Monthly Archives: December 2011

Floyd Mayweather Jr Off to “The Big House”

Well, folks, it finally happened. The other shoe finally dropped in regards to Floyd Mayweather Jr‘s plea arrangement on multiple charges of domestic abuse when the Clark County judge in Nevada sentenced him to 90 days detention at the Clark County Detention Center.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

The full sentence includes 3 suspended months which could be reinstated if Mayweather cannot mind his Ps and Qs during lockup. Part of the plea deal was the dropping of felony battery charges which could carry many extra years of imprisonment if reinstated. You can catch up to more of the history of his charges here:

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/future-shock%e2%80%94what-caused-the-ruination-of-floyd-mayweather-jr/

Mayweather had recently reserved a May 5th date next year at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for his next bout, but that could well be “money” flushed down the drain given the length of the sentence. A desirable high profile fight is not likely be secured on such uncertain notice,  not that his last alleged fight against Victor Ortiz was such a fight.

Mayweather will be 35 years old at the time of his release, traditionally past prime for most fighters and athletes, but regardless of the plethora of Mayweather personal flaws, he tends to stay in some semblance of training between fights. Many fighters blow up their weights and have to constantly be trained down to make their division limits, so perhaps traditional age limitations cannot be placed on him.

The question is whether or not this represents a long drawn out process of the wheels coming off of his career during his “retirement and comeback” phase of his career. His bitter retirement after the controversial Oscar de la Hoya supermatch that smashed all PPV records for a single fight burned a lot of boxing bridges, but all was forgiven during his comeback fights that generated more interest than all of his entire previous career.

Vs JJMarquez

Vs JJMarquez

Though his comebacks have included Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Shane Mosley in high profile matches, the Philippine Pacific Cyclone storming out of Manilla named Manny Pacquiao has sucked all the wind out of his sails and left the well accomplished Mayweather short on the awards, accolades, and rankings as the last decade closed out.

You can read about their compelling parallel career developments through the decade here:

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/modern-p4p-rankings-manny-pacquiao-vs-floyd-mayweather-jr/

Needless to say, the fabled on again-off again super matchup against Manny Pacquiao seems to be no more than schoolboy fantasy at this point. The 33 year old Pacquiao has been on more than a tear through boxing’s ranks, he finally got elected to his congressional district after years of hard campaigning all while logging an incredible number of miles back and forth in international air travel as he pursued his remarkable fight career.

At some point, there has to be a toll on his boxing and life. His overriding ambition has always been to be elected to the Philippine Presidency, so the Floyd Mayweather Jr super fight is fading fast as his next career priority. He was supposed to be retired by now, but the money on the table is simply too big to walk away from, so he has amazingly carried on two very demanding careers.

If Mayweather does keep the May 5th date intact and is released in time for a reasonable training camp, there will be no shortage of lesser contenders and champs willing to strike at a low ebb in his career.

His last fight with Victor Ortiz may well to be the farce of the new millennium. The only thing missing was Big Show storming the ring to pile drive the lot of them during their frequent nuzzles as they exchanged sweet nothings. Nobody in boxing was calling for the Ortiz fight, and Mayweather even denied he was fighting Ortiz.

Could Ortiz be the last fight of his career?

Prior to that, he backed off the date of the showdown he requested against Manny Pacquiao and had to be forced into the ring against Shane Mosley he was so reluctant to fight again, but he desperately needed the money after the government put a lien on his Marquez purse for back taxes. Mike Tyson started exhibiting the same traits as his career wound down, and not surprisingly Tyson seems to have become a favored member of Mayweather’s large entourage.

It’s a long month before Floyd Mayweather is to report to serve his sentence, so his family and friends can only hope he doesn’t land in more hot water during that time. Then he has to play his get out of jail card according to the terms set by the prosecution and detention officials.

The glitter of Las Vegas will be a bit grittier and grimier in the immediate term as history and boxing anxiously await the final return of Floyd Mayweather Jr. 

Edited Update:

Mayweather has been granted a temporary stay to fulfil May 5th contractual agreements. The moveable date of incarceration begins June 1st. More details here:

http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/mayweathers-jail-sentence-delayed-105503

Showtime Supermiddle Final Showdown– Andre Ward vs Carl Froch

The action is supposed to occur December 17th at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, but this Showtime Supermiddle Tourney has been plagued by so many cancellations, reschedules and bad hometown officiating it’s hard to know how much the average fan cares about the final.

