish out his career.

Oscar De La Hoya@155 vs  Bernard Hopkins@156

Staged September 18th, 2004 at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, the catchweight was actually at 158lbs, but Hopkins, having given up near every concession to the Goldenboy of boxing, got in his first shot early on by scaling in 2lbs below the contracted weight. He got in the last shot as well, flooring the surprisingly competitive De La Hoya with a left hook to the liver that kept him down for the 10 count in the 9th round.

Pretty much similar to the history of the thousands of catchweight fights in that there was seldom any controversy over the catchweight. That is until that modern subspecies, The Shiny Crusted Homo Petardis, started streaming(screaming) into cyberspace.

So now with promoters aware that even a minor controversy sells, it looks like catchweights will be proliferating for better or worse into the foreseeable future of boxing.

Where’s Waldo or Where’s America’s Next Heavyweight?

 Where’s Waldo was a popular ’80s children’s book where readers got to look for the cartoon character Waldo in crowds.
Waldo

Waldo

 

Fast forward to the ’10s with all the football bowl games and superbowl settled, and it’s deep into winter wonderland in the boxing world with little scheduled, so enter one David Nino Rodriguez announcing a “comeback” of sorts to save the heavyweight division that you can read here:

http://www.fightnewsextra.com/cc/2011/02-davidrodriguez.htm

Can you spot him next to Waldo?

Where he be?

Where he be?

David Rodriguez is currently 33 yrs of age, 33-0, 31 KO, last seen on the undercard of the Erik Morales comeback against Jose Alfaro in Mexico, so what’s he coming back from, Mexico?

Who knew?

It ain’t like he wouldn’t stand out in a crowd, being a prime, tall, big, strong, handsome guy, but with his current Boxrec ranking of 141, damn, he’s hard to spot between Henry Fuentes and Maurice Byarm after 12 years of boxing.

Nino

Nino

What? Impossible you say, right? How could that happen?

Reminds me a bit of America’s last boxing Olympic medalist Deontay Wilder whom you can read about here:

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/the-strange-case-of-deontay-wilder-the-last-us-olympic-medalist/

In spite of Deontay fighting inferior opposition to Rodriguez, they passed each other in Boxrec rankings sometime last year with Deontay currently sporting a shiny 103 ranking thanks in a large part to a 33 sec KO of Ty Cobb, “Nino’s” scheduled opponent this coming Saturday.

Is it Ty Cobb now that America’s next Heavyweight has to pass through? What, does that mean we are we to be blessed with a showdown between Nino and The Bronze Bomber? Would it be in Mexico or Alabama?

Do these guys really want to fight? Or do they want to pose as fighters in Mexico and Alabama while ignore all the stupendously silly money and acclaim ready to be minted for America’s next heavyweight champion?

Can’t speak to the sentiments of their fighting hearts, but it ain’t a stretch to think there must be millions, no make that billions in the world who would love to have their size and physiques who might make better use of their obvious opportunity, yet were not so blessed.

Que lastima.

So, like trying to find Waldo, boxing fans have to scan a mighty large crowd to spot America’s next “Heavyweight.” It didn’t used to be like that.

The Real McCoy P4P War—Montiel vs Donaire

Fernando Montiel and Nonito Donaire may not register with the average boxing fan who tend to concentrate on the heavier divisions that better reflect the size of the general populace, but these are two Ring ranked P4P bantys, a rarity to see two little fellas so highly ranked from a lower division.

The Gentlemen

The Gentlemen

Rarer still is a genuine banty superfight Saturday, this February 19th at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas when the  modern day Mexican legend Montiel puts up his rankings along side his WBO and WBC belts against the latest Filipino Flash, Donaire.

Now, rankings are a funny thing with Donaire, 25-1, 17 KO ranked P4P higher at #5 to Montiel, 43-2-23, 33 KO at #7 according to Ring, yet the vastly more credentialed Montiel is properly #1 in his banty division whereas Donaire is #5.

Boxrec, the “other” major independent rating medium, doesn’t see fit to rate them highly as P4Pers, so go figure the intractable mysteries of boxing rankings in between figuring all the known physical laws of the universe and solving the immutable human condition if you dare.

More compelling from a fight point of view is that both are on a high arc of development, probably at or close to their peaks as fighters, and little men have a tradition of being the most exciting fighters of all the weight classes. Add in the considerable ring achievements of both, and boxing purists are salivating in anticipation of what could be a knockdown, drag out war or a finely tuned boxing classic.

The interesting part for me is that we may have already had something of a stylistic preview of the fight last year when Montiel flew over to Japan to take on another P4P banty champ in the monstrous Hozumi Hasegawa who was in the process of delivering a pitch perfect boxing beating on Montiel before being suddenly derailed by a left hook. It would seem obvious that fight might be a bout of interest that Team Donaire could focus to observe how Montiel might fight a tall, technical boxer that Donaire is. The Jhonny Gonzalez fight that Montiel dropped  a decision would be another example of a tall, technical boxer having much his own way with Montiel.

The Credentials

The Credentials

Montiel may be shortstuff in height and reach, but this fighter with his proven power and credentials is never truly out of any fight. The latest training reports have him using some modern training wrinkles not usually associated with traditional Mexican warriors, so he’s fine tuning his own strengths for his own game plan and timetable for this fight. If he prevails, he could be known as the Asian Assassin to counter the Manny Pacquiao moniker as the Mexican Assassin.

Young Donaire is no slouch in the power department though, being the only fighter to ever knockout champions Vic Darchinyan and Volodymyr Sydorenko, so any fighter coming in on Donaire is potentially in grave danger of being whacked out muy pronto.

The Power

The Power

I suspect that Montiel will be a slight favorite, but really, this is a pickem fight. I favor young Donaire who has been held back somewhat since his signature win over Darchinyan almost 4 yrs ago, but damned if I’d bet the skinny dime that separates the ability of the two.

I see Donaire outboxing Montiel early on, but what happens next depends on who pulls their fistic genius out of the vast reservoir of talent to nail down the win.

The dustup is for far more than skinny dimes, bragging rights, or ABC trinkets though. The future financial rewards to the winner might be the greatest ever bestowed on a little man, so mucho grande dinero is riding on the outcome.

And they said boxing was dead……NOT!!!!!!!