Monthly Archives: March 2011

The Tragedy–Marcos Maidana vs Erik Morales

Ring legend and Mexican favorite Erik Morales makes a most unfortunate return as a ring headliner Saturday, April 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Words fail to properly communicate the true travesty and potential tragedy of such a bout against the deadly hitting Argentinean gunslinger, Marcos Maidana.

How this bout even got mooted to begin with is more than enough sociopathic manipulation to comprehend, but to get the bout actually sanctioned smacks of the long sordid history of boxing‘s worst ring moments rewritten and recast in the name of nothing more than greed and delusions of professionals who should know better.

It’s more the pity in that the undercard is a geniunely high level competitive set of bouts featuring two former champs, Robert Guerro and Michael Katsidis going after it for the interim WBO lightweight belt, and former champ Pauli Malignaggi further testing out the welterweight division against the other Cotto  brother, Jose Miguel Cotto, who is also looking for respect in a new division.

Better days for El Terrible

Better days for El Terrible

It would be a shame to see such solid matchmaking overwhelmed by a terrible tragedy, so I can only hope and pray that the disaster of Eric Morales is averted with a mercifully quick one punch KO by Maidana who is doubtless looking to do exactly that.

I won’t bore the public with a tiny tirade about the decline of the Eric Morales skillset and durability these past years. He retired in 2007 after a savage brawl against WBC lightweight champ David Diaz, claiming to be hearing ringing sounds as constant background noise, yet returned in 2010 claiming he wanted to be the first Mexican to win a title in 4 divisions.

Folks probably don’t recall that Morales turned pro as a tall skinny super bantamweight some 18 very long years ago in 1993. He’ll be 35 this year with 57 tough bouts and 387 hard rounds withdrawn as his credit line in the great bank of life.

It’s getting tougher and tougher to make the payments these days as the 40ish last minute replacement fighter Francisco Lorenzo showed him last time out, a bout that can only be described a WBC Christmas present to their lifelong WBC titlest, Morales. 

El Chino

El Chino

Maidana is one of the most feared, and I do mean feared punchers currently operating in boxing. It would be terrible for the future health of the tough as nails Morales to take the kind of punishment. Young Amir Khan has yet to show he can rebound after his recent slugfest against Maidana that saw “King”Khan out on his feet the last couple of rounds, yet held upright by his merciful “chamber ref in waiting,” Joe Cortez.

There is big money to be made on the backs of legends, and fairplay to Morales who apparently is still tough enough to make Juan Manuel Marquez back off their anticipated bout that would have been equally one sided from a technical point of view.

Maybe Marquez was feeling his own age and the effects of a tough bout against Michael Katsidis who knocked him down hard. Maidana, however, is still fresh and in his prime and suffers from no age related ailments.

Morales knew that Marquez also backed off a bout with Maidana, so he became the first in line for the opportunity, the brave warrior’s little dig at Marquez even if it means the last stand for Marquez. The fighting spirit of Erik Morales has always stood him in good steed, but this time there are serious health concerns, so I don’t feel like I am over dramatizing the debilitating aftereffects.

There is always the possibility of an unspoken gentleman’s agreement where Maidana wears the kid gloves and only looks to the judges to deliver him from the judgement of Fate, but having been jobbed most recently in the Khan bout, Maidana can be excused for his lack of charity if he goes after the old warrior hard.

Like the last Muhammad Ali bouts against Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick, I will simply look away. No need to watch the beating of a dead horse.

It nevert had to end like this, but it always seems to happen against a certain class of great fighter who refuses to quit. Que lastima.

The Nightmares–Robert Helenius vs Samuel Peter

The ambitious heavyweight contender Robert Helenius takes the big leap forward against former WBC champ Samuel Peter in a crossroads type of fight for both on Saturday, April 2nd.

Nordic Nightmare

Nordic Nightmare

The bout takes place in Gerry Weber Stadium, Halle, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany with the 27 yr old Helenius being closer to home evirons than Peter who has taken 2 of his 4 career losses in Germany against the Klitschko brothers.

The Nordic Nightmare Helenius hails from Finland, a land seldom associated with top level pro boxing, but he has proven himself in both the amateur and professional ranks thus far, currently sporting an undefeated 14-0, 9 KO pro record.

Nigerian Nightmare Samuel Peter counters with a 34-4, 27 KO record with the stakes being a title shot to the winner and claims on the nightmare moniker. 

Nigerian Nightmare

Nigerian Nightmare

Interesting bout in that Peter has been effectively shut out by the tall Klitschko brothers, but of course 6-7 Helenius is nowhere near as accomplished as they are. Helenius does have fundamental boxing basics with determination and some power which was on display when he impressively whacked out former WBO champ Lamont Brewster not too long ago.