The Showtime tourney was announced with great fanfare and accolades, but only a few fights have lived up to the promise of the best fighting the best. Now the tourney limps home on the final leg.

The best officiated and by far most competitive fight was overseas in Mikkel Kessler‘s backyard of Denmark where he and Carl Froch went toe to toe with great overall boxing skills. Excellent ebb and flow and a very clean fight where both fighters had to dig deeper than ever before just to stay in the bout. Kessler won the bout but had to withdraw from the tourney because of a eye injury first suffered in the Ward fight where he was without vision. 

One thing is certain about this bout, Andre Ward and Carl Froch are two really tough fighters with a lot of strength at the weight. Ward holds the traditional prime age advantage at 27 years to Froch’s 34 years, but Froch is fighting as well as he ever has, so I don’t see age playing a factor though Froch has 5 more fights and 48 more rounds on his ledger.

Andre Ward is the last American Olympic Gold Medalist and was supposed to be boxing’s new star, but he has almost disappeared in the boxing landscape since his 2004 debut to become a small venue hometown California fighter well removed from the bright lights of Las Vegas and Madison Square Garden. Ward compiled a 24-0, 13 KO record in boxing’s hinterlands and will be making his 4th defense of the WBA belt he won off of Mikkel Kessler, the blueprint of his butting, elbow and grappling style offense he has employed during the tourney.

Froch vs Pascal

Froch vs Pascal

Meanwhile, Englishman Carl Froch turned pro to no acclaim in 2002 and stayed that way in England as he steadily fought his way up the chain until his spectacular “international” debut in Froch’s hometown of Nottingham, England. He dethroned undefeated Canadian Jean Pascal to snatch away his WBC belt in a very well fought bout with plenty of back and forth action. Since then he has done a foxtrot around the world against the best supermiddleweights in the business and has slowly built up a healthy following in the UK. He is a fan friendly action fighter with only one very competitive loss to Mikkel Kessler to sully his record, 28-1, 20 KO.

So Froch is better prepared to fight away from home than Ward and may have more fans in attendance than Ward since British fans love to hop The Pond to vociferiously support their fighters. However better prepared Froch is to fight away from home, Ward is clearly the Showtime “house” fighter, the only fighter to fight all his Showtime fights on his hometurf until this fight was scheduled.

Ward is more than the last Olympic Gold Medalist, he is also undefeated, so there’s much more upside to keeping him undefeated for Showtime than if the British fighter wins. This means Froch has to beat him substantially to secure a draw, and knock him out cleanly to secure the win, but Froch is the slugger in this match even if his power seems on the wane of late.

Up Close Dark Arts

Up Close Dark Arts

The biggest problem for Froch being that Ward is also the dirtiest fighter in boxing, well experienced in spoiling tactics and various “Dark Arts.” More to the point, Ward is strong enough and willing to use them as his primary offensive weapons in naked view for all to see. So far only the brawling Sakio Biko could match his dirty tactics, and poor Bika had the ref interfering anytime he looked to be up against Ward, and of course the hometown judges awarded Ward almost every round of the ugly fight only Ward’s family might like to judge.

There is no easy way to prepare for the strength and skill Ward uses to employ his Dark Arts any more than there is to counter the interference from the referee. If Froch is to win he has to fight in a defensive grappling  style any time Ward gets in on him for a butt while aggressively setting up his knockout punches on the outside.

Grappling inside with dirty fighters is not Froch’s forte.

Ward is easy to find in ring center usually, but harder to hit cleanly with his octopus arms and elbows sucking up a fighter’s offense and spirit. He did employ cleaner tactics against Arthur Abraham and Allan Green, but Abraham is a pure upright slugger that a good boxer with footwork in a hometown setting can secure a win against and Green barely showed up, meaning that Ward does have some legitimate boxing skills to employ when he chooses and knows how to stay away from sluggers.

Nonetheless, Ward makes a very awkward fight to score because even when he chooses to box outside, he’s still got a quick low shoulder rush inside that knocks other fighters off balance and disrupt continuity.

Adding it all up, Ward has to be considered a favorite. I’ve no doubt Froch could outbox and outslug him in a cleanly officiated and scored bout, but such rules of fair play are regrettably not likely to be in force. I don’t envision a knockout, but a headbutt could stop the fight. The fight was originally delayed when Ward got a truly nasty cut in sparring, possibly working on a headbutt that went awry.

Should be interesting to see what tactics each employs, and if Froch is smart, he’ll stay clean and use his considerable skills to work as hard as he can and let the chips fly where they may. Two high profile Brits, Dereck Chisora and Amir Khan have lost against hometown fighters recently. Chisora employed headbutts and clowning strategies that clearly didn’t win over the judges. Khan was warned repeatedly for pushing before being deducted points. Both were winnable fights with a smarter, cleaner strategy.

Wonder what the over and under odds are for a clean fight vs a dirty fight?

Shame it has to come down to a question like that, but the Showtime folks and New York Commish have a chance to correct what has been largely a disappointing tourney with some genuine sporting rules of fair play enforced to finish the tourney and the year with a great fight.

British Invade Washington DC–Amir Khan vs Lamont Peterson.

The British will be invading Washington DC Saturday, December 10th as their Crown Prince, WBA/IBF junior welterweight titlest Amir Khan defends his crown against local contender, Lamont Peterson.

Khan at work

Khan at work

Both of these fighters are of traditional prime age, 24 years for Khan and 27 years for Peterson, and both are classic boxer types with Khan holding a 26-1, 18 KO record against 29-1-1, 15 KO record of Peterson. Both are fairly big fighters for the weight with Khan announcing that he will be moving up to the welterweight division after this fight to pursue more opportunities, ie, a Floyd Mayweather Jr match.

Lamont Peterson

Lamont Peterson

Plotting a career path may be well and good for mice and men, but Lamont Peterson surely must be as hungry a fighter as Khan has ever faced and has the boxing skills to negate Khan’s own skills to keep the match competitive in a hometown setting. Though his record may not reflect it, I do believe Peterson has enough power and sharpness on his punches to hurt Khan, and in any battle of the chins, Peterson may just have that edge over Khan who suffered a spectacular 1st round knockout loss to Breidis Prescott and need blatant interventions from referee Joe Cortez to keep from being knocked out by Marcos Maidana.

Peterson has already tasted the power of a bigger more powerful fighter in Victor Ortiz, so is likely to have full confidence going into this bout. If he wins, could be he wins the Floyd Mayweather Jr sweepstakes, or at very least become a much bigger player in the boxing landscape. 

Peterson’s question marks are whether he is possessed of the championship attributes needed to dethrone a very good boxer/puncher being trained by the best in the business today, Freddie Roach.

Peterson lost to the best he faced thusfar in Timothy Bradley, and he was quite fortunate to scrape by with a draw against Victor Ortiz who clearly controlled the fight and knocked him down. None of those fighters is remotely similar to Khan who has done well against light swatters Andriy Kotelnyk, Paul Malignaggi, and  Paul McCloskey.

They will have to fight to hash out their future career paths, so as the scrappy referee Mills Lane was want to announce before the start of every fight:

“Let’s get it on!”

The Handwraps Travesty, Part II–Cotto vs Margarito

The highly anticipated on again-off again-relocated again Miguel Cotto/Antonio Margarito rematch has finally passed the snifters of the white gloved New York State Athletic Commission who prematurely pulled up Margarito from his training camp in Mexico to be interrogated under the white lights of NYSAC-appointed ophthalmologist.

Cotto vs Margarito

Cotto vs Margarito

Both Margarito and Cotto have moved up to the light middleweight division and will be contesting Cotto’s WBA “Super” Title he won off the injuredYuri Foreman last year and defended against Ricardo Mayorga in a entertaining slugfest earlier this year.

Margarito is coming straight in off his very serious beatdown by Manny Pacquiao this time last year. After subsequent surgery and recovery from a fractured orbital bone, a very serious injury in the boxing world, a fair assumption is he will be the more damaged and rustier fighter compared to Cotto who has been more active.