Brewster was getting on in boxing years however, whereas Peter is still young for the division and could well be the first to nip the developing Helenius in the bud if he is motivated enough. Training issues in the form of excess poundage have plagued him much of his career, though in today’s 12 round climate with point scoring knockdowns and premature stoppages, it’s an advantage to pack on a few extra pounds.

Helenius himself is not exactly a svelte heavy, not looking much like an athlete at all, but he seems to have been bringing his weight down from a recent high of 252 into the 230s of late

Both Peter and Helenius are straight forward offensive oriented fighters with plenty to test each other, so I see this as a fairly entertaining fight with Peter being the slight favorite.

What remains unknown is how much the beating by Wlad Klitschko last year took out of him, but Peter’s taken some time to recover so should be good enough for a hard go at Helenius, which is really what the fans really want to see, an oldfashioned heavyweight slugfest.

Mainly, it’s good to see two top contenders fighting for a change and not the tiptoe through the tulips falsetto arrangement the regrettable WBA title holder has been tickling his soft English public with in recent years.

Pro vs Amateur–Vitali Klitschko vs Odlanier Solis

The fight happens March 12, Saturday at  Lanxess-Arena, Cologne, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, but let’s be clear here, this is a longtime professional legend having to face his mandatory, the 2004 Olympic heavyweight gold medalist whose professional career has been on the low brow path to no great shakes.

Vitali Klitschko

Vitali Klitschko

Vitali Klitschko holds all the pro accolades with his only weakness of late is that of closing in on 40 yrs of age. That and the WBC ruling apparatus that killed his tribute bout at Madison Square Garden against Polish legend Tomasz Adamek on the 40th anniversary of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier’s Fight of the Century.

Odlanier Solis has been a pro coming in on 4 years now, but his development has stalled with a series of lackluster performances starting against Chancey Welliver in 2008, with his last being a farcical quality performance against a 40 yr old Ray Austin that turned into an ugly DQ win for Solis.

Welliver was some 30lbs over his career heaviest and easily boxed with Solis before a premature stoppage by the ref saved what could’ve been a controversial decision. The less said about Austin the better, but imagine Don King as the promoter and you got the picture.

Each and every one of Vitali’s comeback opponents were vastly superior to Solis in Peter, Gomez, Sosnowski, and Briggs with the possible exception of Kevin Johnson who for all intents and purposes vacated the building before the fight started.

Odlanier Solis

Odlanier Solis

Rumor has it that Solis is shedding his chubby excess, but I doubt even that helps him due to the low path of development he’s taken. He must have some talent to win all those gold medals, but the pro game is another ball of wax entirely that not even Cuban legend Juan Carlos Gomez could put a dent in for his Klitschko challenge.

Typical rinse and repeat Vitali bout goes with a long steady beatdown culminating in a knockout, so unless Solis has some hidden talents melding with highest level training, very quick footwork, and a booming knockout punch, I just don’t see it happening.

Some claim that Vitali has slipped a bit the last few years, yet nobody has rocked him and nobody has ever won even a handful of rounds off him yet.

Maybe Solis’ co-promoter,  Ahmet Oner, can ring the timekeeper’s bell as he did a couple of years back to save a heavyweight prospect from being knocked out, but comedy highlights only go so far against the Klitschko brothers who are deadly with purpose every time out.

I’m thinking most of the betting is gonna be on whether Solis lasts the distance. He is young and looks durable, but he also looks like the proverbial heavy bag hung out to dry. 

Maybe one of Vitali’s aging parts breaks down and comes flying off, that’s the only realistic possibility that I see, but hey, they gots to fight to prove it, and bigger upsets have happened, so there it is.

 

Battle of Two Sergies–Martinez vs Dzinzurik

Fresh off his fight of the year knockout of Paul Williams, WBC middleweight champ Sergio Martinez is at the zenith of his long career in his 15th year of boxing when he takes on a very tricky challenger, Sirhiy Dzinzurik, the undefeated WBO 154lb champ.

Maravilla

Maravilla

This is a much riskier fight for Martinez who couldn’t nail down a big money fight after his brilliant showings against Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams than it is for Dzinzurik who his fighting for name recognition in spite of a stellar career.

The fight could be alternately titled The Big Risk vs The Big Step Up.

Or perhaps the tough Argentinian against the tough Ukrainian.

The Bad News is that Martinez is at an advanced age, 36, in what could be a very tough fight against a tricky southpaw, a pure boxer nicknamed the Razor. The Good News is that Martinez is a marvel in the ring. Maravilla is also a tricky a southpaw going up against a 35 yr old fighter making a big step up in class.

Dzyna/Razor

Dzyna/Razor

I expect a wonderfully technical fight with some unexpected twists. Martinez will be the favorite, but really, given the unknowns of this bout and the excellence of both boxers, this is a pickem for me, but, regardless one or the other will be picking up the WBC Diamond belt.

That’s next Saturday, March 12.

Main thing is to enjoy the show as both these guys are very underrated.