Antonio Margarito paid a huge price after being caught up in a handwraps controversy just before stepping into the ring against Shane Mosley. He was lumped up before being knocked out and then suspended for a year. After serving his suspension he was refused relicensing by the California Boxing Commission. More history here:

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/

The Insert

The Insert

Some claim it is Miguel Cotto who paid the heavy price after being beaten to a bloody pulp by Margarito, allegedly using the same illegal wraps. Others think retribution was extracted when Manny Pacquiao beat Margarito into a bloody pulp this year.

In this truth is stranger than fiction world, the facts are that Margarito has never been shown to have used illegal wraps for any fight. The “illegal” insert was placed in his wraps in plain view of the California commish by Margarito’s then longtime trainer,  Javier Capetillo. It was the notoriously picky Shane Mosley trainer, Nazim Richards, who demanded the rewrap, exactly what the Margarito camp and everyone in boxing knew would happen. That’s when they discovered the inserts

Crumbles, Crumbles

In short, they might as well been holding a large placard taped to Margarito’s forehead stating illegal inserts were being used. Not only was there no slight of hand, but the inserts were shown to be nothing but crumbles, hardly a weapon any serious fighter would use to load his gloves when commission approved tapes and gauzes can be added in excess to more easily fly under the wire.

Had Margarito been busted for gummy bear inserts or knuckles of silly putty, those substances are just as “illegal” and confer the same laughable competitive advantage as plaster crumbles. It has long flown under the wire that Margarito was not fit to fight against Mosley because of eye surgery a week before the fight. My theory is the handwraps scenario was devised so the big players could cut their losses with appropriate counter bets, but who can really know the mindsets of these maestroes of travesty?

Though Margarito has always worn same approved wraps as his opponents, many in boxing will never forgive him in spite of him serving the full measure of his suspension. Such is the way it shall forever be.

It is the controversy that makes this fight both incredibly appealing or appalling, but potentially the fight could match or exceed the first fight, so it’s must see for true fans. Incredibly Miguel Cotto’s stellar reputation took a beating in the first fight when fairweather critics accused him of quitting after absorbing one of the all time beatings in boxing history. Go figure critics since they usually can’t support a shred of their charges. Margarito also took a horrendous beating, but managed to outlast the retreating Cotto who was completely spent by fight’s end.

The general concensus is that neither fighter has looked the same since their epic first match, one of the finest prize fights in the history of boxing. They are still some of the best fighters in their division even now, a testament to their dedication to boxing and toughness, so the match looks very lively and competitive.

Both fighters have different trainers now, not surprising given the role the trainers play in any handwrapping, and both are now covered in a maze of tattoos, perhaps a psychological bandaid designed to cover up the pain of the controversy and the beatings they have taken in the ring of late.

The Weighin

The Weighin

The problem for Cotto still remains though, Margarito is simply the bigger, stronger fighter by a significant margin and probably hits harder at the 153lb catchweight the fight will be contested at than their first welterweight title thriller. His style of being a heavyhanded war of attrition walk’em down tough guy is a difficult hurdle for any fighter to overcome.

Cotto made his chops as a brutal slugger, but he was also a pretty nifty boxer when he wanted and has often sparred with his little buddy, the quicksilver strawweight phenom and fellow Puerto Rican, Ivan Calderon, so by styles the fight is likely to start like the first fight with Cotto sprinting out to the lead for the early rounds.

It’s the mid rounds that are likely to spell the difference. Cotto has been whipping himself into better condition ever since he took the fight against Manny Pacquiao. Margarito of course is legendary for his work rate and conditioning, as high as 1200+ punches in a 12 round fight.

Tough fight to pick because of the unknowns, but Cotto will have the edge as “the good guy” against “the bad guy” in his comfortable “hometown” settings stocked with plenty of Puerto Ricans who love him. It goes without saying that he will target the repaired Margarito orbital, perhaps doing enough damage to earn a stoppage.

Margarito will have to beat Cotto substantially to eke out a decision, or seal the win with a knock out, never an easy task in the best of times under the best of conditions against a top opponent. Nonetheless, absent egregious interference from the ref, I expect him to walk down Cotto again, perhaps earlier if his eye holds up.

While the outcome may still be open, Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito have a golden opportunity to set the record straight come December 3rd in Madison Square Garden and perhaps seal their legends with another modern classic.